Free press is an American right, granted by the First Amendment… “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of free speech, or of the Press…” In fact, the First Amendment has been interpreted by the Supreme Court as applying to the entire federal government (even though it is only expressly applicable to Congress). Since its origin the core purpose of the American press is that of “bulwark of liberty”, and as watchdog for the public interests, guarding against the very abuses of power it is being subjected to by the current administration. It is dangerous enough that the press is increasingly limited by economic and other challenges, but to put its voice further in jeopardy is disturbing.

The Society of Professional Journalists and several other journalism groups believe our government is guilty of “politically driven suppression of the news”. Where there is power, there is also a need for accountability and the public’s right to know cannot be deliberately eroded.

We discussed this issue on the Freedom of Information Act TV program recently and how the Press is continually challenged when it needs timely information in order to do its work. Shawn Paul Wood, a Dallas blogger, says, “Some argue that controlling media access is needed to ensure information going out is correct. But when journalists cannot interview agency staff, or can only do so under surveillance, it undermines public understanding of, and trust in, government. This is not a “press vs. government” issue. This is about fostering a strong democracy where people have the information they need to self-govern and trust in its governmental institutions”.

Read the rest of Paul’s thought provoking blog found here: Journalism Groups to President Obama: ‘Let Us Do Our Jobs!’ by Shawn Paul Wood.

Thank you Paul.

Niki Nicastro McCuistion
Press Club of Dallas

Peter F. Drucker, hailed by Business Week, as “the man who invented management,” influenced countless leaders through his writing, teaching and consulting. The author of 39 books, Drucker’s work inspired leaders and managers across all industries in both the public and private sector. Drucker was driven by an insatiable curiosity of the world around him and a deep desire to make the world a better place. In 2002, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

The organization and practice of management today is derived largely from the thinking of Peter Drucker. “He taught generations of managers the importance of picking the best people, of focusing on opportunities and not problems, of getting on the same side of the desk as your customer, of the need to understand your competitive advantages, and to continue to refine them. He believed that talented people were the essential ingredient of every successful enterprise”. – Business Week

Peter Drucker was also one of Corporate America’s most important critics. He became disenchanted with capitalism and its rewarding greed rather than solid performance, and he increasingly turned toward work and writing for the nonprofit sector.

“My job,” he once lectured a consulting client, “is to ask questions. It’s your job to provide answers.” And question he did, which is partly why he influenced so many.

Joining McCuistion are guests who knew him well, hired him as their consultant, and highly respected and admired him as a friend and colleague:

  • Zachary First, PhD: Senior Managing Director, The Drucker Institute
  • Bob Buford: Founding chair of the Drucker Institute, author of Drucker & Me, and Halftime, and
  • Myron E. (Mike) Ullman III: CEO of J.C. Penney, (Chair of Federal Reserve Dallas and on the board of Starbucks).

Each talk about the influence Peter Drucker had on their work and life…

Bob Buford offers personal insights from when he first met Peter Drucker, who became his consultant, mentor and friend. He says, “He’s the person that I most admired on earth”. Drucker taught him, “go big or go home”. In his book, Drucker & Me, a testimony to a long and heartfelt friendship, Buford inspires us to remember that “when we respond to our own calling in work, family and friendship, we leave a legacy that changes lives forever”.

Zachary First reminds us of a Harvard Business Review article by Drucker, now a classic, What Business Can Learn from Nonprofits. Drucker’s point, he says, “is that nonprofits have figured out how talented individuals give their time, talent and treasure to a cause, for no monetary reward… The future of business belongs to organizations who can learn from that”.

Mike Ullman says, “People want to be part of something bigger than them. Peter was all about understanding the customer and understanding people. My career has been invested in managing what the customer’s expectation is and what kind of trust can you build so that people want to be part of what you want to accomplish”.

This inspiring episode is one you don’t want to miss.

Visit the Drucker Institute’s website ( and your favorite book store for copies of Drucker & Me by Bob Buford and Drucker classics, Management Challenges for the 21st Century; Managing the Nonprofit Organization and The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization -at the very least.

As you can tell Peter Drucker was one of my heroes and role models. So please join us, as we continue talking about things that matter with people who care.

In case you’re out of town, here’s the link to the McCuistion TV episode, The Legacy of Peter Drucker: The Father of Modern Management.


The student debt crisis has affected many Americans. Though the rise in college student debt is often blamed on higher tuition costs, a radical shift in student financial aid–from a system relying primarily on need-based grants to one now dominated by loans–has been a major contributor to the challenge.
Left to Right:

Thomas Keefe, Dennis McCuistion and Michael Sorrell
The student debt crisis has become a significant problem in the United States. Student loans have quadrupled in the last 8 years. Delinquency rates are high and millions of American students are facing massive debt and liability. The student debt crisis is hurting the American economy and in some cases forcing students to drop out of school because of excessive debt. Host, Dennis McCuistion, asks, “Is college even affordable for most, if at graduation future salaries will not compensate for the cost incurred?”Joining McCuistion to talk about the student debt crisis, why the right college is an investment, how a first class education can be affordable, and why a college education matters are:
Niki and Paul Quinn College guests

Higher education today is critical for most job opportunities. A college graduate will make a million dollars more in their lifetime than a high school graduate. The 3 major kinds of universities; public comprehensive, for profit universities and liberal arts can each be cost effective in its own way. Yet, too often students and their families are not adept at shopping for the right school. Many individuals are either unaware of safe lending options, or are taken advantage of by profit-seeking companies. Students need to become more aware of their options, the federal and private lending available to students and the many free or subsidized options that can reduce overall debt and still provide a good education.

Debt may not be an issue for those who can afford it- but many others have no choice. Join us to learn the truth behind the student debt crisis.



As always we continue talking about things that matter with people who care.

Thanks for joining us…


Niki Nicastro McCuistion

Executive Producer/Producer

Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Corporate Culture Change Consultant and Problem Solver

Google+ Profile

Income inequality is growing and it is one of the most debated public policy, social-political challenges today. Yet, economists are divided as to whether income inequality is negative or positive and what the actual implications of such disparity are.

The share of national income going to the richest 1% of Americans has doubled since 1980, from 10% to 20%, roughly where it was a century ago. Even more striking, the share going to the top 0.01%-some 16,000 families with an average income of $24m-has quadrupled, from just over 1% to almost 5%. That is a bigger slice of the national pie than the top 0.01% received 100 years ago. – Income Inequality from

Left to Right: Dennis McCuistion, Robert Lawson, Niki McCuistion, Pamela Villarreal and Richard Scotch
Millions of Americans have been hurt by the recession. Many workers have dropped out of the workforce, since they can’t find an adequate job and there is a growing disparity between the “haves” and those who can barely get by.

By a 60% to 36% margin, most Americans feel the economic system unfairly favors the wealthy. Ironically, America’s middle class is no longer the world’s most affluent, even though America’s rich still make more than other countries rich. Most Americans also believe that the opportunity to get ahead financially exists for those who make the effort (Income Inequality information from

The majority of Americans believe our government can and should do at least something to reduce poverty and the gap between the rich and everyone else. The raising or lowering of taxes, raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits are all debates for how to resolve the income inequality gap.

There is truth on both sides. Income inequality has causes; are there solutions?

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, to discuss all sides of this issue are:

  • Robert Lawson, PhD: Fullinwider Centennial Chair in Economic Freedom at Southern Methodist University
  • Richard Scotch, PhD: Professor of Political and Policy Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Pamela Villarreal: Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.

It’s been suggested that income inequality can lead to negative economic, social and political problems. Is this issue just an American phenomenon? What is the truth behind the income inequality concern?

Join our experts as we continue talking about things that matter with people who care.

Niki Nicastro McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Corporate Culture Change Consultant and Problem Solver
Google+ Profile

2201 – 07.16.14

Dallas ISD has agreed to explore the possibility of allowing home-rule. At the recent U.S. Conference of Mayors, held in Dallas, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, a staunch supporter of education said, “education is not a partisan issue. It is an issue for all of America”. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings supports an effort “to transform our school systems’ governance into a home-rule district, which would allow us greater flexibility to implement policies that will help our school districts”.

Left to Right: Jeronimo Valdez, Niki McCuistion and Rena Honea

The proposed home-rule initiative appears to be moving forward. Dallas ISD trustees recently approved the appointment of a 15-member home-rule charter commission, which gave the commission up to one year to write a charter that would determine how the district operates and is governed. A majority of voters would have to approve the charter in an election with at least a 25 percent turnout (source: Dallas News).

Dallas ISD has approximately 160, 000 students, 85% of them are minority students, some of whom are low income. While some schools perform very well and there is an improvement in test scores, many believe there is still much to be done to improve the system. Opponents of home-rule say there are better solutions to improving the city’s public schools.


Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, are guests on both sides of the controversy:   

Mr. Valdez says, “one of the issues is chronically low performance at DISD. While there are tremendous pockets of excellence and many great teachers, there is considerable disparity between the really good schools and those that are suffering. We examined the situation and asked what can we do to systematically give the trustees, teachers, parents and students, the ability to really improve?”

School districts are different from one location to another and have different needs. The home-rule concept was created in 1995 by the Texas Legislature ( Texas’ Education Act, Chapter 12, home-rule portion says, if you meet certain requirements, you can free yourself from most of the state mandates and have local control over your school district, with local autonomy.

According to Ms. Honea, “when the law was written it was to create vouchers and charter schools. The vouchers were not passed by the legislature. Some of the things safeguarded in the law could be totally ignored if our district becomes a home-rule charter district, such as class size limits among others”. One of the concerns some educators have is the tenure and security of their jobs.

To date not one community in Texas has adopted home-rule. Dallas may well be the first to create such a home-rule district (see Chapter 12 of the Texas Education Code). Chapter 12 of the TEA code outlines the full process and the steps that need to be taken to take the home-rule charter to acceptance (, chapter 12 charter). Keep informed on this issue as it impacts many in our community- students as well as the businesses they would be employed by. Dallas is a vibrant and growing economic force and its citizens need a good education to be productive contributors and members of the community.

Thank you for joining us as we continue talking about things that matter.


Niki Nicastro McCuistion

Executive Producer/Producer
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Corporate Culture Change Consultant and Problem Solver
Google+ Profile


06.29.14 – 2125

Net Neutrality

Left to Right: Dennis McCuistion, Tom Giovanetti, Niki McCuistion and Peter Vogel

What happens with net neutrality may well impact you directly – personally and economically. The controversy over Net Neutrality is in the news on a daily basis. As a result of a Verizon lawsuit, (January of 2014), the DC District Court struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) net neutrality rules. The Court made it clear that the FCC has authority over Internet access generally; still it found that the open Internet rules specifically were built on a flawed legal foundation. The decision left it open for the FCC to decide what to do next to reestablish net neutrality. At the FCC’s Open Meeting in May 2014, the Commission introduced their proposal for net neutrality rules, which discuss the problems that occur when Internet Service Providers (ISPs) get to choose winners and losers online, but still allow for fast lanes and slow lanes online, and do not go far enough to establish meaningful net neutrality (credit Public Knowledge).

Net neutrality rules were established by the FCC in their 2010 Open Internet Order. These rules prevent ISPs like Verizon, AT&T and others from blocking or discriminating against certain online services. The 2010 order served to prevent large telecommunications firms from stifling competition and innovation online. It stated that the net neutrality rules were intended to “preserve the Internet as an open platform enabling consumer choice, freedom of expression, end-user control, competition, and the freedom to innovate without permission.” Ed Whittaker, former CEO of AT&T, said, “my pipes are being used for free and I’m not going to let them”.

Yet, without net neutrality rules in place, ISPs can prevent users from visiting some websites, provide slower speeds for services like Netflix and Hulu, or even redirect users from one website to a competing website. Net neutrality rules prevent this by requiring ISPs to connect users to all lawful content on the Internet equally, without giving preferential treatment to certain sites or services. In the absence of net neutrality, companies can buy priority access to ISP customers. Larger, wealthier companies like Google or Facebook can pay ISPs to provide faster, more reliable access to their websites than to potential competitors. This could deter innovative start-up services that are unable to purchase priority access from the ISPs. Also, if ISPs can charge online services to connect to consumers, consumers would ultimately bear these additional costs (for example, on their monthly Netflix bill or in the cost of products from a local online store).

The question of who pays for what is still open to debate. The decision is still out on who pays for what and when, and whose Internet access is more important. There is a lot of argument, smoke and hand waving to try to get parties to pay even more, but can you really control user choice?

Join host, Dennis McCuistion, and our well informed experts:

  • Vinton Cerf, PhD: One of the “fathers of the Internet”; Co-inventor of the Internet Protocol;

Joining us by telephone is:

  • Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel/ Policy Advisor
    American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Washington Legislative Office

… and in the studio:

Thank you for joining us as we continue talking about things that matter.


Is technology changing how students learn – for the better?

Sal Khan‘s Khan Academy, made an impact on the way students are being educated today. New ways of learning are challenging the traditional higher education model!

Join us May 18th, for a look at the pros and cons, with guests:

Left to Right: Adam Brackin, PhD, Niki McCuistion, Toni Portmann, Dennis McCuistion and Marjorie Hass, PhD

Left to Right: Adam Brackin, PhD, Niki McCuistion, Toni Portmann, Dennis McCuistion and Marjorie Hass, PhD

The traditional classroom model of students facing forward as a professor lectures is gone! Technology is changing higher education. There are many new ways of getting thoughts, learning and education to students – from learning environments like the Sal Khan‘s Khan Academy, where short video clips augment the learning process, to MOOCs, massive online learning courses, Minecraft and gaming models.

One example is Sal Khan‘s, Khan Academy. Austin College recently brought Sal Khan to Dallas. The Khan Academy’s mission is to get world-class education to everyone in the world for free. Using short video clips and digital content, students engage in a very different way.

The new ways of learning are challenging traditional college classes. Higher education needs to position themselves differently and move education forward in new ways that will engage, not lose the student and the college experience. Dr. Hass talks about what is being done at Austin College and the methods Sal Khan uses that help students learn and retain.

Still, retention is a critical issue. Getting students to remember what they’ve learned is a challenge. Toni Portmann’s Lockin shows us how their technology works through repetitive learning and reward. Portmann tells us that, students aren’t always hearing everything that’s said in the classroom. We, not just students, tend to filter, daydream and multitask, so consequently we remember less than 10-20% of what we hear. Teaching to remember and retain is critical. There is an amazing abundance of information, past, present and future but what good is it if we are forgetting how to remember?

As Brackin says, technology and video games add to but do not take the place of higher learning. One needs to ask how to embrace it without losing the student experience. How does one make the physical experience of learning valuable?

The bottom line is that education today and in the future is dramatically different from what our parents experienced.

It is digital, gaming, MOOCS and interactive, exciting and challenging…

Hope you join us as we talk about things that matter… with people who care.


Niki Nicastro McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Corporate Culture Change Consultant and Problem Solver
Google+ Profile


05.18.14 – 2120

Technology changes how college students learn!


Minecraft and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course’s) and more are changing the way kids are learning.

Today’s students are prepared to live and work in a digital world and have different learning expectations as a result. MOOCS, digital learning, gaming, distance learning and even popular video games are being used in college classrooms, changing the more traditional ways students learn. The uses of games like Minecraft are employed to teach different ways of telling stories that involve and strengthen the learning experience. Connected knowledge, narrative video labs and other forms of technology accelerate innovative learning and can be a cost savings as well.

Left to Right: Niki Nicastro McCuistion and Dennis McCuistion

Joining McCuistion are experts in the new world of interactive teaching:

  • Adam Brackin, PhD: Research Assistant Professor
    Arts and Technology, UT Dallas

  • Marjorie Hass, PhD: President, Austin College and
  • George Siemens, PhD:
    Executive Director of the LINK Lab
    (Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge)
    University of Texas Arlington

Dr. Brackin demonstrates the building of a cathedral, and how 23 of his students shared the space virtually using Minecraft as a tool to learn how they were going to capture video, and be able to chat using special software that allows for speaking to all or specific groups.

Dennis McCuistion addressing the studio audience

Dr. Hass tells us how this kind of learning allows for students and faculty to share virtual space and communicate with each other and with faculty; and be a helpful supplement to extend what happens in the classroom. Austin College hosted Sal Khan, founder of the popular Khan Academy, and we hear his perspective on learning online. We watch a video of her student’s digital collaboration with the Crow Museum, which led to the creation of virtual catalogs and new learning on global perspectives.

Joining us from Australia, Dr. Siemens (who has recently joined the University of Texas at Arlington), talks about MOOCS- massive open online courses taught by some of the world’s greatest thinkers and teachers. The term was coined in response to a course Dr. Siemens taught at the University of Manitoba in 2008. He wanted to experiment with the impact of making teaching available for free and held several courses online from 2008 to 2011. In 2011 when some Stanford University professors experimented with the concept- the process exploded- and today over 10 million learners are enrolled with the largest two MOOCS providers; Coursera and Udemy.

Education has become more complex- and digital learning is now expanding how we learn and retain information. Tune in to see how this “new” way impacts how we interact, collaborate and build a “brave new world”.

As always we continue talking about what really matters.

Thank you for joining us.


Niki Nicastro McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Corporate Culture Change Consultant and Problem Solver

Google+ Profile

05.11.14 – 2119

Bioterrorism is a silent killer. It’s an insidious weapon of mass destruction; a silent attack we may not even be aware of which can lead to illness, death and vast social disruption. Bioterrorism is deliberate, intentional and an attack against us, through the use of a virus, bacteria or other germs.

Joining McCuistion to talk about this deadly issue are panelists:

Nick Sloan and Gerald Parker

Left to Right: Nick Sloan and Gerald Parker

Gerald W. Parker, D.V.M., PhD, M.S:
Vice President for Public Health Preparedness and Response
Texas A&M Health Science Center and

Nick Sloan, Director of Emergency Management
Baylor Health Care System


Our experts inform us of the dangers of a bioterrorism attack and what is presently being done by law enforcement and health officials to research and prevent a panic. Although bioterrorism is a centuries old problem, we became more aware of its implications and use as bio warfare after the 9/11 Anthrax attacks. Anthrax itself is a virus. The attack, devised by one scientist, used only 1 gram of Anthrax, yet the 24 letters sent caused 22 people to be infected and resulted in 5 casualties.

While bioterrorism attacks could be on par with a nuclear power detonation; they are conducted at low cost and have low visibility. It is important to quickly define, mitigate and look for solutions. Preparedness and quick response are critical. Yet an attacker has the upper hand. With our highly mobile society, how does one find the point of origin? Category A and B diseases are reported immediately but days can lapse before that point of origin is found and many thousands could be infected. The inoculation period could take days to weeks.

Instant communication is ideal, yet has to be done without creating a panic. One of the roles of the Center for Disease Control is to research and prevent potential epidemics. There is a nationwide laboratory response network; a system of laboratories with uniform protocol standards which is the foundation of a bio surveillance system which lets us know of unusual infectious diseases. There is a tremendous integration between law enforcement and health officials and an on-going effort at research and prevention and we still need a more real time bio-surveillance system.

Tune in to find out how deadly this danger is and what is being done to prevent attacks that could cause a mass panic.

For Viewing on Your Mobile Device:

As always we continue talking about things that matter… with people who care.

Niki Nicastro McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Corporate Culture Change Consultant and Problem Solver
Google+ Profile 

Be sure to watch more McCuistion TV programs on our website

05.04 – 2122




2014 DCEO Excellence in Corporate Governance Award

Corporate governance essentially means the system by which a company is run. And if you need to get up to speed on it, there is one person in North Texas to call: Dennis McCuistion.

He’s a clinical professor and executive director at the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance at the University of Texas at Dallas. Having served on both public and private boards in a career that stretches back to the 1960s, McCuistion has learned a thing or two about what makes corporate boards work-and what makes them dysfunctional as well.

“It’s a question of teaching, mentoring, and sharing our lessons,” he says. Those he’s teaching-whether they’re students or real-world board members-”don’t have to make the same mistakes we made. They can make new ones.”

Much of the reading in McCuistion’s courses, in addition to textbooks, includes The Wall Street Journal. Many students “don’t read anything in newspapers,” he says. “They don’t know what the heck is going on.”

He also works with the National Association of Corporate Directors, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group whose aims include improving boards. “I’m in the boardroom, educating people who don’t think they need any educating,” he says.

Here’s the good news from McCuistion’s perspective: corporate boards are getting better at governance. Mindful of fiascos ranging from Enron to WorldCom and of resulting laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, boards are improving the quality of their work, he says.

“The whole idea of corporate governance before the year 2000 [had] an entirely different set of dynamics than today,” he says. “Boards do much better than they used to, which is great.” -J.B.

DCEO Magazine
May/June 2014

image2Bravery in Business

John Allison is about the only business executive (now think tank head) with the guts to write about the true causes of our continued financial crises (“Mr. Allison Goes to Washington,” November/December 2013). The world of crony capitalism is led by the big Wall Street banks and the Washington politicians and lobbyists, and the fact that the Fed turned 100 years old in December should remind us of the problems with power. Allison is one of only a few directors who will stand up and do what’s right, even if it’s not politically correct. With so many public companies doing work for the federal government , there are few left who can stand  up for free market capitalism.  He knows that our problems are due to a faulty philosophy – that of collectivism – and that only free markets and free minds can change that.

Dennis McCuistion
Host and C-Executive Producer