Dawn Landry is a bestselling author and an award-winning and respected business professional. She has spent over half of her 28-year career in Houston’s corporate real estate industry, excelling in leadership positions and as an executive in business development and marketing leadership positions within the region’s largest economic development organization, as well as international commercial construction companies.
In February 2017, Dawn founded Authentizity, LLC, as an independent B2B growth strategist and a Gallup-Certified CliftonStrengths® Coach to provide consulting, training, and coaching services that optimize technical teams’ engagement and productivity.
In August 2021, Dawn launched BD Dynamics, Empowering the Technical-Minded. It is a self-guided online business development course targeted to advance the intentionality and accountability of Doer/Sellers within the business development process.
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We’re happy that you could join us today! Please introduce yourself to our readers. What’s your story?
Dawn Landry: My Why is “To Inspire, Ignite and Activate the Greatness in Others and Myself.” Being a resource and an information broker to my connections goes well beyond any basic, traditional networking as it allows me to add value and develop long-lasting, sustainable bonds. I leverage the relationships that I have built over my 28+ year career, in combination with the knowledge that I acquire, to best serve others.
CEOs and leaders usually have different motives and aspirations when getting started. Let’s go straight to the beginning. What was your primary goal for starting your business? Was it wealth, respect, or to offer a service that would help improve lives?
Dawn Landry: I founded Authentizity in February 2017 as an independent business growth strategist to confidentially assist companies with customized
programs designed to advance their leadership / management proficiencies, team cohesiveness, and business development/outreach effectiveness. Leveraging Gallup CliftonStrengths(R) Certification and prior, hands-on, corporate executive experience, Authentizity provides consulting, training, and coaching services that optimize technical teams by maximizing their engagement and productivity to drive performance and realize the organization’s vision.
Companies around the world are rapidly changing their work environment and organizational culture to facilitate diversity. How do you see your organizational culture changing in the next 3 years and how do you see yourself creating that change?
Dawn Landry: Our changeometers should remain active during these ever-fluid times. That means we need to be on the lookout to observe market shifts, take a pulse point and learn from past lessons, and then advance with a process or service offering that meets the current needs of our employees and clients.
I don’t have a clear forecast of where/what that means, but I remain curious in my conversations, seeing opportunities to be flexible and adaptable. I control my own destiny because my organization is nimble enough to move quickly to capitalize on events that even the best crystal balls couldn’t predict.
As strong, accomplished female professionals, we stand on the shoulders of all those phenomenal women who have come before us. My beautiful career would not be the same without the many mentors who poured their knowledge and lessons learned into me. It is incumbent upon those of us who have achieved success to invest our time and share our experiences with the next generations of emerging women and men to move this forward.
Why young men you may ask? Because if we only focus on young women, then we will continue to perpetuate many of the silos that, unfortunately, still exist. At the end of the day, we all need one another to succeed.
Much work has been done, but there is still much to do. I dream of a day when we are cherished as just phenomenal people and are celebrated for our accomplishments, all-inclusive of their origins and sources.
Richard Branson once famously stated “There’s no magic formula for great company culture. The key is just to treat your staff how you would like to be treated.” and Stephen R. Covey admonishes to “Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers. What’s your take on creating a great organizational culture?
Dawn Landry: We win and lose as a team. We hold one another accountable and don’t point fingers. That especially goes for leadership. When something challenging happens, I reflect with eyes of empathy to see where I failed to assist in the process. I then transparently admit my deficit and we collaboratively figure out where to go from here…
The overwhelming majority of more than 9,000 workers included in a recent Accenture survey on the future of work said they felt a hybrid work model would be optimal going forward, a major reason for that being the improved work-life balance that it offers. How do you promote work-life balance at your company?
Dawn Landry: Previously, I’ve worked in organizations where managers walked around the office looking for “butts in seats”. They didn’t trust employees to be responsible to the schedules and quality achievements of the projects.
As Patty McCord (formerly head of HR for Netflix) so astutely says “Fully formed adults walk into our offices every day.” If we don’t trust them to get their jobs done, then why hire them?
At Authentizity, we are 100% remote with a team that is scattered throughout the country. We leverage technology to successfully advance projects and regularly hold creative brainstorming sessions virtually to ensure collaboration and culture opportunities.
How would you describe your company’s overall culture? Give us examples.
Dawn Landry: We appreciate and leverage each individual team member’s strengths. As a Gallup Clifton Strengths(R) Coach, the team member’s assessment results are a communications tool that we utilize in our discussions to ensure that we are maximizing their innate talents and gifts.
We also encourage creativity and learning through quiet and space. We understand that the best things take time. We make every attempt to avoid last-minute, procrastination requests.
Additionally, we promote transparent and proactive communications, internally amongst one another, and externally to our clients. We try to be direct and honest, respectful and collaborative in our listening and responses.
An organization’s management has a deep impact on its culture. What is your management style and how well has it worked so far?
Dawn Landry: I am naturally curious and inclusive. While I seek input, I have a strong, north compass that guides my decisions and hasn’t failed me yet. Regarding management of employees and projects, I hire the best and expect them to get to the final successful project outcome with minimal supervision and no micromanagement.
Every organization suffers from internal conflicts, whether functional or dysfunctional. Our readers would love to know, how do you solve an internal conflict?
Dawn Landry: I echo Kim Scott’s strategy as outlined in “Radical Candor”. I am proactive in not allowing an issue to linger and to address it directly — not mean, but clear. I ask a lot of questions and throttle back to allow the employee to derive the best solution for her/himself. I will offer my own approach to the issue if and when asked.
According to Culture AMP, Only 40% of women feel satisfied with the decision-making process at their organization (versus 70% of men), which leads to job dissatisfaction and poor employee retention. What is your organization doing to facilitate an inclusive and supportive environment for women?
Dawn Landry: We lead by example. 100% of Authentizity’s full-time and part-time resources are women. Authentizity actively seeks opportunities to work with other small, woman-owned, and local businesses to network for goods and services — including our financial banking institutional relationships, marketing, etc.
The advancement of capacity-building and revenue growth for women-owned businesses has always been important to me. When I worked previously in-house with two international commercial general contractors, I served those organizations’ supplier diversity programs in tandem with each firm’s diversity outreach manager to expand the firm’s Woman-Owned and MWBE/HUB partners through outreach events, actively seeking out and developing relationships with qualified and capable contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and vendors within the community.
We’re grateful for all that you have shared so far! We would also love to know if there was one thing that you could improve about your company’s culture, what would it be?
Dawn Landry: I wouldn’t change a thing. I enjoy how engaging, passionate and collaborative we are. I am so proud that we appreciate one another for each team members’ uniqueness and contribution.
This has been truly insightful and we thank you for your time. Our final question, however, might be a bit of a curveball. If you had a choice to either fly or be invisible, which would you choose and why?
Dawn Landry: I would fly because I love to travel and experience new cultures. Being able to do so would allow me to do so safely and on my own terms.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Dawn Landry for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Dawn Landry or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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