An Entrepreneur with Soul
Lori Patterson was once part of the corporate rat race, working long hours as a manager for large companies, watching senior leaders constantly change priorities and objectives, moving the proverbial goal posts that much farther out.
Finally she had enough. She quit her job, re-focusing her attention on her family, all the while reflecting on what she was going to do next.
One of five excellent female leaders profiled in my Leadership 2013: An All-Star Female Line Up!, Patterson’s story is inspiring. When she came to the realization that she no longer wanted to work in the corporate world as an employee, having to continually adapt to a corporate culture increasingly based on the bottom line, she adopted a new frame of reference. Patterson stepped out, paused to re-center herself, focused her personal mission and values, and then stepped back into the business world–but this time as the senior leader of her company.
Possessing a huge amount of entrepreneurial drive and plenty of smarts, the mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Illinois co-founded Pixo in 1998. Pixo is a software firm whose designers and engineers create platforms for web and mobile apps, bringing to life the ideas of entrepreneurs. Originally named OJC Technologies, Patterson changed the company’s name to Pixo in September 2011. (“Pixo” is a derivation from a Portuguese expression meaning “giving voice”). As she facetiously notes, it was done to address the “distress” of employees who had difficulty remembering their firm’s name. Such is her open sense of humor.
Pixo may be a small company with only a few dozen employees. However, it has a one-year waiting list of corporate clients who want in with this customer-focused company, where employees work a 40 hour week and the workplace nurtures creativity and innovation. This contrasts sharply with the software world, characterized by excessively long hours and employees being treated as pawns who work marathon hours.
Patterson has lived and breathed entrepreneurship for the past 15 years, during which time she has also provided business consulting services to over 100 start-up companies. Her unique skill at serving as a catalyst to entrepreneurs to turn good ideas into profitable businesses helped her earn the Athena Award in 2011, and more recently the Woman on the Rise award from the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office.
Lori Paterson hasn’t looked back since leaving the rat race.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
– Helen Keller
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