Growing up in rural Canada, Lori completed her undergraduate BBA in marketing, through a scholarship as a star Division One Volleyball player, at Ohio University. She moved on to complete her MBA at Bowling Green State University, with a minor in MIS (Management Information Services) and discovered that she was fascinated by data. “Having that understanding of how you run a business and putting it together with tech and data creates a holistic lens” on any endeavor according to Lori. Her career started at a “Big Four” professional services firms. Her work was exciting and diverse. “I’ve had a chance to work with some of the best companies, either on process optimization, data analytics, or enterprise-wide implementation programs. She received experience in a number of transformation projects. “One of the things I learned was really how to refine messaging, how you spoke with the executive-level team about the risks and challenges they could encounter and the value you can deliver.” Lori also absorbed how large organizations implemented, managed, navigated and adapted to major change. She is grateful for the 15 years she spent at PwC. “I got a chance to work with some of the best leaders.” Along the way, she tried to envision her future: “where did I want to be in 5 years, 10 years?” Her answer was: “My goal was to be a CEO.” Lori then spent 2.5 years diving deeply into the startup world in Detroit and realized: “When you go from big corporate Fortune 500 world to the startup world, you are in two different worlds!” Lori made her first move by relocating from the northern suburbs of Southeast Michigan to the heart of Detroit and learning from the start-up groups there. Then, she founded her company. “My vision is that Whim-Detroit does really cool things with really cool companies. We focus on digital transformation: the future of technology, people and processes. We focus on transformation, implementing systems, data and processes.” And Whim-Detroit solutions are “in the space I love the most,” said Lori, “fashion and sports!” Whim-Detroit has two main components: a consulting practice and an innovation lab. “Part of what I am trying to do is create a sustainable model, using one side of the business to support the other side.” Consulting has helped create cash-flow so that Whim-Detroit can bootstrap product development offerings. Lori “works with really great brands. Most of them are with products that I am either a supporter or a customer of.” In the consulting practice, a current representative Whim-Detroit client is a premier athletic club, that is part of the historical foundation of Detroit. On the innovation side, Whim-Detroit just delivered the first fashion and technology hackathon in the city’s history. To do that, Lori worked with Pure Michigan Business Connect (part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation) and Bedrock Ventures. Lori thinks some of her strengths are courage, the ability to eloquently communicate, her penchant for creating a vision, creativity and persistence. “In this new entrepreneur space, never give up! Passion equals resiliency.” While rarely experiencing gender discrimination at a younger age, more recently Lori has faced challenges related to being a woman leader. “I started to have typical scenarios: ‘mansplaining’ or being demoted to work under a peer.” One of the solutions she suggested is “having ambassadors, mentors or ‘table-pounders’ to help you navigate through things” in your career. A revelation for Lori was that “life will be about what you don’t like vs. what you do like!” She carved her path by process of elimination. As an entrepreneur, Lori acknowledges: “you don’t have balance’ in the traditional sense. But what you do have is a rounded and exciting career that merges work, passion and interesting people.” Lori believes that women have the gift of unique perspectives, based on valuable compassion and empathy. “Compassionate leaders, historically, have built stronger, more long-lasting, organizations.” As a leader, “you should be the last to speak. You’re there to listen; you’re there to inspire. You’re there to bring in the other, best, people you can find….and unlock talent.” For Lori, conscious gratitude is a way to get through the startup hard times. “During the tough times, there is always something you can be grateful for!” Having passion is also key. “It brings a lot of joy and can overcome the need for other things, material things.” She struggles with fear of failure, despite knowing that the path to success is often paved with failures. To overcome that fear, she “does it in small pieces.” Her athletic mantra has always been “left/right, left/right, one step at a time; just keep moving forward.” And her motto since college athletics has been “you can cry but you can’t quit!” To give back, Lori has enlisted Whim-Detroit as a FOUNDERS FOR CHANGE company, taking the pledge to #changetheratio and encourage diversity on her teams, boards and investors. Make sure to check us out on online at www.divatechtalk.com, on Twitter @divatechtalks, and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/divatechtalk. And please listen to us on iTunes, SoundCloud, and Stitcher and provide an online review.