International Women’s Day feature with Natasha Strother Lassiter, Strother Enterprises Inc.

As a women-owned business, we are honored to highlight women who are incredible leaders in marketing and communications across a wide variety of industries. Each year on International Women’s Day we share an interview series celebrating these women and sharing their stories.

This interview is with Natasha Strother Lassiter, Chief Strategy Officer at Strother Enterprises Inc.

How do you define your leadership?

I consider myself an adaptive leader. In an ever-evolving business environment, it’s the best approach for me to manage change and develop my team. In my opinion, it’s essential for today’s executives to have the confidence to move quickly, pivot, and adapt on the fly in order to navigate the unpredictability of the pandemic. As a leader, I’m thoughtful, analytical, and focused. I enjoy drilling down into the details and determining how to approach challenges and opportunities.

I tend to thrive in a culture where there is transparency and I see real value in creating an atmosphere of open communication. Ensuring that my employees have a voice and that their opinions, concerns, and suggestions are heard is my top priority. For me, inclusiveness is two-fold – it means being open to other viewpoints and having a genuine appreciation for differing opinions. Creating that sense of belonging is central to my leadership style.

Finally, I’m a huge fan of learning. Providing the tools and opportunities for my team to build confidence and achieve goals is the most rewarding aspect of my job. Skill development and building meaningful careers are also a part of our corporate values. My team often describes me as “the motivator” because I’m constantly championing opportunities for them to grow.

The pace of change is increasing as we adjust to a new normal. In my opinion, adaptive leadership principles, such as being compassionate, embracing diverse ideas, and driving innovation, are necessary for achieving long-term success.

How has your leadership changed in the past year?

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged my leadership and I’m still processing the impact of it as we continue to navigate the recovery phase. Naturally, I was concerned about sustaining our business as the restaurant and food service industry suffered tremendous sales and job loss. With many businesses forced to shut down, I was fully aware of the stakes at hand. The possibility of losing everything that my family built over the past three decades was motivation to keep going and figure it out.

My leadership became laser-focused on growing, surviving, and ensuring that I was taking care of our employees and their families. I carry a deep sense of responsibility for increasing profitability and driving success. My personal obligation to our employees gave me the courage to remain optimistic even if the pandemic was moving us in a new direction. I shifted as needed.

In responding to day-to-day operational challenges, I was forced to accelerate my decision-making and become more comfortable navigating the unknown. To adjust quickly to changes in the environment, I delegated and entrusted my team with more authority in managing change. I relied on our collective talent to rapidly redefine our business strategy with little or incomplete information.

Leading through unpredictable times has sharpened my skillset. I’ve become more self-aware and courageous. Currently, I’m focused on cohesive collaboration to ensure our teams remain engaged and tight-knit. I’m preparing my team for the ups and downs. Going forward, I’ll continue to draw on our legacy of entrepreneurship and resiliency.

Can you share a story that demonstrates a key learning for you in your leadership journey?

A few years ago, I accepted a job as Chief Operating Officer role with a startup company and stepped completely out of my comfort zone. I’ve since transitioned back to Strother Enterprises but that particular experience had a profound effect on my leadership journey.

Coming from Strother Enterprises, an established company with a respected brand, I was accustomed to concise process flows, a family-oriented culture, a pipeline of new business, and well-defined roles. In my new position, the scope of my role was much broader and I was overseeing more departments and functions. It was my job to build out our operations from the ground up. I didn’t have an HR team, payroll processes, or identified candidates but I was confident that my leadership skills were transferrable.

I applied the leadership style that I cultivated at Strother Enterprises. I started with building an empowered team so they could run their division with confidence. I established policies to promote our corporate vision and processes for measuring results. I believed that our long-term success would ultimately be determined by our ability to get the basics right. So, I defined revenue goals. I got ahead of compliance and security and put measures in place to mitigate risk. I trusted my team and gave them space to grow. Designing and implementing operations to support a successful launch with the capability to scale was a massive undertaking. However, I am grateful for the challenges that I encountered because the experience made me a stronger leader.

Check out the stories of other incredible women leaders in the marketing and communications industry. 

Subscribe for Blog Updates

  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden
  • Hidden