Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Voices from the 2017 EEI Business Diversity Conference

MBE magazine and Bartholomew Group had the opportunity to connect with America’s largest electric utility companies, their prime contractors, and diverse suppliers at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) 2017 Business Diversity Conference in New Orleans, LA. Check out these videos to see who else was there.

Entergy Services, Inc.

Hal Hays Construction, Inc.

CenterPoint Energy

Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Co.

Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC. 

Tier 1 Utility Design, Inc.


Edison Electric Institute (EEI)

Monday, May 22, 2017

When You Need to Make a Sale, Do This…

As I travel from city to city, I meet a new set of people every week. After every presentation, there are always groups of people who approach me. Some have questions, some ask how they can hire me to coach them, and some just want a selfie for them to post online.

Then the moment of truth happens…

When I check my social media pages later that evening, I see new friend requests. This is where it gets interesting. There are some people I remember meeting earlier that evening, and there are others who I swear I’ve never seen before in my life.
The difference?

One group was able to master the art of the first impression. The other group got tossed into the mental dumpster pile that is filled with random information I’d rather forget.

This is an example of what happens to you on the subconscious level with every new person you meet. Based on how you “set the hook” in their mind, you are either going to be filed or forgotten based on their initial feeling about you.

This is a critical fork in the road at which most entrepreneurs crash and burn. Too often, we prejudge people and the potential of the relationship. We become unintentional about making our brand stick when we don’t see a direct benefit they can bring to our business. If we’re being honest, we have all at some point blown people off based on face value. This is the wrong mindset. You can’t take for granted that superficial assumptions will yield an accurate analysis of people’s value to us. Remember this—You don’t know who they know. And more importantly—You don’t know who they are going to know!

Here is a perfect example: I once sat next to a loud-talking gentleman on an airplane who had had a few drinks in him and confessed to only having a high school education. He started off working at Popeye’s Chicken…then he bought one! He now owns several businesses and is a multi-millionaire. Imagine how foolish I would have looked had I pre-judged him and blew him off. Instead, I focused on building rapport with him and piquing his interest. Now, who knows what new doors this relationship will open?

When you meet someone for the first time, put yourself in the Facebook frame of mind. Ask yourself, how can I get him to remember me 24 to 48 hours after my initial impression? Whether you really do become social media contacts or not doesn’t matter. The point is, you have to be unique or you will be instantly forgotten as soon as your conversation ends.

Here are some of my best secrets for standing out in a crowd:
  1. Associate a mental picture with your name – “Hi, I’m Jonathan Sprinkles…like what you put on cupcakes.”
  2. Ask for special treatment – “When you take your stack of business cards out of your pocket this evening, what would it take for you to remember mine specifically?”
  3. Always follow up – “Hey, I know you’re meeting a lot of people today. Can I get your information so I can send a thank you note to you?” (FYI—This is a guaranteed winner but NOBODY does this!)
W. Clement Stone said, “Little hinges swing big doors.” These seemingly insignificant steps will instantly separate you from the pack and create opportunities to network with powerful people who can give you the hookup. Normal is boring. Be fun. Be unique. Be someone worth remembering.

Jonathan Sprinkles, known as “Your Connection Coach,” is the author of 13 books (two-time international bestseller), television personality, host of The Jonathan Sprinkles Show on weekly radio, and an award-winning keynote speaker. He is the host of Presentation Power, an event for business owners who want to use the Power of Connection™ to boost their brand, build trust, and close more business. Get a $100 MBE Magazine discount at Use Promo Code: MBEMAG for your discount.

Date(s): July 18-20, 2017
Location: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Houston - Greenway Plaza
Contact information:, 832-429-5161

Friday, February 17, 2017

Personal Brands on Social Media - Where’s Yours?

Perhaps you are blown away by the amount of personal branding that is taking place on social media. Nowadays, it seems as if everybody has a brand. If you’re trying to figure things out, this Master Your Brand column is just for you. Specifically, this column will address the following scenario:

You have launched a personal brand, but you are not building valuable and engaged communities, and are not seeing the impact and financial reward you hoped to receive.

Two points. I know where you are. And, you are not alone. 

As an experienced marketer, here’s how I define personal branding: A personal brand is the attachment of stories, theories, ideologies and philosophies to a person or living creature. 

Already branded yourself but don’t see any growth?

Personally, there’s nothing more disappointing than wasting my hard-earned money. If you’ve done any consulting work, then you know how to build and manage or build and deliver for the client to manage. I have done a lot of both.  I have built many personal brands that are still going strong today because they had a strong management plan. And, I have built brands that remain unpublished while their owners seek resources to invest in their upkeep. Building and maintaining a brand requires a consistent stream of uninterrupted time and capital resources. If you’ve already taken the plunge and now want to kick start your brand into high gear, consider the following questions: 

  1. Do you have a clearly articulated mission for your personal brand? 
  2. Do you have time to share or have a budget to hire someone? This can start out on a contract basis. 
  3. Have you identified your community of followers, understand their need to interact with your brand, and do you know their online and buying behaviors? 
  4. Do you have branded materials and messaging already created and ready to be shared? 
  5. If you were to sell something, do you have access to the resources to deliver it? 

If you have not created your mission statement, my book, Seen and Sustained, will help you. You may download it from The book will also share what other brands have done, and it helps you create a tactical schedule as well so that you maintain a consistent level of activity. You get to set your own pace or your brand’s, however, the goal is to start. And, remember that your resume is also a marketing document, so if you don’t choose the personal brand approach through online channels and social media, consider having an electronic business card created for yourself. You’ll still need to determine your brand mission, and you can use the above information to begin the process. 

Visit MBE magazine’s Winter Issue 2017 for the rest of the story.


Akia (Garnett) Ashmond Brew, MBA, is director of marketing for the International Economic Development Council, an author, and an international speaker. She is also chairman of Brandbuilder, and an adjunct published professor of business, marketing, and consumer behavior at Trinity University in Washington, D.C. Follow Akia on social @AkiaGarnett and visit her blog –