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Building the Environment for Successful Leadership

Building the Environment for Successful Leadership
June 7, 2019

Offering alternatives and welcoming outdoors involvement makes one’s personal life simpler and enriches the careers of others. There isn’t any higher option to create a reliable workforce and obtain work-life stability.


Terracon’s Kosmalski

Emily Kosmalski oversees a workforce of venture managers at Terracon, the place she manages the corporate’s nationwide telecommunications program and a number of other of the corporate’s largest nationwide accounts. She is a senior affiliate, environmental/NEPA group supervisor and nationwide account supervisor.

NEPA is brief for Nationwide Environmental Coverage Act, the 1970 regulation that requires federal businesses to evaluate the environmental results of their proposed actions. The process is  known as “the NEPA course of” or “the environmental influence evaluation course of.” FCC licensing is the federal hook that requires the telecommunications business to adjust to NEPA. An environmental, supplies testing and geotechnical agency, Terracon has four,500 staff in additional than 140 U.S. workplaces. The corporate has carried out work on hundreds of cell websites.

The daughter of a police officer and a mom who labored a number of part-time jobs to make ends meet, Kosmalski grew up in Cleveland. In highschool and school, she labored a number of jobs to offer for herself. She earned a bachelor’s diploma after having studied within the geography program at Ohio College, and stayed for a grasp’s diploma targeted on environmental planning and impression evaluation, working as a educating assistant and as a analysis assistant. She graduated magna cum laude in 2006.


“If you find yourself receptive to others, you’ll discover that each individual in your work journey could be a mentor in a single type or one other.”
— Emily Kosmalski, senior affiliate, environmental/NEPA group supervisor and nationwide account supervisor, Terracon


“Shortly after graduating, I started my profession at Terracon as an entry-level environmental scientist, performing due diligence assessments on proposed cell tower websites,” Kosmalski stated. “Throughout my first a number of years, I stated sure to nearly each alternative that got here my method. I didn’t flip down any probability to study a brand new talent set or work on a brand new challenge.”
When Terracon’s NEPA supervisor left in 2012, Kosmalski’s work ethic, wide selection of challenge expertise and schooling earned her the place.

“I turned the contact for almost all of our telecommunications shoppers and commenced overseeing a employees of venture managers,” Kosmalski stated. “I additionally turned liable for one in every of Terracon’s largest nationwide accounts. With simply six years of expertise, I used to be one of many youngest employees members to be given such duty.”

When she turned pregnant together with her first baby final yr, Kosmalski stated, many individuals informed her that she would by no means be really joyful until she left her job— that attaining work-life stability as a brand new mom in a high-performance consulting job can be unimaginable. “I used to be advised to only overlook it — I’d as nicely give up for a number of years and are available again later,” she stated. “This suggestions solely fueled my want to show everybody flawed.”

How She Did It

Within the months main as much as maternity depart, Kosmalski detailed each facet of her job and selected a group to take over her numerous roles based mostly on their expertise and work ethic and her constructive experiences working with the group members.

“When the day of my departure got here, I used to be absolutely assured that each one points of my job can be coated,” Kosmalski stated. “Not solely did my staff ship, they far exceeded expectations. Having a profitable alternative workforce on the job meant I might ease my approach again into work once I returned and tackle my previous obligations again as my capability allowed. With out this staff in place, my departure from and transition again into work would have been painful at greatest and disastrous at worst.”

Kosmalski’s college, private and dealing lives intertwine together with her husband’s. The 2 joined forces and dominated each class collectively virtually instantly after assembly throughout their freshman yr of school, she stated. They took the identical undergraduate and graduate courses and labored a number of jobs collectively. At Terracon, they’re co-group managers, with workplaces simply doorways from each other.

“My husband performed an important position prior to now two years whereas I used to be pregnant and through the first yr of elevating our youngster,” Kosmalski stated. “I can’t think about the wrestle of a single mom making an attempt to boost a toddler and put meals on the desk. Having a associate who might assist maintain issues at house was invaluable. One of many causes I used to be capable of efficiently return to work. I’m lucky to have such a companion in each enterprise and life.”

The only most vital barrier to feminine management is the shortage of reasonably priced day care, in Kosmalski’s view. She stated that the extra youngsters a lady has, the much less probability there’s that she is going to return to work. “Even a single youngster may end up in a lady staying house if her earnings don’t outweigh the price of day care,” she stated.

Kudos to Mentors

Quite a few well-known ladies encourage Kosmalski, she stated, however withAGL Magazineas a telecommunications publication in thoughts, she named Robin Haeffner, a now-retired NEPA compliance chief with Verizon Wi-fi, as a supply of inspiration all through her profession.

“Robin was a robust chief,” Kosmalski stated. “She knew the laws backwards and forwards, labored onerous and stood with one of the best of business’s regulators and stakeholders. When Robin led a gathering, there was no query who was in cost. However most necessary, she commanded respect for all the fitting causes. When she opened her mouth, you knew she was the neatest individual within the room, and it made individuals sit down and pay attention. That’s what I aspire to be in my profession. Once I converse, I would like individuals to view me as a educated useful resource who can present reliable steerage.”

All through her working profession, Kosmalski stated, she has witnessed many highly effective feminine position fashions within the telecommunications business who gave her a snapshot of precisely the lady she needed to be. She cited the steerage and mentorship of those that got here earlier than her as completely invaluable. “I’m lucky to work in an business with so many inspiring leaders,” she stated.

“If you find yourself receptive to others, you’ll discover that each individual in your work journey is usually a mentor in a single type or one other,” Kosmalski stated. “I’ve discovered as a lot from a university scholar recent out of faculty as I’ve from a 30-year business skilled. My staff and teammates are sometimes my biggest sources of inspiration. It’s necessary to hunt out information and perspective anyplace it’s provided and never low cost somebody based mostly on age or expertise.”

Kosmalski stated that she has discovered that many individuals typically are afraid to open themselves and their careers to outdoors assist. She stated it seems that they really feel a must be the one who is required and never let anybody else assist. Within the case of girls, this could typically be attributed to a component of worry that there’s solely a lot room at a desk of males, and thus, ladies need to battle for his or her place, she stated. Consequently, she stated, as an alternative of build up others round them, some spend time solely build up themselves.

“What I’ve discovered is that a far richer profession is predicated on lifting up these round you,” Kosmalski stated. “Whenever you present alternatives and welcome outdoors involvement, you aren’t simply making your personal life simpler, you’re enriching the careers of others. You’re offering alternatives and permitting individuals the prospect to realize their very own success.

“That is how a reliable group is created. Work-life stability as a working mom in a fast-paced business like telecom can really be achieved when you’ve gotten a totally functioning, reliable and profitable workforce in place,” she stated.


Q-and-A with Terracon Senior Affiliate Emily Kosmalski

Q: How do you encourage artistic considering inside your group? 
A: I attempt to give staff freedom and latitude to make their very own selections. The thought is to provide individuals a bigger framework of guidelines during which they need to function, however give them nice freedom inside that body. This permits a extra artistic thought course of.

Q: What are traits that each chief ought to possess? 
A: Management and failure are basically related. Studying to embrace failure as a constructive step towards progress is a defining attribute of management. An iconic quote from Michael Jordon actually hits it house: “I’ve missed greater than 9,000 photographs in my profession. I’ve misplaced virtually 300 video games. Twenty-six occasions I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and again and again in my life. And that’s the reason I succeed.”

Q: What’s a conduct or trait that you’ve seen derail extra leaders’ careers?
A: Ego and anger.

Q: What are you doing to make sure you proceed to develop and develop as a pacesetter? 
A: The continual setting and attaining of latest objectives is vital for progress as a pacesetter. A present profession objective for me is to acquire my American Institute of Licensed Planners designation. To that finish, I’m studying books, learning supplies and immersing myself within the present developments of environmental planning.

Q: What do you wish to ask different leaders whenever you get the prospect?
A: I’m all in favour of how different leaders begin their day.  So once I can, I ask “What’s your “morning routine?” Morning routine is an easy defining attribute of leaders. It has been discovered via quite a few research that nice leaders all have a constant ritual that helps them begin their day on the proper foot. The routine itself differs, however having one appears to make all of the distinction.”


This text ran within the June 2019 situation of AGL Journal.

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