Who Am I and Why Am I Here?

by Spencer Niehaus

“Who Am I And Why Am I Here?”

I was first hit with this question on day one of Mr. Ploehs’s English class my junior year.

I wish I could tell you that answering this question has gotten easier in the decade that has passed.

The reality is, it hasn’t.

I still spend a lot of time mulling this over. When I really think about this question, I spend most my time thinking through my own identity. To know why I am here, requires a lot of self-reflection into who I really am.

The Past Predicts The Future

Growing up on the Westside of Cincinnati in a giant Catholic family provided an excellent foundation for me to begin to build out my identity.

My high school (Elder), my college (University of Cincinnati), and my incredible home city have all provided additional structure. Pieces of me built around pillars like integrity, selflessness, and hope.

My deep roots here keeps me excited and engaged in growing Cincinnati and its incredible identity. I love this place and will always serve as an advocate for the incredible purpose Cincinnati serves in this world.

The Intersection of AMEND and My Future

AMEND exists for one reason – to change lives and transform businesses.

I exist for one reason – to make my home better every day.

The intersection of these two paths allows me to fulfill my mission at hyper speed. I’m able to combine forces with other like-minded warriors, ready to suit up and battle the resistance to change and forward progress wherever we find it.

AMEND makes if easy for me to take care of my neighbors. Every day I have – and take advantage of – the opportunity to give back…to change people’s lives.

Being hands on with a client and seeing the change first hand is a once in a lifetime experience for most people. AMEND allows me to wake up every day and drive this change.

What about you? How many times have you answered this question? Have your answers evolved over time – as your experiences have shaped you into a different version of yourself? What other questions do you use to challenge your thinking? 

A Team Built to Succeed

By Chris McCleary

My journey into the world of consulting began as some journeys do – without a final destination.

I started college without knowing where I wanted to go. My interests lead me to explore many different paths: investing, marketing, political campaigning, economic development, and law, among many others.

What did all this exploring help me discover? I love solving problems – the more complex, unique, and challenging the better.

Consulting offers the opportunity to dive into new, complex, and challenging problems every day while also giving me plenty of opportunities to develop my skills and  grow as a person.

I had found my what. Next was my where.

Searching for my where is what led me to AMEND.

AMEND caught my attention for one reason – the way they treat their people. From the first meeting you are welcomed. Treated as equal to, not lesser than.

You’re part of the team from the moment you’re hired. Not a new person, an errand runner or grunt worker. A team member who is equally capable of adding value, perspective, and fresh thinking.

“From the first day, even as an analyst, I was a valuable member of the team. My opinions were heard and no less significant than any other team member’s.”

No matter your title you are expected to step in, step up, and perform. At AMEND, you are never assigned a mindless, meaningless task: everything you do has a purpose.

It’s exciting to me that your position on the org chart isn’t a barrier. One day I’m working with other analysts. Another day I’m in the board room with company leaders and executives.

I have little interest working for a company where the executives are mythical creatures whose names appear in emails and in the rants of managers. Leader you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of when they make their annual visit to your office.

Working for a company where every member of the organization knows my name and my story is exciting. Meeting and interviewing with a partner showed me that AMEND valued who I was and what I brought to the table. It showed that they took me seriously and expected me to deliver tangible results.

My presence is felt at every level of the organization at AMEND. It’s a position that comes with much responsibility and one I don’t take lightly.

I’m honored to be part of the AMEND team – a team built for success.

Use Your Why To Change Your Ways

by Kelsey Sucher

Have you ever thought about your why? It is reason you get out of bed each morning, the basis of your most important decisions, and the path to maximize your personal happiness.

I discovered mine a couple years ago, and it has completely changed the way I do things, and ultimately has led me to a company which I believe has a similar why: AMEND.

1. I must exist outside my comfort zone. The times in my life when I experienced the most explosive, radical change in myself, learned the most, and felt the most accomplished were the times when I pushed myself further than I was necessarily comfortable with.

2. I’m not here to get an A. I would much rather be learning and gaining a deep understanding of a concept than memorizing all the right answers on a test, checking all the boxes, and doing everything perfectly.

3. I want to make a difference. I need to know that I am using my skills to better other people’s lives.

These are my why. These are the reasons why I dive headfirst into everything I do—why when I made the switch to business after freshman year, I went ahead and jumped in to the top business honors program at UC. Why when I’m in an organization, I want to be part of the top leadership. Why when my advisor told me about AMEND, I knew I needed to work there.

AMEND is different. It’s a place where I’ll be able to not only to get out of my comfort zone, but to expand it. As an analyst, I’ll be given responsibilities I had never even dreamed of receiving at other companies. It’s impossible to be complacent when you are in a place as dynamic as AMEND, on client sites, constantly learning new strategies and becoming a better employee and person.

AMEND isn’t a place where you can easily check all the boxes, hypothetically “get an A,” and go home early every day—it’s so much better than that.

It’s a place where I will learn and grow and ignite real change through my work.

Will I make mistakes? Probably. Do I love the idea of that? No, but I know that it’ll be okay, because I’ll be gaining real experiences and real knowledge. And through this, I’ll be making a difference with our clients and, ultimately, leaving them better off than when I arrived. To me, there is nothing more fulfilling.

At AMEND, I’ll get to learn more, do more, and grow more.

Why AMEND? Because I am ready be tossed out of my comfort zone and into a whole new way of thinking. Because I know that I will gain more knowledge than I would anywhere else. Because I can’t wait to change lives and transform businesses.

Is It Time For You To Branch Out?

by Matt Baryluk

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

If there’s one thing I’ve been told since I began college, it’s that now’s the chance for me to leave my comfort zone – to branch out and discover new opportunities that may otherwise have gone undetected. Along with “find your passion,” it’s probably the one piece of advice I’ve received most frequently.

Despite this, I didn’t really take the advice to heart. I kept doing what I knew, because it was comfortable and it had worked for me thus far. Even worse, however, was the fact that I wanted change, and even expected it, although I wasn’t changing anything myself. I mistakenly believed I could broaden my horizons without ever leaving my comfort zone.

This was a problem because I knew I could never grow as an individual or a professional so long as this was the case. What’s more, no one has ever done great things by sticking to what they know. I had to take steps to make real changes.

I joined new organizations and took on leadership roles, but it still wasn’t quite enough. I was doing many of these activities with the same people and I rarely got out of my comfort zone.

I was still limiting myself. I needed to surround myself with people who would challenge and enable me to do more than I thought possible. This led me to AMEND.

AMEND offers me new challenges and experiences. They give me the opportunity to take on responsibilities – to make a real difference in the outcomes our clients achieve. This kind of hands-on and meaningful work simply isn’t possible in most other places.

My previous posts, many  8-to-5 office jobs, simply offer a different experience like filing, computer work, running errands, and sitting in meetings. Crazy as it sounds, I’m now looking forward to early mornings on factory floors – sometimes in the freezing cold. I’m excited to see what new things each day holds…to learning new skills…from experts and leaders in their fields.

Despite the environment and the often very hard work, diving in each day with a group of individuals similarly committed to pushing their boundaries and exceeding expectations is exhilarating.

I can say thus far that AMEND has been everything I hoped it would be.

I was on-site in safety glasses and steel-toed boots ON MY THIRD DAY!

I’ve been sent on overnight trips on two days notice.

I’ve worked all hours, in all kinds of interesting environments.

I’ve been forced to change. To adapt. To find a new kind of strength I didn’t know existed within me.

I was recently asked whether the rapid change was overwhelming? I replied, without hesitation, “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

I’ve already grown more at AMEND than I have in most all my previous experience combined and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

My work at AMEND has taught me plenty. Most importantly, it has reinforced one important, life-long lesson…if you’re looking to make some real changes, to learn new skills, and maybe even surprise yourself…it’s time to branch out!

Can You Be Independent AND Connected?

by Martin Manevski

By the end of 2017 I had gotten the chance to run my own business and taste what it’s like to be my own boss. Making my business a success was a difficult and rewarding process.

I learned how critical communication, planning, and teamwork are for the success of a business. I realized it’s much easier and faster to move alone than it is to constantly be checking back in with a team.

This experience led me to an interesting place. Independence is part of my DNA. Running a business requires BOTH independence AND interdependence. I couldn’t find success as a business leader without my team also being successful.

I was struggling – should I be independent and do my own thing without being tied down by others or should I try to find a place where I could have it all?

Does a place like this even exist? A place where I can be both independent AND a team player. A place where I can be recognized for my skills and contributions AND add value to other’s efforts. A place where I can make decisions and feel ownership over the work I’m doing while also learning from people with more experience than me?

Once I got introduced to AMEND, the answer became clear – YES! This place does exist… AMEND offered all I was looking for and more.

AMEND Is A Collection of AMAZING Individuals That Work As One

I get inspired by other entrepreneurially minded individuals and I found a whole collection of them at AMEND. Everybody on the team is a rock star who not only wants to do well but wants to see their teammates and clients do well too.

This was a big factor in my decision to join the AMEND team. I saw a way to be an independent player on a team invested in other’s success. (And, as hard working as everybody is, they also know how to kick back and have a good time after a day full of improving businesses. Another important factor for me!)

Transparency That Inspires Action

No matter the size, AMEND will never have layers and layers of managers, directors, and executives. They hire leaders who want to work with other leaders. This means I get to learn from and receive immediate feedback from experienced leaders on my performance. Their visibility and accessibility serves to make me stronger. Their feedback encourages me to improve – it inspires me to expand my thinking around what’s possible and what I’m capable of achieving.

I, in turn, get to do this for others. I get to do this with our clients, with my fellow volunteers, with my friends and family. It’s an action that inspires more action. It’s how progress is truly made.

Continual Learning. Continual Improvement. Continual Growth.

I try to learn something from everything. My time at AMEND is a unique chance for me to get involved and experience different work cultures and environments. And, the best thing is, I get to make a positive difference in both our business and our client’s business’s through my own actions and decisions.

This diversity of environment and people is critical to my success.

Around here we believe that iron does indeed sharpen iron. “As iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend.” [Proverbs 27:17] We each work to make ourselves, our team members, and our clients the best they can possibly be.

Coming to AMEND helped me realize it’s possible to be both independent and connected. Working here connected all the dots for me so that I now see just how important these two pieces are to my success. I must have the ability to think and act and make a positive impact while also being surrounded by people who want to make me (and the world) better.

 

 

Why I Live Every Day The ‘Steve Jobs Way’

I had made up my mind. I knew exactly what I wanted to do after graduation. I was going to start my full-time career in Texas with a company I had co-oped with previously.

Then. One quote changed everything,

“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today. Whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”  – Steve Jobs

After reading the article about Steve Job’s 2005 Stanford Graduation Address, featuring this quote, I started to reflect on my past work experiences to see if I could relate. After some soul searching, one theme kept coming to me – I was never given the opportunity to be me.

There were a lot of restrictions that hindered my ability to be creative.

This all got me thinking – if you can’t be yourself for at least 40 hours a week, are you really doing what you want to do?

NO!

Enter AMEND.

I met with Paul Delaney, AMEND’s Chief People Officer, and Matt Murphy, an all-star analytics specialist. What they shared about AMEND blew me away.

AMEND is growing, loaded with opportunities, and united in delivering way more than consulting services – they’re changing lives, strengthening communities, and transforming businesses.

Right then and there I knew AMEND was where I needed to be. I made my pitch to Paul…landed an interview…and, ultimately, my dream job!

Now I live every day the “Steve Jobs Way.” I no longer have to down five cups of coffee to make it through the day. I never say, “I don’t want to go into work tomorrow.” I love the work I’m doing and the impact I’m making. It’s addicting in many ways.

“Whatever you want to do, do it. There are only so many tomorrows.”  – Michael Landon

How about you? Are you living every day the “Steve Jobs Way?” Are you excited to dive into each day or has it all become a bore and a chore? If you’re stuck in ho-hum land, now’s the time to start making new choices! Start right now – today – this minute. Begin to reconnect with the things that ignite you. Take one step, then another, then another. We only get to live this life in one direction – FORWARD!

 

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Change Your Mind To Change Your Results

Change is hard. Change is something most of us avoid. But accepting and embracing change – learning to use it to your advantage – can be incredibly rewarding.

Our lives are filled with many points of change. The many firsts we achieve as babies. All the additional changes that follow as we grow up and mature.

The transition from high school to college seems to be one point of change that causes many to struggle. It certainly was a struggle for me.

It was easy to get distracted by things that really didn’t matter – getting caught up in the college atmosphere for example. These distractions and poor choices often led to students finding themselves in tough spots later on. For me, this tough spot was after my freshman year. It was a time where my morale was low, my sense of purpose and direction was lost, and, overall, I just wasn’t happy.

I wanted to make a change but didn’t know where to start.

Want Different Results? Do Something Different!

I began a period of reflection in the fall of 2005. A time where I immersed myself by listening to Ted Talks, reading books, attending leadership conferences, and seeking out mentors. It was during this time I came across a transformational idea – you are the average of the five closest people to you.

Bam! This was the change in thinking I needed. Now I knew exactly what to do…I found friends and mentors who had similar priorities, values, and ambitions, or who had taken similar journeys. I also found ways to challenge myself and my truths. Some of my inspiration came from Kobe Bryant. He once shared how he would sharpen his skills by playing against mates that were four or five year older than him. I also drew inspiration from ‘Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.’ His wisdom about not wasting your short time here living someone else’s life hit me hard. It inspired me to lead my life even if it takes me off the well-worn path.

I came across much insight and wisdom during my journey, all of which helped me grow. Ultimately, I kept coming back to this idea of being the average of the five closest people to you…it became my new center.

Enter AMEND.

I came to know of AMEND as most come to know of it – through the endlessly positive, (almost) unbelievable things my roommate, Jacob Whyle would share with me every day. He just could not shut up about the amazing work he was doing. Then, in talking to several other friends, AMEND, popped up again – still nothing but great things.

I was blown away. I had to learn more.

My first meeting was with Paul Delaney, AMEND’s Chief People Officer. Talk about refreshing! It wasn’t about my resume – it was about me – who I am, my background, values, dreams, and ambitions. He took a genuine interest in my story.

Then I talked to some of the other partners and employees and grew more impressed. They had a highly talented core team and an even more powerful network. Whether they decided to hire me or not, I knew AMEND was special. They lived out their purpose of changing lives and transforming businesses.

AMEND + The Average of 5 = A WIN FOR ME!

I looked at the AMEND team. I thought about how they are a team of A-players. Any combination of five would bring out the best in me. I had no doubt.

And I work everyday to do the same for them. I am excited to share my passion and drive with AMEND’s clients and my teammates. I hope to challenge them just as they are challenging me.

The Power of Average

Coming across the idea that you are the average of the five closest people to you has been truly transformational for me. I guess you could say, in this rare case, average has been exceptional.

Using this principle to guide my decisions, both personally and professionally, has brought overwhelmingly positive change to my life. Much of my current success and happiness is directly connected to my decision to live through this truth.

What new ideas can you bring into your life? What new truths might drive change and transformation for you? Maybe it’s the average of the five closest people. Maybe it’s trying to do something you didn’t think possible. Maybe it’s saying yes when you normally say no.

No matter what new choice the ‘power of five’ inspires, any new choice is a choice for change!

 

Own Your Change – Be The Captain Of Your Ship!

I am a planner. I have my schedule mapped out digitally as well as in my paper planner. I have an Excel document that contains my plans for past/future classes and study abroad experiences. I track all of my financials and am budgeted out until the end of 2018. The point is, I love to plan! I am aware that plans can change and do not fear that but I was not prepared for what happened to my plans after taking one…simple…class…

Where I Was Headed

I was down in Jacksonville, Florida with a large manufacturing corporation. It was my second rotation and I figured I would go back in the Spring of 2018 without considering anywhere else. I was comfortable and familiar with the way the company worked and enjoyed my time with them, so it made sense to stay on for the rest of my rotations. Why change what’s working?

During the Fall Semester of my fourth year at the University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business, however, one class changed everything.

I was taking a course called Field Studies in Operations Management. The entire idea behind this course is to go out into the real world and visit various companies to see what an Operations Management degree looks like in the scope of these different industries.

I thought it would be a simple, relaxing, yet intriguing course to take with some of my friends. It turned out to be so much more. This class was how I first came to know of AMEND Consulting.

How AMEND Changed Everything

I walked in to friendly faces – recognizing a few from UC. I was greeted and shown around the office then taken to a large conference area for a presentation.

This visit, from the start, was different.

Other stops on our tour took us to factories that made automobile parts or shops where clothes were being cleaned. We even visited a casket manufacturer! These were all full of machinery and process that the class could follow. It was clear why we were there.

AMEND didn’t have any of this and we were all worried because it seemed we were in for two hours of…presentation – yuck.

Time for my first change – a change of perspective.

Matt Murphy and Paul Delaney began to talk about the AMEND team and the work they do. I was captivated.

AMEND’s approach was impressive. (I had worked with a large consulting firm in the summer who did not put the effort and care into their work like AMEND.) They talked about the various industries and types of people and problems they deal with. Their passion was inspiring. I was amazed.

I left the presentation with goosebumps. It was then I knew – I HAD to work at AMEND!

Owning My Change – Stepping Off The Edge… – *GULP*

That evening, I went home to craft my thank you letter and to let Matt know I was interested in AMEND. It was a Friday night, so I contained my excitement and waited until Monday morning to send the thank you. He answered with an invitation to breakfast to talk about AMEND and my work experience.

As we sat down for breakfast a week later, I felt my interest in AMEND grow stronger as Matt talked about the culture and ambience within the company. The fact that I could talk to anyone freely, including Craig or David (the founding owners), was further proof that this was an amazing company that provided valuable work experience and mentors to aid in becoming the best version of oneself.

After this meeting was a meeting with Paul. His passion and love for AMEND Consulting was evident with every word he spoke. His belief in AMEND and its purpose was electrifying. I was hooked.

I was willing to move my school schedule around and flex my plans to make this change happen! I knew working for AMEND was worth the course change!!

Creating My New Future – Captaining My Ship!

Receiving my offer to join the AMEND Consulting family was thrilling. I could not remember the last time I had been so excited to jump into something new, especially when I had not prepared for it.

I thought I had the rest of my college career planned out when I started in that Field Studies in Operations Management course. Little did I know how much that one class would change my life’s course.

As much as I love a good plan, sometimes, the best things happen without a plan. I thought I was taking a simple class to fulfill my credit requirements and learn about different industries I could work in. I never thought I would find such amazing opportunities that would make me question my plans.

AMEND threw me for a loop and challenged my plans, which is why I am more than pleased to join the team and start this next chapter in a direction I never thought I would take.

Explore, Discover, Transform

This past Christmas, I was met with the typical holiday-time questions:

“How’s school going?” Oh, it’s going well, Aunt Susie.

“When do you finish the semester?” Two weeks ago, Aunt Marge.

“What’ve you been up to lately?” Just the usual, Aunt Kathleen.

As always, grandma came in with the question about the most exciting change that would be coming in my life over the next few months: “What are you doing next?”

Excellent question! (Truth is, I couldn’t wait to tell everyone I was returning to AMEND Consulting to further develop my skills and help their clients transform their businesses.)

She wanted to know more, “Oh wow. How are you feeling about working there?”

I’M EXCITED!

I worked at AMEND for a bit last spring. I was able to experience the culture, gain an understanding of the services they offer, and meet the team. I worked in the office then, developing pitch decks and helping with future strategy by creating a list of potential centers of influence.

Working there helped me develop an appreciation for the people and the culture, which is important to me. I believe where you work and the people you surround yourself with become part of your identity. A place that values hugs over handshakes will surely help me further define myself.

Previously, I interned at Kroger Technology and Kroger Supply Chain, which were both amazing experiences. They helped me learn how a large company functions and taught me soft and hard skills related to their fields. But after working part-time with AMEND earlier in the year, I’ve been intrigued by what it would be like to work with a smaller, tighter group.

This time around, I’ll be involved in more direct client work – helping mid-sized companies become more competitive by strengthening their people, optimizing their processes, and super-charging their thinking.

AMEND gives me exactly what I’m looking for…a place to explore what’s out there, discover the possibilities, and transform myself and others all while doing meaningful and impactful work.

I know I will be met with real-world business problems and challenges in an environment that will push me and help me grow. The opportunity to be a part of a high-performing team that is dedicated to changing lives and transforming businesses is one I couldn’t pass up. It’s why I chose AMEND.

I’m Glad I Chose ‘Different’

I have been blessed with countless opportunities and surrounded with good people throughout my life. However, those opportunities don’t arise out of thin air. In fact, opportunities come about from a constant state of sense of self-awareness.

Understanding where you are and where you want to be is critical but knowing how to make that happen isn’t. Stay focused, work hard, and always be self-aware.

Stay The Course Or Go A New Direction?

After a multitude of experiences with Fortune 500 companies, I still felt that something was missing. I understood that the current path wasn’t headed in the direction I ultimately wanted to end up.

I had to make a decision.

Stay on the path to a corporate job at a large company or chase what I was looking for. Find a place that I felt challenged to be more, to be the best version of myself.

Thankfully I chose the latter.

Did I Choose Wisely?

I chose AMEND because I knew it was going to be different. I understood the time spent with AMEND would fall outside my comfort zone, it wasn’t going to be easy, and I knew I was going to learn a lot. I saw an opportunity to grow professionally, and I took it.

The reason I came, however, isn’t necessarily the reason I continue to stay.

I came for the challenge, I stay for the people.

I DID Choose Wisely – and I’m Better For It!

What I didn’t expect is that AMEND provides so much more than the opportunity for professional growth. With leaders who prioritize their people first , AMEND fosters a culture of personal development that I have never experienced before.

The bottom line is that the AMEND team cares about each other. Along with transforming the lives of our clients, the team transforms the lives of each other. From the top down, each member of the team genuinely acts in your best interest and pushes you to be a better brother, a better friend, a better son, and so much more.

I continue to love my time with AMEND because while I show up to work every day to “change lives and transform businesses,” my life, in fact is being changed and transformed – for the better.