International Women’s Day CEO Spotlight: Alice Carr
The road to CEO is often a long one. What is one of the most important lessons you have learned as you have elevated your career?
One: raise your hand. Two: roll up your sleeves. There is no task too small. Its not always the smartest person or most aggressive person in the room that gets the attention. It is often just the person that keeps showing up. The persistent, thoughtful and interested person often finds the opportunities, or the opportunities find them.
Leading an organization with such a strong mission often requires a passion-based leader. How did you get into affordable housing and what has driven you to stay on this path?
In college, social change courses really stuck with me, specifically civil rights and women’s liberation. I found myself asking, “why are there the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’?” I saw how social constructs impacted so much in people’s lives. I took a class on affordable housing finance, and I was hooked.
You’ve mentioned in the past that you have often been the only woman at the table in the boardroom. How has that experience impacted the way you’ve chosen to build and lead at April Housing?
My philosophy on team management is to create a work environment where you don’t have to be the loudest person to be heard and make an impact. I lead by making people feel comfortable making decisions, taking chances and even making mistakes. This allows people to apply innovation and creativity to their job.
You’ve clearly prioritized diversity among your direct leadership team. Why do you feel this is important, especially in affordable housing?
Diversity is a must if you want to break out of the “group think” mindset and bring multiple perspectives and ideas that challenge the status quo. With a diverse leadership team, we prioritize finding ways to encourage communication and find common ground to facilitate ultimate success.
We know you are an active parent with a big family. How does having a big family shape your leadership style and how do you support your team in reaching their personal goals outside of work?
With my team, like my family, I am a strong believer in empowering people and giving them the ability to rise to the occasion. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised at what people can do when they are given the opportunity to have agency over a task.
Share a piece of advice for young women trying to make it in the business world.
We, as a society, talk a lot about the work/life balance, but that phrase can be detrimental to women. You can have a family and a really engaging career, but you can’t do everything. Prioritize what is important to you, where you are going to focus your time, and how you are going to achieve the things you want the most. It doesn’t matter if your kids’ socks match! Being able to delegate at home and at work is key. Things may not always be perfect, but by prioritizing you will always be able to show up as your best.