Making A Difference in a World Gone Dark

Lynn Tilton light in the world 

This week, while in NYC launching The Recipe: A fable for Leaders and Teams, our new book by Amilya Antonetti, I got to meet an amazing woman.  Her name is Lynn Tilton – and boy is she making a difference!

It’s not every day that you meet a girl from the Bronx who has worked her way up to not only phenomenal success (her company Patriarch Partners has SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS under management) but who is so “together” that her success comes not from a desire for cash but from a drive to make a difference for others by saving companies and saving and creating American jobs.

Lynn was one of three leaders that AMA Enterprises and CorePurpose honored as inspiring leaders at a private VIP and Media Event in New York as we launched The Recipe.  While the book is a story about how teams and leaders come together, Lynn’s LIFE is a prime example of how one woman’s quest to make a difference can affect millions!   (You can see more pictures from the event honoring Lynn here. )

Lynn graciously agreed to answer some of my questions about how she has achieved so much.  As she spoke, I learned so much that this is actually the first of a three part series I will be running about our conversation in the week to come.  It will start here, continue on, and conclude on Going for the Brass Ring, my blog at Fast Company

So here are some of the first bits that Lynn shared with me…

It started in the Bronx…

My life journey has evolved from my birthplace – Bronx, NY- through the
ivory towers of Yale and Columbia Universities to the male-dominated world
of Wall Street.  Today, as the founder and CEO of Patriarch Partners, I
focus not only on the more than 70 companies in our portfolio, but also on
“the Main Streets” of once thriving towns across America, that struggle for
survival in the new economy that has turned its back on the American worker.
Patriarch’s mission is to rebuild America one company at a time and one job
at a time and it has been made possible through hard work, an innovative
spirit and an unwavering quest for truth and light where others see

The truth is cold and hard but the first step on the path to hope and
salvation. ~ Lynn Tilton, Patriarch Partners

Saving America…Once Company at a Time

My business is founded upon my personal mission…the attempt to save
America, one company at a time, one job at a time.  The Patriarch platform
is built upon the premise that each company otherwise would have been liquidated, but
instead saved and rebuilt, is value added to our economy and our nation.
With the restructure and renewal of each of these companies, jobs are
sustained and created.  Over the years we have saved approximately 150
companies from the throws of liquidation and 250,000 jobs associated with
those companies.

Who was your inspiration?

My father–his teachings and his values–have long been my inspiration.  We
were raised to give back to the world and to others.  It is for this reason
that my firm is named Patriarch Partners; in the name of the father.  My dad
died my junior year in college but that which he taught me lives on in our
work and the lives of the families who we touch. 

Turning Dust to Diamonds

My business and my personal life no longer have boundaries.  I am driven by
the cause that this business has become.  Knowing the loss of a working
parent while young, I experienced the devastation such loss can bring to the
structure of a family.  That loss and the memory motivates me to spare
families from that desolation.  In the end, I believe that making money and
making the world a better place are not mutually exclusive options.

If you had 3 wishes – what would they be?

  1. People standing shoulder to shoulder with common vision and perseverance to
    rebuild America.
  2. A world with more appreciation and less expectation.
  3. A little more calm and sleep for me.

So that’s how we started…

But I have so much more to share.  Please stay tuned as the interview continues this weekend on and concludes next week on Going for the Brass Ring, my blog at Fast Company.  I’ll be posting the links on Twitter, on Facebook, and through the comments link here on this first part of the series.  Just subscribe to the comments here on this post so you don’t miss the great insights from Lynn to come.  You can also follow Lynn on Facebook and Twitter.  I do.  🙂


Business and the Butterfly

monarch-butterfly-on-flowers What’s the deal with a video about butterflies on a business blog?  Simply said, the butterfly is is thing of beauty and so are the right people in a great business.  It emerges from its cocoon, moves from place to place, does it’s duty, and fosters growth in the most inspiring of ways.  The same can be said when you have the right people in the right roles.

At least that’s what came to mind this morning as I watched this video from National Geographic about the simple butterfly.

We all need more butterflies in our businesses and in our lives.  Think of it like this:

The Butterfly is a creature that is committed to change.

Few creatures provide a better analogy for change than the butterfly as they move from stage to stage.  (You can see a great time lapse series here)   People also go through many stages.  It takes time for them to develop from an early stage to into voraciously absorbing the resources and knowledge around them.  Then its time to rest, use what they have consumed, and then emerge into something – or someone – pretty special.  It is that point that they spread their wings and fly. 

The  Butterfly moves from place to place enabling growth.

As a well developed butterfly spreads its wings, it moves from flower to flower, taking precious pollen with it.  This brings new growth, fresh blooms, and new colors to the world.  As a well developed person spreads their wings, they bring new businesses, new leadership, new opportunities, and new innovations. 

Butterflies like bees have a job to do. But Butterflies don’t sting.

Now you might say that we do not need the butterfly since we have the bee.  It too moves from flower to flower spreading growth.  The BIG difference is that butterflies never sting!  On the people side, I bet you’ve met both butterflies and bees.  The butterfly gets the job done with elegance and finesse.  The bee is awfully busy in getting the job done, but don’t cross it or it just might make you sorry.  That’s why we tend to squash bees and treasure butterflies.

Butterflies are a wonder to watch

A fully developed butterfly is a wonder to watch.  We can learn so much from them.  Butterflies, like people, must stretch their wings and explore new boundaries.  NASA even took butterflies with them into space in 2009.  The same is true of human butterflies.  If you give them time to develop, the resources they need to grow, and let them spread their wings, they will help your business garden grow and it’s a joy to watch them do it.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Can we have it all?


Whether I am speaking to a packed ballroom or just exchanging ideas over a Diet Coke with a friend, the question “Can you have it all? A great career, a family, a sense of purpose?” is one that comes up a lot.  I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have MOST of them.  But, the the family, friends and mentors I have met along the way are helping me to figure it out.

Whether we are looking to get the best in our business or the best in our lives, we all have a series of choices that we have to make and a series of priorities we have to set.

Our values as people  and as organizations are the points on the compass that help us navigate the journey.  Luckily, there are people that we meet along the way that help us determine the points on our personal compass.  It may be just for an instant or it may be a partner that comes along on the journey – but either way – they share something with us that helps us set our direction.

This video shares to story of one of the people I met along my journey over 25 years ago.  What she said stayed with me.  It has helped in my business and my life, and her work graces the walls of my home to this very day. 



So to answer the question – can you have it all?  I think the answer is YES, you can have it all in your business and your life IF you understand WHAT “having it all” means to you – AND you are willing to embrace the people, the ideas, and the value choices that are the markers along the path.  So pull out your compass, plot your path, and enjoy the journey.

Thanks for Stopping by.  Stay Tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Don’t let great opportunities pass you by

Gear-Up-for-Opportunity-lgAs business owners, we are always on the look out for opportunities.  But, too often, great opportunities pass us by because we are not ready for them.  Capturing a great opportunity and making the most of it takes a combination of three things – Awareness – Access – and Ability.  Like cogs in a machine, each plays a critical role in driving action forward.  Otherwise, as you are standing still, opportunities may pass you by.


There is a reason AWARENESS forms the biggest cog in the opportunity process.  The world is  full of opportunities, but knowing which is the right one for you and your business requires a continual scanning of the marketplace.  Some opportunities are great for someone, but not necessarily great for you. Others may be hidden and require a bit of polishing  up before they are ready to be considered. But if you are not continually searching, scanning your markets, and aware of the changing trends, you have not got a chance.  Before you know it the opportunity has passed and you only see it when someone else takes advantage of it.


As you become aware of new or current opportunities, the gear turns and triggers a need for ACCESS.  To capture the opportunity’s potential, the teeth bite in turning the next gear.  In the case of opportunity access, think of the teeth as the six key assets you will need to take advantage of the opportunity. In most cases these are:

  1. The right talent to make things happen
  2. The right resources to build up from
  3. The right market to serve
  4. The right partners to deliver through
  5. The right processes to keep things rolling
  6. The right funding and business partners to grease the wheels

Each of these assets are critical. If one is missing the wheels stop turning and the opportunity engine skips and stutters.


The final gear is that of your ABILITY to execute.  I spend a lot of my day speaking with business owners and other leaders.  Most, when faced with a challenge, can lay out their goals, their mission and their plans.  But when the gears jam up it is almost always due to a lack of execution.  One missed step or flaw can make the difference between success in making the most of an opportunity or the failure to do so.  When one missing critical process brings things to a grinding halt and the opportunity engine seizes up we tend to want to force it.  Yet as leaders, our job is not to take a crow bar to the the gears (that almost always makes matters worse) but to make adjustments or shift alignment so that things start running smoothly again.  For it is only when we are moving forward that we can keep abreast of our opportunities and capture them.

So don’t let your great opportunity pass you by.  Focus on the three A’s – Awareness, Access, and Ability.  When you do, you just might find that opportunity will not pass you by…instead it will come knocking at your door.

Thanks for stopping by.  Stay tuned…

Joan Koerber-Walker

Got a Problem? Get Creative!

As entrepreneurs, business owners, employees, or just as people, we all face challenges.  And often those challenges involve the BIG M – money.  When it comes to growth, you need resources.  Money for marketing, for inventories, for systems, and oh yeah, groceries.Continue reading