Acuity Brands is proud to celebrate Black History Month throughout February. Each week, we’re highlighting the leaders participating in our upcoming speaker series presented by our MAGIC (Minorities Amplifying Growth Inclusion and Community) Employee Resource Group. This week, we sat down with Felicia Thomas, Vice President, Business Strategy and Transformation, to learn more about her career with Acuity Brands and interests outside of the workplace.
Read on for the full interview!
Felicia Thomas holds a distinguished leadership career in business solutions, strategy, and operational excellence. As the Vice President of Business Strategy and Transformation, Felicia and her team drive transformational work by leading key business initiatives that foster growth and performance. As an established and versatile professional, Felicia brings more than 20 years of leadership experience with a career spanning multiple industries, geographies, and scale of business with high-profile brands, including deep experience in enabling business evolution. She’s known for her passion for mobilizing top talent to deliver breakthrough programs and results.
Prior to joining Acuity Brands, Felicia served as Senior Director, Organizational Effectiveness at Hawaiian Airlines. She has also held roles as Head of Quality Control Labs for EMD Merck Millipore, Head of Operational Excellence for Integrated Defense Systems at Raytheon, and an Operations leader at Gillette for Procter and Gamble. Her early leadership beginnings were as a U.S. Army Military Intelligence Officer, where she worked for nearly ten years. She was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA and is a proud graduate of Howard University.
Are there special skills or hidden talents you’d like to share with us?
I love cooking, and I believe my family would say that is my special skill… at least I hope so! My Dad was the chef in the house growing up, and he taught me the basics at a young age. Then, I would volunteer to prepare meals in his place when he needed a break. I enjoy cooking and eating all types of cuisine but have recently started perfecting more plant-based recipes. My goal is to find ways to make all my family favorites, but with plants or whole foods, and without compromising flavor and/or heartiness. Let’s just say my family is not convinced yet, but I have never been one to back down from a challenge!
If you could time travel, where would you go and why?
If I could travel through time, I’d probably want to go back to the mid-to-late 1970s into the 1980s. I love fashion, and for me, this was a pivotal time in the fashion industry. Think Diana Ross in the movie Mahogany, Halston, or Diane Von Furstenburg's infamous Wrap Dress, or even Willi Smith’s (WilliWear) ability to introduce the “Street” and “High-Fashion” crossover. I would have loved to be part of their creative processes as they were designing many of the couture and styles that have influenced how people dress today.
Who are the three greatest living musicians and why?
I’d say my top three are..
Diana Ross – Through the years, her music has evolved with the times. Starting with Motown as part of the Supremes in the 1960s with songs like “Baby Love” and “Stop! In the Name of Love”, all the way up through launching her solo career in 1970 and beyond. Some of my favorites are “Love Hangover” and “Upside Down.”
Lenny Kravitz – I LOVE Lenny Kravitz and his ability to incorporate elements of rock, blues, R&B, soul, funk, jazz, hard rock, reggae, folk, and pop into his music. He is truly a talented musician and singer-songwriter. And my Lenny favorites… “Are You Gonna Go My Way” and “Let Love Rule”
Maxwell – Because he is a musical genius and has been credited as an originator of the neo-soul movement (1990s). My Maxwell favorites are every song he’s ever written, especially “Fortunate” and “Ascension - Don’t Ever Wonder.”
Across Acuity Brands, we honor the diversity of thought, heritage, and orientation — respecting and celebrating what makes us each unique. Learn more about our #BlackHistoryMonth events and initiatives by following us on social media @AcuityBrands