Born: Athens, Ga.
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Georgia
What has been your biggest business challenge?
I’m such a perfectionist, and I think that gets the best of me sometimes because I don’t think anybody can do it quite like I want it done. I wore every hat in the organization. Then, over the years, realizing that in order for this organization to grow, I have to delegate these various tasks and delegating the authority to let other people make these decisions on my behalf. When I learned how to manage my expectations and manage people to meet my expectations, I started to grow. I started to grow by allowing people to take on responsibility, and I’d set them up in a way to succeed that I would be satisfied with. I learned to trust and let people do jobs that they’re more equipped to do than I’m equipped to do.
What is the best business lesson you have learned?
Because of the values my parents instilled in me about honesty and integrity and being ethical and moral, I learned at a young age to trust people. I’ve been burned several times in my life because I always trust people. I have, over the years, become a little bit more cynical of people, and now I don’t trust as much.
Now, it’s more of a trust and verify not just trust.
Whom do you admire most in business and why?
I really admire Truett Cathy of Chick-fil-A and the Cathy family and that entire organization. They’ve been doing the same thing for 50 years. They stayed focused on their goal and what the brand stands for and the fact that he’s a Christian and have instilled their Christian values in the organization. They have not changed the way they do business and have always been closed on Sundays. Just because they have the opportunity to do more sales and offer more products, they have always stayed true to who they are. They continuously try to improve on what they do but stick with their core and do it and do it well. They give back to the community, and they give back to their team members. They believe in people. They invest a lot in their people.