rolling out the ORGPRO 2013 welcome mat

Read my guest blog post at www.AaronWolowiec.com

I’m excited to have been asked to serve on the ORGPRO 2013 Task Force as the Chairperson of the Community Engagement subcommittee. We are offering four great services for new ORGPRO attendees and two exciting opportunities for established members to get engaged. Read more about what we have in store for ORGPRO 2013 in my guest blog post at AaronWoloweic.com.

ORGPRO is Michigan’s premier education and networking event for professionals in the nonprofit sector, ORGPRO 2013 will be held from July 8 to July 10 at the Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center

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Creating an Internship

The Henry Center created an internship program 7 years ago. Here’s a description of our program and an outline for creating your own successful internship program.

The Henry Center offers a paid (credit or non-credit) sales internship for MSU students. We require a minimum commitment of 2 college semesters and currently employ 3 interns. Over the duration of our program we have employed 8 interns, which we’re proud to report have all found permanent employment outside of our organization upon graduation.

Categories of Internships

  • Paid vs. Unpaid – This decision is up to the employer, or may be negotiated during the hiring process
  • Credit vs. Non-credit – An internship that qualifies for college credit functions much like a college course. Students will pay tuition for the credit hours that they are earning and will be required to complete class work in addition to the work completed at your place of business (i.e.. writing a paper or a case study that will be turned into an advisor or professor).

Getting Started

  • Determine the objectives of the internship – How can an intern contribute to your organization? If you have trouble answering this complete a Steven Covey Urgent/Important quadrant and replace “Important” with “This has to be done by Me”.
  • Define the role within the organization – and share this with everyone that will interact with the intern
  • Define the duration of the internship – consider how long it will take to train them and then add the length of your project or the time it will take to make an impact in their department
  • Resources required before you hire an intern – Job description, job posting, designated supervisor, designated work space and appropriate office supplies

Hiring an Intern

  • Places to list your job posting – Industry associations (MMPI, MSAE, SGMP), share it with your peers, www.myspartancareers.com (MSU), other college and university job websites
  • Interview  – Determine the skills you are seeking – consider your work style and decide whether you are seeking a match or a counterbalance to your style, then base your interview questions on the appropriate skill set

Working with your intern

  • Provide an orientation – work space,  staff introductions, dress code, scheduling, supervisor
  • Provide procedures – How to call in sick, how to change your schedule, what is the intern authorized to do (sign contracts, correspond with clients or members, quote availability, answer the phone?)
  • Assign tasks and ask the intern to document the process they follow to complete these tasks, this will create a simple training library for the next intern
  • Assign tasks in a format that provides accountability – outlook tasks, CRM task list, create weekly list of tasks
    • It is important to make priorities and deadlines clear, interns often have multiple bosses and its best if the interns have the autonomy to express whether they are overwhelmed.
    • Invite your intern to meetings – from executive level to task force meetings, participation across the organization will help them think strategically and contribute to your organization
    • Provide regularly scheduled evaluations – this is very important!

The benefits of hiring an intern far outweigh the investment. Students seek out an internship because they have a desire to learn and contribute. Their fresh outlook on business and the world offer new perspectives on how to solve problems and create new business opportunities. Good luck with your program!

How do you engage your interns? Have you encountered any pitfalls with interns?

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CMP for me was meant to be!

There were many times in high school and college that I would leave an exam feeling like I had no idea how well I did. Usually when this happened it was because I either didn’t study enough or I tried to cram too much in the night before. After taking the CMP exam I had that same feeling but there was nothing worse than having that feeling when I studied a ton and didn’t cram. It seemed the things I felt would not be weighted highly on the exam were there and the things I felt over prepared for were not. I spent so much time preparing in advance, doing the readings and going to study groups that it didn’t seem fair to be completely blindsided.

Over 8 weeks passed after I took the exam to finally find out that I did not pass, along with 6 others of the 15 who took it from our Prep Course. I wasn’t really shocked considering I didn’t feel very confident after taking the exam but I was definitely disappointed. Come to find out, the exam was formatted and delivered in a completely different way than before. It has been several years since they changed all of the questions and of course they had to change it when I go to take it! I was crushed – feeling angry, disappointed, unworthy, confused and completely uncertain of whether I could even THINK to take the exam again. Through the continued support of MSAE, my fellow colleagues, friends and family members, I decided to jump back on the horse and to take the CMP exam again in November. I had less than a week to decide whether I wanted to take the exam so I had to make the decision pretty fast, with no time to really ponder. This time around I tried to focus more on my test taking abilities, my positive attitude and changing my study techniques based on the type of questions that I had seen in the exam before. I am proud to say that I have officially passed after taking the exam in November. As quoted by W. E. Hickson,

“ ‘Tis a lesson you should heed:

Try, try, try again.

If at first you don’t succeed,

Try, try, try again. ”

I found another blog that provides 22 reasons to never give up. After reading this blog, I was reminded that I was never alone when I first failed the exam. There are many people that fail first before succeeding in fact I think it is quite normal. This is part of life that goes with you even as you age. We have to remember that some things were meant to be but if we don’t keep trying to achieve the ones we are passionate about, we will never feel the happiness that comes with success and the fulfillment that happiness brings. Do you ever feel like giving up? What experiences have you had where you were left disappointed? How did you overcome these obstacles? What helps you to keep going? How can you find motivation and endurance to keep fighting?

I thought I would share the blog so that perhaps you will also be inspired to go after something again that you have not yet been successful with. 22 Reasons To Never Give Up

Written by Melissa Schneider, CTA – Marketing and Sales Assistant at The James B. Henry Center for Executive Development

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5 Ways to Stay Motivated

Wherever we are in our paths of life as human beings we always find a way to try and remind ourselves why we do what we do.  Why do we go to work?  Why do we pay endless amount of money for a higher education?  What is it that keeps you motivated?   We all have different stories or things that keep us motivated.  There are times we all struggle to stay motivated or have to find ways to keep pushing through obstacles when we do not want to.  The following is a list of 5 things that have helped me stay motivated when those obstacles have tried to push me to give up.

1. Avoid people who are negative

You are who you surround yourself with.  If you are constantly around negative people you, yourself will become negative.  Negativity has never allowed someone to achieve their goals.  Instead find someone who inspires you and strive to have habits like them. 

2. Define success-celebrate milestones

At one point everyone should have come up with their own definition of success.  Some people may think of success by raising money for cancer, some may think being a CEO of a large corporation, or some may even think of it as adopting a child.  There should be a time that you sit and write down what success is to you and make goals to achieve your success.  However, make sure you celebrate achievements along the road.  Success may be being the CEO of a company one day but celebrate each promotion or each day of hard work.

3. Take timeouts

Most of us are always working very hard to achieve success that we forget to give ourselves a break.  We never give ourselves enough credit for all the work we do.   We all deserve a time out.  Sometimes a time out may be a few hours, a few days, or weeks. We all need to find a hobby where we are able to clear our mind and take a timeout from a day’s work.  Reflecting on your own or with a friend you trust is the best thing to heal the mind and heart when we want to give up.

4. Find someone different to encourage each day

We often receive encouragement but forget to give encouragement.  When you receive a compliment how good do you feel about yourself?  Why not give that same feeling to someone else?   Each day find one person to make your project and give them a helping hand.  Putting a smile on someone else’s face should bring fulfillment to us.  We all know when someone makes us smile it truly goes farther then we express.

5. Use positive thoughts and words-Make life worth living

In every bad thing that occurs there is at least one small positive that came out of it too.  Look for the small things in life instead of just one big picture.   Every so often, look in the mirror and give yourself a smile because sometimes that’s all you need to get through the day.  Make sure that you are happy with your life and with who you are.

These are five things that have helped me when I have questioned my motivations or reasons for working so hard.  Sometimes we do not always see our success right away because we are so focused on a long term goals.  However, I will leave you with this quote and it always reminds me of why I constantly am pushing myself to be the best person I can be.

“Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle that comes your way” – Unknown

Written by Colleen Gallagher – Sales Intern at The James B. Henry Center for Executive Development

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I DID IT! So what’s next?

Ok – so for those of you that have followed my blog… I DID IT!!!  I conquered my fear of Public Speaking last month at OrgPro and I actually DID IT!  What an amazing feeling it was to share my story, step out of my comfort zone and in to the spot light.  Sure I was terrified up until the very moment I took the stage (and during the 5 minute presentation)… but I DID IT!  I accepted the challenge and I DID IT!

In case you missed the Ignite presentations, you can view them at the following link:  Ignite Presentations (my presentation falls around the 45 minute mark.)

So, let me tell you what this experience was like for me.  I spent several months and countless hours gathering my thoughts, reflecting on my story, exploring a whole new territory, and trying to figure out how to make the words actually come out.   I joined with my fellow Ignite presenters on two occasions to practice and modify our presentations.  What a wonderful opportunity it was to join together, develop this unique bond, learn from each other, and enter this experience as we each developed our own speaking platforms.  I spent a good two weeks prior to the OrgPro practicing.  I practiced over and over, and then practiced some more.  Even throughout the conference, I found myself distracted -rehearsing in my head while sitting in the middle of keynote sessions.

When I woke up the morning of July 11 (which was the Ignite presentation day), I was a wreck. My mind and heart were filled with all sorts of emotions and doubts.  I decided to go for a run to help shake some of the jitters, which seemed to help a bit.  And then slowly put myself together.  I continued to practice my presentation over and over.  I met up with several of the other Ignite presenters and then we practiced some more.

The hour before the Ignite session, we gathered as a group again to run through the slide deck of our presentations to make sure our images were appearing properly, and to try to eliminate some of the nerves.  Finally, the moment came.  The presentations were under way… five minutes at a time… one by one and I paced anxiously until it was my turn.

As Aaron Wolowiec CMP, CAE from Event Garde began my introduction I could feel extreme excitement and emotion flooding in.  Somehow, the nerves were settling down at this point.  I grabbed a few tissues and then I took the stage.  I took a few deep breaths and away I went.  I delivered my presentation just as I had when I had practiced – with a few modifications, extra pauses to catch my breath, and a few tears.   I finished my presentation, and exited the stage and glanced out to the audience.  To my surprise I was overwhelmed with emotion when I saw that everyone was standing, applauding… FOR ME!   I can’t even begin to express what a surge I felt at that moment; extreme pride, excitement, emotion, and everything in between.   Thinking back to that moment, I’d have to compare that feeling to what runners must feel like when they finish a marathon.

Now that I’ve done it once, I can tell you my confidence level has sky rocketed.  I am continually getting stronger and stronger – both professionally and personally.  So…WHAT’s NEXT you ask? I’m going to do it again!

A few weeks ago I received an email from Aaron Wolowiec that the Michigan Works! conference was inviting our Ignite group to be part of their Ignite presentation in September.  I thought to myself, why not?  So here I go again – making a few slight modifications to the content of my original presentation, practicing, practicing, and practicing some more.  There will be four of us from our original group participating in this next Ignite session (which is a much larger scale and attended conference).

I’m extremely excited for this next opportunity and to share my story with others.  Not only that, I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to document such an emotional and profound experience in my life that I will be able to look back on… and for my kids to see some day as well.  If you ask me… I’d have to say that I did exactly what Ignite presentations are meant to do… “to inspire and to enlighten.”

Could this possibly be the start of a speaking career for me? One never knows, but I’m definitely not going to close the door on this chapter.  I’ll keep taking things one day at a time, exploring whatever opportunities come along.  In the meantime, I sure am enjoying the ride!

What are some of your greatest professional or personal accomplishments?  How did you feel during the process?  How did you feel afterwards?  Would it be something you would do again?

Written by Michelle Triantaflos, CMP, CTA – Event Manager at The James B. Henry Center for Executive Development

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Testing 1…2…3…

There is an unsung hero of meetings and events everywhere.  Without it, effective communication would be impossible for many meetings.  Despite its importance, this champion of meetings often finds itself despised and used as a scape goat for problems that are just not its fault.  I am, of course, talking about the microphone.

Microphones are an incredibly simple to use tool, however the differences between using a microphone well and creating show stopping technical problems are subtle and easy to miss.  Here are a few simple tips to make sure your next event goes as well as possible.

1) Less is more:  When planning how you want your mics configured, try to use as few mics as possible.  The more open mics (microphones turned on)  the more unwanted noise you are going to pick up.  It is also going to increase your chances of feedback; the bane of amplified sound.

2) Know your mics:  There are many different types of microphones.  I don’t want to bore you with talk of polar patterns, but there are two broad categories of microphones you should be aware of, hand held and lavaliere or lapel microphones.  Hand held microphones are exactly that, microphones that you hold in your hand.  Hand held microphones are far less susceptible to handling noise and feedback than lavelier microphones.  Because of this they make the most sense when you need to pass around or move microphones.  Lavaliere or lapel microphone clip onto one person.  Since they clip on, your hands are free for other things.  Lapel mics are much more susceptible to feedback and handling noise.  Any time you need to clip on or remove a lapel mic you should turn it off.  You should also only use a lapel mic when it is clipped on to your person.  Holding a lapel mic and talking directly into it will lead to loud distorted sound and distracting rustling, clunks and bangs.

3) It’s all about location:  Where you hold the mic as you talk makes all the difference.  As you get closer to a microphone it gets exponentially louder. This means there is a big difference between 1 foot and 1 inch away from your mouth.  When using a handheld microphone, a good starting point is about 2 to 3 inches away from your mouth.  Make sure to keep the distance as consistent as possible so that your volume stays constant.  When using a lapel try to clip it between the 2nd and 3rd button on your shirt. If you know you will be using a lapel mic, make sure to wear something that has a place to clip the mic as well as the transmitter pack.  This means button down shirts, pockets or a belt.  Try to clip the mic as close to the center of your body as possible.  If the microphone is placed  toward your shoulder, your volume may become very quiet or very loud when you turn your head.

4) Practice, practice, practice:  If you are going to be presenting and you don’t have a dedicated sound technician, get there a little early and run through the mics one time.  Make sure you know how to quickly turn the mics on and off.  Check to make sure the volume is not too loud and not too quiet before you have a room full of people.  It can be difficult to check volume by yourself, so have someone in the audience to listen as you talk.  When you perform a sound check, make sure the position of the mic and the volume you are speaking  are the same as you will have during the actual event.  If you get feedback (loud screeching sounds) the easiest thing to do is turn down the volume.  You can compensate for the lower volume by moving the mic closer to your mouth, or talking louder. Last, but not least, don’t forget to check the batteries.

That’s about it.  With a little advanced planning you can avoid any embarrassing technical issues and be heard loud and clear.

Have you had any of these mishaps happen during a meeting of yours? Do you have other tips for using microphones?

Written by Ryan Tarrant – Information Technology Professional at The James B. Henry Center for Executive Development

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Art and science of leadership

Throughout my hospitality career, I have had the good fortune to access many different approaches to the art and science of Leadership. My early experiences and inspiration in Leadership were provided by the excellent Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn brands and their management development courses.

Of late, I have had the opportunity to explore and apply the concepts of “The Six Sources of Influence”-the motivators and factors that are at the root of all human behavior. A team of research-based authors have produced a very accessible system of looking at problems and challenges to start moving through “Vital Behaviors”, leading to personal and interpersonal change. Their terrific series of books (“Crucial Conversations”, “Crucial Confrontations”, “Influencer” and “Change Anything”) and tools are online at Vital Smarts.  I have found “Crucial Confrontations” to be transformative in my style of thinking as a leader and have become a certified facilitator in the course work.  I find myself to be more comfortable with engaging in productive conflict and confrontation at work.

In the past, many of us have benefited from and enjoyed the ground-breaking work of Dr. Steven Covey in challenging each of us to be at our best with clearly set goals and values, while striving to deliver consistently positive outcomes. Another guru I have discovered in simply identifying and navigating workplace change is Patrick Lencioni. I like to return to his amazingly readable and on-target book, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”.  At its’ core, this simple “leadership fable” identifies the common trappings of artificial team harmony, lack of productivity, and self-interest that limit teams from their full potential. As his company states on all of their materials, they provide “Simple wisdom for organizations.”

Locally, I have had the great personal pleasure of working with some insightful and inspiring leadership consultants-the Crux Move Consulting team of Mike Srodes and Jim Jensen, Dr. Lew Dotterer, and Mike Bills. Each brings their own unique perspective and life experience while getting to the heart of the matter. When we are open to learning, we all have the opportunity to move past our comfortable boundaries and be inspired to our highest potential.

I’m also a fan of two leaders at The School of Hospitality Business that teach and live their Leadership principals-Dr. Ronald Cichy and Dr. Bonnie Knutson. Their research, teaching and writings on Leadership are touching the lives of the next generation of leaders, as well as exploring the daily opportunities we each face.

Each of these gifted individuals has had an impact on me as a leader.  Their teachings have helped me to continually return to what matters most-to build a better team, to be more productive, to live our values and to make a difference in the lives of the people around us.

Have you read any of these books or blogs? If so, what were your thoughts on them? Do you have any other Leadership books, blogs, courses or materials that you believe are useful?

Written by Jeff Magnuson, CTA – Manager at The James B. Henry Center for Executive Development

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