Coming Soon… The 2023 Hampton Roads Workforce CTE Forum

Managing Communications and ACT (Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Centura College, Tidewater Tech) are hosting this exciting event to increase awareness of Virginia Department of Education’s CTE (Career and Technology Education) initiatives and how we can increase high-quality, work-based opportunities for our Southside Hampton Roads high school students.


Our Hampton Roads workforce needs are many, both now and too strategically build a pipeline for our future. Our economy depends on young workers in many industries, especially maritime/transportation, healthcare, hospitality, new energies, and manufacturing/distribution. We also want our students to gain the education they need for sustainable careers in the fields which interests them. If we do, we will keep them in our region!

How to get Involved?

This first Workforce CTE Forum focused on Southside Hampton Roads high schools and both large and small businesses is by invitation only. One hundred business representatives, area colleges and universities, workforce development entities, and CTE administrators from Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Suffolk are being invited to the event:

Thursday, May 4, 8:30-11:30 a.m.
ATC Headquarters
4455 South Blvd, Virginia Beach, Virginia 23452  

Our Agenda

  • Continental Breakfast and Networking
  • Welcome: Susan Long-Molnar, Owner, MCC and Joel English, President, ACT
  • Where Workforce Development and Education Meet: Mayor Kenny Alexander, Chancellor, ACT
  • CTE in Virginia: Sharon Acuff, Virginia Department of Education
  • HQWBL (Implementing High-Quality Work-Based Learning) Dr. Nikki Finley, Regional Work-Based Opportunities Learning Specialist
  • Panel of HR Success Stories
  • Breakout Industry Cluster Conversations
  • Wrap up: Next Steps and Resources

  Additional Information for Attendees:

We will update this page with news about our panelists, parking details, and next steps after the Forum. If you would like more information or have given your rsvp for who is attending from your organization, please do so soon: 757-513-8633 or

Download our Forum Flyer and the Virginia High-Quality, Work-based Opportunities Flyer to learn more!

Want to meet your city’s CTE Administration?
Reach out to Dr. Nikki Finley, Work-Based Learning Specialist, Region 2, Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education,

Make your “Just Admin” your A-Team!

It is likely getting harder to hire administrative assistants and others who support you as we get closer to the holidays. People decide to stay put. To fill your empty slots, you need buzz and reality about how you engage, empower, and recognize your support staff.

You also don’t want your current admin staff to lose heart and think about moving on with the new year.

That starts with a lead, manager, supervisor, or peer on the admin team whether you are in operations, human resources, or any other unit in your organization.

How do you create an environment where your receptionist or your officer assistant or your customer service reps feel great about their work, love their team, and support the business goals as the A-Team?

If you are in Hampton Roads, we want to help you with that on Tuesday, November 1st.

Jamie Vanek, author of Buried in Business, and I are going to show you…

  • Why admin is often overlooked and undervalued
  • The strategies to build expectations, mentoring, and provide meaningful admin contributions
  • How to dismantle current admin functions and gain clarity in hiring, collaboration, and purpose
  • Workflows, passion projects, and communications which will get you unburied
  • How to change your own communications style and practices to engage your admin team!

And…you will have templates to help you make major changes right away. Learn more and register at Move your “just admin” to your A-Team Workshop Tickets, Tue, Nov 1, 2022 at 9:15 AM | Eventbrite

Download Flyer

Local Leadership Forum for Women Continues to Develop

In February 2021, Managing Communications’ President, Susan Long-Molnar decided it was time to create a forum for leaders to discuss their own growth. Finding a way to connect was difficult for our leaders, burdened with employee and health issues still facing us due to the pandemic. Fast forward to 2022, a time for new opportunities for women to expand leadership roles while learning to lead differently, often remote or with employees who for the most part continued to be remote.

Today, Southeast VA Women in Leadership Roundtable meets monthly to network and converse about leadership challenges, equity, collaboration, and mentoring. The Roundtable includes introductions, brief presentations, and discussions between CEOs, Business Owners, Officers, and Directors. Our focus is on topics that impact women. We have explored many topics such as leaders setting high expectations, financial decisions, conflict management, and so on. We also focus on our personal visions, missions, and goals, asking questions like “How will my leadership define who I am in five years?” and “What three to five realistic and essential goals do I need to support my leadership vision and mission?”.

Though our focus over the past 15 months has been on issues directly impacting leaders and their impact on our community and business organizations, we are going to periodically invite our members to bring their promising managers and supervisors to the sessions. This will give us an opportunity to build their leadership skills as well.

We are planning a face-to-face session in August. This may be a quarterly initiative, but most members feel there is a great advantage to continuing primarily remote sessions. We are also excited about potential collaboration of the Roundtable to develop a women’s leadership conference.

If you are interested in learning more about the Roundtable, please reach out!


Getting Down to Business: Managing the Details of a Startup

By Courtney Rosenfeld

Starting a business can be an exciting and profitable venture, particularly when you’re passionate about your work. Of course, to be successful requires addressing a number of not-so-glamorous elements of being an entrepreneur, such as developing a business agenda, ensuring you have all of your regulatory compliance issues well in hand, and thinking about operating and succession plans. Let’s break it down.

Business Startup Basics

Before launching your business, you’ll want to develop a comprehensive business plan. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), this will be particularly important if you’re seeking funding of any kind. A business plan helps you think through and articulate the operational elements of how your business will work. Things to consider include forming a limited liability company (LLC) to protect assets, and making a determination about how you’re going to handle financial elements and functions, like payroll, taxes, and accounts payable and receivable. You’ll also want to address financial elements around recordkeeping. Of course, you’ll need to ensure you have the appropriate business license and insurance, especially if you’re operating an e-commerce business.

Targeting Your Market

It’s important to identify your target demographic before you launch a marketing and advertising campaign. In other words, who is most likely to buy your products orservices, and how are they best reached? Once you know the type of customer you’re trying to attract, you can develop a targeted strategy. Social media can be an effective tool , as can creating a website and marketing your company through trade or industry groups. You can also start generating early word-of-mouth advertising through friends, family, colleagues, and any social or business groups you’re involved with. E-mail marketing can also be a smart approach, particularly if you’re operating an online business or have online components.

Creating an Operating Agreement

In conjunction with your business and marketing plans, you’ll want to develop an operating agreement to protect your assets, describe your business rules, and outline your business succession plans in detail. This will help ensure your financial assets are protected. The operating agreement may be built into your business plan or be a stand- alone component, but having such a document in place can help with seeking funding because you’ll be viewed as someone who has thought through all of the financial implications of how your business will run. Visit Zenbusiness to secure an operating agreement template.

Where To Get Funding

Small business loans can help a startup business secure the necessary elements they need to be successful. This might include a website domain, website design, buying equipment and supplies, and purchasing inventory or other products necessary to fully launch and operate your business. Before you can seek funding, you’ll need to have your business plan completed. Many banking institutions offer personal loans, while small business banks specifically service entrepreneurial-type endeavors. Other places  to look for funding include the SBA and state grants through microenterprise initiatives.

Where to Get Help

Depending on the type of business you’re launching, you might find it beneficial to consult a tax attorney, a small business accounting firm, or an employment law specialist. Joining industry associations like chambers of commerce or Rotary clubs can also provide a means for networking, promoting your business, and participating in small business development programs — all of which can help you advance your company.

Starting a business can be immensely rewarding and has the potential to be very lucrative, as well. Ensuring you’re going about everything the right way before startup can help you devote more of your time post-launch to delivering exceptional service and building your customer base.

Managing Communications serves start-up businesses with marketing strategy to help you identify your targeted audiences and services or products which will be important to them. Then, we help you build a strategic plan to realize your goals. Often, we identify a service or market you had not even considered! We also implement as needed for digital and traditional content, ongoing consulting and a host of other services. Let’s talk soon!

Why Organizations Fail to Develop Women for Leadership?

Many organizations around the world have one thing in common; they are run by men.
These organizations do not see female promotion into senior positions as a strategic business
imperative. Thus, leaving women stuck in mid-level positions while the men in the company
promote upwards. There are a few reasons that this bias exists whether the organization is
aware of it or not.

Reason #1: Limited Focus Initiatives
Organizations may have programs in place to develop leadership skills, but they are often not
fully executed, or they are enormous and difficult to follow. They may also have a limited focus
or train employees on lower-level tasks that mid-level employees may have already mastered.
Another issue with some initiatives is that they are not properly communicated as employees
move from entry level to mid-level positions. Therefore, employees are not aware of the
opportunities that exist.

Reason #2: Accountability
The organization is not “walking the talk” or following through with their promises. Women are
shown opportunities to excel in the workplace, but the opportunities are never actually
presented. This happens many times when an inside hire for an upper-level position is given
directly to a man and not opened to other qualified employees, including women.

Reason #3: Power Struggles
Research has shown that women struggle with delegating tasks. Recent studies have shown
women see delegation as more aggressive and assertive, which many think will hurt their image
in the organization. Women are much more empathetic towards their colleagues, whereas the
men are assertive and dominant to get things moving. Men, who are often in the higher
positions, allow this power to be seen as their dominance in the office setting, whereas women
don’t always have the same thirst for power and often seem much more civil with their
subordinates. This is a good quality and one which women can mentor to their male peers!

Reason #4: Risk Takers are Favored
Women have been taught not to advocate for their positions and themselves because society
has taught them to be docile, quiet, and kind. They have been taught to be more accepting.
The women of the organization then feel oppressed, as if they cannot take the risk to bring up
ideas during meetings or take on assignments due to this lack of power and worth to the

Reason #5: The Full Plate
Along with execution, women are expected to multitask, taking on a multitude of projects at
once because they multi-task well. Unfortunately, with a large number of projects, the
organization often avoids including a woman who has multiple projects already in a leadership
role on new initiatives. Women often use collaborative influencing to aid in the large
multitasking operation and are perceived as not taking a stance on changing the way
production is handled or pushing for new initiatives.

Organizations have much work to do to help women evolve into leadership positions. Some
organizations like Enspire Energy, in Chesapeake, Virginia, are on the up-and-coming women
lead business lists. The opportunities were presented and taken by Mary Hensley and Julie
Hashagen, with their vast experience and knowledge, they decided not to be oppressed
anymore by large organizational life and start their own business to strive.

These Books are the Key to Unlocking Your Leadership Potential

By Courtney Rosenfield of Gig Spark

Hoping to make a change? Leading your community into a better tomorrow is a serious
challenge, but it’s a necessary one. We need people willing to take charge and help us imagine
how the world could be. We’ve gathered these resources to help you find great books you can
borrow and read for inspiration, get into the habit of reading regularly, and unlock your

Inspiring Individuals 
These memoirs and biographies can help you figure out what kind of leader you want to be: 

– Here’s a list of biographies from Forbes to help you develop leadership in the
– These books about women who changed the world challenge our ideas about
who can lead well.
– Memoirs like these help you to learn more about the activists who sparked
change in our nation’s history.

Unlocking the Leader in You 

Check out these guides to finding and using your greatest strengths:

– Start with these books on discovering and recognizing your strengths.
– Then check out these books on developing leadership skills at work and in your
– These books on networking can help you build relationships that lead to effective

Developing a Reading Habit
If you’re not already in the habit of reading regularly, these tips will help:

– Start small by reading an especially gripping book or re-reading an old favorite.
– Set a goal to read a certain number of books each month, and track your

Other Tactics for Reaching the Next Level
We live in an age where information is at our fingertips. Tap into some other opportunities for
growing and developing your inner leader:
– Could you use a consultant? Managing Communications Consulting offers
leadership support through business development services, marketing, and
strategic planning.
– Educational podcasts are a terrific tool for stretching your mind and learning new
– Online learning programs offer the opportunity to expand your education and
capabilities at your own pace.

Altogether, these resources give you more than a hundred books to add to your reading list.
Dive in today and learn all you can about becoming a leader. Reading will give you the chance
to learn, reflect, and unlock your true potential.

For leadership strategies and communications services, call Managing Communications
Consulting at 757-513-8633, email, or fill out our online

Photo Credit: Pexels

How to Launch a Small Business in Your City

By Courtney Rosenfeld of Gig Spark

Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur? There’s no better time to start than right now! Launching a local business is a fantastic way to give back to your community while escaping the rat race and creating a source of passive income for yourself and your family. Of course, getting a business up and running is no simple feat. There are many legal, financial, and operational details to consider as you prepare your business for launch.

Whether you’re launching a freelancing business online or as a retail space in your community, it pays to do everything right from day one. Thankfully, online resources and services like Managing Communications Consulting can help you get your bearings.

Your Startup Checklist

A lot goes into starting a business. Here are just a few of the steps involved and how to tackle them on your own.

  • Determine the viability of your business idea by researching the local market for your product or service.
  • Figure out how you’re going to fund your new business, whether it’s bootstrapping, business loans, or seeking investors.
  • Register your business and apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
  • To free up your time along the way, consider outsourcing some specialized work — such as email marketing — to professionals.

Establishing Your Business

Taking your product or service to market will require an online storefront like a website or a physical retail space. 

  • Determine how you’re going to source or manufacture your products.
  • Create a website and social media accounts for your business. 
  • If you’re opening a local business, set up a Google My Business listing so customers can find you when conducting a local search. 

Building Your Brand Story

The best way to stand out from all of your competitors is to develop an engaging brand story that resonates with your target audience.

  • A great brand story will foster trust in your business, turning indifferent shoppers into loyal customers.
  • LinkedIn is an invaluable resource for promoting your brand authentically and positioning yourself as a trusted authority in your industry.
  • Just remember to inject some personality into your branded content.

Running a small business is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also a lot of work. You’ll have to find funding, tackle your legal obligations, hire help, establish an online presence, and come up with a marketing strategy to get the word out about your brand. Take advantage of all the resources that are available to you! Business consulting from Managing Communications Consulting can help you establish a strong foundation for your new business. Give us a call to discuss your needs today! 757-513-8633.

Four Leadership Skills Important in Reopening Successfully


As if leaders don’t have enough to worry about with lost revenue from partial or complete closures during the last couple of months, we also have the realities of unrest in our communities and the fears and stress from potentially one of the most significant health issues faced by workers in their lifetime.

With Black Lives Matter on everyone’s mind after heartless deaths and an awakening of what monuments should go, what police units should look like, and for each of us, more awareness that it is past time for many Americans to understand the impact of history on our culture, we can expect a lot of employees are uncomfortable and confused. Remember, you also have employees who were not happy with their work, the way they were treated, their pay or other inequalities, before COVID-19 sent them home. Whether you view yourself as a strong leader or above average, you probably need to grow competencies in the following four skills to be prepared for changes in your business and workforce:

Lead with empathy. This new chapter in leadership requires a real effort at being empathetic to all employees. Try to take all of beliefs you have and pretend you are a sponge, just like you were when you were about five years old. Whether it was learning to catch lightening bugs, finding really cool rocks, or discovering how magnets work, you were engaged and ready to learn. Now is the time, to think like a five-year-old and truly listen to employees. Keep an open mind to their concerns, whether it is about how to take care of their kids this summer while they try to come back to the office or their fears that their own job might be eliminated because you have refocused your business to survive. Caring goes a long way even when you do not have solutions right now.

Lead with transparency. Show the lost revenue due to COVID-19 and specific steps you plan for recovery. Share specifics about your concerns, because if you sound like “everything will be fine”, you will lose their trust. Clearly communicate what you know as you all work together and provide frequent updates. You may find new ways to respond to changes in processes or provide opportunities for more or different employees to shine. Give employees more time to give input and share their concerns, but when you do that, remember it is okay to share your own, especially your honesty about your own lack of understanding.

Lead by example. If there is more work that has to get done in a particular area, and it would be helpful for you to dig in and help, do it. Though you do not want to get in the habit of spending your days in tasks, this is the time to show your abilities as a team player, not task master. That means running to the post office to meet a deadline, reviewing client files, or filing documents so your team can be more responsive, or taking over the cleaning spaces so others can finish a project. Leading by example also means being aware in every aspect of your business of any inequalities. How you treat the remote teams has to be the same as the ones who come to the work site, and that treatment has to be apparent to all. Nothing can be more damaging than a manager being late for a zoom meeting because he went for a long lunch with his boss, while reprimanding an employee who did not clock in on time for work. Flexibility in schedules may become one of your biggest nightmares if you do not follow the same expectations. You may also find that the simplest guidelines like wearing a mask becomes controversial because of how people feel about multiple issues. Whatever you do, wear a mask yourself, consistently, if that is the guideline, without excuses, and do not exclude yourself from social distancing.

Mentor, sponsor, and raise up more leaders. Change can bring positive results and opportunities for your employees. Shifting responsibilities for greater productivity could be an outcome from a slow, measured return to the office. Employees who may not have gotten noticed may show up on your radar. How can you or others on your leadership team provide more mentoring in your business? What leadership skills are lacking in the mix of your team? What can you do to use this time to provide additional virtual or online training to improve leadership skills? What can you let go and pass on to others with your sponsorship efforts to put the highlight on them?

Overall, leaders step up to challenging times. Avoiding, ignoring, or ‘freezing” on difficult decisions just do not give you the results you want for successfully finishing the year. When focusing on these skills during the worst conditions, we find renewal in our own work life and benefits for those we lead which can result in long-term rewards.

LinkedIn Could Never Be More Important than NOW!


If your marketing strategy is primarily focused on B-2-B, you are probably missing opportunities right now to continue to build relationships with your clients or to make an impact on potential new ones! Even engaging with your own employees and making sure that they are connecting with your clients is critical.

I want to help you get your profile updated, develop content strategies for branding your business, and train you in how to target your potential customers through LinkedIn!

Why is this important?

  • It will give you focus to accomplish authentic marketing while you and/or your employees are probably having more time for social media engagement…share in the effort!
  • More people are online now, which gives you that much more traffic.
  • LinkedIn continues to be the strongest platform for converting engagement to sales.
  • The strongest competitors in your industry, once we get beyond the coronavirus crisis, will be those who still have name and reputation recognition!

Welcome to LinkedIn Maverick Coaching!  I will use Facetime or another resource that works for you, to give you one-on-one LinkedIn Training so that we can build your brand! Here is the process:

A one-hour session will be $35 or for three sessions, a total of $90.

Send me a message in LinkedIn or email at

I am offering sessions during the week:

Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. including what may be your lunch time. If none of the openings work for your schedule, I will also arrange for a Saturday session.

You will need to connect with me on LinkedIn if we are not already, so watch for my invite. Why? I am going to analyze your profile, and if you have one, your company page as well, before our session.

When we meet virtually, I will train you on key areas that look important for you to develop, assist you online while on the call to make changes, and recommend continued practice. If you find you want additional sessions, I am going to give you homework!

LinkedIn Mavericks

If you want to use LinkedIn to build more relationships and develop credibility for your brand in 2020, sign up for LinkedIn Mavericks 2020! We love having multiple people from the same businesses, gather those who can make an impact this year and bring 3 for $180! Check out our great panelists who will share how they manage time to be effective and other strategies they use to engage on LinkedIn! Get the details and register at: Register soon as we have limited seating!

You can also sign up with an individual fee. You will not find a LinkedIn Workshop where you “get stuff done” and learn from others how to gain ROI in 4 hours in Hampton Roads for this price!

Why are we doing this? Because MCC is totally convinced that the real source for social business marketing is through LinkedIn.

We want you to see the difference between this platform and Facebook, Twitter, and the rest.

Sign up today before the seats are gone!