Tampa Bay Business Women Awards 2023: Lori Larsen

Lori Larsen is chief strategy officer for Celestar Corp.

Larsen was commissioned into the U.S. Army, as an intelligence officer, in 1998. Her military experiences include time spent as a military intelligence officer and a graduate of both airborne and air assault schools.

She went on to serve as a division artillery intelligence officer and then in Division G2, where she was deployed to Afghanistan. Upon joining Celestar Corp., in 2005, she served as a contractor supporting the U.S. CentCom J3. She was approached by Celestar to join the business operations team and served as Celestar’s director and then vice president of business development. 

HOW DO YOU CONTINUE TO EVOLVE AND GROW AS A LEADER?

As a service provider to the intelligence community, the threats we face as a nation are constantly changing, and evolving, and so are the tools we use which, naturally, force me as a leader to do the same or risk not keeping up and meeting the needs of our customers. To remain relevant, as a leader in my industry, I need to get out there and engage with our customers, learn what the new pain points are and continually study to ensure that we remain relevant in our approach to growth and meeting our customer’s needs. Also, getting back to the basics on good leadership principles is important so I read a lot of leadership books. Continual reinforcement of good habits and approach to leadership helps me to live them on a daily basis.

WHO HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST MENTOR AND WHAT HAVE THEY TAUGHT YOU? 

My greatest mentor was my now business partner, Greg Celestan. I met Greg 18 years ago when I was still in uniform and getting out of the military. After working for Greg for a few years, despite my own lack of experience or achieving a certain rank in the military, he gave me an opportunity to serve in a business and leadership role within the company because he saw something in me.

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