Dr. Ellen Burts-Cooper is a highly-educated and motivated business woman with the primary goal of bridging gaps in secondary and post-secondary education for young people. She also works to help people obtain the skills they need to navigate the challenges that exist in corporate America. Her hard work, tenacity and spirit of black entrepreneurship is what makes Dr. Ellen Burts-Cooper today's Dr. Boyce Watkins Spotlight on AOL Black Voices:
What is your name, and what do you do?
My name is Dr. Ellen Burts-Cooper, and I lead a personal and professional development training and consulting company called Improve Consulting and Training Group, LLC. My organization specializes in Lean Six Sigma process improvement.
What is your educational and professional background?
I have a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I received a doctorate in organic/polymer chemistry from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia and a MBA from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In addition, I am also a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt in Quality and Process Improvement. I received this from the 3M Company in St. Paul, Minnesota.
In regards to my professional background, I worked eight years in research and development with a fortune 500 company as a senior technical and business manager, four years in financial services as a senior vice president in quality process improvement, and three years as an adjunct professor in both business and chemistry at the master's and doctorate levels.
I have taught over 350 training courses and seminars and presented at numerous speaking engagements in areas such as soft skill development and quality process improvement.
As founder of Improve Consulting and Training Group, LLC, part of your objective is to offer skills critical for survival in social and business environments as well as help individuals understand the elements required to make positive interactions for advancement in business settings. How do your services help clients reach these goals, how are your services superior to those offered by your competitors, and where can readers find more information?
Improve Consulting and Training Group's approach to service is to create a sustainable model for achievement. We implement this by bridging the gap between an individual's functional knowledge and their professional development through a highly interactive curriculum, geared toward multiple learning styles. Improve ensures this degree of quality by employing qualified consultants who are experts within their fields, who have consistent outcomes in the coaching and training arena.
A branch of your company also works with youth to bridge the developmental gap between secondary and post-secondary education. Through what means does Improve help to bridge this gap, and what positive effects have you seen take place?
Improve uses a proven method of highly interactive training and engagement, along with customized simulations to provide opportunities for experiential learning. This method accelerates the pace at which youth are able to absorb and apply information, thus reducing the time they spend in transition. Improve has trained over 1000 youth in the past four years, and we have tracked those who have successfully transitioned and navigated their path to a post secondary experience. Six of these talented individuals have come back to work with Improve as interns.
You mentioned that you are an author. What is your work titled? Please briefly share with readers what it is about, and why they should purchase it.
My book is titled, Canine Instinct, A Guide for Survival and Advancement in Corporate America. Canine Instinct provides information and business scenarios to help readers understand how to ensure their actions positively impact the dynamics in a corporate culture. The examples assist in the understanding of channeling activity so that you are more likely to secure alpha leadership positions. It also provides practical and proven tools and techniques for navigating the workplace with confidence. The main objective is to get your organization to recognize and reward you with advancement opportunities.
Starting a business is a feat in itself. It is amazing that you have been able to do so while also battling illness. What challenges have you faced in starting Improve Consulting and Training Group, LLC, and what advice would you offer to other entrepreneurs?
One of the biggest challenges with starting Improve was securing a client base large enough to meet the revenue goals to operate independently with a positive cash flow. I would advise entrepreneurs to seek out collaborative partnerships, not only to help them get started, but to leverage as they grow.
I would also advise entrepreneurs to set metrics that will allow them to: (1) track how well they are advancing and (2) identify areas of development where efforts should focus.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with our AOL Black Voices audience?
I would encourage anyone who wishes to improve themselves either personally or professionally, to seek additionally training. It doesn't necessarily have to be in your field, but it should be an area that enhances your skills and provides an edge that will help you in the future.
If you need a referral, Improve is happy and available to help.
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