Category: Business Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
Coffee lovers can get their caffeine fix on since Starbucks, one of America’s fave java spots, is offering its patrons a free cup of coffee from Wednesday to Friday, according to their website. The free tall cup of brew offer is extended from coast-to-coast.
Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO, posted a letter on the company’s website, expounding upon the company’s successes in the last year in addition to current societal ills that Americans are experiencing, such as the government shutdown and the pending debt/default crisis.
So as a gesture of kindness, the coffee maker wants to inspire its customers to pay it forward and purchase a cup of joe or another beverage for someone else; Starbucks will pay them back with the free tall coffee for themselves.
As I reflect on the success our company has achieved during the past year, I am nevertheless reminded of the hardships, stresses and strains that many of our customers are experiencing in these volatile times. The U.S. federal government shutdown, the pending debt and default crisis, waning consumer confidence and the general sense of unease these and other events have instilled in the minds of so many have created another period of uncertainty in our country.
Faced with this seemingly unending cycle of dysfunction and doubt, it would be understandable if many of us — and our customers — felt cynical, powerless or disengaged. So, as we have done in the past, we once again find ourselves asking a simple question: What can WE do about it at Starbucks? After all, we’re just a coffee company.
Our business was built customer-by-customer, one cup of coffee at a time. Every day in our stores, we bear witness to small acts of human kindness that reflect the generosity of spirit at the core of our guiding principles. Most often, these are the little gestures that best embody our commitment to our communities and our care for our customers, and one another.
Starting Wednesday through this Friday, we honor that heritage. If a customer buys someone else their favorite beverage, we will offer that customer a free tall brewed coffee in return. It’s that simple – “pay it forward,” and Starbucks will pay you back. I believe you will agree that this is a different yet authentic way Starbucks can help our fellow citizens to Come Together by supporting one another during a particularly challenging time, while continuing to make Starbucks stores a place of respite and comfort for millions of customers.
I’ve said before that we have a responsibility as well as an opportunity not to be bystanders, but to act in ways that contribute to the vibrancy of the communities where we live and work. This has always been the lens through which we make decisions, and it is a key reason why our customers have continually trusted us to do the right thing.
Please join me in helping our customers Come Together to support and connect with one another, even as we wait for our elected officials to do the same for our country. And thank you all for the heroic things you do every day as a Starbucks partner. Together, we can continue to make a difference-one cup, one customer, one act of civility and kindness at a time.
Last Updated on Thursday, 10 October 2013 08:29
Category: Business - Original Written by Beverly Lochard and Glenda McGuire, State Farm® Agents
Distracted driving is extremely dangerous and can cause personal injury and property damage. Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (1) Even with a hands-free device, multi-tasking while driving could have serious consequences.
You’ve seen it before: a vehicle near you is weaving in the traffic lane or traveling well below the speed limit. Chances are that driver is not focused on the road.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (2), there are three main types of distractions:
• Visual — taking your eyes off the road
• Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
• Cognitive — taking your mind off what you are doing
Distracted driving isn’t just about phone calls or text messages. Many activities that take your attention away from traffic can lead to accidents. Examples of distracted driving include:
• Adjusting a navigation system
• Retrieving a dropped item
• Talking on the phone
• Watching a video
Nearly half the U.S. states have restrictions against activities that cause distractions. Some states ban phone use in construction zones and school zones. Others place restrictions on novice drivers and operators of commercial vehicles, such as large trucks and school buses. Take the time to research the laws in your state and visit www.distraction.gov.
So, the next time you reach for the phone while driving, answer this question: Is this call important enough to risk hurting someone or can it wait?
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 17:15
Category: Who's Who In Black Detroit Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
CEO and Senior Marketing Consultant
Bankable Marketing Strategies, LLC
BANKABLE, WITH A TOUCH OF JAZZ
By: Donald James
For more than 25 years, Sharon Banks has exemplified the essence of a marketing communications professional. With an impressive portfolio of skills and expertise, Banks' marketing fingerprints have been attached to numerous local and national marketing projects and campaigns in the public, private, education, and non-profit sectors.
As CEO and senior marketing consultant of Bankable Marketing Strategies, LLC, Banks oversees the planning, creation and facilitation of services in the areas of strategic planning, marketing communications, media relations, stakeholder engagement, advertising, and issues management. Originally founded in 1998 as Banks Marketing Group, the company evolved to become Bankable Marketing Strategies, LLC in 2009. "I changed the name to better reflect the measurable outcomes of the services that we were offering to our clients," said Banks. "The name aligns with what we do to develop strategies our clients can count on to get desired results."
MONIQUE BUTLER, M.D.
Vice President, Medical Affairs
A LONG LIFE PASSION FULLFILLED
By: Damon Autry
When most 2nd graders were having difficulty figuring out which cartoon to watch, Monique Butler was busy dissecting star fish, guinea pigs and earth worms in science class. It was her deep-seated interest in biology that fueled this activity—an activity that would have presumably mortified perhaps every one of her classmates. Butler would even play doctor with her two sisters as a way of expressing her life's desire, even at such a young age. "I knew I wanted to be a physician," Butler says. "I had such a love for science."
Butler grew up in Inkster in a home full of love, high expectations and encouragement. Her parents wanted Butler and her two sisters to have better lives than they did, and her mother and father discussed it with them regularly. “My dad really believed in that because that’s how he was raised. My mom's consistent motto was you can do all things through Christ who strengthens us."
AARON P. DWORKIN
Founder and President, The Sphinx Organization
A CLASSICAL LIFE OF MUSIC…PERSONIFIED
By: Donald James
Aaron P. Dwokin has been featured in People and Newsweek Magazines, showcased on prominent national news television programs, served on President Obama’s National Arts Policy Committee and National Council on the Arts, and has received a bevy of other honors and awards. Yet, for Dworkin, one of the nation’s premier classical violinists and leading advocates of youth classical music education, he remains humbled and committed to what he loves most: empowering people of color through classical music.
As founder and president of the Sphinx Organization, Dworkin heads the leading national arts organization that focuses on youth development and diversity in classical music. Since its inception in 1996, the Detroit-based organization, under the guidance of Dworkin, has awarded more than $300,000 in prizes and scholarships to young people in the arts. The organization takes great pride in showcasing young classical musicians of color through an all-African-American and Latino Sphinx Symphony. Through its various educational and community programs, the Sphinx Organization impacts the classical music development of more than 35,000 youths annually, across the nation, and many more through various broadcasts.
Painter, Sculptor, and Urban Environmental Artist
FROM HEIDELBERG ST. TO THE WORLD
By: Donald James
Tyree Guyton is known worldwide as the mastermind and creator of the Heidelberg Project, an urban indoor/outdoor gallery of bold artwork, sculptures, and discarded items affixed to vacant houses, vacant lots, old cars, and just about everything else available along a two-block stretch of Heidelberg St., on Detroit’s east side. Through his 1986 artistic creation, Guyton has drawn national and international attention to the neglected neighborhood, in hopes that discussions will be held as to how his community, as well as similar communities city-wide, can be revitalized.
Guyton admits that there was a lot of opposition to his vision and subsequent artwork that transformed Heidelberg St. to look like no other street in the world. He had on-going battles with city government across several mayoral administrations, and even felt opposition from some area residents who opposed his audacious work. Nevertheless, Guyton persevered to artistically transform Heidelberg St. to new heights.
JOI M. HARRIS
Vice President, Gas Operations
PLANNED FOR SUCCESS
By: Damon Autry
Trying to determine their life’s mission is most often a daunting task for young people. Candidly, it can be a chore for older adults as well. But on the rare occasion a young person focuses in on a specific career discipline, the results can be enormously successful and fulfilling. Joi Harris is such a person.
Harris displayed a healthy interest in engineering dating back to her elementary school days. Consequently, her parents got her involved in DAPCEP (Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program) starting in the 6th grade. Harris participated in the program from that point through high school, and she found it to be a richly rewarding experience.
THE CANVASS OF THE BLACK MALE EXPERIENCE
By Carmen Carter
His muse …. the canvass of the black male experience, a story often untold and a people under shadowed. Bill Harris’ lightning rod for his love for writing sparked from his desire to continue a family tradition of storytelling. He was young and innocent without a story to convey and yet was intrigued and reaped the benefits of hearing a real-life story from the beginning to the end. He too wanted to tell stories, pursue a life filled with art formations.
The foundation for his 40 years of literary experience has roots in Cass Tech High School and Highland Park Community College. He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Wayne State University. Harris is a renowned literary artist whose works as a playwright, poet, critic and novelist have been documented nationwide.
STEPHEN D. HARRIS
Molina Healthcare of Michigan, Inc
PATHWAYS TO BETTER OUTCOMES
By: Damon Autry
Being the youngest sibling can carry with it a sense of acquiescence, as older brothers and sisters often attempt to play the dual role of sibling and parent—tossing orders and instructions to their youthful siblings. Fortunately for Stephen D. Harris, president of Molina Healthcare in Troy, that issue never fully took root during his childhood. Harris grew up on the northwest side of Detroit with an older sister and older brother. While he mirrored and keenly focused on the deeds of his older brother, it was his sister that really forged a blueprint for Harris’ future. “I had the opportunity to learn from many of their successes and mistakes,” he says of his siblings. “But my sister was the first person in the family to go to college, so she served as a big role model for me in that regard.”
DAVID L. JOHNSON
Vice President, Customer Service
A PASSION FOR SERVICE
By: Damon Autry
Everyone is a customer at one time or another everyday, so customer service has a heightened sense of importance in today’s marketplace. Indeed, ensuring all customers are satisfied with the products or services they receive is a laborious task, but those businesses that view customer service as more than just a department are on the fast track to gaining consumers’ continued gratitude.
David Johnson, vice president of customer service at DTE Energy, understands this concept. Customer service is his passion. He realizes it’s a dynamic relationship whereby organizations have to maintain a keen focus on the value of their customers. “Our customers’ expectations are always in the forefront of our minds,” Johnson says. “Keeping up with those expectations set forth by our customers can be a challenge at times. But our senior leadership team has really taken a pro-customer position, and we’ve placed a lot of emphasis, time and resources to improve how we interact with them.”
JESSICA CARE MOORE
MAKING ART WORK
By: Amber L. Tucker
Mastery over the spoken word is a gift and a talent. Few have accomplished this feat with the grace, finesse and power that jessica Care moore has throughout her expansive career. Moore is a world-renowned poet/publisher/activist/rock star/playwright and actor. She is one of the youngest living Apollo Legends, winning on the coveted Showtime at the Apollo five times in a row and opening the door for her to be able to make a living solely on her art.
“I live and breath it [language] and it’ a blessing to be able to say that. It’s not always easy to make a living off of your art.”
Chief Financial Officer
Wayne County, Michigan
FINANCING DREAMS WITH INTEGRITY
By: Amber L. Tucker
Carla Sledge is the chief financial officer of the Charter County of Wayne, Michigan. During her tenure, she has implemented numerous comprehensive effectiveness programs, which resulted in cost containment improvements. One of her most significant achievements was the roll out of the County’s financial application that resolved budget needs, replaced outdated applications requiring extensive reworking and created a fully integrated system capable of supporting a one-customer process.
Sledge has been in the finance world for twenty-five years. However, growing up she had a very different career goal in mind.
MAUREEN LOUISE STAPLETON
Chair, Public Lighting Authority
Founder and President, Community Enterprises LLC
SHOWING DETROITERS THE LIGHT AND THE WAY
By: Donald James
As a young girl growing up on the west side of Detroit, Maureen Louise Stapleton told friends that she would one day become the city’s first female mayor. She also told them that she wanted to be the next Barbara Jordan, the Texas Civil Rights advocate, who in 1973, became the first African-American woman from the South to be elected to the United States House of Representatives. While Stapleton, as an adult, has not served as mayor of the Motor City, yet, her impact on Detroit and its citizenry has been profound and would make Jordan proud.
Stapleton currently chairs the city’s new Public Lighting Authority (PLA), a five-member board of Detroit residents whose task is to develop and support plans to improve public lighting in the city. She was appointed by Mayor Dave Bing and does not receive a salary for her services.
CYNTHIA TAUEG, DHA, MPH, RN
Vice President, Ambulatory & Community Health Care Services
St. John Providence Health System
STRIVING FOR HEALTHIER COMMUNITIES
By: Lori Ella Miller
Dr. Cynthia Taueg came from a family of educators, so it was only natural that she thought she too would become a teacher, but life had other plans for her. It was her love for science and biology that led her to a career in health care. Taueg began her career as a registered nurse, graduating from Detroit’s Wayne State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree. She went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Public Health from The University of Michigan and a Doctorate in Health Administration from Central Michigan University.
Currently, Dr. Cynthia Taueg serves as the Vice President of Ambulatory and Community Health Care Services for St. John Providence Health System in Detroit, Michigan.
Director of Administration
PREPARING FOR PROSPERITY
By: Amber L. Tucker
E’Lois Thomas guides her life by the motto she received years ago from her pastor, that “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!” She has been a planner since she was a child with a plan to succeed! Having grown up on the North End of Detroit, Thomas benefitted greatly from the extracurricular activities at Delores Bennett Park.
“I lived on the corner of Smith and Beaubien. I remember free lunches and being at the park; I’m no stranger of bullets flying by,” however she says, “There are always opportunities.”
CARLA WALKER MILLER
President and CEO
Walker-Miller Energy Services
A WOMAN OF POWER
By: Amber L. Tucker
Mrs. Carla Walker-Miller is an energy industry veteran, and a dedicated advocate for residential and commercial energy efficiency. In 2000 she formed Walker-Miller Energy Services (WMES), an energy efficiency and energy optimization program service company, as well as a distributor for energy related products in the utility industry. Serving as president and CEO, she has led the organization to tremendous growth in energy services.
However, before she became a leader in energy efficiency in Detroit, she was born the eighth child out of twelve to a poor but stable two-parent household in Nashville, Tennessee.
Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer
Henry Ford Health System
FROM DISHWASHER TO C-SUITE
By: Damon Autry
The successes we garner in life and the necessary mindset we develop along the way are often the result of experiences that can be traced back to our formative years. For Randy Walker, vice president and chief diversity officer at Henry Ford Health System (HFHS), that is indeed the case.
Walker grew up on Detroit’s west side as one of nine children. The family’s economic resources were in short supply, but that never stopped young Randy Walker from wanting more in life. Consequently, he started working as a 10-year-old newspaper carrier and later as a stock boy at a neighborhood grocery store. “Working at such a young age gave me independence and a way to have my own source of income to support some of my own personal spending desires,” Walker says. He then cracks a slight grin. “I made some good money, too.”
Last Updated on Friday, 11 October 2013 14:00
Category: Business - Original Written by Michigan Chronicle Staff
Union leadership, by nature, is a concept whereby people look beyond themselves and their own wants and desires for something that is different and bigger than they are. Where selflessness and fighting for the greater good take center stage. Where lifting others up and realizing the infinite possibilities of a unified front become hallmark traits.
Not coincidentally, these are all characteristics that describe Kevin Tolbert. He is the union head at the UAW-Ford National Programs Center (NPC) in downtown Detroit. The 40-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise within the UAW ranks. And Tolbert’s ascension to his current post — executive director of the NPC and administrative assistant to UAW Vice President Jimmy Settles — is historic in that he is the youngest to ever hold that position. In this role, Tolbert manages an annual budget in excess of $50 million while overseeing a staff of more than 100. Together, his team administers programs to 46,000 UAW members working at Ford facilities throughout the country.
“My primary responsibility is to ensure our UAW members in the plants are getting the biggest bang for their buck from our programs,” he said. “There’s nothing more important than that.” Those programs include Health & Safety, Employee Support Services, Education, Diversity and others — each with a chief focus of ensuring UAW-represented Ford workers are fully equipped to function in the restructured, high-performing workplaces of today.
Tolbert’s ascent to leading the UAW-Ford National Programs Center is not happenstance, but rather the culmination of a life lived with a mindset of always striving for excellence and doing what’s right by others. He first joined the union in 1994 when he began working at the Dearborn Engine & Fuel Tank Plant at Ford’s Rouge Complex. His first job entailed lifting 40 pound fuel tanks and placing them onto a rack nearby. Such a physically demanding job nearly prompted the intellectually discerning Tolbert to quit. “That was some tough work,” he said with a chuckle, “but I hung in there as best I could.” Tolbert, who started kindergarten a year early, was double promoted and ultimately graduated from Cass Tech at 16, had more of an interest in displaying his brainpower than his brawn.
He became devoted to trying to figure out ways that he and his coworkers could perform their tasks more efficiently, so Tolbert became a team meeting facilitator in his area of the plant. He felt it was necessary to develop written work rules, job descriptions, job rotation schedules and other strategies in an effort to create a more productive team. His efforts were so well received that the entire plant soon adopted his idea.
Tolbert also began performing tasks for the Ford Communication Network, the in-plant video messaging system. The departure from the initial grunt work provided an outlet for Tolbert to add more to his skill set than just brute strength. “I was able to use my skills and my knowledge in a way that benefited everybody,” he said. “To be able to do that and help people at the same time was really rewarding.”
Having established himself as a person who can get things done, Tolbert was picked to help launch the Technical Training Center in the plant. Its successful unveiling caught the eye of then-UAW Regional Director Jimmy Settles. Tolbert followed that up with a strategy to help inform UAW members about the 2002 gubernatorial race in Michigan. He developed fliers, a web site and produced a video, all in an effort to ensure the membership was well educated about the candidates.
“I showed that material to Jimmy,” he said. “He told me that he was impressed and that was something he would like to do more of for our members.” Settles soon offered Tolbert a role at his Region 1A office, the largest region in the UAW. Even though it was a temporary assignment and came with no long-term guarantees, Tolbert joined the region in 2003 as an assistant in the community action program. When Settles was appointed vice president and director of the UAW Ford Department in 2006, he brought Tolbert along, making the young, fierce union advocate a UAW international representative.
Now with a more permanent position in the union, Tolbert was poised to fight for all the tenets on which the UAW was founded. “Jimmy shared with me that he didn’t want me to be a regular union rep,” Tolbert said, a married father of three sons. “He wanted me to be a throwback. To be active in the community, active in politics, and just be an overall leader. He was very adamant about that.”
Tolbert put those leadership skills to the test when in 2011, as assistant director of the UAW’s insurance department, he led labor negotiations for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Health Alliance Plan. “It was a challenge, and there were times when I wondered if I was doing the right thing, but we stuck with it and got it done.”
Once appointed to his current position in July 2013 by Vice President Settles, Tolbert continued his drive of ensuring UAW-represented Ford workers receive the service they deserve from the union’s international staff. One focus was attempting to shore up communication efforts to the members. “We launched our digital department in 2011 as a way to share with our members all the things that we’re doing. In 2013, we launched our UAW-Ford Community magazine as a tool to talk about some of the community projects our members are involved in.”
Tolbert cares about the UAW with a studious passion. His fidelity to its principles, its values and its historic relevance makes fighting on behalf of union members an easy choice. It also makes working 12-hour days par for the course. But there are no complaints from Tolbert — just a continuance of providing dedicated service to UAW members around the country with a especially strong sense of purpose.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 October 2013 17:13
Category: Business Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director
By Chuck Mikolajczak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Excitement for Twitter's coming IPO is running pretty high - so much so that some investors on Friday mistook the nearly worthless stock of long-dead electronics retailer Tweeter for the tweeting site, sending shares up more than 1,000 percent.
Tweeter Home Entertainment Group <TWTRQ.PK>, a specialty consumer electronics company that went bankrupt in 2007, saw its most active day of trading in more than six years even though it has nothing to do with the social media site.
The stock, which trades over the counter, closed Thursday at a price of less than a penny a share, and hit a high of 15 cents a share on Friday. More than 14.3 million shares had traded by midday.
The volume marked an all-time high for the stock, surpassing the 13.05 million shares traded on May 10, 2007, when the company reported quarterly results and said it may choose to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Shares were halted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) at 12:47 p.m. (1647 GMT), with the stock up 684 percent at 5.1 cents, under the terms of Rule 6440, which the agency uses in "circumstances in which it is necessary to protect investors and the public interest."
To say the stock is normally lightly traded is an understatement. Sometimes several days go by without even 1,000 shares traded over the course of a full session.
However, Tweeter's share price and volume ticked higher following Twitter's announcement on September 12 that it had confidentially filed for an initial public offering.
The moves since then through Thursday were not nearly as extreme, with the stock reaching a high of 3.5 cents and volume between 200,000 and 1.1 million shares.
Tweeter filed for bankruptcy in June of 2007 and its assets were acquired by Schultze Asset Management on July 13, 2007, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A representative for Schultze was not immediately available for comment.
Twitter Inc publicly filed its IPO documents on Thursday, setting the stage for one of the most-anticipated debuts in over a year.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by David Gaffen, Nick Zieminski and Phil Berlowitz)
Last Updated on Friday, 04 October 2013 16:10
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