National security is important to all of us and the government has set agencies like NSA, CIA and FBI in place to keep the country secure. Joining McCuistion to discuss and question the issues around national security and our basic freedoms are acknowledged experts in this field:

  •  Sahar Aziz: Board Member: American Civil Liberties Union of Texas
    Associate Professor, Texas A&M University, School of Law
  • Danny O. Coulson: Former Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI
    Co-Author: No Heroes: Inside the FBI’s Counter Terror Force
  • Josh Rovner, PhD: Director of Studies, Tower Center for Political Studies, Associate Professor of Political Science, Southern Methodist University
  • Gordon Dee Smith: CEO and Principal, Strategic Insight Group
    President of the Board, Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations

The national security discussion focuses on:

National SecurityAre national security agencies like NSA and the CIA really necessary for the safety and security of our country? While NSA surveillance has prevented terrorist attacks after 9/11, there have also been government abuses of this power. Without control, necessary oversight and judicial review this may continue to occur.

What is government’s proper role as it relates to gathering information? Does it include identifying and profiling certain “groups” of citizens and are there valid political, legislative and national security reasons for government to “spy” on Americans?

What data is being collected on citizens and what does it actually mean? Some of the metadata collected includes what telephone numbers are originating what calls and to whom, the length of calls and their constancy- and not the actual discussion held. The data’s purpose is to give an overall summary of individual activities. One piece by itself may not be important, but taken all together hidden early warning signs can emerge. Domestic metadata collection is in fact legal. Safety and security are important, however the American people are communicating they resent this type of government interference. Are there possible compromises and solutions?

Tune in – this program on national security impacts you.

Watch from your mobile device:

Thank you for joining us as we continue talking about things that matter with people who care…

Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Corporate Culture Change Consultant and Problem Solver
214-750-5157
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
Google+ Profile

***
04.13.14 – 2117

Edward Snowden has been called many things, not the least of which is traitor. Others applaud  his stance and call him a hero. On a recent TED talk, Snowden said, “Who I am does not really matter. What matters are the issues, the kind of government we want, the kind of Internet we want, the kind of relationship between people and society.”

Edward Snowden
Producer with Josh Rovner and Danny Coulson

As a contractor with the National Security Agency, Snowden  revealed certain classified documents to a select group of journalists. He says, “Things were done in secret, without public awareness or  the government having knowledge of these programs. I asked myself, how can I do ‘this’ in the most responsible way to maximize public benefit?”

The debate over Edward Snowden’s decisions has galvanized and polarized many citizens.  Joining McCuistion to talk about Edward Snowden and his impact on society and government are experts:

  • Danny O. Coulson: Former Deputy Director of the FBI
  • Josh Rovner PhD: Director of Studies, Tower Center for Political Studies at SMU
  • Gordon Dee Smith: CEO and Principal, Strategic Insight Group
  • Beatrice Edwards: Internal Program Director, Government Accountability Project

Our experts views are provocative and very diverse on the questions of is Edward Snowden a criminal; or a whistleblower who may be eligible for protection? Is Edward Snowden guilty of treason, defined as giving aid and comfort to enemies of the United States? Has he done extraordinary damage to U.S. Intelligence by  distributing inside information? And if innocent- why did he flee the country? Is he a hero, who has changed how the US will now gather intelligence?

Tune in and arrive at your own conclusions on this contentious issue.

As always we continue talking about things that  matter on issues that impacts us as citizens…

Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Aligning Purpose, Performance and People
Corporate Culture Change Consultant and Problem Solver
214-750-5157
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
Google+ Profile

***
04.06.14 – 2118

These are critical times for nonprofits. There are more social needs, yet fewer resources capable of addressing them. Government cutbacks and overwhelmed businesses simply can’t keep up with the growing demand for help. Funders are tapped out, leaving too many nonprofits without the financial capability to fulfill their mission.

Left to Right: Bob Wright, Niki McCuistion, Charlotte Keany, Dennis McCuistion & Brent Christopher

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, are key experts in the nonprofit community:

  • Brent Christopher: President & CEO, Communities Foundation of North Texas
  • Charlotte Keany: Former Director of Consulting, Center for Nonprofit Management; now retired, and
  • Robert Wright: Co-founder of Dallas Social Venture Partners

In order for today’s nonprofits to succeed they may need to evolve to a more sustainable culture and adapt at least a few best  business best practices. This proposed evolution incorporates different models including: venture philanthropy, social enterprise and proactive hands-on involvement from business leaders who bring business management and leadership advice to nonprofits.

What’s changing in the nonprofit world? What still needs to change? Each of our panelists bring a fresh perspective to the world of philanthropy. Bob Wright says, “we’re seeing a blurring, a combination of best practices of some of these sectors; business moving into nonprofit sectors with social enterprise, nonprofits emulating business practices as they try to become more accountable.”

Brent Christopher talks about how  the 700+ Communities Foundations around the country serve the charities in their community by “helping donors who are ambitiously compassionate make tomorrow better”. Community Foundations make grants on their clients behalf that give back to the community they live and work in, or  a donor can choose to be more involved through donor advised funds.

Charlotte Keany, former chair of the Social Enterprise Alliance – North Texas chapter, describes the social enterprise model. According to SEA, a social enterprise is a business whose primary purpose is the common good. Social enterprises use the method and discipline of business and the power of the marketplace to  advance their social,  environmental and human justice agendas. Commercial activity is a strong revenue driver- leading – hopefully to sustainability.By doing so they  create an unrestricted earned income stream, which can be used for much needed research, product development and revenue to run the nonprofit and grow the organization.


There is no question that many charities, the great majority of which have budgets under $500,000, need to look at different ways of doing business to fulfill their mission. This program led to my being elected the new Chair of the Social Enterprise Alliance of North Texas, and inspired collaboration with Jean Block- of Social Enterprise Ventures. Our collaboration resulted in a newly released book: The Nonprofit Guide to Social Enterprise: Show Me the Unrestricted Money. It’s a hands-on, practical, how-to on how to build sustainability through social enterprise (available on Amazon – use code Niki 114 ).

Niki McCuistion with Dan Pallotta

Dan Pallotta, author of Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential, joins in via a  previously taped interview. He says, “There’s been a popular admonition in the last 15 years; we want charities to act more like a business. What we mean by that is we want to draw more blood from the stone. We want them do even more with less. That’s the opposite of how businesses succeed. Apple didn’t succeed by spending less researching the multi-touch screen for the iPhone and iPad. I take tremendous issue with this advice to charities; you should start acting more like business. We’re not for a moment ready to allow charities to act more like business. We get upset when they pay their people the kind of money we pay in business… we get upset when they want to spend money on advertising… or take risks… Please stop telling charities to act more like a business when we won’t give them permission to do that. It’s abusive.”

To continue the work that charities do, new ways must be explored, current practices examined and decidedly more conversations like this one must take place.

We challenge you to get involved in your community by volunteering and writing that check. Investigate the nonprofits that resonate with your personal and corporate mission, jump in and change the world.

Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning,
Consultant and Problem Solver
214-750-5157
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
Google+ Profile

In the medical profession it is a given that patients always comes first, and policies are always patient centered. There are also growing challenges with affordable health care, Medicare and rising costs, which often mean doctors are underpaid, overworked and smothered by regulations. Ever increasing regulatory burdens are getting in the way of providing the help patients need. In fact, in some cases it is less expensive for a physician to give away his or her care, as charging for it is sometimes too cumbersome and expensive.

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, are guests:

  • Michael Deegan, MD, DM – Clinical Professor of Health Care Leadership and Innovation, University of Texas Dallas
  • Stephen Brotherton, MD – President-Elect, Texas Medical Association

Younger doctors are leaving school with increasing debt and older doctors are rethinking whether they want to stay in the profession, given the challenges they face. Yet if our present health care system moves forward with the Affordable Health Care Act as it is structured today there will be more patients needing care, with fewer available doctors.

As always we’re talking about things that matter… with people who care. Thanks for joining us.

Niki Nicastro McCuistion, CSP
Executive Producer/ Producer
Management Analyst, Speaker, Consultant
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
214-750-5157

***

2012 – reairing

Health care costs are escalating, and while many employees are covered, fully or in part by their employer, rising costs pose problems for both.

Left to Right: Scott Flannery, Cyndie Ewert, Dennis McCuistion, & Neisha Strambler-Butler

Employers are concerned with managing costs and it is in fact many companies fastest growing budget concern. Rising costs are making health care a benefit that many companies find more challenging and is resulting in their asking employees to share in their policy premiums. Wellness strategies are increasingly being used to help employees be more aware of how to stay healthy. Yet getting involvement is not always easy and participation levels are still low.

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, are guests:

  • Scott Flannery – CEO, United Health Care, North Texas
  • Cyndie Ewert – Director, Benefits & H.R. Services, Energy Future Holdings
  • Neisha Strambler-Butler – Manager, Health Benefits & Wellness, Texas Instruments

The Affordable Care Act presents even more challenges. Implementing its new regulations is a challenge that impacts a company’s decision making toward costs. Can employees stay competitive if they don’t provide full coverage? What kind of compromises are needed to deal with this growing issue?

The options are confusing to both companies and employees.

Niki Nicastro McCuistion, CSP
Executive Producer/ Producer
Management Analyst, Speaker, Consultant
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
214-750-5157

***

2011 – 01.06.13

We go to hospitals only when we have to- so knowing what is involved in the final hospital bill, how to determine how much your insurance company will pay and what you will have to pay are questions you want the answers to beforehand. And, if you’re on Medicare, how does this factor into the equation?

Hospitals provide critical services to us all… they are tremendous repositories of underutilized, excellent brainpower. Hospitals can be an even better resource for the community, and yet there are problems with quality, cost and complexity, in how hospitals bill and how they get reimbursed. Increased problems with electronic records so as to provide better access to data, end of life care issues, and the transition from incentives and fee for service make for greater complexity. The present system of health care and the consolidation of both hospitals and insurance companies are confusing to most of us.

Panelists Include:

  • Stanley F. Hupfeld – Former President/CEO of Integris Health System and author of Malpractice: How the Politicians Made a Mess of Health Reform
  • John B. McWhorter III – President, Baylor University Medical Center; Senior VP, Baylor Health Care System
  • Barclay Berdan – COO, Senior VP Texas Health Resources
  • Scott Flannery – CEO, United Healthcare System

For most people, health insurance is provided in whole or part by their employer. We rarely read our policies and don’t know our choices. This program is designed to give you a look at health care from the hospitals’ perspective and to see risk and regulations as an insurance company views them so you can better understand the choices that you may need to make if you are ever faced with entering a hospital.

Talking about things that matter… with people who care.

Niki Nicastro McCuistion, CSP
Executive Producer/ Producer
Management Analyst, Speaker, Consultant
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
214-750-5157

***

Re-airing

How do you turn on innovation in your culture? Terry Jones: Author of On Innovation, Founder, former CEO of Travelocity and Founding Chairman of kayak.com, joins McCuistion for a rousing discussion on what innovation is and how to create it in your own organization.

Terry JonesSpeaking from his experience at American Airlines, Terry Jones credits the late Max Hopper, his former boss and mentor, for his outlook on innovation. Max Hopper was the leader in channel automation and automating your customers. Terry defines innovation as more than having ideas. Innovation is about putting your ideas to work. A culture that allows for and encourages experimenting, failing and learning from mistakes, such as he had at American and the Sabre division is a critical component.

Terry Jones believes that the leader encourages the process or not, reaching throughout the organization, top to bottom, for the brightest and best ideas, listening to them. And when an idea does not succeed, a leader coaches, not criticizes. It’s about encouraging a culture of communication.

Important is hiring those who may not fit in- who shake up the company and contribute a new dynamic. According to Terry Jones, being comfortable is not good. If all an organization’s present revenue is based on old products, he asks, “Where will you be in the future?”

  • 70% of innovation is about spiffing up what you already have.
  • 20% is keeping close to what you have.
  • 10% is about radical ideas.

The 70% of success comes from the 10% radical ideas that are put to work. Innovation then is not about incrementalism or a “we’ve always done it this way” mentality.


Join us to listen and learn from a master innovator on what it takes to be innovative in today’s super connected, social networking world.

Talking about things that matter… with people who care.

Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning,
Consultant and Problem Solver
214-750-5157
nikin@nikimccuistion.com
Google+ Profile

Steve Bartlett and Bruce Freed join the McCuistion Program to discuss business and politics and whether or not they are a toxic mix.

Many people feel too much money is spent on political campaigns and lobbying activities – especially from Unions and other corporations who pursue their own special interests, rather than that of the general public.

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, are:

  • Steve Bartlett: Senior Advisor Treliant, Former CEO Financial Services Roundtable, and Congressman- R Texas
  • Bruce Freed: President/ Founder, Center for Political Accountability

Steve Bartlett, Bruce Freed and Dennis McCuistionThe increase in “secret monies” (undisclosed contributions) poses a serious risk to companies who could then be faced with extortion and shakedown threats. The rise in 501 (c)(4)’s, who may have a close affiliation with elected officials and less public reporting of where their funds go, is also bringing more attention to this issue. Shareholders and corporate directors feel strongly about disclosure and accountability. Both are necessary because of the risks that corporate political spending poses and because it is after all a matter of good corporate governance.

A 2013 CPA- Zicklin study found that among the top 200 companies in the Standard and Poor’s “500″:

  • Almost 70% make some disclosure of direct political spending.
  • 61% have Board oversight of political spending.
  • 57% are open about their payments to trade associations.
  • 35% disclose their payments or have policies against giving to 501 (c) (4)’s.
  • 118 companies across the country had agreed to disclose political spending and give their boards more oversight over this issue.

Yet there are many decisions a company must make, economic, tax and  regulations decisions that are central to its welfare. And, not to mention, there is a risk to not being more politically involved. Almost every decision that affects businesses in this country is made through the political, legislative and public policy process.

Is it possible that  corporation’s, their shareholders and individuals may actually need to be more, not less involved so they can express their views on what impacts them?

Transparency and being knowledgeable is critical to a company’s reputation and all of us need to be savvier about this issue. So tune in and see what the experts have to say, pro and con, about an issue that affects us all.

Join Steve Bartlett, Bruce Freed and Dennis McCuistion as we talk about things that matter… with people who care.

Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning,
Consultant and Problem Solver
214-750-5157
nikin@nikimccuistion.com

The question is: Are CEO salaries comparable to what they’re contributing to the value of their corporation? If so, this may justify what some would consider an outrageous amount. If not, is the company actually losing money, so it is in fact unfair pay? If compensation isn’t tied to performance then “excessive” compensation is a problem and should be questioned. - Excerpt

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CEO SalariesJoining host, Dennis McCuistion, to talk about CEO salaries are:

  • Linda Wilkins: Tax Attorney, Wilkins, Finston Law Group
  • Marc Hodak: Managing Partner, Hodak Value Advisors

Headlines often blare: CEO of such and such company is earning $50,000,000 a year, which by the standards of ordinary salaries seems outrageously high.

The question is: Are CEO salaries comparable to what they’re contributing to the value of their corporation? If so, this may justify what some would consider an outrageous amount. If not, is the company actually losing money, so it is in fact unfair pay? If compensation isn’t tied to performance then “excessive” compensation is a problem and should be questioned.

Tying compensation significantly – 75 to 80% of that compensation to actual delivered performance is a metric many companies are adapting. Often the numbers we see are a combination of factors. What the headline may reflect is actually what the SEC calls a “funny” number, not cash in someone’s pocket, but equity compensation, which an exec may forfeit if performance is not achieved.

There are two ways of providing equity: service or time based. Performance shares provide a second layer of performance an executive has to achieve: profitability, earnings, stock price targets, or return on equity among others.

Yet, while some may say that given the way CEOs are actually compensated, executive compensation is not excessively high, a disturbing trend is contributing to the gap in pay today. In the 60′s and 70′s the average CEO’s salary was 20 to 30 times higher relative to the average worker’s pay. In the 90′s that figure ballooned to 200-300 times the pay of the average worker.

Congress has actually contributed to how corporations are now compensating executives as more corporations take advantage of tax code loopholes. A corporation’s board has to ask what’s fair and what’s in the best interest of their shareholders. Numbers are public, unjustified severance packages sometimes have nothing to do with how performance was achieved, and the public is calling for more transparency.

Tune in to see how CEO salaries actually work, what is considered unfair, how socially conscious companies such as Whole Foods handles executive compensation, and how all of this impacts you and the cost of doing business.

Talking about things that matter… with people who care.

Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning,
Consultant and Problem Solver
214-750-5157
nikin@nikimccuistion.com

 

Only 2% of Americans have an adequate pension or retirement account. Yet while the picture appears to be doom and gloom our experts offer sound advice- it’s not too late to turn the picture around to be able to retire with dignity.

Joining host, Dennis McCuistion, are guests:

    • Alan Goldfarb, CFP, AIF, MBA – Managing Director: FSG Advisors
    • Brooks Hamilton – Attorney, Founder: Brooks Hamilton and Partners
 Dennis McCuistion and Alan Goldfarb on American Retirement

Dennis McCuistion and Alan Goldfarb

Inflation, lack of savings and investments and the last several years’ economy has changed the economic landscape for many Americans; making it almost impossible for many to retire. 95% of Americans may well run out of money in their retirement. The American dream of retiring with dignity is gone.

Compounding the problem is increased life expectancy, which has gone from 47 years of age in 1900 to 77 years; a gain of 30 years in less than 100 years. In 1900 retirees in the US comprised less than 5% of the population and lived only a few years past retirement. Today retirees are 1/3 of the population and live for decades past retirement.

Brooks Hamilton while taping the episode.

Brooks Hamilton while taping the episode.

With inadequate investment returns, some 401ks actually showing a negative return (when adjusted for inflation), and pensions, social security and savings on shaky ground, how will retirees maintain their lifestyle and pay their bills? In 1970 Americans saved 10% of their pay. Today they average 1-2% savings. Why did worker savings nose dive? Today: 29% of Americans have savings of less than $1000.55% of Americans did not save 1 cent last year.34% of adults say they have no money saved for retirement.Americans have $772 billion in credit card balances.Last year more Americans filed for bankruptcy than graduated from college.Last year more Americans filed for bankruptcy than filed for divorce.42% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.55% spend more than their annual income.33% of retired Americans rely almost solely on social security payments. Tune in to learn more about American retirement.

Talking about things that matter… with people who care.

Niki N. McCuistion
Executive Producer/Producer
Organizational Culture, Governance and Strategic Planning,Consultant and Problem Solver
214-750-5157
nikin@nikimccuistion.com

Be sure to watch more McCuistion TV programs on our website www.McCuistionTV.com.

American Retirement