Investor Spotlight with Tysha Gill

Posted in News on April 26, 2021

Investor Spotlight with Tysha Gill

Bio 
Headshot-Lubbers.jpgTysha Gill
Vice President Global Human Resources
ODL, Inc.
 
I live in South Haven, MI with my husband, John. We have three children, Keysharri (28 years old) who is an attorney, Jonbrielle (21 yrs.) who is finishing her first year of law school at Michigan State University College of Law and John Thomas (11 yrs.) who loves playing travel basketball, football and baseball.
 
I graduated from three different universities with two master’s and a bachelor’s degree.
  • Michigan State University – Master’s in Management, Strategy and Leadership
  • Cornerstone University – Master’s in Business Administration
  • Siena Heights University – Bachelor’s in Business Administration
 
I serve as the Vice President Human Resources at ODL, Inc. headquartered in Zeeland, MI. I drive the direction, strategy and plans in the execution of the company’s goals especially as it relates to people and the culture of the organization. I have global responsibility for Human Resources. ODL is in the USA, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom and China.
 
I have over 15 years of global human resource experience. I began my human resource career at Trelleborg Automotive that eventually became Vibracoustic through a joint venture. 
 
Questions:
 
Tysha, you have years of Senior Executive leadership experience, in which I’m sure a lot of lessons were learned. What has been one that you’ve been able to pass along?
 
Never lower your expectations and always be your true self. I stand firm on my values which are honesty, integrity and trustworthiness. If you are in my circle (personal or professional) then you also live by these values. I show people who I am by being my true self by showing up, being honest and sharing my values. I hope by watching me, I give someone the courage to make a life changing decision to be more. 
 
Being a good leader is also leading by example. It is not do what I say, it is do as I am doing. I would not ask anyone to do anything that I am not willing to do myself. So many people get into leadership roles and think they made it and now they do not have to work so hard. I work harder in my leadership role because I know people are watching my actions. We always say actions speak louder than words and it is so true. You are being watched when you do not even realize it.
 
Talk to us about company culture. What are some values that you and your team live by?
 
ODL’s Core Values are Solid, Soft and Risky. So many people can take these words and make them mean whatever they want them to mean but these words describe ODL’s beliefs, behaviors, and culture. We are solid company by believing in a strong and inclusive workforce. Especially in these times, being part of a company that is inclusive is very important. Last year after George Floyd’s murder, I was asked to speak to our global organization about what was going on in the world with all the injustice. I have never been asked to openly talk about race issues and how it affected me and my family. At ODL, I was asked so I stepped forward and prepared what I had to say to our inclusive organization.
 
We are a soft company as we approach situations with our customer, vendors, community and employees. During the beginning of the pandemic, we were deemed an essential workforce but something about it just did not feel right so our leadership team decided that it was best to shut down operations while the world tried to figure out what was really going on. We were shut down for 5 weeks with full pay. No one was furloughed or laid off during this time which is something that I can proudly say about ODL. This showed that we will take care of our employees.
 
We are also a risky company and willing to take risks to grow the business by having teams of innovators and problem solvers that are willing to challenge the status quo. Working for a company where you can take these risks and think outside the box is very rewarding. At ODL, I have been able to challenge myself to think is ways that I would have never thought of and produce ideas on how to get things done differently is a great way to move forward and be better. 
 
During the pandemic, how did Human Resources shift for you? Do you have any stories that stand out of ways your company pivoted during the last year?
 
Being in Human Resources during a global pandemic was one of the most stressful things I have had to encounter in my career. At the beginning, the laws and regulations were changing daily so that was extremely stressful. Then there was the decision were we going to close or stay open. If we close, are we going to pay team members? If we are going to pay, then what will we pay? How are we going to process in our payroll system? What are the right codes? This list goes on. People just think, just pay people but you are paying team members for not working which has a lot of other meanings.
 
Then we opened back up on a voluntary basis, what does this mean for those team members that are not comfortable returning to work during a global pandemic? Oh yes, and we had to produce a list of team members that were deemed able to work from home so now they will continue to work. How long is this going to last? The list goes on.
 
We did the right thing during the pandemic. While it was hard to manage in Human Resources, it was the right thing to do. Our team members can honestly say that they did not lose any pay during the pandemic, and no one was fearful of becoming unemployed. We were just the opposite. We have been trying to hire more during the pandemic than ever before. Our orders increased dramatically, and we cannot hire team members fast enough. 
 
What is a book that you’ve read or an influencer that you watch that has made you a better leader?
 
I follow Simon Sinek and receive his daily Notes to Inspire. I am not much of a person that sits and reads books. I am more of a person that looks for words of encouragement and words of inspiration. There are many times you start off your day not so good but then you get a note from Simon Sinek or a notification from bossbabe.inc. on Instagram that makes you remember that everyone has a hard day and you got this. I aspire to be a woman that wakes up and loves what she does for a living every day because if you love what you do, it is not work. I have a saying on my professional email signature that says, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.” I have a lot of passion around my profession and many times as a woman it can come across as aggresion which is it not so I try to watch my passion because many people do not understand it.
 
I send my daughters inspiration when I see it because I did not have a professional woman to look up to and remind me “you got this”. Recently I sent them something that said this is just to remind you that you’re powerful, beautiful, talented, and strong. “You’ve got this”. One of them is already an attorney and the other one is in law school. There were many days I wish someone would have told me that same thing so I try to be an encouragement to not only my daughters but any woman I encounter. 
 
One thing I want women to understand or anyone for that matter, there is no magic potion to success. Success takes dedication and hard work and without it you will not reach success. Many people think there is some sort of magic that leaders can tell them and they will get to success without the hard work. That is the one thing that upsets me when people ask me to be their mentor. After one meeting, I realize that they are looking for me to tell the secret and when I tell them it is dedication and hard work, they seem upset. So if you are looking for a mentor, understand that in the mentor/mentee relatioship the mentee does the work not the other way around.
 
Can you share why it’s a priority to ODL Inc. as a blinds and glass manufacturer to invest in economic development?
 
Our purpose is “We Make Your Life Better” which includes our community. If we did not invest in our community, we would not be true to our purpose.