With the Golden Valley Golf & Country Club decorated for the holidays, the atmosphere was electric as Kathy Robideau took the stage to share her journey to leadership with attendees at the Leadership Luncheon, January 16. Robideau’s presentation followed an inspiring commercial from Memorial Blood Centers, a non-profit member of the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce. Maggie, the Memorial Blood Centers representative, who has personally experienced the necessity of blood donation, shared that only 38% of the U.S. population is eligible to give blood. Of that 38%, only 7% actually do.
Kathy Robideau took the stage confidently and charismatically, referring to herself as a self-motivated, competitive, latch-key kid, who truly looked-up to her mother. “My mom was a leader,” and helped me develop my attitude of “what’s next,” Robideau recalled. Growing up and through college, where she worked 2-3 jobs at any given time, she had the mentality that no one was going to out-work her. “I was the first person to hold myself accountable to do the next thing,” Robideau explained. She continues to have the mentality that showing up is part of the battle, but your attitude and vibe counts for more. When looking at the “big people” or those running companies, Robideau would find ways to shadow them, to interview them, and to beat them to work. Her attitude about those influencers was that they get out of bed, just like everyone else; they go to work, just like everyone else; and she wasn’t going to let them intimidate her. “I’m a very competitive person, and I always want to be #1”, Robideau explains. This mindset propels her forward today still with her current role as the Market President for the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
Explaining how she leads a team of 24 staff in the Minneapolis/St. Paul office, Kathy received a few laughs from the crowd. “I get a large coffee with an extra shot of espresso, especially on days like today where my kids are up all night and my husband is out of town, and I crank up my music on the way to work, because if I’m dragging in the office, my team can feel that, I set the tone” she explained. Showing up and being a positive energy matters in the workplace, Beyond setting the tone for the office, Robideau believes in three core values of leadership; humility, routine, and authenticity.
Speaking of her team, Robideau was very honest and humble, stating leaders need to have humility. She values the energy in her office, and “I only hire people who are better than me. I hire the people that will take my job one day,” Robideau explained. Taking in to accountability the skills that she or her team are missing, she looks for those in others. “My team runs the best, when they run the show,” Robideau explained. Her team spends mornings in the news room asking the question “why would someone want to read this? Or, why would someone care about this information?’ every day. “My news team makes me want to be better,” Robideau said when recalling their morning meetings. Having a team she can challenge, but challengers her back is something she values. Being a good leader includes the ability to push your team, challenge them, and get them out of their comfort zone.