How Organizations Fail to Manage Strategic Initiatives
James Giacin is the managing director of a financial firm in St. Louis, Missouri. A former hockey player and coach, he was named to the St. Louis Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019. With over two decades of experience in structured finance, mergers and acquisitions, and insurance asset and liability management, James Giacin also spearheads strategic initiatives.
Strategic initiatives help an organization achieve its long-term goals, vision, and objectives. However, strategic initiatives can fail to yield the intended results because of:
This happens when strategic initiatives do not reflect an organization’s priorities, fail to address urgent issues, or contradict values. When strategic initiatives are not aligned, they can cause tension in an organization and lose track of the intended goals. Organizations should always prioritize programs that are in line with their mission statement.
– A lack of involvement by organization leaders
Managers should clearly communicate strategic initiatives to bring everyone on board. Decision-makers should understand even the smallest programs in an organization and be part of the initiative. Input from business executives helps to ensure successful strategic initiatives.
– A lack of focus
Companies may fail to implement strategic initiatives because they prioritize too many things, which stresses resources and staff members. Focusing helps companies choose the ideal number of projects to implement, allocate sufficient resources, and hire enough employees to support the strategy.
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September 29, 2023 at 11:33AM
OCC Releases Community Reinvestment Act Evaluation List
A former National Hockey League player for St. Louis, Missouri, James Giacin has been in financial services since 1998. Before his role in the St. Louis firm, James Giacin created products for the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC), a federal office that develops policies on emerging risks to bank capital.
In January 2023, the OCC announced it was releasing a list of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance evaluations. The CRA requires that the Federal Reserve and other federal banking regulators promote practices in financial institutions that encourage meeting the financing needs of the communities they serve, especially neighborhoods with low and moderate incomes.
The CRA list contains the names of national banks, insured federal branches of foreign banks, and federal savings associations. The information was collected from September 1, 2022, to November 30, 2022. The evaluations were varied, with 11 institutions rated satisfactory, nine outstanding, and two “needs to improve.” To see how a financial institution fared, visit http://www.occ.gov.
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August 08, 2023 at 11:31AM
Understanding Financial Institutions Groups
A bachelor of science graduate in economics from St. Lawrence University in New York, St. Louis-based James Giacin has over two decades of experience in structured finance, mergers, and private equity. One of the areas that James Giacin focuses on is strategic finance service to insurance companies through a Financial Institutions Group (FIG).
Banks and other financial institutions, like insurance companies, primarily provide services to clients that includes advice for financial stability and help with financing. Where do these institutions seek assistance themselves?
A FIG is a group of professionals who provide expertise and services to banks, insurers, and specialty asset-management firms. FIG employees typically include financial analysts and experts to provide tailored services such as financing for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and initial public offerings (IPOs).
The FIG business structure varies. Some, especially those for large investment banks and insurance companies, are integrated into the institution as a subset or department. Others, completely autonomous, specialize in a distinct niche, such as insurance, or focus on a more defined industry, such as real estate, healthcare, or media. FIGs often provide financing for their clients’ activities. Their own profits emanate from interest income from the funds they lend, money markets, and deposits.
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July 06, 2023 at 12:31PM
A St. Louis, Missouri resident, James Giacin has worked in financial services for 25 years. Before this, James Giacin played hockey in the National Hockey League (NHL).
In January 2023, the NHL announced that its commissioner, Gary Bettman, received the Sports Business Journal (SBJ) Lifetime Achievement Award. The publication will honor Bettman at the Sports Business Awards in New York City.
SBJ reports that Bettman was featured in the first issue of Sports Business Daily in 1994. Since then, Bettman has been featured regularly in the publication, according to Abraham Madkour, SBJ publisher and executive editor. Madkour also attributes Bettman's willingness to take risks and think big while sticking to his principles as reasons for the honor.
In addition to this accolade, Bettman will celebrate his 30th year as commissioner. Bettman is credited with the league's growth from 24 to 28 teams since 1993. He also increased the league's revenue from $400 million when he began in the early nineties to $5.2 billion in 2022.
St. Louis resident James Giacin has over 25 years of experience in structured finance and corporate leadership, especially in insurance and asset liability management. As managing director of a financial firm, James Giacin of St. Louis leads asset management solutions provider for insurance companies and tailors beneficial products that adhere to several regulations, including those set by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Consumer protection comes in many forms. The primary approach involves safeguarding the insurance sector, educating consumers, undertaking financial assessments, and licensing. Founded in 1871, NAIC protects consumers and stabilizes markets by providing expert analysis and data.
NAIC also empowers regulators and provides avenues for collaboration, networking, and learning for the best interest of the individual state residents. Additionally, it offers learning and accreditation programs to regulators regardless of education level and experience. NAIC also recognizes excellence in service through honors such as the Robert Dineen Award. NAIC established the award to recognize any staff member who has made an outstanding contribution to insurance regulation in a state and has also shown zeal and purpose in promoting the advancement of the insurance regulatory profession.
Missouri is a burgeoning hockey community with more than 6,200 USA Hockey members and is home to the St. Louis Blues National Hockey League (NHL) franchise. Many players from the state have gone on to play college and professional hockey. Wanting to honor players, coaches, executives, and officials who have contributed to the game’s growth in the state, Scott Rupp launched the St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008. The inaugural class featured David Bates, Bud Stege, Eddie Olsen, Herman Kriegshauser, Tom K. Hurster, and Charlie Busenhart.
There are now 90 people in the St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame in the following categories: player, coach, administrator, builder, and referee. There was no induction ceremony in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ralph Taylor (builder), Yan Stastny (player), Tom Shinabargar (player), Tony Sansone (builder), Wayne Neis (player), Joe Lunny (player), and Jamie Husgen (player) were inducted as part of the Class of 2020.
Taylor, inducted posthumously, was born in Canada in 1905 and played for the New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL. He also played for teams in the International Hockey League (IHL) and American Hockey League (AHL). Taylor last played for the AHL’s St. Louis Flyers and later served the team as a color commentator. He spent his retirement in St. Louis and was highly involved in youth athletics until he died in 1976. Most notably, he co-founded the Missouri Amateur Hockey Association.
Yan Stastny was also born in Canada but relocated to St. Louis, Missouri, when he was 10 years old after his father, Peter, signed with the St. Louis Blues. Yan played for the Junior B St. Louis Jr. Blues and Junior A St. Louis Sting in his youth and won the Clark Cup and Gold Cup National Championship with the Junior A Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League (USHL). He later played two seasons at the University of Notre Dame and was selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Yan played 91 games in the NHL, including 50 with the Blues, and represented the United States in the IIHF World Championships in 2005, 2006, and 2011.
Shinabarger, meanwhile, took an interest in hockey after watching the Blues and went on to play in the USHL and for Division-III Bemidji State University. The defenseman concluded his three-year stint at the school with 80 points in 103 games. He was named one of the team’s 50 greatest players in 2006.
Sansone played hockey at the high school level but was inducted as a builder for creating the Blues Special Hockey program, formerly known as Gateway Locomotives, in 1994. The program was the first in the United States to offer organized hockey instruction for individuals with developmental disabilities.
In his childhood, Neis played sports with the Boys Club of St. Louis and was a talented floor hockey player during the 1980s and early 1990s. Lunny, who relocated to St. Louis with his parents in the early 1960s, played youth hockey in the city and later played alongside fellow St. Louis Hall of Fame inductee Mike Robben at the College of the Holy Cross where he remains the school’s all-time leading scorer. He later played in the IHL and East Coast Hockey League. Husgen, a 12th-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets in 1983, signed a contract with the team in 1987 and spent two seasons with the Moncton Hawks in the AHL.
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While most prominent investment firms only hire professionals with post-secondary degrees, graduating from college isn’t a requirement to becoming a stockbroker. Prospective stockbrokers do, however, need to pass the Series 7 exam, also known as the General Securities Representative Qualification Examination, in order to qualify to legally purchase or sell securities products such as municipal fund securities, corporate securities, options, and variable contracts. Series 7 exam candidates need to be sponsored by a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm.
As of October 1, 2018, exam candidates also need to complete the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. This is an introductory-level exam that covers a variety of securities topics and was designed to measure each candidate’s knowledge of fundamental concepts, securities products and their risks, and prohibited practices, among other topics. The SIE is a 75-question exam with questions in the following four sections: Knowledge of Capital Market; Understanding Products and Their Risks; Understanding Trading, Customer Accounts, and Prohibited Activities; and Overview of Regulatory Framework.
While Series 7 exam candidates need to be sponsored by a FINRA member firm to take the test, there are no requirements for individuals to take the SIE. Once a person completes the SIE, they have four years to complete the Series 7 exam or other top-off exams like the Series 6 (Investment Company Representative), Series 57 (Securities Trader), or Series 82 (Private Securities Offerings Representative).
Before FINRA introduced the SIE, the Series 7 exam was composed of 250 questions spanning five major job functions. Candidates had to pay $305 to take the exam and had six hours to complete it. Now, the exam contains 125 multiple choice questions and has a time limit of 3 hours and 45 minutes. Exam registration is $245 and the passing score is 72 percent.
The 150 multiple choice questions are broken down into the following sections: 91 questions in Provides Customers with Information about Investments, Makes Suitable Recommendations, Transfers Assets, and Maintains Appropriate Records; 14 questions in Obtains and Verifies Customers’ Purchase and Sales Instructions and Agreements; Processes, Completes, and Confirms Transactions; 11 questions in Opens Accounts after Obtaining and Evaluating Customers’ Financial Profile and Investment Objectives; and nine questions in Seeks Business for the Broker-Dealer from Customers and Potential Customers.
Once a candidate passes the Series 7 exam, they are permitted to sell covered products and activities such as mutual funds, stocks and bonds, exchange-traded funds, direct participation programs, municipal securities, and real estate investment trusts. They are not, however, authorized to sell real estate or life insurance products.
Some states also require stockbrokers and investment professionals to complete the Series 63 exam, in addition to the Series 7, to sell securities. Also known as the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam, the 65 multiple choice question test covers specific state laws and regulations and is developed by the North American Securities Administrators Association. FINRA administers the exam.
Those looking to earn their Series 7 license can complete the exam online by filling out and submitting the FINRA Online Exam Administration Request Form. In-person tests are also offered at select locations. There is no physical documentation for proof of exam completion. Instead, employers can access a current or prospective worker’s credentials via FINRA’s Central Registration Depository.
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The National Hockey League (NHL) teams hold training camps annually to prepare for the coming season. Typically beginning in mid-September, these camps provide players with a chance to hone their skills and achieve match fitness. For fans, NHL training camp can also offer the opportunity to get the first glimpse of a new signing or see a fan-favorite player make their preparations.
Coaches use training camps to analyze new players. The camps allow recent draft picks to showcase their skills and prove they can measure up to the established professionals who are already playing. To maximize training camps, a new draft pick or camp invite must enter the camp with some knowledge of what to expect.
Before getting on the ice, players will take part in off-ice testing. Usually lasting for about 60 minutes, this session consists of a battery of exercises that test the player’s physical endurance. Exercises include timed sprints and a vertical jump test, which help determine the player’s leg strength and endurance. Many camps also use a single-leg squat test for the same purpose. This exercise involves squatting the largest weight you can carry on a single leg for five repetitions. Players complete these reps on each leg.
You may undertake maximum pullup and pushup tests during this period too. Both involve completing the exercise to the rhythm of a metronome. The player keeps going until they cannot complete the pullup or pushup in time.
Finally, the off-ice session ends with some machine-based tests. Players may take a treadmill VO2 test, in which they make repeated sprints with constantly decreasing recovery times. Like the pullup and pushup tests, this treadmill exercise repeats until the player can’t go anymore. The coaches may also ask the player to take part in a Wingate Test, a 30-second sprint using a custom-designed bike set to maximum tension.
With this battery of off-ice tests completed, on-ice tests begin. Usually starting at approximately 9:30 am, these exercises allow players to demonstrate their capabilities on the ice. Again, the specific tests vary depending on the team. However, they typically involve engaging in various sprints. These include -sprints from the goal line to the blue sprint line and a test to see how many sprints you can complete to the center red line and back before stopping. Your endurance also gets tested with a multi-lap endurance exercise.
The on-ice session concludes at 11 am, with the player allowed to recover for the rest of the day. Recovery exercises include ice water baths, cool-down exercises, massages, and foam rolling. All recovery exercises relieve the muscles and prevent injury. Players should always participate in these recovery sessions as the activities prepare their bodies for the challenges they’ll face later in the camp.
The first day of an NHL training camp pushes your body to its limits. It’s also a competitive day, as coaches will compare your results to other players’ results to see who can give the most on game days. Understanding the types of tests, you will take part in allows you to prepare appropriately.
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Mike Modano is, undoubtedly, one of America’s finest hockey players of all time. For over 20 years, he led American hockey to some of its most remarkable achievements. He established unbreakable records in the National Hockey League(NHL).
Michael Thomas Modano Jr. was born on June 7, 1970, to Michael Sr. and Karen Modano in Livonia, Michigan. He grew up in Highland township, and because of his rebellious behavior at school, a friend of his father advised placing Modano in a team sport to help him gain control. Michael, Sr., a hockey enthusiast, chose to teach ice skating to Modano, who was seven years old at the time and quickly mastered the game and succeeded.
His early success led his family to relocate to Westland as a kid, and as a compliment to Ted Williams, a hero of his Boston Red Sox fan father, and the Red Wings’ own Gordie Howe, he chose the number nine for his jersey. When Modano turned 18, he was picked by the Minnesota North Stars as their #1 choice in the NHL entry draft. Mike was the second American player to be selected #1, Brain Lawson’s first in 1983.
Modano had to grind his way up in hockey before becoming an American great. He spent five years with Minnesota before the team relocated to Dallas soon before the 1993-94 season. He guided the stars in their pursuit for the most coveted prize in professional sports, the Stanley Cup, after only six years in Dallas. From 2002 until 2011, they made the playoffs every year. Modano was elected captain of the Dallas Stars in 2003 due to his leadership on and off the ice.
Modano scored his 502nd and 503rd regular-season goals in his career against the Nashville Predators in March 2007, breaking Joe Mullins’ NHL record for most goals scored by an American-born player. In November 2007, he tried to tie and break the record by scoring two goals in the opening five minutes of a game against the San Jose Sharks, with the record-breaker coming on a scoreless breakaway.
In addition to the two crucial NHL records, he has all of the offensive Dallas Stars franchise marks, including career points, goals, assists, and games played. His playoff record is equally outstanding, as he owns the marks for most playoff points, playoff goals, playoff assists, and most playoff games played.
Mike Modano is also a seven-time NHL All-Star. In 1996, 2004, 2005, he was a key player of Team USA in international competitions, winning a gold medal in the opening World Cup game in 1996. He was chosen to compete in the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and the 2002 games in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he guided the squad to a silver medal victory. His most recent participation was as captain of the USA Hockey Team in Tornio, Italy, in 2004.
In 2013, Modano married pro golfer Allison Micheletti, the daughter and niece of former NHL players Joe and Pat Micheletti; they have twins and a daughter and a son. After a spectacular 21-year career, his jersey was retired by the stars in 2014. He was voted one of the NHL’s best players in 2017.
Modano resigned from hockey and began a new chapter in his life, focusing on the Mike Modano Foundation. Modano left an indelible imprint on the league. And he also influenced an entire country. Modano, dubbed “Superman on Ice,” astounded many who witnessed him and inspired a new generation of American talent. Off the ice, he carries on that heritage with his charity efforts. Modano, a shining example of a real professional, inspired hockey, succeeded in the game and utilized his success to serve others.
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