Women in Business: Lisa Bridgers

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,279 views 

Class of 2021 Women in Business Lisa Bridgers Chief People Officer, North America VMLY&R, Rogers

Residence: Fayetteville

Education: B.A., communications, Arkansas Tech University

Professional background: Bridgers has worked in human resources and talent acquisition for more than two decades. Before being named to her existing role in March, she was regional director, employee experience. She has been with the global marketing agency since 2017 following a merger with Rockfish, where she was chief people officer. She’s also worked at Saatchi & Saatchi X, Robert Half International, and owned a consulting firm on the West Coast. She co-created the Women in the Workforce conference in Northwest Arkansas and is an active community volunteer.

What’s your biggest passion and why? My biggest passion is helping to create a work environment centered on a people-first philosophy. We spend so much of our lives at work that it’s important to have practices that truly support and celebrate employees. It’s not about ping-pong tables and free snacks, but rather about capturing the moments that matter in the employee life cycle and making the employee feel connected to their work and company in a meaningful way. Don’t get me wrong, I like ping-pong tables and free snacks, too.

What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishments or wins in your current job? Being a part of a team that has helped countless employees try to navigate work and life through the pandemic. The challenges are real and knowing you’ve helped someone, even in a small way, is very rewarding.

What advice would you give young women who are currently at the beginning of their careers? Be patient with yourself and recognize that when you fail, it means you’re that much closer to succeeding. I’ve always believed that if an opportunity scares you a little bit or makes you nervous, you should probably go for it.

Can you recommend a book that has had an influence on your career? How did it influence you? I highly recommend “Radical Candor” by Kim Scott for anyone in a position of leading others. There’s real value in being able to both care personally and challenge directly, and it’s amazing that when you can do this. You and your team become stronger together. As soon as I read it the first time, I started practicing it, and it changed the dynamic within my team. As others started practicing it, I could see the change across their teams as well, and it helped create a culture where feedback was given and received openly which makes for a much better work environment.

What is a leader’s best asset? The ability to actively listen and learn from those around you. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

What was your dream job as a kid and why? I wanted to be a veterinarian because I love animals. But growing up on a farm, I learned quickly that the profession can come with a lot of heartbreak so ultimately went in another direction.

How do you spend your time away from work? What are your hobbies? Time away from work is usually spent outdoors in some capacity. I enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, swimming … just about anything outside.

What’s the best way to encourage productive collaboration? I think productive collaboration starts with trust. Trusting that the right people are in the right places to contribute effectively, as well as trusting one another. Then it’s about setting expectations with the group, communicating effectively, and actively listening to the input from all.

Can you share what you have learned about your business from the COVID-19 pandemic? It’s more about what I’ve learned about the people in our agency. I’ve watched employees navigate difficult situations, trying to be a parent, a teacher, a cook, a janitor, an employee and a counselor all at once. I am amazed by how resilient they are and how willing they are to share their moments of stress as well as their moments of success. I’ve watched a new level of connectivity arise out of all of this, and that’s something I hope continues well beyond the COVID era.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it? Traveling around Norway, hiking the Appalachian Trail and meeting Michelle Obama.

What’s your favorite app at the moment? People who know me will say this is predictable, but it’s Words with Friends. I have been playing for years and never get tired of it.