As a seasoned businesswoman, educator author and entrepreneur, Elaina Zuker is the president of Elaina Zuker Associates based in Montréal. She has held executive positions in publishing, higher education and communications. An author of five books, the latest of which, Seven Secrets of Influence,was recently published in a new edition by Jaico Publishing in India. She was recently honored by her alma mater, New York Polytechnic University, with the Alumni Achievement Award, for her outstanding accomplishments in business, education. and entrepreneurship.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
What we do: Organizational consulting, management training, Executive Training; Our most popular topics now are “Secrets of Influence” and a new one “A Swift Kick in the Can’ts – the New Peer Mentor Model for Success Now”, which is a new book now available on Amazon Kindle and soon to be released in a print version.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
I started in Advertising, Marketing and Publicity. Then, I went back to graduate school to achieve a degree in Organizational Development – it was the perfect combination to marry my business experience with my insights and learning of anthropology, sociology and psychology. I wanted to apply those insights into helping individuals, teams and organizations work more collaboratively and productively. Over the course of many years in my business, I developed several Training Programs, to teach skills to many different levels in the business and non-profit world. Influence, as in our “Secrets of Influence” program, has been one of the most popular of those.
What is your life mantra?
Be creative, attentive to my own “muse”, attentive to my clients’ needs, take risks, be bold, experiment.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Working “lean and mean” with small advertising and marketing budgets, to attract clients despite tough competition. We’ve had to be more creative, more nimble, more flexible and more than excellent in our delivery of products and services.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Not sure what challenges you’re referring to, but my answer is “persistence and belief in myself and my expertise”
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
Usually work with talented contractors for all aspects of projects: instructional developers, web designers, writers, designers. We have chosen the model of “Partners/Licensees” to market our programs (especially the “Secrets of Influence program). For example, we have aligned with a small consulting company in Delhi (ROM Technologies) to market and teach our program. Two years ago, I went there to teach the one-day program to the 35 executives he had enrolled; I stayed a few more days and we went to visit several of the attendees at their offices to see if they wanted to use the program internally in their organization for the large numbers of employees and managers. Now our Partner works on his own, since he has been trained to teach the program for us.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
haven’t had this problem, since we only use freelance contractors.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Confidence, persistence and sales ability
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
LinkedIn, by far.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Strong work habits – start and finish projects on time, without outside deadlines.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Work too much
Answer in less than 50 words
Find something you LOVE – it’s way too hard to succeed pushing something you’re not totally crazy about!
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid
Staying “inside the box”, not trying new things, worrying about other people
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now
Life (and the day) is too short to spend with people who are mean-spirited, small minded and stingy with their attention, acknowledgement and money. “Fire” clients like that, so you can make room for the loving, appreciating, generous ones!
What are your plans for next 3 years?
More of the same, teaching more people to do what I do, developing several e-learning programs. Creating a large online membership organization for peer-mentoring.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
Nothing – maybe start this profession earlier, but then I would have missed the valuable experience in Marketing, Advertising and Publicity which I need every day in my current business.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Kerala, South Africa, Thailand
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
Until one is committed there is hesitating, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: “The moment one definitely commits oneself, Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one, that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way” Goethe