STORY Q&A – Leader2Leader

Define leadership.
Learning from others. Guiding others. Mentoring others. Listening to others.

Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader?
My grandma, Martha Parfet. She is a modest, quiet leader, and she has made a tremendous impact in the community and continues to so every day in a caring way.

What excites you most about the future of Southwest Michigan?
The growth and the development that’s occurring here. I think it’s really becoming a place for young professionals to establish a family and to create a life.

What are the most important decisions you make as a leader of your organization?
I think the most important decision I make every day is reminding myself that what I do matters to others and who I am matters to me. How I choose to be a lawyer every day is important to my clients, how they’re represented, how their matters are handled. Every day, I have to make a choice, so who I choose to be that day I is what’s most important to the success of this firm and to my own career.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
I believe every leader should possess truth.

What is one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
Rushing to get a result before thinking it all through.

What do you do for fun?
In the summertime, I wake surf and play on the lake. In the wintertime, I ski. All year round, I run and exercise.

What’s your “go-to” spot to eat lunch in Southwest Michigan?
Irving’s Market. It’s a great lunch to pick up and have back at my computer.

If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
Working with people, helping them improve their own lives, and learning from them as they do it.

If you could go to dinner with three people who would they be?
Michelle Obama. Eileen Wilson Oyelaran. Tim Terrentine.

What are three things that you cannot travel on business without?
My cell phone, my iPad or computer, and my notepad.

Briefcase or backpack?

Who would you most like to meet and why?
I would like to meet with the Supreme Court Justices to better understand how they think on a personal level.

How do you get your most creative ideas?
Listening and learning from others.

What inspires you?
Kindness, truth, and integrity.

What are your daily routines that keep you developing as a leader?
Serving on a lot of boards, being mentored by a lot of wonderful individuals in the community, and mentoring others in this community.

What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
I think the biggest challenge is negotiation through listening. I think leaders really want what they want. They have a hard time understanding and listening to others. Because of that, it’s hard to come to a common ground that would be better for everyone.

What is your favorite leadership book?
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. But, the last book that I read wasThe Commentaries by Maurice Nicoll. It is a book on personal growth and how you can develop as a person.

What’s the App on your phone that you can’t live without?

How do you maintain your and your team’s daily motivation?
Communication. Talking with them, checking in with them, and making sure we’re on the same page or at least trying to get on the same page.

What are you doing to ensure your continued growth as a leader?
I continue to read on it, continue to go to seminars on it, and continue to listen and learn from others.

What is your “Life Quote?”
Remember who I am and who I want to be. Set goals and desires based on that.


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