Meet Pam Schnake ’78. She’ll inspire you with enthusiasm, leadership, motivation and creativity. Because that’s what she does for living. It’s also who she is.
Pam Schnake, a Decatur resident, is owner and founder of ELS Unlimited Inc., which has designed and delivered team development training in Central Illinois since 1996. In the beginning, Schnake was the company. But barely five years later, ELS Unlimited has a staff of 15 and last year provided services to over 4,100 participants.
ELS Unlimited’s primary customers are college-level, youth and business groups seeking to learn teamwork, communication and creative problem solving. Schnake provides just that, by arranging interactive workshops for these people to learn how to work better as a group and enjoy themselves in the process. Her company’s business season runs from mid-April to mid-October because its teambuilding programs are primarily held outdoors.
Her motivation for helping others is simple. “Adults work so hard at their jobs, and kids work so hard at their studies,” she says. “If they could have more fun at work and be more effective and if the kids could get along and have better friendships, so that they break down some of the barriers that stand between each other and have a better understanding of one another, it would just do so much for people.”
A typical session of Schnake’s experience-based learning includes an obstacle course, group challenges and cooperation exercises. A participating group is provided with literature on approaches to teamwork, given materials to accurately document the way they work together and encouraged to discuss how they could do so more efficiently. The ultimate goal is for a group to come to understand their strengths, weaknesses and leadership styles as well as to build commitment to each other and overall team excellence.
From stay-at-home mom to president of her own company - that’s Pam Schnake.
Read the complete profile in the fall 2002 issue of Millikin Quarterly magazine.