Get Someone Else to Blow Your Horn and the Sound Will Travel Twice As Far -Will Rogers
We were very pleased with the process and the product that came of Ira Bryck helping us at Westside Finishing create a meaningful mission statement. Ira gathered information (both through a questionnaire and a gathering) from the owners, managers, and front line employees, on the subject of how and why Westside Finishing aims to succeed. He led us in a useful conversation about what would work best for us in a mission statement, got many thoughts and feelings out on the table, and helped us craft a mission statement, using our own words. We are very proud of what it says and how we came to say it.
We feel that our 15 year membership in the UMass Family Business Center has been a tremendous asset to our family. It has strengthened all aspects of our business, especially our personal relationship as a family. It has helped keep our expectations high and satisfies our desire to learn new business and family management ideas. It has brought us sustained changes in our fast moving industry and gave to us lifelong friendships. Our greatest challenge is to use and implement the ideas and good sense we've received from the excellent variety of program speakers this organization brings to us.
My family in business has transitioned through many, many stages and phases. Throughout the years, the UMass Family Business Center and its director, Ira Bryck, have been a part of them all. The best way I can describe what this organization does for us is to simply say that it validates us. It validates that we are not alone and that none of our experiences–good or bad–are in vain. The environment at the forums is one of genuine openness and honesty about the common goals and challenges of family business. Large or small, new or well established, there is always something to learn. This is NOT a free-for-all business card swap. This is an oasis of valuable business resources and absolutely priceless relationships. This is beyond typical networking. I would be more than happy to speak to anyone considering membership.
Ira Bryck's Family Business Center is much more than it's name implies. It's a business to business network that is truly a network, with communications to and from many businesses on many levels. It's provided me with personal and business benefits - both from the formal programs, as well as the informal friendships I've developed over the years. You can't go to one meeting and expect to earn your membership fee back, but when you look over the year, it's an expense that is easily justified.
I joined the UMass Family Business Center several years ago to alleviate the stress and isolation I felt as a business owner. So happens, I am married to my business partner, which -for anyone- has its own set of challenges, including the need to look outside the family for some vital business wisdom. Since joining, I have more confidence in my inner wisdom, I have a 'family' that understands the challenges that I face, and I have access to centuries of wisdom and experience. Now, I experience less stress, have great new friends, and a better marriage!
The thing that’s most amazing to me about the UMass Family Business Center is just how many smart people belong. I’ve been in a lot of professional organizations in Western Mass, and none of them have been able help me grow as a businessowner as well as the UMass Family Business Center. I don't know if smart people join the center, or if joining makes you smarter, but I always leave these events feeling inspired and humbled and energized, all at the same time.
The UMass Family Business Center gives us a chance to really learn from one another like no other organization we have belonged to and in a no-holds-barred atmosphere. If you are serious about your business and family life and how they relate, whether you’re a small mom & pop or a larger family business, you need to belong. Call Ira and you won't regret it.
On behalf of my family, I want to thank you for the all the guidance, insight, and assistance provided by the UMass Amherst Family Business Center. It is truly a service to companies like ours going through the generational transition. We've become a much more sophisticated and savvy business family. Our enhanced understanding of the unique dynamics of a family business helped us to successfully navigate the rocky waters of transition (both management and ownership). Thanks also for the friendship and support you provided me personally.
The UMass Amherst Family Business Center gives me the chance to escape from my bottomless in-box, ringing phones, employee dilemmas, production problems and all-too-frequent "fires," to a place where I can listen to amazing guest speakers and chat with fellow family business owners about important issues and hot topics in a casual environment. This forum - filled with colleagues who have been in my shoes - enables me to make sound business decisions and gain a big picture view. Armed with insight from the meetings and other available resources -- I can really take control; especially of those ugly business issues that would have otherwise been put off until it is just too late.
We were quite fortunate to have been exposed to Ira Bryck and the UMass Amherst Family Business Center early in the succession planning process. The program addresses not only the important financial and business issues, but also delicate family relationship issues which are not often brought up because of time constraints. The meetings we attend allow us to listen and evaluate each other members' situations, and feelings, while relating them to our own family matters. Overall, the center has provided us with guidance, and a forum to discuss and deal with the delicate issues that our family encounters during this generation change.
What can I say, but You the Man!? You make the program what it is and it's just Super!
Ira Bryck captains a good ship and is always open to experiment with new methods to meet participant needs. Presentations are focused, stay within advertised time limits, and deliver what they promise. The tight rope between treating your business like a business and your family like a family is well walked as we listen and talk t each other and learn from the presenters and each other. This group is becoming to feel like a comfortable family in itself.
Rarely have I had the privilege of knowing and working with someone as creative, fun, brilliant and full of integrity as Ira Bryck. I have known Ira for about a dozen years, both professionally and personally. We have worked together on family business projects, and he hired me to speak at one of his family business forums. The consummate networker, Ira takes joy bringing people together from different places when he thinks they might both benefit. He's a terrific brainstormer, able to think outside any box of any dimensions. No one should hesitate to work with or miss the chance to get to know Ira Bryck!
about a special consultation: Thank you for creating a great experience yesterday (where you gathered several business owners and faciltiated them through an exercise of redesigning my facility). I feel that you brought a wonderful group of people together who where creative, honest and sincere. The atmosphere generated a bond of trust and the giving was enormous. Ira, the initial ground work that you did set the stage for this group to have structure and focus and accomplished so much in a short period of time. The synergy was fantastic. Thank you very much for stepping outside the box and exceeding all of my expectations.
and in general: The Family Business Center is important in our company strategy…the seminars and speakers have provided information that you can't put a price tag on. The FBC provides great educational resources and networking opportunities. When you're a small, family business it's critical to know you don't have to operate as island, and there is a support group that exists for family businesses.
“I've known Ira for more than 14 years, since he was hired to open and run the UMass Family Business Center and hired me to cover his first conference for his newsletter--and all the conferences since. Ira's work is always professional, he brings in very high quality speakers, puts together a newsletter that consistently wins accolades. His knowledge of family business issues is encylopedic. And he's a really nice guy who I'm proud to call friend.
I first collaborated with Ira when I spoke at his forum in the fall of 2007. In that experience and all my subsequent dealings with Ira, I have found him to be deeply committed to working with others to produce the best possible results for his members/clients. He is very personable, flexible, and willing to dialogue on any issue. His core values are making the project better and enhancing the professional relationship. A truly engaging professional to work with.
Ira Bryck is one of the most unique, thoughtful and innovative persons I've had the pleasure to work and associate with. As a peer, I look to Ira for ideas and inspiration. As a colleague, Ira is an example of how to champion the needs of the customer while not losing sight of running an effecient business. Finally, as a client, Ira delivers what is promised and routinely exceeds expectations.
I was very impressed by the candor with which the members shared information and ideas at the meeting last night. You've got a great group there. What a fabulous resource for family businesses. Makes me wish I had one of my own!!
The UMass Amherst Family Business Center does a great job in helping me expand my knowledge of important business practices. What a worthwhile investment!
In my 23 years of working with family business owners and attending conferences and seminars all over the country that cater to (or propose to cater to) the needs of family business', The UMass Amherst Family Business Center stands apart. There truly is no better venue and safer place for a family business, its members and non-family employees to come and address the issues they face to growing and prospering as a family business. You have created an entrepreneurial environment that is unique. Its value is generated both by the expertise of the speakers and the interaction of the members- successful family business' sharing their growing pains and success stories with other members. This is an invaluable educational experience that is not available in any 'how to' book. You have to be in the seats, involved and engaged to get the full benefits each and every month...and our membership does! And after Seven Years it's only gotten better. Hats off to you.
It's heartening to see so many entrepreneurs so willing to offer suggestions to colleagues looking for help on ways to expand their family businesses or to branch into other lines of business; especially when you consider that these are in many cases small businesses where entire families share in the success of the companies.
The center has provided our 4th generation funeral service firm with the tools to attract and retain family, to develop leaders, and a strong commitment by the next generation, and has helped in developing a strong business and personal relationship with the family. I recommend to anyone interested in fostering growth and passing the business on to the next generation to look to the UMass Amherst Family Business Center as a partner in your future planning.
The Family Business Center has been thought provoking! It gives us an opportunity to stand back and do strategic thinking.
Wow! How lucky we are to have a resource like this in Western Mass. Not only are we able to attend seminars and workshops by nationally recognized experts, but the Family Business Center also provides an opportunity to confidentially network with local people who know first-hand what it's like to be running a family business.
This is a great organization with a creative, innovative, and caring leader.
Every time I come to the UMass Amherst Family Business Center events it helps me understand where I've been and where my children are going with our business I founded fifty years ago.
A Few Testimonials about our First Ever Sibling Summit
I was very pleased to participate in your recent sibling summit. Your format was well thought out, had friendly audience interaction and was executed in a way that made me feel comfortable. Some of thes discussion topics are difficult under the best of circumstances and under your guidance, issues were handled with discretion and care. While it was initially a bit daunting to consider airing our personal issues w/ a group, in the end I believe we came away with a little more insight into our successes as well as opportunities for us to improve.This event allowed us to interact and share among peers issues unique to sibling run family businesses. Thank you for your willingness to evolve and cater your services to your member needs.
My brother and I thoroughly enjoyed the first ever Sibling Summit. There were a lot of relevant topics discussed in a constructive and professional way.; I would recommend that any sibling team in business together attend this event.
The Sibling Summit had a unique format that allowed everyone involved--regardless of age, the type of business they are involved in, or how many siblings they have--to relate to the issues that were presented. After just the first session, everyone seemed really comfortable and open to sharing their experiences of working with their brother(s) or sister(s). Hopefully there will be more events like these not only just for siblings, but for all of the other types of relationships that have to do with family businesses. If you are just 'thinking' about going to a special event like this, JUST DO IT! It gets you out of the office and into an environment that makes your time in the office more valuable and effective. Like my father, I wrote a novel where a sentence or two would have been fine so feel free to cut this down!
I was truly impressed by the Sibling Summit and felt the level of openness and exchange of ideas was unexpected and refreshing. We all work in a very unique family arrangement, which sometimes makes it difficult to express problematic areas since there is so much more at stake with the people involved. I appreciated the candor and vulnerability of all the participants that allowed us to peak into their family dynamics and walk away with some ideas on how to overcome obstacles. I would certainly attend future Sibling Summits and highly recommend the event; it is unlike any I've ever attended.
I think this was one of the best meetings I attended. Moderated and advises expertly. Very open and honest discussion without sticks and stones. Would love to see another sib meeting where all my sibs can attend. Many thanks,
The Sibling Summit illuminated many typical contentious issues and success stories from members who faced them head-on. It was an extremely well-focused and relevant education.
Some Feedback About Ira Bryck as Coach and Facilitator
Our Nashville based family real estate business, H.G. Hill Company, is in its 5th generation, and facing many new and ongoing challenges, even as we succeed as a company and a family. We continuously challenge ourselves to have the right conversations, and use our annual retreats for this purpose. Ira Bryck was the facilitator of our recent 2 day retreat, and brought us to new heights. We were able to safely engage in a robust, paradigm shifting dialog about ownership, diversification, risk, communication, leadership, legacy, stewardship and much more. He got our youngest generation talking about investing themselves in our future, in a way that has never happened before. He helped our elder generation (and all) change their perspective about what it means to be owners. He brought us to agreement on several steps we will now follow, with his guidance, to develop and execute strategy and enhance our legacy. It was widely reported that our retreat was a wild success, largely due to his talent as a facilitator. We proudly recommend him for this role.
Ira Bryck was tremendously helpful with his insights into the strengths
and challenges of my business model. He gave me some great ideas not only
for ways to connect with new clients but for how to determine best
CATEGORIES of clients that would most benefit from my services. He's also
extremely personable and a pleasure to spend time with. I recommend him
highly as a consultant and an advisor for any developing business.
Once again, thank you for helping our Ledges Board with some focus for the future. I am truly a fan of your intellect and abilities. You took a three hour period and focused our group onto a process of discussion and commitment. We needed to evolve from a day to day focus to a more long term approach, and you succeeded at giving us a plan. Truly a job well done! Thank you again for your time. I consider you a friend and I want to reassure you that I am always available to you. I look forward to our next event together..
I'm writing this letter as a testimonial of my appreciation of the fine job that Ira Bryck has done to help resolve an extremely difficult and troubling impasse that myself and family members came to in our family business. After four grueling sessions we achieved the unimaginable: we heard each other's viewpoints and could respect one another again. Ira's approach of focusing on the business relationship, but hearing out some of the family pain was just right for us. In spite of some tumultuous moments, he mediated skillfully to keep us focused on our objectives and our points of agreement, while validating our disagreements. I highly recommend Ira to anyone who needs assistance in negotiating the emotionally charged task of reconciling family and business problems.
I am one of the fortunate entrepreneurs who has access to Ira Bryck's support, intelligence and business acumen. Bryck has an encyclopedic knowledge of business management and I leave every meeting with a new title to read and a new spin on my company. If you are serious about pursuing a successful enterprise, you would be wise to engage Ira Bryck as a trusted advisor and coach.
Thank you so very much for the meeting forum you created for us this morning. As was noted, we are all on board with our mission and do respect each other but the "business of business" has an influence on our everyday life both individually and collectively. You helped organize a discussion that was focused by our own concerns. I liked the way you took our responses to your questionnaire, categorized salient remarks, gave us individual time to read and think and then facilitated discussion that was meaningful to all of us and will, I know, focus our future actions. We all participated and spoke from the heart. Your summaries, thoughtful comments throughout and in general, your breadth of personal experience with family businesses were all so helpful.
Working with Ira was one of the best professional experiences my company and I could have had. There are many challenges (as well as rewards) working in a family business; and to that situation, Ira brought clarity, insight and perspective to the meeting he led. I would highly recommend working with Ira and the UMass Amherst Family Business Center! Every moment with him is time well spent.
Thank you so much for all of your help. You were more informative in that short time than anyone else that I have talked to in the past. The session was interesting and benefical.
We're pretty excited about using some of the tools and tactics you proposed today. As I'd hoped, talking with an objective (not family!) expert was just what we needed. You're a tremendous resource of knowledge and experience—I appreciate your willingness to share. I'm a big fan!
Ira provided for our family the opportunity to have fair, balanced discussions relative to family and business issues that would not have been possible without his guidance. He was instrumental in helping us get through various difficult issues in an most effective way. He has a great understanding of the dynamics of business families and dealing with the challenges they face.
Ira: it has been a pleasure utilizing your talents and real world experience as a consultant. You have kept us moving in a positive direction and helped us to expand our business. You have been the unbiased voice of reason when conflict arose and not burdened us with opinion but fact. I am sure that our business would still be open if we never made the mutual commitment between each other but it would not be prospering. You have definitely seen us with all of our warts exposed and not told us we are ugly !!! Balancing family and business is hard enough when it is not intertwined but once they coexist can become unbearable and it appears together we are making it less unbearable. Thanks for all your direction and wisdom.
Ira was able to help save our volatile family and family business from detonation. It takes a special person that can bridge two different generations and two different personalities.
Ira provided excellent advice and direction for us. Some things we didn't want to hear, but definitely needed to hear. He helped put us on a path forward instead of spinning our wheels.
Ira has facilitated some strategic planning sessions and worked with me and my son on personal and business planning. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience from working with many family businesses, and he's well read, so he always has recommendations on books to help improve most any family business situation. Ira can handle strong personalities and is great at asking strategic questions. I would highly recommend Ira for facilitation, conflict management and family business issues.
Ira has facilitated many roundtables for the clients of our incubator. He has also provided individualized consulting for a variety of business related issues. He is truly an expert in eliciting strategic thinking from business owners who are focused on day to day operations. He is also extremely effective in conflict management related issues. A pleasure to work with, he always delivers as promised.
Ira is a multi-talented, brilliant consultant and impresario. He provides a venue for thought leaders who provoke and inspire leaders to think...and feel...before taking strategic action. He is willing to move people beyond their comfort zones while providing great resources to help them succeed.
Ingrid Bredenberg M.A. , Bredenberg Associates
I am deeply honored and proud both professionally and personally to write a recommendation for Ira Bryck. He is a forward thinking and progressive leader in the area of entrepreneurship with his main focus on family businesses. Ira consistently demonstrates a deep dedication to his family businesses, his colleagues, and his local and world communities. His integrity and sense of entrepreneurship is unquestionable. I salute him. His track record speaks for itself. Under the leadership of Ira, The UMass Family Business Center has soared to new heights evidenced by growth, respect and credibility he has earned from all business members, business advisors, and his local community. He focuses on ideas that motivate, grow and unite. Ira believes in building bridges to create economically vibrant companies and he believes in joining hands with all small businesses and the local community to elevate all through cooperation and common purpose. Strategic planning has long been an important part of Ira’s business career and the development and growth of the UMass Family Business Center. Over the many years, I have worked with Ira on numerous strategic planning sessions and business development sessions. His attention to details, his instantaneous follow up skills and his mind-set of deliberative thinking help with achieving forward thinking and proactive results that are attainable by the companies with flourishing and lasting results. I look forward to working with Ira for many years to come. I would be happy to provide additional comments upon request.
Some Feedback About Ira Bryck as Presenter and Educator
Ira: Well done yesterday, at your presentation to the University Professional and Continuing Education Association. I too enjoyed listening to your thoughts, suggestions, and comments. You spoke from a position of knowledge, experience, and background. I was impressed with your breadth/depth of current literature and research on the topic(s). It was evident that the group too enjoyed the session by their participation and comments/responses. You scored a hit for yourself, the Center, and CPE. Thanks
I am happy to recommend Ira Bryck to you as one of the most knowledgeable people anywhere in the field of family business dynamics, relationships, and challenges. Ira and I began our education in the field of family business sixteen years ago when we became founding directors of the Family Business Centers at the University of Massachusetts and the University of New Haven. During my collaboration with Ira I found him to have an insatiable appetite for all he could learn about families in business. While I have long since left the University of New Haven, his program at UMass has since been recognized as one of the very best in the country. Beside his skill and accomplishment as a Director, Ira has also consulted with families in business for many years. He is knowledgeable, compassionate, attentive, and continuously attends workshops and conferences to improve his consultation skills. While there are many who consult with family businesses as a “sideline” to other careers, Ira has made the study and assistance to family business owners his only career and a real passion for a very long time. Please feel free to contact me if you feel a need to discuss his qualifications in more detail.
Michael W. Camerota, J.D., Certified Business Intermediary, Touchstone Advisors, Enfield, CT
Ira Bryck is simply a wonderful presenter. He understood our audience well and tailored his presentation to their needs and interests. Not only that, but he brought with him several other panelists who added much to the program. His sense of humor and conscientiousness were appreciated by the audience, as well as by me - the coordinator of the event. I say if you can get him, GET HIM!
Ira was the featured speaker at the Pioneer Valley Estate Planning Council's midwinter meeting and was nothing short of enthralling. He is highly personable, speaks from a position of knowledge without being preachy, and "worked the crowd", getting everyone involved in his presentation. I don't usually get positive feedback from a group of attorneys,accountants and financial planners, but I heard good things from them on Ira. Any group would be wise to have him as a speaker. In fact, I am trying to set up a time for him to address some of my family business clients in a similar setting.
Ira Bryck's presentation (about his advice to family business, based on his experiences in his own family's business, and working with others) to the members and sponsors of the Northeastern University Center for Family Business earned scores that were all in the Very to Extremely Valuable range; and the comments were positive, including: "Ira got us thinking about how to deal with and confront my family with an open mind, respect and compromise" and that the talk dealt with "real tough issues" made "very interesting" by hearing 'insights from other companies" so they could "take the time to talk and plan as a family and management team." He was funny yet provocative, direct yet tactful.
I confidently recommend Ira and this presentation to any industry group or family business program."
Ted Clark, Director
Center for Family Business
Thank you for contributing to the 2nd Annual "How To" Entrepreneurship Institute. The small business owners and entrepreneurs left energized and excited about the information they received. The "How to Govern, Communicate & Plan in Your Family Company" workshop that you led was especially informaitve, and you did an excellent job in presenting the subject matter in a palpable way.
Aimee Griffin Munnings, Esq., Director, Western New England College Law and Business Center for Advancing Entrepreneurship
Having grown up in a family business, Ira Bryck has a thorough understanding of the challenges and opportunities inherent in any family business enterprise, making him uniquely qualified to speak authoritatively on this complex—and emotionally charged—subject. For this reason, Mr. Bryck adds value to any educational program focusing on how not only to survive, but thrive in a family business environment."
We were pleased to have Ira Bryck as our after dinner keynote at the Paperboard Packaging Council’s Fall 2006 conference at Greenbrier Resort. His presentation, “More Crazy Than Busy: Business / Family Life Balance” hit the mark for our audience, many of whom were with spouses, and seeking – and finding- in his talk a strong mixture of entertainment and insight. Ira also facilitated a discussion the next morning, on the topic “How to Pass the Torch Without Getting Burned,” which our members appreciated as a valuable opportunity to discuss a vital subject with a knowledgeable expert.
Thank you very much for making your presentation at our recent annual meeting. Many maple producers are faced with transitioning their agricultural/forestry businesses to the next generation just as they manage their woodlots and maple sugarbushes for long term health. Your workshop was very helpful to many who attended our North American Maple Syrup Council meeting.
I am delighted to have had Ira Bryck as a speaker on a number of occasions for our clients. The comments we receive each time he speaks are always very positive and enthusiastic! The last presentation that he did was so popular we had to limit the number of attendees. Ira engages his audience, is amusing and gets his point across very well. As a result, we have established a close working relationship with the Family Business Center (FBC) and with Ira. We consider Mr. Bryck a valued colleague and consult with him often for guidance and assistance!
Thank you for being our workshop presenter. We really appreciate having the chance to let people know about the family business center and to consider the issues that family businesses face. I just heard from two of the quieter participants that they had gotten just what they needed from the seminar, and I heard similar comments from others last night. I hope you'll consider repeating the program sometime next year.
Thank you so much for your session with the Connecticut Young Executives Organization. The feedback I received was very positive. I always enjoy the profound learning experience.
Thank you for participating in Friday's highly successful cranberry growers' business seminar, attended by over 140 growers! Your opening presentation on the challenges facing family businesses struck a responsive cord in the audience and set the tone for the rest of the day. Thanks again. You and your Center contribute significantly to our efforts as a land grant university!
Ira’s presentation was one of the highlights of the PCT Mergers & Acquisition Seminar, a two-day conference in which pest control industry professionals heard from a diverse speaker lineup that included PCOs (pest control owner/operators), consultants, brokers, franchisers and others. Ira’s presentation, titled “The Realities of Selling Your Business,” explored both the business aspects, as well as the emotional side, of selling one’s business. Reflecting on both his personal experiences — working for his family’s children’s wear business — and using his business acumen, Ira crafted an informative and thought-provoking presentation that was customized to our audience. Our audience was entertained, informed and felt comfortable exchanging experiences and asking Ira questions.
A Few Words of Praise for our Newsletter, Related Matters
As a veteran magazine editor/publisher, I'm inherently hypercritical on graphics and content. But Related Matters blows me away. I receive many newsletters; your publication is in the stratosphere. Then, I read your summary of my workshop. Nobody has ever caught the essence of what I try to say better than you did in that piece. Thank you for the thought...and respect...that represents. You guys do nice work up there in Mass.
Your newsletter is the best—very well-written, useful stuff and funny. You can tell it's yours!
I am on the mailing list of several forums and I would say that Related Matters is among the best of the newsletters. Interesting, helpful and readable. I enjoy reading your editorial. I am also impressed with the breadth of the programs. You've done a great job of getting beyond the repetitious basics to some interesting business topics. Yours is obviously a market-driven program, which others can learn from. When I talk with other forum directors, I always suggest they call to pick your brain. Congratulations. I assume the success of the Center is a source of great satisfaction.
I read Related Matters and am impressed by the quality of the articles and the lively style and knowledge in Ira Bryck's columns.
I've read your publication with growing interest and enthusiasm over the past two years. As a small business/family business/UMass alum reader I have found many things I have enjoyed and benefited from. Thank you and keep up the great work.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT THE UMASS FAMILY BUSINESS CENTER ROUNDTABLES
The FBC Women’s Roundtable has become my lifeline in times of turbulence - both business and personal. This group allows me to explore the sometimes complex intermingling of emotions that family + business can bring for women. The mixture of generations offers wisdom I have never seen anywhere else. This group is the quintessential place to be for women in business with their families. We explore deeply personal reflections of how this impacts our gender roles, our spirit and our drive for the almighty "Balance". The atmosphere is confidential, safe and without judgments. Our group represents many different demographics - which only provides better insight and much wisdom. Many of the women I have met in this group have become unexpected lifetime friends and our relationships extend beyond the boundaries of the conference room. Most importantly - our facilitator Deborah Kruger teaches us how to be better communicators with those around us and how to ask ourselves the deeper questions behind our emotions & intentions. Priceless."
At first I was absolutely not enticed with the idea of participating in a "women's" group. As a woman in business, my experience with other women at Chamber of Commerce and sales functions has been less than desirable. I feel no connection, or bonding and in many cases, no respect. Deborah assured me that her group was different. She empathized with what I was expressing and assured me that she kept a tight rein on the conversation if it started to head into irrelevant or inappropriate areas. I gave it a try. I consider this roundtable to be one of the best resources I have ever added to my life "toolbox". I believe this is now my third year in the roundtable. Over the months and years I have found the roundtable to be most helpful for venting (both personal and business), gathering wisdom and advice, and helping me to gain focus on the specifics of issues that I was dancing around. I consider some of these women to be my closest friends and would not hesitate to call on any of them if I needed help or support. Deborah as a moderator is amazing. She doesn't reign with a visible iron hand, but she steers and brings focus in such a subtle way that it is not noticeable, offensive nor intrusive. Her insight is also right on and she brings a positive outlook to even the most bleak of situations. Our group not only discusses thoughts and ideas, but we come out with an action plan, if needed, that helps us back on the path that we need to be on. I look forward to our monthly meetings. My schedule is arranged around them and I would not even consider missing one. I get so much out of each meeting and am so thankful to be a part of this wonderful group of women. I would be pleased to speak with anyone who would like to talk to a participant of the group. -