By: Matt Henton
Leadership is key in turning an ok company into a great company. Fortunately, there is a program out there to help train people into those leaders.
Leadership Springfield is a 14-week course of programs, with each program lasting half a day. Participants get to help different community organizations look at issues affecting Springfield, and talk to community leaders who help decide the future of Springfield and surrounding communities. Put on by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the whole program is designed to help local professionals gain skills that will help their organization and benefit Springfield as a whole.
INB sends a delegate every year. Natalie Dodson, a mortgage lender with INB, attended the program in 2016.
“I had gone to a different leadership conference, and so I was asked to go to this based on my leadership skills. Leadership Springfield really helped me learn teamwork. When I went there, I knew how to command a room and lead it, but it helped me learn to take a step back and let other people speak their voice and to work with those voices to make something.
While I was there, I really got hands on with non-for-profit volunteering. I got to meet a lot of people who are in charge of many different non for profits all across Springfield, forging new friendships and relationships for both me and the bank. I got to build a lot of other relationships, too. My team worked with Downtown Springfield Inc. to help build an interactive app that showcases downtown Springfield.
One thing you should know before you go in there is that you should try to get the most out of this experience. You shouldn’t go in with a bad attitude, because then you’ll get nothing out of it. You need to put in the work to have a good experience. The results are definitely worth it.”
Networking a Plus
Austin Graham, a universal banker and business solutions sales representative with us, attended Leadership Springfield in 2018. He says:
“My boss, Cayla Keyes, went a couple of years ago, and she suggested that I should go. She seemed like she really liked the experience, so I decided to take her up on it. I really wanted to take the chance to learn to hone my leadership skills and to get involved in the community, since I just recently moved to Illinois. Each session was focused on the question, “How does the leadership of this organization function, and what are the necessary characteristics that create an environment of success?” Through the program, I not only learned leadership techniques, but I also learned different networking techniques as well. I would network with other people in the community who were focused on bettering Springfield and the surrounding area.
Through Leadership Springfield, I could visit organizations around Springfield, with which I couldn’t before. The most impacting part of the experience, actually, was seeing the close tie in between the county jail and the inner workings of the local non-profits. Through my experiences with Leadership Springfield, I could really see the organizations that are leading Springfield into the future way more in depth. I can see how vital it is to have good leadership, and how that plays in the success of all of these organizations. Whether your role is large or small, it is still important to be a good leader, and that’s something that will stick with me forever.”