For These Gifts, I Am Thankful

Raging storms
That shift minds
And open hearts
Snowflakes falling
Family texting
Simply saying
I’m safe, we’re fine
A lingering hug
A loving look
A soul shouting
A kindness
A touch

Drifting to sleep, unencumbered
Chasing fears back under the bed
Waking to whispers, uncharted
Wonder unfiltered, explorer of moments
Dreams forming, shaping futures
Grateful moments, amidst challenging times
Grasping, reaching, achieving, and growing 

In all ways, always growing

Joni Kovarik |

Mommy, Let’s Skip!

Mommy, are you fuhstrated?

A little bit.

Vroom, vroom, vroom. Look I am driving my worker trucks in. They can help. Beep, Beep, Beep!

Thank you, honey that’s helpful.

Mommy, I know – let’s skip!


Yeah! You can’t be fuhstrated when you skip it just doesn’t let you. Watch!

Skip. Skip. Skip.

He: Over-the-shoulder-larger-than-life-over-the-moon-smile.

Me: Love-pounding-heart-shouting-how-lucky-can-a-girl-get-smile.

See Mommy, see! I have to be happy or it won’t work.

I see.

Come on!  Let’s skip together.

Okay – let’s skip.  I need a good skipping today.

No Mom, THIS is how you do it. Here, let’s hold hands. I’ll show you.

Like this?

Yeah, that’s real good Mom.  Really, really good.  See?  Are you happy now?

Yep, thanks honey. Skipping was a great idea!

I know.





CEO Roundtable

Date: July 20th, 2012

Location: Kirkland Public Library 3308 Kirkland Ave, Kirkland WA

Time: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM (Meets Monthly)


This is a roundtable discussion of business issues faced by business owners, CEO’s and motivated entrepreneurs, including solo entrepreneurs and small business professionals. Each attendee will have the opportunity to highlight an issue they face in growing their business. Other attendees will offer their input based on their own knowledge and experience. This event is a very dynamic form of the mastermind. Please come and participate in this learn and share event.

Mommy, Can We Just Sit Next To Each Other For A While ?

Sure, Honey I am happy to sit next to you, anytime.

Mommy, did you finish your emails?

Not yet, but I need a break.

Me, too.

You need a break from your emails?

Yes, I have work to do, too, you know.

You do? What kind of work do you need to do?

Pause. Silence. Pause. Furtive glance.

Mommy, you have no idea. But it is lots and lots and lots of things.

Okay. Well, I am here to support you. How can I help?

Pause. Silence.

Well, just sit here with me, that helps.

Okay. Happy to.

And, Mommy?

Yes, you could get me a treat. That would really help me.

Oh, it would, huh? And just what kind of treat do you think would help?

Pause. Furtive glance.

Well, I guess I have had enough sugar today. How about a hug? And then we can just sit next to each other for a while.

Pause. Furtive glance from me to him. Heart pounding. Love abounding.

No words. Just hugs.

Just hugs and sitting for a while.

Joni Kovarik | BizDev Consulting | Blog


Bite Size Strategy: Marketing With Heart – Cause Marketing Partnerships Should Provide Benefits For Both Parties

I co-delivered a pilot workshop today on cause marketing and ’Benefits To Both Partners’ was a central theme.

We gathered a small group of for profit business people and not for profit directors to experience a portion of our workshop content and provide feedback to help us shape future workshops .  When we presented the topic of benefits in general, and provided a short list of benefits to businesses and began to talk about Revenue and Brand exposure, an interesting shift happened.   The not for profits chimed in and said that historically these were not subjects or even words that they brought up when talking to businesses.  In fact, it went a bit deeper into a conversation about how, over the years, not for profits tend to show up already undervaluing themselves and as a result possibly get about one third of the dollars they could have received.

Having been on the business side of the table for years, I so appreciated and valued the openness of this conversation today. I will tell you that I have been in many awkward conference room conversations related to cause marketing.  Typically, it is during or at the end of an intense business planning or budgeting meeting and the HR director or Director of Marketing or fellow executive brings up a recent lunch or cause they would like the company to support.  In those rooms, there is a similar shift, except it is not always so altruistic.  After rounds of negotiation on hard costs, revenue projections and tough decisions to produce profit – the subject of supporting a favorite cause often is perceived and presented as a ‘we should do this because it will feel good’ rather than a strategic imperative to extend brand and produce revenue. Many times, these campaigns and relationships are treated with kid gloves, are supported by only a small group within the company, are not selected based on their merits and are not measured well for value. All of this magnifies the gaps.

The not for profit people shared that they did not want to offend donors or maybe their board members and went to great lengths to avoid looking or sounding like a business.  Fascinating to me, because most board members are active or former business leaders as are many donors and not for profits fight for a bottom line and budgets – just like their business counterparts, every day.  The for profit business wants to work with a not for profit that will help them increase brand exposure, increase customer loyalty and ultimately to produce revenue and reach new markets. All of these are business issues.

From the business attendees, the light went off as well when we talked about adding cause related marketing to your overall marketing mix to recognize cost savings as well as brand extension. Even if the business partner stands to take more financial risk, studies show that consumers are more likely to purchase a product that is tied to a cause, in some cases up to 41%. “I’ll take those odds”, as my dad used to say. The businesses also avoided using business terms AND also avoided using not for profit terms, in order to not offend or look less knowledgable to their not for profit counterparts. The thought kept echoing in my head from my Toastmasters group – if you want to connect to, motivate or persuade your audience – speak their language.

That is why I love the area of cause related marketing because it is based on a business deal tied to doing good, and is not philanthropy.  It also lays a great framework to support a shift in the conversation, the presentations and eventually the negotiations towards making a sound business decision for both parties.  It empowers a not for profit to identify, articulate and be recognized for the valuable assets they bring to the table.  It also forces businesses to approach cause related marketing conversations as opportunities to build partnerships based on  revenue generating, sustainable relationships and away from half-hearted, soft, we really should do this attitudes of the past. If we continue to seek common ground, common language in these conversations just think of the powerful partnerships that can be created.

And this is not easy stuff.  Lots of history, lots of need, lots to work on all compounded by constant changes to navigate in the marketing world today. Not to mention, the economy. No matter how you look at it, not easy. But, worth the time? Yes. But how?

One of the best tools I have found for principled negotiation of win-win partnerships is “Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In ” by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury.

Their method of principled negotiation is based on four propositions:

Separate the people from the problem. Focus on interests, not positions. Invent options for mutual gain. Insist on using objective criteria. Another element of the method talks about knowing when to walk away.  It is referred to as knowing your best alternative to a negotiated agreement or BATNA. This is a confidence builder and a powerful tool for both sides. If you have done the prep work to understand and present your value AND know when to walk away – you can be more selective and confident in the end result.

Next Post:  Foundation #2: Identify not for profits that align with your business and personal goals and connect with your consumers.

My not for profit co-pilot for these conversations and workshops is Jane Kuechele from Kuechle Consulting. More to come…

Joni Kovarik | BizDev Consulting | Blog

Bite Size Strategies: 7 Foundations For Marketing With Heart

Most of the major brands have aligned with causes to market their products and services.  They have long recognized the marketing value of supporting good works to help build bonds and credibility with their customers and to reach prospects.  It makes a lot of sense, because for profits and nonprofits share similar challenges of building and sustaining a customer base and building and sustaining a donor base. It is a persistent challenge in good economic times and in bad. Cause marketing is a branding partnership that allows the nonprofit to receive donations or increase its donor base and free advertising from the partnership, while the for profit business enhances its image as a company with heart, with the ultimate goal of generating more sales as a result.

When you are a smaller business it is even more important to focus your time and money. Cause marketing is a great framework that allows you to build business and network in a new way while contributing to the local community.

Everywhere I go, I hear stories about the fallout of the poor economy. Even with some good news on the job numbers and the promises of the upcoming election we are all very aware that our economy is still fragile and will be for some time to come. Promoting genuine and sustainable collaboration in fact is becoming a strategic imperative for both nonprofit and for profits of all sizes.

Over the next several posts I will explore 7 Foundations For Marketing With Heart and help you understand how to make it work for your business.

To read more and follow along find me here:

Joni Kovarik | BizDev Consulting |


I Am Tired And Inspired

I am tired.  I am tired of the local conversation.  I am tired of talking with local businesses. I am tired of  sitting in newly forming local charities trying to do good work.

That may shock of few that know me, especially since I am a local advocate.  Let me tell you why.

It is not because I don’t believe, it’s not because I don’t want to be there or that I am going to stop. I am tired because I walk away from those conversations feeling inadequate and overwhelmed and inspired.

more inspiration

Mommy, Are You Awake?

I am not sure when and where I signed up for pre-dawn coaching sessions, but my thirty-eight inch tall, golden haired coach is very sure that now is the time.  I must find that document.  The birth certificate that doubles as a coaching contract.  I never did have time to read the fine print, or hold it up to a light bulb to see the secret code written in lemon juice.  It is bi-lateral, both of our names are on it.  I do not for the life of me remember the terms of our agreement.  Something to do with forever and ever.  My signature, his footprints.

Note to self:  Must read all Fine Print and Secret Codes written in lemon juice on future contracts with footprints on them.

more pre dawn coaching

How Do Two Hearts Find Each Other?

I don’t really know how two hearts find each other, but we can count on the fact they will and they do.

Is it mystery? Or magic?  Or is it fate?  Or is it divine?

Lives change when souls connect.  Maybe, just maybe it takes all of those things.

Someone told me once that he knew that his children found him. That they were out there in the universe, already connected to him. He just didn’t know it yet.

I love that. To think I was wondering and wandering around down here while my son waited for the perfect moment.

All I know is my heart beats for and with my son. I am so glad he found me

…amongst a million chances and a zillion stars.