Archive | September, 2018

How to Leverage Your Experience into a Stepping Stone

September 27, 2018


Not 100% satisfied with where you currently sit? That’s ok! More than likely this position is simply a stepping stone, or a step in the right direction toward the position or the career that you desire. Feelings of unhappiness mean that you have greater ambitions–and that’s a good thing. Here are some tips on how you can leverage your current experience into the next big role.

  1. Dive deep. Think about the skills or experiences you are earning in this current position. Now perfect them. Become the best you can be and learn everything there is to know. In other words, take advantage of this opportunity to the fullest. That way, when you do leave you’ll have no regrets.
  2. Branch out. Talk to your manager about how you can dip your toes in other waters. Perhaps there are peripheral projects that are interesting to you. Show how your current skills translate to the needs of that peripheral space. Raise your hand and put yourself out there.
  3. Keep inventory. Literally write down all of the skills you are using on a day to day basis–and don’t forget the soft skills. Many of these can be translated across multiple fields and multiple positions. So there is no need to ever feel locked into a certain role or path.
  4. Start talking. Networking is incredibly important and always will be throughout your career. Start planting the seeds now, and you will reap the rewards later when you need them most. Connect with people inside your company and throughout your industry whom you admire.
  5. Make a map. Think of your current position that you hold today. Now think of the position you want in five years. What small steps can you take between now and then to get you there? What skills do you need? Draw a path and follow it. (And if you can’t quite figure it out yourself, find a career mentor.)

Image via Chris Gin/Flickr.

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Russell Hobbs Announces First U.S. Brand Influencer, Kate Beckinsale!

September 25, 2018


Spectrum Brands’ RUSSELL HOBBS has signed its first U.S. brand ambassador, actress, Kate Beckinsale, for their 2018 campaign. Beckinsale will work with the brand as it celebrates its availability on this side of the pond.

An iconic British actress, RUSSELL HOBBS chose Beckinsale to be its first-ever U.S. brand ambassador as she embodies British heritage and classic style which is what the brand is well known for. As part of her partnership, Beckinsale will partake in a media campaign featuring original, easy-to-make recipes and share her favorite tips for entertaining at home, all of which will be featured on the RUSSELL HOBBS website (

“As a busy actress and mom, RUSSELL HOBBS appliances make life at home easy and enjoyable” said Beckinsale. “The products add a sweet touch of nostalgia to my every day, and I am so excited to partner with such an iconic brand.”

Beckinsale recently wrapped shooting on the highly anticipated Amazon/ITV limited series, The Widow, and will be seen in the feature film, Farming. Most recently, Beckinsale appeared in the drama The Only Living Boy in New York. Additional film credits include the Underworld series, Pearl Harbor, Serendipity, and Click.

Read more about the partnership at HomeWorld Business.

Image via HomeWorld Business.

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See Patty Glines-Kotecki Speak at Edgewood College!

September 21, 2018


Our very own Patty Glines-Kotecki will be speaking at Edgewood College’s Executive Speaker series in Madison, Wisconsin!

Patty is the Organizational Effectiveness Leader for Spectrum Brands. She works with business leaders to identify, design, and translate human capital strategies into practical solutions that engage employees and achieve business results. Prior to joining Spectrum Brands, she has held leadership roles in numerous HR practice areas.

In parallel with her professional work, Patty is a life-long learner and an award-winning athlete. She is a ride leader for the Bell Joy Ride women’s mountain biking project and has earned the CrossFit Level 1 certification.

Thursday, September 27th, 2018
4:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Anderson Auditorium, Predolin Hall

Presentation: 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Reception: 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Outside of Wingra Cafe)

The pace and breadth of change affecting all industries is unprecedented. Every day, changes are directly influencing an organization’s ability to succeed. Modern technology and analytics, increased competition, shifting customer expectations, mergers, reorganizations, changing priorities, new automation tools, regulations and many other disruptors are challenging companies to rethink how they do business.

Join us as we explore how organizations can embrace these changes, and succeed in fast-paced, complex business environments. Our panel will discuss…

  • How to create a continuous learning approach to help better manage change
  • Ways to mitigate challenges when building a culture of change capability
  • How to deliver effective communication and engagement
  • Ways to build measurement for change readiness and sustainability

Register today.

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Congratulations GAC VP, Tammy Chaffee Tecklenburg!

September 19, 2018


Talent. Determination. Goodwill. Passion. These are the attributes that Ratchet+Wrench – the leading progressive media brand exclusively serving auto care center owners and operators – used to select their All-Star Award recipients. And this year, the winner of the Wild Card category is our very own Tammy Chaffee Tecklenburg, VP, Global Sales and Marketing Operations at Global Auto Care.

Tammy was nominated for her servant leadership and dedication to mentoring and developing women in the automotive industry. Her work in this area started when she joined the professional group Women in Auto Care eight years ago. She joined the executive board in 2014, and later that year, she led the Membership Committee in launching a mentor program and encouraging her industry peers to join her mission of developing the next generation.

In 2015, Tammy was recognized with the Auto Care Woman of the Year award. This industry award is presented annually to a woman who is a leader, mentor and role model who has made significant and outstanding contributions to the auto care industry.

In November 2016, Tammy became president of Women in Auto Care. Since Tammy came on as president, the group has ramped up its scholarship efforts to get more female technicians entering the aftermarket. Since 2004, the organization has given out $358,000 in scholarships to high school and post-secondary female students, 70% of which has been awarded during Tammy’s presidency.

Congratulations, Tammy! Thank you for everything you do to inspire and empower women at Spectrum Brands and throughout the automotive industry.

Read the full Ratchet+Wrench article here.

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Accepting this One Thing Will Make You a Better Speaker

September 13, 2018


Whether you’re giving a big speech in front of a crowd or simply presenting at a meeting with your closest coworkers, upping your speech game can only help you. Not only will you get your point across more effectively, you could also gain more respect and trust from your coworkers–and your boss. (And that’s always a good thing!)

What is one of the most common problems people have when speaking? You guess it… the dreaded “um,” “ah,” “like,” “so,” or “you know.” It’s a filler word or phrase that you use while you’re thinking. It can make you sound nervous or distracted or–even worse–unprepared. These words are crutches, and you need to stop using them. But how?

Instead of using the filler word or phrase, say nothing. That’s right. Say nothing! Accept the silence and be comfortable with a pause. We often feel the need to fill the silence with more words, but it’s perfectly okay to sit quietly and gather your thoughts. In fact, a pause can make us seem cool, calm, and collected–and it may even build some suspense and keep your audience glued to your words.

Still feel uncomfortable with the pause? During your next speech, any pause you take is likely much shorter than you think it is. This recent Harvard Business Review article points out that we think faster than we speak–a lot faster. That means we speak at 150 words per minute but we think at 400 words per minute, which can distort our perception of time. And if you let one crutch word slip, it’s ok. The occasional use can make you seem relatable. But the next time you feel one rolling off your tongue, bite it and stay quiet until you can gather your thoughts.

Via Institute for Web Science/Flickr.

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3 Creativity Hacks to Help You Come Up With Great Ideas

September 11, 2018


It may seem that some are born with a more creative mind than others, but that may not be the case. If you can create the perfect storm, it may be easier for great ideas to rain down on you. Follow these tips and you may find that you do have at least one creative bone in your body.

  1. Talk it through with someone else.
    Whether you’re in a brainstorm meeting with multiple people or you’re sitting by yourself waiting for an idea to strike, back-and-forth conversation is crucial to creativity. Hearing your own thoughts spoken out loud, regurgitating the thoughts of others, and the questions that arise from this process will lead you down new paths and open new doors. Don’t sit silently in a corner!
  2. When lightning strikes, write it down.
    The reality is that an idea will pop into your head when you least expect it and possibly at the most inconvenient time. Even if you’re 100 percent positive that you’ll remember that great idea, write it down! Pull out your phone and put it in your notes or jot it on a napkin. Not only will the act of writing it down will help you remember it, but you’ll also now have a running list of great ideas.
  3. Surround yourself with creativity.
    We get inspired by the things we consume. If you’re feeling that your creativity well is dry, fill it up! Consume high-quality books, movies, TV shows, music, musicals, dance, food, conversation, and more. We’ve never been more connected to culture and people than in this moment. Take advantage of it!

Image via Image Catalog/Flickr.

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How Small Talk Can Make You More Likable at Work

September 6, 2018


Think about how you act in these situations: at the beginning of the meeting, when you pass someone in the hall, when you see your coworkers for the first time in the morning. Are you more likely to be starting down at your phone? Do you give a quick nod? Or do you honestly stop and interact with them?

Small talk is an easy way to show that you care, to show that you’re friendly, and to show that you’re approachable. And it really only takes 30 seconds to a minute. Here are some situations you might find yourself in, and how to change your behavior:

  • Instead of typing away at a laptop before a meeting starts, strike up a conversation with others who’ve arrived a few minutes early.
  • Instead of standing quietly in the cafeteria line, get chatty with whoever is behind you.
  • Instead of diving right into a meeting that you are leading, ask everyone how their day is going.
  • Instead of heading straight to your desk in the morning, greet your coworkers.

Here are some easy small talk questions that work in multiple work settings:

  • “Nice to see you. How are you doing?”
  • “What are you working on right now?”
  • “How was your weekend?” or “Do you have any plans for the weekend?”
  • “How is your day/week going?”
  • “What do you think about… [insert relevant topic here]?”
  • “Do you need any help with… [insert relevant topic here]?”

How do you stay approachable at work? Share your talking points below.

Image via Marc Wathieu/Flickr.

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A Little Email Trick That Can Make a Big Difference

September 4, 2018


Have you ever thought about how many emails you send in one day? It’s probably too many to count. You interact with your boss, your coworkers, clients, acquaintances, and more. When you’re in a rush and blasting through an overloaded inbox, it’s no wonder your inquiries and responses are terse.

But here’s a little trick you can use that can make a big difference: open your communication with something conversational. A little check-in. A quick question. Something to add some humanity back into your inbox. Even if you haven’t met this person in real life–especially if you haven’t met this person!–a little “small talk” can make working together more pleasurable.

We’re talking about just one to three sentences. A friendly greeting that acknowledges the person instead of just demanding what you need. And something a little bit more than “Hope you’re well!” It may take a few more moments to compose your thoughts, but it’s worth it.

Here’s an example of how this can work:

“Hi, Chris.

Hope you enjoyed the weather this weekend! We had a nice time out on the lake. I can’t wait to get out there and jet ski again next weekend.

I wanted to check in on…”

And here’s a few other “story starters” you can use. Be sure to add a little bit more. These are just jumping off points:

  • I hope your new year/summer/week/etc is off to a great start.
  • Happy Friday! Got any fun plans for the weekend?
  • This year is flying by. Can you believe it?
  • I’ll keep this short because I imagine you guys are just as busy as we are!
  • This article made me think of you and I wanted to pass it along.

What are your favorite email openers? Comment below!

Image via Greg Jordan/Flickr.


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