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E r i e R e g i o n a l C h a m b e r a n d G r o w t h P a r t n e r s h i p M a g a z i n e w w w . E r i e PA . c o m F e b r u a r y 2 0 0 9








Inside this Issue:

Travel Into The W.I.L.D. Second Annual Women In Leadership Development Conference March 27, 2009 t t  t t 









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Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Par tnership Magazine



X X X  E r i e PA  D P N     Februar y 2009

President’s Perspective....................... 2

Welcome New Members.................... 3

W.I.L.D. Conference Agenda.................................................4-5

Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership Mission Statement Leadership to attract, retain and expand business.

Board of Directors

Gregory S. Baldwin Jr. Peter Balmert John J. Barber John C. Bloomstine C. Angela Bontempo Dr. Jack D. Burke Kurt F. Buseck Carl M. Carlotti Terrence W. Cavanaugh Rosanne Cheeseman Gary L. Clark Joel Deuterman Harvey E. Downey Mary L. Eckert Dr. Antoine M. Garibaldi Thomas C. Hoffman Thomas Kennedy Leonard Kosar John P. Leemhuis, Jr

John T. Malone James E. Martin James W. Martin Michael P. Martin Char Mashyna Marlene D. Mosco James R. Napier James Rutkowski Jr. James A. Schaffner Matthew Schultz Timothy G. Shuttleworth Ronald A. Steele Noreen A. Stegkamper David M. Tullio Russell S. Warner Michael Weber Thomas J. Wedzik Matt Wiertel

W.I.L.D. Planning Committee Members during event kickoff meeting with Infinite Power & Design, showcasing the 2008 Roar on the Shore bike they designed.

Women Entrepreneurs Lead the Way ......................................8-9

Impact of W.I.L.D. Conference Easy to Spot..................................... 12-15

W.I.L.D. Conference Keynote Speakers.........................18-20

President/CEO Jim Dible

Vice President, Chamber Claudia Thornburg

Vice President, Economic Development Jacob A. Rouch

Vice President, Growth Partnership Mary Bula


Matthew Cummings

Contributing Writers Soni Dimond Jan Hargrave Jane Horetsky

Terri Kennedy Barbara Niebauer Jennifer Smith

Cover Design

Leah Humphries, Apple Creative Group


Tungsten Creative Group

For Advertising Information

Julie Graff, Sales Executive 814.454.7191;


Matthew Cummings, Dir. of Marketing & Communications Sara Galbreath, Sales Executive Julie B. Graff, Sales Executive Melanie A. Johnson, Business Retention & Expansion Program Manager Doug M. Massey, Workforce Development Coordinator-Training Ashley Pelletier, Workforce Development Coordinator-Recruitment Cathy Noble, Events Coordinator Michael Pistone, Research Coordinator Linda Robbins, Accountant Susan M. Ronto, Membership Coordinator Doreen E. Sanfratello, Receptionist

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[perspective president’s

The title is a mouthful, but the mission is clear. This edition of ERIE Magazine is largely devoted to the Gannon University SBDC Second Annual W.I.L.D. (Women In Leadership Development) Conference. That’s the mouthful part. But the 500 women expected to attend the conference on Friday, March 27, at the Ambassador Banquet and Conference Center, will be there because they believe in the W.I.L.D. mission statement: “To empower professional and entrepreneurial women with knowledge, energy and passion.” Entrepreneurship, leadership and wellness will be the breakout topics at the conference, in addition to hearing from three renowned speakers during the day. All of that will be presented between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. If responses to the first conference last year are any indication, women in attendance will indeed come away with the knowledge, energy and passion the mission statement foresees. Quotes from stories in this edition about last year’s conference:

“Being at the W.I.L.D. Conference is so inspirational.” “The idea that there are women in the Erie community who are interested in your idea is amazing.” “W.I.L.D. changed my life! It gave me the network and support system of women within the community….I never knew I could be the woman I am today.” “We’ve met new business-vendor partners…gained new clients, and I’ve learned information I can put to use in my daily life.” I’ve attended many conferences in my life, and I don’t recall any that excited me as much as the W.I.L.D. Conference did for its participants last year. The Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership (ERCGP) is proud to have the opportunity to partner with this year’s W.I.L.D. Conference in telling its story and spreading its mission.

We know that among our more than 800 members there are countless women in leadership positions. Six of the community’s women in key leadership positions are members of our Board of Directors. Something I didn’t realize until reading the articles in this edition of ERIE Magazine is that nationally, 40 percent of all privately held firms are owned by women. Or that those 10.1 million firms employ 13 million people and generate almost $2 trillion in revenue annually. It’s obvious that women as entrepreneurs and in leadership positions is not a new concept. But having a conference that blends an educational component with national talent and a focus on our local resources, as well as having fun along the way, has struck a very responsive chord in the Erie region. I’ve always believed that management is about today, while leadership is about tomorrow. That’s what I think is most exciting to me about the W.I.L.D. Conference as someone who cares about the future of the Erie region. There are 500 women who will attend the conference who won’t accept that life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans, and who will take another step to control their own destiny. The Erie region stands to benefit immensely from their knowledge, energy and passion. Leah Humphries of Apple Creative Group chaired the first W.I.L.D. Conference and designed the distinctive logo of a woman’s hands holding the globe as well as the cover of this month’s magazine. As she said: “Who wouldn’t want to attend an event titled W.I.L.D. that offered programs for ‘Queens of the Jungle?’”


[welcome new members


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Mattress Showcase has been serving the Erie community for more than four years. Dedicated to selling the best quality sleep products at the lowest prices. Locally owned and operated. Mr. John Griger 5759 Peach Street &SJF 1"  

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We look forward to seeing you at these networking events for Chamber members. Please RSVP to the Erie Regional Chamber at (814) 454-7191 or


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W.I.L.D. Conference Agenda March 27, 2009

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Women Entrepreneurs Knowledge, Energy Originated by Gannon University Small Business Development Center By Barbara Niebauer and Jane Horetsky

Gannon SBDC W.I.L.D. Steering Committee with National Speaker Jean Gatz Left to right, Joy Johnson, Jodie Gloekler, Debra Steiner, Jane Horetsky, Jean Gatz, Maggie Horne, Lynn Lewis and Betsy DeAngelo.

The Foundation There is an intense craving in northwest Pennsylvania for the Women In Leadership Development (W.I.L.D.) concept. Today’s women are motivated by a desire for personal achievement and the need for a challenge. There is a strong necessity for greater understanding of women in entrepreneurship, leadership and wellness roles. These are the building blocks of the three-fold W.I.L.D. concept which inspired the mission statement: To empower professional and entrepreneurial women with knowledge, energy and passion. While embracing entrepreneurship as way of thinking, it is important to note that the rate of women entrepreneurship is growing at approximately four times the national average. For example, 40 percent of all privately held firms are owned by women. These firms employ 13 million people and generate almost $2 trillion in revenue annually. The top industries favored by women entrepreneurs are professional services, technology and construction. Throughout northwest 8

Pennsylvania, women are excelling in small business ownership and contributing to the region’s economic development. Simultaneously, women leaders in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations possess an incredible spirit of entrepreneurial thinking that contributes to building solutions, problem solving and innovation. This state of mind introduces the second tripod leg, leadership. According to Confucius, “Leadership is to make conscious what lies unconscious among followers.” Women as wives, mothers, sisters and friends certainly exemplify leadership. Today in Fortune 500 companies, female CEOs number 14, compared to four in 2001. Of the Fortune 500 board seats and corporate offices, females occupy about 15 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Erie has a number of these women leaders who demonstrate top leadership qualities, not because of job titles or specified roles, but instead because of their incredible commitment and determination to nurture, build and succeed.

In the W.I.L.D. concept, wellness shares the tripod legs along with entrepreneurship and leadership. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reminds women that taking care of themselves is essential to living longer, healthier, and happier lives. In fact, the research shows that when women take care of themselves, the health of their family improves. As wives, mothers and sisters, women often forget to focus on their own healthy well-being because of multiple roles and tremendous multi-tasking. This community is very fortunate to have a number of health institutions focused on the key topics and pillars of wellness. The W.I.L.D. programming is an opportunity to bridge and integrate these vast resources into women’s busy daily routines. On March 13, 2008, the Gannon University SBDC along with community partners hosted the First Annual Women In Leadership Development Conference. Over 250 energized women attended the conference that aimed to inspire knowledge, energy and passion

Lead the Way with

and Passion through national speakers, educational tracks and boutique shopping.

Annually, W.I.L.D. recruits an entrepreneur as its chairperson who takes the lead in community awareness campaigns while actively pursuing the W.I.L.D. mission. Leah Humphries, owner of Apple Creative Group and first annual W.I.L.D. chairperson, volunteered her creativity to develop the entire W.I.L.D. campaign. The 2009 chair, Renee Vaught of Infinite Power and Design, expanded the W.I.L.D. mission to enhance our community’s philanthropy. 2010 presents a triumvirate of leaders: Connie Bootz and Shari Robinson of Forté Marketing, and Colleen Moore-Mezler of Moore Research.

W.I.L.D. Today The energetic force behind W.I.L.D. is the planning committee, which includes many passionate W.I.L.D. women. Pioneering the path, these women represent small business owners, business leaders and nonprofit organizations. Planning meetings carry a W.I.L.D. theme complete with wild music and a safari décor. One very memorable meeting was held at the local newspaper on a snowy, blustery 15-degree day well before a December sunrise. The memory is embedded not because

Today’s women are motivated by a desire for personal achievement and the need for a challenge. of the severe weather, but rather by the fact that more than 50 W.I.L.D. women attended. It was standing room only! That support, vitality and passion is but one example of W.I.L.D.’s enthusiastic energy and commitment to the W.I.L.D. mission. Further, testimonials feed the spirit of the W.I.L.D. concept. As written in an email from a young Erie female entrepreneur, “W.I.L.D. changed my life! It gave me the network and support system of women within the community. I needed to increase my daily energy levels, reach outside of myself to increase my knowledge base and follow my passion into starting my own company while empowering me in my 2½-year professional career. I never knew that I could be the woman I am today. I look forward to the woman I will become as I attend this year’s 2009 W.I.L.D. Conference! I can’t wait to hear other women’s stories and watch them grow like I did! Thank you, W.I.L.D.”

The Future The W.I.L.D. concept holds endless possibilities, strong community partnerships and new adventures. It is anticipated that in 2010 W.I.L.D. will emerge as a national-level conference. Additionally, the Gannon University SBDC W.I.L.D. concept continues throughout the year as June 2009 will celebrate a second annual W.I.L.D. Women’s Golf Day, led once again by Karen Bukowski, Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) instructor. The W.I.L.D.’s collective way of thinking is instrumental in allowing imaginations to expand to new opportunities in entrepreneurship, leadership and wellness. W.I.L.D.’s bright and promising future is eloquently portrayed by Helen Keller: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

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Impact of W.I.L.D. Conference

Easy to Spot By Jennifer Smith

Want proof that women entrepreneurs are a growing force? Look no further than the Second Annual Women in Leadership Development Conference. The logo with a woman’s hands holding the globe says it all. Created and led by Gannon University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and sponsored by 20 community partners, the event aims to empower professional and entrepreneurial women with knowledge, energy and passion. For the nearly 300 women who attended the 2008 conference­—the impact has been powerful.


“When you have businesses scattered out across a multicounty area, there is a good chance they may not know each other or know how they can compliment each other,” said Renee Vaught, owner of Infinite Power & Design LLC. That’s the beauty of the W.I.L.D. Conference, said Vaught, who 2008 W.I.L.D. Conference attendees, from left, Beth Zimmer, Debra Steiner and is chairwoman Liz Wilson. of the 2009 event. When you surround yourself with other business owners, you become a community, sharing ideas, common experiences and lessons learned along the way. “Being at the W.I.L.D. Conference is so inspirational,” said Vaught, who as a panelist in 2008 shared advice on avoiding unnecessary start-up expenses and took participants through her own company’s decision to expand through new products and a more diverse customer base. “It’s easy to pick up a mentor or two and move forward as a member of a community rather than as an individual who may be lacking the resources or knowledge of successful business strategies.”



Before W.I.L.D. 2008, Jerri Allen had a vision, but not much more. The 63-year-old retiree, who volunteers with the Vipers’ Neighborhood Watch, saw an unmet need in Erie’s lower eastside. She wanted to help low-income families who were struggling to buy school uniforms and other clothing. But how? Through the Erie Weed and Seed program, Allen was able to attend classes at Gannon University’s Small Business Development Center and the 2008 W.I.L.D. Conference. She came away not only with a business concept but also with the information and confidence to give it a try. “They said, ‘Don’t let anyone tell you that it cannot be done because you’re a woman,’” said Allen who learned how to start a business, secure financing and grow her idea at W.I.L.D. 2008. “The idea that there are women in the Erie community who are interested in your idea is amazing,” said Allen, who wants to serve as a consultant with the Erie School District, partnering with local department stores to provide needed clothing for students and their families.

Gannon University SBDC, connecting businesses with the resources to help them start, grow and prosper.

Powerful Message

At home, she shares the skills she’s acquired over the past 14 years with her three daughters.

Nationally, women entrepreneurs own 10.1 million firms and generate $1.9 trillion in annual revenues. With more than 400 women expected to attend the Second Annual Women In Leadership Development Conference, the event gives visibility to Erie’s entrepreneurs and their important role in the region’s economy. “There are many successful women business owners in our region,” said Rebecca Cornish, a coach who uses over 35 years of global business experience to help Erie-based businesses take risks, implement goals and create the culture for success. “It’s important for the community to better understand how women contribute to Erie’s economy.”

That concept of women working together to share knowledge, energy and passion along with supporting each other is at the core of the W.I.L.D. Conference, said Steiner, noting over 50 business professionals volunteer for the committee meetings. “W.I.L.D. is showing respect for the women who led the way before us and keeps the gate open for more opportunities to come,” she said. “The conference is successful because women are truly committed to the mission of helping each other. “W.I.L.D. is working—women are partnering and empowering to build stronger professional and personal foundations.”


Before attending W.I.L.D. 2008, Nicole Haibach was going to work every day with the desire to be better, but not knowing how. Continued on next page


Debra Steiner doesn’t just understand the importance of leadership, she lives it. By day, Steiner serves as the director of the


2008 W.I.L.D. boutiquers in the Atrium at the Ambassador Banquet and Conference Center.

“The experience changed my life!” said Haibach, who started Authentic Holdings, LLC as a result of the conference. The company aims to empower individuals and businesses by utilizing core values to improve productivity, proactive financial savings and overall personal wellness and energy awareness.

“I created Authentic Holdings, LLC to unleash my passions in a way that could empower others in the way that W.I.L.D. empowered me,” she explained. “I never knew I could be the woman I am today and look forward to the woman I will become as I attend this conference again.”


From the beginning, Connie Bootz could tell this event was just different. Participants were randomly seated at animal themed tables giving them


“Rather than sitting with friends, it was fun to meet new people,” said Bootz, who is co-owner of Forté Marketing. Unlike other conferences Bootz has attended, W.I.L.D. had the niche of being geared for women, an educational component with national talent and a focus on our local resources. And with boutiques for shopping it also promised to be fun, she said. It’s no surprise the 2008 conference was a sell-out with nearly 300 in attendance. “We’ve met new business-vendor partners, Forté has gained new clients and I’ve learned information I can put to use in my daily life,” said Bootz, who will co-chair the 2010 event with her business partner, Shari Robinson, and Colleen Moore Mezler from Moore Research.

Leah Elizabeth Humphries Age: 41 Business: President, Apple Creative Group (2007), My Heart Ties (2006), Leah Elizabeth Jewelry (2006)

Connie Bootz Age: 46 Business: Co-owner, Forté Marketing, LLC Established: 2005

Jerri Allen Age: 63 Business concept: Serve as consultant to supply school uniforms/clothing to low-income families on Erie’s lower eastside.

the opportunity to network and development new business relationships.

Debra Steiner Age: 38 Business: Director, Gannon University Small Business Development Center

Rebecca Cornish Age: 53 Business: Owner, Business Coach Resources Established: 2007

Nicole Haibach Age: 33 Business: Authentic Holdings, LLC Established: 2008

Renee Vaught Age: 32 Business: Infinite Power & Design LLC Established: 2006


Leah Humphries was responsible for developing the W.I.L.D. logo. Little did she know the project would be responsible for personal and professional development with longlasting impact. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Creating the W.I.L.D. logo became the tip of the iceberg,â&#x20AC;? said Humphries, who established Apple $SFBUJWF(SPVQJO4IPSUMZ into the project, Humphries joined the steering committee and was ultimately asked to be chairwoman PGUIFDPOGFSFODF â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never forget how much that meant to me personally and professionally,â&#x20AC;? said Humphries, who also owns two other small businesses, Leah Elizabeth Jewelry and My Heart Ties. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The experience changed my perspective on my abilities and my gift of design.â&#x20AC;?

Gannon University Physician Assistant Department students at last yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s conference.

Thanks to her experience with the W.I.L.D. Conference, Humphries doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see scary hurdles ahead, just possibilities. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you force yourself to keep growing personally and professionally, your company will almost always follow right along,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is no end to what you can accomplish when you stay positive and open to new ideas and friends.â&#x20AC;?

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No matter what your goals, the Second Annual W.I.L.D. Conference promises to deliver a professional program filled with fun, said Rebecca Cornish, who established Business $PBDI3FTPVSDFTJO â&#x20AC;&#x153;Who wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to attend an event titled W.I.L.D. that offered programs for â&#x20AC;&#x153;Queens of the Jungle?â&#x20AC;? she said.




Women In Leadership Development

Thank you to our additional



Beth Ann Callihan-Ricci, D.O. Family Medicine

Lilia Gorodinsky, D.O. Neuro-Muscular Medicine Specialist

Paula Gunduz, M.D. Obstetrics/Gynecology

Danielle Hansen, D.O. Internal Medicine

Doctors who practice what they teach

Micalyn Baney, D.O. Family Medicine

To feel your best, physically and mentally, choose doctors who not only provide health care, but also teach it. Doctors who must have extensive experience, the latest knowledge of medical advancements, plus the enthusiasm and good communication skills to share it. Doctors such as those who belong to Medical Associates of Erie (MAE). We’re a group of primary care and specialty doctors who teach in affiliation with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) and who see patients in convenient offices located throughout Erie County. With MAE, you’ll get a doctor who teaches others how best to treat a patient. Like you. I feel ________.

Ask a grieving child how they’re feeling and you may get a lot of answers. Or none at all. For many, finding the words to express their feelings can be difficult. But while finding the right words may not be easy, finding the right place to turn to for help can be. At the Caring Place, we’re here when grieving children need someone to listen, to talk, or to just sit and be. For more information about one of our peer support groups or to volunteer, call us today.


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W.I.L.D. Conference Keynote Speakers The Power of QUESTIONS Contributed by: Terri Kennedy, Ph.D. 2009 W.I.L.D. Conference Keynote Speaker

Do you ever avoid asking questions because you think you’ll sound naive? Are you willing to ask the tough and unpopular questions? Does your voice dominate conversations? The Nobel prize-winning novelist Naquib Manfouz said, “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” In other words, the quality of the answer depends on the quality of the question. Scientists and researchers live by this principle of specificity. They know that the answer is really in how you structure the question, and if you don’t like the answer, it may be time to reframe the question. Questions have great power. They can inform, provoke, lead, affirm, confirm, review, persuade, assess, clarify, poll, or even confront. They can be a valuable tool in business and in life. One of my professors at Harvard Business School once said, “Management techniques may change. What we’re really teaching you is a way of thinking, the ability to ask the right questions.” For example, when you’re trying to close a sale, instead of asking, “Which model do you like?” ask, “What results are you


expecting?” When you’re trying to interpret a situation, instead of asking, “Why is this happening to me?” ask, “What can I learn from this?” Open-ended questions, in particular, can yield significant information allowing you to be in charge of the discussion by finding out what is on the other person’s mind. They allow you to challenge assumptions, reduce misunderstandings, solicit honest feedback, make more informed decisions, and elicit insights. Here are some steps to get you started: Start asking. Have the courage to speak up. If something is not working right in a situation, ask, “How can this be better?” If you don’t understand something in a discussion, ask, “Can you please explain?” Watch out for close-ended questions. A closed-ended question, such as those starting with the words “do,” “could,” “would,” or “are,” can only be answered “yes,” “no,” or “maybe.” An open-ended question starting with words such as “how” and “what” invites reflection and sparks a discussion. Be non-threatening. Avoid making your questions sound like you are conducting an interrogation. Start with easy and short questions, use a soft tone and suspend judgment. You could start off with, “I’m interested in learning about...” 

Follow up. Keep asking. After the first question, continue with, “Could you expand on that for me?” See how many questions you can ask before you actually comment. Listen and reflect. Rather than anticipate the response, truly listen. Reflect on what the other person is saying. Be comfortable with silence. You’ll learn more if you allow them to continue.  With the growing diversity and complexity of our global business environment, it is important for leaders to have the interpersonal skills to inspire innovation and purposeful action. Learning how to harness the power of questions is one of the first steps to becoming a PWR® Leader and achieving Purpose With Results®.

Do You Speak Body Language? Mastering the Art of Nonverbal Communication Contributed by: Jan Hargrave 2009 W.I.L.D. Conference Keynote Speaker

Most individuals focus only on the verbal part of an encounter; yet, during an average 30-minute meeting, approximately 800 different nonverbal messages are exchanged. The entire body—posture, gait, eye movements, gestures, feet, legs, torso, arms, hands, head, facial expressions, and mannerisms—needs to be analyzed to get the true meaning of a message.

responses can reveal if you are anxious, bored or uncertain. The moment you meet a person, he judges you by what he sees and feels. The process takes less than 10 seconds, but the impression is permanent.

Inborn, Genetic, or Learned

Research and debate has been conducted to discover whether nonverbal signals are inborn, learned, genetically transferred, or acquired in some other way. For example, most children are born History of Body Language with the instantaneous ability to Since man’s appearance on earth, he suck, indicating that this gesture is has communicated with body language, either inborn or genetic. The smiling a key to the inner psychological and gestures of children born deaf emotional state of an individual. Not and/or blind occur independently of surprisingly, research indicates that learning or copying, meaning that the human body can produce more these gestures also must be inborn. than 7 million unique movements. Additionally, when researchers studied Dr. Albert Mehrabian, a noted the facial expressions of people from researcher in the field of nonverbal five widely different cultures, they communication, found that the total found that each culture used the same impact of a message is about 7 percent basic facial gestures to show emotion. verbal (words only), 38 percent vocal When people are happy they smile; (including tone of voice, inflection, when they are sad or angry, they frown and other sounds), and a mammoth or grimace. 55 percent nonverbal. Body language can be conscious or unconscious. Using nonverbal communication, a person is visually revealing when he is unsure, needs additional information, wants a chance to ask questions, or has strong objections. Your own nonverbal

Phony Body Language

A commonly asked question is, “Is it possible to forge your own body language?” The general answer is “no” because of the lack of congruence that is likely to occur in the use of the main gestures, the body’s micro signals, and the spoken words. For example, direct eye contact is associated with honesty,

but when the faker tells a lie, his micro gestures give him away. His pupils may contract, his nostrils might widen, or the corner of his mouth could twitch. To be able to lie successfully, a person almost has to have his body hidden or out of sight. Police interrogation involves placing the suspect on a chair in the open or placing him under lights with his body in full view of the questioner. The easiest way to lie is through text messages, over the telephone, or on the Internet. Psychologists have long known that some deception is a normal, healthy part of human behavior, often starting in children as young as 5 or 6. In adulthood, most people lie routinely, usually harmlessly, throughout the day. Robert Feldman, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, reveals that the average fib rate is three for every 10 minutes of conversation.

Do You Speak Body Language? Most people are already fluent in the dialect of body language because the subconscious mind is already an expert. Training to look for more nonverbal messages involves trusting your intuition to make your impressions more accurate. A thorough understanding of body language allows an individual to be able to modify his own reactions and thus improve his negotiating skills. 19

Keynote Speakers, continued Want your Image to Rise? Get Out of the Elevator! Contributed by: Soni Dimond 2009 W.I.L.D. Conference Keynote Speaker

Heard anyone mention the “Elevator Speech” lately? Of course, you have. It’s become a clichéd term for a very useful communication tool, used not only for personal promotional purposes, but for job-seekers, executives and business owners. Absolutely anyone with something to “pitch” within 30 seconds can use this as a means to hold others captive in a small, moving, imaginary cubicle. Of course you know you can’t expect to do your best pitching during an elevator ride. It’s simply a great analogy. In my public presentations and training courses, which aim at maximizing your professional and personal impact, I share the following message: “Get out of the elevator!” Let your prospect leave that confinement. That’s when you can put yourself—and your message—to the true test. And you’ll save the wasted time of wondering, “Is that person truly interested?” Or, “Does that guy simply have nowhere else to turn?”

Here’s a communication clue: If the prospect jumps out of your elevator (i.e. loses interest), you’ve hit the wrong buttons and your message hit bottom. So the next time you consider using your Elevator Speech, be prepared with a handy “DO and DON’T” list (Perhaps we should call these “UPs and DOWNs”): DO take advantage of networking opportunities, such as events hosted by the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership or the Gannon Small Business Development Center. DO be prepared with a well-rehearsed, personal pitch. Outline your points first, and then read over your message until it sounds natural in “your” words. Do not worry if it doesn’t sound the same each time you deliver it. Is there a talking point that you particularly want to emphasize? Then highlight it. Make it stand out from the script. It is imperative that you sound real. How believable are you? Do you know how enthusiastic (or exhausting) you sound to others? Record your voice and play it back. Do you like what you hear? DO practice a great 30-second elevator speech before you deliver your final pitch. But don’t overdo it. Avoid acting like you’re starring


in a high school play. You will sound rehearsed and the recipient of your message will know it was memorized. If you deliver your message with natural gestures, you will be seen as more authentic and “real.” Genuine encounters make us smile, but here’s a warning: we also have a long memory for those who take us for fools. DON’T leave others feeling trapped or tricked into hearing all you have to say. If you are forcefully entering their space, they will exit in a hurry. DON’T develop your message to the point of exhaustion or for ego gratification. “Enough about me… what else do you want to know about me?” Excuse me, this is my floor. Bye-bye. DON’T behave like anyone but y-o-u. You don’t want to make the other person in your “elevator” feel they’ve stepped straight into a company commercial. Use understandable language, not business speak. Simply be yourself. I have hosted events for intelligent, reasonably eloquent adults who have become caricatures of what (or whom) they consider a business person: formal, inflexible and without emotion or compassion. Their message gets stuck between floors. Remember, if your words and inflection have no up’s and down’s, you’re not going anywhere.


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MANTSC H - L A FA R O I N S U RANCE A GENCY 4627 Peach Street Erie, PA 16509 (814) 866-5528 FAX (814) 866-5730


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The Achievement Center employs a diverse group of highly skilled and compassionate men and women who are leaders in their clinical ďŹ elds. They provide quality therapeutic services to nearly 3,500 children and youth in Erie, Crawford, Forest, Warren, PA and Chautauqua, NY counties.

Since 1923

Celebration of Excellence Leadership Through the Years April 16, 2009 - 5:30 p.m. Bayfront Convention Center

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Erie is home to a number of excellent companies and organizationsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;many with a long history of investing in our region. To celebrate these investments, the focus of the ERCGPâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s annual dinner (historically honoring our legislators) will now place a greater emphasis on business by honoring companies that have provided leadership through the years. Close to 500 business leaders will help us recognize three companies who continue to invest here. Your Chamber will also honor the 2009 ATHENAPowerLinkÂŽ recipients and the 2009 Louis J. Tullio Community Service Award winner. Table Sponsorship: $600 Individual Ticket: $70 4QPOTPSBUBCMFPSQVSDIBTF ZPVSUJDLFUUPEBZPOMJOFBUFWFOUT eriepa.comPSCZFNBJMBU

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W.I.L.D.:Layout 1


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A career in healthcare And so does an education from MNE. Seven of the 20 fastest growing occupations are healthcare related. And the healthcare industry is estimated to generate 3 million new wage and salary jobs between 2006 and 2016, more than any other industry.* Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no better place to get in on this growing field than one of the most trusted and reputable schools in the area: Mercyhurst North East. MNE is now offering associate degree programs in occupational therapy assistant, respiratory therapist and medical laboratory technician, all careers that are in high demand in todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s job market. MNE also offers programs in registered and practical nursing, physical therapist assistant and medical administration.

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PAID PERMIT #298 ERIE, PA 208 East Bayfront Parkway Suite 100 Erie, PA 16507

getinvolved! March 24, 2009 5 – 8 p.m. Bel-Aire Hotel and Conference Center

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The Erie Ambassadors’ Get Involved! Erie night links area residents with community organizations and involvement opportunities. Don’t miss this great opportunity to find volunteers, recruit members and tell your organization’s unique story. Reserve space for your organization today! Call (814) 454-7191 or email for more information. Confirm your participation by February 27 for a discounted table price of $50. This community event is free and open to the public.

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ERIE Magazine | February 2009  

Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership

ERIE Magazine | February 2009  

Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership