September 1, 2012

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Karen Woodbury: Leading with a Win-Win-Win Philosophy

Sarah Cutler

September 1, 2012

Karen Woodbury, the Utah District of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2012 Small Business Person of the Year, achieves success through what she calls a win-win-win philosophy.

“I watch the bottom line, but it’s not my only motivation—it’s caring for people and trying to make sure that the business we do works for the company, for the client and for our employees. It’s a win-win-win philosophy,” says Woodbury. “If we’re all winning, if we’re all doing well, then that’s perfect. That is just how I want it to be.”

Woodbury started Woodbury Technologies from the ground up in 2003. She received her first contract in 2005 and employed five people. Today, Woodbury Technologies has expanded to employ more than 200 people. The company provides information technology, medical services, communications and other types of support to the Air Force, Army and Defense Information Systems Agency in 10 states.

Woodbury attributes her success to the people around her. “Relationships are important to me. Nobody can have success alone. There are a lot of people along the way that gave the right kind of advice and help, often for free. I had a lot of help from the Small Business Administration in the beginning. I was guided by people who knew,” she says.

Woodbury translates values such as hard work, leadership and integrity into growing her business through the people she works with. “I’ve hired excellent managers and staff and I really appreciate them,” she says. “At the core, what keeps me motivated is not only my own security but other people and families that are dependant on me being successful. That is what keeps me motivated.”

Surrounding yourself with good people is also helpful in dealing with the stress of being a small business owner, Woodbury says. She notes that owning a company is all-consuming, and getting used to the constant stress and pressure was a level above anything she had experienced. And she still loves every moment of it.

“It is still interesting. It is still exciting. I work with people that I truly love,” she says. “Even on a hard day when there is a lot going on and we are scared and nervous, I look around and they are all good friends and people I like to be with.”

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