Focus on: Teri Winfield, High Desert Art & Frame

Teri Winfield

Teri WinfieldWhen Teri Winfield, her husband Bob and son Stephen opened High Desert Art & Frame in Albuquerque, N.M., in 2008, they quickly added photo restoration services; and a couple of years later, realized the huge need for photo, slide and negative digitization.

The well-rounded menu of services is a major factor in their shop’s success.

“Having all of these services available in one stop has provided us a customer base that utilizes all our services, depending on their needs at the time,” says Teri, a member of PMA and PPFA since March 2008.

An expert at scanning photos in bulk and photo restoration, Teri is passionate about her customers’ family stories, including old photos and memorabilia.

The first Certified Personal Photo Organizer (certified by APPO, the Association of Personal Photo Organizers) in New Mexico, she enjoys helping customers sort through boxes of photos and albums to preserve memories for future generations.

These projects resonate in Teri’s own life. Three years ago, she became the guardian of her mother’s photos, including photo collections from both her grandmothers. “It’s an honor and a huge responsibility,” she says. “As a child, it was always a treat when I could talk my mother into going through those cardboard boxes of family photos.”

Teri is digitizing not only those family photos, but also letters, cards, report cards, newspaper articles and any other scrap of paper that tells the family story. She has also restored family photos that are damaged or faded. “With today’s digital technology, the results can be amazing,” she says.

As the huge wave of Baby Boomers grows older, there is an urgency to preserving family histories and photos, she notes. “Many collections are quite large and can be overwhelming for our customers. Having assistance in prioritizing, organizing and breaking the process into steps brings a great deal of relief. The fact that their precious memories never leave my shop is an added bonus for the locals.”

Teri’s husband Bob serves as marketing guru, creating strategic alliances with local business owners. A Certified Picture Framer, he runs the large format printing side of the business; and is the equipment expert, shop fixture designer, and chief commercial and residential art installer.

The couple’s son Stephen is a Certified Picture Framer, with 12 years experience in the framing industry. He does most of the framing, and uses his creative talents at the design table, including using a Computerized Mat Cutter (CMC) to create intricate mat designs.

Located in Albuquerque’s Glenwood Village Shopping center, High Desert Art & Frame showcases the work of some the area’s best artists in its gallery, including photographs, paintings, glass art, and jewelry; and features a local artist each month, with a reception during First Friday ARTScrawl and display of the artist’s work  for the entire month.

The store supports a variety of community efforts throughout New Mexico, through donation, framing, or event sponsorship, including ABQ CASA, Inc. (Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children); All Faith’s Receiving Home; American Cancer Society; Christina Kent Daycare; Heart Gallery of New Mexico Foundation; and Roadrunner Food Bank.

– By Sheila Pursglove

Welcome, new members of PMA and PPFA!

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PMAlogo_CMYK_smallJoin us in extending a warm welcome to all our new members, including these great companies!PPFA_RGB_150

9th Street Gallery & Frame, Marshalltown, Iowa

A Fine Line, Salmon, Idaho

ABC Photo Ltd., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

AD Upton Pty Ltd., Clermont, Queensland, Australia

Covered Bridge Frame Shop & Gallery, Contoocook, N.H.

King Dyro Productions, Glendale, Calif.

Queensland School Photography, Loganholme, Queensland, Australia

Business success: How’s life?

Business Success Logo

Business Success LogoMany of us seem to compartmentalize “work life” and “home life,” almost as if we are two different people — one in each world.

Wellness expert and author Dr. Carmella Sebastian says employers would be wise not to think of their employees’ lives that way, however. Helping workers balance both “lives” leads to happier, healthier employees — and a bigger bottom line.

Why Smart Employers Care About Work/Life Balance—and How to Help Your People Find It

The line between “work” and “personal life” has become really (really!) blurred for most American workers. Thanks to evolving technology and an unforgiving economy, we’re under constant pressure to perform. The result? Even when we’re not at our desks, we’re tethered to our devices. While we’re helping kids with homework, we’re also thinking about how to fine-tune that proposal, and while we’re watching TV, we’re checking our email.

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Dr. Carmella Sebastian

And when we’re on vacation—wait, what is a vacation again?

You might assume most employers would love this scenario—don’t bosses want their employees to be “on” 24/7? Not at all. Counterintuitive as it may seem, smart leaders know that when people have a healthy work/life balance they are better employees, period. And the smartest employers don’t just pay lip service to this idea; they actually take steps to make it happen.

As an employer, you’re in the best position to help employees turn the chaos in their lives into balance. At Florida Blue, I oversee the National Committee for Quality Assurance-accredited wellness program “Better You from Blue” and manage over 100 client consultations per year. You’re the one who will benefit from their increased productivity—and frankly, you may be the main reason their lives are out of balance in the first place.

Very few employers overtly discourage vacations, “mental health days,” and sane work schedules. But still, it’s also true that few take the initiative to make sure that their people are maintaining a healthy balance. (In fact, the OECD Better Life Index, released yearly, concludes that the U.S. ranks 28th among advanced nations in the category of “work-life balance,” ninth from the bottom.) That’s not too surprising; after all, going out on a limb and encouraging your people to (gulp) stop working so hard is pretty scary!

When you take that risk, though, you’ll find that helping with work/life balance attracts better talent and increases productivity, loyalty, and engagement. But I want to stress that employers have to be the ones to get the ball rolling—employees might be afraid to ask for and initiate these changes themselves because they don’t want to be labeled lazy or uncommitted. High performers in particular have to be “forced” to take time, whether it’s to care for themselves or even to adjust to a stressful life event.

Here, I share 11 win-win strategies to help your employees separate their work lives from their personal lives and enhance both in the process:

First, walk the walk yourself.  If you’re serious about helping your employees achieve a healthier work/life balance, you have to be willing to set the example. This isn’t negotiable.

If you want your people to unplug from their devices, take time for themselves, de-stress, and more, you can’t be sending them emails at 10 p.m., frantically making requests of others on their way out the door, and constantly calling in while you’re on vacation. They’ll follow your lead, not your suggestions. And have you ever considered that maybe improving your own work/life balance might make you a better leader?

Encourage employees to take those unused vacation days. According to Expedia’s 2013 Vacation Deprivation study, on average, Americans were given 14 vacation days but used only 10 of them. (That’s twice as many unused vacation days as the previous year.) And let’s not forget—this is paid time off we’re talking about. So why do employees leave those four—or sometimes more—days on the table? In some cases, they’re too busy. In others, they may feel that company culture discourages “too much” absence, or they may want to prove themselves indispensable. And, of course, some people are workaholics or simply forget to plan.

As an employer, let your people know that it’s okay—and even encouraged—to take the full amount of vacation. Tell them explicitly that you believe rest, relaxation, and outside adventures make them better workers. To put your money where your mouth is, you may even want to build “extra” vacation days that aren’t calendar holidays into your schedule. Either the whole company could close, or different departments could rotate having three-day weekends, for instance. You’ll be surprised by the effect this has on morale and productivity.

Keep an especially close eye on your high performers and workaholics. You know who they are. If you see a particular employee exhibiting signs of stress or burnout after burning the midnight oil on a tough project, step in and suggest taking a few days off. Even if they don’t realize it themselves, these folks may need your freely offered permission in order to unclench.

Specify that the beach is not a sandy office. No, you may not go as far as France, which recently passed a law specifying that workers in the digital and consulting industries must avoid email and switch off work phones before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. But it’s still a good idea to encourage your people to back away from their devices when they’re not at work. Fair warning: This might be an uphill battle. According to Expedia, 67 percent of Americans stay connected to the office (checking voicemail and email) while on vacation.

Tell your people to enjoy their evenings, weekends, and especially vacations. You can use many of the tactics I share to ensure that as much work as possible is completed within the workday, and you can help individuals work ahead prior to taking vacation days. But as I’ve already mentioned, unplugging is a part of your organization’s culture that will need to start at the top. If you don’t practice what you preach, you can’t fault your employees for feeling that they, too, need to stay connected outside of work hours.

Teach time management. Often, employees remain tethered to their devices in the evenings and on weekends because they’re worried about unfinished tasks and loose ends that might require their attention. While you might not be able to guarantee that your people can leave work at work every single day, you can help them gain the skills that will reduce their amount of “homework.”

Training on time management, prioritization, organization, the effective use of lists, and so forth can be surprisingly effective. I can almost guarantee that all of your employees have unproductive work habits. By addressing them, you can help your team manage their workloads and be in a more comfortable place when it’s time to go home each evening.

Teach stress management techniques, too. Unless you oversee an organization of ice cream tasters or mattress testers, there’s no such thing as a stress-free workplace. That’s not a bad thing; a small amount of anxiety keeps us alert and motivated. But too often, employees feel an unhealthy amount of stress that bleeds into and affects their personal lives, too. Believe it or not, stress costs American businesses around $300 billion each year!

Work-related stress contributes to health problems, absenteeism, burnout, and turnover. If you offer a short workshop that teaches stress management techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga, for instance, your employees will reap the benefits. And just knowing that you’re concerned about their mental health will also lift a weight from their shoulders.

Also, educate your employees on the benefits of getting enough sleep. Let them know that you want them to get an adequate amount of rest, which is seven to nine hours a night for adults. Point out that sleep is essential for focus, creativity, a positive attitude, and general health. This may discourage workaholism; after all, people can’t work till 7 or 8 p.m., take care of all of their personal obligations, and get eight hours of sleep. It’s just not possible.

Help them understand the business cycle. As a leader, you know from years of experience that your business goes through (more or less) predictable seasons. For instance, September through December might be crunch time, but you know that after the new year things will be more relaxed. Just don’t take for granted that your employees share this understanding!

Educate your people, especially newer hires, about your company’s natural business cycle. If things are hectic and overtime is mandatory, rookies might assume that it will always be like this and worry that they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. You can reduce their anxiety by pointing out that in a few weeks the pace will slow down. It’s easier for people to push hard through crunch time if they know a lull is just around the corner.

Include exercise in the workday. Exercise is one of the most effective stress management tools available. It’s also fantastic at increasing energy, improving focus, and boosting attitudes. And, of course, it’s good for your health. Best of all, exercise can be both easy and inexpensive to integrate into the workday: Think lunchtime walks or even walking meetings (assuming your company has enough land to make it feasible). This is a great solution for employees who just can’t find the time to stop at the gym in the midst of their hectic personal lives.

As an employer, you’ll find that at-work exercise programs pay off. In the February 2010 issue of Health Affairs, several wellness program studies were published, revealing that medical costs fell $3.27 for every $1 spent on wellness. Furthermore, absenteeism costs fell $2.73 for every $1 spent. That is a 6:1 ROI! Harder to quantify, but just as impactful, is the fact that your investment in your employees’ well-being will jump-start their morale, loyalty, and engagement—all of which is good news for their productivity and your bottom line.

Be flexible on when and where work happens. Depending on your field, technological advances may mean that many employees are no longer tied to their desks. (And isn’t that one of the reasons why our personal lives and professional lives have become so hopelessly enmeshed?) If possible, allow your employees to take advantage of being able to do work from their homes or from the coffee shop down the street.

Unless it’s absolutely necessary that someone be at a desk from 9 to 5, allow them to work from home, on their own schedule, from time to time. This will allow your employees to live their lives while also doing their work. Think about it this way: You don’t want a payroll full of clock punchers—you want people who are self-directed goal achievers. That’s the message that offering flex time sends.

Dare to get personal. On a regular basis, try to connect with your employees in a way that doesn’t revolve around “shop talk.” Ask about their kids, what they’re planning to do over the weekend, and whether they watched the latest episode of Mad Men, for example.

When you establish a personal connection with your employees, you’ll have a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in their lives and how it might be affecting them at work. They’ll also feel more comfortable coming to you with requests to attend an upcoming out-of-town wedding, a child’s recital, or a relative’s funeral. Working with employees so that they can attend to personal obligations without feeling guilty is a great way to gain their long-term loyalty.

Play hard to work hard. Work doesn’t have to be all, well, work. That’s why I suggest integrating “fun” activities in the workday once a week or so: office scavenger hunts, trivia, darts, hall putt-putt, bring-your-pet-to-work days, cookouts on a Friday afternoon, etc. Use your imagination, and if you’re lacking ideas, ask your employees what they’d like to do.

There are several benefits to scheduling “fun time” into the workday. For one thing, these activities give people a chance to get to know each other and become friendlier, which will streamline teamwork. They break up the monotony of the workday and counteract popular “work is drudgery” attitudes. And fun also boosts energy and creativity, so you’ll probably find that the “lost” time is made up by subsequent spurts of productivity. Just don’t schedule work “fun” outside of work hours! People don’t like it when you cut into “their” time.

Help with the housework. Some companies offer laundry services and on-site dry cleaning pick-up and delivery. Others provide their employees with free housecleaning services and take-home meals. If that’s in your budget and capabilities, it can take care of one thing on the long list of chores your employees have to complete outside of work, leaving them that much more time to relax.

Of course, perks like these are expensive to institute and maintain, and simply aren’t feasible for many companies to offer. And that’s okay. Alternatively, perhaps you could purchase and distribute coupons to a local dry cleaner or housecleaning service, for instance. You can also offer time: Close the office a few hours early one afternoon a month and encourage your employees to use that time to catch up on their personal to-do lists.

Remember, anything you can do to show employees that you care about the quality of their lives outside of the office will earn their goodwill and loyalty. The happier and less stressed you can help your employees to be on and off the job, the more loyal and engaged they will be—and the more your bottom line will benefit.

 

 

 

 

Welcome, new members of PMA/PPFA

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PMAlogo_CMYK_smallWe are so happy to welcome all our new members of PMA and PPFA, including:PPFA_RGB_150

Foto Gulf Co., Barwa Village, Al Wakhra Doha, Qatar

QuantaPrint Corp., Rochester N.Y.

Renditions by Michael Harder,  Santa Clarita Calif.

Sportszonetemplates.com, Benton, La.

Vital Image Photography, Muskegon, Wis.

Crestar Mfg., East Greenwich, R.I.

Virginia Beach Frame Shop, Virginia Beach, Va.

Focus on: Digipix

Digipix founder and CEO Marco Perlman
Digipix founder and CEO Marco Perlman

Digipix founder and CEO Marco Perlman

Digipix was founded by Marco Perlman in 2004 with a single minilab, a website and a big dream.  Ten years later, it is the largest photo printing operation in Brazil, receiving 100 percent of its orders through the Internet and delivering them all over the country.

From the beginning, Digipix focused on creating an industrial backend, specializing in ultra-short-run printed products, coupled with a flexible web based ordering system.  In mid-2005, the company installed the first HP Indigo 5000 in Latin America and was the first to introduce photobooks in the region. It currently employs 160 people in a joint office and photolab facility with over 60,000 square feet.

Over the years, Digipix expanded its portfolio significantly, not just in the sizes and finishing options for the photobooks, but also in the photo gifts and wall décor categories.  Digipix serves customers through three online channels – B2C, B2B2C and B2Pro (yes, Pro as in “professional photographers”).

Digipix is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the launch of multiple new products and services, reinforcing its commitment to innovation and to the photo market.

Digipix has been a member of PMA since its early days, and Perlman, founder and CEO, is a board member of the Association of Imaging Executives (AIE).

On the DIMAcast: Learn how Wolfe’s Camera “makes it fresh”

New DIMAcast 2.0 logo

New DIMAcast 2.0 logoHow does a 90 year old company in a “mature downtown” stay fresh without breaking the bank? Wolfe’s Camera in Topeka, Kansas gave the team a free hand to “make it fresh.” By using lots of creativity, plenty of brain power, hours of discussion and a few gallons of paint both the store and the team were revitalized. Creative displays, brighter colors and more open spaces created a shopper’s dream, a place to wander, browse and dream what can be done with their pictures. The transcript contains pictures of before/after as well as some of the stores new services displays. Listen as Sondra Harkness shares her story in this week’s DIMAcast.

And starting is September, list to Bill McCurry‘s Marketing Idea Exhcange and lots of other great interviews on the new PMA Podcast, coming soon!

Mobile Photo Connect adds workshops

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mobile photo connectThe Mobile Photo Connect conference expands in 2014 with a second day focused on workshops from vendors with relevant APIs and SDKs.

The overall summit will focus on how photo app developers, imaging vendors, mobile device manufacturers, and others in the ecosystem can create innovative solutions.

Topics for the conference include photo organizing, mobile photography startups, storytelling, and the popular photo app Show & Tell.

PMA’s Association of Imaging Executives is a sponsor.
Speakers include Ralf Gerbershagen, CEO of Kodak Alaris; Chris Lee, the product manager for photos at Dropbox; Rudy Burger, managing partner at Woodside Capital; and Oren Boiman, CEO of Magisto.

The conference is October 15-16 at the Fort Mason Conference Center in San Francisco.

More information is here.

 

Business success: You don’t care

Business Success Logo

Business Success LogoWe’re all familiar with the phrase “actions speak louder than words.” But what if we aren’t aware of what our actions are telling other people? Most of us care about doing our jobs well, and about the relationships we have with clients and coworkers. But your actions might be sending the opposite message, according to Jon Gordon, author of The Carpenter: A Story About the Greatest Success Strategies of All.

17 Things You (Unknowingly) Do at Work That Say “I Don’t Care”

You care deeply about your clients, employees, and coworkers. Of course you do. But if you’re like most people in the workplace (be they leaders, front line workers, or someone in the vast middle ground in between), you may occasionally do (or not do) things that send the wrong signal. And that signal is, “I don’t care.”

This accidental carelessness is not surprising.

Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon

We’re all so busy these days. In fact, we’re overwhelmed. And when we’re trying to survive, sometimes even the most well-meaning among us don’t realize how we’re coming across.

The good news is that the more you care (and show you do), the more you stand out in a world where many don’t. Caring is great for business. The even better news is that by making, say, one percent more effort and paying attention to the little things, you can transform your relationships and see your overall success skyrocket.

First, of course, you need to know what you’re unknowingly doing wrong. Here, I shine a spotlight on 17 things that say to others, “I don’t care”—and offer advice on how you can reverse that perception:

You fail to touch base on projects. Sure, you’re busy, and sure, teammates and clients can always call you if they need an update. The problem is that when people don’t hear from you they naturally assume the worst: “I just know he hasn’t done what he said he’d do.” Or, “I bet she’s only doing the bare minimum.” When you don’t proactively reach out to provide information and updates, it seems as though you don’t care about others’ concerns.

The solution is simple: touch base often. Don’t force your colleague to ask if you’ve finished compiling those statistics, for instance; send an email saying you’ve done so. Actually, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of sending daily or weekly updates not only to team members, but to clients, too.

You wait too long to respond to calls or emails. (And sometimes you don’t respond at all.) Often, hours or days pass before you reply to a colleague or client’s questions. (Hey—you have about 200 more important things on your to-do list!) And sometimes, enough time passes that responding completely slips your mind.

You may not think a slow response is a big deal, but the other person probably does. Even if you truly don’t have time to deal with the matter immediately, it’s easy enough to send a text or email saying, “I got your message and will touch base later.” Whenever possible, try not to leave any unanswered emails or voicemails overnight.

You forget customer preferences. Part of providing good service is remembering that Mr. Smith dislikes being called on his cell phone after 6:00 p.m., and that Mrs. Jones always wants to work with a specific vendor.

When you don’t keep records of these things, customers will conclude that they don’t matter to you. Keep a file on each client, and take a few moments to record their preferences after each interaction.

You nickel and dime them. Yes, you and your customers know that your relationship is based on an exchange of money for goods or services. And of course you shouldn’t allow yourself to be taken advantage of. But obsessively keeping track of every minute and every coin doesn’t sit well with clients. It makes them think your first priority is not taking care of them, but getting everything that’s owed to you.

Try to balance the bills you send against the long-term value of your client relationships. For instance, if you spend an extra hour or two outside your contract, consider not itemizing that time on your next bill. The customer will likely sing your praises and send you plenty of referrals.

You “hand off” customers to an employee and never personally contact them again. Sure, if you’re the owner of the company or the leader of a team, you can’t personally take care of every single client’s needs. But you can call or email each of them from time to time to let them know they’re still getting your attention. This is especially important if you conducted the initial meetings or signed a contract with a certain client.

In my business, I make it a priority to respond personally to readers who ask me questions via email, Facebook, and Twitter. While I could hand these tasks off to members of my staff, I truly do appreciate that readers care enough to take the time to contact me—and by engaging with them individually, I am showing them that I care, too.

You wait till the last minute to ask for what you need. Say a project has been on your desk for a week—but you don’t ask your subordinate to make revisions until a few hours before the deadline. This puts the stress burden on the other person, and makes him feel that you don’t respect his time. (It doesn’t do your in-office reputation any favors, either.)

When a project requires a group effort and you’re a part of that group, never forget that your time management should take into account their time, too. Show others the consideration you yourself would like to receive.

You rush through projects and leave loose ends. The world is filled with those who get things done the fastest and the cheapest, but it needs more artists, craftsmen, and craftswomen. When you become a craftsman in a world of carpenters, you will stand out, and people will clamor to work with you.

When you put forth the least amount of effort and do only the bare minimum, someone else will have to come behind you and make improvements—that, or you’ll have provided an inferior product. Both tell people that you don’t care enough to do the job right.

You miss deadlines. We all know that missing deadlines is a bad thing, yet many of us persist in (often creatively) figuring out how to buy more time for ourselves. Every once in a rare while an extension may be necessary; say, if too little time was initially provided to do a good job or if an emergency pops up in the middle of the project. Usually, though, the extra time you spend gets taken away from someone further down the line.

Missing deadlines is another way of conveying to others that you don’t respect their time. Do as much as you possibly can to stick to the agreed-upon schedule.

You stress people out right before vacation. Leaders and supervisors, take note: An employee’s upcoming vacation shouldn’t give you license to demand Herculean feats from her right before her absence. You know she needs to pack, board the dog, and (ideally) get a restful night’s sleep before hitting the road or flying the friendly skies. Making her work till 8:00 p.m. the night before she departs shouts, “Work is more important than your family time!”

Vacations should be something your people look forward to, not something they semi-dread because they know the days leading up to a getaway will be horrendous. Part of being a caring leader is planning ahead with each employee to ensure that essential tasks are completed without last-minute hassle and headaches.

You neglect to say “thank you” or “great job.” Even if someone is “just” doing what’s in his job description, and especially if he has gone above and beyond to help you, take a few moments to verbalize your appreciation.

Often, we don’t express gratitude not because we aren’t thankful, but because we’re busy or have already shifted our focus to the next thing—however, the other person doesn’t know that. Saying “thanks” takes only a few seconds of your time, but can do wonders for your professional relationships. When people feel valued, noticed, and appreciated, they’ll be motivated to do better work. It’s that simple.

You don’t take care of the “little things” that make work flow smoothly. Broken equipment, outdated computer programs, no coffee cups, burnt-out light bulbs, even office furniture that’s seen better days—all of these things send employees a message about how much you don’t care about their comfort.

Your employees get that you don’t have the resources to provide expensive, cutting-edge gadgets and an in-office spa. But when you fail to provide basics that are within the budget, especially when it’s clear that you and other leaders aren’t going without, you’ll cultivate a “haves vs. have-nots” attitude that fosters disengagement.

You listen with half an ear. You know how this goes: You make the appropriate noises during a client call (“Mmmhmmm…I understand…No, that won’t be a problem…”) while simultaneously typing an email to someone else. You may think you’re getting away with multitasking, but the other person can usually tell that your attention is divided, and will feel unimportant as a result.

Giving a client or colleague your full attention is so meaningful. Being fully present says, “I really care about you and what you need. You are my top priority right now.”

You’re curt or disrespectful with people. Everyone has feelings. Take care not to bruise them. Even during disagreements or when negative feedback needs to be shared, there is usually a way to say what you need to say without crossing the line and hurting someone.

In my experience, most people don’t mean to be hurtful. Rather, their tone reflects their own high stress levels, or their blunt speech is a product of their attention being focused elsewhere. This is why it’s so important to be fully present when you’re interacting with someone else—you’re more able to consider your words and gauge the impact they are having.

You gossip or make snarky comments behind people’s backs. You may think, “Well, she’s not here so it’s okay,” or, “Everyone gossips at the water cooler,” or even, “He deserves to be taken down a peg!” Wrong. Uncaring words have a way of getting back to the other person—and even if they never do, they cause the people with whom you’re speaking not to trust you.

Tempting as it may be sometimes, make it your policy not to say bad things about your coworkers when you’re on the clock. If you simply must vent, wait until you can do so outside of work with a family member or friend.

You neglect to ask about things going on in their personal lives. Whether you’re interacting with a colleague or a client, you may think that keeping the conversation focused on business is a sign of professionalism. But actually, it can paint you as a rather callous individual—especially if the other person is going through a difficult time.

Ask others what’s going on in their personal lives, and follow up. Express your sympathy when a client’s parent passes away, and your willingness to help when a colleague is dealing with a health crisis. It’s so easy to spend five minutes making these connections before getting down to business—and it means so much.

You hijack people’s stories. In the course of conversational “give and take,” it’s fine to share when you have a related story. But resist the temptation to make everything all about you. When you forcibly take the reigns and steer a conversation in the direction you want it to go, you send others the message that you don’t care about or value what they have to say.

Nobody appreciates “that person” who always manages to turn the spotlight on himself or herself. In general, it’s wise to listen more than you speak. Not only will you learn a lot through listening and observation; when you do contribute, others will be more receptive to hearing what you have to say.

You ignore important milestones in people’s lives. It only takes a few seconds to say, “Happy Birthday,” or, “Happy Anniversary.” And while you can’t always attend every colleague’s child’s birthday party or every client’s retirement party, go (or a least send a card) if you possibly can.

Your presence means a lot. People are surprised and pleased when you acknowledge important milestones in their lives—precisely because the assumption today is that most people don’t care about what’s going on outside their own bubbles.

Most people don’t intend to be uncaring or inconsiderate. Actually, I believe that the busy, stressful nature of modern life forces us to spend too much time looking out for number one and too little time looking out for others. We need to make a conscious effort to reverse that behavior.

So take a few moments and evaluate your behavior and habits. What messages are they sending? What small changes can you make to show others that you care? I promise, the effort you put forth will energize you and others, and will lead to mutual success.

PMA and PPFA welcome new members

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PMAlogo_CMYK_smallJoin us in extending a warm welcome to all new members of PMA and PPFA, including these great companies!PPFA_RGB_150

Wisching You The Very Best Photography, San Diego, Calif.

GoodShots Photography, Balmain NSW, Australia

Johnson Photography, Baton Rouge, La.

Lamote Inc., Ansonia, Conn.

Momento Pro Pty Ltd., NSW, Australia

Panasonic Australia, Macquarie Park NSW, Australia

Print 2 Metal, Malvern, Victoria, Australia

Tony Color Lab, Haryana, India

PMA refines mission statement, sets new goals

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PMAlogo_CMYK_smallThe Board of Directors of PMA has refined the PMA mission statement and set new objectives for member services, resources, and support. The new mission statement, which expands on the previous mission, “Promote the growth of the imaging industry,” now details specific areas of focus:

“Evolve the imaging business community worldwide by promoting innovation, marketing, technology, and passion for photography.”

The refined mission statement arose from the work of a committee comprised of key industry members: Gaby Mullinax of Fullerton Photographics in Fullerton, Calif.; Marsha Phillips of F-11 Photographic Supplies in Bozeman, Mont.; Jerry Sullivan of Precision Camera in Austin, Texas; and chaired by PMA past-president Allen Showalter of King Photo/Showalter Imaging Group in Harrisonburg, Va.

Along with the refined mission statement come a number of plans for new, additional ways to help PMA members grow their businesses and to advance the industry as a whole.

Included are the continuation of the consumer facing Big Photo Show in various formats; the development of a Big Photo Show kit, which would help photo retailers host their own Big Photo Show events in their local markets; continued support and development of certifications; social media programs for members; additional promotion of National Photo Month and the establishment of a National Photo Store Day; continued legal support; and ongoing work with other industry groups to help market and promote revenue generating aspects of photography.

“Our mission and focus must be clear and targeted to the industry needs of today. We recognize that the basic motivation in our industry is the passion for photography. Photography is not going away because technology has caused a paradigm shift; in fact, the passion is stronger than ever, because it’s more convenient to capture and share images than ever before in human history,” said PMA President Bill Eklund of Sharp Photo & Portrait, Eau Claire, Wis. “PMA, as the industry’s worldwide photo association, needs to help its members evolve by promoting innovation and technology; providing networking events like the PMA Conferences and PMA@CES to help our members with idea sharing and marketing their products and services; and fueling consumer passion for photography with information and education events like the Big Photo Show. We are excited to unveil our refined mission statement, and to offer these new and expanded resources and tools to our members.”