009: Stacie Behler

Aug 7, 2020

Stacie Behler
Credit Meijer

Hear the story of Stacie Behler, Meijer Group Vice President of Public Affairs and Communication and the Executive Director of the Meijer Foundation. She directs Meijer's community partnerships and philanthropic work, but you'll also see Stacie out and about in the community.  And she's good at keeping her promises.  Stacie Behler is this week’s Powerful Woman.

Full Transcript:

>> Produced by women about women ‘Powerful Women, Let's Talk’ is a series of interviews with women who have helped shape our community and transform who we are and how we live.

>> I’m Shelley Irwin. Today's powerful woman is loyal to her profession, her community and to keeping her promise. Stacie Behler, welcome to this edition of powerful women, let's talk ,group vice president public affairs and communication for Meijer and the executive director of the Meijer Foundation let me expand directing all of Meijer’s community and philanthropic work sports, partnerships and promotions, you'll also see Stacie out and about in the community volunteering in leadership on boards and committees plus gathering many awards of recognition to overcrowded mantle.

We ask how you do it all welcome to powerful women let’s talk, Attorney is also on your resume Stacie Behler, hi Stacie.

>>Hi Shelley thanks for having me.

>>And I did, I do need to mention at one point you did practice law.

>>I did I call myself a recovering attorney and still use the skills that I learned in law school and in my practice for a while doing what I'm doing today on behalf of Meijer and our company so yeah, it's still sort of a lawyer, guess once a lawyer always a lawyer.

>>So what I am I referring to when it comes to keeping your promise maybe better said you took on a dare did you follow through?

>> You know darn well I did, yeah, yeah.

So if you're referring to the dare from one Greg Meyer a friend of our community and a fantastic leader former Boston Marathon winner I think 1984 few years ago anyway, Greg is a dear friend and a wonderful challenger and he on behalf of the YMCA of greater Grand Rapids inspired our board  to raise money to assist 3rd River bank run and the person who could raise the most money would be awarded a charity spot to run the Boston Marathon in 2018.

So I had no idea that I would be the one raising the most money and so yes I took on the dare raised the money trains for my one and only marathon and and had the great honor of running the Boston Marathon in 2018.

>> Yeah I did make note of that your first, last and only marathon. So we’ll let that go. Congratulations again that was a compliment and I hope you shop at Meijer!

>>Well of course I do. Of course I do, as do you I know.

>>Yes. Stacie, you uh, not to be light but you wanted to be had to a dream of being a mail delivery person and yet I introduce you as a powerful woman what happened here?

>>You know it's I don't know probably a better question for my mom.

But when I was little I was just enamored with our mailman happen to be a man at the time and I just thought he had the coolest job you got to walk around the neighborhood and say hi to everybody and deliver you know joyful little letters or I guess at the time I didn’t know that probably most of them were bills but it  just looked like a great job and so I aspired to do that for a long time frankly some days certainly sounds like a good job today.

>>Yes well, again here you are with the many accolades you have. What's the secret to your great leadership?

>>Oh I don't I don't know that there's any secret I think I have been so lucky to be around so many remarkable leaders from whom I could learn and I practice leadership every day, you know, I think it's not something that you're just born into that you you have to constantly observe and hone skills around leadership and frankly, leadership is different depending on the person or the team that you're leading so you know, I've been at Meijer for almost 20 years now and during that course of time have had lots of different teams in some of the leadership style has changed over time too.

>>With the journey of your profession, Stacie did you look to move, let's just say up the corporate ladder did you did you look at some um I guess how did how did you become where you are now?

>>Yeah, so I think at a time in my career maybe 10 or 15 years ago.

My ambition may have pushed me into taking risk and I in in some ways that ambition maybe got the better of me rather than just learning and naturally organically moving into roles today in my career I think I'm much more satisfied being a leader or successful contributor in the role and if that leads to a different role then great.

If it doesn't that's great too because I'm really happy doing what I'm doing and being a part of the team that I'm part of today.

But I think it's one of the things I witness in particularly younger high potential people whether it's at meijer or other places that you sometimes they have an expectation of already ambitious expectation around ok I'll take this step next and the next year I’lll be this person and then by this time, I'll be

you know VP and I think that kind of expectation can sometimes get in your way might prevent you from taking a risk or going left to right instead of up a ladder and frankly, some of the best opportunities I've ever had have had been untraditional and force me to take risk and maybe move left or right rather than a step up the ladder

>>Is it important to find your own voice ?

>>Oh absolutely it's hard particularly if your voice isn't naturally welcomed into the conversation and I think over the course of my career there's certainly been tables or rooms at my voice wasn't always welcome and so it's hard to not only have a voice but have your own authentic voice you as I get older my.

>>Better than  the alternative right?

>>Well yeah, as I get older, though I think my patience for being asked my voice is less and so I just sort of put it out there and I'm much more comfortable using my authentic voice then you know sort of the expected voice  and it's one of the things that I tried to tell young men and women that I mentor that you know their voice matters and that they should try to find their authentic voices as quickly as they can to mean you don't pivet or change.

But I think it's easy to get intimidated when your voice isn't always automatically invited to the table

>>What's the process of being mentored by Stacie Behler?

>>It depends on the person, and certainly during COVID time, it's been weird to be a mentor in somebody's life because it looks more like a zoom conversation or ah, but it's also been really fantastic so I have one mentor or mentee that I work with and all you’re doing are zoom calls from home and so our conversations include her beautiful baby girl as part of the conversation both literally and and I can see her and so and I can meet her family.

And it just has taken on a really different but positive sort of change but  mentorship mean something to different people so I think if you're at a certain point in your career or your your hitting a wall on something mentorship might look different than if you're coasting along and you're feeling, good that you're just looking for a little tweak here there so everybody can get to different a different treatment.

>>Let's talk about your work on behalf of Meijer with the community in in philanthropy.

You get a lot of requests and you have to say yes a lot you have to say no a lot how important is it for you to learn about your community and its needs?

>>Yeah, so it's important to me just personally to absolutely have to know the community in order to provide counseling guide.

The company and the family and how to invest in our fantastic community but I couldn't be happy in a community not really feeling like I was a part of it and the only way are actually a part of it is if you're in it and living it and participating and and hopefully improving it so yeah, I take it really seriously.

It's a lot of my time and it's a great way for me to spend my time, it's like you said not just part of my job is just part of who I am.

>>And how do you determine which organization in the community in the nonprofit world that you need to be a part of a if if and when asked or on sought out how do you determine which which groups best for Stacie?

>>Yeah that's a great question and a good guide.

I think too for young professionals, so it it might be very appealing to have somebody say oh Shelley we we think you'd be great to serve on our Board at x, y, z organization but unless you're really personally passionate about what X y Z organization does don't say yes to that.

You mean you  learn by being a board member, but if you don't really care about the mission and the work, you're not going to be motivated to really put in the time and energy that that organization deserves from you so you know, I I would say be discerning as a as a person being asked to engage it’s what I try to do haven't always been successful at that because sometimes a person asks me to be involved and I care very much about that person, I'm inspired by their leadership or you want to learn from them in that role and so I'll say yes, but then I end up falling in love with an organization or

the work that that  group is doing so I’m getting better at saying no over time, but it's a it's a great joy to to have the opportunity to serve on a board, you know Shelley because you're on a many boards as well.

>>Many often led by you there you go. Hey what makes you laugh or sing maybe a little birdie tells me maybe some song lyrics from the 80's is a story unto its own.

It's a it's I have no idea how the brain works you know social scientists, not actual scientists, but it is remarkable to me that I tend to have this memory for all these silly songs in the 80's or 90's and if you've ever heard of the yacht rock but it's a station on satellite radio.

Plays music from the 70's 80's that you know our parents probably got us connect connected to in a way I am a fantastic memory for the meeting lists in lyrics from songs in the 70's or 80s, but yeah, you know my family makes me happy and laugh and seeing my friends.

My community, I think you know despite the that challenges we're facing as a community as a country right now we have a remarkable community and so many amazing people and leaders and just fun, exciting things to do in this town and they all make me laugh

>>And yet again  you  in a in a high-profile a position yet again that birdie your favorite tools are your commercial grade power washer and leaf blower which are very cathartic do have to get away from it from it all every once in a while?

>>Sometimes just being, it sounds silly,  but sometimes it’s being alone and doing something very tangible like blowing leaves or shoveling snow or using my power washers just it's it's a great form of therapy for me.

There’s that instant gratification that you get from something like that, but it's you know, it's also hard work in a little bit of a workout sometimes an a little bit of alone time or maybe I'm listening to a podcast from one Shelley Irwin  or you know just and maybe listening to a book on tape or music or something but yeah, I my favorite gifts have been some pretty awesome power tools from my family.

>>How do you name a cat  Kevin?

>>Well you think that she's a boy when you first get her and then you realize later on that she's not but it just works for her and so yeah we have little Kevin even thoughts she’s not  so little anymore and her brother Mouser, 2 cats.  And her and Mouser have acquired a new sibling named Scooby who was a COVID foster and we failed and so now he is part of our family he is exactly as his name would describe and I call him scoob He's just a big goofball, but he's he's a wonderful addition to our family from the Kent County animal shelter.

>>With your mentees Stacie do you talk about the role passion?

You mentioned that a passion in basically serving in the volunteer, but what about passion in findingyour career?

>>You know, I I think we all, our culture, is around work in service and so you know you're going to get up every day and while you may be a wife and a mother and a sister you know you're you're going to spend a lot of your time as a worker or a leader or a community organizer or

a volunteer and so if you're not passionate about what you're doing you've got to find something else to do and so yeah I talk with my mentees a lot about if you're not happy in a role at the company as a leader as a contributor you are responsible for changing that nobody else is going to seek you out and say oh you see really unhappy and let's move you  somewhere else so yeah I think finding passion in the work that you do in the service that you provide in the roles that you play in community.

Yeah, we have a long time on this earth, hopefully in a few not happy most days because your work or your service late for satisfying then you know, it's it's just no life you live.

>>Long time could mean another marathon.

>>It will not mean that.

>>Stacie share a good motto or book what do you have for us?

>>You know I don't have have a motto because I think one of the things I like to do is constantly learn and I'm not suggesting that  a mantra or a motto or a saying isn't a great personal guide for people, but you know I I am such a fundamentally different person today than I was 20 years ago than Iwas 10 years ago and that hopefully it will be 5 or 10 years from now so I don't need to give you a motto, I'm inspired by you know lots of different leaders and people who don't really think of themselves as leaders I mostly inspired by the people I work with and my mentees

because they're so actively interested in becoming better people so you know I I don't have a motto. I’m reading a lot of Simon Synick right  now as part of a journey that we're on at Meijer for leaders and I think he's no disrespect intended to Mister Synick but you there's nothing remarkable about what he's saying it is a fantastic reminder of things that we probably already know about working on trusting teams and having your own purpose and you know these are things that we know we just need to be reminded sometimes and if it's in the form of

a good book or some good words then that's great, but I'm always seeking out ideas from other people and other formalized in a book or podcast to literally over a cup of coffee.

I recently had a coffee, socially distanced coffee at one of our favorite little places in my neighborhood with a friend who's going through an employment journey and you know even in just a 20 minute conversation with her, you know she she's in a spot where the lot unknowns but she she’s this amazing confidence and I walked away from that breakfast with her  and thougt I want to wake up every day and is confident as she is.

>>Anything you’d do differently?

>>Oh that's just not a really good use of time so I mean sure we we all take those moments and look backward instead of forward, but no you know, I recently celebrated a big birthday and I'm excited about the 2nd half of my life hopefully being twice as good as the 1st half and the 1st half was pretty good.

So, I'm you know I'm much more excited about looking forward than looking backward.

>>What’s  your favorite day of the week?

>>Such a good question and COVID land  is sort of you know every day's is Groundhog day.

It's sort of the same sort of the same thing every day you know, I'm I do love Fridays and get excited about the weekend but particularly when you work for a company, that's open 7 days a week in were not right now, but 24?7 Monday Wednesday Friday Tuesday Thursday Saturday Sunday they’re  good days.

>>Thank you for your time powerful woman Stacie Behler.

>>Well thank you Shelley.

>>Thank you for joining us that does it for this edition of powerful women, let's talk

I’m Shelley Irwin.

>> Produced by women about when these powerful podcasts focus on powerful women and how their strength transforms who we are and how we live want to hear more powerful women, let's talk get additional interviews at WGVU.org or wherever you get your podcasts these rate and subscribe powerful women, let's talk is produced by WGVU at the Meijer public broadcast Center at Grand Valley State University, the views and opinions expressed on this program do not necessarily reflect those of WGVU its underwriters are Grand Valley State University.