The 3rd annual Women’s March recently took place in cities all around the world. And although the march has evolved from its original intent, the groundswell of women bonding and banding together remains unchanged.
The lasting result is so much more than a yearly rally – women are stepping forward as the catalysts for change. We see it in the headlines and our workplaces and our homes and our government (we have a record number of women holding congressional seats).
Last year, I was moved to write about four women of reinvention that have inspired me both personally and professionally.
As I begin my fifth year running my own business, I’ve been thinking about other women in my life that provide an enormous amount of influence. In doing so, I felt inspired to share their stories.
This time I’ve selected five women who’ve inspired and shaped change in several intentional and remarkable ways.
Each one has forged new ground not only for themselves but most impressively for others. In some cases, for those that didn’t have the means to be able to do so for themselves.
My selection of five remarkable women of change spans a few different areas of my life – women I know personally, through business, and through philanthropic efforts.
Each one has taken risks and colored outside the lines to leave a lasting mark. It is with immense honor and pride that I introduce you to five women of change.
Meet Jodi Keller
Vice President, United Scrap Metal, Inc.
Jodi and I are connected many ways – former members of a Vistage Key Executive Group, a treasured friend, and now a client.
Let me back up 9+ years ago. I first met Jodi through Vistage. I recall first meeting her and seeing a younger version of myself (at least from a professional perspective). She was bright, curious, fiercely loyal and trying to juggle it all. She was a young mother of two — Jack, who was 3 and her daughter, Emerson, who was under a year when she joined the group.
If I had one word to describe Jodi it would be – e
The complexities of being a working mom with the enormous challenge of sustaining the energy to weather it all were so relatable to me. Jodi knew when to lean in and when to lean on. She took her work at home and business seriously but never (ever) lost sight of injecting fun into everything!
“Do what you love. Love what you do.”
And I so admire her for it. I often found myself taking life and work too seriously and she would remind me to stop and take notice of what you are doing and why you are doing it. It grounded me. It gave me a [different] perspective. I looked up.
Even now, if I’m in need of a chuckle, I retreat to Instagram and check out her latest quirky and highly entertaining stories.
Fast forward to five years ago, when I took the leap and started ISH-Productions, Jodi was the first to ask, “Can you help us with our marketing?” There I was, just me, no website, no sell sheet. I was honored, humbled, and inspired to work with her now as my first client.
But it’s not unusual for Jodi to seize opportunities. She can spot them a mile away, which in part, has made her so successful in her 17-year career at United Scrap Metal. Yes, 17 years!
Jodi was hired as the first female sales team member and revolutionized the scrap industry by adding more women to the mix. Presently, the sales team is 80% women. This happened very organically as they found in recruiting talent that more women saw the opportunity in the woman-owned company (largely based on the founder’s story) and didn’t mind being “scrappy.”
Jodi has worked her way up in the company to now hold an executive seat. She’s a living role model of what is possible to women in the company, industry, not to mention to her own children. She prides herself in being real with them. She doesn’t want to sugarcoat the realities of life and welcomes a good debate on most any topic. She often proclaims having a high degree of self and social awareness and leads from the gut.
Not surprisingly, one of her top five Clifton Strengths is “futuristic.” It is with the foresight that she makes change possible. Here are a handful of examples of how she has demonstrated cunning foresight and inspired change:
- Developed a new stream of business for United Scrap Metal, generating more than $55-million in new revenue and attracted four of the five largest utilities in the nation as clients
- Pioneered the “Recycle with Ronald” community education and recycling event to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities in the Midwest and raised more than $1,000,000 to support the charity’s mission
- Implemented a consolidated national recycling program giving customers across the printing industry, most notably with Eastman Kodak, pricing premiums through a green recycling program. As a result, the program represents the fastest growing business segment at USM while being recognized with Alcoa’s 2011 Top 10 Supplier Award.
Jodi has also helped and mentored countless women. In recognition of this, she was awarded the Women in Manufacturing – STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Award for demonstrating excellence and leadership in representing all levels of women in the manufacturing industry, from the factory floor to the C-suite.
She even authored two essay nominations that led to Marsha Serlin, Founder & CEO of United Scrap Metal, winning the highly esteemed, CEO of the Year Award by Platt’s Global, and then two years later, United Scrap Metal won the Platt’s Global Scrap & Recycling Metal Industry Leadership award.
When talking about her success, though, Jodi is first to acknowledge and appreciate that it takes a TEAM to have accomplished these achievements, and more.
Just as the Women’s March movement brought together varied groups of women, strangers united by a cause, but rallied together under a common mission, these five femmes so inspire. These women don’t know each other directly but the collection of them makes a powerful statement.
What they bring to the table and the way they work is unique to who they are as individuals, but together, they’re vibrant threads in the rich tapestry of modern women.
Advance to the next page to read about another featured woman of change, Amy Galvin.