Inspiring people to Challenge the Norm

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Charlie Moore – Truckee Meadows Fire Department Leader


“This is a significant improvement in the medical services which we can provide to the residents of Washoe County. We can now initiate advanced life support interventions in the outlying areas of the region’s core, where ambulance response times are often extended. The actions that the Board took today will inevitably save lives and positively impact everyone in need of emergency medical services.” – Charlie Moore

Fire Chief for Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, Charlies Moore, is the leader inspiring all the employees to achieve greatness for the department.  Not only did Charlie Moore contribute to the successful transition and stand up of Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (consolidation from City of Reno and merging with Sierra Fire) the department achieved a huge milestone when the Fire Commissioners approved turning all fire stations into ALS.  Which means each station will now be able to provide paramedic level care to the injured.

As the department prepares for the next fiscal year, Chief Moore has high hopes.  The department remains financially sound and the new budget includes allocations for further improvements within the district.  Within the next few months, the remaining seven stations will be transferred over to ALS.  The Mogul station will break ground sometime this fiscal year which will provide better response times to the Caughlin Ranch area.  All in all the department is doing its best to provide the best possible care to its citizens.

Interested in finding more about Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District?  Please visit

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Arthur Reitz – Spring Forward for Autism

ReitzFamilyJUSTin HOPE was founded by a group of dedicated individuals who believe that “a little bit of help gives a lot of hope.”

Arthur Reitz is one of the many individuals who helped make Spring Forward for Autism a success.  The local firefighters for both Truckee Meadows Fire Department and City of Reno Fire Department participated in the event. As a City of Reno Fire Department Firefighter, Arthur organized both unions participation and fundraising to benefit Justin Hope.  Spring Forward for Autism is a 5k walk put on by the Justin Hope Foundation.  The walk benefits families in Northern Nevada who have children with Autism or other neuro development disorders.

The Justin Hope Foundation is giving hope to the children and families in Northern Nevada affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other neuro development disorders by providing medical equipment, supplies, and/or  opportunities otherwise not available that will have a meaningful impact on the family as a whole.  The foundation was inspired by Justin Reitz who was diagnosed with the disease at age two. Their goal is to help individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder and other neuro-developmental disorders by bridging the gap between what they can afford and what they need to live their lives to the fullest potential as individuals and as a family.

This years’ walk was the best year ever! The organization had the greatest event turn out and money raised.  The Reno community truly came together for a great event.  But the event couldn’t be accomplished without all the volunteers and sponsors for the event.  Great job!

Interested in donating to Justin Hope?  Please visit for more information on how you can help.

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Mike Maddox – Soon to be Rotary Club President

Mike Maddox As July 1, 2013 quickly approached the new Rotary Club President of Fair Oaks, Mike Maddox, is excited about the possibilities.  Rotary is the largest and oldest service club in the world with 1.2 million members and 33,000 clubs around the world. Their goal is simple: make the world a better place.  The club contributes to a ton of projects, but one of the primary goals is to eradicate Polio worldwide.  As of 2013, cases of Polio are down to three countries.

Rotary is divided into three levels – Rotary International, which is divided into Districts, which is divided into clubs.  The Sacramento District has around forty clubs.  Here is the cool part: money raised by the club is matched by the District and then matched by Rotary International.  So a $3,000 dollar project becomes $6,000 which becomes $12,000.

Mike Maddox is excited about this years’ possibilities.  Giving back to his community and participating in charity work are Mikes number one reasons for joining the organization.  So he would like to ensure the club does the most good in their community.  The club is involved in numerous projects to give back but the one with the most impact recently was giving back to the library in order to remodel the Children’s section. Which involved donating over 150 hours of labor (mostly moving books) and with the help of their friends at the library raising $16,000.

The Fair Oaks Club also participates in numerous annual projects such as eight gifts of $1,000 to the local high school graduating students, food baskets for about eighty families at Christmas time, serving dinner monthly at the St. James Shelter for Women, sponsoring exchange students, annual crab feed fundraiser, and sponsoring two to four high school students to go to a week long Rotary Leadership Camp.

As Mike Maddox takes the reigns on July 1, 2013 he hopes to inspire more greatness with in the community.  The leadership he has displayed over the years with in the Rotary Club will help the transition to President come July. His goal for the coming years is to continue inspiring others to take charge and give back to the communities.

Interested in giving back to your community and being part of the Rotary Club?  Please visit for more information.

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Gordon Graham – Risk Management and the Fire Service


Gordon Graham is one of those individuals whose strong passion for improving his industry creates a group of followers.  In 1973, Gordon Graham started his career as a Police Officer for the State Patrol in California. After putting himself through law school, he opened the Law Offices of Gordan Graham in 1982.  As his career developed, he became aware of the lack of training systems and programs implemented in the Police Service.

So with his passion for risk management, law, and keeping our police officers safe, he developed a programed called 6 Minutes for Safety. The program required each officer at the beginning of their shift to spend 6 minutes on safety to an item that pertained to their duties that day.  Each day the safety bulletin would reflect a job task which would be completed that day.   As the program took off, Graham received recognition for reducing injuries and deaths on the job.

The leadership Graham displayed didn’t just stop with the police service, in 2000 Gordan Graham co-founded which provides safety bulletins, discussion on close calls, and various other training and safety topics.  The website now receives over seven million hits a month.  Departments across the United States are implementing 6 minutes of safety for their police and fire personnel.  The departments who have implemented safety bulletins and standardized policies are seeing exponential decreases in on the job injuries and deaths.

Through his leadership and passion for the cause, Gordon Graham is changing the world and helping individuals on the line of duty stay safe.   Interested in risk management and what steps you can take to improve your processes? Contact Gordon Graham for consulting or conferences close to you.

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Bret Simmons – Helping Students Build Their Personal Brand

bret simmons Bret Simmons is the master mind behind all the content being created at the University of Nevada, Reno. Bret is a professor for the College of Business who teaches the Personal Branding class offered to both undergrads and master level students.  His class provides the necessary education to build a strong framework for a students’ personal brand.  As a student in the class, you actively participate in various social media platforms.  These platforms included Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, Yelp, and various other sites which the student must create an account and actively participate in.

But the Personal Branding class isn’t just a class you’ll take and forget about.  Bret Simmons’ class is life changing and for some, may create a lifeline.  By building a personal brand on the various social media sites, many students are reporting positive feedback within their careers and personal lives.  Not only are they creating a strong digital footprint which positively reflects their brand, some students have been offered jobs via social media platforms.  The students who successfully complete the course will have created a professional image of themselves online while learning how to successfully navigate online.

Although some still believe social media is not necessary within the business world, Bret Simmons is proving reasons why it is imperative to participate in these platforms.  Various successful professionals and business owners share their stories from social media and what it has done for them.  Dr. Simmons is truly challenging the norm, and inspiring students to build their personal brand.

Interested in improving your social media awareness and personal brand? Contact Bret Simmons to learn more.

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Lauren Suleski – The Link Between Littles and Their Big

lauren suleskiLauren Suleski is the Boys and Girls Club program and volunteer outreach coordinator for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada.  Her role is to match children with a volunteer mentor who will then meet with the child at the club one day a week for an hour.  Her passion for ensuring the best possible match is inspiring others to become part of the life changing non-profit organization.  The leadership she displays through the process of matching a little with a big is one piece which contributes to the organizations success.

Laurens leadership is providing tremendous results for the little ones involved in the program.  Not only is she constantly recruiting volunteers to become a mentor, she is partnering with other groups within the community to help spread program awareness.  The children who make up the Boys and Girls Club face educational deficiencies, issues with the law, and home problems.  By providing a mentor for these little ones, the organization has seen not only an improvement in their behaviors and scholarly competency, but the overall experience appears to improve their happiness.

In partnership with Lauren’s coworkers, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada are continually working to improve the mentor matching process and length of mentorship.  In the recent years, with the help of Lauren’s passion for the program, BBBS has found 98% of little’s improve in social acceptance, 82″% of little’s are very sure they will graduate from high school, 53% of little’s improve in scholarly competency, 8.1% of all youth in Washoe County were arrested compared to 3.1% of matched little brothers and little sisters.

With the help of Lauren Suleski, BBBS is improving the lives of little ones everyday.  Her patience and understanding allows her to work more effectively with the various personalities and cultures.  In turn, allowing her to recruit the best possible mentor matches.  Lauren believes in what she is doing because she knows it makes a difference in the little ones lives.  The leadership she displays stands out in our community thus inspiring others to volunteer to help mentor little’s.

Want to become a mentor and improve the lives of little ones?  Join Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada today!

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Brian Williams – Think Kindess

bio_headshot_brianBrian Williams is the founder of the non profit organization, Think Kindness. Brian is inspiring thousands of youth across the nation to incorporate Kindness into their daily lives and future careers. He has designed elementary, middle, high school, and corporate programs all based on inspiring individuals to change the world through seemingly small acts of kindness. To date, Brian has documented more than 250,000 Acts of Kindness, he has spoken to over 75,000 students, and received the Thornton Peace Prize. Each one of the 250,000 acts of kindness documented by the organization is making a huge impact in the community and the lives of those involved.  The goal is to achieve 1,000,000 acts of kindness, but he has no intention of stopping there.

Brian Williams wants to not only make a difference in his community but he wants to make a difference in the world.  The Think Kindness crew is raising money to purchase life straws which are straws that filter water into drinkable water as you sip through the straw. The straws filter 99.99% percent of bacteria out of water up to 1,000L.  And only cost $5.00 per straw.  Along with raising funds to purchase life straws for the children in Kenya, the team is in the process of collecting shoes for their next trip.  Brian is an incredible leader, who is inspiring those around him to join his Kindness Crew to make a difference in today’s world.

But his drive to change the world is having a rippling effect.  The random acts of kindness are morphing into even more acts of kindness.  When an individual has a stranger or a friend do something nice for them, whether it be opening a door or buying them a coffee, they are finding themselves wanting to repay the gesture to another.

How can you help Brian spread the kindness concept? Sponsor a Kindness Camp, purchase life straws, travel with the team to Kenya, or donate to the organization.

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Margaret Brindzak – An HR Hero

Margaret BrindzakA dear friend of mine and a mentor who has inspired me in my career lost her battle to cancer Thursday, March 14, 2013.  But her legacy lives on.  When you think of Human Resources, most individuals associate some form of negative connotation towards the industry. But Margaret Brindak was changing that.  She dedicated her entire life to improve the way the Human Resources’ department operated at Washoe County.

Margaret was responsible for all things human resources primarily for the sheriff’s office but also helped out with recruitment in other departments within the county.  Being in the position since 2001, Margaret had created some of the most efficient processes for recruiting.  She had developed excel spreadsheets that basically filled themselves out.  The time she saved, allowed her to dedicate her time to doing more for the department.  She truly valued teaching what she knew about Human Resources to her coworkers.  She didn’t just want to go to work, she wanted to improve the process of the overall department.

Margaret was one of those individuals who were so dedicated to their jobs that they made you want to be involved.  Her positive impacts made you want to learn more about the industry.  And for me, a fellow human resource enthusiast, her leadership in the industry and desire to constantly improve the recruitment processes made me want to enter the industry after college. The leadership displayed was a combination of both her passion for life but also her passion for Human Resources.

Rest In Peace Margaret Brindzak. You were a Human Resources Leader and a mentor, you will be missed dearly.  Do you have someone in your life that has made an impact in your life you’d like to recognize? Please share in a comment below.

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Anonymous – The Legacy of Santa Claus

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn Reno, Nevada an unidentified man has started a non-profit organization under the name “Santa Claus” which gives back to the community around the holiday season. The idea is children of needy families write Santa Claus their holiday wish list.  A few weeks later Santa Claus comes to their school to deliver a wrapped present to be opened on Christmas Day along with a bag of groceries which includes a turkey, gravy, stuffing, rolls, milk, and vegetables.

This last year, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District partnered up with the organization to help deliver the presents to the Sun Valley Elementary School. Even in the current economic state, Santa Claus was able to provide meals for 729 local families; allowing 5,100 individual had full bellies because of the communities generosity. The amount of dedication by volunteers to make this all possible was incredible.  Together, they took Santa Claus’s leadership and continued his legacy by making it bigger and better every year.  The volunteers work long hours to ensure each family has a full meal and a wrapped present from Santa Claus no matter the time it takes to prepare the gifts.

What I admire most about Santa Class was his leadership.  At no point did he release his name to the public and when he passed away others continued his legacy.  The leaders behind Santa Claus are concerned about ensuring needy children have a special holiday season.  They do not care about the media, the public, or the attention they would receive if they came clean on who was “Santa Claus”.  Instead, the individuals behind Santa Claus want to make sure all the attention goes to the children. The organization asks the community to help participate, which allows the anonymous to accomplish so much. Although they will forever remain anonymous, each person who contributes is creating a valuable memory for those impacts.    It is a true leadership and a display of unselfishness.  Please share your comments below.

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Jane Bessette – The Link between College and Career

jane bessettte Jane Bessette is one of the most passionate women you will meet.  Jane is the Director of Career Connections and Alumni Relations at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is responsible for providing career education, exploration and opportunities to College of Business undergraduate & graduate students as well as alumni.  Serves as college liaison to employers and community contacts and coordinates internships. Working very close with organizations located both locally and globally she works to learn the organizations needs and the college graduates who can meet those needs. But her desire to help the soon to be and recent college graduates from the University is inspiring. You can sense she truly wants to make sure college graduates find a career they are happy with.

But more importantly, Jane Bessette does not just help graduates find a career after college, she teaches you the tools you will need in the professional workplace.  Throughout each school year she organizes events to prepare students for success such as resume writing, networking, dressing for success, preparing for interviews, and much more.  What is especially inspiring about Jane is her availability to students.  She works all hours of the day to help coach and prepare students for their future careers.

Jane Bessette is truly inspiring students to take control of their future and prepare for life after college.  She is constantly working to recruit more corporations to hire recent UNR graduates.   In addition to finding the most up to date recruitment techniques to help students gain a competitive edge in the recruitment process.  Furthermore, she continuously gets feedback from corporations as to what they are looking for from new hires and in what areas new hires can improve.  Such as in writing, speaking, proficiency in computers, etc.  And then caters events to help teach students what she has learned.

Providing students with tools to achieve success after college is what Jane Bessette is passionate about.  She is an incredible leader for the students at UNR, making a tremendous impact that is benefiting everyone around us. Do you know someone making an impact in the lives of students in your community? Please share in a comment below.

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