Lisa Gibbs is a principal and chief strategy and branding officer for Dietrich Partners, a professional services firm located in Denver. Learn more about Lisa at dietrichpartners.net.
Tell us about your role at Dietrich Partners. What do you do, and what’s your favorite thing about your work?
I wear a number of hats at Dietrich Partners. I am a principal in the firm, which means I oversee and deliver client work. I primarily focus on leading complex multi-year transformation programs for some of our larger clients. I am also the chief strategy and branding officer for the firm — leading the company’s annual strategic planning process as well as overseeing our marketing and branding activities.
My favorite thing about the work is the variety — it’s never boring! Prior to this role, I spent 17 years as an executive in a Fortune 500 company — and while I could not have asked for a better training ground, I grew tired of large company dynamics. At Dietrich, I still get to help very large companies solve complex and challenging problems, but I also get to help our small business grow and thrive. The juxtaposition of this keeps me interested and thriving in the work I do every day.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the workforce, including the way we work. Are there any trends we might anticipate around the future of work?
It’s interesting — prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was growing increasingly frustrated with the intrusion of technology in my daily life. I was tired of device dependency, and the fact that my children rarely made eye contact with me because they could not tear themselves away from the latest TikTok video their friend posted. I felt this technology was inhibiting true connection.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and this same technology is what is keeping us all connected. If it were not for Zoom happy hours with my family and friends or video calls with co-workers, I would truly be feeling isolated. For many companies, it’s been surprising to see just how effective they can be with remote work. Many of my clients have not missed a beat and in some cases productivity has increased. I think this will really change the way companies view their need for physical space and we will see much bolder moves toward a true virtual workforce, where location really doesn’t matter.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has created a terrible economic fallout with devastating effects, do you see any silver lining to the situation? Has it taught you anything that you hope to carry with you after we recover?
The economic reality of this is quite scary, and I think recovery will be a long road. That said, situations like this serve a greater purpose in reminding us all of our own resiliency. During times of struggle, we most often see the best of humanity, our collective ability to rise to the challenge and do so with compassion and empathy. It forces everyone to take a step back and re-evaluate what is truly important. Eventually, we will all return to the normal hustle and bustle of our lives, but hopefully this can serve as a great reminder that sometimes slowing down isn’t a bad thing.
What is the best piece of professional advice you’ve received?
Being the Type-A perfectionist that I am, early in my career I really struggled with feedback. During annual performance reviews if I received anything less than what I perceived to be a “straight A report card,” it was a soul-crushing experience for me. A great mentor, boss and friend once said to me, “Lisa, everyone has things they need to work on. Whether you are the CEO or the mail room clerk, there are always ways you can improve.”
It was a very simple (and somewhat obvious) statement, but for me it was career-changing advice. Having great mentors and seeking out feedback regularly have definitely shaped my career.
What’s the one thing that drew you to Colorado — or if you’re a native, what is the most influential thing about Colorado that’s kept you here?
I have lived in Colorado since I was 5 years old, so I consider myself a native. I’ve been fortunate to travel the world, but there is no place I would rather live than Colorado. I don’t think you can beat the weather here — it’s one of our best-kept secrets. It’s one of the few places where there are over 300 blue-sky days a year and you truly get to experience all four seasons. On top of that you can’t beat the scenery, the outdoor activity, the cultural events and the sports teams!