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Making a Memorable “First Interaction”

November 6, 2015
Monique Stubbs-Hall Headshot

Monique Stubbs-Hall

Guest post by Monique Stubbs-Hall, volunteer and guest speaker in the Hospitality & Tourism Occupational Skills Training Course at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont.

The adage “first impressions are lasting impressions” is no understatement. I prefer to use the expression “interaction” instead of “impression.” Why? Well how we are perceived requires more than someone just looking at us. If we desire to be memorable, your interaction is what will be remembered. Here are four simple ways to make sure that you are not forgotten.


There is nothing worse than making arrangements to attend a networking or an interview and not feel as though your appearance is on point from head to toe. Of course basics such as brushing your teeth, grooming your hair, making sure your clothes are not soiled or stained and ensuring that your business cards are accessible are all  important matters. However, gentlemen, are your shoes shined? Is your necktie tied properly? Is your suit pressed out and not wrinkled? Are your shirt collar and suit collar laid down in the back appropriately?

Ladies, are the tips on your heels making noises when you walk, letting you know they need replacing? Do your stockings have runs in them? Are your fingernails and toenails (if they will be seen) polished? Is your handbag closed so that it looks neat in appearance? Taking pride in your appearance is where having successful interactions begin.


Pay attention to how you walk towards your contact. Add some “pep in your step”! This is a quick way to show that you have energy. If you walk as if you are dragging, you give the impression that you are potentially lazy or uninterested. Since a person’s perception is their reality, in the first few seconds you approach their mind may say “If he drags to approach me, he will probably drag to get work done.” So pay attention to how you walk.


A beautiful smile is the quickest way to capture someone’s attention. It is a universal signal that you are approachable. It is a quick way to break down an initial barrier before you even say a word. Smiling tells a prospective employer that you have the ability to possibly attract customers to his company as opposed to running them away. It tells your point of contact that you have a human side and are not a robot. No one wants to do business with or befriend someone who shows no personality. So don’t be afraid to show those pearly whites.


There is nothing worse than an inappropriate handshake! Make sure you extend that right one. Here are a few that just don’t give the right impression.

  • The Shake You To Death Handshake (Please DON’T) Shaking someone’s hand continuously is a way to scare them away…they will think something is wrong with you and all they want you to do is LET GO! You may not get to the point of a conversation.
  • The Weak as Mush Handshake (Please DON’T) When someone shakes your hand and your hand just weakly falls into theirs as if you have no bones in your hand…it gives the impression that you lack confidence and that you are weak or may be a pushover personality type. This is definitely a turn-off for those looking for someone with leadership qualities to work for them.
  • The Break All the Bones in My Hand Handshake (Please DON’T) Shaking someone’s hand so firmly that it actually hurts is not a good idea. This may give the contact the feeling that you are trying to intimidate them. They may also immediately feel as though you would be an overbearing personality type. If you actually hurt them with that handshake, you may not have the opportunity to further a discussion with them.
  • The Firm and Quick Handshake (Please DO) This is the appropriate handshake that coupled with a smile works every time! Extend your hand, shake theirs two times firmly and then release. A simple remark such as “My name is ________________ and you are?” (let them respond) and then add “Well (repeat their first name), it’s a pleasure meeting you.”

In the few initial seconds that you have connected with your contact, you have interacted in such a way that they will remember your professionalism. You have now opened the door to the next step of interacting, which is beginning a meaningful conversation!

By Monique Stubbs-Hall, The Greatness Groomer. Visit to learn more about her public speaking, business consulting and coaching services.

WCNC-TV Hosts “Make a Difference Day” with Goodwill

October 28, 2015

Larry Sprinkle, longtime weather anchor at WCNC-TV, poses with Goodwill mascot Smiling G.

On Saturday, October 24th, WCNC-TV (NBC Charlotte) hosted “Make a Difference Day” benefiting Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont. The nationwide annual initiative by USA TODAY featured a donation drive for Goodwill that at the end of the day collected 3 full tractor trailers with 12,640 pounds of donations!

Goodwill team members and on-air talent from WCNC-TV collected donations on-site from 6 a.m. – 4 p.m., including host Larry Sprinkle, Sonja Gantt, Bill McGinty, Eugene Robinson, Brad Panovich, Fred Shropshire, Beth Troutman and more.

In addition to the donation drive, WCNC-TV surprised Goodwill with a $5,000 financial contribution to support our mission of changing lives through the power of work. Thank you to WCNC-TV and the 373 donors from the community who came out to give a second life to items they no longer need and support Goodwill.


Larry Sprinkle presents a check to Michael Elder, President & CEO, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont.

Leading up to Make a Difference Day, WCNC-TV aired six inspiring success stories of Goodwill clients and team members. Watch each video below to see the hard work and dedication put forth by these individuals on their journeys to family sustaining employment.

  • Shell graduated from the hospitality & tourism occupational skills training course at Goodwill and is a current Board of Directors member who recently launched Elegant Connexions, her own event space business in Concord. “Concord business owner thriving through power of work.”
  • Rahmal came to Goodwill’s youth program and worked with one of our team members who remains a mentor to him today. Rahmal is now employed at Charlotte Metro Credit Union, a partner on the new Goodwill Opportunity Campus. “Young man finds career through Goodwill.”
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    Goodwill and WCNC-TV team members unload donations.

    Hyrum is the store manager at our Albemarle Road retail store. Hyrum began his career at Goodwill as a donation processor, was promoted to retail lead worker, then again promoted to assistant store manager and is now store manager with hard work and encouragement from his team members and supervisors. “Goodwill store manager worked up from the bottom.”

  • Jason came to Goodwill with a criminal background and enrolled in the Second Chance Workshop, where he learned communication skills and how to navigate the difficult job search. He’s now employed with building and property maintenance company Oneliance and starting his own business as an independent contractor, where he helps other individuals with criminal backgrounds find meaningful job opportunities. “Goodwill continues to change lives one person at a time.”
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    Goodwill and WCNC-TV team members at Make a Difference Day on Saturday.

    Adeline moved to the United States from West Africa for a better life. She made the difficult decision to send her children back to West Africa to live with her mother while she sought employment and enrolled in Goodwill’s hospitality & tourism occupational skills training course. Through the course, she earned a job as a server at the Renaissance SouthPark Hotel, where she is now the lead trainer in the restaurant. She was able to move her children and her mother back to the United States, and has since bought a house and a car. “Local woman credits Goodwill’s hospitality program for success.”

  • George earned his GED and HVAC certification while in prison to turn his life around, and upon release enrolled in Goodwill’s construction skills training program. After graduating from the program, Goodwill helped George find a job at Hope Haven, where he is now employed as an assistant maintenance manager. “Goodwill Industries’ construction program offers second chance.”

Sonja Gantt and Sarah Hagan of WCNC-TV pose with Smiling G.

Thank you to WCNC-TV, Goodwill team members and community donors for making “Make a Difference Day” a huge success again this year. Purchases of these donations in Goodwill retail stores will help fund job training and employment services for individuals like Shell, Rahmal, Hyrum, Jason, Adeline and George to find jobs and earn a wage to support themselves and their families. Together, we can all make a difference!

Easy DIY Halloween Costumes from Goodwill

October 26, 2015

ZNFA_med-rec_300x250Goodwill is a Halloween destination for one-of-a-kind costumes and we’re counting down to Halloween. If you’re still looking for the perfect Halloween costume, stop by your local Goodwill retail store for some inspiration. At Goodwill, shoppers can find fresh items every day, including clothing in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, as well as accessories from different decades to transform an ordinary look into a fantastic, eclectic costume. With a little creativity, anyone can become a ghost, cowboy, zombie or superhero of choice simply by combining Goodwill finds into a unique costume.

The best way to save on often pricey Halloween costumes is to use your imagination. Goodwill offers unique, gently used items that can help you put together the perfect costume without breaking the bank. To help inspire trick-or-treaters this Halloween, we’ve listed a few of our favorite DIY costumes and how to assemble them below.

Back to the Future – Marty McFly

Back to the Future Costume



’80s Girl


Baby Berry


One Man Band


Party Animal







Terrifying ’80s Prom Queen








A DIY costume is what you make of it. You can create a look as intricate as a character on “The Walking Dead” or you can simplify your costume in a few easy steps.

When you purchase items at Goodwill, you’ll save on your Halloween costumes and be able to use those clothes again once Halloween is over. You’ll also feel good knowing that your purchase will help provide job training and employment services free of charge to people looking for work here in the Southern Piedmont region of North and South Carolina.

What will you be this Halloween?

How to Turn Basic Window Panels into Elegant, Chic Draperies

October 15, 2015

FinishedFall is the perfect time for redecorating projects, especially if you have family planning to visit during the holiday season. One quick and easy fix is to replace draperies and curtains—a room can be transformed in a few hours!

As an interior designer, I often take inspiration from existing décor and create ways to embellish it. I love to change basic drapery panels into custom-designed curtains, creating a one-of-a-kind design with each project.

This room’s motif is a mixture of rustic and chic—part farmhouse and part ‘30s glam. The high-sheen black lacquer walls are an interesting contrast with the white wainscot paneling. A single horizontal slider window with two four-light sashes brings in natural light.

There are hundreds of curtain styles to choose from. Take into consideration the window shape and style, the décor of the room and the view. Because of the decorative trim around the window, an inside mount curtain is the best solution for this scenario.


I didn’t want to cover up the decorative white molding, and the window overlooks a screened-in porch, so privacy is a factor.

I found a white curtain panel with a burnout pattern of tree branches (burnout—or devoré—is a chemical process of creating a semi-transparent pattern).


The organic design of the tree pattern creates nice contrast with the vertical wainscot. In order for the pattern to be visible, the curtain needed to fit perfectly in the window. I didn’t want any gathers or sheering.

I cut the panel the same size as the inside measurement of the window and added 3 in. to the top and side measurements for hems, and to create top and bottom rod pockets.

The tree pattern solves the rustic element; the glam side called for additional embellishment. I found a pleated ribbon and a rhinestone trim—schoolgirl meets movie star!


I stitched the trim to the top and bottom at the hem line and installed the curtain with a pair of tension rods. They’re the perfect solution for inside mount drapes; no tools are required.


The semi-transparent design of the fabric allows enough light in, yet provides adequate privacy in the bathroom when there’s a party on the porch.


I love my drape makeover. What other redecorating projects are you taking on this fall?

Interior designer Merri Cvetan writes for Home Depot on design projects she does for clients, as well do-it-yourself undertakings she does for her own home. For window treatments available at Home Depot, you can visit the company’s website here.

New GoodWork Staffing Location Opens in Rock Hill

October 5, 2015
Rob Youngblood, York County Regional Chamber President (left), addresses the crowd gathered for the grand opening of the GoodWorks Staffing location in Rock Hill, SC, along with Carol Ashby, Dir. of GoodWork Staffing (center), and Robin Carson, Senior VP of Goodwill Industries.

Rob Youngblood, York County Regional Chamber of Commerce President (left); Carol Ashby, Director of GoodWork Staffing (center); and Robin Carson, Senior VP of Employment Services at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont (right).

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont was proud to unveil on Thursday our new GoodWork Staffing location in Rock Hill, S.C., located at 566 N. Anderson Road. The ceremonial ribbon cutting marked the fourth location for our award-winning nonprofit staffing division that supports Goodwill’s mission of changing lives through the power of work. Attendees included Goodwill executives and members of the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce, including Chamber President Rob Youngblood, who delivered remarks at the event.

Goodwill’s mission is more than getting people a job, it’s about helping to secure family sustaining employment so that individuals can build a foundation for the future. This vision comes to life as GoodWork Staffing carefully matches clients seeking meaningful employment with careers in the fields of light industrial, administrative, clerical, customer service and management.

GoodWork Staffing offers a variety of services for business clients including temporary, temp-to-hire, direct hire, outsourcing, executive recruiting, on-site management and payroll services. Proceeds from the revenue generated by GoodWork Staffing fund Goodwill’s job training and employment services free of charge for individuals in the community.

“We are so proud of the current relationships we’ve built throughout this community by having a retail presence here and delighted to deepen our relationships in York County with the location of this new enterprise,” said Robin Carson, Senior Vice President of Employment Services at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont. “With the opening of this new location in Rock Hill, GoodWork Staffing projects to place 500,000 paid hours of work in 2015.”


Left to Right: Robin Carson, SVP of Employment Services; LaRita Barber, SVP of Community Engagement; Michael Elder, President & CEO; Barbara Maida-Stolle, EVP of Business Enterprises; Chris Jackson, EVP of Workforce Services & Organizational Development.

As the business continues to grow and expand, GoodWork Staffing recently won a recognition award from Goodwill Industries International in the category of Business Services/Contracts Excellence: Growing the Business/Total Growth, and was recently ranked by the Charlotte Business Journal as the 15th largest temporary staffing company in Charlotte.

“We are excited to be able to serve the York County community and look forward to developing partnerships with local businesses and industries,” said Carol Ashby, Director of GoodWork Staffing. “Working together, we will begin alleviating the challenges faced by so many individuals in poverty as they find new opportunities for employment.”

GoodWork Staffing in Rock Hill is located at 566 N. Anderson Road, Rock Hill, S.C. 29730. The location is open Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit or call (803) 620-3804. For more information about our programs and services at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, visit

Build Your Own Garden Fountain

September 17, 2015

DIY Garden Fountain 1 (2)By Kilby Watson, Community Engagement Manager at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont.

If you love outdoor spaces like I do, you may visit home improvement retail stores and always stop to look at their outdoor fountains. I do the same. Usually they are small, shallow or too big and too expensive for my budget. Inspired by seeing how others have used small pots like this to create a fountain, I decided to create one with large pots.

First, I began shopping for just the right sized pots. I liked choosing two different styles and putting one as the base of the fountain. Next, I needed paint to protect it and seal it. Below are the products that were recommended to me. I bought two of each.

DIY Garden Fountain 2 (2)

After washing the pots down and letting them dry thoroughly, I began to paint. First, I focused on the outside of each. Then I sealed the inside of the top pot with the Flexible Rubber Coating.

DIY Garden Fountain 3

Once the pots are dry, it’s time to put into place. I really wanted the focal point in our front yard, but this could have been just as easy to place in the back. Once adjusted to the right position and as level as possible, it’s time to fill with water to test out whether the seal is complete. If not, it has to be emptied, allowed time to dry and be re-coated with the sealant until it doesn’t leak.

If it works, choose the pump you like best that fits the pot and if desired – lights! I chose a fountain that could easily be adjusted for height and spray. I also wanted lights that could change colors.

DIY Garden Fountain 6This project is really easy and takes only about two days due to letting the paint dry. I completed it in one weekend and so could you! The fountain pump and lighting cords simply drape over the back and plug into our outside outlet. The best part is sitting on our bench and hearing the relaxing sounds of the water. We just put a few water plants inside the fountain as well to hide the cords. Check out your local Goodwill retail store for pots and create your own Zen space!DIY Garden Fountain 7

Success Story: Jordon

September 15, 2015

FDSC_0213 (2)or many qualified job seekers, finding the right employers to get in front of and having the confidence to portray their qualifications in an interview can be a barrier to finding employment.

Jordon – having earned his Eagle Scout, high school diploma, and a college certificate – had the qualifications to get the jobs he applied for, but lacked the confidence and interview skills needed to articulate his qualifications. These interpersonal hurdles prevented Jordon from getting job offers.

Jordon was referred to Goodwill from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for job coaching and interview preparation. He was assigned to David Washam, Vocational Coaching Specialist at Goodwill, who helped build his confidence during job interviews.

“I’ve never been comfortable speaking in front of groups of people,” Jordon said.

David was also able to connect Jordon with the right employers, something that Jordon struggled with doing on his own.

“Goodwill helped get me in front of the right people and helped me gain confidence in myself,” Jordon said.

Their efforts soon paid off. With Jordon’s newfound self-confidence and David’s employer connections, Jordon was hired at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte as a part-time crew member in November 2013. About nine months later, Jordon was told during a staff meeting that his company was looking to hire someone to fill a full-time maintenance technician position that had recently become available.

This was Jordon’s dream job, and he knew he had to apply for the position. He met with David to review the job requirements and practice his interview skills. He was nervous for the interview, but knew that his time at Goodwill had prepared him well. His hard work and determination paid off, and in August 2014, Jordon was hired as a full-time maintenance technician, a position he still holds today.

Jordon is grateful to Goodwill for helping him solidify the career of his dreams.

“I still think I’m in a dream. It’s not every day you get to move race cars and see NASCAR drivers. It’s a really neat job,” Jordon said.

And Jordon knows that if he ever needs help again, he always has a place in which to turn.

“Goodwill has made a big impact on my life. I’ve had other friends of mine that have gotten help from Goodwill who just needed an extra hand. I know that if 10 years, 15 years from now I need to look for another job, I could come back and ask for help,” he said. “But I think I’m set. I’ll be pushing these race cars until I’m 67 years old.”