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Archive for the ‘Non-Profit’ Category

Spencer Goodman, MBA MSF ~ Patient Advocate & Accounting Specialist, Rand Eye Institute (Deerfield Beach, FL)

(Please note: Spencer’s Biography is below his interview)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

BSO: Tell us about the inception of Rand Eye Institute where you are Patient Advocate and Accounting Dept. Specialist for the past 14 years  

SG:

The Rand Eye Institute was formed back in 1978 by founder Dr. William J. Rand, who was the protégé of the late Dr. Gerard out of Baylor Texas.

I decided that I needed a fresh new start away from the city, so I called my aunt who happened to be the administrator of the organization and she told me to come on down.

At the time, I was living with my brother in Queens, NY and I thought whole heartedly that I wanted to be a lawyer and wanted the extra time to study for the LSAT away from everything and make some extra cash on the side.

Fast forward Feb. 2006, I took the LSAT, but decided against law school.

I started to work in the accounting dept. at the office working with claims and billing and really enjoyed it. I never knew how insurance worked coming from an internship/analyst role for a real estate company. It would take some time getting used to. Everyone was great. My team, sweet as sugar, taught me the ins and outs of medical billing.

I worked in the dept. for several months, when I was needed to help with patients.

I didn’t know the first thing about taking care of people from a medical standpoint or using diagnostic equipment to help the doctors further asses the patients. Luckily, I caught on very quickly.  One machine after another, I started to learn and it became second nature to me. I developed better interpersonal skills than what I already had working as a telemarketer back from 2001-2002 for MBNA.

I would like to thank my mentor Josh C. Folds (aka the social banker) for starting me on the path of developing those skills.

Those skills would become even more fine-tuned, laser focused at Rand. You need to have great communication skills when working with people, you just have to. People want to know that everything is going to be alright and we, as an organization, treat each and every patient with care, respect, dignity and honor.

Over the 14 years, I grew as a person, learning new management skills, managing  several technicians, identifying the needs and wants of the patients and doctors, respectively.

I cherish working with people, whether it is in the medical field as an advocate for the patient or client, and for the higher ups as well. I want to take this to the next level whether I stay in healthcare or pursue financial services; during the time I have been working there, I obtained my MBA and MSc in finance to get a better understanding of the business side.

 

BSO: There is no typical day in the world of patient advocacy, especially in the Ophthalmology sector and with the elder population. Share with us your a.m. to p.m. schedule, routine.

SG:

There is no typical day working in medicine. You  see different faces every day, some people are happy, some sad or angry and you need to understand each and everyone one of them, understand them and have the utmost compassion for each and every client and colleague alike.

 

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

SG:

I like Linkedin because I like to network or facebook, even though I don’t post.  I like to catch up with frineds that have moved away or still live up north.

 

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

SG:

Wow, interesting question.

Hmmm, well for one, my mother always told me, when you stop learning you’re dead. So obtaining two masters degrees is a big achievement for me.  I also won an award for being with the organization for ten years. Additionally, I have developed some great relationships with people I have and currently work with.

Of course, I cannot forget about the patients. It makes me feel good that I know I am helping them. There have been numerous times that they have thanked me up and down and even requested me to help them out while being seen in the office. It feels good to know that I am making a big difference in people’s lives.

 

BSO: What are your favorite news feeds?

SG:

I really try and stay from the news, but I will catch up on current events, especially with what is going on now.

I look at the financials every day. The VIX, Dow, Nasdaq, Russell 2000 and follow futures on the app CME group, which I was told about by my prof at U of Miami,  Dr. Tie Su, CFA

 

BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

SG:

In recent times, I have donated clothing to goodwill, donated money in my mother’s name (she passed away in 2001). My cousin, Dr. David Rand, who is not only my first cousin but a best friend, is a major influence on my life.

I strive to be better as a person, grow with Judaism. I want to be the best person I can be.

 

BSO: You have a Master’s in Finance from University of Miami. You are very passionate about the investment sector. Between your decade plus years as a healthcare professional and your finance credentials, Who has influenced your career the most and what is your future career path, in light of Covid19’s impact on your work ?

SG:

Many people have been a major influence on me.

Josh Folds, who taught me to sell, get out of my comfort zone and shyness.

Miguel Orta,Esqu. taught me while I was pursuing my MBA.

Dr. Tie Su, CFA, Dr. Indraneel Chakraborty both taught investments. I fell in love with options, derivatives, futures, etc.

Dr. Alok Kumar taught me behavioral finance. Understanding how the market moves and how people make choices in investing is very important.

There are so many others. I apologize If I am leaving anyone out. Everyone who I have come in contact with me has had some positive influence on my life.

 

BSO: What is your advice for anyone interested in a career in healthcare /patient advocacy?

SG:

Medicine is a wonderful field, whether pusuing the MD, DDS, RN, technician or any list of personnel who work in hospitals or private offices are pivotal to the frame work of the medical office.

Just to know, after the day is done, when you are laying in bed, looking up, you know that you are making an impact on someone’s life. The patient might not initially know it, but you do.

I am proud that I have been in this field for so long, It has helped me be the person I am today.

I want to thank my Aunt and Uncle, cousins and other family memebers for allowing me the opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Spencer Goodman’s Biography

For 14 plus years, I have been in Florida, working in the healthcare industry.

I feel well accomplished in my role in the patient advocacy field. I have grown to admire, understand and cherish how many many healthcare professionals put their lives on the line every day to help people. 

During this time, I decided to go one step further with my education, coming from a liberal arts background.  I wanted to step up my game. Through my MBA courses, I have learned about the global perspective of business. 

We live a globalized world and it is even more important to take into effect how culture plays a role in conducting business, whether it is financial, healthcare, education, etc. From global marketing, management and all the way to human resources, I have developed a wealth of knowledge that would guide a company in times of prosperous outcomes to what we are currently experiencing. 

In my current role, I manage several technicians for a small medical practice. Leadership is always an important aspect of business. People rely on leadership skills to get through hard and good times alike. I have the fortitude, compassion and knowledge for consulting healthcare professionals all the way to financial professionals. Additionally, with my MSc in Finance, I want to take the next step in my career, using my wisdom from life, school and work and help the next company reach its goals.

Timothy J. Forbes, Founder of Frontenac Media ~ Wrote & Produced 3 Indie Films ~ World Traveler (Boston, MA)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

BSO: Tell us about the inception of Frontenac Media.

TF:

This came about because I had done training in web page design, and wanted to get involved in online media. I created a Catwoman fan site, with the intention of displaying my online media skills, and created or helped to create other websites. Later on, I began working on video, which I am basically self taught.

 

BSO: There is no typical day in the life of a project leader and marketer. Share with us your a.m. to p.m.

TF:

When I am not working with Best Buy, I will spend time working on the web site using WordPress, or write story outlines that will be converted over to a working video script.

 

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

TF:

WordPress, Microsoft Office, as well as Vegas Pro 17.0 for video editing.

 

BSO: What was the best advice you received when you started Frontenac Media?

TF:

I really didn’t get any advice, but I knew from experience working in print media that I had to make sure that whatever I wrote had to be accurate, and that spelling, punctuation and grammar were of top importance. Integrity is also of top importance.

 

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

TF:

Professionally, getting my three fan films and two major websites launched; they gave me exposure to prominent people. My proudest personal achievement are my children.

 

BSO: What are your favorite news feeds?

TF:

The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and other alternate news outlets.

 

BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

TF:

All of them, really. All charitable involvements matter.

 

BSO: Who has influenced your career the most?

TF:

Chris Notarile and James Cawley, independent film makers who showed me that it was possible to come up with good ideas for stories, and then see them through to completion. Chris, in particular, was able to make fan films for almost next to nothing, while James showed he could network with people from the original Star Trek series to produce new film projects.

 

BSO: What is your advice for anyone interested in sharpening their marketing skills?

TF:

  • Be aware of the world around you ֩
  • Don’t fall into a rut; stay aware of the changing world around you, and stay up to date
  • Always be attentive to client needs

 

Timothy J. Forbes, MDiv Biography

Born in Troy, New York, Timothy Forbes’ life has been one long, strange trip to speak of. After spending his toddler years first in Albany, and then in the Rochester, NY area, he grew up in Apalachin, NY, a suburb of Binghamton.

His upbringing in Binghamton was memorable, in that he received exposure to different cultures in an ethnically-rich area, as well as intellectual stimulation from an academic environment that benefitted from both the ethnicities and from having high-tech employers such as IBM. However, Timothy tended to cut across the grain because of his maternal side’s artistic traits. By the time he was 7, he had both an interest in being a cartoonist and in being a road engineer because of his interest in stoplights. The interest in the latter came about because of his visits to Albany, NY, which had many old-style signals.

His interest in cartooning morphed into an interest in print journalism, which led to his first major phase of his career, work in newspapers.

Around this time, he began learning the Russian language; two years before graduation, he took a trip to the then-Soviet Union (now, Russia and Ukraine). His secondary school years started badly when his paternal grandmother was murdered, so it was not smooth sailing. However, Timothy was involved with such activities as the school newspaper.

Upon graduation from high school, Timothy attended the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. He finished off his education there by spending his final semester at Syracuse’s facility in London. As in high school, he had involvement with the school newspaper.

Timothy worked as a regional editor for the Glens Falls, NY Post-Star before taking a detour to pursue theological studies. He ended up in Boston and graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in 1990. By this time, he was married and had three children.

Religious plans did not work out, and his wife died.

In 1998, Timothy began a five-year working stint for desktop publishers (Gould Publications in Binghamton, New York, then Thompson-West in Rochester, New York). During this time, he began working in retail.  He would work there for a decade. During this time, his interest in the world continued with four trips to Latin America.

He began his work with Best Buy in 2015, where he currently works as an Inventory Specialist.

His work with Frontenac Media is what has stood out. Named after the county in Ontario, Canada which lies by Kingston, Frontenac Media started off as a web site company that played off of Timothy’s experience in news media. For a time, he administered web sites for a Twilight Zone tribute site, as well as for actor Alan Young (1919-2016) and for the owner of Batman/Green Hornet vehicles.

His involvement with a comic book message board led to his involvement in video. In 2007, he began work on his first fan film, Batman 1969, shot largely in Ontario, Canada. That first project took three years and was released in summer 2011. That film utilized sites in Toronto, Hamilton and Strathroy, with additional scenes filmed in Saratoga County and Albany, NY, with a cast containing Canadians and Americans.

During this time, Timothy’s involvement with the comic book industry and with comic cons led to his creating a number of “Cat Blogs.” His second fan film, Batman: Onset of Winter, was completed in 2013. More recently, Timothy released his third fan film, The Conquest of Batman, filmed in Boston as a way to launch a planned web series. In 2019, he revamped his two major web sites by converting them over to WordPress, since those sites are heavily content driven. Timothy’s interest in different cultures and world cultures continues in 2020 as well, as expressed by his concern for indigenous people and interest in Armenian culture.

No matter what happens today, Timothy Forbes is far from finished! He currently resides in Massachusetts.

Edith Moricz, Founder of FastTrack2YrDreamJob 🚀💼coaching program~LinkedIn’s #1 Career Coach 2017 (Boston, MA)

by Wayne Johnson, Sr. Virtual Project Manager & Intercultural Specialist

https://www.linkedin.com/in/waynekjohnson/

Wayne Johnson is Sr. Virtual Project Manager, Intercultural Specialist, and Curriculum Design Expert with Advanced Automation Corporation based in Barrington, Rhode Island.

He lived, conducted research and worked in Asia for 14 years

He studied and conducted research in Western Europe, in addition to working and conducting research in Eastern Europe before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

While Springtime is usually a time for hope, renewal, and strength, the Spring of 2020 has put those qualities to an extreme test as record numbers of Americans are losing their jobs. Today, we talk to Edith Moricz, an expert job coach, who shares her strategies for job searching in the Covid-19 landscape.

 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

WJ: When we met ten years ago, you were Director of Development and Marketing at a non-profit organization in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Since then, you have launched a successful career coaching company. With so many people struggling to manage the challenges brought on by this crisis, what are the top things you recommend to professionals to quickly adapt and thrive in this environment, and even land their dream job?

EM:

Successful job searching has a few core components, even more so in these recent weeks: branding, narrative, job search schedule, and positioning. I work with clients daily on these components.

Based on my career path, my ability to quickly redefine my schedule and focus on targeting core online and offline activities led to my own success story.

I share each of these immediately actionable strategies and customize them with every client, step-by-step, and they achieve tangible results. All of my strategies are designed to be implemented online first, in the interest of immediacy, so they can genuinely and positively leverage the silver linings in social distancing.

 

WJ: As a private career coach, you launched Fasttrack2YrDreamJob almost five years ago, providing coaching support to individuals, remotely, by phone and video. You were named #1 Career Coach in 2017 by LinkedIn.

How is Fasttrack2YrDreamJob assisting professionals with their job search within the current climate?

EM:

Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, I’ve offered complimentary 15-minute phone coaching consultations with three actionable strategies that can be implemented immediately toward landing a dream job. My comprehensive coaching program is usually five weeks; however, I now offer an abbreviated coaching program for three weeks. This program entails a one-day, executive-level coaching session that provides supplementary coaching calls over the following three-week period. I offer flexible payment plans and special rates to accommodate the diverse needs of professionals in transition during these changing times.

 

WJ: What should professionals who are looking for new employment, be doing while in isolation?

EM:

I think professionals in job transition need to focus on three things:

  • Maximizing their online branding;
  • Designing their efficient, effective job search schedule, and;
  • Highlighting their impact on organizations.

 

WJ: How can your clients best work on their branding in these times?

EM:

LinkedIn needs to be a significant part of their branding and success story. My program addresses core beliefs and problem-solving skills in detail, along with immediate strategies for seeing results as quickly as is possible. It is essential for professionals in a job transition period to use this time to do two key activities proactively:

  1. Re-evaluate your core beliefs about your life and career path, as well as your most significant skill sets
  2. Focus on 3-5 ways that you see gaps and resolve problems, both as an organization and as an individual.

 

WJ: As many of us are transitioning from brick and mortar to working remotely from our homes, our performance is now the only aspect of work that is important. What questions should professionals be asking of themselves in this transition process when looking for a new job? 

EM:

First, I think of these essential three questions:

  • What productivity goals are we setting for ourselves daily?
  • Using SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely), are we maximizing our value added based on our skills and experience?
  • Are we balancing our creative thinking with our strategic planning?

My own approach is to equate my productivity to 3-5 deadline-driven deliverables per day. There is a big difference between task-oriented work and work that adds substantially toward a more significant—deadline-driven—l goal. Most professionals have deadlines for deliverables for an external or internal client. There are also deadlines for increasing or modifying efficiencies in our workflow. There is also a new benchmark, content creation, which is mostly online and can be almost entirely leveraged through LinkedIn—in addition to other social media sites, such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

The final component, and an essential one, is how we are maximizing our creative talent each day. I firmly believe that it feeds our productivity. In any given week, productivity is measured by how significantly quantitatively and qualitatively we are moving toward adding value as professionals to our organization and our community.

As an example, I define productivity as both working on my coaching program as well as in my program. On it means updating my processes, creating more efficiencies and enhancements to improve the work I do. It means providing support for my clients across the board. Essentially, each client is at a different stage of the program, so there are distinct deliverables each week. My basic rule of thumb, with few exceptions, is to divide my day and week into parts—morning and evening are a combination of physical, mental wellness, and creativity. These pieces help me maximize my value-added.

My productivity is measured by the quality of the deliverable that I provide each client each week. I then switch to either content creation /branding or industry research. Among my industry experts or tools for insightful knowledge are the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LinkedIn, Entrepreneur magazine, and Forbes, in addition to research that I follow on the critical topics of interest to me within the investment industry, philanthropy and coaching industries.

Second, how are we creating efficiencies and or opportunity, that, perhaps, didn’t exist before?

Brainstorming and creative thinking are more essential now than ever before. 

Sharing ideas, knowledge, and bouncing around ideas are among the many ways to consider what’s not working with existing processes or products or services and how improvements can be made by leveraging skills, talents that come naturally to our team members or us. In other words, what are a few skills or areas of expertise that can be applied to the existing problems, or problems that your clients or the community will be facing and how can you initially test your ideas/solutions out while being efficient in the process? It may start initially with a list of customer problems that you focus on or bottlenecks in the existing process. When we put our heads together and combine our passions, inspiration to do good, and skills that come quickly to us, making a difference AND an impact flow freely. It also taps into our creativity.

I used this same thinking process when I launched RocketYourNonProfit.co fundraising coaching program. I did the same with BeyondSuccessOnlinebyEdith.com blog that I created in 2009.

Third, how are we each sharing and highlighting our impact on our organization’s goals or our impact on our talents, skills, passion, and expertise?

LinkedIn is the critical online professional platform for showing the big picture. LinkedIn shows our 30k foot summary. In other words, if you summarize your expertise, experiences, it expresses the top 3-5 problems you have solved, over your career, for organizations or individuals. When concisely described, your LinkedIn profile should showcase your skills, expertise in a way that entices professionals to keep reading about your accomplishments.

For my LinkedIn profile, I highlight my recognition from LinkedIn, my career coaching brand, and distinct credentials that support my work. In the body of my LinkedIn summary, the About section, I focus on my relationship management/leadership experiences in the financial services, fundraising, and academic industries.

 

WJ: Switching gears in the current pandemic and following up more on the evolution from working in corporate locations to working out of an office environment, what do people need to learn about working remotely?

EM:

Remote working is a cultural shift in everyone’s mindset. In its purest form it is called a ResultsOnly Work Environment (ROWE) culture, gorowe.com. In a ROWE, both employers and employees need to realize that work is a VERB, not a noun. Work is what you do, and success is based on your results. Again, this is a paradigm shift about what is “work” and what is “success”. For many, it is a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions. The gossip in the office should never evaluate successful work within any organization with statements like “what time did Siena come in today” and “how long did she stay at the office”. Work is evaluated by results—period. This pandemic has shown many of us that irrefutable positive results are achieved while not actually in the office. These times have displayed that the old notion of you need to be in your office, to be working, are long gone. 

In a ROWE, if organizations and staff set up clear goals, timelines, and metrics, they can work wherever they want, whenever they want, if the work is getting done! ROWE results-based organizations give employees greater ownership, and in these situations, productivity increases—a lot! Again, ROWE is a cultural shift, and one of the only good things that has come out of the pandemic.

 

WJ: What has career coaching been like given social distancing, and given the remote nature of the process you’ve designed?

EM:

Basically, I zero in on how to position each individual’s talents, skills, passions, and career paths using only remote access technology. This has been an integral part of my custom program since day one in 2015. For that reason, how I coach each client through Fasttrack2YrDreamJob is to seamlessly dovetail the client’s job transition in light of the current environment. With my five years of invaluable experience in remote coaching processes, after success as a leader in other fields, I have been able to continue to leverage the platform of remote accessibility to continue maximizing the opportunities for clients that match their aspirations and talents.

 

WJ: Edith, you began your career as a financial advisor, then a fundraiser, then a turn in academia, followed by leading as Director of Development and Marketing at a non-profit organization in Cambridge, Massachusetts. How did this path prepare you to transition to Fasttrack2YrDreamJob and using your tools and techniques to aid others?

EM:

My 25-year career path—in several organizations and, now, privately—includes financial advising, charitable fundraising, academia, and coaching. My fundraising workshops led to my partnering with several non-profits in Massachusetts, leading workforce development workshops with diverse audiences throughout the year. Most notably, I’ve been partnering with the Professional Development Collaborative, Inc. pdcboston.org, where I have been leading fundraising workshops for seven consecutive years.

 

WJ: Great! You were named #1 Career Coach in 2017 by LinkedIn. How do you feel about your current situation?

EM:

I am immensely “inspired” by each of my clients’ life stories, and I am passionate about being a part of their journeys to achieve career and personal success and impact the community and organizations that value their talent and expertise. I’m very excited and humbled that my mission to help talented, motivated professionals has supported so many professionals nationwide and helped them land their dream job.

My primary goal is to ensure that those in job transition can avoid the enormous frustrations, disappointments, and stresses that I went through historically, in my own career searches. My greatest joy is receiving that phone call from my clients, and hearing:

I accepted the job offer for my dream job—I’m ecstatic.

 

WJ: Through our collaborations, you have consistently focused on believing in the full potential of each individual. Can you tell us about that and the influence it has had on your customized coaching programs?

EM:

Thank you for recognizing that, Wayne. My coaching program’s success is based heavily on the value each person puts on their individual work and life experiences. My clients need to accurately convey their belief in this value, verbally and in writing, before, during, and after interviews. I emphasize this philosophy throughout the program.

The most notable lesson I learned from my job transitions has been the critical ways that talented, motivated professionals impact organizations and the community as a whole. In fact, I can’t emphasize this concept enough with my clients. This is a central theme in my coaching program.

 

WJ: How can interested professionals contact you?

EM:

LinkedIn.com/in/edithmoriczmba or 617-755-1772 or info@rocketyournonprofit.co

 

Antonio Mateo Garcia, Military Vet|College Student |”Packs by AMG” (Boston, MA)

 

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

 

BSO: Thank you for your service to our great nation and your work at MacDill AFB. You’ve spoken about your vision to start a non-profit after graduation. Tell us about your life story. 

 

AG:

My name is Antonio Mateo Garcia. I am a student at Fisher College in Boston and I am also a young Army veteran. I only served one contract due to an injury that I still deal with today. I receive medical retirement. Sometimes, I wish I was still in the service, mainly because it is a family tradition to join the military. Both of my parents served.

With my military background, I am proud to help any and all veterans whenever possible. I grew up in Detroit. During most of my childhood, I saw a lot of things, both good and bad. I would always see homeless individuals forming these giant lines just so they can get a spot in a shelter that wasn’t even in the best condition. I would see families forced to live on to the street due to foreclosure of their homes or from being evicted because they could no longer afford their homes, especially during the period of time when the auto factories started laying people off because they would replace them with machines or the factories would shut down. Ever since I was young, I wanted to help these people, I wanted to make a difference. I want to be able to build a small community that includes homeless individuals of all types; single individuals (veterans and non-veterans), families, and LGBT youth.

I will graduate with my Bachelors in Management with two concentrations (entrepreneurship and accounting) and with two minors (human services and Human Resources).

 

BSO: There is no typical day in the life of a college student. Share with us your daily schedule.

 

AG:

My daily schedule is always different but there is a few similarities. Everyday starts with waking up around 8am to 8:30 am. On Mondays, I have 3 classes (management applications, marketing and macroeconomics). Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have my accounting class, which is fun. This class is the reason I added accounting as my second concentration; I instantly fell in love with it. I also have my work study.

 

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

AG:

My absolute favorite software applications is Microsoft office ; I am a pro at every application Microsoft has created; word, powerpoint, excel, etc. I use them all almost everyday. I use excel the most because I actually use it to do my monthly budget. I could not live without Microsoft office.

 

BSO: What has been your strategy for building your ‘brand’ on LinkedIn?

 

AG:

I update my LinkedIn profile every month in case there needs to be anything added to my experience or awards. I only make connections with people I know or with people I can gain from (experience or advice) for my future endeavors. When I was leaving the Army, I took a “transition to civilian life” class. This is when I first created my LinkedIn profile.

 

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

 

AG:

Joining the military was one of my favorite accomplishments, on a personal level, but  getting my associates degree is my favorite achievement professionally. I have dyslexia and I also had a bad semester where I wasn’t trying my hardest, so to know that I went through it all and I still came out and got my first college degree, it makes me smile. I am very proud of myself and I continue to be proud of myself with all that I want to do.

 

BSO: What are you currently reading ?

AG:

I am currently reading “Escape Room”. I try to find at least an hour each day to read which can be complicated at times due to my school schedule.

 

BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

 

AG:

I donate food or clothing when there is a drive. As of now, I am focused on my schoolwork. I want to start soon a non-profit organization, calling it “Backpacks for the Homeless”, where I will buy simple two-pocket backpacks and fill them with essentials like a toothbrush, a blanket, snack foods, travel size soaps and toothpaste, etc. I plan to start a GoFundMe to get collect funds in which I can obtain the funds to buy everything I need to start it off. https://www.gofundme.com/f/avrza-backpacks-for-the-homeless?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1

 

BSO: Who has influenced your life the most? 

AG:

My mother has been the biggest influence in my life. Part of the reason I want to help homeless families (especially families with single moms) is because I saw my mom suffer and there have been many times where we didn’t really have a place to call our own. The time I remember the most is when my brother, my mother and I stayed in the basement of a family friend when my mother lost her job and we couldn’t afford to live in our house. My mother is also an army veteran so luckily we had her veteran benefits to fall back on but not all single moms (or single dads) have that.

BSO: What is your advice for someone interested in joining the military ?

AG:

Do your research on the branch you are interested in and talk to a recruiter directly. If you are truly interested in the military, and not just for the free college education, then a recruiter will be the best person to talk to. Also, talk to any veterans you may know:  they can give you first-hand experience especially if they were deployed. I was not deployed during my short time in the military but I loved basic training.

Liz Zamagni, Lead Age Group Coach for Austin Aquatics & Sports Academy (Austin, TX)

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

 

Elizabeth Zamagni (Liz) grew up in Boston, Massachusetts where she swam for Simmons College while receiving her Dual Masters Degree in Elementary and Special Education.

She was a NCAA qualifier and all scholastic collegiate athlete for all four years. She went on to coach for 8 different swim teams ranging from age group, masters and triathlon swimming within the Greater Boston Area. Liz was instrumental in saving her local YMCA’s Swimming Team from being cut from their programming. She grew the team from single digits, led them to win 3 championship titles and established a team merger with 2 other local YMCA’s to create a USA Team within the southern area of Boston Massachusetts. Liz then became an Aquatics Director leading her aquatics facility to acceded revenue goals, participation and creating new programming for those communities.

To continue her knowledge of athletics, Liz became a certified Personal Trainer/Nutrition Coach with ISSA, pursued certifications in Pre & Post Natal, Viper Training, Stick & Acumobility Trainings and became a Certified Water Aerobics Instructor with ASFA. She is a dedicated athlete within her own fitness program where she enjoys Yoga, Bare, Pilates, Strength and TRX training. Liz is a Boston girl at heart and so loves to cheer on her local sports teams. She believes with dedication, determination and commitment, anything is possible!

 

BSO: Tell us about your job. What is your title ? What are your key responsibilities?

LZ:

I am a Lead Swim Coach for 2 age groups within a 350+ swim team. I lead 2 of the younger ages (6-9 & 9-10). I also assist one of my co-coaches with 2 of their groups (11-12 & 15+). I am fully responsible in creating the groups workouts each day. The individual workouts have to come together and look at the season as a whole to include the children’s individual goals, my and the team’s goals such as winning the championship meet at the end of the season. I send weekly emails to parents about what to expect each week along with monthly emails about each child’s progress. I have 57 children in total I am fully responsible for. I also keep track of each child’s attendance, attitude and overall health and wellbeing. I then assist my co-coaches with the same goals and daily practices when I am the assistant for their groups. My company also offers a Masters Swim Team for adults which I coach twice a week, working with the other coaches to create a smooth and cohesive plan for each month with their goals in mind. I lead a homeschool workout for children twice a week to fulfill their gym requirement. Lastly, I teach private lessons for adults and children, working with them on their goals such as improving on their next triathlon or learning to swim so they can join their middle school swim team (Swimming is a huge sport in Texas).

All in all, my greatest responsibility is listening to others and helping to direct and guide them from what they shared with me to reach their goals.

 

BSO: There is no typical day in the life of talented, ambitious professionals. Share with us your a.m. to p.m.

LZ:

My schedule is different every day as we have limited pool space and each group does not swim every day. I am coaching a total of 32 hours on deck. My younger group swims three times a week while my older kids swim 4 times a week. When I assist I am helping out with five other practices a week. The young kids swim for 1 hour, then 1.5 and lastly 2 hours for the oldest groups. All of my groups swim after school so my day really goes from 4-8:30pm. I am coaching the homeschoolers and masters around lunchtime and complete about 2 hours of administration during the mornings. If we have a swim meet, I am working the weekends from 7am-2pm Saturday and Sunday. If we have no swim meet, then just Saturday practices/swim lessons from 8-1pm leaving Sunday as an off day. I have always been a morning person so I get up around 5-6am and am in bed by 9-10pm.

 

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

LZ:

I love my apple watch for personal use. I spend my time coaching on the pool deck so my watch is great for quick emails and texts if an athlete will be out. I love all google products and use the calendar for my scheduling. I use the sheets to create my workouts, log athletes goals and other data. In the swimming world, all statistics are run through a software called Teamunify so I could not live without that as that keeps my swimmers times, meets, attendance and can run all my reports.

 

BSO: What was the best advice you received when you began your career ?

LZ:

I would say that the best advice I was given was from 2 different role models at 2 different parts of my life. In college, my coach said never act as if you know anything and always ask why someone did something. This has allowed me to take so much away from other great coaches. My most recent manager said that if you want to reach the top level of competition in any sport, you have to follow and not lead. This has helped me to make friendships with other top level coaches and not be seen as a threat but as a person looking to help and learn from them.

 

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

LZ:

Attending and graduating from Simmons College in Boston. This was the hardest for me as I have a learning disability called Dyslexia. I was told my freshman year of highschool that I would be lucky to attend a community college and, after that, not to expect much.

Getting into a private school like Simmons was my way of showing everyone who said I was unteachable that they were wrong. Then choosing to attend Simmons College where I swam all 4 years and spent an extra year and a half to get a dual masters in teaching has opened so many doors for me. I found my love for coaching and education there in my sport of swimming. I proved to myself that my limitations are nothing more than self doubt and I am capable of anything.

 

BSO: What are you currently reading?

LZ:

I am currently reading “High Performance Habits” How Extraordinary People Become That Way by Brendon Burchard; #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author.

 

BSO: What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?

LZ:

Working for the YMCA of Greater Boston.

I came in to a swim team that was going to shut down because they did not have the funding or numbers to keep it. I worked with people within that community, local business and the Thomas M. Menino Family to re-create their swim team. We offer a 100% financial aid system for families in need. This included the yearly team cost and fees, a Swimsuit, Team shirt, Water bottle, covering all their meet entry fees and anything else they needed such as swim caps and goggles.

 

BSO: Who has influenced your career the most?

LZ:

My Two Swim Coaches. My Boys and Girls club coach Sherrel Farrell for showing me that the sport of swimming can and should be accessible to everyone, no matter your age, ability, background or finances. Then, my college coach Melinda Williams for making me a true athlete with a love for the sport but also giving me my first lead coaching job and teaching me what it means to be a coach, leader and role model  in someone’s life.

 

BSO: What is your advice for young professionals?

LZ:

My advice is that life’s meant to test you, to push you down and make you fall or fail. We all have our problems and challenges. Our responsibility is to push back each and everyday. To show up better than you were yesterday. To rise in that testing moment for you never know that impact you could have on someone else through your experiences and challenges.

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