Lisa Ingram

This entry is part 26 of 69 in the series

Lisa Ingram, White CastleLisa Ingram

White Castle System, Inc.
Chief Operating Officer, President, Restaurant Division

Years with the company:  15 years

Education degrees and professional / volunteer organizations:
Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and Finance from Southern Methodist University, MBA in Consulting and Operations from The Ohio State University.  Serve on the board of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, The United Way, Action for Children and The National Restaurant Association.

Mentors and how have they assisted you in your career
I’ve been fortunate to work as part of a fourth generation family business – my siblings and cousins in the fourth generation, and all the members of the third  generation have been mentors and guides – they help me appreciate what’s great about where we’ve been as a business, but more importantly where we go from here.  Also, I’ve been fortunate to have mentors like Tanny Crane, Kerrii Anderson, my husband Greg Guy and our current Board of Directors – excellent leaders who provide candid advice and are willing to share their own experiences as a guide for others.

What are you most proud of in your career achievements?  Do you have a defining moment of your career to date?    Most of our leadership team at WC started behind the counter when they were 16 and worked their way up.  They are strong, proud, dedicated TMs who give 110% to our business every day.  My path was different than theirs, so for me to be successful, I had to invest a lot of time visiting our restaurants, working behind the counter and really listening to their concerns and challenges.  This allowed me to relate to the experiences that our team members face daily.  We have almost 10,000 team member who are great at connecting with our customers and making memorable moments every day.  This is the fabric of the success of the White Castle brand for the last 92 years.

Most challenging part of your job:

There are three things that we focus on:

1.  Building a culture that embraces the great things about a 92-year-old, fourth-generation family business with very strong brand equity, as well as adapts to the changing customer and team member needs of 2013.

2.  Ensuring we have the right people in the right roles, the appropriate strategic plan for where we want to go, and the right product mix for the changing customer tastes.

3.  Proactively dealing with the external factors like like tough economic conditions, rising commodity costs, new laws and regulations – to name a few.

Advice for upcoming younger executives:
Be really honest with yourself and humble.  Know what you are good at and what you are not.  Don’t be afraid to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.  Have fun, and always assume positive intent.  It makes the world a much nicer place.

Spending fun times with my husband Greg and our children, skiing, tennis, photography, running, hiking and most outdoor activities.