Critical Connections: Team Effort a Must for Student Success

batesvilleAndy Allen, Batesville High School principal, slides into a desk in an empty English classroom and tells the story of a top student who learned after two days of a mentorship program at the local hospital that a medical career was not for her.

“She has spent the rest of the year on the health care administration side. What a great experience for her,” Allen reveals. “And all that occurred outside our walls. She has one block of time for us, 90 minutes every other day. We say, ‘Go to the hospital and work with our great partners there.’ ”

Kim Ryan, a senior vice president with Hillenbrand, Inc. and president of the company’s Batesville Casket Company platform, punctuates the beginning and end of her keynote presentation to a group of educators and business leaders with the following: “Small communities will determine our futures based on the workforce we create for ourselves today.”

Read the rest of the story in the latest BizVoice .

Sales Preference: Personal Interaction

30346590Technology is and will continue to make our lives easier in so many ways. But sometime there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction, according to a survey by SAP:

While customers are more empowered and informed today than ever before, they still prefer personal interactions with trusted advisors when being engaged in the sales cycle. According to the findings of a global survey by SAP, personalized direct engagement is still the preferred method of contact among business buyers.

The survey of more than 1,220 senior personnel responsible for purchasing goods and services, found that face-to-face interactions are crucial in the final stages of the buying process, with 60% of those polled using it to make final decisions and 43% to shortlist vendors. Yet, technology is still king for initial research, with 75% using web searches to identify vendors, followed by 73% using vendor websites and 71% tapping into social media and blogs.

Trust is the single most important factor when buying from vendors, but 60% say they are less tolerant and trusting of salespeople generally. However, vendors can earn trust through personal engagement. By providing evidence and helping buyers understand how a product fits into their day-to-day experiences, companies can reassure buyers and help alleviate risks.

 

Don’t Overlook Financial Freedom; Help Available

?????????????????Despite Indiana’s less-than-exemplary health status (too much obesity and smoking), financial wellness is a factor that cannot be overlooked. Primerica is one of many organizations trying to make a difference through employee education.

Chase Eaton has been a regional vice president for the organization in the Indianapolis area for the past nine years. (During that time, he has also been a member of the Indiana Pacers’ Power Pack — that high-flying dunk team that entertains fans during each home game.)

Eaton says there are two parts to the Primerica plan for businesses:

  1. Group presentations that teach employees basic money concepts such as the Rule of 72, debt stacking (how to pay down debts faster), efficient budgeting, saving for retirement and more.
  2. Individual sessions in which associates can develop, with a coach, a personalized financial game plan. Outcomes include a debt freedom date, financial independence number (amount of savings needed to retire), itemized budget worksheet and comprehensive insurance review.

Contact Eaton to learn more.

The Wellness Council of Indiana focuses on the financial side of wellness as part of its work with organizations throughout the state. Membership is an excellent first step to establishing an overall culture of wellness.

Experience the Entrepreneurial Energy at Innovation Showcase

innovIndiana has a growing number of events that connect entrepreneurs with resources. One of the biggest is the Innovation Showcase, returning for year seven this summer.

The lead of the conference web site says it all: “A conference where fundable companies connect with capital sources and attendees connect with the entrepreneurial energy in Indiana.”

More than 1,000 innovators, entrepreneurs and investors are expected to attend the event (July 8-9 at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway), where more than 70 high-potential enterprises will exhibit and pitch to investors. Companies interested in exhibiting at the Innovation Showcase must submit their applications by midnight on May 18.

During the two days, participating entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch their start-up, competing for prizes of cash and services that last year totaled over $120,000. Educational sessions will provide programming for investors as well as entrepreneurs. Investor and entrepreneur panels will discuss key milestones, barriers and techniques for survival and prosperity.

This year’s scope will include not only the early stage entrepreneur and investor, but also a component on growth ventures and funding.

Launch Fishers, the Venture Club, Verge and VisionTech Partners are the coordinating organizations.

“Economic growth, wealth, and jobs are created by second stage growth ventures — those that are scaling rapidly and gaining national traction,” says Todd Saxton, president of the Venture Club of Indiana and associate professor at IU Kelley School of Business. “The Showcase is not just about startups, which are a strong and growing component of our ecosystem, but also the next Exact Targets and Interactive Intelligences — companies that really put Indiana on the map with investors and customers nationally and internationally.”

Past participants who have experienced remarkable growth after exhibiting include: Scale Computing, myCOI, Indigo Biosystems, BlueLock, Bluebridge Digital, Precise Path Robotics, Book A Coach, Curvo Labs and many others.

Full details and registration are available online.

Waiting … and Waiting on a Highway Funding Fix

30449450Federal highway funding is running low. Nothing new there. The Indiana Chamber, and many others, have called for long-term solutions from Washington instead of short-term fixes that simply extend the uncertainty.

How are states reacting to the current dilemma. According to the Kiplinger Letter:

  • Arkansas, Georgia, Wyoming and Tennessee have postponed 440 projects totaling more than $1.3 billion
  • Iowa, South Dakota and Utah have increased gas taxes. Others that may follow include Georgia, Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Carolina
  • Seeking funds from advertisers: Virginia sells space on highway rest stop signs to GEICO; Travelers Marketing sponsors highway patrols in Massachusetts
  • Partnering with private investors: Florida is seeking private funds to rebuild portions of Interstate 4; New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia are seeking similar ventures

Kiplinger editors add:

But states can only do so much on their own. Ultimately, Congress must act. Odds favor another temporary fix this fall. A long-term solution will likely wait until 2017. Congress and a new president will have a fresh opportunity to tackle broad tax reform, including a possible hike in federal fuel taxes, which no longer approach what’s needed to pay for highway work.

Not what many want to hear in terms of the time frame.

Rev(ving) Up the Month of May

????????????????????????May is always a special time in Central Indiana (and for many throughout the state) with the Indianapolis 500 and its surrounding activities.

One of the more recent additions to the itinerary is Rev,a high-energy charity event on May 2. What makes Rev (in its second year and presented by Fifth Third Bank) unique? It benefits a relationship between the racing community and IU Health Methodist Hospital that goes back more than 100 years.

From the hospital’s first motorized ambulance in 1910, to the first liftoff of its LifeLine helicopter in 1970, to today, IU Health Methodist Hospital and the IMS have worked together to promote the safety of racecar drivers and Hoosiers alike. Rev is a celebration of the continued partnership between these influential Indianapolis institutions.

Dine on driver-inspired cuisine prepared by Indy’s top chefs and enjoy a variety of music and entertainment while mingling with IndyCar drivers and racing legends. Experience a behind the scenes look at the yard of bricks, the acclaimed Borg-Warner trophy and Victory Podium and enjoy photo opportunities with Indianapolis’s finest vintage cars.

Funds raised will support Indiana University Health statewide trauma programs including medical services for drivers and patrons at the IU Health Emergency Medical Center of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A limited number of premiere tickets remain available.

FBD to Host M&A Event

FBDLogo_DarkBlue_RGBIf mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are your game, Faegre Baker Daniels has an event you won’t want to miss.

The firm will conduct its third annual Indianapolis M&A conference on June 11 at the JW Marriott. The half-day event, with a post-reception, has featured powerful speaker lineups in its first two years.

Specific agenda topics will be released in April. Additional details are available.

 

Adding Up the School Choice Numbers

ed choiceThe Indianapolis-based Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is a national leader in its industry. It has published a Field Guide for 2015, providing an overview of the current status and expected developments.

Among the highlights:

  • 51 school choice programs in 24 states and Washington, D.C.
  • 23 voucher programs in 13 states and D.C.
  • 18 tax credit scholarship programs in 14 states
  • 8 individual tax credit/deduction programs in 7 states
  • 2 education savings account programs

Check out a state-by-state map on pages 4-5.

Friedman also breaks down gubernatorial support for school choice:

  • Governors a Go: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin
  • Governors a No: Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Virginia, Wahington

Show Them the Money

Recently, we asked your reaction to President Obama’s proposal for “free” community college. The results:

  • 43%: Who will pay the $60 billion price tag?
  • 20%: Sign me up
  • 14%: Won’t help if more students don’t graduate
  • 12%: Not for me but a step in the right direction

Our current poll asks a question that could not have been offered a year ago when no Indiana schools were represented in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Vote (top right) on your home state favorite for March Madness.

Free Webinar Can Help Avoid Mistakes in Hiring Veterans

sNational Guard and veteran unemployment continues to outstrip national unemployment numbers, while employers post job openings at a 14-year high, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

So what’s the missing connection? Small and mid-size employers often hit snags when seeking to hire trained and experienced veterans and National Guard members. Challenges include bureaucratic issues, translating military experience into civilian job descriptions and connecting with qualified military job candidates through a myriad of available programs and job boards.

The Center for America, coordinating the non-profit American Jobs for America’s Heroes military hiring campaign, announces a free webinar replay,How to Achieve Greater Success in Hiring National Guard and Other Veterans,” to give employers practical advice on hurdles they may encounter in the military hiring effort and specific action steps that will help employers find qualified job applicants. There is no cost and no registration to watch the program.

The program features three experts who have extensive experience in helping veterans and employers: Brig. Gen. (ret.) Marianne Watson, the former Director of Manpower and Personnel (J1) for the National Guard Bureau; Stacy Bayton, a retired U.S. Marine and Chief Operating Officer for Corporate America Supports You (CASY) and the Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN), a 2014 Call of Duty Endowment award-winner for excellence in military hiring; and Erin Voirol, the CASY-MSCCN Executive Director and military spouse. CASY and MSCCN placed more than 5,000 Guard members and veterans in jobs in 2014.

The “live” version of this webinar was hosted by the Maryland State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Questions? Contact: Steve Nowlan, Center for America, 201-513-0379 or SNowlan@CenterForAmerica.org.