The HP’s Women Leaders

by Jim McConoughey, Heartland Partnership

Being a high-profile woman leader is not an easy role to fill, especially when you consider that women are often held to different expectations than their male counterparts.

Women are expected to be compassionate, but if they are too compassionate, they are sometimes considered soft. They are expected to be tough, but if they are too tough, they are sometimes called pushy. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a great group of women in my office who are incredible leaders and influential in their own rights. Many of them are better communicators, better influencers and better at leading groups than men in similar positions.

Time magazine recently reported that there is growing evidence that the female management style, while it may vary from male styles, is essential. The study suggests that women manage more cautiously than men, and they focus on the long term. It also shows that men thrive on risk, especially when surrounded by other men, and indicates the female leadership style is more stable.

I want to introduce you to a few of the influential female leaders from my office.

Roberta Parks is president of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, the region’s largest business trade organization, with more than 1,300 members. Roberta is charged with making sure the business community has a voice. With over 10,000 businesses in the region, it takes focus and experience to make sure those voices are collectively heard.

Terry Best is vice president of membership services for the Chamber. Terry has a unique ability to make members feel like they are part of the business community, and that the services of the Chamber are running smoothly and accessible to its members. She is able to bring the membership together and get results.

Vickie Clark is president of the Economic Development Council for Central Illinois. Economic development is a team sport and requires collaboration for it to work. She works with city and county governments, as well as private-sector businesses, and has the ability to keep everyone on the same page, working toward the same goals. Vickie acts as a mentor, coach and problem solver as she works tirelessly to bring the necessary components together so this region will continue to grow and prosper.

Linda Krendick is the director of the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at The Heartland Partnership. She works with businesses seeking to compete successfully in federal, state and local government contracting. Linda has to comfort these business owners while also guiding them, making sure they are moving in the right direction.

There are many, many more women of influence and leadership in this office. This region is fortunate to have a significant number of highly regarded and very talented female leaders. This group is an amazing resource for the business community that isn’t necessarily utilized to its fullest potential. iBi

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