STL Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Co-founder and CEO
While it may not have been her career aspiration to be an entrepreneur, Lisa Nichols knew an opportunity when she saw it. She had worked in corporate accounting and sales and marketing, and both Lisa and her husband Greg had subpar experiences with IT departments at corporations. This sparked their desire to change the way IT staffing is conducted.
Using Lisa’s financial and sales skills and Greg’s IT background, they co-founded Technology Partners in 1994. Lisa makes that sure employees understand and follow three core values — conducting business ethically and with integrity; delivering on commitments both internally and externally; and practicing the Golden Rule and always respecting diversity of opinion.
Her genuine belief in doing the right thing, which may not be the most profitable thing, and her desire to continually challenge herself and her employees, is a model to which companies today may well want to imitate.
Technology Partners employs more than 350 employees and has brought innovative methods to the IT staffing industry. The company uses a flat, hourly margin — the spread between client bill rates and employee pay rates — and discloses this margin to both the customer and its employees.
Conventional wisdom says this disclosure was ill advised for business; however, the company’s business model now serves to be a competitive advantage. Forbes magazine has taken notice of Lisa’s innovative business model and chose her to appear in the Most Powerful Women issue of the magazine in June.
Using a board of advisers to counsel her in major decisions to help grow the company, Lisa has chosen board members with various backgrounds and experiences within different industries.
With a collaborative approach in managing its employees, Lisa actively encourages her workers to avoid “silos” and to voice any desires to change positions if desired. Many employees have worked in all or many of the company’s main operational roles.
How to reach: Technology Partners, www.technologypartners.net