Executive Communications Portfolio: Featured Projects
Writer of a book authored by an executive
Collaborate with an executive for more than three years on a book inspired by his experiences working in and leading a unique organization for nearly 50 years.
This book – "The Spirit of Opportunity: How Free Enterprise Lets Entrepreneurs at Winsupply Earn Their Own Success" – is not a history of the organization.
Rather, it is the story of "why and how our fundamentals work and came to be, why and how they help hundreds of entrepreneurs succeed, and why and how we need to protect and defend what makes our organization unique and different."
The creation of this book was informed in large part by:
- Three years of speeches, written for both internal and external audiences on the executive's behalf, which became the foundation for thought leadership
- Diligent efforts to clarify, streamline and expand upon the organization's legacy messages: a philosophy, business model and five key principles
- The organization's history
- Historical, online and library research
- Current events and rapidly changing trends
- Dozens of one-on-one interviews with the executive
- Interviews and coordination with numerous subject matter experts, legal counsel and reviewers both inside and outside the organization
- Notes and rough drafts of key concepts and partial narratives composed by the executive
Completing this book also required:
- Project management, scheduling and ongoing communication
- Organization, management and tracking of all research, interview notes and background materials (text, photos, videos)
- Tracking and compilation of chapter endnotes
- Team management of two graphic designers, a copy editor and a commercial printer
FROM THE ACKNOWLEDGMENTS PAGE OF 'THE SPIRIT OF OPPORTUNITY' BOOK
Finally, I want to thank Teresa Zumwald for bringing her interviewing, writing and editing skills; her phenomenal ability to organize; and her patience with what were often disorganized ramblings during our many meetings over the past several years. She always fired back the necessary targeted questions to get to the heart of all of the stories and facts. Writing a book is a very long process, and she has stuck with me through the good and bad of it all! I could not have completed it without her creativity, encouragement and attention to every detail. Thank you for your very hard work and persistence, especially during these last several months before the final deadline.
There have been many times over the past few years that certain research, facts and stories seemed to fall in place quite serendipitously – another dot would suddenly connect itself – like everything was being guided by an unexpected, external force.
Teresa Zumwald and I both believe that (our co-founders) somehow had a hand in helping.
We’ll let you be the judge of that.
Business planning manual
Lead a team of HVACR experts from Winsupply and Johnson Controls to plan, write and edit a technical, 246-page, step-by-step "Success Book" with eight chapters to help business owners in HVACR develop and execute a winning business plan.
This rich guide, complemented by dozens of online resources and templates, included the following chapters:
- About this Book
- Chapter 1: Gut Check
- Chapter 2: Strategic Analysis
- Chapter 3: Marketing
- Chapter 4: Operations
- Chapter 5: Personnel
- Chapter 6: Finances
- Chapter 7: Sales
- Chapter 8: Appendix
Capital campaign case for support (educational sector)
Facilitate five in-depth Q&A sessions with a diverse team of executives to collect the "past, present and future" story needed to build a solid case for support for an ambitious, multimillion-dollar capital campaign, the largest in the organization's history.
Write and deliver the 20-page case for support needed to guide the conversation during face-to-face meetings with partners and major donors.
Prospectus and case statement (healthcare sector)
Conduct extensive background research and interview top executives from eight hospital departments to outline and write a four-page prospectus and 28-page case statement for a $25 million capital campaign.
This case for support drove all other collateral developed for the campaign, which ultimately exceeded the goal and raised more than $27 million.
“Wow, Teresa. I cannot believe you were able to capture my story in such a smart way. It’s pretty humbling to read. Thank you.”
Corporate overview binder (member association)
Partner with several writers to conceive, write and edit a binder full of content for a Better Business Bureau Eclipse Integrity Award submission covering these topics:
- Management practices
- Customer and shareholder relations
- Marketing and sales
- Other business topics
This comprehensive submittal won in the category of 1–10 employees.
- Convert a town hall speech on an organization's fundamentals into a professionally designed and printed 20-page booklet with images and graphics for internal distribution to all employees at the company. Read "The Keys to Our Collective Success."
- Interview two executives from partner companies to write a column for an industry trade publication. Read "Joint planning can boost sales in 2019" in Supply House Times.
- Interview two executives from partner companies to write a column for an industry trade publication. Read "How to get the most from industry events" in Supply House Times.
"Love the ending, by the way … great tie back to the beginning for the close. One last thing: You did a great job of un-politicizing this, which I couldn’t have done."
A CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
"Excellent job! Great interview. Spot on. I wouldn’t change a thing. He told me he really enjoyed working with you!"
"Teresa has done a wonderful job of writing, organizing and rationalizing our rapidly evolving thoughts as well as all of our previous drafts and their most numerous notes."
Benson Brand Strategy
Op-Eds & Letters
- Help a global investment organization craft a letter reintroducing its longtime guiding principles to the CEOs of companies it owns worldwide.
- Interview an executive on a trending business topic, conduct research, take a position, make a case and craft a newspaper op-ed with three recommendations for boosting a longtime American institution currently experiencing stagnant growth.
- Draft an op-ed, based on bullet points provided by a thought leader, that calls for individuals to stand up for a longtime national membership organization struggling in the aftermath of a scandal and subsequent bankruptcy.
- Write a strong letter of support, with stories and supporting evidence, for an executive nominated for a national award (this executive ultimately won the award).
- Write an editorial on behalf of a foundation executive announcing that a three-year pilot program – now proven – would be transitioned and integrated into the fabric of a longtime business organization in the community.
- Work with a regional executive to draft a persuasive letter convincing hand-selected participants to register, attend, participate in and graduate from an inaugural management academy: a nine-month program to help them launch or grow the HVAC side of their business.
- Partner with a chairman of the board and his financial adviser to write a highly sensitive letter – directed to key managers – announcing a change in shareholder status for two global organizations. The letter shared how this change came about, what’s changing and what it means for key managers.
- Work with a company president and chief operating officer to help with change management by drafting a letter outlining a new direct sales and service process for technical customers. The letter described three specific changes – and how they would be implemented in the field – to provide better customer service.
"Many thanks for your excellent draft letter for the key managers. Everyone is very happy with the text, so no changes are needed. I suggest we don't have the call today as your text is already perfect!"
FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Two global manufacturing companies based in Europe
"Reading your column in the Sunday paper … congratulations on a really well-done piece that so effectively articulates everything you have espoused throughout your entire career."
Comment on an op-ed piece ghostwritten for a client
"Thanks, Teresa! I knew it would be a good idea for you to help give some structure to their message! You’re the greatest!!"
- Draft talking points to help an executive prepare for an in-person interview with a reporter for a national foundation publication.
- Work with three executives in the C-suite to draft an engaging document that defines the corporate culture for internal training and employee presentations.
- Collect data during eight roundtable discussions at a daylong industry advisory council meeting to identify ways to improve the working relationships between independent manufacturers’ representative agencies and wholesalers. For each of the eight topics: 1) Define the key issue/question; 2) Explain the situation with details; and 3) Offer shared recommendations based on the roundtable discussions. Compile conclusions in a final report ready for presentation to the advisory council.
"Again, you were spot on with what the message should be: ‘Wake up!’ (Nice parallel with the dust storm!)"
Global manufacturing company based in Europe
"Looks really good! Logical flow with key points easy to follow. Thanks!!"
"I have arranged a management meeting in October to discuss your excellent document. I will keep you posted!"
FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD
Two global manufacturing companies based in Europe