Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never an easy task, but Aurora Casket Co.’s goal is to provide an honorable closure to every life.
Under the leadership of its owners President and CEO Bill Backman III, Executive Vice President Chris Barrott and Director of Marketing Jason Barrott the company offers two main service programs that donate to charitable causes and provides a tangible and lasting memory of the deceased.
Through Aurora’s Sentiments program, the company makes a donation in the name of the deceased to the American Breast Cancer Foundation during funeral arrangements. The money is donated to the foundation’s Key to Life breast cancer screening assistance program, which provides financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured women and men of all ages for breast cancer diagnostic tests, including mammograms, ultrasounds, surgical consultations and biopsies.
Aurora also has a program called Honoring the Veteran, which provides donations to military and aid organizations. When a family chooses a participating casket or urn, Aurora will then make a donation to the American Red Cross, Vietnam Veterans of America or the World War II Memorial Foundation. Aurora has also made contributions to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.
These two programs are unique to Aurora and were created as a way for families to leave a lasting legacy for their loved one and make a real difference by allowing families and funeral homes to be a part of the bigger picture.
In addition to these efforts, Aurora created the Positive Choices program, which is designed to educate teens and their parents about making the right decision when it comes to drinking and driving. More than 2,000 teenagers die each year in drunk driving accidents, and Aurora’s owners believe there is nothing more tragic than the death of a child, so they hope the program will make a difference. It has been implemented in high schools all over the nation, and the program also offers scholarships for high school students who pledge to make positive choices.
On top of these programs, Aurora also aims to give back to the children of its employees by offering a college scholarship program. The scholarship is given to a student with a high GPA who is attending an accredited two- or four-year school.
How to reach: Aurora Casket Co., (800) 457-1111 or www.auroracasket.com
Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year Award
Doug Spitler joined Episcopal Retirement Homes in 1982 as its executive director for the Whetstone facility in Columbus. Five years later, he was named president and CEO of ERH, which today owns and operates six retirement communities across the Cincinnati and southern Ohio region.
Over the past 24 years, he has had quite an impact on ERH as he helped shape the organization’s direction and fostered its growth, helping it expand the mission first set forth by the original founders and leaders in the early 1950s.
Spitler has more than 30 years of experience in the aging services field in both management and consulting capacities. In addition to his role of leading ERH, he is a founder and chair of Senior Resources Alliance, a purchasing and shared services collaborative representing not-for-profit communities. He has also served as AOPHA’s chair and is currently a member of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging’s House of Delegates and Leadership Circle.
His leadership experiences have proven effective in taking ERH to new levels of excellence. This past summer, the company won two major regional awards. Its premier retirement communities, Marjorie P. Lee and Deupree House, were named the top two retirement communities on Cincinnati’s east side in the Community Press Readers’ Choice Awards. St. Paul Village, an ERH affordable housing community, was selected the top apartment complex. On top of these honors, Spitler has also seen the company be recognized as a 2010 Top Place to Work among greater Cincinnati’s midsized businesses.
“These are truly important honors for ERH,” Spitler says. “It’s gratifying to have the support of staff and community. When staff members feel good about where they work and the work they do, they then serve our residents well. It means a lot to know they recognize us as a great place to work.”
Part of Spitler’s approach, which has helped him in serving the residents that live in his facilities, is knowing that it’s because of these residents that he is able to do his job.
“Residents don’t live in our properties,” he says. “Instead, we work in their home.”
It’s this kind of approach to leadership that has made him effective and has helped him drive home the original values or the organization, even several decades after its founding.
How to reach: Episcopal Retirement Homes, (513) 271-9610 or www.episcopalretirement.com
Medical Mutual SHARE Award
For most things in business, it’s important to have employee buy-in, and when it comes to community service, that’s no exception. Everyone from CEO Rick Theders down the ranks is dedicated to those efforts at Clark-Theders Insurance Agency Inc., and together they’re making a difference in the community.
In 2006, President Jonathan Theders had a vision of a corporate community outreach program, which launched in 2007, and is now called the CTIA cares program. The program empowers employees to be leaders when it comes to contributing and giving back to the community. The program is led by a voluntary committee made up of eight associates, and the program allows all Clark-Theders employees — both full- and part-time — to have 30 paid hours a year to volunteer at any nonprofit organization that they choose. Think about the impact that has on the community — more than 900 hours of service to the community by the employees of Clark-Theders. The program empowers the insurance company’s employees to share their specific gifts and talents in the areas that are most important to them and that interest them the most. The company also takes the opportunity to spread the word about its program to other businesses and their customers in hopes that they may be inspired to create a similar program within their own organization.
In addition to volunteering their time, employees also give their treasure, donating more than $50,000 each year to various local charitable organizations. Some of the organizations that they have donated to are Reach Out Lakota, Hamilton Living Waters, Bake Me Home, Community Pregnancy Center, Matthew 25 Ministries, Kid Glove Way, Nuway Foundation, Junior Achievement, the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and many more.
The Clark-Theders team is also dedicated to serving in leadership roles in the community for the organizations that matter to each individual. Everyone from senior leaders to other employees contribute to boards and committees in the community. Some of the organizations that benefit are the Ohio University Alumni Association for Greater Cincinnati, White Oak Christian Youth Group, the Great Oaks Business Advisory Counsel, The Community Foundation of West Chester, and many others.
Together, Clark-Theders proves that when employees are empowered, they’ll rise to new heights to drive the philanthropic spirit within an organization.
How to reach: Clark-Theders Insurance Agency Inc., (513) 779-2800 or www.ctia.com
Few things in business are more challenging than change. Every leader will have to overcome organizational change at some point, and, frankly, most aren’t equipped to deal with it. But there are positive steps you can take to create forward movement and drive appropriate change.
In fact, there are four concrete behavioral strategies for responding to change in a positive, action-oriented manner. Join Smart Business for a webinar on Wednesday, November 17, at 2 p.m. EST. The webinar will feature strategies, insights and case studies from Donna Rae Smith, founder and CEO of Bright Side, Inc. Her company focuses on transformational organizational change and she will walk through the process and take questions from attendees.
Donna Rae Smith is also a contributor to Smart Business. She has a column in the magazine, a weekly blog called the Bright Side of Change and she did a case study on her company’s work accelerating the turnaround at Jamba Juice. To find out more about Bright Side, visit www.bright-side.com.
Nies on talking to potential customers: We try to determine in what areas do we generally have some experience and background. Then we begin talking to customers about what we have helped other people accomplish and the economic and other advantages that those companies are gaining. Just to give them some realization that we can deliver a lot of value and we are bringing a lot of value to companies like yours, including your competitors. From that, we simply open and say, ‘Rather than us tell you what we may be able to do for you’ we go into the inquiry mode ‘What is it that you would like us to provide for you, or if not us, someone else? What are you looking for? What do you believe will help you in your business to gain competitive advantage?’
Nies on hiring: We try to recruit and staff based on attitudes, beliefs, convictions and so on. Then we try to help develop the skill and know-how. We’re much more concerned about how they view the company’s function and how they view their role within the company than we are in their skill or natural intellectual capabilities. That doesn’t mean that we don’t want highly skillful, knowledgeable people, but it does mean that if they have a great deal of skill and knowledge but simply do not harmonize with what we’re trying to do, they can become more of a problem than they are an advantage for us.
What we do is try to communicate what we stand for and why we’re trying to do what we’re doing. If the people don’t buy in to that, then we suggest that they make themselves available for opportunities in the marketplace at large. I’m zero in my career for trying to change people’s attitudes and beliefs.
In today’s business environment, mobility has become a critical factor. People are constantly on the go, and they need their data, wherever they are, at any time of the day. And they need that access to be fast, easy to use and reliable.
Simply put, if your employees are out in the field trying to find a Wi-Fi connection at a hotel or coffee shop, you’re at a significant competitive disadvantage. Not to mention the money you’re wasting on wireless cards and connection fees.
As a result, more and more companies are embracing wireless solutions, technologies that allow people to access data anytime, anywhere.
“It has become incredibly affordable for businesses to implement wireless technologies,” says Jitesh Bhayani, of Time Warner Cable Business Class. “If you’ve been spending money on per-day access charges at hotels or coffee shops, a wireless solution is a no-brainer. If your people are on the road and need access to the Internet, to access their data, they need a wireless solution.”
Smart Business spoke with Bhayani about wireless solutions, how they work and how you can benefit from using them.
What technologies are available to help with wireless data and mobility?
A very popular technology that’s growing every day is a 3G or 4G mobile network a high-capacity mobile broadband network that uses WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access), a wireless technology standard. These networks offer high-speed mobile Internet connectivity anywhere you need it, without having to find a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Taking this anywhere, anytime connectivity a step further are new hotspot devices that allow you to connect multiple Wi-Fi-enabled devices at the same time. These coaster-sized devices provide a high-speed mobile Internet connection for up to six users at the same time, assuming they’re at the same location.
It’s a wireless connection, but you have to be in the same general vicinity. So now you can send six people out into the field and they’ll be able to connect to the Internet and access all of their data wherever and whenever they need it.
What’s the difference between 3G and 4G?
You’ve probably heard a lot recently about 3G and 4G networks. 4G refers to the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards, which is a successor to 3G. 4G provides higher data rates compared to 3G technologies, allowing you to access applications, stream content and download e-mails and attachments faster.
4G offers network speeds up to 6 Mbps. Typically, you can expect download speeds of 3 to 6 Mbps, with bursts of up to 10 Mbps and uploads up to 1 Mbps. 3G network speeds average .3 Mbps to 1.4 Mbps for downloads, peaking at 3.1 Mbps and .35 Mbps to .5 Mbps for uploads, peaking at 1.8 Mbps.
Actual speeds may vary based on a number of factors, including signal strength, your wireless device, structures, buildings, geography, etc.
Besides speed, what other benefits do wireless solutions provide?
When your people are on the road, they likely pay $10 to $20 a night to use their laptops in their hotel rooms. Then, once they leave the hotel, they have to stop at a coffee shop to send e-mail, or ask clients to connect to their network to share files.
Needless to say, this method is inefficient, costly, time-consuming and, often, unreliable.
A wireless solution saves money and increases productivity. Your employees can use their computers to access the Internet anytime, anywhere. And you don’t have to worry about them connecting to unsecured networks.
With just one device, your employees will be able to connect to the Internet, and, with a VPN, access everything that they would be able to at the office, whenever they need it. There are three major benefits to wireless solutions:
- Your users will have access to both 4G and 3G networks, so they’ll always have network connectivity, no matter where they travel.
- You’ll be able to increase productivity by connecting multiple Wi-Fi-enabled devices, including laptops, PDAs, network printers and scanners. Users will be able to share their connection with co-workers or clients, again, assuming they are at the same location.
- Easily compatible with Wi-Fi-enabled computers, allowing you to access the Internet quickly and without purchasing additional hardware.
Are there any drawbacks to wireless solutions?
Like with your cell phone, there is always the possibility of a dropped connection, but these are usually few and far between. Also, like a cell phone, there may be certain spots in an area or a building where you simply can’t get service.
In addition, if you have to move from a 4G connection to a 3G one, or vice versa, you may have to reconnect to the network.
Other than that, wireless hotspot devices are durable and reliable. You do need to keep them charged, of course.
Jitesh Bhayani is with Time Warner Cable Business Class. Reach him at (614) 255-6378 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was October 2009, and the severest economic environment Frey had seen in his 40-plus-year career had slashed Universal Trailer Corp.’s annual revenue from about $400 million to about $200 million and forced him to gradually cut his staff by half, which finally leveled off with 1,175 employees. Still, in the depth of the recession, the manufacturer stayed true to its commitment to growth and made an acquisition.
UTC bought Wells Cargo Inc., the nation’s original cargo manufacturer, which happened to have headquarters in Elkhart, Ind., home of one of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
Frey knew his employees would ask: “How can you go make an acquisition when we’ve reduced employees and the size of the company?”
His answer: “We’re not going to lose sight of our long-term goals, our vision, creating competitive advantage and a better, stronger company for the future — for our employees and our customers — just because we are in difficult times. But we are going to adjust to those difficult times.”
You have to be realistic and make changes to your business as the environment dictates. While facing difficult times, you can’t abandon the building blocks and goals that drive your organization.
“When an organization faces a severe downturn, it’s pretty easy to drift away from those fundamentals and forget about them,” says Frey, president and CEO. “The first thing that we should all remember as leaders is, in a downturn, don’t forget what you’re trying to do and don’t forget what your strategy is.”
Here is how Frey led UTC out of the deepest part of the recession while keeping the manufacturer’s mission, vision and strategy in front of the entire company.
Stay on track
It’s important to keep the building blocks of your business visible so you don’t drift from them as you make decisions on surviving the down times. You do that by constantly revisiting the goals you’ve set.
“Although it’s hard — and I fall short of it at times — (you need) to make those a living part of your process — your management, leadership process,” Frey says.
To make those building blocks a priority at UTC, every month, Frey gathers his chief financial officer, chief operating officer and the top three leaders of each business unit for an operations review. Depending on the topic at hand, others are brought into the conversation based on their specific insight or to broaden the spectrum of thought. But the important aspect is that the meetings are regularly scheduled to keep a continuous pulse on how close the company is to reaching its goals.
“We review, ‘OK, how do these things that we’re doing, these initiatives, relate to our strategy?’” Frey says. “We try to discuss it on a regular basis and to measure ourselves against how we’ve progressed toward our goals.”
For example, UTC has a five-year plan titled Vision 2x. While already the largest specialty trailer manufacturer in North America, the company wants to be twice the size of its nearest competitor. In order to reach that goal, UTC has to capture market share —hence the reason to acquire Wells Cargo. So as the group of company leaders sits down every month, a portion of their conversation is dedicated to thorough analysis of where UTC stands in the market.
“We, in each segment, every month, measure what’s our trailing, 12-month market share for our business units,” Frey says. “If we’re trying to gain market share, what is the strategy? Why should we gain market share? Part of our strategy or competitive advantage we call ‘why us.’ We discuss: What are the things that we’re doing to create brand trust that causes the customer, the end user of our product, to prefer to buy from us rather than our competitors? What competitive advantage did we create, and how much better have we gotten? What are we doing to improve our products and processes so that the value of our product is better?”
Then the company leaders go through what initiatives drive competitive advantage.
“Is it a product development initiative, is it a cost-reduction initiative, is it a service initiative that we’re going to pursue, and how well are we doing on that initiative?” he says.
The conversation should be in-depth about the processes or initiatives you’ve undertaken to move toward your goal and whether or not they’re actually working. You need to set criteria and ask specific questions that will allow you to measure your progression.
UTC reviews the top two or three initiatives in each operating unit. And though the criteria will be specific to your business and industry, Frey uses vehicle registrations to measure market share.
By doing a regular, thorough analysis, you breathe life into your strategy and vision. It allows you to determine where you’ve faltered and what corrective action needs to take place to get back on track as well as whether the adjustments you’ve made to counteract the economy and down market are helping your business stabilize.
“By keeping those building blocks alive and part of your discussion on a regular, ongoing basis, it keeps us from drifting away from them,” Frey says. “Most of us, in the fray of day-to-day battle, drift from the adherence of these fundamentals and lose discipline. We end up doing lots of stuff but not all of the critical initiatives that drive us toward our vision.”
Communicate the building blocks
The understanding of your building blocks can’t only be fresh in your mind and the minds of your top management team.
Twice a year, Frey meets with about 50 employees whom he considers key managers, and about every other year, he speaks to all of his employees about strategy. Those are specific meetings that speak to the company’s goals. But as the leader of the company, the mission, vision and strategy must be conveyed by you as well as your managers on a regular basis. And there needs to be an even greater emphasis on communication during difficult times.
“Communication needs to be heightened,” Frey says. “When you go through each step in an action, you have to stop and talk to people about why you’re doing it.”
In this recent recession, maybe you had to cut budgets and lay off employees. Those hard decisions were probably made in an effort to strengthen the company in the long run. Still, those choices affect employees in every level of the business. You need to explain why the decisions took place and how those decisions position the company to meet its goals.
“It’s not only painful and a very unhappy and unpleasant experience for the people who lost their jobs because of the economic pressure we’ve been through, but it’s also a trauma of sorts for the managers who have to manage through that and the people who are still with the organization,” Frey says. “You have to make sure that you continue to communicate with those people, as well, so we all know why we’re taking the steps that we’re taking and what the long-term goals and visions are — where we’re getting to, why we’re taking these steps, and why we’re going to move forward and be better off in the longer term as an organization.”
Explaining the “why” aspect of the latest decisions, along with the company’s future steps, helps employees realize how the organization can be successful and the role they play in progressing toward those goals.
The key to getting your message across is reaching out to employees with multiple forms of communication and through multiple levels of management.
Frey recently held a webinar, which allowed employees to submit questions in an open forum to him, the CFO and the COO about how the company is doing financially and what direction the manufacturer is headed.
“The best way to communicate to employees is face to face in conversation, where they have the chance to ask you questions,” Frey says. “We as leaders should do that as much as we possibly can. The president isn’t the only person that communicates with people. Part of my responsibility, or any president’s responsibility, is to have an organization of leaders who likewise communicate and are honest and forthright people who are going to express the values you want expressed and treat people the way you want them treated, [and] that includes communication.”
When it comes to communicating messages as important as your company’s mission, vision and strategy, you need to make sure all of your employees are hearing the same information.
Frey doesn’t tell his managers word for word what to say and in what format. But when he’s asking them to communicate important topics, he makes suggestions on what should be included in the conversation.
“I do talk to our leaders and ask them in certain important communications to script themselves, and I counsel them on that script,” he says. “By script, I don’t mean tell them exactly what to say. Say it in your own way, but let’s be sure you’re incorporating these elements of the message so that the message that the whole company is trying to communicate gets across to your team the same way it gets across to other teams in the organization.”
Frey has spent more than a quarter of a century leading businesses, but he still remembers his roots as an operating and manufacturing guy. He spends nearly 5 percent of his time visiting UTC locations, during which he gauges whether the corporation is on track, reinforces messages and tries to understand how well employees understand the company’s mission, vision and strategy.
“It starts really with people’s reactions,” Frey says. “One develops a feel over years and years, and I can feel the tempo of a plant, I can understand how productivity is working and not working. I try as often as I can, in the office as well as on the production floor, to feel what that productivity is and talk to people about how they’re doing.
“Then I try to understand the processes. Most of the time I do spend at a business, unfortunately, gets wrapped up in meetings. But I try to spend time understanding a process or two and how it’s developing, particularly one of the critical initiatives that that business unit is working on.”
Observation of the environment and direct communication with those doing the work allow you to gain firsthand knowledge of whether your message is being correctly relayed throughout the entire organization. Your direct communication with employees also allows them to feel that you’re interested in them and assures them that all levels of leadership are on the same page.
Once the announcement was made that UTC would acquire Wells Cargo, Frey made a presentation at every company site that first week. It required him to travel to eight states.
With the assistance of the COO, the CFO and the former owner of Wells Cargo, he explained why they were making the acquisition, what it meant, what they were doing and how it was going to be put together within the company.
The acquisition allowed UTC to realize $4 million to $5 million in synergies and add a strong brand as its sixth company.
When UTC returned to a quarter of profitability this year, Frey sent a companywide e-mail with a photo of fireworks and asked employees to celebrate for the afternoon. The manufacturer expects to be profitable this year and anticipates continued growth and a stronger 2011. And, of course, the company plans to take more market share by sticking to its mission, vision and strategy.
“The building blocks of a winning organization are a pretty simple process understood by most experienced leaders,” Frey says. “But it’s pretty easy to drift away from those core fundamentals — what you’re trying to do — during difficult times. One of the most important things in leadership through downturns — it’s important all the time, but it becomes more important in a downturn — is to continue to keep in the forefront of your leadership and management the building blocks of a winning organization and what you’re about.”
How to reach: Universal Trailer Corp., (513) 671-3880 or www.universaltrailer.com
When people think of high-definition (HD) television, they usually think of the televisions in their homes.
However, HDTV services are being used more and more by businesses especially the hospitality industry to give their customers an even higher level of service and value.
Major hotel chains are upgrading their guest rooms with HD televisions and services, and more are expected to do so in the future, as today’s travelers want all of the comforts of home, no matter where they are.
By offering HDTV services to their guests, the hospitality industry is trying to meet those needs and provide their patrons with a high-quality experience.
“It’s all about content, and you have to be able to deliver the content that people want,” says Glen Hardin, senior director of video systems for Time Warner Cable. “We’re in the midst of a digital revolution, and customers want more services, in more ways and in more places.”
Smart Business spoke with Hardin, who is working with Time Warner Cable Business Class on HD solutions, about delivering HD services to businesses and why HD is becoming increasingly important for the hospitality industry and for business in general.
Why has HD become so important?
High-definition television has transformed the way people view movies, television programs, Web pages and any other kind of visible content.
Although HDTV uses approximately the same bandwidth as analog signals, HDTV transmits more than six times the information, leading to a significant improvement in sound and quality. Often, consumers visually see an improvement in the picture and sound, in addition to high-quality programming and the opportunity to watch their favorite programs in widescreen format, and never want to return to regular television again.
The hospitality industry is keeping up with this market for HD, but it is not the only business that can benefit from this high-quality experience. Businesses with a TV in a waiting room, or a bar or a restaurant that airs games or events, or even a lobby that shows entertainment or informative programming, can benefit from HD. With its high-quality content, outstanding technology and convenience, HDTV can make a big difference to a company’s clients.
HDTV’s premium quality and content add to the customer experience. According to the 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study by the firm J.D. Powers and Associates, having intuitive, useful and recognizable in-room technology is one of the main amenities that business and luxury travelers are looking for in a hotel room, aside from the cleanliness of the room.
Why is cable leading the way in the HD revolution?
Cable is reliable and proven. Widely available, cable companies already provide HD content to all kinds of businesses. Field technicians, who specialize in the delivery and maintenance of cable service, are locally available to support immediate business needs.
In addition, cable offers another advantage in that the millions of cable subscribers who travel and frequent hotels and businesses are already familiar with cable TV’s services and growing HD programming, and they want the comforts of home when they travel.
Business requirements for HD service are often more complex than those of a home viewer and cable can use its flexibility to more than meet those needs.
A cable company can offer the most robust lineup a business owner can offer and it’s often of a higher quality than what’s available through any other means. With cable, a consumer gets local affiliates, regional sports channels and national cable television programs, delivering relevant community television.
In addition, cable’s flexibility and local account management system and support make HD the perfect solution for businesses such as those in the hospitality industry.
What other business benefits can HD bring to an organization?
Providing HD content to a business provides benefits on several levels. Guests, clients and employees will receive the highest quality viewing experience. In addition, depending on the line of business, this factor may drive repeat business and higher levels of satisfaction.
Patrons want to frequent establishments with HD televisions and programming, and travelers are looking for establishments that provide the comforts of home. Finally, employees can benefit from staying on top of news, current events and financial market information.
No matter how you evaluate your cable television needs, chances are that they would be better served in HD. As technology evolves and HD programming becomes the standard, businesses will undoubtedly need to migrate their services in order to continue meeting their clients’ expectations.
Glen Hardin is the senior director of video systems, advanced technology group, for Time Warner Cable. Reach him at email@example.com.
You’re invited to join Smart Business and Medical Mutual to recognize companies, business leaders and nonprofit executives for their commitment to strengthening the bond between the for-profit and nonprofit worlds. With a decade-long tradition of honoring businesses and individuals dedicated to making the state of Ohio a better place to live, the Pillar Award for Community Service program is expanding into the Cincinnati region. Don’t miss your opportunity to nominate those that deserve recognition to be part of our inaugural class of honorees.
The Pillar Award program:
? Publicizes the importance of community service issues, such as corporate philanthropy and volunteerism
? Shares creative ideas about how companies have a positive impact on their communities and how nonprofit executives adapt their organizations to new economic realities
? Honors organizations and individuals who exceed minimum expectations of community service
? Establishes and builds a sustaining fund to provide grants for local nonprofit organizations that assist them in their mission to serve the people in Cincinnati (The Pillar Fund)
There are six distinct award categories:
- Pillar Award Presented to for-profi t businesses for their community service efforts
- Medical Mutual S.H.A.R.E. Award Presented to one company annually that best exemplifies employee-driven community service, philanthropy or volunteerism
- CVS Samaritan Award Recognizes organizations that best display a consistent track record of helping people break the cycle of poverty
- Nonprofit Board Executive of the Year Honors contributions by for-profit business executives who serve as members of nonprofit boards
- Nonprofit Executive Director of the Year Recognizes nonprofit executive directors who effectively apply for-profit business principles to their organizations
- Kent Clapp CEO Leadership Award Recognizes the top executive of a for-profit company for creating a culture of giving.
Nominations will be accepted through October 15th, 2010, and evaluated by an independent panel of judges. Pillar Award winners will be honored at a banquet on January 25, 2011, and their good works will be featured in a special editorial package in the January issue of Smart Business Cincinnati. You may nominate your own company and a colleague’s and/or client’s company.
If you would like to receive a nomination form and more detailed information about the Pillar Award program, contact Caroline Calfee at (866) 582-7011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you'd like to download a form, the PDFs are available here:
The 2011 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community service is presented by Medical Mutual and sponsored by CVS/Caremark, Duke Energy Center and Smart Business.
Jonathan Theders is the president of Clark-Theders Insurance Agency and has extensive insurance experience. Theders joined the company in 1998 and was named president in 2004.
Q. What risks are companies facing in the present economy?
I see commoditization as a big risk influencing businesses right now. If you, your products and services become indistinguishable from others like it, consumers will turn to only price. The way you focus on client relationships and how those are communicated has to be part of the company culture. We have to ask, ‘What can we do that’s valuable and different from others in our field?’
Q. How will managing risk help a company’s bottom line?
When investing in risk management, the tangible results to the bottom line may be more difficult to identify than other profitable activities. It may even lead to an almost vague feeling. For example, you may have a top-notch safety committee and implemented exceptional programs that have a cost, but if those measures prevent an injury or fatality, it’s hard to say what the cost of the accident would have been. Unless it happens, you don’t realize the total cost. Effective risk management leads to a more rational and efficient allocation of financial and human capital. It offers balance sheet protection.
Q. How can you save money through risk management?
Companies should feel empowered to identify, measure and prioritize their exposures to loss. One way this can help save money is through proper insurance procurement. If your organization has initiatives for effective risk management, not only are you being proactive to prevent events from occurring, but you are also more appealing to insurance carriers who will be eager to offer better rates. If your agent is only seeking a price in the market and not truly promoting your organization’s strengths and commitment to risk management practices, you are likely leaving money on the table.