Lead(H)er Board Q&A: Sam Schlouch

This week's Lead(H)er Board Q&A features Sam Schlouch, a Quad Cities transplant from Springfield, Illinois who shows that it takes everyone, not just women, to build women leaders in our community.

1. When you were new to your career what was something you struggled with, or worried about, thinking it was unique to you, but later discovered is very common?

I was unsure if I truly was prepared for my job after college. I knew that I had received a good education, but the prospect of not knowing how to do every single task related to my job was daunting. I quickly realized that it was OK to ask questions about processes, and that it was much better to ask earlier rather than to wait until I was more immersed in my job. 

2. As a young professional, in a role without much authority, what should you focus on to develop as a leader?

Proving your value and showing that you are eager to learn and grow is vital to being seen as someone who may be a leader. By demonstrating your value and becoming an indispensable part of a team, you can quickly be pegged for leadership roles and given opportunities to grow.

3. Why is a mentor relationship important for growth?

A mentor will be like a good friend — there for you as a support and also there to push you to grow. Having someone play those roles is critical to developing into a professional.

4. What are the biggest challenges women face in the workplace?

As a man, I’ve seen women held to a different set of standards in the workplace. While some organizations and teams within organizations embrace women as equals to their male counterparts, many continue to lag behind. 

5. What are the biggest challenges young professionals face in the workplace?

Sometimes the biggest challenges that young professions face are themselves. YPs sometimes expect to advance rapidly and have to learn that promotions and recognition is earned. By working hard and proving yourself, you’ll be rewarded.

6. How can you make a difference in the community?  Why is that important to you?

Only those who show up and are involved are able to make a difference. It’s important to recognize that those making the most difference aren’t always the most recognizable or noticeable in the community. The advocacy that you provide in every organization in which you’re involved will slowly make a difference in our community. I live in this community and I want it to be the best community, not only for me, but for all who live here.

7. Why are you passionate about Lead(H)er and its mission?

As someone who works with college students every day in the Quad Cities, I see many potential, long-term members of our community who would love to get hooked into organizations and grow their personal network. Lead(H)er facilitates just that. By retaining these young professionals in our community, we all will benefit.

8.  Why is Lead(H)er uniquely positioned to make an impact in the Quad Cities?

The buy-in we have received as an organization is truly remarkable. That support shows that there is a need for the work that Lead(H)er will do, and by having so much support early in the organization’s life, we are on a course for success