Name: Janet Corey Downie Naab
Pledge Class/Year: Spring 1985
Officer Position: VP Fundraising & Development
As a prospective officer & leader of the ODPAA, what do you consider your greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
My greatest strength is my love of diversity. I have been so fortunate to be able to work with people of all different types of backgrounds, levels, skillsets and cultures. I believe with all of my heart that all of these people contribute and that their contributions are synergistic. Tapping in to the diversity of an organization in order to account for all perspectives and viewpoints is what I do best.
My greatest weakness is that I am sensitive and would benefit from developing a thicker skin. Given my age, I am not optimistic for a metamorphosis.
If elected or re-elected to the position you seek, what is your commitment to serving out the full term?
I am a finisher and want to see this through.
Please describe accomplishments in your career and personal life that would benefit the ODPAA.
My formal training is as a scientist which allows me to process data and information in a clinical manner. Due to the quirks of fate, I am now in the business and specifically a Marketing Organization. My business experience has taught me to balance my ideal to have all data with practicality to develop effective Strategic plans. I am the Project Manager for a Fortune 500 company for all complex platform technology projects and all projects for our single largest customer driving me to become proficient at identifying and assessing risks and to build plans for risk mitigation with me teams. These skills will be critical as we work to repair and maintain a very old house at 51 Elm St.
I would add that moving my function in the Marketing Organization also has tapped in to my creative thinking side to not only find creative ways to communicate, but also to solve problems.
What is your vision for the future of the ODPAA? What changes would you advocate and why?
My vision is for ODPAA to become an organization that allows all members needs to be met. ODPAA should deliver on the emotional needs where we celebrate the bonds of sisterhood, but should also be an organization that operates as a strategic business so that we might deliver upon the financial goals of the membership most prominently defined as the repair and upkeep of the physical house.
If elected or re-elected, please describe what you seek to accomplish:
- Within your first 90 days
Continue with the progress of the Heaven and Earth campaign and have an agreement in principle with the Active House about how we might have a collaborative relationship.
- Within your first year
Build a Greek to Greek Fundraising Initiative which expands the potential donations base and allows for all of the Potsdam Greek Community to support all of their brothers and sisters.
- Within your full term
Raise sufficient funds to address all critical needs from the Home Inspection Report and establish a Fundraising operational protocol well suited to support future needs.
What does Omega Delta Phi mean to you? Please describe your experience as both an active member and an alumni.
I was badly bullied in high school and the result was that I turned inward and avoided much social interaction to avoid being hurt again. I pledged Omega out of insecurity. My safety net was my closest friend and roommate who wanted to pledge. I was terrified at the thought of her pledging and having no one, so I also pledged. Omega provided me a support network that allowed me to start discovering myself. I learned that I am actually a very social person that enjoys meeting new people. I really like people. This was a drastic change from the girl who no one in her dorm knew lived there the first semester because I was afraid to even walk in to the lounge. I am known in my personal life and at work as being highly empathetic and it makes me successful as a Project Manager and in my engagements with customers. One cannot be empathetic if one is hiding away from the world. I deeply thank Omega that it provided me the safe space to find myself such that I am where I am today.
How would your sisters describe you?
Let’s be honest. We do not all see each other in the same way and I am no exception. This being said, I think many of the sisters from when I was Active might say that I was very intelligent and awkward. My closest sisters would share that I am a profound nurturer, that I am passionate and care deeply and that I am as loyal as a Golden Retriever.
Please describe your approach to communicating and working with the active membership.
Respect them enough to listen. Openly communicate my goals and vision with no secret agendas. Never forget that they are also my sisters and recognize and embrace the change that they bring to Omega.
What are the top 3 things you would like the ODPAA and active membership to accomplish together?
- Establish the framework of a collaborative partnership
- Build a collaborative plan for the repair and maintenance of 51 Elm
- Lay the groundwork for their transition to alumni including how to ensure that their voices are heard.
How do you deal with difficult people & situations? Please describe a situation in which you took a position that upset someone else, and explain how you handled it.
As in most things in life, finding an effective compromise is almost always the solution.
Difficult people are individuals who are ‘in crisis.’ It is important to identify what is the crisis for the difficult person. In other words, what is it that they value that they think is being ignored, denied, taken away, etc. Recognize this element of crisis for them and its importance for them. And then seek a solution where they might not get entirely what they want, but does provide some element(s) of what they value that made them feel the sense of crisis. I recently told our largest customer that I would not move a plant trial from January to December. Our plant is operating at ~ 105% right now and the risk of trying to add to that, particularly during the holiday season is not tenable. They want the plant trial earlier because they are losing Market share and want to do consumer trials with the new material as soon as possible. Next week, I will work with our plant to determine if whether we can cut one production run for a product they already buy will allow us the space to run the plant trial. They will need to allow their safety stock of that material to go below standard limits, but would get plant trial one month earlier as requested and we are effectively net neutral from a plant capacity standpoint. No one gets everything they want, but everyone gets something. Given that this is our largest customer, you might imagine that they are often ‘difficult.’ Based on experience, this effective compromise will settle their crisis and being that back to a collaborative position.
How do you motivate others?
I motivate people by acknowledging their skills, contributions, thoughts and perhaps most importantly, their feelings. I make a point to practice inclusiveness and put no one person or group in the position ahead of others.
How do you handle criticism?
As I said, I am sensitive. I have learned that I need to do my best to not react at the time of criticism. I try to take the time to get to a better emotional space and then to process the criticism and determine what in the criticism provides me an opportunity to improve. I admit that this is not always easy for me, but I consciously and deliberately try to do this every day.
What top 3 qualities do you think a leader should have?
Integrity. Empathy. Consistency.
Would you rather be liked or respected?
I would have immediately answered ‘respected’ in my younger days. However, I have come to realize that due to human nature, this is an extremely complex question. Like is a continuum, not a single ‘place.’ And Like and Respect are not completely independent of each other. If you are far enough on the negative end of the continuum such that you strongly dislike someone, it is exceedingly difficult to respect them. The two are generally only separate when the feeling of like falls entirely in the neutral space. Respect is also not black and white. You can respect how someone raises their children, but not respect their business acumen. I don’t really have a simple answer for this question, but I’ll try my best by saying that I prefer to be respected and not DISliked.
How do you spend your free time?
I spend time with my family and my extended family including my friends and most especially their kids because they’re my favorite people! I also dog sit for half of the neighborhood in addition to having my own furbaby pretty much attached to me. I like to garden and read and I have the habit of collecting presents such that my basement gift stash only seems to get bigger and bigger.
For Fun: What’s your ‘superpower’ or ‘spirit animal’ and why?
My spirit animal would be an elephant. They are highly intelligent problem solvers with a deep love for family. Their society focuses on the young and everyone contributes to make sure that the welfare of the little ones comes first. And they preserve peace largely through having a matriarchal societal structure. How cool is that?
Is there anything else you would you like to share with your sisters?
I think I have blabbed more than enough 🙂 !