Lisa Ryan, CSP, Founder, and CEO of Grategy is set out on a personal mission of transforming millions of lives through the power of gratitude. While most speakers talk about the importance of being positive, staying motivated, and taking risks, Lisa has dug deeper into the cosmic depths of the mind and is changing lives, helping people heal & achieve their desires with just two words, Thank you. Apart from being a successful leader and a Keynote speaker, Lisa has made a mark with her successful “The Seven Mistakes Managers Make to Crush Company Culture” video series and 10 best-selling books, including “Manufacturing Engagement: 98 Proven Strategies to Attract and Retain Your Industry’s Top Talent”.
Let’s dive deeper into Lisa’s transformational journey and find out what makes her story a truly unique one.
Aspioneer (A): Your love for speaking is evident. How did you arrive upon Gratitude as the topic to speak?
Lisa (L): “I knew I liked to speak, but as a career, I didn’t know what I would speak about. Then, I attended a four-day seminar with three of my friends. On the way home, we decided to open up a Facebook thread and share the ideas we learned, people we met, and things we wanted to do. One of my friends said, “Why don’t we share three things that we’re grateful for?” We did that every day and held each other accountable. In a very short time, I noticed things in my life were starting to change. Customers that I hadn’t talked to for months were calling me. I closed two large facilities that I had been calling on for almost five years. I also noticed the difference from my husband, who was expressing more verbal appreciation to me. Because of the impact of this power of gratitude, I started to research to see if gratitude was more than this feel-good emotion that we normally ascribe to it. I found out that there was a lot of support for the power of appreciation in both business and in life. I also knew to the core of my being that that was the message I was supposed to bring to the world.”
(A): So, has public speaking always been a part of your work experience? How did your company got started?
(L): “For most of my career, I spoke as part of my job responsibilities. When I was in the welding industry, I was not only their corporate computer trainer for the sales reps, but I also conducted oxy-acetylene safety seminars for my customers. When I was in medical sales, I presented more than 500 continuing education programs. I always enjoyed speaking; from the time I took my first Dale Carnegie program in 1987. From there I joined Toastmasters and was very active in my club. When my medical sales position was eliminated via group conference call, with twelve of us getting canned at the same time, I decided that I would never allow another organization to fire me, so I started my own company. Grategy was born on October 12th, 2010. In 2019, I received my CSP – Certified Speaking Professional designation. This is the highest earned designation in the National Speakers Association and was the culmination of a five-year process including 250 speeches given, verified earnings, four CSP peers judging your performance, and twenty client recommendations received.”
(A): What services do you offer and how do they benefit your clients in the long run?
(L): “We provide speaking, training, and consulting services to organizations. We focus on employee engagement, employee retention, and workplace culture. When a company has great employees or brings great people on board, we help them create the type of work environment that helps keep them there. Turnover is expensive, so focusing on retention – instead of constantly hiring new employees, saves the company money, makes them more profitable, and also helps that organization become the go-to place where employees WANT to work. My vision is to be the go-to company for gratitude strategies (Grategies) that work – in business and life. My mission is to change the world (and the workplace) one ‘thank you at a time’. Our values include Transparency, Learning, Integrity, Trustworthiness, Boldness, Accountability, Client experience, and FUN.”
(A): As the services you offer are unique, how did you develop your client base? Which marketing strategies yielded maximum success?
(L): “I have been building a list from my very first speech. I think it’s the most important thing for any new business owner to do. Find a way to create value and stay in touch. My subscribers not only get a copy of my book in return for their email address, but then they hear from me every week with my gratitude thought of the weekly email that comes out every Thursday. I market my business through a lot of emails, phone calls, and social media outreach. I am a good marketer, and I enjoy doing it. The most successful way for me to market my business, however, is when people hear me speak and they want to bring me to their organization to conduct a program or consulting project for them.”
(A): On your road to success, how did being a woman was a help, and what was the biggest challenge you faced?
(L): “Being a woman has contributed to my success because I bring a different outlook to my manufacturing clients. I am strong, I don’t get frazzled easily, and I don’t take myself too seriously. All of these things contribute to being able to build lasting relationships. I specialize in speaking to manufacturing and skilled trade companies and associations. Because I have 13 years of industrial sales experience, I speak the language, understand the needs, and can relate to my audiences. When I was in the welding industry, many maintenance managers would give me the appointment, just to see what I looked like. But after they saw that I could actually weld, I earned their respect too.
My biggest business challenge was what I refer to as “buying hope.” I invested in many coaches, marketing programs, other things, thinking that this one thing would be what I needed to finally be successful. After chalking up more than $100,000 in credit card debt, I knew that I needed to get myself straightened out financially. I continued to work on my craft, get certified in my professional association, and command higher fees than I had been willing to ask for in the past.”
(A): Being super busy, how does Lisa normally unwind? What are your hobbies?
(L): “I like puzzles – Jigsaw puzzles, games on my computer, crossword puzzles, etc. I like to keep my brain active. In December of 2020, I started painting. At first, it was adult paint by numbers. When I found that I had lots of extra paint from the 20 paint-by-numbers that I had completed, I ventured out to paint on my own. Since March of 2021, I have completed more than 30 paintings. It feels like the creativity that had been locked up inside me for my whole life, decided to come out and play. Acrylic painting has changed my life and I am so grateful to have this creative outlet.”
(A): What three things in the world would you change if you had three wishes?
(L): “Number one: people need to have more fun and stop taking themselves so darn seriously. We are not on the planet long enough not to have a good time. My wish is for people to focus on the good that they do have, instead of what’s lacking in their lives. #2: I would bring back the joys of travel. No more long security lines, no more flight delays, no more unexpected cancellations. I would have each trip be a first-class experience on an economy budget. #3: I would like for everyone to recognize and appreciate the differences in each other, treat everyone with respect, and take advantage of the knowledge, skills, and wisdom that different people bring to every business and every situation.”
(A): Finally, having achieved illustrious success, where does Lisa go from here? What advice would you give to all the ambitious women planning to start their entrepreneurial journeys?
(L): “My goal is to continue doing what I’m doing as far as keynote speaking at large conferences across the country. I also would like to develop more of an online product base and online offerings that give others 24/7 access to my information without necessarily having to always get on a plane to bring it to them. Write my 11th book. Develop and produce online courses or an online university. Keep developing my skills as a speaker, trainer, and consultant. There is a quote on one of the paintings that I have from my favorite artist, Markus Pierson. It states, “Though many have travelled further and done so in finer style bothered me not. My journey was my own, and I found it to be quite spectacular.” Your journey is your own. You are going to make mistakes. Not everything is going to be as successful as quickly as you would like, nor is the journey going to be inexpensive. As long as you are loving what you’re doing, making a difference, and making a living, keep the faith and enjoy the journey.”