ProfNet Experts Available on Leadership, Auto Industry, IP Protection, More

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Aug 24, 2015, 12:43 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area.

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  • Amazon's Unforgiving Work Environment
  • Everything We Bash Donald Trump for is Actually What We Seek in Leaders
  • Clinton Email Scandal Offers Executive Lessons
  • What Automakers Need to Know About Technology Giants
  • Thawing Cuba Relations Put Focus on IP Protection
  • Explosion Reignites Chemical Storage Concerns
  • The Shareholder Revolution Will Be Tweeted, Liked, Shared and +1'd
  • Mobile Payments: The Risks and the Promise
  • Brain Dumps Can Also Jumpstart the Creative Process
  • Take Control of Your Money and Finances
  • Talking to Kids About Money: Tips to Make it Easier


  • Reporter – Pacific Business News (HI)
  • Freelance Writer – (CO)
  • Metro and Police Reporters – Reading Eagle (PA)


  • A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Google News Lab
  • How to Turn off a Reporter in Just Five Words
  • 9 Tips for Journalists Covering Traumatic Events


Amazon's Unforgiving Work Environment
Dr. Dani Kimlinger
Conflict Resolution Expert
MINES and Associates
"The Amazon depicted in a recent New York Times article more closely resembles the world's largest rainforest than what we'd expect from the world's largest e-tailer -- a brutal, unforgiving environment that Amazon insiders themselves refer to 'purposeful Darwinism' in 'culling the herd.' Part of this dynamic stems from their use of a tool that encourages employees to submit anonymous praise or criticism to management and co-workers; given the lack of accountability, the process has led to gratuitous and harsh feedback, and conflict. The unintended, yet entirely predictable, consequences of this mode of communications has completely blurred the lines between creative tension and all-out conflict. As more companies embrace similar tools, the line will be blurred further still. Many companies have a hard time knowing where the line is between the healthy airing of differences and conflict that leads to arguments, rancor and dysfunction. Anonymous systems promote distrust and can easily be gamed. Effective communications -- particularly when it comes to conflicting parties -- involves open, though carefully mediated dialogue, where all parties are required to work their through issues, with the understanding that dialogue doesn't end just because there's been a healthy exchange of perspectives. Outside mediation, when brought in at the right time, can lower the stress, move all parties toward more harmonious ground, and limit 'collateral damage' -- from an unfocused workforce to the loss of top leadership talent."
Headquartered in Littleton, Colo., MINES is one of the leading national psychology firms offering unparalleled expertise in the area of business programs and employee psychology. Formed in 1981, the firm provides diversified services described within these pages. These programs are directed toward individuals, couples, families and organizations.
Contact: Charles Epstein,

Everything We Bash Donald Trump for is Actually What We Seek in Leaders
Jeffrey Pfeffer
Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior, Graduate School of Business
Stanford University
"We may say we disapprove of Trump's self-promotion, disdain for facts, and unapologetic persona, but these are the very qualities that allow leaders to succeed. Numerous studies show that narcissism, not modesty, and self-confident, even overconfident, self-presentation lead to leadership roles. We all want to associate with success and pick those who seemingly know what they are doing. Leaders lie with more frequency and skill than others. Some of the most revered and wealthiest people mastered the skill of presenting a less than vertical version of reality. Why is there such a disconnect between prescriptions for what people should do and what really produces career success? Sociobiology and social psychology have recognized for decades that what is good for the individual is not necessarily what is good for the group, and vice versa. Group and individual success are not highly related. My prediction: Donald Trump is going to dominate the polls and the nomination contest a lot longer than most people expect, because he has many of the leadership characteristics we say we abhor even as we reward them."
Pfeffer is the author of "Leadership B.S.: Fixing Workplaces and Careers One Truth at a Time" (September 2015, HarperCollins). His columns appear in Fortune Magazine online.
Contact: Mark Goldman,

Clinton Email Scandal Offers Executive Lessons
Joe Ahmad
Executive Employment Lawyer
Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C., or AZA
The Hillary Clinton email scandal offers a valuable lesson for executives in terms of protecting confidential information and the need for those with access to company secrets to treat that information with the care it deserves. Says Ahmad: "Suffice it to say, if you are trading in confidential information, you should take reasonable and necessary steps to ensure that the information is transmitted via secure channels. It does not appear that Secretary Clinton took those steps. First, it's never a good idea to use an unsecured, personal account to handle sensitive information. Companies invest significant sums to ensure their communications channels are secure. When executives use unsecured communication vehicles, it puts the company's confidential information in jeopardy. And, if Secretary Clinton's travails are any indication, it can also put that executive's career in jeopardy."
Contact: Amy Hunt,

What Automakers Need to Know About Technology Giants
David Seitz
General Manager, Midwest
CDI Corporation
As technology giants like Google and Apple look to potentially expand within the automotive industry, we can expect a growing emphasis on recreating consumers' highly digitized lives inside their cars. In fact, the IBM Automotive 2025 Global Study made this exact prediction after surveying 175 executives from automotive OEMs, suppliers and other thought leaders in 21 countries. What's the impact on Detroit auto makers? Technology giants will be looking to lure the auto industry's finest talent; this has actually already begun. Consequently, auto makers will have to provide better incentives and a better overall career opportunity for these individuals to remain within their companies. Adds Seitz: "The entrance of technology giants into the automotive industry poses problems for traditional car manufacturers, especially on the employment front. These exciting, iconic brands captivate young professionals with a power that exceeds most auto brands. These are formidable obstacles that are going to make it increasingly difficult for Detroit to hang on to its best design and technology employees or to attract new ones."
Seitz, general manager for CDI Corporation's Detroit-area operations, has worked in the auto industry as a supplier for 25 years, and for the past 20 years has provided IT and engineering talent to the automotive OEMs and supply base. He is available to discuss the changing environment of the automotive industry and the measures these companies will need to take to retain their top performers.
Contact: Nysha King,

Thawing Cuba Relations Put Focus on IP Protection
Amanda Greenspon
Trademark Attorney
Munck Wilson Mandala
As relations rapidly normalize between the United States and Cuba, many U.S. businesses already are looking ahead with a focus on protecting their intellectual property in Cuban markets, and cracking down on counterfeiters and pirated merchandise. As in other international markets, businesses should be taking steps to ensure that trademarks, including business logos, names and other intellectual property, are properly protected under Cuban trademark law. Says Greenspon: "While trade sanctions currently remain in place that limit U.S. businesses' entry into Cuba, any company with an interest in entering this market should be taking steps now to protect their IP portfolios."
Contact: Robert Tharp,

Explosion Reignites Chemical Storage Concerns
Ron McCallum
Catastrophic-Injury Lawyer
Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett in Dallas
The recent explosion at a chemical plant in Tianjin, China, has left more than 100 people dead and reignited concerns about chemical storage in Texas, where memories of the fatal 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in West still linger. Earlier this year, following the Texas Legislature's approval, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that increases chemical storage facility inspections and tightens storage regulations. But consumer advocates are concerned that the new law doesn't go far enough. Says McCallum: "The original legislation would have included penalties for violating the law, but that got lobbied out. And three other bills, one of which would have required companies to maintain sufficient insurance to cover damages such as those in West, all died unceremonious deaths. Texans deserve much better protection than they got from their elected representatives."
Contact: Amy Hunt,

The Shareholder Revolution Will Be Tweeted, Liked, Shared and +1'd
Seth Oranburg
IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
Shareholders are organizing and mobilizing on a variety of social media platforms, says Oranburg, author of "A Little Birdie Said: How Twitter Is Disrupting Shareholder Activism," a recent article in the Fordham Journal of Corporate and Financial Law. "For shareholders, tweets have become an easy, inexpensive way to engage with each other and build consensus and support for collective action. A lot can be said in a tweet and shareholders who would never rationally read a 300-page proxy statement might respond to a 140-character tweet. Direct beneficiaries of the current communications system are institutional investors, since small shareholders who cannot afford to attend meetings are excluded from the process or, at the very least, left with limited access to information and diminished interaction with board members and management. Small shareholders who are not invited to attend quarterly analyst calls are also excluded from timely receiving of material non-public information. Shareholders' use of social media to communicate can change the dynamics of proxy contests in ways that favor shareholders over management and ignite shareholder revolts. Although shareholder communication rules are more liberal than ever, shareholder voting rules remain strictly limited by SEC rules and securities laws. If shareholders actually want to vote for a precatory proposal or against management, they still need to fill out a proxy card or attend the annual meeting to vote. Although SEC rules about how shareholders may communicate with each other and with management currently restrain the potentially disruptive force of innovative communications he is optimistic that changes to a few simple rules could open up new possibilities for shareholder activism."
Contact: Gwendolyn E. Osborne,

Mobile Payments: The Risks and the Promise
Winston Bond
Technical Manager
"Payment systems only work when everyone accepts the same form of payment. Look at credit cards, where the market is dominated by just a few global of players and thereby supports some degree of standardization for providers and consumers.  Similarly, there isn't room for a different payment system for every phone maker -- the market would simply become too fragmented. There are a number of options available to provide mobile payment, including the approach, Android Pay, from Google found in the Host Card Emulation (HCE) capability, seen in Android 4.4. This new option for merchants and financial institutions is software-based technology that permits a phone to perform card emulation on an NFC-enabled device without relying on hardware device updates to support security features.  The alternative HCE approach requires a security layer within the mobile payment application itself without hardware constraints. This approach negates the need for consumers to own the latest versions of hardware devices to take advantage of greater convenience with security. There is no doubt that mobile payments applications and platforms will continue to grow in popularity and, with personal data and banking and payment details up for grabs by hackers as they will become an increasingly lucrative target. Security innovation must be kept in-step with the innovation in mobile wallets and payments services."
Bond is a founding member of the Arxan Technologies team, with responsibility for supporting Arxan's suite of security solutions that protect software from reverse-engineering, tampering and hacking. Arxan provides the world's strongest application protection solutions. The company's unique patented guarding technology: 1) defends applications against attacks, 2) detects at run-time when an attack is being attempted, and 3) responds to detected attacks to stop them, alert, or repair. Arxan offers solutions for software running on mobile devices, desktops, servers, and embedded platforms – including those connected as part of the Internet of Things (IoT) – and is currently protecting applications running on more than 300 million devices across a range of industries, including: financial services, high tech/independent software vendors (ISVs), manufacturing, healthcare, digital media, gaming, and others. The company's headquarters and engineering operations are based in the United States with global offices in EMEA and APAC.
Contact: JoAnn Yamani,

Brain Dumps Can Also Jumpstart the Creative Process
Barnet Bain
Educator and Creativity Expert
"A brain dump is a fertile starting point for any creative project. Begin the process by suspending self-criticism, holding nothing back. You need to be willing to let your inner censor take a break, just as you would suspend criticism of a child who is sharing an idea with you or showing you an art project."
Based in California, Bain is an award-winning filmmaker, radio broadcaster, educator and creativity expert, and author of "The Book of Doing and Being" (Atria, 2015). His film credits include an Oscar-winner for "What Dreams May Come" (producer); Emmy-Award nominee, Outstanding TV Movie, "Homeless to Harvard" (executive producer); and "The Celestine Prophecy" (writer, producer). Coming in 2016 is the film version of "Milton's Secret," a family drama based on the book by Eckhart Tolle and Robert S. Friedman, starring Donald Sutherland and Michelle Rodriguez and directed by and executive produced by Bain.
ProfNet Profile:
Contact: Michelle Tennant,

Take Control of Your Money and Finances
Pamela Yellen
Financial Security Expert, Author
"Have you been doing all the 'right' things financially that you've been taught to do, but you've been disappointed again and again? If so, you're not alone: Wall Street lost more than 49% of the typical investor's money – twice -- just since the year 2000. It could easily happen again in the next five to 10 years, or even tomorrow. The only guarantee Wall Street gives you is that they get paid whether you win or lose. The typical household nearing retirement has an average of only $111,000 in their combined retirement accounts, which will provide them at most $500 per month -- not even enough to cover groceries, let alone health care, heating, transportation and other daily necessities. If you're like most people, you don't have a clue what your retirement account will be worth on the day you plan to tap into it -- but it doesn't have to be that way!"
Yellen is the author of the New York Times bestselling books "Bank on Yourself: The Life-Changing Secret to Growing and Protecting Your Financial Future" and "The Bank on Yourself Revolution: Fire Your Banker, Bypass Wall Street, and Take Control of Your Own Financial Future."
ProfNet Profile:
Contact: Michelle Tennant,

Talking to Kids About Money: Tips to Make it Easier
David Cunningham, M.Ed.
Communication Expert
"It can be difficult to talk about money with children. Here is a tip that can make it easier: Really listen. Many parents talk first and listen later. Flip-flop that for more effective communication. If children get upset because they're not going to be able to get something they really want, it's important to first really listen and focus on your child's concerns, instead of thinking about what you're going to say. That's a great way to talk to children about anything, and it's particularly helpful when discussing money in a tight economy. Just listen."
Cunningham is a communication expert and seminar leader for Landmark, a personal and professional growth, training and development company that's had more than 2.2 million people use its programs to cause breakthroughs in their personal lives and communities, generating more than 100,000 community projects around the world. In The Landmark Forum, Landmark's flagship program, people cause breakthroughs in their performance, communication, relationships and overall satisfaction in life.
ProfNet Profile:
Contact: Michelle Tennant,



Following are links to job listings for staff and freelance writers, editors and producers. You can view these and more job listings on our Job Board:

  • Reporter – Pacific Business News (HI)
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  • Metro and Police Reporters – Reading Eagle (PA)



Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line.

  • A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK AT GOOGLE NEWS LAB. Realizing that ways of creating and sharing news changes constantly, Google released News Lab, an online network that aims to connect journalists with programs, data and other resources to aid in their reporting. The site will feature a number of tools for newsrooms, including tutorials and best practices on how to use Google products in reporting, as well as provide access to the recently updated Google Trends service, and more. We sat down with Daniel Sieberg, head of media outreach with Google News Lab, to find out more:

  • HOW TO TURN OFF A REPORTER IN JUST FIVE WORDS. If you were on Twitter last week, you may have seen tweets with the hashtag #sourcefromhellin5words. The brainchild of Linda Formichelli, co-founder of The Renegade Writer and, the hashtag gave writers the opportunity to share five-word phrases that make them never want to interview a source again. We put together a roundup of some of the top phrases shared by writers:

  • 9 TIPS FOR JOURNALISTS COVERING TRAUMATIC EVENTS. Journalists often are "first responders" when it comes to traumatic events. Crisis and conflict challenge reporters on the ground, both in the midst of the breaking news and for months – sometimes years – following. Three journalists with firsthand experience covering trauma speak about the difficult role of storytelling in these scenarios:


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