WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A GOOD LEADER?
A good leader is somebody who not only has a vision but can also paint that vision for others. How do you get everybody involved on your team in making that vision come to reality and how will you keep them motivated? How do you continue to inspire and motivate? Great leaders have the ability to do all of those things.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE?
I was an athlete my whole life, so I’m a huge believer in teams. I surround myself with talent, and I’m very purposeful in hiring different skills. I work hard to construct a group of diverse talents because I believe that the whole is bigger than the sum of the parts. When everybody brings something valuable to the table, we can accomplish great things.
WHAT IS AN ESSENTIAL QUALITY FOR A LEADER TO HAVE IN TODAY’S BUSINESS CLIMATE?
Today and forever it will always be honesty and integrity. You have nothing if you don’t have honesty. You can have every other quality, but people see right through you if you aren’t truthful. Virtue is the key to everything. Not just with leadership, but also in life.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST RISK YOU HAVE TAKEN THAT EVENTUALLY PAID OFF?
Before I started in this position, I had pretty much been in human resources my whole career. I just fell into it. I was approached and asked if I had any interest in becoming the director of relocation for Jaqua Realtors. I honestly went just to find out why they would go after somebody who has zero experience in real estate. But after hearing about Jaqua’s culture, I thought, “You have to take this job right now. This is you, Kay. This is everything you’ve always wanted.” I knew I needed to take that leap of faith. I have never looked back.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
My dad was my role model and mentor. He grew up in poverty, put himself through the University of Michigan to get his masters, and ended up as a captain under General Patton in World War II liberating concentration camps. He always taught us to respect everyone no matter what their level is in this world. He would say, “I am nothing without all the people in the office doing everything for me so that I can be successful.”
WHAT PERSONAL GOAL DO YOU HAVE AS A LEADER?
My personal goal is to leave a mark on people. When I think back to all the people who influenced my life, it was because of something they did to build my confidence. I was a shy little kid, believe it or not. My nickname was Silent Sam. I’m not that person at all anymore, but it’s because people believed in me. I want to pass that on and change the course of somebody else’s life.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?
I love the beach. In the summer I try to get over there as much as I can on weekends. I’ll even drive over after work to sit and watch the sunset. To me, the most relaxing thing in the world is to listen to those waves crash.
WHAT ARE YOUR INGREDIENTS FOR A PERFECT SUMMER DAY?
During the summer, I love to go down to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning. I will pick some stuff out to take with me and go to the beach to have a picnic with a group of friends.
IF THERE WERE A MOVIE MADE ABOUT YOU, WHICH ACTOR/ACTRESS WOULD PLAY YOU?
Definitely Sandra Bullock. She is always happy. She’s goofy. I think I am most like her character in Miss Congeniality. I love to think that I’m this person who is like a ballerina with grace, but in reality, I am this happy, funny, big klutz.
ON A BEAUTIFUL DAY, WHERE IS YOUR “GO-TO” PATIO SPOT TO EAT IN SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN?
It’s always been Martini’s. I love Martini’s. But, I live on the west side, and Latitude 42 recently opened in that area. They did a fantastic job with that restaurant. And I am looking forward to trying their patio.