Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Female Executive You Probably Never Heard Of

Lynn Tilton is the focus of our current post on corporate bravery and there are a lot of brave things to spotlight her for.  Being a single mom and building a private equity empire or focusing on saving American manufacturing jobs could be the focus of her bravery.  But I am using this post to spotlight her individuality.

Lynn Tilton runs the Patriarch Partners private equity firm.  An $8 billion company that has bought or heavily invested in over 70 - largely manufacturing - companies.  If you want a detailed history of how she got where she is (and it is truly a triumph of the American dream) then go to her Wikipedia page.

As I have been writing my book on corporate bravery one of the key aspects of a brave culture that eschews fear-based management is a support of individuality.  Not just for the people who work for the organization but also the organization's identity itself.

As it relates to Lynn's views on her own individuality and how it translates to women in the workforce as a whole:

“I’ve gotten used to [walking in heels like this]. When people talk about me as a Wall Street, stiletto-wearing chick … the stiletto part is right, but I really don’t consider myself Wall Street. I take pride in being an industrialist. I understand that people write about what I wear and what I look like because it’s an anomaly. But to only focus on those things is to really miss who I am. I’m trying to show women that they need to be women in a man’s world.”

And then in terms of the fund's strategy and the laser focused clarity on creating jobs in situations where smaller companies have lost their focus on their core product and their marketplace:

We feel strongly about buying companies that others would throw on the trash heap, as a way to create jobs, to give people the dignity of work. And what I’m hoping is that I’m going to help make manufacturing sexy and exciting again.

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