WARSAW — A group formed as a networking tool for the area’s newest workplace decision-makers hosted a forum on Thursday night, Oct. 25, on leadership. The event, called YAP Talk, was hosted by Young Adult Professionals, an organization affiliated with the Kosciusko Area Chamber of Commerce and was held in Tourmaline in Warsaw. It was the organization’s inaugural event.
Moderated by Allyn Decker, Ivy Tech Community College’s vice chancellor, the event featured presentations by Drew Flamm, Grace College’s vice president of development; Susie Light, CEO of Kosciusko County Community Foundation; and Vince Turner, vice president and regional manager for Mutual Bank.
“The speakers will kind of pull out some of their best practices and life lessons and try to engage the group in some conversation,” said Decker, prior to the start of the event.
“We are very excited to welcome new folks to YAP and feature some of our wonderful community leaders as they share their wisdom,” said Kelsi Griffith, a member of the steering committee that planned the event. Griffith acknowledged that it was no accident for Light to be part of the event, with Griffith formerly working for the foundation CEO. “You have to have Susie Light at the table when you’re talking about leadership and philanthropy,” she said.
“It’s important for networking purposes,” Light said of the event. “It’s important for the young folks who are on a career path to get together. It’s so exciting.”
For Flamm, leadership is an evolutionary process.
“I’m not here from the perspective of ‘I’ve got it all figured out so let me share my life lessons with you,’” Flamm said. “I’m sharing as someone who is on the journey and still figuring things out.”
Flamm talked to the attendee about developing a leadership model and also being able to recognize personal weaknesses and strive to improve on those shortcomings.
Flamm’s theme seemed to bear similarities to the address given by Turner, who stressed humility as vital to good leadership.
“I know what I don’t know,” Turner said. “You have to be able to make yourself vulnerable. If you’re going to be a true leader, and a true collaborator, those are things that you’ve got to be able to demonstrate. For me personally, I’ve got to understand that there’s no such thing as a job description.”
Turner cautioned the audience of leaders and would-be leaders about the “that’s not my job” mindset and advised the attendees to be willing to admit their mistakes.
In addition, Turner said a good leader needs to be genuinely interested and supportive of the success of those he or she leads. “We have to be cheerleaders because we have to build people up,” he said.
For Light, the head of Kosciusko County’s storied philanthropic organization told the crowd that while scholars have attempted to categorize and label elements of leadership, there is still a great deal of intangibility involved.
“Defining leadership is a real tricky business because everybody thinks they’ve got, in their mind, what a leader is and there is no one definition,” Light said.
The three speakers each spoke for approximately 15 minutes and the event culminated in a panel discussion.