Breaking Barriers: Lessons in Leadership — Kristy LoRusso

Point of View
4 min readMar 24, 2023
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Leadership is a skill that is critical to the success of any organization. It requires a unique set of qualities, including empathy, resilience, communication, and strategic thinking. In today’s world, women have broken through many barriers and achieved significant success in leadership roles across various industries. Recently, I had the pleasure of joining Lavall Chichester on his Urban Income podcast to discuss my journey. Below are several highlights from our conversation.

“From an early age, I learned work ethic. You show up with integrity, honesty, and confidence. You’re kind to people because you never know what they are going through. The setbacks I’ve had have only made me more resilient. For me, Can’t Equals Will. When you tell me I can’t do something, it just motivates me to try harder.”

“Early in my career, the only jobs that came my way were administrative and creative — more traditionally female — while my background was in operations and more analytical roles. I had to demonstrate that I was as qualified as the next person. I leveraged relationships with people that I knew could help open doors. My advice is to build alliances and networks as early as possible, then use those people to help you. Keep in mind that it’s not a one-way street and be sure to give back.”

“I struggle with Imposter Syndrome on a daily basis. You have to acknowledge and embrace it. I do a lot of positive self-talk. I have an app that pushes affirmations four times a day that I say out loud. I’m clear on my strengths and weaknesses and I hire people to offset them.”

“I’m fortunate I work in an industry that is well balanced, male and female. Outside of healthcare, my male allies have all been good listeners and advocates. I could ask them whether a man would say a certain thing or worry about a particular issue. They provided me with a much-needed different perspective.”

“Becoming CMO three days into the COVID-19 pandemic, I was very conscientious about communicating with people. Suddenly we were all remote. I started blogging and hosting short video town halls so that people could see me. I was also reaching out to people personally to check in.”

“I value dissent, so I surround myself with people that don’t agree with me. That can be uncomfortable at first, but it yields the best results. I’m willing to be vulnerable. I’m willing to tell stories and share my mistakes. You can’t fake authenticity.”

“If you are looking to work in healthcare, here is my advice:

1) Do your research. This is an incredible, mission-based industry. Talk to as many people as you can and use social media with purpose.

2) Have your story ready because people will want to know why you want to break into the industry.

3) People in healthcare are very open to networking and helping you, but be intentional about how you use people’s time.”

“I mentor a lot of people and get a lot out of it. My one request, because I have limited time, is that any prospective mentees have a strong agenda as far as what they want from the relationship and what they need from me.”

“From a professional standpoint, I think it’s important to view the world as a jungle gym and not a ladder. You should bounce around and do different things until you find your calling. Even then, going up is not always the answer. Moving from side to side and in and out is actually more interesting. Wonderful careers are built that way.”

To see the full interview, click here

Kristy LoRusso is a strong advocate for marketing integration and growth through innovation with more than 25 years of leadership experience. Well regarded for her ability to build, lead, and motivate teams, she is a senior marketing executive and an expert in digital and direct marketing, marketing technology, big data, analytics, and consumer insight. As an agent for positive change and advocate for collaboration, Kristy is a creator of sustainable growth and empowerment for those around her. Her degree in psychology aids her in understanding human behavior — as a marketer, a leader and a corporate spokesperson.



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