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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Justin Shurley, the ticket sales manager for the TinCaps, says he values honesty and loyalty as leadership traits.
IN The Lead/ Justin Shurley

Leaders must be genuine

Parents, a pastor and a teacher, provided template for Shurley

Justin Shurley, 30, is ticket sales manager for the Fort Wayne TinCaps baseball team.

Community and leadership involvement: Vice president of leadership development for Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana; volunteer for Real Men Read, which involves a monthly visit to Glenwood Park Elementary School to read to second-graders; on the committee for Science Central’s gala event Mixology 101: The Science of Cocktails, an annual fundraiser

Most recent accomplishment: Helped launch the new YLNI Power Lunch program, designed to connect members of the group with more senior leaders in the community. Participants in the small group sessions meet once a month for four months. Honored in March as one of Fort Wayne’s 40 Under 40, a recognition program for people helping to shape the future, sponsored by Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly.

What makes a leader: “I think leaders have to be genuine and sincere,” Shurley said. “For you to be able to believe in something is one thing. For you to be able to convey that and have people follow you, they have to be able to believe you.”

Leadership traits you most value: Honesty and loyalty. “When I follow, I want to follow someone who I know is being honest and forthright with me and I’m not doing something just for the sake of doing it, but there is a purpose behind it,” Shurley said. “I would say inclusion is important as well, and that’s something I feel I’ve picked up from our team president, Mike Nutter.”

Best leadership book you’ve read: Shurley first recalls a pocket-size business book he read while briefly working at a bookstore in Cambridge, Mass. He doesn’t remember the title, but one bit of advice in the book has stuck with him. “It said ‘Don’t hire a watchdog and bark yourself,’ ” Shurley said. “If you’ve brought someone in, let them do their job.” He also cites “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell as a good book. He likes the emphasis on the numerous steps typically involved to achieve success. “Walmart didn’t become the giant they are because of sheer luck,” Shurley said. “It’s a lot of little things that led to one big result … And to bring it to the field I’m in, you’re not a professional athlete just because you’re athletic. It’s all the different things you’ve gotten into that makes you who you are.”

Best ways to overcome self-doubt: “I wish I knew. For me, I guess there will always be self-doubt, and I’m OK with that. I guess it’s always just powering through it.” Shurley said it’s important to be able to look back on everything and see ways things could have been even better.

Time management tips: Shurley relies on his iPhone, keeping his calendars synced and the alert system it provides to keep him on schedule.

Role model(s) and why: His father and mother, Lynn and Elaine Shurley, who live in Paducah, Ky. As a preacher, his father often found himself counseling or comforting people in a variety of situations. His mom was a high school choir director who was trusted by many students, enabling her to share wisdom when students had concerns or encountered problems.

Describe one leadership challenge and how you resolved it: Working in Kentucky as a marketing director for United Way of Paducah – McCracken County was one of Shurley’s first jobs after college. He was “by far the youngest” among the staff. “It was hard getting people to buy into the fact that just by being younger and bringing in new ideas, I wasn’t necessarily trying to change what they had built – just trying to tweak it and expand upon it,” Shurley said. By being persistent in offering ideas, and doing his research to make proposals, he was eventually able to get his colleagues to see he did have something to contribute.

What are your goals: Shurley said he’s not the type to have a “5- or 10-year plan.” He is more inclined to take advantage of opportunities as they develop. “I’ve learned to kind of do the best I can with what’s in front of me and expect there’s a plan for going forward,” Shurley said.

Hobbies: Enjoys reading, music, watching and playing sports; plays in the TinCaps’ recreation league volleyball team.

Family: Single, but in a committed relationship. Along with his parents, has a brother, Britton, who is an English professor in Paducah.

Compiled by Lisa Green, The Journal Gazette

In the Lead is a monthly profile of Fort Wayne-area residents in various leadership roles.