IN THE NEWS: Alice Waagen quoted in Philadelphia Inquirer article, "Are you coming on too strong?"
In an article published in the July 28 edition on the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jobs.com website, reporter Dawn Klingensmith interviewed Workforce Learning president Alice Waagen for an article entitled, “Are you coming on too strong?” Alice said, yes, you might be seen as overly aggressive if:
You send more than a succinct thank-you note after an interview. “Some applicants send flowers or candy,” Alice explained. “This is not a date — it’s a job.”
You can’t take the hint. “If you’ve left messages and e-mails and don’t get a response, that’s either a strong indication you’ve been rejected or that the hiring manager is “a poor manager lacking basic skills,” Waagen said.
Click to read the entire article.
ADVICE FOR EXPERTS: Insight into a successful collaboration
An interview with Margarita Rozenfeld, CEO of Incite International and Chief Visionary of YES!Circle and chairman of the 2009 “Kismet for Kidsave” fundraiser
Just weeks after she ran the successful “Kismet for Kidsave” fundraiser, I had the opportunity to interview Margarita Rozenfeld, CEO of Incite International and Chief Visionary of YES!Circle. She and her team of volunteers helped raise more than $140,000 for the DC-based nonprofit, which helps teenagers who have been orphaned and are living as foster children to find loving families.
This incredible feat required considerable coordination and collaboration amongst a very diverse group of people. Margarita also took the opportunity to lead the team, rather than facilitate a team-building process as she regularly does for the clients she coaches through Incite International.
Margarita admits the process wasn’t always a smooth one, but also in the end she not only accomplished her fundraising goals — she learned valuable leadership lessons that will last a lifetime.
Alice: Let’s cut right to the chase. What was the biggest lesson you learned by chairing the Kismet for Kidsave fundraiser?
Margarita: From the beginning I realized that the success of the project would depend on assembling a committee that shared a passion for the Kidsave cause and who were collaborative by nature. My personal goal was that every team member would have a purposeful and positive experience working with each other. Almost no one on the committee knew each other initially, and all of them brought different backgrounds and skills to the project. But they all had something in common: they were quick-thinking, socially conscious, inherently social, and very proactive. They were also fully engaged in the cause and liked one another as people, which helped draw them together.
Alice: Given what I know about the challenges of collaborative efforts, I’m guessing that it wasn’t all smooth sailing?
Margarita: No, especially not initially. Keep in mind that this was a team of talented, brilliant people — many of whom owned their own companies — with strong personalities and their own opinions. Fortunately, I learned early on that sometimes the bumpy experiences enabled everyone on the team to get clear about our unified message and their own role and responsibilities in the project. Otherwise, people stepped on each other’s toes and nothing really got accomplished. So we all worked hard to find a way to stay focused on our mission and goals.
Alice: How did you manage to accomplish that level of collaboration?
Margarita: I selected people who were good at seeing the big picture and were able to leave their ego at the door for the good of the project. We all were clear that the Kidsave children were counting on us to help them find families! I believe that sidestepping our own egos is a learned process because it’s not always easy for everyone, me included.
Alice: It sounds like staffing the project with the right people is half the battle.
Margarita: Probably more than half! This experience taught me that I love to lead, but I’m not an expert at managing people. As a result, I feel that my role should be the visionary, advocate, and salesperson for what I believe in. Then I’ll recruit others who are superb at project management. I think my biggest lesson learned was the importance of matching the job to the individual’s strength and passions. When people are doing what they love and excel at, they do more than you expect of them.
Alice: Did you have any times when morale lagged? If so, what did you do about it?
Margarita: At one point a few weeks before the fundraiser I felt like we had hit a wall. Money was coming in slowly and everyone was getting a bit discouraged because they were working so hard. I asked the committee member with considerable fundraising experience to step in and share his view on what was happening. He assured everyone that what we were facing was normal and that in his experience everything comes together “last minute.” Hearing encouragement from someone other than me definitely helped to assuage fears and to reenergize the team. Sometimes knowing when to step aside and ask others to take the lead makes all the difference. That is another big lesson learned.
Alice: It sounds like you learned a lot about yourself in this process.
Margarita: Without doubt. Chairing the Kismet for Kidsave fundraiser was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Leading a team of volunteers and partnering with the Kidsave staff was more challenging and rewarding than I could have ever imagined. I probably learned more about my leadership abilities and interests through Kismet than from all my years of facilitating teambuilding as a consultant to other companies. Knowing that this amazing experience actually exceeded our goals and will help change the lives of so many children makes it simply priceless.
And yes, I’ve already committed to work on next year’s Kismet for Kidsave — along with most of my incredible committee members from this year. Stay tuned!