Interview with an Entrepreneur

Business team

If  you’ve ever wanted to move on from your nine to five job, and chase the dream of starting your own business, there’s some great motivation in an article from senior writer Catherine Clifford at She recently interviewed John Schnatter, the founder and CEO of global pizza giant Papa John’s about how he got started, the best ways to motivate employees, and what it takes to create a culture of entrepreneurship.

Some of the highlights of the interview include Schnatter’s thoughts on:
How to grow a business…”You have to have three things. You have to have a passion for what you are doing, you have to be the best in your class, and you have to have a business model that works…And that starts with passion. It’s all about attitude. If you think you can, you are right. If you think you can’t, you are right. And so we are very keen on having people around us that have a great attitude, that have a can-do spirit. That starts with passion.”
Motivating employees…”I don’t think you can control people. I don’t think you manage people. I think you give people a direction, you give them the resources, you lead by example. They get it right, you say, ‘atta girl.’ And they get it wrong, you say, ‘not good.’ I think you give yourself that culture and you have that culture of entrepreneurship, that culture of tinkering, making mistakes, honest mistakes, and you support your people with rewarding them when they do things right.”
How to stay competitive…”You have to constantly innovate. The market dynamics force you to get better. The marketplace is not going to let us slip on quality, or slip on taking care of our people. Yeah, we get better every day. We wake up every day and try to get better. And have fun.”
As the premier organization for the development of young professionals, the Jaycees can help you network with the resources you need to plan for success, and evolve your creative ideas into an organization that reflects your individual passion and goals. Take advantage of the experts in your local chapter to assist where you lack specific knowledge and motivate yourself by learning about entrepreneurs like John Schnatter – you can achieve your dreams.
Tell us about yours. We’re always listening on Facebook and Twitter. We want to hear from you!

Happy Fourth of July

Stock Photo of American Flag
Most folks look forward to the Fourth of July holiday for a number of reasons – a long weekend, BBQs with family and friends, and to celebrate a minor historical event called the American Revolution. As you get together with your friends (other Jaycees included) to toss your favorite food on the grill and crack open a few of your favorite beverages, take a few minutes before you hit the parade or ball game to share a few of these little known facts about the mid-summer holiday.
Some historical:
  • The stars on the original American flag were in a circle so all the colonies would appear equal.
  • Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the national bird, but was overruled by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson who pushed for the bald eagle.
  • The first official Fourth of July party was held at the White House in 1801.
  • Firecrackers were a big part of the early Independence Day celebrations. The horses were not amused.
  • July 4th only became a national holiday in 1941.
Some food-related:
  • Almost 90% of American homes have an outdoor grill.
  • Over 150 million hot dogs are consumed on July 4th alone.
  • About 700 million pounds of chicken are purchased in the week leading up to the holiday.
  • July 4th is the biggest beer-selling holiday of the year.
  • Americans spend about $11 million on popsicles to enjoy during the celebration.
And some for the trivia fans:
  • Approximately 41 million Americans will spend the holiday at other people’s homes.
  • The US imports about $3.6 million of American flags each year, most from China.
  • One out of eight signers of the Declaration of Independence went to Harvard.
  • The total population of the United States in 1776 was about 2.5 million.
  • There are more than 14,000 fireworks displays across the country every July 4th.
Now that you have your facts straight, tell us what you’re planning for the holiday, and afterwards, what was your most enjoyable memory from this July 4th weekend. A special event? Spending time with family and friends? Eating? Share your thoughts on our Facebook and Twitter pages. They’re open for the holiday!

Global Trends in Human Capital

Figurine Of A Businessman Standing On A Line Graph
As the workplace continues to grow to include a more global perspective, it is increasingly necessary to evaluate elements of successful business growth on a larger scale. No longer is competition limited to local players, it can now include the entire world. Consequently, smart organizations are looking at global trends on key issues such as regulatory practices, environmental stability, and perhaps most important, human capital.

The global consulting firm, Deloitte recently published a comprehensive study entitled, Global Human Capital Trends 2014: Engaging the 21st Century Workforce that, “…reveals the findings of a global survey of more than 2,500 business and HR leaders from 90+ countries – one of the largest talent management surveys of its kind. The survey results paint a clear picture of the challenges and opportunities organizations face in cultivating the talent needed to grow.”

The information provided by Deloitte is broken down into easily useable sections including:

  • Relative urgency of human capital trends
  • Readiness for human capital trends
  • Top 5 human capital trends
  • Capability gap by human capital trend
  • Capability gap drill down
  • Respondent demographics

Users can check out the demographic profile of the companies that participated in the survey, and leverage the information to evaluate and plan within their own businesses. As an organization dedicated to the personal and professional growth of its members, the Jaycees are committed to learning and understanding the latest trends to assist in this personal development.

As you check out the wealth of information that Deloitte included in its report, do not miss the Top 10 Findings – a breakdown of the key survey results, with additional analysis by the survey authors. For example, here is Finding 1: Leadership, retention, HR skills, and talent acquisition are the top global trends in perceived urgency. These sound very similar to the skills an individual can learn through the Jaycee trainings and chapter resources.

We would like to hear your thoughts on the future. Share on our Twitter and Facebook pages what you think will be the most critical skills for young professionals as they enter an increasingly complex workforce.

What Does Your Workspace Clutter Say About You?

spectacles on table in office

Every office has one: the guy or gal that always seems to be just a step or two behind, frazzled, messy and has a workspace that’s cluttered. This co-worker could be producing the most amazing work and still, their reputation is going to remain as the messy, unorganized peer. Is that person lacking organizational skills?

If your desktop hasn’t seen the light of day in a while, you might want to consider improving your organizational skills – not only for your own sanity, but to start doing damage control on your poor office reputation. Getting started is the hardest part and this is where the seasoned vets at the Jaycees come in.

First, you need to physically organize your space. Every paper on your desk should have a home, whether that home is a folder, filing cabinet or outbox. Have any Post-it notes that have lost relevance long ago? Trash ‘em. Any crumbs or coffee cup rings on your workspace? Clean it ASAP. Once these tasks are complete, it will be a little easier to think.

Next, it’s necessary to get to the root of the problem: why are you so darn messy? Are you lacking in time management skills? If this is the case, be sure to allocate yourself just a few minutes every day to help you keep a clean space.

Finally, it’s time to delve into your digital disorder. If you haven’t been diligently deleting unimportant interoffice emails (ahem, reply alls) or work-related items that are no longer important, it is time to clear that clutter as well. This will help cut down on time when you actually need to find something in your inbox. And this is where you can get the extra time you need to organize daily! Funny how things work, right?

Just remember that you are not decluttering just because it isn’t easy on the eyes. Improving your organizational skills will undoubtedly help you in the workplace AND it will give your co-workers and boss a much better impression (hello, promotion!). Do you have any organizational tips of your own? Visit our Facebook or Twitter pages and let us know!


Improving Leadership Skills through Education

Group of students

As members of a professional organization like the Jaycees, we tend to cultivate different skills through our social interactions with each other and in the workplace. However, is there a certain point we reach that we can no longer just count on these interactions to improve our skills? While we one never stops improving, one of the most effective ways to improve leadership skills is through education.

What is your leadership style? The best way to start improving your leadership skills is to understand the best way for you to lead. There are many quizzes out there that can help evaluate your dominant skills and determine how they help or hinder your leadership abilities. (Educate yourself here to find out the areas in which you need assistance.)

Learn more about communication. We don’t doubt that most Jaycee members are able to effectively communicate with one another, but how do you fare on providing one-on-one communication? Are you able to take nonverbal cues from peers/coworkers/team members that could influence your effectiveness as a leader? Communication is key when it comes to becoming a better leader so make sure that you are aware of what is required of you.

Be motivating. How do great leaders get their team to spring into action? Motivational leadership, that’s how! Check out some great tips to help yourself learn a little more about how to inspire those you lead here.

Consider continuing education. If you are interested in making a career out of being a great leader, perhaps you should consider furthering your education, With an additional bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, one can become a ninja-level leader.

One great thing about being a member of the Jaycees is that we never stop learning, whether we simply listen and learn from our peers or we take the time to fine-tune the skills that we wish to improve. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Jaycee, contact us today!


Building Blocks: How Large Does Your Network Need to Be?

Social network

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again – “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Of course, your network can’t make up for lack of knowledge or capability, but they can help get you an interview when you might otherwise not. While building a network, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s the quality of the connections you make that matter – not the quantity.Your network should and will continue to grow as long as it is beneficial to you – however, handing out business cards at any chance you get will earn you no favors down the road. Here are some simple guidelines to follow to keep increasing your network with quality industry professionals:

  • Do something nice for someone in your network at least once a week. Yup, being nice is a way to increase your network. But how do you grow your network if you focus on the people that you already know, you ask? It’s simple! People talk and if you do enough selfless acts (we’re not talking moving mountains here – more like bringing in donuts, passing along a job opportunity to someone that may be a fit, exceeding expectations on deadlines, etc.) for others, it will become apparent and those people will remember you when speaking with others in their network. Do unto others, right?

  • Make an effort to meet new people in your industry at least once a month. Again, you’re hearing us right – just once a month. It could be as simple as attending your local Jaycee chapter meetings, a business-women networking event, an entrepreneur meetup group or more. Not only does this give you the opportunity to enjoy after-hours time with your peers, you also are getting your name and face out there while enjoying a nice night out.

  • Maintain existing relationships. Ok, so this final bit of advice is a mixture of the first two but important nonetheless. Making contacts is important, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Cultivating those relationships will show that you are invested in them, giving you the benefit of the doubt when an opportunity arises. Remember that it is the tortoise that wins the race, not the hare.

Networking is all about building relationships not increasing the amount of connections you have on LinkedIn. Would you honestly put yourself out there of an industry professional that you know nothing about other than their business card credentials? Be in the forefront of everyone’s mind for the right reasons. Not a member of the Jaycees? You’re missing out on a great opportunity to create some meaningful networking connections! Visit our website to find out more about our organization and how to join.

The Jaycees Through the Years: Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh, wearing helmet with goggles up

Over the ninety-three years of the United States Junior Chamber – or the Jaycees – has been an organization, we’ve seen some very bright and famous names become members of our organization. Did you know that before he was the first person in history to travel on a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean he became a member of the Jaycees? Together, the Jaycees and Charles Lindbergh helped make history.

Pre-Jaycees, Charles Lindbergh attended engineering school at the University of Wisconsin – that is before he dropped out to learn how to fly! And boy, are we lucky he did. After joining the Jaycees, Lindbergh graduated from Nebraska Aircraft Corporation in 1925 at the top of his class. No surprises there!

With the Jaycees’ national project focusing on the development of aviation, it was only a natural pairing for Lindbergh and our professional networking organization to work together to help improve how we are using flight to the country’s advantage. Before the flight from New York to Paris, Lindbergh and other Jaycee members collaborated to develop what we now know as our current mail system: airmail.

After that, the rest is history (no pun intended). Lindbergh wowed the world when he achieved ultimate fame by completing the first trans-Atlantic solo flight. He eventually settled down, married and had a family. Following a long period of war, drama and family tragedies, the Lindberghs finally found solace in travel and permanently took up residence in Maui, HI until his death in 1974.

Not only did Charles Lindbergh do so much to increase recognition for the United States Junior Chamber, he also was a pioneer in aviation and many of the luxuries we know today would not be possible without his knowledge. Do you have a favorite Famous or well-known Jaycee member that you would like to see featured in our “The Jaycees Through the Years” series? Visit our Facebook or Twitter and let us know!

Image credit: photograph by John M. Noble via Wikimedia Commons

Jaycee Reunion Picnic

Al Fresco Dining With Hamburgers And Salad

The Iowa Governor’s Association will be hosting the Annual Jaycee Reunion Picnic on Saturday, August 24 from 3-6pm at Ellis Park in Cedar Rapids.

All current and past Jaycees and their spouses are invited to attend.  The Governor’s Association will be providing a grill and picnic shelter.  Attendees are asked to bring meat to grill, a dish to share, table setting, and beverage of your choice.

There is also an option to attend the Kernel’s Baseball Game that night at 6:30pm.  Tickets are $8-11.

Contact Tracy Taylor,, with any questions.

Exploring the U.N. Millennium Development Goals: Part One

MDG1_July copy

The United States Junior Chamber has adopted the U.N. Millennium Development Goals as our public policy platform. The Millennium Development Goals – or MDGs – are eight ambitious goals set by the United Nations to address some of the most pressing needs here in the United States and also around the world. The US Junior Chamber and our state and local organizations are doing our part to help the U.N. achieve the following goals:

  1. Ending poverty and hunger

  2. Universal education

  3. Gender equality

  4. Child health

  5. Maternal health

  6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases

  7. Environmental sustainability

  8. Global partnership

Why exactly did the Jaycees choose to support the U.N.’s MDGs? The Jaycee Creed aligns specifically with what the United Nations is trying to accomplish worldwide, specifically, “…that Service to Humanity is the Best Work of Life!” We are happy and proud to be a part of the most successful global anti-poverty push in history.

With two more years to achieve the lofty goals set, there is still work to be done. While many Millennium Development Goals have or will be met by the 2015 deadline, progress in many areas is still short. Join the United Nations in their efforts by participating in events with your local Junior Chambers chapter. Tune in next week for details on how you can help!

Why “Real Talk” is Still Important in an E-Based World

Four businesspeople in boardroom with paperwork smiling

Texting, emailing and social media – oh my! If you are like one of the billions of people that are online every day, whether for business or personal use, you have probably grown accustomed to meeting, conversing and doing business electronically. While the young professionals at the Iowa Junior Chamber concede that conducting business online makes life easier, there is no electronic replica of face time (no, not Facetime on your Mac) with your customers, colleagues and clients. What are the benefits of actually attending a meeting in-person rather than one over Skype or email?

  • Making an impression. How can you compliment someone’s new office building or give a solid handshake over a Google Hangouts meeting? Without face-to-face meetings, we miss out on different conversation starters that are likely to leave your client or customer with good memories and lasting impressions.
  • Create connections. Business calls are just that – business. We might go through the motions of the niceties: “Hi, how are you? Good, me too.” Sound familiar? When you meet someone in person, you naturally cement relationships with small talk that is much more personable and effortless than the white noise you may find in emails or calls. Notice some sports memorabilia in a new client’s office? Nothing can start off a great relationship like some friendly rivalries.
  • Body language is king. Forbes Magazine has recently reported that over half of our communication is nonverbal – stemming specifically from our body language. We’ve all dealt with clients that may tell you what you want to hear, only to ask for something different in the end. If you had an in-person meeting could you have saved a lot of time and money by reading their body language? Perhaps.

Innovation is what keeps the world going round and many Jaycee members will be the first ones you know with the latest and greatest in technology. While we embrace it, none of it can completely replace what you can get out of human contact. Do you prefer to conduct your meetings in person or electronically? Visit our Facebook page or LinkedIn group and let us know which you prefer and why!