Mark Watje visits with attendees at this month’s Power Lunch at the Sun Theatre prior to his presentation.

The Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce hosted its second Power Lunch event on Feb. 10 with Curbtender, Inc. President Mark Watje sharing a presentation titled “Owning Your Value.” More specifically, Watje focused on our interpersonal value and how each of us can identify that and use it to our benefit.

“As humans we tend to live life reactionary, rather than proactively. As business professionals we are used to the process of business planning and how to structure proactive strategies. What I want us to do is to learn how to apply those same things, just in a different way, to our personal lives,” Watje explained.

He encouraged everyone in attendance to develop a personal life plan, much as they would a business plan, and put it in writing. “Once you know your value it’s important to know how and where to use it,” he said.

A native of western Iowa, Watje shared his personal story of marrying his high school sweetheart and working his way up through the business world. His various experiences prepared him for the opportunity to eventually go into business with his father, Kevin, and develop the refuge truck manufacturing operation in 2017 now known as Curbtender. In 2019 Watje and his family relocated to Gothenburg to open a second facility in the former Baldwin building.

Watje said every good plan begins with a dream, and in order to bring it all together we must each understand and own our true value. He walked those in attendance through Simon Sinek's process of discovering our “why” - why we do what we do. “Most companies know what they do and can effectively communicate it. Fewer companies know how they do it and can effectively communicate it - and even fewer know why they do it and can effectively communicate it,” he shared. Knowing the why, whether on a business or personal level, is critical, said Watje.

“Your why is your cause - it’s what you believe in. It’s what grounds you, and makes you who you are,” Watje said.

Each attendee received a handout designed to narrow down those causes and beliefs, and eventually result in the development of an individual “why” statement. Once we have done that we can be more strategic about putting ourselves into settings that best align with our values. Both the company - and you personally - will thrive when that happens, he said.

“Create tactical strategies that are going to help you engage, grow and maintain your value,” Watje concluded.

The Power Lunch program is a joint endeavor between the Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce and Sun Theatre. It takes place during the lunch hour on the second Wednesday of each month.

The next event in the year-long Power Lunch series will be held on March 10 and will feature a virtual program presented by nationally known speaker, podcaster and author Mike "C-Roc" Ciorrocco. The noon-hour program includes lunch provided by Hogz Brew, and is presented free to the public through the generous sponsorship of local Chamber businesses.

Contact Ellen Mortensen at ellen@gothenburgleader.com or call 308.537.9498