Welcome to 2021!

2020 – what a year it was!  2021 is continuing to be full of changes.  What to do – what to do?  I try to focus on what I can control and what I can impact.  One of those things is self-development, feeding my desire to learn/grow and also to stay relevant to what the industry is doing.  We all drive the bus to our own growth.  But how, how in the world in all of my hustle and bustle day of the 8,000 things I need to get done do I make time for this on top of everything else I have to do?  I am a huge fan of maximizing your time.  Take a look at everything you do and see how you can squeeze it in.  When you’re on the treadmill, when you are waiting in line, when you have some windshield/air time, schedule it, or carve out some of your Facebook time and divert it to your growth and development time.   It doesn’t need to be an hour or hours at a time, sometimes it might be 5-10 minutes.  There are many different resources and formats that you can use to digest.

Here are some of my top hits:

  • LinkedIn – You can browse your feed when you’re waiting in line or instead of Facebook, etc., jump on LinkedIn.  If you are following the right stuff or have good connections, it’s great what you can learn at a quick glance.
  • Online articles – Great place to find out industry news.  Subscribe to those that you connect with.
  • Google news – Like LinkedIn, you can follow certain customers/businesses/people.
  • Books – Whether it be the old-fashioned kind, the downloaded kind, or get this – did you know your local library has an app that allows you to check out books AND audiobooks??  I wasn’t aware of this, and it’s the best thing that I’ve found out about in the last few years!  Hello audiobooks when I’m in my car and I’ve got some windshield time.  I can go through 4-6 books in a month.
  • Ted talks/Podcasts – Another good thing to listen to on the treadmill or when you’re traveling.
  • Associations/Groups – Get involved and be present.

What makes my top 10 list?

  • LinkedIn
    • The Vernon Company 😊
    • Harvard Business Review
    • Simon Sinek
    • AA-ISP
    • Shari Levitin
    • Dr. Travis Bradberry
    • Steve Richard
    • Suppliers
    • Customers
    • Prospects
  • Books
    • The Infinite Game – Simon Sinek
    • Find Your Why – Simon Sinek
    • It’s Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy – D. Michael Abrashoff
    • Good to Great – Jim Collins
    • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni
    • The Energy Bus – Jon Gordon
    • The Power of a Positive Team – Jon Gordon
    • Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
    • Grit – Angela Duckworth
    • Secrets of Closing the Sale – Zig Ziglar

You’ll be surprised how much time you can fit this in.  Do it – you’re worth it!  Cheers to a great and successful 2021!

Vernon Remembers Others During the Holidays

As part of its longstanding tradition of giving back to the local community, employees at The Vernon Company helped support and contribute to a number of charitable organizations in December.

A number of employees at all levels of the organization helped raise funds for The Salvation Army by manning posts at red kettle locations around town. The Company also held a food drive throughout the month benefiting the local food pantry. “I’m always amazed at the generosity of people – particularly during the holiday season,” remarked Chris Vernon, President and CEO for the Company.

Also in the spirit of giving, employees participated in a “Holiday Mitten, Hat and PJ tree” bringing in numerous items for youngsters throughout Jasper County. “It’s unbearable to think about kids without the basic necessities to keep them warm and comfortable during the winter months,” said Laurie Fanning, who leads the Company’s Activity Committee. “Every little bit helps.”

Additionally, individuals purchased special gifts for local boys and girls as part of an annual Angel Tree Toy Drive event. Lynn Pickett, Pre-Sales Manager at Vernon, has been organizing the Company’s participation in this annual donation drive for many years. “It’s so great that we’re able to give back and help make the holidays a little more special for local children,” stated Pickett.

2021…… New Year, New You, New Attitude…… Embrace It

Today, January 6th, means we are almost a full seven days into 2021. What have you done to make your situation better? A lot of things are changing around us, but what are you doing to better yourself? We all make New Year’s resolutions, but are they bettering your personal and professional growth? Know your self-worth and make sure that whatever you are doing is bettering your situation, and gets you to where you need to be. Set goals that will make you better.

Make these goals intentional to help achieve success. Make sure you have daily goals; these will help achieve those weekly goals. Those weekly goals should help you achieve your monthly goals, and those monthly goals should get you to your quarterly goals. All this looks and sounds great on paper, but all this can be started by your attitude. You have to have a good attitude about it all, your attitude will dictate your success. Your success will be measured by how many goals you accomplish… be hungry and don’t allow anyone to change your mindset.

Knowing your self-worth and having the right attitude will help push you to complete your goals, and that means success.

2021 is here don’t allow anything to stop you, be hungry… it’s time to Eat!

The Passing of a Legend

2020 has been somewhat of a unique time for everyone. There has been a lot of hardship that has happened this year, and with that it makes us enjoy the beautiful things a little more than we use to. One of the beautiful things that we have is life, and last Thursday night, life stood still for a moment for everyone at the Vernon Company. Friday the announcement was made that Bill Vernon had passed away.

As news broke about what happened, people began to reflect on what Bill meant to them. Regardless if you were close to Bill or not, he has touched you in some way. Bill made life beautiful for everyone… for his kids, grandkids, fellow Vernon employees, and for everyone that knew him. The reaction from our Vernon family was filled with hugs, tears, smiles, and stories, all that made people remember why they chose to work at the Vernon Company.

Thanks to Bill, the past 64 years have been filled with a lot of happiness and success at the Vernon Company. This was due to his passion, he had a different kind of passion, not everyone can match his energy and love for his art. To say plainly, Bill was a different breed.

For who Bill was, he was proud of the people that represented the Vernon Company. He knew everyone by name, and he made it a point to let you know he knew you. Bill approved everyone that joined Vernon regardless of the position they were hired for. That is what made and continues to make Vernon different.

I unfortunately never got to meet Bill, but I see him in the family that surrounds me when I am with my Vernon Family. That’s what made Bill the special person he was, he was not only a great man but a man that made you a better person. For me, it makes me want to make sure the Vernon legacy lives on.

** Read a touching tribute from ASI here: https://www.asicentral.com/news/newsletters/promogram/december-2020/promo-icon-bill-vernon-passes-away/

We are thankful for…

It’s that time of year when we reflect on and give thanks for the many blessings we have in our lives. In addition to family, friends, and good health, members of our Vernon sales team shared with us what they love and appreciate about working with Vernon. Here are some of their comments:

Luke Sigle, Salesperson: I appreciate the friendship and care that Vernon leadership provides me as a salesperson.

Stephanie Vernon-Critchfield, National Sales Manager: I’m thankful to be part of the Vernon family that makes you feel that everyone is glad to help you be successful.

Jill McFarland-Packard, Salesperson: I am thankful to Vernon for the ability to keep my business healthy and active which I truly feel is because of the strong financial commitment Vernon has made to its Account Executives to keep orders moving even with so much uncertainty and chaos!! 

Kelli Denes, Director of Business Development: I am thankful for a company that treats its staff like family.

Maureen Helm, Salesperson: This year has certainly brought on its share of challenges, but I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to work from the safety of my home. I’m thankful for the Vernon home office staff who are supportive, kind, and always available to help me navigate challenges.

Eddie Moore, Salesperson: I’m thankful to be a part of the Vernon family that has such an amazing culture, I’m happy to call everyone not only coworkers, but friends.

Dave Regan, Senior VP Sales & Marketing: I am thankful to work for a company that is financially stable enough to weather this 2020 storm.

From all of us to all of you, we hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and surround yourself with all the things that bring you joy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Grateful for the tiny moments

As 2020 is nearing its end, not very many people are sad to see it go. The challenges have been significant and to say we will go forward without scars from the wreckage would be unrealistic. Often, when times get tough, the brightest parts are simple ones: a smile, a warm wave from afar, a tiny act of kindness. This year has given me the gift of more time at home, and while that comes with a host of challenges, I am grateful for it!

When I look back on things that I hope I remember forever, it’s the tiniest moments in time that mean so much. Early on, school had canceled and suddenly my kiddos were home every minute of every day. So many people are still in that situation, or they are back home full time again. One day, the kids couldn’t stop laughing, and I asked why. They printed and cut out a tiny Danny DeVito face and put it on the coffee maker button that I use religiously twice per day (at least). The funny thing is, they had actually done this several days earlier, and I never noticed. Next, my husband found a Danny DeVito face on his charger: also unnoticed for days. We realized…he was everywhere. It was simple entertainment that brought us a lot of laughter. I mean, it’s Danny DeVito! We even found a pic of him on a picture in our living room looking like some sort of caveman…that one went unnoticed the longest. They are all still there because, amid strange chaos, this was light and laughter.

I hope when you think of this year, you reshape your thoughts to those types of moments…tiny ones. I had a call with one of our salespeople today. I have never met him, and we had the nicest conversation. We shared stories of a great leader we both know who has brought great insight to us both. This is a moment to savor. Come together and find tiny moments because they add up.

We had a Coffee Collaboration a couple of weeks ago. We started out by sharing favorite Thanksgiving food traditions. I cried, because it had been a busy week but, in this moment, we stopped, and shared stories and the human connection I had been craving. Laughter, smiles, fun and then idea sharing where I got to see the things that make each day so special- our people, doing their thing, helping one another, sharing and caring for the success of one other.

I hope that as you go into this holiday season, you take a moment to reflect. Find the good things and the bright spots from this unusual and challenging year. I hope you find areas you grew and new areas you’d like to strengthen in the future. Whatever it is, may you treasure the part of shaping you that it has played and keep your mindset a positive one.

I’m grateful to be a part of the Vernon family, one that has built a strong foundation for so many people to thrive for over one hundred years. At the heart of who we are is this: “Helping other businesses grow and prosper” (F.L. Vernon). I’m grateful for the chance to be part of that.

The Vernon Company is recognized as one of the largest and most successful promotional product firms in North America. Founded in 1902 by F.L. Vernon, we serve more than 40,000 customers from our Newton, Iowa corporate headquarters.

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