Lisa Boggs has held her Bridgestone title less than a year, but the affable communications pro has quickly established herself as one of Nashville’s most influential business people.
Last May, Boggs replaced the then-retiring Al Speyer as director of motorsports for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. Of note, Speyer was a 38-year company veteran.
“It has been both daunting and an honor,” Boggs, a Cleveland native, says of the job. “Mr. Speyer led the team responsible for creating the motorsports portfolio atBATOand securing its position as the premier race tire manufacturer and sponsor. I was fortunate to spend some time transitioning before he retired. It allowed me the opportunity to ask a lot of questions. I am proud to be part of the team tasked with ensuring we build on his legacy and work.”
A person with merely modest confidence and experience might have struggled replacing a company legend. But Boggs was well prepared. Previously, she worked at Edelman Public Relations for seven years, handling IndyCar and NASCAR programs for companies including IZOD, Office Depot, Shell, Armor All and STP. At Edelman, Boggs also worked on the 100th Anniversary Indianapolis 500 public relations campaign.
“Without that experience and working for an esteemed group of clients, I would not have been prepared for my current role,” she says. “All of those experiences provided opportunities to break new ground, learn from some of the smartest people in building brands and leveraging sponsorships in ways unique to each brand’s business objectives and needs.”
That background helps Boggs cope with the occasional difficulties her Bridgestone job offers.
“I am fortunate as I love working at BATO,” she says. “That passion and belief in the work trumps the stress, challenges and pressure that come with the territory. It is an exciting job with a tremendous amount of opportunity for growth, creativity and innovation.”
It is also a job that provides Boggs a chance to prove herself as a local business power broker given Bridgestone’s high profile. Though Boggs is unassuming — and, as such, unlikely to consider herself influential — many folks have noticed her accomplishments.
“I think it goes back to being part of a best-in-class global company that plays a prominent role in the world of motorsports — and my being the person whose responsibility it is to lead the charge, so to speak,” she says. “Additionally, the business of motorsports is unique, so I believe that contributes as well [to the influence].”
At BATO, Boggs collaborates with her teammates, IndyCar teams, drivers, tracks and promoters on everything from strategy, contract negotiation, at-track and off-track activation, social and earned media, and digital and creative development.
“Motorsports is an important part of the Firestone brand’s heritage — starting with Harvey Firestone — so ensuring that heritage is nurtured, maintained and integrated into all we do is a key part of my responsibilities,” she says.
Boggs oversees a small team that tackles major tasks. Colleagues Rodreich Von Stotsenburg and Dana Nickerson are BATO veterans who have been “instrumental in helping me get acclimated to my relatively new role” Boggs says.
“I approach the supervisor role somewhat like a quarterback,” she explains. “Demonstrate the ability to lead, be a team player and make the difficult decisions when necessary. Earn the team’s respect, listen, have open communication and most importantly, lead by example. Always be willing to do what you ask of the team — and more.
Boggs considers her job an equal mix of communications, marketing and motorsports.
“The landscape is constantly evolving with respect to what were more traditionally separate disciplines of marketing and communications,” she says. “In these days of social media — with a ‘multi-screen’ society where people are creating, engaging and looking for content in new and varied ways all of the time — an integrated marketing communications lens is needed. A love for and understanding of motorsports is the basic price of entry.”