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Testing the new growth market 

Testing the new growth market 

Although the last year has been one of the most contentious political years in memory, in business there are signs that new policies may be creating a growth environment that will benefit both small and large companies. How do you view the outcomes of the last year, and how they might impact the way you do business? Here are 7 results from the last year that are likely to impact business. Tax cuts:Congress has passed a tax overhaul that will cut the corporate rate to 21 percent. Economic growth...

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Let’s Not Break a Leg: EIIA presents perspectives on campus theater and risk management

Perspectives on Campus Theatre and Risk Management at URMIA Conference

CHICAGO, Sept. 19, 2017 – Recognizing that colleges across the nation with theater programs could face many dangers, two risk management experts will address the topic in a session at the URMIA conference on September 27, 2017 in Orlando, Florida.

With the increasing incidence of serious injuries to students and staff resulting from activities at campus theaters, Roger Olsen, director of risk management at Concordia and John Schwartz, LD, risk management director for EIIA, will address the risks through a virtual “walk-through” of a campus’ theater to identify areas of concern and what they have done to reduce the risk.

The session, Let’s NOT Break a Leg: Campus Theater Risk, will be at 9:15 a.m., after the General Session, on Wednesday, Sept, 27.

“Often, theater programs are not on the loss control priority list,” said Olsen, “yet, faculty and students are handling the same equipment, tools and chemicals we train our facility’s crew to handle. We cannot overlook this exposure on our campus.”

“Risk management is not just one person’s job. It takes a holistic approach that starts with meaningful conversations to create awareness and collaboration. We want to provide help, not oversight.”

John Schwartz: “Risks are inevitable on any active campus. Theater safety is only one of the hundreds of exposures our Member’s face on a day to day basis. Our job is to identify and work with our Members to provide risk management services that help mitigate those exposures so they can focus on fulfilling their mission.”

EIIA’s risk management program focuses specifically on the exposures of liberal arts institutions.  It develops the tools and resources necessary to address those unique risks. EIIA is currently shooting a 15-minute video on theater safety, to be released in January. The video is one of many educational videos housed in EIIA’s Risk Management University, developed to address specific risks on campus.

“The collaboration of Roger Olsen from Concordia and John Schwartz, our risk management director, is an example of the combined effort that helps us create programs that are tailored to higher education,” said Jeff Wolf, president of EIIA.

EIIA is a not-for-profit organization that provides insurance and risk management services to its Member institutions of higher education. With its 50-year history of focusing on higher education, EIIA has extensive knowledge and experience to serve its Members nationwide.

Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, is a private, coed, four-year liberal arts college. It’s a community of more than 2,100 students who come from 37 states and 28 countries, and represent 39 religions and denominations. Concordia employs 166 full-time faculty, including NSF scientists, award-winning composers and writers, and national experts in a wide range of fields.


Contact: Marion Gonzalez

(312) 568-5513


From the Daily Herald: St. Charles business helps other companies find ways to grow

By Kim Mikus

An interview with Chuck Thomas, president, managing director and founder of The Valcort Group in St. Charles.

Q: Describe your business. What do you do?

A: We help companies and organizations identify obstacles that hinder their growth, then create strategies and a road map that results in greater customer engagement and increased sales revenues. We do this using our proprietary Valcort process, which creates trust and prompts high engagement both inside the organization and out.

Q: What made you start your business?

A: After building our Valcort processes and diagnostics over the last 10 years, we're excited to take these proven tools and focus exclusively on our clients' critical issues of growth and innovation. I believed there was a better way to do business and I set out to create an organization that would help clients do that.

Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in starting the business?

A: Building efficient, effective tools that work every time to help our clients grow.

Q: What do you enjoy most about operating your business?

A: Finding the key insight that is the secret to an organization's growth and achieving the CEO's vision.

Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young? When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: I have always wanted to help people engage with others and bring change for good. I believe our organization does that.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A: The excitement of the next day, working with our really smart, creative teams to probe and solve our clients most difficult growth challenges. I am so grateful that we have the trust and commitment of great clients that engage us to help them solve these problems. It's incredibly rewarding.

Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?

A: Find something you love to do. Become an expert at it. Build the skills necessary to do it with excellence. Invest and execute tenaciously. You'll be rewarded with great friends, clients and a lifetime of adventure and rewards.

President, Managing Partner of The Valcort Group to Be Featured Presenter in Marketing Research Association Webinar

Making Jazz to Create Engagement Theme of April 24th Webinar

St. Charles, IL – April 8, 2013 – Chuck Thomas, President and Managing Partner of The Valcort Group, is scheduled to be the featured guest of a webinar being sponsored by the Marketing Research Association (MRA) on April 24 at noon CST and is free of charge to those who want to attend.  It is a precursor to Thomas’ scheduled presentation at MRA’s Strategies and Insights Conference in Orlando, FL., on June xx, 2013 where he will discuss how creating engagement for business success is much like “making Jazz.”

“I’m pleased to be able to present a different point of view on strategy and insights with the content in this webinar and seminar,” Thomas said.  “It’s not all science when it comes to engaging stakeholders.  There’s a creativity about it to make what you do come together to deliver results.  That’s what I’ll be talking about in the webinar.”

In addition, qualifying attendees of this webinar will be given an opportunity to participate in a free, VALCORT ROI Survey with the results and analysis made available at Thomas’ session at MRA’s Insights & Strategies Conference in Orlando.   The VALCORT ROI Survey is a simple, online, 35-question diagnostic tool that reveals an organization’s customer engagement strengths, weaknesses and gaps. The colorful graphic output provides a quick snapshot of an organization’s current growth potential, revealing issues that are hindering customer engagement.  A presentation of the participant’s confidential VALCORT ROI Survey results and analysis can be scheduled for the Conference.

Webinar Description

How can one create stronger customer engagement and advocacy? What are sales and marketing people missing? What has to be done to improve employee engagement and retention? One of the toughest issues in business today is engagement. There are mountains of data, brilliant analysts, and great strategies. But converting that into a compelling story and getting engagement is a tough challenge.  In this webinar, Thomas will explore the emotional and cognitive tools and techniques of making jazz as a metaphor for creating engagement. Six musical elements are essential, and a fresh look at these elements may help change one’s thinking and kick up customer or employee engagement.  He will explore the elements of a great jazz performance as a window into creating captivating customer and employee engagement.

To sign register, go to http://education.marketingresearch.org/searchresults.cfm?med=upcoming

About Chuck Thomas

Chuck Thomas is President and Founder of The Valcort Group, a suburban-Chicago based strategic marketing firm focused on helping companies grow their revenues and increase profits. With a passion for creating new and loyal customers for its clients, Thomas and The Valcort Group provide clients in manufacturing, transportation, healthcare and financial services industries with a value based approach to building trust in the market quickly and efficiently. Prior to founding The Valcort Group, Thomas worked as an independent creative and brand strategist for the Chicago advertising community. Thomas is a published author and speaker on creative branding topics. Thomas earned a business and music degree from Anderson University and studied jazz composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.

About The Valcort Group

The Valcort Group is a leading Chicago business development consultancy focused on helping organizations reach their full potential by creating innovative business development strategies and strong brand foundations.  Its VALCORT® strategic process helps clients identify obstacles to growth and create a strategic plan to improve customer engagement and increase sales. It is based on three principles – 1) truth builds trust; 2) values drive choice; and 3) people seek purpose.  The Group’s Outside7 agency is a creative marketing and communications firm designed to meet the needs of business and organizational clients.

CTCreative Now The Valcort Group, Adds services to Innovative VALCORT Strategic Growth Methodology

Creates New Brand Marketing Agency, Launches Nonprofit Practice

St. Charles, IL – February 27, 2013 – CTCreative, a business development and creative branding company, announced today significant changes that are intended to better serve its clients.  Most notably, CTCreative is now The Valcort Group to better represent its move over the last decade into business development consulting and strategic alignment.  The Valcort Group focuses on diagnostic and strategic service offerings designed to assist clients to grow consistently, efficiently and effectively.  In addition, The Valcort Group has added a nonprofit practice designed to help nonprofit organizations with the same services.

CTCreative is also spinning off its creative branding and communications capabilities under a new firm called Outside7.  This group has been expanded by adding respected global strategic and brand creative firepower to its talent pool.   Outside7 is focused on meeting the unique integrated communications needs of The Valcort Group and other clients.

According to Chuck Thomas, president and managing director, The Valcort Group will focus exclusively on helping clients identify business growth obstacles and creating business development and innovation strategies using the innovative VALCORT strategic change process that has been proven over the last decade.  This is a proprietary tool that develops the seven disciplines that compose the VALCORT acronym:  Values, Assets, Lens, Creative, Outreach, Relationship and Tracking.

Outside7 will take on client work that existed under CTCreative and drive additional business as a full-service integrated marketing and communications agency. The agency will be headed by Gary Pokorny, an award-winning account strategist of top U.S. advertising agencies.

“Now more than ever, we believe VALCORT is the best means for our clients to break out of the pack and create new relevance to those they serve.  Our proven VALCORT strategic plans and roadmaps create trust-based transformation and build customer engagement, loyalty and growth to become best-in-class,” Thomas said.  “This has been a 10-year adventure that has landed us in a very good spot.  We now have a full complement of VALCORT tools and diagnostics to unearth and provide solutions for the growth challenges clients are having.   Outside7 will offer business development and world-class creative teams that will support existing client resources to energize the market.  I’m excited about our future.”

Thomas took the opportunity to make additional announcements including a new dedicated nonprofit and public practice within The Valcort Group headed by Jim Jewell, a 35-year veteran of the nonprofit world.  Jewell will apply VALCORT tools and strategies to help nonprofits, educational institutions, churches and government agencies to better accomplish their mission and expand their impact.

As well, Thomas is offering organizations an opportunity to take the VALCORT ROI Survey at no charge.  The VALCORT ROI Survey is a 35 question, 10 minute online survey tool that organizations use to identify the gaps and opportunities in their business development processes.   The graphics and report indicates how close they are to maximizing their potential and effectively reach their marketplace.  “We will be providing free access to any leadership team to take the ROI survey because we are confident this instrument is unique and can provide the kinds of business insights that every CEO needs,” Thomas said.

We believe that the fastest path to an organization reaching its growth potential is to create a culture of trust inside and out.   The Valcort Group and its associated properties represent our efforts to move to the next level of client expectations,” Thomas said.  “We are taking the next step in our evolution and feel these developments will not only be good for our firm, but for values-driven organizations wanting to move to the next level as well.”

 About The Valcort Group

The Valcort Group is a leading Chicago business development consultancy focused on helping organizations reach their full potential by creating innovative business development strategies and strong brand foundations.  Its VALCORT® strategic process helps clients identify obstacles to growth and create a strategic plan to improve customer engagement and increase sales. It is based on three principles – 1) truth builds trust; 2) values drive choice; and 3) people seek purpose.  The Group’s Outside7 agency is a creative marketing and communications firm designed to meet the needs of business and organizational clients.

The Valcort Group

Providing strategic marketing for measurable business growth.