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Leading in Times of Challenge with Chris Conetzkey

Chris Conetzkey Headshot

Chris Conetzkey is the publisher of the Business Record in Greater Des Moines (DSM). He began his work at the company as a reporter in 2009, covering transportation and technology before working for ESPN College GameDay in Florida. He returned to DSM, and the Business Record, in 2011 and took over as publisher and executive editor in 2017.

Chris Conetzkey Leadership Tips

When Conetzkey returned to the Business Record as editor, he was coming in to lead a staff all older than him. One of the things that helped him was having managing editor at the time, Jim Pollock, as a mentor as he transitioned into his new role; however, not long into Conetzkey’s role as editor, Pollock was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. It was a difficult time for the staff, and Conetzkey says his first priority was taking care of them, while also continuing to put out the Business Record’s publications. 

In order to keep team morale up during that time, Conetzkey focused on the following: flexibility and capable of accepting support.

·      The best way to prepare is to be in a spot where you already have flexibility in place to be able to adapt. In other words, plan ahead so that when you find yourself in a crisis, you can take time if you need it.

·      People want to help in times of challenge so don’t be afraid to lean on senior team members who offer their expertise. This will benefit your people and your business.


As a leader, it can be mentally draining to stay on top of everything. Conetzkey says he has learned that he needs to deal with stressful situations and tackle them in the moment by talking through it. In leadership you don’t always have someone to go vent to. Conetzkey references the Make it Okay campaign as one thing that is helping many take a stand and encourage open conversations surrounding mental health, including in times of crisis.

Listen to the entire podcast by clicking here.

The Leading in Times of Change podcast is brought to you by the Greater Des Moines Partnership and hosted by Mike Jefferson. The podcast features community leaders from across Greater Des Moines (DSM). To listen to more Partnership podcasts, click here

Leading in Times of Challenge

Leading in Times of Challenge is a podcast featuring Greater Des Moines (DSM) business and community leaders.