Day 5: One week comes to an end in the land of cheese.

My title is silly. I haven’t even really had much cheese here – cheese curds, yes – maybe some cheese on a salad or wrap – but honestly, cheese has not been a major focus during my time here. What has been my focus? Harley-Davidson and all things Harley-Davidson!

I am feeling settled in here on Day 5 – the close of my first week of the Plank Center Educators Fellowship. I am on a first name basis with Steve at the front desk who always greets me with a smile and words of encouragement for the day. I started the day off in an all-staff meeting – listening to the buzz and updates around the table from various teams – getting a full picture of projects, priorities and side stories worthy of sharing. Time was also set aside for headlines and good news including the celebration of one employee’s recent engagement. Stacie Stacey from marketing on the retail/dealer side visited with the group – providing a really solid and informative overview of a new customer experience process they have initiated with dealers to take Harley-Davidson’s close-to-the customer philosophy to the next level on the dealership floor.

I met with Laureen who heads up communication strategy on the integrated communication side and learned some great insights on how they create plans that support their model of advocacy across all audiences and channels. She also walked me through an active plan they are executing around the launch of a new technology that better integrate manufacturing, dealers, HR and accounting and many other internal groups. What a huge undertaking to facilitate and manage. She is so impressive.

I met with Sean on some dealer relations initiatives across the regions – giving me some face time with two on his team who are heading up the design and implementation of a new progressive and innovative system that will change the way the company measures the Harley-Davidson experience from the moment a customer enters a showroom to the day they bring their new bike back for its first maintenance check. The goal with the new system is to help drive continuous improvement. Sean also gave me an editing assignment – reviewing a dealer communication for one region as they report on mid-year earnings, marketing updates and other company news.

I had lunch with five members of the communication team – getting to know them better on a personal level and sharing stories of travel, great restaurants in town and swapping quips about raising teenagers. What a cool group of people. I closed the week feeling really good about all that I am learning and giving – excited that I have another full week to work with these amazing people!

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