Welcome to A Rock In My Shoe!
When I was growing up in Missouri I knew at age eleven that I wanted to live in New York City. I blame it on my family’s old black and white television with its flickering images of Times Square on New Year’s Eve, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and all those hilarious Borscht Belt comedians on The Ed Sullivan Show. Oh my, how I wanted to be there!
I landed in New York as soon as I could—right after college and two years in the military. Came here to get into the movie business. Got a job right away at Cine Studio on West 54th St.
So here I am in New York, a college graduate and former sergeant in the U.S. Army with international experience, and the first thing my new boss does is to hand me a broom and tell me to sweep the sidewalk in front of our studio. Things were looking up.
I’ve had two careers. The first was, indeed, in the film, video and multi-media production business. After learning how to sweep the sidewalks of New York, I became a studio manager. Then a production manager. I worked for a couple of companies producing industrial films and TV commercials such at the ones for Perdue Chicken. Yes, I met Frank Perdue. I also met a lot of other famous actors and actresses during those days—like Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway, Candice Bergen and Roger Moore (really nice guy).
After a few years, I left those production companies and started out on my own as a stage manager of industrial shows. Very detail-oriented work involving lots of logistics, technical knowledge of sound and video projection systems--and a lot of travel. In the eight years or so that I did this, I staged over 200 shows in more than 60 cities worldwide. Enough already. I was exhausted.
I got out of that industry and moved into sales—a great profession for those in transition and who don’t know what else to do with their lives. I was a lousy salesperson. In fact, I hated sales.
But I took The Dale Carnegie Sales Course during those days. I was flabbergasted when I won my class’s “final exam”—the Sales Talk Champion Award. Thirty years later I still have the plaque because, well, it is the only award I’ve ever won in my life.
This led me to becoming an instructor of that same Dale Carnegie Sales Course. I was a much better sales instructor than I was salesperson. Do as I say, not as I do. By all evaluations back then, I was a good instructor. No, really. I had--and still have--excellent platform skills. I’m fairly polished and sophisticated—but not aloof or pedantic. Instead, I use my “down home” sense of humor to put people at ease. Students tend to like that sort of thing.
So I went to work for Dale Carnegie. I didn’t realize at the time that I had gotten into the training industry. In fact, I didn’t even know there was such an industry. Corporate training? What’s that? I simply thought I was in the Dale Carnegie business—winning friends and influencing people one sale at a time. But I quickly learned what the training industry was all about—and that I was a part of it. During my last couple of years at Carnegie I ran the Department of Instruction, the group responsible for recruiting and training a worldwide faculty of almost 3000 instructors. I wound up working for Dale Carnegie for thirteen years.
In 2004 I joined the American Management Association, that venerable non-profit organization founded in the early twentieth century by a group of management gurus that included Peter Drucker. I would still get in front of an audience occasionally, but mostly what I did was produce management development seminars, webcasts, and on-line training. My “portfolio” of products included AMA's business writing programs, influencing skills (e.g., negotiating) and, of course, presentation skills. Just for punishment, I also managed the sales and marketing line of products. I left AMA at the end of 2014.
In my spare time I enjoy photography, my two Chihuahuas (Biscuit and Gravy), and playing one of my four guitars. And of course, writing. My wife and I also travel to Paris once a year--and usually to one other European city as well. Beach vacations hold no appeal for me.
My Myers-Briggs type is ENFP.