December Issue 2014

Page 76

I recognized where I needed to learn and recognized what I needed to teach them. Once I identified those areas I ended up earning their respect. They went from looking at me as the young girl who didn’t belong to the young girl they needed on their team if they were going

In corporate America have you ever felt marginalized because of your gender, race or any other factor? How did you respond? LMB: Yes, I talk about it in my book. When I started my first business, Sugarleaf vineyard. I was a woman in a very old industry. It was a men’s industry, I was starting my own and I wasn’t inheriting it from previous generations in my family whereas a lot of them have been passed down from 2-3 generations at this point. So I was completely green in their eyes and I was a woman of color, and a woman of color in Virginia. How did I deal with it? I dealt with it by forcing them to respect me.

I talk about this a lot in the book and when I’m speaking to people I tell them that you have to find what you bring to the table that’s valuable, that they don’t have, and that they can’t do. In this particular case I was the fast-paced, sharp young woman from New York City and I knew about marketing, branding, and social media, all things that were very foreign to them and that they didn’t really care much about. This was ten years ago but now you see this huge boom in tech and social media. So not only was it my marketing expertise but it was my understanding of trends and how to