Leadership By Example

Marsha Londe is the CEO of Tango Partners. Contact Marsha via email or phone, 404-846-1900.

Leadership: It’s one of those venerable qualities that’s hard to explain. Ask 10 people to define it, and you’ll get 10 different explanations. But one thing is true about leadership: you know it when you see it.

Janelle Nevins of Nevins Marketing Summit Group died earlier this year, a heart-breaking loss to her friends and to our industry. In her life and in her work, she embodied leadership, including being recognized for breaking through the industry’s glass ceiling. The funny thing is that Janelle didn’t know there was such a ceiling; she was just working, thinking, planning—and leading.

Whether professional or personal, Janelle believed in enjoyment of all things, from celebrating the moment to commemorating life’s big events. She relished our industry’s challenges and, even more, the solutions. She appreciated her clients, valued her staff and delivered her best every day.

To serve as a reminder and self-guide, Janelle kept a sticky note at her desk on which she wrote, “Communicate well, lead the way you want to be, and let focus and discipline be your middle names.” While Janelle did not originate those words, she definitely practiced them.

Leadership is being the example, performing as the person others wish to emulate. Whether with staff , clients, friends or family, here are some of Janelle’s leadership examples we can emulate:

  • Say thank you regularly, both in person and in writing.
  • Provide encouragement.
  • Be realistic in assessing, and be real with people.
  • Create the culture in which you want to perform.
  • Create the culture that encourages the best performance from others.
  • Remember birthdays.
  • Stay focused and prioritize to drive the business forward.
  • Make lists! They keep you focused.

And most of all, take time to enjoy the journey! Enjoy:

  • Our business; it’s fun!
  • The challenges, the solutions, even the “oops” times
  • The people, the relationships and the friendships we make
  • The interaction and the satisfaction
  • The opportunities in work and life
  • The moment

To celebrate the life of Janelle Nevins and honor the leadership she provided for our industry, Summit Group and The PeerNet Group are partnering with the Promotional Products Educational Foundation (PPEF) to establish a scholarship in her memory. If you’ve been inspired by Janelle or her story, contribute to the Janelle Nevins Scholarship Fund and help support the future generation of leadership for our industry.

And like Janelle, let others see the leader in you.