Lasha Murray is an Unapologetic Leadership Coach. She is a retired corporate leader with over 20 years of experience leading, mentoring, and training diverse teams across multiple Fortune 100 companies. As a Leadership Development & Career Coach, she helps leaders and organizations identify and overcome toxic environments or work traits that can hinder their professional development, growth, and ability to develop, attract, and retain top talent. She is also a certified coach, trainer, and speaker with the John Maxwell Team, and a published author of a children’s book on anti-bullying titled Please Don’t Judge Me.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I was born and predominantly raised between Flint and Lansing, Michigan. I grew up in a single-parent household, raised by my mother. I am the oldest of two younger brothers. As the only girl, I often helped my mother around the house with chores and with my brothers. I learned very early hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and responsibility from watching my mom and helping with my brothers. Ever since I can remember, I have always had the gift of gab; I used to practice speaking in front of the mirror, using the heel of my mom’s high-heel shoe as my microphone. I always wanted to be a motivational speaker. I would practice inflection in my voice and my hand movements, and I would even pause for the audience’s applause. I wasn’t popular until high school and even experienced bullying from elementary to middle school. Although I always knew I would speak on stage, I never had the confidence to use my voice in front of people. I was very shy and reserved as a kid until my early teens. In high school, I found my voice and often took up for my friends in class. My high school counselor, Precious Lee, pulled me aside one day; she said, “Lasha, you really need to know when to listen and when to speak. You have a voice, and while I can appreciate how you use your voice to speak up for others, there is a time and a place. Learn your right time and your right place.” That has always stuck with me, and since, I make it a habit to create space for others no matter the circumstance.
Every industry that is now a large-scale, top-notch business once started as a small idea in the minds of entrepreneurs. What was that idea or motivation that made you start your business /initiative? What motivated you within to say YES, go for it!”
As I stated, I have always had the gift of gab. Fostering and building relationships since high school has always been easy for me. I’ve always loved meeting new people, being a connector when I learn how others can support each other, and truly being confident in my skin. In addition, I have an adept emotional IQ. This made me good at interviewing, effectively communicating, resolving conflict, and leveraging my relationships to promote myself or others. Oftentimes, coworkers and people who knew my brand would ask me to review their resumes, run through a mock interview with them, help them prepare for a difficult conversation or a presentation to leadership, or connect them with people they can mentor or shadow. My business acumen and ability to execute strategic imperatives and deliverables only elevated my ability to serve as a Career Coach to others. Since I was also very effective at communication and resolving conflict, multiple Executives heavily leaned on me to narrate their speeches to help tell a transparent, relatable, and inspiring story. As I did this for countless amounts of years, I realized it was my passionate purpose and direction I wanted to consider as my full-time job.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
I would like to see a world of confident women owning every aspect of their careers. I make it no secret that women are my target audience. Women are not as confident in themselves or their abilities as men in a corporate setting. Men will meet 50% of the requirements for a role they’re applying for and will still apply. A woman will read the same job description and won’t apply if they don’t meet at least 80-100% of the role’s requirements. Women are sometimes less supported in the workplace by other men and even by other women. I want us to truly see ourselves as equal, be PAID as such, and compete for the same opportunities as men because we are confident in ourselves to do so. This reference may date me; however, I sometimes refer to myself as the Stella of Careers;” I help you get your groove back.” I want women to apply for jobs even if they meet 50% of the role’s requirements. I want us to have a seat at the table in the room and space to use our voices in those rooms. I want us to reach back and help other women achieve their career goals. This is the type of record I want to repeat in every corporate office worldwide!
Women are a growing force in the workplaces worldwide, standing shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts. There are cracks in glass ceilings everywhere, with many women breaking through to carve out a space right at the top of the pyramid. What are your thoughts about women leadership today?
Women in Leadership is important. The world’s number of men and women (102 men for 100 women) is roughly equal. However, women in leadership roles don’t reflect that compared to men. Representation matters to our youth, and being able to clearly see themselves in roles the same as men will help boost connections, cultures, and the overall experience. My company is committed to hiring women in all roles and responsibilities. In an effort to become part of the change, I have to get involved and help elevate the women of today, tomorrow, and the future in every room I step in to speak, facilitate, or train.
What’s the most important thing you have learned in your personal life and professional journey? What is your personal motto in life?
I have two mottos in life. The first is “Treat yourself like a business and make business decisions that best suit your business needs.” In short, if you remove the personal and think about yourself like a business related to your career, you will make better decisions. You will stop seeing your organization as a family or friendship. They will make decisions that are unfavorable to you because their job is to make money or be influential. How do you do the same in your career? Secondly, “what you tell yourself is what you sell yourself.” Negative self-talk is counterproductive. If you tell yourself you can’t, you won’t. Words have power over you; try being aspirational when you speak to yourself.
With your grit and determination, you are making a considerable impact, breaking through, and serving as role models for many budding entrepreneurs. What would you want to say to our young women leaders/audience reading this?
Dreams without faith can feel impossible. If you never try, you will never have the opportunity to see how awesome you can be. Yes, you WILL fail. Be prepared for it, celebrate it even. Failure affords you lessons in what not to do in your business; failing is the best lesson God can give you. Lastly, don’t forget to celebrate all the wins, big or small. If we only empathize with celebrating big wins, you’ll miss the opportunity to pat yourself on the back more often. If you don’t find joy in the small wins, you’ll lose the momentum to keep going. Small victories build, and building a business is similar to building a house; the house requires every brick, not just the front door!