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New 1A speaker series features McIlhenny CEO

Tony Simmons Shares “Lessons from the Corner Office”

Lafayette, LA – One Acadiana launched “Lessons from the Corner Office,” a new speaker series, on Thursday, June 23, with a crowd of nearly 60 business and community leaders across the nine-parish region. Bringing his insight on thriving in a competitive marketplace was guest speaker Tony Simmons, CEO of McIlhenny Company, maker of TABASCO brand products.

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Business leaders and 1A members from across the Acadiana region attended the unique event to hear Simmons’ behind-the-scenes perspective on leadership, the McIlhenny Company, and 1A’s regional initiatives. The fifth generation member of the family-owned company also shared his outlook on cultivating company culture, and growth in global market.

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His lesson learned in leadership: “Empathy is important. You can lead with fear and intimidation, or by example. Fear and intimidation are a poor way to lead.”

He advised to encourage a company culture of innovation, saying to “surround yourself with people who aren’t threatened by failure, and aren’t afraid to be honest.”

On growth in a global market: Tabasco owns 18% of the global hot sauce market, Simmons said, and has a tailored sales and marketing strategy for each of the 180 countries it’s in. Social media, and digital advertising play a big role in the company’s approach.

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During the audience Q&A session the McIlhenny head also answered what he thought the single most important thing for company growth was.

Simmons shared that the key is in knowing who you are, and what you are as a company, and sticking to that in order to be consistent.

1A will follow this June event with “An Expert’s Perspective” on August 25, featuring James Carville and Mary Matalin. America’s best-loved bipartisan couple. The duo will take center stage to share their unique experiences and views on the current political climate, and field audience questions, for a stimulating and provocative conversation. Registration is open at OneAcadiana.org.

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