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Day in the Life of a Leader with Christine Winge, Executive Director at Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula

Updated: 7 days ago


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In this week's article:


Meet Christine Winge of Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula! Learn about Christine's:


Method for breaking complex problems, collaborating to find a solution, and testing alternatives

📢Essential tools for motivating her team

🔥 7 tips for new leaders

💪 Commitment to delivering meals to clients during this year's storms


First, a few metrics:


Time as Executive Director at MOWMP: 4+ years

Total management experience: 25+ years

Currently managing: 33 employees total, 4 direct reports


Christine's leadership style:


How do you get ready for the day?

I think having an effective morning routine is key to prepare for the day ahead. For me, this involves setting clear goals, reviewing essential information, and practicing healthy habits like exercise and mindfulness. Communication with my team is key, so I make it a point to check in and address any immediate concerns. Additionally, I dedicate time to continuous learning through reading and personal development activities.


How do you approach problem-solving?

When it comes to problem-solving, I approach it with a structured yet flexible mindset. One strategy that has proven effective for me is breaking down complex problems into smaller, more manageable tasks. This allows me to tackle each aspect systematically while maintaining an overall view of the problem. Additionally, I prioritize gathering relevant information and seeking diverse perspectives to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issue at hand. Collaboration is key, so I often engage with my team or relevant stakeholders to brainstorm ideas and evaluate potential solutions. Once a solution is identified, I test it while remaining open to adjusting or refining it based on feedback and new information. Adaptability and perseverance are crucial throughout the process, as problem-solving often involves navigating unforeseen challenges. Overall, this approach enables me to address problems effectively and drive towards successful outcomes.


What's an example of a challenge you're facing right now?

One challenge we're currently navigating at Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula is the need to scale our operations effectively to keep up with the increasing demand for our services. As a leader in the organization, I'm focused on ensuring that we can efficiently meet the needs of our community without compromising the quality or reliability of our meal delivery program.


This challenge requires us to carefully manage our resources, including volunteer availability, funding, and infrastructure. We're constantly evaluating our processes and systems to identify areas for improvement and optimization. Additionally, we're exploring opportunities to expand our network of volunteers and partners to help us reach more individuals in need.


Moreover, as the landscape of food delivery and social services continues to evolve, we're facing competition from other organizations and programs offering similar services. To remain competitive and relevant, we're proactively seeking ways to differentiate ourselves, whether through innovative service offerings, enhanced customer experience, or strategic partnerships.


How do you motivate your team to perform well?

Motivating my team involves several key elements. I prioritize clear communication by articulating our goals and demonstrating how each team member's role contributes to our collective success. This clarity provides a sense of purpose and direction, helping to align everyone's efforts. Additionally, I emphasize the importance of recognition and appreciation for their contributions. Celebrating achievements and milestones reinforces their value to the team and fosters a positive work culture.


Creating a supportive environment is also crucial. I strive to cultivate an atmosphere of trust, where team members feel empowered to voice their ideas and concerns. Providing constructive feedback and opportunities for growth helps them feel valued and motivated to improve.


Furthermore, I believe in challenging my team with meaningful tasks that stretch their abilities and encourage personal and professional development. By setting ambitious yet attainable goals, I inspire them to push their limits and strive for excellence.


Leading by example is fundamental to effective motivation. I demonstrate enthusiasm, passion, and dedication in my own work, serving as a role model for the team. This inspires them to adopt a similar mindset and approach, driving collective performance to new heights.


Overall, by focusing on clear communication, recognition, support, meaningful challenges, and leading by example, I motivate my team to perform at their best and achieve exceptional results.


Who are your leadership role models?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Diana Nyad are two leaders who deeply inspire me. Ginsburg's unwavering commitment to justice and equality, despite facing numerous challenges, motivates me to stand up for what is right. Nyad's relentless pursuit of her goals, even in the face of adversity, reminds me to persevere and believe in my ability to overcome obstacles. Their stories encourage me to lead with courage, resilience, and with a steadfast commitment to making a positive impact.


What advice would you give someone new to leadership?

For someone new to a leadership role, my advice would be:


1. Listen and Learn: Take the time to understand your team and their perspectives.

2. Lead by Example: Demonstrate the qualities you want to see in your team.

3. Communicate Effectively: Be clear, honest, and approachable in your communication.

4. Empower Others: Encourage autonomy and growth among your team members.

5. Embrace Feedback: Be open to feedback and use it to improve.

6. Stay Humble and Curious: Continuously learn and remain open to new ideas.

7. Take Care of Yourself: Prioritize your well-being to lead effectively.


What's a particular anecdote that stands out in your career?

During the recent storms in our area, ensuring the delivery of meals posed a significant challenge for our team at Meals on Wheels. With road closures, power outages, and hazardous conditions, coordinating the delivery routes became incredibly challenging. Despite meticulous planning, our team faced unexpected obstacles that threatened our ability to fulfill our mission of providing nutritious meals to our clients.


However, in the face of adversity, our team rallied together with determination and creativity to overcome these challenges. Volunteers stepped up to offer their assistance, even braving treacherous weather conditions to ensure that meals were delivered safely and on time. We leveraged technology to track road closures and identify alternate routes, allowing us to navigate around obstacles and reach our clients despite the adverse conditions.


Moreover, our partnerships with local emergency services and community organizations proved invaluable, as they provided support and resources to help us navigate the challenges of the storm. Through effective communication and collaboration, we were able to adapt our operations in real-time, ensuring that no client went without a meal during this challenging period.


This experience reinforced the importance of teamwork, adaptability, and resilience in overcoming obstacles and achieving our goals. It demonstrated the incredible impact that can be achieved when individuals come together with a shared purpose and a commitment to supporting one another, even in the face of adversity.


Is there someone you'd like us to feature in an upcoming edition of Day in the Life of a Leader? Contact us below and let us know!




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