BTB Weis

That’s Laura Weis (left) with former Champaign Central student Ally Bergh at an event wrapping up one of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce’s more unique initiatives — a program in which about 100 high school students interested in pursuing careers in the healthcare industry spend time in four local healthcare facilities learning about topics that range from hospice to general surgery to cafeteria work.

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No showing up a co-worker. No meetings without a point. And no straying from the mission.

These are a few of the rules President/CEO LAURA WEIS has learned to lead by in her 20 years at the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce.

The 1999 Illinois State grad, 2013 Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction and 2017 Distinguished Illinois Chamber of Commerce Executive Award honoree answered a few questions from Editor Jeff D’Alessio in the fifth installment of our weekly speed read spotlighting local leaders of organizations big and small.

My philosophy on meetings is ... if it can be taken care of in an email, there is no reason to meet. While face-to-face interaction can be beneficial, meetings should have a purpose and provide value to the participants. I don’t believe in meeting for the sake of meeting.

The hardest thing about being a leader is ... the feeling of isolation that comes with a leadership role. It’s important to find ‘your people’ — who you can trust, who are your sounding board and who will always have your back.

I can’t live without my ... three Weis men (last name’s pronounced Wise) — John, Mason and Spencer are my everything. And, chips and salsa.

My one unbreakable rule for employees is ... never blindside a co-worker. We’re a team.

I’m frugal in that ... I shop online for my groceries and pick them up at the store. This prevents me from impulse buying. Plus, the Dollar Store is amazing for things like wrapping paper, decorations or party-related items.

My alarm goes off at ... 5:21 — and again at 5:57. I get up around 6:30 unless I go walking in the morning. Then I am up by 5:15-ish. Mornings are not my friend.

The last luxury I indulged in was ... replacing our 13-year-old television with a brand-new, bigger, better-quality flat screen. Maybe this ‘luxury’ buy is a better answer to the frugal question since it took us 13 years?

The most beneficial college class I took at ISU was ... an English course taught by Dr. Pidgeon. I was a senior. He returned one of my papers with the comment ‘I cannot believe you are a senior in college and this is how you write. If you do not get a writing tutor, you will fail and not graduate.’ I found a writing tutor. It changed everything.

My business role model is ... every board member I have ever had, or currently have. Our board members are selected because they represent the best in the business community and their respective industries. I have been fortunate to sit at the table every month over the years with these leaders. I make it a point to watch and learn. I try to adopt and practice the best of what these leaders brought or bring to the table.

The worst job I ever had was ... my first job out of college. The husband and wife owners did not value the employees. They motivated by using fear. It was a very unhealthy work environment.

The next big thing in my line of work is ... trying to understand what the upcoming generations value, or will value, to make sure that the business association stays relevant in this ever-changing, fast paced economy.