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A leader with an edible business shares her thoughts on leadership

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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Spring is a good time to think of flowers and what could be better if those flowers were edible?

For this final column of April, I had the opportunity to interview Ann Lichnerowicz, owner of Edible Arrangements in Valparaiso and Portage. Ann lives in Portage with her husband and family. She shares her free time with several not-for-profit organizations including the Valparaiso Rotary.

1. Share 5 words to describe a leader

• Honesty

• Conviction

• Driven

• Fair

• Forward thinking

2. How much do positive core values play in the role of being a leader?

Core values play an essential role in how we live our everyday lives. They speak to whom we are and what our standards are. Core values are learned at a young age and are tweaked and challenged through life’s events.

3. What has been the one most consistent or repetitive challenge you have faced in any of your leadership roles?

Making sure my team is happy. Marketing would be a close second challenge.

4. For Northwest Indiana to be a viable business community is there one action that could be taken to jump start the economy?

Tourism for me is an opportunity for businesses here in Northwest Indiana to jump start the economy. I think we should make the entire Northwest Indiana lakefront, including the Dunes area, more of a tourist destination. Of course, then we would have to consider the following questions:

• Where is the transportation, to and from?

• Where is the rental of watercraft such as kayaks and paddle boards?

• Where are the places to have lunch, dinner and drinks on the beach?

• Why are the current lakefront areas locked down at dusk?

5. Any additional thoughts or words of wisdom you can to share?

Being a mom and a business owner I have some very strong thoughts on parental leadership. For example:

• Why are so many parents too lenient with their children?

• Why are we making a generation of youth who are not held responsible for the consequences of their actions?

• Why do so many parents give their children everything instantly without having the children earn the rewards?

Additionally I believe we as business and parent leaders need to be able to demonstrate we have talked to our children about:

• What is a good relationship

• What is acceptable behavior and what is not especially about how we treat each other regardless of gender

• How to communicate through positive body language to actual face-to-face interactions

• How to have an open mind and use our critical thinking skills

• How to make good choices and tough decisions given the high incidence of drugs and peer pressure

As a parent, I have some serious reservations about the values some of today’s parents are instilling into the current and next generation. These concerns, if not addressed, will impact my small business as well as other small businesses.



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