Tuesday, August 25, 2015
MCC Member, Blank Financial Group, featured in The New York Times: Advisers Work to Calm Fearful Investors
By Nelson D. Schwartz and Rachel Abrams, nytimes.com
Even a pep talk from the chief executive of Apple, the single biggest American company by market value, did little to soothe investors on Monday.
As the Chinese stock market slump ignited fear around the world, Apple’s chief, Timothy D. Cook, broadcast to Wall Street that the tech giant’s business in China was just fine, thank you. His corporate cheerleading wasn’t just unusual because of its message, but also because of his delivery method, an email to a financial television host.
It worked — for a time. But by the end of the day, Apple and the rest of the market had yielded to the gravitational pull of investor fear.
While Apple’s 2.5 percent loss was milder than the overall market’s plunge, Mr. Cook is fighting the same forces as ordinary investors and financial professionals. On some days, market psychology — and the tendency for panicked sell-offs to feed on themselves — counts for more than long-term fundamentals like growing iPhone sales in China or strong earnings results.
Investors are now trying to separate the fact from the fear, as they digest how China’s problems will affect the rest of the world. And the process could make for some messiness in the markets, particularly in the United States, where investors have been lulled into a sense of security by a long bull run in stocks.
By 2 p.m. Monday, Gregory J. Blank, an independent financial adviser based in New York, had already fielded nearly 20 phone calls from anxious investors. He handles assets for about 200 clients, a mixture of younger adults and retirees.
“They see it in the news,” he said. “They get worried. They call.” Mr. Blank said that the older investors were more concerned, since it was harder for them to replenish whatever they had saved up for retirement. But the worst thing to do right now is to panic, he advises them.
One retiree, a former secretary at a global investment bank, was among the concerned callers. “She started the phone call with ‘Should we sell?’” Mr. Blank said. “By the end of the phone call, she said, ‘Well, maybe we should buy.’”
But staying put is not always the best option for everyone — creating the sort of selling pressure that could add to the tumult.
David Enrico, a 31-year-old model from Los Angeles, eyed the market with growing anxiety on Monday. Mr. Enrico and his wife are preparing to buy a home and are concerned about the short-term effects on their savings.
“I just saw this, and I got a little nervous because I don’t want my nest egg, my down payment for the house, to be subject to the market volatility,” he said.
Mr. Enrico emailed Mr. Blank to make sure that he could liquidate his positions immediately if need be, but so far hasn’t pulled the trigger.
“In the short run, market sell-offs are limited by psychology,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist for JPMorgan Funds. “That doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. The biggest risk here is that we all collectively lose our nerves at the same time.”
“It’s possible that enough of a frenzy will be whipped up that people could hunker down,” he added. “I don’t think it will happen, but that’s the biggest risk.”
Advisers and corporate executives are now trying to assure investors that a slowing Chinese economy isn’t necessarily a big problem for most American companies.
And Mr. Cook’s comments, which were sent to Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” did help Apple weather the worst of Monday’s trading. After opening down more than 10 percent from Friday’s close, Apple’s shares quickly rebounded, helping the Dow Jones industrial average recover somewhat from an early plunge of more than 1,000 points.
“I get updates on our performance in China every day, including this morning, and I can tell you that we have continued to experience strong growth for our business in China through July and August,” Mr. Cook said in the email to Mr. Cramer. “Obviously I can’t predict the future, but our performance so far this quarter is reassuring.”
Like Mr. Cook, many Wall Street seers insist the overall data doesn’t foreshadow an economic slump — or worse.
For starters, Mr. Kelly noted that only about one five-hundredths, or 0.2 percentage point, of gross domestic product in the United States is generated by exports to China. Long-term investors with multiyear time horizons, he cautions, shouldn’t let themselves be gripped by the fear that has overtaken some professional traders.
“Valuations aren’t stretched, and there isn’t a general economic downturn,” he said. “It’s been very tough to trade these markets, but that view applies to a much smaller slice of the population.”
What’s more, China, while an important source of earnings gains for large American companies, isn’t expected to tumble into the kind of outright recession the United States went through from 2008 to 2009. It just may not grow at the 7 percent that Chinese leadership is targeting.
“Even the most pessimistic observers think China will still grow by 4 or 5 percent,” said Kate Warne, investment strategist at Edward Jones, a brokerage firm based in St. Louis. “We’d love to have 4 or 5 percent growth in this country.”
She said that the long, steady rise of the stock market this decade, with relatively few downdrafts, is only adding to the sense of panic now.
“It’s been four years since we’ve had a correction like this, and that’s a long time to go without one,” Ms. Warne said. “When stocks drop, it’s always scary, but it seems more scary this time because we haven’t had this recently.”
Also, technological and structural changes on Wall Street in recent years have ways of amplifying the normal push and pull of the markets. The increase in high-frequency trading, and the popularity of strategies that employ computer algorithms rather than humans to buy and sell, can exaggerate volatility.
Another possibility for why fear can build so quickly nowadays, experts say, is the exit of some traditional players like banks and brokerage firms. Under pressure from Washington and their own investors, banks and brokerage firms have reduced riskier activities like trading, only to be replaced by hedge funds — with quicker trigger fingers, in some cases.
Of course, these explanations are cold comfort as ordinary investors watch their savings shrink. Still, some individuals, having survived the trauma of the recession, are showing a bit of sang-froid because of the fear that has overtaken trading floors from Shanghai to New York to Frankfurt.
Margaret Matteson of Folsom, Pa., said she heard about the market sell-off on NPR as she was driving to work. She said she would only become worried if there were broader economic implications — she lost her last job in 2009 during the recession. The latest bout of volatility didn’t make her nervous, but she said she was a bit puzzled about what was behind it.
Ms. Matteson, 33, who manages a software database for an art museum, says she only cares if it affects her job. “I don’t care what it does to my portfolio,” she said. “It is going to sit there for 20 or 30 years. I like it when it goes down. I chip in and play my little game and put in $25.”
Friday, August 21, 2015
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Monday, August 17, 2015
Novo Consulting, LLC is an Executive Stress Management™ coaching firm, specializing in helping executives better manage their stress in order to become more productive and effective in their professional and personal lives. The human stress-response asserts that stress be adhered to first. Therefore, when you or members of your management team are stressed your/their minds are with the stress and less present at work. The message our firm wants to convey is four-fold: Everyone experiences stress, stress will affect your performance, you can learn to better manage your stress in order to reduce its effects on your performance, and the newly learned and valuable skills can also be applied to future stressors.
As CEO of Novo Consulting, I chose to maintain a company focus on executives, because of my related doctoral training experiences at Yale School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry. During my two years of training at Yale, I worked with individuals from diverse backgrounds (e.g., in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, nationality, religion, educational background, disability/ability), and much of my time was spent focusing on the ways stress interacts with the onset and maintenance of health and mental health concerns. I learned how to and applied relevant skills in helping clients reduce and better manage stress so that they could live happier and healthier lives. I absolutely loved helping our clients in this way. Though, it was the positive outcomes of working on stress that I saw in my clients, regardless of their presenting concerns or demographics, that sparked my ongoing and future career interests in stress management. Dealing more positively with stress works, and it works with executives and well-educated individuals.
Our firm’s Founder and President recently opened our doors with a general executive stress management idea in mind. He himself had viewed the positive effects of stress management on high functioning individuals and was excited about offering this to others. When I came on-board, almost immediately after company opening and graduation from my Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology at Lehigh University and doctoral fellowship training at Yale University, I restructured the company to include specific Executive Stress Management™ coaching sub-specialties. I wanted people to know that everyone experiences stress for a multitude of reasons, and we offer stress management skills for many of the common ones. Further, the skills can be applied to various other common stressful situations.
We then discussed our brand goals further. At first, we had an idea in mind of only offering our services to female executives. We thought that this would afford us opportunities to build even more professional competence, because we would be focusing all of our learning as the coaches on the best stress management skills available for a particular population. We then quickly noticed the attention our firm was getting from male executives, so we decided to thoughtfully, purposefully and thoroughly lay out a plan to maintain the current quality of our female brand while adding an adjacent and very separate division of our company focusing on stress management for the Male executive. The unique divisions would then ensure Executive Stress Management™ sub-specialties and stress management plans that would best fit the needs and desires of Female and Male executives. Blending the divisions did not seem beneficial to the Female executive or the Male executive. The Female division, Executive Stress Management™ for the Female Executive, has been up and running since this July, and the Male division, ESM, will debut on August 24th of this year.
Finding the right balance of services has also been a work in progress for our company. We considered waiting to open our doors until we had our Service Menu fine tuned, but we realized that it would be the response from clients about our current services that would help us recognize our strengths and loopholes. So, we have allowed our services options to unfold as we receive feedback and discuss the best possible company solutions based on this information provided. For now, we offer one-on-one, small group, phone and Skype coaching, pre-and custom-designed seminars and workshops and pre-and custom-designed company and small group (meaning, put together by a group of interested executives) retreats. We will also be offering seminars, workshops and retreats initiated by our company and offered to all executives, and advertisements for these will be found on our social media and web (including our soon to be launched App -- stay tuned more for info coming soon) sites.
Until our ESM debut on August 24th and our upcoming App launch, feel free to visit our website and company Facebook page for information on our current offerings.
Please do not hesitate to contact me, Karyn Gunnet-Shoval, Ph.D., with any questions, inquires, etc. at Karyn@NovoConsultingNYC.com or 646-543-0320.
Article by Milene Fernandez, Epoch Time
NEW YORK—A tall, slender woman, with an inviting dignity about her, and the most radiant smile on earth, hugged children as they trickled into her fashion-forward boutique by Madison Square Park, Noir et Blanc, at around 10:30 on a sunny morning.
“You can give love and there will always be more. It’s a barrel that never gets empty,” Deborah Koenigsberger said beaming.
She told the children to gather at The Thrifty HoG next door so that they could get ready for their summer camp activity that day. They were going to have a fun day at the beach on Coney Island. On other days they have visited museums, universities like Yale, or cities like Philadelphia where they learned about the Liberty Bell; they write essays and get extra tutoring after school.
A board member of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Koenigsberger owns the French-inspired boutique, Noir et Blanc, and the stylishly curated resale boutique next door, The Thrifty HoG. Her stores double as the administrative office for the nonprofit she founded 20 years ago, Hearts of Gold (HoG), which has been helping homeless children and mothers become self-sufficient. The summer camp, STEP (summer team enrichment program), for preteens and teens is just one of several HoG programs.
While her customers can afford to buy Prada, they keep coming back to Noir et Blanc for the unique pieces she carries—made in Europe, Canada, and the United States. As a former model and a stylist, she’s well known for advising her high-profile customers and friends on fashion choices. “It’s like a one stop shop, so I get a lot of referrals,” Koenigsberger said.
Her Noir et Blanc customers and celebrity friends will often donate clothes to the The Thrifty HoG, and all the proceeds go to her nonprofit. Koenigsberger also provides on-the-job training to the mothers employed at The Thrifty HoG.
A 2-year-old lets go of her mother’s hand, runs over to Koenigsberger, and gives her a hug. “I always say this, and it’s so true, I get so much more out of this than I put in, I do!” Koenigsberger said. “I get so much joy out of that little girl running down the block to give me a hug, who doesn’t want that?” she added.
Definitely a woman of action, Koenigsberger’s confidence and generosity is palpable. She’s always moving, because sitting blocks her energy she said. She doesn’t waste time worrying or mulling over what could be done. She just does what she knows she can make possible.
“To me the word ‘enough’ is a big deal. We all need to understand is where our enough point is and then say, ‘Okay, now I can share and give because I have more than enough,'” she said.
Helping Others Get Out of a Box
The chance meeting of a homeless woman sleeping in a cardboard box, a Stevie Wonder song, and the encouragement of a makeup artist friend all coalesced to give Koenigsberger the idea to found Hearts of Gold.
She lived on Madison Avenue between 32nd and 33rd streets when she was studying romance languages and German at NYU. She would walk through Madison Park when it used to be trashy, “like a heroin den,” she said. She came across a young woman who slept in a cardboard box with her daughter. “I was initially leery, because you never know … but I slowly approached her one day,” she said.
The woman did not talk very much but told Koenigsberger that she had decided to live in the park because people would steal her things, would harass her, and beat her up in the shelter. Koenigsberger built up a kind of relationship with the woman, bringing food for her and her child.
One day the woman wasn’t there anymore. “I lost her, never saw her again, never saw her again,” Koenigsberger repeated. “But even though she physically left, she never left me. I pray for them and I hope that they are doing well wherever they are,” Koenigsberger said.
That experience along with the song about homelessness, “Take the Time Out” (Album: Conversation Peace, 1995) by Stevie Wonder—who’s Koenigsberger’s idol, “this man is just beyond,” she said smiling—inspired her to affect change. Three years before that song came out, during a summer vacation in Florida, Koenigsberger met Bobbi Brown when Brown was a makeup artist just about to launch her cosmetics company.
Back in New York Brown encouraged Koenigsberger to give a talk at a homeless shelter on 28th Street to mothers about how to dress at job interviews, while she talked about makeup. So both of them created an immersion program that was a huge hit.
“Every child got a red shopping bag with toys and books and clothes and stuffed animals, it was great and it was really like Christmas, but something also happened,” she said. One of the little girls went to show her mom what she got and her mother just said, “So,” with indifference. “I remember being so shocked and heartbroken, but it was because I didn’t understand,” Koenigsberger said. She didn’t understand because she and her husband always wanted to give everything to their two sons.
Then she remembered a refrigerator magnet that her mother had at home practically telling her what to do. The magnet read, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
When Easter came around she approached her friends in the fashion industry, including Ivana Trump for whom she did wardrobe consulting. She provided Easter Bunny baskets with gifts for the children and the mothers. Brown provided a cosmetic product and Trump, who was making gazillions of dollars on HSN (Home Shopping Network) provided jewelry.
“It was beautiful,” she said. The mothers were like, “Yea, look what I got too.”
She realized that the homeless mom had never really had a childhood. Koenigsberger said, “She grew up in this abusive craziness and she couldn’t even appreciate it [the Christmas gift] for her kid because she just never had it herself, and all of a sudden you were asking her to appreciate something she knew nothing about.”
That’s how she decided she was going to make Hearts of Gold about moms and kids.
It Takes All Kinds to Make a World
But Koenigsberger’s initial spark for founding Hearts of Gold and her strength of character goes further back to her childhood experiences growing up in Jamaica and her strong-willed mother who passed away 20 years ago.
“I just don’t remember a time when my mom complained about stuff. We had enough, we had certainly enough love from my mom and dad,” Koenigsberger said.
Her mother moved to New York City to establish her career as an assistant nurse at NYU, and her father would soon follow a couple of years later to work as an electrical engineer at AT&T and establish a new home for the family. In the meantime, Koenigsberger was put under the care of her paternal grandparents and would spend time with her high-class aunt and uncle in Jamaica. Her aunt treated her like a second-class citizen. She recalled feeling like Cinderella while her cousins were treated like royalty in comparison.
“I was born with the fire of my mother, so I’ve always had a mouth, I would always say what I thought. In Jamaica you can’t talk like that, it’s not allowed, it’s not polite,” she recalled. So to keep her in her so-called place, her aunt would say things to her but fortunately at the tender age of 10 Koenigsberger did not realize how hurtful those things were at the time.
“She basically said to me, you will be nothing and you will have a string of kids, you won’t even know who the fathers are. When these things were said to me I didn’t process them as anything important, except that it made me really angry,” Koenigsberger recalled.
Koenigsberger is the kind of person who becomes more determined to prove such assumptions wrong in the short and long-term. In September she will celebrate her 25th wedding anniversary with her very supportive and loving husband, Thilo. She raised two very philanthropic minded sons. Stephan, the younger, is a nationally ranked swimmer studying geology at Middlebury College, and Florian, the older one, graduated from Yale and now works at Google.
She attributes her aunt’s insensitivity to the practice of class prejudice handed down from the former British imperialism in Jamaica.
“It was the culture. People looked down on other people. Here in this country, you have racism, there [in Jamaica] you have social class, and you are raised thinking that if you come from this side of the fence then you are that, and if you come from that side then you are that, that’s just how it was,” she said, pointing in opposite directions.
Koenigsberger knows what it feels like to be put in a box, and to overcome other people’s assumptions or limitations they impose on her. Instead of bringing her down, it fires up her empathy and generosity even more.
“Somebody needs to be telling these kids and mothers that they can. It’s amazing what will happen if you don’t drink the Kool-Aid. So I didn’t drink the Kool-Aid and here I am, and I’m going to make sure that they don’t drink the Kool-Aid,” she said.
It’s a matter of will and choice. “I tell the moms all the time, ‘You know this is not your life. This is just a moment in your life, unless you choose to make it your life, and if you do, you will stay in this place.'”
The Hearts of Gold children regard her as an aunt, the mothers as a sister, a strong and compassionate pillar of support. “They [homeless mothers] need love and they need somebody to disappoint,” said Koenigsberger. “When you have somebody to disappoint, you try harder,” she said.
She will warn the mothers not to disappoint her, because she’s putting out a lot to help them get out of the poverty rut. “If everybody knows that somebody’s got their back, it’s a beautiful thing,” she said.
Koenigsberger has gathered over $9 million in financial support for homeless mothers and their children. At her first fundraiser in 1996 she gathered $3,000. Last year she raised $800,000 with her board. The next Hearts of Gold fundraising gala will be on Nov. 5 at Nasdaq in Times Square.
“It’s grown, and I have really amazing friends,” she said calling the biggest benefactors, Michael and Cheryl Barrett, who have supported HoG from the very beginning, and Nick and Shelley Schorsch, “Amazingly huge hearted people.” In addition to Brown and Trump, she has also received support from Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Edie Falco, Marcia Gay Harden, Hoda Kotb, Laura Linney, Emme, Soledad O’Brien, Tamara Tunie, Vanessa L. Williams, and Stevie Wonder.
French people say ‘Il faut du tout pour faire un monde’ meaning, you need a little bit everything to make a world, Koenigsberger said with a fluid French accent.
“And everybody has to be doing different things, because if everybody stopped what they were doing today and only focused on charity work there would be nothing to give, so we need a Schorsch to be super successful, so he can give, we need the guy who delivers my mail, we need a little bit of everything,” Koenigsberger said, smiling as the mailman comes into Noir et Blanc to deliver certified mail. Koenigsberger signed and said, “There you go,” with a radiant smile.
This Is New York is a feature series that delves into the lives of inspiring individuals in New York City. See all our TINYs here: epochtim.es/TINY and @milenefernandez
Monday, August 10, 2015
We are excited to offer you our new 2 year membership deal!
As a new or renewing MCC member, we would like to give an additional discount if you sign up for our 2 year membership deal. Sign up now and start saving now!
Membership Investment Levels
One Year Membership Option
- Young Professional $125.00 per annum
- Individual/ Sole Proprietor $125.00 per annum
- Veterans $125.00 per annum
- Micro Office Partnership (1-10) Employees $125.00 per annum
- Non Profit (1-10 Employees) $125.00 per annum
- Trade Commissioner $150.00 per annum
One Year Business Membership Level Options
- Small Business (2-25 Employees) $250.00 per annum
- Medium Business (26-50 Employees) $500.00 per annum
- Corporate Business (50+ Employees) $1,250.00 per annum
Two Year Business Membership Level Options
- Individual/ Sole Proprietor $225.00 per annum
- Small Business (2-25 Employees) $450.00 per annum
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Monthly Billing Membership Level Options
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Tuesday, August 4, 2015
|Contact Name||Company Name||Website|
|Dr. Ankur Prakash||Well Balanced Chiropractic, P.C.||www.wellbalancedchiropractic.com|
|Ava Seavey||Avalanche Creative Services, Inc.||www.avalanchecreative.tv|
|Claudette Duff||Integrity Senior Services||www.integrityseniorservices.com|
|Rita Ewing||Massage Envy Spa-Midtown West||www.massageenvy.com/midtownwest|
|Frank Apollo||JP Morgan Chase - Frank Apollo||www.jpmorganchase.com|
|Jihan Mitchell||RCN of New York|
|Ona Burns||Consulair, Inc.|
|Colette Malouf||Colette Malouf Inc.||www.colettemalouf.com|
|Barry Korn||Barrett Capital Corporation||www.barrettcapital.com|
|Eric Hrubant||CIRE Travel, A Division of Tzell||www.ciretravel.com|
|Hedi White||Haug Realty Corp.|
|Harriet Lehrer||Imagine a New Image||www.imagineanewimage.com|
|Kathleen Murray||McMorran Strategists LLC||www.FARO.com|
|Peter Aubrey-Smith||Stellar Re Intermediaries, Inc.||www.stellar-re.com|
|Susan Katz||A Guide Named Sue||www.aguidenamedsue.com|
|Donna David||Donna David & Co. Ltd.||www.donnadavidco.com|
Mi Kitchen Es Su Kitchen®(Innovative Program Asso)
|James Duignam||Renaissance To Well-Being||www.jamesduignam.com|
|Sharon Mahin||Savoca Enterprises Inc.||www.savocaenterprises.com|
|Brock Barrett||State Farm Insurance||www.brockbarrett.biz|
|Barbara Walters||The HR Advantage||www.thehradv.com|
|Manuel Rodrigues||The Display Shop Inc.||www.bytds.com|
Luxembourg-American Chamber of Commerce
|NYC-EA CGNY||Consulate General of the Netherlands||www.cgny.org|
Investment and Trade Office, Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in New York
|Josh Landress||J. Landress Brass, LLC.|
Thursday, July 30, 2015
When Jeanne Sullivan took the stage at the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce “Funding Your Passion + Financing Your Business” event last week to discuss startup funding - she cut an unassuming profile, at least for a seasoned all-star venture capital professional.
Jeanne offered some practical advice about startup funding, based on her many years of VC experience. She is co-founder of StarVest Partners, a venture fund created in 1998 with $400 million under management
Forbes described Sullivan as “one of the women VCs changing the world – grooming the next generation of female entrepreneurs” and she serves on the board of the NY Venture Capital Association. She’s dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs, in what is still a male dominated world for most tech startups.
She now heads “Sullivan Adventures” as Chief Inspiration Officer. And she certainly inspired the MCC audience with her advice to entrepreneurs seeking funding for their startups:
- Get the meeting: Identify who wants what you have: sector/stage/geography/you. Never go in cold. Get introductions from law firms, accounting firms – build and use your network.
- Get the story out of your mouth: Articulate and package the business model. Provide use cases. Use the “eyebrow” test – try to raise the eyebrows, get them intrigued.
- Tell me about the business of the business: Include the go to market plan, how you will build the business. Lay out the functional skills you will need to hire – as soon as you get funded. Stress your unique advantages.
- Know your Financials (cold): Gross margin, capital needs of the business, estimated valuation, be a careful curator of other people’s money. Get the smartest outsourced financial person possible to show you the way, bring them to the meeting.
- Follow up – and negotiate – appropriately: Business wins, key hires, fund raising, if they hear some other investors are coming in they will follow.
The thing that may set Jeanne apart from many others in VC community is her approachability. Talking to many NYC-based VCs makes one feels like being in the beholden presence of royalty.
Jeanne offered her e-mail to the audience at the end of her remarks, encouraging people to reach out her. She actually stayed around during the reception following the formal event remarks, and made the time to talk to everyone that approached her.
When asked why she has such passion for the venture capital world, she replied:
“Entrepreneurism is driving the economy and fulfills passion and prosperity. What good are all my connections and experience unless I leverage my network and knowledge and help support the efforts of others.”
Jeanne’s Twitter stream is well worth following @gianna212.
And she delivered a thoughtful and funny talk at the recent TEDx Barnard College event entitled “Master the Minefield – Dealing with Bullies, Bozos and Buffoons.”
Please click here to find out the original article on designpm.com
Original Blog Post by PM+CO
Original Blog Post by PM+CO