Lessons of Success
The Clarion Ledger
Liza Cirlot Looser
CEO: The Cirlot Agency
Location: Jackson, Mississippi
Description of your business: A full-service, marketing, public relations and corporate communications firm.
City where you live: Brandon.
Education: Mississippi University for Women, bachelor’s degree; Harvard Business School, OPM executive education.
Family: Husband, Rick; daughter, Regan, 16; son, Tripp, 15.
Community involvement: Board member of Shepherd’s Staff Counseling Service, Health Futures, Better Business Bureau, Greater Jackson Alliance, Salvation Army, Metro YMCA, ArtsAlliance of Jackson-Hinds County, Jackson 2000, American Advertising Federation, Friends of the Jackson Zoo and Here’s Life Mission to Africa.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE IN THE BUSINESS WORLD?
I believe my entrepreneurial spirit was developed and refined by having to pay every dime of my college education as well as living expenses. It was tough, but I learned self-reliance at an early age.
My first “real” job after college was working for The Clarion-Ledger. My first day on the job I was handed a map with my territory outlined and was told, “go out and sell.” This made me fearless in meeting new people and asking for their business.
HOW DID YOU COME TO OWN YOUR BUSINESS?
In the 1980s, the trend in advertising was moving away from large, over-staffed agencies toward small, creative shops. Having worked for what was then the largest agency in Mississippi – and being single and 24 – I felt I had the expertise, and more importantly, the passion to create one of these shops. Basically, my passion outweighed any fear of failure.
WHAT WERE THE KEYS TO GETTING STARTED?
I prayed daily for two years. Plus, I had a well thought-out plan. If I had it to do all over again, however, I would have sought out a mentor who could have given me nonbiased advice on starting and growing a company.
WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WOULD BE SUCCESSFUL?
Success is bittersweet. I don’t know of any truly successful person who feels they have met complete success that is sustainable. Success has levels … each is to be celebrated, and then it’s time to move on to the next level. At the end of each day, I judge my own success by whether or not I’ve done my best.
WHAT KEEPS YOU SUCCESSFUL?
Continuing education is vastly important in pushing oneself toward success. I recently completed my degree at Harvard Business School, and continue to improve my business and management skills through various other institutions .
HOW DO YOU BALANCE WORK AND FAMILY?
My life is rich, and my days are full. My day begins usually before 6 a.m. and doesn’t end until after 11 p.m. Between Rick and I running a successful firm and wrangling two teenagers who are involved in school, athletics and church activities, rest is a definite luxury.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS?
Live your dream. God gave you your passion for a purpose and for His greater good. Give it everything you’ve got, and never let the fear of failure overtake your passion.
Blueprint for Business – Liza Cirlot Looser
Lessons of Success