Blair Trotter, Central States Controller

Women Who Lead

Blair Trotter – To know is to lead. 

“If you’re entire leadership style is based on relationships and mentoring so that someone values what you are trying to deliver – you must work at it constantly.”

As we continue to learn throughout this series – leadership is like cooking a family favorite meal. You take some ingredients from people in your family, you use some of your own tastes. You throw in some things that you’ve learned in the kitchen from others and when you’re finished, you have something you can be very proud of that others can learn and enjoy.

For Blair Trotter who checks the numbers as our Corporate Controller, her leadership style is just like that recipe. Her mix is made up of family experiences, athletics and learning from those who mentored her along her professional journey.

Blair has two older sisters who she learned from, taking their experiences and advice and putting it to good use. She played tennis and soccer. Two very different sports, one focusing on the individual while the other is uber team oriented and yet, with all her learnings both personal and professional, she feels like many do – she’s still learning how to be a leader.

“I’m still developing to be a leader. I’m more of a behind the scenes leader. Getting that trust and really developing those around me and helping them go forward and grow is what I love to do. On all my sports teams, I would like to say I was the one that people came to with problems or issues and when they needed support and help. But I wasn’t necessarily always wanting to be the team captain.”

After college, Blair followed her father’s footsteps and entered the accounting world. Mentors who looked like her and understood the environment in the accounting industry were few.

“I really enjoyed getting into public accounting straight out of school with an office that was here in Northwest Arkansas. They invested in me as a young, professional female. I was involved in a few organizations in the area and those connections gave me the confidence to start being more of a leading, take-charge leader and hoping to be the person that the younger generation or those on my team, would look up to.  I was in public accounting for about four years before I took the jump to go into the corporate accounting world.”

With that experience under her belt, Blair ventured into another field. She became the Controller for a transportation logistics company. This is where her leadership style and desire to lead took a big step forward.

“They only had one other female in leadership. While I never really put much emphasis on males and females because I was used to a heavily male dominated career field, for some, including me, it was and is important to have a female to look up to. She took me under her wing a little bit and that helped mold me in some ways. I really took on growing and developing my teams, showing the females in the organization that there was an opportunity for us in leadership.”

After eight years, Blair joined us here at Central States and sees the same challenge.

“I saw it as another opportunity to help lead and develop a team. I have 15 people on my team and I’m really trying to invest in them not only professionally but personally. There are a couple of things that I look for in a leader and hope that I convey them both. Having somebody that cares about you and invests in your future is so important. It goes back to building relationships. I still talk to my previous bosses, as I view them as friends and colleagues. I could pick up the phone and have a normal conversation, like nothing has changed. That is important to me, and I hope that my team will say the same about me – I know them and support them. Secondly, on the work side, I will do anything to make sure that the team keeps moving forward and gets what they need done. I think a lot of it is you have to be approachable.”

Blair believes that what we do is a career not a job.

“We spend most of our life at the office or doing work. So, you want to make sure that everybody’s happy as they can be. I get to be around my team and everyone else in the office. I get to work on projects with them. I get to invest in the company. It’s cool because with Central States being an ESOP, I think it encourages people even more to really have that commitment to the organization.”

Thank you, Blair for your shared experiences and for being such a strong and supportive leader. Tune in next week for another story from one of our fantastic female leaders.

To learn more about working for Central States, and to maybe become our next great leader (male or female), please check out our opportunities on our careers page.

Click below to read other Women Who Lead stories in this series.

Melissa Hagemann – Leadership is all about trust.

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