What is leadership?
According to Merriam-Webster, leadership is “a person as a leader of a group, organization, etc.” as well as “the time when a person holds the position of leader” and “the power or ability to lead other people.”
What does it take to become not just a leader, but an effective leader? Mid-States Concrete Industries own Craig Hurda, Preconstruction, has spent the past nine months enrolled in the Leadership Development Academy of Rock County (LDA) to explore the answer to just that.
The LDA is comprised of individuals, businesses and organizations interested in positively impacting their communities by providing a personal and professional empowerment experience for aspiring leaders, according to the organization’s website. Sessions explore the Rock County community and promote leadership skills using tours, guest speakers, mock sessions, case studies, role-playing, multimedia presentations and more. Each participant also works within a small group to produce a collaborative project that addresses a specific community need.
For Craig, the LDA helped broaden his horizons toward leadership and management, as well as engage in professional networking. Throughout the academy, Craig gained confidence and skills in making connections with someone in a short amount of time, or as he referred to it “finding a five-year relationship from a five-minute conversation.” He also learned valuable lessons on how to identify a person’s personality traits, which, in turn, will assist in making for the best communication and interaction possible.
Perhaps most importantly, Craig learned not to put so much focus or energy on negative events, but rather to put those events into perspective. Going forward, he now has more tools to focus positively on the end goal and what he can do to get there, rather than letting a negative event distract him.
Craig’s LDA group project also expanded his experience in marketing, as the group focused on marketing and branding for the Milton Area Youth Center (MAYC), a faith-based, nonprofit organization which provides a safe, supervised environment to youth in seventh through ninth grades from Milton and the surrounding areas. In desperate need of a more strategic marketing plan, Craig’s LDA group created a new logo, redesigned and expanded the MAYC website, designed business cards, T-shirts, volunteer cards and donation cards and even created an annual brainstorming planner for the organization, among other tasks.
As a parent himself, once he visited MAYC, it really hit Craig how many kids not just use MAYC, but need MAYC. He said it was good to see the kids in the area have a place to go when their parents or other guardians might not be available.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The group was also able to secure a Girls’ Night Out fundraiser for MAYC from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Tues., Sept. 13 at Fermenting Cellars Winery, 2004 W. Manogue Road, Janesville. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.