Leadership Minute

Throughout the year, members are asked to provide insight into a topic they feel passionate about.  As young professionals and leaders in our community, this is an opportunity to learn from your peers and take a moment to put their advice to work for the betterment of your organization.




Help Others

NEXT Member: Kyle Sellers

Senior Loan Officer, Mortgage Master


When in doubt, I always use Zig Ziglar’s quote:  “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want”.  Zig also says “If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.”




Zig’s quote has always stuck with me because I always found myself trying to please everyone growing up. I now know that’s not always possible but the concept is still there:  help others. Whether it’s sending an actual referral to a networking partner, helping others connect so that they, in turn, can help each other, or simply asking “How can I help you?”, you are helping someone else while also providing value and building trust among your peers.  I think so many times in business and life these days, people are only focused on themselves and their own paycheck.  We have so many opportunities to help others but many choose not to.


Being a part of the NEXT Professionals gives us all a great opportunity to volunteer, improve our community, and network with each other.  Continue grabbing that cup of coffee or a drink with other members and truly get to know them and their business but take it one step further – ask how you can help them (whether it’s in business or life), and you both will see a change.




Do Your Duty

NEXT Member: Marc Poirier

General Manager, Abbey Placements

"We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly."

- Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth (regarding hardship presented by taxation)


"Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chasefantasies will have their fill of poverty."

- Proverbs 28:19


Two months into my first job after college, my boss at the University of Alaska Foundation issued me a formal warning. My job was to manage the donor database, but I had become distracted by reworking the UA Foundation website. The website genuinely needed a lot of work, but that was no excuse for neglecting my duties with the database. Within a month, I was back on track and my boss congratulated me for getting focused again. I ended up working at the UA Foundation for another three years.


The temporary failure in my story drove home the importance of prioritization. When tasked with anything, success is a matter of being focused on things that matter and eliminating things that don't matter. I had failed to do my duty and chose to work on less critical tasks because I enjoyed them, not because they mattered. The great coach of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick, famously yells to his players, "Do your job!" The Civil War General Robert E. Lee once said, "Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more. You should never do less." On the days I want to leave for a happy hour but instead stay in my office to finish dealing with a client's problem, I tell myself that these are the actions that bring success. It's short-term pain for long-term gain. It’s just doing my job.



Beverly Jones; NEXT Member (2015 NEXT Rooke of the Year)

Attorney Editor, Supreme Court Office of the Reporter of Decisions

You do more when you learn about how what you do plays out against what

everyone else is doing, and about what’s happening in different fields and how

that can apply to what your clients are doing.” 

- Candice S. Cook, Esq., The Cook Law Group, PLLC.



This quote struck my interest as I read an article titled “Habits of Powerful Women.”

As we advance in our careers, we understand that networking is an important aspect throughout our journeys. Initially, we might seek out networking opportunities that relate to our career or seek out groups that are familiar to our lifestyle. However, these experiences only offer us ways to improve technical skills within our profession and lack opportunity to help us learn and assess our clients’ needs. For example, as an attorney, I may be inclined to attend bar association networking events with other attorneys. However, if my focus is agricultural law, it would also be in my best interest to partake in networking opportunities that focus on my clients’ interest and needs such as a Farmers’ association event. Expanding your network helps you understand your clients and the community in which you provide services. 



NEXT Member and President-Elect:  Justin Boyd

Financial Representative, COUNTRY Financial

“If everyone has the same number of hours in a day, why do some people seem to get so much more done than others?  How do they do more, achieve more, earn more, have more?  If time is the currency of achievement, then why are some able to cash in their allotment for more chips than others?  The answer is they make getting to the heart of things the heart of their approach. They go Small.  When you want the absolute best chance to succeed at anything you want, your best approach should always be the same, GO SMALL.”

This is a paragraph from a book called The One Thing, The Surprisingly Simple Truth

Behind Extraordinary Results. By Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.  The book reminds us that to find success we must not worry about what we could do, but put 100% focus on what we should do.  When you start your day, you probably have a list of things to do, recognizing that not all of those tasks are created equal is the first step toward winning in our profession.  If we can narrow our focus and do the one thing extremely well, better than our competition, then we can find massive success. We must stop worrying about the things we are not good at, or are mediocre at, and focus instead on what we are good at and become better.


The Boiling Frog:

NEXT Member:  Michael Sewell

Civil Engineer/Project Manager, Shive-Hattery, Inc.

How's it going, guys?  Here's a concept for you to think about this week that will require a bit of introspection of where you think you're going with your career.  Have you ever heard of the "boiling frog syndrome"?  "If you drop a frog into boiling water, it will instinctively jump out.  But if you place a frog in a pot of cool water and gradually increase the temperature, the frog won't notice that the water's getting hotter.  It will sit there until the water boils - and will boil with it.  The fate of that poached frog isn't so unlike that of some leaders who settle into routine or let small conveniences solidify into large habits – and allow inertia to set in."

  • This passage from Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee's "Primal Leadership" highlights something I've regrettably witnessed a time or two.  An engineer or an architect suddenly wakes up discontent and frustrated with where they've ended up in their career without any clear idea how they got there or how to correct course.  Like the boiling frog, those professionals allowed the routine of each day to slowly distract them from the passion that connected them to their career in the first place.
  • The solution?  Be deliberate about taking the time to reflect on what the ideal version of yourself in your career looks like.  Ask yourself where you want to be 15 years from now and come up with a plan to get there.  Figure out what drives you and tap into that!  This is an exercise I've been encouraging some of our younger staff to do in order to provide context and motivation moving forward.  If you haven't decided yet what the ideal future you looks like, don't sweat it.  The point is to be intentional about your career as the years roll on.  Dream big - and get out of that boiling water!




Development Director, Habitat for Humanity

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” (Unknown) 


  • This quote struck me this last week, possibly because “democracy” is heavy on my mind during this presidential election year, or maybe because it’s such a good challenge to us as young adults. We are a generation of critics, seen as the smartest if you’re able to point out what’s wrong – with a menu, an event program, a political campaign, or our local community. You’re “engaged” if you know enough to deconstruct or tear down an argument or a community initiative – but how often do we really get engaged, enough to offer a solution and build up our local community?
  • Volunteering within the community is the best way to really change – and improve – the place where you live. It’s easy to stand back and say our city doesn’t have enough of this, has too much of that, or “isn’t where I’d like to end up, but meh, it works for now” – but what if we weren’t satisfied with that? What if we weren’t willing to settle with a sideline critique (the millennial way), but “rolled up our sleeves” and committed ourselves to getting involved and addressing the things we critique about our community? Think today how you’d fill in the blank: “If I could change one thing about my local community, I would _____________.” Now, what’s one practical way you can enact that change? Do yourself – and our community – a favor today and exercising your “democratic vote” every day this week, this month, this year, by volunteering within the community to empower change.



Do Your Duty

NEXT Member: Marc Poirier

General Manager, Abbey Placements

"We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times as much by our pride, and four times as much by our folly."

- Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth (regarding hardship presented by taxation)


"Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chasefantasies will have their fill of poverty."

- Proverbs 28:19