This week’s Leadership Tidbits with Coach Tee Wilson features the strong and fearless Lisa Cooker. Lisa Coker is the Founder and CEO of Infinite Management Solutions, LLC, founded in Dayton, Ohio in 2015. This business consulting agency provides innovative solutions while challenging the status quo. Her team focuses on providing value-added strategic planning, change management, knowledge management, process improvement and project management services to its clientele. From corporation to government, Lisa has earned a reputation as a trusted partner, dynamic team facilitator, outstanding problem-solver, and accomplished professional. She works closely with c-suite executives ensuring their vision becomes reality. Being a certified Lean Six Sigma/Continuous Process Improvement Black Belt Facilitator, Lisa is often consulted for her innovative business improvement strategies and solutions.
Ms. Lisa Coker holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Organizational Change Management and completed professional executive programs at the University of Tennessee and University of Dayton. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Lisa is a proud United States Air Force veteran. Her passion, professionalism and poise continues to propel her forward as a recognized expert and leader in her field. She recently had the honor of leading a comprehensive strategic planning project for the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) 4-Star General Commander. Lisa’s top-notch leadership skills and mastery of team facilitation, enabled the General and her 120-member leadership team to establish a new vision statement, and multiple strategic goals and objectives. If that wasn’t enough, Lisa is a member of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), Veteran Women Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship (V-Wise), Air Force Continuous Process Improvement Practitioners, and Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA).
From the beginning, Lisa explains that one of the reasons she has gotten to where she is now is because she never really said “no” to new challenges and opportunities as they came. She advises young listeners to do the same, step out and try something new even if it is outside of your field of expertise. Lisa told us one of her primary strengths is the ability to be an excellent listener. “I watch the person who is talking to me, listening to their tone and their pitch. I also never forget a name. If I meet you once, I know where I met you, what you were wearing, etc.” When asked how she blends conversations with people who specialize in different areas, she explained, “People come to us (IMS) because we have the technical skills, but we also have the people skills”.
Lisa shared with us how she made the shift from the military to entrepreneurship. She explained that it was a big mindset shift for her. Adapting to a less structured environment was her biggest adjustment. Some advice she shared for the listeners was, “Be flexible to pivot when you need to. A plan is just that. You can erase it and you can put something else on the paper.” When asked about some of her mistakes she has made she shared with us, “If I could’ve done anything different…I would’ve taken a little more time to build up the structure of IMS while having income with my full time job. I would be a little more strategic on my exit plan”. Lisa shared with us some wisdom she gained from a multimillionaire speaker. “…he said, ‘back in my day there was no such thing as running into someone that didn’t have two jobs…we are in a two arm economic society, you need to remember that. You have to enter into the “American way” you have to figure out how capitalism works, how to run a side business…if you only work a 9-5, you will never understand what’s happening around you in the business world…how money moves, how you make profit, how you take losses’…and that has stuck with me.”
Closing out the show she had some advice for emerging leaders wanting to fill their professional tool box. She shared, “Look around for opportunities inside and outside of the job. There are always side projects, you just have to let your interests be known. If you don’t make it known, people don’t know how to help you.”
Check out the full show to hear more of Lisa Coker’s thoughts!!