Title: CEO, The Frontier Project, a consulting company in Richmond that is a collection of businesses that works with for-profit firms, nonprofits, government agencies and startup firms on development, training and communications

Born: June 1978 in Detroit

Education: bachelor of arts, University of Illinois, 2000; master’s of human resources and industrial relations, University of Illinois, 2001; MBA, University of Richmond Robins School of Business, 2007

Career: Emerson, 2002-05; Northwestern Mutual, 2005-07; New Visions, New Ventures, 2007-08; The Frontier Project, 2008-present

What part of the metro area do you live?: Woodland Heights area of South Richmond

Best business decision: “The best business decision I ever made was to stop focusing on external markers of success. Now I define success on my own terms. Many years ago, I set a goal for The Frontier Project to be recognized by Inc. magazine as part of the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies. I felt it would signal to the world that the business had ‘made it.’ And then it happened. And guess what? It didn’t change anything. If anything, it made things worse, because then the quest to do it again and again was underway. What I learned was that when the focus is on percent of growth year-over-year, or how many employees you have, or how big your building is, you can make some really bad long-term decisions. ... I realized I had been chasing things that didn’t really matter, and it made me redefine what really did matter: loving the people I work with and the work I do, taking on projects that make a positive impact and ensuring my team continues to learn and grow each and every day.”

Mistake you learned the most from: “Letting toxicity linger. Over the years, we’ve had some really talented people, but they were absolutely toxic to our culture. In hindsight, it is easy to see what a negative impact they had on the company, and I absolutely should have dealt with it sooner. It wasn’t that I was ignoring the issue. As a leader, I felt it was my job to see the best in everyone on my team. I believe everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. But I learned the hard way that some people are very skilled at only showing you the side of them that they want you to see.”

What is the biggest challenge/opportunity in the next two to five years: “In January 2019, The Frontier Project is going to be launching an initiative called All In. Through All In, we will be working with executive leadership and HR teams to help eradicate the adverse gender dynamics and cultural factors that enable sexual and other harassment to occur.”

First job after college: At Emerson, formerly known as Emerson Electric Co. in St. Louis where she worked directly for the senior vice president of human resources who oversaw HR for the entire global workforce. “As his analyst, I got exposure to executive-level organizational development, succession planning, wage and benefit planning and global strategic HR issues affecting this huge organization.”

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently: I would feel more comfortable using my voice. I used to tell myself I was too young or too inexperienced to speak up and contribute and/or advocate for a better outcome. I wouldn’t accept that narrative today. It’s a shame how many people, especially women, fall victim to this limiting mindset and how much we all suffer because we don’t benefit from their contributions.”

Movie or book that inspired you the most, and why?: “The Untethered Soul,” by Michael A. Singer. “This is one of those life-changing books that puts everything into perspective. It illustrates how to let go of our ego and apply mindfulness, forgiveness, honesty and courage to our lives so we can truly live into our true potential.”

Favorite/least favorite subject in school: Favorite: psychology and statistics; least favorite: chemistry.

Commenting is limited to Times-Dispatch subscribers. To sign up, click here.
If you’re already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.