This month, our team at 45 inc. had the pleasure of sitting down with Kendra Michelle Lackey, an HR Manager and Regional Quality Assurance Specialist. Kendra has been with our team since March 10th, 2017 and has elevated our team in measures since that day. In our one on one conversation, we discussed life, business, and consulting.
Where are you from?
“I was raised in Munford, Alabama. It is a super small town, I graduated with about 80 other people. I tell people I’m from Talladega because it is the next town over and more well-known because of Talladega Nights and NASCAR.”
How would your parents have described you as a kid?
“My parents would say that I was sassy and bossy, but also a tomboy. My mom used to have to make me wear heels and dresses-college and sorority life definitely changed all of that! I don’t prefer the term bossy though. I have LEADERSHIP SKILLS.”
Were you involved in any sports or extracurriculars as a kid?
“I was really involved in sports and different clubs in school. I played baseball and softball from K-12. I also cheered a few years. Oh, and even though I am only 5 foot I did play one year of varsity volleyball. That was my junior year in high school and my mom told me to pick one sport after that year because it was just too much having something to do practically every day. I was also in the Beta Club and French Club. But don’t ask me to speak it anymore. If you don’t use it, you definitely lose it. I can still read in French though. Side note-I do want to learn Latin.”
How would you say that competitive environment developed you?
“Playing sports definitely helped me develop into the person I am today. I’ve always had a competitive spirit I’m not sure if sports brought that out in me, or if sports were what I needed because of my competitiveness. I LOVE working in a team environment and reaching goals with my teammates. I think playing sports also helps teach you a strong work ethic too. Uncoachable kids become unemployable adults. You learn to not place blame or finger point. You learn to not place blame on the bad weather that caused the play to go wrong. It instills that no excuse attitude that is needed in entrepreneurship.”
Did you have any idea that you would end up in this field?
“I would have never imagined that I would have ended up in this field. I did know that I wanted to help people and make a difference and I do get to do that daily.”
Tell us about your college experience.
“I attended Jacksonville State University. I changed majors a few times, from almost joining the Navy to Nursing to Education to Psychology to Public Administration. I had a hard time figuring out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I feel that is a big decision for a young adult to make and I definitely wasn’t ready to make that decision. I was involved on campus. I was initiated into the Lambda Gamma Chapter of Delta Zeta Sorority Fall 2008. I was philanthropy chair of my pledge class-again I like helping people. I was also a Rugby Little Sister.”
Where did you work before joining our team?
“I did have jobs prior to 45. I worked at a private children’s academy in Houston. It was supposed to just be a summer job, but I was asked to stay if they gave me my own classroom. I taught 3 and 4-year olds. The academy had an AMAZING curriculum and I had 3-year olds in my class reading on a 1st grade level. I was also a Certified Nursing Assistant -hello Nursing major. Caring for people when they are their most venerable can be very rewarding.”
What is one life experience you feel has shaped you?
“Picking ONE is very hard because I have been through a lot of things in life, truly. I think being diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and overcoming that was the hardest thing I have ever done. I didn’t realize how strong I was until I was able to overcome that. Not everyone survives that diagnosis and while it was quite a battle for me and sometimes it will rear its ugly head, I know that if I overcame it once I can do it again.”
What is something we might not know about you on sight?
“I LOVE to bake. I’m not a super cool cake artist, but I love to bake. I make some AMAZING red velvet brownies. And I also only bake from scratch. Oh, and I have to drink wine while baking. I may need to change that if I ever open up a bakery!”
What were your first thoughts when you joined the 45 inc. team?
“My first thoughts were these people cannot really like each other THIS much. Everyone was friendly and cool with each other. People genuinely wanted to hang out with their coworkers. I thought at first it was super fake and then after a month with the company I was wanting to hang out with my coworkers and stopped calling them coworkers. They are genuinely my friends and helped me with not only work-related stuff but just with life. I truly love the people I work with.”
What has been your best memory with the company?
“There have been so many wonderful memories! Picking one is super hard. It would have to be either my first National Conference or the beach trip of 2017. My first Nat Con was in New Orleans and just the knowledge and people that I was able to network with was just so amazing. Being in a room of a few thousand people who all have similar dreams and aspirations as I was a phenomenal feeling. The beach trip was also amazing. The team hit a goal and Wrinardo rented a private villa for the top guys in the office. It was such a cool bonding experience. One of the guys on the trip had never been to the beach so to see him run in the sand and put his toes in the ocean for the first time was a great feeling and memory that I will always have.”
What is something you’ve learned through your work that you didn’t know before?
“One thing I didn’t know before starting in this company was sales! But truly I have learned so much working in this company from sales to learning how to develop other people, not just train them. I’ve learned that building relationships is the most important thing. I’ve been very fortunate to now be able to grow my company while still working at 45 and having a successful businessman as your mentor is something that I am truly blessed to have.”
How would you describe the culture to a prospective candidate?
“I would tell a prospective candidate that the culture here is wonderful. We have a work hard play hard mentality and we genuinely care about helping each other achieve our dreams and goals.”
What do you look for in prospective candidates?
“I look for people who are competitive, team oriented, and who have really high integrity.”
What advice do you have for prospective candidates?
“Be nice to the receptionist! They aren’t just there to greet you at the door and poor manners to them may mean that you don’t get that dream job. As for resumes, talk about extracurriculars, clubs, and volunteer work. We are trying to get a feel of who someone is on one or two pages of paper. Those things tell us A LOT about you. And don’t make things up. I had a resume come to me and the candidate said she was a member of Delta Nu Sorority, the sorority from Legally Blonde. I know because that’s my favorite movie.”
What are your goals with the company?
“My goals with the company are to help Wrinardo to hit consultantship and to open my own company by the end of the year. I have been consulting Wrinardo and other sales offices on cancels and quality assurance. I have three clients total with a goal of having one more client by the end of March and to have fifteen offices I am consulting for by the end of the year. I started this venture in January, so I feel like I am doing well so far.”
How do you plan to personally contribute to company growth?
“My plan is to bring in quality candidates so we can promote out a few deals this year and by keeping our cancel rate low be able to save the company money.”
Do you recommend any business books or podcasts?
“’How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie is wonderful. Also, ‘The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership’ by James C. Hunter. They are both really easy reads and I feel like both topics are important for future business owners. For podcasts most definitely The Sessions Effect. I had a conference call with Michael Sessions, the guy who does Sessions Effect. It was so hard for me to stay professional and not go fan girl on him.”
Kendra, you are such an inspiration to each and every one of us. Your positive attitude and unbreakable drive have elevated our team and culture since the day you joined us. We cannot wait to see all that you achieve, as your teammates and as your friends.