Exemplary Leader Spotlight: Jennifer Recknor

Exemplary Leader Spotlight

Each month, we are highlighting one member from the Group Coaching Intensive for Leaders of Leaders. We believe in learning from our community, and this month, Jennifer Recknor, the New Product Development Business Process and Data Steward at is sharing some wisdom & experience with us.

  1. How long have you been in this role & at this organization?

I started at W.L. Gore & Associates as a Medical Products Division Product Specialist in June of 2008. I am very close to celebrating 14 years with this company that improves lives for so many patients!

Since February of 2021, I have been leading a new product development project as Product Specialist in the Ophthalmology space for Gore. The last 15 months has brought many and various opportunities for team and project leadership, involving both career and personal development, for which I am grateful.

  1. What are 2 words to describe you & when do you demonstrate those characteristics most?

Two phrases that best describe me are Kind Warrior and Resilient Champion. On the good days, and the not-so-good days, I am always striving to be kind, compassionate and empathetic with my team yet showing the perseverance of a warrior. I rise to and above the occasion, resiliently moving through whatever challenge I am facing, whether it is in my work commitment, at play, or at home, with the strength of a champion, when no one is watching.

  1. How has leadership changed you? (If you can write a paragraph about this, that includes a specific story, that would be perfect.)

I have spent most of my life achieving success by pushing the envelope, at school, then at work. In my career, I have been the ultimate hustler, running at 150%, (more than) all in, or purposefully deciding to not be in at all. What I have discovered over the years is that this mentality has left little room for me to recognize that a person can be all in toward an endeavor and have limits, boundaries. As I lead this product development effort, I have been reminded that I too have (and am allowed to have) boundaries.

Boundaries are a way to take care of ourselves. Establishing them as a leader provides a model to your team of how best to take care of themselves and each other as we work toward a common goal. Establishing healthy boundaries enables clear expectation setting; it establishes what behavior to accept from other people and what behavior other people can expect. It requires one to be mindful and have equanimity.

After experiencing many hurdles early on in this project, I persevered by creating additional boundaries for myself. I chose to lead by setting boundaries with my team from the beginning. I asked questions around what norms and structures will allow agility and success for the project and what agreements must be in place so that as a team there was a common framework from which we were working toward our goals. Together, using the same frame, the team has determined and continues to reflect on how we want to show up for the each other and for the project. We strive each day to hold that frame in a consistent way recognizing that communication is critical.

I started a career supporting medical device development and fitness for use because I wanted to be a part of changing the world for the better. I have brought what I call a whole heart hustle to my work day in and day out. Over the course of my career, I have changed by establishing more and tighter boundaries, for myself and as a model for my team. With perspective and wisdom, I am constantly reminding myself that I am my biggest champion and the strength of the team is in the pack. As I develop as a leader and recognize these changes in myself, I recall the wise words of Rumi. ‘Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and twice as beautiful as you’d ever imagined. Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.’

  1. Can you give 3 practical leadership suggestions that have helped you to be successful?

Be Conscientiousness.

Do the due diligence, the hard work it takes to get the job done.

Be Deliberate.

Focus on what you can control, your efforts, intents and emotions (around and) to influence outcomes. While doing so, be bold, be brave, be confident affording yourself the ability to take risks and the leaps those before you have not taken.

Be Honest.

Above all, come with candor, pragmatism and engagement.

Leading in these ways takes courage and demonstrates integrity.


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