Keeping Small Businesses Competitive through Sharing Best Practices of Global Leaders

Archive for the ‘Non-Profit’ Category

Nancy Boucher, Founder of Elegant Impressions Gifts |Collaborative Leader in Business Analysis & Resource Planning (Boston, MA)

 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

 

http://linkedin.com/in/nancy-boucher-32697874

 

 

BSO:  Tell us about the inception of your business, Elegant Impressions Gifts.

NB:
When I started my gift basket business (15 years ago), I had twin toddlers at home.
I left a successful career in Merchandising for an apparel company to take care of my infant twins.  That was a full-time job in itself, but I yearned for something to satisfy my creative and analytical instincts at the same time.  I considered various ideas that would allow me to run a business from home on my own schedule, so I could balance the needs of the business and those of my children.  A gift basket business was the perfect solution.
BSO: What was your typical day when you ran your business while your twins (now teenagers !) were toddlers ? 
NB:
When I ran my business while raising my twins, no two days were the same
Some days I would create new designs, order inventory, work on my website, fulfill orders, and a myriad of other things, typically while the children napped or after they went to bed at night.  I was fortunate to have my parents nearby, and they would often help with the kids if I had a lot of work to do on a particular day.
BSO: What are your ‘can’t live without’ apps?
NB:
I used MS Excel for countless purposes in my business.
 In my current role as Purchasing Director for the Carpionato Group, I use Optimum Control to manage our inventory.
I’ve used several other inventory management systems in restaurant settings, and I find this program is the best of the bunch.  It is very flexible, allowing me to analyze data in numerous ways, and it is set up very logically.  It was easy to learn and is efficient to manage the database.
BSO: What’s the best advice you’ve received as an entrepreneur?
NB:
The best advice I’ve received in my business life, not necessarily when I ran my business, is to not give away my power.
There are several books written on this topic, but all have essentially the same message: do not allow others to get into your head and affect your thinking in a negative way.
By doing so, you are giving away your power.
BSO: What was your strategy for building awareness of your business ?
NB:
The best thing I did to build awareness of my business was to form a chapter of Business Network International (BNI).  It took a couple of years of hard work to get the new chapter off the ground, but it paid off.  We built a coalition of like-minded business owners who helped each other grow their businesses through networking and referrals.
 I got a lot of business through this group, and I gave a lot as well.
Additionally, I built friendships that will last a lifetime.
BSO: What are your proudest achievements ?
NB:
Professionally, I’m proud to have been promoted to Director of Merchandising and Planning at the age of 26.  I ran a successful department of talented individuals, and we accomplished great things with limited tools available.  For example, we had no enterprise planning system, so I built a system from scratch in Excel, modeling a planning and allocation system I had used at a prior company.  We used this custom solution for years, very successfully.
Personally, I’m most proud of my children, who have grown into smart, caring, successful teenagers.
I’m also proud of the things I achieved while I was raising my children: I ran a successful business, started a chapter of BNI, returned to college to earn a second degree,   and ran a large school fundraiser for 7 consecutive years.
BSO: What are you currently reading ?
NB:
Getting Past No: Negotiating with Difficult People by William Ury
BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements ?
NB:
My father-in-law died from ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).
For five years after he passed, our family ran annual golf tournaments to raise money for ALS research.  It was a lot of work to put together a successful tournament year after year, but we always did, and we raised over $60,000.
BSO: Who has influenced you the most ?
NB:
I had a female boss many years ago when I first got into the apparel industry.  She was brilliant – she had such a mathematical mind, and she was really strong with computer systems.  She recognized my potential and took me under her wing. I learned so much from her, and she promoted me through the ranks as she progressed as well.  I have kept her in mind all these years, and use her example in whatever role I may be in at the time.
BSO: What’s your advice for starting a business ?
NB:
▪️Do you research.
▪️Have a plan.
▪️What are the realistic costs to get started?
▪️What is a realistic sales forecast?
▪️Assume your expenses will be higher than you think, and income lower than you think.
If you are prepared for that scenario, you will buy yourself time to get your business cranking.

Quentin Allums, TEDx Speaker |CEO, Urban Misfit Ventures | Video Storytelling (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)

 

Quentin Allums is a speaker, community builder, as well as the CEO of Urban Misfit Ventures, a fast growing startup based out of Milwaukee (www.urbanmisfitventures.com). He has amassed over 10 million views on LinkedIn content and was one of the first video creators on the platform. He’s spoken at events such as VidCon, TEDx, and is an upcoming speaking at Inbound 2019.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

 

BSO: Tell us about the inception of your business.

QA:

I was at a point in my entrepreneurial career where I finally found something that was working after failing so many times before.

I had just gone into a large organization to do a training on personal branding for their executives and I had a handful of retainer clients. But I had an idea for another company. Something that excited me. Because I was tired of doing “work”. I wanted to have fun. I wanted to impact people. And do it alongside people that I cared about.

It’s kind of a crazy story honestly, but it goes back to college.

Izzy was one of my first friends in college. He was the reason I got into marketing in the first place. I remember there was an internship, that I really wanted, but was WAY underqualified for. I applied and didn’t hear anything back. Izzy went to a networking event and ran into a person that would later be my boss. Izzy went to bat for me. And I got an email to meet the next day.

I got the job.

Izzy also introduced me to a guy that was crushing it on Instagram, Optic.Legacy

Six years later,  I met him. His name is Brema, and we met through a group that was trying to do something similar (at least at the time that we started) as my company now. They ended up kicking myself and Brema out of the group for creative differences. I hired Brema to shoot video for that personal branding training that I had mentioned above. I loved his work.

And Eric, I met through Twitter. I reached out to get coffee because he was in Milwaukee and did great work. We talked about everything and it blew my mind that this guy didn’t see the talent and potential that I saw in him almost immediately. I pushed him to jump on LinkedIn. And at the time I had convinced a lot of people to do so (and most of them quit). Eric created for 90 days straight. Which impressed me. We started a YouTube channel together. That wasn’t enough so I asked him to start a company. This company.

We hired Brema to do our inital photo shoot. He liked what we were doing so he asked to join. And then Izzy, my old college roommate, was transitioning from a previous role as Director of Corporate Sponsorships. He joined.

The company has morphed and pivoted but that was our inception. And it’s grown faster than any of us ever expected.

BSO: There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Share with us your a.m. to p.m.

QA:

I’m typically up by 5am. I work best in the morning and late in the evenings. I listen to an e-book or my meditation app on my walk into the office. My dog is usually always with me as well.

I like to work alone for the first few hours of my day, so that’s usually in the office or just at my place. I usually focus on my major task of the day during this time.

We have a daily team meeting every morning at 10am. From there all structure goes out of the door for me. Meetings, calls, content, strategy, hires, emails, putting out a fire, more meetings, meeting with our business coach, client meetings when I am needed, etc. I lift every other day at 2pm as well. And my evenings, I am either with my girlfriend, at an event, speaking, or doing research on the e-sports industry (or just playing video games).

BSO: What are your ‘can’t live without’ software applications?

QA:

Google Calendar is all I need. To-Do-ist is also pretty rad. And my personal assistant. I would be lost without my personal assistant haha.

BSO: What was the best advice you received when you started your business ?

QA:

You don’t have a business until you sell something.

 

BSO: What has been your strategy for building awareness of your business ?

QA:

    1. Building a community.
    2. Bringing constant value
    3. Crafting a story that is about our followers and the lifestyle. It’s not about us.

BSO: What are your proudest achievements, professional & personal ?

QA:

Honestly, I feel like I am just getting started. I still have so much that I want to accomplish. It still shocks me every day that we employ people. We have changed lives and I will never take that for granted.

I’m proud of how far I’ve come. TEDx was awesome. VidCon was awesome. I’m excited to speak at Inbound 2019 in a month. I love the impact that we’ve been able to have on our clients.

BSO: What are you currently reading ?

QA:

    1. The Strategies of War
    2. This Is Not a T-Shirt: A Brand, a Culture, a Community–a Life in Streetwear

 

BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

QA:

The community that we are building. Honestly, it is just the beginning but seeing people achieve their dreams is more fullfilling that achieving my own sometimes.

 

BSO: Who has influenced your career the most? 

    1. My friend Kendrick, who is the reason that I got into video. He also helped me out a ton when I launched my first venture.
    2. Izzy for pushing me towards marketing & showing me that age is just a number.
    3. Brittany Krystle has impacted me a lot when it comes to my personal branding ideology. She also is a main reason why I continued to speak after performing poorly.
    4. My mother.
    5. Kobe Bryant. For showing me that it’s okay to be “competitive”. And that you need to lean into who you are, it doesn’t matter what works for other people.
    6. Sophia Amoruso for showing me that being different is better than being better.
    7. Jason Silva, who is by far my biggest content inspiration.
    8. Jackie Hermes, who is now a client. But she was the second boss that I had in the marketing field. She taught me a lot. She still teaches me a lot and I hope I do as well in return.

 

BSO: What is your advice for starting a business?

QA:

Don’t listen (too much) to people giving advice.

Find what works for you.

You could read a million books and listen to a million podcasts. But at the end of the day you have to DO something.

Test. Try. Fail. Find something that works and lean into it. Again, you don’t have a business until you sell something. Go sell.

Sanjay Shah, Director of Visionary Digital Studios Ltd. (Brisbane, Australia)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

BSO: Since our interview years ago, please share with us ways in which you’ve 1) challenged yourself and 2) grown, personally AND professionally.

SS:

Evolution and growth are always at the top of my mind, both as an individual and as a business (www.visionarydigitalstudios.com) (http://linkedin.com/in/visionarysanjayshah).

For me personally, one important change has been spending more time with people who I can learn from. I’ve joined a high-level Mastermind to make sure I’m mentored by people who are well ahead of me on the journey. Being in a Mastermind also ensures that I’m always surrounded by other CEOs with big ambition.

This keeps me motivated, keeps the fire burning.

In business, Visionary’s target market has switched to more high profile CEOs and bigger companies. This keeps our whole team challenged, always reaching up, always evolving to compete on a higher level. It also has the knock-on effect of consistently bringing successful people into our network, so we can share ideas and share more success with them as the relationship builds.

My recent epiphany – the growth curve will never stop.

We’ll always be reaching up to bigger deals, more challenging opportunities, delivering more value, working with more successful people.

Growth & Evolution IS the game …

BSO: With what you’ve learned about yourself and all that you’ve achieved, what are 3 pieces of advice you’d give your younger self ?

SS:

  • A natural part of all evolution is pain. Get used to the pain of building a business, learn to enjoy it, embrace it, and know that every time you endure it, the glory you get in return is always worth it.
  • The viewpoints of the majority of society are designed for people who want to live ordinary lives. That’s fine, no problems with that. But if you want to live your dreams, then you’ll have to think differently, and you’ll have to be comfortable with being very different from the norm.
  • Understand that if you’re putting in the HARD work, if your exposing yourself to the right training, and if you’re spending time with the right people – with patience, the results are pretty much guaranteed.

BSO: That never ending ‘balance’ question (wellness, career and family). What’s your typical day look like ? Or share with us a sample of 2 days.

SS:

I think there is no such thing as work-life balance for entrepreneurs!

Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle.

It doesn’t mean you can’t have family & friends, rest periods, and time to live your wildest dreams imaginable …

But all of those things should be correlated to your business.

So it means spending more time with family & friends that inspire your mission, scheduling deep rest to ensure you can bring your best self to your work, and consistently living your dreams to keep the fire burning for your business …

The way this plays out for me : I’m usually working 5:30am – 8pm, 5 days a week, plus plenty of hours on the weekend. However, I’ll factor in exercise designed to power my work day, spend time every day with people who inspire me and consuming content that makes me a better Director.

And it’s mandatory for me to live right on the ocean in a beautiful apartment, just to make sure the struggles are always worth it!

But to me … it’s all categorised as “work”. Everything in the day is designed to power the vision of the company in some way.

BSO: To function at our highest level and to continue tapping into our creativity, Weekends should be restorative, physically and mentally. What does yours look like ?

SS:

Hahaha this question makes me feel guilty …

I work all day Saturday and most of Sunday morning.

But I’ll always fit in some Crossfit training, some beach time, and usually a party or a concert to keep life exciting.  Sunday afternoons are spent in nature, usually alone. Deep rest … to prepare mentally for another big week ahead.

BSO: Please share with us what we can look forward to in terms of projects you are working on or your next exciting venture.

SS:

As entrepreneurs, we all want to start new ventures every day, and we find it hard to control ourselves!

But I’m a firm believer in focus.

If you have limited work hours each week – I think all your energy should be focussed into one single venture.

So, for Visionary Digital Studios, we’re sticking to our core product – Animated Marketing Videos for leading tech companies. However, we’re expanding that product to include options to use the videos to attract leads and scale business results.

So we’re now strategising Websites, Facebook Ads and Google Ads for our video clients, all based around the videos we have produced for them.

These Digital Marketing services are a competitive space to be in.

But it’s really exciting for us, because we are one of very few video agencies worldwide who can also offer these extra services, and do it well.

Lots of work on the horizon …But loving every step of the evolution & growth.

http://linkedin.com/in/visionarysanjayshah

Dr. Ruchi Dass, Founder of HealthCursor Consulting Group |Serial Entrepreneur|Digital Health Expert

Dr. Ruchi Dass’s Biography 

(See BSO’s  Interview with Dr. Dass 👇👇👇)

Dr. Ruchi Dass

Dr. Ruchi Dass is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder of the HealthCursor Consulting Group.

She is regarded as one of the leading global innovators in the field of Digital Health. She has spearheaded development and rollout of Innovative healthcare programs across the world since 2005 using technology. Her work and recognition includes frugal innovation in healthcare, bringing innovations mainstream, maintain a continuum of care and facilitate coordinated care population health, build healthcare models that provide quality, cost-effectiveness, and timeliness of care.

Dr. Dass excels at conceptualizing innovative and relevant healthcare products and services, especially for emerging markets, and directing development through commercialization, roll‐out and on‐going product performance enhancement. Through her esteemed clients and partners, her efforts have also made to the PMNCH Forum of Healthworkers @ WHO, GSMA’s Best mHealth Awards jury in Barcelona, IPIHD Top innovators list with World Economic Forum and UN’s Millennium development goals expert committee volunteers as well.

In Addition to her work in Healthcare, Dr. Dass runs two charities named “ShantiKaustubh” and “Ananya” that are based on Girl Education and Preventive Healthcare. Her new venture Idealabslive incubates early stage companies working with technology, telemedicine and community health programs across the globe.

Dr. Dass was recognized by the Honorable President of India, Dr. Pranab Mukherjee and Noble Laureate Dr. Aaron Ciechanover as they unveiled her book on “Innovations in Healthcare” that talked about “Frugal Innovation” in Healthcare industry in India.

Dr. Dass got voted as one of the Most Influential Women in Health IT in the world by FierceHealth and Top 10 Impactful Tech Leaders 2013 by InformationWeek. Her many innovations have received international recognition most notably by the ASHOKA, INTEROP, IPIHD (World Economic Forum), Economic Times, GBCHealth Business Action on Health Awards and TED. She was also a member of the HIMMS Innovation community, Las Vegas (2012-2013)

Dr. Ruchi Dass holds a medical degree and has completed Postgraduate programs at Georgia Institute of Technology (Health Informatics), USA; Duke Fuqua School of Business (Healthcare Entrepreneurship), USA and is currenty pursuing her MBA from the London Business School.

 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

 

BSO: Since our interview years ago, please share with us ways in which you’ve 1) challenged yourself and 2) grown, personally AND professionally.

RD:

First of all, Thank you Edith for giving me the opportunity to talk to you. There is so much we can do with our lives and there are so many possibilities. We know that we have the potential but we don’t do much as we have achieved quite a lot already. When we don’t do something for a long time that is challenging, requires discipline, commitment and serious efforts we develop inside us a memory of being complacent, weak and tired. And hence, even after having made a successful business when I would think of another start-ups, the same thought would occur to me.

I decided to challenge myself. 14 years in business, I decided to go for an MBA with London Business School. It wasn’t easy to be a student again (smiles). This year, I launched Digital IdeaLabs-live for incubating and mentoring exciting health technology start-ups and am also working on Prodentine a dental health technology aggregator. Constantly challenging myself brings out the best in me, it gives me a very strong “can-do” memory as well that helps in excruciating circumstances to sail through. If you don’t have a memory like that- you can’t do it.

In my personal life, in addition to putting on some healthy weight, I have started working on my book, joined GWI (Graduate Women International) as they are doing amazing work empowering women and girls with lifelong education and adopted two lovely baby elephants from the Sheldrick wildlife trust.

 

BSO: With what you’ve learned about yourself and all that you’ve achieved, what are 3 pieces of advice you’d give your younger self ?

RD:

Good question. I remember how making more money was important in the beginning and then growing and staying relevant. When I look back I realised that I neglected my long term goals for my short term wins. Like doing work that is not your core area of focus or interest or take up a lot on your plate etc. It is good to be disciplined and vocal about what you don’t want to take up as a project as it will not help you.

I always believed in my team and team work. Most of my team members are with me for over 10 years and I value them. However, in the pursuit of delivering best on quality I used to take up most of the work on my plate and didn’t do well on delivering through others.

And the third one is “me time”. Most of working women like me take “family time” as “me time”. Me time doesn’t mean holiday with family or friends. “Me time” is about you and your spiritual self. If you wish to stay happy which is pretty hard in a stressful work life like ours, you have to make more time for “me time”. It is important because when you live a life that you truly are, it gives you mindfulness, happiness and peace.

 

BSO: That never ending ‘balance’ question (wellness, career and family). What’s your typical day look like ? Or share with us a sample of 2 days. 

RD:

I wake up at 6.30 am in the morning and then exercise for an hour. I take light breakfast usually healthy smoothies and leave home to reach office by 8.30 am. I start my work by reading notes that I made before leaving work the previous evening and refer my calendar for the meetings scheduled.

I have lunch at 1.30 pm and I go for a stroll after that for 30 minutes. When that is not possible, I climb stairs. In Dubai, during prayer breaks, I get a chance to meditate as well which is perfect.

I leave work by 5pm and head home to cook. My husband and myself love to cook together. I spend family time by chatting, talking a bit about our extended family, my parents, his family and work. We play scrabble when there is not much to talk about.

Around 7pm, we pray and then go for a stroll. Dinner is served around 8.30pm. On weekends, dinner is 9.30pm as we welcome friends for get together or go outside to eat. I go to sleep around 10.30pm and usually read a book to bed.

 

BSO: To function at our highest level and to continue tapping into our creativity, Weekends should be restorative, physically and mentally. What does yours look like ?

RD:

I love to engage in some fun activities on the weekend and laying around on the beach reading a book always seems a possibility. I go for a swim in the morning and breakfast is always heavy on the weekend. We generally skip lunch for salads and small snacks and finish some household chores.

My husband and myself are not much into television except when Cricket is telecasted so we have mastered the art of doing nothing- no calls, no TV and no shopping. Whenever any of us has come back from a work related travel, we do indulge in spa or foot reflexology to relax. It may sound boring but going through old photo albums and smugmug is our favourite pastime.

 

BSO: Please share with us what we can look forward to in terms of projects you are working on or your next exciting venture. 

RD:

My current engagements are inter-related.

With IdeaLabs Live, I wish to engage with women business owners and provide them with the mentorship and guidance that is required to succeed. IdeaLabs as a platform is open for all to apply.

However, as a member of women in business club @ LBS, I promised to work for budding women entrepreneurs and connect them to impressive women business leaders. I am working with several development and finance organisations to identify best technology innovations in the industry and provide them with opportunities to pilot and gain commercial success across the globe. I am blessed with a very intelligent and supportive class at London business school. I am learning a lot and getting to network with the best. I have some ambitious plans for 2020 but for now, I am happy to be yet again in a transformative stage.

Founder of BSO Appointed as the PR & Marketing Director for SheNOW.org

Edith Moricz

In addition to being the Founder and Editor for BeyondSuccessOnline, Edith Moricz has now become the Director of Public Relations and Marketing for SheNow.org. SheNow is a community that believes young women should live their own lives first. The site offers personal and professional development articles and supports an online network. She will also be a contributing blogger for the site.

Edith’s first contributing article for the site is shown below:

8 Tips to Put You on the Path to Financial Freedom.

by: Edith Moricz

“The philosophy of the rich versus the poor is this: The rich invest their money and spend what is left; the poor spend their money and invest what is left.” ~ Jim Rohn.

Ladies, it’s never too early to plan for your secure financial future. As Brenna Smith, the Founder of SheNOW, says, “A man is not a financial plan. Your financial success 

Error - Image unable to loadis up to you.” When you are financially secure, you are the captain of your ship, and the world is your oyster. “Where you go and what you do is limited only by your imagination.”1

Here are some ways to immediately impact YOUR financial future:

  • Collect all of your expense receipts each week and chart your purchases. At the end of each month, analyze the data and you’ll often be surprised to see how much is spent on different items such as entertainment, food, clothing, vacation, etc. Use this data to develop a budget, and plan out how much you will spend each month on key areas. This will help to ensure smart shopping, minimize spontaneous purchases and focus money towards both short and long term goals.
  • Pay off high credit card debt ASAP, and pay by cash or debit card whenever possible. Once this is accomplished:——-Set up an IRA account as early in your 20s as possible. In an article from MSN.com, they show that, “Someone who puts $4,000 a year into retirement accounts starting at 22 can have $1 million by age 62, assuming 8% average annual returns. Wait 10 years to start contributing, and you’d have to put in more than twice as much — $8,800 a year — to reach the same goal.” So, make sure to contribute religiously every year, and you will definitely reap the benefits later in life
  • Error - Image unable to load.Organize your monthly recurring expenses using the plain envelopes system (each major monthly expense has its own envelope). It is a smart reminder of your key monthly financial priorities, and it also enforces discipline for smarter spending habits.
  • For each pay check, adopt the 30-30-40 rule. Set aside 30% for savings, 30% for out of pocket expenses and 40% for rent/mortgage.
  • If you can’t pay your credit card purchase in 1 payment, you can’t afford the item. If you really want it, adjust your budget and set aside some of the out of pocket expense money mentioned above to save for it. Whatever you do, do not touch your savings for a one-off discretionary purchases.
  • Live within your budget. Your credit score will reflect your lifestyle and will impact your ability to invest not only physical assets like a house, but in your future as well.
  • Don’t use $ to impress people. The security you create from smart spending will empower you to spend your time as you wish – pursuing your passions, retiring early, etc and not just focusing on paying the bills. Also, the people that are impressed by money, and not you as a person, probably aren’t the people you want in your life anyway.
  • Whenever possible, brown bag your lunch at work. It is healthier and more cost effective, as eating out adds up on your waistline (if you aren’t careful with menu options) and on the purse string.

Danielle Volman, Founder of iChase the Cure

Danielle Volman’s BIO

Danielle Volman

Danielle’s passion for entrepreneurship began early on in life, leading her to organize the first Chasing the Cure 5K fundraiser as early as senior year of high school. That year the young daughter of an member in her school community was diagnosed with a rare type of pediatric cancer called neuroblastoma, and Danielle was inspired to organize the 5K walk/run to raise money for the underfunded cause. And she didn’t stop there… Danielle continued the 5K series while studying at Boston University, where the name of the group and its annual event grew to iChase the Cure.

Today, Danielle is approaching her anniversary as an engineer at Microsoft Corp. in Charlotte, NC, and is preparing to bring iChase the Cure to Charlotte as soon as possible. She plans to grow the 5K series into a not-for-profit organization that helps raise funds and awareness for orphan diseases affecting children across the globe. She even made the trip up to Boston University for this year’s 4th annual iChase the Cure 5K on the Boston Esplanade. With her help and direction, a team of extraordinary students at BU continued her legacy and hosted another successful event.

http://www.ichasethecure.org

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

1. Please share with us what prompted your creation of iChase the Cure.

Danielle: iChase the Cure is a growing organization that resulted from combining my passion for running and my passion for helping anyone going through a tough time.

My inspiration for starting iChase the Cure came in the form of an adorable, little girl who was the daughter of a member of my community at my high school. When I first heard of the horrible news that she was diagnosed, my heart just sank and I immediately started thinking of a way I could rally our community in support for their family. Having lost my mom to breast cancer and leukemia, I have always been active in the cancer world trying to aid in the fight for a cure so that no one else has to deal with this monster. I couldn’t just stand on the sidelines for this one. Adult cancers had so much presence and research going on, but everyone seemed to be turning a blind eye to pediatric cancers. Having participated in a plethora of races supporting cures through research and having become an avid runner, I knew what I could do. I combined both of my passions to create iChase the Cure. This year marks the 7th iChase the Cure 5K and we are still growing!

2. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

Danielle: Like many, I am a full time professional by day and an entrepreneur and advocate for my passion, cause, and idea 24/7. I take breaks or use my lunchtime to make or take calls to attend to my growing foundation, iChase the Cure. I’ll do anything and everything that is required in order to provide my E-Board, volunteers, participants, and supporters with first class attention in a timely manner whether it be by posting a quick update to one of our social media channels, taking a call from a sponsor, or even mailing a pair of sunglasses left behind at the race to their rightful owner. Another day I could be surrounded by hundreds of people all brought together to make an impact on the lives of others and everyday my goal is to create more of those.

 

3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

Danielle: The best way for our team to share our documents has always been on SkyDrive. We are able to navigate through our folders and photos while keeping a main collection with the most up to date resources. Since we all have access even from our phones, we kept a copy of the permit for race day there in case we ever had to provide it when caught of guard. We are also using HooteSuite more and more for important and time sensitive social media purposes.

 

4. What are your tricks for time management?

Danielle: Just do it. It comes down to knowing what you need to accomplish, planning the path to get there, and then not procrastinating and just doing it. Making lists helps me a lot. I’ll set a goal for myself based on an idea I’ve had and I’ll brainstorm all the different pieces that I need to account for to make it happen. It helps that I don’t consider any task relating to iChase as grunt work. I love every minute of it, so I don’t waste any time procrastinating – I always make the best of the time I have and that seems to be the best tool for time management for me. If you can automate any tasks, you will also allow yourself to focus on the greater ones – so I try to automate anything repetitive. Best however, is my iChase team. We work together seamlessly to build on each other’s ideas and energy.

 

5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Danielle: There are two pieces of advice that go hand in hand for me and without them, iChase the Cure may never have come about. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you can’t do something and always fully believe in what you are doing. Even though my idea was one that came about in order to help and support those in need, I did not get the approval and support I had expected. Regardless, I kept pursuing my passion and my goal to the surprise of many and I am so glad I did!

 

6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of iChase the Cure? (what you do for short term and long term growth)?

Danielle: We are always aiming to have a bunch of smaller events in between races to keep iChase in the forefront of everyone’s mind. Whether we host an event or iChase is the beneficiary of another event, we try to have some fun leading up to the 5K as well. Our overall goal is to keep working in the background while still staying active in an interactive fashion with our supporters throughout the year. Events and social media are our favorite venues for raising more awareness and support in both the short and long term.

 

7. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?

Danielle: Every year blowing the horn to mark the start of the 5K is a greater level of achievement for me. There has been a 5K every single year since our inaugural race for neuroblastoma in 2007. That in itself is my greatest feat. We experience and overcome many different challenges whether they be repetitive or newly presented, but still we persevere and together with our participants, volunteers, and supporters make a greater impact on awareness and gain ground towards cures.

 

8. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Danielle: If you love what you do then balance is more easily achievable. I aim to set realistic goals and I try to plan ahead to make everything more manageable. Of course as with every start-up or business, there are times when you have to really put in the time and make some sacrifices. However, since you work for yourself as well, you can use the added flexibility to make it up to yourself later – even though reaching your goal or completing a task or event will be entirely worth it anyway!

 

9. Your top 3 book recommendations?

Danielle: Once again, I find myself reading more articles and following more news websites than reading paperbacks these days. I like to keep up with technology and other leading trends. I also constantly find great apps that can help me automate or just optimize my every day tasks. I would however recommend Flight of the Buffalo: Soaring to Excellence, Learning to Let Employees Lead. A great read to understand the importance of leadership, management, and competition – key aspects no one should ever overlook.

 

10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Danielle: Most recently, I participated in the Bark for Life walk. This was your normal run of the mill cancer fundraiser with a huge twist – it’s all about the dogs! You register by registering your pup, you do the walk with them too, and all of the sponsors are focusing on the doggies as well. I was a part of a team with my puppy’s training community and we actually raised the most and had the biggest team too. We were walking in honor of a boxer who was undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia. It was amazing to be able to spread awareness about cancer, but not just in humans…in animals too! I loved being able to share my passion and continue the fight for a cure while doing so with my puppy who has also been of a mascot for iChase the Cure. I am always on the hunt for a new, exiting, and rewarding way to continue the hunt for a cure and to support those who have battled or currently are battling cancer.

 

11. Who has influenced your career the most? 

Danielle: The most influential players when it comes to iChase the Cure are the kids and families we are supporting. They show such strength, courage, and wisdom beyond their years. The children especially give me the energy that inspires and motivates me to constantly think of new ways to grow iChase the Cure to achieve a great impact.

 

12. What is your advice for someone interested in entrepreneurship?

Danielle: This advice will never change for me. If your heart and passion are really behind an idea and you are willing to devote yourself to it completely, and I mean completely, there is nothing that can get in your way.  YOU CAN DO IT.  In the beginning, everyone rejected my idea, but it was something I knew I could do and prove everyone wrong.  I was persistent and stubborn at times, but I did not let anyone or anything get in my way. As long as you see the challenge as an opportunity (as every entrepreneur inevitably does), there isn’t much more that can stop you. When you go to bed, wake up, and spend the entire day constantly thinking about “your baby,” then you’re golden, just keep it up!

Larry Elle, President of the Professional Development Collaborative

Larry Elle’s BIO

Larry Elle

Larry Elle is President of the Professional Development Collaborative, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) non-profit whose mission is to provide affordable professional development trainings to unemployed professionals, speeding their return to work. He helped found the non-profit in 2004 and became President in 2008. Today the group serves thousands of in-transition professionals in the metro-Boston area. (www.pdcboston.org)

Larry is also Director of Success Associates Career Services (www.careersuccessassociates.com), and facilitates WIND South, a networking group for transitioning professionals. He provides private career counseling services to Boston area professionals and presents on career issues to local alumni and professional groups such as Northeastern University, Tufts University, and Women in Publishing. Larry recently produced Power Networking: The Path to Job Search Success, a DVD.

Larry trained in History and Psychology at the State University College in Buffalo, N.Y. and at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the published author of Community Connections: Resources for Massachusetts Unemployed (1994 and 1998), and Not So Long Ago: Oral Histories of Older Bostonians. He has been featured on the New England Cable News and in local print media.

Prior to 1998, Larry worked for the Corporation for Business, Work and Learning, providing counseling services at large outplacement centers in Massachusetts including the High Tech Center, Woburn Professional Transition Center, Quincy and Cambridge Career Centers, South Weymouth Navel Air Center and the Purity Supreme Center where he developed highly successful Job Search Success Teams, returning people to work in half the normal time.

http://pdcboston.org/

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

1. Please share with us what prompted you to launch Professional Development Collaborative?

Larry: I have been involved with career and job placement services for a number of years.

The Professional Development Collaborative (PDC) was created in 2004, during the “internet recession”, to help unemployed professionals gain the workplace skills they needed to land a job. I and several colleagues noticed that professionals received lots of job search advice but many were missing the key skills they needed to attract an employer’s interest. Often they couldn’t afford to take these key courses due to their low income and the extravagant cost of many courses. Our mission was thus born: to provide affordable professional development courses to speed people’s return to work.

When the Great Recession hit in 2008, we redoubled our efforts and we have been offering important professional development courses ever since, including such courses as Project Management, Lean-Six Sigma, Presentation Skills, Social Media Marketing, Grant Writing, etc…

2. There is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day, start to finish.

Larry: The PDC is a collaborative effort. My work as President is enlisting people to help and then coordinating their efforts. We’re small. We have three paid staff and scores of volunteers but it’s amazing how much work gets done. I oversee four main groups: Our Training Committee which selects courses, teachers and dates; Our Marketing Committee which makes sure the public (especially unemployed professionals) hear about our courses; Our Fundraising Committee which helps underwrite our educational programs keeping them affordable; and our Website Committee which maintains our link to the public (www.pdcboston.org). Keeping on top of the activities of all four groups takes considerable time and energy.

 

3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ Smartphone or desktop applications?

Larry: I use a smart phone for calls, information and GPS help when needed. I also design a number of our course flyers and use Word and PowerPoint regularly. But, as wonderful as these technologies are, they don’t replace the importance of one-to-one communication and contact.

 

4. What are your tricks for time management?

Larry: I work in spurts with slow days and then highly productive days. I create lots of “to do” lists and then follow up. I’ve also learned the hard way to avoid putting off to tomorrow what can be done today. Also, learning to delegate tasks to others allows me to focus on what I do best.

 

5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?

Larry: I started my career way back in the 1970’s (not all entrepreneurs are in their 20s). The best advice I received was to do work you enjoyed and do work that would “make a difference” in the world. I have followed that path my whole life.

 

6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of Professional Development Collaborative? (what you do for short term and long term growth)?

Larry: We are into building our presence in the community mainly by providing high quality professional development courses to today’s professional jobseekers. We expect the quality of the courses will create a “buzz” around us. We also attend job fairs, build our email list, have a Facebook page, and create alliances with professional associations and career centers. We are about to launch a quarterly ezine to our many followers discussing educational issues, the labor market and upcoming PDC courses.

 

7. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?

Larry: My proudest achievement is to have launched an important educational group which has taken on a life of its own and which engages the positive energies of volunteers while helpin professionals grow their skills at prices they can afford.

 

8. How do you achieve balance in your life?

Larry: I take time three days a week to exercise while also finding time to read and garden. Getting my hands dirty in the garden is a nice counterpoint to the mental and people work of running a non-profit.

 

9. Your top 3 book recommendations?

Larry:

I read in three areas:

the economy and labor market; in the field of Positive Psychology and in history.

Current readings: Practicing Positive Psychology Coaching by Robert Biswas-Diener; The Fall of the House of Dixie by Bruce Levine; and Thriving In the Workplace for Dummies by multiple authors.

 

10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

Larry: Work with my own non-profit is number one but I have been a regular supporter of Habitat for Humanity. It’s a great group which has helped build homes for thousands of people.

 

11. Who has influenced your career the most? 

Larry: All the idealists in the world including people like Martin Luther King, Robert Moses, & Michael Harrington.  People who displayed tremendous courage in the pursuit of their dreams.

 

12. What is your advice for someone interested in entrepreneurship?

Larry: It’s been said that “if you wait to have children until you’re ready, you’ll never have them” Similarly, you don’t have to have it all together in order to start a business. Be willing to start small and learn along the way. Go ahead, have big dreams but make a plan and start taking the first steps. Also, be adaptable along the way. There is no straight line to success.

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