Capitol Communicator is running a series of profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this “up close and personal” profile, we feature Lisa Throckmorton, COO of SpeakerBox in McLean, VA. Photography for this series is by Cade Martin; wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson and Janice Kinigopoulos for THE Artist Agency.
Lisa, please provide us a short bio.
I’m the COO of SpeakerBox and have been with the firm for nearly 14 years. I serve in an executive management role for the firm and its clients and provide strategic oversight on client accounts, manage day-to-day operations of the business and oversee staff development.
I have been a leader in the startup community and have carved out a niche giving a voice to relatively unknown innovators and organizations. My clients often remark that I provide “remarkable, creative thinking to help us stand out from the crowd.” I’m also deeply involved in the DC Tech ecosystem and I work to raise the profiles of emerging companies in the region, and have supported publicity for the region itself. My approach to learning about clients is to become entrenched with their teams so that I have a strong understanding of their unique growth triggers, market pressures and core requirements for success.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
I’m on the Board of Bethesda Chevy Chase High School Educational Foundation as well as the Advisory Board for Radford University’s College of Humanities and Behavior Sciences. Professionally, I mentor startups at many of the tech incubators and accelerators in the region and am involved in The Marketing Alliance, Technology Venture Center and DC FemTech.
What are the things you are most proud of?
I’m proud of the breadth and depth of my friendships, both personally and professionally. One of my best friends recently told me that I have a rare energy and I am definitely known to be on-the-go non-stop. One of my favorite ways to put that energy to use is in my friendships. I’m able to invest quality time with a wide circle of people and I take great pride in being a close and loyal friend. The ROF (Returns On Friendship) absolutely fuels me and is more rewarding than I can put into words.
Some people, understandably, prefer a small circle of close friend.
Who are your personal role models?
My mom leads in this category. She’s always been a great model of hard work and resilience. She’s tireless, has incredible balance, and has always exhibited how to pack a lot into a day – from early-morning workouts and working, to volunteering and making time for family and friends – she’s the quintessential “where there is a will, there is a way” type of person.
The DC tech community also provides a consistent source of inspiration for me. I’ve been gifted with a resurgence of professional energy and excitement thanks to a new wave of relationships with so many talented leaders that are making the region stronger and changing the world through entrepreneurship and technology.
Did your role models offer professional advice that helped you in your career?
Years ago I worked with a mentor/professional coach that shared a mantra that supports my efforts daily: “suspend the desperation” when it comes to business decisions. His point was make decisions based on long-range goals, not what you feel like you might need in the here and now. That mantra is one I think to myself often and it always triggers me to take a step back and think about the big picture – particularly if things are above-average busy or crazed.
What professional advice do you have for others?
Dig in! Take an active part in a community that you are passionate about, whether it’s school, recreational, volunteer or business. You’ll make connections that did not expect that will lend to your professional development and success. The other advice I’d offer is take vacation and get out of dodge. For years, I fooled myself into thinking that staycations were good, but the reality is that staying local makes it really easy to stay connected and work while on vacation. Get away and disconnect – your career will be better for it.
What advice do you have on what’s appropriate attire for your organization?
We are business casual at our office. For meetings outside of the office, our general rule of thumb is to at least mirror the attire of clients you are meeting with, or dress a level up.
What are the places you buy most of the clothes you wear to the office?
I don’t have any real store or brand loyalty for work attire – I shop everywhere from The Gap to Saks. I’m a big fan of dresses for work (the only pants I own are denim and yoga) because of the simplicity factor. I love great clothes, but don’t really love shopping, so my latest foray has been with StitchFix, which is an online service that sends me a box of clothing matched to my style every other month. I keep what I want and ship back what I don’t – it’s perfect for me.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
In my day-to-day life, you will never see me with this much make up on my face – I like to keep it simple. Outside of work, my passions are my family and friends, local sports, open water swimming – I swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco and was on a relay team that swam around Manhattan in 2014) – and I love music. I also coach soccer for second- and fifth-grade boys.
I thought the prisoners who tried to swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco died. How did you do it?
They didn’t have daylight or wetsuits!