To celebrate International Women’s Day that took place on 8 March 2019, we are showcasing some of K2’s inspirational female leaders. This series of blogs will introduce you to some of the women that help make K2 the successful company that it is.
In this blog, we meet Lori Larson, President of the Americas, who joined K2 in October 2018.
1. What is your professional background?
I have over 20 years of experience within consultative sales and marketing in IT/Engineering Solutions, leading organizational effectiveness to propel growth and profitability.
2. What achievement are you most proud of in your career to date?
There are numerous; I have been truly blessed with an amazing career. Highlights include mentoring team members’ careers, winning accounts that we ‘targeted’ (despite clients telling us it would be a ‘miracle’ for us to win their account). Launching new business units that became the most successful ones in our company and working with market, talent and client demands to ensure we are several steps ahead of the competition.
I am currently and will always drive myself to learn and be better. Being recognized by our industry in both 2017 and 2018 as one of the Top Global Power 100 Women was another special highlight.
Most importantly, I think I’m proudest of being recognized by numerous clients for outstanding partnerships. I successfully deliver results year after year, while continually driving solutions that enable our industry to drive value.
3. What do you think has made you the leader you are today?
I believe it is a combination of my family’s core value of hard work and being authentic at all costs. I am real and very human with my teams. I also believe that being an engaged leader who is ‘leading by example’ is what really drives success and allows me to effectively mentor my team. Lastly, I always choose people that are incredibly strong and challenge me to make me better.
I focus on gaining a solid foundation of the business and core strengths. I try hard to eliminate the noise for the teams to maintain laser focus. That is no easy task, especially with our client obsessed culture. However, I always get there in the end. I have to believe in what we are trying to accomplish- if I believe, I ensure the team also believes and we make sure we have fun doing it along the way.
4. What inspires you to keep achieving your goals?
My teams and clients. Success to me is defined by helping others achieve success. I have a strong, personal, competitive nature to be the best and always deliver solutions with quantifiable value.
Nothing is more gratifying than to see your team succeed and find happiness in their success, much as I have over my career. I believe employees need to understand our goals and why they are important. When you are clear and honest with them they will want to be part of the journey. It is about so much more than working hard- it is about being passionate to everyone.
5. What are the three main traits that make a leader successful in your opinion?
Competitive drive to win, authentic (real) with some paranoia.
6. What do you do to ensure a good work/life balance? How do you unwind?
I have come to the realization that there is only life balance. I love who I work with and immensely enjoy spending time with the work team.
Unwinding is something that is not always easy. I enjoy hiking, snow skiing, working out, watching our daughter ride and show her horses across the United States. I also love to travel and of course, try all kinds of amazing cuisine.
7. What is the best (or most valuable) piece of advice you have been given?
Early on in my career, I was taught the power and value of ‘no’. Saying no isn’t easy- it is always a challenge. Painfully, I discovered the hard way that diverting my hours to solve a client’s demand took the majority of my day but offered very little to no return.
To steward a successful and productive business that will grow year over year, you must learn how to exercise this discipline. You have to act on your convictions, harness the power of saying no and maintain great focus on your core expertise or the expertise that you want to be core.
The competition is fierce. If you try to win or be everything, you will quickly learn you win very little and lack the expertise to be competitive, while wasting valuable resources.