The cool thing about doing a sabbatical is that it isn't just for the person to get getting time off, but it's for everyone around them who has to fill in. When you look taking a sabbatical and we decided to put one forward where people of a certain point in the organization get one month off - paid at some point in time, they become available.

Sabbaticals become available every five years. They’re based on seniority. So when I institute this, we took our most senior people and we limited them to two. We said two people can go every year.

What you find out, is other people get to step up. People who are in sort of subordinate positions have to step up into the leadership position to take on some of those tasks for a month. You begin thinking a little bit differently about what you do as an organization. Most importantly, you give leadership lessons and on the job training to people who are your future leaders in the organization.

I can tell you after doing this for six years we have seen some people graduate into those roles because they show themselves to be more than ready to take on some responsibilities that we hadn't been asking them to do. I've not heard one complaint so far. You hear people talking years out what they're going to do, and I think it's become something that helps us provide a little bit more people to get them to be happier in their work.

As organizations, we don't have unlimited resources. We have to try to find those ways in which you could fill that pot with as much good stuff as you can often make up for a salary request. We’re trying to fill that place to really walk the walk, not just talk the talk about what makes us a good organization to work for. This is something we feel really firm about.

Direct download: Episode_177_Dan_Gilmartin_Starters_Sabbaticals.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT


My journey is not a fairytale journey, I think by any means. And I think that's where my kind of explains to you somewhere I guess I saw some things, and I wanted to do some things differently.


But most of that started with me. Because at that point in time in my life I started saying so what's in it for me what's in it for Chrissy. So what's the next step, right? So I got my degree. I'm ready to go like I want to be a director. I want to be a VP -  let's let's do it!


But that didn't come. And so I remember sitting there and I asked for promotions. I wrote really great letters that said why I should have been promoted. All of which got turned down by the CEO who just left - who is like my dad to me- an amazing man who really helped to build the character and me to help me transition into the CEO role.


But he turned me down many, many times and I remember walking out of his office going back. I felt like  I know nothing and I don't know what he's talking about.  I certainly deserve to be promoted. This is the next step.


I remember one day I came home and I was talking to my husband. I said  "I just don't get it. I love the credit union. I absolutely am in love with the industry and what the Credit Union Industry stands for. I love the people I work with, but it's just not fitting, I am I missing something.


That's when I kind of (figuratively) got smacked in the face by my husband (he's very good to me) and he said, and it was it was you - it's you, Chrissy. You're the problem. You're always looking for that self serving purpose. You're looking for the what's in it for Chrissy and what's next for Chrissy. You're not thinking about how do you go into that place every day and serve to exist or exist to serve others? And i remember going, oh my gosh, like that's the point that I'm missing, I'm in a service industry, but I'm meant to be a servant to the people that I'm working with and working for and the people that I was leading at that time.

Direct download: Episode_176_-_Chrissy_Siders_-_It_started_with_me.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We are taking our own advice and we are going to take a hiatus from producing weekly podcasts at PureReinvention. We have a big event coming up (Connect: Detroit on May 22 - there's still time to register)  and all of us here feel that we need to take a step back and assess how we can best build and present future content in more digestible and diverse ways. In order to make that happen, we need to take the advice we give so freely and take a timeout to assess how we can best create and convey future content to you.

We meet and get inspired by many people in our PureReinvention journey and we will continue to share their stories with you. Audio podcasts will certainly play a role, but we want to add to the mix through other means of communication by adding video and blogs. We want to keep things fresh and present the content to you in a way that entertains as well as useful to you.

In the meantime, tell us what you think. What do you like about our podcasts? What would you like to see changed? This is an invitation to connect with us. We certainly would love to hear from you! Stay tuned to this channel for future updates and remember, if you're ready to make a change, make it a change that lasts, make it PureReinvention!

Direct download: Episode_175_-_Taking_Our_Own_Advice.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Want to see reinvention in action? Look no further than the former Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association (now Check In Michigan). They have a new and innovative executive director and a board that is dedicated to serving the next generation in the Michigan hospitality industry. They hired the firm, Advance 360 to help guide them through the initial stage of this transition. Learn how reinvention ready organizations commence sustainable reinvention.




“It’s not a linear process by any means.” (9:07)

“Yes, the landscape is changing, but our role and how we champion this industry hasn’t changed.” (12:59)

“(Aspiration) not a dream state. It’s a destination that we have our eye and finger on.” (14:55)





  • (7:29) The feeling. The brand took flight.
  • (10:22) Serious movement.
  • (13:36) Engaging the marketplace.
  • (14:59) Synchronizing collaboration.
  • (18:16) Sifting through the raw data.


Tip of the Week

A brand is more than a logo. A brand expresses the organizational culture.



Direct download: Episode_174_MLTA_Rebrand.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

The interviews we conducted this month profiled success stories in reinvention readiness. Both Erin Patten and Dene Westbrook were ready to take the reinvention plunge. What did they have in common? We believe that they both had the four pillars of reinvention readiness: desire, curiosity, flexibility and confidence.

Everything begins with a desire to change your situation. Both Erin and Dene surrounded themselves with people who inspired them and pushed them to take the next step.

Both Dene and Erin also had Curiosity. A reinvention journey thrives on curiosity. They asked lots of questions and went outside their respective comfort zones.

They also showed flexibility. Successful reinvention only happens when you stretch your flexibility. You have to listen to the people you've surrounded yourself with and keep all options open.

Finally, both showed confidence. Once they did their homework, got a support group and they moved forward with the plan.


Want some help in your reinvention journey? Download this infographic (from the mobile app or go to our website) which can serve as a bookmark or an image you can keep by your desk.





“(0:44) "Are you willing to take on a new role?"


“(5:11) "The power of taking pause."



  • (0:31) Flexibility.
  • (2:59) Curiosity.
  • (4:40) Confidence.
  • (7:41) Desire.


Tip of the Week

Confidence is the fourth pillar of reinvention readiness. Rely on your support group and plan to give you the added boost you need to move things forward.



Direct download: Episode_173_the_four_pillars_of_reinvention_readiness.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Erin Patten is very accomplished with a Harvard business degree and a Kresge Fellow highlighting her impressive resume. She walked away from the standard career path to chase her dream of being an entrepreneur. In January 2018 she launched DaO Detroit. DaO stands for "defy all odds" and Erin personifies that sentiment.




“[My big leap] A natural progression of my career journey, my life journey. It just had to happen.” (3:21)


“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” –Lao Tzu (6:33)




  • (2:56) Disrupting one’s economic livelihood and thriving beyond fear.
  • (4:59) Simplify your messaging.
  • (10:04, 11:47) Connecting to the marketplace.


Tip of the Week

Flexibility is the third pillar of reinvention readiness. Keep all options open.



Direct download: Episode_172_Erin_Patten_DAO.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dene is a graduate of our STARTERS program last May. We saw from the beginning that she was reinvention ready and was in a great position to fly with her new promotion and added responsibilities with the Michigan Municipal League. Dene is a perfect example of what it takes to be reinvention ready. Listen as Mike talks to Dene about how she has built a network of support from her STARTERS experience and has excelled in her new position.




“I certainly have enough room to make my stamp on this place and strive for everything I want it to be.” (10:30)




  • (3:02) Knowing when you’re reinvention ready.
  • (4:50) A pivot in your style.
  • (9:01) Building on ah ha moments.
  • (11:43) From a doer to a communicator.


Tip of the Week

Curiosity is the second pillar of reinvention readiness. Are you asking questions and not judging answers?



Direct download: Episode_171_Dene_Westbrook.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Are you ready for a change? In order to make it a change that lasts you need to be reinvention ready! We’ll spend this month laying out the four pillars of reinvention readiness. You can use these pillars and ask yourself if you have what it takes to make the necessary changes to yourself and/or your organization.




“Are you ready for change?” (0:53)



Characteristics of reinvention readiness:

  • (2:03) Flexible.
  • (3:27) Curious; lean in.
  • (8:50) Confidence.
  • (9:44) Desire.


Tip of the Week

Desire is the first pillar of reinvention readiness. You have to really want to change if you’re going to be successful.

Direct download: Episode_170_Reinvention_Readiness_Final.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We end our focus on the fundamentals of move and the value of storytelling with a great discussion between Mike Bills and Jodi Schafer. We learned from our month's guests the value of storytelling to move ideas forward. We also learn the value of connecting with others emotionally using shared experiences and values.




“At the core, it’s about connecting with people on a very real level.” (1:49)





  • (1:17, 1:30) Back to basics.
  • (2:34) Multidimensional storytelling.
  • (9:03) Be unique and fluid.


Tip of the Week

Approach customers and stakeholders with "what do you need?" rather than "this is what I do."



Direct download: Episode_169_-_the_fundamentals_of_move.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Cornetta suffered a tragedy not so long ago by losing her father and found out about the details on the evening news. She needed to process her grief and took the opportunity to share her father's story through the Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers. Cornetta found that process to be so cathartic that she has dedicated her career to helping others to tell their stories. Listen as Mike talks to Cornetta about how storytelling helps to heal and the value of telling your own story.




“(Storytelling) It was impactful to me.” (12:58)


"It didn’t exist so I created it.” (18:18)




  • (11:08) Transferring the value of storytelling.
  • (11:40) Storytelling to connect neighborhoods.
  • (12:56) The why.


Tip of the Week

Look for what you share in common when communicating. You get much further when you make that connection.



Direct download: Episode_168_Cornetta_Lane_-_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Eric Thomas is a story teller. He's been one all his life. Now, he uses his unique skills to help his clients tell their stories. Listen this week as Mike gets Eric's unique perspective on how to move your cause forward through emotional connections.




“Storytelling saved my life.” (3:43)


"Remember that we are people." (11:17)





  • (3:32) The power of storytelling.
  • (5:44) The formula.
  • (15:47) Shifting the company culture.


Tip of the Week

Effective leaders tap into emotions to move ideas forward.



Direct download: Episode_167_Eric_Thomas.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Mike talks with this month's co-host, PureReinvention's very own Jodi Schafer, owner, HRM Services, Inc. Mike and Jodi discuss how Jodi is moving her company forward as well as discuss the March line up of interviews that we have in store for you.




“Knowing what you want to do and then having the courage to do it is really where the fruit starts to comes to life.” (1:08)





  • (1:14) Key elements of move.
  • (3:14) Have a measure of courage.
  • (5:53) Expecting growth to take place.


Tip of the Week

Knowing what you want is only part of the equation. It's the courage to move that idea forward that makes the success.


Direct download: Episode_166_Overcoming_the_fear_to_move.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Movement makes the whole PureReinvention process work. It's the purpose of the whole exercise. What makes movement work? Listen to Mike discuss the ingredients of movement with February's co-host, Shari Milliken, finance director of the Michigan Municipal League.




“Look outside the paradigm and go for it." (4:35)



  • (1:04) It's uncomfortable.
  • (1:28) Engagement.
  • (6:37) Willingness to fail.


Tip of the Week

Passion maximizes new opportunities and minimizes risk of failure.



Direct download: Episode_165_-_the_ingredients_of_move_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We've all heard of think tanks, but how many think and DO tanks have you heard of? Detroit Future City is committed to advancing the quality of life for all Detroiters. The organization accomplishes this by partnerships with residents and stakeholders using data driven strategies that promotes community and economic development. This week we talk with DFC's executive director, Anika Goss-Foster about how the organization works to move Detroit ahead for the next 50 years.





“Create partners to make action differently.” (15:29)


“It needs to be in everyone’s best interest.” (19:13)




  • (9:38) Think and do.
  • (11:51) Activating the involvement.
  • (14:07) The premise of reporting to solve a problem.


Tip of the Week

Movement without accountability is not possible. You need to assign people responsible and deadines to facilitate real movement.


Direct download: Episode_164_Anika_Goss-Foster.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

The Detroit City Football Club was founded in 2012 and is one of the most successful minor league soccer teams in North America. The team was founded as a vehicle to organize the community and regularly sells out its 7,000 seat stadium in Hamtramck. Listen as Mike talks with Sean Mann, CEO and co-owner of Detroit City Football Club about the club's founding and how they earned a loyal fan base.


“A gathering place in the city at a time when there's only a handful of restaurants and bars." (6:39)

“Being the host of the party instead of the life of the party." (11:03)


  • (4:03) Soccer as the vehicle for being active in the community.
  • (5:19) A growth spurt.
  • (7:16) A small neighborhood activity generates a large amount of enthusiasm.
  • (18:58) Creating a stronger financial footing.


Tip of the Week

Ask yourself: Is your customer experience being driven top down or bottom up?


Direct download: Episode_163_Sean_Mann.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We continue discussing the move fundamental in PureReinvention with our February co-host, Shari Milliken, finance director with Michigan Municipal League. Mike and Shari discuss executive development and the importance of listening.




“You have to continue to better yourself." (1:42)

“Bringing the leading edge to your people." (4:28)



  • (1:23) Importance of continuous movement in executive development.
  • (1:55) Executive awareness.
  • (4:02) Pursue change.
  • (4:39) Nurturing individualism.

Tip of the Week

The best listeners are also keen observers.


Direct download: Episode_162_Feb_Intro_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We are so excited to announce the launch of a professional development opportunity like no other. Connect: Detroit will be a one day experience in Detroit on May 22. This experience is designed for high functioning executives who are interested in rolling up their sleeves, feeling a little uncomfortable and experiencing the reinvention that is happening in Detroit. With Connect: Detroit, you'll have an opportunity to immerse yourself in the many success stories that Detroit has to offer and learn how you can take those experiences home with you and apply them to your personal success story. This week's podcast is a discussion between Mike Bills and Bonnifer Ballard (Executive Director - American Water Works Association - Michigan Section) on how Connect: Detroit came to be and what excites them about sharing this experience with others.




“Be all in.” (2:14)


“The best things happen when we’re a little uncomfortable.” (5:43)


“Reflection is a part of professional development.” (7:13)



  • (2:14) The role of empathy.
  • (3:45) The value of unpredictability.
  • (8:02) Creating accountability.


Tip of the Week

If you do the same things, you get the same results. If you're not happy with those results, try something different.


Direct download: Episode_161_Connect_-_Detroit_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

This is the second part of the Impression 5 reinvention case study with Noah Smith, Partner, Capital Services, Inc. (Listen to part 1 here.) Part 2 covers how the I-5 team used the PureReinvention fundamentals simplify, connect and move to attain the incredible growth they have enjoyed in recent years. 


“We got away from distractions.” (5:10) 

“The catalyst to bringing everyone else on board.” (10:37)


  • (3:41) Create a focus to simplify.
  • (7:32) Connecting networks in the community.
  • (14:40) Doing what’s impactful and necessary.


Tip of the Week

You can't move a plan forward without a focused, simple message.


Direct download: Episode_160_-_the_I5_case_study_part_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

The Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing, Michigan has seen a tremendous turnaround over the last few years under the leadership of Noah Smith. Listen as Mike and Noah discuss how I5’s board applied the PureReinvention fundamentals to position the organization into the growth phase that it has enjoyed in recent years.



“People were actually ready for a change … but there was nobody who was willing to spark it.” (7:00) 

“I want to do this. Train me.” (16:18)



  • (5:33) Disruption is an option.
  • (11:38) Demonstration of ownership.
  • (14:45) The brain trust parallels with mutual mentorship.


Tip of the Week

Moving from “wouldn’t it be nice” to “let’s do it” is the key to any success story.

Direct download: Episode_159_-The_I5_Case_Study_Part_1.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

While we were interviewing Marlin Williams, we discovered that she was responsible for key elements of the Compuware move to downtown Detroit from Farmington Hills in 2003. The story was fascinating to us and we decided to dedicate an episode to this part of Marlin's story.



“How do you cast a wider net?” (6:17) 

“I wasn’t afraid to ask.” (15:56)



  • (5:35) Making the move from suburbia.
  • (8:03) Shifting the corporate culture.
  • (13:24) A personal journey of continuous improvement.


Tip of the Week

Own your fear.


Direct download: Episode_158_-_The_Compuware_Relocation_Story.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Happy New Year! We are starting 2018 off with a peek into what's next for PureReinvention. Are you reinvention ready? We have some great offerings (including this podcast) for those who are committed to the reinvention journey.



“What’s next? … I’m looking for something that’s really going to stimulate me in a new way.” (4:35)

“It’s important for high functioning executives to get their hands dirty. Roll up your sleeves and actually solve the problem that you’re talking about.” (5:48)




  • (1:58) Stepping into the move fundamental.
  • (2:56) Connect: Detroit, a nontraditional executive leadership experience.
  • (4:48) The value add with an experiential learning experience.
  • (8:51) Are you ready to move with Connect: Detroit?

Tip of the Week

Now is the time to determine what is next for you.









August 2018
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31