Written by: Julie Couret. Julie is a charter member of the Mystic Krewe of Nyx. She is a leadership team development coach and CEO of her company, 7602coach.com.
In the off season of Carnival, I sat down with Mystic Krewe of Nyx Founder and Captain Julie Lea. With a krewe of over 3,300 women founded only seven years ago, I was eager to hear the correlation between Julie’s role in creating from nothing New Orleans’ supreme all female super krewe.
Me: Julie, you’ve been an organizational leader in your career. What is the primary similarity between leading a carnival krewe and a workplace team?
Julie L: I think leading a parade is the same as leading a team in the workplace because in both situations you need people to buy into the organizations missions and goals. In the workplace employees are paid a salary to carry out those goals and missions.
In a parade it is different because the members of the organization pay to have fun and are there because they want to be. They are there for entertainment and enjoyment away from their jobs and other responsibilities.
Me: That is an interesting point, these women choose to be a part of Nyx. Julie, you mentioned “buy in” as a key piece in the organization, whether that woman is sitting in a cubicle or standing on a float. Tell me more.
Julie L: Leading people is really the same no matter what the title or specific job. You have make people feel valued and a part of what you are trying to accomplish. As Krewe Captain I have to clearly let my members know my expectations so we put our best foot forward to the community in our parade and other events throughout the year. In turn, I listen to them and adjust plans at times based on suggestions and ideas to improve the way we do things. Most people are extremely proud to belong to a group or organization. I always strive to build on that pride to make us the best we can be.
Me: As a Nyx member myself, I personally understand that feeling of pride to be representing this krewe and at the same time, being a part of something bigger than me. And you provided this opportunity for me and several other thousand women. And we know the path wasn’t paved when you went to create this krewe. That has got to feel good!
Julie L: The legacy I hope to leave in the pages of Mardi Gras history is that I was a leader who saw an opportunity to bring women together. That I didn’t take no for an answer and created an amazing Sisterhood. I also hope I’m remembered as a leader who pushed the envelope. My wish is that the Krewe of Nyx will remain a source of joy and happiness for women and the community of New Orleans long after I am gone.