A Born Entrepreneur Atop LSW Strategic Communications

A Born Entrepreneur Atop LSW Strategic Communications
Lucy Speed Whiteside (Lucy Speed Whiteside)

Lucy Speed Whiteside says she comes from quite a family of entrepreneurs, and that’s what they call an understatement.

Her father, Breck Speed of Little Rock, founded Clear Mountain Spring Water and later was chairman and CEO of Mountain Valley Spring Co.

Her granddad, the late Breck Speed of Fort Smith, was a founder and Chairman of USA Truck after years of work with his entrepreneur father-in-law, Robert A. Young Jr. of Fort Smith.

Young, Lucy Whiteside’s great-grandfather, was founder and CEO of Arkansas Best Freight and one of the first inductees at the University of Arkansas’ Arkansas Business Hall of Fame.

We won’t even detour into the Speeds of Louisville, Whiteside’s forebears who underwrote the Speed Art Museum, “the oldest, largest and foremost art museum of art in Kentucky,” as Wikipedia put it.

“It was always a dream of mine to start my own firm,” Whiteside said in a recent interview on her career news and her well-known business family. “At the New Year, I decided to take the leap. My father always told me the best boss to work for is yourself.”

She christened the firm LSW Strategic Communications, using her initials, and set up shop remotely while looking for office space near the State Capitol. For now, it’s a one-woman operation, but Whiteside will ally with strategic partners for their specialties in specific projects.

“Going back to my great-grandfather, my family has been involved in ABF, and then with my grandfather USA Truck, then my dad with Clear Mountain, Mountain Valley, and now hemp oil, so it has been entrepreneurial for many, many years,” Whiteside said.

A Little Rock Central High graduate who took her University of Virginia honors degree to Washington for a post in Sen. Mark Pryor’s office, Whiteside was soon the senator’s press secretary.

In 2015, after Pryor’s election loss to Tom Cotton, she moved back to Little Rock with her husband, attorney Quinten Whiteside, and learned agency work at the Peacock Group, becoming an account executive. There, she found a mentor in former Bill Clinton and Al Gore aide Denver Peacock, the firm’s principal.

“I went from representing one voice to many, learning to juggle accounts,” Whiteside said. “I really loved it, learned a ton, and with Denver’s help became capable of doing all aspects of client management. So, with that dream of starting my own firm, that was the impetus behind LSW Strategic Communications.”

Her firm will offer services in public relations, crisis communications, content marketing, social media and messaging support. The agency website is lswcommunications.com.

“I’m hoping for a diverse client base, and I have a few projects in the works right now in the private sector. The Peacock Group has a strong professional and client network, and through that I know a lot of folks. Plus, word of mouth has been extremely helpful. I do have the website shared on social media and LinkedIn. My mom is calling me saying her friends have a group text going to help the new business. That’s how the world works now.”

Quinten Whiteside met Lucy at UVA, where she majored in “nothing related to what I’m doing now,” psychology and Spanish. He is a North Little Rock native who got his law degree from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and is a newly minted partner at Wright Lindsey Jennings in Little Rock.

“I feel like I'm at the point in my career where I have the skill set, I have the relationships and I can do it,” Lucy Whiteside said. “The best thing about PR and media relations work is you don't necessarily need a lot of capital to get it off the ground. I'm investing in myself and I know that putting money into any small business means taking a risk. But I feel confident about the investment.”

More On This Story