Neil A. Carousso produces and co-hosts WCBS Newsradio 880’s Small Business Spotlight series with Joe Connolly. Click here to watch the weekly video segments featuring advice for business owners on survival, recovery and growth opportunities.

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  • Carousso, WCBS 880 Win Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards

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    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) on Tuesday announced the Regional Edward R. Murrow Award winners — and the WCBS Newsradio 880 staff took home four of them!

    The “Murrow” Awards are considered among the most prestigious in the broadcast and digital news field. They represent the best of local and national news across the country. All of the regional awards are automatically entered into competition for National Edward R. Murrow Awards.

    The WCBS 880 News Team won for BEST NEWSCAST for the Afternoon Roundup on the day Hurricane Ida hit the area leaving dozens dead from high winds and several inches of rain. The newscast was written by Neil A. Carousso.

    Reporter Steve Burns took home a Regional Murrow Award for EXCELLENCE IN SOUND for his recap of the January 6th Riots in Washington for the WCBS 880 Special “Chaos in the Capitol – A Nation Divided,” which was produced by Carousso.

    The weekly WCBS 880 In Depth won for BEST PODCAST for a compilation of stories on Covid vaccines, Long Haul Covid, 9/11 Health and 40years after the Brinks Robbery and Murders.

    Feature Reporter Mike Sugerman won for EXCELLENCE IN WRITING for a compilation of his “Sweet Spot” feature pieces on 880 and for WCBS880.com.

    We’re especially grateful to see the work of Mike Sugerman honored. Mike lost the use of his legs following a complicated heart procedure earlier this year. Mike is now learning to live life in a wheelchair and promises a story on this journey in the coming weeks.

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  • 3 Ways to Transform Your Toxic Workplace into a Healthy and Heart Centered Organization

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    Hear from a world leading psychologist on how we can change leadership one heart at a time.

    By Ana Reed, Founder and CEO of Newmanity, Inc.

    Produced and edited by Carousso Enterprises, LLC.

    As seen in

    The great resignation is teaching us that toxic workplaces will no longer be tolerated. As companies struggle to manage and retain talent, a greater microscope is needed towards creating healthier and more meaningful workplace cultures while ensuring behaviors are aligned to more wholesome ways of working. 

    Dr. George Simon, a world-renowned psychologist with expertise in personality and character development, rightfully claims that “behavior doesn’t change until hearts change.” These are wise and important words for companies that must now focus less on creating corporate cultural initiatives and more on role modeling and demonstrating leadership behaviors that are authentic, meaningful, and reaching the hearts of people.

    After speaking to Dr Simon, we discovered many simple but important lessons for leaders looking to rid their organization of toxicity, and create a culture that is meaningful and heart-connected. Here are 3 ways that leaders can learn to transform their cultures:

    Create a purpose that connects to the heart of the organization

    Dr. Simon states in his first commandment, “We are not the center of the universe. Everything is connected and we are all part of something much bigger than you can possibly imagine, so be mindful of how you, your yearnings, and aspirations and most especially, your behavior, impact everyone and everything else that exists.” For far too long, we have seen major corporations and their executives make their personal desires, aspirations and yearnings central to the ways of working within the company. We have reached a point where this is no longer being tolerated, and organizations must find genuine and authentic ways to create a purpose that is meaningful.  When creating a company purpose, it needs to be less of a head exercise, and more of meaningful heart exercise, and most importantly, it needs to connect to the heart of the company.

    Build “loving” mindsets and behaviors 

    Dr. Simon believes that there is a dynamic relationship between culture and character and with impaired character populations eroding norms and traditions designed to foster character. This has resulted in what he refers to as “sick” cultures, which consequently produce more character disturbing behaviors. He also makes it clear that “love” is an action word, so it is with hearts and loving behavior that we can fix toxic culture. If leaders can exhibit mindful, loving behavior – even in small amounts – this can gradually change a heart and inspire and reinforce all positive behaviors. It’s a positive and energizing cycle and the perfect antidote to the negative culture character vicious cycle that’s been churning for so long in organizations everywhere.

    Leading from an open and humbled heart

    There is a a Sioux Indian saying that says, “The longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart.” All too often, people in positions of leadership hide behind their expertise and strong opinions, often, failing to reveal themselves and the values they stand for. According to Dr Simon, leading from the heart is easier said than done. So many hearts today are hardened, jaded and full of unresolved emotions.  It takes an awakened leader to truly lead from the heart humbly, thoroughly explored and therefore intimately connected and dedicated to a higher and noble purpose.  If organizations are to be truly authentic and connected, leaders must be willing to embark on the long and sometimes painful journey of not always leading from their heads, but being courageous enough to lead from their open and humbled hearts. 

    If your company is serious about creating a thriving culture, free from negativity and toxicity, then there needs to be an invitation for leaders to genuinely express their truth, lead from their hearts and learn to build loving behaviors and mindsets that will create a generative and energizing force within the organization towards greater meaning and impact.

    Ana Reed is the CEO and Founder of Newmanity, a leadership consultancy focused on building human centered companies. Together with New York City-based production company Carousso Enterprises, LLC., which is owned and operated by award-winning journalist Neil A. Carousso, Ana is engaged in creating content around leadership, human performance and CEO best practice. To receive insider access to Newmanity’s exclusive content, email hello@newmanity.co.

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  • Inside the Marketing Genius of Flag & Anthem

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    By Neil A. Carousso and Joe Connolly

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Flag & Anthem’s digital prowess has turned it into a multi-million dollar brand in just six years.

    Creative content and brand partnerships with country music star Dierks Bentley and Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey help fuel the clothing company’s growth.

    “We’re able to schedule quarterly photo shoots with each of our ambassadors whether it’s Dierks or Christian,” said Flag & Anthem co-founder and chief executive officer Brad Gartman on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.

    “We have a creative team that comes up with some really kitschy ideas in the way of content that really draws engagement and we see the difference in the conversion. From a business standpoint and an e-commerce standpoint, it’s night and day versus if you’re just, you know, a still photo and a plaid shirt,” he said.

    Gartman spent the better part of two decades working as a buyer and executive, first, with Lord & Taylor, and then, Macy’s before he and his co-founder Azod Mohit left to start Flag & Anthem, which they launched in 2016.

    While they sourced clothes overseas and developed their digital marketing infrastructure, Gartman and Mohit had the foresight to be diversified.

    “I think the positioning and omnichannel abilities is really, that’s where the future is going,” explained Gartman. “We went to a conference a couple of weeks ago with a lot of direct-to-consumer native brands who are kind of going, now, more wholesale.”

    Flag & Anthem experienced rapid digital growth during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, but now, that trend is somewhat reversing due to increasing costs of digital advertisements and changing social media algorithms.

    Country music festivals this summer will be a major play in its mostly direct-to-consumer model. But, Gartman told WCBS 880 that they’ve been flexible enough to be able to pivot their sales strategies depending on the business climate.

    He describes Flag & Anthem’s brand as not too ordinary but not unaffordable, or, as he put it, “unreachable.”

    “The design has an element of trend, but it’s not over-designed,” said Gartman. “We’re offering that same level of detail and quality and everything (as larger and more expensive clothing brands), but at 25 to 30 percent less than many of those brands.”

    Flag & Anthem recently launched a line of golf attire, which they anticipate will be major sellers this spring and summer season along with graphic t-shirts and shorts.

    See what’s behind Flag & Anthem’s marketing that has supported its rapid growth on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight video above.

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  • Ex-NYPD Commissioner Bratton on what businesses can do about NYC crime surge

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    By Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York City’s crime wave is slowing the economic recovery and hurting local businesses.

    Shoplifting is one of many so-called quality-of-life crimes that have been rising during the pandemic. There has been an increase in retail theft complaints since the initial COVID-19 lockdowns, according to the NYPD, with 24,198 petit larceny crimes already this year compared to 17,599 arrests in all of 2021. (Petit larceny is generally theft of property worth under $1,000.)

    “This is one of the crimes in which the (state) legislature is going to have to get its act together and understand this is not a minor crime, a quality-of-life type of crime,” said former New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton in a WCBS Small Business Spotlight interview, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.

    “In many instances, it leads to stores closing because they can’t afford to stay open. They can’t afford security officers,” he said.

    Bratton, who served two stints as the city’s top cop under former mayors Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, from 1994-1996, and Democrat Bill de Blasio from 2014-2016, said many large corporations and retail chains like Duane Reade and CVS are hiring off-duty police officers for security. For small and mid-size businesses that cannot afford the protection, he noted visible cameras have been a good deterrent and helps police track down brazen suspects.

    “We’re seeing countless videos of even police officers being assaulted by so-called shoplifters,” he said.

    Bill Bratton, Bill de Blasio
    FILE — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio attends his first news conference with police commissioner William Bratton at One Police Plaza on January 2, 2014 in New York City. New York City, and much of New England is preparing for a major winter snowstorm. Photo credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    In his most recent term as NYPD commissioner, Bratton implemented the team known as neighborhood coordination officers or NCOs who work as liaisons between the police and the community. He said business owners should contact their local precincts to work hand-in-hand with NCOs to prevent crimes at their doorstep.

    “Every precinct now has four or five sectors and each of those sectors are several neighborhood coordinating officers whose role is effectively to be full-time in that sector, in that precinct, networking (with) the business community,” he said. “It is incumbent on business owners to effectively, through their precinct, find out who those officers are.”

    Bratton also suggests business owners follow their NCOs on social media for important community alerts, be active on the Citizen app and post videos to bring awareness to crimes in their communities.

    “Awareness leads to prevention and prevention leads to increased public safety,” he said.

    Bill Bratton
    FILE — NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton attends a press conference after witnessing police being retrained with new guidelines at the Police Academy on December 4, 2014 in the College Point neighborhood of Queens. Photo credit Andrew Burton/Getty Images

    Bratton is now executive chairman of risk advisory at Teneo, a firm based on Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. He blames current bail reform laws for allowing what reform advocates have called “victimless crimes” such as graffiti, aggressive begging, drug dealing and public defecation to go unaddressed and unpunished.

    “Well, there is a victim and that’s the neighborhood. And shop owners certainly understand how their neighborhood deteriorates,” said Bratton.

    The former NYPD commissioner told WCBS 880 business owners should be politically engaged and reach out to their representatives in city and state government.

    “They need to hear what business communities in New York are going through and how they’re suffering. They need to hear that message,” he said.

    Watch Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso’s conversation with former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton above.

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  • WATCH: Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi’s 3 secrets for post-pandemic business growth

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    By Joe Connolly and Neil A. Carousso

    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Indra Nooyi, the former PepsiCo chairman and CEO who is widely admired for her forward-thinking leadership and American success story, shared her optimistic view for business growth on Thursday’s WCBS Virtual Business Breakfast.

    “I see tremendous vibrancy in small and medium-sized enterprises who are all reconstituting and re-establishing themselves in a slightly different phase,” said Nooyi.

    The influential former Fortune 500 leader knows a lot about reshaping a brand. After taking over as CEO of PepsiCo in 2006, Nooyi spearheaded the Westchester-based food and beverage company’s Performance with Purpose initiative to develop more health-conscious and nutritious products while limiting its environmental footprint. That was initially met with resistance from her fellow executives.

    “I looked forward 10 years and said, ‘What are the big mega trends that are going to impact the consumer industry, a food and beverage industry and PepsiCo, and what do I need to do today to retool the company to remain successful?'”

    Nooyi noted “change is the only constant” in business and advised employers watching the program to take on the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and make critical improvements to their operations, sales and staffing apparatuses.

    She shared her keys to sales, marketing, and work-life balance with the live WCBS audience.

    Business Breakfast
    Photo credit WCBS 880

    Sales & Marketing:

    Nooyi said the small businesses that stand out have a clear “proposition” that makes their stores a destination.

    “I look at lots of small stores on Main Street and all these towns in Connecticut. Some of them have a great proposition: beautifully curated items,” she said, adding, “Others simply sell national products. When you set a national product in a small enterprise, you can’t keep the cost competitive.”

    The former PepsiCo CEO said the charm of local businesses is “personalized service.”

    “It’s wonderful how they make you feel so welcome in the store.”

    Nooyi noted that communicating the brand identity in a simple way will help businesses sell online, too. She said every business today needs to sell direct-to-consumer as part of their sales portfolio. But, she suggested that local chapters of the Chamber of Commerce and state governments should provide more expansive digital marketing resources and support to help small and mid-sized businesses lower their operating costs to scale.

    “It sounds so easy because companies like Amazon have made it easy for us, but setting up the e-commerce backbone is quite difficult,” said Nooyi, who sits on Amazon’s board of directors. “Let’s figure out in communities and business organizations how to provide the basic technical competence so that small and medium-sized enterprises can plug and play on this backbone that’s created for them.”

    The Future of Work:

    There’s no doubt remote work has improved work-life balance for millions of families. Flexible schedules allow parents to spend more time with their kids and be productive employees in many cases.

    But, Nooyi is concerned that it may create two classes of workers: those who go to the workplace everyday and those who work from home permanently.

    “I don’t know how innovation happens if you don’t have face-to-face meetings regularly,” she said. “All the value I saw in face-to-face meetings is popping into conference rooms, talking to people in the corridor, it develops a company culture, a company soul, there’s a human interaction, ideas are exchanged, you get to know people.”

    She told the WCBS Virtual Business Breakfast that her two daughters – a millennial and Gen Zer – are both eager to return to their offices.

    “I’m hearing about companies who’ve hired 10,000 people last year. Nobody has met anybody in person.”

    But, the working mother acknowledges balance and the ability for women to remain in the workforce while raising a family is critical for economic development.

    “If we don’t have a good childcare infrastructure, we will have the great resignation,” said Nooyi. “We will have lots of women in particular leaving the workforce.”

    Nearly 48 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021, an annual record. About 4.3 million people resigned in January, just shy of a monthly record set in November, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    She said companies will need to raise wages, especially for essential workers, in order to limit pandemic turnover.

    “It was obvious that those people who don’t have the chance to have flexible work hours and work from home have got huge caregiving responsibilities, themselves. And somehow we have ignored all of this,” said Nooyi.

    Leading by Example:

    Nooyi credits a few key mentors for being instrumental in her career success and personal growth. In her memoir “My Life in Full: Work, Family and Our Future,” she writes about her journey navigating a culture change when she immigrated to the U.S. from India to attend school at Yale University in New Haven, CT and her ascension up the corporate ladder.

    “I am a product of mentoring, phenomenal mentoring,” she said. “They were all men. They pushed me, they supported me, they critiqued me, they gave me difficult assignments to do because they thought that’s the way I should expand my horizons. I will be totally grateful to all of those mentors.”

    Nooyi revealed she now gets a letter a day from people asking her to be their mentor. But, she said it doesn’t work that way; mentors pick someone because they like him or her and see career potential.

    “They see a skill, a talent, and they say, ‘If I give this person a little bit of advice and push they’re going to make it big and I’m going to be able to say, you know, I had a say in this person’s success.'”

    The influential business leader added that business owners should consider what they offer young talent in the form of mentorship and it may help them retain employees.

    Nooyi said health is paramount for owners and managers to successfully lead their teams.

    “I always thought that if I exercise or meditate, that was a few minutes away from doing the work of the company, which is really unfortunate because if you don’t keep yourself healthy, if you don’t have a clear mind – unless you’re wired differently like I am – you cannot make good decisions,” she said.

    “So, I urge everybody: allocate some part of the time of the day to you, to your self-improvement, to your health, time for you and just distress. Because the world today is very complex. Too many things are changing. We have to be lifelong students. Technology is upending everything we do. You come to work a week later and everything has changed in the world around us. And so, I’d say people have to allocate time in a very disciplined way for themselves.”

    See Indra Nooyi’s inspirational message for businesses and employees and get growth ideas on the WCBS Virtual Business Breakfast, which you can watch now on-demand on the YouTube player above.

    About Indra Nooyi:

    Indra Nooyi, former PepsiCo Chairman & CEO Photo credit Indra Nooyi

    Indra Nooyi is the former Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo (2006-2019); a Fortune 50 company with operations in more than 180 countries.

    In this role, Mrs. Nooyi was the chief architect of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo’s pledge to do what’s right for the business by being responsive to the needs of the world around us. As part of Performance with Purpose, PepsiCo was focused on delivering sustained growth by making more nutritious products, limiting its environmental footprint and protecting the planet, and empowering its associates and people in the communities it serves. During her tenure, PepsiCo grew net revenue more than 80%, and PepsiCo’s total shareholder return was 162%. Nooyi directed the company’s global strategy for more than a decade and led its transformation, including the divestiture of its restaurants into the successful YUM! Brands, Inc., the acquisition of Tropicana and the merger with Quaker Oats that brought the vital Quaker and Gatorade businesses to PepsiCo, the merger with PepsiCo’s anchor bottlers, and the acquisition of the Russian company Wimm-Bill-Dann, the largest international acquisition in PepsiCo’s history.

    Prior to becoming CEO, Mrs. Nooyi served as PepsiCo’s President and Chief Financial Officer beginning in 2001, when she was also named to the company’s Board of Directors. She was responsible for corporate functions, including finance, strategy, business process optimization, corporate platforms and innovation, procurement, investor relations and information technology. From February 2000 to April 2001, Mrs. Nooyi was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of PepsiCo. Mrs. Nooyi also served as PepsiCo’s Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Development from 1996 until 2000, and as PepsiCo’s Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning from 1994 until 1996. Before joining PepsiCo in 1994, Mrs. Nooyi spent four years as Senior Vice President of Strategy, Planning and Strategic Marketing for Asea Brown Boveri, a Zurich-based industrials company.

    She was part of the top management team responsible for the company’s U.S. business as well as its worldwide industrial businesses, representing about $10 billion of ABB’s $30 billion in global sales. Between 1986 and 1990, Mrs. Nooyi worked for Motorola, where she was Vice President and Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning, having joined the company as the business development executive responsible for its automotive and industrial electronic group. Prior to Motorola, she spent six years directing international corporate strategy projects at The Boston Consulting Group. Her clients ranged from textiles and consumer goods companies to retailers and specialty chemicals producers. Mrs. Nooyi began her career in India, where she held product manager positions at Johnson & Johnson and Mettur Beardsell, Ltd., a textile firm.

    Mrs. Nooyi served as a member of the PepsiCo Board of Directors from 2001 and February 2019. Mrs. Nooyi is now a member of the board of Amazon, where she chairs the audit committee. She sits on the supervisory board of Philips, where she is also a member of the nominating and corporate governance committee. She is a member of the International Advisory Council of Temasek; an independent director of the International Cricket Council; and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She is on the Dean’s Advisory Council at MIT’s School of Engineering, and a member of the MIT Corporation. She also serves on the boards of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Partnership for Public Service. Additionally, Mrs. Nooyi is the Class of 1951 Chair for the Study of Leadership at West Point where she helps enhance the ability of both the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership and the U.S. Military Academy to fulfill the mission of developing leaders of character. She also serves as an advisor to several early-stage companies.

    Indra K. Nooyi is the author of the book “My Life in Full: Work, Family and Our Future” in which she offers a blueprint for advancing society in a post-pandemic world. Photo credit Penguin Random House

    She is the author of the book, My Life in Full: Work, Family and Our Future, her much-anticipated memoir that offers insight and a call-to-action from one of the world’s most-admired business leaders on how our society can blend work and family — and advance women — in the 21st century. Mrs. Nooyi has received fifteen honorary degrees. In 2007, the Government of India awarded her the Padma Bhushan, the country’s 3rd highest civilian honor. That same year, she was named an “Outstanding American by Choice” by the US State Department. In 2019, her portrait was inducted into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. In 2021, Indra became an elected member of the American Philosophical Society and joined the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Art. She was also inducted into the Asian Hall of Fame and National Women’s Hall of Fame.

    She holds a B.S. from Madras Christian College, an M.B.A. from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta, and a Master of Public and Private Management from Yale University.

    Mrs. Nooyi is married to Raj Nooyi and has two daughters, Preetha and Tara.

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