People have often asked me: how do you run a world class operation like Spitfire? The truth is with great care and a lot of counsel. In July 2002, I started Spitfire. It was fitting that I launched this company right after Independence Day — It was my own month of freedom. At the time, few women were running consulting companies in Washington, DC, and fewer still were focused on public interest issues.
I started out knowing I had a lot to learn, and feel that way to this day. While I turn to my own Spitfire colleagues every day for brilliant ideas, I’d be remiss on Spitfire’s 14 th anniversary if I did not acknowledge some of the people outside of the firm who have made a difference in my life and had a huge impact on Spitfire. Here are 14 notable people who without them, Spitfire would not be where it is today.
I run a company full of talented people working on issues of critical importance. Our clients are working on issues of justice and health and life and death. Our job is to help them succeed, and we all approach our work together every day with that responsibility in mind. For people who ask me how to start and run a business that is a great place to work that does great work, I tell them to surround themselves with phenomenal people who bring out the best in you, call you on your S*&t, and encourage you do things you are quite sure are impossible. President Obama was right when he said “you didn’t build that.” Spitfire is a labor of love for many, not least of which, the many talented staff who call Spitfire home. As we put a 14th notch in Spitfire’s belt, I can say if I could go back in time and decide what to do in July of 2002, I’d start Spitfire all over again —There might be a few things I’d do differently, but one thing is for sure: I’d make sure to have smart staff and advisors surrounding me every step of the way.
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