Emerging Leader: Gina Carman of Lift Power

Leading with Intention Gina Carman finds professional development and choosing a company that invests in employees keys to her success.

By Nicole Needles

From attending the University of North Florida to studying exercise science and kinesiology to bartending in her 20s, Gina Carman has always had it in her to be a leader.

While working in the service industry, her friend reached out to her about a job opening with Lift Power; Carman took a chance and said, “Why not?” She finds herself seven years later at the beginning of a career she loves. She began as a project coordinator and is now the warehouse solutions manager.

Along the way, she has worked on professional development and has grown her leadership skills. One way she’s done this was by attending the Emerging Leaders Conference.

“Being a newer manager, it was really cool to network with like-minded people; some who’ve been managing for multiple years, and some are brand new. It’s good to get together with people in the industry who experienced some of the same issues.

You can bounce things off of each other. So that was really cool,” Carman said. Something she learned from one of the conference speakers that she wants to be intentional about early in her career is listening with her eyes. It can be difficult not to multitask or give someone who needs our attention our genuine full attention.

“That was impactful for me because sometimes you have to step back, take a second, and give someone your undivided attention. That way, they know that you really are listening, that you care about what they’re saying, about helping them or even just listening to what they have to say to get it off their chest,” she said.

Being a young professional in the industry, she brings a fresh perspective, excitement and new ideas, which are invaluable to her team. Carman says one of the most significant advantages of being a part of the newer generation in the industry is that they are adaptable.

“With the workforce that we have today and as much of a struggle as it is to keep people, being flexible like that is a huge advantage. And younger leadership is more susceptible to that style,” Carman said.

Every successful young leader needs a mentor. Adam Christianson was an engineer and manager of the department when Carman started at Lift Power. He went out of his way to teach her things outside the traditional job description, fueling her curiosity for the position and the industry.

“He had no problem wanting to teach me everything that he knew so he could move on to other things, and he had a lot of trust in my capability,” she said. “So when he eventually moved on to bigger and better things, it allowed me to show our CEO what I could do already, so it helped build trust with our owner and move me into the role I’m in now.”

From mentors and other leaders she’s looked up to in the industry, she’s learned some of her favorite leadership advice: trust, yet verify. Instead of micromanaging, Carman says this ideology allows a leader to empower their people to make their own decisions while ensuring they’ve got the right idea while they’re at it.

For other young professionals, she has some advice:

“Find a company that’s going to let you grow and believe in your skills and your capabilities,” she said. “Having great leadership behind you 100% of the way is extremely important, and I have found a place that is willing to put everything they’ve got into me. I don’t take that for granted. If you’re with a company that invests in you and lets you grow, you’ll go much further than seeking that dollar.”