Reward by Recognition | Rich Von Alvensleben Says it’s the Only Way to Motivate

Rich Von Alvensleben

Rich Von Alvensleben

Building a reliable sales team means letting the producers know they are appreciated, says Rich Von Alvensleben.

In sales, the most important element to success is happy people, remarks Rich Von Alvensleben, a former sales lead and representative for National Safety Associates. In his career, Rich Von Alvensleben has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in sales revenue and helped countless other find the same success. Here, Rich Von Alvensleben offers tips on how to grow an innovative and prosperous team.

Forge Friendships

According to Rich Von Alvensleben, people may drudge through their days and get by on minimal effort for a boss. But, when they are working to help a friend, the sky isn’t even a limit. Rich Von Alvensleben says establishing a level of trust and camaraderie with your team can mean the difference between success and failure. The best business leaders are those who are available for one-on-one chats and know how to instill the values of confidence and reliability in their team, adds Rich Von Alvensleben.

Speaking of Reliability

Another element to overall success is showing your team that you, yourself, are reliable and able to produce on your own. When they see success in action, says Rich Von Alvensleben, they will want it for themselves. And, if they like you, they will want you to enjoy more success – which in turn they will share in. Rich Von Alvensleben reports that his best producers were also the ones who built teams of dependable people. Leading by example is their secret to success. When a sales team knows that you are steadfast in your efforts, and see that this consistency has put you in a position of power, Rich Von Alvensleben knows from experience that they will work even harder to become your equal.

Recognize Real Potential

Rich Von Alvensleben says that every person thrives off praise. In a sales situation, the recognition of closing the deal is almost as important as signing the papers. It’s a well-known fact that people want to be noticed for their hard work; otherwise, they would not invest so much effort. According to Rich Von Alvensleben, the financial rewards a team creates for themselves isn’t enough. They also need to be recognized for a job well-done.

Public recognition of positive actions motivates in two ways. First, says Rich Von Alvensleben, it makes the target of your praise feel like his or her work isn’t in vain. Second, according to Rich Von Alvensleben, it feeds the rest of the group and makes them hungry for the same acknowledgement and show of respect. However, Rich Von Alvensleben cautions against praising underperformance as a means of motivation, as it makes the praise far less sincere and rewards the slackers.

Preparedness Peaks Performance

Rich Von Alvensleben has spoken with numerous groups over the years and points out that one central theme underlying success is preparedness. A sales team must be ready before they are sent out into the world, says Von. It’s imperative that they are given the appropriate tools to do business, and that they are able to use them. However, Rich Von Alvensleben has also noted that experience is the best tool of all. Encouraging new or inexperienced persons to push on will afford them the opportunity to create this instrument of success for themselves.

Push Past Political Preferences

It might sound like a no-brainer, but one major mistake new team leaders make is putting their emphasis on their favorites. Rich Von Alvensleben says that this must be avoided at all costs. Rich Von Alvensleben insists that fairness to all involved is not only the right way to conduct business but also the way cement your status as a reliable and consistent front-runner of your industry.

About Rich Von Alvensleben

Rich Von Alvensleben is an entrepreneur and successful businessman from Rocklin, California (a Sacramento Suburb). He has a diversified background that includes working in Antarctica as an underwater water filtration installation specialist. He has also worked extensively in the construction industry. As well, Rich Von Alvensleben worked for many years as an extremely successful sales representative for a large national safety products supplier. This range of skills carried Von into his most current venture as a CEO of One Up Construction (a California Licensed General Contractor) and Operations Manager of Von Vesting, Inc. (a real estate investment firm specializing in distressed properties).

In his spare time, Rich Von Alvensleben and his wife Tiffani enjoy spending time with their children and participating in outdoor activities like snowmobiling.

Donald Leon Farrow Discusses his Observations of Relaxing With Animals

Donald Leon FarrowDonald Leon Farrow began helping animals in 2006 when he joined local dog rescue organizations in Michigan and Chicago. He noticed that regardless of the level of urgency in assisting the animals, the volunteers were very organized in their work, and tending to what needed to be done by observation and with little or no conversation. Although the work was at times exhausting says Donald Leon Farrow, the volunteers left for home with a sense of calm and humanitarian accomplishment. This says Donald, is comparable to the calm and often voiceless acceptance and companionship that we receive from our animal friends.

Below, Donald Leon Farrow, continuing his volunteer efforts, answers questions about work with animals that enriches the lives of volunteers as they improve the lives of the animals.

Q: What led to your thoughts on this?

Donald Leon Farrow: You would think that I would leave and arrive home miserable given some of the situations that I and the other volunteers encounter. At least for my group – that’s not the case. We have a true sense of accomplishment and its relaxing. Sometimes we go to dinner as a group, and no one is complaining about life. We are talking about the wonderful animals and everyone is relaxed. Then I return home to my family and dogs, and the dogs are just there to be with you as you sit and read. Its truly relaxing.

Q: But life is full of stress isn’t it?

Donald Leon Farrow: Of course, it is – but our mental state is an influence. Our volunteering efforts with these animals is a quiet activity where at least for part of the day, we are focused on helping animals in trouble who cannot fend for themselves. It really takes you away from concerns of yourself for awhile – I think it’s healthy.

Q: And at home?

Donald Leon Farrow: You get home and you’re a bit tired sometimes, and other times exhausted. You’re aware that you made a difference, and there are your animals looking for you which is even more relaxing. I imagine the process is easier when you’re helping animals. They are more predictable or less complex in their behavior than people – and they don’t talk.

Q: What was the most difficult part of helping these animals?

Donald Leon Farrow: You’re up close dealing with the fallout of indifferent, ignorant and cruel people – it’s just bottomless. You get a better understanding of the inhumanity in the world. Neglect and cruelty to animals are a small microcosm of the evil in this world across all socio-economic levels.

Q: How did you put your creativity to work in helping the animals?

Donald Leon Farrow: The shelters that I work with partner with local veterinarians who volunteer services. We also for example accept reject blankets from charity donation centers and other sources. We clean these and make dog beds. So, most of our creativity is in getting our communities involved in donating items that we can use for the animals.

Q: Are the communities responsive?

Donald Leon Farrow: Most certainly. People want to help the animals and thank us for asking. They are glad that the rescue exists. Many people see stray animals but don’t believe they have room in their lives to help. We give them the opportunity.

Q: How do you handle aggressive animals?

Donald Leon Farrow: I must first state that the animals are made aggressive by their experience with irresponsible people. We have people in our volunteer network who specialize in working these situations. Sometimes we are able to save these types of animal and adopt them out, and sadly sometimes not. But we are still able to shelter and care for them. We also have volunteers – animal whisperers if you will – who visit and care for these animals.

Q: You have animals at home?

Donald Leon Farrow: Yes, two dogs. This I have found to be particularly relaxing from the simple routine of caring for them, to the quiet nature of our relationships – we don’t need to say much if anything – it’s enough to just be genuine friends with each other. It gives me good comfort to know that I am able to give them wonderful lives.

Q: Any recommendations for keeping animals healthy?

Donald Leon Farrow: Definitely spay and neuter your dogs. Definitely have their teeth professionally cleaned at least once per year. No bones or rawhide, and purchase the best food. Science Diet is good, Blue Wellness and Natural Balance are top-of-the-line brands. Always read the label of any food and the primary contents should be meat.

Q: Your final comments on relaxing with Animals?

Donald Leon Farrow: We will have a truly humane society, when we value the quality of life for the most discarded, helpless and unprotected creatures walking among us – these are animals. Once we heed the call of humanity at this level – we will care for each other.

Donald Leon Farrow has worked with animal rescue for many years. As a leader in the architectural profession, Donald Leon Farrow believes that professional success should be balanced with community involvement. For many years, Donald Leon Farrow has served as an animal rescue volunteer and fundraiser for local and national animal welfare Societies respectively.

Q&A with Rising Stars Founder Paul Savramis

Paul Savramis

Paul Savramis

Paul Savramis built a strong foundation in physical education and child psychology early, earning a Master’s degree in both subjects. As he was pursuing these degrees, Paul Savramis founded the Eastern Invitational Summer Basketball Camps in order to provide an outlet for young people to Play to Learn and to Grow. After a decade spent directing these summer camps, Paul Savramis wanted a program that would help kids year-round and Rising Stars was that program. This organization, birthed in 1996, provides children an opportunity to develop life skills and important values while learning basketball skills. Below, Paul Savramis answers some of the most frequently asked questions about the Rising Stars program.

Q: Rising Stars has become one of the nation’s most respected Youth Foundations. Explain what makes your program unique.

Paul Savramis: Rising Stars seeks to enroll children into its yearly programs in grade school. We do that through our clinics and camps. Children are placed on teams and participate in tournaments and leagues. Throughout that time we seek to reinforce family values and a sense of community. Our goal is to keep each child that enrolls in our programs active and in those programs throughout HS. We measure our success by the number of kids that go on to college following their senior year. I believe that the most unique aspect of this program is the degree of involvement and interaction between our coach’s and the players on our teams. We have dedicated teachers, not just coaches that stay involved and act as a valuable resource throughout the child’s development. Basketball is a tool to reach kids so that we can teach kids.

Q: What are the age groups for your Rising Stars?

Paul Savramis: Children are enrolled on teams in grade school from elementary school to high school. Teams start in grades 3 and 4 and continue throughout the player’s senior year. Clinics for younger children are offered.

Q: What about the younger children?

Paul Savramis: We have special sessions for kindergarten to fourth graders, providing lessons in a fun manner that is age and skill appropriate. We strongly believe that the emphasis of teaching at that age is Fun-damental. All Rising Stars clinics are interactive. Rising Stars was a pioneer in this style of camp and clinic.

Q: Can you tell me a bit about the camp’s philosophy?

Paul Savramis: Rising Stars has always believed that students learn more by actively participating. As I always say, if you tell someone they’ll forget. Show them and they’ll remember. Let them be involved, and they’ll understand.

We also stress that if you believe it you will achieve it. The Whiz Kids (Our travel group for away clinics) put on inspirational shows that demonstrate that Anything Is Possible.

Q: What about class size?

Paul Savramis: Camp and clinics size are strictly limited to assure each child remains an individual. We believe in working with smaller groups so that each child is able to get the personalized attention he or she needs.

Q: How much does a session at a Rising Stars camp cost?

Paul Savramis: Currently we have camps at Long Island Lutheran where enrollment is just over $1000 for each two week session. These particular camps are open to older children, from fourth grade to twelfth grade. Bus transportation and lunch is provided at an extra $60 charge.

Long Island Lutheran is our home base and is one of the largest summer programs in the world.

Yearly clinic costs vary by length of camp and specialty.

Q: What can I expect in my child’s daily session at Rising Stars?

Paul Savramis: Each session features introductions of new skills, as well as the opportunity to practice those skills. Participants put those skills into practice in one-on-one tournaments, daily drills and in games.

Q: Do you offer private training sessions outside of the camp?

Paul Savramis: Yes, a variety of individualized training sessions are available, from one-on-one to small groups of three or four students to one coach. These programs can be tailored to meet the needs of individual participants. All trainers are certified teachers.

Paul Savramis and the team at Rising Stars have received accolades from public officials and coaches around the world, including former President George W. Bush and former New York Governor George Pataki. Today, Paul Savramis leaves the day-to-day operations to Rising Stars staff as he continues to work to further the fundraising and marketing efforts of the organization. For further information and contact numbers visit Rising Stars at

Douglas Andrew Discusses the TAMRA Law

Douglas Andrew

Douglas Andrew

Douglas Andrew has established a successful series of Missed Fortune workshops and books. The Missed Fortune principles are founded upon maximum funded tax-advantaged life insurance, but Douglas Andrew stresses these must be structured correctly. Much of this structure comes from obeying tax laws, Douglas Andrew says—primarily three major tax laws enacted in the 1980s regarding the insurance industry.

Douglas Andrew regularly fields questions about these laws. Today, he addresses questions about TAMRA—the Technical and Miscellaneous Revenue Act of 1988.

Q: Why was the TAMRA Law passed?

Douglas Andrew: In the 1980s, people were putting large sums of money into life insurance policies because they knew life insurance companies were stable. Feeling the competition, banks and institutions lobbied Congress and the result was the TAMRA Law of 1988.

Q: What is the TAMRA Law?

Douglas Andrew: In essence, with the TAMRA Law, an individual cannot put his or her money in an insurance policy all at once and maintain a tax-free environment.

Q: So someone has to slowly put money in?

Douglas Andrew: It must be deposited gradually over several years in order to comply with TAMRA.

Q: Do we have to comply with TAMRA?

Douglas Andrew: Yes, if we want our money to be tax-free when it’s taken out, it’s important to comply with all of the stipulations of TAMRA.

Q: What if someone has a policy that dates prior to TAMRA?

Douglas Andrew: If someone has a policy that was taken out prior to TEFRA, DEFRA, and TAMRA, then they don’t apply. These policies were grandfathered in because they were established prior to these laws.

Q: Why should I choose a maximum insurance tax-advantaged life insurance policy over stocks and bonds?

Douglas Andrew: Insurance companies have been around since the 1800s, weathering all the ups and downs in the market. In the economic turmoil of recent years, not a single life insurance company has gone out of business.

Q: How many banks have gone out of business?

Douglas Andrew: At last estimate, more than three hundred with the recent recession.

Q: What about fees?

Douglas Andrew: The goal is to incur the least amount of fees possible, but as I tell our Missed Fortune clients, I’d rather be paying fees to an insurance company than fork over large sums of my earnings to pay taxes.

Q: How much can a person expect to pay in fees for maximum funded life insurance?

Douglas Andrew: Using the methods outlined in Missed Fortune, someone netting eight percent would pay about one percent in fees over the life of the policy. That’s seven percent with no taxes required.

For  more information on Missed Fortune and Douglas Andrew’s advice on choosing maximum funded tax-advantaged life insurance contracts, visit Douglas Andrew has had two national bestsellers and his Missed Fortune seminars are in demand throughout the country.

Doug Battista: When HR People Fail to Make an Impact in the Business

Doug Battista

Doug Battista

Doug Battista has a wealth of experience in the field of human resources. While he’s dedicated himself to the field over the years, Doug Battista has seen some classic mistakes made by human resource staff members. When this happens, Doug Battista explains, the entire human resource department may fail to make an impact in the business.

Fortunately, most HR departments are headed up by experienced professionals who can help guide team members in the right direction. But in smaller organizations with only one or two HR staff members, inexperience or inadequacies can have a negative impact on the success of the organization, according to Doug Battista.

Doug Battista points to several key areas where an HR worker must perform up to task. Failure to do so can be disastrous, Doug Battista explains, resulting in low morale, resignations, and even legal action. Some of those key areas include:

  • Responding to employee complaints. When an employee has a problem—whether it be with a supervisor, a co-worker, or the structure of the organization—that employee seeks out the assistance of human resources. Doug Battista emphasizes that this is the time HR needs to step forward to help. Unfortunately, HR often defers to outside HR representatives or the legal team to handle these matters, at which point everything stalls. If this inactivity continues too long, the employee’s morale will drop or, says Doug Battista, legal action may ensue.
  • Failure to document. Doug Battista can’t stress enough the importance of documenting issues, especially in regard to disciplinary issues. Too often, HR fails to keep proper documentation and a firing is ruled unjust in a lawsuit. By carefully documenting each instance of bad behavior, an HR worker can successfully discipline negative employee behavior, Doug Battista has found.
  • Lack of communication. This encompasses many areas of an HR worker’s job, but in this instance it refers to a failure to address key issues that impact an employee. HR consultants are often the keepers of “change management,” Doug Battista explains, so it is imperative that when a key player in a company is fired or a merger is pending that the HR consultant be as up front as possible, while still remaining positive.

An HR person is often called upon to act as coach, mentor, and advisor, says Doug Battista. By maintaining these areas, an HR consultant can maintain trust among workers.

Garrett Hoelscher | Finding Fulfillment

Garrett Hoelscher

Garrett Hoelscher

When Garrett Hoelscher was in his last years of college at Emory University in Georgia, he felt that something was missing. It took months for this sports enthusiast to fully understand it was physical activity that he craved. “I had terrific friends, good grades, and a beautiful girlfriend,” Garrett Hoelscher says about his college life. But he missed the competitive rigor and challenge of sports that he had in his teens.

Garrett Hoelscher played Lacrosse in high school. Fast-forward to his senior year in college, and the realization that this is what he was missing finally set in. According to Garrett Hoelscher, he decided early that year that he was going to try out for the school’s Lacrosse team. It’s worth noting that Emory is known for its athletic programs, which are consistently ranked among the best. This made the task even more daunting, since Garrett Hoelscher hadn’t picked up a stick in three years.

Walking onto the practice field, a nervous Garrett Hoelscher embarrassed himself with his dire lack of coordination. However, the head coach saw a spark of determination in this strong-willed student and placed him on the team. Garrett Hoelscher was thankful for the opportunity to prove himself and thus spent every available minute alone, throwing and catching against a campus wall, just to hone his skills. Luckily, he regained his abilities after two months of intense practice.

By the end of the season Garrett Hoelscher was almost unrecognizable as the young man with the abysmal stick skills who had walked onto the team those months prior. The coach assigned his promising player to the Special Face Off Team, which had the sole responsibility of ensuring that the opposition rapidly lost control of the ball. He helped lead the team to victory, as his team won the Division II South Eastern Lacrosse Conference of the Men’s Collegiate Association that year. Furthermore, when his team advanced to the MCLA playoffs in Denver, Garrett Hoelscher was honored to start each and every playoff game.

While it may seem unusual to some, Garrett Hoelscher found enrichment in this Native American stickball game that year that nothing else could have provided. He was able to balance a full class load, a social life and a relationship while proving to himself that determination and a willingness to work for what he wanted could pay off. It did, and Garrett Hoelscher has accomplished numerous other post-graduation goals thanks to the confidence this last year in school and this centuries old pastime provided him.

Theodore Stroukoff: Top Three Reasons for Choosing a Nursing Career

Theodore Stroukoff

Theodore Stroukoff

Theodore Stroukoff, R.N., has worked as a nurse in a variety of nursing specialties, tackling challenges many others have not yet seen. Still, Theodore Stroukoff couldn’t imagine a more exciting and rewarding career. For those individuals considering the field of nursing, Theodore Stroukoff has a few pros to help make that decision about whether to go to nursing school or not.

Education Choice

You don’t have to obtain a Ph.D. to serve in the nursing field, Theodore Stroukoff points out. You don’t even have to get an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. You can start working today as a nurse aide, Theodore Stroukoff advises, with only a high school degree.

Theodore Stroukoff acknowledges that the more education you have, the higher you’ll progress in the field. But it’s still an individual’s choice. One benefit to being able to start work without that degree, in Theodore Stroukoff’s opinion, is that you can begin to get a degree while working in a medical setting. This enables you to work regular shifts while attending school on the side. Additionally, Theodore Stroukoff points out that there are several flexible learning and distance options to help you get a degree in your spare time.

Opportunities for Advancement

There are few medical careers with the opportunities for advancement that nursing provides, according to Theodore Stroukoff. An associate’s degree can help you obtain a position as an LPN, a field that is always in demand. By pursing a bachelor’s degree or further, you can work your way into an RN position and further advance into hospital administration, where the opportunities are unlimited, Theodore Stroukoff advises.

Job Security

In this day and age, Theodore Stroukoff has noted that job security appears to be an uncommon thing. Nursing brings job security in a variety of ways, says Theodore Stroukoff. Nurses are always in demand and this will only become more common in the next decade, with the baby boomers having an increased need for healthcare.

In addition to good nurses tending to have more reliable jobs, Theodore Stroukoff points to the great benefits as a bonus. Many nurses work for medical facilities that provide healthcare benefits. Since this is something many employers are offering less frequently, Theodore Stroukoff believes this is a huge bonus for anyone seeking a career in nursing.

If you’re considering a career in nursing, Theodore Stroukoff highly advises it. The field is only continuing to grow, providing long-term opportunities for those interested in pursuing them, concludes Theodore Stroukoff.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Theodore Stroukoff relocated to New Mexico as an adult. A traveling nurse, Theodore Stroukoff has worked in a variety of settings, taking on a multitude of challenges that have helped him grow as a nursing professional. Theodore Stroukoff is proud to call New Mexico home.

Joe Zanotti on Israel: A Surprise Wine Country

Joe Zanotti

Joe Zanotti

It all began while Joe Zanotti was working in Israel. The wine aficionado was introduced to the wines of Israel, including Cabernets, Merlots, and other white wines. Finding that these wines were as good as those found in Napa and Sonoma, Joe Zanotti, a native of Pittsburgh, began researching the wines of Israel. He learned that the weather in the areas along Israel’s Mediterranean Sea, with its hot, dry days and cool nights, is ideal for growing quality grapes that create the best wines.

During his travels, Joe Zanotti also learned about Israel’s annual wine festival. The Israel Museum Wine Festival, held in Jerusalem, attracts people from all over the world to taste Israel’s wines. With award-winning wineries spread throughout Israel, wine lovers have long known about the excellent wines being produced in Israel’s northernmost region, says Joe Zanotti, with the Golan Heights releasing more than six million bottles per year.

Guy Riordan: What Kayakers Need to Know

Guy Riordan

Guy Riordan

Kayaking can be tricky, according to outdoorsman Guy Riordan. The same waterway can be different from one kayaking trip to the next, Riordan says, emphasizing that new kayakers need to begin with less challenging waterways at first, working up to the more dangerous tributaries. Thankfully, guided tours are available for beginners, allowing boaters to learn how to deal with challenges during an outing.

Guy Riordan, an avid kayaker and outdoorsman, has been featured on TV and also once owned a gaming preserve. Thanks to the excessive amount of snow that falls in his mountainous New Mexico town and later melts, Guy Riordan has plenty of water for ideal kayaking conditions. But even with all his experience, Riordan knows when to rely on a guide. He believes playing it safe makes the experience even more fun and rewarding.

Nancy Alcorn Helps Others Through Faith-Based Counseling

Nancy Alcorn

Nancy Alcorn

Former corrections officer Nancy Alcorn began her faith-based ministry Mercy Ministries after working at a Tennessee correctional facility for juvenile delinquent girls and investigating child abuse cases for eight years. Through Mercy Ministries, Nancy Alcorn has seen first hand the power of Jesus Christ’s transforming work is changing lives. Combining faith-based intervention with expert counseling, Mercy Ministries helps troubled young women find peace.

Nancy Alcorn and the staff at Mercy Ministries focus on helping young women suffering from abuse and addictions. Over nearly three decades, Nancy Alcorn has helped thousands of girls. In addition to Christian counseling and guidance, Mercy Ministries also provides nutritionists and educational assistance for those who are in need. Ninety-three percent of women who had been through Mercy Ministries’ six-month residential counseling program reported their lives had been changed, says Nancy Alcorn. Mercy Ministries does not charge for its service, helping young women suffering from physical and sexual abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, drug and alcohol addictions, and more. The age range of girls who go through the program are generally 13-28.