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Career Spotlight

Small Business Advocate

If you possess great people skills, have a knack for logistics, enjoy travel and are cause-oriented, a career as a small business advocate might be for you. While Clide H. didn't exactly lobby for the job, his track record for reliability, personable attitude and openness to new opportunities immediately made him the ideal candidate. Clide remains as enthusiastic about his job as he was that first day. "It's a privilege to be in a position where our job is to make a difference and give others a better chance at succeeding."

Championing the Underdogs

So what exactly does a small business advocate do? They bring smaller emerging businesses together to give them the strength of a much larger, collective voice. This way, smaller business are represented as visibly as their larger competitors during governmental decision-making in the local, state and federal levels.

In addition, small business advocate organizations give members a venue in which they can network, as well as take advantage of their combined leverage for volume discounts. This provides members with affordable access to what they need to run their business: from healthcare and insurance providers, to office supply retailers.

Jack of All Trades

Clide's workday begins at 7:45 a.m. His hours are really from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but he developed the habit of being early when he was the sole employee in his department. This extra 15 minutes allows Clide to ease into the day by getting a cup of coffee and attending to voice and e-mail that came in during the off hours. By eight o'clock, he and his local team — which has grown to six people in the last year – are ready to provide direct support to field personnel who call for assistance from literally all over the country.

While he is the single point of contact for members, prospective members and a large sales force, Clide shares much of the work with his team. Taking advantage of the opportunity given to him to build his department from the ground up, Clide has set things up so that he can concentrate on the key tasks of orchestrating, coordinating and following up. As a whole, Clide's department does research on members and the government for the field managers, takes care of logistics for field personnel to ensure they have current sales, membership and training materials, and remotely coordinates events like meetings, rallies and even the campaigns of pro-small business government candidates.

Blazing New Trails

With the membership base currently growing at a phenomenal rate, Clide is expanding his department. This means establishing offices outside of the Nashville headquarters and traveling to other states to train his fledgling satellite workforce. "It can get very hectic, but I see the increase in demands and activity as progress – and progress that I feel honored to have a hand in. This is really a great opportunity to make a difference as I strive to meet personal goals," he says. Clive is currently pursuing a degree in Business Management with much encouragement from his employer. "Every employee, no matter how competent or accomplished they are, should always seek to enrich themselves," says Clide. "If you show complete dedication to your job and make it clear that your advancement is to your employer's advantage, I don't see why they won't support your endeavors." And talk about dedication! As if he doesn't have enough on his plate, Clive is also the head of the organization's Social Committee. "We have a great work environment, maybe because we started as a small staff. Now that we're growing, we have to find ways to preserve the fun and camaraderie that lets everyone work so well together."

Starting Anew

Listening to Clide's pride and fondness for his organization, one would think he has been working there for many years. Not so. When Clide and his wife decided to relocate their family from Virginia Beach to Nashville in late November 2001, he had to start from scratch. A tall order for a retired Air Force serviceman who recently left the airline industry. Still, combining optimism with perseverance, Clide immediately embarked on an intense job search.

Not having much luck online, Clive looked in the yellow pages and found AppleOne. "What truly impressed me was his flexibility," says AppleOne Nashville Branch Manager Jennifer Bates. "He was very open-minded, and was willing to do what was necessary to find the right job." At the end of the interview, Jennifer mentioned a Temp-to-Hire position. A few hours later, he got a call from Jennifer. He reported for his first day of work the next day – and is now happily looking forward to celebrating his second anniversary.

"I feel very lucky to be where I am now, doing what I do each day. I had never done Temporary work, and while it wasn't my ideal, I embraced it as a learning experience. And that was exactly what it was," says Clide. After being on assignment for a three months, Clide was offered the same position – this time, on a Direct-Hire basis.

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