Q: What intangible of leadership is most difficult to convey or prepare for?
A: The most challenging leadership intangible is Emotional Intelligence in a world of digital communication.
I was sitting at a gala event last week with close colleagues and friends. My phone died (sigh), and thus I was forced to interact and converse solely in human form. But to my dismay, my colleagues were happily distracted with their devices and ongoing electronic and social media communications. I actually felt left-out and lonely, yet here I was less than 2 feet from them in the flesh.
Electronic digital media is not only an essential form of communication for a leader, in some cases, it is the only form. The challenge of leaders is twofold. First, how can we effectively articulate, manage, and express our thoughts, needs, desires, and demands through electronic channels? But also, how can we ensure that we are heard when the receiver is so desperately distracted?
Unfortunately, emojis aren’t enough.
Emotional intelligence in the future is going to require leaders to manage, sort, and apprehend emotions through digital cues and coding. Gone are the days that we rely on a puffy chest and clenched fist as cues someone is angry. Now we must translate responsiveness, diction, punctuation and hesitations. The opposite is also true. We are challenged as leaders to express our gratitude and appreciation of our teams, loved ones, and children in a genuine and authentic way….. via text.
The good news is we respond to electronic communication as the new norm. And depending on the sender, the can leave me feeling…. Well, emoji-heart-eyed.
Q: Are you a fan of a management books? If not, why not. If so, which have resonated with you and why?
A: Absolutely. I am an avid reader and cannot pass an airport bookstore without purchasing the latest and greatest. It does, however, take a lot to impress me. In fact, I can be quite the critic in regards to management books. I think what is missing is a call to action. Many times a book will tell a beautiful story… ok, now what?
But here are a few all-time favorites:
The 8Th Habit by Covey: One of the most powerful books about making a difference. Turn thoughts and knowledge into action. To know and not to do, is really not to know. It is in the doing that knowledge is internalized.
A Light in the Attic (or anything) by Silverstein: Not only do I love to read to my beefcakes (ages 2 and 5) but I love the complexity in his poetry. My favorite poem is Moon Catchin Net… and it really sums up my leadership journey. “Made me a moon-catchin net and I’m goin huntin tonight. I’ll run along swingin it over my head and grab for that big ball of light…”
Blink by Gladwell: The power of thinking, intuition, and emotional contagion.
Owning Your Own Shadow by Johnson: Psyche, life balance, discovering yourself through darkness. Not a management book, but delicious in its exploration of personal accountability and development.
Recent favorite, The Game by Strauss: There is nothing like learning about human dynamics from master pick up artists. Ha!
Q: Innovation: four syllables getting all the attention. Deservedly so? If so, can you really drive innovation? Or is it coming at the cost of implementation and delivery?
A: Innovation is in the eye of the beholder. I recently spent a weekend at Burning Man, renowned for its artistic liberation and bohemianism. Perfect place for bourgeoning innovative and expressive ideas to flourish. Although I enjoyed the self-expression and being unconnected to the digital, and um, lucid world…. I did observe the conformity in non-conformity. Long story short, the best innovations are usually freaky. And freaky doesn’t pay the bills. There are thousands of wrinkled shirted Harvard drop-outs that didn’t change the world with their social networking software. Not every freaky idea is a good idea. Innovation for the sake of innovating is a waste of time.
On the contrary, the banking system need not be a grumpy old man in its approach to evolution. We must in fact, transform. We must collaborate and cooperate… work together to change the world. Focus on results. Instead of seeing what my credit union can do (in its existing form) to make a difference… Start with the results. What difference do we want to make? Then, build an innovative institution that will create those results. Continuously. Collaboratively.
Q: If you could go back and talk to You On The First Day of Your Career, what advice do you share?
A: When I started in credit union land it wasn’t “cool” to be young. Although I finished my MBA with a hefty-sized chip on my shoulder, it didn’t last long. My elder cohorts kicked my @ss. I spoke when was spoken to. I carried the weight. I shoveled the poop. I attended every meeting. I volunteered at every turn. I said yes to every request. There were no networks that solicited my voice or paths that secured my involvement. I had to earn it. And, I am indebted for every tongue-lashing, cold-shoulder and slap in the face I got.
So, advice to young me?
Rock on. Work hard. Enjoy every moment. Listen to the universe. Keep traveling and learning. Celebrate accomplishments. Love unconditionally. Hug your friends and family extra tight. Let your creativity flow. Keep aiming up. Know that strength comes from scars. And, chill out.
Q: My Keeps-Me-Up-At-Night concern is? Why? And My-Let’s-Me-Sleep-At-Night optimism is?
A: I was at a league meeting recently with a youngish executive friend. I mentioned a certain infamous retired CEO would be joining us for dinner. He said, who? My jaw hit the ground. This notorious CEO won every industry award, was the epitome of the CU philosophy, and lives in the hearts of so many people. She retired like 5 years ago. And he said, who?
So my keep-me-up-at-night? The leadership transition. Will the next level executive have the maturity and experience to rock this industry? Will the industry be able to withstand a major transition?
Another example, there are a few CEOs in Nevada that recently retired that have incredibly strong relationships with our regulators and private insurance companies. What happens when they leave? Where does that history go?
It is going to be the challenge of this C-Suite virgin to be a catalyst to our industry momentum on all fronts. Not just innovative service channels and technology, but the regulatory environment, the financial asset liability management, the acquisition and consolidation front, and the real core philosophy that is our existence. People helping people.
I believe in fresh energy and insights that new leaders bring. I also can be exhausted by the immaturity of nouveau riche. There is power in the legacy of those transitioning. I hope I am able to siphon from this experience and absorb all that they have to offer.
And my let-me-sleep at night? Zzyquil.
Mitchell, Stankovic and Associates volunteer at AFAN's 29th Annual Black & White Party to Raise Funds for HIV/AIDS
Together we made a difference! On behalf of the Board of Trustees and staff of Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN), we thank you for volunteering at the 29th Annual Black & White Party held at the Hard Rock Hotel. Because of your volunteer support, we are able to say that we had a phenomenally successful Black & White Party. We raised $140,000 to support programs and services to people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. The evening was a huge success, as more than 3,000 guests filled The Joint and Muse Hall for an evening of gourmet food, chilling libations and amazing entertainment.
Each year AFAN continues to advance our mission of helping over 3,500 people living in Southern Nevada with HIV/AIDS. All of the proceeds from the Black & White Party support AFAN’s vitally important programs including Prevention Education, Case Management, Emergency Financial Assistance, Nutritional Counseling, Housing, and Transportation. All of our programs are structured to provide support and advocacy for the individuals and families we serve, while working to eliminate the fear, prejudice and stigma associated with the disease. Your generosity and compassion has an impact on our clients and our agency, which goes well beyond any monetary value.
Caring people, like you, have enabled AFAN to fight HIV/AIDS in our community for 31 years. Only with your involvement and support can we truly continue to make a difference. Should you want more information regarding ways in which you can support our agency, or should any questions arise, please feel free to contact us at 702-382-2326.
With sincere appreciation and gratitude,
Mitchell Stankovic and Associates,
Together we made a difference! On behalf of the Board of Trustees and staff of Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN), we thank you for volunteering at AIDS Walk Las Vegas 2015. More than 6,000 walkers participated in the 25th Annual AIDS Walk on April 19th at Town Square. We are delighted to report that we raised a total of over $400,000!
Your help as Volunteer Manager and Coordinator and all-around trouble shooter is invaluable, and we appreciate having you as a member of the team!
Your support will help our programs continue to improve the lives of over 3,500 men, women and children affected by, or infected with, HIV/AIDS. Our programs support people living with HIV/AIDS by helping them manage their lives, manage their disease—and give them a better chance of being integrated back into the community, back into the work place, back into lives with a future.
Caring people, like you, have enabled AFAN to fight HIV/AIDS in our community for 31 years. Only with your involvement and support can we truly continue to make a difference.
With our warmest regards,
Evan Walsh, Crystal Kovacs, Terry Guesman and Keith Wilcox
AFAN Development Team
Dr. Brandi was more than just professional in these presentations – she was a rock star. I have never seen anyone that can compete with her for the amount of energy and enthusiasm she brings to the presentation. She made you feel like you were having a conversation with her. (Even though the lines were muted and she was the only one speaking.) Her presentations as you can see from the slides that I sent over are very visual, and thus keep you engaged throughout. I attached a screen shot from the last webinar presentation where listeners described her as “very inspirational.” That really did sum it up.
On a behind-the-scenes level as the producer of these three webinars, she was a joy to work with. Always having her information and presentations ready well in advance. Being on time for practice sessions. And just the most pleasant person to interact with. As you can tell – I’m a big fan and wanted you to know how tremendous she was. We even had a glitch in our last presentation, where the slides froze up right before we were to start. We tried everything to make it work, but in the end had to switch to an alternate way to do the presentation – sharing my desktop. I thus forwarded her slides for her while she talked. Even with these hiccups – Brandi excelled.
If we ever have the chance to work with MSA and Brandi in the future – I wholeheartedly recommend we take that opportunity!
Micah J. Parker
CO-OP Financial Services
Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize winner and co-author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, joined us as this year at the Global Women's Leadership Network forum as the keynote speaker. The 5th annual Leadership Forum housed 115 leaders from across the globe to come together to discuss issues women face in professional roles all over the world.
Mitchell Stankovic and Associates is a founding sponsor and facilitator of the network. Mitchell also serves as the chairman of the network and plays in an integral role in the network worldwide.
The forum was fabulous!! The speaker was so interesting and engaging, the set up of the panel was a great idea, I loved it. The round table discussions were also informative, social and a great networking tool. How proud you must be that this network has grown 10 times the membership we started with. And Brandi is a lovely person, bright, warm, approachable, considerate, a great facilitator! - Laurie Benjamin, Board member of Melrose CU and Co-Leader of the NY/NJ Sister Society
Women Continue Steps to Building Management and Board Room Presence.
The Optimist Susan Mitchell
President/CEO Mitchell, Stankovic and Associates
Mitchell has spent over 25 years providing consulting services to corporate America, specializing in the financial services industry. She got her start as a system analyst in the computer industry and progressed to hold positions ranging from vice president of sales to senior vice president of research and development in Fortune 500 companies. She was instrumental in the implementation of SB7, the Redlining Community Reinvestment Act legislation and she facilitated the capitalization of de novo banks with the Comptroller of Banks for the State of California. She has consulted with Bank of America, Citicorp, and Chase.
Philosophy She Lives By: For me it’s about continuing to engage, being relevant, making a difference, being positive, authentic and working hard. Let your light shine. Be grateful every morning, live in the moment, be guided by and live true to your core values.
Cooperative marketing. Have you checked out “I am a credit union” at Mitchell, Stankovic and Associates? It’s
cooperative social marketing at its best.