Grounded in quality, equality and pride, Kyser continues to celebrate its 40th anniversary by upholding the passion and perseverance of its founder, Milton Kyser. But with a great legacy comes a great future, and Kyser now looks eagerly to “the next 40 years” with enthusiasm, empowerment---and of course, a bold new leader, President/Owner Meredith McClung-Attebery. Since taking over the company in 2012, Milton’s great niece has grown Kyser above and beyond the city limits of Canton, Texas, but she still maintains those Texas roots through and through. In honor of the Meredith Signature Quick-Change Acoustic Capo, we sat down with the President herself for a spitfire round of questions on empowerment and professional growth.
How do you define "Kyser quality"?
“The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind.” No other capo can compare to a Kyser because it’s Made in Texas by the hands of the men and women who clock in and clock out everyday and give 100%.
What does great leadership look like to you? Who do you admire?
Great leadership is servant leadership. The willingness to get in the trenches with everyone to get the job done. If that means I need to wash the dishes or clean a toilet or run the handle mill- then I do it. Milton made me learn every machine in his shop before he would let me into the office and I am eternally grateful for that experience. I admire my parents. Two of the hardest-working people that I know. Their example of servant leadership is what I strive for on a daily basis. Who can I help today? Who needs a positive word or help finishing a project? My parents have always been the ones behind the scenes- working to make other people’s lives better and rarely ever received credit or thanks. (Mom cleaned houses- took care of kids and now packages capos- my dad is a retired firefighter and can fix just about anything.) I also admire anyone who has “beaten the odds.” People who fail and get back up and try again and again and again. People in rehab, trying to get straight. Single parents who are struggling to take care of their family. ANYONE who gets out there everyday because they want to make life better for those around them- those they love.
Favorite Kyser performance moment?
Wesley Pruitt Band and Kyser put together a concert to raise funds for the families in our community who lost everything in the 2016 tornados. The entire community came together and it ended up being highest grossing fundraiser for the victims in Van Zandt County. Our community is the only reason that I am not a total cynic.
How do you envision the next 40 years, for the company and the industry?
Kyser has a fantastic leadership team and everyone wants to see the company grow and expand. I see our products continuing to be made in Texas- by Texans. And I also see new products and brands coming into the Kyser family.
What advice would you give to our emerging woman leaders striving for success?
Be nice to the women around you. If you can mentor someone- then take the time to do it. We promote sisterhood all over social media but we suck at actually DOING IT. Take someone to coffee and get to know them. And listen to each other! We don’t take the time to listen to our sisters. That is half the battle!