The company, a Texas concern that handles reverse logistics for large mail order retailers, is interested in using Wein's Ross Township store as a drop-off point for customers who want to return merchandise to large catalog merchants. Wein says the company identified his store location as having sufficient customer traffic and visibility to serve as a receiving point.
Mailboxes Etc. offers a variety of services required for mailing and shipping, as well as related products and services.
Wein says his store is enjoying strong growth -- 2001 sales were up 7 percent over the previous year, and last year's December sales bested the December 2000 sales mark by 17 percent.
There's little wonder, then, that Wein is motivated and encouraged by the business and social trends that are making his industry successful and bode well for his prospects for growth.
But those weren't the incentives that drove Wein when he entered the business in 1987.
"I was motivated by fear," says Wein. "I just felt that I couldn't afford to fail."
Private businesses that offer the services that Mailboxes Etc. offers are no novelty today, but in 1987, Wein was entering a business that was in its early stages. His was just one of three in the Pittsburgh market at the time.
Mailboxes Etc. today has more than 4,500 locations, including 20 in Pittsburgh, and was ranked No. 2 on Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500 list in 2001. But when Wein launched his store, the company was No. 434 systemwide.
Perhaps most important to Wein, his father had provided personal guarantees for the loan taken to start the business.
Mailboxes Etc. was anything but a household name in 1987. Wein says customers often stopped in because they thought the store sold mailboxes. The company ultimately added a line of mailboxes to its inventory, but it was clear early on that the store's concept had yet to gain widespread recognition.
After several years of sluggish sales, even his wife doubted his prospects for making the business successful.
"My wife said to me, 'When are you going to stop playing store and get a real job?'" Wein says.
Still, he has managed to stay in business while others, including other Mailboxes Etc. and independent and franchise operators have closed their doors.
The invisible store
Wein started off in a less than desirable location and struggled for four years until he could negotiate with his landlord for a better spot in the center. He negotiated his first lease for a storeroom in the McKnight Siebert Shopping Center but soon found the location was anything but prime.
The view of the store was obscured by a service station sign, and it was difficult to see from the road. It was too small, and at the end of the strip, rather than at its busier entrance. He tried for six months to negotiate for a better spot in the same center, but the space he wanted went to another tenant.
But when a better space came available in the center four years after he opened his doors, Wein this time was able to move to the larger, more visible spot, closer to the heaviest foot and motor traffic.
Wein built awareness of his business every way he could think of. He walked up and down McKnight Road, talking with business owners and dropping off his business card and promotional flyers.
"I beat the streets a lot," Wein says.
He went to networking and local chamber of commerce events, and handed out coupons for the nearby McDonald's, while the fast food restaurant passed out Mailboxes Etc. coupons to its customers. He made certain that clerks at the U.S. Postal Service office on the next corner knew Mailboxes Etc. offered passport photos.
And while the West Penn AAA office across McKnight Road offered notary services for automobile-related work, it didn't provide them for other purposes. Wein asked the office to refer such work to him, while he referred his customers to the auto club office for notary services he couldn't provide.
But the grassroots marketing activity that might best demonstrate Wein's enthusiasm and commitment was the "Zippy" mailbox costume he donned on heavy traffic days to catch the attention of motorists as they drove past the McKnight Seibert Shopping Center.
To gain name recognition for Mailboxes Etc., Wein and several other owners formed an advertising cooperative to take advantage of a 50 percent match the franchiser offered for local advertising efforts.
Cash flow problems plagued Wein early on, as sales were weak but bills continued to roll in. He initially negotiated an arrangement with his lender that required interest-only payments on his loan.
When he found that cash was tight at the end of the year, he approached his banker to extend the interest-only payment for an additional year. At the end of the second year, with cash still scarce, Wein asked the banker once more to waive the principal for another year. The bank agreed.
Wein says consumers are getting used to alternatives to the traditional methods of sending packages and mail. Home-based businesses need specialized shipping services, and recent changes in air travel have prompted some travelers to consider other ways to ship goods.
"I've realized that people are shipping things that they can't travel with anymore," says Wein.
Recent drop-offs at his store include $35,000 worth of jewelry headed to a trade show and a cache of silver bullion. Online auction sites like eBay are also bringing traffic to his store, says Wein.
He's shipped fishing rods, antique dolls and even a hard top for a Mazda Miata.
Wein says luck has played a role in his success, too. The growth of home-based business, e-commerce and his decision to locate in the McKnight Road business corridor, he says, have all contributed to his success.
While his fear of failure motivated him to make his business successful, his lack of fear -- or his choice to ignore it in some instances -- may have been the difference between succeeding and failing. One of the most important lessons Wein says he's learned in business is to not be afraid to ask for something.
"When the worst that someone can say is, 'No,' you might as well ask the question." How to reach: Mailboxes Etc., www.mbe.com
In its investigations, CII collects information from numerous sources. Each client project creates a complex billing task, and clients often want access to the information CII collects as an investigation progresses.
Typically, several CII investigators collect data on an employee or applicant from multiple sources, and the data must be assembled into a single report. Initiating a particular element of a screening may be contingent on completion of another check, which can delay an investigation. In some cases, clients order services a la carte, which complicates the data collection and billing process.
CII thought it needed a technology solution to streamline its process. Improved technology was undoubtedly a critical component in solving the problem, but it took three tries to get it right.
The company had a DOS-based system that proved cumbersome, so it invited vendors to propose solutions. In one case, the company decided the vendor didn't understand its business and rejected its proposal. In another, the vendor had the project underway when CII chose to abandon it because it became clear the second vendor, too, lacked a true understanding of CII's business.
Enter Joseph Cherian, president and CEO of Turning Point Systems Inc., a South Side company. Cherian's company developed a system called CorpNet, an immediate interface between the client and CII that allows clients access during each phase of the screening process from the clients' offices.
It has simplified the billing process, allows clients to cut costs by doing some of the work themselves if they choose to do so, and produces reports that can help clients identify problems in their operations, such as turnover trends.
The solution, according to CII, has increased productivity by 50 percent.
Carmella Leonette, CII's director of operations, says Cherian's company not only understood the technology, but also had a clear appreciation for CII's business needs. Companies seeking a technology solution, it seems, need to do some careful investigation of their own.
"It is important to focus on companies with experience in business solutions and not merely technology vendors," says Leonette. "They must look for companies with a track record who can provide real examples of the solutions they have developed with tangible results." How to reach: Corporate Investigations Inc., www.ciilink.com; Turning Point Solutions Inc., www.turningpoint-sys.com
Angelo Parente, owner of the Sbarro restaurant in Fifth Avenue Place, has opened a second Sbarro on Smithfield Street, Downtown.
KEYGroup Partners, an international consulting, training and development company with headquarters in Pittsburgh, is partnering with Shared Vision Alliance to provide the Equine Business Experience for Teams nationally.
Eureka Bank has launched a Web-based banking site, Eureka by Web, and a telephone banking service, Eureka by Phone.
CommuniTech is providing marketing support to the West Pittsburgh Partnership for Regional Development, a nonprofit development group.
Ten/United has been named agency of record for the Comet cleaning agents, a line of products acquired by Prestige Brands International Inc. It has also acquired the entire account for consumer products company's Prell line.
The ARC Allegheny family of corporations has adopted a new name, Achieva. Four corporations now operate under Achieva: The Arc of Pittsburgh; COMPRO, which provides support to individuals in the areas of infant/toddler therapies, supported employment through Parc-Way Industries, and other services; RAMS, a mailing service; and The Family Trust, offering estate planning, guardianship and representative payee services.
Marmion Advertising has been selected by Joy Mining Machinery to assist the company in developing and deploying its marketing and public relations programs.
Quest Fore has been named the communications agency of record by Cornerstone Development Group to promote Keystone Opportunity Zones across a nine-county region of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Information Systems Services Inc. has opened an office to serve the Cincinnati and Columbus areas.
Burt Hill Kosar Rittlemann Associates has been awarded the contract to design the $7 million Chicopee Public Library in Chicopee, Mass.
Burns & Scalo Roofing Co. has received the roofing contract for the St. Vincent College freshman dormitory.
Cuddy Roofing Co. has received the roofing contract for the $3.6 million Ross Township Municipal Building.
Turner Construction Co. has been selected for pre-constructions services for a 775-room dormitory project at the main campus of Pennsylvania State University in University Park.
Manheim Corp., a specialist in designing and building parking structures, has selected LarsonO'BrienAcumen as agency of record.
Power Drives Inc. of Buffalo, N.Y., has opened a branch in Allison Park. The company is a supplier of automation, power transmission and fluid power solutions.
Ditto Document Services Inc. has partnered with CaseCentral Inc. to offer law firms and corporations imaging, storage and management of all case documents and information online.
Bill Sutton has joined management consulting firm General Management Technologies as office manager/controller. He previously was a professional services manager with Innovative Management Solutions.
Louis Stanasolovich, president and CEO of Legend Financial Advisors Inc., and Diane Pearson, a financial adviser and shareholder at the firm,were selected by Worth magazine in its September 2001 issue as among the "250 Best Financial Advisors in America." This was Stanasolovich's fifth consecutive selection on the list and Pearson's first.
Michael Hennen and Jill Locnikar, now associates at law firm Cohen & Grigsby PC, were honored this summer by the Allegheny County Bar Association's Bankruptcy & Commercial Law Section as the 1999-2000 recipients of the Gibson Award. The award goes to the law students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and the Duquesne University School of Law who receive the highest award in the bankruptcy course. In addition, associate Michael Braxton has been elected to the board of directors of the Pittsburgh City Theatre. He works in the firm's litigation group.
Gerard Kunic has been named executive vice president and chief operating officer of Commercial National Bank of Pennsylvania, a subsidiary of Commercial National Financial Corp. Most recently, he was president and CEO of Allegheny Valley Bank of Pittsburgh.
David Pae has joined FullTilt Solutions as senior practice manager at its Pittsburgh-based e-business consulting practice. He previously was director of strategy for marchFIRST, where he was responsible for strategy, methodology and technical architecture development.
Ronald Gill Jr. has joined consulting and engineering firm SecuraComm Consulting Inc. as an accounting assistant.
Larry Schwartz has joined CPA firm Alpern, Rosenthal & Co. as a sales account manager in the technology services group. He is a Microsoft-certified sales specialist and Cisco sales expert.
Valerie Bray has been promoted to the position of interior design director at PWCampbell, a local construction services organization. She is responsible for developing interior finish selections, space planning and retail merchandising programs for clients.
Harold Wintner, a McKeesport-based CPA, has been honored by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as an honorary member of its organization to salute his 50 years of membership. Wintner, 81 years old, continues to practice actively as a CPA.
L. Michael Yandura has joined NuRelm E-Business Software Inc. as office manager. He will manage the office and take over administrative responsibilities at the Web-enabling software company's Uniontown-based headquarters.
Barbara Johnson, vice president and a director of The Webb Law Firm, has been selected to be profiled in the 56th edition of Marquis' "Who's Who in America." This is the third time she has been featured in the publication.
The Fragasso Group Inc., a local investment management firm, has made several officer appointments. Deborah Sales has been appointed a vice president of the firm and branch manager of its downtown office. Diana Schroeder has been appointed corporate secretary and continues as the firm's administrative manager. Andrei Voicu has been named a vice president and continues to serve as director of portfolio management. Michael Fertig has been appointed a vice president and branch manager of the firm's South Hills office branch.
Brad Lauer has joined packaging specialist All-Pack Inc. as sales territory manager. Previously, he was a control agent with Federal Express in New York City. Also, the company has hired Judi Tranter as customer service representative in its Pittsburgh office.
W. Ryan Davis has joined the Pittsburgh office of law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP as an associate in its business and finance practice group. Abhijat Parikh has joined as a patent associate in its intellectual property-patent practice group and Jennifer Schlagle has joined as an associate in the litigation practice group.
David Lovejoy has joined Greycourt & Co. as a director and chief operating officer. He is a director of First Internet Bank and formerly vice chairman of Mellon Bank Corp. Before that, he was vice chairman of Security Pacific Corp.
William King Jr. has joined Great American Federal Savings and Loan Association as a senior commercial loan officer in its commercial lending department. He most recently was vice president and commercial loan officer at First International Bank in Pittsburgh. John Kish, chairman and CEO of Great American Federal, has been elected to the board of directors of Housing Opportunities Inc., a nonprofit corporation providing home ownership services to low- to moderate-income individuals and families.
J. Victor Conrad, CPA, CFP, ChFC, a financial professional of the member companies of The MONY Group, has been elected to the executive committee of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Debbie Cavrak has joined Elisco Advertising as an account executive. Most recently, she was graphics supervisor at Douglas Laboratories.
Jeff Mauro has been hired as an account executive at Innovative Integrations, a local business solutions company. Brenda Dare has joined as human resources consultant and Ladd Sustar, a senior technical solutions consultant at the firm, has become a Citrix-certified administrator, which means he is able to install and administer tasks on Citrix MetaFrame XP networking solutions.
Carol Cieslak has been promoted to director of operations at Corporate Accommodations Inc., which provides fully furnished and equipped short-term apartments to business and individuals throughout 10 locations in the Pittsburgh area.
Paul Minton has been named an associate at Pittsburgh law firm Blumling & Gusky, LLP. He joins the firm's corporate and commercial law practice group. He previously worked at Reed Smith LLP.
Kevin Taylor has joined Monroeville-based Mirage Advertising as vice president and creative director. Before joining the firm, he served 11 years as vice president and creative director at Krome Communications.
Linda Mathesius has been hired as a project manager for Beaver Falls-based Integra Marketing Group.
Eva Stevenson has been promoted to director of operations at CFA Real Estate Network, a full-service title company. She joined CFA, formerly known as Credit-facts of America, 18 years ago in the sales department.
Michael Cassidy, a shareholder in the health care group of law firm Tucker Arensberg PC, along with members of the referral network of law firms called Great Lakes Law, has authored the "Health Care Compliance Manual." The publication has been published by LexisNexis and offers readers information about health care legal issues.
Daniel Mosedale has been named executive chef at The Original Fish Market at the Westin Convention Center downtown. He is a native of Watford, England.
Adam Obsenica has joined Yanni Partners as a consulting analyst. He most recently worked for Duquesne University, where he provided technical support in its Investment Technology Center.
William Wolfe has been hired by The Callos Cos. as vice president of outplacement services for the personnel services company's Pittsburgh office.
Cristin McCormick has joined SecuraComm Consulting as a marketing coordinator. She previously was a proposal writer at Eckerd Health Services.
Accounting firm Horovitz, Rudoy & Roteman has added Tassie Bisers, Donna Deist, CPA, Gabriella Gally and Kathy Prokay, CPA, to its tax services team.
Anne DeLaCroix, who sold her real estate company to Howard Hanna Real Estate Services in 1996, has been named manager of the Howard Hanna Poland office and vice president of residential sales. The Poland office in Mahoning County includes 45 agents covering the county.
Kevin Laird has been named vice president and chief economist of Howard Hanna Financial Services. He joined Howard Hanna Financial in 1997 as a coordinator for the wholesale lending department. Most recently, he had been managing the firm's secondary marketing department.
Carrie Morrow has been appointed sports and wellness director at The Rivers Club in Oxford Center downtown. Prior to her new position, she was fitness program director with the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh.
Vivian Anderson has joined accounting firm Stokes & Hinds as a tax associate.Kelly Cowan joins the firm as a staff accountant.
John Lyncheski, an attorney who chairs the health care practice group at law firm Cohen & Grigsby, has been appointed chair of the Labor, OSHA and Human Resources Substantive Law Committee of the American Health Lawyers Association.
Theodore Schroeder, an attorney with the Pittsburgh office of law firm Littler Mendelson, has joined the Glade Run Foundation as a board member. The foundation is part of Glade Run Lutheran Services.
Douglas Noxon has been appointed executive chef/director of food and beverage of the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Southpointe in Cecil Township. He most recently was executive chef and assistant director of food and beverage for Oglebay Resort and Conference Center and the Wheeling Park Commission in Wheeling, W.Va.
Richard Hershberger, Ph.D., has joined the Pittsburgh Technology Council as the managing director of its Biomedical Network, an association of council member companies in the biomedical and biotechnology industry cluster. Jared Roberts has joined as managing director of its Information Technology Network and Olivia Davis has joined as managing director of its newly created Entrepreneur Network. In addition, Brian Kennedy has been hired as the council's public policy manager; Seon Pierce has joined as membership services executive; Andrea Kotjarapoglus has joined as a membership sales executive; Tony Esposito has been hired as production designer; Linda Tabakin has been hired as director of information and consulting services for both the council and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center; and Dana Takach has been named office administrator.
Why would a wise business owner not plan, when his company so likely would reap significant increases in ROI, ROA, ROE, stock price, market share, top-management wealth, new product introductions, etc.? In my planning practice, I've heard hundreds of excuses, but here are the four heard most often -- and why they simply don't work.
1. We are successful. "The company is successful, and you can't argue with success," they'll say.
Well, actually, you can argue with success. Success is relative. Your competition may be more successful than you are, and the long-term result will prove disastrous. You may be driving down costs at half the rate of the industry, and in no time at all, you will not be cost competitive.
Another reason not to be lulled into not planning by your own success is that the world changes so rapidly. In industry after industry -- computers, software, autos, financial services and consumer goods -- environmental changes create opportunities for those prepared to act. Plans prepare organizations to act.
2. We're too busy now. According to Stephen Covey's "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," it's imperative to work on important but not time-sensitive tasks, because if you're always fighting fires, you'll never get to the important things unless they become time sensitive.
Planning is important -- but never time sensitive (unless you need a document to help with a bank loan or a potential sale of the business). It's easy to keep busy, but are you busy doing the wrong things? A plan keeps you clear about the things you should be doing.
3. I do my planning in the shower. Many leaders tell me, "But I do plan. I do it in the shower (or while shaving or driving)." Unfortunately, this doesn't count as a formal planning process. These plans often amount to little more than setting goals for that particular day. Strategic planning requires you to systematically gather data about your industry, competition, etc., then come up with an appropriate response to the resulting beliefs created about your world.
4. Planning documents are static. There is an acronym that often applies to strategic plans -- WORN, which stands for Written Once, Read Never. But good plans have a life of their own. The leader (and facilitator) needs to make sure the implementation is revisited regularly. The plan must be modified often, with changes communicated clearly to everyone involved.
Never mind your excuse. Well-constructed plans create futures that otherwise would not be. What is your dream, and how will you achieve it? Lance Kurke, Ph.D., is president of Kurke & Associates, Inc., a strategic planning and leadership development firm. He also serves on the faculty at Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon Universities. Reach him at (412) 281-2930 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Actually, it's Dr. Sujansky, a much sought-after author, speaker, lecturer and consultant. She's all about organizational change, and she preaches innovative, optimal ways to harness it in business and industry. Sujansky, Ph.D., CSP, is CEO of KEYGroup, the new name of her recently expanded Training Connection, the Pittsburgh-based consulting and training services company she founded in 1980.
The title CEO is something of a misnomer, because 21 years later, Sujansky still is out there doing hands-on work in an immense variety of styles and settings for organizations that want her help with finding a better way. The difference now is that she has an international organization at her back, with additional resources in Cleveland and Amsterdam.
KEYGroup consults nationally and internationally to industry, government, health care, business and education organizations. The group's claimed areas of expertise include change management, leadership and motivation. Its client list includes a startling number of major business and institutional entities, as well as dozens of smaller concerns.
A self-confessed overachiever, Sujansky has written several books, including the just-released "The Keys to Conquering Change: 100 Tales of Success," co-authored with John Van Sprang, a senior member of her Amsterdam organization. Some of her earlier titles include "The Power of Partnering: Vision, Commitment and Action;" "Putting Change In Your Pocket;" and "Training Games for Managing Change."
Every case is special
"The whole idea of change often has a negative connotation -- as in: 'We missed our third-quarter projections. Something's wrong. Quick, call the consultants!'" Sujansky says. "In fact, change can arise through any number of causes other than disaster and failure -- such as unexpected growth and prosperity, sudden opportunity, modifications of law or government regulations, the launch of new initiatives or changes of ownership.
"No matter what the trigger for change, the key to managing change -- that is, using change to the client's advantage -- lies in working with the people who are most directly affected. We sit down with them and listen to their concerns and ideas. We address those considerations and we work to build consensus and motivation, so these people can move forward with enthusiasm and skill."
According to Sujansky, the ideal situation involves KEYGroup partnering with the client upstream and being involved with ownership or senior management in designing the change before it is promulgated. Then, the roll-out of the organizational change is more effective, because the people factors -- such as motivation and morale -- already are integral to the plan.
Still, she admits, the more likely scenario is a call for help when change already is underway within an organization and obstacles and problems are emerging.
"Our solutions are as varied as our clients' needs," Sujansky says. "Some clients come to us looking to strengthen their people skills. Some want development programs to aid in employee retention and attraction. Others are reinventing themselves to meet market demands and ask our help to fix problems or create opportunities.
" Our approach is personalized to each client. In all cases, homework comes first. We listen to the individuals' concerns and goals and analyze the organization and its needs before suggesting any course of action."
Sujansky says her company's focus always is to provide "practical solutions with measurable results," whether she or her staff tailors one of her proven programs or creates a custom program, coaches an executive one-on-one or trains the client's entire staff.
"Our principal tool and strongest expertise is assessment," she says. "We help companies by helping their people gain insight into their individual strengths and opportunities for improvement through a rigorous assessment of who does what and what they wish to accomplish."
To capitalize on that business approach, Sujansky's company name is cleverly exploited in the firm's marketing material. It explains that KEY stands for:
* Knowledge -- Referring to the firm's repository of proven methodology and best practices in adult active learning and human behavior.
* Experience -- Indicating its track record of work with business, industry and government, as well as the experiential learning provided by the firm.
* Yield -- The strengths built by the client's employees as a result of the consulting, and the results gained by the client, as well as the goals that it meets and often exceeds.
Changes of her own
For somebody in the business of change management, Sujansky's personal and professional lives are an intricate blend of continual, unrelenting change and slow, steady progress.
On the change side, the Beaver County native pushed herself to a Ph.D. degree in education. She never intended to be a teacher in the traditional sense, but wanted expertise in theory and methodology concerning human and organizational behavior.
She also pushed herself into public visibility by way of her speaking and writing. She says a major turning point in her career occurred in 1985 when she became national president -- at age 35 -- of the prestigious American Society for Training and Development, and later received that organization's highest honor, the Gordon M. Bliss Award.
She is a major player in the Pennsylvania Speakers Association and the National Speakers Association, where she has earned its highest credential -- Certified Speaking Professional (CSP).
The calm, steady, conservative side of Joanne Sujansky features a marriage of 25 years and three children, ages 21, 20 and 9. She also enjoys a rock-solid, mutually beneficial 17-year professional association with her closest business colleague, Jan Ferri-Reed, Ph.D. As president of KEYGroup, Ferri-Reed consults, trains and manages the firm's operations and oversees delivery of service.
That's highly appropriate mix for a woman who has developed herself as a doctor of change. If your professional life is dedicated to thriving in the midst of flux, you'd better have some very strong and dependable supports of your own. How to reach: Joanne G. Sujansky, Ph.D., (724) 942-7900 or at www.KEYGRP.com
William McCloskey is a Pittsburgh-based free-lance writer.
- 1976 -- Earned doctorate in physics and appointed post-doctoral fellow in laser spectroscopy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- 1976-1980 -- Staff member of the Center for Earth & Planetary Physics, Harvard University
- 1980 -- Joined the Earth and Space Sciences Division of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- 1982-1985 -- Flight controller responsible for space shuttle payload operations at NASA's Johnson Space Center
- 1985 -- Selected as an astronaut candidate
- 1986 -- Qualified as an astronaut
- 1991-1996 -- Completed four NASA space shuttle missions
- 1997 -- Appointed director of Carnegie Museum of Natural History
- 2000 -- Joined iNetworks LLC as chief technology officer
How do you define success? Rayona Sharpnack's defining moment came when she realized she was able to meet Hillary Clinton simply by making a request to the former first lady's gatekeepers.
As founder and president of the Institute for Women's Leadership, a consulting organization that assists women worldwide in identifying their personal and professional goals, Sharpnack is on a mission to remove the obstacles that limit women from reaching their true potential.
She leads training programs, including "Women Leading Change," a three-day initiative that works to ensure there is a woman's voice at every decision-making table around the globe and provides participants with the communications tools to get there.
"For most people, leadership is about what you need to know and what you need to do," says Sharpnack. "But Amazon.com sells more than 1,000 books that will tell you what you need to know and what you need to do. We work on who you need to be.
"In my classes, I'm going for those 'Aha' moments, which really are the ignition and illumination of the genius of the participants themselves. The experience is much more meaningful and relevant than trying to learn someone else's shtick or methodology for leadership."
Sharpnack's career began as a professional softball player for the International Women's Softball League, where she led a strike against the owners of the San Jose franchise, questioning their business practices. She also realized her childhood dream of becoming a physical education teacher at a time when such a position was unthinkable for a woman. A national Junior Olympic record holder for the longest softball throw, she now plays shortstop for the California Express, a professional women's senior team.
Sharpnack assists women in creative thinking, enabling them to fulfill their daily commitments. Her visionary "Ready, fire, aim, aim, aim" philosophy strives to empower women who desire a work-life integration by removing barriers.
She has made numerous appearances throughout the United States, Australia, Brazil and Canada, addressing or co-designing tailor-made conferences for up to 500 people. In addition, she has worked extensively with Fortune 500 companies, including Apple Computers, the Gillette Co., Charles Schwab Corp., Hewlett-Packard and Wells Fargo in the advancement of women's leadership.
The women at Schwab felt the training made such a difference in the company's competitiveness that they asked Sharpnack to conduct a co-ed version, now a standard part of the company's human resource training.
"Quite simply, it was a life-changing experience," says Vivian Groman, senior vice president of finance and corporate administrative technology at Schwab, who completed Sharpnack's workshop in 1997. "You walk in with a challenge, some mountain that you don't think you can climb. When you walk out, you've built a higher mountain that you know you can climb."
Elizabeth Adrian and Jeffrey Golembiewksi have joined the law firm of Weltman, Weinberg & Reis as associates.
John Zatkos has joined Rothman Gordon as an associate practicing in the law firm's workers' compensation department.
Scott Westwood has been named a principal in the law firm of Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote. Regina Petruzzi has been named an associate.
Michael Frachioni and Nancy Saunders have joined DKW Law Group as corporate associates. Kathryn Kenyon and David Ruiz have joined as litigation associates.
St. Barnabas Health System has named to its board of trustees for 2001-2002 John Curran, chairman; John Howell, vice chairman; John Turnbull, treasurer; William Day, secretary; and Kathryn Jennings, assistant secretary. Board members are Alan Offstein, Joseph Scaletta and Thomas Schmidt. Retired chairman William Reed remains as a member of the board.
James Barnett has joined the consulting staff of SecuraComm, an independent security and engineering consulting firm.
Hae-Dong Jho has joined the department of neurosurgery at Allegheny General Hospital.
The Pittsburgh Technology Council's board of directors has elected Mark Evans, president and CEO of Confluence Technologies, as its chairman. Other newly elected members of the council's board are David Klasnick, Richard Lunak and Chris Maher.
John Waclawski has been named an associate at the law firm of Dickie McCamey & Chilcote.
Karen Hanchett-Serbin has joined Shared Vision Alliance as its client liaison and facilitator.
Edward Flohr has joined Alpern, Rosenthal & Co. as tax manager. Patricia Scarpaci has joined the accounting and consulting firm as senior tax accountant and Kristin Kacik has joined as semi-senior accountant.
Steven Russell has been appointed managing director of venture capital firm iNetworks LLC.
Mary Roche has joined marketing firm CommuniTech as public relations director and account executive for Communitech's Philadelphia region.
John Brown and David Malone have been elected to the board of directors of NSD Bancorp Inc. and NorthSide Bank.
Debra Flinner has joined NorthSide Bank as vice president and commercial loan manager.
Paul Greb, Christine Kwolek and Gary Phillips have joined the staff of WTW Architects.
Jennifer Perkins has joined the Pittsburgh office of Mullen, a full service advertising, marketing and public relations agency.
Matthew Modell has joined the Massaro Co. as an estimator in its pre-construction services division.
Terry McClusky has joined Elisco Advertising as creative director.
Robert Bernstein, managing partner of the Bernstein Law Firm, has been elected chairman of the standards committee of the American Board of Certification, the organization that certifies bankruptcy and creditors' rights attorneys.
The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission has elected Butler County Commissioner James Kennedy as its chairman and Greene County Commissioner David Coder as its vice chairman.
Homer Walton, a shareholder with the law firm Tucker Arensberg, has been appointed to the Allegheny County Department of Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Appeals Committee.
Shannon Clougherty has been named an associate at the law firm of Blumling & Gusky.
Jason Kunzman has joined Schneider Downs as senior consultant to the firm's litigation and forensic accounting services practice.
John McGinley has joined the Pittsburgh office of law firm Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott as an equity owner.