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.

 

 

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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