Broadening the definition of “leader” in a changing business climate: An aligned perspective

in a changing business climate: An aligned perspective

The Winona Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Winona program supports leadership growth of professionals across multiple industries. This four-month training program is focused on developing leadership skills such as: effective communication, relationship building, group dynamics, navigating change, and building confidence in the individual pursuit of personal and professional growth.

Among the Fall 2018 cohort of 31 professionals, was Winona State University Adult & Continuing Education Business Outreach Coordinator, Julie Kiehne. Kiehne shared, “For me, the Leadership Winona program reinforced the importance of leveraging personal strengths and leading through positive influence. This program embodies the notion that the measure of a great leader has less to do with one’s title, and more to do with leadership style and an understanding of how we impact others.”

This philosophy of developing employees and preparing them to lead regardless of title is one Kiehne knows well. Much of the customized corporate training that she helps deliver to the tri-state region through Winona State is designed to develop the skills and capacities of employees across multiple divisions so to increase retention, satisfaction and performance. Research has shown that in giving people at various levels of an organization the tools and empowerment to lead meaningful change, companies can more quickly and effectively shape an increasingly positive and productive workplace culture without much need for mandates or interventions.

With Kiehne’s profound understanding of leadership training and its potential impact on an entire organization, she – through her role at WSU – was even able to help identify and contract one of the session facilitators for the fall Leadership Winona cohort. She was thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with the Winona Area Chamber to help meet a training need for a program she, herself, was thoroughly enjoying and benefiting from.

Winona Area Chamber President, Della Schmidt, commented, “Over the years, the Chamber has provided 393 classes and more than 1,375 Leadership graduates. Our Leadership alums have gone on to lead businesses, volunteer with local non-profits, and serve in elected positions. Leadership Winona creates decision makers, change-agents and difference-makers.”

The Winona Area Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit, 500+ member supported business organization that has represented the Winona business community for more than 100 years. The mission of the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce is to provide value to its members through business advocacy, training, economic development and the support of tourism.