189: Leaders with Heart are Life-long Learners

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In this episode, Heather interviews Rich Gassen, a Print Production Manager at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He’s also a friend, supporter, and devoted life-long learner. In 2018, Heather and Rich had the pleasure of having Rich as a guest on episode 32, and in this episode, they reflect on how much they’ve grown since. Rich has been a supervisor since 2012 and has had to pivot and adapt to the changes of this last year and a half. He considers himself a life-long learner and even went back to college at the age of 40. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • Leadership requires continuous improvement
  • Being a life-long learner is extremely rewarding
  • Having a community of like-minded people provides you with resources and unlimited knowledge
  • Leading the whole person is critical to employee engagement and retention
  • Employees have lives outside of work that must be considered
Just show up and participate. - Rich Gassen  #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Rich Gassen’s Bio

Rich Gassen is the Printing Production Manager at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. In addition to that, he is also the owner of Flying Button Design. He is also the chair of Campus Supervisors Network, a CoP for managers on campus to network and train to help them excel in their roles as leaders. Rich has 30 years of experience in graphic design, photography, and web design.

He has spent his adult life working in print, prepress and design environments, focusing on supervision and empowerment, marketing, graphic design, prepress, customer service, consulting, and project management. Rich began supervising at UW-Madison in 2012. Before then, he was in lead production roles.

A Different Outlook

Around the time that you and I spoke, three years ago, I went came through a little bit of a health scare that definitely changed my outlook on life and leadership. I became much more empathetic. Also, I have a lot more gratitude in my life now than I did before. That’s why I now always try to lead the whole person. I’m now able to see their situations, and you know, life outside of work more than even I did back then. I’ve really taken on and tried to embody Whole Person Leadership. Whether it’s a family issue, or anything else going on in their lives, I try to be as flexible as possible with my teams. A lot of this new mentality has to do with my health scare, which taught me that everyone has a lot going on in their lives outside of work. 

leaders life long learners

189: Leaders with Heart are Life-long Learners Click To Tweet
As a leader, improving involves all sorts of different things. It's not just about how to manage a team better. - Rich Gassen  #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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