Heather Fleming

Heather FlemingAge: 38

Occupation: Health, Wellness & Safety Manager, Van Meter Inc.

Who are your local mentors: My dad, Bill Mowery, a retired plant manager at General Mills; Alicia Murphy, vice president of organizational effectiveness at Van Meter; and Barry Boyer, chairman of the board and past president of Van Meter.

What’s the best advice you ever received: The best advice I have ever received is to know yourself and your personal values, and to live your life in lock-step with your values.

What do you know now that you wish you had known earlier in your career: The value that the gift of feedback can bring to your life.  Early in my career, I didn’t get it. I thought if you received feedback, it meant you failed or had let someone down. I took it so hard and beat myself up each time I received it. I now understand that if feedback comes from positive intent, it is an incredible gift and it can help you identify your own blind spots, increasing your self-awareness.

How do you ensure a balance between work and your personal life: One strategy that has really helped me is an activity that our department leadership team has done together. At the beginning of the year, we chose one word to focus on throughout the year – I chose family. Each month during our meetings, we take a few moments to share how we’re doing on our word.  It has helped me keep centered and focused on my family, who are the most important people in my life.

What’s something people should know about your generation in the workplace: I am a firm believer in the value of taking the time to connect with people and to get to know them as individuals. While it is helpful to understand typical generational differences, I believe understanding what makes each person tick is much more impactful.