NEW Western Michigan learns to lead with influence
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Posted by: Barbara Francella
A trio of senior
industry executives coached more than 100 Network of Executive Women members on
building effective leadership styles at the NEW Western Michigan fall networking
event at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Sept. 13, 2013.
Kris Charles, vice
president, global communications and philanthropy at Kellogg Company.; Derek
Jones, executive vice president, retail operations for Spartan Stores; and
Liwanag Ojala, vice president, e-commerce at Meijer Inc. offered their insights
on influential leadership. The discussion was moderated by Diane Kniowski,
president and CEO of WOOD and WOTV.
View photo album on
Leadership style is
often evolutionary, shaped by maintaining openness to colleagues and seniors,
the industry veterans agreed. "I started to define my behavior by who I was
talking to in the room,” Kniowski shared.
Following the values of
an organization is essential to leadership. Charles emphasized having "the
courage to recognize and call out when the values are not being followed.”
Emerging leaders must
participate in defining their career path, despite a host of unknowns, Ojala
advised. "You have to take the risk, not knowing what is going to happen. Do
not leave your own development to chance.”
The panelists agreed
that having ― and holding on to ― a strong personal philosophy is a key element
of influential leadership. For Jones, that meant growing with responsibility.
"The times of biggest
growth were the times when I questioned if I could do it,” said Jones, adding
that "having humility and the hunger to learn” pushed him through his lack of
The learning and
networking event gave attendees new insights into their roles and career goals.
"I have been working in my role for over 30 years,” said Sally Rieger of
Altria, "and I was inspired by things today that will help me continue to be a
leader and be successful.”
Among the organizations
sending large delegations to the event were Acosta Sales & Marketing,
Altria, Kraft Foods Group Inc., Meijer Inc. and Spartan Stores.
Diane Kniowski of WOOD TV (left)
moderated a discussion about
influential leadership with panelists Liwanag Ojala of Meijer Inc., Kris
Charles of The Kellogg Company and Derek Jones of Spartan Stores.