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SeaComm Business Newsletter
1st Edition 2019
Business Spotlight: Help Sami Kick Cancer Foundation, Inc.
Help Sami Kick Cancer Foundation, Inc. was founded by Jim and Karen Curtis after the unfortunate passing of their daughter, Samantha “Sami” M. Curtis from a brain tumor.
Since childhood, Sami attacked any goal or mission she put heart into with a focus and a passion rarely attainable for her age. She was on the St. Lawrence County Cancer Foundation from the age of thirteen, for which she raised thousands of dollars. She was an FFA officer, member of the National Honor Society, a three-sport athlete and much more. She was given the Liberty Award which is the highest honor bestowed upon by the US Senate and also received the 2017 Woman of Distinction award from Senator Pattie Richie for all of her accomplishments.
Before Sami passed away, the St. Lawrence Cancer Foundation revealed that the money she had raised since being diagnosed in 2015 was going to be transferred to Northern New York Community Foundation for a legacy fund. According to her parents, Sami wanted that money to go to “help people, not a machine or instrument for a hospital that was going to charge people to use anyway”.
Prior to passing, Sami decided to be remembered each year through giving to the Canton FFA for jacket awards, Honey Dew Acres for young riders who have been affected by cancer or life altering events, St. Mary’s School, and Camp Ta Kum Ta, a pediatric cancer camp in South Hero Vermont. Sami passed in 2017 and although she is no longer able to physically join in the fight against cancer, her spirit is carried on by the legacy foundation.
Soon after her passing, one of her doctors from UVM Children’s hospital contacted Jim and Karen to inquire if Sami’s legacy fund was able to help newly diagnosed local pediatric patients and their families monetarily. Since the legacy foundation was already set up to help the above entities, Jim and Karen decided to create another foundation.
This was the beginning of Help Sami Kick Cancer Foundation, Inc. With the new foundation they began assisting families, along with help from other area organizations, like Ryan’s Wish and Jules of Life by providing financial relief to families affected by pediatric cancer.
Sami was known for her love of the outdoors. Her father Jim reflects on a family elk hunting trip the whole family took to Colorado in the fall of 2016. The entire family was able to hunt together and it was a welcome respite from battling cancer. Jim describes this trip as “one of the most gratifying things we have ever done.”
In the spring of 2018, Jim and Karen met a family and a foundation from Pennsylvania. The One Wish Foundation asked Jim and Karen if they could bring a 12-year-old with leukemia to hunt on their property as his one wish was to shoot a turkey. They were thrilled to be a part of this boy’s dream and on the one-year anniversary of their daughter’s passing his wish came true.
With their memories of their Colorado trip, helping a 12-year-old fulfill his turkey hunting dream, and with so many families being affected by cancer, Jim and Karen were inspired to expand the mission of Help Sami Kick Cancer Foundation. The expansion became a reality when they purchased The Lodge at Dreaming Tree Ranch, which is a 200+ acre retreat that adjoins the land they already own. They hope that The Lodge will become a place where families can escape the stress of cancer, rest, and make lasting memories of outdoor adventures. The Lodge will become a sanctuary where the visiting family will have all of their needs met for a week and can experience as much or as little as they would like.
Karen reflects; “Cancer takes so much out of a family especially when it is a child who is the fighter of this awful disease. The strengthening of the family is a great need and we are so blessed to be able to help.” Karen and Jim are proud of the life Sami led and the inspiration she continues to instill in others. “You didn’t need to have met her to feel her inspiration which is a final gift that she has given us that never fades. It’s amazing to be carrying on her love of family and faith,” adds Karen.
When asked about working with SeaComm, Jim states “we were very happy to partner with Seacomm, when we started talking about funding, SeaComm was where we needed to start. The SeaComm staff has been very helpful. It’s been great.”
Currently, Help Sami Kick Cancer Foundation is looking for the community’s assistance in renovating The Lodge. If this story resonates with you, Karen and Jim would love to welcome you to reach out and tell them how you would like to help via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Help Sami Kick Cancer Foundation, Corp. or The Lodge at Dreaming Tree Ranch, you can find information at helpsamikickcancer.org.
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The Qualities of Leadership & How They Evolve
According to Inc. Magazine, the fundamental reason for the years and sometimes even decades it takes to produce an extraordinary leader is the learning curve.
For example, instead of focusing on the daily grind, the burgeoning leader is combining daily work with extended goals. The person who is growing in leadership is trying hard to understand the strengths, weaknesses, goals, and desires of others.
Often, leaders don't seek to be liked: They seek respect. While the aspiring leader knows cordiality is necessary for the here and now, he or she may well have to sacrifice short-term likability for enduring respect.
Real leaders encourage others to reach goals, happy when a team member achieves something worthy of praise.
The developing leader will empower people with honesty and transparency. All things being equal, he or she demonstrates respect for them and helps them do good work.
A natural leader understands that if the team falls short, he or she is responsible -- regardless of who screwed up. When it is obvious who's the root of a problem, the emerging leader will privately meet with the employee and inspire the entire team to do better. Natural leaders are not always concerned with process and instead focus on promising results.Empathy + Ego = Sales
Among the wealth of extraordinary articles in the Harvard Business Review Classics series is one, published in 1964, entitled, "What Makes a Good Salesman." Before writing it, David Mayer and Herbert M. Greenberg spent seven years pursuing the clues. During that time, a fellow HBR contributor, Robert N. McMurray, wrote, "We must look into the mysteries of personality and psychology if we want the real answers."
Mayer and Greenberg's conclusions: "Based on the insights we gained about the basic characteristics necessary for a salesperson to sell successfully, our basic theory is that a good salesperson must have at least two basic qualities: empathy and ego drive."
According to Webster's, empathy is "understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing" the feelings of others. Moreover, according to Mayer and Greenberg, no salesperson can sell consistently without the skilled use of empathy.Mayer and Greenberg declare that empathy is vital to the process of obtaining honest, accurate customer feedback. Once provided with a strong sense of the customer's feelings, the empathetic salesperson can react accordingly. With the use of his or her ego-driven techniques, the agent can alter the pace of discussion and weigh alternatives and options before making whatever creative adjustments are necessary to close the sale.
On the other hand, the authors assert that ego drive -- a subtle need to conquer--pushes a salesperson to make the deal or else. It becomes a mission, a mandate.
Mayer and Greenberg conclude, it is an active blend of empathy and ego drive -- each reinforcing the other -- that will best serve the interests of a salesperson's career.
Quick Tip: Prioritize quality over quantity
Social Media has Changed Buyers & Salespeople
The world's leading research and advisory company, Gartner, Inc., declared in 2011 that by 2020 customers will manage 85 percent of their buying without interacting with a human. That leaves us one year. Is it happening?
According to the sales experts at Accent Technologies, it hasn't happened quite yet, but it's on the way, especially if you consider how comfortable people are with automation. Even just 10 years ago there was some hesitation with online, highly automated sales, something you don't find today.
About 25 years ago, most customers still made their purchases in a physical environment--and salespersons were the go-to professionals. Not anymore. With an estimated 2.5 billion social media network users throughout the world, consumers are five times more dependent on digital content than the early 2000s. The purchasing process is dramatically different for consumer and seller alike.What does that mean for sales? Everything. When the buyer calls, they either (1) need information they cannot get online, or (2) they're ready to make a decision--and want to make it now. As a result, salespeople must be sure they can respond swiftly to whatever the buyer needs and are prepared to accelerate the process from there.
In today's connected society, people have more voice than ever before. Customers can discover just about anything they want to know about a product or service by talking, texting, or emailing each other. Recent research by PwC discovered that social media influences the buying of 78% of consumers, and nearly 50% said its reviews and feedback impacts their purchasing behavior.
According to LinkedIn, salespersons believe relationship-building has the most significant impact on revenue, with more than 70% citing LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook as their most effective social media tools. Ninety percent of leading salespeople use these tools, compared to 71% of all sales representatives. Ninety percent of the top performers also said social media with digital channels influences 92% of business-to-business buying decisions.
Clearly, reviewing a prospect's social media presence should be standard practice for every salesperson. Still another prominent force in digital technology is sales analytics, a big-data process which can identify, interpret, and anticipate sales trends. Relevant data is also mined from different pipelines to detect relationships and potential opportunities.
Sales analytics can help sellers close more transactions fast while also furnishing the customer with hyper-relevant messaging and resources.
"The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%." -Rob Kalin, Founder of Etsy
Staying Sharp & Engaged at Work
Staying engaged with work has become a problem, according to staffing experts at Robert Half. Their Office Team survey showed that the typical employee feels disengaged or bored with their work for about 10.5 hours per week. In the winter, 28 percent of workers feel disengaged.It is possible to stay sharp and engaged in nearly any job, however, and Lifehacker suggests a multifaceted approach that can make work more challenging.
The first steps happen before an employee even fires up the computer. They should make sure they get enough sleep. Most people need seven to nine hours and many don't get that much.
Next, the commute. Look at the commute as an opportunity to jumpstart the day and creativity. First, mentally review your work for the day, noting the task that you will start first. Then, let go of work for a while and inject creativity with a podcast or audiobook.
At the office, take a good look at the workspace and consider adding more ergonomic seating, better lighting, or even a plant to make the environment more comfortable. Sit-stand desks can be a great way to get the blood flowing throughout the day.
Not feeling challenged can also be a significant roadblock to staying engaged at work but there are many ways to increase responsibilities without adding extra stress.
Perform a self-assessment. Workers can identify their strengths and opportunities within the company, taking steps to enhance contributions. Focus during meetings, asking questions and taking notes to stay engaged.
Talk to the manager to see if there is room for an extra creative project or maybe time for skill enhancement. Use downtime to learn a new language or master an important computer application.
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