Who Are You?

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If I asked you who you are, how would you respond? Most likely, you’d reply with your name and job title, right?

Now, why is that? I didn’t ask you what you DO, I asked you who you ARE. Turns out, a lot of us define ourselves by what we do – turning our day jobs into our identities. Now, don’t get me wrong, your job takes up 40+ of your 168 hours each week so it is a huge part of your life. But why has it become the ultimate identifier for us?

During 2018, I had the incredible opportunity to take part in the FLY (Future Leaders of YMC) program. I could say a lot about the experience and everything it taught me about leadership, the industry, my coworkers and myself. I could write blogs upon blogs about the personal breakthroughs that I made during my time as a FLY participant, but I’ll focus on just one today – my identity.

I learned that being a leader is more than the job title stamped on your name plate.
A higher location in the chain of command does not equate to improved leadership skills, and a change in status does not magically make you a leader. Your actions do. How you motivate your team, how you converse with your coworkers, how you delegate and communicate with your people and how you inspire success in those around you define your leadership skills.

Your identity as a leader should never be contingent on your list of responsibilities or how many commas are in your paycheck. Being a leader is so much more than that. It is taking personal responsibility for your team, helping them to be as successful as possible and pushing them to achieve results they wouldn’t have been able to achieve on their own.

I learned that not all leaders possess the same skills.
Not all leaders are intensely dominant personalities who give inspirational speeches and lead with an iron will. Becoming a better leader doesn’t mean that you change who you are, it means you sharpen your strengths and apply them in a way that benefits those around you. Sure, there are some universal traits that all leaders should possess, but trying to become a carbon copy of America’s “ideal” leader will lead to more stress than success.

Use your strengths, improve on your weakness and never lose sight of how your unique abilities add value to the organization and help those in your charge.

I learned that self-improvement is not selfish.
Taking intentional time for you and working on improving yourself as a leader doesn’t mean you’re neglecting your team or your other tasks. In fact, it is infinitely more beneficial to your team to have a leader who is self-aware and grounded because he or she spends a little extra time a week developing themselves than to have a leader who neglects personal development in exchange for the completion of a few extra tasks.

If you’re focused on becoming a great leader to help your team succeed, everything else will fall into place.

Lastly, I learned that leadership development is never done.
My time in the FLY program might have come to a close, but my personal leadership development process is just beginning. As I continue to grow into my new role here at YMC as the Lead Digital and Social Director, I recognize that my identity as a leader is infinitely more important than my title. I’m so excited to keep learning, to keep discovering, and to keep leading my team!

Let's Get Started!

Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
 
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
 
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Living life by his motto to “Do good even if the world is unfair,” Dexter would also advise his younger self, “It’s hard, but you’re doing good!” Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche

Copywriter

Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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