After years of experience as a lawyer and business owner, Lisa Coppola may know better than anyone about the obstacles business owners face. As founder of The Coppola Firm, one of Lisa and her team’s focuses is helping clients start a business, negotiate contracts, manage leases and more. Lisa’s passion for helping others has been on full display since becoming the Presidents Assembly Chair on NAWBO’s National Board of Directors.
But experience alone isn’t what makes Lisa special. Whether it’s at her business, as the past president of the NAWBO-Buffalo/Niagara chapter or now as the Presidents Assembly Chair, Lisa is a powerful voice who is able to provide critical support to those who need it most.
Read more of our interesting chat with Lisa below!
When did you initially join NAWBO and what made you join? What’s kept you involved with the organization for so long?
I joined NAWBO about six years ago after being invited to speak at my local chapter, NAWBO-Buffalo/Niagara. Over time, I had the opportunity to work with enthusiastic and inclusive leaders like Sabina Ramsey and Joyce DeLong here in Buffalo. I love collaborating with and supporting other women entrepreneurs—it’s truly a recipe for success!
What is your day-to-day role within your firm?
At The Coppola Firm, it means handling personnel, strategic growth and client service and, sometimes, even replacing ceiling tiles. It’s been a true joy to see my firm grow from a seed into a flourishing business on which employees and clients rely on. I’m also the vice president of The English Gardener, a garden design and construction company. In that role, I work on strategic planning and finance. The company is all about creativity and beauty, which is a perfect balance.
What led you to become an entrepreneur?
I love to create, and there’s no better way to do that than to start and grow a business. Plus, through the 30 years I’ve been a lawyer, my practice has been about supporting businesses, so it made perfect sense to put my money (literally) where my mouth was.
What initially motivated you to volunteer as the Chair of the Presidents Assembly?
Observing my friend from Charlotte, Karen Bennetts. She’s my predecessor and convinced me that service in this way is extremely rewarding. I’m so happy I decided to do it!
Can you describe what it’s like serving on the Assembly and how important the position is?
First, it’s another delightful layer of sisterhood, meaning that Presidents Assembly Steering Committee (PASC) members get to know each other and collaborate in really meaningful ways. Second, having the responsibility of being a support system and sounding board for chapter presidents is humbling and rewarding. While it might seem like a big lift, having a collective of like-minded and incredibly resourceful women around me makes it do-able and, in fact, truly enjoyable.
Why would you encourage all chapter presidents to engage with the Presidents Assembly to benefit their chapters?
There's so much power in collaboration. That power can be defined as wisdom, knowledge and even simple and effective how-to’s. What I found as a chapter president is that my PASC rep (the amazing Karen Bennetts) either had answers or knew how to get them quickly for me. PASC members know that leading a chapter can be challenging at times, and we’re there to make it easier. I’d encourage every past president to give serious thought to joining the PASC in the future.
What’s your top business goal heading into 2019?
It’s all about growth for both my businesses, guided by a strategic planning process that’s both dynamic and dare I say it, fun.