Mid-Michigan native Jill Palm Lynch has worked hard to achieve her accomplishments and is proud to help others in the region reach their goals as well. With a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Northwood University, she serves as the vice president of human resources at Duro-Last®, Inc. and JRB Personnel, LLC. Headquartered in Saginaw and known as the “World’s Best Roof”®, Duro-Last manufactures roofing membranes for commercial applications and has six different facilities throughout the country. In her role, Jill oversees all human resources activities and initiatives for Duro-Last’s expansive network of employees, as well as the related organizations that make up the family of companies founded by John R. Burt.

Outside of the office, Jill serves as a board member for the Buena Vista Downtown Development Association and the Great Lakes Bay Manufacturers Association, and sits on the Michigan Chamber of Commerce Health and Human Resources Committee.

Jill answers questions about her experience as a woman in leadership, and shares her insights on how others can leave their own mark.

Who inspires you and why?

I have always admired strong, knowledgeable and compassionate leaders. I believe it is important for all of us to encourage and nurture each other along the path of personal and professional development. When we lead by example, provide resources and support, and show kindness, we create an atmosphere where everyone can grow to their fullest potential and achieve things that they didn’t even think were possible.

What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned so far in your career?

Talk less and listen more. And be sure to give others credit when credit is due. The greatest compliment for a supervisor is when their employees are promoted, even if it means losing them from their team. Effective leadership really comes down to nurturing opportunities for team members to learn and grow.

What challenges have shaped you as a leader?

I’ve learned that responsibilities are not always glamorous or popular. I am always mindful of the fact that the decisions I have to make and carry out can be life changing for individuals, and because of that it’s important to come from a place of honesty and integrity in everything that I do.

Why is diversity an important element of effective leadership?

Leaders need to demonstrate the opportunities that lie ahead for anyone willing to put in the work. In today’s climate, companies are competing for a shrinking workforce. Prospective employees are looking for companies that allow growth opportunity, empowerment and flexibility. For companies to recruit the best talent, their leadership needs to be representative of the employees they are trying to hire.

What can current leaders do to support and encourage the next generation of leaders?

I think it’s important for companies to create and support mentorship programs to guide the next generation. When employees have someone in leadership who they can connect to and build a relationship with, they feel more valued and empowered to build a path to the future they want within the company.

What advice would you give to others working toward leadership positions in their own careers?

Stay true to yourself. Work hard and realize that the path upward may not always be a straight line, but if you embrace opportunities along the way you’re going to find that you end up exactly where you were meant to be.