Alycia Sutor, Managing Director
Alycia has more than nineteen years’ experience helping lawyers, executives and managers rethink how they approach leadership, culture development, teaming, and business development challenges. As a partner at Akina, she is particularly passionate about helping individuals make an impact in how they lead, work and sell by helping them understand and leverage their strengths and interests to achieve their full potential. Prior to joining Akina, Alycia served as a marketing director and marketing manager at two Chicago law firms after beginning her career in strategic planning for Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.
Alycia has served many leadership roles at both the chapter and international level for the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) including as Immediate Past-President of the International Board of Directors. Alycia also sits on the Legal Sales and Service Organization’s (LSSO’s) Advisory Board and has been a part of the teaching faculty at the Chicago-Kent College of Law’s innovative and unique law student marketing education program. She received her MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and her BA, summa cum laude, from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois.
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WORDS I LIVE AND WORK BY
“The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of life is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give.” — William Arthur Ward
“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.” — Norman Schwarzkopf
WHY I LOVE WHAT I DO
I am a “transformation junkie”! I love working with individuals or teams when they actively want to make an impact and they know that in order to do that, they need to become something different than what they currently are. I absolutely love helping individuals and teams explore, develop and organize themselves in the pursuit of becoming the best versions of themselves.
GREATEST STRENGTH I BRING TO CLIENTS
I’ve always been drawn to situations where I’m helping others to pioneer into new, uncharted territory where they need to build on an existing foundation and change things to make them even better. I like to think of what I do as “shaping fog”; whether it’s taking an aspirational personal desire or goal, an organization’s strategic vision, or a team’s objective and figuring out a structure to transform it into something concrete, real and tangible. Because I think in the mediums of both relationship building processes as well as structural concepts, I have a knack for helping people think about the relational and emotional dynamics necessary to accomplish goals in addition to the strategic tasks.
HOW MY BACKGROUND IMPACTS MY WORK
When I first started working after college, I found myself at the Museum of Science and Industry, a major cultural institution for the city of Chicago. At the time, it was the most visited tourist attraction in the city, and I was part of a team tasked with figuring out how to help the museum leverage its success as a physical place and expand beyond its museum walls. I loved helping to imagine the possibilities for the Museum’s future by focusing in on the museum’s strengths and then identifying relationships, resources and a plan to maximize those assets.
My favorite work, though, involves working deeply with people rather than just with strategic process, which is why I originally studied psychology and communications in college. When I found myself attending business school, I began to pull all the pieces together by focusing on strategy, marketing and organizational behavior.
My initial attraction to the profession of law was due to the fact that marketing and business development were relatively new disciplines and skills for lawyers; it appealed to the pioneering nature in me because I saw an opportunity to take people and organizations that were already good and help make them even better. As I began to better understand law firm culture, I saw the need to help people – individually and in teams – transform who they are and how they work in order to tap into all the hidden potential within their firms. That work is what keeps me involved in the profession of law today.
In my free time, I am part of the adjunct faculty for the Chicago operations of Leaders Collaborative, a leadership development program run by Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation.
I also love spending time in prison! I am an avid supporter of an amazing organization, Prison Entrepreneurship Program, which is devoted to transforming inmates, and executives, by unlocking human potential through entrepreneurial passion, education and mentoring. It’s amazing to see what happens when you help people unlock their own potential and help them apply it to doing something for the benefit and good of others. I believe what they do holds many life lessons for everyone – regardless of whether you have a criminal record or not, and I find that the process of serving is as rewarding and life changing as the process of being served, so I continue to devote time to this great program even though it requires me to occasionally travel to prison in Texas to participate.
Other than that, I am blessed by the time I spend with my two kids, one dog, one cat and one husband.