How are your writing skills? Is writing anything you even think about?

While we are immersed in Covid concerns, much else has fallen to the wayside (understandably so). Think about these efforts in which you may be involved:

  • All written work products
  • Articles
  • Blogging
  • Business and personal letters
  • Cover letters
  • Editorials
  • Editing
  • Essays
  • Eye-catching headlines
  • Press releases
  • Professional profiles (Bios)
  • Proposals
  • Remembrances
  • Resumes
  • Social media posts
  • Website content
  • White papers

Let me ease your burden.

I love to write and am highly experienced, including a six-year tenure teaching “Become a Confident Business Writer” in Hofstra University’s Continuing Education program. I engage a professional proofreader for a final review and any necessary editing before work leaves my office. My fees are reasonable and flexible. Among my clients are professionals, including attorneys, accountants and medical providers; entrepreneurs; not-for-profit organizations; public speakers and seminar presenters; and those who need a professional touch to their work products and even personal creations.


Let’s brainstorm.

All my work is a collaborative effort between me and the client. Please send an email to mindymktg@yahoo.com, with an overview of what you are looking to accomplish. I will write you back to schedule a FREE 15 to 20-minute consultation.

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What I look for in a client

By Mindy Wolfle, President, Neptune Marketing LLC

NetuneMarketing.com | 516/851/8099 | mindymktg@yahoo.com

It’s fairly easy to identify what a business owner or not-for-profit leader looks for in a consultant: expertise in their field; a compatible personality; reasonable fees; and accountability. These aims apply to the consultant, as well. Speaking from my own perspective, there are certain things I look for when engaging a client.

Let’s be honest: It cannot be all about the money. I’ve found this is the worst way to approach taking on a client. Jumping on an engagement for the money ignores certain key components when collaborating. It’s important to regard a consulting job as a collaboration. The two sides – business owner/NFP leader and consultant – must share the same goals, whether the project is long- or short-term. We can act as if personalities won’t clash; conversations will be straightforward and focused; and most important, that the client actually knows what he or she wants from the consultant. I have met with people who expect me to know what they want. Brainstorming takes two sides to arrive at the decision of the proper direction to go. It’s impossible for a consultant to price a job (a necessary evil) without a clear understanding of what it will take to satisfy the client.

Example:

I had a client who stressed a certain change would be taking place in the business in the near future. I did a good deal of research on the best way to publicize this change and sent a series of questions to the client to enable me to do an effective job. This was to be a collaboration. I made that clear at the beginning. Despite ongoing discussions, the client never assisted in the process. It’s no surprise that we parted ways before the change took place.

In closing:

I believe I’ve made it clear that collaboration is number one in my way of doing business, just as an in-house marketing person collaborates with the professionals, especially those who comprise leadership. It’s extremely important to conduct due diligence to learn how the company or NFP operates. There are ample resources online and in one’s network to explore whether this is the right place to “hang your proverbial (consultant’s) hat.” I’ve been fortunate to create trusting relationships with clients over the years … and the good sense to steer clear of the wrong ones. Sometimes it simply means walking away.

Next up: RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

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PUBLISHED IN NEWSDAY: 9/11 OBSERVANCE SHOWS A CHANGE IN US

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Attention NFP Board and Committee Members: How to get the most from your independent contractors

By Jeanine Davis / JL Davis Design / 516.707.2330 jldavisdesign.com

I have served as a volunteer on many nonprofits. As a graphic designer who is an independent contractor, I have a good deal of experience working within the NFP world. These two sides of the same coin have provided me with unique insights. I hope my thoughts help make the most of your mission. Because the mission is really what it’s all about, not us.

Get out of the way!

The best advice I have for nonprofit board/committee member is this: When you are trying to promote a cause you care about and want to get the most for your mission, get out of the way! That’s it succinctly. If you hire the right* person, let him or her do what they were hired to do. It’s about trust and being confident in knowing where your experience ends and theirs begins. Remember: that’s why you hired them.

A good example is when you hold a gala

You will need a certain amount of collateral materials to promote the event. Most organizations do not have a full marketing department with writers and designers. So the executive director may have to step in and write the content, but the director likely will need help. That’s where your independent contractors come into play. The organization is not served by overtaxing a small staff or relying too heavily on volunteers. Since often this is your main fundraising event, you want to make it as profitable as possible. Once again, that’s why you hired professionals with specific expertise – to get it done efficiently – yes, professionally.

“Design by committee” rarely serves your mission

We know budgets are stretched thin, so spend wisely with a person you trust to do it right in the first place. Keep your comments clear and concise; don’t make jobs more complicated by having the entire committee weigh in on the color of an invitation. Think big picture every time you make a “small” change. There is a cost and it’s not just monetary. “Design by committee” rarely serves your mission well. Please use your volunteers, staff and contractors wisely and respect everybody’s time.

Trust the professional consultant you hire

By promoting fund- and friend-raisers digitally/via email, save-the-date and invitation costs are minimized compared to print. When you bring in professionals, trust their instincts and areas of expertise. You will get more done and bring in the dollars to support the mission about which you care so deeply.

*This does not apply when you hire a member’s niece or nephew with less experience in said field.

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To Irv Miljoner: Happy trails to you, till we meet again

Dear Readers,

I am pleased to share a “farewell message” from Irv Miljoner, District Director of the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division/Long Island District Office. Irv, a longtime friend and all-around great human being,

Irv is retiring after 44 (yes, that’s 44) years of federal service. As a former government employee (18 years with the Nassau County Department of Social Services – nothing compared to Irv’s tenure), I fully appreciate what it takes to dedicate one’s professional life to public service. 

Without further ado, here’s what Irv has to say…

Irv-headshot-2015-5b.jpgAfter 44 years of federal service, including 24 years as District Director for the Long Island office of the U.S. Department of Labor / Wage and Hour Division, I will be retiring on January 3, 2019.

Along with the simple passage of time, there have been some mounting challenges, forces and factors, compelling my departure and convincing me that it’s the right time to go.

I have always believed deeply in the meaningfulness and responsibilities of public service. My two favorite quotes about government service comes from two presidents.

1) In response to critics describing the evils of government, Andrew Jackson said:
“There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, showers its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing.”

2) Commenting on the most important functions of government, Gerald Ford said:
“The most important aspect of government is to be sufficiently responsible to the people. If we don’t make government responsive to the people, we don’t make it believable, and we must make government believable if we are to have a functioning democracy.”

As a matter of fact, I started my federal career right out of college, under President Gerald Ford and Secretary of Labor Peter Brennan (from Long Island). In my government worklife, I’ve been through 8 different presidential administrations (12, if you count double terms), and 15 Secretaries of Labor. When I started at DOL, I worked with some of the pioneers of the agency – folks who started working here when the minimum wage law was first enacted (note: the first Minimum Wage was 25¢ per hour when the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed 80 years ago in 1938. It had just been raised from $1.60 to $2 per hour when I started my career in 1974).

So I have the benefit of perspective. I tell people who may be concerned about change, and particularly the turmoil that change in government can bring … that LIFE IS CHANGE. In government, change involves politics. The pendulum swings on policy and processes, then it swings back again. I’ve seen it over and over again. What doesn’t change are the vital missions of government, and the need for us — who commit their careers to this noble work — to be able to carry out those missions, fairly and fully, responsively, and with justice for all.

Statesmen, historians, academics and many others have said that the Fair Labor Standards Act (that minimum wage law) is among the greatest pieces of social legislation in American History. I like to say that our labor laws are among the things that define and distinguish us as a civilized society. I have tried to live up to the mandate and this office’s responsibility for labor law enforcement on Long Island, applying the law affirmatively, but fairly and reasonably for the greater good..

I have enjoyed the journey that has been this public service. Along with the case work, I have particularly enjoyed the outreach and engagement with stakeholders. That includes the many workshops and presentations to advocates, professionals (lawyers, accountants, HR professionals, etc.), and other stakeholders, participation in task forces and committees with other organizations, public forums, media interviews (including frequent contributions to the Newsday workplace column), writing labor-themed messages (e.g. on the Triangle Fire, Workers Memorial Day, Labor Day, and other occasions) and guest instructing at area colleges, for whom I’ve also done career counseling. I encourage students and others to pursue a career in public service, for the reasons that I’ve described as having added so much purpose to my life.

When people wish me a happy, healthy and fruitful retirement, I thank them, but I also know that I’ve already enjoyed the fruits of my Labors.

I will miss the mission, the action, and most of all… the people (like you) I’ve met along the way. I do intend to stay connected, and continue doing some things in the same vein.

So, Irv, this blog post comes with all good wishes for you in your next adventure. You will be missed by so many who have relied on your guidance and expertise. To quote Roy Rogers, “Happy trails to you, till we meet again.” Your friend, Mindy Wolfle.

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The Hicksville Homestead Is No More

35 Lantern    Rip Ray Hurricane

By Mindy Wolfle

For years, I have referred to the house in which I grew up as the Hicksville Homestead. My parents bought the house in November 1961 and until yesterday, it was still the home to which I returned. Dad left us the day before his 70th birthday over 20 years ago; sadly, Mom died on August 22, 2018. The house is on the market and a potential purchaser is waiting for mortgage approval. The house had to be cleaned out.

A largely unsuccessful estate sale took place in September. It seems that people don’t want to buy other people’s perfectly good furniture, dishes, costume jewelry, bedding, etc., etc., etc. Even carnival glass (once highly collectible) didn’t sell. And charities aren’t interested, either. I attempted to donate a lovely living room of furnishings to a veteran’s home. No thanks, I was told. A bit of trivia: the solid wood living room end tables and coffee table were purchased with mom’s Jeopardy winnings in the late 1960s. Not antiques, but they looked as good as new and were far more substantial than much of the tables sold today. The couches, beds and even the breakfront that matched the dining room table, which was sold, drew no takers. I was told that, “People don’t buy breakfronts anymore.”

For the past several weeks, Paul and I went to the house periodically, a trip that I dreaded each time. Slowly, we picked through what remained – which was a lot – and packed a couple of boxes with bowls, glasses, tissues (mom had tissue boxes everywhere), photo albums, scratch pads, toilet paper, food storage bags and some meaningful knick knacks. Still, so much remained. It was time to let go. Since I work at a law firm with a large trusts and estates practice, I went to the source for a recommendation to a clean out company. The one selected even makes an effort to donate items in good condition. This resonated with me. Everyone I dealt with at the company – The Junk Pros in Cambria Heights – made the process bearable.

So now, the house is bare. The real estate broker said, “Rooms will look much bigger without the contents.” I suppose for realtors, that’s a good thing. For me, it is sad, incredibly sad. Fifty-seven years of accumulated memories, “stuff,” hard-earned treasures, not treasures to everyone, but treasures, indeed.

There was an episode of a situation comedy where the family ate the last meatloaf mom had made and put in the freezer before her passing. Well, the last of those tissues that I retrieved from every room will catch my tears. Thanks, Hicksville Homestead, for being there for Paul and me (and Razin’ and Ripley) following Hurricane Sandy; and thanks for the years I lived under your Levitt House roof. So many holidays, so much laughter, so many tears, so many struggles, so much to recall.

Good-bye, Hicksville Homestead. You will be missed beyond measure.

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I’m declaring November as the month to be grateful … the month to give thanks

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The following quotes are dedicated to November, the month I have declared for gratitude and thankfulness.
By Mindy Wolfle
November 1, 2018
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In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~ Albert Schweitzer
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. ~ Melody Beattie
Gratitude means to recognize the good in your life, be thankful for whatever you have, some people may not even have one of those things you consider precious to you (love, family, friends etc.). Each day give thanks for the gift of life. You are blessed ~ Pablo
When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself. ~ Tecumseh
When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect toward others. ~ Dalai Lama
Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero
Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. ~ Henry Ward Beecher
Keep your eyes open to your mercies. The man who forgets to be thankful has fallen asleep in life. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share. ~ W. Clement Stone
Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ John Milton
Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy. ~ Jacques Maritain
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Nonprofit Promotes Employment Of Those With Disabilities

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By Mindy Wolfle
July 6, 2018

 

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Linda Berman, development and engagement manager of The Corporate Source (Thecorporatesource.org/), through an outstanding connection-maker, my colleague Kenneth Renov, Esq. I was so impressed by the unique services provided by TCS, I decided to share my subsequent interview with Linda.
MW: Please explain what The Corporate Source does.  
LB: TCS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the employment of people with disabilities and providing services leading to independence and fulfillment. Our outsourcing services include janitorial services, administrative, mail room and warehouse operations, porter and courier services throughout New York City, Long Island, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, utilizing a workforce comprised of 83% direct-labor employees with disabilities.
MW: What is the benefit to participating companies?
LB: People with disabilities are an often-overlooked pool of talent to help companies achieve a successful bottom-line return on investment, both financially and in terms of social responsibility. TCS shows business leaders that they can ‘do good while doing well’ by including those with disabilities in their workplaces. Our outsourcing model provides the full range of services from recruitment through implementation. Companies get the very best service to support a business function, while creating a more inclusive work environment with heightened morale for all their employees.
MW: Linda, what is your role in the organization?
LB: As development and engagement manager, my role is three-fold: First, to promote the incredible abilities of our 400-person staff. Our employees are consistently recognized for delivering quality services, combined with their exceptionally positive work ethics and productivity levels. Second, I partner with civic-minded organizations launching or expanding their corporate social responsibility programs as more diverse and inclusive workplaces. Third, I raise awareness of our mission through corporate, community and legislative events and initiatives.
MW: What’s the next big event on TCS’s agenda?
LB: Our upcoming NDEAM Champions Contest in celebration of October’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month will recognize many amazing New York City and Long Island companies generously providing opportunities for people with disabilities to find gainful employment.
MW: What is the benefit to TCS employees with disabilities?
LB: There exists a huge disparity between the general unemployment rate of less than 4%, compared to the harsh reality of nearly 80% unemployment among individuals with disabilities. TCS creates vital opportunities for more members of society to contribute their valuable skills. The competitive wages and benefits they earn from their hard work offers them financial independence, self-sufficiency and vastly improved quality of life.
MW: My favorite part of our conversation was hearing your workers’ success stories.
LB: One of the many that touches me most is a pair of our administrative employees. Work has provided a driving force for both individuals to demonstrate that they can collaborate extremely well together. They job-share due to the nature of their disabilities, and neither has missed a day of work in years; their supervisor raves that they are the best employees she has ever had. Both employees have found financial independence through work, as well as the equally important camaraderie that work provides to us all. Their story is not unique. We’d love to hear more success stories from other employers highlighting similarly wonderful contributions to the workplace.
 
Mindy Wolfle is the president of Neptune Marketing LLC and chief marketing officer of Vishnick McGovern Milizio LLP. She is a board member of the Social Media Association and a member of Women Economic Developers of Long Island and Public Relations Professionals of Long Island. Her LinkedIn profile describes her as a marketing/public relations/social media executive, writer, editor, educator, connection maker, semiotician and do-gooder.

 

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Regrets, I have a few

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By Mindy Wolfle
June 14, 2018

Although my monthly column is centered on all things business, I’m diverging a bit into the personal this June. In 1990, I changed jobs after 18 years with the Nassau County Department of Social Services. It was a scary leap, and one that came with a substantial pay cut. But I wanted to find out what was “out there” for me. I’d reached my wits end as a government employee and just knew that there was more Icould do with my yet-to-be-discovered talents, so into the private sector I leaped.

Fast forward to 2018. By now, I’ve been a career changer several times over and ventured into the world of entrepreneurism. What I’ve found out is that we all have the entrepreneurial spirit, if we just let ourselves tap into it. I’ve attended meetings that number in the hundreds (more likely the thousands). I’ve been on committees, chaired galas, served on boards of directors and been a mentor and mentee.

I’ve ventured into teaching and turning people onto new ideas and broadening their minds. I’ve expressed my point of view, quite often outside some standard expectation. I’ve made friends and trusted colleagues. It’s no surprise to those who know me that I’ve gotten myself in hot water and danced the dance of mea culpa. I’ve learned, too, to listen carefully and speak less when less can be more.

Regrets, I have a few. Those memorable words, written by Paul Anka and sung for posterity by Frank Sinatra, have been cluttering my mind these past few days. My Android smartphone, which I purchased following Hurricane Sandy, is long overdue for replacement. The icon named “visible voicemail” read “no voicemails.” Growing suspicious late last week, I clicked on “call voicemail.” To my astonishment, I had 17 messages waiting to be retrieved. Most were of little or no consequence. One of devastating.

Going back to 1990, where this article began, I needed a new haircutter. At my first job in the private sector, I supervised a young woman who recommended her friend Ginny to me. Ginny worked at a salon about one-half hour from my home. It turned out that we were down-the-block neighbors. I followed her to the next salon and then the next. We became each other’s cat sitters. We socialized a little, but mostly chatted while I was getting my hair clipped and colored. Hairdressers and their clients share an abundance of personal information in the safety of our mutual confidence. More recently, we texted a lot. In looking back at those texts, I see Ginny first mentioned not feeling well in April 2016. Long doctor visits and procedures began that August. More details emerged in 2017 and early 2018. An unwinnable cancer battle. I had to find a new hairdresser. I sent Ginny cards and gave her little gifts to make us both feel better.

That devastating voicemail was from her husband, telling me of Ginny’s passing. The regret and guilt I am feeling is palpable. If only I had heard that message when it came. If only she and I had stayed in contact throughout the past few months. We ran into each other at a fish market on Valentine’s Day. Things were looking optimistic with the introduction of immunotherapy. We never did make that lunch date that we spoke and texted about. Often, I have written about connecting with business people on a personal level. My professional and personal relationship with Ginny lasted almost 28 years. Yes, regrets, I have a few.

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It’s time to improve on business etiquette

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By Mindy Wolfle
May 10, 2018

Once again, I feel compelled to broach the topic “business etiquette.” Enter those two words in your browser and you’ll find any number of seminars, courses, things you need to know, tips and guides. Personally, I don’t think we need instructions for behaving appropriately in a business setting. Apparently, I am wrong, based on situations I and others have encountered. So here goes:

• A business person attends a seminar. A panel of speakers is expert in their topics. Yet, an attendee finds it necessary to weigh in several times with lengthy comments, some personal and some professional. The information shared is neither of interest to the rest of the attendees nor necessarily correct. A panelist or moderator can do just so much to control this kind of behavior, even asking attendees to hold their questions or comments to the end of the program. The point is: if it’s not your program, listen more and comment less.

• You’re at a gathering of business people. There is a set program, well-planned and geared to the amount of time booked at the venue. Two attendees converse between themselves and pay greater attention to their smartphone keyboards than the rest of the group, regardless of what else is going on. One of the attendees – not the same person in the above example – goes into a rambling story, out of context with the rest of the program. The point is: Make plans to meet outside of a group event for personal conversations; step aside from the group, if you must attend to texts, emails or calls.

• What has happened to the simple expressions “thank you” and “you’re welcome?” Have you heard “no problem” enough to let out a scream? Somehow, expressions of gratitude are barely making it into emails anymore. The thank you note in an envelope with a stamp affixed? For those in the know, it’s not a thing of the past. But for the majority of business people, it’s overlooked and undervalued. It’s no surprise that when one receives a “proper” thank you, it is remembered. The point is: Appreciation sets impressive contacts and colleagues apart from the rest of the bunch.

In the words of Judith Martin, better known as “Miss Manners,” Etiquette is all human social behavior. If you’re a hermit on a mountain, you don’t have to worry about etiquette; if somebody comes up the mountain, then you’ve got a problem. It matters because we want to live in reasonably harmonious communities.”

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