Meet Star Staffing's Lisa Lichty, a 2019 North Bay Women in Business winner
North Bay Business Journal asked 2019 Women in Business Awards winner Lisa Lichty to fill us in on her background, responsibilities and community involvement, and insights into what makes her a notable professional in the region.
Professional background: I have been at Star Staffing for 18 years. I started as an executive assistant to the founder while I was in college. In combination with my education, he trained me into his role as CEO over my first five years at Star. I have been in that role since.
Education: Bachelor of arts finance from Sonoma State University; MBA – strategic leadership from Dominican University
Staff: I have four people who directly report to me, 60 staff
Tell us about yourself and your company: From a young age, I knew I would go into some segment of finance or business administration.
When I landed the job as the executive assistant at Star, I quickly saw the potential for a long-term career in which I could ultimately run the company.
I was extremely driven, fearless, and maybe a little naïve. But when I was offered the company at the age of 23, I couldn't resist. It was my childhood dream to run a company.
Since then, I'm extremely proud of my professional growth as well as the growth of our company. We are a certified woman-owned, Fortune 5000 company that employs nearly 5,000 employees annually. Star Staffing offers full-service staffing firm focused on providing flexible staffing solutions to Northern California businesses including temporary, temp-to-hire and direct hire placements.
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
Last year was Star's 20 year anniversary. While I might not seem like a specific accomplishment, it was the culmination of many accomplishments. It was very rewarding to reflect on all the effort and hard work our entire team has put in to create the company we are today.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
Earning other's trust.
What is your biggest challenge today?
Scheduling and prioritizing my time. There is so much I want to get done professionally and personally. But since I simply can't do it all, I need to be meticulous in planning my time and staying on track.
Words that best describe you: Resilient – quitting isn't an option
As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?
“Mom guilt” makes many women choose less demanding professions or even quit. Early in my career it was the most gut wrenching feeling and often made me want to give up. But through coaching, self reflection, and mentorship from others, I was able to see how my hard work and sacrifices built a solid foundation and morals for my children
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?
Technology will be a large driver in the way CEOs operate. It has allowed for me to be more efficient with my time through virtual meetings, allows me to have more data readily available, allows us to change and improve our operations as a whole, etc.
Therefore I feel that my role will become even more focused on carrying and communicating our company's vision and mission, critical thinking and quick problem solving, and staying ahead of industry trends.
Who was your most important mentor?
I have to list two. My father and the founder of Star, Fred Adair.
My father was an important mentor because as a business owner himself he showed me how to lead a valuable balance family and professional life. But Fred literally taught me everything I needed to know to be successful in staffing. As a former executive of a much larger staffing agency, he was clear and concise on how to not only run a profitable staffing agency, but also many life experience skills that helped me to mature much faster. My favorite saying from him that I always make sure I'm in check with is “Take care of the business and it will take care of you.”
What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?
Your going to fail….a lot.
But you often learn more from failures than successes. Experience and time create thick skin and things get easier. But those first several years can be brutal sometimes. Don't give up or settle for anything less than achieving your goals and dreams.
Typical day at the office: I start my workday around 5:30 a.m. I love getting a couple hours of time in before the office open. The rest of my day is spent in meetings or planning sessions surrounding how to continue growth and profitability while holding true to our vision and core values.
Best place to work outside of your office: On the plane or in hotel rooms. No distractions.
Current reading: “The CEO Next Door”
Most want to meet: I have to list two here.
Warren Buffet and Mary Barra.
Warren Buffet's financial expertise is simply mind blowing. But as a female, Mary has been incredibly inspirational.
Similar to my career path, she started at GM when she was 18 and spent her entire career there rising through the ranks to CEO. She has been listed as one of the most successful women in the world multiple times and as #1 in 2017. She is particularly inspirational to me for staying so committed to one company for her entire career, becoming the first female CEO for a worldwide automaker, becoming the most successful woman in the world, and doing so while raising a family. Social media you most use: Because I'm always preaching limited screen time to my children, I try to stay off as much a possible myself. But if you check my screen time usage, I'm sure Instagram would be #1 followed by LinkedIn.
Stress relievers: Home. I love coming home to my husband, kids, pets….and hot tub.
Favorite hobbies: Travel. I love exploring new places both near and far.
What would parents or significant others say if asked to brag about you?
“Lisa spends a lot of time planning her life and what she wants to achieve….then she goes out and makes it happen. And she does so in a manner where she is always mindful of other's well-being along the way.”