Lilly Ferrick—the Tangents Interview
We are honored to have her represent our company—she embodies our core values of inspiration, collaboration, pragmatism, and integrity with each client interaction, setting foundations for relationships that are mutually profitable, sustainable, and rewarding.
Tangents, the Trig Innovation blog, recently sat down with Lilly, highly-regarded as both a business developer and serial networker in the service of others here in the Triangle, to learn more about what drives this high producer in the field.
Tangents: Tell our readers about your background prior to joining Trig.
Lilly Ferrick: Business development is actually my second career. From my teen years through my early 30s I had a great career as a contemporary dancer and figure skating choreographer; an all consuming love for an art form. These were some of the best years of my life, in that they were highly competitive, with a lifestyle consisting of blood, sweat, tears, auditions, low pay, no healthcare, and no unemployment benefits, but a daily commitment to being paid for my craft, and always having work, whether it was teaching or performing.
I retired from my coaching and choreography career, making an unplanned transition to sales, mostly because I could not see myself teaching for the rest of my life. And after moving here to North Carolina with my husband, I was basically out of a job anyway, since there were no championship-level ice dancers or figure skaters here. For a short time, I considered becoming an exercise physiologist and started graduate work in it, but it just didn't light my fire. So, I landed in sales and fell in love again with winning, the sales process, and the fact that sales offers measurable feedback, which is like crack to me after being scored, either on my own dancing or that of the people I coached, my whole life! A few years ago, I had the revelation that the discipline I had as a dancer is the very same discipline that drives me to close good business transactions as well as develop and work a process.
A real turning point for me in my new career in business development was joining Forma Life Science Marketing of Raleigh, a wonderful opportunity to sell design and branding/marketing services. A recruiter called one day and said she'd had an opportunity for me. I had limited science in my education except for the fact that I had a minor in exercise physiology and had prepped for my Masters in that area. So, while I wasn’t completely ignorant of material in health and life sciences, most of my educational was in fine arts. They search firm conducted a personality profile as part of the interview process and my wiring—from all those years of dancing and coaching—hit the nail on the head: “Driven, Influential, Rule Breaker and bores quickly without the opportunity to make things better where they need improvement” was the book on me. The CEO of Forma hired me because he knew I could sell. I'd also been through some highly reputable sales training off and on for several years so I'd gotten better over time. I started on a cold database and had six months to close my first deal. I closed the first one in 11 weeks, another five in the first six months, and I was truly off and running!
Tangents: What attracted you to work at Trig Innovation?
Lilly Ferrick: I had met Ty Hagler, Trig’s principal, a couple of years ago during some of my networking activities here in the Triangle, and his reputation was the impetus for my interest. He and the company have a growing reputation in the market that’s built on integrity and quality. Without those two things, you’re nothing, so that piqued my interest when he approached me about a role.
But then after talking to him further, I saw that this wasn’t just a group of nice people who did quality work—he had painstakingly built this business with a take-no-prisoners attitude to building a high-performance team. Not only was Trig committed to doing great, creative work in design, I learned that the company takes growth seriously, investing really early in the game in marketing and expanding service offerings where clients had needs.
I thought, dang, I want to be somewhere that people take growth—in its many definitions, from revenue and profitability to really pushing the creative limits of the people involved--seriously and will support the business development role with sound marketing and support. What I also love about a young company like Trig is that the stakes are so high to not only achieve success but sustain it. Things are changing every day, in the service of our clients, building a newer, bigger, and better Trig, and we can implement that continuous improvement starting now.
Tangents: What do you enjoy most about your role at Trig?
Lilly Ferrick: One of our core values is collaboration—taking a collaborative spirit and having that drive everything we do, whether it’s working with each other, with clients, or both simultaneously, to do things greater than we ourselves can accomplish alone.
Since I’m on the front lines sourcing new business for areas like industrial design and animation, I mostly collaborate with Ty. Like the other people on the team—a precocious group of designers, writers, engineers, and video/animation specialists, Ty is smart and fearless, and from his own world-class athletic background, maintains a highly-disciplined approach to following a process and achieving results on-time and within client budget.
This expression of the company’s pragmatic approach is huge for me on the front lines. There are lots of companies that do great creative work in product development. As with any other discipline, those who separate themselves do so through their level of commitment to excellence, and I’ve found that commitment to be unwavering at Trig, with each individual playing for the team’s, and more importantly, for the client’s success.
Tangents: How do you spend your spare time?
Lilly Ferrick: As for spare time, I have as little of it as I’ve ever had in this season of my life, but that’s okay, since I love what I do when I get up every day. This is a great area to experience nature, so whenever I can, I like to get out and hike the Eno River area. And we’re close enough to one of my other loves, the beach, where I could just live and die and be happy.
I still enjoy dancing, and while I don’t do it formally or professionally any more, my kids and I sure do a lot of it around the kitchen at home! I also enjoy reading, both for my brain and my soul, and I love recharging by going to the gym.