Money Talks is a new weekly Q&A with CEOs, managers and employees across the Quad-Cities, to discuss the challenges and rewards of leading in the local business industry.
How did your career path lead you to owning your own company?
While enjoying my time at Midland Press, I received clarity about my life purpose, which is to nurture and inspire others to reach for the stars. That led me to create a vision to start my own business where I focus on working with people.
When did you realize this was a viable career choice?
As said above, I realized this when I clearly saw my life purpose. And yes, I KNEW that I would need to leave my position and start my own business at some point. When the owner of Midland Press asked me to buy into the company and eventually take over 100 percent ownership of his company, one of the difficult conversations I had with him was to let him know that I was actually going to be leaving Midland at some point and starting my own business.
What are some of the most important decisions you make as a business leader?
One of the most important things for me as the business leader is to create a culture in our company, Integrity Integrated, where our marketing staff, Shari and Amy, are engaged and love their jobs. At this point, they clearly are in that point. That is why in 2015 they nominated Integrity as one of the Coolest Places to Work and we received that award from the Corridor Business Journal. That same year Integrity Integrated was also chosen to receive the Community Impact Award by the Quad City Chamber of Commerce.
Are there common traits that you look for in leaders within your business?
At Integrity Integrated we play to strengths of our employees. It is very important to me that all of us understand what are strengths are and how those work for us as a team. I also want my leaders to have a great work/life balance and be engaged in their positions. I encourage all leaders to know what your passion and purpose is for your life and tap into that as much as possible.
What successes have you had since you launched the business?
We have expanded our organization from the Quad-Cities to include programs in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines. We work with organizations across Iowa and into Illinois by creating customized leadership development programs on topics that meet their needs. I attribute this success to the wonderful work of my marketing staff as Shari and Amy continue to stay connected with our current clients, as well as, they reach out to other clients. We make sure to stay connected with all of our past clients too. “Creating, Building and Connecting” leaders is more than just our tag line it is what we do day in and out!
Lead with your heart. Know the keys for creating a culture where employees feel engaged to work at the business. I often spend lots of time talking about these keys in our leadership sessions, as well as during coaching sessions, as this is an area that is I feel that many business leaders still struggle.
What do you see for the future of Integrity Integrated and your own career?
We will continue to do the work we are currently doing as we celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2019! Stay tuned for more information on the celebration in May. In addition to owning and operating Integrity Integrated, I will continue my work as a lecturer for the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business MBA program in the PMBA and Exec MBA programs, including teaching in Italy and Hong Kong.
What else would you like people to know about Integrity Integrated?
We believe strongly in the power of community and encourage the leaders we work with and our employees to volunteer their leadership skills to organizations that they are passionate about. I believe that everyone is capable of being a better leader. Improving the skills you need to succeed as a leader is far easier when you have the objective guidance of someone you can trust. Our aim is to help others discover your authentic leadership style.