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PostHeaderIcon 10 Questions

PostHeaderIcon 10 Questions With...the Bear Flag Runner

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George Cave, who is best known as Sparky the Bear Flag Runner, founded Hats Off America to raise money for the Gold Star Families. Since 2002 he’s run 12,000 miles. This Saturday, Nov. 7, he’ll hold his last fundraiser for the group. Here’s a little more about Sparky:

ANNB: When did you start running?
GC: September 15, 2002, the day that soldiers were deployed to Iraq. I wanted to show my solidarity to them, so I started running with a flag tied around my waist. I believed in their fight so I committed myself to their cause.

ANNB: Why do you run with a flag around your waist?
GC: Some people have found it offensive, but my brothers and sisters (in the armed forces) are protecting my (butt) so I can run. I do it out of respect for the sacrifice they are willing to make.

ANNB: Why did you start Hats Off America?
GC: About a year later, I heard that the families of fallen soldiers were only receiving a death benefit of $217,000 (this amount was raised two years later) and I was indignant. My goal was to raise money for Gold Star families-- families with a fallen soldier -- so I picked four families with multiple children under the age of six and started putting on 10 fundraising events a year. I wanted to let them know that they wouldn’t be forgotten after their loss.

ANNB: What’s the significance of the name?
GC: When you go to a gravesite, you take off your hat. When you show respect, you take off your hat. When you salute the flag, you take off your hat.

ANNB: How many miles have you run?
GC: I started running five miles, five days a week. Now I run six miles six days a week. I’m out there rain or shine and in freezing weather without a shirt on. In the past seven years, I’ve run more than 12,000 miles. When it’s cold, I chant the names of fallen soldiers. It warms me up so I’m not so cold.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 23 December 2009 23:35)


PostHeaderIcon 10 Questions With....dear jane

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Rebecca Martin and Julie Youngblood met 15 years ago while working as recruiters in Silicon Valley. They placed hundreds of people in jobs in the high-tech capital of the world. But they also saw the traumatic situations and unhappy environments that candidates were dealing with.

It was then that Youngblood, now 39, and Martin, now 46, started giving away coaching advice. They taught people how to write attention-grabbing resumes and cover letters, how to market themselves, get the best salary and how to beat out the competition in interviews.

In 2004 they launched dear jane… but they kept their day jobs. It wasn’t until earlier this year, when the recession was hitting just about everyone - from high school drop outs to people who hold Ph.D’s – that the two friends pushed forward and worked on their dream company, dear jane… full time.

Since taking their career advisement company full time, the women have been featured on “The View from the Bay” and “Conversations with Robin Fahr.” They’ve also appeared on “Beyond the Headlines” with Cheryl Jennings. The duo has also been featured in many articles and booklets on the Internet.  They speak frequently at public libraries, job fairs, professional association meetings, Employment Development Department offices and to networking groups. Ninety-eight percent of their clients have found jobs.

Martin and Youngblood are featured this week in “10 Questions With….”

ANNB: Where does the name dear jane… come from?
RM: I grew up in the 70’s and read the advice columns from Dear Abby and Ann Landers.  I was always giving away free job search, career management and coaching advice. So, one day I decided to start my company and call it dear jane… because my middle name is Jane.

ANNB: How did you get involved with dear jane…?
JY: Working together, Martin and I found that in addition to placing people in jobs, we gave away a ton of free "coaching" by helping our candidates re-write their resumes to make them more effective. We also prepped them for interviews and coached them through the negotiation process. We quickly learned that knowing how to market yourself, network with people and land job interviews was not a natural ability that most people had. It’s not something that's taught in school, and it certainly is not a part of anyone's genetic code.

ANNB: Where did the idea for this type of business come from?
RM: In two different jobs, I was coaching people on the “how to’s” of job searching and career management. I worked with people that have Ph.d’s from Harvard and those who got out of high school with a GED. No matter who I worked with they needed so much help. People need help and they weren’t born with Career Search DNA or the Job Searching Gene that helps them get a job. People know they need help but don’t know what to ask for or how to ask for it.

ANNB: What's been the most fun you've had with dear jane…?
JY: I love presenting to groups and having lively discussions with people who have come to see us speak. There's nothing more satisfying and energizing than getting immediate feedback from people about how they can't believe how much they learned in such a short period of time, how motivated they now are, and how they can't wait to go home and put all their new knowledge into action.

ANNB: What piece of advice do you have for people starting their own business in this economy?
RM: You have to be incredibly passionate and have a lot of cash. Don’t give up if you believe that there is a market for what you are selling. If there is a huge need and you have experience and expertise to solve the problem for people then you will make it. Be prepared to work 15 hours per day for a couple of years. You also need to be honest and network, network, network. ?

ANNB: What has it been like starting your own business in this economy?
JY: "Risky, scary, beyond challenging, and are we crazy?" are a few words and phrases that come to mind but we were both determined and ready for it. We knew that now more than ever, people needed our help, and we are committed to helping them.

ANNB: What has been the overwhelming response to dear jane…?
RM: After people are coached by us they are blown away by the information and their immediate successes. We give people hope; some of the coaching changes people’s lives and motivates them to pursue their perfect job/career.

ANNB:  What have you learned being involved with dear jane…?
JY: I've always believed that there's an infinite amount of knowledge that we can continue to learn simply by meeting, talking to, and sharing information with new people that we meet. Even though I'm a career coach at dear jane... and I'm here to provide tools, techniques, knowledge and support to people, I myself learn new things every day from the people I come in contact with during this journey. We are all far more similar to each other than we are different, and continuing to have compassion and empathy for others is what ultimately builds and supports strong relationships for a lifetime

ANNB: What is a funny thing that has happened while on the road with dear jane…?
RM: I make people laugh a lot because of my directness and irreverence towards corporate America. I say that I am like Oprah meets Dr. Phil meets South Park. I am not as nasty as South Park but I expose the B.S. in corporate America and laugh about it.

ANNB: Who are you trying to reach?
JY: We're here to help anyone, no just people in transition. Of course people who are actively looking for work are our primary clients. However, we've also been successfully coaching people who are unhappy in their current jobs and looking to make a transition to a new job or even a new industry. -KB


Last Updated (Tuesday, 27 July 2010 03:37)

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