Harkema, Zumdahl Share Leadership Insights


Students who take Dr. Rick Hamilton’s BUAD 384 class spend a semester learning about leadership. “Who are you? Who does God want you to be? And what does it take to be a leader?” are some of the questions Hamilton raises in his class.

Now those students, along with members of the community, have the opportunity to hear from leaders in a variety of settings—non-profit, for-profit, and ministry, through the Leadership Speaker Series.

Prof. Kyle HarkemaIn the first session of the series, Prof. Kyle Harkema, assistant professor of business at Trinity, provided a framework for comparison between the different fields. In a discussion led by Emily Dykstra ’16, Harkema discussed his own experiences with leadership. “Leadership is a journey,” said Harkema. Before joining Trinity in 2012, Harkema served as assistant administrator of Maximum Hospice and Palliative Care Inc. in Munster, Ind. Before that, he spent eight years building a transportation business with his family.

He recalled the advice his grandfather gave him: “Do the best you can with the gifts that God has given you.”

He also provided his own advice to the audience, including six key takeaways:

  1. Leadership is a journey
  2. Learn to adapt
  3. Say yes when opportunities come
  4. Find mentors
  5. Mentor others
  6. Just because you are young doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader

Laura Zumdahl, CEO New Moms, Inc.Trinity Board of Trustees member Dr. Laura Zumdahl ’02, president and CEO of New Moms, Inc., provided perspective on “A Non-Profit Look” at the second session, which was moderated by Evan Geels ’16 and Mark Vanderzee ’16. Zumdahl’s organization provides services to homeless and near-homeless adolescent parents and their children, allowing them to work toward economic independence and family stability.

Zumdahl graduated from Trinity with a B.A. in sociology, and then went on to earn an M.A. in Social Work from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration; and a Ph.D. in Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University. Before joining New Moms, she served as vice president, nonprofit services at Donors Forum and has held a variety of leadership roles in the nonprofit sector in legal aid, higher education, and child welfare.

She discussed several myths of non-profit work: that those who can’t succeed in the for-profit sector can always find jobs at non-profits; that those working in non-profits don’t make any money; and that many people only go into non-profit work as a second career.

“I would argue that non-profit work is the most important in society,” she said, pointing out that many institutions of higher education and healthcare are non-profits. “I want to hire the best staff I can, not those who can’t cut it in the for-profit sector.”

She told the audience that this type of work requires great leaders who are brave and bring their best selves to their work. “There may be moments that are really challenging, but I never wonder if what I do matters,” she said.

The TBN Leadership Speaker Series continues on March 30 at 11 a.m., when Aaron Ozinga, president of Ozinga Materials, Inc., will speak on “For Profit Settings.” On Friday, April 1 at 11 a.m., Rev. Bob Bouwer, Senior Pastor at Faith Church in Dyer, Ind., will speak on “Ministry.” Both events will take place in the Vermeer Fireside Room.

Guests are welcome to attend either or both of the remaining speaking engagements. Registration is not required. For more information, call 708.239.4806 or email dennis.harms@trnty.edu.