Lincoln Storytellers: Krista Washbourne

writing a story

Recently, we asked members of our Lincoln family to share their stories. This week, we’re featuring Krista Washbourne, our VP of Learning & Talent Development, on what being a part of LPC means to her.

What can I say? I guess Lincoln is home to me. Its friendships. Its growth. Its passion surrounded by other passionate, autonomous, amazing teamwork around me. I couldn’t ask for better friends to work alongside. And I love it.

I started with Lincoln when I was about 26 years old. I was living in Dallas at the time, but the position was located in Chicago. Could I do it? Could I uproot my whole life and move to a city I had never experienced, with basically only two acquaintances that I knew living there? 

I was torn. I was scared. Frankly, I was terrified. But everything somehow fell into place, and I took the position and moved to the corporate office in the Midwest as their Regional Marketing and Training Director. It was circa 1999. 

I didn’t know much, LOL. This was the time of hiring decorators for new construction, building newsletter content, and using The paperback giant Apartment Guide book to advertise. How I loved a brochure design! How I dreaded the monthly ad deadlines. It was a simple time. And I was excited to work for LPC.  

I was primarily marketing, with just a little training mixed in. We hired Michelle Artz then, to be our Regional Training Coordinator. She was the training guru–the big guns of learning. Now look at her! VP of Revenue Management. I learned a lot alongside her…especially about training. Who knew she’d also leave LPC one day, then come back to also be “at home” with us again? 

I decided that Chicago was too lonely for me. I loved my career, but my life was a mix of travel and work, with few friends in between. I needed to get closer to my hometown.  My boyfriend and I were trying to decide if we should get married–with the little problem that he lived in England. So I moved there for awhile. Chased a dream. Then it was time to come back “home.”

Of course it was back to Lincoln! I moved back to Dallas and was hired on as a consultant. It was right after 9/11. The world was very different. It was crass to even need a job; there were bigger pains and worse issues than people who needed jobs. I was hopeful that LPC would make it permanent, but alas, there were no openings. And then one day…

There was! But in Austin. I could possibly head up Marketing and Training for Austin and San Antonio. Was I interested? I most certainly was. And it meant a move to another amazing city…where I again, knew no one. But this time I was ready for it and excited for the challenge. 

However, there was one key difference in this job. I would primarily be a Training Director, with marketing coming in second in the job. There was more third party in the region, not as much new construction. Was I open to this? Ready for this new twist on my role? I was scared again. But I wanted so much to try!

And I found my passion there. I found that helping other people grow their careers was the most fulfilling thing I could ever do. I wanted to know more about learning. To know more about how adults wanted to learn. To learn things I personally didn’t know about. To push others forward too. 

There were so many ways to teach! Systems! Leadership! Mentoring people about what they needed to do to grow. Having some hard conversations too, about weaknesses. Even some with my own supervisors, LOL. 

I grew. I changed. I grew in my role. I grew up. 

And then one day, I didn’t know how to keep growing. I was a bit bored. Things got stale. My career felt stalled. I was too inexperienced to move into a really big role and too experienced to stay stuck where I was. I didn’t know how to personally keep growing myself without a mentor. I didn’t know a “mentor” in my role, doing what I was doing. I didn’t know how to ask for more training. I thought that I had to wait to be “plucked from obscurity.”  I didn’t feel like there was money in LPC to invest in me. And even if I did, I didn’t know how to ask for it.

I left for a larger role on the vendor side. I was excited to do something very different. I needed desperately to keep going. My ambition knew no end. And for years, I kept learning things. 

What I learned over the next 10 years:

I learned recessions really do suck. 

I had always believed that people who worked really hard and had an happy, optimistic attitude would always have a job. Not true! I lost two jobs due to cuts. One was a start-up and they cut out the position 100% due to losing money. The other was when my company was acquired–and there were two of us in the same role. And we were the smaller company.

I learned that if you had a good work ethic and kept friends/didn’t burn bridges, you could find another role fairly quickly in our industry.

Thankfully, I had worked hard at my jobs. I loved my co-workers. I loved what I did. I found work fairly fast. 

I learned that you have to keep learning to keep growing

Tech happened fast. Things shifted. I learned data and metrics are king. I learned that people have to practice, more than be “talked to.” I learned I did need a mentor. I got one–she is amazing (Thanks Maria Lawson–she was in my role about 10 years before I was here at LPC).

I learned to pray first, then act second

I let my faith in a Savior move me. He brought be back home to LPC again, 10 years later. Oh, and Scott Wilder and Sheri Killingsworth may have also had something to do with it 🙂

And here we are. My team and I trying to inspire each of you to love your careers. To know LPC cares about you individually, because we really, really do. To give you better coaching, feedback,  training and mentoring to grow your own career.  To see you as someone valuable and important. To know that you, individually and collectively, create the reality of this company’s value. To grow your talents to reach heights never before reached at Lincoln in our 53-year history.

I am so happy I’m home. 

Interested in learning about career opportunities with Lincoln? Contact us today to speak to one of our friendly representatives.

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