“Leadership… it’s not about any one person.” – Bill Yohnka
In this episode of Leadership Level Up, Bill Yohnka sits down with Jeff and Brian to discuss his leadership approach and reflect on the lessons his mentors have taught him.
Bill Yohnka has worn many hats in the Kankakee community, but a leadership style that focuses on empowering people to maximize their potential exists as the through line that connects all of his roles. Yohnka points to Martin Whalen and Theodis Pace as two key mentors who helped mold this approach.
The former marketing director at Martin Whalen Office Solutions, Bill remembers that Whalen emphasized ‘finding the right place for [employees] on the bus.’ Meaning that Whalen valued crafting out ideal roles for each individual he employed. Similarly, Theodis Pace helped Yohnka see the importance of cultivating relationships – admiring Pace’s ability to have relationships with individuals who may have disagreements with people Pace counts as friends.
Combining these, and other, lessons, Yohnka describes a people-oriented leadership style that seeks to foster teamwork and community. By deemphasizing ego and pride, Yohnka is able to help put people in roles where they succeed.
Listen to this episode of Leadership Level Up to hear more about Yohnka’s people first leadership approach, as well as learn how Yohnka first cultivated the relationships with his mentors that went on to be so impactful.
Be sure to subscribe to Leadership Level Up so you don’t miss future conversations with great leaders!
Meet Your Guest
Bill Yohnka, who many have dubbed “Mr. Kankakee,” currently serves as the Executive Director of the Kankakee Riverfront Society. Previously, he has served as Economic Development Director for the City of Kankakee as well as The Community Engagement Specialist for Kankakee School District #111.
Yohnka is also a morning radio host for X-Country 106.5 FM on top of also serving as the announcer at the Kankakee County Motor Speedway. A lifelong Kankakee resident, Yohnka hopes to leave his hometown better than how he found it.
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 Host
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.