Supporting organizations that provide education and intervention services to individuals with autism has been a personal passion of mine for the past several years.
If you want to know what drives my passion, please watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfUk4PcNQK0
For several years I have been volunteering my time as a technology advisor to the Somerset Hills Learning Institute and I have seen first-hand that it us possible to "Change the face of autism".
But change does not come easy. It requires the support of individuals and organizations to make it become a reality.
The AMA Charitable Foundation, where I am an active board member, has decided to raise the bar in supporting schools like the Somerset Hills Learning Institute.
This fall on October 2nd, 2010 there will be a special event held to help some very special children. We are calling it Bedstock.
Bedstock will be a family music festival that will be held at River Road Park, Bedminster, NJ to benefit science-based autism treatment.
This family music festival is the result of a community partnership between the Township of Bedminster, the Bedminster Business Association, and the Bedminster-based AMA Charitable Foundation.
Through this event, the meaningful work of Princeton Child Development Institute, the New York Child Learning Institute, the Institute for Educational Achievement, Somerset Hills Learning Institute, and the Garden Academy will continue to grow and benefit children and adults with autism. Each of these programs exists to provide state-of-the-art, evidence-based education and intervention services to individuals with autism.
Though ticket sales and corporate sponsorships, we are doing our part to fund the efforts of these great schools.
Bedstock offers a full range of sponsorship opportunities for individuals as well as corporations.
Corporate Sponsorships present wonderful opportunities for your organization to demonstrate civic responsibility through its support of effective autism treatment in the New Jersey area. Your participation as a sponsor will promote your organization’s brand and image as one of philanthropy and community partnership.
If you or your company are interested in being a Sponsor of Bedstock, please visit our website and check out the Sponsors section.
Also, help us spread the word about Bedstock. Forward this Blog Link to your friends.
If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call.
Thank you for your support!
Michael J. Szot
AMA Charitable Foundation
This information was provided by good friend of mine Steve McCarthy, a renowned " networker". Steve and I are both members of a weekly breakfast group that meets down in Princeton.
These are great suggestions for everyone especially thosein a career transition.
This is the season of parties when we frequently meet newpeople and talk with people we haven't seen in a year. It is a season of unique personal contact with friends, family, neighbors and acquaintances.
People are at these seasonal events for different reasons. Some are simple family get-togethers. Other events are purely social and celebratory.
With a little forethought, these events can be a great opportunity to meet people and develop contacts -- What is your answer when asked by a familiar face "What's new?" and what is your response when asked by a stranger "Who are you, what do you do?" With some simple planning we can learn to respond to such questions with a Personal Success Story that can be told in 1 - 2 minutes. A brief positive story, followed by some genuine interest in the other person, is a great way to engage another person in a conversation that can be mutually beneficial.
Think of using this SUCCESS story outline:
Strategic - does the story fit the message I want to convey?
Unique - why are you different from everyone else
Clear - not technical but understandable to the person listening
Concise - don't ramble, stick to one main point
Enthusiastic - Smile, make it exciting, make it memorable
Short - should be a quick answer to their question
Solution- Why did you use this story, did it serve the purpose, convey your message?
Thanks to Steve McCarthy for this simple and straightforward approach to social networking.
Always Be Connecting!!!
I have two quotes that I have written on my whiteboard in my office:
For this blog, I will focus on the first.
I started in the IT industry back in 1974. In 1983 I co-founded the company where I work today, CGS Technology Associates. Over the many years, I realized that in order to grow professionally, I must surround myself with individuals who can continually expose me to fresh ideas and business concepts.
If you have reviewed my Blog links, you will see that I am active in several professional and executive networking organizations. I also volunteer a great deal of my time helping individuals in transition and assisting several not-for-profit organizations. The value you receive by being a member of these organizations is directly related to your involvement and your commitment to be a contributor to the benefit of these organizations. This commitment of time and effort must be given without the expectation of a Return-On-Investment (ROI). It is done because you care and your goals align with the goals and objectives of the organization you support.
If you know me, you know that at my core, I am professional networker. My business partners jokingly call me the Chief Networking Officer (CNO). I am constantly asked, why do you do it? I think it’s because I enjoy meeting and talking with people. I have a natural curiosity and I enjoy helping others when I can. What really surprises me is when I get something in return. It's usually just because I was in the right place and the right time doing what I like to do.
A little over a month ago I was attending the GPSEG Princeton Executive Breakfast (www.gpseg.org). At this meeting I had the opportunity to meet Michael Taylor who is the CEO of a company called Merge (www.mergeagency.com). Michael’s firm is a nationally recognized marketing consulting firm based in Atlanta. Michael as it turned out was the guest speaker at our Breakfast.
Michael gave an excellent presentation on self branding and on leveraging social networks to increase exposure. He said one thing during the presentation that was like the preverbal “Whack on the Head”. He said that too many people focus on selling “What” they do or “What” their products do. These descriptions are usually filled with buzz words and terminology that to a client sound the same as what they heard from the people who were there before you. In other words, there is little differentiation between you and the others they talked with. When this occurs, the deciding factor will always be price and availability. Not exactly a strong foundation for negotiation.
After Michael's presentation, I went up to him to introduce myself and ask him a few questions. As it turned out, Michael was also interested in talking with my about my success in building and managing my professional network. During my conversation with Michael, we shared some information about our companies and I had the opportunity to probe a little deeper into his “What” versus "Why" concept. He said something to me that really hit home for me and maybe it will for you too. Michael said that too many executives focus on the “What”. He said that successful organizations focus on the “Why”. Why do clients buy your products or services? Why should someone hire you? Then he said something that hit home. Why has your company been in business for over 25 years? Why do clients buy your services? Why do your clients continue to buy from you? Talk about the light going on in my head! The answer to these questions go directly to the “Value Proposition” of my company. When you start thinking in the terms of “Why” you will begin to understand the value you bring to your clients or future employers.
Next time you have the opportunity to give your "Elevator Pitch" think about this:
Focus not only on what you do, focus on "WHY" it is important to the person you are talking to.
Your "WHAT" statement should be followed by your "WHY" statement
The bottom line is, anyone can deliver a "WHAT"message, but not everyone delivers the WHY.
By the way, Michael is now a member of my professional network and we stay in touch with each other. I have also recommended him as a potential speaker for several of the professional organizations that I belong to.
Always Be Connecting!!!
At the root of my existence I am an optimist. Have been and always will be. I think optimists, while there is no scientific proof of this, live longer than pessimists. Then again, that’s how an optimist thinks.
There are two types of people in this world, the Pessimists and the Optimists.
According to the dictionary, Pessimism is a state-of-mind which negatively colors the perception of life, especially with regard to future events. Optimism is the tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.
An optimist looks at life and sees the positives. We see what can be and what is possible. No, we are not blind (at least most of us) to the downsides and risks we face in life, but we happen to be more interested in the upside potential.
A pessimist will look at every problem and tell you why it’s a problem, the risks associated with the problem and why you do not want to be involved or associated with the problem. There is no upside in being a pessimist. They are waiting for the worst to happen. At best a pessimistic lifestyle is about break even. I think accountants are great example of pessimists not to mention a few politicians who like to instill fear in people. Pessimists love to remind you how bad things are, or will be. They stand on the sidelines and tell you “I told you so” when things don’t go as planned. But they stand in the shade away from the spotlight, when things go well. The real die hard pessimists will usually respond with “you got lucky” or “Next time you won’t be so lucky”.
In our society, there needs to be a balance between pessimists and optimists, each one challenging the other. Through these challenges we are forced to recognize both sides of a situation. The pessimist makes you understand the risks so you can prepare for them. The optimist makes you aware of what can be possible. It’s the Ying and Yang of business. To be a successful decision maker, the Ying and Yang must exist in your organization.
I do work with a few pessimists and I recognize their value. I use them as my sounding board. They are the people I go to when:
The problems I see in business today are that our economic conditions have moved a lot of individuals to the pessimistic side (the dark side). I hear more people talking about what can go wrong than what can go right. They have heard so much bad news that they just think it will continue and nothing will go right. So why try?
One morning last week I was talking with an individual who was feeling pretty down on herself because a job opportunity she was pursuing did not go in her favor. While she was not giving up, her career motivation was clearly impacted. Then a good friend of mine told her, “Every rejection gets you closer to the job that’s right for you”. I cannot think of a better example of an optimistic point of view. It is one I will remember for years to come. Thanks by good friend Mary Anne Kennedy for that bit of wisdom.
I actually used this line on the golf course this past weekend. The person I was playing with was having a really bad day. Nothing was working for him and he was not enjoying the round. I looked at him and said; “Every bad hole gets you one hole closer to a really good one.” When I said it, he shrugged his shoulders and said we’ll see. He birdied the next hole. I know that birdie hole will be the one he talks about for the rest of this week. He played like a pessimist but in the end, walked off an optimist!
So which are you, pessimist or optimist?
If you are an optimist like me, make sure you have a few pessimists around you to keep you grounded and in reality. Pessimists,make sure you have some optimists around you. It might actually put a smile on your face. However fleeting it may be.
To the pessimists out there, while I do not agree with your outlook on life, thank you for challenging my thought process. You have made me a better optimist!
Always Be Connecting!!