Over the last six years I have been fortunate to be part of our Young Leaders Group and for the past two years I had the amazing opportunity to be the group President. It sure has been a wild ride transitioning leadership during a global pandemic, switching our meetings to virtual, to ending my term as we rise out of the pandemic switching back to in-person. An abundance of creativity was poured into the last two years and a lot was learned; just like when we themed each meeting (below you can see a screenshot of our virtual sports themed meeting)! I could not have done it without the help of our steering committee, upper management, our Executive Liaison, George Cullen, ownership and most importantly – the willingness of group members to be flexible and open to the creativity.
Just like with every good book, it must come to an end and the time has come where I turn over the reigns to the next President, Mitch Danner, who will lead the group to even better and brighter things. But as I reflect back over the last six years I realize not everyone might know what our group is or does and how special it is to have when you’re just starting out with a new company.
As the company expanded and additional staff was needed, Mark Cullen understood how interaction between employees was needed. Without it, they would have difficulty integrating into the Cullen culture. He was concerned that young employees would often grab lunch on the fly and retreat to their desks instead of hanging out with elder, more experienced staffers from whom they could learn the insider tricks of the construction trade. So Mark began regularly inviting newcomers to lunch with him. These informal conversations offer the opportunity for leader and peer to better know each other. There was no agenda at the chat ’n’ eat sessions so the newcomers were able to ask any questions they wanted. To formalize this relationship and encourage interaction between employees, a Young Leaders program was started in 2004 to develop future company leaders. Through this mentoring and shared learning, a new generation of hires have been seamlessly incorporated into the wider company family.
Young Leaders Group
Our Young Leaders Group is a group comprised of JP Cullen employees who have been with the company five years or less, including, but not limited to: Engineers, Estimators, Project Managers, members of BD/Marketing, Process Improvement, and Prefabrication. The purpose of the group is to further the development of our members through shared learning, bringing added value to each individual, as well as the company. When needed we seek colleagues outside the group to help answer questions, provide training, enhance leadership, and most importantly help those in similar roles build relationships with each other.
As Young Leaders we will build professional and personal relationships both inside and outside the workplace.
We will be involved with and strengthen the communities in which we work and live.
We will add value to each individual as well as the company by providing training and mentoring opportunities to instill JP Cullen’s culture.
Young Leaders bring a unique perspective to the overall vision of the company.
We are the future of JP Cullen!
As you read above, one of the biggest parts of this group is giving back and building the communities we work and live in. This past year alone our group had 206 total service hours within Rock, Dane and Milwaukee Counties volunteering with organizations such as Meals on Wheels, Second Harvest Food Bank, Special Olympics of Wisconsin, Bowlin’ for Colons, Hunger Task Force and so many others.
Sense of Belonging
Within your first week on the job you are welcomed into the group with an email and a one-one-lunch. You feel a sense of belonging already. Within the first few months you attend your first meeting which allows you to meet peers and really solidified that sense of belonging. Throughout your first five years you grow, learn and bond with those peers broadening your knowledge of all roles and Divisions and opening up a new look of the entire company. It’s really a special group and one I’ve taken for granted at times. When we say we have the best people, we really do! Our corporate mission to identify, hire, train and retain the best people to serve our customers starts here.
Being with the company six years now, I am so much more confident and feel like I can pick up the phone and call any one of the 50+ members in the group. I also feel so much more confident talking to upper management, even as far up as the 4th Generation of Cullen’s. Each and every one of them are actively involved in the group, either as a presenter, mentor or just fly-on-the-wall at our meetings. They wholeheartedly believe in this group and dedicate a lot of time to us. I appreciate that most. If it wouldn’t have been for this group I’m not sure I would have met or established a relationship with even half the members. It’s a special thing we have here at JP Cullen and one I am tremendously thankful for.
Want to Join?
Click here to apply for one of our job openings, we’d love to have you!