Holly Schadt on Leadership: Have Empathy, Let Staff Take Risks, Be Clear With Your Vision

Posted on January 12, 2022


Holly Schadt graduated from West Genesee High School in 2001 and went to Nazareth College in Rochester. A degree in social work didn’t interest her as much as she thought it would, so after her freshman year she came back to Syracuse and enrolled in St. Joseph’s College of Nursing. After a year, she realized nursing was not meant for her either.

“My path was not very traditional,” she said with laughter as she recounted her career at Byrne Dairy’s headquarters in LaFayette, where she has worked mostly in the information technology department she helped to create.

The fourth-generation, family-owned dairy company operates three manufacturing plants in Central New York. Milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products are shipped around the nation and even internationally. Schadt said the company employs about 600 people in its CNY plants and warehouses and processes about 50 million pounds of milk each month.

Schadt had just turned 21 in February 2004 when she started in the accounts receivable department at Byrne. The job involved a lot of paper being faxed and mailed to and from customers. She developed a reputation for her work ethic, customer service, and interest in finding ways to make everything work better.

She had enrolled in ITT Technical Institute, a for-profit chain of colleges that later closed in bankruptcy. She was studying information technology with a concentration in multimedia and developing insights that would change her accounts-receivable work. Schadt had the good fortune to work at a company where supervisors gave a young woman with ideas and drive the chance to get ahead and lead the company forward.

CenterState CEO invited her to talk about her experiences at its Generation Next speaker series on Tech & Culture. Her talk via Zoom will be from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 19.

Read the full article from Stan Linhorst on syracuse.com, here.

Register for the event, here.

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