Laurie Aronson — Lipsey’s

Laurie Lipsey Aronson grew up in the sporting goods business.

“We had four destination retail stores in Louisiana,” she shared. “During the holidays, I would wrap gifts. In the summer, I would work behind the knife counter, which was also where the cash register was.”

Aronson went to Emory University and worked in Atlanta for several years before she moved back to Baton Rouge to work in the family business as the credit manager. By then, Lipsey’s had gone through an evolution from retail to a combined retail and wholesale company, and finally to a wholesale firearms-only business. After serving as credit manager for six years Aronson became COO, and in 2002 she assumed the role of company president.

As she spent time in the company, Aronson realized she needed to align herself with people who were her age and who were up-and-coming in the industry.

“It didn’t really matter whether they were male or female,” she said. “It was about people being my age.”

While the industry has long been seen as one “behind the times,” in many ways, Aronson sees the upcoming cadre of younger executives recognize the value of both technology and data — and it’s creating a savvier, 21st century approach to business.