Lisa Friedlander isn’t a stranger to hardship. After a series of challenges in both her personal and professional life, she’s become an expert at turning crisis into opportunities for growth. She speaks in this episode about how the events in her personal life informed the choices she made professionally, making her uniquely suited for the position she currently holds as the Director Sales Marketing Business Development Strategic Partnerships at NEXT.
Garnering Courage and Listening To Your Inner Voice
Like a lot of people, Lisa fell in love while at college. They were engaged her senior year, but as graduation approached she began to re-evaluate the direction her life was going. In this episode, Lisa tells us that this became one of the first challenges she faced where she had to make a hard choice in order to be true to herself, no matter how many people she may have to disappoint along the way. It laid the foundation for how she would continue to garner courage and listen to her inner voice throughout her life both personally and professionally. The key, she told us, was to make sure her head and her heart were aligned. This would serve her well in the challenges ahead; one of them being her first daughter born pre-mature, at just over 1 lb.
Lisa knew how to face a challenge and figure it out. Her law background and life experience taught her that much. But she wasn’t prepared for the kind of care and dedication the medical staff at Children’s National Hospital exhibited during the time her daughter was there. It both inspired her to make some changes in her professional life, and she wanted to give back to the hospital that cared for her daughter so well.
Lisa started an annual fundraiser called, “Heart Songs” inspired by a patient named Matty Stepanek. It began by simply wanting to give back- and grew into fundraising for a housing program and eventually, into an entire teen program dedicated to volunteerism, fundraising and provide a platform for leadership skills. 400-500 families are now provided with housing, meals, transportation, clothing and whatever they need while they are out of town as their children receive the life-saving care they need. HeartSongs is the sole provider of these programs which have raised in total close to 2 million dollars. Lisa insists that she has gotten more out of these initiatives than she gives- and credits her involvement and her stepping away from law for a time to focus on her daughter for the next steps in he career.
A Career Pivot
When her children were small, Lisa felt a pull that she wanted to do something else other than law. She was pleased to discover that a good friend felt the same. So, they decided to venture out into the entrepreneurial space together and after receiving some wise advice, Activity Rocket was born as a platform for booking extra-curriculars for children. 5 years later it was acquired and we worked with them through the merger of tech products and eventually started selling for them. It gave Lisa foundational, entrepreneurial experience that would directly impact what she does today.
All Experiences Build On Each Other
When Lisa heard about NEXT, it was just getting off the ground but she knew from the get-go that she was in. It was a different model of delivering legal services to start ups and having been on both sides of the legal table, she knew she was perfect for the job. “Legal fees should be predictable, reasonable and sustainable. Provision of legal services should be client centric, not attorney centric,” she told us. Lisa is proud that NEXT is by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. She is thrilled to be able to partner with other creative business owners in their growth. In a way, all of her previous experiences led her here.
If you’re an entrepreneur interested in actionable steps to de-risk your company, a parent who can relate to the struggles of facing a health crisis or simply someone who enjoys a good story of how investing in your passions and giving them your all is the best secret to success, you’ll want to listen to the full episode.