Luckie’s own SVP of strategic solutions, Mary Winslow, was honored last night by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, which has named her one of 21 “Women Who Mean Business” in Atlanta. Mary believes being a leader means “raising people up to their highest potential,” and in her 26-year career, that is what she has set out to do.
Q: You’ve been named one of the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Women Who Mean Business for 2019. How can other women leaders win similar accolades for their achievements?
A: Broaden your involvement outside of your current remit. Whether that’s working on cross-functional assignments within your organization or volunteering locally within the community or your church, exposing yourself to different scenarios will help you recognize the leadership traits that are needed to become successful.
Q: What does leadership mean to you?
A: Influence and trust. At Luckie, we study the 21 laws of leadership (from The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell), and the law of influence has always resonated with me. In a nutshell, it denotes that leadership is always about raising people up to their highest potential. A quote from the book that always grounds me is, “He who thinks he leads but has no followers is only taking a walk.” And trust is simply fundamental to any relationship. If the team you’re leading doesn’t trust you, you haven’t got a shot. Period.
Q: Please give some details about one of your top accomplishments of the past year that you are most proud of.
A: This one is personal for me. Making my mark at the half-century level with grace and gratitude was an important part of 2019. I now “officially” have the wisdom and perspective of a rearview, which has inspired me to create an impressive bucket list and a new, ambitious business plan.
Q: What past challenge has most shaped your current thinking?
A: My first job turned into a 22-year career with the same company. Those years were incredible, but my profession had become my identity; there was no distinction between my professional “brand” and the personal me. When I left, I realized I was still anchored to a company for which I no longer worked. A good friend who coached me during this time helped me understand how to separate and identify who I was, how to shape and inform my personal brand, and how to take credit for my accomplishments — not just give credit to my former organization. This instilled an incredible confidence in me that I was able to take and leverage in my next role.
Q: Who is a favorite leader you admire, and why?
A: I am inspired by the way Michelle Obama speaks her truth with abandon and how she has set a course for herself and her career that is truly unique to her. “Do we settle for the world as it is or the world as it should be?” is a mantra to live by. I’m empowered when I hear her encouraging us to use our voices for change, to silence our inner critics, to make a contribution no matter how big or small.
Q: What are you currently reading?
A: Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder by Chip Conley.
Q: How do you motivate and inspire teams to achieve big goals?
A: Too often, we impose self-limitations by process or prior experience. To achieve big goals, I believe expectations have to be set at an ambitious level where you can only think of the “impossible” to frame your approach.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: My son. The simplicity of wisdom from a 5-year-old is incredibly inspiring — there is only “Why?” and “Why not?”