Kevin Crosley, Executive Director of the Herkimer ARC, started us off. He delivered an empowering message of how important it is to collaborate and think outside the box. He runs a non-profit organization but has found ways to partner with other non-profits, as well as for-profit businesses, to further the goals of his organization. He has been able to create networking, job, and fundraising opportunities through this approach.
In concert, our Leadership Lesson was all about fostering collaboration and strengthening others to act, through building a climate of trust.
We also heard from UC Men’s Hockey Coach Gary Heenan. We learned how important it is to believe in yourself and your idea, especially when you are building it from the ground up. Gary showed that you have to build the “brand of you”. Once people buy into that, see and feel your authenticity, they are more apt to be willing to listen to and support your ideas and goals. Once you have established yourself, you no longer have to start with selling you. You can jump into your concept more quickly. Never underestimate the power of connections. The smallest gesture can have a rippling effect, with a far larger reach than you initially thought.
Ryan Miller of the ThINCubator taught us about leveraging social media to gain support, and how quickly you can connect to pretty much anyone, anywhere in the world. The old “gatekeeper” structure is being broken down by social media. You can find yourself only 2-3 connections away from a CEO you may never have been able to access in the past.
The day was very inspiring for me. I was moved by the idea of putting yourself out there, and making yourself accessible for collaboration. You have to be willing to trust and extend your hand first, and then they will in turn begin to trust you when you exhibit integrity and consistency. Trust others and earn their trust in return. Know yourself. Stay true to yourself. Trust others. Invite others to share in a vision, and it will lead to success and support. All employees are the voice of their company. You are your biggest cheerleader. Get your story heard.
A smaller takeaway, but also important, was a brainstorming exercise on ways to motivate, thank, reward, and recognize people in ways other than just monetarily. We completed an exercise that challenged us to find ways to do this for under $25.
Children’s Museum Update:
We traveled to the Ithaca Community Garden for inspiration, and came back with some amazing ideas for the space we will be creating at the Children’s Museum. They designed interactive areas to feed the senses and promote imaginative free play. We’re now meeting with the Children’s Museum to present our creative thoughts on the space, and we’ll also be engaging with a local landscape architect regarding plan implementation and cost.
– Brenda Rogowski, Loan and Deposit Operations Manager, LMV Participant