By Karin Hurt on October 16th, 2014 | Comment on this post

You cannot have a best-in-class call center without a rock star director.

This may sound extreme, but I assure you it isn’t. I’ve seen centers with solid potential downsized and closed far to often when they could have been salvaged with better leadership. I’ve also seen the amazing turnarounds happen in just a few months when the only dynamic that changed was the leader.

If you’re serious about results, invest in finding and developing the very best center leader you can and then have her work tirelessly to build a strong bench of leaders underneath her who could step in at any time.

Signs your leader is not ready for prime time

Before we get into the definition of “rock star” let’s start with signs of trouble. Perhaps you’ll recognize a few of these characters.

  • Cara is deeply invested and extremely stressed. You’re pretty sure she’s sleeping at the center. You see toothpaste and mascara hidden behind the toilet paper in the bathroom.
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By on October 16th, 2014 | Comment on this post

Silhouettes of Business People Meeting with Social Media SymbolsHow can you get students excited about STEM, improve their skills and prepare them for the workforce? Join education and industry leaders for a lively, interactive discussion on bridging the gap between association partner relationships and students’ STEM skills. SmartBrief Education presents its inaugural STEM Pathways Roundtable Discussion, an event series exploring the real-world ways in which education and industry can work together to improve students’ STEM skills and guide them to careers in STEM fields. Join us for this groundbreaking new event series.

STEM Pathways Roundtable #1: Association Leadership Roles
October 23, 2014, 10 AM – 12 PM
SmartBrief Headquarters, 555 11th St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C., 20004


The event is free to attend but space is limited. Register today to secure your spot.


Panelists will lead a lively, interactive discussion on how associations can take a leadership role in developing and promoting STEM programs that help fill workforce needs, the challenges to these types of STEM programs, and how industry and education can come together to solve these problems.…

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By Carol Hunter on October 15th, 2014 | Comment on this post

classroomFor those who are comforted by labels and the certainty they provide, it is difficult to embrace the idea that we can unlock the potential of many of our students by determining how they learn. Once we decide that many diagnosed learning disabilities refer to having trouble in a school-based learning environment, we can move forward with defining individual learning styles, brain strengths and intelligences.

We’ve all been through the laborious process of having a student identified as having a learning disability. This process usually involves filling out a vast amount of paperwork and waiting sometimes over a year for the testing to occur. Then detailed results are shared with teachers and parents. The report usually includes various generic strategies for helping the student be more successful in the classroom — not necessarily to maximize their learning potential. The report then leads to the creation of an individual education plan and more paperwork and meetings.…

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By on October 15th, 2014 | Comment on this post

SmartBrief is talking directly with small and medium-sized businesses to discover their journeys, challenges and lessons. Today’s post is a Q-and-A with Erik Severinghaus of SimpleRelevance, which works with companies to “pull in and normalize your current data, then use predictive analytics to recommend the best email marketing approach for each customer. ”

Are you a small-business owner and would like to share your story? E-mail me jdasilva [at]

View the Small Biz Q-and-A series, and sign up for our free e-mail newsletters on small business and entrepreneurialism.

What does SimpleRelevance do, and what led you in 2011 to say, “I need to start this”?

SimpleRelevance is the first true machine-learning platform for digital marketers. We take in tremendous amounts of data and leverage predictive analytics to significantly improve the efficacy of digital marketing campaigns. For instance, if we’re optimizing a company’s e-mail program, we will automatically ensure that e-mail is sent with the best subject line, content, and at the right time of day to each individual customer.…

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By on October 15th, 2014 | Comment on this post

When I was young and new to a corporate position, my manager, Karen, gave me an assignment that involved translating a confusing government regulation into a benefit that would be available for our employees. She was expecting a proposal from me that would detail what needed to be done and then to lead the implementation of the benefit.

At first, I struggled to understand the regulation and had difficulty grasping how this could be put to use in our company. Karen refused to let me off the hook by giving me the answers (that I was pretty sure she had); she simply trusted that I would figure it out. She checked in from time to time to see how I was doing, spoke encouraging words, and left me alone to work out the details. Her tactics eventually resulted in a proposal and the implementation of a significant benefit for our workforce.…

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