SARAH NEUBECKER: Leadership - it's a passion

Leadership.

It’s a word that brings to mind the great managers, professors, supervisors and family from my life now and in the past under whose leadership my follower skills flourished.

It also brings to mind classes I had as part of my minor in college. “Introduction to Leadership” and “Communications in Leadership” and “Applications of Leadership” all sought to teach students how to lead effectively.

So when asked to tag along with participants in the economic development day of the Osceola Leadership Summit last Thursday, I gladly accepted the challenge to explore the world of leadership once again.

The day was part of a nine-month summit program with one day-long session of learning each month facilitated by dynamic program director Al Weinberg. Area leaders came together over the past seven months to be participate in the program’s first year in Osceola County.

They visited the state capital to learn about government, participated in role-playing health care scenarios to learn about the local hospital, and did many other activities to expand their leadership skills and understand their county.

Last Thursday the group and I were visited by local entrepreneurs to hear their success stories.

From the creator of a company that aids Mary Kay consultants, to a representative of a company that sells composted cow manure, the group of entrepreneurs we heard from was extremely diverse.

The only thing these thriving businessmen and women all had in common was the motivation that led them to where they are today.

Each of their journeys began with a passion.

Matt Yeoman, owner of Yeoman Photography in Big Rapids, didn’t need a college degree to be successful. He started college classes at Ferris State University, but stopped to pursue his true calling in life — photography.

His passion for his work is so incredible, he compared it to an addiction.

“I love it. There’s absolutely nothing I’d rather do,” Yeoman said.

Brad Morgan began Morgan Composting in Evart with a few cows and some investors who shared his vision. Today Morgan runs a successful composting business and seeks out other entrepreneurs to invest money into.

Larry Trombley, owner of the Hersey Roller Mills store is proof that nothing can stop the pursuit of a determined entrepreneur. Trombley is retired and in his late 60s and opened his store almost a year ago.

“You’re never to old to start something new,” Trombley said.

Shannon Schmidt of Evart owns a business that creates materials that help Mary Kay consultants to do their job easier.

“See a need and fill it,” she said.

As the Osceola Leadership Summit participants and I listened to each of these business people, a sense of motivation rose up in each of us.

And that is what true leadership really is.

Having a passion and confidence in what you do and instilling that in others.

The Osceola Leadership Summit is now taking applications for the 2012-2013 class, which begins in September.

For more information on the Osceola Leadership Summit or to apply to the program visit .frontlinespecialists.com.