Issuu on Google+


Contents... 6 Baltimore Schools Superintendant Dr. Joe A. Hairston

Kenneth Banks Change... A Great Teacher

M. Vickers 14 Emmy Hello I’m Here!!

Developing Strong Partnerships in Education and Beyond

Dorsey Jackson 16 Aja Lessons from a Newbie

Major James A. Dula, PhD 7 From Military to Entrepreneur PERFORMANCE FEATURE: 8 Dr. Joe A. Hairston

Redrick 10 Mia Do Less Well Samakow 11Paul An Auto Accident Can Cost More than Your Insuarance Can Handle

12 Kathleen T. Snyder

PERFORMANCE FEATURE:

Maryland Chamber of Commerce Kathleen T. Snyder

James Dula

Mia Redrick

Not Your Father’s Chamber Chambers of Commerce are E-RELEVANT

Aja Jackson

Del Peña-Melnyk

E Ambassador Jesoni Vitu 15 HFreedom to Perform

Joseline Peña-Melnyk 17 Delegate Slogan Driven Performance

Rhodes 18 Shelton Strategic Human Resource Management The Link to Great Performance

Ambassador Vitu

Shelton Rhodes


From the Publisher... Maryland Performance Magazine

Relevant • Innovative • Information • For the Success Minded Vol. 18 No. 3 Summer 2010 Maryland Performance Magazine Publishers Regyna Cooper regyna@marylandperformancemagazine.com James R. Cooper james@marylandperformancemagazine.com Founding Publisher / Editor Dr. Jeffery Magee jeff@theperformancemagazine.com Managing Editor Robert Hannesson robert@theperformancemagazine.com Creative Director Carlos Moreno carlos@theperformancemagazine.com Graphic Design 4D Strategies, LLC Sales & Marketing Lloyd Thompson lloyd@theperformancemagazine.com Photograph of Mia Redrick by Mia Clapp www.kennethclappphotography.com To subscribe, please visit our website at: www.marylandperformancemagazine.com Advertising and editorial inquiries can be sent to: Maryland Performance Magazine PO Box 20147 Towson, MD 21284 or call (410) 929-1170 or write to info@marylandperformancemagazine.com Professional Performance Magazine is a quarterly publication presented by Performance Success Media Group, Inc. Entire contents copyright 2010 PSMG, Inc. All rights reserved. The views expressed in the articles or advertisements are those of the authors and sponsors, and do not necessarily express the views of this magazine or its staff.

per-form-ance (n) 1. The act, process, or manner of performing. 2. An accomplishment: deed. 3. To begin, carry out, fulfill. 4. To function in a certain way: act.

Professional Performance has a lot to do with an individual’s internal drive to achieve, which culminates with outstanding external results. Everything we pour into ourselves is processed and utilized. As a subscriber and reader of Maryland Professional Performance, we are absorbing valuable information from leaders across the state and around the world. On the pages of this issue, you will find important keys to successful partnerships, tips for the transition from military to civilian business life, getting the best out of our teams and much more. In speaking to people around the state, I know there are challenges to be addressed and hurdles to overcome, but the wonderful “Can Do” spirit is still strong. Peak performers are excited about the future. Many feel this way because they know the key to success, having vision and determination. When you have the keys, there are an abundance of opportunities. Once we have achieved success, we have the ability to repeat the process. The products or services may change, but the process of success can be replicated. When I began my career in finance, I would follow the audit trails and figuring out how to streamline processes. My goal was to make things function as efficiently as possible. After a while, I would implement processes and become frustrated when a process was changed without understanding the impact it would have on everyone and everything involved. What I was learning as an individual through this process, is a better understanding of one of my talents. I would have never guessed, 15 years ago, the thing that caused me such pain, would be the solutions to others problem. Today, I analyze processes and advise leaders on options to achieve the desired results. I have soaked up every opportunity God has given me to review, assess and make recommendations. Understanding this auditing and assessment process has helped me to clearly define my vision and this is one of many things I can offer to the world. Yes, to the world. I had to learn this as well. To be a great leader, our vision has to amaze and scare us in some respects. With a great vision, we must stir up the determination within. There will be more than a few “No’s” and some paths may take us out of the way, but the passion to provide the solution and offer leadership is the focus. When we are willing to pour out all that has been poured into us, we get the desired results. Having a huge vision is not to say that we can’t start with the intent to serve a small group. We can, but the impact that is made will be such that people will seek to understand the dynamics of the success. And this is when great change occurs. Whether you are living your dream, wondering how to stay the course or just starting out, you will experience headaches, heartbreaks, financial stress, people’s opinions and even your own doubt. This is part of life and builds our character. Performance execution comes from having a vision to get you started, the determination to keep you moving, the wisdom to seek assistance, the humility to accept help, and the team to make it happen. These are a few of the keys to replicating success. The others will be unlocked as you continue to seek information, starting here with the great leaders found throughout this issue. With your vision and determination, the leader in you is destined for greatness and cannot be deterred. It is time to change the world and make every bit of your Performance count.

vol18. no4.

Maryland Performance Magazine

| 5


Change…

Kenneth R. Banks founded Banks Contracting in 1980 and has served as the company President since its inception. For the past 30 years, he has grown Banks Contracting from a small three man operation in 1980 to an award winning multi-million dollar company. Today, Banks Contracting provides construction services on some of the largest projects in the region, including The New Clinical Building at Johns Hopkins Hospital which is currently the largest hospital project in America. Mr. Banks won the 2009 Greater Baltimore Committee Mayor’s Business Recognition Award, the 2009 Award of Excellence given by Associated Builders and Contractors, the 2009 Professional Achievement and Community Service Award by the Baltimore City Community College Foundation, the 2009 Entrepreneur Award by the Black Engineer of the Year Global Competitiveness Conference, the 2009 Future 50 Award by SmartCEO Publishing, the 2008 Top 100 MBE Award by the Maryland Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, the 2008 Minority Developer of the Year Award by the City of Baltimore, and a 2008 Distinguished Service Award given by the Baltimore County Democratic Party.

6 |

Maryland Performance Magazine

vol18. no3.

by Kenneth Banks

Now thirty years in business one lesson remains a universal truth: The only constant in the business world is change itself. While the obvious changing trends in attitudes about business are product/service delivery, ways of marketing, and the ever changing government regulations play their roles, I continue to witness once successful businesses two and three decades old, become non-existent because of an inability to remain current with these changes. In essence, they failed to change with the changing conditions. And in effect they ceased to improve. Because change is a double-edged sword, i.e. the perception of it or the response to it can be positive or deleterious, the ultimate quest of the business owner or manager is to remain on the side of positive change through continuous improvement. No matter how difficult the perceived problem or circumstance, a resolute mental state of being is a prerequisite to any resolution and continuous improvement. So the question then is: How to achieve continuous improvement? The term continuous improvement has a broad stroke feel. It can leave one feeling overwhelmed especially if the mechanics of business are not well delineated. In other words, care must be taken to identify the root cause of the perceived problems and not an over-focus on the surface result. For instance, lack of productivity may not necessarily be the fault of one’s employees, but perhaps better software or additional training may be required to uncover exemplary employees. Begin the process by knowing that a solution exists, even if one presently eludes you. Be brutally honest with yourself in understanding the genesis and full extent of the problem, even if the problem is YOU. That said, continuous improvement by necessity must be holistic, encompassing ALL four of the following categories: process and service, brand and image, foresight and anticipation, and personal satisfaction. Process and Service deals entirely with the mechanics of the business and relates directly to internal business efficiency. Almost everything that falls into this category can be seen directly and can be measured and benchmarked. An example in this category would be the efficiency or productive output of company employees. Are they the right people serving in the right place? Are they properly inspired? Do they have a clear vision as to their job? Is the morale flagging or inconsistent? Continuous improvement in this category lies in identification of all areas of internal process and finding ways to increase efficiency. Many companies do this exercise during times of financial stress, the trick is to be vigilant at all times. Brand and Image reflects the outside perception of your business operation. In my view, it is possible to produce the best product on the planet but if nobody knows about it, the product will sit in the warehouse until it disintegrates before it is ever purchased. Likewise if the perception of the company is negative it will drive down sales. Careful attention must be paid to improve the image because they are the lifeblood to success. If they become strangled, then business losses are sure to occur. Continuous improvement then consists first of understanding what brand and image you want the company to portray and then attain a consistent message. Remember that any interface between company and public affects this category. It can be as simple as the way someone answers the phone or the quality of the stationary.At my company, we pay special attention to image by consistently under promising and over delivering to our clients. We simply want our clients to glow with satisfaction and be unable to stop themselves from speaking highly of our company. Foresight and Anticipation is the crystal ball of business function but in many ways it is the essential essence of business strategy. Business is embodied strategy. Strategy is created from anticipation of business climate. Anticipation requires sensitivity and an intuitive embrace of what is yet to be. Continuous improvement in this category reflects your pr diction quotient. Where is the industry going and how can I position myself to be there? How can my company gain the industry specific knowledge to take advantage of trends? Are there partnering opportunities? Is it possible to create a new or semi new business model in order to limit competition? Personal Satisfaction is indeed the holy grail of business success. Can one truly be successful if the spirit, energy and passion are absent? This is not an area of compromise. It is a human and spiritual demand of life. Be thou happy, be thou content or be thou missing the point of life. In summary, continuous improvement in the business world is a business strategy in and of itself. Improve your products, improve your service, improve the quality of your professional advice, and above all, improve yourself.


From Military to Entrepreneur: by Major James A. Dula, PhD

The military’s readiness is vital to America’s longevity as a country and is dependent of many things. Planning, execution, and the people that make all things work according to plan in order to accomplish the all-important assigned mission. From the mottos of “Aim High” to “being all you can be”, military troops are prepared to handle any foreign and or domestic crisis, to address any spontaneous circumstance they may encounter along the way to successful mission completion, and the ability to ensure desired results while addressing long-term possibilities. One of the most challenging missions each military member will face is the transition from their military career back to rigors of civilian life. I can assure you that a state of confusion shrouded in a cloak of confidence persists as looming questions arise concerning what to do next. How do I move forward? How do I support my family? What is awaiting my departure from military life, and how do I prepare? Am I prepared? The strictly regimented days of awakening early each morning with certain promptness as the guiding factor oftentimes gives way to new careers and objectives now assigned to one’s life with less urgency than that of saving America from enemies both foreign and domestic. Such drastic changes are in need of newly prescribed paradigms highlighting a transformation in mind and concept. Also, such changes are devastating when the team concept – labeled as jointness – seemingly erodes, therefore, giving way to a mindset whereas the pressing question is “I/Me” centered. Who am I? How do I move forward? What career choice or course of direction will benefit me?

Dr. Dula is Chairman and COO of Legacy Premier Foundation and served in the U.S. Air Force for over 30 years. During his 30 years, Dr. Dula was assigned to Air Force Intelligence in the Pentagon, completed a tour in Vietnam, was commissioned to Lieutenant and served as Commander of various Troops Worldwide. Dr. Dula was the first African American Squadron Commander and Executive Officer for the 89th Military Airlift Wing [the Presidential Wing] at Andrews Air Force Base, as Chief of Space/ Real Property Manager in the Pentagon for the Air Force District of Washington and handpicked to serve on the Panama Canal Transition Team in Panama and President Clinton’s Anti-Drug team in South America.

During thirty years of military service to include that of being a commander, my responsibilities included overseeing health, morale and welfare of military personnel assigned to my command and their family members. And too, I often heard personnel preparing to leave the military express the desire to become entrepreneurs. Their pursuit of owning a business routinely began with fact finding courses of action with little awareness for what truly awaited them on the other side of the fence. This reminds me of my own experiences. I had a desire to move forward with my life, thought I was prepared, but found the expectations out of sync with civilian thought and practices. In today’s America, we are challenged on many fronts, but, none greater than the economic hardships that challenge our businesses in this free-enterprise system. And, while serving as President and CEO for a large Chamber of Commerce, I learned that a myriad of existing business, too , are handicapped when coping with current economic, market, and social trends. Therefore, it is important that each aspiring business owner realize that with change there are still the important factors of planning effectively, teaming with others, and knowing your capabilities as a business. My advice to any military member with a desire to enter the world of business is to first think of you as a public administrator and or project manager. In other words, the public administrator is tasked to study the layout of the land before moving forward with any project. For example, in Maryland, the Small Business Administration (SBA) is a great source to learn of opportunities and required certifications you will need to move forward effectively. The SBA also provides a how-to process for moving forward as a business owner. Loans, grants, processes, and much more can be accomplished with greater ease by way of knowledge gained through the SBA. After choosing what you want to do and contacting the SBA for assistance, the State Government itself is a big help and provides a wealth of information to ensure you move forward in the correct manner. Too often, businesses open doors, hand shingles, and do not test the market. As Chamber CEO, I encouraged each business client to work with government agencies, work with local networking groups, and to join with others to increase capacity. Through this manner, we at the chamber helped hundreds of businesses begin, grow, and develop into major success stories. Networking is key to success. Planning is key to success. Using your resources is key to success. And too, join your local Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and ensure you connect with the areas Economic Development Agency. As you can see, the key to success in any business is using your military know-how in planning, networking, executing, and measuring results to ensure ongoing success. Now that you know the “rest of the story”, continue to dream big and remain focused while completing your next mission. Major James A. Dula, PhD USAF Retired Former President and CEO, Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce

vol18. no3.

Maryland Performance Magazine

| 7


Developing strong partnerships — in education by Dr. Joe A. Hairston and beyond

Partnerships abound in Baltimore County Public Schools, but perhaps nowhere are they more prominent than in our science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) initiatives. In August 2009, we launched a virtual learning classroom and lab experience at Chesapeake High School, hailed as the first of its kind in the nation and modeled after the virtual ARENA (Augmented Reality Environment) at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. The environment and the partnership behind it garnered significant attention, including recognition from Education Week, the International Society for Technology in Education, National Public Radio, CNBC, eSchool News, and all local media. The virtual learning classroom and lab experience blend state-of-the-art 3-D gaming and simulation technology with cutting-edge classroom instruction. It is a project that takes students far beyond the distance learning and project simulations typically available in education today. The project began in 2008 when I sought to investigate ways to employ virtual environments and other cutting-edge technologies for the benefit of BCPS students. As part of the process, I forged a partnership with major defense contractors Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, the University of Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University, and companies from the video game and simulation industries such as Breakaway Games and TrainingPort Strategies. More than being about a single product or group of products, the collaboration is intended to:

 Help Baltimore County Public Schools stay connected to important technology trends.  Build the confidence of major technology employers in the capacity of Baltimore County Public Schools to produce a viable workforce.  Expose students and teachers to real applications of STEM instruction and learning. In building this and other successful partnerships, here are some of the lessons I’ve learned: 8 |

Maryland Performance Magazine

vol18. no3.

1. Have a vision.

It is essential as the leader or convener of a partnership to have a clear vision of what you want to do. Having a quality concept or plan will help attract potential partners and secure their commitment.

My vision was that we needed to fast-track the use of simulations and games in our classrooms. The problem-solving, interactive nature of “games” mirrors the way the human brain learns. Moreover, today’s students need to be stronger in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to compete on the global level and to help this Nation retain its leadership in innovation. Our strong interest and willingness to act attracted strong partners.

2. Know the landscape.

Every community, no matter how large or small, offers its own unique opportunities and strengths. I want to note that partnership potential might be even greater in small communities, where there is less competition and a greater sense of shared identity between businesses, colleges, and the community.

Inside the Virtual Learning Environment at Chesapeake High School While many classrooms in American schools look the same as they did decades before, stepping inside the virtual learning environment at Chesapeake is unlike any other public high school classroom. The environment uses 10 high-definition, 72-inch TV monitors surrounding students in classroom semi-circles. Using a custom-designed digital switch and touch-panel controller, students interact with the on-screen environments. In an adjoining lab, 30 workstations, each outfitted with three interconnected monitors, display the same environments so that lessons may be translated and understood on an individual student or team basis. Students use sophisticated joysticks, yokes, and computers at each workstation. In the environment’s first scenario, students visit and explore a geographically accurate terrain model of the region surrounding Mount St. Helens. Additional environments will be added over time, with the next likely to be a virtual moonscape for Chesapeake students to study. While navigating through the environment in a vehicle that can morph from an aircraft to a boat to an all-terrain vehicle, students will encounter learning challenges involving virtual characters, animals, and other 3-D objects specific to the curricular content being studied. In addition, two-dimensional resources such as documents, instant messages, photographs, videos, and Web sites can be integrated into the learning modules. The lab and classroom also have video recording and world-wide teleconferencing capabilities. During its inaugural year, the classroom and lab were incorporated into the school’s environmental science and geometry curriculums, and beginning in the 2010-2011 school year, the lab will also be used for social studies and English instruction.


Related to virtual learning, Baltimore County Public Schools recognized at least three major types of opportunities in our community. First, within a 50-mile radius of our county exist no fewer than 30 colleges and the federal government in Washington, D.C. This area is home to a wealth of renowned institutions of higher learning, including Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and Morgan State University. Second, two major defense contractors are also based here – Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. And, finally, a few miles from school system headquarters, is a community called Hunt Valley, which is recognized as a major east coast hub of serious game/virtual reality development

3. Allow time for partnership development. A partnership might officially be among two or more institutions, but the reality is that partnerships involve humans, and time must be spent establishing human connections. With our virtual learning project, time was spent working in large and small groups, visiting each other’s offices and environments, communicating in person, via telephone, and via e-mail, and spending time getting to know and understand each other as individuals.

4. Be flexible. The most significant benefit of working with partner institutions is that each of them has its own experiences, areas of expertise, and vision to contribute to the process. So while a partnership should begin with a clear and well-articulated vision, it should also be flexible to allow for growth. With input from your new partners, the concept you originally took to them may evolve into something far beyond your original idea.

5. Ensure benefits for all partners. Another important consideration is facilitating the ability of your partners to see some benefits from their involvement – whether it is developing potential employees, attracting recognition/public goodwill, or developing new products and revenue sources. In a true partnership, every partner gains. Looking back to the

Chesapeake High School virtual learning environment example, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman were already located near and expanding their facilities near the school. Being involved in this project offered them an opportunity to help shape their future workforce – ensuring that more students would be interested in and prepared for STEM careers. It also allowed them to future strengthen a community in which they had already made a significant investment. Our partnerships support us in doing what we seek to do for all students – increasing academic rigor and expanding learning opportunities. As I heard a student say once, we have to teach them where they are – not where we were. That is the only way we can support them in getting ready for their future. To move ahead, higher education, research, and business partners are essential.

Dr. Joe A. Hairston has served since 2000 as Superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools, the nation’s 26th largest school system. In his first year, Dr. Hairston charted a direction for the school system by developing the Blueprint for Progress, which presents key strategies and performance indicators. Dr. Hairston’s results-based leadership has yielded a growing list of achievements including increased academic rigor for all students, greater student participation and success in Advanced Placement, and expanded use of technology. Under Dr. Hairston’s leadership, Baltimore County Public Schools has been recognized by Education Week for having the fourth highest overall graduation rate among the nation’s largest school districts and by the Schott Foundation for having a higher graduation rate for African American males than any other large school district in the nation. Newsweek magazine and The Washington Post have named nine BCPS high schools – almost 40 percent of all the county’s high schools – among the top six percent in the nation. Eleven BCPS schools have been named National No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools. For his achievements, Dr. Hairston has been honored with dozens of awards, including a Graduate Alumni Achievement Award from the Virginia Tech Graduate School and Alumni Association, the International Society for Technology in Education Outstanding Leadership Award; and Washington Post Outstanding Distinguished Educational Leadership Award.

vol18. no3.

Maryland Performance Magazine

| 9


Do Less Well by Mia Redrick

Doing Less well is an underrated success strategy in business. As the bestselling author of Time for mom-Me: 5 Essential Strategies for A Mother’s Self-Care, radio host and strategist to both moms and business owners, the one secret ingredient that has contributed to my success is building a team to support me in my business. As a mother of three children between 5 – 11 years of age, I learned very early in my business that learning and applying techniques to outsource certain parts of my business is the key to my success. Most entrepreneurs struggle in both business and in their lives because they try to do everything. It isn’t uncommon for some entrepreneurs to serve in varied administrative tasks, design or support their business web function and the list continues on. The reason that entrepreneurs attempt to do it all is because they never take a minute to access the value of their time. Is this you? If you take a minute and think about how you spend the majority of your work day, would you say that your day is spent in your business or on your business? Let me explain. Working in your business means electing to do activities that must be done day to day to make your business function. Examples are returning phone calls, writing emails, updating your website, and responding to inquiries. Or, is you day spent working on your business? Working on your business means that you spend the majority of time on activities that result in growth opportunities. These opportunities might include connecting with new clients, networking with joint ventures, and creating systems that are duplicatable in your business. Can you see the difference? Well, if you have been guilty of the typical working in your business activity let’s take a minute and discuss the importance of how you can free yourself from doing it all by building a team. In my business, for example, I have a team consisting of writers, administrative assistants, graphic artists, editors and web support that handle all of the daily tasks to make my business go. This has allowed me the opportunity to focus my time and talent on my creative brilliance and thereby a 10 |

Maryland Performance Magazine

vol18. no3.

higher and better use of my time. Over the years, my team has supported and run my business while I have vacationed, rested and met my family commitments. The benefits of building a team are simple - it means freedom. Most of us started a business to create some level of both financial and personal freedom. Right? Building a dream team has helped me save both time and money.

The key to success in life is learning to do less well. Mia Redrick The Mom Strategist “Join the million mom movement to practice better self-care at www.timeformom-me. com.” www.findingdefinitions.com

Here are some strategies to help you start building your team: 1. Take a needs assessment of your business. Write down what the needs of your business are. This sounds like a basic question but it requires you to think long and hard about what is necessary to grow your business. 2. Inventory how you are spending your day. Write down all of the tasks that you are doing in and for your business. 3. Ask yourself, is there a higher and better use of my time? After accessing how you are spending your day, write down the hourly value of time spent completing this job. 4. Ask yourself, “What would Bill Gates do?” This is a simple and powerful question to get you to consider the value of creating a team. Entrepreneurs struggle with letting things go for varied reasons including costs, or the idea that no one can do the activity the same as me. 5. Google search outsourcing - the result might surprise you. There are some amazing sites that provide thousands of trained professionals who would love to join your team today at fair prices. 6. Start small. Remember that you don’t have to create your team overnight but your goal should be to train people to work with you for years. I use a specific training strategy to create a powerful virtual workforce.

Mia Redrick

is the President and Founder of Finding Definitions, LLC which helps busy moms balance the rigors of parenting while providing the essential tools for a mother’s personal development. Mia is the author of Time for Mom-me, 5 Essential Self-Care Strategies for a Mother’s Self-Care. Redrick is a soughtafter speaker by women’s, businesses and parenting groups around the country, and hundreds of women have attended her workshops. Redrick writes a parenting column for Family Digest, contributes parental traveling tips to the Home Away Traveler International Newsletter and writes a parenting column for Examiner.com. Mia has been featured in The Washington Post, CNN. com, Paper Dolls Magazine, Family Digest, Modern Babies and Children, The PG Gazette and more.


Protect Yourself

An Auto Accident Can Cost More T h a n Yo u r I n s u r a n c e C a n H a n d l e by Paul Samakow

What you should know to protect Yourself, your Family, your Business and your Future Once in a while, if you look at mundane things differently, they can become very important, if only for a bit. After reading this, I hope you follow my advice by taking immediate action. You will thereby better protect yourself, your family and your business. As a lawyer, I represent automobile accident victims. I’ve seen the destruction that these violent occurrences can create. Results can be deadly or devastating when moving objects, weighing tons, crash into each other. Accidents happen daily and more than you would think. I’ve had clients whose family members died in car crashes. I’ve had clients whose lives were permanently changed because of disabling injuries. You get the picture. Forget that insurance is mundane, look at your policy. Obtain good automobile insurance coverage if you are not properly covered. Statistics tell us you will have an accident sooner or later. Hopefully, there will not be any injuries. If there are any moderate injuries, you need to have good automobile insurance coverage to protect yourself. Automobile insurance is supposed to make sure you don’t have to go broke tapping into every asset you own. First, if you cause an accident (Liability coverage), you want to make sure that your carrier is going to pay for all of the damages to anyone you accidentally injure. Second, if you are the victim of an accident, and you are injured, you want your carrier to pay you (Uninsured Motorist coverage), if the at fault party doesn’t have insurance, or doesn’t have enough insurance. Maryland law requires that you have $20,000.00 for liability coverage. This is called minimum limits. If you have these low limits and you cause an accident, you could be in trouble financially. If the driver you hit strikes his knee and surgery is needed, which isn’t an uncommon

and Why?

o invite you into the erything and show sed.”

a bit about the and it reveals the ings they will not

nsed in Maryland practice in 1980. ands and thousands has recovered

s book. Remember r seatbelt, fasten n think of getting drinking.”

I urge you, in as strong as terms as possible, to increase your Liability and Uninsured amounts to at least $100,000.00.

Mr. Samakow is a Plaintiff’s trial lawyer. He has been fighting for the rights of victims in Maryland and Virginia for almost 30 years. His practice is limited to helping victims of automobile accidents and other serious injury matters. Since 1980, Mr. Samakow has personally handled thousands and thousands of cases and he annually recovers millions of dollars for his clients. Mr. Samakow is a noted speaker and lecturer. His presentations and seminars feature themes of education and protection. Topics range from explaining the law, explaining lawyers, to discussing insurance practices and proper insurance coverage. thing to happen, your insurance coverage probably isn’t going to be adequate. The medical costs (hospital room or outpatient facility, surgeon’s fee, anesthesia fees, and therapy after the surgery) could easily exceed $20,000.00. Because you have minimum limits, your carrier will only have to pay that person $20,000.00, despite the fact that their bills exceed that amount. What do you think the person you injured is going to do to recover the rest of the money? Right! They are going to go after you personally. Please look at your insurance policy’s Declarations Page. You’ll see the coverage amount for Uninsured Motorist is the same as that for Liability coverage. Uninsured Motorist coverage includes Under-Insured coverage. Imagine the above example is reversed. Now, you are the victim. If the at fault party has no insurance, or not enough, you can look to your insurer to pay you. However, if your coverage is minimum limits, all you will be able to get from your insurer is $20,000.00. I urge you, in as strong as terms as possible, to increase your Liability and Uninsured amounts to at least $100,000.00. The premium increases will be ridiculously nominal. Then, if the statistics catch up to you… you’re protected. My final (and most important) bit of advice: Don’t even think about driving if you’ve been drinking, and always drive safely; your family is waiting for you. vol18. no3.

Maryland Performance Magazine

| 11


Not Your Father’s Chamber CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE ARE E-RELEVANT by Kathleen T. Snyder Times are tough for businesses, large and small, but one way to ensure your company is positioned to rebound fast is by joining a chamber of commerce. Today’s chamber of commerce is not “your father’s chamber” of the past – no parades, no beauty contests, just sheer hard work to grow a network of businesses who share the common goal of improving the economy. Every chamber is a separate non-profit corporation. Its name tells you where most of its networking and lobbying are done. A county chamber covers the entire county while the Maryland Chamber’s membership is statewide and only lobbies the state government. The Chamber gives every business a voice before the local government. If you are looking beyond your county bounds, consider joining the state chamber for the best connections and advocacy news. Yes, Chambers are still relevant in the cyber world in which we live. When you join your local, city or county Chamber of Commerce, your membership immediately connects you to some of the top business owners. Nearly every chamber provides a printed and a web-based listing of its members with key contact information that can connect you faster to the right person with whom you may want to do business. In addition, chambers provide regular networking opportunities so that members can meet each other and begin to develop those business relationships we all need to grow our organizations. Chambers make relationship building much easier than “cold” calling. The best way out of the recession is through the creation and retention of jobs. If a person has a job, he/she generates income for the household and pays taxes on a variety of products and services. Chambers of Commerce focus on how to help increase the number of jobs in their communities through a united approach to economic development, legislative representation and regulatory input. In most counties, it is the chamber that serves as the focal point of business; therefore, providing the access to and influence of those we have elected to office. Beyond networking, chambers of commerce provide their members with timely updates – even before the news media – about important economic, legislative and regulations that impact your business. This information often provides members with insights on how they can influence a proposal which might have good intentions but would impose a negative impact on helping businesses grow, particularly during tough economic times. Many business people believe their voice doesn’t count. When you join a chamber, suddenly your one voice is multiplied a hundred or even a thousand fold because of the chamber’s ability to unite employers together on important issues. The 50 local chambers that belong to the Maryland Chamber’s Chamber Action Network (CAN) represent 22,000 employers throughout the state – that’s power when communicating to the Governor and the General Assembly. Most chambers offer in-person or web-based training programs for their members to stay apprised of best business management practices, whether 12 |

Maryland Performance Magazine

vol18. no3.


how to obtain financing, what employment laws impact your size company or how to best market your company during tough economic times. Being a member of your local chamber sends a positive signal that you care about your community and want to help it become an even better place to live, work and do business. While not a Better Business Bureau or Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval, the chamber brand connotes you are connected with other businesses who are working together on economic and employment issues. Nearly every chamber provides opportunities to make a difference in their communities, whether student scholarships, volunteerism or fundraisers for charities. Chambers also lead the community when trying to obtain funds for new libraries, roads, transit and higher education programs. Savvy chamber executives are beginning to use the social media to showcase the benefits of membership, events and connections. By modeling how a small chamber staff can utilize these new tech communications tools, chambers help show small businesses how it can be done at low cost but with good results. Diversity in the workforce provides companies with added insights and talents in our global economy. Chambers of commerce represent that diversity regularly through their programs, committees and board selection processes. Showcasing business success through a diversity prism creates a stronger foundation for economic growth. Joining a chamber connects you to a broad array of business people whose backgrounds and experiences could broaden your own perspective and client base. Chambers offer their members a wide variety of promotion to the global marketplace. If businesses or individuals want to do business in your community, they often Google the local chamber’s name to identify who is a member. If you aren’t a member, you miss thousands of opportunities each month to get connected to a new client or customer. If you aren’t connected, you really aren’t connected!

KATHLEEN T. SNYDER, CCE PRESIDENT/CEO MARYLAND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Kathy has more than 20 years as a chamber executive. She has served as President and CEO of the Maryland State Chamber of Commerce since October 1999. The Maryland Chamber has 840 business members who employ 440,000 people in the State. Its statewide mission is to maximize opportunities for its members and their employees to grow and prosper through legislative advocacy, business connections and timely communications. She was named Chamber Executive of the Year in May 2007 by the Maryland Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. In 2001, 2003 and 2006, Kathy was named by the Daily Record as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women and is a member of the Daily Record’s Circle of Excellence.

vol18. no3.

Maryland Performance Magazine

| 13


HELLO! I Am Here!!

H o w t o H a n d l e P e o p l e W h o G a z e A r oun d t he R o o m Wh en Ta l k i ng To You by Emmy M. Vickers Like an amateur astronomer scanning the night sky for recognizable star patterns, the “Star Gazer” is that person who is half-heartedly involved in a conversation while scanning the room to see who else they would like to talk to. Many entrepreneurs and professionals who attend networking events tend to take pride in “working the room” to see how many people they can meet; how many business cards they can collect in the shortest amount of time. They see networking as a “numbers” game. Unfortunately, this can lead to the unintentional condition that I like to call “star gazing.” “Star gazers” do not realize how rude and disrespectful this behavior actually is. More importantly, it may be counter-productive to the very reason they’re at the event: to meet people who can become resources or clients to help them market and grow their businesses. It is rather easy to recognize “star gazers.” They have wandering eyes while you are talking to them or sharing with them what you do. They give half-hearted answers to your questions because they are simultaneously scanning the room to find their next target. Worse case, they give you the impression that you’re in a monologue because they are not responding to your questions (not listening to you), leaving you to feel ignored as they continue to scan the room. In short, “star gazers” are incapable of giving you their undivided attention. As a strategic networking specialist, I offer several options you can use to counteract the rude behavior of “star gazers.” First, remind yourself that you want to be a good referral source and that first impressions are very important. This should serve as a reminder not to retaliate by becoming rude or obnoxious. Option #1: Bring the behavior to the other person’s attention by asking them if they would like to finish the conversation a little later during the event, as it appears that they are focused elsewhere in the room. Sometimes this brings the “star gazer” back down to earth long enough to see the rudeness in his or her behavior. If the “star gazer” persists, then it’s time to simply end the conversation by saying “(person’s name), it was good to meet you, I wish you much success with your business.” Smile and walk away. Option #2: “John (use the person’s name here), it appears there are other people you would like to meet, it was a pleasure to meet you (smile). I wish you much success this evening.” At which point, you both move on separately to continue networking. Option #3: “John (use the person’s name here), it was a pleasure meeting you. I apologize, but my time is limited and there are a few other people I need to catch up with before I leave. I wish you lots of luck in making new connections this evening.” Smile and walk away. 14 |

Maryland Performance Magazine

vol18. no3.

Option #1 puts the ball in the “star gazer’s” court and gives them an opportunity to apologize for their rudeness and a choice on whether to continue the conversation. The second and third options allow you to take control over the situation and make your graceful escape. Strategic networking is about building positive, long-term, trusting relationships. It’s about listening and helping others. And it is very difficult to trust your business to someone who is incapable of focusing on the human being standing in front of them – Y-O-U!!! As a strategic networker, you should question the likelihood that the “Star Gazer” will get your order correct, deliver the service they promise, or serve as a dependable referral source later if they can’t even stay focused through a brief introduction. So, the next time that you attend a networking event, leave the “star gazing” to the astronomers and give your undivided attention and respect to the person in front of you. Happy Networking!

Emmy M. Vickers networking expert and CEO of Emmy Vickers Enterprises, LLC www.emmyvickersenterprises. com. An organization that helps you “raise your net worth through strategically networking TM”. As a national corporate trainer and speaker specializing in teaching others how to strategically network for business success, Emmy and her team train you and your staff on how to create and cultivate your business relationships. Emmy is also the creator of the country’s first entrepreneur network kit which includes her proprietary networking system for attending any event. She was also AAEW’s 2009 Legacy Female Entrepreneur of the Year recipient.


Freedom to Perform by H. E. Ambassador Jesoni Vitu

One of the things I valued most in my career was the freedom I was given by my superiors to do my work with minimum interference from them. This freedom to express my God-given talents and creativity really encouraged and motivated me to perform. And perform I did, much to their satisfaction for the results I achieved, and much to my delight from seeing that my ideas work and for contributing to the success of the company. I believe managers or team leaders can greatly encourage performance by giving their team members a lot of freedom to express their creativity in doing their jobs. College graduates come with a lot of new knowledge and ideas and unless they’re actively encouraged to express and apply them, their value and contribution will not be fully realized. I remember early in my career being asked to take over the management of an investment trust which was growing very slowly. My boss was not excited about its growth prospect. He said that I should not expect the trust to grow very much because that type of investment was new in Fiji. But he gave me the freedom to try out new ideas to encourage people to invest in the trust and to improve the investment portfolio. We discovered that basically the trust was not attracting investors because it paid a low return, not because it was new. So our first task was to improve the investment portfolio in order to raise the investment return. Sure enough investors increased as returns rose. In two years, we increased investor numbers greatly and grew 4 times the size of fund. One thing that gratified me most was to see many rural people become investors, people who were perceived to be conservative and would not participate in the new investment. I was also asked to take over the management of a property company that was struggling to survive. Quickly, we determined that the underlying problem was the high interest rate on its loan, more than 13% pa and variable. Interest expenses comprised more than 70% of rental income

making it impossible to make a profit. The board gave us the freedom to seek creative ways to restructure the debt. Our efforts not only succeeded in reducing interest to less than 9% pa but to also fix it for 7 years! Within a year, the company started making profits and they grew every year basically because as rental income rose, interest, the single largest expense, declined as we paid down the loan. I enjoyed the freedom and the satisfaction of achieving results so much that I found it very difficult to leave the bank where I started my career. I did receive a few offers but I chose to stay for more than a decade. When I did leave, it was to take up a new and exciting job in the airline industry where I was sure I would still be given freedom to express my creativity. When I left the bank I remember specifically thanking the chief executive for giving me a long leash. I also greatly value the university education I received. Although it didn’t specifically prepare me to run investment or property companies, for I majored in politics & economics hoping for a job in Treasury, it developed my ability to think creatively, learn new things, and to constantly ask the question: “Isn’t there a better way?” I did a lot of learning in the lane, which was fostered by my superiors who gave me the freedom to develop on the job and come up with new ways of doing things. I value the critical thinking that philosophy (my favorite class) encouraged in me. Armed with it I felt I could fit in almost anywhere. And I have done quite a lot of different jobs in my career, banking (which I never thought I would do), investment promotion, property management & development, investment raising, airline management, human resource management including negotiating agreements with unions, diplomacy, and consultancy. In all these jobs, I’ve tried to give my team the freedom to express their creativity and apply their God-given talents and knowledge in carrying out their tasks. And I think they have been a major contributing factor to the success we have achieved along the way.

H.E. Jesoni Vitusagavulu Ambassador Jesoni Vitusagavulu or Vitu for short is the former ambassador of Fiji to the US, Canada & Mexico. Not a career diplomat, he was appointed ambassador because of his private sector which included being founder and managing director of TOPtier Management Consultancy (an investment & management consulting firm providing investment facilitation to local and foreign investors particularly in tourism, ICT, and audiovisual industries), chief executive of the Fiji Trade & Investment Bureau, and serving in senior management positions in Air Pacific, Fiji Development Bank, Unit Trust of Fiji, Suva Stock Exchange, and Fijian Property Trust. After his term, he decided to stay in the US and started the consultancy firm (VituLink, Inc) to continue trade & investment promotions.

vol18. no3.

Maryland Performance Magazine

| 15


Lessons from a Newbie by Aja Dorsey Jackson As a new business owner, I am constantly reading the advice of those who run established, successful businesses. While I have been able to gain much needed wisdom to help my business grow, I often wonder, what are new business owners doing right now to build businesses from scratch in a difficult economy? In the time that I have started freelance writing, there are a few key points that I have learned that allow me to stand out against the more experienced and financially stable competition. I get out from behind my computer: With websites like Twitter and Facebook, email accounts, and Blackberries, it can be easy to forget that there is a whole world out there that exists beyond your computer screen. Even with all of the available technology, I’ve learned that nothing can substitute for face-to-face interaction. As a freelance writer, I am competing for business constantly in a market that is growing ever more competitive with the addition of so many writers that have been laid off from magazines and newspapers. On paper, it is hard to stand out against a veteran when you are new to the game in comparison. I make a point to attend live networking events because being able to connect with someone and promote myself in person is one way to gain an edge over someone with more experience. I don’t constantly lowball my rates: This can be a difficult concept for someone just starting out. At the beginning, it can be tempting to underbid because, after all, any business always seems better than none at all. However, if you are serious about making a living off of your business, consistently accepting less than what your services are worth will leave you overworked and underpaid. This is not to say that I will never work for less, but there has to be an additional perk to the project to help my business, such as free advertising, or a reduced rate on a service that I need. In general, I price my rates competitively which allows me to run my business and lets my clients know that they are getting a great value, not simply a low price. I work hard: This may sound like a given, but it is the key to any of the business success that I have had. After God and my family, I have committed myself to working at running my business as if my life depends on it, because in many ways it does. I know that if I am one day going to achieve both financial stability along with the ability to work for myself, I will have to put forth my maximum effort, overcome any setbacks, and keep moving forward until I reach that goal.

16 |

Maryland Performance Magazine

vol18. no3.

Aja Dorsey Jackson is a freelance writer in the Baltimore area specializing in providing small businesses and non-profits with professional writing services ranging from web content to grant writing. She is a writer for the largest independent Black marriage and parenting site on the web, BlackandMarriedWithKids. com. Prior to becoming a freelance writer, Aja worked for the Baltimore Business Journal and a nonprofit community development organization in Baltimore. She developed a passion for writing at an early age and is currently working on completing her first book, Dear Daughter, a self-esteem building guide for young women. You can visit her blog, The Write Resource at www.ajadorseyjackson.com, or follow her on twitter @ ajajackson.


Slogan Driven Performance By Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk

“The Proven People’s Advocate” was my slogan the first time I ran for the office of Delegate to the Maryland General Assembly. In corporate circles, it would have been called my mission. At the time, it referred to my past service as a prosecutor in the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney’s Office, a lawyer for neglected children, and as a member on the College Park City Council. Now, after four years in Maryland’s legislature, after sponsoring 28 bills that became law, and after intervening on behalf of my constituents on a wide variety of issues, I believe my successful performance has lived up to this slogan. I owe my effectiveness to so many people, from my mother to the independent-minded citizens who supported my grass roots campaign for office. But curiously, it is often the people who turned me down and told me “no” that have driven me the hardest. I relish a challenge, I work harder when roadblocks are in my way, and I go the extra mile for my constituents. I am maddened when doors of opportunity close, and I have tremendous hope and faith in what people can do when they are given a hand up and a chance to excel. Depending on who you ask, you may hear that I am pushy, aggressive, and confrontational. That is just the flip side of tenacity, persistence, dedication, and commitment to my team’s success. When I was a novice lawyer working arraignments in Philadelphia’s night court, I occasionally would bring a chocolate donut to share with the hearing commissioner. You do “get more with honey, than you get with vinegar”, and you should always start every negotiation with a search for common ground. But start also from a position of strength. Pull your team together, research the facts, prepare testimony, witnesses, and exhibits, and align supporters with your cause. Build and protect your reputation. For me, that means responding promptly to constituent telephone calls, e-mails and letters. I can’t do this all by myself, so I rely on dedicated staff and volunteers, guiding them carefully to ensure that they follow through on constituent issues. To stay close

to my constituents (my customers), I solicit their ideas for legislation and I frequently attend community meetings where the most engaged citizens voice their concerns. I always remember my junior high school teacher who counseled and encouraged me as I struggled as an immigrant from the Dominican Republic to adjust to life in this country, and another caring teacher at John F. Kennedy High in the Bronx who dug into her pocket to give me $33 as I set off alone by train across New York state to begin college in Buffalo. Have I thanked them enough? Have I passed on that $33 with interest? Follow your heart. Take responsibility. Take the initiative. One day, a homeless woman came to my Annapolis office and told me that the local shelter would not admit her because she was not on her medication. That woman had been shuffled around from person to person and I could see the desperation in her eyes. We left my office together and drove to the hospital where I made sure that she was evaluated and referred to a shelter. Now, my job description does not include social work and I had any number of reasons to avoid that task. However, when presented with a unique problem, I provided the solution. I determined, in Gandhi’s words, to “be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Maryland Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk represents areas of both Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties. An immigrant from the Dominican Republic, she became a United States citizen in 1983. The first in her family to achieve a college degree, this Buffalo State University graduate, continued on to study law at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She has held positions with the Philadelphia Public Defender Service, guardian for children in the foster care system and both as court appointed defense attorney and Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, D.C. In taking on the most important position of her life, wife and mother, Joseline left the world of paid employment. In 2003, she was elected to the College Park City Council and in 2006 she was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates.

vol18. no3.

Maryland Performance Magazine

| 17


Strategic Human Resource Management The Link to Great Performance By Shelton Rhodes, PhD For many years, I taught a graduate level course in human resource management (HR). The focus of that course was the strategic approach to HR which is the process of applying human resource management functions to accomplish the organization’s goals. Individual performance in organizations improves when the organization provides the environment and structure to support success. Critical strategic HR functions include: recruitment, selection, compensation, training and development and performance review of personnel. A good example of the use of strategic human resource management critical functions is an NFL football team, or other professional sports organization. Winning the Super Bowl or an NBA Championship is predicated on human capital and the strategic application of human resource functions. Recruitment of appropriate personnel is critical. Professional sports organizations spend a tremendous amount of time and resources locating and signing franchise players. Sports organizations win or lose based on the success or failure of their significant human capital investment. Tom Collins, in his best selling book, “Good to Great,” states that a basic prerequisite for successful organizations is to “Get the

right people on the bus and put them in the right seats.” This statement captures the essence of the importance of recruitment and selection. The selection process of drafting professional athletes entails a complicated system of evaluating the ability of prospective athletes, then performing background checks, personality tests, reference checks, and other assessments. Each individual selection is strategic with the goal to strengthen the team or organization in areas that needs exceptional personnel to win the big game. It is my opinion that private and non-profit organization’s need to link strategic human resource management as a way to achieve their organizational goals in the same manner as of professional sports teams. The first step is to accept the notion that human capital is essential to achieving the organizations goals. The second step is to determine the most important needs of the organization. Third, strategic HR functions then must be linked to strategic goals and objectives. Finally, the strategic recruitment agenda is to find individuals with the knowledge, skills and ability to match organizational needs. To do this, it is necessary to implement a rigorous selection process, and include background checks and reference checks (remember the applicant will only provide references who will give them a favorable recommendation). In terms of compensation, be willing to

18 |

Maryland Performance Magazine

vol18. no3.

pay market price or greater for a true “franchise” employee. Leverage total compensation and benefits packages to attract and retain your superstars. Salary is only one component of a total compensation and benefits package. Training and development also play a critical role in developing talent. Performance review through an appraisal system provides feedback for areas needing improving and areas that meet or exceed expectations. A climate of fairness and equal opportunity to achieve personal and professional goals is essential. You must objectively define individual and organizational performance standards and implement a system to reward outstanding performance. The organization’s reward portfolio must include both tangible rewards (bonus and merit raises), but it must also include intangible rewards such as recognition. Individual performance in organizations can be increased by the organization’s application of strategic human resource functions. This results in increasing the overall performance of the organization. Successful professional sports teams, as well as other for-profit and non-profit organizations can increase individual and organizational performance through the application of strategic human resource management principles.

Dr. Shelton Rhodes is the Founding Dean of the School of Business and Leadership at Stevenson University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The Virginia Military Institute, a Master of Public Administration from Howard University’s School of Business, and a Ph.D. from Old Dominion University’s School of Business in Urban Services Management. Dr. Rhodes is a retired Army Infantry Major. He is a published author and entrepreneur.


vol17. no4.

Maryland Performance Magazine

| 15


16 |

Maryland Performance Magazine

vol17. no4.


Maryland Professional Performance Magazine