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Name: Kristen Carroll
Business: The LMC Group/Livery Management Consultants
Location: Manchester, New Hampshire, U.S.
Industry: Other Professional Services — Full-Spectrum consulting for the chauffeured car services industry
Reason for starting? My background was in healthcare, and I’d grown frustrated with the limitations large organizations seemingly self-impose. I had been consulting for many years, and I ended up working with a friend of mine from high school, who had recently taken over his family’s business. I was shocked to learn that there are upwards of 20,000 chauffeured car companies in the U.S. alone, and most of them have fewer than 30 employees. It was a giant network of small businesses, which I believe are the backbone of the U.S. economy, and they were people passionate about creating jobs and forging their own path. With so few people in most companies, there was a lack of expertise in many areas we take for granted in larger, corporate entities. I leveraged the work I had done in other industries and put together an amazing team of experts passionate about our mission and vision, and we’ve grown incredibly since our start, just two years ago.
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How do you define success? If I may wax philosophical for a moment, I believe that each person is on their own journey of fulfillment, peace and passion. Money is a necessity and a resource, not a goal or an accomplishment. Titles and roles are functions, and not an indicator of success or accomplishment. I am not interested in success, at least as it is most commonly interpreted. My goal in life is to leave the lives of the people I interact with, and hopefully the parts of the world I inhabit, a little bit better off then when I arrived. I do not have an over-inflated sense of significance, but I do believe that each life can matter, especially if purpose is pursued. I indicated above that satisfying clients or employees was a definition of success for me, but truly, it’s what I see as the entry fee to providing a service or employing people. Your employees and clients must be satisfied, of course…but more than that, I want to leave them with more than they had when they were introduced to our organization.
Biggest success: For The LMC Group, if you are measuring success in numbers, we are well beyond our projections for growth, even with our stringent strategy to control growth to ensure quality. Our services have been better received than I could have imagined at the start, and I owe the entirety of our success to the members of our team who deliver every single day, and also to our clients for having the bravery to ask for help, incorporate solutions, and be honest about the areas they were struggling with. Working with small business is infinitely more rewarding than larger organizations because small businesses have the humility and organizational structure to be able to change quickly. Nearly every client we have worked with could arguably be our biggest success story. I have seen clients double and triple in volume, transition into compliance, completely turn around their approach to culture and management, and improve in vast and dramatic ways, over and over again. Our work is truly inspiring.
What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? We have a team of high achievers, and the goal is always balancing work and life, but in a new, thriving company, that can be tough. We are a company that offers unlimited PTO, for example, and we didn’t make that decision lightly. We did a lot of research on the different models, and we found that unlimited PTO can be great culturally, but only if the senior leaders live by example that it is indeed okay to take time off and fully unplug. As such, my senior leaders and I try to exemplify this behavior, taking time off as we need it and encouraging our team to take the time off they need as well. We allow self-scheduling, flexible schedules, remote work, etc… and we also are huge enthusiasts and supporters of wellness.
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Who is your most important role model? Helen Drinan, who is now the President of Simmons College, was the Chief Human Resources Officer at Caritas Christi Health System (now Steward Healthcare, Boston, MA) when I reported into her. I worked for Helen in my mid-twenties, and it was the first Director role I’d had. Helen was one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever worked with in my life, and as much as she expected excellence, she allowed her team the space needed to be effective. She was one of the most, if not the most, effective HR leaders I’ve ever encountered because her knowledge, interest and passion didn’t stop at the wall of Human Resources, it extended to all areas of business. It is much more effective to make a compelling case for an HR necessity if you fully understand the functions of finance, operations, and beyond. I cannot say enough about my tremendous respect and admiration for her, and she will always be not just a role model, but a hero to me.
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Edited by The Story Exchange