With his company feeling the effect of the economic recession, in August 2008, Bob Shearer used his state of the company meeting as an opportunity to turn the challenge back to his team of employees. He asked associates at Shearer’s Foods Inc. to come up with cost-saving ideas that would also allow him to give them pay raises. The result was an outpouring of 1,000 employee suggestions, whittled down to approximately 100 ideas that could help move the company forward. After implementing 65 of the suggestions to date, Shearer’s has already experienced a $1.4 million savings and been able to give his employees raises.

As the company’s chairman, co-founder and CEO, Shearer has always operated under this idea that a great leader develops future leaders by giving them opportunities to succeed. Over the last 37 years, he has built a culture at Shearer’s that is able to meet the challenges of today’s ever-changing business environment with creativity and enthusiasm. Under his leadership, the company has grown from a $4 million operation with a handful of employees into a $350 million business that employs more than 1,600 people today. With the company’s 2010 acquisition of the nationally successful private label snack food supplier, Snack Alliance Inc., Shearer’s also now has the capabilities needed to manufacture and distribute its snacks nationwide.

Shearer is passionate about leading by example. Within his company he has helped many employees excel in their careers by providing support and guidance. For instance, when one employee wanted to be a distributor for the business, Shearer helped him finance the operation and mentored him during his pursuit. The employee eventually became the company’s director of distributor operations. Another example is when Shearer helped one of the company’s route sales associates start his own Shearer’s distribution business by financing his truck and working with him to develop his business plan.

In addition to mentoring employees in the company, Shearer spends time counseling and sharing his experiences with the future leaders of tomorrow outside of his organization. He serves on numerous boards in Northeast Ohio to share insights that can benefit other organizations and businesses in the area. He also makes himself available to mentor college students, young people interested in business and other individuals with entrepreneurial interests. Whether it is speaking on a panel of business leaders, partnering with business schools or acting as the keynote speaker for a commencement or awards event, Shearer is always willing to lend the experience of his business background to inspire and help others in their own entrepreneurial journeys.

Today, Shearer spends his time focusing on the growth of Shearer’s snacks but also leading the continued growth and development of the company’s culture. The tenants of Shearer’s culture, such as the importance of being involved in different aspects of the business, including your people in decision-making, communicating a vision for the future and making sure that people understand the values of the company, are a reflection of the family ethics that the company was built on. To advance the family-focused culture that was first established by the founding Shearer family, Shearer instituted the Culture Club, whose mission is to create programs and activities that build unity between the company’s new hires and long-term associates.

When it comes to the culture, one of Shearer’s proudest achievements is the organization’s leadership in the communities it serves. Over the years, the company has continued to build on its reputation as a successful company made up of caring employees. Each year, Shearer’s supports numerous community organizations and events on a local, regional and national basis with monetary donations, product donations and employees donating their time to planning and fund raising efforts. The company’s in-house Caring and Sharing Committee has raised and distributed more than $100,000 for people with special needs in the company and community thanks to the support and fund raising efforts of Shearer’s associates.

Shearer’s ability to innovate and recognize growth opportunities for his company over the years has helped make Shearer’s the leading manufacturer of kettle cooked potato chips. When Shearer sees an opportunity, he seizes it. By always pushing his team to think entrepreneurially, he gives employees the tools to further the company’s growth as a quality producer of snack foods.

How to reach: Shearer’s Foods Inc., (330) 767-7160 or www.shearers.com

Published in Akron/Canton
Tuesday, 23 August 2011 13:16

Turner Construction gives back to Cleveland

Kevin Fox will always remember the August 10 game at Progressive Field, but the part about the Indians tromping the Tigers 10-3 probably won’t be what sticks out. He’ll remember walking the ball out to the mound, or watching his 6-year-old brother Brian throw the first pitch, or meeting former team manager Mike Hargrove during the game.

Kevin, 10, suffers from a number of lifelong medical disorders, including epilepsy and autism. Despite these challenges, he inspires everyone around him by facing each day with enthusiasm. Because of this spirit, he was honored with a Courage Award at the 21st annual HeartThrob Ball, an event that benefits young patients at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital.

But the baseball game wasn’t part of the award package – that was an added bonus Kevin received, courtesy of Turner Construction. The Cleveland office of the general contracting company, in its second year of sponsoring the ball, purchased an auction item that included loge tickets to the Indians game – which went right to Kevin and his family.

“As one of my colleagues was bidding on the auction item, Kevin walked up to him and gave him a high-five,” says Mark Dent, vice president and general manager of Turner Construction’s Cleveland office. “He didn’t need to say a thing; it was evident that he appreciated all the support. It was the least we could do for his courage and bravery.”

Dent counts community service as one of Turner’s responsibilities to Cleveland. Programs that support children, like the HeartThrob Ball, are especially close to the corporation’s heart.

“Turner is very committed to the communities in which we live and work,” he says. “Children are our future, and we make a special effort to get involved with programs that help them. These include the Cleveland Clinic event, as well as programs that teach kids about construction and guide them toward careers in the industry.”

Turner’s Cleveland office also volunteers with groups such as the Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities, Boy Scouts of America, Achievement Centers for Children and Youth Opportunities Unlimited. In fact, Dent’s team is currently building a new nature path at the Hattie Larlham group home in Solon – on a purely volunteer basis.

Beyond the corporate support of programs like these, many Turner executives serve as role models of charity in their personal lives, as well. Dent even gets involved in charitable events through his involvement in professional organizations – such as the Construction Employers Association, the Associated General Contractors of America and the Cleveland Engineering Society.

“I think you engage people by being a role model,” he says. “On a personal note, I get a lot of satisfaction from these types of activities, and when people see your spirit, it’s contagious.”

Dent tries to keep spreading that spirit around the company by reminding employees that they’re all in this together, and that they have a commitment to the communities that support Turner.

“Turner has a responsibility to contribute to the greater good of our communities,” Dent says. “We do that by giving back, in the form of our volunteer programs to youth and others, by promoting opportunities for (Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises) and helping to sponsor events.”

And – because they’re all in this together, remember – the business may even end up benefitting from Turner’s efforts to help others.

“Sometimes, our activities do end up benefiting the business, although that was not the original intent,” Dent says. “For example, by promoting opportunities for M/WBEs, we are growing firms in the community. Many of the firms that have gone through our Construction Management Training Course have become subcontractors and have assisted us in building many of the major buildings in our community.”

While gifts of time and money are powerful, corporate giving can make perhaps the biggest difference when gifts align with the business. When you look at a company like Turner, which builds the structures that build cities, it’s easy to see how business benefits the community.

Turner’s current projects in Cleveland include: The Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center, Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital Emergency Room & ICU, Allen Theatre, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music, Beachwood High School and Westlake City Schools.

“These projects are making our community more vibrant,” Dent says. “The owners of these projects are providing thousands of jobs to the people in Northern Ohio. That’s a major contribution to our economy.”

The Medical Mart project – which is right on schedule, with underground activities coming to a close and the first wave of steel structure popping up – will start serving the community long before the building welcomes its first health care conference. In September, Turner will use the site to showcase construction careers for seventh and eighth grade students through the Career Awareness for Middle Schools Outreach Program – one of the many ways the company keeps giving back to local youth.

For weekly updates on the Medical Mart’s construction progress, check www.clevelandmedicalmartonline.com.

For more information on Turner Construction in Cleveland, visit www.turnerconstruction.com/cleveland/.

Published in Cleveland

When the aviation industry suffered both an economic and public perception downturn, Dave Brittsan and his team flew into action.

“In order to overcome the challenge, we attacked the marketplace with aggressive pricing and service models,” Brittsan says. “We connected with our customers by serving individual needs and increased our fleet inventory by 50 percent.”

Brittsan was named one of 2010 Smart Leader honorees by Smart Business and U.S. Bank. We asked him how he overcomes challenges, innovates and gives back.

Give us an example of a business challenge you and/or your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.

On Nov. 18, 2008 the big three automakers flew in their companies private aircraft to Washington D.C. to ask Congress for a bailout. The ensuing media frenzy took the public by storm and the private aviation industry felt the negative effects immediately. Fearful of professional backlash, executives opted for commercial air travel shifting a once thriving engine of efficiency and productivity to statements of wasteful spending and a fat-cat mentality. The business aviation industry — a predominantly American industry — was faced with a depression-like downturn.

The task to bring the business back was monumental, but was based on fact that we had known all along. Time spent working in the air equals productivity and information security. Bypassing ominous security lines at large commercial airports drives efficiency. Passengers leave on their own schedule, not an airlines’.

Our customers have trusted us for more than 20 years. When we presented the facts, we not only shed light on the drastic misconception, but we furthered our position as the trusted aviation source; we nurtured our relationships with customers.

In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?

We empower our people to find solutions for our customers. We are nimble and resourceful to ensure on-time and convenient travel arrangements are made for our customers. We are passionate and committed to treating every customer with fairness and integrity, dignity and respect. And, perhaps most importantly, we aspire to constantly nourish and develop deep lasting relationships with our customers.

How do you make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?

We are one of the largest employers in Waukegan, Ill., and host the annual Air Show, which draws from all over northeast Illinois and southeast Wisconsin. Philanthropically, we work with charities (that) we have a true passion for. I work with the Cradle in Evanston, for example, as both of my children were Cradle Babies. Our COO has a passion for classical music and has joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra board. Our managers support educational foundations such as the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund and the United States Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots holiday gift drive. It is about more than just giving money or time; the passion for the end goal is just as important.

The airport generates over $750,000 in sales tax revenue each year, $90,000 of which goes directly to the city of Waukegan earmarked specifically for economic development. Recent projects include restoration of the Historic Genesee Theater and a downtown revitalization initiative.

Most importantly, business aviation is key to keeping commerce growing, making Chicago a leader in innovations and efficient business strategies.

How to reach: DB Aviation, www.dbaviation.com

Published in Chicago
Friday, 29 April 2011 13:58

Commanding teamwork to ensure trust

Achieving buy-in is a tough task for any leader. But when you’re Brigadier General Roger W. Teague and the people you need to get on board include senior Department of Defense leadership, Technical Intelligence community and even U.S. Congress – achieving buy-in is a grand feat, indeed.

As Commander of the U.S. Air Force Space Based Infrared Systems Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Teague had to build and maintain the trust of these key stakeholders after the $10 billion program faced some initial challenges and delays.

By ensuring communication through daily progress reviews and uniting teams around common goals, Teague lead the program past obstacles toward success, delivering unprecedented infrared surveillance to the country.

Because of this, Smart Business, ThinkASG, IBM and Union Bank named the decorated commander to the class of 2011 Smart Leader honorees. He shared how he leads his team to tackle tough issues, innovate with leading technology and give back to the communities they protect.

Give an example of a business challenge you and/or your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.

The Infrared Space Systems Directorate is a national leader in technology. Our space and ground systems feature cutting-edge technology and provide the United States with the world’s best missile warning and technical intelligence capabilities. The Space Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) Program has been in development since the mid-1990s. As a new development, the highly technical $10 billion program experienced several unforeseen challenges during early stages of development. These challenges were mitigated through proactive leadership, teamwork and an unfaltering dedication to our No. 1 customer: the warfighter.

Recognizing successful programs must be based on solid teamwork and collaboration among each of the participating organizations, we placed great importance on establishing and maintaining trust, communication and mutual understanding of a common program vision and goals. We ensured an emphasis on teamwork, trust, respect, and team behaviorsguided by jointly defined core values implemented across all program elements, including team members of the U.S. Air Force and our valued mission partners from industry. The program defined core functions and responsibilities across all program segments and held key leaders and managers accountable for performance.

We also focused on daily progress reviews, tackling tough issues that were imacting program progress, and developed individual action plans to resolve each of them. Technical discussions were frank and focused on reaching solutions and consensus on a path forward. This helped the program to identify, address and eliminate dozens of technical and program risks associated with first-time integration of the SBIRS geosynchronous satellite, and to successfully field the system.

Firm program commitments were established and the team continued to build positive relationships critical to program success. The program soon began making major strides to successfully deliver this critical national security space program and fulfill our commitments and vision to deliver unprecedented global, persistent, infrared surveillance capabilities to our warfighters and the Nation.

In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?

We receive continual feedback from space operators and warfighters that the capabilities and products from our system are outstanding. There is a strong appetite for delivery of more Overhead Persistent Infrared capabilities, more data and faster transmission of data.

As a reflection of the program’s positive performance and criticality of this mission area, the SBIRS program was given additional funding by Congress, encouraging us to continue to find ways to better exploit and deliver the data being provided by on-orbit sensors. In an era of shrinking government budgets, this additional funding was a big vote of confidence for the program and reflects the outstanding performance our systems are providing to ground troops and intelligence community users.

The Infrared Space Systems Directorate continually provides relevant “lessons learned” feedback from our developmental and operational experience, gathered across our portfolio of space-based infrared programs, to the wide array of Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) programs. Many of our ideas and experiences are cited as best practices at the Center.

How do you make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?

The Infrared Space Systems Directorate, as a leading member of the Space and Missile Systems Center, is involved in many local community activities. Many members of our team participate in Career Days at local schools where students are informed about how education leads to exciting job opportunities, the experiences of being deployed to locations around the world as a member of the U.S. Air Force, and the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in education.

We also organize and participate in food drives for local food banks, beach cleanups, clothing drives for the homeless and visits to Veteran’s Hospitals, as well as providing care packages to those deployed from the Space and Missile Systems Center. We are always willing to pitch in at a moment’s notice to support others.

The Space Based Infrared Systems (SBIRS) program reaches across the United States and the world, contributing to our national and international economies. The Space Based Infrared Systems Program employs more than 9,700 personnel across 23 states and works in partnership with more than 50 large and small businesses, providing a multitude of parts for the construction, integration and launch of the payloads and ground facilities.

The SBIRS payload is built right here in Southern California, and the satellite is integrated in Sunnyvale, California. SBIRS satellites are launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and the satellites will be operated by Air Force crews located in Colorado. All across these locations are thousands of people at work daily - designing, building and integrating key systems and assemblies for the Space Based Infrared System.

Internationally, the SBIRS program employs hundreds of people specializing in payload component production and sustainment of our crucial Relay Ground Stations (RGS). Just as our domestic suppliers and their employees, our international partners continue to proudly represent critical assets to the SBIRS program.

How to reach: Los Angeles Air Force Base, (310) 653-1131 or www.losangeles.af.mil

View the Infrared Space Systems Directorate factsheet

Published in Orange County

As CEOs, we enrich our community by running companies that provide jobs and pay taxes. As income earners, we pay our fair share of personal taxes that fund many community services, such as schools, libraries, parks and emergency services. But there is more that we can do. Every community has needs, and in every community, the needs are great.

It begins with you.

Many of us have sat on nonprofit boards and have lent our expertise to organizations with needs. We were involved in community service as adolescents through organizations like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts or religious affiliations. As we were building our careers, we volunteered on committees or boards of trade organizations. That’s what leaders do, right?

Inspire others to follow

Said best by Tom Peters, “Leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders.” So how do we inspire others in our organization to do their part?

I am personally inspired by what Charles and Debra Penzone have done. They infused their team at Charles Penzone Family of Salons to realize their gift of talented hands that make people feel beautiful and special. And with those hands, team members provide services to individuals who are going through cancer treatment. This is just one of many examples of how Charles Penzone uses its gifts to give back and help enrich the lives of those in need in our community.

The company’s employees not only volunteer their time, but they also provide a percentage of their sales from services to a variety of community causes.

Another inspiring organization for me is DesignGroup Inc. Second-generation leader Bob Vennemeyer shared his firm’s corporate giving philosophy during a casual chat. In the company’s 10th year, founding partners established a donor-advised fund with The Columbus Foundation. The company’s goal is to contribute every year to its local community foundation. As requests and community needs arise, DesignGroup requests grants from its foundation to 501(c)(3) public charitable organizations. Again, this is just one example of the many ways DesignGroup and its employees give back.

As CEO of Greencrest, I have followed in the footsteps of both these great companies. As you can imagine, nonprofits have no shortage of need for marketing, design and public relations services. With our gifted minds and artistic talents, we generously provide in-kind services to a number of special causes in our community. We try to be selective and provide a depth of services that will catapult a nonprofit to the next level. In 2007, we opened a donor-advised fund at The Columbus Foundation. The Greencrest Living Hope Foundation provides for individuals who may not have the opportunity to live life to their full potential without some assistance. In addition to these gifts, we also come together as a team to dip into our own pockets to provide a holiday hope box for the homeless, children or seniors.

 

Use your voice

You need to actively promote the difference that your organization makes in your community to your team. Let’s face it. We all want to be recognized for doing good. It is important to internally promote the difference your organization has made in the causes you have invested time and resources.

At Greencrest, it is important for employees to know that their efforts have made a difference, whether it is in the life of one person or the lives of many. The closer our employees can get to meeting or being around the people they have helped, the more inspired they become. It just solidifies the effort. It gives them joy, satisfaction and purpose.

For me, it is a philosophical belief that our role in life is to make a difference and leave the world a better place. I know that in stating this, I am in good company. The more we, as leaders, can promote the importance of corporate social responsibility, the more community needs can be met. And there is work to be done.

Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for Greencrest, a 20-year old brand development and strategic marketing firm that turns market players into market leaders. Borth serves on several local advisory boards and is one of 30 certified brand strategists in the U.S. Reach her at 614-885-7921 or kborth@greencrest.com, or for more information, go to www.greencrest.com.

Published in Columbus

Anyone who is familiar with Jellyvision Lab’s work knows that the company has been an innovator in human-machine interface since 1995, plugging out such interactive hits as “You Don’t Know Jack” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”

But there is another way that Jellyvision has been an innovator, largely thanks to company president Amanda Lannert’s efforts: its culture.

Lannert was named one of 2010 Smart Leader honorees by Smart Business and U.S. Bank. We asked her how she overcomes challenges, innovates and gives back to the community.

Give us an example of a business challenge you and/or your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.

In 2000, a few months after I joined the company as director of marketing, the company was headed toward a steep cliff. The company’s core business was in CD-ROM games and despite a very successful run with interactive hits like You Don’t Know Jack” and “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” the CD-ROM market itself was dying.

Even though I was the most junior executive in the company, I prevailed on the rest of the team to be clear-eyed about the gravity of the situation and begin the process of laying off employees in order to keep the company alive — employees including myself.

As painful as this was, it allowed Harry Gottlieb, the CEO, to raise a little money and reconstitute the company, taking it in a new direction. In less than a year, I was rehired to the post of president. Nine years later, the company is thriving.

 

In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?

Jellyvision has always been fortunate to be staffed with extraordinarily creative, talented and decent people who’ve had the opportunity to work on interesting projects. But I’ve tried to take those ingredients and, like adding pectin to pie, bound them with daily delight. Institutionalized delight. It is fun to work at Jellyvision.

Of course, the work can be hard and frustrating at times, but even then, employees bask in the humor and fellowship of each other’s company. This inclination flows from the top, because I practice it and live it every single day. I make a point of praising in public.

When we lose our electricity every summer (thank you ComEd), I gather the entire company in a giant game of ‘Murder.’ No birthday passes without an e-mail to the company letting everyone know who to celebrate that day. On my birthday every year, I insist that all the men in the company ‘honor’ me by growing out their facial hair the month before and come to work that day in a mustache.

And I try to make sure Jellyvision’s clients ‘feel the love.’ My goal is for everyone at Jellyvision to understand that being fun and easy to work with, being empathic and grateful, is a fundamental reason why our clients keep coming back for more.

How do you make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?

For the legions of Chicago improv artists and comedians who are waiting tables and filling temp jobs to make ends meet, Jellyvision provides hope: There is a place on the shore of Lake Michigan where they can ply their talents, actually get a real salary, medical insurance and a 401(k) plan and, as a bonus, be treated with endless respect. Do you have any idea how much creative ability is given birth in this city? Go to Los Angeles, more than half the people there with real talent come from Chicago. Jellyvision contributes to the second city, by hiring some of our best and brightest and keeping them away from ‘the great sucking sounds’ of the East and West Coasts. Moreover, I have served on the board of directors of the Chicago Improv Festival and was a mentor to startups in Chicago’s accelerator program, Excelerate.

How to reach: The Jellyvision Lab, www.jellyvision.com

Published in Chicago

As nonprofit facilities continue to face increasing financial challenges and uncertainties, executives are tapping and expanding their philanthropic activities to provide funding for vital construction projects, advanced health education, critical patient programs and unique medical technologies.

To learn more, Smart Business turned to Cecilia Belew, president of Saddleback Memorial Foundation in Laguna Hills and San Clemente, and Paul Stimson, director of Orange Coast Memorial Foundation in Fountain Valley.

Why is philanthropy so important?

Nonprofit hospitals typically began when concerned citizens raised funds to ensure local access to high-quality health care. Over the years, donors continued their support, helping add the programs, services and facilities necessary to keep pace with medical advances and innovations.

These are your community hospitals, and your philanthropy makes a difference.  Even in difficult times, we are witnessing a larger number of philanthropic friends making decisions based on the fundamental reason people give — to make a difference and ensure the best health care is available close to home. To protect and enhance this kind of care, ongoing philanthropic investments are critical.

How does it impact hospitals?

Philanthropy elevates a life of success to a life of significance. We see people making that choice every day: children raising $12 for cancer research through a lemonade stand, individuals that fund charitable trusts and annuities making outright major gifts, board members who provide expert leadership, the hundreds of volunteers and organizations that sponsor fund-raising events. Many choose to fund endowments that provide sustainability to critical patient programs and continuing medical education.

Every gift we receive has a story. All stories begin with a philanthropic friend, continue through the work of our health care team and then impact the lives of our patients and our communities. Every week, premature babies are saved, elderly patients comforted, illnesses diagnosed, bones mended and lives saved — thanks to the generous philanthropy of individuals, corporations and private foundations in our caring communities.

Philanthropic donors and organizations are vital partners in achieving success at Orange Coast Memorial and Saddleback Memorial Medical Centers. This is especially true during a time when hospitals are challenged in securing the newest technology and in expanding programs to meet the needs of the community. Thanks to the countless philanthropic friends, our hospitals are able to add the programs, services and facilities necessary to keep pace with the latest advances. And all our philanthropic friends appreciate the value of having extraordinary patient care today and in the future.

What are some examples?

Our decades of offering compassionate, quality care are based on the generosity and expertise of extraordinary people. Orange Coast Memorial Foundation supported development of the new six-story Patient Care Pavilion that provides access to some of the most respected physicians and advanced diagnostic and treatment facilities for cancer, surgery, obesity and imaging services at Orange Coast Memorial. Recent gifts are helping fund the new cardiac rehabilitation center, as well as nursing education.

Saddleback Memorial began when Leisure World residents, envisioning a world-class hospital in southern Orange County, raised $500,000 and the developer Ross Cortese donated nine acres. Opening in 1974, it was the first community health facility serving the growing Saddleback Valley. Since opening, Saddleback Memorial has received over $200 million in philanthropic gifts. These funds supported construction of Meiklejohn Critical Care Pavilion, the Women’s Hospital and the numerous programs, services and medical technologies at the Laguna Hills and San Clemente locations.

MemorialCare Health System does its share to help our communities. During the last fiscal year, our medical centers provided nearly $150 million in charity care and community benefits. We are also active in our communities, having supported organizations like March of Dimes, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the American Heart Association.

We value the philanthropic funds that are entrusted to us by our donors and grantors. The gifts, grants and bequests given to our foundations help distinguish our hospitals as top medical institutions. We are confident that the philanthropy which built and sustained both Saddleback Memorial and Orange Coast Memorial as well as our many Centers of Excellence will continue, thanks to the commitment of our caring communities.

How can employers help?

We appreciate that businesses continue to leverage their resources to support their communities, even in difficult times. They understand their unique position as corporate citizens in taking a proactive role to making a difference and encouraging their employees to do so as well.

Orange County employers and their work forces help us ensure high-quality health care through a number of philanthropic channels — individual gifts, corporate grants, payroll deductions, endowments, estate and planned gifts, corporate gifts,  in-kind gifts, tributes, fund-raising events, sponsorships and much more. Even as businesses continue to be impacted by an uncertain economy, many of them give back by supplementing charitable giving with longer-term pledges as well as gift commitments.

Cecilia Belew is president of Saddleback Memorial Foundation in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. Paul Stimson is director of Orange Coast Memorial Foundation in Fountain Valley. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.

Published in Orange County

The role of philanthropy at not-for-profit hospitals has never been more critical. With the increasing financial challenges and uncertainties, health care executives are expanding their philanthropic activities to provide funding for life-enhancing research, vital construction projects, unique medical technologies, critical patient programs and advanced health education.

To learn more about hospital philanthropy, Smart Business turned to Jim Normandin, president of the Memorial Medical Center Foundation at the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.

How has philanthropy supported hospitals?

Not-for-profit hospitals can benefit when concerned citizens raise funds to ensure local access to high-quality health care. Through the years, many donors continue their support, helping hospitals add the programs, services and facilities necessary to keep pace with important medical advances and innovations.

Even in these challenging times, we are witnessing a larger number of philanthropic friends making gifts based on the fundamental reason people give — to make a difference and ensure the best health care is available close to home.

Why do individuals and organizations donate?

Philanthropy elevates a life of success to a life of significance. We see so many people making that choice every day, like the children who raised $787 for cancer research through a lemonade stand and the individuals funding endowments that provide sustainability to critical patient programs and continuing medical education. Every gift we receive has a story. Recently, a grateful patient, who also is a hospital volunteer, made a philanthropic commitment for heart research so more patients in the future may benefit. Her gift combined with others allows the health care team to further impact the lives of our patients and our communities.

Every week, premature babies are saved in our world-renowned neonatal intensive care unit, patients comforted through our palliative care team, illnesses diagnosed and treated, bones mended and lives saved — thanks to the generous philanthropy of individuals, corporations and private foundations in our caring communities. We believe that all of our philanthropic friends appreciate the value of having extraordinary patient care today and in the future.

What’s been the impact at your facilities?

When Long Beach Memorial opened in 1907, it was thanks to the group of physicians and community members who each donated $200 to begin what is today the West’s second largest community hospital campus. Community philanthropists were responsible for the beginning of what is now among the nation’s largest children’s hospitals when the late Earl and Lorraine Miller’s generosity helped to build Miller Children’s in 1970. Their foundation continued with a lead gift of $5 million for the new $198 million Miller Children’s Pavilion and affiliated clinics, which opened with $25 million in new philanthropy.

The Foundation Board is appreciative of the philanthropic funds entrusted to us by our donors and grantors, which help distinguish our hospitals among the top medical institutions in the world. Memorial Medical Center Foundation also has 139 endowments that provide annual funding for patient programs, continuing medical education and clinical research as well as medical technology. We are confident that the philanthropy that has built and sustained Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s and their Centers of Excellence for over a century will indeed continue. And thanks to the commitment of our caring community, during the last five years alone, the Foundation has given our two hospitals nearly $60 million to provide that extra measure of care.

Our hospitals do their share to help our communities. In the last fiscal year, we provided more than $100 million in charity care and community benefits. We are also active in our local communities, working in partnership with March of Dimes, American Heart Association and Habitat for Humanity.

How can employers help?

We appreciate that businesses continue to leverage their resources to support their communities, even in difficult times. They understand their unique position as corporate citizens in taking a proactive role to making a difference and encouraging their employees to do so as well.

Employers and their work forces help to ensure high-quality health care through many philanthropic channels — individual gifts, corporate grants, payroll deductions, in-kind gifts, fund-raising events, sponsorships, endowments and more. Many are also supplementing charitable giving with longer-term pledges as well as matching gift commitments made by their employees.

Our Foundation’s ‘Partners in Excellence,’ with more than 100 members, is a great example of how employers come together annually to support their community. These resilient business owners and executives contributed more than $1 million to fund needed equipment for both Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.

We are always grateful to our donors whose philanthropy makes a difference.

Jim Normandin is the president of the Memorial Medical Center Foundation at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit memorialcare.org.

Published in Los Angeles

Scott Bowling faced the greatest challenge of his career after the merger between Exceptional Children’s Foundation and the Kayne Eras Center in 2007 and 2008.

“In addition to combining systems, policies and procedures of two large nonprofits, a significant amount of planning, thought and effort needed to be invested to effectively integrate the two organizations’ cultures,” says Bowling, ECF’s president and CEO.

As a result, today ECF is the only organization of its kind that can provide support to a person challenged by developmental disabilities from birth through the senior years. From 16 sites in communities throughout Los Angeles County, ECF offers established programs in Early Start, Kayne Eras K-12 school, Fine Arts, Developmental Activity, Residential Living, Independent Living Skills, Work Training and Supported Employment, reaching nearly 2,300 children and adults with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, acquired brain injuries and related conditions.

Because of his efforts, Bowling was named one of the 2010 Smart Leader honorees by Smart Business and Chase Bank. We asked about how he put together the two organizations and how ECF impacts the community.

Give us an example of a business challenge you and/or your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.

One of the greatest challenges followed the merger, which was legally consummated on July 1, 2008. It was the critical first step of identifying the members of the Integration Task Force that paved the way for the successful integration.

With both organizations represented, the key target areas identified and plans to facilitate ‘oneness’ were developed and implemented. Among the myriad areas of focus were: board development and board participation policies, personnel policies and procedures, strategic planning, logo redesign, constructing a workable organizational structure, redesigning the ECF website and marketing materials, and numerous staff and community events to promote us ‘coming Together.’ It was a tremendous challenge, and one our team overcame, together.

How do you make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?

The merger was motivated by ECF’s vision to expand its impact on the community, while creating a replicable service model. By combining the Kayne Eras Center, a multiservice nonpublic school and agency into ECF, we are able to respond to the needs of the community unlike any other nonprofit organization in the state.

Today, ECF is the only organization of its kind that can provide support to a person challenged by developmental disabilities from birth through the senior years by offering: Early Start, Early Head Start, K-12 education, therapeutic services, center-based and community employment services, developmental activities, fine arts training, and residential housing and support services.

With the provision of these comprehensive, lifespan services to over 2,200 individuals with special needs a year, ECF cultivates/develops a work force for businesses throughout Los Angeles County, helps students to overcome learning barriers and prepares them for advanced education and contributes toward a more productive society.

ECF also employs over 400 staff and shapes communities from 16 program locations. Furthermore, our advocacy efforts help to create more inclusive neighborhoods and foster greater awareness of the benefits offered by people with special needs.

How to reach: Exceptional Children’s Foundation, www.ecf.net.

The Smart Leaders Class of 2010

In November 2010, Smart Business and Chase Bank recognized 10 business leaders for their commitment to business excellence and the impact their organizations make on the regional community. Treated to a keynote address by MemorialCare CEO Barry Arbuckle, these 10 leaders comprise the honor roll:

  • Scott Bowling, CEO, Exceptional Children First
  • James Chu, CEO, ViewSonic
  • Adam Coffey, CEO, Web Laundry
  • Renee White Fraser, president and CEO, Fraser Communications
  • Bryan Green, founder and CEO, Advantage Fitness Products
  • Lawrence Jackson, president and CEO, Long Beach Transit
  • Greg Jenkins, partner and co-founder, Bravo Productions
  • General Robert Nolan, commander, Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base
  • Neal Schore, president and CEO, Triton Media Group
  • Nien-Ling Wacker, chairman and CEO, Laserfiche

Published in Los Angeles
Page 8 of 8