Michael Lennox

Michael Lennox

Founder & CEO of Electric Hospitality

I am grateful to have the opportunity to positively impact other people on a daily basis, so in spite of the challenges our industry faces at the moment, it continues to be a gift to be a part of this industry.

I was lost at sea professionally for most of my 20’s, spending three years at law school and a couple years practicing law during the Great Recession, constantly daydreaming about doing something more entrepreneurial, with F&B always the center of gravity. I officially took the plunge and opened Ladybird at the age of 29 with no formal restaurant experience or management experience. Within 18 months of opening we had 75 staff members, and within 3 years we had opened two more restaurants, accumulating a ton of battle wounds and bruises along the way. If I had to do it all over again, I would have skipped law school and instead worked as many positions as possible in a top restaurant group with a goal of learning as much as possible on the pathway to doing my own thing.
If someone is naturally excited, motivated, and intent on putting a smile on other people’s faces, they are going to make everyone around them better and have a higher likelihood of success in our industry. Turn up the volume on positive energy, eliminate negative energy to the greatest extent possible.
My grandmother told me before I went off to college that the secret to a good life can be boiled down to three things: One, always try as hard as you can. Two, always speak the truth. Three, always give your friends and family the shirt off your back. This continues to be a north star for me.
I knew that this was the profession for me on arrival. The restaurant industry is a feast for the senses, is endlessly humbling and challenging, and requires constant improvement, all in the service of bringing positive energy to as many people as possible on a daily basis. It is impossible to imagine doing anything else.
The hardest lesson is perhaps the most liberating, but the lesson is that the job is never finished. By this, I mean that the idea of work-life balance is a fictional construct. How we spend our time is how we live our lives, so if you are in a leadership position, you have to strive to make every moment count, whether it’s with your team, your customers, your family, your friends or yourself. If you see your lived experience on a long arc over your lifetime, as opposed to artificially balancing things this week or month, then the framework shifts to maximizing impact over time, which should ultimately act as a motivator and a concept that brings peace of mind.
I like to say that we are in the happiness business, where our job is to figure out ways to make people happy. Our mission at Electric Hospitality is to bring peace, love and happiness to our world by creating, serving and sharing “Electric Experiences” with our teammates, guests and communities. We define “Electric Experiences” as the moment when someone brings an extra burst of creativity, connectivity or positive energy to our F&B, service or vibe. Seeing the joy that comes out of these moments is the fuel that drives me.
Inspiration is everywhere. If we look at the world with a “beginner’s mind” and act as if we know nothing, discovery and inspiration will reveal themselves literally everywhere.
Doing regular gut checks to identify blind spots reveals opportunities for education and personal growth. It is hard work that is never complete, but is necessary for unlocking true potential as a leader, peer, friend, parent, or partner. Listen, look, learn, then lead.

Disclaimer: Individuals featured in the Inspirational Career Timelines section have been nominated by peers, colleagues and/or other members of the hospitality industry. It is to the best of our knowledge that each individual has demonstrated leadership and acted as a positive role model for others.

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