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Fostering a Culture of Collaboration 

Kristin Cotter
Vice President of Contract Administration
Singer Equipment Company 

Kristin Cotter loves being a “doer” who immerses herself in the intricacies of projects, processes and procedures. Unfortunately, this part of Cotter’s authentic self conflicted with her own perception of leadership, which traditionally emphasizes overseeing work and delegating rather than direct involvement.

“One day I decided to flip the narrative of being a doer and rose up with a tactical mindset,” says Cotter, vice president of contract administration at Singer Equipment Company. “At that point, I’d found the adjective (tactical) was not only accurate, but that I was proud to be described as such.”

Today, Cotter enjoys tactically guiding projects and purposefully steering individuals into tasks and roles that optimize their potential. “This paradigm shift has given me the confidence to lead very successful projects, as well as participate and help others,” she says. “It’s also inspired me to mentor others on crafting their professional canvas while staying true to who they are.”

Turning Setbacks into Stepping Stones
If Cotter had to choose a single word that captures the essence of leadership, it would undoubtedly be “honesty.” That’s because good leadership starts by embracing honesty about your true self and understanding the person you are at your core. “Often, we strive to prove our worth in areas where we may not excel, instead of accepting our authentic selves,” she points out. “The next step is to extend that honesty to your peers and employees, even though it can be challenging and uncomfortable.”

According to Cotter, effective leaders also recognize when an idea or process falls short, and then adjust accordingly. “Acknowledging failure is not a setback but a pivot point for growth,” she explains. “Trusting in our leaders and ourselves becomes the compass guiding us through uncharted territories, turning challenges into opportunities and setbacks into stepping stones.”

Relationships are Everything
At the heart of Singer’s success lies a strategic commitment to driving culture and establishing behaviors that prioritize and nurture these relationships. By fostering a culture of collaboration, integrity and innovation, the company has been able to create a “consistent Singer experience” that resonates across all corners of the company.

“This approach, guided by Fred Singer’s consistent vision and steady hand, has positioned our company on a trajectory towards an exciting and promising future,” Cotter says. The company also harnesses the strength of meaningful connections with employees, customers, factories, sales reps, service providers and fellow dealers. “This focus has not only resulted in the acquisition of multiple companies but has also proven to be a transformative catalyst for our advancement,” Cotter adds.

Among those advancements is Cotter’s work as project lead for an innovative workflow management system designed for Singer’s contract teams. The system is responsible for equipment and sales projects, making it essential to Singer’s operations, and its development involved intricate design, attention to detail and seamless integrations. Recognizing that the project’s implementation hinged on the enthusiastic support of its teams, Cotter tapped into Fred Singer’s teachings to establish trust among the people who would be using the system as part of their daily jobs. “Maintaining strong relationships with sales leaders and team members played a pivotal role in ensuring the project’s success, as their endorsement and engagement were integral to overcoming potential challenges and avoiding pitfalls,” Cotter says.

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