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Let's be a force for good this year

Lets be a force for good this year

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
January 31, 2022 Category: General

Have you read Josh Bersin’s HR Predictions for 2022 report? "This year’s report touches on 15 predictions encompassing all areas of HR against the backdrop of an historically tight labor market, empowered workforces, and continued pandemic uncertainties." Fill out the short information form here: https://joshbersin.com/hr-predictions-for-2022/ and download your copy. I promise it's worth it, no matter what your official job title or function is. My key takeaways are:    The labor shortage isn’t going away. Continue to get creative around hiring requirements – does a role really need a specific degree? Are there ways to assess incoming skills and/or partner with a 3rd party to provide ‘on-ramps’ for basic training instead of rejecting a candidate? No matter what your current product or service offering is, it’s going to become more service-focused over time. That means that more of your organization needs timely, actionable training around customer service skills. To help with that, you may also want to consider reviewing / updating the metrics you use around service encounters. The technology that’s prevalent in many of our personal lives is more and more expected in the workplace. Cue the “metaverse,” VR, AR, immersive training experiences, etc. But, it’s not just technology for technology’s sake – it’s critical to start with an organizational assessment, d

My Wish For You As We Wind Down 2021

My Wish For You As We Wind Down 2021

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
December 17, 2021 Category: General

When I think about what I’m on this Earth to do, it all starts to make sense again. The outside chatter shuts off. The comparison game goes on pause. I will never be everything to everyone, and I know that to try to be… is a recipe for disappointment. I’ve done a lot of crazy, foolish and tough things, and my number one goal is to help others skip over those pain points, or at least help them move through them with grace. Going out on my own has taught me a lot. That there’s a loneliness within me. That even though I consider myself more of an introvert that extrovert, I need human connection – and it’s harder than ever to get that with the ongoing pandemic. That now every moment of every day is a potential revenue-generating opportunity – and that choices I used to make about how to spend my time when I was earning a salary are way different than they are now. That it’s way too easy to get lost in the tactical and make excuses not to focus on the strategic side of running a business. That it’s OK to mute someone, unfollow someone, or whatever it takes to get away from toxicity. That your ‘tribe’ is key – and that it’s OK to have it change over time, and that it might often be made up of folks you’ve never met in person. That people may ask too much of you, and that it’s not your responsibility to explain yourself or your actions to those that are on the ‘take’ vs. the

What's Your Dream?

Whats Your Dream

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
October 13, 2021 Category: General

“If you don't build your dream someone else will hire you to help build theirs.” -Tony A. Gaskins Jr. I painted the back of my front door with chalkboard paint and that quote is the FIRST thing I wrote once the paint dried. What does it mean, though? What exactly is a dream? Is it a physical thing you want to acquire? Is it a place you want to live? Is it an award you want to win? …. Or is it a WAY of living? …. My dream is to provide a comfortable lifestyle for myself and my family by doing good for others. Your dream can be whatever you want – but I would encourage you to think about it sooner rather than later. Time really does fly. I read somewhere that the clock starts feeling like it speeds up once you hit age 23. Yikes. So how do you discern your dream? I think some of my key takeaways from the 2021 Women in Manufacturing SUMMIT earlier in October might resonate: Build your personal board of directors – the expert, the truth teller, the innovator, the sponsor, the vault. These people might not know each other, but they all should know you well. For my entrepreneurial friends – this one is even more important for you. Remember that people want to work with people, NOT companies. What makes you, well YOU? That’s your secret sauce. That’s your certain something. Embrace it, hone it, embody it. Ask for what you want. The candid feedback on what you’re awesome at and what you’re no

Let's Talk Calibration

Lets Talk Calibration

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
August 09, 2021 Category: General

Not the technical kind (sorry I got you excited, my manufacturing friends!!) but the kind where you're working on yourself and the bigger picture of your business instead of focusing on the day-to-day tactical side of your work and your business. I’m a business owner. I’m self-employed. I’ve had some amazing clients and projects – some of which are ongoing, and some of which were project-based. I’ve also had clients leave – including one that I had previously accepted a re-negotiated contract with that was in their favor as a show of my commitment to their success. Outside of my independent consulting work, I manage a region for The Institute for Management Studies as a contractor. That role is 100% commission-based – there is no “floor” or base salary. I am also your normal adult. I have a mortgage. I have recurring bills. I have people and animals that depend on me. Things happen – I get sick, the fur kids have an emergency, parents or friends need help, the HVAC system breaks, you get the picture. I operate with a lot of risk.  By the virtue of hard work, an amazing network and a lot of faith and trust I made it this far. It’s felt like a whirlwind. Only in the past month have I had the headspace to reflect and consider.  To calibrate. I’m sharing the questions I’m asking myself in case A) they’re helpful to you and B) you have other ones that you think should be adde

Go Hug An Engineer

Go Hug An Engineer

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
July 09, 2021 Category: General

I'm a materials science engineer and my better half is a civil engineer. It's no surprise that the disaster in Florida has been a topic of conversation. It's horrific - and it reminded both of us of things we've learned during our #engineering programs. For him, he clearly remembers a professor saying "the difference between an engineer and a doctor is that when a doctor makes a mistake, one person can die - while when an engineer makes a mistake, hundreds or more can die." For me, I remember horrifying pictures and videos of Galloping Gertie and the Hyatt Regency walkway collapse. Engineering NEEDS #ethics. STEM disciplines NEED #heart and #soul. This is not an article saying anything was done specifically right or wrong in this case, but a loud and clear call to action for colleges and universities, families, communities and workplaces. It's NOT enough to just teach the technical aspects of the work. The forces, the material properties, the specifications. For every decision that can impact more than just the person making the decision - let's remember what (and who) is at stake. There IS time for that second review. There IS time for the challenging opinion. There IS time to change course. It's never too late to do the right thing. And if you've got an engineer or STEM professional in your life, go give them a fist bump, a hug or a thank you. We're out there trying to do what's right, be

My MBA application, 12 years later

My MBA application, 12 years later

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
June 03, 2021 Category: General

I had a crucible moment in 2009. I was a batch & furnace engineer for Owens Corning, in a development program. I had worked there since graduating college - it was my first "adult" job, and I was learning A LOT. But... I felt forced to take a role on the other side of the country, far away from family and friends, in a location that I felt wasn't safe. So I quit. I delivered phone books out of the back of my Honda Fit. I relied on friends to share meals and drinks with me. I freaked out. Then, with a push from my father, I decided to apply WAAAAY late to The Ohio State University's full-time MBA program. The application process included taking the GMAT, interviewing in-person, and completing several essays. I was cleaning up my external hard drive recently, and came across those essays. Reading them brought the emotions of that time right back to surface. In fact, writing about this, right now, is bringing them back as well. I share this essay question and response with you in case it helps you in some way. Maybe it just helps you feel more connected to me. Maybe it sparks a reflection for you. Maybe it leads to reaching out to a family member, friend or mentor to say Thank You for the role they played in your life. I would love to hear your thoughts. Discovering You: As a Fisher MBA student you get the best of both worlds: the up close and personal feel of a small program combined with the resources and opportunities offered by a major research unive

It's Always About People.

Its Always About People.

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
May 05, 2021 Category: General

I have a few sayings that you may have heard if you’ve ever worked with me for a while.   “People may be part of the problem, but they’re ALWAYS part of the solution."   and   “Closed mouths don’t get fed."   Both of these relate to communication and interpersonal dealings. They both came to mind this morning because of a recent email. Do you ever open an email and feel your heart rate increase? Get that pinched feeling? As a self-employed business owner, I work with a lot of individuals that have different needs, varied personalities and unique communication styles. I pride myself in being flexible and versatile. BUT. There's one that unintentionally pushes my buttons. The desire for perfection comes across as nit-picky. The lack of interest in learning collaborative technologies leads to rework. The brusque manner feels cold and judgmental. The emails sound... not nice. Do you have anyone like that in your life? How do you work with them? Even though I’ve been tutoring and teaching and coaching others in some capacity since 2001, I’m no where near done learning. In fact, I really believe in that Einstein quote, “once you stop learning, you start dying.” So here’s what I’m going to work on – and I’d love to hear your input too – whether it’s advice for me, or your own story that you’d like to share so we can hold each other accounta

You’re Not Going to Be Everyone’s Cup of Tea, and That’s OK

Youre Not Going to Be Everyones Cup of Tea, and Thats OK

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
February 04, 2021 Category: General

Or, as I often say “everyone has their own flavor of crazy, and you’ve got to find the ones you like!” Being an entrepreneur can feel lonely. The physical isolation brought on by the global pandemic hasn’t made it any easier. But being a leader – whether formally or informally, for an entire company or your individual destiny – comes with a lot of perks. You can set your own schedule. You can decide which customers to ‘hire’ and occasionally… which to ‘fire’ or never bring on in the first place. You can try new things – like FaceBook live (harder than it looks!), BombBomb video emails (love them!), videos and graphics that may be ‘outside’ your typical brand, really personalized messages or broad ones, social media campaigns, partnerships with 3rd parties or bringing work back in-house. You can work as much or as little as you want (and as your expenses allow). You can collaborate openly, stay more insular or operate anywhere in between. Your inner drive is truly your only limit. As I reflect on my 10+ years in manufacturing, I realize that’s just how I’m wired. To drive, to push forward, to learn, grow and adapt. And if you’re reading this article, I bet you are too! Sometimes people get threatened by people like us. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming or even pointless to keep moving ahead and innovating. But, I promise you it’s worth it. Everyone’s differ

Thank U Next, 2020

Thank U Next, 2020

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
January 02, 2021 Category: General

As the lovely Ariana Grande put it – "One taught me love One taught me patience And one taught me pain Now, I'm so amazing Say I've loved and I've lost But that's not what I see So, look what I got Look at what you taught me And for that, I say Thank you, next." Yes, 2020. You taught me ALL of that. You brought me challenges without compare. You brought me insomnia and anxiety about my new business. You brought me concern and pain about those that are struggling in so many different ways. You brought me heartbreak. You brought me rocky family relationships. You brought me grief. BUT. You also brought me MYSELF. You brought me the joy of simple things. You brought me a new immersion in art and creativity. You brought me incredibly deep growth in key relationships, and the blossoming of new connections. And in an unexpected twist, you brought me healing and love and acceptance. Thank you 2020 for all that you were. May your 2020 have been a year of growth and healing, despite the challenges. May your 2021 be the year of your dreams taking flight. All my

What Questions Are You Avoiding?

What Questions Are You Avoiding

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
December 03, 2020 Category: General

Information is power. Data isn’t always the same as information. But in the case of the WHOOP Strap, I feel empowered to make decisions that help me maintain and grow my fitness ability - which directly impacts my work performance, creativity and stamina. The daily journal questions ask the tough stuff - and being accountable to them each morning makes me think before I have that late night snack or watch one more episode. And it’s not a distraction. It’s not a step counter with a display screen or notifications. It’s literally a “black box” on my wrist. I’m not trying to sell you a Whoop strap, but I am asking you if there are elements of this process that could help you reach your own goals. What are the questions that make you squirm? What are the decisions you made yesterday that you would rather not tell someone about? What did you leave undone - or not done to the best of your ability? As we move into the end of one of the most challenging years many of us has ever faced, maybe it's a good time to reflect and take a good hard look under the hood. I'm here to talk if you want an unbiased accountability partner to help you make the decisions you know are best for you. #evelop #womanownedbusiness #instituteformanagementstudies #learnsomethingnew #informationispower #usedata #fitnessgoals #whoop   As always, I'd love to hear your feedback, and I welcome any other resources you'd like to

Where Have All the Critical Thinkers Gone?

Where Have All the Critical Thinkers Gone

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
November 23, 2020 Category: General

Hot take. Thanks to FiveThirtyEight for the inspiration. Critical thinking is at an all-time low, it seems. Our reptilian brains aren’t equipped to handle the ongoing level of stress of this global pandemic. We’re reverting to base behaviors, like mistrust of the ‘other,’ selfishness, jumping to conclusions and acting on old biological defaults. We’ve removed obstacles to information with the Internet and social media. BUT. Some of those obstacles were actually helping prevent misinformation from spreading. Were there books and articles written and available at libraries, at bookstores and on newsstands that were deliberately or accidently misleading? Absolutely. BUT. Now, with the click of a button, anyone, from anywhere, can say pretty much anything and have it be seen by hundreds, thousands or millions of people. And even if social media platforms or website fact-checkers bring the content down… it exists in perpetuity. People have saved it, taken screenshots and disseminated it already. And sometimes, the more difficult it can be to find a particular piece of information, no matter how patently false, the more of a siren song it is to those that want to believe. It feels like The Circle. Like Atlas Shrugged. Like 1984. Like A Brave New World. I’m not one for wallowing or complaining. I’m interested in moving forward in a positive and constructive way. I’m all-in for updating curriculums and approaches to

Is the Flame Flickering?

Is the Flame Flickering

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
September 02, 2020 Category: General

It's September 2020. Sometimes it feels like time has stopped. Sometimes it feels like the world is tilting at a stunning pace. Sometimes I look around and wonder how we got to this point, nationally, and as an entire human race. It's not just the pandemic. It's the divisiveness. It's the disdain and disregard. But it's also the compassion, the generosity and the outpouring of love and affirmation and kindness. I wanted to share an article from Tamryn Batcheller-Adams, a colleague of one of our amazing IMS thought-leaders, Graeme Codrington, about the very real possibility that you, or someone you know may be struggling to “keep it together” these days. This resonated with me personally. I had already changed nearly everything a person can – new home, new career, new relationship – last year… then the pandemic hit. Then my relationship ended. A beloved pet passed away far too soon. I know that each of us has a different story. I know that those of us in roles as learning and development experts are caring and empathetic people. We tend to carry not only our own burden, but also those of people we support. Leaders at all levels, in all functions also have a huge impact on their teams - and that responsibility can be heavy. I hope that the way Tamryn addresses burnout through the Head, Heart, Body and Self helps you feel that you’re not alone. That each of us can get through this. That we are in this

Yep. That's Warren Buffett.

Yep. Thats Warren Buffett.

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
July 01, 2020 Category: General

This past week I had the pleasure of working with an amazing professional that's looking to further his career trajectory by applying to the MBA program at Butler University. I've been working with this student on GMAT skills for a few months - we actually met through a post I put up on LinkedIn earlier this year. As we've worked together, I continue to be more and more impressed by what he's overcome, how he's chosen to reflect, redirect and move past obstacles. He's a great role model for his children and his community - and I know he's destined for greatness. Working on his MBA application essay was a total mind shift from GMAT math concepts. Before we met over Zoom to review his draft, I went to the email archives and found my MBA application essay from OSU in 2009. That was a crossroads in my life. I had a great, well-paying, exciting job in the Fiberglas industry, but felt put in a position to move to a location with a not-so-great reputation, and 18 hours away from my family. So, I quit. And started delivering phone books out of the back of my car. And got encouraged by my father to apply for the MBA program at OSU. I was past the deadline - I had to drive over two hours away to find a testing center that had an opening for the GMAT. But in re-reading my essay, I think I understand what the admission officials saw that made them give me a chance. Grit. Dedication. Passion about doing the right things with integrity. Following my moral

What's in a number?

Whats in a number

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
May 18, 2020 Category: General

Dirt on my hands. Paint on my arms. Transplanted flowers blooming. Fresh paint colors transforming an old house. Leveling out a yard and re-seeding. Weatherizing inside and out. All of these activities and states of being are my zen, my mecca. I thrive on helping things grow and improve and flourish. It’s been 193 days since I formed EVelop, LLC. I was reflecting today, as I saw the first two irises bloom in my garden, that this whole business adventure is very much like the home and garden improvements I’ve always loved to do. Workforce development, training, learning, professional development – no matter what you call it – is all about transformation and illumination and acceleration. It’s planting the seeds of new ideas, helping people form new connections. It’s the gentle removal of dilapidated material, encouraging people to let go of ill-serving habits. It’s putting in the pre-work before applying a lovely new coat of paint, consulting with people to ensure that goals and objectives are clear. It’s mowing and edging and weeding a neighbors’ yard, giving back to those in need through mentoring, volunteering and a scholarship fund. The past 193 days have been… Exhilarating. Exhausting. Stressful. Thrilling. And I couldn’t have done it on my own. All of us are connected. Whether it’s through a kind word, an interesting article, help with a connection, brainstorming an idea, sharing a joyo

Starting a Business Right Before a Pandemic

Starting a Business Right Before a Pandemic

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
April 23, 2020 Category: General

EVelop is a labor of love. It was scary to think about leaving “corporate America” - with a salary, health care, vacation and sick time, a 401(k), an office and all the necessary supplies, and the feeling that I had a support network. But. I felt (and still feel) very strongly about providing the best services and solutions, without the overhead and bureaucracy and roadblocks that seem to happen in companies. My driving passion, what fuels my fire, is helping other people. That’s why I volunteer for a therapeutic riding program, mentor a student through College Now of Greater Cleveland and another through Big Brothers Big Sisters. It’s why I weed my elderly neighbor’s lawn and shovel her sidewalk. It’s why I tutor students to ace standardized tests to gain entry (and hopefully financial aid) to college. I’m so thankful to have made my way into workforce development. It blends my deep manufacturing and technical experience with my never-ending quest to connect people with the skills and competencies they need for success. Launching a business at the end of 2019 seemed like a good time - a clean slate for 2020. Little did I know about COVID-19. I believe that going through this experience with all of you has made me even more laser-focused on providing value to my clients, and giving back to our community in the ways that I can. I look forward to talking with you about how EVelop can help you grow yourself and your

Now is the perfect time to invest in skill development

Now is the perfect time to invest in skill development

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
March 18, 2020 Category: General

Did you learn everything you needed to do your job in school? Did you learn it all at one time? Do you believe you can continue to be successful in your role without ever learning anything new? I'm hoping that you gave a resounding "no" to each of those questions! Since we agree that learning must continue to happen, why some companies and individuals hesitant to invest in growing skills and competencies? I would like to suggest that it's a few things. Everyone is busy – especially with COVID-19 mitigation eclipsing all other priorities. People are distracted. Budgets are tight. Daily life is disrupted. However, professional development is critically important. Everyone at your company is the outward face of your company's brand to your customers and your community. It's important they are competent, passionate, and believe in the company. While learning through experience is valuable, it often leads to the creation of well-worn paths of decision-making, behaviors, and results. A refreshing injection of new ideas through carefully curated speakers, content, and new perspectives can lead to a step-change in motivation and performance. Highly motivated and talented people continually look for opportunities to learn, grow, and improve. If your company does not cultivate and allow employees to grow and develop and recognizing the skills gained, your top talent will go elsewhere, and other employees will notice. It doesn't need to be expen

It's a time to come together - even if it's not face to face!

Its a time to come together   even if its not face to face!

Posted By Stacey Schroeder
March 16, 2020 Category: General

Social distancing. Travel bans. Closing of schools. Stopping gatherings of 50 or more people. Closing restaurants and bars. Impending closures of daycares, and likely other restrictions coming soon. As a workforce development professional, my lifeblood is people. Helping connect people with the skills and knowledge they need for success in their current and future roles. I do that in a variety of ways, but the main one is live leadership training seminars once a month. That option is off the table. We are in the throes of planning virtual sessions for March, but likely for April and maybe even May as well. It’s a dynamic time, with every day bringing new information and making new decisions necessary. I already work from home, which means I am blessed to find some of the new measures less impactful, but it doesn’t mean I don’t ache for those that are living without paid time off, without a safety net and with a limited selection of not-great options. However, I’m an entrepreneur – my income is highly variable, and as a start-up, my expenses have nearly surpassed that income so far this year. And, right now, I’m supporting my partner on his journey of discovery and transformation to entrepreneurship. I am not telling you this for sympathy, but to share a story. Stories are what people remember. We have been telling them since the beginning of time, and they are important. We are in control of our own story – and I wonder if the c

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