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SPOKANE LEADERSHIP ASSESSMENT PAPER- Caroline Larsen.pdf

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SPOKANE LEADERSHIP ASSESSMENT PAPER- Caroline Larsen.pdf

  1. 1. Larsen 1 Caroline Larsen Dr. Armstrong LRDS 315 15 December 2020 Spokane Leadership Assessment Reflection In my Spokane Leadership Assessment, I had the opportunity to visit DAA Northwest and learn from Mitzi Vanhooris. To share a little bit about Mitzi’s background, she is the VP of Marketing for the McConkey Auction Group. Mitzi’s role entails family branding along with promotional events, national and regional advertising, social media, public relations, and internal and external communications. She is the face behind all the advertising and communication of DAA Northwest. Beyond her role, Mitzi shared that servant leadership is very important to her. Growing up, she was not familiar with the term servant leadership, but described seeing it lived out by her parents. Mitzi shared that her parents, teachers, and professors were true servant leaders in her life and have molded her into the woman she is today. As for what my group had the opportunity to do while at DAA Northwest, Mitzi showed us around the facility, talked about her experience as a leader, and raved about the culture of their organization. Creating a culture where everyone is welcomed is a big deal for DAA Northwest. They enjoy having breakfast meetings, sitting at different tables during community gatherings, and all share their favorite tradition of having massive cinnamon rolls for Christmas. While my visit was a different scene than it would normally be on auction day without COVID, I still got a sense of the community and how they worked as a unit.
  2. 2. Larsen 2 Eventually, after touring the facility, we had the chance to ask Mitzi some questions about how she has come to where she is, her leadership theory, and additional questions relating to the company and how they lead. One question that I asked her was how DAA Northwest works individually and collectively, as this is a concept we have focused on this semester. Mitzi immediately answered with the vital few. Vital view are initiatives focused on as individuals. Examples of these initiatives are selling cars, working on the facility, and developing culture. Working on these vital view initiatives are individual jobs but ultimately build up the company collectively. Connecting the vital few to Salsa, Soul, and Spirit, Bordas defines leadership as a “communal responsibility with a concern for the welfare of the people or tribe and then sharing the work that needs to be done based on skills and abilities. Leadership is seen as shared responsibility and promoting people’s wellbeing (Bordas, 2012, p. 123). The vital few initiatives at DAA Northwest demonstrate this exactly. Ultimately this definition of leadership in collaboration with the vital few initiatives represent how leadership is shared responsibility and is done together. The main vital few being culture, is what the DAA Northwest prides itself on. The personal service is a big competitive advantage and is the core factor that sets DAA Northwest apart from other auto auctions. Most car auctions are a transactional service not a transformative one. The transformative service that DAA Northwest brings is a continuation of their service and relationship as customers and dealers come in regularly. Mitzi says they like to call it a “club house” because everyone knows each other, the service is top notch, and there is always food at their events. Furthermore, to tie the culture of DAA Northwest to our texts from this semester, Salsa Soul and Spirit states the importance of tradition and upholding core values. In a similar way,
  3. 3. Larsen 3 DAA Northwest and Neolithic cultures believe that “Social relations are primarily based on principle of linking rather than ranking” (Boardas, 2012, p.52). The culture as mentioned is solely focused on linking and making connections. DAA Northwest upholds this by their traditions they put on each year. They hold an annual moose barbeque, July rock and roll sale, and Christmas party. These are massive events that draw all customers, dealers, and companies not only for their auctions they hold, but for the communal aspect of everyone coming together. Getting outside the box and making personal connections is another thing that DAA Northwest places emphasis on with their employees. In addition, stepping back and getting a balcony view is where Mitzi feels that DAA Norwest does a great job. Their company went through training with Shann Ferch from Gonzaga who taught all about Servant Leadership. This training laid the groundwork for how they lead and work with customers. To add on, DAA Northwest sends their mangers to an auction academy, and is involved in the national auto auction. The auction academy focuses on development and learning from other companies. In the national auto auction, there are committees where collaboration is had between independent and cooperate auctions. Mitzi believes that the outside perspective as the customer in the national auction has shaped DAA Northwest because they know what it feels like to be on the other side. DAA Northwest ultimately does a great job and places importance of learning from others. As Mitzi described, they want to be the best they can be and this does not come from following how one company does it, it is about combining lots of different ideas and methods from a combination of companies. Being involved in these trainings and groups, overall helps DAA Northwest see an outside perspective as a customer and has employees see from the balcony. In the end while my group had a different experience than students who have come previously without Covid, I am grateful that we could visit the facility in person and could talk
  4. 4. Larsen 4 with Mitzi face to face. In addition, this project made me think beyond the walls of the Gonzaga bubble and more about learning from leaders in the Spokane community.

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