LDI 25th Anniversary Leadership Insights: Daphne Large

Daphne LDI

  • Above all else, what do you believe is one key characteristic that makes a successful leader? How do you apply this in your daily life as a leader in the workplace? "The tenacity and perseverance to lead your team, through thick and thin, and never give up. No excuses, only accountability and responsibility. I also believe the best leaders are realists - they don't hope the wind will change or complain about it - they waste no time assessing the situation and adjusting the sails."
  • How do you keep morale high and spark inspiration among your teams? "Let's be real. With Covid it's been challenging. However, by making time for more intentional efforts in checking in with our folks, using video conferencing on Zoom and Teams and more frequently, we've been able to keep our connections and collaboration going. And most of all, we try to have FUN - because isn't fun the best thing to have? Whether it's Bingo, trivia, guest speakers, little competitions here and there and genuinely caring about our folks - we've found ways to break up the days and still get business done and have a little fun too."
  • Tell me about a mentor who shaped your leadership? "My near-lifelong mentor has been my old boss at Equifax. For over 40 years he has inspired me, encouraged me, pushed me, kicked my butt on occasion and always, always believed in me and trusted me. His timely, sage advice has been priceless. He's always expected a LOT and I've always done my best to deliver and never let him down. He "raised" me in the business world and accepted no excuses and took no prisoners. I'm a lot like him and I'm better for it. He expected me to jump off a cliff and learn how to fly on the way down. There is no time for analysis paralysis - make informed decisions yes - but you can't know everything before you try!"
  • What values are most important to you as a leader? "Honesty and Fairness are most important to me. Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth; but, the truth will never steer you wrong and will almost always make you better. It is absolutely critical that we are always honest with our customers and conduct ourselves with the highest integrity even in the face of unpopular decisions. And, fairness to all, all the time, is also nonnegotiable. We must put every decision we make through the fairness lens in how we treat our employees, our customers and our vendors."
  • What is a leadership lesson that you’ve discovered throughout your career that you wish you could have learned sooner? "To keep my mouth shut. My opinion is not needed at all in many instances and the more I keep quiet, the more other people assume authority, make good decisions and rise."
  • What advice would you give to professionals who are stepping into the leadership space? "You cannot and do not know everything. It's not all about you - it's about developing others, unleashing THEIR potential and helping them soar. That's what real leaders do. Sometimes new leaders let their egos get in the way and they become control freaks as that is where their power lies. I say - let it go. Teach others ALL you can - all that you know. The entire ship rises. You can create a beautiful orchestra instead of a one man band and by doing so, you are a MUCH more effective leader that delivers better results for your team and your company."
  • The best leaders know that learning never stops. What steps do you take to ensure you keep with personal and professional development? "Read, Read, Read. One of our core values at Data Facts is Good, Better, Best - Never let it rest until your good is your better and your better is your best. This is a saying I grew up hearing my mother say to me over and over. It stuck. We are in constant pursuit of improving ourselves at Data Facts so we can serve our teams and our customers better. We know that yesterday's wins don't win today's ball games and we must continue to hone our skills, knowledge, and to practice what we learn. I stay on top of top authors and coaches in the business world, on top of our industry through our trade associations, build relationships with peer leaders in the background screening world and make time for intentional learning. You have to make time to learn because if you're not growing, you're dying."
  • Leadership extends far past the professional landscape at work, but into the broader Memphis community. Why do you believe it is crucial to make time to serve in other ways in the 901? "A long time ago, I used to be one of those complainers about Memphis - as a native Memphian - I thought I knew what was going on. Then one day, I realized that I needed to be a part of the solution and I needed to really know what was going on and figure out how I could help. It is incumbent upon us as citizens and leaders to make the place we choose to live, work and play the VERY best it can be and to let our voices be heard to help influence positive change. We need to be cheerleaders for our community - find the good and improve it. And not expect SOMEBODY ELSE to do it - we/you ARE the somebody. Good, better, best - never let it rest ...... It takes a village. There is a renaissance in Memphis. It is OUR time to shine!"
  • Tell me about a time where you felt most challenged in your leadership? How did you rise above? "Back in 2019 we acquired another sizeable company in our industry. Bringing two well established companies, cultures and all the people and personalities (and egos) together was challenging. But not impossible. We leaned on key leaders and individual contributors on both sides to create and lead a United As One mindset and culture. I knew I couldn't do this alone and only through the combined and collective efforts of OTHERS on both teams leading this charge would we be successful. You can't force this kind of thing. You have to be patient, allow others to lead, allow time to build natural, not forced bridges - all the while keeping the training already going 300 miles an hour down the tracks, on the rails and focused on customers. And we did!"
  • Why do you choose to lead in Memphis? "I'm a native Memphian and Memphis is my home. It's where I started Data Facts in 1989. My family is here and I've never had a reason to leave. I could have left a few times when I was with Equifax in the 80's; but, nothing was ever stronger or better than my ties to Memphis and my family. The bonus here is no State income tax, the cost of living is really good compared to other areas, and no harsh extended winters. I don't like to be cold. :) I travel the world; but, Memphis is my home. Not too big, not too small, just right!"
  • Leadership can oftentimes feel lonely, but it shouldn’t be. How do you believe leaders can best navigate and address this pressing issue? "It is true, it can be "lonely at the top" as they say for all kinds of reasons. However, if you are just a person, a real and genuine person that cares about and stays connected to your people, it's not lonely at all."
  • Share with us your biggest takeaway from your LDI experience and how would you convince another leader to take part in the program? "It was a real opportunity to slow down, internalize and learn about yourself, learn about others and not only understand; but, to truly appreciate those differences. I have become more intentional in consistently working with our leadership and full team to continue to learn and explore who we are ourselves, what our styles bring to the table, how they interact and connect with other styles and how to maximize strengths and reduce limitations and frustrations. It's all about people and we're all unique. And bonus - I got to meet some really cool people during that experience - not only my cohort whom I admire so much; but, getting to know Linda Bailey, Nancy Coffee and Jill Turner involved with the program at the time has been a real win for me personally."
  • The road to being a leader isn’t only paved with success, but a lot of trial and error. How do you adjust your next steps to combat failure? "Fear of failure, failing, none of that has ever bothered nor deterred me one bit. I've got a VERY thick skin and nothing bothers me. As an entrepreneur and founding CEO, I've seen it all (almost). I live by - shake it off and step up! It's all you can do - anything else is a time waster. We boot strap ourselves to where we want to go. No time to wallow. We DO take time to Think - Plan - Act - LEARN. The learning is key so we hopefully don't make the same mistakes again."
  • What is your hope for the future of Memphis? "Really simply - TRUE Racial harmony - not words but demonstrated through actions. WHEN we achieve this, we will enjoy population growth, job growth, enjoy more investment in Memphis. When our collective body of leaders can finally agree on where we want Memphis to go, we will. Like I said before, our time is now!"
  • What has been your great accomplishment in your career or what are you most proud of in your career? "I am most proud of founding Data Facts, Inc. at the age of 27 and for nearly 33 years, having had the privilege of meeting and leading some amazing folks and to enjoy the loyalty of awesome customers from coast to coast. To be able to provide our customers with peace of mind by providing information they can trust and rely on to make sound hiring decisions and to provide our team with job stability and a path to unleash their potential has been a dream come true. I'm still living that dream and excited to get to work every single day. There is so much more to do!"

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Daphne Large, founding CEO of Data Facts, got her start in the Consumer Reporting industry at the young age of 16 at Equifax Services. She recognized a competitive advantage and started Data Facts in 1989 at the age of 27. Data Facts will be celebrating their 33rd anniversary this year.

Daphne was inducted into the Society of Entrepreneurs in 2014 and is a frequent contributor to Entrepreneurial and Leadership programming. She has been named CEO of the Year by the Memphis Business Journal, Super Woman in Business, Top Women Owned Business many times and Data Facts has been named a Top Work Place many years. Data Facts was founded on the philosophy that if we take great care of our people, they will take great care of our customers who in turn will take great care of Data Facts. They do and it works.

Daphne currently serves the Memphis community in many capacities. She serves on the University of Memphis Foundation Board, she is the immediate past Chair of the Chairmen's Circle, the highest level of investors of the Greater Memphis Chamber, serves on the Board of Directors for the Greater Memphis Chamber, is a past Board Chair of New Memphis and currently remains on the Board. She served on the Board of the Society of Entrepreneurs through 2020, served on the University of Memphis LEAD Board, served as the Treasurer of the Board of Directors for Make A Wish Mid-South and served 7 years on the Board of Trustees for St. George's Independent School as Vice Chair and Secretary as well as other civic endeavors. Daphne also served as the Board Chair of the National Consumer Reporting Association.

Daphne is passionate about giving back and believes to whom much has been given, must is expected. She is an ardent William Churchill admirer and believes in his words of "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give". Daphne is devoted to her Data Facts team and her supportive family - her husband, Alan and 2 children, Trevor (27) and Heather (21).
Daphne's greatest passion beyond her family and work, is national and international travel. She believes travel is one of the greatest educational experiences one can enjoy.

Daphne attended the University of Memphis, Equifax Developmental School, Leadership Germantown, the New Memphis Leadership Development Intensive and other management study.