Craig Felker

Felker

Chief marketing officer, EZ Portable Buildings, 3.5 years

* Recently hired as retail client experience manager, Paducah Bank

Age: 39

Education: Middle Tennessee State University, BA, music business, mass communication, marketing.

Some of Felker's professional accomplishments include:

n Chief marketing officer - EZ Portable Buildings (2017 Progressive Award Recipient at EZ Portable Buildings)

n Director of marketing - Paducah Symphony Orchestra

n Frontman | Partner | Owner -- Dove Award-nominated Sony recording national touring band, Hearts of Saints

A few of the organizations he has been involved in:

n Past president (2017, 2018) of the Historic Lower Town Neighborhood Association (LTNA).

n Member of the LTNA public art project committee.

n Member of the BBQ on the River 5K and 1-mile Youth Run Race committee.

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

Many young leaders have a hard time connecting with experienced co-workers in a way that allows them the opportunity to have a voice and make an impact. We all want our work to matter, but that can be difficult if you don't have trust. To be a leader you must be a "chameleon." By that, I mean you must be able to connect with people where they are, regardless of age or experience, and lead them to a different place. Building relationships takes time and requires the trust of others, but it's absolutely critical to any leaders success.

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

Empathy is a must. In order to connect with others, and help facilitate any level of growth and change, you must have the ability to see a wide range of perspectives. It's really just relationship 101. Be kind and genuinely care for the well being of those around you. Take time to understand how your actions or decisions will affect those you work with. Empathy builds trust. When you have trust, you have the ability to influence, share vision, and provide true servant leadership.

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

I keep an on-the-go pace, so I don't get to "sit" and read as often as I'd like." Instead, I'm an avid listener that utilizes apps like Audible or Spotify. I can listen to a variety of books/podcasts during my morning run, or while I'm constantly moving throughout the day. Currently, I have six active books on my playlist. In addition, I challenge myself to develop relationships with individuals who have different ideas, backgrounds, or perspectives. I'm most fulfilled when I'm connecting with new people and have the opportunity to hear their story. I have so much to learn, but the older I get, the more I'm convinced that being an intentional and avid listener is the best way I can continue to grow and help others.

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