Meet Julie Milanowski
Julie Milanowski is the Director of Business Development for Davenport University. She has been with the university for 12 years starting in University Admissions. For the last eight years she has worked for IPEx , which is the University’s corporate education, training, coaching and consulting business.
Julie took the time out of her busy life to talk to us about Leadership.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership starts with self-leadership for me. You have to lead yourself first in a meaningful and responsible way before you can lead others. It is important to understanding what value you bring to the workplace as a leader. Once you understand this, you can begin to lead others. What I have learned from leading others is that you need to lead them the way that they want to be led not the way you want to be led. For me, that has been a hard concept to learn. Early in my career I just naturally assumed that people think the way I do, but in reality people have their own values, norms, beliefs that they are bringing to the table. You have to try and learn what those are, so that you can lead people effectively and have a positive impact.
Who has influenced your idea of leadership?
I have been extremely fortunate in my career to have so many strong leaders that have influenced me. Including former and current leaders, colleagues, and even my children. The best advice that I learned from a former mentor is that you can learn something valuable from anyone. You can learn how to do something right and you can learn how to do something wrong. Meaning that there is a lesson from all experiences that you encounter. You just have to reflect on those lessons and learn and grow from them. Another valuable lesson that I have learned from a leader is the old adage to pick your battles as you won’t win all of them. To me, that means to really think clearly about what you are passionate about and go for it with no apologies. Leave the other stuff behind and don’t worry about it as it will take care of itself. None of these lessons have come easily and I to this day work on applying them daily.
Why do we need more women in leadership roles? What unique qualities do women bring to the workplace?
We need more women in leadership roles to simply level the playing field and have a more fair and balanced workplace. I have seen it grow significantly over the span of my 35 year career and it is exciting to see it continue to grow.
Unique qualities that I have observed that women bring to the workplace are empathy and planning skills. Women can empathize with others in the workplace who may be struggling with career, family, obtaining higher education all at the same time. They can lend advice or coaching as they understand not only what others are going through, but also may be in the same situation. In addition, most women bring great planning skills to the workforce as they are usually planning events at work, home, or in volunteer organizations. Women are accustomed to juggling many tasks at one time and that is a very valuable skill to bring to the workplace.
How are you leading in your career or community?
Working for Davenport University I am leading in both my career and community simultaneously. I lead by helping organizations assist their employees with personal and professional growth whether they are going back to school to complete a degree, obtain a new degree or receive professional development training. Listening to stories from individuals who say that they could not have gotten a promotion without completing a degree or getting a certification is so rewarding. Just by helping one person, you are helping their family, their organizations, and the community as a whole. And there are countless stories out there like this one. This is what keeps me motivated and excited about the work that I do.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
The last thing that I would like to share is that this leadership journey is just that. It is a journey that I work on a daily basis and do not take for granted. I have been very fortunate to have had such great role models along the way, and to be in a career that I absolutely love. For those just starting on this leadership journey, put on your seatbelt and enjoy the ride. There may be bumps and bruises along the way, but it is worth every life lesson that you learn.
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