The Sky’s the Limit!

At least, that’s what it’s felt like that last few days… Not only have we taped the Good Morning America feature story for tomorrow morning, but only yesterday we gave an interview with Joe Flanagan on WVEC! Kate and I have experienced so much in such a short time all thanks to our involvement with the It Factor Job Club.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Web Teks goes and promotes me again! We’ve realigned our internal structures to better serve our customers and have moved responsibility for our production department (the guys wrangling the code) under my watch.

None of this would have been possible if not for Laurie and her ceaseless work on behalf of all of our job club members. Laurie has turned our club into one of the most successful GMA job clubs in the nation with a 100% success rate for our first group! Congratulations Laurie for finally getting the recognition you deserve!

Good Morning America comes to Chesapeake!

Turns out, helping 13 people land new jobs in less than six months is enough to get you some attention.

Make that national attention.

On a hot and humid summer day in Hampton Roads, ABC’s Good Morning America came down from New York to capture the It Factor Job Club’s stories of success.

First off, GMA followed Adam Coppin to WebTeks, where he gave us an inside peak into what it takes to be part of one of the nation’s leading web development firms. Since joining WebTeks in December as a web strategist, Adam rose through the ranks and now serves as Director of Projects, overseeing the development process from concept to proposal to design to delivery.

Following that, Adam and his wife, Kate, welcomed GMA into their home, where they opened up about how they found the It Factor–and how joining the club turned out to be a life-changing decision.

Then, it was time to show America what makes the It Factor tick. At Bean There Cafe in Chesapeake, the usual suspects gathered for an It Factor reunion, updating one another about where they stand in their career journey–whether enjoying the trials and triumphs of a new job, riding the unpredictable but always exciting waves of freelance, or still trying to land the right interview.

Laurie Baggett talked to the crew about the dos and don’ts of social media and revealed her plans for the next generation of the It Factor: externships with local businesses to build experience while giving back; an It Factor job fair in Chesapeake this October; and rallying the talents club members past and present to help remake one local small business. (Stay tuned to find out which one!)

Then our members split off into smaller groups to tweak resumes, talk about interview tactics, and refine LinkedIn profiles, with the GMA cameraman following the action. But with so much to talk about, and the club’s energy and enthusiasm rising, you’d never have known he was there.

The camera quickly faded into the background, quietly capturing the action as our members worked together, while brilliantly talented local photographer Jessica Riehl snapped pictures.

At the end of the day, it wasn’t about being on national TV. It wasn’t even about celebrating how far our members have come in so short a time.

It was about doing what we do best: Networking, counseling, and working together to help each member get more than just “the next job,” but a career to care about–a calling with purpose.

But it was still pretty cool to be on ABC. Not too shabby for “the little job club that could.”

Kudos to Laurie and all our members! And thank you, Taylor and Tory, for telling our story.

Life’s blessings: family, health, faith, community and hope. – The Story of Scott Furlough

As told by It Factor Job Club Member… Scott Furlough

A year ago, I was working as a tenured Art Director for a national publishing company. I had been with the same company for 11 years, which is rare these days, and had worked my way up. I had a great boss, a flexible schedule, and was making a great salary. Then, I went to work one day and found out my department was being eliminated.

To some people, losing their job might seem like the worst thing that can happen. I saw coworkers get upset, and some got angry. I understood that it wasn’t personal; it was a business decision made in an increasingly tough economy. When I was laid off last year, I knew my family would get through this. After all, my wife and I had been through much worse.

Ironically, just three and a half years earlier, I felt like I had it all. I was happily married, my wife was pregnant with twins after we struggled with infertility, we had finished fixing up our house, and I had a job I loved, working with great people. Then the bottom fell out.

My wife went into preterm labor on Christmas Eve 2005, at just 25 weeks pregnant. Later that evening, our son Logan was born weighing in at 1.12 pounds. Five days later, our second son Cooper was born weighing 2.3 pounds. We very nearly lost them both early on, and watched them struggle for their lives. Some days, it seemed like all hope was lost. After two and a half long months, we were able to bring Cooper home. We were looking forward to bringing Logan home as well, but after a long and courageous fight, he passed away on May 31, 2006. We were then facing what I now know is the worst thing that can ever happen to our family.

In the grand scheme of things, losing my job seems relatively minor. That is not to say that the last year has not been without stress and frustration. We are still paying medical bills, as Cooper has some lasting effects of his prematurity. In addition to that, we added our daughter Libbie to our family last year. She was born just 2 months after I found out I was losing my job. We now have 2 kids to support, and my wife is working part-time in sales. Things have been very lean in our house, to say the least. Thankfully, my wife carries the health insurance through her work. That is one concern that we haven’t had, which is important when you have a child who has health issues.

After several months of being unemployed, going on countless interviews, and nearing the end of my severance, I had a conversation with my friend and former coworker, Michelle Forbes. She spoke highly of Laurie Baggett and the It Factor Job Club. I figured it was worth attending a meeting, because nothing else I was doing to find a job seemed to be working.

That turned out to be a great decision. I’ve learned a lot, and gained a lot of confidence as well. The main thing I’ve learned is to stay in ACTION! You can’t just sit at home and send resumes online and wait for a response. You have to get out and network; think outside the box. After not having much response to my resume, I created 3-D resumes, unique to each job I was applying for. It was the best way to show a sample of my creativity, as well as a way to stand out in a sea of other resumes. Laurie has been instrumental in funneling freelance work my way. Working with her and the It Factor Job Club has been a great experience for me. I’m so grateful to be a part of such a great group of people.

In April, I landed a fantastic opportunity as Art Director with an upstart company. It offered flexible hours and the ability to work from home. After only 2 months, I had to take a significant pay cut due to the economic climate. I still work on a part-time basis for this company.

I am confident that out of a difficult situation, I will discover a blessing. I truly believe that my faith, and a positive attitude have kept me focused in the last year. When I get discouraged, I remind myself that though I may have plans, God has greater plans than I can imagine. I also remind myself of the words of one of my personal heroes, Coach Tony Dungy, “Things will go wrong at times. You can’t always control circumstances. However, you can always control your attitude, approach, and response. Your options are to complain or to look ahead and figure out how to make the situation better.” I’m fortunate that I live in a great country, where hard work is rewarded. My bank balance may have plummeted, full-time work may have dried up, but I still have my family, my education and my talent.

Financially, various freelance freelance opportunities have kept me afloat. My goal is to build my freelance client base, in order to continue working for myself. In our new economy, companies cannot afford full-time graphic designers, but there is still work that needs to be done. So, going “out on my own” seems like the most logical option. Working from home not only offers great flexibility, it also affords me more time with my wife and children.

I have a very diverse background in all forms of graphic design and multimedia with a commitment to “hitting the mark” for each of my clients. With an extensive portfolio in web design, print and electronic media. I have a passion for design. I love working with clients to conceptualize and design campaigns to best market their products and services.

Chesapeake Economic Development Partners with “It” Factor Job Club to Advance Innovative Workforce Concept

Local Job Club Inspired by National “Good Morning America” News Show

Chesapeake, Virginia – The City of Chesapeake, Economic Development Department, is excited to partner with the “It” Factor Job Club to advance a new, formalized workforce concept, “gaining employment through service.” Launched in October 2008, the Club has achieved a 100% success rate and the 13 original job club members have all netted results by landing new jobs; starting entrepreneurial ventures and pursing advanced education. All activities originated in Chesapeake from concept implementation to weekly meetings with the first job club member obtaining employment with locally owned, Web Teks, Inc.

Laurie Baggett, co-founder of the “It” Factor, is gearing up for the second round of job club recruits. The job club is based on an innovative initiative started by Tory Johnson, founder and CEO of Women for Hire and Good Morning America Workplace Correspondent. The City of Chesapeake, Economic Development Department, and “It” Factor’s collaborative effort will advance mutual goals of identifying local companies for externships and job opportunities for talented professionals. Information will also be shared on the City’s community service groups. “By leveraging our resources, I fully expect the “It” Factor to advance quickly to the next level and this innovative concept to spread throughout the City and the Hampton Roads region,” states Baggett.

Steven Wright, Director of Chesapeake, Economic Development Department, remarks, “It’s exciting to see Chesapeake serve as the base for this non-traditional workforce concept and garner national, regional and local media attention. Our website, www.yeschesapeake.com, will have a special feature where job club members can search for business externship opportunities; check out new companies locating to the City; research existing companies creating new jobs; and peruse listings of community service organizations.” Plans are also underway to jointly host an “It” Factor Job Fair at the Chesapeake Conference Center this October.