Portage County Farmers Market


By Portage County Business Council

Sometimes leadership feels like a “jargony” overused word, yet we all know it is extremely critical to the success of an individual, employee, business and community. In the Portage County Business Council’s mission, vision and values, we list leadership as one of the six key values of how we operate. Hopefully, we express our leadership by taking the initiative for positive, proactive opportunities.
We have specific opportunities for both employees and businesses to engage in leadership. Leadership Portage County (LPC) and our young professional group, Ignite, both focus on developing leaders in our community. We have countless other programs with leadership as a key or underlying value.

Leadership is a key element in talent attraction and retention. The next generation of workers need to have leadership skills, whether they are the CEO or on the front line of customer service. You will soon be hearing about a program The John Maxwell Company will be offering through PCBC, titled “5 Levels of Leadership”. Through an application process, we were chosen as a site for them to share more about what leadership means.

Some of their “key talking points” include:
•“Why finding and developing emerging leaders matter
•The effects of creating a leadership culture
•The importance of leadership beyond a title
•How developing strong relationships leads to higher productivity
•How the 5 Levels impacts the individual, the team, and the organization.”

PCBC works in the community to model leadership. On a recent visit to a prospective member, the conversation centered on an IT issue that the company was having. With our knowledge of and partnership with CWITA (Central Wisconsin Information Technology Alliance), we were able to connect the business with one of the CWITA leaders. That connection isn’t necessarily a tangible benefit of membership, however partnerships is another value and providing the leadership to make connections helps our community grow.

The Ignite advisory board and Ignite members understand leadership opportunities by partnering with other young professional groups throughout the state, under the leadership of NEWaukee. Our new chair, Eric Dolski, Sentry Insurance, attended a YP workshop recently and brought back opportunities to help grow our efforts. Specifically, programming for YP Week the end of April was a key component of that workshop. Stay tuned for more on that, as well.

The companies who provide the opportunity for employees to participate in LPC understand how developing leaders through this program benefits them through talent retention. Engaged employees become long-term employees. And younger professionals want to be engaged in the community, in spite of what we might read in the media.

Leaders come from all walks of life in a business. Leadership has many forms. Committing intentional (not random) acts of kindness are a simple form of leadership. PCBC conducting a community-wide housing roundtable is another form. Our executive roundtables are yet another. We all should strive to be leaders in our own way. When others see that, they will want to become part of it and our community will continue to grow and innovate.