The WV Chapter of Association of Talent Development featured Jim in their recent Summer Newsletter.
The following is from that newsletter.
Community Spotlight by Bree Myers.
ATD’s Community Spotlight highlights distinguished West Virginia professionals who strive to contribute to the talent development community in our state.
For the Summer 2019 Issue of ATD WV’s quarterly newsletter, we are spotlighting Jim Strawn, president and owner of Jim Strawn and Company.
Many people across West Virginia know Jim Strawn, whether that’s through his company’s work in marketing, as an adjunct professor at the University of Charleston, as the emcee for the popular Live on the Levee summer concert series, as a conference speaker, as an event planner, as the host of his weekly TV program, as co-author of the Sad Mad Glad book series for children, and more. For his prolific involvement in his community, Strawn was named “Champion of Charleston” by the WV Radio Corporation and received the “Do the Charleston” award from the Charleston Area Alliance, both in 2018.
“I love community service,” said Strawn. “I love helping other people; I love lifting other people up. It brings me great joy.” Strawn serves his community in many different ways, including to the Charleston community’s talent development efforts. As a speaker at various conferences and events, he often talks to audiences about the secrets to success. He also talks to businesses about how they can improve their outcomes through talent development.
“Start with hiring people with high character who have strong soft skills and emotional intelligence. Then build on that with continual education using consultants and professional trainers who can come in and teach your staff things like team building and communication skills.”
Strawn’s educational background includes both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education. As an educator, he knows the importance of training and lifelong learning.
“I think it’s important that you’re always learning. You get your Bachelor’s degree, your Master’s degree, maybe even your Ph.D., but even after all that, you should still be in a constant state of learning. That means going to seminars, going to conferences, doing online education, maybe picking up additional classes at some point to keep you sharp in the field. Sometimes you can educate yourself formally, and sometimes it’s just going to a basic seminar brought to you by the Charleston Area Alliance, the WV Chamber of Commerce, or the Association for Talent Development. I get involved because I speak at some of those things, but I also
get to go to some of those things as a student.” Strawn says lifelong learning isn’t just important on a personal level but is also critical to organizational success, employee motivation, and attracting and retaining talent.
“While of course money is important, there’s a lot of studies out there that say employees are looking for perks and benefits, so raises are not necessarily always the best solution for employee motivation. Work on providing a respectful and inclusive environment, a culture where people can have their voices heard and be themselves, and quality learning opportunities; the kind of tools they benefit from for a lifetime. Those are the things that make a happy employee and those are the kind of things that candidates are looking for. I think Steve Jobs said it best, ‘We don’t hire smart people so I can tell them what to do, we hire smart people so they can tell me what to do,’ and I love that. Hire smart people and let them be smart.”
Strawn’s own experience with personal development is a testament to the lasting impact training can have on employees. He recalls the training he received at Shawnee Hills, a mental health hospital where he worked as a public relations director in the early 90s.
“The CEO, John Barnette, would train us, I thought, to death. To death! We had to do a lot of writing and we all got trained on things like team building and The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey. I remember having to write “I messages” and we had to give them to John to read. He would write on them with feedback like he was a school teacher. He took the time to do that as the president of this big company! I gotta tell you, at the time, we all thought it was a pain. But 20, 25, 30 years later, I continue to apply what I learned in his weekly trainings and training retreats. At the time, we thought it was a lot of extra work, but when look back, it really molded me to be who I am today. And I see John often and I still thank him for those great trainings.”
To learn more about Jim Strawn and his work, you can visit his website at www.JimStrawnAndCompany.com.
Or call 304-541-4756.