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GWCCA’s women leaders share insights on leadership

posted: Oct. 12, 2018

Leadercast Women 2018, featuring an all-female slate of inspirational speakers including former President George W. Bush’s daughters Barbara Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, is creating a buzz of positivity on the Georgia World Congress Authority (GWCCA) campus today.

Hosted at the Georgia World Congress Center’s Sidney Marcus Auditorium, several GWCCA team members are among the attendees at Leadercast Women, taking advantage of the opportunity to improve their leadership skills. This inspiring event, the sister to Leadercast Live, inspired unConventional to seek leadership insights from some women leaders within the GWCCA’s ranks.


J
ennifer LeMaster, GWCCA Chief Administrative Officer.

Q: What does leadership mean to you, or how do you define leadership?
A: Vision, motivation, and influence.

Q: How would you describe your leadership style?
A: I prefer to be a coach or a player-coach. I like to be hands-on, participative, and engaged in the process to achieve something better with a team.

Q: What is the most important characteristic that every leader should possess?
A: Communication skills – they are the love language of leadership.

Q: Who is someone that you think practices great leadership?
A: It would be hard to pick one person. I study traits from a lot of people. Oprah Winfrey, Justin Trudeau, John McCain, LeBron James, Angela Merkel, Pat Summit, Greg Popvich – I could go on and on…

Q: What are some strategies that can help women achieve more prominent roles in their organizations?
A: Read as much as you can. Reading (not just learning) is a keystone habit of all successful people. Don’t focus on hierarchy or the organizational chart, focus on results. Don’t undermine your contributions because of (perceived) position. If you have a smart idea, speak up! Identify a mentor and take the initiative to establish a relationship with them.

Q: What advice would you give an employee going into a leadership position for the first time?
A: Find someone to sponsor. If you have just achieved a leadership role then someone likely sponsored your seat. You need to be doing that for others. Developing other leaders creates cycles of positive change and ultimately makes you more valuable to the organization.


Janet Arsenault, GWCCA Senior Director of Finance. 

Q: What does leadership mean to you, or how do you define leadership?
A: Leadership means removing barriers or helping my team to overcome them in order for them to be successful in their work and career.

Q: How would you describe your leadership style?
A: Supportive and open.

Q: What is the most important characteristic that every leader should possess?
A: Confidence.

Q: Who is someone that you think practices great leadership?
A: Gov. Nathan Deal.

Q: What are some strategies that can help women achieve more prominent roles in their organizations?
A: Listen, learn, work hard and be confident in your abilities.

Q: What advice would you give an employee going into a leadership position for the first time?
A: Listen to your team and provide support for their success.


Kelly Ross, GWCCA Event Services Manager.

Q: What does leadership mean to you, or how do you define leadership?
A: I am clear to state that a leader and manager are not mutually inclusive. These are two very different terms that describe two very different mindsets. For me, leadership is the ability to guide, coach and develop for the purpose of overall growth. It is not a form of emulation for those that we lead, but rather a tool used to help get someone to their next step, be it personally or professionally. A leader supports decisions and makes room for dialogue to achieve development, a manager will give the answer and simply “get it done” with nothing more than the mindset that it must be completed by any means necessary.

Q: How would you describe your leadership style?
A: I describe myself as the type of leader that encourages and teaches. I seek to lead by example and support the outcome as a method of development and growth.

Q: What is the most important characteristic that every leader should possess?
A: As a leader, you have to be in tune with the individual, not the job function. It is important that I know who you are, not just what you do. Therefore, when an opportunity presents itself , I can guide or coach the person based on who they are, and be able to approach the concern in a manner which lands and connects, then the outcome results in more than their professional development and growth, but personal development and growth as well. It then becomes life lessons that are applied, versus just an answer to solving the problem in the moment.

Q: Who is someone that you think practices great leadership?
A: At my last company, I met the person that I feel most epitomizes leadership in my opinion. Not only did she coach and guide me, develop me and allow me to grow in my role, she never allowed me to give up. Never. She always, and continues to this day, helps me understand the full picture and sees my potential, often times, beyond even what I can fathom. She is more than a great leader, she has become a career mentor and friend.

Q: What are some strategies that can help women achieve more prominent roles in their organizations?
A: Remain present and be assertive in the fact that there may be a perspective that isn’t being considered or hasn’t been validated that should be heard and legitimately considered. Operate with integrity and always be kind.

Q: What advice would you give an employee going into a leadership position for the first time?
A: Connect to the person, not the job function. Get to know them, recognize strengths and let them flourish. But also be prepared to coach to develop and mature any downfalls.


Sherrie Spinks, General Manager of the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center.

Q: What does leadership mean to you, or how do you define leadership?
A: Leadership means steering the ship.  Looking at the big picture and guiding the team to the goal.  It is walking the talk with the team.

Q: How would you describe your leadership style?
A: Collaborative…listening to all the input and making a decision.  Sometimes you have to step out in front and lead the team through change and other times you have to work side- by-side with them to show them the way.

Q: What is the most important characteristic that every leader should possess?
A: Honesty/integrity.

Q: Who is someone that you think practices great leadership?
A: Many single mothers….in order to survive they have to own their life and the lives of their children. They have to balance work, home, relationships, etc.  They have to know when to delegate, and when to ask for help.

Q: What are some strategies that can help women achieve more prominent roles in their organizations?
A: Honesty, hard work, speak up.

Q: What advice would you give an employee going into a leadership position for the first time?
A: Build relationships, set goals and hold people accountable, celebrate victories (even small ones), appreciate team, communicate/share goals, include team in process (but not all decisions).

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on Oct. 12, 2018

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