"Lisa Sigler: A Cigar Industry Maven"
Raised by a hardworking mother who toiled as a professional cook in the hotel industry, Lisa's upbringing was shaped by the tenacity and dedication of her role model.
"Lisa Sigler: A Cigar Industry Maven"
In the heart of Arlington, Virginia, where the Potomac River flows gently nearby, Lisa Sigler's story began. Raised by a hardworking mother who toiled as a professional cook in the hotel industry, Lisa's upbringing was shaped by the tenacity and dedication of her role model. Her mother's unwavering commitment to her craft became a wellspring of inspiration for Lisa, fueling her own determination to succeed.
Away from her demanding career, Lisa finds solace in the tranquility of water – whether it's a day at her swimming pool, a visit to a beach, or the serene allure of farmer's markets. Her connection to water is more than just a preference; it's her Zen, a calming force amidst life's tumultuous currents.
The Early Years and Office Career
After graduating from high school, Lisa embarked on a unique journey, choosing to work full-time while pursuing a part-time education at a local community college. Her career began in her early twenties at Chubb Group of Insurance in Washington, D.C., where she performed clerical work in the Department of Financial Institutions, providing support to department managers and underwriters. Two years passed at Chubb, but Lisa's story was just beginning to unfold.
Opportunities came knocking in the form of referrals from acquaintances, setting her on a path to build an impressive resume. She transitioned to a multi-practice law firm in the nation's capital, starting as an administrative assistant and eventually ascending to the role of office manager. However, her journey was about to take an unexpected and exciting turn.
A Fortuitous Encounter with the Cigar Industry
At the law firm, Lisa's life intertwined with that of a client named William C. Paley, an Estate Planning enthusiast. Lisa was entrusted with the task of assisting and managing his office. Little did she know that this encounter would serve as her gateway into the captivating world of premium cigars.
As Lisa's collaboration with Bill Paley continued over the years, he made a significant decision that would change her life forever. Inspired by his family's legacy, Bill decided to resurrect his grandfather's cigar brand, La Palina. Lisa was entrusted with pivotal responsibilities, offering her a front-row seat to the inner workings of the cigar manufacturing industry. She played a crucial role in business development, office management, operational oversight, and financial management, gradually becoming deeply entrenched in the cigar world.
Independent Cigar Sales and Beyond
Lisa's passion for the cigar industry only grew stronger. She embarked on a journey of independent cigar sales in the Washington, D.C. area, representing boutique cigar brands. This role allowed her to build invaluable relationships with retailers and expand the presence of these brands in the fiercely competitive market. For six years, Lisa thrived in this challenging terrain, where success depended on persistence and the ability to foster trust and respect.
But Lisa's story doesn't stop there. In 2023, she embraced a new role as the Director of Membership Development and Industry Relations at The Premium Cigar Association in Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. This opportunity marked a significant milestone in her career, providing a unique perspective on the advocacy side of the cigar industry.
Challenges and Triumphs
Lisa Sigler's path has been far from smooth, with challenges aplenty. One recurring obstacle was selling new boutique cigar brands to retailers, an endeavor often overshadowed by well-established industry giants. However, Lisa's resilience taught her a vital lesson: "No" today doesn't necessarily mean "no" forever. Some retailers needed time to warm up to these emerging brands, sometimes taking a year or two before granting their approval. Lisa's unwavering determination paid off, and once she secured a spot on the shelf, she understood that it was not just about selling cigars but building enduring partnerships.
Values That Drive Success
In the cigar world, Lisa Sigler is known for embodying certain core values. Hard work is at the forefront, driven by her relentless dedication to the industry. She's always on the hustle, forging connections and fostering brand growth within retail stores. Honesty and trustworthiness are non-negotiable principles for Lisa. She believes in maintaining a reputation that people can rely on, building relationships grounded in integrity and dependability. Her strong work ethic is the cornerstone of her success, a testament to her commitment to excellence.
A Message to Various Stakeholders
To the cigar magazines, Lisa offers sage advice drawn from Anna Wintour's master class: Let data inform but not dictate your direction. As leaders, they should forge their own path, creating original content with meaning. Believing in their instincts and executing their vision with conviction is the key to success. Trusting the team and being open to diverse perspectives can lead to groundbreaking outcomes.
For cigar lounge and shop owners, Lisa encourages introspection and adaptability. Periodically reassessing their businesses and making necessary changes can elevate the customer experience. She also recommends joining the Premium Cigar Association, an organization dedicated to advancing the industry.
To the big cigar companies, Lisa underscores the importance of building strong teams and avoiding micromanagement. Trusting the team's potential and investing in their growth can pave the way for enduring success.
For boutique cigar companies, brand awareness is paramount. Lisa advises utilizing multiple marketing channels such as magazines, social media, podcasts, and more to enhance brand visibility. Retailers often gauge a brand's commitment to growth and awareness before considering them for their shelves.
To the aficionados and aficionadas, Lisa emphasizes the sense of community that cigars create. In an industry that was once predominantly male, she applauds the evolving culture and encourages seasoned enthusiasts to welcome newcomers, offering guidance and support to foster friendships.
Lisa reserves special appreciation for The Premium Cigar Association and the SOTL Global Movement. She acknowledges the tireless efforts of these organizations in advancing the industry and promoting advocacy. Her admiration for their missions is profound, a testament to the unity and progress they bring to the world of premium cigars.
Lisa Sigler's journey from an office manager in Washington, D.C. to a prominent figure in the cigar industry is a testament to her dedication, resilience, and unwavering commitment. Her story serves as an inspiration to all who dare to follow their passions and embrace unexpected opportunities. As she marks her one-year anniversary with The Premium Cigar Association, it's evident that her indomitable spirit and love for the cigar community will continue to drive positive change and growth in the industry. Lisa Sigler didn't choose the cigar industry; the industry chose her, and it's all the richer for it.