Linette Montae is a Strategic Catalyst for CEOs and COOs when they face rapid growth and change because she is a leading authority on Profitable Performance Improvement for service-based companies. Montae has advanced degrees in psychology, executive leadership, training & performance improvement, and law. For the last three decades, she has been focusing on optimizing infrastructures for mid-size businesses. She has positioned herself as the “go-to” Strategic Catalyst for designing customer-driven solutions to help increase loyalty and profitability in companies.
Aside from being the founder of Legacy Influencer, Linette Montae is a national speaker and award-winning results strategist. She has served two years on the Forbes Coaches Council, authored two books, been published in various magazines, and featured on TV and radio.
Montae came up the hard way and said that her journey was not one of those “overnight successes.” Despite my degrees, she lost her job during the recession in 2010. She tried to get another job but was unsuccessful; people said she was over-qualified with many degrees. For 15 months, her bank balance was negative. Everything had crashed, as she had a divorce soon after and had a road accident six months later, Montae told WomELLE in an interview. “I was keen to do something because I had to look after my two little children.”
At this critical juncture of life, Montae thought of trying something online. “Though I thought of trying my luck online, I was an absolute green-horn in this field. I did not have Internet or even an e-mail id. She says I didn’t even know how to get an e-mail ID. She always thought only companies had their business e-mail ids. Nevertheless, she founded her company and had a modest start. Today, Montae is a consultant to mid-sized companies on infrastructure optimization and customer experience.
Business and Growth
As Montae belonged to operations, her business has always been revolving around infrastructure. Talking about her modus operandi, Montae says, “Business can be compared to a house. There cannot be growth in both cases unless the foundation is strong.” According to her, most businesses grow to a certain level because the founders never expected their companies to expand beyond a level.
Explaining her views, Montae explains that when growth comes to a halt, people get stressed and fail to understand what they should do to grow. Most business owners approach her when their ‘hair is on fire. On her part, she first tries to douse that fire to give them some relief and then looks at the foundation of their business. She usually starts by building horizontally, and sometimes the business may get ugly before they become better. They may even lose revenue, but when they build horizontally, they help the revenues to pour in while trying to build a stronger foundation for the growth of their business.
“I always suggest people look at the foundation of their businesses before it is too late. You cannot build a multi-story building on the foundation of a single-story house. Similarly, in business, you cannot grow beyond a certain level without having a strong foundation,” Montae emphasizes.
Linette Montae International
Linette Montae International has been around for a long time and has gone through a metamorphosis. The company has worked with various types of clients, including government agencies, non-profit organizations, the hospitality sector, hospitals, and many more. And my experience has been very fulfilling.
Aside from helping to build a proper infrastructure, she recommends companies undertake Profit Finding Audits. “This is the first thing I do with my clients. Often, profit is trapped inside the business, and we help bring in rapid revenues by getting the money already sitting there. It is like leaving your money on the table. When we initiate the process to get that money, it brings relief to businesses.”
Montae has always been a process and systems person, and the subject is very close to her heart. Once one has the process and systems in place, the business will run smoothly and even without their presence. They can achieve this by hiring suitable people to do the tasks they have been doing or, in some cases, by introducing automation. She explains that it allows you to spend more personal time with the family and leave behind a legacy.
Montae only works with women helping them to build their dreams. She primarily works with mid-market companies and doesn’t find enough women or multicultural people at that level. “So, I understand that we often work too hard but neglect our families. Adopting the process and systems will help you devote much more time to people you care for,” she told WomELLE.
Montae is also very passionate about Customer Experience. According to Montae, a part of her is a creator. Therefore, she tells her clients to focus on delivering amazing customer experiences. “We don’t design solutions and walk away – we roll up our sleeves to help small-mid-size companies with education, execution, and evaluation. Delivering customer experience is one important service we offer our clients.”
Success did not come overnight to Montae, as she had to overcome many challenges. After she lost her job in 2010, overnight, she became unmarried from being married. She is a domestic violence survivor. Within six months of losing her job, she had a car accident that kept her out of the job search for 18 months. It was difficult for her to raise two children as a single parent.
When she failed to get a job, she tried to do something online with her knowledge and experience. She faced obstacles there too. She did not have Internet or an e-mail address. She did not even know what it was. In later years too, she lost everything in her business. But she figured out what went wrong and started all over again.
Montae says that as ‘operations’ has been her field of work, she always found herself in a man’s world. “I am a woman of color in a white man’s world. I had to come up the hard way. I found people were not giving me the due respect despite my knowledge and experience.”
Though it may sound funny, she decided to do her second master’s to gain the respect of men in her field. When that did not happen, she went for a Ph.D., which changed some things. The ‘Dr.’ before her name added some value. She was disgusted to use ‘ Dr. ‘ after her name, even to call the cable company or book seats in a restaurant. So, she decided to study law. “Surprisingly enough, now I started getting the respect I wanted,” Montae says. “You see, society has different perceptions about women’s accomplishments,” she says, adding, “We as women haven’t come as far as we should have. If we want to bring change, we have to represent ourselves. Be role models.”
Giving Back to Society
Having achieved so much in life, Montae says, she is thankful to God for everything. Now, it is her turn to give back to society. Being a domestic violence survivor, Montae is very passionate about the issue and does her best to support women who face similar fates. She has started a sponsored training program for women who want to be entrepreneurs. They don’t have to pay for the training. Besides, she supports them in other ways, too – with money and material help.
Montae had supported 12 foster children and owned three childcare homes. She believes teamwork helps women to withstand all domestic violence. She believes that to be prepared in life, they should be educated from the pre-school level about how to build teams.
Message for Women Founders
“When you get to a certain level, you need a confidante whom you can trust and share everything that is going on in your life; she advises women founders. According to Montae, you cannot do it with employees, friends, spouses, or anyone else. While the employees will feel insecure if you tell them your worries, it may sour your relationship with your spouse if you always tell him about your business problems. So, you need someone to talk to and trust – a confidante. She encourages everyone to seek help because everyone needs help. “So, find someone you can trust before it is too late,” Montae advises.
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