Talking to Lisa Heritage McLin is like talking to a childhood best friend. She’s bright, inviting, expressive, and she always makes time in her busy schedule to talk, no matter the circumstance. But, above everything that McLin embodies, she’s passionate.
At Rackspace, McLin stands as the vice president of North America channel sales and channel chief. Her position is the result of her ability to combine her tech-savvy knack for solving problems with her adroit proficiency for thriving in change over a seventeen-year tenure at Rackspace. Her passion shines through as she regards the dynamic nature of her job as an opportunity to learn—as she puts it, “Constant change provides constant education.”
McLin’s devotion to exploring and learning started at an early age. When McLin turned twelve, she told her parents she wanted to become an accountant. She liked connecting the dots of numbers-based problems, assessing a circumstance based on a set of data, and using her analysis to develop solutions.
She entered the accounting industry fully committed, her drive to work hard already deeply ingrained in her core values. McLin grew up on a ranch in Texas, witnessing the incredible work ethic her parents upheld, their unabashed and unceasing celebration of their heritage, and their commitment to serving every member of their community: God, family, and friends.
Throughout her life, she has held on to the instincts passed down to her, which center on the illuminating importance of pursuing personal passions while serving everyone who surrounds her. As she grew up, she developed a mantra that motivates her to carry on every day: “I’m here to serve, to work hard, and create positive change.”
After dabbling as a staff accountant in the food industry, she discovered Rackspace, and an entirely new passion ignited. She enjoyed breaking away from the more static nature of the food-service business and moving toward the charismatic structure found within the technology field.
Within her tenure at Rackspace, she used her inherited work ethic to take on new challenges in different roles, moving from her starting position as staff accountant, eventually becoming vice president of sales, then landing in her current role after achieving several other promotions. Now, McLin focuses on building relationships with Rackspace’s partners across the country to promote easier, more effective communication and business strategies.
“Lisa’s passionate focus on problem solving and creating positive change shines through in her relationship with us,” says Steve Hartofelis, the regional vice president of sales for Sigma Solutions, a partner of Rackspace. “Her amazing work ethic means she always gets the job done, making her one of our most trusted partners.”
McLin’s latest undertaking has been creating the Clouds Guide app, which seeks to further bring together Rackspace’s network by sharing information about services, recommendations, and internal transformations. This unique app serves as a platform to strengthen the interconnectivity of each channel to advance as a unit, rather than independently. It also informs partners about the work Rackspace offers, helping expand their customer portfolio.
“The Clouds Guide app is entirely homegrown,” McLin explains. “It will serve our partners by helping them uncover the best cloud recommendations for their customers and show them how they can use Rackspace to guide them through their digital transformation. It shows how we grow and work together and allows us to think about how we leverage global success.”
After working for fifteen months to develop the app, Rackspace’s engineers released it to its audience in early spring of 2019.
While McLin continues to help make positive change for Rackspace’s business partners, she also devotes a large portion of her time and efforts to promoting women professionally. Within Rackspace, McLin is the executive sponsor for the Professional Organization for Women’s Empowerment at Rackspace (POWER RRG) as well as the Women In Sales Elevated (WISE) group. Within these communities, McLin connects women of different ages, backgrounds, and professional expertise, encouraging them to advance in their careers by building connections. This project has become McLin’s principal ambition, as it allows her to use her own success story to inspire others to work hard and accomplish their goals.
“Working to elevate the success of women is one of my greatest passions,” McLin expounds. “I am a mentor to many women inside and outside Rackspace. I encourage them to apply to that next role, take on new projects, gain exposure to leadership, and learn how to rise above their fears to step into greatness.”
McLin’s efforts within Rackspace have encouraged prospective leaders to step out of their comfort zones, take on new responsibility, and gain exposure to executives.
In addition to working with Rackspace’s women, she is also instrumental in Girls, Inc., a nonprofit organization that partners with Rackspace to teach girls entering high school about the benefits of working in STEM careers. The group brings together eighth and ninth graders who are aiming toward a science- or technology-based program and allows them to meet female leaders in different fields so they can gain a deeper understanding of the industry. Women who work in sales, marketing, coding, engineering, or administration show that tech involves a larger scope of interests beyond the industrial aspects of it.
“Technology and STEM fuel all other industries and will continue to lead transformations with new inventions—which is why we need women to enter the field and bring new diversity of thought and experiences.”
McLin believes that empowering women through POWER RRG, WISE, and Girls, Inc. is vital to enhancing the future of the industry.
“Technology and STEM fuel all other industries,” she says. “Just look at how big data has changed the healthcare industry, or how new applications have changed online shopping. STEM will continue to lead transformations with new inventions, which is why we need women to enter the field and bring new diversity of thought and experiences as we serve customers—men and women—from all industries impacted by technology.”
Because of her efforts, McLin has also been selected to serve on the Girls, Inc. board so she can reach the younger generation of STEM professionals through her story.
McLin uses these platforms as a way to not only be a model for women, but also a model for Latinx professionals in any discipline. She relies heavily on the importance of, as she puts it, “staying true to our culture to build community and share what you have.”
At Rackspace, she works with other leaders to bolster its diversity and inclusion functions by incorporating a variety of backgrounds into the makeup of the organization, then mentoring them to work at their highest potential once they’re in place. With Rackspace based in San Antonio, Texas, McLin expresses that bringing more Latinos into the company will allow it to better support its community.
As she gains the opportunity to reach more Latinx employees, McLin treats everyone with the same amiability as she does her friends and family. She willingly spreads her time among her team to ensure that they are achieving their goals and guides them if they need help along the way.
“I am their go-to,” she describes. “I am open and honest with all the Latinos that work here, so we can learn from each other. I share my story about how I became a leader to show that if you love what you do, you can be great at it. My guidance allows us to reach our dreams as a team—to say, ‘Join me. I’m here to support you. Let’s win together.’”