February President’s Message – The Next Generation of Leaders

One of the questions a Forum moderator may ask during a Forum prep session is: “What keeps you up at night?”

Other than a late dinner, this is the one thing that keeps me up at night: How am I ever going to get all the right people on the bus at Nuance as our aging workforce nears retirement? Our average employee has spent 20+ years working here. Most of those loyal, long term employees will be retiring in the next 5-10 years!  Almost every management position will turn over in that time. YIKES!

Before I break out the Ambien, I want to share some experiences over the past weeks that give me hope for the next generation. I believe they will help launch us forward and get me some much-needed REM.

My first shared experience was a tragedy that offered a silver lining. On December 27th, 2016 Nuance lost our Senior R&D/Technical Director, Mike Endres, to a heart attack at the age of 62. He had 40+ years formulating and managing projects and people. His last hire was an up-and-coming Chemist and Formulator named Tim Schuett. He had only been at Nuance six months when tragedy struck. I was worried we may lose him now that his mentor was taken so suddenly.

My partners and I made the decision to hold off hiring a new technical director for at least six months so we could assess how the R&D team functioned with one less teammate. During that time, we saw Tim step up to the plate and seize an opportunity to lead.  He took initiative—participated in classes on project management, ISO management, and most importantly engaged with the other six members of the team in a positive manner. It made the decision to promote from within an easy one, and I know Mike Endres is smiling down on his team!  Tim is a great example of an emerging leader that made the most of a difficult situation. One down, many more to go.

My last shared experience comes from right here at CFBC. Two weeks ago, I attended the Programming & Emerging Leaders brainstorming meeting downtown at Catalyst Ranch (cool, hip place). The best part was seeing Liz (CFBC’s Assistant Director) plan, run and guide the team through our next year of programming! With great assistance from Kerra (CFBC’s Marketing Coordinator) and Diana (CFBC’s Membership Development Intern) we moved right along, made decisions and finished ahead of schedule.

These “next gen” leaders give me hope that both CFBC and my company can reach new heights.

Can’t finish without a plug for upcoming events!

  • Breakfast Club: Preventing and Addressing Harassment – Tuesday, Feb. 13th
  • Score Small Business Forum – Tuesday, Feb. 20th
  • Breakfast Club: Lean Manufacturing -  Wednesday, Feb. 28th
  • Community in Forum – Wednesday, Feb. 28th
  • Leadership Application Course - Starts Friday, March 2nd

Evolve by getting involved!


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