2019 WPRA YPN Candidates

The below WPRA members have expressed interest to serve on the WPRA YPN Board of Directors. To get a better understanding of the candidates, they have answered a few questions and their responses are below. Please take the time to read through each answer and make your selection on the ballot!

2019 YPN Chair-Elect

Chair in 2020, Past Chair in 2021

JOHN MCDONALD, RECREATION SUPERVISOR, DE PERE PARKS, RECREATION & FORESTRY

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I would describe my style of leadership as diverse. I believe in having short-term, mid-term, and long-term plan for leading a group. I know when to take lead on things and know also when to listen to all members of the group as well as other colleagues in the field, locally, regionally, and nationally. I lead with the idea that we are all here for the same reason and want to make a positive impact in our field.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I want to bring a send of unity and active participation at all levels for our profession. From students, to entry level, middle management, and distinguished professionals alike no matter how long one has been in the field.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
We have a bright future with WPRA. We are already in discussion with colleges to get information and participation out to students about WPRA. We are working to secure monies to start a fund for scholarships for students to attend conference and other seminars offered by WPRA. We are represented on the WPRA Board and WPRA Foundation Board which has already shown we can bridge the gap between distinguished professionals, students, and young professionals through multiple sessions and programs. I want to bring the YPN to the Regional and National level. Being 1 of 3 only YPN's in the nation, I feel that is is our responsibility for us to share, grow, and reach out to everyone with ideas and discussion. I want to be able to lead the change in representing Wisconsin. I want to be able to present at the National Conference about YPN and what it does for an organization.

Secretary/Treasurer

KRISTIN GRISSOM, PARKS & RECREATION DIRECTOR, SUN PRAIRIE PARKS & RECREATION DEPT.

How would you describe your style of leadership?
My style of leadership is servant leadership. I tend to lead by example and like to dive into the trenches with my team. I would never expect someone on my team to do something that I wouldn't do myself and I try to demonstrate my willingness to do some of the less glamorous tasks whenever possible. I encourage my team to grow personally and professional and want to see them achieve their goals, and am willing to help make that happen whenever I can.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I want to bring passion and excitement for the profession to my role. Parks and Recreation is more than just a job to me -- it is my calling, my passion, and I couldn't imagine myself working in any other field. I feel that the current YPN Board shares that same passion and excitement as me and I hope to build on that and spread that positive energy to every single person in WPRA! I want to make sure that any professional in our field has the passion, resources, knowledge, and courage to achieve their career aspirations and goals.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
I see WPRA continuing to grow and be recognized as one of the more progressive associations in the nation. I think that the direction of officially adopting YPN as an official section send the message that WPRA is highly invested in its young professionals and student/future professionals. I believe that this will only strengthen the quality and caliber of parks, programs, and services throughout our entire state.

At-Large Representative #1 (2019 & 2020)

KATIE RODGER, RECREATION SUPERVISOR, GERMANTOWN PARK & RECREATION

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I find that I have more of a situational leadership style. I feel a good leader does not make all of the decisions and tell everyone what to do but instead facilitates a culture of success through providing opportunities for others.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
I would like to continue to shape and strengthen the YPN Mentorship Program. This is a project that I felt passionate about in my first two years serving on the YPN Leadership Team and I look forward to seeing where this program can go in the next couple years. I would like the opportunity to do that with the YPN At-Large position.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
I feel like with any thriving organization, the WPRA will need to continue to evolve with its members. I believe the WPRA Board is doing a good job of moving us forward with our partnership with SAMI. I am excited to see how we all can shape WPRA to continue to make it one of the best in the county. I also feel we need to put more focus on the young professionals as well as the students to continue to develop more talent and future leaders.


NANCY RETANA, COMMUNICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT SPECIALIST, KENOSHA COUNTY DIVISION OF PARKS

How would you describe your style of leadership?
Communication is one of my greatest strengths. I lead by facilitating open communication, and trying to bring out the best in every team member. I currently supervise interns for the department and act as the main point of contact between the interns and the Director of Parks. By meeting with them one-on-one I am able to better gauge interns on their personality and leadership styles. I can adapt and work well with them and lead by offering an "open door" policy to them. In finding the strengths of other team members, I try to give each person a chance to do what they're best at and create a team effort that delivers a result that's greater than the sum of its parts.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
One thing I want to bring to this elected role is the perspective of a bicultural woman who's passionate about the parks and recreation field. I believe this is a great opportunity for not only my own personal professional development, but for the organization. I am passionate about the work that I do and am pursuing a higher-level degree in the hopes of moving further up in this field. I want to assist in the growing and development of the WPRA, including the recruitment and retention of other young professionals in Wisconsin.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
WPRA has the potential to become a widely recognized professional organization in the state of Wisconsin. I believe that the group has the potential to be a more inclusive and diverse organization. The future of WPRA is for it to become the leading organization in Wisconsin dedicated to the advancement of parks, recreation, and conservation. In fostering the connection between conservation, social equity, diversity, sustainability, and health, the WPRA will bring strength to the message of the organization. The organization has the potential to be a strong advocate for the field and may even influence legislation moving forward.

At-Large Representative #3 (2019-2021)

BROOKE FRIESS, RECREATION SUPERVISOR, COTTAGE GROVE

How would you describe your style of leadership?
I would describe my style of leadership as leading by example. Meaning, I wouldn't ask someone to do something that I am not willing to do myself. I am a firm believer in teamwork and sharing leadership roles where we (as YPN members) can learn from one another and set an example for fellow WPRA members. My leadership style often adjusts to meet the needs of the people I am leading. I am on the 2019 WPRA Conference Committee; Social Sub-Committee and I have had the roles of being a listener, decision maker, and critical thinker.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
The one thing that I want to bring to the At-Large Representative told is impact. The reason I am more involved in WPRA is because I have been influenced by other professional's passion and I hope to have that impact on young professionals myself. As a young professional, my goal is to give back to other in the field. whether that be teaching them what resources are available through the YPN Facebook page or just be on of the many faces of YPN and be vocal about the opportunities that are available.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
I believe there is a bright future in store for WPRA because of the many motivated and passionate professionals eager to expand the opportunities available. There has been a noticeable drop in college student attendees as the WPRA Conference over the last couple of years. I feel WPRA will have more of an impact on college students and influence the "millennials" to be more motivated with the opportunities the YPN is making available. I believe the YPN Mentorship Program is just the beginning of many networking opportunities to influence more professionals to get involved.

MIKAYLA SCHWAB, RECREATION COORDINATOR, GREENFIELD PARKS AND RECREATION

How would you describe your style of leadership?
My leadership style includes open communication and being a role model to my staff and coworkers. I believe that communication is a very important aspect to leadership and so I strive to have an open-door policy to encourage communication with my staff and coworkers. In my experience, open communication with other has let to many new and creative ideas, leading to quality recreation programs. I always try to lead by example and set the tone to make it easier for my staff and coworkers to follow, especially when there are projects that have strict deadlines.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
While attending UW-Parkside for Sport Management, there was never a time where we had a guest speaker come in and talk about Recreation. Even after I graduated, the Recreation field never crossed my mind. If I was chosen for this position, I would enjoy doing research and implementing a team of professionals that would be interested in speaking to local colleges about the Recreation field. It would be my goal, if given this opportunity, to have students become interested in this field and to get them involved.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
With YPN being recognized as an official section of WPRA, I believe that the two can work hand-in-hand to fulfill the mission statement of WPRA and bridge the gaps between the young and seasoned professionals within the field. The young professionals and students are the future of the WPRA and engaging them a the beginning of their career, they are more likely to support WPRA as it grows.

KARL SORVICK, RECREATION SUPERVISOR, JEFFERSON

How would you describe your style of leadership?
Dedicated and supportive. Having working in the field of Parks and Recreation for 12 years, I do my best to make sure our staff, community and participants are in the best position to succeed. Working in this field is very rewarding not only for myself but for our staff and participants. I strive to do my best to make sure our staff can succeed in all environments and show my support when situations arise.

What is one thing you want to bring to your elected role?
When I look back at my career and how I got here, I wish I had more opportunities for guidance. Before I got my internship in Waukesha, I wasn't made aware of the potential opportunities to network or seek professional advice. If I was elected, I hope to help/guide young professionals entering the field and sustain success while in the field. I believe my career path and current position could be helpful with young professionals.

What do you feel the future has in store for WPRA?
The WPRA has a strong foundation and a dedicated group of individuals volunteering their time to make the association as strong as possible. With all organizations such as this, I believe that individuals need to take it upon themselves to maintain the strong foundation for years to come. I truly believe that this starts with young professionals and the Young Professionals Network to make WPRA a strong association and create meaningful educational opportunities.