Author Archives: Russ Hovendick

My name is Russ Hovendick and my life has centered on helping others. To me there is no greater fulfillment than being able to play a part in positively impacting an individual's life.

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Rising Star Interviews- Kirstin Miller Interview

Our guest for this interview is Kirstin Miller, a proud Houston native. She attended Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Louisiana from 2006-2010 where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Computer Information Systems. Upon completion of her degree, she was employed with Saint-Gobain Containers in Ruston, Louisiana for approximately 23 months. She is currently employed with FMC Technologies as a Supplier Quality Engineer in Houston, Texas. Kirstin states that she learned the value of education at an early age and was constantly motivated by my mother to strive for success and accomplish her dreams without interruption. Now, at the age of 23, Kirstin would like to send that same encouragement to others and feels that Directional Motivation is the best place to do so.

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Executive Leadership Interviews- Lucas Lentsch

Our guest today is Lucas Lentsch. Lucas has been describes as “all about serving others”. Inspired by a desire to make a difference, Lucas’ path of service has taken him to Iraq as a Captain within the National Guard, back to South Dakota as a successful business entrepreneur owning his own Executive recruiting firm, and then to the role of Director of Agriculture Development for the State of South Dakota. Lucas now works for the financial firm of Reinke Gray – Wealth Management.

In today’s interview Lucas discusses the 3 factors that can make an individual a valued entity in the workplace. He also shares his thoughts on employment trends as well as what to look for when considering becoming an employee of a new organization. In the interview Lucas touches on the value of good training programs and mentors. He also discusses his experience in the National Guard and his role as an Operations Manager with Unilever in the Good Humor Breyer’s ice cream division.

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New Graduate Interviews- Emily Leffert

Joining us is Emily Leffert, who will be graduating from Purdue University’s College of Technology. She is lucky to have six years of production, sales, and marketing experience through working for her parents manufacturing company, Foppers Pet Treat Bakery- She is currently going through the interview process for an entry level position after she graduates next month. An Indiana resident all of her life, she is hoping to network and gain more insight into the manufacturing and sales prospects.

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The two essential ingredients for making your goals a reality

Exposure and Desire

by Zina Cooper

The act of mentoring and motivating young African American professionals requires the ability to tap into their desires and then to help them realistically determine the probability (or improbability) of obtaining them.
One of the most common factors I have found with young people, in general, but particularly African American youth, are lofty goals with lack of preparation or exposure. The very key to helping this demographic to tap into their strengths is to first assess their experiences. I have held many conversations with young professionals who aspire to greatness but have no baseline experiences to support it.
For example, I held a conversation with a college student working as a material handler, who is by the way a very bright young man. He was somewhat frustrated with the way his company was operating. He clearly identified productivity inefficiencies, safety hazards, morale issues and areas of waste in the business. I then asked him what his ultimate goal was and he stated to be a General Manager. “In fact”, he stated emphatically, “I could run this place today”. As our conversation continued, I was able to convince him if he were placed in the position today the probability of his success would be quite low. He was able to understand that he had no exposure to key elements of business management that needed to be developed in him first. By the time we discussed profit & loss statements, business & sales taxes, supply chain, scheduling and human resource management (which the General Manager ultimately has responsibility) he conceded he was only at the beginning stages of his development as a professional. It’s like wanting to play in the NBA and never having seen a game from the inside. It looks easy enough but when you try to place the ball in the hoop with 9 other people around you, from a distance, that takes lots of exposure and practice.
Let’s tap into your desires, understand your exposure (experiences), and then create opportunities for you to develop the skills that will lead you to success.

Executive Leadership Interviews- Craig Libis

Our guest today is Craig Libis, CEO of Executive Recruiting Consultants. Craig has been recruiting since July of 2000 and has grown his agency to being the largest non-franchised search firm in the state of South Dakota. His organization now recruits C level to Mid-level type roles, ranging from GM’s, CFO’s to staff accountants and operational supervision. His agency’s recruiting efforts involve a number of industries, including Accounting, Agriculture Banking, Engineering, Manufacturing, and Telecommunications. He is also heavily involved in his industry’s development and has been a featured presenter on the Next Level Exchange program. He has also been asked to share his expertise with publications and broadcasts such as, USA Today, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Dave Ramsey, Career Builder, Agri Insights and various other business journals.

In part two Craig speaks about current job openings that his search firm is working on. He also addresses the importance of Job Shadowing in high school and during college to help you decide on a major and also to determine if that career is a good match. Craig also addresses the value of having a good mentor and surrounding yourself with successful people who have your best interest at heart.

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Part 2 of the Interview

Rising Star Interviews- Mark Koladycz

Our guest today is Mark Koladycz. Mark is a recent graduate of Western Illinois University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Dietetics/Nutrition Science. He has just recently completed an internship with the Unilever organization which is a top maker of packaged consumer goods worldwide, Unilever products are sold in more than 190 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, North America, and Western Europe. The company’s offerings span several categories, including savory, dressings, and spreads; ice cream and beverages; personal care; and home care. Unilever’s portfolio boasts a dozen brands that each ring up more than 1 billion annually. Best sellers include Hellmann’s (mayonnaise), Knorr (soups), Lipton (tea), Dove and Lux (soaps), and Sunsilk (hair care). Unilever is the operating arm of Netherlands-based Unilever N.V. and UK-based Unilever PLC.

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Executive Leadership Interviews- Terry C.

Our guest today is Terry C. Terry is currently the Engineering Manager for a Fortune 500 organization and his 20 year career includes experience with companies such as Pepsi, Dean Foods, Kroger, and Borden’s. He has a degree in Industrial Technology and brings a vast amount of knowledge in the area of progressive management, strategic visioning, and predictive technologies for manufacturing operations.

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Executive Leadership Interviews- Ted Karagias

Ted Karagias is currently filling two roles as a Food Safety Manager and Continuous Improvement Manager with Land O’Frost Inc in Lansing, Illinois. Land O’Frost is currently the third largest ready-to-eat pre-packaged lunch meat company in the United States. Previously, he held numerous positions with Kraft Foods Inc in Champaign Illinois to include Operations & Sanitation Supervisor, Continuous Improvement Engineer, and Six Sigma Black Belt. Kraft Foods is the second largest food manufactured in the world with over $13 billion in sales annually. The Champaign Illinois facility is the flagship Kraft Facility producing over 1.2 billion tons of product a year. In 2011, Ted finished his Master’s Degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana in Human Resource Development.
Mr. Karagias is a Captain and is the Maintenance Officer in the 434th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron of the 434th Maintenance Group at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana. He is responsible for supporting 16 assigned KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft and their worldwide aerial refueling mission. He also leads a work force of approximately 150 crew chiefs and support personnel.

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Executive Leadership Interviews- John Schuetz

Executive Leadership Interviews- Today we had the pleasure of interviewing John Schuetz. John has a 20 year career that has included positions with General Mills, System Sensor, and most recently with Fresh Express, Inc. which is a division of Chiquita Brands International. His most recent role includes management of four manufacturing and distribution facilities and a workforce of over 1,400 employees. John is well known for his progressive style of management that engages his workforce through “Continuous Improvement”, empowerment, and Lean Manufacturing methodologies. In our interview John shares the importance of incorporating a strategic personal development plan, engagement of mentors, taking personal accountability and continued learning approach to achieving your own career success.

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Part 2 of the Interview

Nomophobia: Are you making this interview mistake?

interview mistakes

Cell phones have made it virtually possible to do almost anything at the palm of our hands. People are constantly on their cell phones and are either communicating or flinging tiny, furious birds in an attempt to take down pyramids of pigs. I will be fair and say that I do understand the compulsion to reach for your cell phone, and admit that I find myself on my cell phone quite often during the day in order to connect with clients and candidates.

As helpful as cell phones can be, we need to realize there is a time and place for them. There has been a lot written about the cell phone being “the new cigarette.” In 2008, British researchers coined a new term “nomophobia”—short for “no-mobile-phone phobia”—to describe the fear of being without a cell phone. At this point, I must remind you that the interviewer is the most important person on the face of the planet. Who is more important: your buddy on the line or the person who impacts your livelihood?

While writing my second book, I hesitated about whether to tell my readers never to answer their cell phones during a job interview. Should I tell you never to whip out a skewered corn on the cob during an interview and start eating it? Of course not! It’s glaringly obvious and ridiculous to fathom that anyone could do that. But because I have heard of many instances of job applicants sabotaging themselves by picking up their cell phones during interviews, I decided I had to address this problem.

If you suffer from nomophobia, the solution is simple: Turn off your cell phone before an interview…or better yet, leave it in the car! Don’t set it on vibrate and think you’ll be safe because let’s face it, vibrate is as loud as a fat cat purring. Even if you do not give in to your instinct to answer the call or read the text message, you will get distracted and lose focus. I can assure you that your text messages and Facebook notifications will still be available EVEN when you get out of the interview!