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Susan at Miles YMCA class

The people who get on
 in this world are the
 people who get up
 and look for the circumstance they
want, and, if they
can't find them,
 they make them.

-George Bernard Shaw



Volunteer Profile Susan Bookshar

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Susan at Miles YMCA Class

"I’m a fan of E CITY because…

         …in my mind the most important thing is the future of the children.  I firmly believe they aren’t going to get this kind of training if not for E CITY."

And Susan Bookshar’s conviction is so strong that she donates her time to the cause on a regular basis.  It’s not that she was looking for something  to add to her life- she’s tightly scheduled with her

consulting practice, church committee work, lay ministry, church choir, and the attention she gives to her husband and son.  But first of all, “how can you say no to Z?”  (John Zitzner)  “He’s so sincere…” she says, smiling and shaking her head. 

"I actually believe that your best people are busy people.  You never have time to do volunteer work, right? But I believe that to whom much has been given, much is expected, and I’ve been given a lot.  And much more comes back to me through this volunteer work."  Susan mentions a week when her own work was giving her some extra challenges, and she was struggling for balance.  In the midst of her workshop with the E CITY teens, it all came back to her- the clarity, the sense of purpose, the conviction.

She operates her own consulting practice, teaching public presentation skills to executives and other workplace communication skills to employees in a wide variety of business settings.  Susan brings those same "soft skills" to the teens in the E CITY program.  Typically she meets with them the day before their business plan competition, to get them ready to make oral presentations to a panel of judges from the Cleveland business community.  Although the kids are competing for monetary prizes, "'…I play down the competition," she says.  "'I tell them- you’re all winners in my eyes.  Just by showing up here, you’re all winners."

Susan working with  WHMS students on presentation skill
"I teach three things.  First, relaxation and positioning.  You must have two feet on the ground, not a jutting hip.  Second, energy.  And this is not the opposite of relaxation.  You must show some energy and excitement for your topic.  And third, expression.  We talk about pitch and monotone and how you look and sound to the audience."  In turn, students stand up to explain their business plans to the group. "I give positive feedback before negative," Susan says.  "Together, they become polished and proud."

"I think a crucial component of this program is the respect the teachers show these kids throughout the program.  Respect builds self-confidence and high self-esteem.  Both are fundamental for successful entrepreneurs."

Susan, thanks.

Susan working with  Alexander Hamilton students

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