Jill Murray is a dynamic leader at TriStar. She brings enthusiasm, keen negotiating skills and an unparalleled attention to detail in her role as TriStar President and Co-owner of the company. Jill’s experience and expertise is evident in the top-notch production department and thriving company she’s helped build, but it’s also a reflection of her careful tutelage, down-to-earth leadership style and commitment to relationships.
In recognition of Jill’s 30th anniversary in the event industry this past June, we’ve spotlighted innovative women in leadership positions who are paving the way in their association or company. They offer insight into their careers, tips for women starting out and their “secret sauce” ingredients for getting where they are today.
Jill Murray → President, TriStar
Q: What is your current position and how long have you been in your field?
A: President of TriStar; 30 years as of June 1!
Q: Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader and how did he/she affect your leadership style?
A: I’d have to stay it was a collaborative effort by both my grandmother and my dad. My grandmother worked full time while raising my dad. I spent a lot of time going to work with my grandmother, and she never acted like “the boss.” Her philosophy was: You roll up your sleeves along with your staff so you are always aware of their perspective. I’ve always believed creating this mutual respect in the workplace is a significant factor in company success. My grandmother also taught me the importance of attempting the work-family balance. She always said it never balances—just continuously shifts from one side to the other and you need to accept it or you’ll go crazy trying to create that balance.
My dad started working at age 15 (still is at 86 and recently was recognized for his 65 years in banking). He started as a teller and still will occasionally work at the counter to greet clients and hang out with his employees. He has always acknowledged their importance in his success. He always put himself in their shoes and remembered his humble beginnings when dealing with specific employee issues. Again, it’s about having that mutual respect.
Q: What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?
A: I am not sure how to break it down to one lesson learned, and I am still learning! But probably that humility is an important characteristic in developing as a leader. Don’t give yourself too much credit when things are going well. There is always a strong team behind that success. But don’t be too hard on yourself when things go badly. Accept, learn and move forward.
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
A: Slow down. Listen more to the mentors that were put in my path. Seek respect, not popularity. Let go of the need to be right; focus on being righteous.
Q: What strategies would you recommend to women who are trying to achieve a more prominent role in their organization?
A: First, be the best at what it is you do. Being the best gives you the confidence to “go for it.” Communicate your goals; don’t wait to be noticed to begin the dialogue. Start it. Understand the importance of relationship-building; connect with influential people and seek them out for strategic advice. Women are great about networking in their personal lives, but I don’t see it often in the work environment. The knowledge you can get from having a powerful network can be dynamic.
Q: What is your secret sauce?
A: Haven’t you heard that I’m disastrous in the kitchen? If there is a secret sauce, it was by accident. Any success achieved is due to the good Lord and the great staff we are fortunate to have.
Stay tuned for part two, three and four of our Women in Leadership Series.