2020 Podcasts

In the Middle of the In-Between Series – Dealing with Change

Lea Strickland shares insights, tools, and techniques to enable your business to thrive!


In the Middle of the In-Between - Dealing with Uncertainty

by Lea Strickland | Focus on Business

In the Middle of the In-Between - SWAT Your SWOT

by Lea Strickland | Focus on Business

The Impact of Education on Business and Life with Guest Catherine Truitt, Chancellor WGU North Carolina

The Impact of Education on Business and Life - Guest Catherine Truitt, Chancellor WGU North Carolina

by Lea Strickland and Catherine Truitt | Focus on Business Radio


North Carolina workforce challenges

  • Job growth in North Carolina is projected to outstrip population growth by 2024.
  • North Carolina will need 2 million more people with post-secondary degrees by 2030 to fill the state’s overall workforce demands.
  • We can’t just rely on in-migration, we need to do a better job of education our citizens.
  • Currently, only 49% of the population have a post-secondary degree.
  • If North Carolinians can’t fill those job openings, businesses may relocate elsewhere

Why post-secondary education matters

  • The average national salary for high school graduates is $35K per year. According to Smart Asset, individuals with an associate degree earn an average of $41K per year, those with a bachelor’s earn an average of $59K per year, and those with a master’s earn an average of $70K per year.
  • In North Carolina, only 22% of high school students obtain a bachelor’s degree by age 24. Only 15% will do so at a UNC institution.
  • More than 645,000 adults in North Carolina have some college credit but no degree.

Charter Schools

by Lea Strickland and Catherine Truitt | Focus on Business Radio


The student debt problem

  • The student debt load in the United States is currently over $1.6 trillion dollars
  • Individuals who carry a large student debt are more likely to postpone getting married, and making major purchases like a home or car. All of this impacts the local economy.
  • A study by the American Association of University Women found that while women comprise 56 percent of enrolled college students nationally, they hold 65% of outstanding student debt
  • According to the Center for Responsible Lending, 1.2 million North Carolinians have student debt; the average debt per student is $26,526
  • From 2008 to 2018, North Carolina had the second largest increase in student loan debt
  • 3% of student loan borrowers in North Carolina are in severe delinquency


    Competency Based Education

    by Lea Strickland and Catherine Truitt | Focus on Business Radio

    TALKING POINTS (Continued)


    • Start at a community college. NC has the third largest community college system in the country.
    • Borrow only what you need, not how much you qualify for
      • WGU’s Responsible Borrowing Initiative has reduced student loan debt for its students with loans by 30%, saving them more than $400 million; WGU students’ loan default rate is less than half the national average (4.2% vs. 10.1%)
    • Explore competency-based learning, which gives you credit for what you already know and lets you accelerate at your own pace
    • Avoid for-profit colleges, which have been known to employ predatory lending practices aimed at low-income residents, African Americans, women, servicemembers, and veterans.
    • You might not need a college degree, but you definitely need to learn and demonstrate skills. According to a recent report from the U.S. Chamber foundation, employers are increasingly more interested in skills than in college diplomas. The Foundation’s research finds that competencies—defined as knowledge and skills that can be observed, measured, or otherwise assessed—take precedence over academic credentials in the modern economy.
    • Explore micro-credentials, which are very common in the IT industry. EdX recently introduced two MicroBachelors programs, including a MicroBachelors in Information Technology Career Framework in partnership with WGU. This program consists of three courses at a total cost of around $1,500 and earns credits that are stackable toward a degree.

    Catherine Truitt, Chancellor, Western Governors University North Carolina

    Catherine serves as the Chancellor for WGU North Carolina, a nonprofit, 100% online university dedicated to changing lives through higher education. 

    Prior to joining WGU, she served as Associate Vice President of University and P-12 Partnerships at UNC General Administration. Catherine and her team worked to strengthen our educator pipeline and support our public colleges of education through a “students-first” lens committed to improving educational outcomes for all of North Carolina’s children.

    From 2015 to 2016, Catherine served as Senior Education Advisor to Governor Pat McCrory. In this role, she coordinated policy for all facets of public education. From pre-K through the UNC system, Catherine worked to ensure all North Carolina students receive the high-quality education they need to be college- and career-ready in a global economy.

    Between 1998 and 2012, Catherine practiced her passion for high-impact teaching in varied educational settings over twelve years spanning grades 4 through 12. After teaching literature at a public high school in the Seattle area, Catherine moved to Chicago where she co-founded a K-8, parent-run, private school on Chicago’s South Side followed by four years teaching in the British school system. After returning to the United States, Catherine settled in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she taught American literature to eleventh graders at West Johnston High School in Johnston County.

    In 2012, Catherine joined the International Center for Leadership in Education, where she served nationally as a turnaround coach in underperforming public schools. 

    Catherine lives in Cary with her husband Jeff, an attorney and Captain in the U.S. Navy Reserves. They have three children in Wake County public schools. She is committed to the core belief that all people have a fundamental human right to maximize their potential.

    To learn more about WGU NC, go to www.wgu.edu

    Set Objectives and Take Action

    by Lea Strickland | Focus on Business

    Take Action and Get Results

    by Lea Strickland | Focus on Business

    Results and Involvement Part 1

    by Lea Strickland | Focus on Business

    Results and Involvement Part 2

    by Lea Strickland | Focus on Business

    View the Future and Embrace Success

    by Lea Strickland | Focus on Business

    STRIVE For Success

    by Lea Strickland | Focus on Business Radio

    S.T.R.I.V.E. for Success

    Success Is Action

    Success is a verb, an action, not a noun. It is a journey, not a destination. Measuring success in terms of forward momentum or progress makes sense. You strive for success. You take action, make decisions, and get others actively involved. Truly successful businesses (and people) accumulate financial wealth as a product of their journey. Wealth is a by-product of serving others in a way that they are willing to exchange financial assets for your products or services.


    2013 – 2019 Focus on Business Radio Program Archive

    How to Write a Business Plan in 30 Minutes or Less

    Human Resources - Compliance and Competitive Advantages

    Business Growth Part 3 Viable Capable Credible Visible

    Are You Boiling a Cup of Water or the Ocean? Resource Allocation

    US Government Contracting Accounting Business Systems Compliance Series Introduction Requirements for For-Profits

    US Government Contracting Accounting System Requirements for For-Profits

    Cryptocurrency, Blockchains, ICO's and Fintech with Jim Verdonik and Benji Jones

    Cryptocurrency, Blockchains, ICO's and Fintech with Jim Verdonik and Benji Jones

    Blockchain and ICO's with Jim Verdonik and Benji Jones

    Government Contracting and Setaside Programs with David Hadden and Jackson Moore

    Alternative Funding Your Small Business with Jeff Wolfe

    Americlaims - What Business Owners Need to Know About Insurance - Bob Freitag

    Social Media Strategies for Small Business with Jesse Wojdylo

    Social Media as a Business Development Tool with David Chapman

    Customer Satisfaction and Social Media with Nancy MacCreery

    Penta Leadership and Organizational Development with Willie Stewart

    Disputer Settlement and Conflict Resolution with Frances Henderson

    Power Through Partnership with Maggie Ellis Chotas & Betsy Polk

    Faith-based Millennial Entrepreneurs with Brooks Briz

    Validating Your Business Concept with Lee Anne McClymont

    Women In Business Series Mitzi Kincaid and Karen Boardman

    Coffee Industry and the local Coffee Shops - Scott Conary

    Ending Veteran Homelessness in NC with Terry Allebaugh

    Emergency Chaplains - Faith in the Workplace with Ralph Thompson

    Balanced Budget Compact and Amending the Constitution with Dean Clancy