Friday, August 3, 2012

Interview With Sparkle Film Producer Debra Martin Chase

Two-time Emmy nominated motion picture and television producer DEBRA MARTIN CHASE has carved out a unique niche in the entertainment business.  She is the first African woman to have her own producing deal at a major studio.  Her company, Martin Chase Productions, has been affiliated with the Walt Disney Company for over ten years.  She has also just entered into an overall producing deal with ABC.

Chase recently produced SPARKLE, a remake of the 1976 classic musical, for Sony Pictures which will be released on August 17.  It stars Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks in her movie debut, and Derek Luke, was adapted by Mara Brock Akil and was directed by Salim Akil.  She also recently completed LOVESTRUCK, the first original musical for ABC Family, which stars Jane Seymour, Chelsea Kane and Sara Paxton, was written by Terry Rossio (PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN) and Jaylynn Bailey, was directed by Sanaa Hamri and will air on the network in 2013.  She was also hired by the American Girl company to revive its movie franchise.  The first movie, MCKENNA SHOOTS FOR THE STARS, debuted on NBC in July and was released that same month on DVD by Universal Studios Home Entertainment.  Additionally, she is developing a remake of the classic megahit motion picture DIRTY DANCING for Lionsgate Entertainment with Kenny Ortega directing and choreographing.

Chase's filmography includes three hit movie franchises: THE PRINCESS DIARIES, THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS and THE CHEETAH GIRLS. She has also come to be known for having a keen eye for new talent having produced the first motion pictures of Anne Hathaway, Blake Lively, Chris Pine, America Ferrera, Grey’s Anatomy’s Jesse Williams and Pretty Little Liars’s Lucy Hale.

Chase is the executive producer of the Disney Channel musical LEMONADE MOUTH which debuted as the most watched cable movie of 2011.  She also produced the feature film JUST WRIGHT for Fox Searchlight, winner of the 2011 NAACP Image Award for Best Screenplay, and was the executive producer of the Lifetime Television series, MISSING, which ran for three seasons and starred Vivica A. Fox and Mark Consuelos.  Her additional credits include: BYOU, BYOU 2, the Emmy-winning RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S CINDERELLA, the Oscar and Emmy-nominated HANK AARON: CHASING THE DREAM, COURAGE UNDER FIRE and THE PREACHER’S WIFE. 

Chase began her career as an attorney and worked at several major law firms and Fortune 500 corporations in Houston and Manhattan.  She received her J.D. from the Harvard Law School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude from Mount Holyoke College.

She serves on the Board of Trustees of Mount Holyoke College, the Board of Directors of the United Friends of Children, the Women at NBCUniversal Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of Columbia College of Chicago and the Producing Mentor Board of USC’s Peter Stark Program.

Join Us Monday, August 6, 2012 At 7pm CST
For A Live Interview Via Twitter @TheBOSSNetwork 
To Learn More About The Upcoming Film Sparkle...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Is Your Business Excellent? By Aundrea Y. Wilcox


Before I let you answer that, we should define what is “excellent.” According to Merriam-Webster, excellent is “very good of its kind: eminently good: FIRST-CLASS: SUPERIOR.” So, I ask you again … is your business first-class?

When we talk about being excellent, it means throughout the organization. We’re talking about the whole business, not just one or two so-called most important areas. How do you rate your business in terms of Leadership? And how about in terms of Strategic Planning, Customer Focus, Measurement and Analysis, Workforce Focus, Operations Focus and Results?

Recently, I had the pleasure and privilege of attending expert training with the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence (TNCPE), in order to be an examiner who is responsible for reviewing and evaluating organizations that apply for a TNCPE State Quality Award. During the three-day intense training program, we learned how to use a variety of evaluation techniques, but I will briefly mention ADLI, which refers to Approach, Deployment, Learning, and Integration.

To practice, we applied this method of evaluation to a particular case study. As we compared the case against the criteria for performance excellence, we found many shortcomings. In some instances, the bogus applicant could show a systematic Approach (methods used) to ensuring excellence, but could not prove the approach was at work companywide. In other words, Deployment was weak and consistency was lacking. Or, there was no evidence of innovation and refinement of procedures and processes based on close analysis. Seemingly, the company simply put a process in place and quickly moved forward without looking back. Therefore, there was no Learning. During training, we also gained a clear understanding of effective Integration—how well a company’s approach is aligned with its organizational needs. In organizations with many departments, for example, is the performance management system operating as a fully interconnected unit, or are measures and information used for planning disorganized and disjointed?

These are fair assessments you will have to make if you want to consider your business an excellent organization. Do you do what excellent organizations do? Do you honestly identify your weaknesses and devise plans (and execute them) to address them? Do you have a disaster plan? Is your business easy for customers to do business with? Have you developed goals and objectives that are linked to your vision and challenges that you will face in the future? Do you collect data about your competitors and your industry and use your findings to create competitive advantage? These are just some of the things that excellent organizations do.

Excellence doesn’t just happen. You have to work at it. And once you achieve it, you have to do more than maintain it. You can work towards achieving excellence with the right leadership, regular periodic strategic planning sessions, customer focus, meaningful and appropriate measurement and analysis, workforce focus and engagement, operations focus and results. It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. Excellence is a continuous journey.

Aundrea Y. Wilcox is also the author of the new book, Startup Savvy: Strategies for Optimizing Small Business Survival and Success.  To connect with Aundrea, follow her on Twitter @StartupSavvy, and Like her Facebook Author Page, StartupSavvy.  Visit for more insights and tips about small business ownership and management.