197 episodes

A podcast for the business-minded in Connecticut. Interviews consist of business and community leaders who are shaping the future of Connecticut’s economy. The CBIA BizCast provides new content every other week, introduces members of the business community, and tells stories about how businesses are innovating and growing in Connecticut!

BizCast provides new content every other week, introduces members of CBIA staff, and tells stories about how businesses are innovating and growing in Connecticut!

CBIA BizCast Connecticut Business & Industry Association

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 7 Ratings

A podcast for the business-minded in Connecticut. Interviews consist of business and community leaders who are shaping the future of Connecticut’s economy. The CBIA BizCast provides new content every other week, introduces members of the business community, and tells stories about how businesses are innovating and growing in Connecticut!

BizCast provides new content every other week, introduces members of CBIA staff, and tells stories about how businesses are innovating and growing in Connecticut!

    The Bolder Company Shakes Things Up

    The Bolder Company Shakes Things Up

    “We love to say we’re not from Colorado,” Bolder Company co-founder Jenny Drescher told the CBIA BizCast about how the company got its name.
    “It does not have a ‘u’ in it. It’s Bolder, like ‘be a Bolder version of yourself.’ That’s how the name was born.”
    Drescher founded the professional training and coaching company in 2014 with her longtime friend Ellen Feldman Ornato.
    At the time, Ornato owned a training and development company and Drescher had an executive coaching business.
    “We were taking courses in theatrical improvisation and realizing that the skills that we were learning in improv were directly affecting the way that we were facilitating conversations with other people in our individual businesses,” said Ornato.
    “I immediately just said, ‘Oh, this was the toolkit I was looking for,’” added Drescher.
    The two decided to take that toolkit and start their own business.
    “We don't teach improv, we don't teach comedy,” Drescher said.
    “But improvisation is an applied toolkit that works really well for learning.”
    Drescher and Ornato said they work with companies to create tailored and customized programs for their teams.
    “If their goal is to enrich the whole team,” said Ornato.
    "We found it's most effective to have people learning the same things together, and then applying them together so that they have a common language so that they have the energy of having gone through that process together, and they deepen their relationships.”
    Their programs can include conference speaking and one-off sessions.
    But Ornato and Drescher said long-term programs have a deeper impact.
    “When you learn with your team over time,” Ornato said, “we're celebrating each other's successes, we are acknowledging that sometimes we mess up and we didn't die, and we support each other forward.”
    Drescher added they work to take deep dives to find out what’s hurting a business.
    “We help people find hope in the midst of the things that are hurting them the most,” Drescher said.
    “We like to drill a little further down, because nine times out of 10, it's not the culture.
    “It's specific behaviors, inside the culture, inside the working climate, that are working for or against what the company is after.”
    At the beginning, Drescher and Ornato focused The Bolder Company on working with entrepreneurs.
    The business evolved to work with nonprofit organizations and eventually with the architecture, engineering, construction, and manufacturing industries.
    “If you look at manufacturing, there's like, 150 year legacy of, you're a part of the machine," Drescher said.
    “And manufacturing is, across the board, changing that, which is wonderful and amazing.”
    Ornato and Drescher’s passion for manufacturing has now led to a new venture.
    They recently launched a new podcast, the Manufacturing Shake-up.
    Sponsored by the Connecticut Office of Manufacturing, the goal is to promote and highlight women at different levels of the manufacturing industry.
    “And there's some great stories there,” said Ornato.
    “So that's really what we're highlighting as well as the skills that women need to develop—things like becoming better at networking, understanding emotional intelligence, understanding presence and presentation, and how you walk into the room and finding a seat at the main table.”

    Related Links:

    The Bolder Company
    Website: https://www.theboldercompany.com/
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-bolder-company/
    Jenny Drescher on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bolderjenny/
    Ellen Feldman Ornato on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellen-feldman-ornato/

    The Manufacturing Shake-up
    Website: https://www.manufacturingshakeup.com/
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-manufacturing-shake-up/posts/?feedView=all
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@ManufacturingShakeUp

    Website: www.cbia.com
    LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/cbia/

    • 31 min
    Solving Problems with C4 Communications

    Solving Problems with C4 Communications

    For C4 Communications founder and president Colomobo DiSalvatore III, success is all about problem solving.
    “We try to go into our clients, we try to add value, and help solve problems,” DiSalvatore told the CBIA BizCast. “And we know that if we do that, that we will be rewarded over time.”
    C4 Communications is a telecommunications company specializing in helping small and midsize companies evaluate, select, implement, and manage telecommunications solutions.
    DiSalvatore said he sort of “fell into” the telecommunications industry and founded the company in 2001.
    “Between the ages of 16 and 24, which is when I started the company, I had 10 different jobs,” he said.
    “I was effectively unemployable. So I had to come up with my own company.”
    DiSalvatore credits his father for instilling an entrepreneurial spirit and for teaching him lessons about business ownership.
    “He also made this point of trying to find a business where you can make some sort of residual or some sort of royalty income,” he said.
    “I’m really grateful for that advice.”
    For nearly 10 years, DiSalvatore ran the company by himself with some help from his sister-in-law.
    He said he’s grateful for that experience, because he was able to work from home and be there for his growing family.
    “My wife, Amy and I, we had six children in that period of time, so we have a large family,” DiSalvatore said.
    “I really captured a lot of moments in my kids that I may not have captured otherwise.”
    DiSalvatore also said that time period also taught him the importance of finding a work-life balance.
    “Work can very much dominate if you’re a hard worker and if you’re possibly a workaholic,” he said.
    “I had to be really intentional at a point to turn off the work and to stop working to make sure that I didn’t sneak down into the basement or sneak into my office when it’s time to be with the kids.”
    Eventually, as the company grew, DiSalvatore began to bring on more people.
    But he kept the company virtual and tried to instill that balance as a core value.
    He said when the pandemic hit, it was actually an asset to be a virtual company.
    Because the team was already remote, they didn’t miss a beat and were able help their clients pivot quickly.
    “As everybody was trying to set their employees and their teams to be able to work from home, we were actually positioned well to help them do that,” DiSalvatore said.
    C4 Communications is now a team of about nine people, and DiSalvatore said he had to shift his mindset as a leader and give people freedom to grow.
    “I had to learn that there were people out there that could actually deliver excellence, and they could even do it differently than the way that I did it,” he said.
    He said he loves getting positive unsolicited feedback from clients about his team.
    “When I get a comment like that, I’m just reminded of what an amazing group of people that have been willing to come work for me.”
    DiSalvatore said they have clients all over the country, but he loves growing and doing business here in Connecticut.
    “Relationships matter in Connecticut,” he said. “Your reputation matters.”
    “People care about meeting face to face and having a personal relationship with who they do business with.
    “And because we like to operate like that, I think Connecticut’s a great place for us to continue to do business and to grow this business.”

    Related Links:
    C4 Comunications
    Website: https://www.c4communications.com/
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/c4-communications-llc/
    Colombo DiSalvatore’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/colombo-disalvatore-iii-1502139/

    Website: https://www.cbia.com/
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/cbia/

    • 30 min
    Growing The Computer Company

    Growing The Computer Company

    For The Computer Company president Kevin Barros, a career in IT was something of an accident.
    “I kind of started off individually on my own, just kind of doing a little bit of side work, make a few extra bucks on the weekends and nights,” he told the CBIA BizCast.
    Barros said he always liked technology, but never thought he’d own a company.
    “Slowly it kind of grew to one referral, to another referral.”
    Barros launched the venture with name KBIT Group, before acquiring Shell Systems in 2018.
    Through those early years, he was working by himself, while going to school.
    “Iit was very difficult, a lot of hours, a lot of white hairs, but it was all worth it in the end.”
    In 2020, Barros realized that he needed help to keep up with the demand and acquired The Computer Company.
    The company offers IT services for small and medium businesses, education institutions, and government entities.
    Those services include helpdesk support, networking, development and website design, and cybersecurity.
    The company also has data centers in Cromwell, and Las Vegas to help ensure disaster recovery capabilities.
    “Everyone has their own unique challenges,” Barros said. “But at the end of the day, the goal is the same.”
    “People want to be up, they want IT to work, they want it to be productive, and of course, they want it to be secure.”
    Barros said cybersecurity is becoming a bigger concern for companies, especially small businesses.
    “Even large companies have breaches,” he said. “But those can weather the storm, they can weather that breach and they could weather the bad publicity for a little bit.”
    “But the smaller guys don't have that luxury as much. They don't have the financial backing. So the impact is much greater for those smaller ones for sure.”
    Since Barros acquired The Computer Company,the business has grown from 12-13 employees to nearly 40.
    He credits that team for the company’s success and growth, adding that seeing his employees thrive is one of his favorite parts of his job.
    “The team is everything to us,” he said. “The company is not just me, it’s them.”
    “I love seeing when they kind of get really excited about tech and saying, ‘Hey, I figured this out.’”
    Barros said that as a Connecticut native, he’s committed to growing the business here.
    “This is my backyard,” he said. “I have this push to stay here even if there are some struggles.”
    Barros said growing the business is all about taking risks, and knowing that you aren’t always going to get a return on it.
    But he was encouraged by a family member to take the leap and grow the business.
    “He was kind of like, ‘Listen, you can do this,’” Barros said. “‘Yeah, it's gonna be stressful. Yeah, you're gonna hate it some days. But you gotta just do it.’”
    “And I really appreciated that.”
    Barros said that as he grew the business, he realized that acquiring companies is about a lot more than money.
    “You have to also think about that old business owner,” he said. “It’s kind of their baby.”
    He said that they want to know that their clients and employees will be taken care of.
    “It’s trying to show or build that trust with them to kind of say, ‘Hey, don't don't worry about it, I got it, we can take it to the next level.’”
    As for what that next level is for Barros and The Computer Company?
    He said they’re looking for additional acquisitions and bringing on more employees.
    “40 is cool. Four hundred would be better,” he said.

    Related Links:
    The Computer Company: https://computercompany.net/
    LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-computer-company-inc./
    Kevin Barros on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevin-barros-a55a2ba9/
    CBIA: https://www.cbia.com/

    • 27 min
    Combating Domestic Violence

    Combating Domestic Violence

    In a lifetime, one-in-four women and one-in-seven men will be affected by domestic or intimate partner violence.

    And each year, the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence serves about 40,000 people.

    “We are the state's leading voice for survivors and victims of domestic violence and their families,” CCADV president and CEO Meghan Scanlon told the CBIA BizCast.

    The organization has 18 member agencies across the state providing services ranging from sheltering and counseling to children’s, family, and survivor services.

    Their mission is to also reduce violence through outreach, education, training, technical assistance, and advocacy.

    “We made a lot of progress in terms of talking about it more openly and publicly, and there being reduced stigma and shame around sharing stories, which has been great,” Scanlon said.

    “But we still have a lot of work to do.”

    Scanlon said that one of her goals is to change the mindset around domestic violence from a criminal justice issue, to more of a public health issue.

    “The coalition is really focused on how do we get to people and provide them the education and training and awareness before they end up in the criminal justice system,” she said.

    One of the ways they hope to raise that awareness is by working with employers.

    “Statistically, one of the places that survivors feel the safest is in their workplace,” Scanlon said.

    “So oftentimes, it's one of the only places that they go to during a day where they're getting away from the abuse.”

    CCADV applied for a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to work with employers to provide basic awareness and education about how domestic violence impacts the workplace.

    Scanlon said that includes understanding performance issues, or safety issues if a perpetrator calls or shows up at a workplace.

    She said the education and awareness starts as small as having posters or magnets in the workplace.

    It can also include training for employers and employees and specialized training for those who raise their hand and say they want to be a go-to person in the office.

    The overall goal is to let employers and coworkers know what to look out for and what to do when somebody discloses they are in an abusive situation.

    That can be as simple as sharing information about ctsafeconnect.org or the statewide domestic violence hotline. That number is 888-774-2900.

    "If you can connect them to the resources that we have across the state, chances are we can we can work with them on a safety plan, we can make sure that they're being thoughtful around that strategy," Scanlon said.

    Scanlon said the resources aren’t just for a crisis situation, but can provide support or information to family members, coworkers or bystanders.

    “When somebody gets to a place where they disclose something that vulnerable to you, you have this moment to build trust with them and connect them to something,” Scanlon said.

    “It's very much a culture shift for employees and employers to recognize that this is something that happens in the workplace, and we should know what to do if and when it does happen.”

    If you or someone you know needs help, or more resources, visit https://www.ctsafeconnect.org/ or call or text 888-774-2900. It’s free, confidential, and available 24/7. And for more information about the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, visit https://www.ctcadv.org/

    • 28 min
    The Toilet Entrepreneur

    The Toilet Entrepreneur

    Jeremy Bronen didn’t set out to be known as “the toilet entrepreneur.” 

    But four years after founding SedMed, that’s exactly what transpired. 

    “Essentially, we make toilet lifts to help older adults, people with disabilities get on and off the toilet,” Bronen told the CBIA BizCast.

    The concept behind the SedMed toilet lift is simple. 

    It mounts to any toilet and helps slowly lowers users down and locks for safety. When they are ready to get up, it lifts 80% of their body weight.

    “The problem was so big and I knew that a solution could solve this problem.”

    “I said, ‘I can make a great company and help people.’ And you know, what better career is there than doing those two things?” he said.

    SedMed website: https://www.sed-med.com/

    • 27 min
    Early Success for Connecticut Bagel Business

    Early Success for Connecticut Bagel Business

    Like many people Adam Goldberg started to bake during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Goldberg specifically baked bagels, selling them to friends out the back window of his kitchen in Westport.

    That hobby turned into an idea that became PopUp Bagels.

    “Fast forward two or three years, he opened a store in Westport, opened another store in Greenwich, and then in the city, and it's really just exploded,” PopUp Bagels CFO Jamie Lissette told the CBIA BizCast.

    PopUp has achieved success quickly, thanks in part to social media.

    “It's just really organic, because people love the product. So it makes it really super easy.”

    Lissette discussed the company's Connecticut roots and plans for growth.

    “We only have five stores,” he said. “In the next six months, we’ll add almost seven stores.”

    “We love Connecticut,” Lissette said, adding "We've got this great runway to really become nationwide with the concept.”

    PopUp Bagels website: https://www.popupbagels.com/

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

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7 Ratings

Dboss028 ,

Informative and interesting

I love listening to Shannon talk to CT business owners and professionals. Tons of great content and interviews, highly recommend!

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Great Hosts

I really enjoy listening to these two. Great information, interviews and commentary.

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