“I’ve always been a dreamer,” Kathy Waller, The Coca-Cola Company’s chief financial officer, said during a Women’s History Month interview with TheStreet podcast. “But I never dreamed quite this big.”

Waller joined Coca-Cola in 1987 as a senior accountant and climbed the ranks over the next two-and-a-half decades before being named CFO in 2014. The Atlanta native grew up watching Perry Mason and wanted become a lawyer through college.

After graduating with a degree in history and political science from the University of Rochester, she took a year off to study for the LSAT. During that time, she accepted a job in the City of Rochester’s budget bureau and immediately embraced the world of finance and accounting.

“I absolutely fell in love with the work,” she recalled. Waller’s new passion for finance steered her away from law school – and into her alma mater’s MBA program. She worked as a CPA for Deloitte for a few years before landing at Coca-Cola.

During her interview with TheStreet, Waller – who was the founding chair of Coke’s Women’s Leadership Council and helped develop its Women in Leadership Global Program, shared lessons learned throughout her 31-year career with the company. Here are few highlights:

On advice she’d give to a young girl aspiring to one day become CFO of Coca-Cola:

“I would tell her to allow herself to dream and figure out what makes her happy. Take jobs that she enjoys, but always strive to learn new things... Creating relationships is invaluable and can lead you to places you can't even dream about. Learning new things and meeting new people have helped me to get where I am, and are a great recipe for anybody.”

On the need for women in business to proactively pursue career opportunities:

“Women need to make sure they are raising their hands. The trajectory of my career changed when I asked the question about moving into a different role. If we don’t ever ask the question, we limit ourselves. We want to believe that just keeping our heads down and working hard will make all the difference in the world. It’s important, but there are lots of other people around us who are raising their hands. If we don’t also raise our hand and tell people what we want, they won’t read our minds. The future Kathy Waller is out there… she just needs to raise her hand.”

On the need to both reflect and stay focused on the path ahead:

“It’s never been lost on me where I am. Particularly in the beginning when I’d go speak to organizations and hear someone introduce me as the CFO of The Coca-Cola Company… it would take my breath away to know they were talking about me. In many ways, I do step back and realize how far I’ve come and how amazing it is, but I can’t dwell on it because I have stuff to do.”

Listen to the full podcast.