New Team Means...Amazing Things on the Horizon


Plus, the Top 8 Tips We Follow to Strength Our Team Each Day (See End of Article)

By: Erika Willitzer – Executive Director of Defiance County Economic Development Office


Positive team chemistry is highly sought after. It’s something Defiance County Economic Development is working on each day. Team chemistry is how well team members work together and support each other to achieve their goals. In many ways the team culture dictates the team chemistry.

When everyone on a team feels they will benefit from success, efforts will increase. This means all individual players must feel valued and recognized for their contributions. Another key component is making sure all team members see the vision of the organization and are excited about doing work with a purpose. I strongly believe, if you corner any of our team members, we would all say we feel passionate about the work we do!

Hannah Waterman just two months ago was promoted from our Office Manager position to our Marketing & Workforce Manager Position. At relatively, the same time Paige Johnson came on board to take on a new position for our organization as the Operations & Business Development Manager.

It’s been an incredible two months, with all of us discovering each other’s unique talents. In addition to that, I’m seeing a team that is empowering, supporting, and caring for one another. It might seem like a simple concept, but this is the secret to a great team.

Both Hannah & Paige are extremely motivated to make a difference in Defiance County. In the coming months, get ready for some amazing initiatives to be announced. Hannah is still actively assisting companies with their workforce recruitment needs. In just the last month, she has referred over 40 people to new positions. She is also working on a “Second Chance” program where she’ll connect employers willing to hiring individuals with certain barriers, to the appropriate agencies to make sure employers get the appropriate resources to have a high success rate.

And Paige Johnson, is going to up our game when it comes to engagement with the business and general public. One of the ways, which will be coming soon, is hosting engaging and inspiring meetings for the community and our membership. Another way is developing a mentoring program that pairs up individuals new to the workforce or a position with an experienced business leader.

On top of that…Paige is spear-heading all the research on a secret project, that is going impact the region. I’m beyond excited and can’t wait until we can shout it to the roof tops! Just last week, she pitched the research to our Board, and they gave us the green light to continue. We should have a formal announcement in a month.

So, what is the secret to our teamwork? I would say we are open and honest and realize we are still getting to know one another. We have structure in the office, yet flexibility when it comes to our home lives. I think we are very aware it is very early on in our team formation, so again it is something we’ll need to work every day. It’s something we’ll always have to work on. Just like a relationship…being part of a team means constant cultivation.

As I reflect, here are the things are team does, but it doesn’t mean we won’t add new things and evolve. Bottom line: I’m beyond excited with our new team in place and in the coming months new initiatives will be launched from our office, with the result equally impact for our community members and business community!

Top Eight Items Our Team Does to Continually Be a Better Team

1.) We set goals and push each other in a good way.

2.) We are productive yet have FUN. Having fun must be a key component in that mix.

3.) As a team we challenge each other and cultivate an environment that encourages reasonable risks.

4.) Communication is open, honest, respectful, and REAL.

5.) We have a strong commitment for our team and love the fact that each of us is unique in our own way.

6.) Being creative and innovative are the norm at our office

7.) We engage in continuous improvement.

8.) We make critical decisions as a team.

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