Flexibility. Opportunity. Investment.

These three words can unite all of us. We are flexible in our understanding that our experience is unlike any cohort before us. We have the power to see these challenges as obstacles, or to transform them into opportunities. We are here to invest in ourselves, to invest in each other, in our community and in our futures. We are the 2020-2021 Leadership Kenosha cohort.

Thursday, September 24 marked the first session of the ‘20-’21 Leadership Kenosha session. With the mask mandate still in place, we met outside for lunch at the Wyndham Garden Harborside Deck. The lake always makes for the best backdrops, doesn’t it? We dove right into learning more about the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce, our tentative program schedule and introducing ourselves with ice breakers, including which TV shows we are currently binging. When lunch concluded, we each headed our separate ways to where we would login virtually for the afternoon session.

Next, we attended the virtual Real Colors workshop led by Amy Greil and Paul Roback, University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension. Here, we learned more about the four temperaments: Gold, Green, Orange and Blue. These four colors represent varying personality types:

Gold: practical, organized, thorough, punctual
Green: research-oriented, logical, calm, analytical
Orange: spontaneous, independent, enthusiastic, competitive
Blue: sincere, sympathetic, compassionate, accepting

Understanding how we communicate and behave as individuals is an effective first step in leadership. Not only do you learn more about your own personal strengths and weaknesses, but you also make connections to how different people can best work together and support each other despite these known differences. At the end of the day, it is usually our differences that allow us to work well within a group.

The next day started with, of course, some technical difficulties. Afterwards, however, we moved right along into sharing our “Culture Collages”. These short and sweet, personal presentations served as stepping stones into learning more about each other’s passions and curiosities. We established some group alliance expectations, like accountability, participation and camaraderie and then broke off into our groups to determine team names. Some of us (I’m not naming any names … ) also established team objectives or team mascots.The competition hasn’t started, but it is on.

Lastly, we attended Building Trust Based Relationships I & II led by Matt Meuleners and Liz Poeschal, FOCUS Training. A key takeaway is the expectations of leadership: purposeful, collaborative, specific, accountable and flexible. Matt & Liz led us through an exercise where we acted as a marketing firm pitching a campaign idea to Bed, Bath & Beyond. Here, we saw these expectations come to life as we were thrown with unexpected challenges, a strict deadline and limited communication. Each team delivered a creative, successful campaign, which we all considered a great achievement!

Although our time with Leadership Kenosha is just beginning, we have already learned so much about ourselves and our teammates. We look forward to working more closely together as we explore our community and its endless possibilities.

—Marisa Markowski

Leadership Kenosha — September 2020