combsandco


Feature Friday with Sheila Ronning

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” Dolly Parton

2021:26

Twenty years ago, Sheila Ronning saw an opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of women.  Like any good businessperson, she saw a market void and developed a program by which she could fill that void.  Regardless of the motivations behind the growing market, Sheila knew that Women in the Boardroom could accomplish two objectives with each placement: increase the number of women serving on corporate boards and strengthen corporate governance by diversifying the voices on those boards.

Today, Women in the Boardroom is a go-to resource for companies looking to fill board positions with a quality candidate.  (Full disclosure: a board on which I sit used their services to fill an open seat.)  On this episode of Did You Know That?, Sheila discusses the genesis of the firm and how women can build and execute a plan to secure board positions.  As you’ll learn, this effort goes beyond just kicking in the proverbial glass ceiling.

Learn more about Sheila and Women in the Boardroom via the accounts below:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/147283/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/womenintheboardroom/

Twitter: @BoardroomWomen

Instagram: @womenintheboardroom



Feature Friday with Nicole Soto

“Fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds’ worth of distance run” “If” by Rudyard Kipling

2021:25

Want to know a dirty secret about sports?  A majority of professional athletes, across all sports, don’t earn enough from the sport to make ends meet.  Many of these athletes have full-time jobs, even in-season, in order to support themselves and pursue their goal of making it to the “bigs.”  This is the reality facing thousands of athletes in the still-evolving sport of CrossFit, and it’s why my next guest on Did You Know that? is really someone to emulate.

Nicole Soto has a master’s degree; she co-owns a CrossFit gym; she coaches group classes and personal clients; and she’s a highly respected nutritionist.  In her spare moments, she spends time with her husband and two dogs, and prepares herself to compete at the highest levels of CrossFit.  In her first year back competing, Nicole finished among the top 200 fittest women in the world.  So, if you want to get past your excuses, you’ve come to the right place.

Learn more about Nicole and her gym via the accounts below:

Instagram (personal): @Nicole_J_Soto

Instagram (gym): @Rise_Athletics_

Facebook: Nicole Soto Learn more about CrossFit (the methodology and sport) at https://www.crossfit.com/



Feature Friday with Chad Schroeder

“Obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated.” Unknown

2021:24

Sports and statistics seem to have been made for each other.  Would we be so entranced by the history of a sport/game/league/franchise if we couldn’t marvel or argue about 56 (MLB), 92 (NHL), 100 (NBA), or 208 (NFL)?  Maybe, but probably not.

What most sports statistics have in common is uniformity.  If you want to break DiMaggio’s 56-game streak, then you will have to hit in 57 straight.  But what if I told you there is a global sport where everything is the same for just a moment, but will be different an hour from now, and might not reflect anything that came before?  What do the statistics mean then?

Well, that’s the challenge Chad Schroeder faces everyday as the official statistician of CrossFit.  There are still clear winners in CrossFit, but how they earn the wins isn’t the same from hour to hour, day to day, or year to year.  Yet somehow, he helps those following and working in the sport make sense of the chaos.  Chad gives some insight into how he does that on this episode of Did You Know That?



Feature Friday with Brent Filbert

Host: Sean C O’Rourke

Guest: Brent Filbert

“We have to make sure the Hell the veterans come home from is not the Hell they come back to.” Marcus Luttrell

Episode 2021:5

The quote above carries many connotations, but for the purposes of this episode of Did You Know That?, we’re focusing on the relationship between veterans and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).  This is not a hit piece on the VA, but an exploration of how bureaucracy, politics, money, and other factors force many veterans into a pitch battle with the very government they served.

Brent Filbert is the clinical director and a supervising attorney at The Veterans Clinic at the University of Missouri School of Law.  This group of dedicated attorneys and law students take up the fight – free of charge – for veterans who aren’t receiving the benefits they earned for their service.  It’s a disheartening conversation in some respects and inspiring in many others.

Check out the work of The Veterans Clinic by following the links below:

https://www.linkedin.com/school/university-of-missouri-columbia-school-of-law/

NOTE: This episode comes at a special time as we honor my late father-in-law, Maj. Gen. Roger E. Combs, with the #PancakesForRoger campaign on various social media platforms.  To check out the story behind the endeavor, Click Here!

Music: “Continent” by ANBR via Artlist



Motivation Monday with Ellen Williams

“Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.” Peter Sondergaard

If you’re reading this, stop for 60 seconds and think about the data you generate on a daily basis.  (No rush, I’ll wait.)  Now put that data into a number format, like 10GB or 100GB.  Want to know a secret?  You’ve probably underestimated your daily data footprint by a factor of 10 to 100.

In today’s hyper-digital world, it’s nearly impossible note to generate tremendous amounts of data.  That data carries value for businesses, if they can understand and optimize what they have.  That’s the problem though; most companies are not doing a good job leveraging all that information to make a better product/service, so they’re wasting a valuable resource.

Ellen Williams doesn’t like wasting data.  She knows the value contained in those bits and bytes, and she knows how to extract that value.  (You don’t get the moniker, The Data Chick, for nothing.)  On episode 2021:3 of Did You Know That?, Ellen and I talk about data, what companies can do with it, and why they do anything with it (most of the time).  The conversation is a good reminder that the service/product you produce isn’t the only thing valuable about your business.

Big sure to stay current with Ellen by visiting her at:

Company Website: https://www.orion-gs.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellenwilliamsny/

Twitter: @Ellen_NY_B2B

Music: “Night Search” by Russo via Artlist



Feature Friday with Traci Carnes

Host: Sean O’Rourke

Guest: Traci Carnes

Title: Are Your Confident In Your Cybersecurity?

Posting:

“The hacker didn’t succeed through sophistication. Rather he poked at obvious places, trying to enter through unlocked doors. Persistence, not wizardry, let him through.” Clifford Stoll, “The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage”

“The Cuckoo’s Egg” was published in 1989; I first read it in 1995.  You know what’s amazing/annoying/frustrating/unsurprising?  Not much has changed in the intervening 30+ years when it comes to hacking.  Sure, the systems and tools have gotten more sophisticated, but persistence and unlocked doors remain the key hallmarks of most hacks.

Cybersecurity, especially for small- and mid-sized businesses, remains a hazy priority that seems to fall down the to-do list every time a company runs out of coffee or snacks.  That’s just playing with gasoline and matches, and my next guest on Did You Know That? knows this firsthand.  Traci Carnes has worn many a technology hat in her career, so she’s seen cybersecurity from all sides.  Her thoughts and processes should inspire businesses to take a more proactive approach to minimizing the damage from a cyber event.  Remember, it’s not if but when you’ll experience one.

Want to learn more about Traci and her extensive background?  Check out her LinkedIn profile.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tracicarnes/

Music: “Broken Radios” by Stanley Gurvich via Artlist



Feature Friday – Ramon Ray

Host: Sean C O’Rourke

Guest: Ramon Ray

“When things do not go your way, remember that every challenge — every adversity — contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth.” Roy T. Bennett

If you like understatement, then saying 2020 has been (or was, depending on when you’re reading this) a challenging year should make the top of your list.  But among all that has gone wrong, that’s disrupted the norm, or been thrown into the unknown lies opportunity to come out the other end better, stronger, faster.  (Yes, that’s a callout to one of my all-time favorite shows.)

In the latest edition of Did You Know That?, the engaging Ramon Ray talks about how businesses – of all sizes – can identify and take advantage of even the slimmest of opportunity.  There are risks; it’s not for the faint of heart; but there are rewards to be had by you, your employees, and your customers/clients if you take a calculated leap.  This is not about running after anything that catches your eye; this about smartly identifying where your business can fill a new need and moving with purpose in that direction.

If this is your first experience listening to Ramon, then get your pen and paper or keyboard ready, because he’s going to throw a lot of information out there and you’ll want to digest it afterward (or give this multiple watches; your choice). 

You can also check out Ramon’s various works using the links or handles below:

Instagram: @ramonraysmarthustle

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ramonraysmallbiz/

Check out Ramon’s website Smart Hustle or his speaking website HERE!

Music: “J.D. Scavenger” by Randy Sharp via Artlist



Feature Friday – Did You Know That?

We all pretty much know the names and stories of the entrepreneurs who made it big (just check the list of the world’s richest people). But do you know the story of the person who started that dry cleaner’s down the block? How about your favorite non-chain coffee shop? That pub you frequent way too often? The graphic designer for the at-home workout app you’ve been frequenting?

If you think about it, entrepreneurship has been around since that first multi-cellular organism ventured off on its own to find a better source of food. Not much has changed in the intervening few billion years. (OK, maybe a few things.) Being an entrepreneur is still a risky, fulfilling, exhausting, invigorating, difficult, inspiring way of life, and my next guest on Did You Know That? has experienced it more than most.

Adrian Miller has been a successful entrepreneur – many times over – for 30+ years. She’s juggled multiple businesses for more than a decade now, all while being a mom, wife, world traveler, and fount of knowledge. If you’re thinking of taking the leap, or are struggling to keep your fire going, then this is the episode you don’t want to miss.

To learn more about Adrian’s fascinating history, check out her LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amillersalestraining/.

Music: “DuDa” by Ian Post via Artlist



Feature Friday – Did You Know That?

Host: Sean C O’Rourke

Guest: Paul Zambrotta

“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.”  Annie Leonard

I’m not a terribly nostalgic person, but have to admit, this episode took me back to show and tell in grammar school.

Have you ever heard the term wish-cycling?  No, not the practice of wishing for the same thing each time you blow out birthday candles.  This is the practice of throwing an item into a recycling bin in the hopes it can be recycled.  While the intention may be good, in practice, this act of hope has real negative consequences – it can turn good recyclables into trash.

My next guest on Did You Know That? is Paul Zambrotta, Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Hi-Tech Resource Recovery, Inc. & Scholes Street Recycling Corp., and Director of Safety at Mr. T Carting.  Paul’s grandfather, Tom Toscano (aka, Pop), started Mr. T Carting with one truck in 1947 and the family of companies has grown with the city to better address waste and recycling efforts.

The chat with Paul is broken into two segments.  First, we discuss the overall status of the recycling business and market, with an emphasis on where we, the consumers, are falling short on proper recycling.  The real fun begins with part two, where Paul and I go through many common household items to determine what can go into the recycling containers and what should hit the trash.  I think you may be surprised by some of his answers.

To learn more about Paul and his work, check out his LinkedIn profile, CLICK HERE

To learn more about plastic recycling, visit Waste4Change by CLICKING HERE

Music: “Urban Drummers” by Mike Kirin via. Artlist



Feature Friday – Did You Know That?

Host: Sean C O’Rourke

“Politics is not a game. It is an earnest business.” Winston Churchill

Politics.  Politician.  Want to cause a visceral reaction?  Just drop these words into any conversation and watch the fireworks blaze.  It begs the question – why would anyone want to get into this business?

Well, for those who do, there’s a gauntlet you have to run just to get in front of your welcoming electorate.  The cynic looks at these hurdles as a way for incumbents to stay in power; the optimist looks at the process as a way of pre-validating a candidate.  Either way, it’s no simple matter to find your way onto a ballot and then finance a campaign.

My next guest on Did You Know That? is Rachel Harding, an election/campaign finance law attorney who specializes in New York state.  Rachel knows the ins and outs, tricks and tricksters, and the obstacles a potential candidate must navigate to get on and remain on a New York ballot.  She also knows how much money a candidate can accept and from whom and how often.  Essentially, if you want to run for office in New York, call Rachel first.

In an election year unlike any in recent history, who better than Rachel to discuss how ballots are “made” in New York?

To learn more about Rachel, check out her LinkedIn profile HERE

Be sure to do your civic duty and vote, even if it’s for none of the above.

Music: Big City Lights by Ikoliks via Artlist