By Eleanora Morrison
Stacia Newton and I were first introduced through Instagram. In a digital age that can sometimes feel transactionary, our initial conversation was the opposite of that, and it made an impression on me. Newton was eloquent, genuine, authentic, purposeful and kind in her ask to explore a potential collaboration with the company she works for, for a launch of the beloved brand’s new line.
During every interaction with Newton and her team throughout our partnership for their launch event, I couldn’t help but notice that the encouraging undertones of camaraderie and empowerment were palpable amongst the women at work.
Behind every team like this, there is a strong and highly respected leader. Newton’s acts of servant leadership were visible to an outsider, and her passion for her work and her team left an impact. After the event we hosted, I made it a point to reconnect with Newton to ask her thoughts on leadership.
EM: What is your philosophy on leadership?
SN: I think impact is what truly defines my philosophy on leadership. Impact has been a recurring theme in my life. For me, leadership is an action rather than a school of thought. Every day we are all either leading or being led in one sense or another. I have so many vivid memories of words of wisdom, life lessons, and truth-telling anecdotes that have helped to shape me throughout the years. Some were so early in my life I didn’t event quite understand what was happening or what they meant. But they provided insight, vision, and opportunity that I have carried with me.
I strive to assure that my impact is holistic and touches beyond average reach – whether that sphere extends to my friends and family, my coworkers and colleagues, the community I live in, or just the lady behind me in the grocery store. Our journeys through life provide each of us with such different stories and perspectives about the world. I try to use my own perspective to help grow, develop, and empower others, as I hope they would do for me.
EM: What do you perceive to be the qualities of a strong leader?
SN: So many words immediately come to mind: passion, transparency, confidence, encouragement, understanding, vision, and devotion. However, it is difficult for me to define what I think a strong leader embodies, because I think when you define something, you create limits. People who do not see themselves in the traditional narrative or feel like they possess those attributes can still be impactful leaders and live outside of those by-the-book qualities.
EM: As a manager within a corporation, how are you and your team impacted by the trickle-down effect of such strong leadership and core company values?
SN: It is difficult to deny the light that shines through a company when there is an organizational culture that successfully balances business, caring for its employees, and making a change in the world. I have had the pleasure of working for 3 companies in my career so far, each maintaining strong values and leadership. Though all very different, each one checked those three boxes. No matter the level, when those strong leaders set the tone for success, you feel it at every level.
EM: How does a leader gain respect amongst a team they manage?
SN: No proverbial phrase can answer this simpler than, “the proof is in the pudding.” Whenever I serve in a leadership position, I hope to gain my team’s respect by earning it from them, rather than telling them I deserve it. I always want to be on the ground floor with my team; building relationships and trust with them, taking a stand and going to bat for them, and being transparent and open while working toward our goals together.
EM: In leadership, what is your why?
SN: A good friend of mine once told me that my success cannot happen without a mindset that supported my dreams. I dream of life of fulfillment and exploration. I wish I could thank each person who has ever impacted my life, as they are the ones who have shaped me and empowered me to know I can fulfill those dreams. My why is to impact and inspire others. It is a powerful feeling to be gifted knowledge and insight, and it is a gift I hope I can always provide for others throughout my career.
Connect with Stacia Newton at KendraScott.com, and on LinkedIn.
Edited from an interview by Eleanora Morrison.