January 2021 Session Recap

This post was written by LDA Class of 2020-21 Team Team Three–O–Five members Rick Saari, Town of Beloit; Mindy Koontz, City of Beloit; Steve McComb, ANGI Energy Systems; Kara Blue, Hedberg Public Library; and Benji Thompson, Janesville Police Department.

Janesville City Manager Mark Freitag talks about leadership
Janesville City Manager Mark Freitag talks about leadership

Learning about leadership styles

Our January LDA session focused on leadership and fundraising. Community Action graciously hosted us for the second time.

In the morning Janesville City Manager Mark Freitag discussed the question, what is leadership. Mark did a great job providing insight and thought-provoking ideas on leadership.

Mid-morning Mark moderated a Leadership Styles Panel with Dave Hiller from Amwood Homes, Bekki Kennedy from The Bodacious Shops, and Joe Rose from Town of Beloit. The panel did an excellent job explaining the principles of their leadership styles and answering questions from the class on how to enhance our leadership skills.

Jennifer Johns leads the fundraising panel discussion

Fundraising advice from the experts

After lunch Jennifer Johns (Mercy Health) moderated a Fundraising discussion with panelists Heidi Van Kirk (South Central Wisconsin Builders Association), Tara Tinder (Stateline Community Foundation), Jon Wangerin (Johnson Financial Group), Lisa Hurda (Blackhawk Technical College), and Jon Wong (BMO).

The panelists’ answers to Jennifer’s challenging questions revealed how diverse the field of fundraising can be. Three of the five panelists are currently paid to fundraise; the other two currently volunteer their time for charities and causes or represent the donor side of fundraising.

The panelists were not shy about mistakes made and lessons learned, which was helpful for LDA teams with little or no fundraising experience.

Team Three-0-Five
Team Three-0-Five

Practicing our project ‘pitch’

The session ended with a fundraising simulation. All the teams had to pitch their projects to the panelists.

The panel represented businesses of different sizes and people in the community with different backgrounds and beliefs. That challenged the teams to be creative in how they adapted their pitches for different donors.

Not having any experience in doing something like this, I felt out of my element and trying to push myself to stay focused on what we were their to do.

This simulation was eye opening as to what you need to know about the donors as well as how to pick projects when donors are needed to fund the success of the project. The panel gave a lot of great feedback.

Remember, it’s okay to fail. It’s about how you overcome that failure, that will define how successful you can become.