By Nicholette Carlson
WARSAW — After years in the field of human resources, Audrey Russell recently took on an unusual role at Wildman. When she was interviewing for her previous role as director of human resources seven years ago, her boss, Josh Wildman, asked if she had ever read the book “Dream Manager” by Matthew Kelly.
Today Russell is the director of dream management, which she describes as “really just helping employees become the best versions of themselves.”
In this new role she invites employees to dream with her and work toward fulfilling both their personal and work-related goals. As adults, she believes life tends to get in the way and we forget how to dream. After completing the dream management certification program, she is now better equipped to help reteach people not only how to dream, but how to work toward making their dreams a reality.
Once Russell had to step out of her own comfort zone and relinquish her HR duties, she set a goal of getting 75 dreamers by September 2021. By December 2020, she had already surpassed her goal by having 78. Her dreamers have a wide variety of goals, including becoming debt free, working on physical or mental health and strengthening their family. Some want to travel more, finish a degree, buy a home, learn to fly or even just increase their confidence levels. When working toward a dream, Russell stated, the most important thing is to be intentional with how you are spending your time.
Dreaming is a year-long program with Russell and she meets with each individual weekly, biweekly or monthly as needed. She starts by having each individual list 100 dreams. “Sometimes even finding time to dream is difficult,” she admitted. But her goal is “to get them to dream and hold them accountable to what they say they want.” With locations also in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis and South Bend, Russell also travels to meet with each of the employee dreamers there as well.
In her own dream journal, she mentioned a few of her own personal dreams have included weight loss, buying riverfront property, reconnecting with family and friends, and even just smiling more. In order to keep track of her own progress, she regularly goes through and highlights the dreams on her list she’s accomplished. “I know I’m not the same person that started this a year ago,” she stressed.
Despite being an introvert by nature, this job makes her want to be around people. Another of Russell’s goals was to invest more in people, which her new dream manager role has certainly helped her to do.
Although dreaming is technically her job, she also makes a point of listening more intently to her family in order to help them make their dreams a reality. She has discovered that, when dreamers connect with one another, it is easier to work together and support one another in completing those goals and dreams.
The ultimate goal of dreaming is to create a good and satisfying work/life balance. The happier one is with their personal life, the happier they will be in their career. And vice versa. Russell considers her current role as her most rewarding job yet.
“Even the smallest things I do can make a difference for people,” she remarked.