Saturday, November 16, 2019

Rise Against Hunger 23,000 meals packaged! You can too!

On October 26, 2019 about 105 people got together for about 2.5 hours and packed 23,000+ meals with Rise Against Hunger. This picture shows just a portion of the meals packaged.

We had people packing meals from a net-working group that's hosted at the church, youth group members, boy scouts and cub scouts, the Interact club from the Roxbury High School and other community groups.

The work started about a year prior to this with many fundraisers to raise 34 cents per meal for a total of more than $7800.
Fundraisers included asking businesses for contributions, a fundraising dinner (, the youth group doing a car wash, bake sales, and more.

A member also sold more than $20,000 worth of Shoprite gift cards.  ShopRite donates a portion of the sale to the fundraising. If you would like to support our event next year by buying ShopRite gift cards, let us know.

Printastic donated the banner this year for the event so we could list all of the many supporting organizations. Some of the organizations were Diamond Gymnastics, Joe’s Pizza, Bryan’s Luncheonette, Nordic Contracting, Ronetco Supermarkets (ShopRite), Panera, Haagen Dazs, Flanders Bagel, and Fuddruckers. Please visit our supoorters.

Thank you to the many people and organizations who gave of their time to raise funds and pack meals.

Thank you to the many businesses, organizations, and individuals who supported the fundraising.

This year’s event was a follow-up to last year's event and we plan to do it again next year on Saturday, October 24, 2020. Here's where you can find out more, donate, or sign up to help.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A New Type of Net-Working Group

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

We've started a new type of net-working group.

It's Net-working because it's people who are working and people looking for work who are getting together to work on their "work journey". They help each other and work on the topics they choose together.

It's a group meeting monthly (Third Thursday) face-to-face in Morris Country New Jersey to discuss what they've applied. (Yes, we're in discussions about adding a monthly virtual meeting too).

It's also small teams (within the bigger group) of people meeting virtually every week or two (at an agreed time) to work together to apply tasks to make progress on their work journey.

It's also finding a "buddy" in the group to meet with a few times a week (phone or in-person as they agree) to help each other make progress on their work journey.

It's for people working and for people looking for work. Why? Because they can help each other since they have experience in the work journey.

It's about working together to build strong connections with others; this is the best form of networking.

We also take into consideration that the work journey is a spiritual one, so we address the spiritual needs too.

Come join us. Read more and sign up at this link

We are currently meeting in Morris County, New Jersey. As the group grows, we are considering expanding to other locations and virtual meetings too.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Digital Transformation and Disruption

Image by geralt on pixabay

Someone was asking me today what my definition of Digital Transformation is. My definition is below. I had to think about it because I will be doing a presentation on the topic of "Managing Digitial Transformation and Disruption" on May 6, 2019 at the PMI NJ Symposium and I will provide the audience with a link to this blog post so they can find more information. So, this blog post will most likely be updated over time.

My Definition of Digital Transformation:
Digital Transformation is the use of digital technologies (AI, IoT, Cloud, Big data and analytics, blockchain, AR, VR, drones, etc.) to transform business.

It's not just about changing existing systems to use these technologies, but it's about leveraging these technologies to transform business.

Digital Transformation is much more effective when it delivers a focus on the customer.  There are several links below that demonstrate that importance.

Some helpful links:

Digital Transformation (DT) Definitions
Digital Transformation Articles
Digital Transformation Pitfalls and Fixes

Digital Transformation and Project Management

Digitial Transformation Use Cases

Disruption / VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity)
Artificial Inteligence:

Customer Experience and Design Thinking

  • The Right Way to Lead Design Thinking - Harvard Business Review March-April 2019. This article speaks about the importance of empathizing with the customer. There are good case history stories and a good example of how to navigate ambiguity.
Project Complexity (occurs during DT)
  • Project Complexity Model - This article explains many aspects of project complexity. Most, if not all of these, occur in DT projects

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Job Search Methods

As a follow-up to my post entitled "Free Job Search Advice Links (tips, hints and more)", I thought it would be helpful to others if I listed some Job search methods that can be used.

First, some stories, then the links and stuff
Note: Everyone will tell you that finding people at your target companies is at least 4 (and as much as 8) times more effective than applying online. You want to get to the decision makers. These methods are ways of doing that. They recommend spending far more time on these types of efforts than on submitting your resume into online job listing sites (which many refer to as the "Black hole").

I had interviews with 5 companies, 3 of them came from recruiters who found me through searching LinkedIn and finding my profile. I believe what I've been told that being more active on LinkedIn and making sure you have keywords in your profile are a big help. I believe that is why these recruiters found me. I was making posts quite often: usually every working day of the week at prime internet times and using #hastags to draw attention to them. Also, make sure you change your settings to say if you are actively looking (and this flag is automatically reset after some time, so check it every few weeks).

The other two companies I had interviews with came from relationships I started and nurtured. Once came from when LinkedIn gave me the name of a recruiter who posted a job I applied to. Although, that perticular job didn't work out, I followed up often with that recruiter and we had several phone calls. Eventually they got to know me and helped me gain an interview for another position I saw that they posted. The other came from a technical meeting with that company. There are many meetups on and other sites that you can attend and build real strong relationships with people.

It's important to remember to be reciprocal and offer help to these people who are helping you.
  1. Network with a focus
    1. Network with generosity, giving, and listening.
    2. The goal is to find (and develop) folks to be advocates and champions for you. Sometimes you'll find people that you never knew before will help you a lot.
    3. Meet with people - preferably face-to-face for coffee or lunch. If you can't meet in person, then talk on the phone. Asking for a job isn't always going to help them to be successful in helping you. Ask for something that they can successfully help you with.
    4. Ask them for job search advice and referrals to other people you can meet for job search advice. You can say "I know you're a successful person, can you introduce me to other successful people that I can meet with and explain my career goals and hear about theirs"
    5. Go to Networking meetings, meetup groups - make valuable introductions, listen to their needs first and ask questions. Provide a paper that shows the parameters of your search (where, when, what, goal, target companies). Offer to help them in some way. Follow up with them.
    6. Connect to people who you usually meet: neighbors, churches, charitible organizations, volunteering activities, the gym, the barber/hairdresser, grocery store
    7. Go to events to find people with like interests or hobbies. Or, find a technical or business group in - you may even find that a target employer has meetup events
    8.  Reach out to people you have worked with before. Do they have a contact at a particular customer you want to contact? Do they have contact information?
  2. Connect to people on linkedin - 
    1. You can search for people at your target company who are doing what you are looking for or manage those roles. Always include a personallized message when inviting them to connect.
    2. Lisa Rangel suggests you can send a message along the lines of "In the spirit of networking, I hope you will agree to connect with me" - then, once you are connected, ask them questions and offer to help them. You can ask about getting together for coffee or lunch. You can ask about the company culture or how to find connectiions there. 
    3. Try making a connection with HR folks in your target companies. If you can get an advocate there, then you'll have help to get to a position.
    4. Make connections with recruiters and talk to them on a regular basis
    5. Post information (use hashtags) on LinkedIn, Comment and share articles, "like" posts to that you are more active. I've heard that this puts you higher in search rankings when recruiters look for people.
    6.  Update your LinkedIn profile with keywords that recruiters would look for to find you (you can find these keywords in job descriptions you are interested in. You can also look for people who are in positions you are looking for and see what makes their LinkedIn profiles great. Do the same types of things with your own profile.
    7. Use LinkedIn groups to contact people with similar interests and goals (by industry, professional affiliation, professional groups, hobbies). Post and comment on articles in these groups.
    8. NEW 2019-03-21: A friend told me that when he found a job he was interested in, he looked on linkedin and found 2 dozen people at that one company. He either sent them email (if it was on their profile) or sent them a nicely worded invitation to connect and told him he applied to the particular job and asked for them to put in a good word for him and forward his resume. One of the people forwarded his resume to the hiring manager and he was hired!
  3.  Contact recruiters (internal to companies and external, like executive recruiters): remember, they are working for the companies who seek applicants, they don't work for you. But, you can search linkedin for recruiters who have positions you are interested in.
    1. optional: find recruiters that work with the companies you are targetting -use a LinkedIn search to find them.
    2. You can use to find recruiters
    3. 2019-06-20 I just heard from someone that they use to search for recruiters and reach out to them (write a customer request to join).
  4. Letter writing campaign - find people in the target company who would be the hiring manager for the position you are interested in. Ask people you are connected to in the target company for contacts or use google or LinkedIn to find these perspective hiring managers. Or, better yet, aim high to get someone at a level above your position to advocate for you. Send these people a postal letter, fedex, or USPS Priority mail explaining how you can help them. Tell them who you are in addition to what you can do for them. Tell something unique about yourself (maybe a hobby or volunteer work) and how it relates to your business strength. tell them how you differentiate yourself. Tell them you'll follow up in a week or two. Do that follow-up (find their phone number, email or use LinkedIn inmail). Ask for a meeting. Tell them that you're a successful professional as they are and you'd like to get to know each other by meeting.
  5. Unemployment or employement offices in your state might have services you can use. Also, if you attended college, many colleges provide help.
  6. Volunteer: By volunteering to do work you will gain people who know you, see your quality of work, see how you treat people, and want to be your champion.
  7.  Look at eventbrite, meetup, or other places for events your target company might hold (or that people from those companies might attend). Attend and speak with people. Ask for follow-up meetings to get to know each other.
  8. Direct Connections and Circle the Hiring Manager (2019-06-10 New addition) :  After identifying your target companies to work for, make connections with many people who would interface with the hiring manager for a position there. Do a google search (or linkedin search) for the probable title of the hiring manager for a position you would want in your target company (it doesn't have to be a posted position).  Look in LinkedIn for people connected to that hiring manager, or search for titles of people who would work with them (those who would manage them, those they would collaborate with, those they would manage). Make contact with them (search for their contact info) and ask for some time to get their input on the type of work you're interested in. Meet in person or on the phone. Continue this process until you have spent time with everyone near to the hiring manager. Eventually, you will be able to make contact with the hiring manager by using these people to introduce you.
  9. The "Two Hour Job Search" - see - Steve Dalton also posts in Huffington Post.  
  10. Informational Interviews. Here's an article about them:
  11. Referrals:  see
    If you know of other methods, please reply here with your comments!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Value of Networking During the Holidays

Photo by erin walker on Unsplash
Today I attended the CIT networking event.  I sat in on a discussion led by Marty Latman (career coach and consultant) about networking.
 He said that there are several reasons why it's good to keep networking during the holidays. I've also added a few that I've heard before.
  • People want to talk and get together at this time of the year.
  • People are generous at this time of the year.
  • You can usually find higher level people at their offices. Since many people are out, it's easier to get in touch with higher level people. The "gate keepers" are out on holiday.
  • You usually find people have more time. People are not as busy at work.
  • You have less "competition" because many people are not thinking about networking at this time of the year.
Here are some of the tips that he mentioned (and some related ones I've heard before). I've numbered them so you can refer to them, but these are not in any particular order.
  1. The holidays are a good time to rejuvinate your network.  Reach out to someone you haven't spoken to in a while. Wish them a Happy Holiday and ask to get together to reconnect.
  2. Send out holiday greetings: mail, email, ecards - This gets you back on people's minds. They will be happy that you are thinking of them.
  3. Call people on the phone and catch up on things
  4. If someone looks at your linkedin profile, send them a message telling them you saw that they viewed your profile and ask if there is anything you can help them with.
  5. If someone connects, send them a message to welcome them and ask them why and if there is anything you can do to help them.
  6.   Look at your resume and write down the names of people you worked with. Then, try to contact them. 
  7. When you ask someone for help, ask for something that they can be successful at. Don't just ask them for a job or work or to sign up for your services. Ask them for something they can be successful at, like giving you a reference, some information, or advice. Then, they can feel good that they helped you. Be very specific too! Don't just say I am looking for work. What type of work? Or, if you want a contact, tell what type of contact.
  8. People who you wouldn't think would help you (sometimes people you didn't know), might be the ones who help you the most. And, sometimes those who you think would help, don't help you. And, then there are those who are just "takers." They may never want to help you, just take from you. If they ever ask for help, you can decide if you will help them or not. No one is obligated to help anyone. If someone doesn't want to help you, just move on.
  9. Be clear, concise and brief in your elevator speech so people know exactly what you need.
  10. Don't just rely on linkedin. You can also do a google search on people
  11. Google search yourself too! This way you'll know what people might find out about you and you'll be ready to answer them if they ask you about something they saw.
I hope all these tips help. If you have any comments, questions, or additional suggestions, please comment below.

(note: this article is also cross-posted in LinkedIn here: )

Saturday, October 27, 2018

You Can Make a Positive Difference!

You can make a positive difference in this world!

Today I led another meal packaging event with church, volunteers from the community, and Rise Against Hunger! Together we packaged 20,000 meals!

I had a great team of people from the church who worked tirelessly to raise over $5800 to fund the meal packaging.

Someone asked how we raised the funds.  
We had two bake sales, a fundraising day with Panera, and a fundraising day with Fuddruckers. One of our team members sold over $20,000 of ShopRite cards over the past year. ShopRite gives 5% of the sale of those cards to us for the fundraiser ($1000 this year). A church group, Hillside3d, gave over $1100. We also had a tent at Suckasunny Day and collected funds from folks from town stopping by.

We had several businesses donate funds (and Flanders Bagels donated dozens of bagels for the event)!  We created a banner for our supporters (we used printastic to print it). We hung the banner at the event and took photos of everyone with it. The banner will be hung at the Rise Against Hunger warehouse in Kearney New Jersey where it will be seen by all of the groups who come there to package meals (I'll post a photo here later showing the banner in it's new home).

You can make a difference too!
  How?  You can contact Rise Against Hunger and they'll work with you. If you can raise enough for 10,000 meals, then you can package them at your location. If you don't have a location big enough (or if you can't raise enough for 10,000 meals), then you can pack meals at their local warehouse. There are dozens of warehouses across the country. Our local warehouse is in Kearney, New Jersey.

How I started
I started doing this in 2016 after I volunteered at a meal packing event that was sponsored by IBM and Arrow electronics at a conference in Las Vegas that I did a few presentations at. I was very interested because our church had done something very similar with GAIN USA a few years ago. I enjoyed working side-by-side with people so much at those events that I wanted to do it again. I stepped up to make it happen! You can too!

Here's what I've been able to lead:
  • October 22, 2016 Hillside Church:  $3,633.12 = 12,528 meals packed by about 60 people (shipped to Uganda)
  • Feb 25, 2017: IBM Club NJ at RAH Kearney Warehouse: $2,944 given by IBM Club NJ = 10,152 meals packed by about 50 people
  • May 13, 2017: IBM Club NJ at RAH Kearney Warehouse: $2,000 IBM Grant = 6,696 meals packed by about 40 people (shopped to Haiti)
  • October 28, 2017: Hillside Church: Raised $3,382.56= 11,664 meals plus 1,512 meals that Heinz donated to match the same amount we went over our 10,000 meal goal = 13,176 meals total packed by 80 people. (Shipped to Swaziland)
  •  October 27, 2018: Hillside Church: Raised $5,888.16 = 20,304 meals packed by about 80 people. We will hear soon where these are shipped to. I'll post a comment here when they ship.
So, with the 46,008 meals packed at church and the 16,848 packed through the IBM Club NJ, we've packed 62,856 meals!

Do you want to lead an event like this?
If you are interested in leading an event like this, the folks at Rise Against Hunger would like to work with you. If you would like my input, I would be happy to help! Just contact me! It's loads of fun! You get to meet a lot of great people, connect a lot of people to others, give people a chance to help others, and help so many people to have the food that they need too!

How to Donate for the 2019 Event
If you want to donate to the 2019 event (or volunteer to help), you can donate online at this link:

Or, you can mail a check to the church:
Hillside Church; 113 South Hillside Ave, Succasunna, NJ 07876 USA" and put "Rise Against Hunger Meail Packaging" in the note on the check.
Thank you!