Amber Jones, chief people officer at H&H Automotive, remains eager to take in the Global Leadership Summit year after year. 2020 will mark four years of attendance for this executive, who’s invested over two decades at her organization.
“I started at H&H in 1997 while attending UNO,” says Amber, who grew up in a military family and moved back to Omaha for college (and to live near her beloved grandma).
Smitten with the company, Amber decided to stay put after earning her criminal justice degree. “Twenty-three years later, I get to work in a fantastic organization with a phenomenal group of people,” she says.
Below, Amber shares more about her GLS experiences and why others should jump at the chance to participate -- especially with the new option this year for smaller groups to gather and watch the virtual experience together.
When you first heard about the GLS, what made you most excited?
What drew me in was the opportunity to learn from other leaders and gain perspective.
What were some of the leadership shortcomings or areas of growth in yourself or your organization that pushed you to attend the GLS?
There wasn’t a push; it was more of an offer from H&H’s owner for us to attend the GLS as an organization because of what he had learned while attending the GLS. Both of H&H’s owners, Steve and Jeff Hinchcliff, operate in a mode of looking for ways to constantly improve, including customer experience, associate experience, etc. Organizationally, you cannot improve if the time and space to develop your people is not created. The GLS provides us this time and space.
What would you say to anyone considering attending the GLS, especially in light of the COVID-19 crisis?
The GLS should be a cornerstone activity in your organization on an annual basis. Nothing should stop that, not even a global pandemic. If you are concerned about being in a room with other people, find a way to make it a size that makes you comfortable. Get creative within the constraints provided by COVID-19. Now, more than ever, leaders must come together and be in the same space (physical/virtual) to keep innovating, tackling challenges and overcoming obstacles.
What was your top takeaway from GLS 2019?
Only one takeaway? Challenge accepted! My top takeaway from 2019 was Ben Sherwood and his discussion of Miramar (Top Gun school). I cannot tell you how often I have used that takeaway in coaching sessions with people to help them find where they are at in a situation.
Why is leadership so important?
Leadership is about relationships. Relationships are an integral part of the success of any one person and any organization. Without solid relationships, a person nor an organization can achieve their full potential. Imagine if all relationships were solid ... what we could accomplish!
How do you plan to prepare yourself and/or your team for the GLS this year?
Personally, I will be wearing rain gear for the fire hose of information that I know will be coming at me. For me, soaking it all in and then immersing myself in post-GLS activities has been a game changer for me. It keeps the GLS alive for me all year long.
As an organization, this year H&H will be attending the GLS as a micro-site, which will allow us to do things differently and have more tailoring to our organization, taking the GLS experience to the next level. COVID-19 has created the opportunity for us to be creative, maximize the two days, and use some of the time from breaks to discuss the message we received. We risk walking out of leadership conferences hearing great information, but doing nothing with it. This year, we have the opportunity to capitalize on gathering with just our people and discussing insights and/or items to put into action.
For our Leadership Development Program, the R.O.A.D Academy, we will be doing a R.O.A.D Academy GLS Mastermind once per month to keep the GLS alive for those members. We will review one speaker per month, with the Academy members preparing and leading the discussion.
What has been the biggest actionable you have put in place because of a GLS message?
My biggest actionable that I put in place was from Craig Groeschel, who said, “You have everything you need to do everything you are called to do.” For me, this equates to creating solutions or finding efficiencies with resources I have in front of me. I’ve put this takeaway to use several times over since August 2019.
What is one daily habit that has been helpful in your own self-leadership recently?
The one daily habit that has been helpful for me is looking for and celebrating the small wins. Celebrating keeps my mind engaged in finding the nuggets of good around me and helps me stay in a positive state of mind.
Who is your biggest leadership mentor and why?
I have been beyond blessed to have multiple leadership mentors in my life. Elevating one of them as the biggest diminishes the mentoring each of those individuals provided me. Each of them saw potential in me that I did not see in myself. They made the choice to invest in me by sharing their experiences, caring for me personally, and challenging me to learn and try new things. Their investment in me has been invaluable. I can only hope to pay that forward many times over with the people I have in my life. Amber's advice to other leaders?
“Now, more than ever, leaders must come together and be in the same space (physical/virtual) to keep innovating, tackling challenges and overcoming obstacles.”