12-20-2013 3-50-15 PMBusiness owners ask yourselves what worked and what didn’t for 2013. As you start to prepare for business success in 2014, taking a critical look at your business success strategies is vital for future business growth. Review the comments made by your customers. Look at commons, trends, peaks, and valleys in your business during the 2013 year. Use this data to make changes and adjustments to increase your opportunities for continued or new success. One of the most important investments you will make in your business is taking time to truly evaluate where you are currently in your business. Identify any gaps or barriers to your success and then act upon your findings.

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Review and complete the business scorecard below and use the results to start achieving your business success for 2014.

  • Development of Smart Business goals. SMART Goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic- Results, & Time Oriented.
  • Listen to Your Customers!
  • Are you trying to do too much yourself? Maybe it’s time to delegate. Hire a part-time assistant or college intern.
  • Who is your Audience? How are you promoting your business? What’s your Marketing Plan? Do you have a website and a social media presence?
  • Make business planning a weekly event. What’s working? What’s not? Adjust!
  • Learn something new. Enroll in a course to increase your knowledge level. Stay connected and abreast in your industry!
  • Join a business organization or networking group. Increase your Audience!
  • Give back to your community.
  • Do you have the right tools and resources? What equipment do you need to be successful? Get it!
  • Take time for you and recharge. Business Success is Challenging!

Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”

12-20-2013 3-50-50 PM 12-20-2013 3-50-40 PM

12-7-2013 8-43-39 AMAs we start to prepare for Christmas and the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping, what is on the wish list for you and your loved ones? Does your list possibly include the latest IPhone, laptop, a big screen television, fashion jewelry, clothing, expensive sneakers, or maybe new games for the Wii or other electronics? I am sure the list goes on and on.

‘Tis the season for sharing and at Christmas we do believe in sharing. Let us reflect for a moment on what so many of us are really sharing: the countless number of credit and debit card purchases, bank withdrawals, and eyes glazed over when looking at sales ads of fruitless saving gimmicks at the mall and area shopping retailers.

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So I ask you: what should we be sharing this Christmas season? I challenge us all to really think about what true sharing means during this holiday season. Pause and consider the real reason for the season by saying “Thanks be to GOD for another day to share the gift of love and service to others!”
I was recently speaking with my daughter about what gift I would really love for Christmas this year. I asked her to interview her grandfather, (who is my father,) about his life growing up over the years. I wanted her to write it down and wrap it up for me this Christmas. I told her this would be the perfect gift for me!

The gift of love is priceless, and should say “I love you,” or “I am thinking of you,” but many times too often, we tend to measure our gifts against what others in the world will think, and not against the heart. If it is truly a gift of love, it should not stress us out or have us worried about paying off the vast amount of debt accumulated during Christ’s season.

All Sales Gimmicks Aside- The Best Black Friday Deals are listed below:
Gifts of love, simple acts of kindness,
time, service and friendship
Until Next Time, Be sincere, Kind and Intentional
By: Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”
View From The Bridge

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11-2-2013 8-28-13 AMCalling All Home Renters….
I know many of you have heard the phrase “allow your money to work for you.” Stop and think about it – are you? Are you a renter or do you know someone who is renting or leasing a home, apartment, or business property? Stop throwing your money away; better yet stop making someone else rich on your dime!
Let’s make sure that I am clear on renting. There is nothing wrong with renting if you rent with a purpose. If one chooses to rent, then choose wisely. Renting should be temporary and not for the long term. Money paid for rent will continue to build equity for your landlord and leave you high and dry without any return on the money spent during your rental agreement.

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Instead of paying your landlord’s mortgage, start putting your money to work for you by paying your own mortgage. The money you pay toward your mortgage will build equity for you, and not someone else.

11-2-2013 8-32-00 AMIf you already have a home… then consider investing in another real estate property to keep, sell, or rent. You then become the landlord or the seller and are able to take your profits and do as you please; hopefully that involves saving and doing your research to find the next investment opportunity.

Home ownership can be a reality when you take the right steps for home buying success:
1. Check your credit score (If there are issues, find out what it will take to get your score where it needs to be. Clean it up and start making the effort toward owning your home!)
2. Contact a lender/bank to see how much you can afford.
3. Know your rights when making a purchase. ( Ask questions.)
4. Determine the best loan program for your particular situation; there are various home buying programs available today with excellent interest rates. Do your research.
5. Understand and be prepared for the costs associated with your purchase.
6. Start shopping for your home. (Have a realistic wish list.)
7. Shop for something you can truly afford; do not max out your budget.
8. Make and negotiate the offer.
9. Have an inspection prior to making the purchase.
10. After purchasing the property, keep it in the best condition possible for re-sale opportunities.
11. Pay extra monthly toward the principal on your property loan for quicker payoff and decrease the amount of interest being paid.
12. Start looking for your next investment!
Until next time, be sincere, kind and intentional.
Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”

10-4-2013 7-10-31 PMHow do you Rate for Workplace Readiness?
Rate yourself in the areas below: Scale 1-5
1 – I have not spent time developing myself in this area
2 – This in an underdeveloped area and needs some attention
3 – I am developing myself in this area
4 – I am proficient in this area
5 – I consistently evaluate and development myself in this area

1 – ______ Self Assessment. Ongoing self-assessment is a requirement. Where am I? Where am I going? What are my strengths and areas of opportunity? Take time to evaluate and understand your values, skills, and interests. Taking a critical look inside will only make us better as we develop ourselves for the future!

2 – ______ Stay Current! Keep your resumé up to date. Personal Development is essential! Be an advocate for your self-development. Take a class and enhance your personal and professional life. When was the last time you made a visit to the library? Do you have a mentor? To develop personally is the ability to continuously improve upon one’s skill set. It is to be dedicated to lifelong learning.

3 – ______ Communications Skills (listening, verbal, written). The ability to effectively communicate is by far, the one skill mentioned most frequently by employers. Having the ability to listen, write, speak effectively and facilitate communication are absolutely critical in whatever profession you are engaged in. The bottom line is that if you can communicate well (and have the ability to showcase this,) you are ways ahead of the competition. Good eye contact, a diverse vocabulary and the ability to tailor your speech to suit your audience are all vital characteristics of a poised speaker. It gives you presence and makes you memorable to those who are listening.

4 – ______ Analytical & Research Skills. Your ability to assess a situation, seek multiple perspectives, gather more information if necessary, and identify key issues that need to be addressed are critically important. Since every potential employer, regardless of the profession, is seeking employees who can help them to solve problems, the more that you can showcase your abilities in this area, you will certainly catch their attention.

5 – ______ Computer & Technical Literacy. Regardless of your profession, just about every job requires a basic understanding of computer hardware and software, especially word processing, spreadsheets, and email. Your ability to showcase your proficiency with technology and its applications are critical in the world today.

6 – ______ Flexibility/Adaptability/Managing Multiple Priorities. Or in other words…MULTI-TASKING! Society today demands proficiency in this area. Your ability to manage multiple assignments and tasks, set priorities, and adapt to changing conditions and work assignments are absolutely critical.

7 – ______ Interpersonal Abilities. Are you a team player, do you relate to your co-workers, inspire others to participate, use soft skills and mitigate conflict with co-workers? With the amount of time that we spend “at work” each day these are essential attributes that employers seek.

8 – ______ Accountability. Self-management is the ability to manage oneself in personal and professional situations. When you manage yourself, you are able to respond appropriately to various situations. Accept responsibility, both for successes and failures. If you want other people to respect you, acknowledge your errors rather than trying to blame someone else. Everyone makes mistakes, but the real test is how you react to them!

9 – ______ Self-Presentation. Wardrobe Call! Learning how to present yourself to others is another major aspect of being ready for the job. Good grooming and, in particular, the right /appropriate attire will project an image of success to other people — before you have even said a word. The way you look also enhances the way you feel about yourself, making you more confident. This definitely can be done on a budget!

10 – ______ Networking. Network and build relationships, both within and outside your organization. Find a mentor, coach, sponsor; developing relationships not only provide knowledge and experience, but can help expand your professional and personal network. Get involved in professional associations and organizations at work and in the community. But be cautious on Social Media Sites. Remember to be “Smart” when networking online. Be “Professional” and realize that employers do use these sites as applicant screening tools.

Now that you know where you are, get started in the areas that need some attention!

Until Next Time, Be sincere, Kind and Intentional
Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator
The Bridge “Where Community Matters”

10-4-2013 7-10-50 PM

9-6-2013 6-17-44 PMThe “Show & Tell”- Preparing Yourself for Success The View from The Bridge

Do you have a career portfolio of your work?

Whatever your area of interest for a chosen career, make sure are not only able to talk about it but you are also prepared to showcase it. Many times individuals only think of an artist, writer, photographer, or perhaps a caterer providing samples or visuals of their work for potential clients to see. Things have changed; and in society today it is very important that you are ready to show and tell about who you are when it comes to gaining new business and/or obtaining employment.

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Designing a portfolio of your work takes time, but the payoff is incredible.

How many of you make a decision just off words? Not many. If you have visuals, evidence, testimonials, before and after pictures – they play a major role in your decision making.

Organizations want to make informed decisions too! Employers have thousands of applicants daily for only one open position. How do they determine who gets to the top of the list?

Set yourself apart from the competition by being prepared to showcase who you are and what you have to offer. The time spent developing your portfolio is well worth the return. Remember this is an investment in you and your future success. Your portfolio should be presented in a professional leather binder including the following items for others to view:

A Reflection of You as a Professional
Resume of your Experience & Expertise
Samples of your Work including Presentations and Projects
Accomplishments & Awards (tangible artifacts, pictures, and evidence)
Completed Education and Professional Development
Images and Links

The Show and Tell Starts with You! Start Now!
Until Next Time, Be Sincere, Kind and Intentional
By: Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator

9-6-2013 6-18-20 PM

8-16-2013 1-44-35 PMCalling All Parents of 9th – 12th Graders: I have a homework assignment for you. At some point you do want your children to leave home right? I thought so!

Many of you will have students heading back to school in a few weeks and now is the time to make sure they are heading in the right direction for a successful future. Parental involvement and guidance makes a huge difference for your child. What your child does now or doesn’t do will impact how they will live tomorrow, and if you desire for your child to live well, then start taking some notes. Planning today is the key to a brighter future for your child and for your sanity down the road.

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Parents and Guardians, here are valuable homework assignments for you and your children that will help with jump starting their successful future.

  • Parents, be your child’s greatest cheerleader and coach, but remember they are in the driver’s seat. You can assist, but allow them to be accountable for their future.
  • Make sure your child is taking courses that are challenging; review your child’s schedule, make changes if necessary and monitor their progress often; this will help when taking college entrance exams for admission.
  • Have your child research and investigate career options; allow your child to job shadow and complete a career assessment to assist with areas of interest and ability.
  • Have the serious financial talk with your child about affordable and realistic college choices. Discuss what your family contribution will be and what is expected of your child. Example: suggesting your child obtain a part-time job to help with college expenses.
  • Visit college campuses; start as early as 9th grade and check out available summer programs and camp options; this may help you to determine if this is the right choice for college. Make sure they have the major or program of study you are seeking prior to enrolling.
  • Review college Clep & DSST Policies; Schedule assessments to earn college credit while in high school. Surprisingly, you can save an average of $900 per college class. Start taking assessments as early as 10th Grade.
  • Research college scholarships options and apply for them throughout high school no matter how minimal the amount. It all adds up!
  • Take College Entrance Exams including the ACT and SAT multiple times.
  • Apply for Financial Aid.
  • Volunteer, Volunteer, Volunteer!
  • Network, Network, Network!

Until next time, be sincere, kind, and intentional.
By: Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator

8-16-2013 1-45-00 PM

The View From The Bridge

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  • Reflection is a Leadership Fundamental.
  • Reflecting back allows for improved success when reflecting forward
  • Think on a scale larger/ smaller than what you are used to thinking
  • See the forest for the trees
  • Look for patterns
  • Look at how nature solves “problems”
  • Do something you typically don’t do

Ask questions
What if…?
How about…?
How can we…?
Why not…?
Create Time
If you can’t find time in your busy day for reflective thought, make time:
1-Get up one hour early
2-Go to bed one hour late
3-Go to the park for lunch
4-Listen to music instead of the news shower or bath
6-Cut the grass
7-Take the dog for a walk

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In today’s hectic rat-race, it is very difficult to find time for reflective thought and getting in contact with our sub-conscious. New ideas typically don’t present themselves when we are too busy to think. In order to truly tap into your greatness make time to get away, think deeply, and truly reflect.

Reflecting Questions
1.Personally and professionally, what were my successes in 2013 and why do I view them as successes?
2.What new found strategies for success will I continue and bring with me into 2014 and why?
3.What were my missed opportunities thus far in 2013 and why?
4.From my experiences in the last year, what will I leave behind and why?
5.What guidance will I seek to make me a better person, and leader in moving forward?
By: Jackie Warner Community Outreach
“Impact, Engage, Grow”
Community Matters

7-19-2013 12-57-15 PM 7-19-2013 12-57-33 PM

The View From The Bridge

6-21-2013 2-41-45 PMI pray your answer is moving forward with a known purpose. If not, then know you are not alone. Taking an inward look at who we are “in reality” takes enormous courage. It takes honesty, and most of all it takes being intentional about the results we uncover.
In order to move forward, one must first look back and critically reflect on how you got to your current point. The next step would be to stand still and examine yourself with a serious eye in order to determine optimal self development options. Think about it! What is it that you see for your life, your future; what skills and educational needs do you lack? What is it that you need to keep moving forward without having to constantly back up or turn around?
Not one more step forward should one take until this process occurs. It is hard, really hard to self assess accurately because we know our strengths, but we also know our weaknesses, yes, the ones we like to keep to ourselves.

6-21-2013 2-43-19 PMStop for a moment and imagine that you are “living the life,” and doing the things that you truly desire. But then you remember it’s only your imagination; it’s not real. You say to yourself, “I am really not there yet, and don’t know if I will ever be.” Yes, we do this to ourselves everyday. Share our high hopes, dreams and ambitions with others but then truthfully …where is our follow-through? Found it! It just made a screeching halt at the stop sign of “Caution- Roadblocks Ahead”. Why? Because those voices in our head keep saying “No, that’s too hard to accomplish, why would you want to do that” or maybe it’s the naysaying comments of your best friend, relative or spouse which you allow to hold you back. Yes, I said “allow.” Admittedly, I have been guilty as much as the next person when it comes to allowing others to hold me back from reaching my goals and dreams. But let us be real with ourselves- is it in fact the other people? No, it is actually we as individuals keeping ourselves from advancing forward, and in some cases waiting patiently for the next push back, nay statement or road block sign to appear. Remember, be intentional, and let us not grow weary.

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Start where you are, taking one step forward with confidence. We are all at different places in our life, and your path and starting point is different from the next person’s. There is no need to compare yourself with others. Recognize that development of your goals and plan of action is yours and only yours. Yes, of course we would like to have the support of friends and loved ones to assist us with our goal achievements. I would say welcome the support, but remember the goals are not theirs to accomplish, and one cannot share one’s hopes and dreams with everyone, because everyone is definitely not for your good.

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In closing, what will your personal development plan of action involve: Choosing the right career pathway, preparing for the world of work, learning a new computer skill? Execute a critical self assessment first and then “start smart” by starting where you are in life, developing your known purpose. Remember, moving forward from those screeching halts we have allowed in our life takes endurance. Stay the course; detour instructions are available!
Until next time, be sincere, kind, and intentional.
Jackie Warner, Career Development Facilitator

6-21-2013 2-43-02 PM

Upcoming Events at The Bridge 1627 Hine Street S Athens, AL 35611
Job Search & Resume Review Tips (Free Workshop) June 29th 1:00 – 2:30pm July 25th 5:00 – 6:30pm Call to Register
Bring your own laptop and learn Computer Basics ($15.00) July 8th 5:30– 7:00pm July 13th 1:00 – 2:30pm
Bring your own laptop and learn Internet Basics ($15.00) July 15th5:30– 7:30pm July 20th 1:00 – 2:30pm

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