Stedman Graham: Lead Yourself First, Others Second

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Stedman Graham poses with several servicemembers outside in front of a large military plane

By Brady Rhoades

Once upon a time, Stedman Graham—yes, that Stedman—was a soldier in the United States Army, trying to figure out who he was and where he was going. More than 40 years later, he’s a world-renowned businessman, author and speaker with a laser focus on identity leadership.

“Understanding who you are is the key to your growth,” he told U.S. Veterans Magazine.

Five years in the Army in the 1970s gave him a solid foundation. “I would not be here today without the military,” he said. “I needed structure.”

Graham learned to be on time. To listen when others were speaking. To do his best. To not quit. To be a follower. To be a leader. To get down to the nitty-gritty details of whatever task he was working on.

“It helps you lay out a process for continual improvement,” the 68-year-old founder and CEO of S. Graham & Associates and bestselling author of 11 books said of his experience in the military.

Graham has never forgotten those lessons, and he is forever grateful. Which is why he continues to visit military bases and stay in touch with servicemen and women.

It’s also why he lobbies employers to hire veterans.

“The message of learning while you’re experiencing is a great message for our troops,” he said. “It’s a great design for self-actualization…You couldn’t have a better opportunity than serving.”

And, he added, you won’t get a more grounded, humble, flexible and

Graham’s latest book helps people identify themselves before taking the lead
Graham’s latest book helps people identify themselves before taking the lead

can-do employee than a veteran.

Graham was born on March 6, 1951, in the Whitesboro section of Middle Township, New Jersey, the son of Mary Jacobs Graham and Stedman Graham Sr. He is one of six children.

He received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Hardin-Simmons University in 1974, and a master’s degree in education from Ball State University in 1979. Graham, who stands at 6-foot-7, played basketball at Hardin-Simmons.

He later moved to High Point, North Carolina to establish himself in public relations. At B & C Associates, he worked on behalf of African-American causes and had many distinguished clients, including author Maya Angelou and South African activist Winnie Mandela.

He is also founder of Chicago, Illinois’s Athletes Against Drugs (AAD), a non-profit organization that provides services to youth and has awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships since its founding in 1985. Moreover, the organization arranges for sports figures to educate children about substance abuse.

In 1988 Graham created S. Graham & Associates, a Chicago-based corporate and educational marketing and consulting firm.

Graham has delivered speeches at many public and private schools on the topics of identity and self-awareness. He is perhaps most famous as an author of business and self-help-related books, including, Who Are You? and his newly-released, Identity Leadership: To Lead Others You Must First Lead Yourself.

Graham has been partners with Oprah Winfrey since 1988.

Identity leadership employs a simple but profound premise: You can’t lead anybody until you lead yourself. And to lead yourself, you must know yourself. The “self” is the biggest enigma in the world, the more provocative challenge, and the most rewarding mountain to climb, according to Graham.

Stedman speaking to servicemembers
“It takes years to do simple. People think there is such a thing as an overnight success. There isn’t. Success is hard work. The success I am having today took me 25 years. You have to put the time in to get the rewards out.” —Stedman Graham

Graham talks about being a learner, a hard worker, and knowing who you are, but if you go deeper, he invokes what he calls the most important word in the English language.

“Love is the key word,” he said. “Passion, talent and skills are related. Do what you love.”

In Identity Leadership: To Lead Others You Must First Lead Yourself, readers learn how to define themselves. The alternative, Graham said, is that society “puts you in a box.”

“When you can’t define yourself, the world defines you by your race, by your house, by your car, your money or your title,” he said. “It’s kind of socially constructed and designed to control your development.”

Graham said once he figured out who he was, he began to lead himself and, “to create a vision beyond my circumstance.”

If love is the most paramount word, purpose might be second, or in the top five. “Everything starts with a purpose,” said Graham, adding that purpose is essential to self-actualization.

In his world travels, he is intensely interested in motivating people to get rid of labels—whether they are linked to race, gender, class, you name it—and to take control of their own destiny.

He wants others to realize the process for success is the same for everybody in the 24 hours we have in our days.

Graham says being able to teach that, and to help people realize their potential, is a passion and a joy. He advises his readers and listeners to not be afraid.

“Failure, in fact, is a phenomenal teacher,” Graham says. “The concept goes back to ‘learning while you’re experiencing.’”

He said veterans know what it’s like to be part of something bigger than themselves, and they’ve learned how to adapt, particularly when faced with adversity. But they aren’t superheroes. They could use a helping hand—be it by a prospective employer, a nurse, a clerk, or a citizen on the street.

“There’s so much work to be done as far as helping our troops,” Graham said. “I’m just honored to be of service.”

11 Free Programs To Help Veterans Succeed As Entrepreneurs

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two men shaking hands, one of them is in a suit, the other is in military uniform

Veteran-owned businesses are an important engine of economic growth. New research from Experian has found that veterans tend to own and operate business with a larger employee base, and veteran-owned businesses have better longevity and sustainability than non veteran-owned business. (Experian analyzed and compared the credit data of veteran-owned businesses and non-veteran-owned businesses from 2015 through July 2019.)

Nearly 25% of veterans express interest in starting a business. That’s the good news. The bad news is entrepreneurship among younger veterans is on the decline. A report by Bunker Labs suggests one way to foster veteran entrepreneurship is through an “ecosystem” approach: “Taking an ecosystem approach to facilitating entrepreneurship requires ensuring that there is relationship density, strong network effects, and connected resources for entrepreneurs.”

Fortunately, there are a growing number of free programs designed to help veteran entrepreneurs tap into ecosystems that can help them thrive. Here are 11 of these programs:

1. Boots to Business

Boots to Business (B2B) is an entrepreneurial education and training program offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of the Department of Defense Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The course provides an overview of entrepreneurship and applicable business ownership fundamentals. It begins with a two-day “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” course, and after completing that course, participants may further their study through the B2B Revenue Readiness online course, delivered through a partnership with Mississippi State University.

Who qualifies: Active duty service members (including National Guard and Reserve), veterans of all eras, and their spouses.

Learn more: Visit SBAvets.force.com. To register, contact the Transition Service Manager (TSM) on your military installation.

2. Reboot

This one or two day in-person course is offered off installation and provides participants with an overview of business fundamentals, while introducing techniques for evaluating the feasibility of business concepts. The course covers a range of entrepreneurial business concepts and provides resources for accessing startup capital, contracting opportunities, and more.

Who qualifies: Veterans of all eras, including National Guard and Reserve members, and spouses.

Learn more: Review the class schedule and register at SBAvets.force.com.

3. VETRN

VETRN trains veteran small business owners and family members, free of charge, on how to successfully grow their own small businesses. This executive MBA program is based on the award-winning “StreetWise MBA,” which is taught in over 70 cities across the United States. VETRN has an exclusive contract to teach this management training program to veteran cohorts. Veterans accepted into the program receive a mentor on Day One and have access to a substantial professional resource network.

Who qualifies: In order to be accepted into the VETRN program, veteran small business owners must have been in business for one or more years, have at least one employee, and have annual revenues of $75,000 or greater.

Learn more: Visit Vetrn.org 

4. VetFran

One out of seven franchise businesses is owned and operated by veterans of the U.S. military. VetFran is a strategic initiative of the International Franchise Association (IFA) and includes over 600 IFA member companies that offer financial incentives, education, and support to veterans interested in franchise ownership and/or a career path in franchising. Navy Federal Credit Union is one such partner, providing startup capital for veterans who are buying franchises, as well as additional capital for franchise expansion.

Who qualifies: Veterans and their family members can use the extensive toolkit on the VetFran website to explore franchising, learn about discounts, and find franchise opportunities.

Learn more: Visit VetFran.org.

5. Veteran Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs)

In partnership with the SBA, the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) Program is designed to provide entrepreneurial development services, such as business training, counseling, and resource partner referrals. Services include pre-business plan workshops, concept assessments, business plan preparation, entrepreneurial training, mentorships, and more. There are 22 organizations participating in this cooperative agreement and serving as VBOCs.

Who qualifies: Transitioning service members, veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and military spouses interested in starting or growing a small business.

Learn more: Visit the VBOC webpage on the SBA website.

Other Articles From AllBusiness.com:

6. Veteran Institute for Procurement

This program provides veteran-owned business executives with comprehensive instruction on how to accelerate their federal government contracting business skills. It offers three programs for veteran-owned small businesses:

  • VIP START—For businesses that want to do business with the federal government.
  • VIP GROW—For businesses that want to increase their federal government contracting opportunities.
  • VIP INTERNATIONAL—For businesses that want to enter and/or expand their contracting opportunities overseas.

The three-day, in-residence training is offered at no cost to participants (other than travel to the event).

Who qualifies: Service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses and veteran-owned small businesses.

Learn more: Veteran Institute for Procurement

7. Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV)

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) offers small business management training programs for post-9/11 veterans and their family members. It includes three programs:

  • EBV—Designed for businesses in the early-growth stage; includes an online course, a 9-day residency program, and a year of mentorship and support.
  • EBV-F—Offers entrepreneurship training with a focus on family issues, caregiver issues, and work-life balance issues related to being a business owner.
  • EBV Accelerate—For veterans who run successful businesses; provides tools and coaching to help take a business to the next level.

There is no cost to participate in these programs; however, EBV Accelerate participants must cover travel costs to the residency program.

Who qualifies: EBV applicants must have separated from service after 2001 and have a service-connected disability. EBV-F is available to family members of qualified veterans, including members of the National Guard and Reserve. EBV Accelerate is available to qualified veteran-owned businesses at least three years old with five or more full-time employees. (See full conditions for each program on website.)

Learn more: Learn about all three programs at the EBV website.

8. Bunker Labs

Bunker Labs is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, a national network of veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs dedicated to helping the veteran community start and grow businesses. Programs include:

  • Launch Lab Online—An online gamified, interactive way to get an entrepreneurship education; can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
  • Veterans in Residence—Provides space, services, business mentorship, and community for veteran entrepreneurs and military family members who are entrepreneurs; currently available in 17 cities.
  • CEOcircle—A mastermind group of select CEOs who are military veterans or spouses, and whose companies are growing; group meets monthly.
  • Bunker Connect—A “part networking, part mentorship working session.” It brings together transitioning military, veterans and their spouses, and more than 65 resource partners. The program is slated to be available in 12 cities by mid-2020.
  • Muster Across America—An annual national tour to cities across the United States showcasing veteran entrepreneurs, empowering local entrepreneurial ecosystems, and building connections between veterans and the business community. Events include education, networking, and a pitch competition.

Who qualifies: Active duty military, veterans, and their families are welcome. CEOcircle is by invitation only, but applicants may submit an “interest submission” online.

Learn more: Visit BunkerLabs.org.

9. National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP)

National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program (VEP) is a comprehensive entrepreneurship training and support program for veterans with a service-connected disability. It includes a self-study portion, eight-day residency program in Oklahoma, Tennessee, or Florida, followed by five months of support and mentorship. All travel, accommodation, meals, materials, and instructional costs are covered by the VEP.

Who qualifies: Any veteran with a service-connected disability.

Learn more: VEP at Oklahoma State University, VEP at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and VEP at University of Florida.

10. Patriot Boot Camp (PBC)

Since 2012, Patriot Boot Camp (PBC), a national 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, has been on a mission to create a community that advances and supports military members, veterans, and military spouses in their mission to become creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs leading the new economy. PBC’s core program is an intensive three-day technology entrepreneurship boot camp that culminates in a pitch practice and competition. Fun fact: Four alumni have appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

Who qualifies: Military members, veterans, and military spouses.

Learn more: PatriotBootCamp.org

11. Vets First Verification Program

The Vets First Verification Program provides verified firms owned and controlled by veterans and service-disabled veterans the opportunity to compete for VA set-asides. VA also trains and certifies Verification Assistance Counselors to provide application assistance to SDVOSBs/VOSBs that want to become verified. Free counseling services are available to veterans free of charge at Procurement Technical Assistance Centers throughout the country. Free webinars and extensive educational resources are also available online.

Who qualifies: Veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

Learn more: Visit the Vets First Verification Program website.

RELATED: New Job Website Helps Veterans Transition to Civilian Life

This article was originally published on AllBusiness. See all articles by Gerri Detweiler.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Naval Veteran And Successful Franchisee Swaps Brands: Adds Top-Rated Mobile Flooring Business To His Portfolio

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Keith Yound stands outsinde in front of his work vehicle

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Keith Young was already a successful franchise owner with FirstService Brands, the leading North American brand in the property services industry. So when he sold his CertaPro Painters of Central Houston franchise after 10 years, he didn’t have to look far for his next opportunity. The 48-year-old Young stayed within the FirstService Brands family and became a franchise owner with Floor Coverings International, visiting customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers.

Young is also a U.S. Navy veteran, who has put an emphasis on hiring veterans in the past and plans to continue that practice with Floor Coverings International. “I will be hiring a sales associate before the end of 2019,” Young said. “Military veterans make very successful franchise owners and employees since they know how to follow a proven system and take responsibility for achieving their objectives,” Young shared.

“Having 10 years’ experience as a painting contractor delivering at a consistently high level of service was the perfect background to set me up for success in the flooring business,” said Young. “I was ready for a new challenge and was already aware of Floor Coverings International since it is owned by the same parent company as CertaPro Painters. I wanted to stay in that family and that gave me a high level of confidence in the brand.”

In Floor Coverings International, Young found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations.

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2019. For franchise information, please visit flooring-franchise.com and to find your closest location, floorcoveringsinternational.com.

Sisters Transform Military Materials Into ‘Beautiful’ Bags — and Use the Profits to Help Vets

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Emilly Nunez and Bestsy Nunez pose with Emily carrrying an army green signature military bag

When Emily Nunez Cavness was in college seven years ago in Vermont, she and her sister, Betsy Nunez, launched a plan to start a business that turns excess military gear into handbags.

Their company, Sword & Plough, employs veterans and gives a percentage of profits to military charities.

The idea germinated when Emily — then a senior at Middlebury College — attended a lecture that prompted her to think about how to use recycling as part of a business model. The daughter of an Army veteran and herself an ROTC student at the time, Emily gravitated toward a theme connected to the armed forces.

“What in my life is often discarded and could be turned into something beautiful with a purposeful mission?” she asked herself at the time, according to the company’s website.

“I immediately thought about military surplus materials,” Emily tells PEOPLE. “Then I looked around the room and saw that everyone had bags by their side.”

That, she says, was her a-ha moment.

“I thought to myself, ‘We could take these extremely durable materials that have such unique stories and turn them into fashionable bags that anyone would want to use,’ ” she recalls.

Betsy soon signed on as chief operating officer, and the two formed Sword and Plough in 2012, when Emily was 22 and Betsy, 24. Now, they run a thriving mail order business selling bags, jewelry, and accessories.

The bags start out as tents, sleeping bag covers, leather, hardware, canvas, nylon, and old uniforms. The materialsSignature tote blue and army green tote bag pictured are shipped out to veteran-owned or operated manufacturers around the country, where they are turned into the final products. Because they are made out of military grade materials, the bags hold up well to wear, tear, and the elements, the sisters say.

Staying connected to the military community is important to the sisters.

“One of the best parts about Sword & Plough is meeting and working with such inspiring and talented veterans,” Emily says.

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

He Certified Choppers As Ready To Fly In The Navy; Now He’s Taking Those Skills To Home Inspections

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Jack Zaczek stands in front of his home inspection vehicle wearing a blue shirt and khaki pants

Buying or selling a house is an exercise that can be fraught with anxiety. Sometimes you need a calming influence, or more importantly, a voice of reason when it comes to making what is one of life’s big decisions.

In that situation, you want to turn to someone like Jack Zaczek, 48, who owns a Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® franchise, the brand to which more than three million families have turned to for 25 years to be their trusted advisor when buying or selling a home.

Zaczek is a retired veteran who spent more than 20 years in the Navy. Attention to detail and a sense of calm in times of stress are hallmarks of any veteran, and Zaczek certainly has the credentials. He retired as Navy Chief and was an Airframe and Flight Control Technician, certifying H60 Sea Hawk Helicopters safe for flight during eight – yes, eight – deployments to the Persian Gulf in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom campaigns.

“The attention to detail the Navy taught me inspecting aircraft directly contributes to the high level of attention I give each home inspection I perform,” said Zaczek who serves homebuyers and sellers throughout Duval, Flagler, St. Johns, Putnam and Nassau counties in Florida.

While Zaczek has the requisite mindset required to be a successful home inspector, he also has the knowledge. Before joining the Navy in 1997, he worked in construction building custom homes in Oregon. “Pillar To Post is the perfect fit for me. I love the profession and take great pride in my own home,” Zaczek said. “Being a home inspector gives me the opportunity to help out and be involved with my community.”

Pillar to Post Home Inspectors is a popular franchise brand among veterans like Zaczek. The franchisor is a member of VetFran, a program of the International Franchise Association that helps vets purchase franchises and it has achieved 5-star status in that program, the top ranking possible. In 2018, one-third of new Pillar To Post Home inspectors franchisees were military vets. “Pillar To Post Home Inspectors has been ranked as the No. 1 home inspection franchise, and I’m proud to be a part of this winning team,” Zaczek said.

Tampa-based Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®, the largest home inspection company in North America, has consistently ranked as the top-rated home inspection company on Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual Franchise500®, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is enjoying its 19th year in a row on that list.

A professional evaluation both inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors’ service. Inspectors input data and digital photos into a computerized report that is provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference, allowing homebuyers or sellers to make confident, informed decisions.

About Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®
Founded in 1994, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is the largest home inspection company in North America with home offices in Toronto and Tampa. There are nearly 600 franchises located in 49 states and nine Canadian provinces. The company has been named as Best in Category in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise500® ranking for 19 years in a row. Long-term plans include adding 500 to 600 new franchisees over the next five years. For further information, please visit pillartopost.com. To inquire about a franchise go to pillartopostfranchise.com.

Couple Brings A Wealth Of Experience To Help Combat Workplace Contagion With Enviro-Master Services

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Pictured outside their building is Willlie Jenkins, Jr., Kimberly Jenkins, Willie Jenkins

When you see terms such as “leading provider, recession-resistant, lack of competition” and “scalable,” associated with a franchise opportunity, it’s undoubtedly going to pique your interest.

And if it’s in an industry that can literally impact millions of people – by creating its own unique niche – you’re almost certainly going to want to know even more about this ground-floor opportunity. Mix in a company culture that’s equal to its growth potential… and you have the perfect list of ingredients that drew Willie Jenkins and Kimberly Clark to become franchise owners with Enviro-Master, North America’s leading health and safety-focused commercial cleaning service, which has doubled in size since 2012. They are seeing demand from many markets for their service because of the growing concerns about MRSA and other new tough to combat bacteria. Pictured left to right are Willie Jenkins, Jr., Kimberly Clark, Willie Jenkins, El Paso,TX.

“We are NOT like anyone else. We are UNIQUE,” said Willie. “When we first met with the corporate team from Enviro-Master we were truly impacted with how welcoming they were and that they wanted to know about ‘us’ and not just about our previous business experience. They genuinely cared about us as a family.”

Launched in January, Enviro-Master’s El Paso location serves businesses throughout El Paso, Las Cruces and Alamogordo, N.M., as well as Juarez, Mexico. Surrounding franchise areas still available are Albuquerque, Lubbock and Amarillo.

Willie, 49, has owned a janitorial cleaning company for 15 years while Kimberly, 57, has spent a decade in a civil servant role as an inventory/warehouse manager after a 24-year career in the U.S. Air Force before joining Enviro-Master, which provides unique processes and products that disinfect and sterilize surfaces that serve as breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses such as the flu, Hepatitis, Norovirus and MRSA. Enviro-Master’s commercial restroom hygiene service, which is applied with EPA-registered, non-toxic products, ensures 99.99 percent of germs are killed. “As a border city, we have many challenges dealing with the health and safety aspect due to travelers constantly going back and forth into Mexico,” Kimberly said. “We wanted to be a part of helping our neighbors within the city and even in Mexico.”

In Enviro-Master, Willie and Kimberly found a company that is a recognized leader in the $61 billion commercial cleaning industry, which is expected to grow by an additional two percent in 2019 alone, according to experts. Enviro-Master International Franchise has ranked five years in a row by Inc. 5000 as one of American’s Fastest Growing Private Companies. Their niche, which focuses on killing germs and bacteria, protects businesses, their employees and clients against the spread of infectious diseases. Currently targeting growth in major markets throughout North America, Enviro-Master’s continued growth is fueled by five basic fundamentals: 1) Large, identifiable markets; 2) Lack of competition; 3) Recession resistance; 4) Recurring revenue model; and 5) Service that can’t be displaced by technology.

“I’ve been in franchise development for more than 30 years and have not seen a concept with the strong fundamentals that we have at Enviro-Master,” said Brian Wieters, executive vice president of franchise development. Said Willie: “This is something we want to pass on to our children. We believe in leaving a legacy for our children’s children. Our plan for them is to be very aggressive in the future growth of our company.”

Markets being aggressively targeted for new franchises are Phoenix, Toronto, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Reno, New York and its boroughs, Denver, Boston and New Orleans. Call 1-833-GERMPROS for more information, or visit the website at https://www.enviro-master.info.

$100K Tech Startup Seed Capital for Veterans

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BBBC 2019 logo announcing the conference date and location

The Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference wants to help you launch your tech startup with a startup tech pitch competition.

Expert DOJO, the fastest growing startup community in Santa Monica has partnered with the 2019 Business Beyond the Battlefield Conference (#BBBC19) to invest up to $100k in startup companies attending the event; at least one $50,000 term sheet is guaranteed to one company.

This investment is designed to help startup founders who have identified a very specific problem or challenge in growing their startup, and could use the $50,000+ investment to make a significant difference in overcoming that challenge.

Ideal applicants are innovative thinkers in any segment of technology who believe their products are unique, groundbreaking, and can affect positive change in their vertical.

Note: Contestants must attend #BBBC2019 accelerator sessions

startup pitch competition flyer is pictured with registration info

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK and Cheeriodicals Partner to Deliver Duffel Bags to Veteran Facilities Throughout November in Honor of Veterans Day

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TWO_MEN_AND_A_TRUCK company delivers a duffel bag to a woman veteran

Two companies are showing veterans some major appreciation in honor of Veterans Day. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, the nation’s largest franchised moving company, and Cheeriodicals, a national corporate team-building and corporate gifting company, are partnering to assemble and deliver more than 500 duffel bags to veteran facilities in four U.S. cities throughout the month of November.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and Cheeriodicals delivered duffel bags to veterans receiving care at the Fayetteville VA Medical Center in North Carolina on Nov. 6; the Maine Veterans’ Homes Scarborough location on Nov. 12; the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center in Michigan on Nov. 15; and the Orlando VA Medical Center in Florida on Nov. 20.

In Michigan, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® employees assembled 300 bags at the brand’s Frontline Annual Meeting, which brings together movers, drivers, customer service representatives and franchise managers from across the brand’s system.

“At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, we pride ourselves on partnering with veteran organizations to provide care and bring joy to the brave men and women who have served our country,” TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® President Randy Shacka said. “From our joint efforts with Cheeriodicals to our Movers for Military® program, our brand prioritizes showing appreciation to all veterans who fight for the many freedoms we enjoy. Everyone at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, from our movers to the leadership team, is thrilled to partner again with Cheeriodicals this year and deliver duffel bags to veteran facilities.”

While TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and Cheeriodicals have worked together for the past eight years to deliver Cheeriodicals’ signature big, green boxes of care to VA hospitals, children’s hospitals and more, this will be the first year the pair assembles and delivers duffel bags. The black and green duffel bags will contain items that have typically gone into veteran boxes, including a blue fleece blanket and a tumbler adorned with the message “Thank you for your service” along with crossword puzzle books and a current issue of U.S. Veterans Magazine. The duffel bags will also contain toiletries such as lip balm, lotion, toothbrushes, toothpaste and socks, and each will be outfitted with a luggage tag featuring the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and Cheeriodicals logos.

“Cheeriodicals values TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® as a national partner,” Cheeriodicals President and CEO Gary Parisher said. “Cheeriodicals is endlessly grateful to

Two Men deliver duffels to patients at medical center in Fayetteville
Representatives from Two Men and a Truck Fayetteville, NC deliver cheer to inpatients at Fayetteville VA Medical Center.

veterans and these duffel bags are a small token of our appreciation and respect. We are all excited to deliver the duffel bags in person.”

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s relationship with Cheeriodicals began when Parisher was looking for a way to deliver the company’s signature “big green boxes of cheer” to a hospital in Columbus, Ohio. While driving in Birmingham, Alabama, he saw a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® moving truck driving by with its motto prominently displayed on the side: “Movers Who Care®.” He called the number and expressed his predicament. To his surprise, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® told him they would deliver the boxes free of charge.

Eight years later, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and Cheeriodicals have partnered across the U.S. and Canada to make more than 300 deliveries and donate more than 90,000 boxes to VA medical centers, state veteran homes, children’s hospitals, Ronald McDonald Houses and other charities.

“Partnerships like this help [Veterans Affairs] support veterans, families and caregivers,” said Sabrina Clark, director of the VA Voluntary Services Program. “VA is proud to partner with organizations that facilitate building relationships that are valuable and critical to meeting our mission.”

For Business Minded U.S. Veterans

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maintenence-worker

The best way to provide good jobs for U.S. veterans is by helping other U.S. veterans to start successful businesses, because veterans like to hire veterans.

They share a camaraderie and respect for each other unlike any other. And they all have been trained how to work together effectively for maximum results.

Six years ago, in order to get more U.S. veterans employed with good wages I began teaching business minded veterans how to start a strong and successful Maintenance company from scratch. I realized that the more veteran owned businesses I created, the more veterans would get hired. I have developed 80 U.S. Military Maintenance businesses since. It has been an overwhelming success! They have earned millions of dollars and are employing thousands of other veterans.

But before I go further, I will introduce myself. Then I will summarize what I will do with you if you choose for me to show you how to start a maintenance business of your own, in just a week.

Many have earned $10 K or more in their first month. There are many U.S. Military Maintenance owners to talk with. You can talk to them personally and listen to their own success stories.

I have been putting on career fairs on military bases for more than a decade. And I have a job board exclusively for businesses seeking to employ U.S. veterans. HirePatriots.com.

It also has a unique job board for residents who want to hire local U.S. military to help with chores, and to provide a way to thank them; and for active duty, veterans and their spouses to earn extra money when needed. – My life has been devoted to serving our US military, veterans, and their families for more than 40 years. My primary focus has been to help provide ways for active duty and veterans to financially support themselves and their families well.

Book Cover of the Patriotic Business PlanI have written a best-selling book: The Patriotic Business Plan: How to Leap Over Your Competition. The book explains how I received voluminous local and national media attention, medals from two US Presidents, and financial support from civic leaders, organizations, and businesses. It was written in 2013 when social networks were exploding and changing the way businesses market themselves and increase profit. It has worked for myriads of businesses across the US and continues to grow in its effectiveness to immediately increase any businesses’ prestige, and bottom line. As its creator, I personally work with you to get your business started and to help you to also leap over your competition.

Learn more about these active duty, veteran and military opportunities and resources at PatriotHearts.

 

9 Reasons Recognizing Companies and Employees is Important

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Diverse group of employees raising their hands in cheer

By Mona Lisa Faris

We all remember scientists Ivan Pavlov and B.F. Skinner’s experiments famous for exploring the benefits of using rewards and positive associations to change both behavior and emotion. Lately, I’ve seen it to be true with companies as well.

Few corporate awards are as highly sought-after or revered as a prestigious Best of the Best title.

A company achieving recognition in this area values inclusion and has a hand on the heartbeat of diversity at all times. There are two ways to achieve this award, either by employee vote or by a third party strictly looking at numbers.

In my opinion, independent third-party HR auditing, such as filling out a survey, outweighs employee-based evaluations.

Nine reasons recognizing companies and employees is important:

  1. Demonstrate You’re Doing Something Right

Business awards are important badges of honor to companies. The Best of the Best list is an opportunity to demonstrate to clients, employees, investors, customers, and the general public that yes, you’re doing something right, according to a third party and an objective panel of judges.

Whether or not your company has had direct involvement with these awards, the results are an invaluable source of information. It gives you an edge above your competitors, too.

  1. Diversity Matters

A company that makes it on a Best of the Best list believes in diversity and understands the importance of salaries, benefits, leadership, personal growth, and wellbeing, ultimately revealing what employees really care about in the workplace. Organizational cultures built on inclusion drive engagement, which drives business and financial performance.

  1. Employee Retention

Recognizing a job well done affects employee retention. When employee morale receives a boost, employee retention is increased. When a company is rewarded, it’s encouraged to strive to stay on the Best of the Best list and do even better. It is not a good sign when a company makes it on the list for a year and then doesn’t make it the following year.

  1. Better Job Performance

Recognition keeps employees feeling proud and passionate about their work. When employees are recognized, they are encouraged to perform better, and consistent recognition—especially when they’ve gone beyond the call of duty—will enhance their job performance. According to Great Place to Work, “Employees who say they have a great place to work were four times more likely to say they’re willing to give extra to get the job done.”

  1. Attract Great Talent

Award-winning status can help you compete for great talent. Customers, prospective employees, and the community hold top workplaces in high regard. If you’re recognized as a Top Veteran-Friendly Company, for example, it encourages veterans to apply with less hesitation knowing you’re diverse and inclusive to the veteran community. You present the following message: “Welcome, veterans, we’re here to train you and support you.”

  1. Media Exposure

Recognition as a Best of the Best company will keep your diversity message and branding alive all year long. Companies on the Best of the Best list performed two to three times better than their counterparts. Being awarded is a great opportunity to brag and put out public notices of achievement, such as a press release. It’s a great recognition to put on a website or use the Best of the Best logo to brand and market across the nation. Some companies go as far as putting the logo on their advertisements, marketing material, and at events and job fairs.

  1. Compete by Advantage

With better performance comes stronger revenue. When you’re on that list, it means you’re diverse, which means you’re getting diverse perspectives, ultimately putting out the best product and service because of the different views you have within your company. With a recognition, you also have a wider consumer base, which gives you an advantage over non-diverse competitors. At the end of the day, every company wants to be recognized, but companies are also interested in what other companies in their industry are being recognized for.

  1. Increase Innovation

Diversity drives innovation. It’s helpful for managers to establish a culture in which all employees feel free to contribute ideas, implement feedback, and give credit where credit is due. Employees who are given an environment to speak freely, no matter what the feedback is, are more likely to contribute their culture, ethnicity, gender, and work experience to drive innovation. Companies that foster and implement diverse groups for feedback, such as an ERG, help define culturally sensitive products, services, and demographics, and these diverse groups bring the greatest innovation.

  1. Increase Profits and Revenue

Recognition keeps employees satisfied, ultimately increasing revenue and profits. The bottom line is that we want our employees to be satisfied at work, because that is what influences company performance. Thus, diversity and inclusion are the keys to a company’s bottom line.

As a publisher of six-diversity focused magazines, I know it’s imperative to recognize companies for their achievements in diversity, and we do this through an independent survey. Any company award is a positive marketing strategy. Just as with any survey, do your research. My advice is to never participate in a “pay to play” investment because it’s not an investment. Our reports are never “pay to play.” By publishing these much-anticipated lists, my goal is to encourage those doing a good job to continue doing a great job, and for those who are not there yet, to entice them to join the bandwagon—to see what their competitors are doing and show the value. Companies that put diversity first, implement it in their policy, and practice it every day from the top down see the fruit of their labor and deserve praise.

A Reel Hero—Bob Vincent Aims to Tell Veterans’ Stories

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Bob Vincent holding his Media Award

The president of Reel Heroes Media champions military heroes and organizations with his video productions.

Bob Vincent, pictured left, president of Reel Heroes Media, was recently awarded the Carlton Sherwood BAVF Media Award, saluting media members who are dedicated to the needs and concerns of American veterans.

As a child, Bob Vincent remembers taking eight suitcases full of shampoo, toilet paper and many other items we take for granted to his family, who was living in communist Hungary at the time. The experience gave this first generation Hungarian-American, successful video producer and president of Reel Heroes Media a true understanding of what it means to live in the home of the free.

“I wouldn’t be here today if not for all those heroes who took that oath and continue to do so,” he said.

After founding his video production company Video Pilot 360 in 2008 with its successful online video-marketing platform, Vincent renamed it Reel Heroes Media in 2015 with the goal of producing videos and marketing that support active military, veterans, their families and the organizations that champion them.

Vincent says he envisions his company—which handles everything from graphic design and video production to audio visual design and content creation—as a “veteran initiative agency of record.”

“When I attended my first military support event, I couldn’t believe all the amazing heroes I met, their stories and the many honorable organizations that provide assistance,” he said. “I saw that many of them didn’t have the resources to tell those stories to the public.

“From that point on, I made it my mission to use my God-given talents to produce the stories of these heroes and the organizations supporting them,” he added.

And Vincent’s skill for doing so is evident in the many accolades he’s received from corporate giants like Disney, American Airlines and MGM Resorts International, as well as from entertainers like Rascal Flatts, Gary Sinise, Lee Greenwood and Billy Ray Cyrus.

But it’s the compelling video productions he’s created as part of his military philanthropy work that has made Vincent most proud. His work is credited for helping motivate patriotic Americans to donate millions of dollars to military supportive organizations and events, such as The Airpower Foundation, Sky Ball, American Airlines Veterans Initiatives, Snowball Express, The American Fallen Soldiers Project and The Gary Sinise Foundation, among others.

One particular video Vincent was asked to produce to show the impact the iBOT mobility device has had for veterans across the country assisted the Independence Corp Foundation and inventor DEKA Corp. CEO Dean Kamen in resuming production on the device.

“He [Dean] told me the video I produced was their most valuable tool in getting the support they needed,” said Vincent, whose production assisted in the FDA reclassification of the device, as well as the manufacturing plans for the next generation iBOT with Toyota.

Vincent’s latest project involves The Life Chest, a beautiful handmade wood chest that gives the recipient a special place to keep treasured keepsakes.

In honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Reel Heroes Media partnered with Mike Elliot, founder and president of All Veteran Group, Life Chest USA, The Airpower Foundation, and All-American Limo & Transportation for a “Life Chests of Legacy” tour to gift Life Chests to WWII veterans across the country.

Vincent says he hopes to create a national movement sharing the gifting and unveiling of each Life Chest that’s delivered to a veteran.

“As we get to hear the stories and legacies of our military heroes, we will continue to share them,” said Vincent.

While he speaks fluent Hungarian and is very proud of his Hungarian heritage, Vincent is equally proud of the brave men and women who provide the freedoms his family in Hungary didn’t have while he was growing up.

“We can never do enough to support those who defend our country, and especially for those who have been wounded or for the families of those who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Vincent, adding a Calvin Coolidge quote that he first heard from his good pal, Gary Sinise, years ago:

“The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.”