Sasha Lalite is a visionary, serial entrepreneur, strategic innovator, author and positive change agent. She is the owner of Meta Viable Solutions, a Fractional COO & Business Consulting firm. As a Fractional Chief Operations Officer, she helps businesses run better by providing operational makeovers.
With over 20 years of expertise, she strategically transforms how people and organizations work by driving businesses forward during times of change, growth and transition.
She focuses on turnaround management, scalability and profitability for a wide range of businesses, including small and medium size companies, Fortune 500 corporations, global and non-profit organizations. With a skill for impactful business strategy and philanthropy, her passion is to empower and inspire individuals.
Lalite has a proven track record of large-scale full-cycle project management, process improvement and cross-functional team execution. She works one-on-one with CEOs and founders to help to unlock potential for positive development within their companies.
Her unique approach incorporates multi-disciplinary expertise in organizations. She is a dynamic and engaging thought leader, partner and mentor who helps guide businesses towards successful outcomes.
A graduate of Tufts University and New York University, she also holds globally-recognized certifications in Community Health, Project Management Professional (PMP) and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Process Certification. Adding to her robust portfolio she is also co-author of the internationally best-selling book Striking Business Gold and Founder/Head Designer of Sasha L Jewels.
Upbringing & Discovering Her Passion for Operations
Sasha Lalite: I grew up in New Jersey; my parents are from the Caribbean, and I am the first generation in this country. They came here as immigrants, with a dream to make it and succeeded in doing so. I am grateful they taught me the importance of having a good work ethic, respect and being loyal.
I grew up in a town where I was one of the few minority women, which in itself created challenges that I overcame. This experience taught me the importance of diversity. My parents also exposed me to traveling early in life and through this, I was able to see the beauty of cultural diversity. I was one year old and I was already traveling with them.
Being first generation and the first child you’re expected to excel academically. I attended Tufts University in Massachusetts, and I thought I was going to be a doctor. I studied Child Development and Community Health. Then I got my Master’s in Public Administration at NYU. While attending I was chosen as the sole NYU fellow scholar for my graduating class.
I fell in love with business during my graduate studies. I had been working in healthcare for about 20 years of my career before I started my own business and always had a passion for helping people. That’s really when I shifted towards that business focus.
Empowering others is integral in my work. In college, a lot of the work I did was in health care policy, primarily as a patient advocate. From the beginning of my career, I was empowering patients to speak up for themselves. I was working with underserved and targeted communities.
I then started working on the patient-provider side of healthcare. In the later part of my career, I worked in the manufacturing side of pharmaceuticals. As a professional in strategy and operations, I have to work with a lot of different experts who are key personnel within an organization. I must adapt to managing different personalities and handling very diverse experiences.
One of the main things I learned from my healthcare experience is behavioral change. Individual behavior impacts the whole––whether a business organization or the community. When you get individuals to positively change their behavior, their performance improves. Ultimately, this impacts the business or community to perform better.
You can apply these concepts to benefit the overall success of the company. The unique aspect about operations is that it touches every aspect of a company.
Transitioning Through Different Facets
Sasha Lalite: I was experiencing a lot of professional hardship due to poor leadership and a toxic work culture. I chose to use this personal experience to pivot. I used my business strengths to start my own company, Meta Viable Solutions—a Fractional COO and Consulting Firm which helps businesses address internal issues, find solutions, execute goals, and scale for sustainability.
I’m a Fractional Chief Operations Officer, also known as a Fractional COO. I always considered myself to be an entrepreneur at heart; through my company I have helped small to medium-sized businesses and larger corporations fix their strategy, operations and overall work culture. My strategy is to focus on increasing efficiency and effectiveness to optimize performance.
I have certifications in Project Management and Process Improvement. I know how to organize quickly, to take a big picture and break it down into tangible results. I’m often working with leaders or different teams who have many different ideas, but whether or not they actually execute them is what makes or breaks a company. I help companies align different individuals and specialties toward one goal that helps the company succeed, whether they’re in branding, marketing or legal departments.
The Fractional COO
Sasha Lalite: I think of my clients more as strategic partners because they have to be involved in the process. They have to be transparent and accountable for their work. A red flag is when a CEO refuses to take responsibility. Instead, they blame their staff, or have gone through many consultants but have not listened to any constructive criticism for change management. They want someone to say “yes” to everything. As a Fractional COO, I’m being brought on to provide truthful, practical recommendations and solutions so that the company can move in the right direction. As a leader of the company, the CEO has to be involved in that process.
My goal is to get people operating at their best. This includes leadership and teams. I love coming up with creative solutions that will work for the company. I don’t apply a blanket approach or model when I’m working on business solutions because I think that every company is unique.
Also, I help businesses get the right people in the door to help their company grow. Hiring the right people helps them operate more efficiently. I’ve had to completely makeover businesses; I’m hired for one problem, but then I’m addressing a lot of other issues. The solutions I offer can range from building a company’s infrastructure, training, creating and streamlining processes, or improving communications.
Jewelry Line: Sasha L Jewels Boutique
Sasha Lalite: I started Sasha L Jewels in 2011. It was my creative outlet when I was working in Corporate America. My jewelry line is inspired by a myriad of life’s offerings––spirituality, nature, travel, cultures, creative collaboration, self-expression and empowerment.
I wear what I feel and this concept carries over to my jewelry brand. I created a variety of jewelry collections so others could experience versatility. I’m a global traveler, so I’ve always been inspired by different cultures and the concept of using fashion and jewelry to embellish and make simple bold statements.
My mother is from Haiti and my father is from Grenada. I’m inspired by Caribbean culture, color and nature. As well as impacting communities and empowering others in wearing what they feel.
Striking Business Gold: Build Scale Profit for Success
Sasha Lalite: I met Melanie Cunningham, an attorney and the co-author of my book Striking Business Gold, at a New Jersey Summit for minority business owners. She and I ended up sitting at a table together. After talking we discovered that we both started our businesses after many years of experience working in corporate America.
We became friends, especially moreso during the pandemic, and we decided we wanted to put together a program or training for other entrepreneurs. The two of us have many similarities––we’re both black women and minority business owners. We also had gone through our bumps, pitfalls and challenges as entrepreneurs. She’s an attorney and also a woman of faith, as I am, so we include scriptures at the beginning of the book.
During the pandemic, we could not do on-site training with clients. Instead we decided to write a book that offers strategic, operational and legal advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and current business owners.
In our book Striking Business Gold, we share our expertise, from business plans to intellectual property. It’s a fun and interactive read with illustrations and worksheets. It’s very informative and helpful, yet still an easy read to the point where people who don’t even like to read are enjoying the book. We are getting great reviews.
Words of Wisdom
Sasha Lalite: I always believe that you should be passionate about whatever work you do.
Your work should entail applying your gifts, and influencing and impacting people in a positive way. That’s really what my work is about. I’m blessed to be able to impact others through different forms; whether it’s through operations, jewelry design or writing.
My personal quote is, “A visionary inspires more than just herself.” Life is about also inspiring others to do better.
Interview by Tricia Love Vargas
Presented by the L.A. STYLE Leaders Association