Faces of Freese and Nichols: Leslie Goode
This is the first in a series spotlighting the people who make Freese and Nichols what it is today.
One could call her a cat wrangler, proposal coordinator or business developer, but Leslie Goode describes her superpower simply as a connector of people.
As a Marketing Strategist in Oklahoma City, she connects clients with Freese and Nichols staff through proposals and business development. In the end, she’s still doing something she loves – connecting people and nurturing long-term relationships.
A proud Oklahoma native and University of Central Oklahoma alumna, she’s been a steady voice in the architecture industry with more than 30 years of experience and has won numerous American Institute of Architects awards for her service. She’s currently on the board for the AIA Central Oklahoma chapter.
Chances are many across the region have tasted the sweet fruits of her family’s labor. For many decades Leslie’s grandfather “Candy Man” Joe Conley operated the Fine Candy Company, an Oklahoma City fixture that was the area’s only maker of candy canes.
Outside of the office, she volunteers with the American Institute of Architects board, the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma and Rebuilding Together.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I would say it’s the people who I work with. Freese and Nichols is a very employee-centric company. It’s not like any other company I’ve worked for. The culture puts employees first, which is rare, and I get that from the top down. I think that’s important.
In more than 30 years in the business, that’s a lot of deadlines.
I have never missed a proposal deadline. Once, I ran as fast as I could down a very long hall and turned in a proposal with 60 seconds to spare. But I made it and we won the job!
How do you handle adversity?
Making deadlines are a big part of my job. Take a stance and stick to it! It’s better to do something than do nothing. If I did nothing and missed a deadline, it would be worse than missing a misspelled word.
What’s your favorite part about working at Freese and Nichols?
I love the opportunity to grow and learn. I appreciate that we have Freese and Nichols University and that FNI is making an investment in me. If I’m a better, more knowledgeable and well-rounded person who understands our industry and the skills, I become a better employee for FNI.
What do you like about working with clients?
You meet so many interesting people and it’s the challenge of trying to win their work and help them figure out the best solution for their project. I’ve also developed great friendships with clients that I value. Every client is different so it’s never dull—challenging sometimes, but never dull!
What’s your advice for young professionals trying to get into the industry?
Business Development isn’t an overnight process. You get out of it what you put into it. It is building relationships with folks and learning more about them personally and professionally. If you keep your name in front of these folks, hopefully you’re the person they call when an opportunity arises. It’s interesting to see how these relationships can grow. I really enjoy figuring out how to put people together – figuring out how the needs of two clients might come together with a perfect solution.
You can’t go into the architecture-engineering-construction industry thinking it’s an 8 to 5 job. It goes beyond that, especially in marketing and business development, you’re always on. If you’re at your kids’ baseball game, you might be sitting next to someone whose company is getting ready to start a new project — and that’s an opportunity. Be willing to work a few extra hours, you never know where the next project is coming from. It’s a great field to get into, you can meet so many interesting people.