Area business leaders share their best ideas

Highlights of 90 Ideas in 90 Minutes

Nine leaders of Milwaukee-area businesses and nonprofit organizations shared 10 of their best ideas and strategies for success in BizTimes Media’s inaugural 90 Ideas in 90 Minutes event.

The event was held on Thursday, Dec. 7, at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino and was sponsored by Concordia University Wisconsin. At the event, each of the nine speakers was given 10 minutes to present his or her 10 ideas, which provided insights on their secrets to success for themselves or their organizations. Then the speakers participated in a Q&A with the audience.

The speakers were:

  • Jerry Jendusa, co-founder and partner at Stuck LLC
  • Vincent Lyles, president and chief executive officer of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
  • Marsha Mather, owner of Laacke & Joys
  • Ugo Nwagbaraocha, president of Diamond Discs International
  • Marie O’Brien, president and CEO of Enterforce
  • Rick Schlesinger, chief operating officer, Milwaukee Brewers
  • Vince Shiely, partner at Lubar & Co.
  • Mary Dowell, founder and CEO of MJ Dowell & Associates
  • Jim Mueller, president of Mueller QAAS

Following are one of each of the speakers’ ideas presented at the 90 Ideas in 90 Minutes event. To see all 90 of their ideas, go to biztimes.com.

Jendusa

Jerry Jendusa: “Single page planning.”

“Business planning does not have to be all that complicated. Writing plans and going through strategic planning is one part. The most important element is the ability to get it all on a single page and then having the ability to make the plan come to life. The single page document turns into your execution plan. What are we doing over the next 30, 60 and 90 days? How does this impact our updated forecast? What major must-do, can’t-miss items should we tackle? Plan execution enables a current state to change into a future state of your business and affords you the opportunity to grow.”

Lyles

Vincent Lyles: “Co-workers need to have more dinners than lunches together.”

“While lunch between colleagues and co-workers is a great way to build trust and to support one another, the general timeframe of lunch is usually one hour or less. This means there isn’t a lot of time to get to know one another. Moreover, if it is a public setting, people are less comfortable sharing their thoughts or true feelings about a situation affecting their work or home life. I would suggest co-workers get together for dinner on a regular basis. Dinner is usually done off-site and the parties may have more time to get to know each other and to discuss in greater detail how they can support one another and their work environment.”

Mathers

Marsha Mathers: “People make companies.”

“My husband and I purchased Laacke & Joys almost 22 years ago and implemented some basic fundamental philosophies. One is that people make companies and putting them in the right positions and giving them the freedom to be successful in those positions is the most important element of sustainable success. Our task was unique, as Laacke & Joys is both a retail and manufacturing company. Each division has its own challenges, major initiatives and differences; however, the underlying common denominator, that people make companies, is that we empower them to be decision-0makers and make them accountable under our TPEE Plan, which is Think, Plan, Evaluate and Execute. It is a methodology or framework that allows for successes in both divisions of our company.”

Nwagbaraocha

Ugo Nwagbaraocha: “Invest in the community.”

“This is truly a global economy and Milwaukee is a great city. The humble success I have achieved is based firmly on the role models demonstrated by my parents, who immigrated to Milwaukee over 50 years ago from Nigeria, and achieved respective nursing and doctoral education degrees while raising a family, and helped found thriving community- and religious-based organizations. Even in the 1960s, my parents had a global perspective and understood the value of the City of Milwaukee, a city of values, hard-working town (with) employment opportunities and great place to raise a family.

“My parents demonstrated and established the importance of family, education, hard work ethic and paying it forward.

“There is a civic and global business perspective imperative to pay it forward. Increase opportunities to retain talent and access for business opportunities. Provide the same positive role models, demonstrate the importance of education and work ethic, value of family, creation of employment opportunities for our new generations and less advantaged. Our continued investment in the community allows the best utilization of our resources and empowers the city of Milwaukee to be a first-in-class, globally competitive city to raise families, retain talent and increase the opportunities for all businesses.”

O’Brien

Marie O’Brien: “Follow your passion; Don’t settle.”

“Whatever gets you out of bed in the morning is most likely to keep you fueled throughout the day and into your future. What do you believe you can and will contribute to this economic engine called ‘work?’ Is it true that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life?

“As a young professional, I observed and emulated successful individuals. I assessed, reacted, took action, made mistakes, learned lessons – or not – and then determined the best practices and norms for myself. My path revealed the good, bad and the ugly. The good was business that was progressive, innovative, productive and mutually beneficial for the constituencies. The draining part of my journey was the bad and the ugly. The bad and ugly often called into question unsavory business practices, absence of values, broken processes or old methodology.

“When reflecting at the crossroads of a decision, simply attach your values and choose what really makes you tick. Then, prepare to be energized!

“Find meaning in what you do and grab the opportunity to achieve goodness, and maybe even greatness.”

Schlesinger

Rick Schlesinger: “A daily walk.”

“At least once per day, I leave my desk and tour our offices. I try not to have an agenda or a specific destination. Instead, I want to talk with our staff. I have found that some of our best ideas come from informal interactions. These daily walks put me in touch with our most senior staff, but also with those who are early in their career paths. Like any business, we need creativity to come from everywhere. If we don’t circulate, I believe we stifle that process. I encourage all of our senior staff to be open to ideas from atypical sources. That can be junior staff, members of other departments, customers or next door neighbors. And I encourage them to go make those conversations happen. Don’t wait for them to appear in your office.”

Shiely

Vince Shiely: “You accomplish nothing on your own.”

“If I have accomplished anything, it is because my God, my family, my close friends, my mentors and the exceptional management teams I have worked with in my career made it possible. Awesome people make great value-creating organizations. The most significant organizational challenge in a business is rarely working harder; it’s working together. Getting the right people on the bus and developing a productive culture that makes the organization greater than the sum of its parts is how you win. Culture trumps strategy!”

Dowel

Mary Dowell: “A little humility goes a long way.”

“Leading with humility means understanding that mutual respect is the foundation of effective leadership. A poor leader sees and treats people differently, showing respect only to those he deems worthy of it. A true leader treats everyone with respect, thus earning the respect of others. There’s a difference between a leader and a boss. While both are in charge, a leader shares the spotlight and is comfortable crediting others. While it might seem counterintuitive, being humble takes more confidence than basking in glory. Employees will appreciate it, and clients will, too.”

Mueller

Jim Mueller: “Know your purpose.”

“If someone came up to you and asked, ‘What is your purpose in life?’ have an answer! Like Vince Lombardi, mine is God, family and work – with passion and determination. Over my lifetime, the values of my parents, close relatives, teachers, mentors and friends have molded me. Currently, my purpose is focused on three areas: 1. Promoting a very valuable asset we have in this community: Higher education. As a community, we need these human resources to work and play here. 2. We need the brightest women to remain in this community and have professional acceptance in our community. This can be done with an attitude adjustment of the leaders who control the economic strings in our community, or a real success story like Epic locally. 3. Affordable health care. We need a combination of health care and business leaders to be transparent about this issue and act in a positive and effective manner.”

Nine leaders of Milwaukee-area businesses and nonprofit organizations shared 10 of their best ideas and strategies for success in BizTimes Media’s inaugural 90 Ideas in 90 Minutes event.

The event was held on Thursday, Dec. 7, at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino and was sponsored by Concordia University Wisconsin. At the event, each of the nine speakers was given 10 minutes to present his or her 10 ideas, which provided insights on their secrets to success for themselves or their organizations. Then the speakers participated in a Q&A with the audience.

The speakers were:

  • Jerry Jendusa, co-founder and partner at Stuck LLC
  • Vincent Lyles, president and chief executive officer of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee
  • Marsha Mather, owner of Laacke & Joys
  • Ugo Nwagbaraocha, president of Diamond Discs International
  • Marie O’Brien, president and CEO of Enterforce
  • Rick Schlesinger, chief operating officer, Milwaukee Brewers
  • Vince Shiely, partner at Lubar & Co.
  • Mary Dowell, founder and CEO of MJ Dowell & Associates
  • Jim Mueller, president of Mueller QAAS

Following are one of each of the speakers’ ideas presented at the 90 Ideas in 90 Minutes event. To see all 90 of their ideas, go to biztimes.com.

Jendusa

Jerry Jendusa: “Single page planning.”

“Business planning does not have to be all that complicated. Writing plans and going through strategic planning is one part. The most important element is the ability to get it all on a single page and then having the ability to make the plan come to life. The single page document turns into your execution plan. What are we doing over the next 30, 60 and 90 days? How does this impact our updated forecast? What major must-do, can’t-miss items should we tackle? Plan execution enables a current state to change into a future state of your business and affords you the opportunity to grow.”

Lyles

Vincent Lyles: “Co-workers need to have more dinners than lunches together.”

“While lunch between colleagues and co-workers is a great way to build trust and to support one another, the general timeframe of lunch is usually one hour or less. This means there isn’t a lot of time to get to know one another. Moreover, if it is a public setting, people are less comfortable sharing their thoughts or true feelings about a situation affecting their work or home life. I would suggest co-workers get together for dinner on a regular basis. Dinner is usually done off-site and the parties may have more time to get to know each other and to discuss in greater detail how they can support one another and their work environment.”

Mathers

Marsha Mathers: “People make companies.”

“My husband and I purchased Laacke & Joys almost 22 years ago and implemented some basic fundamental philosophies. One is that people make companies and putting them in the right positions and giving them the freedom to be successful in those positions is the most important element of sustainable success. Our task was unique, as Laacke & Joys is both a retail and manufacturing company. Each division has its own challenges, major initiatives and differences; however, the underlying common denominator, that people make companies, is that we empower them to be decision-0makers and make them accountable under our TPEE Plan, which is Think, Plan, Evaluate and Execute. It is a methodology or framework that allows for successes in both divisions of our company.”

Nwagbaraocha

Ugo Nwagbaraocha: “Invest in the community.”

“This is truly a global economy and Milwaukee is a great city. The humble success I have achieved is based firmly on the role models demonstrated by my parents, who immigrated to Milwaukee over 50 years ago from Nigeria, and achieved respective nursing and doctoral education degrees while raising a family, and helped found thriving community- and religious-based organizations. Even in the 1960s, my parents had a global perspective and understood the value of the City of Milwaukee, a city of values, hard-working town (with) employment opportunities and great place to raise a family.

“My parents demonstrated and established the importance of family, education, hard work ethic and paying it forward.

“There is a civic and global business perspective imperative to pay it forward. Increase opportunities to retain talent and access for business opportunities. Provide the same positive role models, demonstrate the importance of education and work ethic, value of family, creation of employment opportunities for our new generations and less advantaged. Our continued investment in the community allows the best utilization of our resources and empowers the city of Milwaukee to be a first-in-class, globally competitive city to raise families, retain talent and increase the opportunities for all businesses.”

O’Brien

Marie O’Brien: “Follow your passion; Don’t settle.”

“Whatever gets you out of bed in the morning is most likely to keep you fueled throughout the day and into your future. What do you believe you can and will contribute to this economic engine called ‘work?’ Is it true that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life?

“As a young professional, I observed and emulated successful individuals. I assessed, reacted, took action, made mistakes, learned lessons – or not – and then determined the best practices and norms for myself. My path revealed the good, bad and the ugly. The good was business that was progressive, innovative, productive and mutually beneficial for the constituencies. The draining part of my journey was the bad and the ugly. The bad and ugly often called into question unsavory business practices, absence of values, broken processes or old methodology.

“When reflecting at the crossroads of a decision, simply attach your values and choose what really makes you tick. Then, prepare to be energized!

“Find meaning in what you do and grab the opportunity to achieve goodness, and maybe even greatness.”

Schlesinger

Rick Schlesinger: “A daily walk.”

“At least once per day, I leave my desk and tour our offices. I try not to have an agenda or a specific destination. Instead, I want to talk with our staff. I have found that some of our best ideas come from informal interactions. These daily walks put me in touch with our most senior staff, but also with those who are early in their career paths. Like any business, we need creativity to come from everywhere. If we don’t circulate, I believe we stifle that process. I encourage all of our senior staff to be open to ideas from atypical sources. That can be junior staff, members of other departments, customers or next door neighbors. And I encourage them to go make those conversations happen. Don’t wait for them to appear in your office.”

Shiely

Vince Shiely: “You accomplish nothing on your own.”

“If I have accomplished anything, it is because my God, my family, my close friends, my mentors and the exceptional management teams I have worked with in my career made it possible. Awesome people make great value-creating organizations. The most significant organizational challenge in a business is rarely working harder; it’s working together. Getting the right people on the bus and developing a productive culture that makes the organization greater than the sum of its parts is how you win. Culture trumps strategy!”

Dowel

Mary Dowell: “A little humility goes a long way.”

“Leading with humility means understanding that mutual respect is the foundation of effective leadership. A poor leader sees and treats people differently, showing respect only to those he deems worthy of it. A true leader treats everyone with respect, thus earning the respect of others. There’s a difference between a leader and a boss. While both are in charge, a leader shares the spotlight and is comfortable crediting others. While it might seem counterintuitive, being humble takes more confidence than basking in glory. Employees will appreciate it, and clients will, too.”

Mueller

Jim Mueller: “Know your purpose.”

“If someone came up to you and asked, ‘What is your purpose in life?’ have an answer! Like Vince Lombardi, mine is God, family and work – with passion and determination. Over my lifetime, the values of my parents, close relatives, teachers, mentors and friends have molded me. Currently, my purpose is focused on three areas: 1. Promoting a very valuable asset we have in this community: Higher education. As a community, we need these human resources to work and play here. 2. We need the brightest women to remain in this community and have professional acceptance in our community. This can be done with an attitude adjustment of the leaders who control the economic strings in our community, or a real success story like Epic locally. 3. Affordable health care. We need a combination of health care and business leaders to be transparent about this issue and act in a positive and effective manner.”

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