Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Products; TCP Lighting
Lesley Matt graduated from the University of Akron where she majored in business administration with a minor in marketing.
After working in the software industry for a while, she was contacted in 2010 by a former boss.
“He had come to TCP Lighting and had an open position that he thought I’d be a good fit for,” Lesley explained. “We had a chat about it and he offered me the job. I’ve been at TCP ever since.”
Lesley admits to being a little overwhelmed at first, confessing she then knew little about lighting or electrical distribution.
“I got hired as the marketing communications manager. My job was to manage the graphics team, four people at the time, and the workflow of their projects,” she explained. “I also was in charge of doing all the basic marketing communications, things like writing press releases and maintaining the website.”
Nonetheless, it got her in on the ground floor as TCP began to focus heavily on LEDs.
“It got me learning about the lighting and the electrical industry, how to work with customers and how to talk electrical and really target the messaging,” Lesley said.
She soon developed an enthusiasm for LED lighting and the impact it was having in TCP’s markets.
“I transitioned from being the marketing communications manager to managing our commercial and industrial channel, working directly with electrical distributors on projects and the different materials they’d need,” Lesley explained. “That’s when I grasped how I could make an impact within the company and got really excited about it.”
Lesley’s current title is senior vice president of sales, marketing and products, having been promoted from vice president of marketing and products in October 2019.
“I oversee all of our marketing efforts and our product and development efforts, including our research and development teams here in the United States,” she explained. “I collaborate with our R&D team in China and oversee the commercialization plans and product management of all of our product categories.”
TCP, which sells through electrical distributors only, owns its factories over in China, six facilities in all that they manage.
“Our products are built in our own factories,” Lesley explained. “We watch it from design and development all the way through the manufacturing process. Then we commercialize it to the market and go out and make the sale. I am in a very unique position because I oversee all of that.”
As with anyone working in lighting, the learning is constant. For Lesley, though, there is yet another learning challenge she is facing.
“I’ve been trying to learn Mandarin,” she laughed, “because I do travel to Asia about once a quarter.”
Believe it or not, Lesley occasionally has some free time for hobbies—including enjoying her show horses.
“I have three horses that I show,” she explained. “Right now, I just show a lot within the greater Cleveland area but one day maybe, who knows, I’ll show on more of a national level, which should be fun.”
She and her boyfriend also enjoy sailing on Lake Erie on his sailboat whenever they can, she said.
Q. What advice do you have for other young professionals in the electrical industry?
A. Take chances. You can’t achieve greatness without taking chances. As an example of taking a chance: TCP went through a lot of different challenges over the last few years. I guess you could say I was taking a chance by sticking with the company. But I was sticking by people that I knew and trusted; and knowing that we’re doing something good.
So, stick with a company that you know has great technology, great products, great ability and try to drive them towards being successful.
Q. How do you see the industry attracting a more diverse workforce?
A. I think the electrical industry needs to be more open in the sense that it needs to be open to change. I’ve been in it for a little while now. I’m starting to see a shift. But I look at us as having a lot of people that have been in the industry a very long time. They’re a little set in their ways.
And then I also see a gap of younger people trying to work their way into the industry. I think they sometimes get frustrated. In speaking with my peers, I’ll hear, “Oh well, this is the way we’ve always done it, so we don’t want to change.” Or “We don’t want to upgrade” or “We don’t want to look into that.”
In order to move the industry forward, I think as a whole we just have to be more open to changing the way we look at business, the way we look at people, the way we recruit people and the way we hire. That’s how we’re going to stay relevant in this ever-changing marketplace.
Tagged with 2019 30 Under 35, 30 under 35, people