I want to take this time to check in with Goldbelt Shareholders. In 2013, I began my term as a Director. When I ran, I promised four things that I would pursue on behalf of Shareholders in working with my fellow Directors and Goldbelt Management. Here’s an update on my progress on these four commitments.
Below I’ve bolded my original pillars so you can see my progress today. Please read “Lori’s Goldbelt Shareholder Message” if you want to re-read my pledge to you. If you click on the link, you can read my post or click on the “play” button to listen to the message.
Pillar #1: Increasing Revenue by Evaluating New Markets or Industries
#1: “I’m committed to increasing revenue by evaluating new markets or industries for Goldbelt to pursue, such as information or internet technologies. We can’t be dependent on Federal spending or natural resources anymore, especially because of government budget cuts. We must also pursue new revenue streams for existing Goldbelt offerings.” – Lori Grant, April 30, 2013
While the road is long in pursuing internet technology investments, last year I voted with the majority to approve an exciting a new 8(a) called Goldbelt C6 that’s perfectly positioned for information technology. Today, C6 is officially part of the 8(a) small business program after only seven months of standing it up as a new business.
Our new CEO Rich Irwin can take us to the next level. With his experience, Goldbelt will leverage his knowledge in pursuing information technology opportunities. However, divesting and creating a balanced portfolio into internet technology remains one of my top priorities. I will continue to wait for the right time to support or recommend to the CEO and Board of any opportunities for us to investigate.
Pillar #2: Evaluating Existing Goldbelt Investments for Effectiveness and Competitiveness in the Current Economic and Political Environments
#2: “I’m committed to evaluating existing Goldbelt investments for effectiveness and competitiveness in the current economic and political environments. Goldbelt must reduce its risk of financial vulnerability caused by federal government budget reductions, which affects our 8(a) subsidiaries.” – Lori Grant, April 30, 2013
Under the former Chairman of the Board Katherine Eldemar, we NOW have a rigorous process in the Investment Committee to evaluate new business or product ideas from Goldbelt Management. My role is to poke holes in the business model being presented to us by:
- Value Proposition: I ensure there’s a sound product or service offering with a compelling reason for customers to buy it.
- Customer/Target Market: I ensure they have the right customer targeted. I ask how they are going to sell to the customer. I keep the customer in mind as I evaluate the rest of the pitch. I want to confirm Management’s assumptions are correct as they present the rest of the business idea.
- Revenue/Cost Structure: I do a deep dive in my questioning and review the business plan and financials. Can Goldbelt make a profit for that offering? On your behalf, I research if the revenue streams and cost structures are sustainable, quizzing Management on their financial assumptions. More importantly, I ask how long will it take for the business to break even, how much capital is required for the Board to approve, and what ASSURANCES does the Board have to ensure Management is executing properly by meeting their milestones successfully. I require transparency in reporting so the Board can pull the plug if we see the business is NOT being performed well or if the firm is not what we hoped it would become.
- Key Partners, People, and Resources: I do a deep dive that Management can recruit the right people, partners, and resources to execute what they promise to deliver for Shareholders.
- Channels: I evaluate the new business idea’s “channels.” In other words, will pursue to reach the customers we want to buy our product or service?
As I mentioned early, we now have this evaluation process in the Investment Committee (thanks to Katherine Eldemar). My goal is for new business ventures to bear fruit for Shareholder in the near-term, mid-term, and long-term. If a new idea garners support in this committee, I take the time to carefully explain the business idea to all my fellow Directors, breaking it down into simple ideas so other Directors can grasp what we’re supporting for approval of the full Board.
As long as I serve on this committee, I will perform this analysis to protect and grow Goldbelt Shareholder value.
Pillar 3: Developing Employment Opportunities for Shareholders by Preparing Shareholders for a Challenging Labor Market
#3: “I’m committed to developing employment opportunities for shareholders by preparing shareholders for a challenging labor market.” – Lori Grant, April 30, 2013
For two years under the former Goldbelt Management leadership team, programs and services for Shareholders and Decedents remained flat. I continually urged our former CEO to provide a Mentorship and Coaching program, so any of us who wanted to be a mentor or coach for Shareholders had the platform to do so.
Goldbelt must do a better job of creating employment opportunities and preparing our Shareholders for employment opportunities or when they are changing careers. We still have a great program for scholarships. But we can do more.
I’m pleased that Director Wanamaker, Director Cadiente-Laiti, and I have been appointed to the Shareholder Workforce Development Task Force to help guide Management’s efforts in building a program for shareholders in high school, college, or workforce. I’m honored to be a part of Goldbelt’s efforts to create quality internships, employment opportunities, or career change opportunities for Shareholders.
The new Management leadership team appears to be as committed as the Board is in building programs that will help Shareholders with Goldbelt employment, career development, and career management in addition to our existing scholarship program today.
Pillar #4: Transparency or the Free Flow of Goldbelt Board and Management Information to Shareholders
#4: “I’ll push for a transparency or the free flow of Goldbelt Board and Management information to shareholders. As shareholders, we must be informed on our Board and CEO’s corporate strategy, strategic planning, and financial performance.” – Lori Grant, April 30, 2013
For those of you who are my Facebook friends, you know that I keep you informed of my travel schedule. I want Shareholders to see what I’m doing and what the Board is doing as well. While there are times we cannot share details of work in progress, I believe you must see where we are and what we’re trying to do. I post pictures on Facebook after things are happening, so you can see that we’re working hard for you.
I want to ensure that Shareholders have access to me through my Facebook account so you can ask questions or give me guidance on what you expect me to do as your Director. I want it to be a two-way street that we’re both using Facebook (when we can) as a way of providing the transparency that you’ve demanded of your Board.
I hope you find it as exciting as I do when we have to go to Washington D.C. to educate key Senators and Congressmen on issues that threatened Goldbelt’s significant revenue stream in 8(a) federal contracting. Management did an outstanding this year by surrounding the Directors with top talent in preparing the Board in how to frame what we need from the Congressmen and Senators.
We’ve learned that Goldbelt must have a constant presence on the Hill if we’re to remain successful with our federal contracting. And we now have the right talent in our Herndon office to do so.
Because I’ve development Facebook friends, I love sharing the social side of my role as a Director on Facebook. I post pictures showing my new friends on the Board. I have nothing but admiration for them. I’m proud to say we’re like “four peas in a pod” as Rick would say. I wouldn’t be where I am today in performing my Board duties without the mentoring by Richard A. Beasley, Katherine Eldemar, and Benjamin Danny Coronell. I want to thank them for the wisdom they have passed down to me a newbie. They’ve educated me on the historical issues so I can evaluate each idea or issues as they come up.
Please know: I appreciate you letting me share my Board activities and observations with you. I remain committed to the four pillars of my term today in 2015 as I did in 2013. Again, my four pillars are:
- Increasing revenue by evaluating new markets or industries;
- Evaluating existing Goldbelt investments for effectiveness and competitiveness in the current economic and political environments;
- Developing employment opportunities for shareholders by preparing shareholders for a challenging labor market; and
- Transparency or the free flow of Goldbelt Board and Management information to shareholders.
Transparency works. I’ve seen it fail. And when it fails it, it costs Goldbelt Shareholders money.
Thank you for the privilege of letting me serve you on the Goldbelt Board of Directors.