FIRST & 42 is giving readers a front row seat to read the stories of leaders from the 2020 class of Leadership Kalamazoo in our FIRST & 42 Leader Spotlight. Learn more about these leaders’ “firsts’ in life as well as insights about leadership and their visions for our community in the coming years. It’s fearless leaders like these that are shaping the future of our community for generations to come. Featured today in the leader spotlight is Rachael Jennings, talent and culture manager at Miller-Davis Company. Rachael leads efforts in hiring, training, and development at Miller-Davis and uses her leadership superpower of giving feedback in a kind and honest way to help her excel in this role. To Rachael, leadership is “having the courage to do what is right and say what needs to be said.” Her parents shaped her leadership the most, as both were coaches in softball, track, football, and basketball. That influence, combined with how they interacted with and encouraged others, shines through in Rachael’s leadership today. Read on to learn more about Rachael.
First Things First
WHAT WOULD BE THE FIRST THING YOU DO IF YOU WON THE LOTTERY?
Take a family vacation! I have always loved traveling with my family, and it would be such fun to be able to go on a really special trip.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EVER OFFICIAL LEADERSHIP POSITION?
Executive Team Leader at Target—I managed various departments across the store and learned a lot about both managing a team and customer service.
WHAT IS THE FIRST APP YOU CHECK IN THE MORNING?
I love to check Amazon Photos and see pictures of our daughter from a year ago. Then I check the weather to see what the day will bring.
The Deep Dive
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN YOUR CURRENT POSITION? WHAT ARE YOUR DAY-TO-DAY RESPONSIBILITIES?
Almost three years. I work with a talented group of leaders and support them by leading our efforts in hiring, training, and development.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE LEADERSHIP?
Leadership is having the courage to do what is right and say what needs to be said. It takes a lot of courage to have difficult conversations with people, but at the end of the day, true leaders are honest with their teams and themselves. Leaders are leading the charge when something challenging or difficult happens, bringing their team alongside them to learn as well.
WHAT IS YOUR LEADERSHIP SUPERPOWER?
Giving feedback, both directly and indirectly, in a kind and honest way.
WHO HAS SHAPED YOUR LEADERSHIP THE MOST?
This is so cliché, but my parents. I watched them interact with so many different types of people, both personally and professionally, and do it with fearlessness, kindness, and grace. They both coached—basketball, softball, football, and track—and that spirit of coaching and encouraging people to be their best definitely comes through in how I lead today.