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“Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free.” - Eckhart Tolle

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Integrating Business and Personal Life as Head of School with Dr. Nat Coffman – 3-21-15

February 26, 2015

For many educators, pursuing this career path is a true calling.  It can mean a life of long days, deep personal relationships, and the great reward of seeing children change and grow right before your eyes.  But for the person who rises to the level of Principal or Head of School, it can be especially challenging to find space in those long days for a personal life.  Our guest this week will give us a behind the scenes look at the delicate balance of  leading teachers and students to achieve their potential while also being a community member, husband and father.

DrNatCoffmanDr. Nat Coffman became Head of School at The Prairie School in Racine, WI in July, 2014 after an extensive background in private school education. He was previously Head of School at York Country Day School, in York Pennsylvania, and Dean at the Bishop School in La Jolla, California and The Latin School of Chicago.

Nat earned his doctorate in education from the University of Pennsylvania, a Masters in Non-Profit Administration from Notre Dame, Magna Cum Laude, and his Bachelor of Arts at Claremont McKenna College.

To learn more about Dr. Nat Coffman and The Prairie School, go to www.prairieschool.com.

 

An Artist’s Ideas and Inspiration with Denise Zingg – 3-14-15

February 14, 2015

There are few things as pure as the creativity of art.  The vision seen in the artist’s minds eye is inspired from within, and from all of the sources of inspiration around them.  As we continue our discussion about taking ideas and making them reality, we explore the translation of ideas into art form.  What inspires a working artist, and how do they make the ideas that they see and feel into the reality of their art?  And how does an artist teach others to tap into their own creativity?

DeniseZinggOur guest this week is artist Denise Zingg.   In 1980 Denise founded the Spectrum Gallery in Racine, WI, and today serves as the director of the Spectrum School of the Arts and Community Gallery. Spectrum’s educational philosophy is to provide effective individualized instruction to students of all ages by understanding each person’s learning style, abilities and goals facilitated by small classes (between 4 and 10 students per class).

In addition to teaching art and music as a portal to individual consciousness and creativity, Denise also teaches Astrology, Tarot and Mandala workshops.

For more information about Denise and the Spectrum Gallery, go to http://www.spectrumschoolandgallery.org/Home.html.

Following a Passion, Creating a Business with Rachel Kruse – 3-7-15

February 12, 2015

Some of the best ideas people have come from the things they are most passionate about in their lifestyle.  What does it take to bring your passion to others and build it into a successful business?  Our guest this week will share her story about taking her personal passion for healthy eating to create products that are now sold in major retailers across the country.

RachelKruse

Rachel Kruse, the owner and founder of Organicville, is considered one of the most influential women in the world of health.  She has developed a line of products that are USDA Certified Organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and contain no added sugars. Rachel is a third-generation vegetarian who was raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  As a child, she remembers watching her grandmother in the kitchen making homemade organic salad dressings. She dreamed of one day making her own.

After high school, Rachel moved to California and graduated from University of California Berkeley.  Though she settled into a great job, she wanted to develop organic products that are not only good for you but taste fantastic. At the age of 27, Rachel started her own business and named it Organicville. She developed seven tasty, healthy salad dressings and began selling.  She now sells the Organicville, Sky Valley and Bellas brands of products through her company Sky Valley Foods.

Rachel says “I want to develop unique and healthy products that taste great without sacrificing any health benefits and are more affordable so everyone can enjoy.”  Agave nectar is used instead of sugar and all ingredients are vegan, gluten-free and organic. Rachel uses extra-virgin olive oil instead of canola oil.

Rachel has a goal to develop products that are organic, reasonably priced, and taste good.

For more information about Rachel and Organicville products, go to www.oganicvillefoods.com.

The Business of Making Ideas Happen with Mike Harris – 2-28-15

February 9, 2015

Some people are simply born to be creative generators of ideas, and some people are particularly astute at evaluating ideas to determine which have the potential to become successful.  Our guest this week embodies both…..a proven, successful entrepreneur in his own right, but also a successful venture capitalist, skilled at identifying the true opportunity that lies within a good idea.  We are honored to have him here this week to help us get insight into his process of discerning which ideas can truly become a successful reality.

Mike HarrisCroppedMike Harris is a proven and prolific entrepreneur with three different companies named to the Inc. 500 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies in the last 20 years. Mike is best known as the founder of Jefferson Wells, which he started in November of 1995 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Under his leadership as Chairman and CEO, the firm grew organically to 1,600 employees, 23 offices and annual sales of $131 million in just five years.  Jefferson Wells has become a widely respected alternative to the Big 4 firms for a range of accounting and internal auditing services.  Jefferson Wells was sold by Harris and his venture investors in July 2001 to Manpower International for $174 million in cash.  Inc. Magazine ranked Jefferson Wells as number five of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in America for 2001.  The firm is now a division of Manpower.

Since selling Jefferson Wells, Harris has been busy with several ventures, including founding and subsequently selling Capital H, a professional services firm, the Novo Group, a recruiting solutions firm and Adams Harris, an accounting, tax and internal auditing firm.

In 2008, Harris founded Patina Solutions, where he currently serves as President and CEO.  Patina Solutions is a professional services firm that provides accomplished professionals – all of whom have 25 or more years of experience – to help companies execute their initiatives, realize opportunities and develop leaders.  Patina manages projects, provides interim executives, fills knowledge or resource gaps, leads successful change management and places Board members.  Patina Solutions was named to the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies in 2013.

Mike also has experience with Wind Point Partners, a venture capital firm, where he was the CFO, and with First Financial Corporation, a savings and loan, where he was Vice President-Accounting.

Mike is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from entrepreneurial spirit to transitioning from being CFO to CEO. Harris, a CPA, graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin- Parkside.  In his spare time, Mike enjoys tennis, golfing, auto racing, playing the guitar and cooking.

For more information about Mike Harris and Patina Solutions, go to http://www.patinasolutions.com/.

Where and How to Nurture Your Idea with Kristin Niemiec – 2-21-15

February 7, 2015

You’ve got a great idea for a product or business.  Now what do you do?  How do you go about the process of nurturing your  idea to determine your next steps?  Should you ponder your options and future alone, or collaborate?  What is the best environment to place yourself in to have the opportunity to explore and develop your idea in the most healthy way?

Our guest this week brings many years of experience in business development to our discussion about nurturing ideas into reality, and sheds light on the opportunities present in co-working environments.

Kristin Niemiec_2014Kristin Niemic has six years of business banking experience along with her 11 years of economic development experience having worked for Racine County Economic Development Corporation in the areas of small business financing, community redevelopment and small business development.  In 2013, Kristin was instrumental in opening the first coworking space in the City of Racine which has proved a success by achieving over 100 members prior to the first anniversary.  She also developed a coworking methodology to help guide other communities in Wisconsin as they consider coworking space.  In addition to her work experience, Kristin holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

For more about the coworking space The Launch Box, go to https://www.gtc.edu/business-and-workforce-solutions/launch-box.

Should Your Idea Be a Business? with Julann Jactzak – 2-14-15

February 6, 2015

You might have a great idea or skill for a product or service, but should you turn that idea into a business?  Starting and sustaining a business takes a specific skill set and commitment.  Is it the best fit for you to see your idea become a reality?  Our guest this week has advised and guided many entrepreneurs on this important decision and she will share her insights and advice.

Julann Jatczak develops and manages strategic initiatives for The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC).  She champions projects designed to increase WWBIC’s program efficiency, brand awareness, outreach, and ability to exceed client expectations.  She is well known for developing business workshops for micro-businesses, especially targeting women and low-income individuals.  Julann also leads WWBIC’s consulting services and social entrepreneurship initiatives.

JulannJactzakJulann has co-authored three publications on business planning, money management and social entrepreneurship.  Additionally, she regularly provides consultation to nonprofits and emerging business centers nationally and internationally.  In 2008, Julann was recognized with two major distinctions for her work in small business development.  Locally, she was honored as the Dane County Small Business Advocate of the Year.  And nationally, Julann was selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration as their “Women’s Business Champion.”

She serves on the national Board of the Center for Social Enterprise Accreditation and several other leadership teams including the FEED Kitchens Advisory Council.  She formerly served as the local Wisconsin Coordinator for the “Make Mine a $Million Business” campaign for Count Me In.

Before joining WWBIC in 1996, Julann was a business development consultant for Runzheimer International where she worked with noted Fortune 500 companies.  Prior to that, her background was in advertising, marketing and public relations in Milwaukee and New York.  She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh.

For more about Julann and WWBIC, go to www.wwbic.com.

( WWBIC is a nonprofit economic development corporation providing quality business education, one-on-one coaching, financial capability programs, and access to capital to Wisconsin entrepreneurs and small business owners.  Each year, WWBIC works with more than 3,000 people through their programs.  As the state’s largest micro-lender, WWBIC has loaned more than $39 million to businesses (average loan size of $35,000) since 1987. )

What To Do With Your Bright Idea with Julann Jatczak – 2-7-15

February 1, 2015

Many of us have great ideas in our heads of products we would like to sell,  or businesses we’d like to start, but we often get stuck in knowing exactly what we should do with all those ideas!  How can we determine a good idea from a bad one?  How do we know when we should pursue making something of that idea, when we might be able to sell the idea and when we should just move on because there is nothing marketable there?  Our guest this week has seen lots of product and business ideas, and is here to share her experience of identifying what should come next when someone has an idea they are excited to do something about.

Julann Jatczak develops and manages strategic initiatives for The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC).  She champions projects designed to increase WWBIC’s program efficiency, brand awareness, outreach, and ability to exceed client expectations.  She is well known for developing business workshops for micro-businesses, especially targeting women and low-income individuals.  Julann also leads WWBIC’s consulting services and social entrepreneurship initiatives.

JulannJactzakJulann has co-authored three publications on business planning, money management and social entrepreneurship.  Additionally, she regularly provides consultation to nonprofits and emerging business centers nationally and internationally.  In 2008, Julann was recognized with two major distinctions for her work in small business development.  Locally, she was honored as the Dane County Small Business Advocate of the Year.  And nationally, Julann was selected by the U.S. Small Business Administration as their “Women’s Business Champion.”

She serves on the national Board of the Center for Social Enterprise Accreditation and several other leadership teams including the FEED Kitchens Advisory Council.  She formerly served as the local Wisconsin Coordinator for the “Make Mine a $Million Business” campaign for Count Me In.

Before joining WWBIC in 1996, Julann was a business development consultant for Runzheimer International where she worked with noted Fortune 500 companies.  Prior to that, her background was in advertising, marketing and public relations in Milwaukee and New York.  She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh.

For more about Julann and WWBIC, go to www.wwbic.com.

( WWBIC is a nonprofit economic development corporation providing quality business education, one-on-one coaching, financial capability programs, and access to capital to Wisconsin entrepreneurs and small business owners.  Each year, WWBIC works with more than 3,000 people through their programs.  As the state’s largest micro-lender, WWBIC has loaned more than $39 million to businesses (average loan size of $35,000) since 1987. )