Catalytic Conversations

Catalytic Conversations

By Wendy Dickinson Ascend
We explore the volatility business owners face every day. During this time of economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, everyone is looking for answers. We hope to give you ideas for your recovery plan. This season I'm joined by Debra Willis & Karen Larsen, experts in benefits & HERE. We dive into possible solutions- what has, & what hasn't, worked for others. Catalytic Conversation offers you, the listener, the opportunity to gain insight from the experiences of others. Each guest shares with you key pivot points, “failures”, and how each navigated the many transitions of ownership.
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Capabilities + Capacity = Strategic Responses Worth Doing
Capacity+Capability= Strategic Responses Worth Doing This episode of Catalytic Conversations gives you a chance to weigh the value of a strategic response versus a knee jerk reaction. No judgment here.  This group of people have a wealth of experience, with the curated wisdom to make those words go down easier. Jeff Miller and Randy Asbell are sales gurus.  They are business owners who help build out sales teams (Jeff) and processes (Randy).  The two also model collaborative relationships at their best! Here’s what Debra, Karen and I took away from this conversation: Panicky, knee jerk reactions are common. COVID19 was an opportunity for many to build operational excellence.  In sales, this looks like a team with a high EQ. Operational excellence leads to an increase in capacity, & capability which results in valuable strategic responses. Resources that we all love: Grant, a documentary on Ulysses S. Grant Simon Sinek’s latest, The Infinite Game Bob Johansen’s Full Spectrum Thinking: How to Escape Boxes in a Post Categorical Future Next month Greg and Kyle Harvey of Seven Hills Electric will be our guests.  Seven Hills is a resilient family business with the ability to pivot in response to the market on any given day.  Tune in to learn how they do it each and every time! Reach out to Jeff Miller of Sales Recruiters of Virginia by visiting www.salesrecruitersofva.com or by calling 804.263.5961.  Catch Randy Asbell of Selling Forensics at www.sellingforensics.com or by calling 937.831.6090.  Debra Willis, of PPG Solutions, and Karen Larsen, of HR TABS are my co-hosts.  Contact them for a benefits review, or your HR needs. If you need a coach visit my site: www.ascendcoachingsolutions.com. Wishing you all health & well-being, Wendy Dickinson
41:12
June 18, 2020
Protocols & Perceptions: Norman Company Inc. Delivers Best Practices
Norman Company Inc is an amazing commercial construction company in central Virginia…. the model for family business at its best! This family-owned commercial construction company provides clients in Greater Richmond and surrounding areas with general contracting: project management, pre-construction planning, estimating and scheduling; and negotiated Design/Build services.  The Normans built their business on shared values, delivery of quality products, and integrity. In the interview, Rob (VP of Business Development) and Will (VP of Construction) Norman discuss the protocols put in place to protect employees, clients, and subcontractors from COVID19 infection.  What we didn’t expect was the level of commitment this family business brings to the job.  Listen in for a glimpse at family biz best practices at work - on the jobsite and in real time. Two things that didn’t come out during the interview: The Normans had a policy to take everyone’s temperature when they arrived at the jobsite - and, yes, that included the President! Rob modeled one of the 3-D masks after we stopped recording.  You have got to see this! Norman Company Inc. | Building Quality, Value and Lasting Relationships. Reach out to Will or Rob Norman by visiting their website.  Debra Willis, of PPG Solutions, and Karen Larsen, of HR TABS are my co-hosts.  Contact them for a benefits review, or your HR needs.  If you need a coach visit my site: www.ascendcoachingsolutions.com. Wishing you all health & well-being, Wendy Dickinson
32:00
May 22, 2020
People & Profits Suffer in Pandemics
Catalytic Conversations is back!  Wendy Dickinson, Founder of Ascend Coaching Solutions is a business coach who works with owners at the intersection of life and business. Today she talks with Debra Willis of PPG Solutions and Karen Larsen of HR TABS about the struggles of business owners coping with COVID-19.  We’ve entered the second quarter in 2020 - and it’s all about survival. We discuss: The impacts of COVID-19 that we see in the world of business today. The question of whether or not businesses should lay off employees or keep them on. Key takeaways for business owners in this moment of disruption for every type of business. My guests are Debra Willis of PPG Solutions and Karen Larsen of HR TABS - Debra is a 40 year healthcare veteran. President of partners in healthcare and currently a business manager at PPG Solutions/Benefit Hackers. She now works with small businesses to reduce insurance costs and improve employee benefits. Specializing in cost analysis and device at no cost! You can contact Debra Willis at dwillis@ppgsolutions.com or at 804-909-5414. Karen Larsen is the CEO and Founder of HR-TABS LLC Consulting.  She is a certified Fractional HR Executive with over 30 years of practice expertise as a leader in HR and organizational development in multiple industries and Fortune organizations.  As a chief HR strategist, Karen’s passion is to help small businesses become “Employers of Choice”. You can contact Karen Larsen of HR TABS at klarsen@hrtabs.com or 804-405-5003. Listeners, you can contact Wendy at www.ascendcoachingsolutions.com, or at 804-372-7575.  Let us know what you think!
29:36
April 30, 2020
“Third Generation Hire to Wire”
Seven Hills Electric is a third generation electrical services company.  Seven Hills has evolved from a 4 partner business started in the 70’s, to a family owned company with three generations currently at the helm.  The Harvey Family had to pivot due to the recession of ‘08.  Kyle discusses the ups and downs of their decisions.  He is open about his choices - going to college, joining the business, and the preparations for the next recession.  Join us for a frank discussion of what has worked for Seven Hills Electric and the Harvey Family. After our conversation, I suggested that Seven Hills design a special disaster package for their service customers.   SHE could take a look at the damage done in the past from hurricanes, flooding, snow/ice events, as well as wind damage.  That information could provide the outlines of the most valuable features and benefits that would give their service customers an advantage in getting back up and running after a climate event.  Kyle was open to the idea.  My question to you listeners, what can you do to turn a climate event into an opportunity to generate revenue? If you’d like to dive into more about Seven Hills Electric, visit their website here.  To contact Kyle Harvey email him at Kyle@SevenHillsElectric.com or call him at 804-397-7999.  If you need a business coach, contact me at www.ascendcoachingsolutions.com or call me at 804-372-7575.
21:16
November 15, 2019
All In: Family In Business, Part Two
If you thought family business was all unicorns and rainbows, think again.  The family business is a source of income, professional growth, AND a major source of identity.  This is part two of an in depth interview about a family business that weathered Hurricane Katrina with mixed results. Michele Wink, CEO of UP Professional Solutions, is one of five children.  Her father founded an engineering firm.  In this interview, recorded on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Michele tells us about the lessons her family learned about succession, contingencies, and how to build a family identity that can withstand any trial. Here are Michele’s key takeaways: Have a succession plan from Day 1. Outline terms and conditions.  Document and communicate the plan. Hire outside advisors for the hard, and the soft, sides of the business. Require each member of the next generation to work outside of the family business to experience success that belongs to each as individuals - independent of the family enterprise. The decisions made in the business has had a lasting impact on the entire family- all 3 generations. If you would like to learn more about UP Professional Solutions, go to their website here.  Michele invites you to contact her at MicheleW@uppros.com, or call her directly at 504.561.1652.
26:41
October 30, 2019
All In: Family In Business, Part One
If you thought family business was all unicorns and rainbows, think again.  The family business is a source of income, professional growth, AND a major source of identity. Michele Wink, CEO of UP Professional Solutions, is one of five children.  Her father founded an engineering firm.  In this interview, recorded on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Michele tells us about the lessons her family learned about succession, contingencies, and how to build a family identity that can withstand any trial.  This is part one.  You won't want to miss part two! Surprise Best Practice: Michele’s parents staged a summer camp at their home for the entire 3rd generation, and started a 3rd Gen Club.  Every grandchild was eligible for the club once he/she could read.  Then, the company was open to those children to learn about the business.  Each member of that generation is close to one another as a result of those practices.  Definitely a win for the Winks! If you would like to learn more about UP Professional Solutions, go to their website here.  Michele invites you to contact her at MicheleW@uppros.com, or call her directly at 504.561.1652.
35:06
October 29, 2019
No Love is Greater Than That of a Father For His Son...
You’ve been told to take the emotion out of your business decisions.  It makes sense.  If only it actually worked.  We know that making a decision in the midst of extreme emotion is a really bad idea.  But, what happens if the President of the family business feels really strongly about a person (his son, for ex.), or a plan, and can’t separate the emotion from reason? My guest today is Jay Cowan, a “recovering insurance guy” (his words- not mine).  Jay shares a family business story that is heartbreakingly tragic.  This story is the WHY of Jay’s business, Business Owner Exit Strategies. In this story, Jay’s stepfather, Glenn, chooses his successor based on his love for his son.  It went terribly wrong.  Glenn needed a coach.  He needed someone to talk through his options, develop a plan to prepare his son for leadership and offer support as he navigated the relationship with his son. The first time I heard this story, I couldn’t believe it.  If you work in a family business, take the relationship aspect of the business seriously.  It matters. If you’d like to talk with Jay, call him at 804.726.6011 or check out his website at BOESVA.com.  If you are in a family business and want a coach to support your efforts to succeed, call me at 804.372.7575 or email me at wendy@wendybdickinson.com.
41:36
October 3, 2019
SBA Tools for Family Businesses
Listen to Dennis Wagner, SBA Lender for Atlantic Capital Bank, to discover financial tools for family businesses. We know that many family businesses run short on cash.  We don’t know how much more it costs family businesses when they don’t include the SBA as an option.  There are reasons to take a look at the SBA.  They have 3 tools to offer that may prove to be handy for your family: Loan to acquire a business that has a lack of collateral ( a service firm, etc.) If there is a real estate transaction on the table- buying another building, building a new building, then explore the Rent Replacement Program. Total partner buyout assistance - this can be a huge help to family businesses in which the next generation needs to buy out family members, but don’t have the capital to do so. Something that may surprise you, Dennis isn’t limited to doing business in Virginia.  He can become part of your team of outside advisors. This is especially valuable if you include him prior to signing a letter of intent (LOI) to purchase a business. So, if you’d like to learn more about those 3 tools, give Dennis a call.  Research tells us that having 3 options can increase our chances of making a good decision by 80%.  To contact Dennis,  email him at Dennis.Wagner@atlcapbank.com, or give him a call at 540-850-7799 ©.
39:28
October 3, 2019
BB Hamilton- An Extraordinary Leader of Men
This interview took place at BB’s place of business, The Executive Grooming Lounge.  That night was rainy, cold and yet- the shop was packed, the only space for us to have this conversation was the back room- music, members of the community and the fruits of BB’s leadership evident everywhere we looked.  Mr. BB Hamilton discusses the return on investments like leadership, mentoring, and modeling.  BB has an established apprenticeship program where aspiring barbers learn how to be ambassadors of the Executive Grooming Lounge, and the men they were created to become.  BB discusses the myth of work/life balance, personal development and building successful, profitable teams.  He recommends books that he uses with his team: Who Moved My Cheese and The Four Agreements.  There is a lot to aspire to here!
27:02
March 14, 2019
Big Business in a Small Town
Meet Tommy Howard, former President and CEO of Sqwincher, based in Columbus, Mississippi. Tommy shares his experiences of assuming leadership of his family’s business, gaining a private equity partner and then, his exit from the company after selling to a strategic buyer. Tommy had 3 priorities in the sale: legacy, the well-being of Sqwincher employees AND purchase price. In our offline conversation Tommy said that “this is a small town, it’s not like those people can just go out and get another job”. He went on to say that he feels really good about the outcome and continues to see Sqwincher grow while making a positive impact on the Columbus community.
20:13
November 19, 2018
Transparency In Action - Leadership at It's Best
Phil Pietrandrea, Sales Director- Infrastructure at UNITRAC Railroad Materials, Inc. / Wabtec is my guest for this interview. Phil is a veteran of mergers & acquisitions. He shares key leadership strategies for leading a team through the M&A process, with integrity and authenticity. Phil makes a strong case for ownership transparency to gain company wide buy-in. Phil utilized his team of external advisors to successfully lead UNITRAC across the finish line - and gained trusted friends along the way.
41:11
September 14, 2018
Failure Leads to Peace & Profit: How did Todd White Do It???
How many of you are willing to put peace of mind ahead of profit? My guest, Dry Farm Wines founder, Todd White, is one of the few. In this interview we learn about clean wine, fear based leadership, and the rewards of failure. Todd tells us about his entrepreneurial journey which started at age 17. Todd founded 2 companies that he sold successfully. Todd also defines success; his perspective may surprise you. Todd labels his 3rd company a resounding failure that brought about his greatest wealth- peace. This interview focuses on the 4th of Todd’s creations - Dry Farm Wines. White has resiliently created DFW with a growth mindset, and expanded sense of awareness. Todd looks for those ready to embrace personal responsibility, while being part of a community - a key to the DFW Peace & Profit Manifesto. Check out to the DFW site: https://www.dryfarmwines.com
37:12
August 10, 2018
Wall Street Exit Led to Grand Cayman's Beaches
Rhonda and Jim Leavitt candidly share their conversations. They start with the one they had when Jim wanted to leave his Wall Street career to start their business. The money in savings, division of labor with a family of four young children and, how to eventually exit the business, are discussed in this interview. Jim and Rhonda are the founders of Grand Cayman Villas and Condos. Natural disasters, along with the issue of distance, are factors both Rhonda and Jim navigate in running the business and their household. Check out the company on their website: www.grandcaymanvillas.net. Listeners, if you’d like to learn more about working with me as your coach, feel free to call me at 804-372-7575 or go to my website, Ascend To Sell.com. I would love it if you would leave a review on iTunes and share this podcast with your contacts.
36:11
July 25, 2018
How Does a Climatologist Spot an Acquisition?
This episode focuses on creating value through climate optimization. Anne Waple, Vice President & Co-founder of Climate Optimize shares strategies for acquisitions. Climate Optimize, Inc “CO”, was founded on the fact that climate change presents both risk & opportunity to enterprises worldwide. Markets increasingly reward those that include climate assessment in their governance. CO takes climate assessment to the next level: Climate Optimization. Uniquely positioned to add enterprise value against a backdrop of climate change, CO will climate optimize by: ● Identifying, & acquiring, profitable companies with significant climate optimization potential. This may offer opportunities for outside capital partners. ● Assessing & advising third party clients using a CO-developed proprietary climate optimization platform to maximize enterprise value. Contact the CO team by visiting their website: climateoptimize.com . Contact Wendy Dickinson, the M&A Coach at: ascendtosell.com
30:34
June 1, 2018
Reflections On Their Sale of A Lifetime: Mike & Patricia Pauly
Today's guests look back on the sale of their business. This partnership weathered each transition life had to offer. Marriage, a growing family and what became a large, profitable, organization- Mike and Patricia managed it all.
27:22
May 7, 2018
Connor Gillivan: An Entrepreneur's Journey From Amazon to FreeeUp
As an Amazon seller veteran, eCommerce expert, and outsourcing guru, Connor Gillivan is passionate about building profitable businesses that address specific customer needs within the eCommerce world. Starting out of his college dorm room, Connor spent 4 years working with his business partners to build an eCommerce business selling on Amazon.com. With the venture, he’s sold over $25 million online, have worked with over 1,000 suppliers, and have managed over 500,000 products. After hiring and firing hundreds of remote freelancers and virtual assistants with his Amazon venture, Connor and his business partner started FreeeUp.com to address the frustrations they were facing on other marketplaces like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer: (1) too much time interviewing and vetting freelancers and (2) too much turnover. FreeeUp receives hundreds of applications from freelancers each week, interviews them for skills, communication, & attitude, then only allows the top 1% into the network.
31:15
May 7, 2018
Libby Dishner, MLHR, ACC- An Authority on Acquisition Integration
Libby Dishner, MLHR, ACC, is a Founding Partner of Cresco Coaching and Consulting. As a sought-after leadership coach, human resources strategist, and speaker she helps people find success and happiness by reaching for their full potential. Libby, a veteran navigator of acquisition integration, shares her tools for building resilience during disruption.
19:48
April 13, 2018
Startup sold in 24 Months: Courtney McBean
Many owners plan to either grow through an acquisition or, sell their company one day. But, are they ready? Have owners prepared for future disruptions? My guest, Courtney McBean and her partner, had two unexpected buyers come calling. Today, Courtney shares with us the tenets of the partnership, how it all began and the amazing results of the deal. Courtney is an entrepreneur and constant innovator looking for new ways to solve problems in clinical trials. With over 20 years experience in clinical research, her mission is to build strategy, processes, and technology that bring clarity, focus, and efficiency to organizations enabling teams to perform and trials to succeed. Checkout Courtney’s latest work. Cascadia Global Research
36:30
April 6, 2018
Ellen McIlhenny, B2B CFO is speaker, author and the CFO who brings a wealth of M&A experience to every client she serves.
Ellen is a B2B CFO Partner, with an interest in helping the owners of privately-held businesses reach their goals, both personal and business. For almost twenty years as a CFO in the private sector, Ellen helped to add value to a company which experienced a long period of robust growth. Ellen provides fractional CFO services on an as-needed basis. Ellen's new book, "The Big Turnaround-How Bad Management Nearly Destroyed an Exceptional Company", will be out in late March.
23:49
February 28, 2018
Martha Moore Shares Her Success At Navigating Pivot Points
Martha Moore, Business Development Manager at LiveWire LLC, shares her experiences as a former business owner whose lessons learned provide valuable insight on turning obstacles into successes. Martha has developed her abilities to create opportunities in different industries. Her story is one of resilience and readiness.
22:34
February 24, 2018
Kevin McCarthy
Kevin is a former Navy Seal and business owner who shares his experiences all of which led to his current position as a financial advisor and retirement planner with VA Asset Management.
19:56
January 17, 2018
Interview Christin Bonomonte
Catalytic Conversation with Christin Bonomonte • Catalytic Conversation with Christin Bonomonte • Catalytic Conversation with Christin Bonomonte • Catalytic Conversation with Christin Bonomonte • Catalytic Conversation with Christin Bonomonte
20:40
December 19, 2017