Opportunity Knocks, Central Oregon’s business advisory organization, is in the process of choosing its Facilitator of the Year. Facilitators are the group’s key ingredient for inspiring and creating small business excellence.
Opportunity Knocks’ 28 teams of 12 members use volunteer facilitators to provide encouragement and direction for members’ businesses.
Al Eastwood, upon learning he was the 2010 Facilitator of the Year, said, “I was flattered and honored at the same time; it was a real complement.”
Eastwood was chosen because he demonstrated productive skills in leading a meeting, a willingness to help others by contributing to the issues of her/his members, a willingness to commit time and energy to the group and exemplary attendance.
Eastwood, the principal broker at Coldwell Banker Morris Real Estate, has been facilitating for Opportunity Knocks for 12 years. He said it’s important for owners of small businesses to have resources outside of their daily work routine where they can share their thoughts and ideas and discuss the challenges they face.
“This is what Opportunity Knocks is all about,” said Susie Stevens, the organization’s executive director, “providing an opportunity for members to lead their businesses to excellence through peer-to-peer advisory teams guided by volunteer facilitators.”
Both Eastwood and Stevens agree that the facilitators are the glue that helps team members think strategically, solve problems and achieve goals.
Eastwood said he has gained a lot, both personally and professionally, facilitating for the past 12 years. He said if someone is interested in acquiring skills that will help them in the day-to-day business world, becoming an Opportunity Knocks facilitator will only expand their business acumen.
Whether you are a facilitator or a member of a team, participating in Opportunity Knocks also helps improve personal relationships said Eastwood.
“All business people’s work and personal lives are so intertwined,” he added, “Opportunity Knocks gives us an opportunity to talk about those personal relationships and commitments at every level—employees, family, spouse, and children.”
Eastwood said membership in Opportunity Knocks keeps you current on business issues, closer to the business community and helps you stay fresh with your thinking and business skills.
One of the benefits of becoming an Opportunity Knocks facilitator is a free membership in the organization. It’s also a chance to hone your facilitator skills and enhance your ability to resolve conflict, a valuable skill in any situation. Becoming a facilitator also enables you to contribute to the broader community well being by helping team members improve their business operations, which then has a positive impact and ripple effect community wide.
Opportunity Knocks provides ongoing training and education to ensure that facilitators are getting the support and assistance needed to do an outstanding job.
Stevens said she is always on the lookout for individuals who are interested in becoming a facilitator and who share Opportunity Knock’s goal of creating small business excellence.
The 2011 Facilitator of the Year will be announced at Opportunity Knock’s annual meeting on September 13. Team members need to submit their nominations by August 12. For more information about joining Opportunity Knocks or becoming a facilitator, contact Susie Stevens at 541-318-4650 or visit www.opp-knocks.org.