Lindsay Eavenson is a pre-sales director at JDA, beginning her career at RedPrairie [acquired by JDA] right out of college more than 16 years ago. She’s a huge proponent of leading by example and in her new leadership role at JDA keeps this in mind in everything that she does.
You’ve been at JDA for a long time! Can you tell us about your career progression?
I live in Alpharetta and have lived in this area for the last 16 years after college. I always tell people I came to JDA via the RedPrairie route! I began at Radiant Systems, which then spun off into BlueCube, which then got acquired by RedPrairie, and finally acquired by JDA in 2012. Until recently, I had always been on the Store Operations side of the business, starting as a junior consultant and working my way up to project manager. I was spending five days a week on the road and wanted a change. I was about to interview elsewhere when someone at JDA approached me to join the pre-sales group. It was a great opportunity and I’ve been here ever since!
Earlier this year, I took on the position of director responsible for solutions advisors for Store Operations as well as Category Management. It’s been a learning curve for me on Category Management since I’ve always been in Store Operations, but a great opportunity and challenge.
Why did you choose a career in supply chain?
Honestly, this was my first job out of college! I grew up in Indiana, went to Purdue, and followed my sister to Atlanta. She had a job at Radiant and helped me get a foot in the door. It is one of those crazy stories to still be at the same company I started at right out of college. I enjoy what I am doing and it’s been a great experience.
This job speaks to my problem-solver side and why I love my job – and supply chain – so much. We are here to solve customers’ problems, make their lives easier and I am fortunate to have great team members around me.
We work hard and play hard and I live by that philosophy because while you need to work hard, you should enjoy it too.
What are the favorite parts of your current role?
It is definitely different. I didn’t have any expectations going into it but it is more challenging than I thought. A leadership role is something I’ve always wanted and I feel fortunate that when an opportunity came around, those above me saw my potential. I still get to be in front of customers but I’m solving problems in a different way, at a different angle. It’s a role where I’m always learning, particularly as I take on Category Management.
What is the best risk you’ve taken and why?
Career-wise, it has been taking this leadership role. I’ve always been an individual contributor but it’s been worth it and I am very happy that I took it on. Personally, having a family and making that leap is always a risk at first. I have been married 7 years and have a 3-year-old, Lilliana, and 5-year-old, Luke. Parenthood has been a juggling act, especially with my travel schedule. My husband is a huge support and my family too. My sister and parents live within a 5-mile radius which is a big support.
What is your proudest achievement?
Seeing our customers succeed and helping them get there! Helping customers realize value may sound cliché but it is so true! It is rewarding and satisfying.
What is the best advice you ever received?
I have a few pieces of advice I’ve picked up that I live by. The first is “the world is changed by your example, not your opinion.” I live by this – leading by example. It is a big priority for me as a leader.
Have you had any mentors? What have you learned from them?
There have been a lot of people along the way, early in my career especially. One of my earlier managers in my career led by example and I don’t think I really realized that until I took on a leadership role. I’ve picked up several good words of wisdom from others I’ve worked with over the years like “don’t sweat the small stuff, you can’t please everyone.” I’ve learned that you can only do your best and that you have to trust your instinct – especially as a parent!
What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned and really taken to heart?
I now report to Fab Brasca in pre-sales. He’s a leader I’ve really enjoyed getting to know better and I admire his style of leading the organization. He’s adamant about leading by example and to take the time when you need it. For example, you don’t have to accept every meeting invitation – make sure it is a meeting that will be useful for your time, and block your calendar to focus on what you need to get done.
What female leaders do you admire and why?
Any woman that has a career and maintains a home/life balance is someone I admire!
What do you think is the most significant barrier to women in leadership?
I think there is still a barrier but it is changing, Technology and software haven’t been a female dominated industry. It’s a stigma that still needs to change – because women are prominent in this field a lot more than they used to be.
Have you ever been the only woman in a meeting? What was that like?
I actually notice it all the time, I don’t know why. The fact that my mind is trained to look at that says something about it, though. I was recently in a meeting where all four JDA associates attending the customer meeting were women. It was pretty cool to realize and see!
What’s one fun (or surprising) fact about you?
My husband and I like to do Tough Mudders! We are both avid OrangeTheory goers and it is part of my work/life balance – exercising clears my mind!
What podcasts are you listening to?
Hidden Brain and a lot of the NPR ones. They help me do some self-reflection. I also like podcasts on true crime and the justice system, and anything from Gimlet Media, like Reply All or StartUp.
What are three words you would use to describe yourself?
Problem-solver, Pragmatic, Loyal