Alumni Leading Our Community

  • Tonya Stende

    President, Dale Carnegie Training of ND
    Accounting, 1994

    "We need to build a culture of engagement where all individuals thrive. We need to lead differently and find ways to engage and inspire employees, to treat them as valuable people with skills vs. people with valuable skills."

    Was there a faculty/staff mentor who inspired you?

    My advisor, Maggie Jorgenson, was an inspiration to me! She saw strengths in me that I didn’t see and helped me with my confidence.

    What professional experience has had the greatest influence in shaping you as a leader?

    Leaving my profession for which I went to school – accounting – and starting my own business doing something I absolutely loved even to this very day. It was a high risk I took, but the rewards have been endless.

    What is the greatest challenge of leadership in today’s work force?

    "In today’s work environment we need to build a culture of engagement where all individuals thrive. We need to lead differently and find ways to engage and inspire employees, to treat them as valuable people with skills vs. people with valuable skills."

    What do you enjoy most about being a leader?

    The ability to have the opportunity to help unlock the potential of individuals and organizations.

    As a leader, what is the most important thing you do every day?

    Every day I get the amazing opportunity to lead a team whose purpose is to help individuals and organizations transform into the best version of themselves. I work with a team that lives our core values every day – family, fun, authentic, dedicated and change makers.

    What advice would you give someone striving to improve their leadership skills?

    Do what you love and love what you do. If you love what you do you are more curious, you ask more questions and you are more engaged as a leader. You are also most effective when you are able to align your career with your core values. Don’t compromise. Always assume positive intent. And at the end of the day ask yourself, “would I want to work with myself today?” More often than not your answer to this question should be absolutely yes!