Industry execs inspire ‘thought-ful’ leadership
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Posted by: Barbara Francella
than 100 NEW members learned strategies for being more effective leaders at the
NEW Western Michigan learning event, Oct. 14, 2014 at Frederik Meijer Gardens
& Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids.
director of digital experience at SpartanNash; Karmelita Middlemiss, vice
president of business intelligence at Acosta Sales & Marketing; Randy
Stewart, group vice president of merchandising at Meijer; and Betsy Wollney,
customer vice president for Meijer at Kraft Food shared their insights on
becoming "thought leaders.” NEW Western Michigan Programming Co-Chair Linh
Peters of Spartan Nash led the discussion.
a thought leader is something we can all strive for and achieve regardless of
our level," Peters said.
"A thought leader is always striving to
learn more and invests the time to ask, ‘What is possible?’" Middlemiss
The panelists reminded attendees that giving
and receiving feedback is critical for career development. "As thought
leaders, we should utilize feedback to improve ourselves or a process," Stewart
"Ask for honest feedback and use the feedback to keep growing and
learning," agreed Wollney, who also recommended limiting feedback to three
points per request.
Eizans shared tips for leading in the face of adversity. "When challenging
a status quo, it's helpful to find champions that support your message,"
he said. Effective leaders, he added, leverage data to support bold ideas.
Still, career development doesn't require a track record of continuous success.
"Give yourself permission to fail once in a while," Stewart said.
"That's where you will grow the most."
Organizations sending large
groups to the event include Acosta Sales & Marketing, Kellogg Company,
Kraft Foods Inc. and SpartanNash.
Ashleigh Gage of ConAgra Foods Inc., Jessica Bachand of Kellogg
Company, Jennifer Worst of Faygo Beverages and Rae Ann Elliott of
Hormel Foods networked at the NEW Western Michigan event.