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‘Game show’ to aid unemployed

Innsbrook event designed to boost skills, prospects
The answer is: Prospective employees and potential employers.

The question is: Who stands to benefit from the super-sized board game being held in Innsbrook this month?

On Jan. 26, a former corporate sales trainer who lost her job is bringing a unique game to The Virginia Employment Transition Center.

In the 18 months since her former company folded, Kay Taylor of Glen Allen has developed “Winning the Training Game,” an oversized board game and interactive corporate training tool useful for team building and polishing skills.

Judges for the game will be hiring managers, recruiters and senior leaders from Richmond-area companies – and the players will be job-hunters hoping to catch their eye.

Posing such open-ended questions as “What are three ways to calm down an angry customer?” or “Give two examples of how might you establish rapport during a networking event,” the game provides participants with the opportunity to stand out as an individual -- while engaging players on teams so that no one is on the spot.

The game resembles a resume come to life, says Taylor, as judges observe how people interact with others and think on their feet.

“When you’re unemployed, you want to make yourself stand out from the masses,” says Taylor. “As an employer, you want to see something beyond a resume to help you determine if that person is a good fit for your business.”

‘Jeopardy’ for job-hunters
The game, which includes a large tabletop board, oversized dice, playing pieces, play money and question cards, is played with up to 12 people working together in teams. The judges run the game, ask the questions, and award game dollars for answers; the team with the most dollars at the end wins.

Based on Taylor’s 20 years of sales training experience, the game was designed as a tool for teaching sales skills to professionals. By teaching professionals how to handle objections, stay motivated and work in teams to reach goals, the game helps hone their communication skills and build confidence at the same time.

Taylor says she got the idea for the game from her own practice of using game-show-style experiences in corporate training.

“When I did a day of training,” she says, “I ended the day with something fun, such as my own version of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ or ‘Jeopardy.’”

The Jan. 26 event will also include a networking hour at which attendees can mingle and share their contact information with the local business and government leaders who will act as judges.

Among the organizations sponsoring the Taylor event is Career Prospectors, an organization that helps job seekers and students navigate career transition. Founded in 2002 by Charlie Wood, president of Attributes For Success, the all-volunteer group has more than 1,000 members who attend weekly meetings and learn from presentations by community leaders, recruiters, career coaches and business owners.

“Hundreds of those members have found jobs,” says Wood, “yet they remain in the network to support other job seekers with information, contacts, leads, and job postings.”

With core program topics that include networking, self-marketing, elevator pitches, staying positive and helping others, the Career Prospectors group is not only well-suited as a sponsor of the Kay Taylor event, but as a “pre-season” warm-up venue. At a December meeting of the group, the program featured a preparation class that allowed job-seekers to play practice rounds of “Winning the Training Game” and benefit from expert critiques prior to “the big game.”

“A critical benefit,” says Wood of the group, “is the support and encouragement we provide each other throughout the job search.”

As one member notes on the website, networking is not just about collecting contacts; it’s also about garnering that valuable but oft-overlooked bonus of positive feedback.

“The Career Prospectors group helped me to get a shot in the arm,” wrote the member, “right when I needed it.”

Going global?
With any luck, the Jan. 26 event will also provide a shot in the arm for local job-seekers and employers – not to mention another successful showcase of a game that appears to be on the path to international recognition.

After market testing her game, Taylor launched it last spring at a gathering of the American Society for Training and Development – and sold the sample before she left the site.

Now she has customized the 130-question game for business-to-business, automotive, insurance, distribution, real estate and customer service niches, and is marketing the game internationally. The set also includes 30 blank cards so that individual businesses can write their own questions and answers and create a specialized training tool.

What’s more, Taylor has applied for the Donald Trump television show, “The Apprentice” – and even though she missed the deadline for consideration for the recent season, Trump producers have shown interest and are still in touch.

If a recent board game event held at the Jobs Assistance Ministry is any indication, local job-hunters will meet with success as well. The JAM event in August resulted in three direct hires, in addition to abundant opportunities for prospective hires to interact with employers, both at the meeting and afterwards.

At any rate, says Taylor, the Innsbrook game show event is sure to be fun, lively, and educational.

“People get really caught up in the game and their energy comes through.”

The “Winning the Training Game” networking event, sponsored jointly by R. Rushton Paul Consulting, LLC and Career Prospectors, JAM, Virginia Career Network, the Henrico Employment Transition Center, and Kay Taylor, will take place from 4 - 6 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Virginia Employment Transition Center at 4060 Innslake Drive. The event is free and open to all, but participants MUST register in advance with a participating group (Career Prospectors, The Virginia Employment Transition Center at Innsbrook, St. Michaels-Jobs Assistance Ministry, Capital Area Workforce Center or Virginia Career Network) to take part in the live event. Registration is also available at meetup.com/Employment-Transition-Center-at-Innsbrook or by calling Kevin Dumville at 366-2610. 

Career Prospectors meets Tuesday mornings at Three Chopt Presbyterian Church, 9315 Three Chopt Road. There is no cost to join or attend. Meetings begin with coffee and networking at 7:30 a.m. and programs run from 8 - 9:30 a.m. For information call Charlie Wood at 360-0335 or visit career-prospectors.com.

For information about Kay Taylor visit http://winningthesellinggame.com
.


Community

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


Take in a show at several locations this weekend! West End Comedy will provide laughs at HATTheatre; the production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes” will close Sunday; and the youth theatre company CharacterWorks will present “Footloose” at The Steward School. Another show perfect for the kids – “Despicable Me 2” is playing at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center tonight. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Is there an Echo in here?

‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.

But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.

That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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Tuckahoe Library, 1901 Starling Dr., will host the workshop “DIY Kitchen Cosmetics” at 2 p.m. Make your own moisturizing sugar scrub, tasty lip gloss and more using simple household ingredients.… Full text

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