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Feb. 21, 2023

Episode 33 - Lacrecia Cade, Transformative Leader

Episode 33 - Lacrecia Cade, Transformative Leader

Lacrecia Cade has had an impactful and exciting career that has been as varied as it has been interesting.

Like a puzzle, she has purposefully pieced together a career - starting as a lawyer, moving into entrepreneurship, becoming a marketing executive, and ultimately becoming President and CEO – where she is today. Strategic and not one to take no for an answer when she's looking for a yes, she's been a positively disruptive force throughout her unconventional journey.

Lacrecia leans into seeking challenges. From her early grade school days, she knew if she wanted to succeed, she'd have to disrupt more than a few preconceived notions – hers and others. It's been a tough go, but she maintained her good nature and never lost sight of fun.

She set her sights on being a lawyer from a young age. Highly empathetic and concerned about fairness – she specialized her law career in employment, education, and insurance coverage. A self-proclaimed insurance nerd, it was during her time at Aflac insurance that she dug into the inner workings of running a Fortune 150 insurance company – first as a lawyer and then by moving into the business to lead the B2B marketing team. After that, she took on the challenge of serving as the first female president of Atlanta Life Insurance Company. She remains bold in the insurance industry at the helm of the industry-disrupting insurance company The What-if Collective.

Lacrecia saw the links between lawyering and marketing early in her career. She loved lawyering but knew, in its purest application, it was out of sync with what she was supposed to be doing. Wanting more, she sought opportunities to understand and learn how a successful business ran not just in a financial and operational sense but in terms of culture, people, and atmosphere.

Working against the current can be exhausting. Her comfort with all degrees of disruption and willingness to push for change – Lacrecia doesn't do the "status quo"; initially, a hindrance became her calling card and got her hired in progressively challenging roles. Cognizant of how her direct approach could come across to those not in on the "why" she was hired (for her reputation of being able to get things done/changed quickly), she always made sure to understand the goals of the gig and plan accordingly, not wanting to be seen as a bull in a China shop, or worse.

Lacrecia had a life-altering a-ha moment about a year into working as an in-house counsel for Morehouse College. After about a year, she realized that she wasn't as tired while she was still working extremely hard. Why – because the unconscious friction of being "the only" in a room of peers had been removed. Most of her education had been done where she was one of, if not the only, person of color, and same with her early career roles, she hadn't realized how much extra energy it took to thrive when negotiating to be the "only" in the room. She says that awareness gave her freedom and a firm sense of self. It was very empowering and is something she carries forward, creating environments where people don't have to work against who they are.

Work/life balance "Can't be had," says this mom of two daughters. As a self-professed extrovert, she's "done some hard shit in her time," but building a company remotely is the most challenging thing she's ever done. There is never-ending pressure from all aspects of her life. So, her best advice – make deposits in different parts of your life when you can so that you can make withdrawals when you need to. That is how to maintain a positive life flow.

Lacrecia Cade on LinkedIn