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Showing Up

“Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen.”
– Brené Brown

By: Nicole Keeny

Jennifer Hacker lives her life in vulnerable spaces. As a life coach and grief specialist, Jennifer walks hand in hand with those who need to be seen—in their grief, in their challenges, in their darkest moments. Because if anyone knows the landscape of grief, has seen the darkness of it deeply, has felt its sharp edges with her fingers, it is Jennifer herself.

As the owner and founder of her own private coaching company and the founder of a nonprofit organization, Jennifer spends her time immersed in coaching individuals who are dealing with some of the toughest parts of their lives, not only because she cares deeply for her clients but also because she herself has been there. “I help people in grief heal and transform their lives after loss—to let go of their pain without letting go of their connection to their loved one. And I know a lot of people in grief kind of push back on that because they don’t think that’s possible. But I know from experience that it is,” Jennifer says.

Jennifer has not always worked in this arena. “I was a CEO and CFO of a construction company, so I basically ran the whole place except for the crew. While I worked for that company, that was when my son passed away in 2003,” she says. “Life was just totally different. There’s the before and there’s the after, and I had to go figure out how to live in the after.”

In the wake of losing her three-month-old son, Jennifer came face to face with a realization. “My business job was not going to satisfy me or my new passion or my new interests, so that’s what set me off on this path,” she says. She admits that her initial approach to her nonprofit and her business may have been a bit unconventional. “First, I actually started a nonprofit organization, which is totally backwards because you’d think the coaching would come first. But I was just so called to help women going through all of the most difficult things alone. So, I started a nonprofit organization because I was like, ‘I’m going to help these ladies. I just don’t know how.’ And then I figured out the how. I went to get my certification to be a life coach, and that was what made me go, ‘This is what I was born to do and now I know how,’” Jennifer says.


2023-01-03T01:21:31-05:00January 1st, 2023|


Remote work is the “new normal.” According to statista.com, 17% of people reported working from home five or more days a week pre-pandemic, a statistic that jumped to 44% during 2021. By the end of 2022, Forbes was reporting that roughly 25% of the workforce worked remotely, with that number expected to increase throughout 2023. An estimated 70% of the workforce will be remote five or more days per week by 2025!

It’s clear that a “societal shift” is occurring and that remote work, or a hybrid in-person/remote model, will shape how Americans work for the foreseeable future. That means we need to shift our thinking in how we cultivate and serve our clients. Luckily, Powerhouse has been in the remote client business for, literally, our entire existence. We know how to grow successful remote client partnerships.

Want to know more about building remote client partnerships? Check out the Powerhouse website to snag our free resources and to find out how we can help you bolster your remote client relationships with our proven remote team solutions

2023-01-03T01:13:59-05:00January 1st, 2023|


Positive Client Relationships — Near or Far

By: Julie Clark

Creating and maintaining client relationships is a must, not only for the success of your client but for your success as well. Client retention depends on connection. Your clients need to feel like they are your one and only, even if they aren’t. So, how exactly can you grow connections, benefit from brainstorming, and foster responsibility and commitment to a common goal from afar, especially in today’s post-pandemic workplace? Here are five tips for building positive client relationships, near or far.

  1. Get to know your clients. Just because you can’t sit down in their offices face-to-face does not mean you can’t make them feel special and important. Know their companies’ histories; study their products and services; dedicate time to learning their names, roles, and families. Only then will you be equipped to not only acknowledge but also help them celebrate business and personal milestones. Consider asking your clients and their teams to participate in a survey or team-building exercise or simply asking them questions when you have time.
  2. Schedule monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly video meetings. Instead of only using emails or phone calls, suggest your clients meet you face-to-face on Zoom, Google Meet, or FaceTime. Not only does this check the box for helping you forge a personal relationship, but it also feels more professional and shows your clients you are willing to carve out time, regularly, just for them.


2023-01-03T01:14:55-05:00January 1st, 2023|


Building Connections with Remote Clients

By: Meredith Flory

While a variety of factors have led businesses to be able to have both remote workers and remote clients, those relationships and teams still need to grow authentically and create connections that lead to long-term relationships. Whether you are providing a service or creating a product for your clients, there are some ways to use technology creatively and purposefully to make the miles separating you feel like much less.

Tailor communication to the client. Our ability to have remote clients is in part due to the amount of technology at our fingertips, but there are so many options, you need to play it smart in deciding which communication technologies work for you and your clients. If you use too many, it makes it easier for communication to be missed or misinterpreted. Find a video-calling, calendar, and shared document system that works for both you and your clients and stick to those resources. If you want to change what you are using, consider testing with a particular project or client who is open to new things before asking all your clients and employees to make the switch.

Be sure to maintain notes on your clients’ communication styles. Due to a myriad of factors such as age, type of project, comfort with technology, and needed accommodations, you may need to adjust. How you are handling internal communication channels matter as well. If multiple staff members are working with a client, they need to have a plan with each other so that they do not contradict one another or contact the client about the same issues simultaneously.


2023-01-03T01:14:19-05:00January 1st, 2023|

CLIENT PROFILE: HR Executive Forum

The best parts of working with Powerhouse Planning were their friendly and professional team and their prompt, skilled deliverables. They were always on time or ahead of schedule, which helped keep us moving. We hope to work together again in the future.”

 Sarah Waite, Board President, HR Executive Forum

HR Executive Forum is a member-run nonprofit operating in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) area. Established in 1991, HR Executive Forum is designed “to serve and support the professional development needs of senior-level HR professionals in [their] community.” With an extensive network of HR professionals, a robust online library of resources, and timely programming, HR Executive Forum is a valuable tool for those working in HR. For more information, please visit their website: hrexecutiveforum.org

2023-01-03T01:15:18-05:00January 1st, 2023|


The shift to more remote work has necessitated a “tweaked” philosophy in how we approach our client relationships. It’s not always as easy as a face-to-face meeting these days to cultivate healthy professional relationships. While tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet have given us a semblance of the old in-person meetings, the challenges of building remote partnerships go beyond virtual meeting needs.

For five quick tips on how to successfully transition to remote client relationships, check out this article from Forbes. The tips might seem basic in the extreme, but building a solid foundation will serve you well as you navigate those remote waters.


2023-01-03T01:15:45-05:00January 1st, 2023|

Share the Goodness Update

One of the reasons Powerhouse came into being is because founder Jessica Bertsch, a proud Coast Guard spouse herself, wanted to provide portable careers for military spouses. In 2023, Powerhouse is doubling down on our commitment to military spouses with a brand-new Share the Goodness initiative: a military spouse career kickstart program! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn throughout the year for more information and exciting opportunities.

2023-01-03T01:13:35-05:00January 1st, 2023|


All Learning Begins with Connection

By: Julie Kirchner

Talking about building connections is a love of Jonnah Buchanan’s. “Truly, all learning begins with connection,” she enlightens. Jonnah is the executive director of Launch Learning Preschool, an innovative new nonprofit in Merritt Island, Florida, offering a unique whole-family education framework designed to strengthen families in raising happy, healthy humans.

“We know from brain research that connections on the outside—like when we physically connect with someone face-to-face—literally build the connections in the wiring of our brains,” explains Jonnah.

Brain-based research is at the heart of Launch Learning’s program design, including their monthly Parent Connect education classes for parents. “That’s why, from the beginning of the day, we get down eye-to-eye with our kids, and we are intentionally doing fun hand games and greetings with them . . . it’s because that first immediate connection with them actually helps strengthen the neural connections within their brains,” Jonnah says. These kinds of connections form a strong foundation for early childhood brain development and help build cooperation, impulse control, and other social-emotional skills like empathy.

For Florida’s Space Coast (home to the Kennedy Space Center), it’s probably totally appropriate for a preschool to sound like rocket science. This preschool has some serious local roots, too. Launch Learning is a legacy program modeled after the Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) Lab School founded in 1967, a program that served more than 7,500 children and 14,000 parents over 55 years. During the pandemic, the EFSC Lab School program closed, and a new opportunity came to light.


2023-01-03T01:16:26-05:00January 1st, 2023|


PILLAR: Supporting Military Families, One Deployment at a Time

By: Julie Clark

We’re excited to feature the founders of PILLAR in this month’s newsletter. As an organization dedicated to supporting military families, PILLAR is near and dear to many at Powerhouse Planning because we are comprised of veterans, military spouses, retired military spouses, and super fans of military families. PILLAR’s next digital retreat is coming up soon, and our very own Jessica Bertsch will be speaking once again this year. Needless to say, it’s the perfect time to talk with PILLAR founders Joanna Guldin-Noll and Becky Hoy.

PH: As far as leadership, do you feel you both were natural-born leaders, or did you fall into this role and find it suited you to lead, inspire, and support others?

PILLAR: We stepped into our roles to support military families (Joanna with Jo, My Gosh! and Becky with Brave Crate) to fill specific needs we saw in the community. We came together to work on PILLAR for the same reasons.


2022-10-02T16:52:31-04:00October 1st, 2022|



If you read our CEO Spotlight, then you know that Powerhouse President and Founder Jessica Bertsch will be speaking again at PILLAR’s 2022 Digital Retreat for Deployment, November 4-6. Following up her presentation last year, “Finding Joy Even When You Count Down,” she’ll be sharing even more tips, tricks, and lessons learned from her experience as a Coast Guard spouse, mom, and entrepreneur.

PILLAR’s absolutely free digital retreat is a great way to find inspiration, resources, and real-life tips from seasoned military spouses. If you or anyone you know would like to participate in three days of fun, great advice, and tons of giveaways, sign up here. Want to listen to Jessica’s presentation from last year? Access the recording here.

2022-10-02T16:52:31-04:00October 1st, 2022|
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