True Authenticity. Most people want to follow a leader that’s real and transparent. Not afraid to share the tough stuff.

We are living in the Renaissance of Work. Just like great artists know that an empty canvas can become anything, great leaders know that an entire organization — and the people inside it — can become anything, too. Master Artists and Mastering the Art of Leadership draw from the same source: creation. In this series, we’ll meet masters who are creating the future of work and painting a portrait of lasting leadership. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Alexis Krisay.

With an extensive background in online and offline strategic marketing operations, Alexis Krisay has truly developed her innate talent and flex for all things marketing. After 15+ years in our fast-paced, ever-changing industry, she’s adopted a deep understanding of what makes people, brands and organizations tick.

Known for her out-of-the-box thinking and contributions of fresh ideas, Alexis has helped dozens of clients across a wide range of industries effectively identify market opportunities and pair them with strategic and impactful, results-driven marketing solutions. Some of these industries include residential and commercial real estate, lifestyle, spa and wellness, and health and fitness.

Alexis graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in communications and marketing and is currently an active member of Entrepreneur’s Organization (EO). In 2013, Alexis was named on the list of 30 under 30 and Student Housing Rising Star the following year, both by Student Housing Business.

Thank you for joining us. Our readers would enjoy discovering something interesting about you. What are you in the middle of right now that you’re excited about personally or professionally?

Professionally, I’m in the middle of embarking in a new journey with OHM fitness. I’ve never invested in any of our clients with my own money, but when we started working with them, I knew it was something I had to get involved in. I got really passionate about this new way of fitness and decided to be part of the franchise. I’ve loved it and haven’t looked back since.

We all get by with a little help from our friends. Who is the leader that has influenced you the most, and how?

I’m surrounded by 200 great leaders and they all inspire me in a different way. I’m inspired by one person’s extreme creativity and innovation, then inspired by another person’s humbleness and leadership coaching. I have a friend whose business has almost gone down 3 or 4 times but each time he has bounced back stronger every time. Being part of the Entrepreneur Organization, I continue to surround myself with incredible leaders.

Sometimes our biggest mistakes lead to our biggest discoveries. What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a leader, and what did you discover as a result?

Not firing someone fast enough that isn’t a culture fit. I learned how one person can single-handedly kill your culture. We thought we could mold them into a good fit, but quickly learned that’s not how it goes most of the time. We now hire slow, fire fast. We put many mechanisms in the hiring process, like personal index and benchmark tools to see if they’d fit in our organization and teams. It made us spend more time on hiring process, which I am glad we did because our current team is one of a kind.

How has your definition of leadership changed or evolved over time? What does it mean to be a leader now?

In the beginning, I was way more of a doer and would bring people alongside with me. I thought that was the best form of leadership, to show people how to do it my way. Over time as we grew the agency, I learned over time how to trust members of our team. I know cast my overall vision and empower our team to do what they can do best. Less doing, more encouraging and focusing on people’s strengths. Complete game changer.

Success is as often as much about what we stop as what we start. What is one legacy leadership behavior you stopped because you discovered it was no longer valuable or relevant?

I’m very excitable and animated. In the past I’d get so excited and speak my mind really quickly. Over time I learned to stop and process before I make a comment or cast a vision. Learning how to slow down has helped me correct how I lead. You can get really excited about something and run with a million ideas, but the further you get, you realize how much work needs done to achieve specific results.

What is one lasting leadership behavior you started or are cultivating because you believe it is valuable or relevant?

Focusing on professional growth for my team. In the past we wanted to hire experts, but now we are focusing on encouraging everyone to learn new tools and constantly hone their skills through professional development. I try to help identify learning opportunities for everyone to be the master of their craft and supporting them throughout the process. Simply put, we’ll become stagnant if we aren’t continually learning.

What advice would you offer to other leaders who are stuck in past playbooks and patterns and may be having a hard time letting go of what made them successful in the past?

If you aren’t growing, you’re dying. You can’t be afraid to constantly change and evolve. In business it’s all evolving. If you don’t grow professionally and personally, you’ll always be stuck. How it’s done 5 years ago might not be the case now.

Many of our readers can relate to the challenge of leading people for the first time. What advice would you offer to new and emerging leaders?

Set very clear expectations up front, on both sides. Set expectations of their roles, the outcome and vision for the company, and meet with them regularly to check in to see where they’re at. Some people can get frustrated, and if they aren’t communicating, it can be a vicious cycle.

Based on your experience or research, what are the top five traits effective leaders exemplify now? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Be a visionary. Have a strong vision that people want to get behind.
  2. Be empathetic. Understand that everyone has their own story.
  3. Be determined. You have to be driving forward and never give up. If your team gets stuck on something, be determined and power through with them.
  4. Empower. Over the years, I’ve learned that doing it all yourself gets you nowhere. Delegate and share your vision.
  5. True Authenticity. Most people want to follow a leader that’s real and transparent. Not afraid to share the tough stuff.

American Basketball Coach John Wooden said, “Make each day your masterpiece.” How do you embody that quote? We welcome a story or example.

Every day I strive to do my best. Every day is a new day. You have one chance to make it your best and give it your all.

What is the legacy you aspire to leave as a leader?

Never giving up and always innovate. There’s always something bigger and better, so continue to drive forward and never take things too seriously. Have a great spirit about things and you’ll do just fine.

How can our readers connect with you to continue the conversation?

Linkedin or email me at [email protected]

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to experience a leadership master at work. We wish you continued success and good health!