Tag Archives: pittsburgh

All you need is love. Three areas of love, to live by.

I’m a true believer that all you need is love. Sometimes I actually have to remind myself that I need a little money and some amenities to survive in this world. Love is what fuels me buts it’s also the reward. I remind myself daily to focus on these aspects of love.

Love for Someone

Love for Something

Love for Yourself



Love for Someone

Whether you’re married or single is not important. Loving someone is the key. Anyone. A friend, a parent, a sibling. Not the kind of love that brings you together a few times a year or gets you a birthday text. The kind of love that you put work into. The love that is above and beyond a text or Facebook post. Love that they can feel no matter where they are or who they’re with. That’s how you love someone. Real commitment and dedication. The kind of love that’s an action, that’s hard to give to a lot of people at once. So choose your people. Who do you love? Who needs your love? My people right now are my daughters and of course my husband. My mother too. I’ve always believed that loving someone was not the difficult part. Making sure they feel loved is the challenge. So, challenge yourself.

Love for something

My thing is the steelpan. My instrument. An instrument I played since I was a child. Recently, a student asked at an assembly “why do I feel a warm breeze like I’m at the beach or somewhere nice when I hear you play?” She had never heard a steelpan at the beach so I told her that feeling was called joy and if you enjoy being at the beach then you’re relating this sound to a happy memory. That’s what the instrument does.

I’ve never witnessed anything else in my lifetime that makes so many people so happy. Well, maybe…s’mores. I’ve also never witnessed anything that brings together so many different types of people. Because of this love, I’ve become extremely dedicated to teaching about the steelpan and preserving the legacy of one of its pioneers, my father.

 

Love for yourself

I’ve always been a big advocate for loving yourself. Thinking you’re beautiful, knowing your worth and having pride in your story. I believe that I was blessed with self-esteem and pride. Growing up in America in the 80’s as a poor, immigrant, dark-skinned girl is not for the faint of heart, but somehow when I looked in the mirror, I loved what I saw… a pretty, strong, smart, talented and a very hard-working girl with big goals and a giving spirit. I knew these things about myself then and years later I still believe them to be true even if at times it’s wavered.

Growing up, I saw that women who looked like me were not perceived or portrayed as having those qualities. So not only did I have the challenge of continuing to believe that about myself, but I was also faced with the challenge of defending why I believed that about myself, especially from those with opposing views based on what they were taught.

Still today, I encounter people who are offended by my self-esteem and confidence. It’s  challenged, as if I don’t deserve it or it somehow makes them lesser than. I recognize that their behavior stems from how they in turn feel about themselves or the biases of that individual. Biases they sometimes don’t even recognize they have. However, I’m raising young girls who are even more confident than I was. Their strength is what pushes me to continue to not only be a great example but to always overcome.

 

All in All

Give your love, make sure it’s felt.

Find a passion and nourish your soul.

When you love yourself, you are better able to love others.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day xoxo

 

My Weekend…Planned

I can’t even believe it’s Friday?! The last three weeks have been nonstop! Work, travel, family obligations. Truly nonstop. I can’t really complain though, there’s always so much to celebrate. My girls are doing well. David and I are healthy and happy and new opportunities are coming along. I’ll be blogging for Visit Pittsburgh announced this week and Barrels to Beethoven received its first grant from the PA Council on the Arts.  There’s no break in site! Both in a good way and a way that makes me a little nervous. Luckily we have an exciting weekend ahead.


Friday

I’ll spend the morning and early afternoon finishing up my first popup with UpTo. We’ve spent the last week assisting business owners in Sharpsburg. A cute town outside of the city that has quickly become my favorite place. Next week we’ll head to Homewood. But I’ll definitely be back, Sharpsburg!

Friday afternoon I head to my space to practice and pack up the instruments for the evening. 

Friday night I’m heading to Mr. Smalls Funhouse for a CD release party for Brett Staggs. Rhythm ‘n’ Steel drummer/bandmate just happens to be an incredibly talented singer, songwriter and musician. Barrels to Beethoven will open the night by teaching guests to play the steelpan. We’ve got some cool songs in store to teach. I’m so excited for this event and so very happy for Brett. I’m grateful to know a musician like him. Talented, dedicated, light hearted. Funny guy. And not to mention my daughters’ new favorite singer. They know every word of every song. 


Saturday

Saturday morning I’ll wake up early to do some laundry, clean up and finish some work. After a meeting for the upcoming Maker Faire, David and I will head to Sewickley for an event with Congressman John Lewis. A living legend and known activist and leader of the civil rights movement. I’m so excited to hear him speak. There’s so much ignorance being spread, this is the sort of rhetoric my mind and heart needs right now. 


Sunday 

Sunday will be the best day of the weekend. I’m really looking forward to my niece, Gianna’s confirmation mass. I’m so honored she asked me to be her sponsor and I hope I can be a guiding light in her life. She is just the sweetest girl. The kind of girl that makes you smile. This summer we got to spend more time together. She helped my mother in law babysit the girls, which was so comforting to me to know she was there with Sofia to help. She also attended my Pan Camp. She not only assisted with the younger students but learned to play the steelpan and was so good! She’s a blessing to this world I can’t wait to see what kind of young woman she grows up to be. I pray I can play a positive role in that. After mass we’ll all gather at my mother in laws for brunch. With hopefully some relaxation to follow.


All in All

It’s been an incredible last few weeks, few months, year. Ups and downs for sure but clear signs that hard work, prayer and positivity will allow me to achieve my goals and bring my family lots of joy. The temperatures are changing but my season is changing as well. I am working toward change and feeling the shift. I have goals in mind but also praying for guidance. I’ve learned that when you feel it’s time for a change you have to move with it. Don’t fight to keep things the same. It’s a strange feeling to be moving through your days like a raft in the river working hard, getting things done but feeling like you don’t fully have control. That’s when you literally just go with the flow and wait to see what comes next. I’m waiting. I’m praying. I’m excited. 

Back to School

What happened to summer?! My oldest daughter started school last week. My younger two started school today. Back to school this year was quite bitter sweet for so many reasons. Although summers for me as a mother and entrepreneur are rough to say the least. A constant juggle between taking good care of my girls, having fun and getting my work done. The constant scheduling and focus on time management is truly worth it because our family time is precious. Not just to me and my husband, but to our my girls too. We truly love to be together. I thank God everyday and will do everything I can do make it happen and ensure that lasts. 

However school time is great too! Stella, entering third grade was the most excited of all of my girls to go back. Sofia, who is a gift of a child, also happens to be teenager, so there’s that. And my little Cece who seemed excited to go back and see her friends, held my leg for a few seconds too long this morning. Long enough to indicate she was scared and long enough for tears to produce…in my eyes, not hers. She was okay a few minutes later, giving me a big hug and a tap on the nose and cheeks (that’s what I do to her) before I left. 

For the most part I’m happy to start the school year. I know, well I hope, I’m sending my girls with the tools they need to succeed and I’m excited for all of the new experiences they’re going to have. 

This summer we talked a lot about being kind and working hard. Empathy and Motivation. I think you’ll go very far in life if you have those characteristics. 

I try to set a good example for my children not just tell them, but show them. I think that’s the best way to teach. They see me setting goals and accomplishing them. This summer even my youngest mentioned that I had set goals like new clients for Straightforward Consulting and pan camp for Barrels to Beethoven and accomplished both. There’s nothing like hearing “I’m proud of you mommy” from your kids. That alone is a great motivator. #FanClub

They also see me constantly helping others. I tell them even if you have nothing at all, you can still give someone your time. When I see them excited to do something kind for a family member, friend, or stranger, it really warms my heart. It’s such a blessing to see your child being kind and helping others. I hope that quality stays with them, always.

So I’m sending my girls back to school with with confidence, empathy, determination to do well and pride. I’m praying they do their best, are treated well, treat others well and truly enjoy themselves. And, I’m taking a moment (literally just a moment) to change course, adjust to my new daily routine and make a plan to achieve my new goals. 

Here’s to a great school year! 

My Weekend…Planned

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Not that I haven’t been writing over the lasts few months, I’ve written a ton. With all that’s happening in our country and around the world, writing is all I could do. Not for others but for myself. It’s the best way for me to release and makes sense of what I experience. 

However, this morning before my husband left for work he kissed me and asked “are you ready for a great weekend?” I am, and I want to share it. 



Friday

Today started out kind of relaxing. Breakfast with the girls, a little cleaning but I’m taking it easy. My idea of easy may be a little twisted but I’ll take it. 

This morning I’ll be checking off my to do list in preparation for our event tonight. My Makers and Music event is in partnership with Style Week Pittsburgh and Social Status Boutique. We’re gathering to celebrate some of our city’s most creative people. It started with a photoshoot and a great group of people. The incredible photographer Juan Carlos Silva, made everyone feel great and look great. Now we get to see the images, celebrate the group and learn more about what they do. 

After the happy hour event and clean up, ūüė© I’m going to head over to Tako for a margarita and a song. David is spinning there until 1am. I might stay for a late night taco too. 


Saturday

No Saturday morning commitments = big (Belgium) waffles, bacon and maybe a mimosa. AKA…My favorite breakfast. David makes the most amazing waffles with help from Stella and Cece, while I prepare the mixed berries and Sofia sets a “fancy” table as she calls it. I love these mornings with my family. 

Saturday afternoon we are back to our weekly historic landmark search. Stella’s idea has become one of our favorite activities this summer. We’ve had so much fun and the girls (and their parents) have learned a lot about Pittsburgh. We know…#NerdAlert

Saturday evening another great event! My band Rhyhm ‘n’ Steel will be performing at Musicalidades, David will also DJ the event. A fundraising event hosted by Our Rhythm a project by my new friends Gabriel, Lucas and Cat. Our Rhythm will be a documentary film telling the stories of  7 musicians around the world. I am happy to support such a wonderful project but even happier to support such great people. 



Sunday 

We are definitely sleeping in on Sunday. Mass at noon will be a great way to reflect on the past week and prepare for the week ahead. Although my faith is not based on just going to church. I like the gathering, singing in unison, listening to our priest and thinking about ways I can do and be better. 

All in All

We’re going to have a typical Pugliano Family weekend action packed and fun. I have always been stuck between being  afraid of all that’s bad in the world and how it impacts my family and creating an amazing life for my girls, free of the worry and the sadness I feel. It’s so difficult but I look at them and I know I’m doing well. It’s more important for them to feel loved than anything else. And they do. Not to sound corny but love is the key. First self love. Knowing yourself, loving yourself, taking care of yourself and improving yourself. Then loving others. Being empathetic, supportive and kind, to all. That will go such a long way. Try and see. 

My Incredibly “Busy” Pittsburgh Weekend… Planned

Friday

I’ll be working from home all day. Completing tasks and creating timelines for No Crayon Left Behind, StyleWeek Pittsburgh and Barrels to Beethoven. I have a hefty to do list but I’m sure I’ll get it done. Can someone just remind me to stop and eat?! 

Friday Night is where the fun begins. I’m going to start the evening at the Gallery Crawl. My husband David is djing at SPACE gallery so I’m going to stop by for musical inspiration! Next, I’ll be heading to Alpha Lab for the kickoff of Startup Weekend Women. I love the Startup Weekend events and looking forward to the first women focused event. After that I’ll go back downtown to check out the night market and join David at Tako where he’ll be spinning until 1am. I’ll hopefully have an amazing cocktail in my hand by this point in the evening.


Saturday
 

Saturday morning as with many families is all about kids activities. So we’ll start with dance and acting class at Alloy Studios. After lunch we head to Zeffiro Art Studio for the open studio event. My friend Sarah, is an amazing artist. The girls are looking forward to making some art! Saturday evening I’ll be heading to ATC World, a fundraiser for Alumni Theatre Company. I love this organization and the work they do around musical theatre and performance with kids.  
Sunday

Sunday morning as always is for church. This Sunday I’ll be on my own. Just me and the girls. Oh the hair! We’re still celebrating lent and preparing for Easter, Sunday’s mass is important because it’s the beginning of Holy Week. Palm Sunday. If you can have a “favorite” mass, this would be near the top of my list. After Christmas Eve. 

After mass we’ll head downtown to Meat and Potatoes for DJ brunch featuring… You guessed it, David. Aka my husband. Aka DJ illeso. The girls will be excited to see their daddy at work. 

Once David is done we’ll head over to Squirrel Hill for the Purim Festival where my band Rhythm ‘n’ Steel will perform to kick off the festivities!  It’s our first gig in over a month! I’m excited to perform with my bandmates.

After the show, depending on our state of mind and exhaustion level, we may or may not head over to the Ace Hotel for the Spring Market, for local makers. I like to support local artisans and this looks like a great event. Plus I just love this place!

The weekend will end at Startup Weekend’s final pitches event. All of the selected ideas from Friday will have become actual products/companies by Sunday. Now it’s time for the final pitch and the winners will be selected. 

Monday starts spring break! I’m really looking forward to having my girls with me 24/7 for the next two weeks…ūüėĀ


All in All…

I remember when there was literally one event in Pittsburgh at a time. If you missed it…sucks to be you. Now there are so many events you just have to choose and hope you make the right decision. Although nowadays, you have a great chance of having a great time no matter what. There’s always lots to do.

Although I I used it in the title, I kinda hate the word busy. I see it as just living life. We’ve all chosen to live a certain way. Have certain jobs. Have a child or two. And, all of those choices have responsibilities and unique logistics. When people tell me I’m busy, I feel strange. Although at this particular moment, me and my husband are on the  borderline of exhaustion and up to our chins in work, we’re not quite drowning. In fact, most of our conversations (when we get to have conversations) consist of ways for us to do even more. Be more. Do better. Be better.

Wondering how we got here? About three years ago we made a decision. We decided to try to do all of the things we love and are passionate about. If we could succeed doing what we loved we knew that would be the ultimate achievement for us. So we dived in, head first. First we focused more on our consulting business, then we launched The Boarding School and began working on Barrels to Beethoven. All while David began taking more DJ gigs and I started a new band. I’m not going to lie, the struggle is real, our lives are much different, very hard at times. But hard doesn’t mean bad and now? There is a joy in my heart that transcends any vision of happiness I could have imaged. I just feel good. My husband feels good and my children feel good. I’m beyond proud of my accomplishments as a mother, an entrepreneur, a musician and what I give back to the community. I am not doing what I love, I’m being who I love, and it’s amazing. I don’t feel busy, I feel extremely blessed. 

With Steelpan, Quality and History Matter

There is so much happening in the world of pan. With social media and the Internet we can see it all. Which in the areas of awareness and support, can and should be great for the instrument. The problem is, it seems that quantity has overcome quality and I’m seeing a lot more bad than good. Even though there is a lot of good.

When speaking to audiences about the Steelpan I always remind them of a few things:

1. The Steelpan is a very new instrument, and with anything new, extinction is a possibility.


2. There has to be a standard of quality.


3. The correct history must be told repeatedly to avoid the twisting and misconceptions of the story. 

4. There is exceptional craftsmanship involved with building a Steelpan. This is still a man made instrument.

I’m concerned about the state of pan, primarily in the U.S but even back home in the Caribbean according to some. I know that across the world there are thousands and thousands of Steelpan players, bands, school programs etc. which should make me very happy and to a degree, it does. However the quality of many those programs and and instruments is greatly concerning. I’ve heard steelpans that sound like wood on untuned metal. That’s not good.

The Steelpan is an instrument of the Caribbean, invented by people of African decent and European influence in Caribbean nations like Trinidad and my country, Guyana. Many of the Steelpan builders today especially in the US, are not people of African decent. Which is okay except what does that mean for the past, present and future of this Caribbean instrument? And, as the history develops through generations, how and to who, is it being taught to?

To understand how this may impact someone like me let’s go back a few decades. I have been hearing Steelpan since birth, before birth, and grew up with it my entire life. I didn’t learn it in high school or take a course in college. I know the Steelpan just like I know anything I learned literally like walking, talking and ABC’s. There’s no course you can take to feel the way I do about the instrument. It’s another family member. It’s a daily topic. There is no label, no title that suits that. We don’t exist without it.

My father makes the Steelpan. He makes exceptional instruments. I grew up seeing his expert craftsmanship and hearing the beautiful intruments his time and effort yielded. There’s no doubt to me (and I am certainly not the only one) that Phil Solomon is one of the best Steelpan builders and tuners the instrument has known. And no, he is not the only one. He is not the only great Steelpan builder, and hopefully will be one of many greats in the years to come.

When I see a Steelpan program at a school or steel band performing, I get excited. When I hear the poor quality of the instruments or technique. I get sad. I feel disappointed. Just like anything else, but especially with the Steelpan, quality matters. The instrument cannot survive without quality craftsmanship being passed from one to the next. Why support makers and players that don’t truly understand and respect the instrument?

Barrels to Beethoven began as a way to recognize the impact Phil Solomon has had on the Steelpan and the city of Pittsburgh through Steelpan and Steelpan education. Through a year of research the organization pivoted to also include education and innovation. A necessary component for sustaining and growing the instrument. Our hope, our goal is that quality craftsmanship, exceptional education standards and history of the instrument will strive over all else.

Why try to compare the variation in quality to anything? Because quality should and does matter. Especially when it’s new. Mortons vs. McDonalds. Whole Foods vs. Bottom Dollar. Ralph Lauren vs. H&M. There’s a difference. Of course, all of the companies listed, whether good quality or just quantity can survive because there are enough consumers on both sides to sustain both. The Steelpan does not yet have that luxury. Quality. Quality. Quality. In both the instrument, instruction and presentation. That’s how the Steelpan will grow, develop and sustain over time.

When you are involved in something new, something that needs to be nurtured, it is important to make sure the quality is exceptional. That’s what we are dedicated to.

Top Events of 2015

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you already know its been a very busy¬†year.¬†2015 was not only about recruiting,¬†training and business development for my clients,¬†it was also about community engagement and The Arts. In addition to Straightforward work, I also focused on building my organization, Barrels to Beethoven, combined my skills and love of both business and the arts, partnered with Zeffiro Art, and created some really cool events¬†that celebrated ¬†art and music and provided the opportunity for the community to engage in a more interactive way. Creative event development took the forefront for my business and making a difference, making an impact and having my guests leave feeling good about the experience, was the reward. Here’s what’s at the top of my list…

 

The Engagement Party


This panel discussion in partnership with the Open Engagement Conference, featured several local women in various fields of The Arts. The panel was asked a series of questions and their responses brought out head nods, laughter and incite into the experience of women in the arts, particularly in Pittsburgh. My goal and the inspiration behind creating this event was to provide a much needed platform for women to share their knowledge, perspective and experiences.

 

Makers and Music


  
Throughout the summer we hosted these events in correlation with UnBlurred on¬†Penn Ave. Makers and Music provided space for local artisans to showcase their goods¬†while local musicians performed. Makers included; Knotzland, Ruhling Woven, Zeffiro Art and Born to Be. With¬†music provided by; Two Tall Twins, Chris Catone, Comancheria, Brett Staggs, David Pugliano aka DJ illeso,¬†Aaron Pfeiffer,¬†JackLucy and my band, Rhythm ‘n’ Steel.¬†These inspiring events were so well received. Smiles on every face. Makers and Music will definitely be back in 2016 with some really cool locations and amazing artists.

 

Moving Language -Opening Reception


Take an amazing artist, an exceptional exhibition of work, and the love and support of family, friends and community and you’ll get the opening night of Moving Language. It was an absolute pleasure to work on this show and event. The exhibit ran through the summer of 2015 and the beautiful artwork created the backdrop to events like Art with the Artist,¬†Brunch En Blanc and “The Compilation” – designer preview party and mixer. Stay tuned for more great work and exceptional events from the artist, Sarah Zeffiro.

Pop up Yoga


This event turned out to be as rewarding for me as it was for the guests. My first experience doing yoga could not have been more impactful and amazing. Led by instructor Cara Bessko and set amongst the art of Sarah Zeffiro this class left me feeling great the entire weekend. Next up with Cara? Yoga and The Pan 1/23 @ Alloy Studios.

Let’s Play Pan 21+


  
 This interactive workshop for adult students, featured Caribbean cuisine, cocktails and lots of music and laughter. Each session, we started a band! Taking non-musicians, teaching them steelpan technique and turning them into musicians. By the end of the evening we were playing songs like, Viva la Vida, Hey Jude and Watermelon Man. These events were beyond awesome. My eyes might have teared up at some point in the evening during each session. I love teaching Steelpan but I am so grateful to all who attended. Funds from these events help to support the Pittsburgh Youth Steel Orchestra.  More events to come in very cool locations!

 

Gather and Give



This event could not have come at a better time. Right before Christmas my friends, family, supporters and collaborators all¬†gathered at The Goldmark in Lawrenceville for a happy hour event to celebrate the season and give back. Every guest brought a sweater or two, or ten to donate to our sweater drive. We enjoyed cocktails and danced the early evening away to great music provided by DJ illeso. On Christmas Eve¬†my family and I delivered the sweaters to The Salvation Army Family Caring Center. Because I will always do for others, and the interest of some other organizations in need, this event will hopefully¬†occur quarterly. I’m really looking forward to that. Special thanks to The Goldmark for hosting us and being such an awesome venue.

 

Favorite Events, Attended

Luckily I didn’t have to creative my own events to learn, be inspired and have a good time. There were some really cool events that I was honored to attend..

Six X Ate

Fuse: Beethoven + Coldplay

Startup Weekend Education

Style Week Pittsburgh

Speak Freely with Luis von Ahn

Maker Faire Pittsburgh (attended and participated)

Stay tuned for more arts focused, engaging, uplifting and interactive events. 2016 will yield great moments built by collaboration and focused on community. Happy New Year!

 

The Talk of the Town…Diversity¬†

There’s been a lot of discussion lately about diversity within the Pittsburgh workforce, there’s even a survey out there for Pittsburghers to participate in. My thoughts? We don’t need a survey to tell us that our local companies are nowhere near as diverse as they should be. 

I began researching  local organizations when I started my firm in 2011. I’ve researched teams and hiring practices for thousands of Pittsburgh organizations. As an HR consultant specializing in recruiting and diversity, I wanted to know the landscape, especially after being with one organization for almost a decade. What I found was quite disappointing. 

  • Many local organizations have very little diversity among their workforce. 
  • Many local organizations have no diversity among their workforce. 
  • Many local organizations dont’t have a method of recruiting that leads to a diverse candidate pool. 

When it comes to Diversity and Inclusion, Recruiting and Training, I’m confident in my abilities. The “why” behind my findings and the reasons for the surveys and discussions about diversity are very clear to me. My biggest concern is purely, “how long will this trend last?”

From The Oscars to Google people are noticing the lack of diversity and watching to see how companies will address this issue in 2015 and beyond. Unfortunately, unless you‚Äôre like me, diversity doesn‚Äôt just happen naturally. When I recruit, I’m looking for the absolute best, the perfect fit. I use many factors to determine that, but race, gender etc. are never a factor. For most organizations, from small business and tech to retail and nonprofit, being an inclusive and diverse organization takes work, it needs to be a part of  your organizations mission and strategic plan, not an afterthought.

Locally, there are only a handful of organizations doing it right. If you think your organization has room for growth and improvement in regards to diversifying your team, which most do, start here:

1.) Evaluate your existing team. Be honest. Is it diverse? Who‚Äôs missing and why? Are various groups represented? Diversity means not one black or one woman but rather a diverse group of people working in  various levels within the organization. This includes management and leadership.

2.) Ensure your hiring manager / recruiting team is capable of and comfortable with seeking and interviewing a diverse group of candidates for each and every position. According to an NPR story, there’s a new study out from the University of Wisconsin which studied how companies reviewed applicant resumes. In this study, researchers sent identical resumes to companies just changing the name. Based on their own biases, companies showed favor toward resumes with more traditional “white names.” Black resumes received 14% less call backs / interviews. In customer service, this disparity increased to 28%! Does this happen at your organization, the answer? Most likely.

3.) Make sure your organization is utilizing multiple channels of outreach to find the best talent. Recruiters and Talent Acquisition Managers must be engaged, well known members of the community. Every time a client has an open position I can think of at least 5 candidates that can fill the role. Most of them, not looking for a new position but excelling in their current roles. That sort of depth and knowledge comes from networking, community outreach and engagement.

4.) Review the laws around Diversity and Inclusion. Host training workshops for management, ensure all members of your organization are knowledgeable and well versed. I know companies that have suffered greatly due to ignorance and incompetence. The laws protect the organization as well as the candidates and employees.

http://www.npr.org/2015/10/01/444912628/despite-improving-job-market-blacks-still-face-tougher-prospects

Fall Internship Opportunity

Fall Internship Opportunity

Straightforward Consulting and ProperLeigh.com seeks an intern to assist with various projects commencing this fall. Work will focus on projects with fieldwork contemporary gallery and the Barrels to Beethoven organization as well as fashion focused and community engagement events. The ideal candidate will have a background in or currently studying in the fields of Entrepreneurship, Marketing or Nonprofit, but all interested candidates are encouraged to apply. Interested candidates, please send Resume or CV and cover letter to:   connect@straightfwdconsulting.com

Diversity and Performance…strong teams means better results

The past few months my consulting has leaned more towards the creative side however discussions I’ve had lately and experiences with businesses and organizations throughout the city, have me anxious to get back to the recruiting, training, development and diversity side of things. I know what it takes to develop a top performing team that is diverse, knowledgeable and exceeds expectations. It takes a lot. It’s starts with hiring the right employee, then proper on boarding and continued training. Maybe it’s all of the growth happening in our fine city but it seems like companies are missing the mark in either finding the right employees, creating diversity, keeping good employees and performance development. In order for us the handle the growth our city is facing without imploding, our workforce and the productivity of that workforce must be top notch. My advice to every organization, both small and large in any sector is:

Take a good look at your team…

1. Is there diversity? True diversity. One person of another race among an all white team does not diversity make. Neither does one woman in a room full of men. But rather, a diverse group of people working in various roles throughout the organization, including management or leadership.

2. Are your managers knowledgeable of the organizations goals and held accountable to achieving all aspects of their position? This is where job descriptions become important. I know many organizations that post very detailed (almost impossible to meet) job descriptions when hiring but when it comes to daily performance, the job description and role responsibilities become obsolete. Employees are great employees when they are exceeding in each area of their role and capable of taking on aspects of the positions above them. 

3. Is there regular training occurring and development/growth plans in place for individual employees? Regular discussions and performance reviews make for an easier time in the long run. Managers and employees should be on the same page when it comes to what the employee does well and their areas of opportunity. Areas of development are not secrets to keep but an opportunity for discussions about performance and growth.
I don’t like to call myself a recruiter, I am as much an advocate for the candidate as I am for the organization hiring. It’s about building great team that work hard, think like owners and exceed goals. To achieve this, it’s vital to fill open positions with good candidates but it’s equally important to organically and systematically support growth and manage performance. 
  
my current team…