Linda Parks

President and CEO, Lixit Corp.

100 Coombs St., Napa 94559; 707-252-1622;

Age: 64

Residence: Napa

Professional background: 44 years at Lixit Corp. Started as a buyer, purchased company through a qualified ESOP, and became President and CEO in 1994. Held numerous positions in between.

Education: A.S., business. Certifications from various business and purchasing programs. Graduate of the Building a Minority Business program at Tuck School of Business. Member of numerous pet industry associations.

Staff: 100

Tell us about yourself and your company: Married 44 years, two grown children. My passion is guiding our employees to design, create and manufacture pet products in the U.S.

Words that best describe you: Big picture thinker and a patriot.

What is a major accomplishment in the past year or so?: Finally passing that ten million dollars a year mark in annual sales

What achievement are you most proud of in your career?: Hiring bright employees, then watch them grow into professional positions, and employing adults with disabilities as part of our workforce.

What is your biggest challenge today?: Growth and the infrastructure required to support it. Right now, we are in the planning stages of adding an additional 12,000-square-foot building to our facility in Napa.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: My profession will change in the next five years as I turn the management of the company over to my key employees. Not sure what my future role will be, but I plan on having something to work on most days.

As a successful female professional, what have been the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?: Funding the growth of an inventory-intensive manufacturing company has been my biggest challenge. Most companies our size merge, sell or take on a partner. I like having a level of independence, and so do our employee-owners. By partnering with Bank of Marin, we have been able to finance both our business growth and the subsequent required infrastructure.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?: Read Sheryl Sandberg’s book Leaning In. You can balance being a parent and having a challenging career. You just have to surround yourself with like-minded people.

Current reading: Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton

Stress-relievers: Yoga and bike-riding

Favorite hobbies: Gardening, movies, and furniture-painting.