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“The Power of Reflecting” by Scott Burrows

As a Motivational Keynote Speaker, I have been invited to speak to different industries, associations and Fortune 500 companies around the world sharing my success strategies that revolve around Vision-Mindset-Grit. Three simple yet powerful words that, when put into action, can absolutely help you conquer your goals and push the limits of what is possible regardless of the challenges standing before you today.

Vision helps you set manageable but far-reaching goals. Mindset allows you to stay focused on those goals by making adjustments as circumstances, personnel and other elements change. Grit is the everyday determination and willingness to persevere and be resilient in your pursuit especially when all else beckons you to throw in the towel, or worse, stay in your paralyzed state, your comfort zone while maintaining the status quo.

During a keynote, I typically use my own life-changing story as the backdrop to bring the concepts of Vision, Mindset and Grit to life. Lately, I’ve been encouraging my attendees to Reflect back on their own lives and experience self-awareness, to Reflect back on how far they have come, on the choices and decisions they have made, the challenges they have overcome, as well as the contributions they have made to their organization, other employees and members of their team. In doing so, I have found that Reflecting is a Mindset technique that can help you tap into your inner strength and be more productive while keeping your Vision clear and always in the forefront of your thinking.

Due to my physical handicap, I cannot ride a traditional bike; however, with new biking technologies and modifications I’m able to ride a hand-cycle, which is a 3-wheeled bike. It’s aerodynamic, sits a few inches off the ground and can now be seen by Paralympians using it to compete in distance runs at the Paralympics.

When I bike, I enjoy letting my mind wander. On one ride, I found myself Reflecting back on some of the choices and decisions I’ve made in my life. In doing so, the words leaders leading leaders kept speaking to me. My mind drifted back to 1983, when I was 18 years old and playing college football as a walk-on wide receiver at Florida State University under head coach Bobby Bowden. During that season, I noticed that Coach Bowden was a delegator who led from the bottom up as opposed to the traditional top down. He would encourage assistant coaches and frontline players like me to take charge and lead on and off the field and challenge each other, day after day, to perform to the best of our abilities. It proved effective and became a powerful life lesson that I teach and have incorporated into my everyday existence.

That reflection triggered another memory that I consider to be one of the most defining moments of my life. On November 3rd, 1984, while a sophomore in college, a bunch of us planned a weekend on those gorgeous white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, at a place known as St. George’s Island. We arrived around 8:00 PM, set up our camp, built a fire, started drinking (as the drinking age in Florida was 18 back then) and telling story after story with our best teenage hormonal sense of humor.

As the hours passed, my friend Ed challenged me to a foot race. Being competitive, like you, I stood up to the challenge and bent down into my running stance waiting to hear “GO!” Imagine right now hearing that word echoing in the air and the first thing you can feel is the cool night air blowing through your hair, and with each step you can feel sand Gritting between your toes, and as you lean across that imaginary finish line you can even taste salt in the ocean breeze. That run turned out to be the best, but I could have never imagined that it would be my last.

After that run, we walked back to camp. Waiting for us was another friend who said, “Do the two of you mind taking a ride down the beach to find some more firewood to keep our bonfire burning throughout the night.” We said, “Sure, why not!” And it wasn’t long thereafter that it happened. On our way back, in a car loaded with wood debris on a dark, otherwise empty road, Ed lost control of the wheel, ran off the road and crashed into a mound of sand. The impact sent the car hurtling into the air before tumbling back to earth end over end. In that one moment, everything about my life was forever changed.

Ed survived with minor bumps and bruises. I, unfortunately, broke cervical 6 & 7 vertebrates in my neck and suffered a serious spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed from my chest down and diagnosed a quadriplegic. As I was fighting the fight of my life in hopes to turning an impossible dream of walking again into a reality, the oxygen levels in my red blood cell count unexpectedly plummeted and were dangerously low.

My doctor said the only way to get those levels back up to normal was to get a large quantity of pure oxygen into my weakened system over the next 24 hours. “There are two ways to do it: Hook you up to a machine to breathe for you, but it would require surgery—we would need to drill a hole into your throat; or, we could put a mask over your face, pump oxygen through it, and you could do it on your own. But there’s a catch.” (Have you ever noticed there is always a catch when it comes to someone else’s ideas?) He said, “You would need to stay awake for the next 24 hours and monitor every single breath to ensure you are taking in as much pure oxygen as possible. I’ll be back in 10 minutes. Let me know what you decide.”

Sometimes in life we have to make quick decisions, don’t we? But why can’t we make more decisions quickly? Why do we have to think and worry so much? This goes back to Mindset. What is Mindset? If you think about it, it’s really your own philosophy of life. It’s how you see things through your own experiences. Most importantly, it’s how you respond to a new unexpected challenge, your next setback or perhaps the changing landscape of your industry or organization—or your competitors and the products and services they offer.

For me, I came to realize that this doctor was giving me the opportunity to stand up to the challenge, metaphorically speaking. If I was not willing to muster up every last ounce of Grit I had in this paralyzed body, I would be risking even more. So, I’ll have you know that those 24 hours fighting for every breath turned out to the longest hours of my life. When I crossed that imaginary finish line I came to believe you cannot always choose the precise outcomes of the choices you make, but you can take ownership over whatever results occur. Then and there, I made the decision to take ownership over what had happened to me as opposed to blaming Ed, especially considering that we were both drinking.

It’s really no different than anyone—perhaps you—accepting accountability and responsibility versus playing the victim and blaming someone else, like someone on your team, your competition or the markets or the economy, when things don’t go as you planned. This was not only a turning point in my life, it became my defining moment. It gave me the resiliency to stand up and fight to walk again.

I had another experience on that bike ride, this one about Sue Lopez, an HR Director who hosted a conference for her company in Fargo, North Dakota that I presented to. Afterwards, she mentioned that she wished I would have talked a little more about my girlfriend, Kim. She said she couldn’t help but notice how I consider Kim one of the best speaking coaches I’ve ever had even though that is not actually her profession. “She’s very astute,” I said, “and I consider myself coachable.”

Kim has heard me speak a dozen times. When I’m through, we often have a conversation about the organization I spoke to and, when prompted, she offers me her feedback. One day, she asked me to email her a copy of my latest keynote so she could go through it while the presentation was still fresh in her mind.

A few days later, we reconvened. Armed with notes and questions, she asked about my family, my upbringing, my involvement in sports and more details about the auto accident I was involved in that changed my life 32 years ago. She also wanted to know more about Ed, my friend who was driving the car at the time. This conversation continued for hours—and days. It was not the most pleasant experience, truth be told, and I found myself emotional and vulnerable at times. The more open and vulnerable I became, the more heart-wrenching the questions grew.

“After I read your book, Vision-Mindset-Grit,” Kim said, “I thought you could go even deeper with your feelings. I love writers who share their deepest thoughts, the places where the ego is shed and exposure is the greatest, and then bring the reader back to the surface. That’s how I learn that I, too, can overcome any challenge confronting me by digging deep and seeking the truth. It’s scary, but effective.”

Kim also suggested that I change some sentence structure in order to appeal to more women. “As you know, both men and women communicate differently,” Kim said. “Right now, you’re sharing your story from a male point of view. That’s fine, but with a few subtle changes, you might reach even more people in the room.”

After some Reflection, I made the necessary adjustments—just like back when I was working with speaking coach Lou Heckler, an expert in presentation and organization skills. It took time to digest everything, and it took courage and Grit to deliver it confidently on stage. As I did, however, I was happy to see that I was connecting with the audience on a deeper level than before. People were more engaged, laughed harder and became emotional in new places.

My presentation style is direct. I engage in a very intimate and candid conversation with an audience for one hour, articulated with emotional storytelling that captivates everyone’s attention. I’m proud to say that, when I’m speaking, no one reaches for their mobile devices. As Kim says, “That’s powerful storytelling!”

The Power of Reflecting has been a very useful tool to help me understand where I’ve been, what I’ve learned and what I can improve upon. It has allowed me to tap into my inner strength during times of adversity and push the limits of what is possible in both my personal and professional life while putting my concepts of Vision, Mindset and Grit into action.

So, remember to take the time to Reflect!

Posted in GritMindsetVision on July 11, 2017.

For more blogs from IPMA 2018 Conference Keynote Scott Burrows CLICK HERE

What To Do With Print and Mail

Posted by on Oct 31, 2018 in Blogs | 0 comments

IPMA and an astrophysicist take on the question of when to outsource auxiliary communication services and when to keep them in-house. According to data from nearly 100 North American colleges, the average cost to recruit a student has now surpassed the $3,000 mark.  Roughly 15 percent of that money is devoted to print collateral and direct mail. The only higher data point in the recruiting budget is employee salaries and benefits. Print collateral utilized for recruiting represents just a small portion of higher education’s overall printing and mailing budget. The top users of print and mail at many colleges are the departments of enrollment management, annual giving, marketing, event planning, and alumni services. Each one of these departments has a story to tell and often those stories are told through print. Colleges and universities reply on printers to provide posters, marquees, brochures, schedules, programs, appeal letters, stationary, post cards and invitations. For students arriving to campus, there is a need for course materials such as exams, syllabi, journals, lab manuals and custom course packets. After students graduate, they receive newsletters, letter cards, invitations to college events and information on giving opportunities. Beyond all of this, there are millions of prints and copies made each year on local printers and multi-functional copiers. Although the business of higher education continues to be revolutionized by digital technology, print and mail are still very much a part of day-to-day operations. The question as to who should be responsible for the production of all of this print collateral is one that was recently taken on by our association. Should colleges outsource their printing and mailing needs or are these services essential and thereby merit in-house capability and expertise? In order address this question objectively and scientifically, IPMA, working in conjunction with Canon, Inc., hired Angela Whiteside, President and co-founder of KickStage Consulting, Inc. “Our research shows there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question,” reports Ms. Whiteside. “Outsourcing is neither a panacea nor an evil.” What research did show, however, is that when senior administrators were asked “do you find the business model of insourcing your organization’s support services (ie Payroll, Safety, Dining, IT, Facilities, Grounds) preferable and more advantageous to your organization than outsourcing them?” 92% stated that yes, they find the insourcing model preferable. The surrounding discussion conveyed a strong support for in-house printing and mailing, primarily due to the control and closer strategic alignment that it offers the parent organization. “Over the last 20 years,” reports Mike Loyd, executive director for IPMA, “we know that many universities have reconsidered their outsourcing decisions. Support and auxiliary services are all trending back towards being internally provided, especially critically important services like those of print and mail.” What is the explanation for this trend? Have rising external costs and risks decreased the lure of outsourcing vs. internal integration, or are company decision makers becoming better informed? The conclusions from Whiteside’s research suggest that the most profitable sourcing strategy is one that identifies and quantifiably compares all lifecycle costs and risks associated with alternative sourcing choices. If you ask most leaders for their motivation on outsourcing print and mail, the majority, if not all, will indicate that cost reduction is their primary incentive. This is a valid and justifiable reason to pursue...

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PRINT18 Front Runner IPMA Panel Session Insights- By Elisha Kasinskas, RSA

Posted by on Oct 25, 2018 in Blogs, Guest Post | 0 comments

I had the honor of moderating a lunch session at Print 18 for IPMA. “In-plant Panel: Being a Front runner” featured four in-plant managers sharing their thoughts about bring front runners. Panelists Dwight Blackwell, Shaw Industries; Christopher Donlon, Kohler Company; Bruce Goodman, State of Wisconsin; and Joe Kalinowski, Hanover Insurance Group discussed why and how they are leaders, what makes them poised to win and how they showcase their wins. There was consensus from the panelists about why they are front runners, including the ability to know and predict customer needs and then using that understanding to purchase equipment to meet customer needs. Shaw Industries quantifies and measures everything that they can, using that data to make decisions and drive their priorities around equipment purchases. Kohler’s Donlon also looks for equipment to fill customer needs and he pays attention to the firm’s marketing strategies so that he can that fill those needs in-house without direct costs to the brands. The State of Wisconsin collaborates with clients to grow their customer base through innovation and automation, while being fiscally responsible and cost competitive. I found this insight from Goodman, Section Chief for the in-plant, particularly insightful: “We’re really not on the cutting edge. We have equipment in our shop that’s proven in the marketplace and it’s tried and true. We just can’t afford to go out there and [just] buy anything.” At Hanover, Joe Kalinowski and his managers seek out knowledge and technology to find better ways to accomplish tasks. An example Kalinowski gave was using an innovation (developed for them by RSA) and a workflow process that is saving the insurer significant time by automatically simultaneously populating indicia and shipping systems and compiling and householding agent mail. This combination has eliminated the need for a team of people to sort print output, given Hanover tremendous postal savings and eliminated mis-sorting and mis-keying mistakes. We discussed how these in-plants are leaders and how they measure their leadership. Blackwell said, “I’ve had to learn to be uncomfortable and use that data that I’ve collected to make calculated risks… and we’re now seen and trusted a lot more now than we were just two or three years ago.” The State of Wisconsin measures their success by their increase in new customers and additional projects with current customers. Kalinowski showed the audience his scorecard- offering to share it and exchange information with other in-plants- revealing that their operation is saving $800,000 a year compared to if they were an outsourced operation. In discussing how they are poised to win, the panelists cited how they use change, innovation and meet customer needs before the competition does. The Shaw in-plant operation runs itself like a business with a P&L. They measure and publish their savings and have made change part of their culture. Donlon keeps an eye toward the future, reviewing quarterly what they can do to improve and he “really pays attention to what’s going on around our campus,” noting that he had just found out that a manufacturing plant shift might make a new home available for his shop. Goodman feels that in-plants must be innovative just to survive. He finds ideas from working with other in-plants on panels, being part of IPMA, and attending conferences, and then validated the ideas with customers....

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The Ever-Changing In-Plant

Posted by on Oct 17, 2018 in Blogs | 0 comments

When I started working for Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators (DMBA), 21 years ago, print was basically the only form of communication sent to our customers. We had a small offset print shop with one designer and two pressmen. We had a separate mail operation with a team lead and four mail clerks. We produced and stored a large inventory of applications, carbonless forms, letterhead, envelopes, etc. We had so much work during our open enrollment period that we outsourced a significant portion of our printing to BYU Print & Mail Services. The printed communication pieces our staff produced and mailed were essential to our business and the customers we served. Over the years, as technology progressed and electronic communication became more accessible, our print shop and mail center saw a sharp decline in our work volume. We slowly stopped producing large offset jobs and graduated to short-run, variable data jobs. We sold our offset equipment and moved into the digital world. We have always tried to respond and keep up with the ever-changing environment we work in, which can be both exciting and scary, but the staff at DMBA has always been very open to change and willing to learn new technologies, processes and procedures. We are now working with our communications and IT departments to move into the omni-channel or cross-channel communication realm. We are looking for ways that print can reinforce or enhance different forms of electronic communication. We want to ensure that the services we provide today are as valuable, to our company and to our customers, as they were when print was the primary form of communication, but we don’t want to print just for the sake of printing. We want to provide value! There is nothing terribly unique about the challenges we face here at DMBA compared to every other in-plant operation out there. I’ve heard similar concerns and issues discussed at every IPMA conference I’ve attended and on the IPMA community forum. The bottom line is this: if you are an in-plant manager, you have to keep up. You have to be proactive. You cannot bury your head in the sand and hope that everything will be okay when you come back up for air. This is where the IPMA community can play a role. If you are a member, you are a part of a very diverse family of like-minded individuals that can help. There are large, medium, and small shops in this community. There are managers in higher education, government, K through 12, insurance, retail, etc. There are vendor partners in this community. There are resources online at and there is a very competent staff in Kearney, Missouri that can steer you in the right direction. Use your resources. Be proactive and keep moving forward. Mike O’Hara is the Manager of the Central Services Department at Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators(DMBA) located in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has been a Certified Mail Manager(CMM) since September of 2013 and is current chapter president of the Utah Chapter of IPMA. He currently serves on IPMA’s Board of Directors as Membership...

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The IPMA Roadshow is coming to The University of Texas Austin!!!

Posted by on Oct 10, 2018 in Blogs | 0 comments

The IPMA Roadshow is rolling again! Next stop- Austin, Texas- Live Music Capital of the World, Texas state capital, and home to Bevo, the Texas Longhorns, and the beautiful campus of The University of Texas at Austin.   This show is going to be big- just like Texas!   Richard Beto and his 2017 and 2018 IPMA/IPG InPrint Best of Show award winning staff at The University of Texas at Austin Document Solutions will be bringing you a full day of education, a tour of their in-plant, and a vendor fair where you can have facetime with suppliers outside of your in-plant. You’ll learn how to leverage technology on your campus to improve your print and mail operations. Discover best practices for improving print quality. Hear Ashley Gorfine’s journey as Director of Print and Mail Services at Princeton University. And learn how to build relevance in 2019 and beyond. There will be door prizes and networking opportunities, so don’t forget to bring lots of business cards. While you’re there, treat yourself to some of the world’s best barbeque. There is nothing else like a Texas smoke pit!!! And  be sure to experience Austin’s legendary music scene- from country to blues to rock, from honky tonks to dancehalls to the Moody Theater- home to Austin City Limits. Austin is calling!!!! Looking forward to seeing you there!!! For more information & to register: Sponsors: Exhibitors:     Jan Portwood, Marketing & Social Media Manager IPMA Jan joined IPMA’s staff in 2018. She is a seasoned professional with technology, marketing, customer service and sales expertise. She is very familiar with the in-plant printing and mailing industries having worked for 10 years at Louisiana State University (LSU) Graphic Services as an Information Technology Professional where she was instrumental in modernizing the technology—both hardware and software. In addition, Jan is a professional, award-winning photographer who has had her work featured in exhibitions across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including New York...

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IPMA Mankato Roadshow Postponed

Posted by on Oct 5, 2018 in Blogs | 1 comment

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the IPMA Roadshow in Mankato, MN is being postponed. We hope to reschedule this event in 2019. We apologize for the inconvenience and will keep you...

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IPMA’s first ever public sector symposium was a smashing success!!! Here’s a recap.

Posted by on Sep 26, 2018 in Blogs | 0 comments

IPMA’s first ever public sector symposium was a smashing success!!! Marcie Carr, Director, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania General Services, Bureau of Publications, and her staff put together an amazing 2 ½ days of education, fun, and tours. Thank you so much!!! So many great memories and friendships formed!!! And what a fabulous venue- The State Museum of Pennsylvania! A real first- a symposium in a museum surrounded by history and all things Pennsylvania.   As a warm-up the evening before, IPMA took over the top floor of McGrath’s authentic Irish Pub for our private opening night festivities. Sponsored by Ricoh, it set the mood for a great event and allowed members to chillax, connect with old friends, and make new ones. Our main event was kicked off by Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of General Services Kurt Topper who welcomed us. He had a great perspective on the value of the in-plant model in government and said he was extremely proud of the Bureau of Publications team (Marcie’s group) and how they were adding value to their state services. Kudos Marcie Carr!!! Sessions began with In-Plant Graphics’ Bob Neubauer who previewed an upcoming report that had data about investments being made by in-plants. He brought Marcie Carr and David McCloskey, both from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, into the conversation to discuss their inkjet installation and its benefits. Immediately following, attendees broke into small groups for roundtable discussions to “talk shop.”   Afterwards, the vendor fair began. So easy to step right in as the exhibit was in the same room with the sessions! This encouraged interaction all day long. Attendees loved it- so much so, that it was difficult to get everyone seated for the next session. But not to worry, there were many additional opportunities to connect later. Workflow was next to take the spotlight. Pat Groeger of Rochester Software Associates (RSA) presented “Government In-plant Workflow Challenges, Solutions & Opportunities.” She discussed the three common workflows RSA sees in the public sector, the challenges in-plants face, and offered solutions and opportunities for the public sector to balance the need to reduce costs while better serving their public’s needs and making it easy to engage with the in-plant. After lunch, there was additional time to spend visiting with vendors for face-to-face questions and learning about things to come. As always, there were door prizes- something everyone looks forward to! The afternoon was packed with information. Ricoh’s Ken Tucker and Debbie Pavletich from Ricoh discussed keeping your in-plant relevant through marketing integration. Mike Lincoln from State of Colorado followed with “How to Be That Mail Center of the Year.” The State of Colorado has received the award multiple times, and Mike talked about the strategies they have used to make themselves a top in-plant. The day’s sessions wrapped with Tammy Golden, Assistant Commissioner of General Services for the State of Tennessee, who discussed Lessons Learned through interactive round tables. Topics included balancing the importance of encouraging creativity and innovation with the low risk tolerance experienced in the public sector, and using the Make New Mistakes (MNM) management philosophy that says If we aren’t making mistakes at all, we’re probably not being creative and trying new things. We learn from those mistakes so that we don’t keep making the same ones. With the MNM philosophy...

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Folder Works hosts first ever IPMA Roadshow at a supplier site in Mankato, MN!

Posted by on Sep 25, 2018 in Blogs | 0 comments

2018 is a year of firsts for the IPMA Roadshow! Our second stop is our first ever Roadshow hosted at a supplier site. Folder Works and Adam Christenson, Folder Works’ Senior Folders Ninja and Consultant, are our hosts in beautiful Mankato, MN on October 16, 2018 at the Taylor Tech Center. We’ll have education, tours, networking, and a vendor show. Our first education session examines keys and best practices to grow your business through partnerships with wholesale and trade printers. The rest of the day is filled with additional sessions focusing on timely topics from industry leaders to keep you on top of innovations and trends to position your in-plant on top, tours, and a vendor exhibit to give you one-on-one access away from your in-plant for personalized demonstrations and solution options. Plus you’ll be networking, so don’t forget to bring lots of business cards, and be sure to enter drawings for door prizes and giveaways. And, wow! 4 tours: Labelworks, Navitor Specialty Products, Navitor/FolderWorks and Corporate Graphics Commercial, as well as a tour of the Taylor Innovation Center. What a unique opportunity to look inside the world of these suppliers! You’ll also participate in a roundtable discussion with business leaders from FolderWorks, Labelworks, Navitor Specialty Products, and ADG Promotional Products to get your questions answered and explore partnership possibilities for your in-plant.   It’s fall! So come early for leaf peeping in this beautiful city, our Welcome Reception at the fabulous Bonfire Restaurant, and, if you’re a hockey fan, to catch Minnesota State University Hockey in Friday and Saturday night matches. Plus stay for a perfect ending to this amazing event with an evening at Mankato Brewery, complete with a band and food trucks! We look forward to seeing you there! For more information and to register:   Special thanks to our event sponsors: Our exhibitors:       Jan Portwood, Marketing & Social Media Manager IPMA Jan joined IPMA’s staff in 2018. She is a seasoned professional with technology, marketing, customer service and sales expertise. She is very familiar with the in-plant printing and mailing industries having worked for 10 years at Louisiana State University (LSU) Graphic Services as an Information Technology Professional where she was instrumental in modernizing the technology—both hardware and software. In addition, Jan is a professional, award-winning photographer who has had her work featured in exhibitions across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including New York City.      ...

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Posted by on Sep 17, 2018 in Blogs, News | 0 comments

              Choose Courage Over Comfort Writing this month’s blog was a surreal, yet validating experience.  Here I was, writing a blog about courage, on the 17th anniversary of 9/11…  Although 9/11 stands out to many Americans as the first major act of terrorism in the US, it will also be remembered as a time when Americans showed great courage.  Many people worked together to help others, despite horrific conditions.  Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s courageous leadership along with many brave acts of heroism occurred as fireman, policeman and passengers on planes saved lives and performed miracles. Difficult times are the catalyst for courage.  Small acts of courage will change your life and the world. Since the beginning of time, many historical figures dared greatly and took risks to do what was right, even if it meant they were on their own or many were against them.  Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa and the list goes on…  These courageous leaders lived and practiced their values, showing great integrity.  They chose courage during the toughest times, and they saved and changed many lives for the better. Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen – Winston Churchill Start by practicing courage in small ways.  If you’re making a decision with little information, having an uncomfortable conversation or communicating when you don’t have the answers, these moments of truth and our actions teach others and create future courageous leaders. Have courage to trust your intuition. One of my mentors, Stephanie Zamora shares, “Fear means, “buckle up, it’s time to grow and expand!”  Stephanie says, “Whatever you want to create or accomplish, fear will show up at exactly the time you need to be nudged forward. Don’t let it deter you from moving forward.” I’ve learned that in order to grow and expand, we have to get used to being uncomfortable and embrace the journey.  There are times in my life (I call them shoulder taps) when I put myself “out there” to help or share a positive comment, sometimes with complete strangers.  You know those times when our conscience seems to nudge or to speak to us?  Following that intuition is life changing…for us and others. It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are – EE Cummings Being courageous with people and relationships means saying what needs to be said. …Even if it means it will make others uncomfortable.  If comments come from a place of good intention, integrity and practicing our values, we are practicing soul care.  It takes courage to speak up.  It also takes courage to call out bullshit.  Brene’ Brown refers to this in her newest book, Braving the Wilderness.  When you’ve given your best, but behaviors and actions destroy your integrity or ignore personal boundaries, there’s also courage in walking away.  And there is definitely courage in forgiveness. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage – Anais Nin It takes courage to be vulnerable, but it’s powerful and life changing. Many people see emotions and vulnerability as a sign of weakness.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  We are strongest in our weakness.  Guilt and...

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Wow!!! This new IPMA benefit will blow you away!!!

Posted by on Sep 12, 2018 in Blogs | 0 comments

Starting today, IPMA members will be able to enjoy significant savings on premier suppliers, like Office Depot. Best part – it’s FREE! No fees, no obligations – just great business and personal saving benefits! Check out the list below. I was so excited to see this! Great deals for your in-plant and yourself- every day and for when you travel.   Office Depot: up to 80% off office essentials YRC: 83% off tradeshow & LTL shipping discounted online accounting services Sterling Talent Solutions: 54% off fast, reliable & complete background checks Avis/Budget: up to 35% off personal & business rentals nationwide Ticket Deals: up to 60% on tickets to theme parks, movies & more Reward Shopping: up to 30% cash back rebates at over 1,200 online stores 4imprint: 10% off promotional products RX Discount Card: up to 75% off prescriptions not covered by insurance FedEx: up to 54% off express and ground shipping ADP: up to 20% off payroll services Hotel Engine: up to 60% off 100,000+ hotels for business & personal travel USPAY: credit card processing rates less than 1% For more information, go to now and get saving!           Jan Portwood, Marketing & Social Media Manager IPMA Jan joined IPMA’s staff in 2018. She is a seasoned professional with technology, marketing, customer service and sales expertise. She is very familiar with the in-plant printing and mailing industries having worked for 10 years at Louisiana State University (LSU) Graphic Services as an Information Technology Professional where she was instrumental in modernizing the technology—both hardware and software. In addition, Jan is a professional, award-winning photographer who has had her work featured in exhibitions across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including New York City.  ...

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Retaining Top Talent for Organizational Success – Tammy Golden, State of Tennessee

Posted by on Sep 4, 2018 in Blogs, News | 0 comments

Retaining Top Talent for Organizational Success At the IPMA conference in Costa Mesa this June, I led a ‘Bring Your Own Problem’ round table with the government sector. We started the session with everyone introducing themselves and sharing one problem they have been experiencing recently. I was a little bit surprised that almost everyone there mentioned staffing as their number one concern.  Many of us seem to have staff that is getting close to retirement and not a big talent pool to draw on for their replacement. So what’s the answer? One tactic we can use is to make sure we don’t lose people for the wrong reasons. How do we make sure we retain them as long as possible? Here are my top 5 strategies for retaining great employees: The number one reason people leave their jobs is because of their supervisor. Or to put it another way, people quit their bosses, not their jobs. So make sure your supervisors know the importance of getting to know their employees and building relationships, being fair and consistent across the board, and getting them proper training. Did you know that many employees decide whether or not they will stay with a job based on their experience in the first few months? It’s really important to have a solid on-boarding program for employees. You should develop a training program that ensures the employee has all the tools they need to be successful – the technical training as well as the cultural. Assigning a work buddy to help them integrate with other employees can help ensure success.             Make sure you’re providing opportunities for growth for your top performers. The obvious way to provide opportunity is through promotions, but it can also be done through things like leadership development programs, attending conferences, and selecting them for task forces where they can use their creativity to implement new ideas. When it comes to your employees, who are the ones that consume most of your time? In many cases, it’s the employees who are not performing well. Just think about all the time that’s spent on disciplinary actions and coaching of problem employees. What would happen if we changed this around and spent more time on the employees that we want to stay? We do exit interviews when employees leave, right? So why not do ‘stay interviews’ to get them to stay? If we invest our time in them, it makes them feel more valued and they are prone to stay longer. When we do ‘stay interviews’ with employees, we ask them questions about their goals, what experiences they enjoy most at work and what they would like to see in the future. Having these discussions lets them know that we want them to stay around and hopefully delays their exit interview. Finally, one of the most important things we can do for our star employees is get rid of the dead weight in our organization. As hard as it might be, it’s not fair to the employees who come to work every day doing their best to have to work side by side with negativity and/or incompetence. You have to make sure they’ve been given every opportunity to be successful. But once you’ve done that and they have...

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