AMEND Takes You Out Of Your Comfort Zone

by Ally Gormley

When you think of living abroad, I would hope that the first word coming to your mind wouldn’t be “isolating.” I would hope your mind instantaneously races with ideas of incredible food, funky hostels, vibrant music, beautiful cultures, and once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Not the frustration that comes with drastic language barriers. Not the challenges of having to tackle almost everything on your own. Not the reality of living in near total isolation from your friends and family.

The latter became my reality about halfway through my time working abroad in both Spain and Sweden. The glitz and glamour of a global lifestyle wore off and I was stuck in a world alone – a world of isolation.

I spent a lot of time in office buildings; more specifically, in cubicles and conference rooms, running coffee errands, and tediously picking through spreadsheets. My coworkers spoke little to no English and I spent a lot of time working individually or occasionally within a small team.

All this being said, I never really had the opportunity to experience the power of people in the workplace. My hopes of working in an environment where everyone operates as a hugely talented, successful, and supportive team were fading…

And then I met AMEND.

It was immediately clear to me – AMEND had what I wanted.

Eric Vinson, a Project Leader at AMEND, shared some almost unimaginable truths about what it was like to work with and for AMEND. “We are a family at AMEND – point blank. We will throw you out of your comfort zone but you have an entire support system throughout the organization that not only has your back but wants to actively help you succeed.”

My mind was blown.

And it only got better from there.

My positive impression of AMEND grew with each interaction I had.

I was able to easily connect with team members along every rung of the AMEND hierarchy – partners, project leaders, analysts – even though I had yet to apply for a job. I was an interested, prospective employee – at best.

The fact I was granted access to people so high up in the organization that early on spoke volumes.

Many people ask me why I chose to work for AMEND and my answer is simple. AMEND offers me a place where I can work with a hugely talented, incredibly supportive, competitive yet collaborative community of people that pour their heart into everything they do. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something like that?

 

It’s Time To Challenge Your Limits

by Waqas Tanveer

It is said an individual cannot fully understand something until they have experienced it. No matter if it’s something big like changing jobs, losing someone you care about, or moving across the country, or something small like getting a new car, winning a golf outing, or serving with a new community group – it’s impossible to fully understand the gravity of any situation, the emotions that comes with it, or the lessons it offers unless you have these experiences first-hand.

Our experiences shape our beliefs and goals while forming our individuality.

Experiences have both positive and negative impacts and every experience serves its purpose as a tool – one that helps us make better decisions in the future and to help others through their life experiences.

I believe it is important to have strong experiences that challenge my perspectives and creates a strong tool I can use throughout my life. While I have had a fair share of experiences in life, there is still so much I need to do and learn. It’s this desire to seek out new experiences that drew me to AMEND.

AMEND provides a unique and challenging experience – one that is so hands-on, so filled with responsibility…and accountability…it is guaranteed to push me beyond my current abilities.

I know I will learn many things and I can’t wait to jump right in the deep end!

I will not limit my challenges, instead, I will challenge my limits.

I know my skills will be tested. I know each challenge will strengthen me.

I can’t wait.

Every conversation, every meeting, every role I fill both within AMEND and with our clients will enhance my abilities. AMEND offers me the exact environment I need to push my abilities well beyond anything I learned in a classroom or at previous posts.

I’m confident I’ll find success at AMEND while also helping our clients achieve their goals. How can I be so sure? Because AMEND’s approach to team means even when I’m working on my own, I’m never alone. The other 40 team members and 5 partners have my back, always.

They take the time up front to bring us up to speed. They create a strong foundation that ensures success – both for me and our client.

While there’s no way for me to know every experience I will have during my time at AMEND, the one thing I know for sure is that each will sharpen my skills and broaden my abilities while delivering transformational results for our clients.

 

The Hand Dealt – Is It Luck Or Strategy That Guarantees A Win?

by Katie Fasola

I looked up to see my dad’s widened grin. A sure sign of my loss. Seconds ago, my seven year old self had confidently held two aces in my hand, too afraid to throw them on the table in fear of defeat. My calm demeanor and sudden lack of focus had given away my excellent hand. I had let my guard down. Would I ever learn how to put all the pieces together just right to guarantee a win?

Many say winning a game of cards is all luck, but you and I both know there is strategy involved. How we decide to play the hand is our decision. Despite being dealt a bad hand, there is always the option to make the most of it and learn from your mistakes. As I matured and became older, my dad reminded me, experience is the best teacher. The poise and confidence you portray to your competitors can make or break your hand, regardless of whether or not it is a definite win.

Consulting is a lot like playing a game of cards. Every day we are dealt a new hand, a new set of tasks to complete. Going into the day, we want to leave feeling victorious. However, we cannot predict the cards we will be given each day, or the problems our clients will face. What we can do is strategize our reactions to these problems. Our reactions define our character and showcase our ability to adapt.

I chose AMEND because no matter what hand each employee is dealt, they win. The success is evident through the client relationships, the culture, the continued growth of the company – you name it, AMEND has it.

Each client at AMEND affords a new challenge. Sometimes the challenge is a simple fix, and other times it can involve long, tedious hours. Regardless of the level of difficulty, AMEND attacks each problem with the same level of tenacity. We learn from our mistakes and come back better for them.

I chose AMEND because I never know what to expect. The diversity of clients and projects provides an opportunity for me to excel in my strengths and develop in my weaknesses. Much like my dad taught me through playing cards, experience comes with time. At AMEND, I have full confidence I will learn something new every single day. I trust the team I work with to help me perform at the highest level. The culture here truly is invaluable.

At AMEND, we cannot predict the cards we will be dealt, but our competitive drive for success and determination has allowed us to transform and strengthen business in the middle market. The AMEND team approaches each obstacle with curiosity and the willingness to learn from new experiences. I am in awe at the great poise and attitude each team member brings to the table, and I am proud to work for a company that has such a strong why.

AMEND is a company like no other. The experiences and team are truly unmatched. Looking back, my seven year old self would be shocked I found somewhere I could guarantee a win. I’ve learned it is not what cards you are dealt that determine the outcome, but rather, how you play your hand.

The Contrarian Mindset

by Stephen Quirk

Your mindset, or your attitude, determines – no, predetermines – how you respond to and interpret situations.

Throughout my life, I have truly taken the road less traveled and it has made a difference.

My classmates (in a college of almost 70,000) all strangely conformed to a mob mentality. They were happy to stick to the status quo. Many of my previous co-workers were happy with this approach as well.

This ‘do-as-others-do’ mindset is something I’ve never been able to understand.

I prefer the Contrarian Mindset.

It’s a different kind of 1% club. And yes, membership is required. You must make conscience choices to be a part of this club. You must be aware enough to see what everyone else is doing and consciously choose to do something different. To find a better way.

Is it worth it? I believe it is because this is the kind of 1% club that can separate you from the pack. Think about it – if everyone is doing the same thing, there are multiple other unexplored options that will put you ahead of the 99%.

It’s a difference maker and the edge I’m always looking for.

It’s also the edge AMEND seeks for all its clients, which is what made AMEND a perfect place for me. Their desire to break away from the pack and offer unique, unparalleled services aligned with my attitude and fit my brand. They really do ‘zig while others zag’ and that has allowed them to attract amazing talent and excel as a firm.

 

Every moment in business happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. And the next Mark Zuckerberg won’t create a social network. If you are copying these guys, you aren’t learning from them.” – Peter Thiel

 

If every moment only happens once, then doing what everyone else does will only help you achieve what everyone else achieves. It will not help you break away. It will not help you leap over your competitors. It will not help you create what’s next. It will not help you be great.

My goal, as well as AMEND’s, is not to copy that of a Bill Gates or a Mark Zuckerberg or a McKinsey or aBoston Consulting Group. Our goal is much more simple – to forge our own paths that change lives and transform businesses. It might be impossible but it’s a mission I, as a contrarian, am happy to accept.

 

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!

 

Go BIG or Go Home!

I have always been under the impression that in order to be successful, you must work for the biggest company, earn the biggest salary, and lead the biggest team. It took me having some big experiences to discover that ‘big’ has many different dimensions.

Big Is Am’big’uous

About halfway through my rotation at GE Aviation it hit me – there are lots of ways to define ‘big.’

A company can be geographically big, like GE. Their reputation can be big, like GE. Their headcount can be big, like GE.

It never occurred to me to think about all the different types of big in the world. It didn’t really matter until I started chasing it.

Discovering The ‘Big’gest Thing That Mattered To Me

Despite having an amazing team and plenty of opportunities at my fingertips, GE was just too ‘big’ for me.

A company like GE didn’t become a market-dominating-billion-dollar-behemoth overnight. It has built up layers of its identity over time and, consequently, it has developed a strong internal structure that gives it the support it needs to sustain its global operations. As an entry-level employee, I often found it hard to see how my day-to- day tasks were impacting the company given the countless levels of people working above me in the ranks.

For most of my life, I have come to know success through outcomes and results. From grades to sports, my understanding of success and impact has always been a tangible end-result on which I can look back and think—wow, I did that. GE wasn’t like that for me, and while it would be easy for me to look at my experience with frustration, I instead choose to look at it with gratitude because I gained invaluable understanding about myself and my professional aspirations that has led me to where I am now: AMEND.

Maybe instead of bigger teams, smaller teams filled with passionate people are more my style. Maybe instead of being a small fish in a big pond, having a greater influence over my work and the outcomes I’m generating would be more meaningful. Maybe BIG doesn’t have to be defined in exclusively quantitative terms.

PASSION, HEART, and DRIVE Can All Be Big. They Can Also Be Powerful.

It doesn’t necessarily matter how big the company is, or how many employees work there. What truly matters is the passion each employee has for the company, their work, and the difference they are making.

I realized I could find a smaller team that is still home to big PASSION, HEART, and DRIVE.

With passion comes BIG goals. With BIG drive comes BIG achievement. With BIG goals comes BIG successes. These were the types of BIG that would work for me!

AMEND Was The Different Kind of BIG I Was Looking For

I found “BIG” in a different way at AMEND.

I walk through the office and I know people are counting on me. There is an unspoken mutual trust amongst us. I’m a valued member of the team who is making a difference every day.

AMEND is loaded with opportunities, including the opportunity to fail AND learn from those failures. I have no doubt I will experience real-world failures that will push me to work even harder for the big successes. This team is loaded with PASSION. This passion is evident through all our decisions – wanting not only what is best for AMEND, but also what is best for our clients. This passion drives us to succeed and forces us to step outside our comfort zones. It’s the perfect kind of  ‘GO BIG’ for me.

I chose AMEND because I came to the realization that I still need to go big or go home. Except this time, going big doesn’t mean choosing a big company. This time, going big means choosing a smaller company that is still home to big goals and big expectations.

I am ready to face the obstacles and work towards the best solutions. I will push both myself and others to ignite the passion that drives
us. This kind of big – stepping outside of my comfort zone, risking it all and leaving it all on the court – this is the kind of big that works for me. I’m all in – because otherwise, I wouldn’t go at all.

 

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.