Perspective

The last two years have forced us to think differently about educating students. When we created online and blended learning models in response to the pandemic, we could see what was possible on a much larger scale than piloting a new delivery model in a single classroom or grade level. Some flourished while others floundered. We had to break any thinking trap that prevented us from creating a different education model.

It’s easy to fall into thinking traps about ourselves, our work, and other people. It may take a new experience, perspective, or vision to get out of those traps, to change how we see the world around us. However, just like the traditional education model doesn’t work for every student, the change to online or blended learning models doesn’t work for every student either. It’s about providing several options for students and families.

Students, families, and educators are started to demand options because their perspectives have changed from the experiences of the last two years. Some ask why we can’t offer online options for students who want them. Why can’t we provide flexible work schedules for teachers and administrators who wish to offer scheduling options for students? Again, perspectives have changed, which has led to discussions about what significant, systemic changes are possible for education.

I work in a Career Technical Education district, and when the pandemic first hit, we, like all schools, created a schedule to cope with the sudden disruption of forced closer. We scrambled to keep learning relevant. Students were used to spending half their day in their Career Tech Labs. We struggled to transition those types of experiences to an online environment. Quite frankly, it was impossible.

When the 2020-2021 school year started, we were committed to getting our students back on campus. We discussed various scheduling options and the logistics to make them a reality. Our perspective was focused on allowing students to experience relevant hands-on learning in an environment set up for those experiences to happen. We had to get our students back on campus.

After a few weeks, we brought students back on a hybrid schedule where they came for lab only and completed their academics online. It was not ideal, but we made it work, and our students responded well to it. We were intentional about it and took several iterations to find something that worked for the most part.

Often, this takes some intentionality, but it could happen after a little happy accident (Bob Ross!). Watch the video below to see what happens when an ostrich accidentally trips into a new vision, which ultimately creates new possibilities for the entire flock. As you watch it, I encourage you to think about the following questions:

What new opportunities will you create for yourself and others around you with a bit of change in perspective?

What intentional steps can you take this week to broader your perspective to meet the changing needs of students and staff?

Be Great,

Dwight

“Start Slow, End Strong”

I recently listened to an episode on George Couros’ Mindset Monday podcast called, “Start Slow, End Strong.” He shared a story about how he approaches running marathons. It’s more of a slow roll rather than a high-energy burst at the start. I was reminded of something my grandmother told me many years ago as I listened.

About 25 years ago, I got serious about my relationship with God. I attended Bible Study every Wednesday night, Sunday school on Sunday morning followed by a two-hour service, and I attended the small group sessions during the week. I felt like I was called to be a preacher, and I spent many hours studying on the weekends. My grandmother, Grandma Carter, is a wise woman with a gentle spirit. She is the family’s matriarch and has earned that title through her love and actions. She is observant, always thinking, but rarely interferes with our lives. However, she will impart nuggets of wisdom when she is moved to do so.

She recognized an all-too-familiar pattern of behavior in me and wanted to prevent me from starting fast and fizzling out way before I should. She called me one lazy Sunday evening and asked how I was doing. We exchanged pleasantries talked about my job, her health, and whatever else was going on in our lives. Then she asked, “How are things going at church?” I enthusiastically shared what the sermons were about, my notes from Bible Study, and how my preparation was coming along. She listened without saying much. When I finished, she sighed and said, “Baby, slow down, you are going too fast. You will get there but take your time. I know how you are.”

I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t annoyed by that. I thought, “Man, she is always so worried about me. Stop trippin’.” But, what I said to her was, “I know Grandma. I know.” Ten years after that conversation, I was utterly exhausted from studying; in fact, I was sick of it. I grew tired of everything related to the church. I was in such a hurry to learn as much as I could as fast as I could that I lost the joy in the process. I was done. Grandma was right…

I did the same thing when I got my first teaching position. I’d spend several hours each night preparing lessons, trying to soak in every piece of information about the subject matter, and planning engaging lessons. That’s how I tackled most things in my life. When I committed to something, I was all in 100%. No balance; I had to learn as much as I could as fast as possible. It was like I had to prove I was to be taken seriously in the space (teacher, preacher, learner, leader, you name it). When I learned how to use social media as a school leader, I was all in, tweeting and posting as much as I could and whenever I could. It became a part of my identity as a leader for many years. And then, one day, I just grew tired of it, all of it.

Grandma was right, but I finally understood what she meant this time.

George mentions how he started his podcast. Instead of buying expensive equipment, he purchased a $10 microphone, connected it to his phone, and started talking. Over time, he enjoyed the process and became more intentional about his episodes. “Start slow, end strong.”

I recently started a new position, which I absolutely love. Shortly after being board-approved, my mind started racing about everything I wanted to do. I created this sense of urgency. I began to worry about way too much, and then I remembered my grandmother’s words: “Baby, slow down, we are going too fast. You will get there but take your time.” I am taking my time to learn the role, connect with others in similar positions, observe, and reflect while also doing the work.

What new things do you want to try as we start a new semester? Whatever it is, start slow, be consistent, and you will end strong.

Be Great,

Dwight

Our Most Important Relationship

When I walked into my first education class during the first semester of my freshman year at Wittenberg University, in the middle of the expansive black chalkboard was a large white post-it paper was the following quote: No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” -Dr. James Comer

His words pierced my heart. Instantly I was certain about my career choice. His words made everything so clear for me. I understood why I connected with some teachers and coaches and not others. It all made sense, and those words clearly and concisely described why I wanted to become an educator. I wanted to be relational so that I could positively change lives and impact others’ futures.

To be relational describes how two or more people are connected. Relational is an action word indicating that it’s an ongoing process that requires intentionality. It’s a service, and for some, it’s a way of life. Meaningful relationships are transformational, not transactional. In a transactional relationship, one party is seeking to gain from another at a cost. Someone is giving up something with the expectation of getting something in return. While this relates to a monetary/service exchange, it often exists with an actual product being sold. It’s a balance of power and may be an uneven exchange. One of the people involved is acting out of self-interest, and little value is placed on the relationship.

It is no secret that creating and maintaining positive relationships contributes to overall success and growth. Our work’s foundation has little to do with content knowledge, pedagogy, and understanding of assessment. Those things are important to becoming a better and effective educator. Still, without having positive relationships, you can be the best technical educator and have no significant impact on your students and colleagues. Our work’s foundation is the types of relationships between educators, students, families, and communities. You show me a school with toxic or negative relationships; I guarantee it is not a successful school. While we often focus on relationships and connections with others, we cannot neglect the relationships we have with ourselves.

The most important relationship we have is the relationship with ourselves. How we treat ourselves can lead to success or sabotage. There is a growing body of research about the importance of self-care, primarily because our culture has glorified busyness and glamorized “the grind.” We wear busyness as a badge of honor and work ourselves to the point of exhaustion. We engage in conversations about how busy we are and “story top” to ensure we are the busiest in our group. We equate busyness with productivity and develop a martyr mindset. It’s self-destructive and models to our students, family members, and communities that what we do is arduous, burdensome work. Is that the message we want to send? Do we want to work ourselves to exhaustion and eventually burnout?

We often say that students are the most important people in the building. We also say that we must always do what is best for students, especially when making decisions about curriculum, instruction, assessment, and culture. Our students are why we do what we do, but they are not the most important people in the building. We are.

Our attitude and mental well-being affect the climate and culture of our schools. There’s so much pressure to be the best, and we can sabotage ourselves because of self-destructive thoughts. Sometimes our greatest enemy or barrier to success is ourselves. Past experiences, negative emotions, or even replaying others’ negative words that have been spoken to us can sabotage our ideas, goals, and dreams.

If you neglect yourself for the sake of your work, consider this: you cannot give your best if you have very little to give. Consider ways to make your health a priority. Start by making small, subtle changes like going to bed earlier just one night this week. Turn off all notifications on your phone when you get home. Do not send or respond to emails after a specific time that is relevant to you. For example, make 6:00 or 7:00 pm when you shut down email until you get to school the next day. Write down a few positive experiences about your day and reflect on how they made you feel. Share some good news with someone close to you. Move your body by going for a walk, run, or ride. Review and re-establish boundaries around work so you can protect yourself and be your best. Know when to say when and call it a day. You deserve it.

Be Great,

Dwight

Find Ways to Use Your Strengths

Have you ever questioned why you do what you do? Have you questioned your excitement or passion for what you do? I hesitate to use the word “passion” because it’s overused and misunderstood. It’s at a point where some may believe that they have to find something else to do if they are not passionate about their work. One can be passionate about something apart from one’s career. Many are and are living successful, fulfilled lives.

Instead of questioning your passion, I encourage you to examine if you are using your strengths. Are you operating in your character strengths regularly, or are you stifled by your title or job description?

Several years ago, I began speaking and coaching while I was also a building principal. I loved the work. I made connections with others who do the same who I am blessed to call my friends. I enjoyed helping other leaders and educators work through challenges or inspire them to try new things. After a presentation or coaching session, I’d return to my building on fire and ready to take on the day. I noticed it, and others saw it as well. Soon after, I would become bogged down with the minutiae that are just a part of the job. Over time, I became discouraged and somewhat disheartened. It was a struggle. I decided to change districts, thinking that I would find my joy in the job with a fresh start.

While I enjoyed working in another district, I quickly learned that it wasn’t the district. My issue was internal. I still got a charge from many parts of being a building principal, especially creating the conditions for students to succeed and staff to teach and grow professionally. There were also parts that I just couldn’t stomach any more. After many months of reflection, talk therapy, and soul searching, I learned that the one thing I enjoy most is teaching. I continued to coach and speak, and I decided to leave the principalship to coach, present, and consult full-time.

Teaching can occur in many forms: coaching, using staff meetings as learning opportunities, speaking, and presenting. I love the entire learning process and found myself unable to do it as much as a building principal because the principalship is multi-faceted and layered.

A few years ago, I worked with a leadership coach named Jack Slavinski (@jackslav) to identify my strengths. Through the process, I learned why I succeeded in some principalship areas and struggled in other areas. Regardless of your position, you can still learn to use your strengths to help yourself, others, and your school or district. After a year as a full-time leadership and effective coach and presenter, I returned to building leadership as an assistant director at a career and technical school. My transition back to the building was not easy, but I learned to lean into my strengths and find ways to use them to have a positive impact on my team, staff, and students. I have a better work/life balance, my mind is clearer, and I can support our director because of my experience in the position. Here are three things I did to find more fulfillment in my career:

1. Use a research-based assessment to learn more about your character strengths and reflect on what you enjoy most about your job. I highly recommend the VIA Character Strength Assessment. I’ve taken it twice in the last two years, and my top five character strengths have remained pretty consistent, which is consistent with the research. Putting words and descriptions to my strengths has allowed me to be more intentional about my daily work.

2. Share your strengths with others and let them know how you use them to serve others. Take it a step further and share your plan on how you will better operate within your strengths to add value to others and your school. For example, I am now in my second year as an Assistant Director at Eastland Career Center. I am relatively new to CTE and have found many ways to use my strengths to help my district. I help facilitate staff meetings, collaborate with district staff to plan our professional development, and find ways to lead up, meaning helping our leaders lead better. The John Maxwell Company shares nine ways to lead up:
Lead yourself exceptionally well. The key to leading yourself well is to learn self-management. In order to be successful, we must make the right decisions early and manage those decisions daily. Then, we are prepared to follow through on them with consistency.

Lighten your leader’s load. When the boss succeeds, the organization succeeds. Conversely, it is almost impossible for you to win if your boss fails. Be a team player and lift the load on your boss’ plate. By helping your boss in a great way, you are a part of something bigger and will have the chance to celebrate success in the end.

Be willing to do what others won’t. Few things gain the appreciation of a top leader more quickly than an employee with a whatever-it-takes attitude.

Do more than manage – lead! Managers work with processes – leaders work with people. Think within a broad context about how your decisions will impact the entire organization. You’ll prove you can move past management to leadership.

Invest in relationship chemistry. People won’t go along with you if they can’t get along with you. As a leader, our job is to connect with people. We must connect with those we lead, our peers, and those who lead us. In order to lead up, be a champion of what your leader desires.

Be prepared every time you take your leader’s time. Time is the one commodity that cannot be increased, no matter what a leader does. Take steps and research to prepare yourself and your leader for your time together. Preparation paves the way for both leaders to add value to each other.

Know when to push and when to back off. Successful leaders make the right move at the right moment with the right motive. Knowing the right time to push and when to back off will determine if you get pushed right out the door. As leaders, we must read the atmosphere of the workplace to determine appropriate next steps.

Become a go-to player. All leaders are looking for people who can step up and make a difference when it matters. When they find such people, they come to rely on them and are inevitably influenced by them. To be a go-to player, we must always produce excellence. Leaders will trust us and count on us in moments that count.

Be better tomorrow than you are today. The key to personal development is being more growth-oriented than goal-oriented. Goals are valuable, but growth helps you achieve those goals. Focus on growth every day, and your leadership journey will be life-long and fulfilling. Ultimately, you’ll benefit your entire organization when you aim for personal growth.

3. Work on your strengths as you plan, prepare, and practice while doing your daily work.

If you are frustrated, disenchanted, discouraged, and questioning your effectiveness as a leader, teacher, coach, or whatever, take some time to identify your areas of strength. Reflect on the moments you experience joy in your work and consider why. Then do something about it. Take the VIA Character Assessment and examine your profile to identify ways to find more purpose in your career. Your colleagues, staff, and team will experience the difference, and thank you for it. Feel free to share your results and reflections in the comment section or email me at mrdwightcarter@gmail.com.

Be Great,

Dwight

A Promise to Myself, For Myself

https://becauseisaidiwould.org/about/
Three hundred sixty-five days ago, I made a promise to myself to workout every day. Today, January 18th, 2021, I fulfilled that promise! I grew up an athlete, competed in high school and college, and continued to work out when I was a football and track coach. However, that was over 20 years ago, after a while, and I got pretty relaxed about my health.

I got used to making excuses about why I stopped and eventually succumbed to the notion that I was just getting older. About four years ago, I was diagnosed with clinical depression after struggling internally with several things. I dreaded retaking medication to feel normal, but I knew it was a necessary step towards getting healthy. I joined a gym and started working out 3-4 days a week. I started journaling again and seeing a therapist for cognitive and talk therapy. Over time, I began to feel like myself and made some other changes in my life to regain some balance, peace of mind, and clarity.

I’m an avid learner. I enjoy reading blogs by respected leaders and educators, listening to podcasts, and reading various books. I listened to a TEDx Talk called Winning the Mental Battle of Physical Fitness and Obesity by Dr. Ogie Shaw, and it changed my perspective on working out. One statement he made that resonated with me is, “It’s easier to work out every day than it is three days a week. Three days a week gives you too many decisions… If you are negotiating about which days to work out, it’s over.” That made sense to me. So, it was at the point that I promised myself that I was going to work out every day.

To fulfill my promise, I took the following steps:
1. No Snooze Allowed– I put my phone across the room, so when my alarm went off at 4:15 am, I had to get out of bed to turn it off. Once I was up, there was no reason to get back into bed.
2. Nightly Prep– I laid out my workout clothes to eliminate having to make another decision in the morning.
3. I Scheduled It– I made an appointment for myself, 5:00 am weekdays, 8:00 am on Saturdays, and 9:00 am on Sundays. I don’t skip out on important meetings with others, so why skip out on myself?
4. Made a Plan– I partnered with a trainer to develop a workout plan that met my time constraints. I am thankful for David Key of Key Body and Fitness (@david_keybody)! David quickly pivoted when the pandemic hit and started hosting Zoom classes that are easily accessible. Between his classes, running, and using an elliptical machine, I have no reason not to workout.
5. Charted my Progress-After each workout, I marked it off on a calendar that I keep on my nightstand. The visual chart is motivation!

Since I eliminated having to decide if and when I would work out, it’s a part of my daily routine. I don’t even think about it anymore. More importantly:
* I kept my promise.
* I am more disciplined in other areas of my life.
* I feel better physically.
* I am mentally stronger.
* I am more confident.
* I have influenced others to do the same.

Tomorrow, I will continue my journey. In fact, I added another challenge to my routine, the 10,000 push up challenge. I have promised myself that I will do 28 push-ups every day for the year. I’m actually doing 30-50 a day, but that’s not the point. The point is to make changes in your life, eliminate excuses, make a plan, and implement the plan. Besides, “It’s easier to hold your principles 100 percent of the time than it is to hold them 98 percent of the time.”-Clayton M. Christiansen

Be Great,

Dwight

Accessible

https://aitpdf.ca/blog/the-importance-of-an-accessible-pdf-document-strategy/
I had an impromptu meeting yesterday morning that was just what I needed. Around 7:50 am, I received a call from our receptionist to let me know a young man needed to see me. I quickly responded and asked her to send him to my office.

When he entered my office, we greeted each other in our standard and affirming manner, and then he sat down. His reason for coming in was hidden behind a logistical request, which I could discern by his body language and the way he slumped down in the chair in front of me. Through a masked mouth, he asked, “How’s your mental health?” I was shocked by his question but took it as a hook. He wanted to talk about how HE was feeling, so I gladly accepted the bait. I responded to his request by sharing a little bit about my weekend and how I felt at the moment and pivoted to asking about him: “How are you doing? What’s going on?”

He shook and dropped his head while rubbing his forehead with his right hand. He said, “Man, Mr. Carter. I’m struggling…” I turned my chair to make sure I was directly facing him and leaned in to let him know that he has my undivided attention.

He opened up about his life, the real obstacles he’s trying to overcome, and how overwhelmed he’s feeling. The more he talked, the straighter he sat in his chair, and the more animated he became.

He talked about his future goals, and I assured him that we would do whatever it takes to help him get there. We shared a few stories, and I gave him the information he came for. After about 20 minutes, I sent him a class pass, and he went about his day. We were both fulfilled. I took away three reminders from our chance meeting:

Be Accessible– I had a few things I felt that I needed to get done before the first-period bell rang, but it was more important to meet with my student than to tackle my to-do list.

Be Available– I was open to listening to his story and available to provide emotional support and tangible help, at least at the moment. I also let him know I am available to help anytime.

Be Accountable– Earlier in the school year, I noticed this young man seemed to be carrying a heavy burden, so I stopped him in the hall to check on him. He wasn’t in the mood to talk much but assured me he was okay. I let him know that I’d be checking on him from time to time and that he could stop by the office anytime he needed to talk. Well, yesterday he did just that. To be accountable is to deliver on one’s commitment. I made sure I was accessible and available, thus responsible.

We must never lose sight of why we became educators, and for me, it is to positively change lives and impact futures. Be accessible today.

Be Great,

Dwight

The Worst Mistake I Made As Principal

Being a school principal is equally challenging and rewarding. It’s challenging because of the number of leadership and management decisions that must be made daily, shifting expectations and demands, and the relentless amount of information that is taken in and requested at such a rapid pace. These are just signs of hyper-change and the new normal.

The principalship is rewarding because of the countless opportunities to impact the lives of so many people on a daily, monthly, and annual basis. I’ve been reminded of this quite a bit the last couple of months in the form of seeing former students who share a memorable story or a kind word I may have spoken to them in passing. Or, from invitations to their graduation parties and other life moments such as weddings (Yes, I am at the stage in my life where I attend weddings of former students).

When I was a principal, I immersed myself in the work. I looked forward to attending sporting events, concerts, plays, awards ceremonies, and the like. However, when I became a father, I struggled internally with wanting to be at the multiple school events and being home with my daughter. I never really found the proper balance… What an ugly feeling.

I enjoyed preparing for parent and community events, staff meetings, and professional learning opportunities. I enjoyed discussing the work with my administrative team during our weekly team meetings, or during informal conversations throughout the day (and night). I especially enjoyed visiting classrooms and still regret not creating opportunities to get into classrooms more. It’s a demanding job and one that requires a great deal of emotional, mental, and physical stamina.

Being a principal is also a public position, and in today’s world of total transparency and desire for immediate information, nearly every decision is scrutinized, discussed, debated, and analyzed.

Professionally, my wife is also somewhat of a public figure. Over the years, she’s had several clients and coworkers who had children in the schools where I was the principal. Often times, she would be approached by a client or a coworker and asked about something that may have occurred at school or why I made a particular decision. I was always aware of this possibility and didn’t want to put her in a tough position where she had to respond to such questions. To protect her from such scrutiny, I decided that I would not talk to her about most things that happened at school. I’d either talk to a principal friend in another state, talk to my team about it, or simply not talk about it at all. My philosophy was ignorance is bliss.

For the most part, this strategy seemed to work. However, after being away from the principalship for a year and learning more about myself, I realize that the worst mistake I made as a principal is that I DIDN’T share my work with her; the good, the bad, the beautiful, or the ugly. I simply just didn’t talk about it, and I thought I was doing it to guard her against others who clambered for “insider” information, but it prevented us from connecting about an essential part of my life: my role as a principal. Since then, I’ve learned three key lessons about the importance of talking about the principalship with your spouse or significant other:

1. It creates opportunities connection. Studies show that, on average, we spend about a third of our lives at work. That’s A LOT of time creating shared experiences, celebrations, going through trials and disappointments, and making an impact. This world should be shared with your spouse or significant other.

2. It creates opportunities for compassion. The feeling of walking through a situation with someone creates closeness, understanding, and empathy.

3. It improves communication. The opportunity to share a significant part of your life without judgement, ridicule, and complaint can be comforting and is much needed. It reminds me of the video, It’s Not About the Nail. While funny, there is so much truth in the message.

I encourage you to share your work with your spouse or significant other. Be transparent about the exciting ideas or projects you’re working on, challenges you may be facing, or opportunities for growth that are on the horizon. You’ll be a better leader and spouse because of it. You need that, and they need it as well.

Feel free to share your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and celebrations in the comment section. Thanks!

Be Great,

Dwight

“Why am I smart?”

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been invited to talk with our freshman Humanities classes about perspective. They are reading The Other Wes Moore for their unit on perspective and as part of the experience, the teachers invite several guest speakers to spend some time with their students.

I’ve enjoyed my conversations with our bright-eyed and eager scholars because it’s given me a chance to reflect on my life, the experiences that have shaped my perspective, and examine why I am where I am today. After sharing my perspective with two classes, which included stories about my childhood and people who have impacted my life, I thought about my mom. I sent her the following text message, “Why am I smart?”

After about 10 minutes, she responded, “Because you work hard.” I appreciate her answer, but she was wrong…

I replied, “No. I am smart because you told me I was smart. I work hard because you showed me how to work hard. I am successful because you believed I would be successful.”

My life, which includes my perspective and success, is a self-fulfilled prophecy that began when I was but a small child. My mom’s words shaped my thinking and my perspective on life. For that, I am forever grateful. Thank you, Charmel M Carter!

Be Great,

Dwight

Parting Words of Wisdom to the NAHS Class of 2016

Dwight Carter TEDxNewAlbanySeniors, for nearly every school day the last two years, we began with the daily Words of Wisdom. It’s been a pleasure to serve as your principal these last two years and to show my appreciation, I cannot let you go before you hear this all too familiar phrase one last time:

Good morning, New Albany High School Class of 2016. This is Mr. Carter with a few parting words of wisdom.

• Don’t worry so much about what could happen, who likes you or not, and what you have to do. Focus on being present in the moment.

• It is impossible to be envious and happy at the same time.

One of the greatest lessons in life is learning to be happy without the things we cannot or should not have.

• Remember the three H’s each time you greet others: a handshake, high five, or a hug.

• Instead of making a “to-do” list, make a “to-be” list and then become it.

• Make every effort to not talk about others behind their backs.

• Remember to think on your feet, respond and not react, and perform under pressure.

• Experience life beyond the screen of your phone, laptop, or computer.

Understand that life is not fair.

• Present yourself in appearance, word, and deed how you want others to treat you.

A person makes a name, not the name a person.

• Consistency is far greater than perfection.

• You really don’t have to post, tag, tweet, snap chat, record, ping, or Kik every aspect of your life. Make time to disconnect in order to reconnect.

With something to think about, this is Mr. Carter. Make it a great life… or not. The choice is yours.

Be Great,

Dwight

*Italicized statements taken from 8,789 Words of Wisdom by Barbara Ann Kipfer, Matthew Wawiorka

Guest Blogger: Joshua Rajakumar, Founder of the New Albany Young Business Leaders Club

Student Voice.

Increasing student voice is a key topic discussed in education circles today. From Student Government to school town hall meetings, education leaders are implementing a variety of strategies to increase student voice.

Today’s students want and need to be heard. They are inventors, innovators, creators, and thinkers. They desire different experiences from school, in their social settings, and in their future careers. They are taking steps to create ways to learn more about their passions and interests. One example of one of these students is New Albany High School junior Joshua Rajakumar, founder of the New Albany Young Business Leaders Club. Following is the New Albany Young Business Leaders Club from Joshua’s perspective:

My name is Joshua Rajakumar and I am a junior at New Albany High School. This year, I started the New Albany’s Young Business Leaders Club. We have been active for about a month now and we have had two guest speakers thus far: Mr. John Kish and Mr. Bill Ebbing. We are excited about this partnership between the New Albany Community and the High School student body.

NAYBL
What is the New Albany Young Business Leaders Club?

New Albany’s Young Business Leaders is open to all New Albany High School students – from those who have a strong interest in business related careers to those who would like to know what business is all about. We provide exposure to all areas of business related careers, leadership development, resume building, and networking opportunities. Members participate in lectures, workshops, and community projects related to the different areas of business.

We meet every 2 weeks in the Jefferson Room on either Mondays or Wednesdays (currently Wednesdays) after school from 3-4 PM.

As the Founder and President of the club, I have been fortunate to have a team to assist me – Miles Waytes as the Vice President, Brian Schnell as the Media Manager, and Sudeep Ganguly as the Secretary working alongside me in this endeavor.

We currently have 45 registered members.

Past Speakers

On February 10th, Mr. John Kish, the SVP and CIO of Safe Auto Insurance, gave a presentation. He spoke about diversifying talents to be capable of performing many jobs and duties. He also addressed three of the most important skills to be successful in the business world: technical skills, people skills, and vision. He also addressed the importance of interviews and resumes and the major things to focus on in each, as he has hired multiple people for jobs and internships in the past.

On February 24th, Mr. Bill Ebbing, the President of the New Albany Company, gave a presentation. He spoke on the importance of community, creativity and perspective. He also touched on the positives and negatives of getting a masters degree/ MBA. The biggest thing he talked about was identifying your weaknesses early, so you can build a team around it and become stronger.

On March 9th, Mr. Andrew Klinger, VP Wealth Management at the Huntington Investment Company, gave a presentation. He touched on a variety of topics, including the importance of transparency when working with a group to enhance productivity. He also stressed that you should not expect to start earning a very high base salary, and that when you enter the labor force, experience and perspective is more important than money. Because Mr. Klinger used to be a stockbroker, and is now a wealth advisor, he also spoke on some stock related topics.

One piece of advice he gave was that even though you should buy low, to never buy a stock that is falling, and wait till it bounces back up. Other than low prices, he also spoke on the importance of looking at other factors such as the quarterly earnings, new management in the company, and the products they are making. He advised that that before you buy a stock, to always give yourself three reasons why you should buy it. In addition to this, he touched upon other topics such as derivatives, compliance and regulation, and commodities.

Future Speakers

On March 30th, Becky Jenkins, CFO and Treasurer of NAPLS, will give a presentation.

On April 13th, Adam Van Treese, Campus Recruiting Manager for PricewaterhoueCoopers, will give a presentation.

From left to right the students are Brian Schnell - Media Manager, Joshua Rajakumar - Founder and President, and Miles Waytes - Vice President
From left to right the students are Brian Schnell – Media Manager, Joshua Rajakumar – Founder and President, and Miles Waytes – Vice President

Thank you,

Joshua Rajakumar