Mitch Daniels was wrong. Well, sort of.
In January of 2010, the Indiana governor honored Jaime Faulkner, Communications Coordinator at Mutual Bank and Emergence alum, with the prestigious Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders. You can’t fault the Governor for choosing a well-deserved recipient for the award. Aside from her role at Mutual Bank, Jaime has helped launch the Young ATHENA Award to recognize women who have positively influenced other women in Muncie. She is also very active with a multitude of nonprofit organizations in the Muncie area.
The only problem of recognizing Jaime with the Governor’s Award for Tomorrow’s Leaders is just that. Jaime is already an influential leader today. But she however would be the last person to tell you so. Even though she serves as an influential leader in her workplace and in many Muncie community organizations, her humble nature and gratitude for what others have done is what I most noticed with an interview with her. Read on to see what I mean.
Where do you think your desire to be involved, lead, and give back to your community comes from?
I think a little bit of it has to do with my upbringing. But in reality, if you just open your eyes around Muncie alone, you can see that there is a lot of pain, a lot of hurt, and that things are not going well for a lot of people. Even though I don’t make a whole lot money, I feel like I’ve been blessed and have received more good fortune than others. As a result of that, I look for ways I can pay it forward and support others.
How have you aligned your passions and talents with the available opportunities to lead others in your community?
I can speak from experience that I once chose to jump in and get involved in a leadership opportunity without necessarily finding out what is was completely about. When it came down to where the rubber meets the road, I wasn’t entirely passionate about it, but I made a commitment regardless and stuck with it. I’ve learned that you really have to take your time with it, listen to people, listen to what they’re involved in, and find good role models.
Did your experience in Emergence help you do that?
Definitely. The thing that I found really valuable with Emergence was that I was surrounded by people who wanted the same things; they wanted to learn how to better Muncie and they wanted to learn how to be better leaders. I feel like that is something in Emergence that gets overshadowed because the program itself is good, but there’s something to be said about the camaraderie and relationships that are developed while one goes through Emergence.
It also helped me to identify that we are all given passions and that there is a role for each one of us to play. We all can’t be passionate about everything, so it was helpful to realize that I don’t have to be good at everything. I just have to focus on my part and those small ways I can contribute.
What are some other takeaways from Emergence that really impacted and challenged you to further developed your leadership skills?
I feel like I’ve had to take on a lot of challenges related to learning how to better communicate with individuals. You have to know how to tailor your communication style based on the individual you are communicating with.
For example, if I am dealing with an individual who is a “facts” person who just wants a brief synopsis, I learned to alter my communication and learning style to theirs because I am a more detailed oriented person. Learning that lesson has been one of the most effective tools for me in being a better leader… not necessarily a leader in regards to my job, but more so a better communicator within my organization.
Overall, Emergence was the first leadership training I’ve attended that I felt was practical. I could apply it. It helped to emphasize that me, being Jaime Faulkner, I have something to bring to the table. I don’t have to change who I am; I just have to adapt to the people I work with. I felt that nothing in the whole course ever wasted my time. It was life changing and it is what you make of it. Just the other day I was telling someone else about Emergence, and I told her that she could go and listen to the speakers and then leave and that would be it. Or you can go and really see how this is going to apply to your life and how you’re going to make it a part of your career and personal life. It’s what you make of it.
Lastly, what advice would you have for individuals who want to be leaders in their community, but lack the skills and confidence to do so?
Stress and fear is something that we create on our own. The truth is that we need more great leaders in our community. We have some…but that’s why I think Emergence is so important because it helps address that. You have to realize that everyone makes mistakes. I make mistakes all the time at work and in my community involvement. You have to accept it and pick yourself back up.
True failure is not doing something, not getting involved. If you don’t think you have something to offer and contribute, you’re actually doing disservice (to your community). Any small amount of time, resources, and wisdom matters.
It’s no secret why the Indiana governor honored Jaime and her commitment to serve as a leader in her community. She stands out as one of Indiana’s brightest young leaders. But ironically, Jaime may be the only person who doesn’t recognize that. Rather, she’s just playing her part to give back to her community. And definitely prefers it that way.