People who provide us with all those products and services we wouldn’t do without.

See that photo? It’s a picture of success. Your success. Because you might say your success is Lorna Riley’s business.RileyLorna

The world discovered Lorna’s sales talent when she was in the middle of a career in education and raising a family. She was put to work – first on a sales team, and then, when she broke all records in closing deals, in managing that sales team.

So, a trained teacher, Lorna did it “by the books.” That is, taught the way she’d been taught to teach. Break it down into elements, spool it out in rational order, start with the fundamentals, prepare thoroughly, speak clearly, and keep it interesting.

What resulted was a massive collection of original training material, and Lorna flying around the country delivering fun, funny, intensive, and effective week-long courses in sales, customer service, and management.

She designed coordinated systems on those topics, with extensive (over a hundred or more) sets of modularized lessons on each, and used them in:

  • in-person training (which earned her a CSP, the most prestigious certification in the country for professional speakers),
  • published audio recordings (about such topics as time and memory management, and the three most important skills for creating success), and
  • a series of books (like 76 Ways to Build a Straight Referral Business, ASAP!, Quest For Your Best, and Off the Chart Results for Organizational Development).

And that was just the beginning!

Lorna has now turned the whole spectrum of that knowledge, experience, and educational material into an online training system, enhancing it with all the added benefits of the internet.

Lorna wanted to provide people on sales, customer service, and leadership teams not just with a way to learn the training skills they need to succeed, but also with a systematic plan that enables you to take responsibility for that success. Your own, and the entire company’s. (Clear proof of her management experience, isn’t it?) So hundreds of Lorna’s carefully crafted lessons are structured into what’s called a Managed Accountability Plan. They can be watched, tracked, assessed, and reviewed on line.

Chart Learning Solutions delivers high-impact performance results that train & retain sales, customer service, and leadership talent. Through our unique blended solution, we build a culture of continuous improvement, common language, guarantee accountability, and foster meaningful dialogues between employees and managers to ensure skills and behaviors meet business objectives. Chart’s Sales Cycle “Managed Accountability Plans” (MAPs™) saved GMCR over $3.5M and are required for all their “AFH” sales people. With our on-demand on-line courses, we create continuous learning accountability, enhanced employee/manager relationships, build a common language, integrate a unified sales, service, and leadership process among a geographically dispersed workforce, reduce costs, and produce measureable results. This is achieved with Chart’s blended eLearning multimedia tutorials, online quizzes, Application Activities, Accountability Application Meetings, Goal Action Planners, on-line reporting, coaching guides and live Coaching.”

Any description of Lorna Riley would be completely unfinished if it didn’t include a bit about one of her one-of-a-kind works of art: The Movie Lover’s Cookbook aka Reel Meals. It’s a coffee-table cookbook with page after page of photographs of unforgettable eating scenes from world-favorite movies — next to the recipe for what they’re eating in each “reel meal”!  (What comestibles did the Marx Brothers clobber each other with in Duck Soup? What hors d’oeuvres did Audrey Hepburn dine on in Breakfast at Tiffany’s?)

Lorna wrote and produced this gem pre-internet, when specific photos from specific scenes in movies were really hard to get your hands on, and even harder to get legal rights to use. Tragically for lovers of cool things, it’s a classic that’s out of print now. Just had to mention it because it might be the best example, beyond her success as a success guru, of the brilliant creativity Lorna cannot keep a lid on.

Joy riding! Bernie Baird-Browning drives the golf-cart for a video shoot at her Malibu cottage.

Joy riding! Bernie Baird-Browning drives the golf-cart for a video shoot at her Malibu cottage.

You step into another world at Small Wonders, the amazing educational toy store on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Rolling Hills, California. The place is a work of art that’s a world of toys, as unique and spirit-lifting as its owner and creator, Bernice Baird-Browning, who researches and discovers fun treasures from merchants all over the world.

Every inch of every shelf of her store is brimming with uniqueness and quality. Up near the ceiling, a colorful miniature train chugs along on a wooden railroad that somehow winds around or tunnels through every item in the store’s densely-stocked alcoves. Puppets and marionettes from faraway places smile at you as you pass by. You see boxes full of wooden trains and miniature construction sets from Scandinavia. And from Germany, kits for building colorful fire engines and taxis, or grand cathedrals and skyscrapers. Musical instruments and finely carved pull toys come from Poland, Italy, and Czechoslovakia. Delicate French dolls beg to be pampered and primped, but they’re tomboyish enough to be bathed in a washing machine!

Bernie married a doctor before the age of 20, and raised two brilliant kids who’ve launched successful careers of their own. So she’s also a grandmother-made-in-heaven! (Can you imagine dashing over the meadow and through the woods to such an enchanting place?)

And just as in a fairy-tale, Bernie met—or rather re-met—her current husband Ralph Browning at a high-school reunion in the late 1990s, and they’re living, traveling, and prospering happily ever after!

The source of Bernie’s passion for joy and fun and letting kids learn as they play might come from having started school in first grade. She longed for kindergarten ever since, so maybe skipping it was the twist of fate that led to the blessing Small Wonders is to the world. There, where everything has been so carefully searched, selected, and displayed by a mother, grandmother, businesswoman, and grownup kindergartener, you’ll find yourself warmly embraced in quality, charm, and just plain fun.

Fun, in fact, sums up Bernie Baird-Browning in a word.

Kayoko Yoshikai

Strong Qi, Gentle Flowers

Kayoko Yoshikai is one of those people who’s always running into her pals when she’s out and about. Even in big cities like San Diego.

And not only is she a friend to many, she’s also a business owner, an athlete (judo expert), a mother, a daughter of zen-master flower arrangers, a descendant of Samurai, uncommonly wise, and extremely busy.

Grownups used to tell her she was a “strong-qi” child. Surrounded by flowers, she’d transform her parents’ garden and the living creatures she met there into adventurous companions and playmates. (Some things really don’t ever change.)

In the same way still waters run deep, she’s quiet. So when you pause to listen to Kayoko, delightful stories about her remarkable life start to unravel. Conversation with her will probably be enhanced by some excellent, gently-imparted suggestions from her knowledge of health, wealth-building, and spiritual teachings.

Kayoko Gets A Bear Hug Kayoko Gets A Bear Hug

To network with her is to increase your community by big numbers. One of her current projects is helping to pioneer a large, extensive, international on- and off-line business/charity/social network, which is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2009. (I’d ask her about it if I were you.)



Immortality Made Easy

Even though it was only two months away, no one thought Jack Kamen would live to see his 85th birthday. His son, Rick, found himself wondering, “Why would Dad want to stick around? He’s not having fun.”

Which gave him an idea. Maybe, somehow, that’s exactly what he could give his father for an early birthday present. Fun.

But what’s fun for elders? Rick figured gerontologists, caregivers, and loving children of aging parents must ask themselves that question a few times every day. It’s easy to create fun for kids. Give them toys and teach them games, and they have fun playing. Adults keep right on playing, albeit with toys and games that cost a lot more.

Jack Kamen, Father of Rick Kamen

Jack Kamen, Father of Rick Kamen

And elders? What do they do for fun?

Rick mulled over that puzzle for about a week. He watched elders, and thought about what it’s like to be 80 or more years old, searching for clues. And then one day, he saw a wise old soul smiling. What do you think that elder was doing?


Rick got it. That’s how people who’ve lived a while and seen a lot have fun. They reflect on the beauty of their pasts, and they tell their stories.

It’s also how they help people who haven’t racked up as much life experience. Not by lecturing and teaching and instructing and demanding, but by anecdote and fable. By gentle example that lets the listener infer the moral of the story and do with it what they may.

Rick remembered that elders naturally tell stories, and that in the culture and custom of many societies, storytelling and storylistening happen naturally. Was there a venue for this in modern U.S. culture? Rick didn’t think so.

Rick Kamen, Author and Founder of Heirloom Stories

Rick Kamen, Author and Founder of Heirloom Stories

He did know his understanding of what fun is — for all people, at all ages — had changed forever. Fun, Rick realized, is that good feeling people get when they’re engaged in certain behaviors that are programmed into human beings for a very good reason: to help the entire species.

Fun, Rick proposes, might be what motivates us to do the things we do that help humanity.

Kids help humanity by learning, so play is fun.

Adults help humanity by being productive, as well as reproductive. So those behaviors are fun for them.

Elders help humanity when they distribute wisdom – especially to kids. So that’s fun for elders.

Not to mention that exquisite silver lining around the cloud of growing older, namely that even though we lose many abilities as we age, storytelling is one that improves as the years go by. And who doesn’t love to do things they’re good at?

So that’s how Rick gave his father the gift of fun. Storytelling. It was the perfect early birthday present.

Rick called his dad up, as he often did. But this time he steered the usual conversation about the usual stuff in a new direction. “I know you grew up in a world that can’t happen anymore. Why don’t you tell me some stories from those days? I’ll write them up for the grandkids.”

Without even saying, “Okay,” Jack launched right into a story.

The story was wonderful, Rick recalls, but even more wonderful for him and his family was seeing the the joyful impact storytelling had on their beloved patriarch’s mood. His voice and spirit sounded ten years younger. As he shared the highlights of his life, Jack was having fun again for the first time in a long time.

That first story led to another, and then another… and eventually a book called Heirloom Stories from the Harnessmaker’s Son.

Jack lived another seven years. Seven precious years that let him leave a legacy of written stories that will entertain and educate his descendants for centuries.  They would have carried his genes into the future, of course. But thanks to Rick’s gift of fun, Jack’s descendants will also carry with them Jack’s own thoughts and images of the life he led. That’s as close to immortality as you can get.

When he died in 2005, Jack didn’t know that, even more than the priceless stories, Rick cherished the additional years some genuine fun had given his father. The health benefits of storytelling were profound.

So Rick didn’t stop there. He gives the gift of fun to English-speaking elders anywhere in the world by interviewing them by phone, putting slices of their lives in writing, and preserving some Heirloom Stories® for their descendants.

Learn more about Heirloom Stories® at http://HeirloomStories.com or call Rick at (858) 273-1111.