Leadership Spotlight - Jessica Clemmer

leadership Feb 05, 2023

Jessica Clemmer is the assistant to the Principals at Pottsgrove High School and an active leader in the local community.

When Jessica originally applied for her role at the high school, she was looking for a “fill in job”, while she did some processing and tried to determine what would be next for her.

She was the lead pastor at a church that she and her husband started several years prior and as that was wrapping up and they were beginning the process of shutting it down a bit, so she was looking for a “fill in job” to make some needed money at the time.

Jessica took the role at Pottsgrove and it ended up growing into so much more. She is in her fifth year there, and plays an integral role in the success of the principal team, and energizing the staff at PGHS.

When asked about the biggest lesson she’s learned on her leadership journey, Jessica shared,

“I used to think that not everyone was a leader, then for a while I thought everyone was a leader. Now I think everyone has the potential to be a leader. But that doesn't mean that they will want to pay the cost - that they will want to step up and take ownership - and I think those pieces are so vital to leadership in any setting.

I used to think leadership was about position, but over the years, because of the influence that I've had in different situations, which has more often than not been without a specific position, I’ve seen that you don’t need a specific title or position to be a leader.

I think my journey has proven that if you're willing to invest yourself, whether it's in people or in building something, the leadership comes, you know? True, influential leadership is not a handed-to-you thing, it's something that is earnable and so I think anybody has potential to be a leader.

The people that are true leaders don't sit and wait to be handed a position. They grow in who they are, and what they do, and where they invest their time and effort which results in things that people see and are inspired by. That results in influence. True leadership, to me, is really about influence.

So I think the one of the biggest things I've learned is to not sit and wait for somebody to give you leadership. Just start leading.”

Jessica definitely does not sit and wait for anything! She steps forward when she sees a need or opportunity to serve.

She currently volunteers with Manatawny Athletic Club, helping with administrative needs there, and she’s in the process of getting involved in other volunteer positions in the community as well.

Jessica says, “I know from being in leadership roles, if people don’t step up to do whatever needs to be done - often what are considered “menial things” - then no one will and the small things won’t get done. It’s often those small things that are so important to help move things forward.”

Community has always been important to Jessica. She grew up in the church community and served in leadership roles from a young age. Up until about 3 years ago, she was heavily involved in church, then made a transition from that environment, but never changing her value for a community. 

Jessica says that at the core of community is everyone contributing to make things work.

“When we were doing church stuff, we needed the people that were going to hang out and help sweep the floor and put away the chairs and all of those things because we couldn't do it all by ourselves. Yet those things were always needed at every event. It builds a sense of connection when everyone takes ownership of making things happen.

I’ve grown up so completely surrounded by that sense of community, it’s a core part of who I am.

Even though I'm not involved in a church setting anymore, I kind of went through a period where I didn't have a community and it was very disorienting. I didn't have a regular connection. Other than my job I didn't have somewhere where I was investing myself. And that was just disorienting for me because there’s more to be had, more to be done. It partly comes back to me being passionate about wanting to see other people be able to do things that they have a heart and a vision for. I think it's just always been part of me to be in community and knowing that it takes all those parts for anything to succeed. I've always had heart for wherever I live, I want the businesses to do well, families to do well, organizations to thrive.”

Jessica believes in community so much that she will bypass main highways and instead drive through town so she can see the people and the businesses and the community at large. She says it helps her feel grounded, and connected to the place she lives.

When asked about the work she does and what she enjoys most about it, Jessica says, “I enjoy being able to step back and look at the big picture of things and try and tune into people and hear what their heart is, what their goal is, and how I can help equip that or propel that.

I try to ask questions, like “What do you need in order to get where you're trying to go?” Which is why I think it works for me to step into an administrative assistant role, which I think mostly is not perceived as a leadership role, but I think I have a unique ability to tune into what somebody wants and be like, “Okay, how can I help make that happen for you?”... which is actually leading, because I'm equipping them and enabling them to do what they need to do.

I think that's my biggest passion. I've had multiple businesses and ventures like I said, my husband and I started a church, and we were able to raise up some young leaders, in particular, in that setting. That was probably the most fulfilling part of those years for me. I love seeing the ways that people that were part of that with us are leading and flourishing in other settings now.

In general, I love coming up with ideas, I love coming up with things and saying “Let's try this. Let's try that.” I am very entrepreneurial in that sense.

But what I get even more excited about is when somebody else has an idea, and I can tune into what they’re saying and what they need and where I can put pieces in place to help them run with it.”

Jessica says her biggest passion is equipping and enabling people, and understanding people dynamics – helping people understand their own strengths and the strengths of the people around them in order to move their endeavors forward purposefully and productively.

Huge thanks to you Jessica for being the leader you are and for positively impacting the lives of the people around you, at work, home, and in the community!

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