Nico Leone, Co-Executive Director, KDHX Community Media
What drew you to this work?
I've always been fascinated by the intersection of community and media. It's rare to encounter an organization where a true cross-section of a community interacts, and to be able to work in that environment is a privilege.
What keeps you engaged with this work?
Working in a volunteer-based organization is energizing. We have hundreds of volunteers engaged in creating media on a weekly basis, and for most of them, the time they spend with KDHX is a high point of their week. It's a very creative environment to work in. On top of that, the nature of my job is constantly shifting as KDHX works to improve the ways in which we serve the community in an rapidly changing media environment. New challenges are a great way to stay engaged.
What was the most pivotal moment of your leadership journey?
About four years ago, Beverly Hacker (my co-director) and I approached our board of directors with a proposal to jointly lead the organization. Our co-leadership has been a great way for me to develop as a leader. It allows us both to focus on our individual strengths as leaders, and gives us both someone to learn from and share ideas with as we lead the organization.
What are your strengths as a leader?
My strengths as a leader center around visioning, collaboration, partnership. I've brought a leadership style to KDHX that is very inclusive, both internally and externally. Over the past few years, we've been able to expand our vision of how KDHX can serve the community, and form partnerships with other organizations to execute that vision.
How do you stay on top of your game?
I think it's important to seeking new challenges in your work. It forces you to be curious, and to find people to mentor you along the way. I think it's also important to work with people who inspire you through their own work and creativity. It's easy to burn yourself out when working for an organization that you're passionate about, so maintaining some type of balance in your personal life is critical.
What are you working on that gets you excited and inspired?
KDHX has just launched a capital campaign to renovate a four-story building in Saint Louis' arts district. It will include a 125-seat venue, a coffee shop, broadcast and production studios, and office space for staff. It's a tremendous opportunity for the organization, and a new challenge for me personally. It's inspiring to spend each day talking to people who believe enough in our mission and vision for the community to support the project.
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