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Thought Leaders - Talk Business

Author: Debbie Fliehman

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Host, Debbie Fliehman, addresses topics at the forefront of businesses today. Follow along as she interviews professionals who share insights into their successes. They'll provide suggestions on how to improve business practices and expand knowledge in a variety of business disciplines and scenarios. Listen to thought leaders talk about issues that impact employees, customers, clients, stakeholders, and consumers. We'll explore strategies that create awareness, gain exposure, influence, and encourage others to take action.Thought Leaders Talk Business taps into the creative minds of successful business professionals and consultants to help you gain a competitive advantage. Your host is Debbie Fliehman, the president of Creative Technical Resources, a marketing communications, advertising, and sales promotion agency. For over 30+ years, Creative Technical Resources has worked on thousands of projects with hundreds of clients ranging from small to large divisions of Fortune 100 corporations.Debbie Fliehman is the author of two business books - Make Success Happen, a book designed to help you become a game-changing marketer. Customer Retention through Quality Leadership - the Baxter Approach, provides a viable model for the design and implementation of successful customer retention programs. This book was made possible after Debbie's in-depth involvement in the implementation of the quality improvement process at Baxter.Through this podcast, Debbie Fliehman is excited about sharing her extensive knowledge and experience in marketing communication; advertising; sales promotion; public relations; conventions and trade shows; special events; management consulting; strategic planning; publications; training and education; audio and video production; social media; and budgeting. She is excited about the initial podcast lineup of professionals. These amazing individuals have stories to tell, experience to share and tools, tips, and techniques you can walk away with and apply at your workplace. Among many exciting topics, we'll include marketing, communication, strategy, implementation, execution, planning, marketing research, enterprise transformation, business development, becoming a game-changing marketer, lean, quality leadership, customer retention, sales techniques, gap analysis, employee recruitment, data analytics, employee retention, incentives and motivation, and a lot more.We're looking forward to having you join us and taking an active role in our content development. If you'd like to be a guest on Thought Leaders Talk Business, or if you know of someone who has an exciting story of success and achievement, call Debbie at 847-902-4175 or email her at DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com. A special acknowledgment and thanks go to Matthew Ferraro composer and producer. If you are interested in commissioning original music for your next production, contact Matthew at Matthew@matthewferraro.com.
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Luis Gonzales is a communications consultant, coach, and trainer with more than 25 years of experience helping improve business outcomes for organizations. He has successfully driven learning initiatives by incorporating effective communication, cross-cultural communication, customer satisfaction and soft-skills training. Luis works closely with CEOs, leaders, and individuals to positively impact business outcomes through effective communication in global, multicultural, and remote work team settings. Luis has lived and worked in India, Mexico, and Brazil.He is a keynote speaker and a member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), Association of International Educators (NAFSA) and the Society for International Education, Training, and Research (SIETAR).Luis Gonzales can be reached at Luis@fierceinc.com.Debbie Fliehman can be reached at DebbieF@creativetechresources.com or 847-902-4175.
Donna Smith Bellinger is an internationally known speaker, author and award-winning business coach whose corporate experience in sales, leadership and business development enables her to create and implement strategies that ELEVATE her clients' revenues.Known for her professional and experience-based insights, Donna is a master at communications and helping her clients create sustainable revenue. She takes pride in helping them become the leaders in their businesses and achieve success in their careers. Seen on television, heard on radio and recognized by numerous national publications, her mission is to impact more than just the client's bottom-line.In this time of social distancing, it is important to leverage every precious connection. Afterall, as Donna says,  "if you're not selling, you're not making money." As a professional speaker and author, Donna specializes in working with those who feel they have "hit the wall" in their personal or professional growth.Her signature systems include Revenue Up: From Sluggish to Sensational in Sales. Through her Elevate Your Sales process, Donna helps established owners and operators of service-based businesses overcome sluggish revenues, achieve consistent cash flow, stimulate sales, inspire teamwork, and improve customer service.Donna is the author of:You Lost Me at Hello: Actionable Principles that Move You Beyond Networking and Creating the 8th Day and the 25th Hour. Learn more about Donna at www.donnasmithbellinger.com and www.askdsb.com. Debbie Fliehman can be reached at DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com and 847-902-4175.
The Catherine Johns 5P Approach to Magnetic IntroductionsHave you ever walked away from a networking group knowing you didn't make the connections you'd hoped for? Do you ever wonder if people know - or care - what you can do for them? Have you ever wished you knew what to say in a real or virtual networking event? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this podcast's episode if for you. Catherine Johns, communication consultant and speaker, shows executives and entrepreneurs how to make meaningful connections at every networking event, real or virtual. And, it's not by droning on about their business and their background and their bio. She'll help us develop a new take on the old elevator speech with her 5P Approach to Magnetic Introductions.Contact Catherine Johns at Catherine@catherinejohns.com or 773-688-8570.Contact Debbie Fliehman at DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com or 847-902-4175. 
Steve Bellinger's  first novel, The Chronocar: An Urban Adventure in Time, won the 2018 Best Indie Book Award for Science Fiction; the 2019 Independent Author Network's Outstanding Science Fiction Award; and the 2019 Reader's Favorite Gold Medal Award for Young Adult Science Fiction. It was the Black Science Fiction Society's Book of the Month, The Black Authors Association Pick of the Week, and is part of the University Archives of Steve's Alma Mater, the Illinois Institute of Technology.Steve's latest novel, Time Waits for No One: The Chronocar Chronicles, is the follow-up to The Chronocar. Other books in this series include, Edge of Perception: A Paranormal Science Fiction Love Story, and e-Pocalypse: The Digital Dystopia is Coming. They are published by Wordwooze Publishing and available in paperback, ebook and audiobook on Amazon and other online book retailers. You can buy autographed copies at www.BellingerBooks.com.Steve is also a contributor to Over the Edge: The Edgy Writers Anthology, available in paperback on Amazon. Steve was born and raised on the West Side of Chicago by a single mom who worked nights for a printing company. She would bring home books and magazines to encourage him and his siblings to read. This is how he discovered Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke and the other masters of classic science fiction. It didn’t take long for him to get the itch to write. Over the years he’s written everything from newspaper articles, comic strips and radio drama to short stories and fan fiction.A long time computer geek, he wrote his first computer program for an IBM 360 mainframe in 1968. He’s been involved with digital technology ever since, and with the Internet from its infancy to the World Wide Web that it has become. As a computer software instructor, he’s taught a number of classes on the Internet and the World Wide Web, both technology and content. Then, as now, there is a tendency to treat the web as a reliable, trustworthy source of information, when, in reality it is not.Steve has taught special classes on keeping kids safe online and how to deal with misinformation and scams online. Fake News, as it is now called, has become more prevalent and even more effective.Steve Bellinger can be reached at Author@SteveBellinger.com.For information on his books and to order autographed copies, visit www.BellingerBooks.comDebbie Fliehman can be reached at DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com or 847-902-4175.
Bob Mobley, a senior executive coach, and a mentor, has been described as having a razor-sharp mind and a deep curiosity about people. His highly successful one-on-one and group coaching programs are based upon his thirty years of mentorship and coaching with Senior Executives around the world. Raised and educated on the east coast, Bob found wonderful mentors and teachers at Deerfield, Yale, and Columbia; people who inspired him to be himself and encouraged his love of learning. His fascination for exploring what makes people tick has resulted in a unique and refined gift for helping people be more effective while becoming who they truly are.  Today, there are few leadership coaches who have enjoyed Bob's track record of improving effectiveness in so many world-class companies. And, as Bob said, "The benefit is mutual. The opportunity to work with skilled, intelligent, successful men and women in different cultures around the world is probably the best education I could have had."  Bob is committed to and focused on putting passion into executives' hearts and inspiring them to be the best they can be. His belief is that it is people, not programs, that make a difference. He said, "I hold up a mirror to people so they see themselves in action."  Bob's clients are among the most prestigious and the best-of-the-best — Baxter, American Airlines, Aon, The Boston Consulting Group, AstraZeneca, Dell, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Clorox, JPMorgan Chase & Co., General Electric, Marsh, Rothschild, Wells Fargo, Smiths Medical, Travelers and quite a few more.  Bob has developed, tested, and perfected several successful methodologies to working with people. Your Character Counts helps clients increase situational awareness and clearly project through behaviors, attitudes, and communication skills the characteristics of successful leadership.  Ten Commandments for Successful Leaders helps senior executives develop a vision for work that is larger than the problems faced on the job. This unique approach helps individuals understand the reasons for the perceptions they create in others. Bob has coached thousands of individuals over the years and has helped them build trust with their teams, and to excel on their own personal and professional leadership journey.In this episode, Bob talks about the strategy and power of silence - conversational language pauses. He shares the importance of understanding that we absorb conversations, visualize them, and store them in our memory. Conversational pauses and silences enable the listener to touch our ideas. Bob recommends ways to develop the skills necessary to become more effective and successful. Suggestions for developing this valuable skill include, among others:1.   Practice being conversational2.  Find your own comfort level coming to meetings3. Work on talking about benefits instead of process 4. Practice having conversational discussions with those who need help5. Use silence as a tool and plan for pauses6. Give people a chance to touch and own your ideas7. Work on encouraging discussion 8. Give people time to talk and the time to respond9. Focus on helping others get what they want10. Work at building trusted advisor relationshipsBob Mobley can be reached at mobleysv@gmail.com and 208-720-3054.Debbie Fliehman can be reached at DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com and 847-902-4175. 
Mike Whisman is a business executive with 40+ years of progressive experience in Fortune 500 manufacturing operations and quality leadership in military, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries. Mike has held high levels of responsibilities in multi-functional, multi-plant, and multi-divisional arenas. He offers an extensive background in device and biologic manufacturing, Total Quality Management, operational excellence, supplier performance improvement, and assessment using the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and Shingo Prize Criteria. He has helped companies improve performance to world-class levels.In this episode, Mike addresses factors an organization needs to consider when striving for world-class leadership. These include acknowledging that leadership is a process, designing a strategic plan, developing a succession plan, assessing risk factors, and deploying and measuring to ensure desired results are being attained. Mike expertly speaks about the importance of creating a mission, vision and values, developing strategies for each, defining metrics for measuring success, and celebrating milestones. Designing a strategic plan calls for identifying team members, aligning activities with the mission, vision, and values, defining goals and objectives, and developing a budget and timeline. Developing a succession plan involves identifying successors and mentors and the required training and education, communicating the plan, and setting that plan in motion. Assessing risk factors includes identifying supplier products and services, aligning those with the organization's products, evaluating capacity, the impact of natural disasters, and other occurrences, and developing a plan to offset risks. Deploying and measuring requires developing a communication plan, identifying training, education, and role modeling methods, agreeing on universal metrics, and setting a plan in motion. Mike Whisman can be reached at mrwhizsr@aol.com and 847-271-5075.Debbie Fliehman can be reached at DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com and 847-902-4175.
Greg Hohner is an Executive Black Belt with more than 35 years of experience working in business and quality, including lean six sigma. His role has been to drive the programs and projects necessary to integrate continuous improvement strategies, tools, techniques, and methodologies throughout the business. As the voice of quality improvement for many organizations, Greg has been at the forefront of building cultures of excellence. His experience includes more than seven years in the benefits outsourcing industry with Aon Hewitt and Xerox.For more than 25 years, Greg has worked for a variety of Fortune 500 companies and Big Six Consulting firms. They include McGraw-Hill, MSO Medical, Baxter Healthcare International, Coopers & Lybrand, KPMG, and Abbott Laboratories. While working at Baxter Healthcare International, Greg held several roles, among them, that of the Director of National Accounts and Business Development for eight years. There, he led a group of 60 sales representatives supporting the dialysis' largest volume customers. Based on profitability and sales growth, Greg was awarded the National Acount Sales Achievement Award for three consecutive years. Greg has a BS in Industrial Engineering/Manufacturing Systems from Purdue University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. In addition to being an Executive Master Black Belt, Greg is a certified Lean Master Black Belt, a Six Sigma Black Belt, a PMP (Project Management Professional), a Certified  Quality Engineer, and a Professional Engineer.Greg Hohner can be reached at Greg.Hohner@gmail.com.Debbie Fliehman can be reached at DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com or 847-902-4175.
Nicole Wolter is the president and CEO of HM Manufacturing, a U.S. based company that manufactures gears, timing belt pulleys, splines, shafts, chain sprockets, sheaves, and related parts for power transmission and precision mechanical components. The company offers custom assembly services and engineering support from its 10,000 square foot facility located in Wauconda, Illinois. Industries served include pharmaceutical, aerospace, marine, medical, packaging, food and beverage processing, and automotive.Nicole has a background in engineering and finance and joined HM in 2009. She worked in a variety of departments and was promoted in 2015 to Vice President of Operations. with over 10 years of experience in manufacturing, her experience includes in-depth training on manual lathes and milling machines, and she is NIMS and CAD certified.Since starting at HM Manufacturing, Nicole has overseen a renovation of the company's technology and manufacturing processes, as well as the addition of new technologies, including a new ERP system. Nicole has played a major role in the expansion of HM Manufacturing marketing and social media presence in an effort to broaden its reach, increase sales and instill teamwork among employees. Nicole's leadership and vision have helped HM Manufacturing to thrive and become a leader in the power transmission components industry. Nicole Wolter can be reached on LinkedIn, Twitter, Email - nicole.wolter@hmmanufacturing.com or Phone 847-487-8700.Podcast Host, Debbie Fliehman, can be reached at DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com or 847-902-4175.
Igniting Creativity from WithinMatthew Ferraro has composed, arranged and orchestrated music for everything from Academy Award-winning films The Insider, The Incredibles, Emmy Winning TV shows Futurama, Dune, Olive the Other Reindeer, The Muppets and video game titles including Spiderman, X-Men, Medal of Honor, You Don’t Know Jack, to BBC and ITV television and radio productions, as well as hundreds of commercials including Gatorade, VISA, and McDonald’s among others. His music is licensed worldwide.Ferraro has composed for, arranged, and performed with Grammy Winning Artists: Buddy Guy, Erica Campbell, Seu Jorge, Hugh Masekela, Barbara Streisand, Mike Farris, Raul Malo, Chuck Mangione, Tom Hambridge, Bassekou Kayoute, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Aaron Neville, Natacha Atlas, Members of the Tonight Show Band, Ennio Morricone among many others. His choral music is published by Boosey & Hawkes.He is one of the few composers who is commissioned by the Vatican and the Jesuits as his music outside of Hollywood is noted to focus on social issues.His multi-media symphonic/choral work "The Tension of Opposites" was deemed a new art form, "Orchestral Journalism" by the California Arts Council because of his use of pre-records as part of the fabric of his music, and his “unique ability to tell a compelling story with music”. –NEA.Ferraro is a TED fellow. You can view Matthew’s Ted talk, Overcoming Obstacles, on youtube.Matthew is available to speak to organizations, groups, and businesses on a variety of topics in three major categories: Motivation and Personal Development, Creating and Producing Music, and Enhancing business with an Artist's Flair.  Matthew Ferraro can be reached at www. MatthewFerraroMusic.com or mmfmusic01@gmail.comDebbie Fliehman can be reached at DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com or 847-902-4175.
Character Development and the Role It Plays in LeadershipBob Mobley has coached thousands of individuals over the years and has helped them build trust with their teams, and to excel on their own personal and professional leadership journey. Bob has developed, tested, and perfected several successful methodologies for working with people. Your Character Counts helps clients increase situational awareness and clearly project through behaviors, attitudes, and communication skills the characteristics of successful leadership. Ten Commandments for Successful Leaders help senior executives develop a vision for work that is larger than the problems faced on the job. This unique approach helps individuals understand the reasons for the perceptions they create in others.Bob's clients are among the most prestigious and the best-of-the-best — Baxter, American Airlines, Aon, The Boston Consulting Group, AstraZeneca, Dell, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Clorox, JPMorgan Chase & Co., General Electric, Marsh, Rothschild, Wells Fargo, Smiths Medical, Travelers and quite a few more.Bob is committed to and focused on putting passion into executives' hearts and inspiring them to be the best they can be. His belief is that it is people, not programs, that make a difference. He said, "I hold up a mirror to people so they see themselves in action." Today, there are few leadership coaches who have enjoyed Bob's track record of improving effectiveness in so many world-class companies. And, as Bob said, "The benefit is mutual. The opportunity to work with skilled, intelligent, successful men and women in different cultures around the world is probably the best education I could have had." Raised and educated on the east coast, Bob found wonderful mentors and teachers at Deerfield, Yale, and Columbia: people who inspired him to be himself and encouraged his love of learning. His fascination for exploring what makes people tick has resulted in a unique and refined gift for helping people be more effective while becoming who they truly are.Bob Mobley is a senior executive coach, and a mentor, who has been described as having a razor-sharp mind and deep curiosity about people.  Hig highly successful one-on-one and group coaching programs are based upon his thirty years of mentorship and coaching with Senior Executives around the world.To speak with Bob Mobley about a coaching assignment - mobleysv@gmail.com, 208-720-3054.Debbie Fliehman can be reached at DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com, 847-902-4175.
Kristin Atlas, Senior Director of Sales for Live Nation Special Events, is based out of the House of Blues in Chicago and also oversees events at Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom. Interviewed by podcast host, Debbie Fliehman, Kristin talks about Responsible Events. Live Nation Special Events has 150+ venues nationwide. Health and safety is the top priority with extra precautions and protocols put into place to create a safe environment. There are 5 new event types available to host meetings and private events. Artist bookings and event enhancements offer unique and immersive experiences.The House of Blues Chicago Music Hall and Restaurant, located at 329 Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL,  boasts a 55,000 square footage space with a guest capacity of 1,800.  The cocktail reception capacity of the music hall is 1,200 and the banquet capacity of the music hall is 400. The cocktail reception capacity of the restaurant is 400 with a banquet capacity of the restaurant of 250. Smaller semi-private rooms are available. The Foundation Room has a square footage of 2,234 and a guest capacity of 100. The cocktail reception capacity is between 75-100 and the banquet capacity is 55.Given unprecedented times with the Covid-19 pandemic, Live Nation has put into place health and safety precautions:Enhanced sanitation and safety protocolsClean and compliant venuesTrained staff with PPE gearReduced capacity and social distanced floor plansSafe food and beverage handlingPosted safety signage and traffic managementSpecial event types include:Virtual eventsBroadcast seamless virtual events and meetings to guests anywhere. From live-streaming a single keynote speaker to a multi-location conference to a full band performance, the Live Nation team will assist in executing a flawless virtual experience for any event.Hybrid eventsYou can have a lovely limited capacity event at one of Live Nation's spacious venues and live-stream from their world-renowned stages. Live Nation's award-winning partners will create an unrivaled experience for live-streaming, extravagant stage design, state-of-the-art sound and lighting, decor, and more.Regional eventsLimit travel, maintain social distance, and provide in-real-life experiences by hosting regional events linked virtually between venues. With over 150 venues nationwide, Live Nation provides the perfect spaces for regional events across the United States.Micro eventsHost an intimate gathering at Live Nation venues while guests are safely socially distanced. Create an exclusive experience by hosting a micro-event at a Live Nation expansive space to network, connect, problem-solve, and build exclusive relationships.Drive-in eventsHost guests while socially distancing from cars in one of Live Nation spacious parking lots. Pair this drive-in experience with live streaming to host unlimited events. The Live Nation team of event experts will transform these spaces into an immersive platform for live events.Artist AppearancesYou can rock a surprise performance for a virtual or hybrid event. As the world's largest entertainment company, the Live Nation in-house team will assist with booking the perfect act to live stream to guests. Whether performing on a venue stage or from their own home studios, Live Nation will provide a custom-tailored service for outreach, negotiation, and event production with artists.Event EnhancementsLive StreamingStage Design and BrandingBranded KitsContact Kristin Atlas at Kristinatlas@livenation.com or call 312-923-2044.Contact Debbie Fliehman at DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com or call 847-902-4175.
Mike Whisman is a business executive with 40+ years of progressive experience in Fortune 500 manufacturing operations and quality leadership in the military, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries. Mike has held high levels of responsibilities in multi-functional, multi-plant, and multi-divisional arenas. He offers an extensive background in manufacturing, Total Quality Management, operational excellence, supplier performance improvement, and assessment using the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and Shingo Prize Criteria. He has helped companies improve performance to world-class levels. Following is a brief of the first question of the interview. For more details, listen to the podcast.Debbie: You were a plant manager when you first got involved in the Criteria for Performance Excellence for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award which was produced by the Baldrige National Quality Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. What did you learn from the training that you applied to your plant's activities?Mike: The training that I first received from Baxter was from the Crosby School and was a program we call the Quality Leadership Process (QLP). As a Plant Manager hired into the program to specifically lead my plant's implementation of the new program for Baxter, I realized upfront that they were serious about what was expected of me. They told me stories of the program launch from the previous year, where CEO Vern Loucks openly preached that anyone not getting on the bus and supporting the QLP would be shown the door! My predecessor was said to have fallen into that boat, so I knew it was part of my responsibilities to make it happen! I received the complete training from Corporate and it so naturally fit with my management style and previous learnings that I took the leadership of the Steering Committee and appointed each of my direct reports to lead subsections of the roll-out plan. I put it into their Performance Management Goals for the year and assured them that success would be rewarded as part of their mid-year and annual reviews. A development goal that I believe in is the training of successors. So I made it part of the goal to replace themselves on the steering committee by the end of one year.What I learned in leading was the simplicity of understanding customer and business process requirements ahead of time, creating ways to measure each, and then using those measures to both guide and evaluate success, including individual success. On the anniversary of my first year of leadership, the CEO, Vern Loucks, came personally to see the success. When I took over, we had been given a quality audit and received a needs improvement score. I was given a goal to get that up to satisfactory or look for another job. The auditor who gave me the annual inspection just prior to Mr. Louck's visit told me that she had never seen a plant turn around so quickly. I knew that when Mr. Loucks came, he was not coming to replace me, as we had also won the small plant of the year's most improved award, so I arranged for all of my lead people to present to him in each area of the business. When Mr. Loucks came and visited, he asked the leads questions and complimented each of them. On the way back to his limo, he smiled and told me he was very impressed and he would see me again soon. As he was getting into the car, he looked back and told me that those leads were the most impressive team. Nothing could have pleased me more, as I was proud of them all! Building teams is the backbone of a great organization! The planned replacement of key individuals and leaders is the greatest challenge we will always face!  Contact Mike Whizman at 847-271-5075 or mrwhizsr@aol.com.Contact Debbie Fliehman @ 847-902-4175 or DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com.          
Donna Ritson, President of DDR Communications, founded the company over 30 years ago. DDR's business is based on a direct response methodology that delivers market research, business development, strategic alliance, and actionable market intelligence for companies in virtually every B2B industry. DDR has been a business partner with hundreds of companies over the years reporting on the trends that give decision makers a deeper insight into key market trends. DDR's experience is backed by over 45 years in Marketing Communications.Following is a brief of her interview. For detailed information, listen to the podcast.Debbie: We know that market research is at the foundation of many strategic decisions. What type of research does DDR Communications bring to clients?Donna: We provide our clients with actionable intelligence that is needed to grow any business to the next level. And that growth depends on how well companies acquire knowledge and then how they turn that knowledge into action.We work in virtually every business-to-business market, from packaging to textiles, and aerospace to pharmaceuticals.Some of the reasons companies look for market information are:Exploring the opportunity of entering a new marketIntroducing a new productIf a company is making an acquisitionLearn how they can become better partners with their customers, or with their distributorsUnderstand how industry trends are changing their position in the marketDebbie: Can you walk us through an example of how a company can get started with market research and what benefits they can expect?Donna: Let's look at a project we delivered last year that everyone can relate to - the coffee industry. Our client wanted to expand their presence as a supplier to coffee companies offering a U.S.-based source for stand up pouches.I'll walk you through the five steps we use on a typical project - in order to bring information to our clients so they can make a "go" or "no go" decision with confidence for their strategic plan or campaign.Look at the market conditionsAnalyze the competitorsUnderstand how your product fits into the industryTalk to the industryCompile results into an actionable reportDebbie: Every company would like to make decisions with more confidence and having research at the foundation makes sense. Let's start with step one - what areas of the market do you look at?Donna: We start by using secondary research that pulls knowledge from the industry about the industry:The size of the marketGrowth over timeGeographic locationHow many potential customers are there?The next step is:How many suppliers serve this market?Who is the competition?Size?Location?What types of customers do they serve?We can find what they are spending on materials, or capital equipment.At times, we even speak to the competitors to learn the pulse of the market from their perspective. For details, listen to the podcast.Debbie: Not that you've compiled information on the market conditions, how do you begin to gather information from the users themselves?Donna: Using the coffee industry as an example, we learned that this is a fast growing segment of the beverage industry. For details, listen to the podcast.Debbie: What are the key takeaways you want to leave with us today?Donna: Basing strategic decisions on solid research brings a greater level of success.Contact Donna Ritson at donna@ddrcommunications.com or call 847-234-9131.Contact Debbie Fliehman at debbief@creativetechresources.com or call 847-902-4175.
Ryan Ripley is a lifelong manufacturing executive with a history of driving results. He has served in multiple capacities since beginning his manufacturing career as an engineering intern in 1995. In early 2020, he founded his own firm, TMR Consulting, LLC. Work in engineering, production, operations management and innovation paved the way to Ryan's most recent executive role, Vice President of Business Transformation at the MacLean-Fogg Company. With roots in the Midwest and an international perspective on business, Ryan is passionate about the power and importance of the global manufacturing base. This passion is reflected in Ryan's work in Lean manufacturing and innovation. An alumnus of the University of Dayton, Ryan lives with his wife and two daughters in Long Lake, Illinois. When away from the job, Ryan likes to spend his time outdoors with his family. He's an avid hockey player and an obsessed competitive water skier.Following is a BRIEF look at Ryan's interview. For more detail, listen to the podcast.Debbie: How did TMR Consulting come to be? What made you take the leap?Ryan: They say, as an entrepreneur, you have to decide if you're in it for money or if you're in it for control. When I did it, I really thought I was in it to increase my earnings, but through the process, I learned I really wanted control. Not so much control of my day or all of the decisions, but rather control over my own destiny. I wanted to drive a higher level of business success while diversifying my experience and building in some work life balance, time with my family. That wasn't possible operating within a corporate hierarchy, at least in my view. But, I'm fascinated by corporate hierarchy and love working within them. I can also drive value. Real results. I saw a niche and I'm trying to exploit it. So far, so good.We focus on three areas: Enterprise Strategy, Lean Manufacturing/Operations Consulting, Technology Deployment: AI/Machine Learning - Data Analytics, Industry 4.0 or IIOT.Debbie: These days, seemingly everywhere in the business community, we hear the word transformation. Why is that?Ryan: I became familiar with the concept of transformation in 2010 and in a very specific context. I was challenged with architecting a Lean Enterprise Transformation for the MacLean-Fogg Company. Now, transformation comes in many forms with many strategic reasons. Successful Lean companies have learned that you must change the culture of the organization to really change the tactical and technical practices of the organization. Change agents in other industries know this too. You need to have a team of people who understand where you're going and why. Debbie: So, what about Lean? Tell us about your journey and what you've learned along the way.Ryan: So many different interpretations of the work, what it means, the concepts behind it and never ending debate and pontification about how to do it. About making mistakes - an eraser is the most important tool. The more you learn, the less you feel you know. The Toyota heritage is important, but it's not everything. Some apply without question: Safe, defect free, on demand, one-by-one, rapid response, lowest cost.Debbie: From your own transformation experience, do you have any tips or trick to share?Ryan: Most seem to dismiss how difficult it is. Great executives do it themselves with personal communication, even to a large group of people. Great memos and letters and emails take time to write and take practice to master. Many execs and companies simply don't make the time.Contact Ryan Ripley: email rripley@aritexit.com or call 847-456-1232.Contact Debbie Fliehman: email debbief@creativetechresources.com or call 847-902-4175.
Summer Thomson is the Manager of Business Process and Senior Project Manager for E&M Design Solutions. She is a business consultant, technical writer, industrial services compliance expert, trainer, speaker and operations startup manager. In 2019, Summer was invited to join the NSBA economic development and small business technology counsels. She comes from a business management and production planning background and has been with EMDS for over seven years.E&M Design Solutions is the brainchild of Cheryl Lyttle who started the company 11 years ago when the manufacturing plant she worked for closed the facility. EMDS is a multi-faceted company serving manufacturers and businesses of all sizes, offering customized training, quality management system development, and audit preparation. Additionally, EMDS offers engineering support services that include design, AutoCAD drawings, project management and construction management. The companies' compliance experts provide internal auditing and gap analysis to ISO 9001, IATF 16949, Medical Device, Rail, and industrial services, such as PSM, and RMP, as well as supply chain auditing and gap closure. They have an extensive background in food processing and pharmaceuticals manufacturing, as well as automotive, which are some of the most highly regulated sectors.Debbie: Why do clients choose your small firm over a larger competitor?Summer:  I believe that it is because we are a small firm that our clients can expect our full attention. Many of our projects cross over between services and we find the transfer of information between department very efficient. We have dedicated project managers assigned to clients and projects, just like the larger firms offer.Debbie: Can you tell us more about the trainings you offer?Summer: Absolutely! We are excited about our recently launched training portal. We offer Quality and Compliance, Business Development and Engineering courses. These include ISO 9001 and IATF 16949 awareness and internal auditing, foundations of supervision, communication in the workplace, Fundamentals of AutoCAD, Corrective Action, and Shop Math to name a few. We are working towards adding to the course listings and are currently working on SQF, HACCP and OSHA 10&30 General Industry. The great thing about our virtual classes is that they allow for customized scheduling, but attendees still have a live instructor, Q&A, exercises, as well as support after course completion, and no travel expenses. Attendees do not have to block multiple days in one work week to complete the course and this method allows for more time to digest and retain the information.Debbie: Can you briefly describe a couple of projects, or types of projects that your firm has handled and the outcome?Summer: Most recently, I fulfilled the role of industrial compliance services for two years in the absence of a Utilities Manager. I handled audit preparation and gap closure, vendor liaison for bidding, ensuring regulated preventive maintenance was completed on time, scheduling training outside of their electronic system, reporting, point of contact for corporate utilities, vendors, contractors, monitoring regulation and corporate changes and implementing them internally. All of these audits resulted in findings for continual development but, during this time, we completed 4 out of 5 audits with the least number of findings in the entire division and the auditors said they were the most organized audits they had ever completed.  For more information, including lessons you can walk away with, listen to this podcast.Summer Thompson can be reached at sthompson@emdsmi.com or 231-690-1953.Debbie Fliehman can be reached at Debbief@creativetechresources.com or 847-902-4175.
Debbie Fliehman, host of Thought Leaders Talk Business, speaks on proven steps to communicate with intention. Debbie is the president of Creative Technical Resources, Inc. a marketing communication, advertising and sales promotion agency. For over 30 years, her agency has worked on thousands of projects with hundreds of clients ranging from small to large divisions of Fortune 100 corporations. She is the author of Make Success Happen - Seven Steps to Developing a Marketing Plan. This book was designed to help you become a game changing marketer.Have you ever felt as though your marketing efforts to communicate with your various audiences are all over the place? If so, you might need a process that includes proven tools and techniques for productive communication. Your preparatory work will involve identifying your various audiences: customers, clients, prospects, employees, suppliers, stakeholders, board, trustees, members, influencers, investors, etc. and what results you want to realize by communicating with each. This process begins with:Organizing a Team - identify people who have different skills, who can work together, and who can review and contribute information to make your plan of action relevant and the best it can be.Developing Purpose Statements - take time to develop: Mission (what you are and what you do), Vision (where you're going and what you're going to look like in the future), and Values (establishing guidelines for behavior). Creating Corporate Identity - be certain that your identity - your brand - is consistently used when communicating with your various audiences, no matter which leg of your plan it falls on.Identifying Opportunities for Engagement - group your audiences into categories, including an objective and what is important to them, then identify how you can best communicate with this group.Selecting Activities - identify each audience category, the elements needed to communicate with each and define the differences including the methods for measuring results of each element.Preparing Budget - prioritize activities to determine how and where your budget should be allocated, and gather cost estimates for every step to keep you on track and within your overall budget.Implementing and Evaluating - develop a detailed calendar of events, list each activity and the cost estimate for that activity. You'll be in a better position to make adjustments, measure results, stay on target, within a time line, and on a budget.Creating a fluid and interactive plan requires determination, fortitude, and an expression of creative skill, knowledge, experience, and imagination.If you're interested in reading the book, Make Success Happen: Seven Steps to Developing a Marketing Plan, visit Amazon.com - Books - Deborah Galiffa Fliehman Make Success Happen.Debbie Fliehman is available for consultations, marketing plan and material development, onsite and custom workshops.  Call 847-902-4175 or email DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com.
Steve Garchow is President at Foresight Business Consulting, a Chicago-based marketing firm. Steve is obsessed with making a difference in the way companies market their products and services. He believes any company can improve financial performance by implementing impactful marketing programs. Steve started as a market researcher, eventually building his career to assume the role of Vice President, Global Marketing for a $700 million division of a Fortune 300 company. After stints as a senior manager of two start-ups, Steve launched his consulting company and today has a proven track record helping companies improve marketing and financial performance. He provides high-value strategic marketing support focused on enhancing the market uptake of products and services and has conducted dozens of successful marketing projects.  From his experience, Steve identified approaches to "market differentiation" that worked. He integrated these concepts into a process that helps an organization's marketing message stand out from their competition and resonate with their customers. As Steve says, "Engineers develop great products and great marketing transforms a customer's perceptions of those products which generate successful benefits based on messaging and strategy."In this podcast, Steve will be interviewed by Debbie Fliehman, host of Thought Leaders Talk Business. He'll answer the following questions and will provide marketing tools, tips, and techniques that can work for nearly any size and type of business. 1.  Doesn't everyone understand the importance of having a different marketing message than their competition?2.  Why is there a lack of understanding today regarding getting marketing results?3.  What steps should be taken to make sure companies have a message that stands out in the crowd?4.  What are some of the key elements Steve looks for when he first starts working with a company's product or service?Listen to this podcast to hear examples of where Steve's approach has worked for his clients.Steve Garchow can be reached at 224-520-0506 or Steve@foresight-consultinginc.com or on LinkedIn.  Debbie Fliehman can be reached at 847-902-4175 or DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com
Karen Morgan, President of Morgan Search International, is a thought-leader in talent acquisition and development across the United States and globally. Morgan Search specializes in the placement of marketing insights talent, working closely with companies to build successful, long-term teams. Their expertise spans qualitative and quantitative research, marketing sciences, strategy, planning and innovation, partnering closely with industry leaders such as American Express, Coca-Cola, Ford, Edelman, Intel, JPMorganChase, Kimberly-Clark, KPMG, Microsoft and Netflix as well as start-ups and research agencies. Following is a brief of the content in this podcast.Debbie:  Since most companies are putting their recruiting efforts on pause, what's your advice to candidates right now?Karen: The answer varies depending on your current situation - not everyone is in the same boat. If you have a job, my advice is to stay put for now! The only exception being if you're working in one of the verticals that's booming right now - then there may be opportunities you don't want to pass up.In general, given the uncertainty of the economy, I'd advise taking time to dust off your resume and work on your LinkedIn profile and any other personal branding you have out there.If you were thinking about the next step in your career before Covid-19 hit, I recommend taking time now to really think through your goals, both personal and professional, and the kinds of companies and opportunities you would like to pursue, so you can really focus in on finding the best fit when the market starts to pick up. Listen to more in the podcast.Debbie: What can employers do going forward to be more sensitive to the needs of candidates and employees?Karen: I do feel one of the big differences so far between past economic crises and now is that companies are demonstrating much more empathy and a real commitment to trying to KEEP employees where they can.That said, companies are laying people off, so it's crucial they provide their employees with as much of a cushion as possible to soften the blow, for instance, continuing to pay health insurance benefits for a period of time, providing some severance, outplacement services, offering to help them network - anything that will help people navigate through this difficult time both financially and psychologically. Listen to more in the podcast.Debbie: Are there advantages to interviewing candidates via video conferencing?Karen: A particular advantage right now is that most people are working from home so it's easier for them to schedule interviews around their work commitments as opposed to being at work in an office. Interviewing from home means privacy away from the office and candidates can speak freely and openly. So they may present more naturally rather than being aware and nervous about finding a  place to speak from without being overheard. Listen to more in the podcast.Debbie: Speaking of interviewing, over the past few years, the interview process seems to have become longer and longer, to the frustration of many candidates and employers. How might companies rethink this and streamline the process in the future?Karen: I feel that this crisis does present an opportunity for all of us to rethink things. Over the past few years, in spite of a buoyant employment market, there has been a lot of frustration expressed from both interviewees and employers. From interviewees, it's about the length of the interview process and from employers, that it's very hard to find talent. Listen to more in the podcast.Contact Karen on LinkedIn - Morgan Search International or email Karen@morgansearch.com.Contact Debbie at DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com or 847-902-4175.
Welcome to the first episode of Thought Leaders Talk Business where we tap into the creative minds of successful business professionals and consultants to help you gain a competitive advantage. Your host is Debbie Fliehman, the president of Creative Technical Resources, a marketing communications, advertising, and sales promotion agency. For over 30+ years, Creative Technical Resources has worked on thousands of projects with hundreds of clients ranging from small to large divisions of Fortune 100 corporations.Debbie Fliehman is the author of two business books - Make Success Happen, a book designed to help you become a game-changing marketer. Customer Retention through Quality Leadership - the Baxter Approach, provides a viable model for the design and implementation of successful customer retention programs. This book was made possible after Debbie's in-depth involvement in the implementation of the quality improvement process at Baxter.Through this podcast, Debbie Fliehman is excited about sharing her extensive knowledge and experience in marketing communication; advertising; sales promotion; public relations; conventions and tradeshows; special events; management consulting; strategic planning; publications; training and education; audio and video production; social media; and budgeting. She is excited about the initial podcast lineup of professionals. These amazing individuals have stories to tell, experience to share and tools, tips, and techniques you can walk away with and apply at your workplace. Among many exciting topics, we'll include marketing, communication, strategy, implementation, execution, planning, marketing research, enterprise transformation, business development, becoming a game-changing marketer, lean, quality leadership, customer retention, sales techniques, gap analysis, employee recruitment, data analytics, employee retention, incentives and motivation, and a lot more.We're looking forward to having you join us and taking an active role in our content development. If you'd like to be a guest on Thought Leaders Talk Business, or if you know of someone who has an exciting story of success and achievement, call Debbie at 847-902-4175 or email her at DebbieF@Creativetechresources.com. A special acknowledgment and thanks go to Matthew Ferraro composer and producer. If you are interested in commissioning original music for your next production, contact Matthew at Matthew@matthewferraro.com.
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