Natalie Lesikar – 20 Under 40

Smocked Auctions
37 | University of Missouri – Columbia

Between helping grow Smocked Auctions, which offers smocked and monogrammed children’s clothing, and her nonprofit work, Natalie Lesikar stays busy. 

Lesikar joined Smocked Auctions as chief merchandising officer in 2019 after a 10-plus-year career with Neiman Marcus, where she worked her way up from an assistant buyer to a contemporary trend/activewear buyer. 

“I got promoted to my dream buying job at Neiman Marcus when my oldest daughter was just 6 weeks old. I interviewed for the position every week from the time she was 10 days old until I got the job. … I went back to work at 11 weeks and was on a plane to LA for market,” Lesikar said. “I traveled 16 weeks out of the year back and forth to NYC, LA, Paris, Florence, and Milan, and once our youngest, Ashley, was born 21 months later, I made the difficult decision to retire. … Then, just a few months later, I came out of retirement and started working at Smocked Auctions with my sister (Nicole Brewer) and her business partner (Amy Laws) in January of 2019. That was four years ago, and I’ve never looked back.”

Outside of work, she’s president of the Armstrong Bradfield Preschool Association and helped the organization raise a record $175,000 for Armstrong and Bradfield Elementary schools at the annual home tour in 2022, and served as underwriting co-chair for Cattle Baron’s Ball, the largest single-night fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, which raised $4.1 million in 2022. Additionally, she was involved with Junior League of Dallas in various leadership positions for 14 years. She also volunteers with the Women’s Auxiliary for Children’s Health, the Birthday Party Project, and other organizations.

“My professional work life is busy, and my personal volunteer life is even busier, and there is still so much opportunity in both aspects. That’s what drives me – knowing how much opportunity there still is and knowing that I still haven’t scratched the surface,” Lesikar said. 

What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?

My first job was being a camp counselor at Camp Longhorn. I was a camper for nine years and then a counselor for two. …You learn a lot when you’re at camp for three weeks without your family and air conditioning. I learned how to be independent, how to be a leader, take care of a cabin of 12 girls, all while having fun, gaining confidence, and forming lifelong friendships.

Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?

My family. If you know me, you know my family is close-knit. My parents are my rock, and I wouldn’t survive without my sister, her kiddos, my husband, and my girls. I got my dad’s work ethic and my mom’s love of volunteering. Our parents raised us to work hard and help those around you. I’d like to think that’s what my sister and I do every day, and I hope I’m teaching my girls the same.

What would you tell an 18-year-old you?

To relax and enjoy the ride at every twist and turn. Keep your head held high, be kind, and know that things usually work out for the right reason, even if it wasn’t your initial reason!

Fun fact that someone wouldn’t know about you?

I love karaoke and have a long list of songs (like “Move This” by Technotronic!) I like to sing to saved in a Notes section in my phone. You’d be surprised how many times my friends and I have pulled it out to choose a song to sing along to!

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, former deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order.

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