Seed20 OnStage!

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” Today, we focus on an upcoming event dedicated to those in the Charlotte community that are “doing for others” each and every day…SEED20 OnStage!

SEED20 is the annual program of Social Venture Partners Charlotte (a nonprofit organization) to identify, highlight and connect the community to the region’s most promising social entrepreneurs tackling pressing challenges.

Croixstone’s Mark Weber is serving as the Lead Partner for this year’s powerful program, best known for its high-energy SEED20 OnStage event where ten members of the SEED20 class compete to win cash awards by making three-minute “pitches” to a panel of judges and a community audience.

This year’s event takes place at the Bechtler Museum and Knight Theater in front of an audience of 1,000 guests on April 16, 2018.  We invite you to view the SEED20 video and website to learn more.

Tickets for the event are now on sale.  To purchase tickets, Click Here


2018: The Year of Professional Courage

With months of revelations about sexual harassment and abuse of men and women across industries, we encourage you to make 2018 the year of professional courage. Guest blogger, Tony Armeni, shares his insights below.

What are we to think of all the news about workplace behavior, and particularly sexual harassment, in the media of late?
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I am sure you have read and heard every possible angle about the individuals, situations, causes, explanations, and even excuses. Who knew? When did they know? How could this be?
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The one thing I have heard little about is accountability. Do we really need more training and clarifications from attorneys about the definition of sexual harassment? Do we need more value statements about integrity and transparency? The answer is NO! It is time for human resource leaders, and their executive peers, to step up and start holding their organizations and individuals in them accountable for behaviors that are in clear violation of the policies and training that they have already established. Enough about all the grey areas, misinterpretations, consensual this and that and all the other excuses. We know what this looks and sounds like. We know what the right thing to do is.  Now we need to start doing it.  
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No more separating the offender from the accuser, rationalizing how you can’t afford to lose the star performer, implementing mutual separation agreements for the accuser and so forth. Let’s eradicate the innuendo and foul language, jokes, inappropriate remarks and other behaviors that create a culture of tolerance and acceptance.
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It is important to make sure our policies on workplace behavior and sexual harassment are well communicated and that we have trained everyone in our organizations. We must take every complaint seriously and investigate thoroughly. Once all the facts are known, we must do the right thing, regardless of who the violator might be.
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Merriam-Webster defines courage as the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty. Get an early start on your new year’s resolutions and begin now to demonstrate professional courage and start leading your organization’s accountability crusade. Let’s make 2018 the year of professional courage.
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About Our Guest Blogger
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Tony Armeni, MBA, SPHR and SCP, is a senior consultant in Croixstone’s human capital practice. With extensive experience in diverse industries, cultures and environments (including Fortune 200 companies), Tony has delivered high-impact results to support the business objectives, change initiatives and leadership development activities at companies including SCOR, Joerns Healthcare, Sompo Japan, CSX World Terminals and more. Tony offers deep expertise in helping organizations navigate through sexual harassment complaints, investigations and training.
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Are you ready to make 2018 the year of professional courage?  For a confidential discussion, contact Mark Weber, Managing Partner, at (980) 263-0234 or by email at mweber@croixstone.consulting


#MakeYourMark in 2018

Happy New Year!  The Croixstone team is ready with some creative ways to start the year off on the right foot.  It’s time to #MakeYourMark in 2018.

  • One great way to start the year is by enjoying the great outdoors on New Year’s Day.  North Carolina State Parks will be hosting First Day Hikes throughout the state to start the year off right.  To read more about First Day Hikes in North Carolina, check out a story in the Shelby Star here and see a full list of hikes sponsored by North Carolina State Parks here.
  • Looking to make 2018 your healthiest year yet?  Start the year off with a free Healthy Lunch & Fitness Goal-Setting Session hosted by NoDa Personal Training.  To learn more and to register, click here.
  • Ready to take your career to the next level?  Check out 10 things to do in the new year to skyrocket your career in 2018 here.

Uniquely Charlotte Gift Ideas

With Christmas less than 2 weeks away and Hanukkah in progress, we know you may be scrambling to find that perfect gift.  Why not try out some uniquely Charlotte treasures?

Uniquely Charlotte Gifts
In November 2017, Architectural Digest named The Ivey’s Hotel as the most beautiful hotel in North Carolina. Why not plan a get-away at the The Ivey’s Hotel in Uptown Charlotte and explore what the city has to offer? Read more about The Ivey’s Hotel and take a glimpse at the inside here.
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Need a beautiful piece of jewelry for someone special in your life? Fashion and Compassion is a non-profit boutique located in South End that specializes in fashionable fair trade jewelry made by women overcoming poverty & injustice around the world.

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Check out 43 local gift ideas for 2017 in  Charlotte Magazine’s Gift Guide.
Looking for a unique leather gift from a local company? Check out Anchor Leather Co. The Croixstone team first became familiar with Ethan Martin’s company at a Vintage Charlotte Pop-Up event two years ago, and we absolutely love their hard-wearing, fine leather goods. You can also find their goods sold on Etsy.
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Does someone on your list need a new professional head-shot? Consider giving Jim McGuire Photography and Video a call. Located in Studio1212 off of 10th Street, Jim recently captured pictures for the Croixstone team. Stay tuned for an unveiling in 2018.
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Give the gift of an experience.  Here are 101 Fun Things to Do in Charlotte.

 


100 Best Apps
Even before iPhones and Androids, the concept of mobile applications or mobile apps existed. The first smart phone with mobile app technology was actually developed by IBM in 1993 and was equipped with features like a calculator, world clock, calendar and contact book. In 2002 came the next major step in the advancement of mobile apps with the release of the BlackBerry Smartphone.
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When Steve Jobs revealed the first iPhone seven years later, he effectively proved he could disrupt and transform the market. Soon after that, Apple launched the App Store and officially introducing third-party app development and distribution to the platform in July of 2008. As of March 2017, there were 2.2 million available apps in the Apps Store.
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Not to be outdone by Apple, the first Android phone was launched in October 2008 with apps available through the Google Play Store, formerly known as Android Market. As of March 2017, Android users were able to choose between 2.8 million apps.
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So, what are the 100 best apps that can turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades today?
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Learn more about the revolutionary mobile app development trends to look for in 2018 here.

Croixstone is On the Move!

We are thrilled to formally announce the relocation of Croixstone Consulting from our start-up loft in South End to Industrious Charlotte in Uptown. When Croixstone initially opened its doors, we intentionally selected the loft space in South End for many reasons, including its robust history as a center of innovation and entrepreneurialism. South End is home to the nation’s first gold rush, attracting men and women to the Queen City, and in 1926, a pioneer snack company born from an innovative idea of pairing creamy peanut butter with crackers made South End its home. In the early 1990s, the corporate headquarters for Lance Crackers was converted into mixed-use space which kick-started the revitalization of the South End area. Innovation, entrepreneurialism and revitalization mirror the values our maverick consultants deliver to our clients.

Our selection of Industrious in the Bank of America Plaza building as Croixstone’s next home is also intentional. The dictionary definition of industrious captures the spirit of our firm. We are a tribe of industrious, forward-thinking individuals tackling industry challenges and propelling companies forward. Our consultants understand the importance of questioning the status quo and diligently culling through the issues to solve complex problems and advance critical outcomes.

In February 2017, Forbes wrote an article about the Industrious formula for productive coworking spaces. The parallels between our beliefs at Croixstone in a balance of serious business + fun and Industrious’ formula for productive coworking were too coincidental. Our move to Industrious allows us to continue to expand and grow, while surrounding ourselves with other companies, ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, working just as hard. The move also allows us to extend an invitation to our consultants to drop in and work in a vibrant, professional community as the need arises. Click here to read more press about Industrious.

Freelancing in America
Did you know that 36% of the U.S. workforce are freelance workers?  This equates to 57.3 million workers earning an estimated $1.4 trillion annually. By 2027, the majority of the U.S. workforce will freelance, according to findings in the “Freelancing in America Study: 2017” released in mid-October. The study conducted by Upwork and Freelancers Union defined freelancers as “individuals who have engaged in supplemental, temporary, project- or contract-based work.”
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To learn more about freelancing in America, check out the following:
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  • Click here for a complete guide from entrepreneur.com to the highest-paying jobs, companies, freelance jobs and more.
  • Prepare for the future as a freelancer by following these 3 tips here.
  • Want to quit your job to go freelance?  Here is a list of 10 skills that are in hot demand now.
  • Are we all fated to become “solopreneurs”?  Read here about the four key criteria needed to stay competitive and successful as freelancers.

Re-Envisioning the Future with Generative Design
Could the current manufacturing, distribution, assembly and maintenance processes become obsolete in the not too distant future?  Today, we take a look at generative design as an innovative approach to thinking outside the box when it comes to design and its implications to manufacturing.
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At Croixstone we are inspired by mavericks…those unconventional thinkers who can see past conformity and who can accomplish what others say can’t be done.  Generative design has the ability to generate unconventional design options that go beyond our imagination alone and can be used to create everything from running shoes, earbuds and airplane partitions, to a revolutionary approach to designing the office space and buildings of the future.
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So what is generative design? According to Autodesk, a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software, “Generative design is a technology that mimics nature’s evolutionary approach to design. It starts with your design goals and then explores all of the possible permutations of a solution to find the best option. Using cloud computing, generative design software quickly cycles through thousands—or even millions—of design choices, testing configurations and learning from each iteration what works and what doesn’t. The process lets designers generate brand new options, beyond what a human alone could create, to arrive at the most effective design.”  To better understand what generative design is all about, click here for a short video.
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  • Learn how generative design and additive manufacturing (i.e., 3-D printing) is changing the manufacturing world here.
  • Check out how generative design could radically transform the look of our world here.
  • Delve into a new world of highly efficient products made by generative design here.
  • Take a sneak peak into the first large-scale generative designed office here.

Books That May Change Your Life
Did you know that one of the core habits that highly successful people have in common is reading?  Socio-economist Randall Bell spent 25 years studying success and found that, “Those who read seven or more books per year are more than 122 percent more likely to be millionaires as opposed to those who never read or only read one to three [books].”  Reading is not only a great source of knowledge and inspiration, but reading reduces stress and feeds your imagination.
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Billionaire Warren Buffett has been known for saying that a single book, The Intelligent Investor, written by Benjamin Graham changed his life.  In Buffett’s 2013 annual letter to shareholders he stated, “Of all the investments I ever made, buying Ben’s book was the best.”  Now, Buffett spends up to 80% of his day reading.  Billionaire Richard Branson once stated that the book that changed his life was Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie. “I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from the book. I’ve never really wanted to grow up and I’ve always wanted to fly!”
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Maybe one of the books from the below links may change your life!
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Check out 24 books successful people read here.
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Learn about 9 books Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett think you should read here.
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Looking for a great business book?  Check out the latest Financial Times & McKinsey‘s book list for 2017 here.
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Finally, here are 13 must-read books on success according to the Young Entrepreneur Council.
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Here’s to your next great book!

Trends Shaping the Consulting Industry
In the 2017 Management Consulting Outlook report prepared by Greentarget, a strategic public relations firm focused exclusively on business-to-business organizations, the global management consulting market has been growing revenue approximately 4 percent annually over the past few years. As the most mature market, the U.S. market grew 7.7 percent in 2015 to reach $54.7 billion, up from $50.8 billion in 2014. The global management consulting industry is now delivering an estimated $150 billion in revenue, and the growth trend is expected to continue, with the U.S. accounting for nearly half (44 percent) of the global market.
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We at Croixstone know it is important to keep abreast of the many forces and trends shaping the consulting industry. Demand for change as result of disruptive technologies and competition from new market competitors continues to drive investment in consulting.  What else is new in the consulting industry?
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  • Learn more about the who’s who of the consulting world in 2017 here.
  • What makes a great consultant?  Here are 10 attributes required for long term success as a consultant.
  • Read here about five consulting technology trends in 2017 that are more than buzzwords.