Barbi Brewer-Watson Leadership LevelUp Podcast Episode 15

How do you make sure that each member of your team has the space to play their part?

In the City of Kankakee, there is talk that the “City is Rising”, but what does this look like? And how do you raise a city and community? How do you catalyze positive business and economic development? In this episode, Barbi Watson, the current Executive Director of Economic and Community Development for the City of Kankakee, discusses this with our hosts alongside her personal story of becoming a leader.

Barbi brings a unique perspective to leadership through her experience and education in conducting music. She recognizes the strength of knowing your team well enough that you know when to queue different “sections”, just as you would an orchestra. Barbi raises the discussion – how do you make sure that each member of your team has the space to play their part? Join Barbi Watson, Dr. Jeff Williamson and Brian T. Prairie in the discussion of this episode.


“The 48 rules of power”, Robert Green.

“The Art of Turnaround”, Michael Kaiser

“Leaders eat last”, Simon Sinek

Meet Your Guest

Barbi Brewer-Watson

Barbi Watson currently serves as the Executive Director of Economic and Community Development for the City of Kankakee. Prior to this role, Barbi worked as the President and CEO of the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce and Executive Director of Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra.

Barbi shares openly that stepping into leadership roles came late in her professional career, but finding success came through finding mentors and those who could “hold up the mirror” to make her see the truth and possibilities of herself. With stepping into various leadership roles in her experience, Barbi is no stranger to working through feelings of self-doubt and fair of failure. Currently, Barbi is passionate about taking on a “holistic lens” to economic and community development – anticipating the needs of the larger community begins with understanding the needs of individuals.

About the Leadership LevelUp Podcast

Being a boss and a leader are very different. A boss tells you what to do and a leader partners with you in the process. Jeff, being a leader of leaders, has a vast knowledge of best practices and exercises to discover leadership traits. Brian shares stories with Jeff about the ups and downs of his leadership quest while talking to business and community leaders to discuss their personal leadership journey. Who influenced them? What do they do when they have a bad day? What gives them inspiration? Do french fries or tacos or ice cream make them feel better after a bad day? Through laughter and casual conversation, Brian and Jeff explore all aspects of good leadership.

Meet Your Hosts

Jeff Williamson

Brian Prairie

Show Sponsor

Pathfinder: A full-service creative & marketing agency with a mission to provide strategic storytelling to our clients. There is no greater impact in this world than a story. Storytelling is how we learn, remember, and feel. The world has used storytelling since the beginning of time to entertain, teach, inspire, and innovate. Pathfinder’s mission is to provide strategic storytelling for our clients. How? Through inventive business services and pioneering campaigns that help organizations find their own path and carry out their vision.