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Emily Juhnke recognized for leadership in marketing and communications

This post originally appeared on Wichita Business Journal.

Emily Juhnke
Director of Brand Transformation
Gardner Design

What is your leadership style? I strive to empower teams to be the best they can be. That often means connecting and re-connecting them to our purpose and vision, and how to optimize our efforts to get the right results. I don’t micromanage. Instead, I allow them to lead within their roles as they are able, always being available as a mentor and guide, and removing obstacles when needed. Ultimately, I want to enable team members to realize their potential. And I want them to feel the satisfaction of earning the results. 

When did you first feel like a leader? Reaching way back, it was probably in the fourth grade when we did our first team project. The assignment was to write a skit and perform it. I remember taking charge, writing the script, assigning parts, coming up with a backdrop to perform in front of. It was a lot of fun, and it played a role in shaping my future. 

Who are your mentors and how have they influenced your career? I’ve had the privilege of having incredible mentors as bosses over the years, who have encouraged me while nudging me to reach my professional potential. And I’ve been blessed with so many other powerful influences over the course of my life, starting with my parents, amazing brother, and grandparents, who made me feel deeply loved and heard, from a very early age. 

I have mentors at all levels and life stages. I feel blessed every day to have my loving and hard-working husband; smart, kind, and spirited daughters; amazing, supportive family; and wise, wonderful close friends who I can look to for support and constant inspiration. 

What are you doing to mentor women in your industry? Taking advantage of the opportunities as they come! Sometimes it’s meeting someone for lunch or coffee to relay personal experience and give advice. Other times, it’s sitting in a meeting and bringing the other women in the room into the conversation. Within our workplace, I try to encourage my female colleagues to have confidence in their contributions. Sit at the table and say something. You have an opinion that needs to be heard.

Best advice for young women considering your industry? Learn, learn, learn. Know what you’re good at, and then pivot and evolve based both on your own interests and what the market needs. Always make sure your contributions add real business value and know how to work within budget constraints when needed. Marketers have a bad rap for just wanting to spend money on things that don’t really move the needle. Show how you can do a lot with a little and accomplish real results responsibly.

Don’t allow yourself to be limited, even by well-meaning people. Know your true limits and push toward your goals. There’s a way to make it happen. It won’t always be easy. There will be setbacks. But you’ve got this. 

What female leaders do you admire? Melinda Gates and Michelle Obama. Both are women who are ensuring their efforts mean something. They’re doing their part to help make a real difference.

What was your career path? Corporate communication at INVISTA/Koch Industries; owning my own PR/marketing consulting business; Senior Marketing Consultant at Allen, Gibbs and Houlik; Marketing and Business Development Leader at Gardner Design. 

What inspired you to choose a career in Marketing and Communications? I was encouraged to do it early on by a coworker at Koch. I didn’t realize how valued communication skills are in business. When he found out I knew how to communicate well, both written and verbally, he told me I should think about a career in public affairs/communication. So I began looking into it.

What do you like most about your job? Our clients and making a real difference in their organizations with the work we do together. We work with a lot of smart companies and not-for-profits who understand the power of effective branding. I love collaborating with them and providing solutions that help them get where they need to be, making things better for their customers, employees, and the world.

Let’s dive into this thing.