Heather Barron- Class 17 & 25
Heather Barron is a Certified Yoga and Meditation Instructor. She says, “My life has always been in service work.” Her passion for literacy has taken her from helping open a library in Zambia to Director of the Bourbon Public Library and Director of the Plymouth Public Library. “My LMC experience allowed me to see a wider view of our county and understand how it all works together. It was wonderful to learn about local initiatives to tackle issues in our communities. For me, LMC was a connecting tool to potentially link people and projects together through knowledge and inspiration.”
Ted Brown- Class 27
Ted Brown was born and raised in Plymouth. A former City of Plymouth police officer, he is currently the Director of Safety and Security for the Plymouth Community Schools. Ted says, “the most valuable things for me in LMC were making new partnerships/friendships with other community members, and also learning about leadership styles and how to make them work together. I am always trying to learn ways to help me better understand others and how to work with them to achieve a goal. I am a better leader because LMC made us work together with different types of people and figure out ways, using our strengths and their strengths together to achieve a goal.”
Amber Cowell- Class 26
Amber Cowell, a lifelong resident of Culver, is the Park Superintendent for the Town of Culver and Executive Director of the Culver and Lake Maxinkuckee Visitor Center. Amber says, “the most valuable part of LMC was getting to know other leaders in Marshall County. We have a lot of projects and programs that a lot of people are investing in Marshall County, and we’re definitely taking this leap toward increasing collaboration. In LMC, I learned a lot about other people. But more importantly, I learned a lot about myself – How I operate and why I operate that way in communicating and working with other people.”
Jeremy Riffle- Class 15
Jeremy Riffle is the Superintendent of the Triton School Corporation after serving as the district’s Elementary School Principal for many years. He is also the Marshall County LLN chair, the 2nd Mile Mission Board Chair and was a member of the Leadership Marshall County Board from 2010-2012. Jeremy says, “The most valuable takeaway from my time in LMC were the connections and networking that took place each session. With me not being from the area, it helped me get to know the area, the people, and make connections on a deeper level. I am a better and more efficient leader because of being a part of LMC. Making connections early on in my career, expanding resources, and getting to know and understand the community has better equipped me to effectively lead those in my sphere of influence and has allowed our corporation and community to better care for the scholars we serve.”
Jake Singleton- Class 26
Jake Singleton is the new co-principal at Plymouth High School, after serving as assistant principal for three years at Lincoln Junior High School. Jake says, “LMC allowed me to see what else is going on in the community through networking. I learned a lot about other nonprofits that are out there and just what other people are doing in the community. With junior high principal, Reid Gault, we created the Lincoln Leads program and led five community service initiatives throughout the year for students and staff. LMC was the driving force behind that, figuring out a way that I could not only provide opportunities for our staff, but get our kids out into the community doing some things. Through LMC, I realized that a big part of being a leader is being self-reflective, and not only identifying strengths, but looking for ways to improve as a leader.”
Participants in every Leadership Class complete a Group Project that addresses a need in Marshall County. Most recent projects included creating a community-supported food shed, a DEI project to help employers with retention/recruitment efforts in the Latinx community, a mental health curriculum to connect youth with nature, and a project that improved walking traffic in downtown Plymouth. To learn more about each project click, “Learn More.”
LMC Plus is an enrichment program for LMC Alumni/ae and Marshall County Crossroads Leaders who want to continue to sharpen their leadership skills.
A variety of 2-hour interactive and outcome-based sessions are scheduled during the year to build and reinforce capacity in Marshall County community leaders. These classes are also a great opportunity to network with other leaders. This year’s offerings include:
Leader Self-Management: Effectively Using the Two Leadership Voices
Leaders are more effective by enhancing self-awareness and understanding their own strengths, blind spots, and styles. In the process, they learn how to manage their well-being so that they have the energy to respond skillfully to others using their automatic and reflective thinking voices.
Building Psychological Capital in Yourself, Others, and the Community.
Most Marshall County leaders are aware that they enhance the human capital, the knowledge skills, and abilities in others in the community. They are also managers of social capital, the networks of relationships among the others within the community. A third form of capital that can be tapped by leaders is psychological capital (PsyCap). The PsyCap qualities can be remembered by the acronym HERO: hope, efficacy (confidence), resilience, and optimism. These qualities are all measurable, can be enhanced through effort, and have demonstrable positive impacts on individual and organizational performance. Building PsyCap results in greater self-awareness, more positive attitudes, greater teamwork, and sustained healthy cultures.
Polarity Thinking in Marshall County
Many effective leaders already intuitively use polarities in their day-to-day interactions. They do not see things as all or nothing. Polarities are interdependent pairs of perspectives that need each other over time. Polarity thinking is both/and thinking, finding the right dynamic balance to fit the context. A more systemic and intentional approach to polarities can help leaders better leverage tensions that do not have single permanent answers because there is at least some right on both sides. Seeing an issue as a polarity gives groups a way to work toward integrative/collaborative solutions to conflicts, rather than leaving one or both sides dissatisfied. Common leadership polarities include: Direct and Empower; Accountability and Support, Stability and Change.
The Power of Narrative in Community Leadership
Stories help us sharpen our sense of the who, when, where, and why we lead. They can help us identify what motivates us. When we reflect on our own stories, we understand ourselves better. When we share them with others, stories create stronger connections. People are drawn to stories that convey meaning and purpose. Stories can ignite them to take action. Stories help people shape their perspectives, as well as pass down knowledge, values, and traditions that have shaped Marshall County culture over generations. By focusing on S-A-R-I – Situation, Action, Results, and Insight, leaders can empower and bring out the best in others. We can celebrate their higher moments and accomplishments, as well as coach them through challenging narratives.
Lead and Empower: Giving the Right Kind of Feedback at the Right Time to the Right Person for the Right Reason
Marshall County Leaders become more effective by learning when, where, and how to provide the right feedback to others. Trust, empathy, and mattering are the foundations to providing healthy feedback. Effective feedback, whether it is appreciation, skill-building/improvement, or evaluation, has the following qualities: 1) Specific so that the person understands what to do on not to do again; 2) Timed well; 3) Authentic and meaningful; 4) Understandable; and 5) Motivates desirable behavior. Knowing how people typically respond to different types of feedback helps us find the best ways to make feedback useful. We also need to be aware of triggers that prevent feedback from being heard. Also, all leaders have biases which can affect how we provide feedback to others.