Today, is Winning with Women Wednesday and over the past week we had the opportunity to speak with Sirena Moore-Thomas. Sirena is the energetic, colorful, and passionate Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Eagle Enterprises. Eagle Enterprises was established in 2005 and is a proven and trusted supplier of spare parts for all Military and Commercial Aircraft worldwide. Since 2006, Eagle has been awarded 2,000 Department of Defense (DoD) small business contracts.
Get to know Sirena
Name: Sirena Moore-Thomas
Age: 33 years old
Education: Serial Entrepreneur
Company: Eagle Enterprises
Position: Chief Operations Officer (COO)
Time with company: 3 years
Company headquarters: Hampton, VA
Countries of operation: Domestic
Total number of employees: 10
Sirena, I think our readers would love to know, in your own words, what the role of a Chief Operating Officer (COO) embodies at Eagle Enterprises…What are your main responsibilities and duties?
Well on most days I am pretty much, “Chief Everything Officer”. However, my primary role is to manage the day-to-day operations from our Corporate Headquarters to our Sales Office. I also am in charge of managing all revenue generating activities. This includes our sales teams, business development, and maintaining relationships with our manufacturers.
Do you have a mantra, or tip that you would like to share with our audience regarding how to sell their organization’s services, products, or capabilities?
A famous quote I would like to share was once said by Theodore Roosevelt. He stated, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” This saying rings true each and every day I come to work. Early on, I learned to be the subject matter expert of all of our capabilities within our organization, and took it upon myself to create opportunities rather than wait for them.
Who was an influential boss for you and what lessons did they teach you about management and leadership?
For as long as I can remember, I have always been very self-motivated and ambitious from my early childhood years. Prior to coming to Eagle Enterprises, I worked with my father and brother for our family business and I would accredit my father, Ted Moore for instilling within me a, “Go Get It” mentality.
However, I remember also working with a Financial Planner named Thomas Tarka, at Advest Inc. who taught me that paying attention to small details and willing to go the extra mile is what makes a business unique and respected from a customer’s perspective.
Last but certainly not least, the Owner/Founder of Eagle Enterprises, Mr. Ken Johnson is a brilliant entrepreneur and has become an incredible mentor to me. Mr. Johnson challenges me on so many levels and seeks to stretch my mind, expand my capacity, and motivates me to pursue all possibilities. I affectionately refer to him as Father Boss. He’s certainly one of the most influential people in my life.
What are the biggest challenges facing Chief Operating Officers today?
I believe the role of Chief Operating Officers change drastically from one company to the next, which is why it’s hard to generalize the problems that all COOs face today. However, one main challenge I believe most COOs face today is closing the gap between what we do and what we say.
As a woman COO, I find that the majority of women tend to nurture by nature, where as our male counter-parts tend to be more black and white. Both styles can hinder or help the way in which we lead. However, my challenge is in determining whether I am being too “motherly” or if I need to just hold others accountable with regards to a specific project or task.
What would it take for you to say you had a good day at work?
I’d like to start by saying that Time Management and Productivity are extremely important to me. I tend to find myself teasing our staff with a saying that, “Our days do not have periods, they have commas and are meant to be continued.” When I look at any workload given to me, I break it down into a series of tasks. Since, a number of tasks need to be completed in order to complete the project. I know I am staying productive and managing my time responsibly, when I can check items off the to-do task list.
How would you characterize your management style?
I would have to say that I like to consider myself as participative. Since I believe, “Teamwork makes the dream work” I invite input from my staff in solving problems, creating solutions and/or simply suggesting changes.
Do you think management styles stem from individual beliefs or environmental?
I definitely believe that my participative management style stems from the environment I was raised in and can also be attributed to the fact that I am part of the Millennial generation.
What strengths and qualities do you look for in job candidates?
I tend to gravitate to people who are “Intrapreneurial” – I would characterize these individuals as people who want to own their positions. Meaning they run their position as if it was their own personal business.
What are some of your favorite interview questions or techniques to elicit information to determine
whether a candidate will be successful at your company? What sort of answers send up red flags for
you and make you think a job candidate wouldn’t be a good fit?
Although finding a truly “Intrapreneurial” individual is hard, I believe you can creatively pull out these qualities from an interviewee. I tend to have a reputation of running our interviews like “The Apprentice”.
For example, when our newest account manager met with our Human Resource Specialist she had been given a sheet of paper and a laptop. The paper had three questions on it: one question was to test her resourcefulness, the other to test her train of thinking, and the last was to see her writing skills. She printed all of her answers out and due to her outstanding answers, we proceeded to the next phase of the interview. After just a short time the candidate loved the challenge, and that’s when we knew we had a fit.
What is it about your current role, at Eagle Enterprises, that sets it apart from other chief operations positions?
The most powerful thing that sets Eagle apart from other chief operations positions is the fact that I’m not limited here and the fact that I get the chance to express myself in so many ways, which isn’t always welcomed in other organizations.
What do you do to unwind from a hectic day?
To be honest, I’m still trying to figure it out. But I do love spending time with my family. Sometimes all I need is one of my four children to make me laugh and that can be the replenishment I need from a long day at work. For example, something that comes to mind is my one son, Brycen came up with nicknames for everyone in our family. He calls himself “Batman”, my husband is “Ironman” and I am “Flash”. It’s the imagination, and purity of his age that makes me enjoy coming home even from the most hectic of days.
If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?
Well I consider my life purpose is to encourage, empower, and inspire others to achieve success. I just love business, and am not married to any particular industry. I must say it’s hard to envision not being at Eagle Enterprises, but if I wasn’t here I would most likely be speaking and coaching others through my personal business SirenaSpeaks.com.
If you would like to know more about Eagle Enterprises please: Click Here
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