19 Jul

Closing 101

By: Christina Mencuccini, MBA MHA  – Susan G. Komen Arizona  (Closing July 31, 2017)

Out of all my MBA classes, I do not recall one discussion, assignment or even case study teaching me how to close a business gracefully. Analyzing failed brands and destitute business models led to a solid perspective and financial examination; but never once did we explore the complexity and complications that come with closing a business. Apparently, that class is only taught in real life.

I’ve experienced two closures in my lifetime, one as an impressionable teenager of our family business and the now, the second as a seasoned executive for one of the most meaningful causes in the country.

My father and his siblings closed our family business in the 1980’s. As the youngest of the cousins with a recent high school graduate, I was focused on anything but running a family supermarket chain and yet, the news was devastating to me. Mencuccini’s supermarkets were in business for nearly 70 years and were iconic for the many butchers, bakers, and others whose entire careers were lived out in the stores.

For me, the stores represented my first job and a huge part of my childhood identity.

My grandfather began this American Dream shortly after signing in at Ellis Island in 1911. When he passed away, I learned about the meaningful impact of our family business – stories of feeding people during the Depression, employing people with little or no education, supporting other local business, and generally being a cornerstone of community were revealed over and over. When I visit the town to this day, someone will recognize the name and tell me a story of their first job, a family member retiring, or a fond memory of my family.

Today I now know the importance of learning not only how to build a business, but how to close one as well. As we wind down #KomenAZ operations, I am moved by the many stories of survival and hope from people whose lives we have touched. I can appreciate the multi-generational impact our organization has made over the last 25 years.

There are no limits to the impact a business can make in one person’s life.

Two articles in the Harvard Business ReviewClosing a Business Gracefully and Shutting Down your Business Gracefully render interesting points to consider if ever faced with the decision to end an operation. Still, I believe that closing a business is not best taught in a primer or a classroom, but only in life.

#ThankyouArizona http://thankyouarizona.com/   (ONE:  Site featuring lots of pertinent information and details on the closing process)  

ONE will miss long-time Member – Susan G. Komen Arizona

24 May

Where Does the Time Go? (The Results Might Surprise You.)

By Kimberly DorrisGraves’ Disease & Thyroid Foundation

At the April 6th luncheon for ONE, Jill S. Goldsmith, JD, LAC, NCC of JSG Executive & Leadership Coaching, presented on “Getting Beyond The Juggling Act”:  Successful Strategies To Improve Productivity & Thrive at Work.”

As the only full-time employee at a nonprofit organization, I found many of Ms. Goldsmith’s recommendations to be helpful, including:

  • Avoid last-minute time crunches by always asking, “what can be done NOW”?
  • Create 90 minutes of “white space” in your schedule each day to work on high value projects.
  • Check email for 30 minutes at a time three times per day. (Ms. Goldsmith noted that “checking email is not a healthy start or end to the day” – although I am finding this easier said than done).
  • If you are a “control freak”, this creates a bottleneck. Consider what others on the team could do without you – as well as whether you have the right team members.
  • In order to avoid encroaching on others’ personal time, use the draft box to save emails composed outside working hours.

One issue that really resonated with me was when Ms. Goldsmith asked audience members to consider what we could shift/eliminate/change in order to gain more time.  One particular process immediately came to mind.  I review Google alerts daily on issues involving thyroid dysfunction and autoimmunity.  In an effort to get through my inbox quickly, I often end up starring the email alerts or bookmarking the articles for later review. Then I end up touching the article four more times: once to read it, again when I’m updating our social media sites, yet again when I’m working on our monthly enewsletter, and then a fourth time in preparation for the our monthly support group meeting.  I’m working on a new process to filter those alerts into a separate gmail folder, with the idea that I won’t pull up the articles at all until I have a block of time to read and digest the information, schedule social media posts, add the link to a draft enewsletter, and print a copy for my next support group meeting.  (Feel free to check in with me to ask how it’s going).

Ms. Goldsmith also challenged attendees to complete a time-tracking project for two weeks.  She recommended tracking in 15-minute blocks and rounding, but I tend to have a larger number of small to-dos, so chose to track start/stop times for all tasks.

At the conclusion of the two weeks, one fairly depressing statistic was that I spent over 4 hours just dealing with technical problems.  My gmail and contacts stopped playing well.  A cloud sharing system was suddenly unavailable.  A login quit working.  A perfectly useful Facebook feature disappeared with no warning.  I haven’t figured out a solution, but perhaps a better approach would be to come back to the tasks after a while to see if the issue resolves on its own, rather than wasting time banging my head against the wall (or keyboard).  But the other results were more encouraging.

First, how I started my day was important.  Fifteen minutes of meditation in the morning made me feel calmer, more focused, and more productive throughout the day.  Starting the day by diving into my Twitter feed, not so much.  (And let’s not talk about the morning I accidentally tripped off my home security alarm).

Tracking blocks of time really forced me to stay on task, as I didn’t want to close out one activity on my log and start another!  For example, while writing a fairly complicated newsletter article, I needed to do a Google search to pull up one particular reference.  However, at the top of the search results was a brand new article on hyperthyroidism.  (Look!  Something shiny!)  Without the time-tracking project, I probably would have pulled up the new article, read it, hopped over to our Facebook site to post it, then started replying to comments on Facebook.  And by the time I eventually made my way back to the original project, I would have needed significant time just to get back on track.

Are you finding yourself wishing you could get more done in less time?  Perhaps you could make process improvements in your own workday – or even tackle Ms. Goldsmith’s time-tracking challenge.  The results might surprise you!

03 Apr

Recipients of ONE’s 15th ‘Director of the Year’ Awards

Each year the awards seek to recognize nonprofit CEOs/Executive Directors who are outstanding examples of certain principles ONE values as representations of excellence in the management and leadership of nonprofit organizations in Maricopa County, Arizona.

This year’s award recipients are:

Karen Jayne,  CEO – Stardust Non-Profit Building Supplies, Mesa, AZ

Community Partnership Award

Envisioning a future without waste, Karen helped to create, and became the driving force behind, the Re:use Market Partnership.  Within just a few years, this collaborative model expanded to include eight nonprofits.  Everyone benefits, including the environment, as unrestricted funding is generated for the partner organizations who leverage the thrift store concept without having the risk and responsibility of running a retail store.

 

Doug Carter, CEO – UPWARD for children and families, Phoenix, AZ

Organizational Accomplishment and Innovation Award

Doug immediately began to craft a plan for recovery from the organization’s financial crisis he inherited as new CEO.  Through the ensuing uphill climb, he maintained a culture of cohesiveness by truly listening to and appreciating his team.  UPWARD now enjoys an amazing new facility enabling provision of services for even more kids and young adults thanks to his heart, strong positive leadership, and keen business acumen.

 

Joyce Millard Hoie, Executive Director – Raising Special Kids; Phoenix, AZ

Leader of Distinction Award

Parents know that Joyce listens and in turn clearly articulates the needs of their families as an effective advocate.  Building from strengths, she is committed to the power of parent leadership, training, mentoring and empowering parents as future leaders and advocates for the needs of their children.  She finds joy in translating needs into programs worthy of the funding she tenaciously seeks and secures in order to meet ever growing needs.

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Awards, consisting of original custom artwork, were presented to these winners by ONE President Aimee Runyon and Event Sponsor Dr. Susan Kenny Stevens of the Nonprofit Lifecycles Institute, with the assistance of Joe Dana of 12 News as Master of Ceremonies.  The awards were presented on the occasion of ONE’s annual Nonprofit Leader Day held on Wednesday, March 29th at the Desert Willow Conference Center following a keynote address by Susan M. Pepin, M.D. of the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.

Photo credit:  Ben Arnold of Ben Arnold Photography