By TAPE CEO/President Louisa Jaffe
Before I became the CEO and president of TAPE, I had the honor of serving for 28 years in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) and, later, in the U.S. Army Reserves. Before and also concurrent to my military service, I was part of many different business ventures in the private sector. Throughout my military and private sector careers, many impressive leaders gave me the privilege and honor to serve under, learn from and observe them. These wonderful men and women inspired me to develop my own leadership commitment, to give of my own time and experience, strength and hope to encourage other interested small businesses by sharing what I have learned. One of the first lessons I learned was to start every effort by defining success in advance, in order to recognize a milestone when I reach it, and create a new one to move toward.
One question keeps popping up, “How did you do it? What’s your secret to success?” When I explain that I really have no secret formula, the next question often is, “Was it good luck?” To that I emphatically answer, “No, it was not!” We have never created any instance of success at TAPE that anyone else could not have done in the same situation. If you want to be in business, you can do it. If you want to go to any lengths to succeed, you will. If you hold to integrity no matter what and keep moving forward doing the next right thing, one at a time, then you will prevail. How do you define success?
Early in our company’s history, we had our share of challenges, but through it all we chose to face them head on, even if it meant incurring costs by drawing on our personal savings before we had revenues to support a major proposal effort. But we were determined to prevail and we did. It was difficult and sometimes very frustrating to face each of these issues, all of which were brand new to me, but we were committed to succeed. As a result, Bill Jaffe and I recently celebrated our 15-year anniversary – both of our marriage and our company, TAPE!
I am proud to say that we accomplished all that while also receiving sterling performance reviews that propelled our company to move forward on other efforts. I believed we could do it and I wasn’t willing to stop unless there were no more steps to take. Somehow, by dealing with one “next right thing” at a time, we made our way forward and won the contract that would serve to transform us as a company. And that was just the beginning. If you are a woman, a veteran, an entrepreneur or an aspiring entrepreneur, I welcome your questions and feedback. Always remember you have the power to create your own dream. Again, I ask you, “How do you define success?” Okay! Now go for it!