Marketing manager, Lourdes - Mercy Health

Age: 28

Education: Masters of Business Administration, Southern Illinois University; bachelor's degrees in business marketing and integrated strategic communications, University of Kentucky.

Some of Ballageer's professional accomplishments include:

n Director of marketing, Superior Care Home Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

n Marketing assistant, Southern Illinois University athletics.

n Marketing and education manager, Paducah Symphony Orchestra.

A few of the organizations she has been involved in:

n Family Service Society, board of directors.

n Paducah Young Professionals, founding member, steering committee member.

n Charity League of Paducah, president-elect, Ethel Committee member.

What is the biggest challenge for a young leader in today's workplace?

Work-life balance is a huge challenge for young leaders just starting out in their careers. As young professionals, we want to be involved with every organization and attend every event because we're so excited to get out there and make an impact. However, there's a greater opportunity to grow and develop professionally when you're fully invested and really contributing to what you're involved with, versus spreading yourself too thin. The way work and live balance each other out is different for every person, but it's certainly a challenge that needs constant attention at any point in your career.

What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

The best leaders I've ever worked with have been extremely positive people. This is often driven by their faith. They have optimistic outlooks on life and for a great future for their company. They are happy to point out their coworkers' strengths, and appropriately challenge them to use those strengths for the betterment of the organization. They aren't afraid to make changes that will positively impact their company, and then follow through to the end. They stay optimistic and confident in the midst of chaos. Their positivity is contagious and is replicated by those around them. Positivity elevates the abilities of their co-workers and makes the work environment enjoyable and exciting.

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

To continue to grow and develop as a leader, networking and staying connected to leaders inside and outside of your organization is key. You can always learn something from other leaders, so don't be afraid to ask questions or put yourself out there. This is also a great way to find career mentors that you can confide in. Investing in other people, forming relationships, and learning from others is critical to development - both professionally and personally.

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