Peel & Holland, last four years
* Recently hired as retail client services manager, Paducah Bank
Education: Bachelor of science, occupational safety and health, Murray State University.
Some of Morris' professional accomplishments include:
n 2008-2012: Corporate safety manager, Vanguard Contractors. Compliance audits for multimillion-dollar projects with the Department of Defense. Lead, organized and directed five safety professionals in field operations.
n 2012-2015: Corporate safety manager, Florence & Hutcheson. Developed a safety program and implemented company wide.
n 2015-2019: Risk advisor, Peel & Holland. Licensed insurance professional and designated as a commercial lines coverage specialist. Helped commercial clients identify and address business risk and developed a product to address and protect that risk.
A few of the organizations he has been involved in:
n Kiwanis Club of Paducah - president 2019.
n Leadership Paducah Alumni Association - president 2019; helped organize, plan, execute and co-host the Global Leadership Summit.
n Paducah Young Professionals founding committee member and networking co-chair - 2015-present.
What is the biggest challenge for a young leader in today's workplace?
In my opinion, one of the biggest challenges young leaders face today is overcoming the stigmatism of the label placed on millennials. According to Jason Dorsey, there is a divide amongst millennials where one group is hitting traditional life stages such as starting a career, getting married and having kids while the other is not creating real-world traction. By definition I believe that a young leader falls in the category that is gaining traction and hitting those life stages much like their prior generations. While the reputation is there I do believe that there are some young professionals out there that are even surpassing the Generation X before them. Hard work, communication and education are all ways that this stigmatism can be combated with the other generations. While I believe the divide amongst the millennials will continue to exist, exhibiting these characteristics will not only allow millennials to stand out, they will soar above their counterparts and will be in a unique situation in the future of bridging generations and pushing us through both in tech as well as culture.
What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?
Being a successful leader encompasses many characteristics. I would suggest to be an effective leader it is the culmination and the combination of numerous qualities that when combined together creates an individual who inspires passion and evokes people to do what's right, even when no one is looking. If I had to place an emphasis on one characteristic I believe it would be having a sense of gratitude. The ability to be thankful of opportunities as well as failures. The ability to appreciate both the good and the bad and see opportunity in failure. It's the ability to give kindness regardless of the situation and regardless of differences. We are all leaders whether it be our homes, in our workplace, in our social settings or in our churches. Being a leader means having a servant heart and willing to do the very task you are asking of someone else. It's being able to set the example through action. It's being able to live that action even when there is no one there to see it. True leaders do not need to be engaged, they don't require a title and they don't require power. True Leadership embodies both gratitude and humility.
What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
I believe being a leader requires continual education and being challenged to improve. It requires intentionality of spending time on growing yourself and those characteristics. If we are not growing in who we are, we are dying. Most importantly, when we grow as a leader, everyone around us also grows. If we are not helping those around us grow where they are, we are not being an effective leader.
To grow myself personally I am very intentional to insert those moments in my life to step away from the day to day and learn something that challenges me to grow as a person. I personally attend at minimum one leadership conference each year as a time to reflect and challenge myself.
The past two years I have attended the Global Leadership Summit, one of which I have help lead personally. They challenge me to re-think outside of the box but more than anything allow me to put all focus on this topic. I choose to do these things, not because I lead anyone directly, but because I recognize that I am a leader where I am. I am also diligent in making it a point to listen to various leadership based podcasts on a regular basis to evoke new thought and help me remain accountable to things I'm still growing in. I also choose to read leadership books throughout the year that may address different areas of life such as work or family. Continuing education and growth is critical to me as I grow as a professional and as a leader.