Leadership Spotlight Kim Gangswisch

Mom at Home, Leader at Work

Deadlines upon deadlines, client call after client call, pages and pages of deliverables… Hours seem like minutes, project status calls seem like quick check-ins, department meetings seem like quick huddles, and lunch – forget about it? This may sound a little too hectic to some, but Transaction Management Manager Kim Gangwisch has never been happier. Why? Because she is doing what she loves; Kim is helping to lead and grow a team.

team-photoPrior to joining Digital Risk, she had very little leadership experience. After a brief time as a branch manager, Kim became a Mom and transitioned to a non-leadership, production role as an Underwriter. For the next 15 years, her entire life revolved around the family and caring for her three children. It wasn’t until Kim took an Underwriter role at Digital Risk and joined the Transaction Management team that she desired to move into management. Why there and then? Kim believes it was a combination of two factors – first, a personal experience helped her become a more independent person, and second, she believed in her team and in the company.

When Kim first joined Transaction Management as an Underwriter three years ago, the team was only comprised of three individuals. Now, as a Manager, the team is currently at 38 people and growing. That said, Kim is integral to the team dynamic, a fact that she does not take lightly.

Kim’s philosophy on leadership actually originated from her role as a Mom. In fact, she took many of her experiences as a Mom and translated them to her leadership style at work.
“I feel there is very little difference between parenting and leading in a work environment,” Kim said. “As a parent, you are naturally a leader, as you are responsible for growing your children into independent, successful people. The same could be said about your role as a leader at work.”

Her approach at home and at work is to treat people the way she expects to be treated. She feels it is important to give people the respect they deserve and to lead by example.

MeandKids“I’ve always told my kids that they have 100 percent of my respect and 100 percent of my trust until they break it,” she said. “So unless they break it, there is no reason for me not to respect or trust them. Reciprocally, I know I have a huge responsibility to maintain my kids’ and team’s trust and respect.”
She also asserts that attitude is everything. Kim always operates with the mindset that she is not just a boss, but rather a part of the team – each team member has different responsibilities and talents. She needs her team and they need her.

”We learn from each other every day and need each other to grow and develop,” she said. Empathy and recognition are also very important. For Kim, the perfect recipe for success is leading by example, treating everyone with trust and respect, empathizing with how team members may feel, recognizing team members for their achievements and maintaining a good sense of humor. By integrating this recipe into her everyday interactions, Kim feels her team members will gain more buy-in, engagement and trust in her direction.

Because of these approaches, Kim has seen great success at home and at work. Her children, Jason, 18 who is a football kicker, Kendyll, 15 who is a dancer and golfer, and Jaymee, 11 who is a soccer player, are all excelling in school. The Transaction Management Team, which now includes two recently promoted performance supervisors, are growing their business exponentially and adding new team members. Nevertheless, the most important outcome to Kim is that she is able to continue doing exactly what she is passionate about at home and at work – leadership.

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