From fighting for rights to leading other revolutionary movements, women have long been an inspiration to the world. For centuries, women have quietly led from behind the scenes and in the forefront, working hard to make a positive change in the world.
In honor of International Women’s Day, we introduce a monthly series that celebrates the accomplishments of successful women; starting with the inspirational leader of USDM Digital in Austin TX, founder and chairman, Leah Woolford.
A short biography of Leah Woolford:
A decade of successful advertising programs for Fortune 500 companies laid the groundwork for Leah Woolford’s career in digital strategy and advertising technology. She is a futurist peering at the next wave of digital business, marketing opportunities, and emerging technologies to map a brand’s direction ahead of the curve. Woolford was one of the earliest in the digital age to experience first-hand the metamorphosis of the online world. Woolford was chosen by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce to lead the digital strategy for marketing the U.S. internationally. She is tapped by Fortune 100s to develop go-to-market strategies and is a nationally published commentator on digital marketing strategy.
An interview with Leah:
In 20 words or less, how would you describe your leadership approach today?
Articulate a clear vision, hire the right people, inspire them to lead, help them grow, and celebrate and reward success.
If you’re hiring the right people and building a leadership mindset in your company, and you are providing tools and resources for those people to become successful, it’s not about managing them, it’s about leading them with the vision and supporting their efforts. I provide the vision and the focus of the company. If everybody understands their role, if they are motivated and incentivized and excited about what they’re doing, they’ll be successful, the company will be successful, and I will be successful. I also have realized over time that some of the best people GROW into leadership roles.
How has your leadership approach changed over time?
I have become much more focused on MOMENTUM and moving forward everything TODAY. I am committed to setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-tracked goals, then meeting or exceeding them.
What defines success for you?
To me, success is a passionate staff, happy clients, and a reputation for creating positive impact. Most of our clients are colleagues that have become friends. They know they can count on us to look out for their best interest. They’ll tell you we provide “peace of mind.”
I like to say our approach is to “make it personal” for staff, clients, and stakeholders. If we positively impact their careers, success, and personal lives with our work, we form relationships that last a long time.
To what do you attribute your success?
I think my success is 50% outlook and positive attitude – being able to look into the future and always be open to opportunity. I have been called a “futurist.” But really, I’m curious. I’m always looking ahead and trying to define where things are going and how I can fit in to produce better outcomes.
The other 50% is the relationships I have formed and the people around me. I believe “what goes around comes around” and if you help others succeed, it comes back ten-fold.
And, I also believe I have been extremely lucky.
If you could look back to your 20-year old self and offer sage advice, what would you say?
Learn patience while maintaining persistence. It’s okay to crawl, walk, run, but never, never give up. And, always treat people with respect and fairness. People don’t remember what you said, they remember how you made them feel.
Woolford continues to develop emerging business models and brand strategy for companies creating new paradigms. Woolford is an international author and speaker focusing on the connection between business strategy, digital advertising and big data. Woolford has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Ad Age, ADWEEK, eMarketer and others. She is available for keynotes and interviews and is a resource for private equity, advisors and brands.
Make sure to look-out for next month’s successful woman interview!
ABOUT USDM DIGITAL™
Public and private sector brands trust USDM Digital™ to provide current and future insights, develop digital strategy for business, execute digital marketing and advertising, improve customer engagement, and deliver performance that measurably IMPACTS their business. Visit us at www.usdmdigital.com USDM Digital™ is headquartered in Austin, Texas and works globally.