Showing Up as a Leader

Ep.3 Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of New Jersey Business & Industry Association

March 08, 2021 WINGS For Growth Season 1 Episode 3
Showing Up as a Leader
Ep.3 Michele Siekerka, President and CEO of New Jersey Business & Industry Association
Show Notes

WINGS for Growth presents "Showing up as a leader" with Michele Siekerka. Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., President and CEO of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), leads the nation’s largest, most influential employers’ organization. In this episode, Michele talks about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and her journey of leadership experiences that shaped her to be who she is today. She is one of the most influential leaders in the state of New Jersey (NJ). She says showing up as a leader during a business crisis is about knowing where people are and being empathetic while holding them accountable.


  • You cannot fake passion. It is about preparation and confidence, which shows your commitment to whatever you are doing.   
  • What does not kill you makes you stronger.
  • Women are innately entrepreneurial. To be an employer from being an employee, you need vision, dream but most importantly, you need a plan and cabinet of advisers.  
  • Seize the day; something good happens every day.  
  • To recover gracefully from mishaps, lean In, listen, reset, and own it. 

Guest Bio:

Michele N. Siekerka, Esq., President & CEO of the NJBIA, advocates on behalf of NJ's large & small businesses for policies that will make NJ more affordable & regionally competitive. Under Siekerka’s leadership, NJBIA’s award-winning research on outmigration documented the loss of $24 billion in wealth from NJ over 12 years & set the agenda in Trenton for the enactment of a series of important pro-business reforms.

Siekerka has been at the forefront of efforts to build more effective workforce development alliances in NJ between academia, business & government. The NJBIA Postsecondary Education Task Force’s yearlong study of NJ’s highest-in-the-nation millennial outmigration produced a 13-point action plan that is driving policymakers’ discussions on how to retain our future workforce.

Siekerka came to NJBIA in 2014 from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), where she last served in the critical position of Deputy Commissioner.  At DEP, Siekerka's role was key in restoring NJ after Superstorm Sandy: coordinating funding, outreach & resources to rebuild environmental infrastructure.

An attorney by trade, Siekerka was the president & CEO of the Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce, Sr. legal counsel & VP of human resources with the Automobile Association of America, & a partner in a Mercer County law firm.  She is also on the board of directors of Investors Bancorp; The NJ Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors; Choose NJ; the NJ Innovation Institute and Junior Achievement of NJ.
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