Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nancy Spivey:
Vice President, Workforce and Education Solutions for the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

Nancy A. Spivey
Bio: Nancy A. Spivey serves as liaison between the education and business community and is dedicated to ensuring the continued success of the economy and the workers in Northern Kentucky and the Cincinnati region. The American Council of Chamber Executives (ACCE) designated Nancy as Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) in 2006. Less than 500 chamber executives have earned this designation the past 38 years. She has also earned the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management (IOM) designation. Her leadership roles include appointment to the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board and chair of its Access Committee, member, Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board, and member, Junior Achievement of Greater Cincinnati/OKI Partners. She is a native of Bright, Indiana, a resident of Erlanger, Kentucky, wife to husband Rob and mother to two young adults, Malachi and Morgan.

FCL: How would you define a leader?
Nancy: A leader is someone that others desire to emulate. A leader causes positive change and often takes steps that others might find impossible or unimaginable.

FCL: Who are your biggest influences as a leader?
Nancy: Doris Wedge, a woman who was a true leader when I worked for an Oklahoma Career Technical School. She was humble, giving, patient, and self-sacrificing, working for the betterment of the organization and for the people being served.

FCL: What gives you the greatest joy in being a leader?
Nancy: Knowing that a bit of what I’m accomplishing will leave a lasting impact on this community.

FCL: What is your biggest pet peeve as a leader?
Nancy: I have 3--individuals whose work is self-centered, those who carry a negative vibe and those who can’t see that what they do and don’t do impacts others.

FCL: What is your biggest challenge as a leader?
Nancy: The feeling that sometimes I am treading through swampy, moss-filled waters and no one is following behind.

FCL: Who has impacted you the most in your life as a leader?
Nancy: My children. Parenting is the ultimate test for a leader—the example you set is so critical.

FCL: What are your favorite books and what are you currently reading?
Nancy: Favorite books include Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Gilda Radner’s book It’s Always Something. I’m currently reading Strengths Finder.

FCL: What is your vision for business and community leadership in Cincinnati?
Nancy: I believe the “can do” leaders should be given the luxury of time and resources to gather together and develop a positive roadmap for taking this city where we know it can be. The “can’t or won’t do” leaders should allow positive change to happen.

FCL: Where do you see yourself five years from today?
Nancy: I will continue to play a part in leaving a positive mark on my community and on the public that I serve.

Closing remarks (from Herman): I was nodding my head and saying "Aha" as I thought about your biggest challenge being "the feeling that sometimes you are treading through swampy, moss-filled waters and no one is following behind". All leaders experience this feeling, particularly when they are trying to establish momentum, initiate change or create buy-in for an organization or group's vision. Someone once said that it's lonely at the top. I think the main challenge of a leader during seasons of loneliness is to avoid disengaging from the organization. In a 2002 survey by Starwood Hotels and Resorts of 401 executives who play golf, it was discovered that 10% had called in sick to play a round. The reason? They had arrived at that place of "treading through swampy, moss-filled waters and no one was following behind". Read the full article here - Bummed Execs. Well Nancy, thanks for taking time for the interview. We look forward to seeing you continue making a positive impact in our community and beyond it.