February: “You Either Lead by Example or You Don’t Lead At All”

This month’s theme for the day was “You Either Lead By Example or You Don’t Lead At All”, focusing on goals of learning about local businesses, the Kenosha business climate and skills on leading the process of change. 

 We spent the day at Uline – a perfect setting for learning about local businesses and Kenosha’s economy in general, considering so many companies (like Uline) are establishing headquarters, warehouses and more in Kenosha County. Our first speaker was Tom Jaszka, VP of Finance for Uline. He provided us with an overview of Uline and it’s growth over the years, which was then followed by a tour of their beautiful office space. 

 Following that was a panel discussion on Business and Economic Development in Kenosha County, featuring Todd Battle (KABA), Randy Hernandez (Kenall), Jean Moran (LMI Packaging Solutions), Melissa Thompson (Uline) and Doug Bartz (Kenosha County Job Center). The panel discussion covered the changing economy of Kenosha, including the growing strength of the local economy, and the increasing diversity in opportunities. Kenosha County is no longer home to multiple plants and factories, but the County is now home to so many other businesses, with more and more moving into Wisconsin as time goes by. They pointed out that Wisconsin is extremely business-friendly and welcomes new business owners – this is a key factor in the growth of our local economy. Not to mention the booming arts community, the obvious lakefront advance and our close proximity to both Milwaukee and Chicago.

 We ate a delicious lunch with Jim Kreuser, County Executive, where we learned more about Kenosha County and where it’s headed from a business perspective. One of the many points covered was that the County needs to be able to change as times change and as the economy changes. 

 The rest of the afternoon was spent with Esther Letven, who talked to us about change and how to manage and get through change in your life. We did some hands-on activities that required us to take a look at how we respond to change and compare our responses or thoughts when it comes to change. Are you a leader of the pack, guiding forward towards change, or do you evaluate and wait to see how it all plays out before really moving forward or accepting the change? Overall, the class agreed that this helped us not only to deal with our staff and coworkers in times of change or transition, but also helped realize for ourselves what we need to do ourselves as leaders in times of change. 

 The final piece of our day included a discussion and a hand-on activity presented by our Leadership Kenosha classmates, Tom, Amanda and Jennifer. Their presentation was on “Leading by Example” and demonstrated that to be a good leader, you need to be supportive with your team and help guide them to success.

 This month’s class was a good one, teaching us all that to be good leaders we need to show the way, and also be willing and able to deal with change as it comes our way!

– Colleen Myers, Kenosha News