Season 1 | People You Should Know in Forestry and Natural Resources | Episode 3

#3 | Learn how to be a sponge, and listen more than you speak

September 7, 2016 | Henry E. (Gene) Kodama

At the time of this interview, Gene Kodama was the South Carolina State Forester with decades of leadership wisdom to share. Gene was fortunate enough to have some great mentors during the first few years of his professional career and a Father who made a lifelong impression on him (and now us). In this episode he shares the wisdom he has learned from his Dad and many others. The art of being a good listener is an important role for anybody, not just leaders, and Gene discusses why it really does pay to listen more than it does to speak.

Key Takeaways:

[2:55] How did Gene get started in forestry?

[5:00] How did Gene get his first forestry job?

[6:20] What was the transition from student to workforce like for Gene?

[9:00] Gene’s parents and grandparents have served as huge mentors to Gene.

[9:35] Love and care about your fellow man and the rest will align nicely.

[10:05] What was fun or challenging about Gene’s first leadership position?

[12:10] What is Gene’s definition of leadership?

[16:15] Challenges are like mountains.

[20:00] It’s one thing to know about being a Christian, it’s another thing to be one. The same applies to leadership.

[25:15] Where does Gene see the future of forestry going as a profession?

[28:50] What advice would Gene give to other foresters who have not had access to great leadership mentors?

[32:55] Step up to the plate, do not avoid extra responsibility!

[34:35] Listen more than you speak.

[40:50] Tom’s Leadership Tip of the Week!

Photo wb log deck and Gene
Gene and “Brutus” on a log deck on Gene’s own Tree Farm after a recent final harvest. Regeneration is right behind.

Henry Kodama in Hemer, Germany WWII
Gene’s Dad, Sergeant Henry Kodama, in Hemer, Germany, after the end of WWII. Sergeant Kodama was involved in the Battle of the Bulge, the crossing of the Rhine River, and the German occupation of France.


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