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Case Study: Creating Processes and a Compliant Experiential Intern Program for StarterStudio

Case Study: Creating Processes and a Compliant Experiential Intern Program for StarterStudio

A new client of Pivot Business Consulting and Intern Pursuit is in the hospitality industry. Not in the traditional definition which is defined as “broad fields within the service industry that includes lodging, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, and additional fields within the tourism industry.” (Wikipedia). StarterStudio is a nonprofit that provides startups the needed resources to start, scale, and stay in-state in Florida. StarterStudio serves as hub for entrepreneurial start ups to access accelerator programs, events, resources, tools, mentors, collaborative work spaces, and funding opportunities. Most nonprofits struggle with having enough human capital to get the work done. I began working with the StarterStudio leadership team to identify areas of need and provide solutions with the purpose of taking pressure off of the stretched thin small staff. I estimate the process to take 3 months and will allow the organization to obtain order in areas that have been neglected or unable to implement. For this client, I created a customized intern program to bring stability to the organization. My role as an organizational development consultant is to identify the process breaks or gaps and provide solutions to meet the need of the business. After a needs assessment, the following outcomes were identified. Create processes and systems for the nonprofit board, organization, and members Create training programs for staff, volunteers, interns, and new members Create 5-star membership experience Create talent pipeline to support the organization in the future Provide existing staff to focus on higher areas of need and mentor intern talent Provide tangible job skills for intern talent to help them stand out when ready to enter full time employment Central Florida offers outstanding schools that provide degrees in hospitality such as University of Central Florida, Rosen College of Hospitality Management Valencia College’s Hospitality and Culinary Program Seminole State College’s Hospitality Management Program The experiential compliant intern program I created for StarterStudio pulls students from University of Central Florida and Valencia College in areas of hospitality management, marketing, and graphic design. I created a customized experiential intern program for my client and work with the client and intern talent to develop the processes the employer needs and provide job skills the intern needs for their resume. All of this has to be in compliance with the 2018 Department of Labor’s new criteria for internships. Hospitality is big business and it is important for academic institutions and employers to partner to ensure students are equipped with the skills and knowledge to identify industry trends, close the skill gaps, and create job skills that align with trends. The interns working with StarterStudio will be exposed to some of the same in-demand trends on a smaller scale and help make them more marketable when seeking employment. Before the age of easy transportation for recreation and business use, hotels, motels, and other hospitality businesses maintained a simple space. Think back to Howard Johnson’s Hotels or Motel 6 (now Motel 8). This was a place for the weary traveler to lay their head while on the road. Fast forward into the 21st century and this industry has morphed into providing an experiential oasis or spa environment for business and pleasure travellers. That means the role of technology in hospitality businesses has also drastically expanded. This requires the workforce preparing to enter this industry be up to snuff on technology and more important than ever for hotel operations and the guest experience. The role of hospitality is changing quickly and academic partners are looking for trends to keep students informed and prepared. Hospitality employers interested in working with students seeking jobs in this industry should consider adding a robust training program that includes the top trends (according to Mitel.com) in hospitality: Mobile device as door key, think of it. No room key, key card, or key pad. Self-serve is in. Today, many guests prefer technology over human interaction for simple tasks such as remote check-in and check-out options. Ordering room service is also being tested. Fixed-mobile convergence. Guests can pair their mobile device to the room phone and use it to control multiple technologies in the room. Request wake up call, adjust blinds, control the TV and sound system, coordinate for a Lyft, Uber, or cab and the list continues. Guest apps designed with the brand name that helps the guest track their usage, stays, etc. Battle for bandwidth. It is imperative for hospitality vendors to allow guests to connect quickly and reliably. Multiple this by dozens, hundreds, and thousands of guests (depending on location), this means hospitality providers have to stay at head of the curve. Location-based services. Tracking hotel staff and guests at any given time creates all kinds of opportunities to improve the guest experience and can improve safety measures. Tech lounges. Guests want to access tech to relax or get work done outside of their hotel rooms. This requires the hospitality industry think about guest desires and include semi-public spaces where guests can engage tech on their terms. Social listening. Guests are now becoming more vocal in their pleasure or displeasure about their experience by sharing on social outlets. These online reviews have significant influence every day. By tuning into feedback from guests using social listening tools, the hospitality industry can reap a treasure trove of business intelligence to their advantage. Putting the tech aspects aside the next area the hospitality industry reflects innovation and value to discriminating guests includes the experiential aspect for the guest. (Hotel Trends Transforming the Guest Experience in 2018, Sept 2017). Use of natural materials and biophilic design. Biophilic design is based on the theory that people have an innate tendency to seek out nature, natural elements, and natural forms. Guests desire exposure to: Natural lighting, Views of nature, Rooms with a view, Natural architectural patterns, Use of sustainably sourced materials, Living green walls/Vertical gardens, Direct and indirect exposure to nature Showcasing local artists. By showcasing local artists, hospitality establishments can distance themselves from the overly generic feel previously seen in the industry. Guests note the unique, handcrafted, or created ambiance. Co-Work/Life Spaces. This trend creates spaces for both work and play. It is shifting the hospitality industry’s primary focus away from the guest room and towards public common spaces, such as the lobby, as the new hub for social engagement, entertainment, and business networking. Out with the Old. According to a Hotels Magazine and Readex Research report, 37% of hotel management plans to begin renovations within the next three to 18 months, with 32% occurring within the next year. We now live in an era where a hotel’s reputation can be irreversibly damaged by negative reviews and negative social media posts. The key takeaway for every business owner, leader, and HR professional is to realize each industry has technology trends that are impacting internal processes, training our employees, contractors, and intern talent. If your business needs a checkup to make sure you have an experiential compliant intern program along with training process checkup, please contact Isabella Johnston to schedule a free 15 minute consultation.

What I Learned From SlaterConsult’s e-Stimate Assessment About My Personality

What I Learned From SlaterConsult’s e-Stimate Assessment About My Personality

I have been looking to be certified in a personality tool that encompasses 360 communication, leadership development, and team dynamics. When I met Bjoerg Larsen with SlaterConsult she shared a tool that is rolling out in the US from Denmark. This piqued my interest because I liked what she shared. The e-Stimate tool is new, easy for the end user to understand, quick to administer, has a proven track record, an established product with 15 years’ of hard science behind it, and versatile -- I can blend the servant leadership principles and program with this product. After hearing more about the tool and seeing my results I was super excited. I knew I could use it when consulting with clients to improve employee experience and ROI for the company, offer it with my Intern Pursuit software to help employers and students communicate more effectively and build stronger teams, and use the tool in my dissertation study. What was extra cool about this tool are there are eight facets that break down the personality profile and are easy for the recipient to understand. There are eight facets in this tool that identify behavioral tendencies. The best part, participants can relate easily to the color system to red, yellow, green, and blue. It also integrates well and brings added depth to other tools that practitioners use. As an organization development consultant, those are important issues and allow me to work easily with businesses that have used other tools. There is no loss of value, it includes “in addition to” value and ROI value for the leaders and employees of the organization. What are the eight facets? Extroversion, Innovation, Focus on Others, Emotionally Oriented, Reserved, Controlled, Self-Focus, Powerful. Since I took the assessment, e-Stimate has added a grit score. Grit, the quality that reflects staying power for the long-haul. I love this word and really appreciate when someone says I have grit. :) grins! Grit is defined as “... the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals.” (Psychology Today, Jan 8, 2014). So here are my results in a nutshell: Green Energy: I am most consistent with Green Energy. "I am a humane human and accommodating to others. Other key characteristics include friendly, pleasant, thinks of other people’s well-being and likes to make an effort to make things work smoothly. I work patiently towards goals. I do not need to be the center of attention, but aware of other people’s needs, without neglecting my own needs." I am only giving a snapshot of what the results shared. There were a total of 22 pages of good stuff. Don’t want to keep you waiting and giving you all a head’s up. The rest of the results will be in third person: Isabella focuses on harmony for herself and others. Sometimes, she compromises her own needs to satisfy other people’s needs as negative vibrations make her feel uneasy and uncomfortable. Because sarcasm and irony create uneasiness, she does not like this sort of humor. If the surroundings are comfortable or if she knows the people, she may, however, also use these ways of expressing herself. She is a team player and good at cooperating. Her overall attitude is: “We accomplish more if we help each other.” Red facet results gave high scores in result-oriented, action-oriented, direct with others, and competitive. Low on self-focus. Basically the focus is on getting stuff done rather than focusing on me. Yellow facet notations: I was especially happy to hear I had a high score in Innovation and demonstrated high in areas of inventive, inspiring, and openness to new things. Ranking medium in extroversion which is about cooperation, communication, and charm. Blue facet findings reflected high scores in areas of detail-oriented, disciplined, systems, meticulous, responsible, consistent, and open to pivot. Hmmm, I knew the name of my company had a high level of significance for me. Green facet results: accommodates others, creates social relationships, loyal, follows rules, trustworthy, patient, seeks consensus, and protective of others. Strong drive to bond and to nourish relationships. One of the best takeaways for me is that it reflected I am balanced in the eight facets which is apparently rare. I really appreciated hearing that as a consultant. This also is key when it comes to training and coaching in areas of servant leadership and once certified I can incorporate into my practice with clients and internally in my own company. “He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” ― Lao Tzu The value proposition for entrepreneurs, business leaders, Organization Development, Training & Learning, and Coaches is this tool provides a wealth of information that adds ROI and can increase sales and employee culture positively and is not only a business tool, rather it is a personal life skill tool that is used in home and work settings to develop leadership thinking, build strong teams, improve communication, enhance positive company culture and reflects positive thinking for the individual. If interested in more information about having an e-Stimate workshop for your staff, contact Isabella Johnston or Bjoerg Larsen with SlaterConsult. I look forward to working with you and your team. You may reach me at ijohnston@pivotbusinessconsulting.com Smiles!!!

1 Million Cups And An Entrepreneur's Journey

1 Million Cups And An Entrepreneur's Journey

You might ask yourself, ‘What is 1 Million Cups. Sounds like a whole lot of java!’ Pretty cool concept actually - 1 Million Cups was developed by The Kauffman Foundation (Kansas City, MO) to support local community entrepreneurial efforts through education, encouragement, and honest feedback. There are currently 90 locations nationally. Requirements to pitch are 1) the business must be less than 3 years old, 2) must bring a new innovation to the market, and 3) be scalable. There is an application process also and the best part – it is FREE! How awesome is that? So what actually happens during a 1MC event? 1MC meets weekly on Wednesday starting promptly at 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Rollins College located in Winter Park, Florida. Two businesses get 6 minutes each to share their model (and that flies by faster than taking a breath). The audience soaks the presentation all in. When the presenter is finished, the audience asks questions, provides feedback, and offers to make introductions. This is the sweet spot for the entrepreneur because they need people to show them where the holes are, that is like money [cha-ching]. After the rapid fire question round, standard protocol for all 1MC venues is to ask ‘What is it that we as a community can do for you right now?’ That is where the love is shared – social love – and you feel the energy, it is alive with hope, opportunity and encouragement. A little FYI perk about 1MC, once an entrepreneur presents; they are a part of the 1MC Passport Program and have the ability to present for free at all other venues. Cool way to get your message out to friendly audiences and potentially pick up investors and key contacts. We encourage Entrepreneurs to apply: The link to 1MC Orlando http://www.1millioncups.com/orlando 1MC Orlando loves our sponsors: Bright House (media love), Barnies Coffee Winter Park (steaming java), Rollins College (kicking venue), Torch Studios (live streaming & video services) and our organizers that are all volunteers: Angela Kendall, Stephanie Foor, Jan Alvarado, Isabella Johnston, Chad Irvine, Josh Snyder, and Kristine Wiley. Our organizers are lovers of all that is the essence of ‘Entrepreneurship;’ we salute those that are problems-solvers, inventors, dreamers and doers.

Meet Regine Bonneau, Cybersecurity Expert and Consultant

Meet Regine Bonneau, Cybersecurity Expert and Consultant

Welcoming Regine Bonneau to our team as one of our consultants. I sat down with her to ask key questions that I wanted to know and share with our clients and prospective clients. This will help you to know her and the depth of experience and deliverables she brings to Pivot clients. 1) What industries have you built your career around? I have built my career around the Financial, Government, Healthcare Industries 2) Why did you choose to be a consultant? I chose to be a consultant because it allowed me more freedom to help my clients without the red tapes from working in a corporate environment. I am able to have the time to focus, get to know my clients, build a relationship with my clients that helps me understand their business and needs and properly serve them. I get to see everything. As a consultant, you get to meet others and build relationship with them and expand your knowledge resource base. 3) Why did you choose cybersecurity as a career path? I have been in Information Technology since I was introduced to it at the age of 12 programming in Junior high school. Throughout the years I have been fortunate to be able to understand the business side of technology and got into Governance, Risk and Compliance. Cybersecurity was a norm part of my daily life so it was normal to fully immerse myself in it. It is a key component in Information Technology and survival of companies today. Everything runs on Technology and now we need to protect it. 4) What would you like us to know about your client base? I don’t quite understand this question, but will give it a go: My client base is mostly government, department of defense, financial, and technology. They are very receptive of the need for cyber security and compliance. Then again these industries operates in a heavily regulated environment and so do their clients. 5) How many years in your profession? 22 years 6) Degrees, certifications, and specialties? I have a BS in Business and Finance, MBA, LLM, and I am a Certified Third Party Risk Practitioner (CTPRP) 7) What press or media have you received? I have been awarded the OBJ 40 under 40, OBJ Women who Means Business, African American Chamber of Commerce Central Florida Eagle Award for Emerging Business 8) Do you publish or write for any publications? I would like to publish and write more for publications. The last one I did was on Third Party Risk and Blockchain 9) Family - spouse, children? I am single with a six year old son 10) Community engagement? I am engaged in the community as a board member for APMC, mentor for young ladies, support HPC, United Way, Mentor at the Camaraderie Foundation and countless others. 11) Favorite quote? “The Pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill 12) Best reads and why? Traction because it helped me clear align my vision for the company with the team members needed. A New Earth- its helps you understand the state of being present in everything you do. Becoming – really helps you refocus, understand yourself as a woman and your value. 13) Best piece of advice you want to pass on to our readers: Being present in everything you do, understand who you are and the value you bring to anything you do will help in your success. Surround yourself with great mentors, colleagues and friends who appreciate you, and are your ambassadors to success.

5 Reasons Why Design Thinking Is Important In Every Part of Your Business

5 Reasons Why Design Thinking Is Important In Every Part of Your Business

I attended a phenomenal training session previously with my professional association (GOOD Network) on design thinking, facilitated by mastermind Karen Tilstra and her staff with FHIL, (Florida Hospital Innovation Lab). It got me thinking about how I did this everyday when I was a public classroom teacher teaching English to middle and high school students and also teaching Sunday school at my church (Grace Orlando). Everything was hands on, asking why, and solving problems collaboratively and in teams. I was brainstorming with two of my valued team members, Catrina Davidson and Andi Earle about Design Thinking Series I am facilitating for entrepreneurs. I am so fortunate to have these two women on my team - Catrina works from Alabama remotely and we employ design thinking as if we are in the room together. Andi is a new team member and rapidly learning how Design Thinking is used in event management, marketing, social media creation, promotion, and engagement. I digress though, back on track. Let’s go straight to a good source of inspiration about what design thinking is: The Interaction Design Thinking Organization. Design Thinking is not an exclusive property of designers—all great innovators in literature, art, music, science, engineering, and business have practiced it. Using design work processes can help us systematically extract, teach, learn and apply these human-centered techniques to solve problems in a creative and innovative way. Who uses Design Thinking in the workplace. Leading world brands, such as Apple, Google, Samsung and GE, have rapidly adopted the Design Thinking approach. Does it stop there? No way! Design Thinking is being taught at leading universities around the world, including Stanford, Harvard and MIT. You may be thinking “Yeah, but that isn’t my company, I don’t really understand what Design Thinking is, or even why it is so popular. Thought I would share 5 reasons why Design Thinking should be part of your Learn Human growth strategy to help you pivot quickly with your people and processes. Design Thinking focuses on the end user. Some businesses call this customer service, design thinking calls it the end user. This makes the audience bigger and includes employees, vendors, affiliates, and customers. When we focus on what our end users are telling us, it should be recognized as “real money” for any business owner. Receive a complaint? Listen to the pain point from that end user. This is how you will improve your processes, create a Learn Human culture, and make change that yields a higher ROI for your business. Design Thinking leverages the collective wisdom, experience, and generations in your company. When hiring, look for diversity by having multigenerational and multidisciplinary humans on your team. This brings a plethora of well-rounded voices to the table and creates a better representation of who your end users are. It is a big world physically, and yet it gets smaller everyday. Design Thinking brings empathy into your company culture. Empathy is not just “I understand how frustrating that is for you.” It is genuine concern that makes them feel heard and brings anxiety down. This results in HUGE value for your company. Your company becomes human to the end user and they are willing to stay in place because you are putting your company in a place of being a problem solver and a partner with them. Design Thinking Tests, Tests, Tests. In real estate, there is a phrase most of you may have heard: It is about location, location, location. In Design Thinking, the catch phrases is test, test, test. This is a central to the process. It allows to have amazing results because of the rich feedback from actual users and customers before spending too much time, effort or money on any one idea. The process may look messy with all the Post-It Notes used in the process and how quickly they move into different categories, but it yields results that are far more powerful, engaging and interesting. Design Thinking Creates Value While Using Problem Solving Skills to Solve Real Problems. This becomes part of your “secret sauce” in business. It is about solving real problems (no matter what size) for real people in every industry. Design Thinking is challenging and changing the way we solve problems and deliver more value to the user. Want to learn how to incorporate this into your company’s purpose, people, and processes so you will know how to pivot more quickly? Sign up for the Design Thinking Series for Entrepreneurs, or contact me if you want to host your own design thinking training with your staff.

1 Million Cups Presenter: Kristen Manieri and Orlando Date Night Guide

1 Million Cups Presenter: Kristen Manieri and Orlando Date Night Guide

Orlando Date Night Guide shared their new subscription model, Orlando Date Night Discovery Club. Kristen Manieri is the creator of the concept. Orlando Date Night Discovery Club is a subscription business model that provides couples with date night itineraries and discounts for experiencing Central Florida and packaged neatly to your door for two dates a month. Even better, to ensure couples don't fall into a rut, conversation cues are included to keep things interesting and learn something new about significant other. What kind of questions? What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon as a child and why do you think you loved it so much? Second question: You have just written a book about yourself. What is the title? The coupons and discounts alone can pay for the monthly subscription membership. Two of the discounts and specials for March included Farris and Foster's Chocolate Factory with a buy one get one free chocolate or truffle. Another discount is $10 off two tickets for the Great Escape Room. Check out this startup at www.orlandodiscoveryclub.com to signup for an easy way to keep romance in your relationship.

How much do ineffective and inefficient meetings cost your company?

How much do ineffective and inefficient meetings cost your company?

The Cost of Ineffective and Inefficient Meetings One of my favorite social channels is LinkedIn, it is a rich resource of articles that address all forms of business issues. Not the front of the refrigerator stuff, rather research, information that helps to better a business and a leader. One of the best organizations to follow is the Center for Creative Leadership. An article posted in January caught my attention - How to Incorporate Storyboarding to Make Meetings More Efficient by Mary Shacklett (Jan 24, 2017) As leaders, we should always strive to demonstrate the best skills we want our staff to model. I recently asked for feedback from my staff and found out there was a request to keep our meetings to 45 minutes or less. This made sense to me, adult learners attention span is 45 minutes when in conferences, meetings, and business events. The article shared a great tip to help get everyone in your organization on board with embracing efficiency by using a quick and through visual layout. A 2015 survey conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership supported that overworked managers blamed their companies’ poor management processes rather than smartphones. This research was based on a survey where professionals, managers, and executives, reported interacting with work about 13.5 hours every workday. How to these costs add up? Think of brainstorming sessions that get off track and can help managers keep the more open-ended and brainstorming meetings on track. Interestingly, this technique was first developed by Walt Disney employees in the early 1930s. The goal of the Disney storyboarding process was to collect all the best ideas from creatives and organize end-to-end story sequence on a board that everyone could see. As the brainstorming process continued to develop, frames were added and moved and a plot emerged that everyone could visualize. Once the storyboard was visualized, it could be tested to see if the story worked before expensive investments were made into graphics and production. Utilizing this storyboard method in your own company is done in a slightly different method. Instead of a pre-published agenda, a meeting objective is created and brainstorming ideas posted. The group is tasked with organizing, adding and editing ideas to form the results. This organizational plan requires starting with a pilot meeting group to see what works well and didn’t. A training component should be the next step to have your team learn the process and embrace how it will make the team more efficient. Lastly, remember to keep communication lines open for constructive criticism and feedback to improve the process. What methods of keeping meetings on track work in your company? Share your suggestions that keep your team focused and result in substantive results that yield great deliverables.

Bowbair - Shoes That Snap! 1 Million Cups Presenter

Bowbair - Shoes That Snap! 1 Million Cups Presenter

Bowbair, you might wonder what the name has to do with footwear, stay tuned fashionistas for the answer and keep an eye on this company and their products. They look like a game changer. Bowbair is an innovative solution for women that love sandals, color choices, and travel was born. Footwear is big business, $111.1 billion worldwide and $23.7 billion in the US for women and children's footwear. They look like a game changer. Bowbair is an innovative solution for women that love sandals, color choices, and travel was born. Footwear is big business, $111.1 billion worldwide and $23.7 billion in the US for women and children's footwear. Thus, the fashion dilemma that Bowbair solves for women is the ability to keep up with trends, affordable pricing, more selection, and lightweight products that are stylish and travel easily. Matthew Fremming is Co-founder and CEO of Bowbair, well, his fiancée’s childhood nickname is Bowbair and she loves sandals. Matthew’s father was traveling in Taiwan and saw a shoe that used a key to change out shoes. His father had the idea of using a pushbutton to change the top from the bottom. Matthew made the shoe work because of his engineering background – molecular engineering that is. Fremming saw a way for women to change the top portion of the sandal from the base that provides color and style options. At that point, they filed a patent and set up a way to assemble the component parts in Orlando. Bowbair sandals offer fashionable tops that snap together at the base of the sandal. If you want a pair now, you can purchase them from Moda in Winter Park. They are also in discussion with QVC. What makes this product even more appealing is their social responsibility outreach, half of the company’s proceeds will go to charities and the kicker (no pun intended, okay yes there is a pun intended) – the color of the sandals you buy will be coordinated with the colors that represent well-known charities. Contact Matthew James Fremming at 407-453-9568, Email: matthew@bowbair.com Bowbair, Inc. social channels: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bowbair Twitter: @bowbair

How Pivot Helped This English Major Find A Career Path (Part 3)

How Pivot Helped This English Major Find A Career Path (Part 3)

It Exposed Me To Real Professionals Who Were Living My Aspirations Although I filled out several goal sheets during my time with Pivot, and got hands on experience with many different types of work in several industries, it wasn’t until I met so many business professionals succeeding at working for themselves, and looking for the work I was doing—writing and research—that I truly believed being a freelance writer was possible. And when you have to convince others that you’ll provide them with something more valuable than the money they’ll lose to get it, belief in the value of your service and in your ability to provide it is the only way to succeed. It helped that I didn’t just get to gape at these professionals from afar, doing whatever work they provided, with Isabella as the middleman. Pivot makes sure that interns and clients meet and regularly interact, so that the intern truly learns and grows from their experience. I also took a lot away from Pivot’s mentoring meetings, where clients put aside an hour of their day to discuss their areas of expertise with any interested interns. Through those events, I received practical and tailored advice on how to get started as a freelancer in Orlando, how to price my work, etc. Just as importantly, these business people were honest, but encouraging. Of course people needed copywriting, business writing, and editing services. I just had to go out and let people know I could solve their problems. If not for Pivot, I’d be a lot more complacent and a lot less willing to pursue my goals than I am now. I might have even settled for a job in legal administration, working for someone else at a low but livable wage. But interning and working with Pivot has shown me that my career aspirations aren’t impossible or unrealistic—and, just as importantly, it’s shown me how to reach those aspirations. I took a lot of wrong turns and false starts when I wasn’t working with Isabella, but when I returned with a new goal in mind, eager to try new projects, Isabella joyfully welcomed me back. This third time with her, I’m finally ready to do the difficult, and often daunting work of freelancing. Yes, it’s taken some time for me to find the will, confidence, and courage to go for what I truly want, but now that I have, I couldn’t be happier that I pivoted.

How Pivot Helped This English Major Find A Career Path (Part 2)

How Pivot Helped This English Major Find A Career Path (Part 2)

It Gave Me Experience With Different Roles And Industries A lot of people see job experience the same way they see money: as if its value intrinsically comes from having a lot of it. If you have five years of experience working in the legal industry as a paralegal, you can afford a fancier paralegal job at a fancier law firm. It’s easy to forget that experience isn’t about numbers. It's about that certain level of competency and knowledge that you can’t absorb in a classroom. It’s also valuable for more than getting hired. In my case, interning at Isabella’s company, Pivot, allowed me to actually know what I’d be doing in the various roles I tried, and how it felt to do those jobs. And I tried quite a few tasks: business and marketing plan writing and research, grant writing, copywriting, graphic design, web design, social media, technical writing, editing… As a business consulting agency that provided every service from accounting to graphic design, Pivot was the perfect place for someone like me, who wasn’t quite settled on what they wanted to do. I learned that I loved and was good at research, and actually enjoyed a lot of the “dryer” types of writing, but, surprisingly, I didn’t enjoy a lot of the traditionally creative work, like graphic design or advertising copy. That was the kind of knowledge I would have never gained from reading What Color is Your Parachute. I needed to try it for myself. When I talk to any of Pivot’s interns, the breadth of experiences they get is always their first—and, usually, top—reason why they love interning there. They’re not stuck in one role, or in one industry. A marketing intern working for a client in the finance industry can take on a web design project for a nonprofit client, or participate in a video shoot for Pivot, itself, as long as they can handle the work. Liberal arts majors like me are often overwhelmed by the innumerable job options available to us, so being able to try out so many different tasks in so many different industries is a priceless experience.

How Pivot Helped This English Major Find A Career Path (Part 1)

How Pivot Helped This English Major Find A Career Path (Part 1)

Like a lot of new adults, after reaching the end of my preordained school path and stumbling into the nonlinear “real” world, I got lost. Declaring a college major had been hard enough. Now I had to declare a career—that one element of adulthood that felt so much more permanent and self-defining than anything I’d ever done in school. With only a bachelor’s degree in English, a few post-graduation days of frenzied job research, and just enough courage to resist retreating to a creative writing MFA, I took a few tentative steps toward a safe, decent-paying career as a paralegal. Luckily for me, just a few months after landing a job at a legal services company, I met Isabella Johnston. I attended a networking event looking for a way into an actual law firm. Isabella, excited by the possibility of taking on a writing intern, offered me something much better: that first realization that I could do what I truly loved. I could write and edit for a living. I strayed off path and made countless false starts, but interning with Isabella at Pivot Business Consulting was the best career decision I’ve ever made. No hyperbole. Instead of working in a profession where I had no real passion, I’m working part time as a freelance writer, and landing my first paying clients. Here are the top three ways Pivot helped me pivot in the right career direction. 1. It Made Me Think More Deeply About My Career Goals By my senior year of college, my career plan looked something like this: Write a novel Get an internship because professors said I should Go to grad school to avoid finding job So during my final semester of college, I interned with the university literary magazine. There, I failed to apply anything to my near nonexistent career aspirations. I had fun, I earned high marks, and I graduated without gaining much value from my experience. In contrast, while interning under Isabella, one of the first things I had to do, after an assessment project and interview, was fill out a detailed goal worksheet. And unlike my frenzied research post-graduation, this time, Isabella was there to discuss my goals and guide me through the process of what my interests were, what entry level jobs fit my interests, and what skills I’d need to land one. Having an experienced professional sit down with me and give feedback not only helped me make sounder decisions—it helped me feel calmer and more confident about those decisions.

How Will the 2018 Department of Labor Guidelines Impact Internships? Is There a Disruptive Solution?

How Will the 2018 Department of Labor Guidelines Impact Internships? Is There a Disruptive Solution?

If you are an employer with a for profit company, non-profit organization, or government agency, think back to when you were desperate for an internship to explore the work that would be involved in your chosen career path. Now, fast forward to 2018. Look around you and see if things have improved for those individuals seeking a quality internship. It is important to remember these students (bright-eyed, eager to learn, and filled with knowledge) want a shot at our table. Interns come with a cost and it is investing time. Think of them in terms if that was your kid working in someone’s office, you would want the best for them. According to Bloomberg (Jan 2018) “The old test had six factors, one of which prohibited employers from deriving ‘immediate advantage from the activities of the intern.’ Companies found that standard overly rigid, arguing that it made it difficult for most internships to meet that requirement.” The new guidelines issued in January 2018 by the Department of Labor are relaxed even though there are now seven criteria rather than six from the Obama era. The key difference for 2018 are the new rules establish a “primary beneficiary test” that ratfies programs that help the intern more than the company. There are seven factors determine whether the job meets the standard. One says internships should provide training that “would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment.” Another says the intern’s job should complement, not displace, the work of paid employees. How is this standardizing the playing field level for employers and intern. “This standard that the department is setting forth is easier for companies to satisfy in terms of internships qualifying as unpaid,” said Paul DeCamp, an attorney who works with employers at Epstein Becker & Green. Now, let’s put on the business employer hat. Training is costly with time and money. Calculating that cost varies with each business; however a rule of thumb formula would be: Hours spent training intern x hourly wage of experienced employee training intern plus the hours spent mentoring the intern. Total that up and it will come to around $5,000 for three months. Now, the employer is thinking I don’t want to pay to train an intern that is going to leave. Best case scenario is to provide a quality internship that protects the student by giving them real job skills, mentoring from a technical experienced person, mentoring in the industry, ability to learn how to communicate across departments, contribute in ways that are meaningful and allow the student to acquire tangible skills and make a determination if they want to take a job with the employer where they are interning or seek employment with in a different industry, size of employer, different state, etc. Employers know that if they are putting time and money into a student they want to see some type of tangible return. Certainly, they receive satisfaction from mentoring. However, most small to medium size employers don’t have automated employee management systems, an HR specialist, or are qualified in human performance development. The best programs will include mentors in the student’s field of study. For example, I had one prospective client that wanted a video student to produce videos. I asked the prospect who would mentor the student. The reply, they would of course. I interrupted the prospect because I knew they did not have technical skills or knowledge in that area, rather the person thought they could provide industry experience as mentoring. That is not the only mentoring the student is seeking. I saw this as a problem for many employers who didn’t know how to navigate intern management as its own unique employee subset. I also saw a lot of frustrated students that didn’t know what to put on their resume as their skills from their internship. Students have told me that even though they were paid in their internship, they still didn’t receive the training, opportunity, mentoring they really wanted. So what is a student to do? Take a paid internship that may lead to no tangible experience and skills, what if they get experience but no mentoring? What if the student takes an internship where there is real learning and no paycheck? I asked my own interns to take a soft poll among their peers and the results were unanimous. They would rather than a short term internship with real skills that prepared them adequately for an entry level job than a paid one with no guidance. Employers don’t want academic institutions telling them how to design a compliant experiential intern program. I saw an opportunity to provide a solution that would protect the student and the employer and help them document and manage their intern ethically and would align with academic institutions guidelines as well as the National Association of College and Employers (NACE) standards. After all, interns are humans, they were us before we got experience. Employers have a responsibility to be good stewards of those entrusted in their business. Why am I so passionate? My background is a hybrid that spans 22 years combined experience in the public classroom, teaching as a professor in higher ed, consulting in areas of nonprofit management and working directly in fund development , and consulting with entrepreneurs in multiple industries and sectors. I understand their pain points and saw a solution that would be a win/win for students and employers. Want to know more? Contact Isabella out to schedule a time for us a short chat about your compliance program needs and how to create an experiential program for your company staff and interns.