“You either lead by example or you don’t lead at all” 

With picturesque décor and neat and tidy spaces, Uline welcomed our Leadership Kenosha team to their beautiful corporate building. Matt Thomas, the Cash Applications Manager, gave us a warm welcome and prefaced our day with a further understanding of Uline’s operations and company model. Touring the corporate building gave us a closer look into their facilities and amenities for employees. Uline is certainly a leader in its industry of distribution and customer service, so it made total sense to have them host our group on this day.

To further understand the underlying theme of the day, our colleagues Natasha, Teresa, and Vicky did a great job recapping the chapter of this month’s reading. We also learned about mentimeter, a helpful online tool that can generate group input via questions and tabulating the responses in bar graphs for comparison. A takeaway for me from this session included a reflection of my experiences in leadership and how that has helped me become the leader I am today. With that in mind, we transitioned to our panel with various representatives who elaborated on the theme of leadership and also referenced the economic aspect of our county. 

Panelists for this session included: Lou Molitor as the moderator, Doug Bartz, Randy Hernandez, Tom Jaska, and Heather Wessling Grosz. Some of the interesting stats that were shared included a more in depth look at what the labor force of our city looks like. With a 1.5 billion increase in business over the last years, Kenosha is proving to be a stable growing city. 11k-12k Jobs have been created and contribute to the low unemployment rate that our city faces. This statistic is surely a motivator and reason why so many companies are looking to set up shop in our town. The panelists encouraged us as town leaders to see the value in staying in Kenosha and invest in its growth. This was also something that our very own County Executive Jim Kreuser emphasized during lunch. With his interest in investing in the parks of Kenosha, anyone can enjoy the simple pleasures of taking a scenic walk through the trails and lakesides of our town. This helps anyone in our town see value in conservation and added quality of life to our city. I do believe that as leaders we should push for the wellbeing of those we lead and it’s evident that our County Executive understands this. 

The afternoon certainly kept us engaged with Tedi Winnett’s presentation on Generations in the Workplace. It surely added great discussion and self-reflection of the generation that we fall into, but more importantly, how understanding our generation and others can be used to build rather than to deconstruct collaboration in a workplace setting. 

As the afternoon took over and the theme of the day was setting in, we were hit with a boulder of reflection triggered by Juliani Bayan and his activity on inclusion. His group activity and the dynamics at play alluded to the importance of tolerance and self-reflection and the power we possess to listen and empathize with those in our communities. “Inclusion is about humanity,” said Juliani and I couldn’t agree with him more. I believe as leaders and members of our community, it is our civic duty to look out for one another and assume all the responsibilities that come with leadership. One must exhibit the qualities and characteristics of true leadership to reassure those that follow that we can be trusted.  Leadership may come naturally to some, and for others it may be placed upon us without consent, but one thing is for sure, you must lead by example or you don’t lead at all. 

— Gia Gutierrez

Photo courtesy Joe Potente

Leadership Kenosha — February 2019