Genelec Inc.'s Managing Director Lisa Kaufmann
Hi, I'm Lisa Kaufmann, and I'm the Managing Director of Genelec Inc., Genelec's U.S. subsidiary.
I co-founded Genelec Inc. in Natick, Massachusetts (MA), in 1995 along with my husband Will Eggleston. I had known the late Ilpo Martikainen – who co-founded Genelec Oy in Finland in 1978 – through my previous position as International Sales Manager for Lexicon, the signal processing company based in Waltham, MA. That job had me traveling internationally, and I crossed paths with Ilpo frequently. He approached both Will and I at AES Paris in 1995, first to discuss establishing a Genelec position to service customers in the Americas, but the idea grew and developed into starting a full subsidiary in the U.S. Genelec Inc. began with a pen and paper at our dining room table and grew from there.
Being part of the Genelec family means carrying on Ilpo’s legacy, and I treat that as a very important directive. When I was still at Lexicon, I had a personal fascination with tracking the growth of the Genelec brand, as the company first established itself with broadcasters in the Nordic countries and expanded from there. Ilpo was an industry mentor to me and so many other people. He would always find time to touch base and talk about the international market, and even discuss his philosophy of business and life. He cared deeply about people and about making a difference.
I remember Ilpo summarizing Genelec with a simple sentence: “At Genelec, we simply design monitors that speak the truth of the recording.” This company is about truth! What a beautiful concept. Expanding on that a bit, Genelec means integrity to me. Integrity in product quality, integrity in the company philosophy, and integrity in fostering a productive and supporting working environment for our team. Another thing he said to me was “Companies are made of people, and you can never forget that.” When we first visited Genelec Oy’s headquarters in Iisalmi, Finland, it was clear just what a special organization it was. Ilpo knew every employee by name, and probably knew their kids’ names too. He treated everyone with respect, and they gave it back to him in kind. So, his way of working influenced how I structured Genelec Inc. I may be Managing Director, but I am part of the team. Together, we win as a team, and I try to never forget that. This ethos also applies to how we approach our reps, dealers and customers.
Lisa and Ilpo.
One thing that I love about my job is how it is so varied – no two days are exactly the same. I might be in the warehouse shipping boxes, talking to new customers about spec’ing a system, or tending to the day-to-day operations of the company, marketing, services, you name it. Ultimately, I would say my number one responsibility is to make sure customers are happy. And sometimes the industry throws us a curveball, which has a direct effect on my job. For instance, we experienced a significant surge in sales during the pandemic, as audio professionals were suddenly forced to work from home and wanted to upgrade their setups to reach top industry standards. Meeting the increased demand took some doing in terms of logistics and overall management of the team, but that was a challenge I was happy to tackle.
Developing the Genelec Inc. U.S. headquarters in Natick, Massachusetts, has represented a series of accomplishments. Genelec Oy has consistently followed a path of sustainable development and environmental responsibility, and it has made low energy consumption and long product lifespan central to its design philosophy. So, we chose to follow the example set by Ilpo and go green! In the past few years, we have installed a large array of solar panels on our complex’s roof, which help to power the facility. And because of the amount of energy those panels produce, the facility is mostly off the grid. Even more recently, we opened our new Experience Center, which serves as a mix room, a theater, a video production studio and a research and test center for new software and other Genelec products. There, visitors can experience the full range of Genelec professional audio products in configurations from stereo through to immersive 9.1.6.
Juho Martikainen and Lisa at the NAMM Show.
Even though the industry has changed significantly since I first began my career in pro audio, it’s still surprising to some people to encounter a woman working in pro audio, especially at the executive level. I actually relish those moments. I love when I’ve answered the phone, and the caller says “I want to talk to somebody technical", "I have a question about which product to use, or how to mount this, or what have you”, and I say “I can help you”, and quite honestly, a lot of them are shocked that there's a woman who is able to field their question. And in many ways, I believe that being a woman in pro audio has been an asset to me. I think back to my days at Lexicon, when I was traveling in South America or to Italy, and it was even more male-dominated back then. When it came down to negotiations and developing plans, I could sometimes tell that people were caught off guard, and that was always fun and gave me an advantage.
Aside from my work at Genelec, I'm passionate about animal welfare. I co-founded a nonprofit in 2003, which you can find at alldogrescue.org. We're an organization that takes in homeless dogs. We work with the MSPCA, other animal welfare orgs and animal control officers, and we take dogs that are homeless and put them into foster homes, while providing veterinary care. And through this work, I had an appointed position by the governor of Massachusetts on the Mass Board of Veterinary Medicine. Over 75 foster dogs have passed through my home.
When I look back on my time in the industry, and especially my time with Genelec Inc., I feel very fortunate to have forged strong relationships with so many people of character. The U.S. market is very important to Genelec Oy, and I feel blessed that our parent company has placed their trust in me and the whole team here at Genelec Inc. And at the end of the day, I know we have not only made a difference for them, but for our dealers and end-users alike.
Greetings from a colleague:
I have known and worked with Lisa for more years than we would like to admit, from before our time at Genelec. Lisa is a demanding person with high standards in her work – straight to the point. We were very fortunate that we had her when we formed Genelec Inc., which lived its first months in her own dining room. Lisa is as devoted to her work as she is to her dogs and the voluntary dog rescue operation she runs in her spare time.
Your Colleague, Lars-Olof Janflod