A Minute With WIRLC Board Member Leisa Glispy

By: Melissa Campanelli

Welcome to another installment of “A Minute With … ,” where we ask our board members a few questions about work and life. This week we chatted with Leisa Glispy, the founder of Collective Meaning, a digital consultancy providing e-commerce and digital consulting and interim digital services for luxury goods firms, brand manufacturers and consumer products goods (CPG) companies. Over the last 15 years, Leisa has served as a senior digital brand leader and consulted for some of the world’s most recognized brands, including Waterford Crystal, ADT Security, Armstrong Flooring, Hanro of Switzerland and L’Oreal’s SkinCeuticals brand.

Leisa most recently served as the director of e-commerce marketing for Stanley Black & Decker, where she led the e-commerce, digital marketing and emerging media efforts for the company’s $5 billion consumer products division. Leisa also has a strong background in the luxury goods and fashion industry, starting her career in sales at Bergdorf Goodman, publishing at ELLE magazine and freelance catalog production in South Beach.

Inner Circle: What are some of the leadership lessons you’ve learned during your career?
Leisa Glipsy: The most important leadership lesson that I’ve learned is to connect with people by being authentic, which allows others to be open and honest in their dealings with you. Once a real connection is made, you can better understand the whole person and what really motivates them, not just the person in their work life. It also encourages team members to be more innovative, willing to suggest new ideas that can benefit the company.

Another important lesson is to allow your team members to act like entrepreneurs, who have the ability to create and drive projects that increase productivity. It’s important to make sure that all efforts align to and deliver on the corporate strategic goals, and that everyone is rowing in the same direction. I’ve found that this leadership style creates a sense of freedom that all people innately desire while providing a solid base of support. My teams have been my greatest teachers.

IC: Can you talk about something you may have failed at, but learned from as well?
LG: Early on in my career, I was working on a major redesign project. As is common, we held a senior-level meeting to kick off the project and discuss the approach. My manager’s boss was invited, along with a more senior person from corporate. The meeting went well, but my manager’s boss felt blindsided because I hadn’t walked through the details with him and allowed him to provide feedback before the meeting. It was a great learning lesson to me about nonformal communication and getting buy-in from project stakeholders.

IC: What’s your hiring strategy?
LG: I hire people who are passionate about where they’re going, intensely curious, eager to teach others and have a strong desire to win. Being curious lends itself well to internet retailing. We’re in an industry that’s constantly evolving with new approaches, technology and tools implemented daily. I’ve also found that people with this combination of attributes pride themselves on producing a high-value work product, are not ego driven and work well with teams.

IC: What career advice can you give our members?
LG: Concentrate on doing great work, treating people well and having fun. The greatest of these actions is having fun. I’ve found that even when I’m stressed at work, I lighten up and turn my attention to something that makes me smile or laugh. When I return to the challenge, I’ve usually found another way to look at it or solve it. Happiness changes our perspective.

IC: Have you had any mentors in the retail industry?
LG: I had the great fortune to work in a marketing team at Waterford led by Lester Gribetz, a retail veteran and the former vice chairman at Bloomingdale’s. He taught me many foundational retail merchandising and marketing concepts. Lester truly understood the art and science of retail, and he was happy to share his knowledge with others.

IC: Is there a book, blog or podcast that you turn to for inspiration?
LG: I enjoy and get a lot of value from BeLeaderly.com, a blog that outlines career strategies for rising women of influence. A great resource to help women in high-visibility leadership positions.

IC: What are your hobbies?
LG: I enjoy hiking on trails. It gives me a chance to enjoy nature and have moments of gratitude. I also collect outsider art. I fell in love with the inspired work of Purvis Young when he was alive and have been collecting ever since.

IC: What’s your favorite vacation spot?
LG: I’m from Jamaican parentage, so it’s obligatory that I say Jamaica. I’m also a big proponent of the opening up of Cuba. It’s an island rich with natural beauty, strong people, beautiful music, inspired artists and amazing architecture. I’m very pleased with the recent normalization of relations. Once travel is open, I’m sure it will be my new favorite vacation spot.

IC: If you weren’t working in the retail industry, what would you be doing?
LG: I’m a futurist at heart and the biggest future innovation will be life extension. I would be in biotech, specifically marketing regenerative medicine.

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