Professional Development in a Small Company

by Natalie Miller

Starting out with J&M around two years ago, Jen and Mike gave me the exposure to different parts of J&M so that I could choose what I liked best and run with it. They provided guidelines on how they wanted me to do things, and they gave me free range to make it my own. Through all my experiences here, it has taught me that I can feel confident in anything that I do by just trusting in myself and withstanding J&M’s Vision & Values. I never knew what to expect as I jumped into all kinds of new tasks, but I was motivated to find my forte.

Project Management is a large part of J&M and the consulting industry, and I gained exposure to this right away with the task of building the website. This project introduced me to all sides of Project Management and the different people I would be interacting with to successfully complete it. At first, I was uncomfortable in this role, but the people I was working with were very supportive and wanted me to succeed. It was difficult at times, especially because of J&M’s commitment to excellence, but this experience provided me with tools to excel as a professional.

  • Timeline planning and budgeting
  • Communication skills between client and company
  • Determining project scope

Now, I wanted to strengthen my people skills, and the opportunity to manage J&M’s summer intern was the perfect experience. I wanted to inspire both of us to be our best and this experience put my leadership skills to the test. It taught me the importance of patience and gaining an understanding for how different people manage their own workload. At first, I found the experience intimidating, but I discovered my comfort zone through the knowledge I gained:

  • Providing feedback and encouragement where appropriate
  • Project mapping
  • Interpersonal communication

I also wanted to try my hand at marketing and sales because I had some creative and fresh ideas thought to enhance the J&M brand as well as my own experience. Although some of these ideas were very effective, I was never crazy about this type of work. It tested my integrity by requiring a lot of tedious solo work, and I felt as if I would be beneficial in another place. However, I am still thankful for this experience, as it expanded my creativity and communication skills.

  • Production of marketing materials
  • Creating new slogans and campaign initiatives
  • Analyzing trends of potential clients – what they want to see
  • Learning how to sell the J&M brand through social media and marketing tools

I believe that each of these experiences have brought me to where I am now and have made me successful as a recruiter. It is my job to maintain communication with people and develop strong professional relationships. Recruiting is way more than just selling a brand; it is selling people. I quickly found a passion in connecting with new people and exploring each new gig to see how we can create a fit. I have pride in this position and providing excellent people with great opportunities, and I would not be here without Jen and Mike’s flexibility at the beginning.

 

J&M Stepping Up Involvement in 2018

by Koby Uhrig

Last summer, J&M Strategic Consulting sponsored the Give Pack Golf Classic, an event supporting economically disadvantaged K-12 students by providing them with essential school supplies for the year. We are proud to announce that we are extending this partnership, and will be a major contributor once again this season as the event’s name sponsor for the first time. For last year’s event, J&M raised over $10,000, and we are looking to raise over $15,000 for 2018’s fundraiser.

Give Pack is an outreach of Giving Back to Cranberry Township, whose goal is to provide better lives to the people of Cranberry and the surrounding areas. For this year’s initiative, proceeds will benefit students from three school districts and several not-for-profit and mission-based organizations.

J&M maintains its commitment to the community and developing lasting relationships with people who share similar Vision & Values. Our entire team will be at the event on Monday, June 18th at Cranberry Highlands Golf Course, and we would love to see you there! For more information on the event including how to register and donate, visit Give Pack to learn more. 

Meet Carolyn Lewis, Our New Strategic Consultant

J&M Strategic Consulting is excited to announce the addition of Carolyn Lewis as a Strategic Consultant. Carolyn is a quality-focused professional that adds 25 years of experience to the team. She has spent the last 15 years in various management roles focused on problem resolution, project management, workforce development & planning, client management, and more.

Carolyn is a detail-oriented individual who is naturally organized and is focused on the betterment of the team. Her positive attitude coupled with her tremendous listening skills enable her to resolve all conflicts with the best outcome for her and those around her. Carolyn is a true team player that we believe is a perfect fit with J&M.

When asked what appealed most to her at J&M, she explained it was about the atmosphere and the emphasis on the Vision & Values. “It feels that some places I have worked, everyone has just been treated like a number with no personality or individuality,” said Carolyn. “J&M seems different in that it displays a family-type atmosphere where we all rely on each other to be great as a team. We hold each other accountable according to the Vision & Values and there is a sense of openness that allows each of us to comfortably display these traits.”

Mike Dodge has this to say about Carolyn joining J&M,  “When you meet someone that fits the J&M Vision & Values, you know instantly, and I knew instantly that Carolyn would be a good fit for our team.”

During her free time, Carolyn enjoys traveling and finds the beach to be one of her favorite destinations. She is a Pittsburgh sports fan and prefers to take advantage of good weather days by playing a round of golf at a local course.

It is a delight to have Carolyn join our team and we know it will lead to great success for J&M as well as all of those she crosses paths with. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Carolyn Lewis as she joins us on this journey!

A New Path Emerges

Part One: The Culmination

by Scott Schramm

Imagine a time in your life when you were on the cusp of a big, life-changing decision and pulled the trigger. Why did you make this decision? What events occurred in your life that led you to make this choice? For me, this life-changing decision was to start my own personal training business. When I left my training gig at a national fitness chain at the end of October 2016, I only had a few clients to my name and was nowhere near busy enough to survive off my training business alone. I worked hard to make ends meet for a few months, but I still wasn’t close to having enough clients to maintain a stable business.

One evening in December 2016, I received a personal training request from Jen Dodge for her and her husband, Mike. After about ten minutes, I had already set up a meet a greet for us to work out fitness goals and plans. Meeting Jen and Mike at first was a little intimidating but also a breath of fresh air. I could tell right away that they were very disciplined and driven people, which isn’t always the case with personal training clients, so I was looking forward to testing my abilities on these two highly committed individuals. We reached an agreement in January 2017 and began our sessions a couple days later. It took some finagling to initially get into a groove, but their motivation and feedback made the early morning workouts run smoothly.

Over the next several months, we guided each other to become better people and our relationship grew to a more personal level. They inspired me to continuously put effort into becoming a better trainer. I began researching new exercises regularly that we would later try during sessions together. Both Jen & Mike were excited with the results they were seeing, so we started talking about an expanded role that branches into J&M. This was a big step for me and slightly over my head at first, but I knew I could take on the challenge. I accepted the position as Wellness Coordinator in April and felt right at home because of how well Jen & Mike treated their employees.

Among the first things I learned upon joining J&M were their Vision & Values and how they are the foundation of the company. Right away, I appreciated each of the Vision & Values and how they are placed at the forefront of everything J&M does as a company. It was apparent that Jen & Mike lived their lives with the Vision & Values holding priority. If I wasn’t sold yet, I was at the words commitment, teamwork, integrity, and passion. These are four traits that are critical to my craft as a personal trainer and words that explain my journey in getting to this point today. Reflecting back on that journey made me recognize that J&M is the perfect fit for me.

TO BE CONTINUED…

J&M Lights the Night

by Koby Uhrig

J&M Strategic Consulting continues to strengthen its bond with the local community.  On Tuesday, October 10th, members of the J&M team will participate in the 2017 Light The Night Walk at Heinz Field, benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).  J&M has already collected $2,300 of the $137,000 in total that has been raised by the cause.

Last October, J&M collected $8,485 for LLS and we are expecting to almost double that total for this year’s rally.  J&M’s goal for 2017 is $15,000 and we encourage everyone to participate.  The walk is an annual event held all across the country to celebrate, honor, and remember all that have been touched by cancer.

Cancer has impacted so many of us here at J&M and we are honored to be given an opportunity to partake in this amazing event.  This will be the second consecutive year that J&M has participated as a company, but President Jen Dodge has been involved with LLS for the last 18 years.  “It’s easy to sign up and join our team in this effort to raise money for a cause that impacts each and every one of us. We would love for you to join us!”

J&M Strategic Consulting is committed to being a key contributor to this initiative as well as many others moving forward.  As always, we encourage you to join our team in support or visit Light the Night to make a donation or to register your own team to walk for a cure.

Healthy Habits for Women

by Scott Schramm

J&M Strategic Consulting is always committed to providing a rewarding and fulfilling environment where teamwork, community, and passion are of the highest priority. This week, we have been celebrating National Women’s Health Week by keeping with the spirit of J&M’s Vision & Values.  They were created by J&M’s president, Jen Dodge, and no one resembles these traits better than Jen.  Her work ethic and integrity are exemplary of the strong women in today’s world.

Here are a few health tips that will benefit all women in our lives.

Have A Screening Plan

Women should make it a priority to visit with their doctor on a yearly basis and discuss a variety of topics including:

  • Family planning
  • Family health history, particularly about cancer
  • Weight, diet, and physical activity level
  • Any mental health concerns
  • How often to get specific tests (ie. mammogram)

Get Your Vitamins

Women need a variety of vitamins and minerals that may not always be feasible to consume through diet alone. Do your best to make sure you get the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Vitamins A and E – reduce macular degeneration and cataracts, protect skin from signs of aging and skin cancer
  • Vitamin K – maintaining strong bones, blood clotting, and prevent heart disease
  • Folate and Folic Acid – cognitive function, metabolism regulator, aids in fetus development and birth defect prevention
  • Iron – transfers oxygen to various parts of the body, reduces fatigue, boosts immunity, and reduces blood loss during menstruation

Exercise!

Keeping a strong back is important for women as the weight of the chest could cause rounded shoulders, which leads to poor, hunched posture. Incorporating squats into your daily exercise routine will maximize calories burned and reduce fat stores in the thigh and buttocks areas. For the quickest and best results, try the following exercises:

  • Squats
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Rows
  • Hip Raises

Women are a crucial and indispensable part of our society as well as the J&M team. Integrating a sound fitness plan including medical visits, a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, and regular exercise will improve the overall health and well-being of all women.

Convenient Workplace Exercises for The Busy Professional

by Scott Schramm

Approximately 40% of all employed people in the United States aged 19-64 work as professionals or managers, according to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Much of this work is performed while seated at a computer for several hours a day, five days a week. This can create difficulty in focusing on an individual’s well-being. It is crucial to supplement your work life with exercise to ensure a healthy mind, body, and attitude. This post showcases three simple exercises that can be performed at the office to help improve your overall well-being.  For additional exercises or to establish a personal exercise plan, please visit my website, SchrammerTimeFitness.com.

Stair Climbs

Stair climb

This is an extremely simple exercise that benefits desk workers by strengthening calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. These are the biggest muscles in your body and require maximum calorie burn for muscle repair. Follow these preliminary goals for the best results:

  • Four reps up and down 8-12 stairs
  • One minute break
  • Repeat twice more

With regular practice, climbing stairs will become much easier and you will be able to set higher goals. These goals allow most of your calories to be burned while at rest, making the exercise incredibly time efficient for your busy workday.

Wall Sits

Wall sit

Wall sits will greatly improve a desk worker’s posture if performed regularly. The focus is to correctly place pressure in your hips and legs instead of in your back. Wall sits are so simple, they can be performed while waiting for a meeting or after returning from the water cooler. Here’s how to get started:

  • Press your back and the back of your head into the wall
  • Walk your feet out a bit (shoulder width is preferred)
  • Point your toes slightly outward
  • Slide down the wall until your upper legs are parallel with the floor
  • Start with three to five 30-second sets
  • Progress up to 60 and 90-second sets

Bridge

Bridge

The bridge is another simple exercise that every professional can perform at the office. Many desk workers experience lower back pain and this exercise will strengthen that area. Pairing this exercise with wall sits regularly will reduce the frequency and severity of lower back pain.

  • Lie on the floor or a mat on your back with your head down
  • Keep your hands and feet on the floor with your knees bent
  • Extend your pelvis upwards and hold there for a one count
  • Return to the starting position
  • Begin with three sets of ten reps
  • Increase sets and reps with progression

Strong legs, good posture, and a durable lower back should be of primary concern for desk workers when contemplating an exercise routine that can be performed during the work day. With these exercises in your arsenal, you are well on your way to a healthier well-being without sacrificing time or commitment to your job.

It’s SchrammerTime at J&M Strategic Consulting

J&M Strategic Consulting is pleased to welcome Scott Schramm as our new Wellness Coordinator!  Scott is an at-home personal trainer who has been working with Jen and Mike since the beginning of the year. In that time, Scott has delivered results while displaying a mentality that falls in line with J&M’s Vision & Values. According to Vice President Mike Dodge, “it didn’t take long to realize Scott would be a good fit with our culture and that he had something to offer our team.”

In addition to keeping J&M fit, Scott owns SchrammerTime Fitness providing personal training in the Pittsburgh area and fitness programs for everyone. Scott’s motto of Train Hard, Get Smart, and Have Fun Doing It reflects his approach to improving his clients’ fitness. We’re excited to apply Scott’s motto to the J&M team.

Feel free to check out his website, www.schrammertimefitness.com, to learn more about J&M’s newest member and read his incredible story.  Please join us in welcoming Scott to our team.

J&M Adds Ted Rasbach as Facilities Intern

J&M Strategic Consulting is delighted to welcome Ted Rasbach to the team as our new Facilities Intern.  Ted has completed multiple subpar painting projects in the past for J&M, so this unpaid position provides an excellent opportunity for both Ted and the business to grow.  While the rest of our team handles the important parts of the business, Ted will be there to keep our office looking interesting and provide us with snacks when we ask, given his background as a flight attendant.

In his free time, Ted enjoys fat cats, visiting his daughter in New York, leaving his grill’s gas on, and drinking boxed wine.  One of his favorite hobbies is playing bad music at the local bar that nobody but himself appreciates.  Ted will make our office an exciting place to be.  At the ripe age of 50, he is sure to keep us laughing.

Happy April Fool’s Day, Ted!