Employers, Are You Ready for 2018?

News headlines in 2017 had employers sitting up and taking notice. From #MeToo, to changes in minimum wage, to restrictions on unpredictable workers’ schedules—a startling list of new regulations and legislation means there’s a lot to get your head around, whether you own a small business or are a manager in a large corporation.

At the most recent Though Leaders in Business, Kerrie R. Heslin walked the audience through some of the most recent changes from the employers’ perspective, pointing out potholes, pitfalls and oft-neglected areas.

Heslin, of employment law firm Nukk-Freeman & Cerra, P.C., which represents employers, noted that layers of statutes affect employers, with the federal government, state government and even municipalities getting in on the act of regulating employers.

The audiences’ hands flew in the air with questions for each topic. Heslin tackled some tough questions and gave the audience specific advice about their existing procedures.

Some highlights from Heslin’s talk:

  • The NYC Salary History Ban prohibits employers from asking prospective employees’ salary histories. The fines can be steep – with a civil penalty of up to $125,000 and $250,000 if the violation was willful. Hint: Some companies are making sure interviewers adhere to the policy by putting a reminder—”No salary history questions!”—right in the Outlook invitation.
  • The Ban-the-Box law in New York State means no more check box asking potential employees if they’ve been convicted of a crime.
  • The threshold salary at which employers must pay overtime has gone way up, sometimes ranging up to $48,000. This number also can also vary by location and even county.
  • The “affirmative defense”—in which an employer must simply prove adequate training to prevent sexual harassment—is no longer a sufficient defense in New York State when an employee alleges wrongdoing.
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act of New York applies even if you have one employee. And the time off does not have to be taken consecutively.
  • All the new legislation means updating forms and processes.
    – Employment applications
    – Employee handbooks
    – Training material
    – Interview scripts
    – Acceptance letters
    – Contracts

A good employer needs to have a solid action plan in place to meet complaints and allegations with clear and documented procedures. Waiting until you’re faced with an allegation or complaint is dropping the ball – and both you and your employees deserve better than that.

Rather than be overwhelmed, Heslin suggested some concrete steps to take:

  • Perform a self-audit with your legal firm. Because it’s privileged, companies don’t have to wring their hands over what might surface.
  • Sign up for Heslin’s alert email—to stay on top of the shifting regulatory environment.
  • Make sure you have procedures in place to capture and respond to employee complaints; turning a blind eye puts your company at risk.
  • Start training programs that catch your employees up on the new policies and procedures you’re enacting.

It was an honor to have Kerrie R. Heslin with us for this Thought Leaders in Business presentation. Her talk couldn’t have been more informative, and left the audience all better equipped to face employment challenges head on and become part of the solution to a better workplace environment.

Review of Thought Leader in Business Award Ceremony with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney

On July 20th, we were honored to present Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney with our annual Thought Leaders in Business Award.

Congresswoman Maloney was first elected to congress in 1992, and she has been the frontrunner who has pushed for a long list of progressive accomplishments. Among which is her current push for government to prioritize cybersecurity. The recent cybersecurity attacks being carried out by nation states such as North Korea and Russia have put cybersecurity at the forefront of many high level discussions – both in government and in business.

We’re thrilled that Congresswoman Maloney has been repeatedly emphasizing the importance of this discussion – and that she’s emphasized the need for it to be ongoing. After the presentation of the award, the congresswoman gave a brief talk. In her speech, she emphasized not only the government’s role in prioritizing cybersecurity, but our role as individuals, as well.

Specifically, Rep. Maloney stated that individuals in the private sector need to put more pressure on those working in the public sector to acknowledge cybersecurity as a matter of importance. When citizens show that they want to personally learn more about cybersecurity and that they hold their government accountable to use better technology, the end result will be improved ability to mitigate risk.

In her talk, Congresswoman Maloney said that cybersecurity needs to become a policy focus within all government bodies. She believes firmly that any situation where customer privacy is being compromised is one that we need to focus on and work toward improvement. Currently, the Congresswoman is working on a bill that would require all companies who deal with sensitive information to comply with data security standards that many banks already adhere to.

Because these standards are already being used in Banking, Rep. Maloney sees no reason that they couldn’t be applied to all companies that provide financial services. The standards are scalable for both small and large businesses, and they’re intended to protect customers (individuals, businesses, and governments) from hackers.

Congresswoman Maloney is absolutely correct when she says that we as a country can’t afford to be at the mercy of hackers. There must be more communication between the private and public sector so that we can move forward together as a unified front against cybersecurity threats.

It was our honor to award Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney with this year’s Thought Leader in Business Award. Watch her video here to see the full ceremony and her Q&A session.

Thought Leaders in Business Discussion: 3 Surprising Lessons in Service Design

When we think about the traditional rules of business, general platitudes come to mind like “Go above and beyond,” or “The customer is always right.” However, service design is changing the way we do business. With these changes creating leaner business models and more streamlined sales, we should accept that there are new lessons to learn and new ways of interacting with customers. This quarter’s Thought Leaders in Business featured Tom Steward and Patricia O’Connell, authors of Woo, Wow, and Win! Service Design, Strategy, and the Art of Customer Delight. Tom and Patricia explored some of these lessons in our most recent Thought Leaders in Business, and some of them may surprise you.

Forget What You Learned from Manufacturing

Almost every business “rule” that we’ve learned is tailored to fit a manufacturing business model, but many of these rules don’t fit anywhere in a service design business. Service design is much more flexible because when the product we sell is a service we’re incorporating the human element. Service design customers are incredibly hands-on throughout the selling process. This real-time customer engagement with the service you’re selling leaves room for instant feedback and can cause some hiccups as no interaction is identical. However, this unique flexibility also allows you to maintain a much closer connection with your customers and provide them with a better, more tailored service – for both you and them.

No Heroics

When a customer purchases a manufactured product, it’s finished. The expectation is that that product will be fine-tuned, excellent, and consistent. This heroic sense of excellence has been lauded as the necessary but difficult-to-achieve goal for many organizations. However, when you apply this lesson from manufacturing to service design, it doesn’t translate well. Service design professionals attempt to meet this goal of excellence by going “above and beyond.” The problem is that you cannot maintain any sense of consistency with your customers when you work to exceed their expectations. Service design focuses on lean production and lean consumption – any extra “above and beyond” heroics creates confusion, and adds additional steps to what should be a streamlined, and most importantly, consistent process.

Don’t Surprise Your Customer

Related to this idea of maintaining consistency in your service design business is the concept of surprising your customer. The idea that businesses need to “surprise and delight” their customers is completely wrong for the service design business model. Nobody likes to be surprised when they’re expecting a specific service. Surprises create inconsistency in the expectations of your customers. Have you ever heard of a hair stylist surprising their customer with a new color or style they didn’t ask for? If you have, I doubt the “surprise” story had a happy ending.

Additionally, a customer shouldn’t be surprised when you complete the services they expect from you. In general, surprises don’t go over well in service design. Instead of surprising your customers, focus on delighting them by meeting their expectations. Let the quality of your work speak for itself – no surprises necessary.

Final Thoughts

The rules of business that have been drilled into the minds of business owners through countless seminars, articles, and white papers the world over make sense…for traditional product-based manufacturing businesses. Service design is its own unique business model, and should be treated as such. Whether your service business is B2C or B2B, you deserve to follow “rules” that don’t limit you and your business’s growth potential. The different set of expectations for both service providers and customers in service design are necessary. Tom Stewart and Patricia O’Connell gave an amazing presentation at Thought Leaders in Business. Stay tuned for the video to follow.

Stay tuned for the video capturing this event, and check out the slide show presentation here. 


Woo, Wow, and Win! Service Design, Strategy, and the Art of Customer Delight

Join us at the re-launch of Thought Leaders In Business
at the Yale Club, Thursday, March 9th, 6:00pm
featuring best-selling authors:

Tom Stewart & Patricia O’Connell

discussing their latest book:

Tom and Patricia will reveal the importance of service design for your company and offer executives in services businesses clear, practical strategies for designing and delivering great customer experiences, from beginning to end—the kind of experiences that build loyalty and lasting relationships. The connection between company and customer is very different in services—which represent 80% of the economy—than it is when customers are buying a product. In these businesses, customers aren’t waiting at the loading dock for a product to be delivered; they’re part of the process. You may think you’re selling a service, but what you are really selling is an experience, one you design but your customer helps create and shape.

Service Design links strategy and operations to the actual experience of your customers.

Following the talk, please join us, engage, and discuss
at our wine and hors d’oeuvres reception!

Space is limited! Please click here to RSVP!


Tom Stewart is the Executive Director of the National Center for the Middle Market, the leading source for knowledge, leadership, and research about mid-sized companies, at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. Tom is an influential thought leader on management issues and ideas and an authority on intellectual capital and knowledge management.

Before joining the National Center for the Middle Market, Tom served as Chief Marketing and Knowledge Officer for international consulting firm Booz & Company (now called Strategy&). Prior to that, he was for six years the Editor and Managing Director of Harvard Business Review, and earlier served as a member of the Board of Editors of Fortune magazine.

He is the author of two other books, Intellectual Capital: The New Wealth of Organizations and The Wealth of Knowledge: Intellectual Capital and the Twenty-first Century Organization. He has published articles in Harvard Business Review, strategy + business, Fortune, Business 2.0, Financial Times, and elsewhere.

Tom is a graduate of Harvard College and holds an honorary doctorate from Cass Business School, City University London.


Patricia O’Connell is president of Aerten Consulting, a New York City–based firm that works with companies to devise content strategies and develop thought leadership for top management. Her interest in service design expresses a lifelong pursuit of the idea that “there’s got to be a better way.” She is the writer, with author Neil Smith, of the New York Times bestseller How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things: Breaking the Eight Hidden Barriers that Plague Even the Best Businesses.

Patricia is twelve-year veteran of BloombergBusinessweek.com, where she served as news editor and subsequently as the management editor. There she worked with writers and thought leaders like John Byrne, Marshall Goldsmith, Dov Seidman, Bill George, Ben Heineman, Don Tapscott, Bruce Weinstein, and others, while overseeing the design and launch of new channels and services.

A graduate of Boston College, Patricia has worked with such organizations as the Project Management Institute, the Association of Management Consulting Firms, Strategy&, Boston Consulting Group, Hay Group (now part of Korn Ferry), Stephens Inc., Savannah College of Art and Design, and T. Rowe Price.


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Fast-Track Workshop: 10 Innovative Ways to Transform Your Business Challenge

Mitchell Rigie, innovation consultant, corporate trainer, speaker and coauthor of the book, SmartStorming: The Game-Changing Process for Generating Bigger, Better Ideas, will share 10 proven ways you can innovate your product, service or business process in 2014.

Come prepared for an informative and interactive evening. You are encouraged to bring a real-world business challenge and discover new ways to improve, evolve, or transform it using the same types of creative problem-solving approaches that innovation-driven leaders like Apple, Google, and Nike use to stay on the cutting edge of their industries.

What you will learn in the workshop:Mitchell Rigie_Small_Hi-Res_CC_Final-3

  • What makes innovation so essential to your business success
  •  Why innovation is the “New Darwinism” in business
  • Understand the 3 most common types of business or product innovation
  • 10 ways you can innovate your product, service or business process
  • How to think and act more innovatively every day

Mitchell is a partner in SmartStorming LLC, a groundbreaking innovation consulting and training company that has worked with many of today’s most innovative companies, including: Google, Under Armour, NBCUniveral, Siemens, Diageo and Omnicom. Their SmartStorming Brainstorm Leadership training has been taught to MBA candidates at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Advance registration is required, as seating is limited.
Click here to register on-line, or:

Please RSVP to Chris Moschovitis at RSVP@TMGR.COM

The Collapse of the NY Publishing Industry and the Rise of Self-Publishing

Michael LevinMichael Levin, President of Business Ghost, a prominent ghost writing firm for business professionals, has extensive experience in the publishing industry.

The publishing industry, historically based in six major companies in New York, has experienced significant dislocation in recent years, as the balance between writer, publisher and reader has shifted.  The Internet as a means for distribution has placed much more power in the hands of online retailers and writers.

Some will argue that readers reap huge benefits, as books, whether digital, print-on-demand or standard printed format, are offered at a fraction of traditional costs.  The traditional publishing business model, once unassailable, is proving to be pivotal in creating the industry’s decline.

Michael sees enormous opportunities for writers, nimble enough to change the way they conduct business and for readers whose shopping experience is vastly enhanced, defined by choice, browsing, access and price.

In Michael’s view, publishing is not over even as traditional publishing is receding rapidly into memory.

Advance registration is required, as seating is limited.
Click here to register on-line, or:

Please RSVP to Chris Moschovitis at RSVP@TMGR.COM

Networking 2.0: Next Steps In Maximizing Outcomes From Your Contacts

Leslie Grossman
Management Consultant, co-founder of Women’s Leadership Exchange

Monday, November 11, 6:00 pm
Yale Club, Room TBA

Leslie Grossman, author of author of Link Out: How to Turn Your Network into a Chain of Lasting CLeslieGrossman_2 (4)onnections, has discovered how we unlock the key to a successful use of our networking efforts. Whether you are an entrepreneur or corporate executive, you have the opportunity to take control of your business and career path.  Leslie has found that today success depends on the application of leadership and connection strategies used by the business world’s greatest leaders.

In addition to being an author, Leslie is a management consultant, inspirational speaker, founder of an integrated marketing agency and co-founder of Women’s Leadership Exchange.

Please join us for a rare opportunity to listen to a new way to network and build trusted relationships.

Advance registration is required, as seating is limited.
Click here to register on-line, or:

Please RSVP to Chris Moschovitis at RSVP@TMGR.COM


Becoming Ginger Rogers: Business and Life Lessons from the Ballroom

OCTOBER 1, 2013 (Room TBA), 6:00pm

Patrice Tanaka

Patrice Tanaka, author of Becoming Ginger Rogers: How Ballroom Dancing Made me a Happier Woman, Better Partner and Smarter CEO has found an unexpected resource for personal and business growth.

Through the experience of ballroom dancing, Patrice has learned invaluable life and business lessons.  The top five are:Headshot

  • Be fully present in body, mind and spirit
  • Perfectionism is overrated – and inhibiting
  • Practice failing so you can succeed more quickly
  • How to partner for success
  • Visualize your goals as the first step toward achieving them

This talk will turn ballroom dancing inside out and leave us with information to use as we drive to success in our own personal and professional lives.

In addition to being an author, Patrice is the Chief Counselor & Creative Strategist of Padilla CRT, a New York and Minneapolis-based public relations agency.   She is a veteran of startups, acquisitions and multiple corporate mergers.  She is now poised to share what she’s learned with others who seek to expand their approaches to business growth.

Advance registration is required, as seating is limited.
Click here to register on-line, or:

Please RSVP to Chris Moschovitis at RSVP@TMGR.COM

The Affordable Health Care Act:
Current Prognosis and our Health Care Future

SEPTEMBER 12, 2013 (Room TBA), 6:00pm

Kyle Healy
Vice President Group Benefits – Lenox Advisors

The media continues its voracious buzz about the pros and cons about The Affordable Health Care Act.  Politicos and pundits debate what should have been, what should be and what will be as we all try to understand the impact of Obamacare.

Kyle Healy, Vice President Group Benefits at Lenox Advisors, a top finanKyle Healy picturecial management firm, has extensive experience with benefits and labor issues.  He is uniquely qualified to address this timely and profoundly important topic.

Many managers, in both public and private sector organizations, are unsure about how to proceed in the era of health care exchanges, or marketplaces, that offer choices of plans and options.  The exchanges promise corporate efficiency versus the often-criticized inefficiency of the current health plan protocols.  But the questions are many, and the path very complex.

Please join us to hear how Kyle, sees how Obamacare will impact virtually every American company and individual in both broad and narrow ways.

Advance registration is required, as seating is limited.
Click here to register on-line, or:

Please RSVP to Chris Moschovitis at RSVP@TMGR.COM


Women Leading Now

July 2nd – Room TBA – 6:00pm (Promptly!)

Deborah Rosado Shaw & Ken Mandelbaum
Business Performance Experts

For several years now, key studies have demonstrated a link between gender diversity and corporate performance.  Many forward-thinking companies have put in policies and practices to promote gender diversity, yet women are leaving corporate America in greater numbers each day.

With the ongoing disruption of many traditional industries and increased global competition, how do we make sure we get the full yield of women’s leadership in advancing corporate and organizational growth?”

It will take a new model and this model is available.  It is one that leaves men and women with expanded performance, fulfillment and impact.

Ken MandelbaumJoin us forDeb Shaw 2 an insightful, engaging and eye-opening conversation led by business performance experts Deborah Rosado Shaw and Ken Mandelbaum: “Women Leading Now – A New Model Of Performance.”

Deb Shaw is a trusted advisor to the Fortune 100, an award-winning entrepreneur, a best-selling author and founding partner of Prime Insights, a career success training and development company helping leaders discover insights that generate uncommon results.

Ken Mandelbaum is a Senior Consultant and Strategy & Performance expert at VSA Consulting and a c-suite veteran and partner of several national retail, finance and real estate companies.

Come and discover this emerging model and how it works for you and your enterprise.


Advance registration is required, as seating is limited.  Click here to register on-line, or:

Please RSVP to Chris Moschovitis at RSVP@TMGR.COM