Insight Blog

A Talk with Tina – Celebrating Small Business Month

by Eileen Koch

May 15, 2020 | Strategic Execution

Since 1963, the United States has recognized small businesses and their impact on American culture and economy. Now, more than ever, it is important to honor the close to 30 million small businesses and the amazing people who run them. According to the Small Business Association, more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. To celebrate small business month this May, I asked Tina Garrity, Founder and Managing Principal of Lake Shore Associates to provide her perspective on the 12-year journey.

Do you remember the “moment” or the “spark” that ignited your desire to start your own business?

I was working at a client site and noticed there were a lot of small consulting companies doing business. Some were knocking it out of the park and others not so much. I felt that my experience working as a consultant in the Big 4 had prepared me for that moment. I came from a practice that had strong leadership, provided an entrepreneurial setting with structure, governance and guardrails to embark on something new. And that day a spark was ignited.

  How have you defined success for your business over the last decade?

Take care of your associates. Hire those with passion and enjoy working, are happy in their lives and are looking to make a difference.

Take care of your clients. When we take care of our clients and they’re happy, repeat business and growth is created and sustained.

  Describe how your original mission has evolved from the beginning until now?

Our first couple of years we were leading and implementing multi-year programs for fortune 500 clients. Then, welcome to Disruptionville. There began a series of disruptions that were testing leaders like never before. Digital, Cloud Computing, Lean, Big Data, IoT, ERP, Agile, all in the hopes of getting products faster to market. So we had to evolve with our clients. We focused on keeping our consultants trained and learning new technologies to transform the way we do business with our clients today.

  What do you love most about what you do?

I love collaborating with my associates and clients. Collaborating allows everyone to work towards common goals. When you’re able to work through planning, communication, understanding, respect and learning you can overcome almost any obstacle.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” – Michael Jordan

  All Chandler Bing jokes aside, when people ask you the dreaded question, “What do you do?”, what is your response?

As a woman-owned, management consulting firm, our goal is to make corporate lives simpler, less stressful, and more productive. With over 25 years of experience supporting the Fortune 500, we help our clients implement their business strategies by using thoughtful approaches to change management, project/program management, and talent management with higher-quality, better-skilled, but very cost-effective consultants.

  What keeps you up at night?

Maintaining the proper balance between work and personal life for my associates, retaining key employees and properly identifying our client’s needs.

  Did you ever think about throwing in the towel?


  What advice would you give to other small business owners just starting out?

When you start a business, you want to build a firm foundation for success, which starts with investing in the right resources from the start. Also build a support network – look for a business coach or mentor where you can discuss problems, solutions and share your victories.

    If you could do it all over again, would you?

Yes, but I would start much earlier in my career.

Like everyone else, small businesses are fighting every day to keep their employees and customers healthy and safe during these unprecedented times. Shining a light on individuals who want to see change happen, big or small, defines the American Dream. We sincerely wish all small business owners find the strength and fortitude to make it through not only this current crisis but any future hurdles they encounter.

Lake Shore Associates works with Fortune 500 clients in the Chicago area and leads their most strategic transformations. Leading with kindness, vulnerability, and purpose not only delivers bottom line results, it enables a sustainable leadership framework that can be replicated time and time again.

For more information on how Lake Shore Associates can help you drive your next transformation, visit