Emerging Leader: Lori G. Frasier– SVP Strategic Services, Key Equipment FinanceBy World Leasing News
Lori Frasier currently serves as senior vice president of strategic services. One of Lori’s fundamental beliefs is that people are the most important asset of any organization, and of her team in particular. She is praised for creating relationships across all leadership levels at Key Equipment Finance and for encouraging aligned goals throughout the company. She’s excited about what the future holds at Key Equipment Finance.
How did your previous position in global human resources help you transition into strategic services?
The key to having a competitive advantage in any service organization is building the best team and helping them to perform at the highest level. In my new role in strategic services, whether it’s new market development, marketing or technology projects we’re always asking ourselves ‘How do we most effectively align our people around this? How do we make sure they have the information and skills they need to succeed?’. I think a background in human resources lends itself well to a role in strategic services because you can’t do strategy work without thinking about the people first.
What are some of your initiatives for the second half of 2012 and 2013?
Key Equipment Finance is focused specifically on expanding our relationships with current clients and on adding new clients to the roster. The role of strategic services is to support our sales teams on everything from creating and executing business development and marketing strategies, to leveraging internal data to get better information for our clients and evaluate how best to meet their needs. We also just launched our client insight survey, which we anticipate will provide a great deal of valuable information we can leverage for a variety of activities within the business.
How do you face challenges and adversity in the workplace?
I believe challenges are the norm in today’s business world, particularly considering the economic hardships caused by the Great Recession. Our strategy in overcoming these challenges is to remain singularly focused on our clients and their needs. We believe that at the end of the day, if we deliver what the client needs we will be successful. Listening to our clients is essential.
From an internal standpoint, one of the best things we can do is collaborate cross-functionally because we are better equipped to overcome all challenges when we work together. Challenges are cross functional in nature and you tend to get better solutions when you put a lot of talent together to solve them.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I get the most excited about helping identify and then penetrate new market opportunities. We’ve been talking a lot about new market segments and really looking for creative ways to access them that leverage the full depth of capabilities we offer at Key Equipment Finance. I find the challenge of a new market and the energy that comes from working together on a strategy for entering that market to be one of the most rewarding parts of my job.
What are your duties as part of the ELFA Financial Institutions Business Steering Committee?
The steering committee focuses on bank-owned leasing companies and the unique challenges and opportunities facing that peer group. We think broadly about the industry and how we can expand the knowledge and creditability of our industry. We are currently working on a guest lecture experience aimed at speaking to graduate and undergraduate students about the leasing industry and our careers, with the goal of educating and attracting future jobseekers to the industry.
We are also conducting a survey focused on industry activity primarily for the financial services industry, and we’ve been planning for events, such as the key speakers and breakout sessions that would be of interest to professionals in the leasing industry right now.
Who do you look up to, in a professional sense, and why?
I really look up to Beth Mooney, the CEO of Key Corp. She is the first woman CEO of a Top 20 Bank in America. One of the things I really admire about Beth is that she tells it like it is, speaks to us as though we are all owners of the organization and is very down-to-earth. She’s open about tough decisions and continues to champion our development programs and diversity programs. I have a lot of admiration for her.
What type of leader are you? What makes a good leader?
I believe one of most important qualities in a good leader is the ability to have an inspiring vision. It is critically important that the leader can say ‘here’s where we’re headed and why.’ I also think it is the job of the leader to help remove obstacles that stand in the way of a team accomplishing its goals.
In terms of my personal style, I am a big delegator. I trust my team to come to me if they are having problems, because if they don’t I assume everything is okay. I see it as my job to determine where we are headed, but really let the individuals on my team figure out to the best way to get there. Of course I am always available to provide guidance along the way as well, as needed. I also try to form relationships with my peers across the business, so that as my team is trying to get things done across the business those relationships are strong and there are shared goals aligned throughout the leadership team.
What would you say to professionals just getting started in their career?
I really think one of the challenges everyone seems to be having is understanding what their career path should look like. Many people envision it as a vertical path with regular and predictable intervals, but in reality it rarely works out that way and it certainly didn’t for me. For me – and many of the people I work with – our career paths took many different and unexpected turns. My advice to young professionals is to constantly work to make yourself better. At some point your preparation will lead to opportunity. If you continue to work hard, grow and develop your skills you will find your path, but no one will paint that for you.
If you weren’t working for Key Equipment Finance, in the equipment finance industry or in strategic services, what would you be doing?
I have a lot of interest in renewable energy, perhaps because I live right outside of Boulder, Colorado where there is a plethora of growth and opportunity in that sector. If I weren’t in equipment finance, I would probably seek out a role with a company that is really making a difference in that space.
If I didn’t have to work I’d be doing non-profit work in health and human services or transportation infrastructure space.
She resides with her family in Littleton, Colorado.