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  • w050 6:56 am on December 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply  


    Written By: Patricia Bagby

    Do you know the varieties of circumstances that govern your actions when it comes to managing your work force? There was a time when employers never doubted their ability to hire and fire freely. The hiring process was simple. You hired someone and if the individual did not work out, you fired him or her.

    Many employers say they feel overwhelmed by the myriad of workplace regulatory laws governing wages, working conditions, and their employees. You cannot discriminate—or appear to discriminate—based on sex, sex orientation (many states, including California), race or ethnic background, age, national origin, religion, disability, medical condition (many states, including California), or veteran status.

    The number of relevant employment laws continues to grow, and the language is sometimes difficult to decipher. That does not mean you have lost your right to hire and fire at will. You must know the potential pitfalls of federal, state, and local governments so that will you will be able to exercise your right to choose whom you think best suited for the job. The emphasis is on preventive action, not defensive action later. To avoid problems, your best bet is to understand the federal laws prohibiting discrimination. Generally, state and local laws duplicate federal laws; and in California, some laws may be more stringent than the federal law. The rule is that the stricter law applies. Exemptions for small firms—usually defined as having fewer that 15 employees—may be on their way out.

    Your first challenge is recruitment. It is difficult to conduct effective interviews. Your recruitment process must be bias free and able to withstand a search for discriminatory language or practice.
    For example, it is illegal to ask prospective employees about their health, or their age. You cannot even make an educated guess or ask questions that would elicit his or her age, without potentially facing an age discrimination suit.

    This is why many companies leave the initial interviewing to the pros—either in-house human resources personnel or outside experts. Even if you meet the candidate only in the final round, you will need to watch what you say, to avoid interpretation as discriminatory. Limit your questions to real-life circumstances at your company and be sure you ask the same questions of all applicants.

    At-will employment means that an employer can hire or fire workers at any time, for any reason or no reason at all. However, federal and state regulations have carved out numerous exceptions. You must learn to use the employment laws to your advantage when making business decisions.
    Although there is a general presumption that employment relationships are at-will, courts in more than 45 jurisdictions have refused to apply that assumption in recent cases. Be careful when you make decisions and note that few employment relationships are truly at-will.

    Patricia Bagby, CEO of PBBD Enterprises, is a highly regarded consultant, trainer, key note speaker
    and professional development coach. Ms. Bagby provides practical solutions for all aspects of
    human capital management and employment law regulations. E-mail: pat@pbbdenterprises.com.

  • w050 6:54 am on December 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply  


    Written by: Patricia Bagby

    I see more careers damaged through faulty human relations skills than through a lack of technical ability. Many people are technically smart, but lacking in human relations skills, because they seem unaware that simply knowing how to do a job is not the key to success. To produce results, most of us depend on others and this requires knowing how to work with people. Before this can be done successfully, there are many human relations skills to be learned and practiced.

    Some people think too little of human relations skills and ignore the problems caused by negative attitudes and poor interpersonal skills. They focus on personal productivity, ignoring the fact that they are part of a complicated “team” structure. Once human relationships become the focus of the group, the team operates more efficiently.

    We must first acknowledge that all relationships have a stress factor. We have to maintain open communications in order to have healthy relationships. The quality of any relationship will influence the productivity of people involved. Think back to the most effective and enjoyable experience that you ever had. Most likely, it is the one where you felt a sense of commitment and trust. The dictionary lists trust as a verb—something you do, rather than something you think about. When you trust someone, you integrate their actions and ideas with yours. A conflict between individuals, especially those in leadership positions, affects the decision-making process and sometimes destroys the morale of an entire unit or organization. Research shows human conflicts are also a primary cause of employee turnover.

    The most objective way to view human interaction is to concentrate on the relationship itself and try to forget the personalities on either end. When you focus on the relationship and not worry about the personalities, you can be more objective. A good strategy is to discuss potential misinterpretations immediately to clear the air.

    In the work environment, as in your personal life, nothing contributes more to building and maintaining healthy relationships than a positive attitude. Trust is the foundation for success. You cannot expect people to trust you if you do not trust anyone yourself. A workplace without trust is inefficient, expensive, and much less productive. Success is achieved when we learn to turn negatives into positives.

    One of the best ways to create understanding, appreciation, and open dialogue with those different from us is to try to find common ground. I recommend you work at valuing relationships, do not make personalities the center of attention, and always seek to restore damage to any relationship as quickly as possible. Make it your mission to recover lost trust by turning problems into opportunities.

    © PBBD Enterprises | Patricia Bagby, CEO of PBBD Enterprises, is a highly regarded consultant, trainer, key note speaker and
    professional development coach. Ms. Bagby provides practical solutions for all aspects of human capital
    management and employment law regulations. E-mail pat@pbbdenterprises.com

  • w050 6:47 am on December 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    FAIR PAY ACT OF 2009 

    Written by: Patricia Bagby

    In 2005, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Today’s Woman Expo on Pay equity for women. At that time, I reported that several major studies showed that women—in almost every category—were paid less than men doing the same work. In 2008 studies from labor unions, as well as studies on vital statistics for professional women, show that the pay gap between men and women still exists.

    Here is the update. Women earn approximately 78 cents on a dollar for every dollar a man earns in a year. More important, there is a major change in employment law.

    On January 29, 2009, President Barrack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (“Act”), which supersedes the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Inc., 550 U.S. 618 (2007). Ledbetter had required a compensation discrimination charge to be filed within 180 days of a discriminatory pay-setting decision (or 300 days in jurisdictions that have a local or state law prohibiting the same form of compensation discrimination).

    The Act restores the pre-Ledbetter position of the EEOC that each paycheck that delivers discriminatory compensation is a wrong, and actionable under the federal EEO statutes, regardless of when the discrimination began. The Act has a retroactive effective date of May 28, 2007, and applies to all claims of discriminatory compensation pending on or after that date.

    Lilly Ledbetter is perhaps the best-known face of pay equity. She worked for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company but discovered she was paid significantly less than male co-workers with the same job. She filed suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and was awarded back pay and other remedies in a jury trial. However, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a May 2007 5-4 decision, reversed that award, leaving others in Ledbetter’s situation with virtually no recourse to pay discrimination.

    Laws barring discrimination in education and employment give working women opportunities our mothers and grandmothers never had. Today, women work in many different fields, each requiring different skills and experience, and paying different wages. However, opening doors for women has not closed the door on pay discrimination. Equal pay is still a problem for many working women.

    Let me clarify my point here. I want to educate you on a few issues on the topic of Equal Pay for Women and tell you what you can do if this is a concern of yours. My intent is not political—it is practical. Therefore, read this article for information—DO NOT go to your boss and say, “I need a raise because Pat Bagby says…” I promise you that will not get you an increase, even though you may deserve one.

    Now, to give you some background on Equal Pay Issues: The differential in pay between men and women remains an issue in today’s workplace. Statistics show there is a tendency too undervalues a woman’s work and contributions.

    The National Women’s Law Center, the AFL-CIO, and others say this difference is mainly the result of gender-based discrimination. It is important to recognize other factors that also influence the differential—education, occupation, skill, experience, race, and hours or time in the work force.

    Women have earned more bachelor’s degrees than men since 1982 and they have earned more master’s degrees than men since 1981.

    Interestingly, the wage gap is largest among the most highly educated groups. Some people say one of the causes for the pay gap is work/family choices. NOT TRUE! The facts show that pay equity—economic equity—is a simple matter of justice. Wage inequalities are not a result of women’s qualifications or choices.

    Damages paid for pay inequities rage in millions of dollars, or—in some cases—billions. Some of the more widely publicized lawsuits involving equal pay and compensation include Wal-Mart, Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Rent-A-Center, Texaco, Office Depot, and Home Depot.

    Simply because a company or an organization has been sued does not mean it is guilty. When the notorious bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he famously replied, “Because that is where the money is.” Sometimes lawsuits are brought against large companies for the same reason. The prospect of expensive litigation and the accompanying negative publicity have prompted many organizations to forgo their day in court and settle. Again, just because an organization is sued or settles does not mean it is guilty.

    HERE IS SOMETHING YOU MAY NOT KNOW: The Equal Pay Act applies to any employer that has two or more employees and is subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act. Some courts not only allow employees to sue their corporate employer, they also allow the employee to sue individuals such as managers and supervisors who control some aspect of their employment. According to these courts, managers and supervisors who exercise such control are just as much “employers” as defined by the Equal Pay Act as the corporate entity is.

    Human Resource professionals are charged with ensuring that workplaces are free from discrimination. It is completely baffling why discrimination based on sex and race continues when so many HR professionals are women—members of a protected class! HR professionals—whether male or female—must live up to their leadership responsibilities and ensure that all employees, at all levels, understand the organizations’ policies and know that discrimination of any kind, from anyone, will not be tolerated. Otherwise, all the employment policies in the world, no matter how well conceived, will be meaningless.

    Before companies can remedy pay inequity, they must understand how it can develop. Sometimes, inequities crop up when a company grows to fast or gets involved in mergers and acquisitions so quickly that it does not adequately monitor its employment data.

    Another possible cause of gender pay inequity comes when companies do not have a corporate wide system for addressing compensation. In such cases, individual managers set their own rules—with potentially disastrous consequences; they make decisions without knowing the legal limitations involved in wage and selection decisions.

    When companies do not have clear organization wide guidelines regarding pay, sometimes women may be ineffectively negotiating salaries. You may want to pick up a copy of the book WOMEN DON’T ASK: NEGOTIATION AND THE GENDER DIVIDE, by Ellen Babcock and Sara Laschever. Their premise is that women collectively leave millions of dollars in compensation on the table by not negotiating salaries.

    If you should find yourself negotiating compensation, for a new position, I have a few tips for you:
    · Do Your Homework: Preparation is key in any negotiation. Understand what your skills are worth to the market. Go online, find salary surveys, and talk to people in the job associations, headhunters, and even other employers.
    · Do Not Talk Salary Upfront: When a prospective employer wants you, the more that employer will be willing to pay to retain your services.
    · Expand the Discussion Beyond Base Salary: Make sure you inquire about benefits and potential for bonus.
    · Do Not Feel Compelled to Accept the First Offer: It may be just the starting point. However, do not overplay your hand.
    · Only Negotiate What’s Important to You: Pick your battles, as hopefully, this is the beginning of a rewarding professional relationship.

    Even if it is true that women do not negotiate well, companies are not absolved of liability. The Equal Employment Opportunity agencies pre-suppose that the vigilant employer, aware of its EEO obligations, will make sure that its compensation system is determining salary, rather than allowing aggressive candidates and passive hiring managers to make the decisions.

    Equally important, the costs of underpaying people are clear: damaged morale, lower productivity, and higher rates of attrition, all of which are costly—especially attrition. As important as it is to pay employees equitably, it is also important to give them equal access to promotions.

    Despite the Equal Pay Act’s general requirement of pay equity between men and women, several legitimate and lawful reasons still exist for paying a man more than a woman. Those reasons must be bona fide job qualifications

    Here is the big question: What can you do if you believe there is inequity in your company? Carefully examine your company’s pay practices, including seniority systems, merit systems and incentive systems. Make sure you know what duties each job in your organization entails, what working conditions the jobs are performed under and what skill and effort are required to do each job. Use this information to evaluate which jobs in your company are entitled to equal pay under the Equal Pay Act.

    Look closely at male dominated and female dominated jobs. These jobs may look different on the surface but may be equal under the Equal Pay Act if they require equal skill, effort, and responsibility and are performed under similar working conditions. If you can prove that differentials are based solely on gender, work with human resources and your employer to make the relevant wages more equitable. You and your co-workers can encourage your employer to implement a pay equity policy.

    If your company does not have a human resources department, you can ask your employer to hire an outside consultant for assistance. You need someone who is objective and has the knowledge and skill to develop a job evaluation system.

    Keep in mind that the Equal Pay Act makes it unlawful to reduce the pay of one gender to match the lower pay of the other. Instead, you must raise the pay of the employee who is being paid less. Although this will cost the company money, it is much cheaper than the penalties it will pay for violating the Equal Pay Act.

    The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces the Equal Pay Act and Title VII, as well as several laws barring discrimination. If you believe you have been denied a job, paid less, passed over for promotions or discriminated against in other ways because you are a woman, you can file a complaint with the EEOC office in your area.

    The best reason to close the pay gap relates to the relationship between human capital and the bottom line. When people with a large knowledge base about a company walk out the door, it is expensive to replace them and rebuild that knowledge base.

    Equal pay is not just a working women’s issue; it is a family issue. If we ended pay discrimination against women, family incomes would rise. Working parents would have more to spend on household needs and more to save for their children’s education or their own retirement security. Working parents might be able to spend less time at work and more time with their families, a change that many families would welcome.

    Single women would have more money to spend to improve their skills and their quality of life. These are just some of the of the benefits gained from eliminating discrimination in pay.

    If you are aware of unexplained differences between your own compensation and coworkers’ compensation and believe that the difference is because of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability, you should call 1-800-669-4000 or 1-800-669-6820 (TTY) for more information on filing a charge with the EEOC.

  • w050 6:37 am on December 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply  


    By: Eliz Dowdy

    Last week a group of twelve Victor Valley women, leaders in business, media and other venues who are advisory board members of Gi & Associates, a local business in the high desert, were the first outside group to receive a guided tour of the new expansion that has taken place at Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville.

    The twelve of us and one male began with refreshments served in the charitable building adjacent to the hospital, then we were escorted into the expansion section and greeted by Dr. Margaret Peterson, accompanied by Jana Bullock, director of marketing for Prime Care Health Systems. The new expansion has all state-of-the-art equipment for cardio-care; it includes medical and surgical beds, intensive care units, new heart catheterization labs, an open heart surgery suite, cardiac nuclear camera and new digital radiology system. The equipment has a futuristic look, but will greatly enhance health care for residents of the Victor Valley. Dr. Peterson told us some of the equipment already installed would be replaced because it has already been updated by newer equipment. It is not just the new wing that has all the improvements; she stated that because the health care professionals who will use the equipment will also work in the other sections of the hospital, the equipment in those units are receiving upgrades.

    The new wing will employ at least one hundred additional health care professionals. The original building was constructed in 1995, that brought the total number of hospitals in the Victor Valley to three, yet there is a shortage of beds, and some patients requiring hospitalization end up waiting in the emergency rooms for bed availability.

    We were able to view the entire expansion from the basement, where there is a full service pharmacy for in-patient care, where at least three pharmacists will be on duty at any given time, assisted by interns and students. Fifty-six beds are semi-private; each is self-contained including a television monitor for each patient; we also viewed the morgue where two body holds are located.

    Dr. Peterson explained that a California law requires that all patient rooms must have windows; all patients utilizing the new spaces will be able to see surrounding areas, and receive natural light filtering through their rooms.

    All patient charts, doctors’ input and pertinent information will become fully automated by 2014.

    Desert Valley Hospital was founded and built from the ground up by Dr. Prem Reddy in 1994; it was an acute care 83-bed facility (prior to the expansion opening). It has been ranked in the top ten hospitals in California, scoring above Loma Linda, Eisenhower, and Hoag Memorial by PacifiCare’s Quality Index survey conducted in 2004. The state-of-the-art expansion will propel it into a different galaxy where patient care is exemplary.


  • w050 4:54 am on December 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply  


    By: Patricia Bagby

    One of the most difficult skills to learn in communications is how to handle critical feedback—whether we are giving it or receiving it. When we understand it and use it, critical feedback becomes constructive feedback.

    Many supervisors have told me they find critical feedback difficult to handle. That is understandable. You make all kinds of decisions, judgments about the people you manage, just as your managers make decisions about you. These judgments can be informal and even unconscious. Critical feedback can make the difference between success and failure in our lives. It provides us with information on what is working and what is not. Critical feedback is an indispensable part of our lives; it can empower us to communicate more openly and improves many facets of our daily lives.

    Many of us define critical feedback as Webster does in the dictionary: “the act of criticizing unfavorably.” We often think of critical feedback as something negative, but critical feedback may also be defined as “evaluating or analyzing with knowledge and decorum. In this perception it is a tool for achieving positive results.

    A good part of our self image is based on how others view us. When we feel that someone sees us as anything other than in a positive light, we may feel devastated. Critical feedback implies that we could be wrong. What could be more personal and threatening? It takes an open mind to be able to listen to an opposing view.

    In today’s environment our ability to adapt, change, and grow as a result of critical feedback is paramount. When we cannot, we risk stagnation and it inhibits our chances to move forward, change, grow, and develop.

    The Simmons/Bright study on critical feedback found that we resent receiving critical feedback most from our in-laws, mates, and subordinates. We handle it best from teachers, friends, fathers, or bosses. We consider it most important to take corrective action when criticized by our bosses and mates and least important to take corrective action when criticized by our in-laws and siblings. We are most hurt by critical feedback that questions our integrity and our job performance. The difficulty we face in handling critical back lies in the fact that the feedback is at least partially true. Even if the feedback is poorly given, it forces us to examine our behavior and draw conclusions.

    When we give critical feedback it is important that it be given constructively. Constructive feedback is aimed at promoting improvement or development of the person to whom you are providing the feedback. This kind of open feedback can relieve stress, and stop people from guessing at expectations and evaluations. Because honesty promotes trust and paves the way to understanding, constructive feedback can improve interpersonal relationships.

    In his book What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women, Dr. James Dobson wrote:

    “The right to criticize must be earned, even if the advice is constructive in nature. Before you are entitled to tinker with another person’s self-esteem, you are obligated first to demonstrate your respect for him/her as a person. When a relationship of confidence has been carefully constructed, you will have earned the right to discuss a potentially threatening topic. Your motives will have been thereby certified.”

    That is excellent advice—for professional and personal relationships.

    © PBBD Enterprises Patricia Bagby, CEO of PBBD Enterprises, is a highly regarded Consultant, Trainer, Trainer, Key Note Speaker and Professional Development Coach. Ms. Bagby provides practical solutions for all aspects of human capital management and employment law regulations. E-mail: pat@pbbdenterprises.com

  • w050 4:47 am on December 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply  


    By: Dr. Rashmi Shankar

    There are several health concerns that arise as our population ages. An increase in chronic and systemic illness is often followed by an increase in medicines to treat these conditions. In women over the age of 50 Menopause is a specific concern with several physical manifestations. Changes associated with Menopause and a general increase in medication use can be seen in the oral cavity as well. In the following article, I will address dental concerns in treatment and as it relates to Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, and Menopause.

    Cardiovascular Disease

    “Cardiovascular disease affects 1 in 7 women aged 45-64 years in the United States”.

    Common oral concerns related to cardiovascular disease include orthostatic hypotension, xerostomia, and gingival overgrowth.

    Orthostatic hypotension-postural hypotension, dizziness caused by suddenly standing from a seated or recumbent position. If you have cardiovascular disease and experience these symptoms, it may be prudent to sit for several minutes post dental treatment.

    Xerostomia- Dry mouth. This is a common side effect of many medications. It has several compromising effects which include: dental cavities, periodontal problems, difficulty in speech and swallowing, mouth soreness, poor denture retention, increased risk of oral infection, and altered sense of taste.

    Treatment of dry mouth includes the following: Frequently swishing your mouth with water. Avoiding caffeinated, sweet, or acidic beverages. Stimulating saliva with sugarless gums/ candies. For severe cases, patients can be prescribed systemic agents through their medical doctor. Finally, frequent dental visits, the application of topical fluoride, and meticulous oral hygiene are the cornerstones to management of xerostomia.

    Gingival overgrowth- which will require meticulous oral hygiene, and possibly a change in medications. Other oral concerns to be evaluated and treated by your dental health care provider include; oral lesions, loss of taste, burning sensation, and angioedema. It is important to remember that you take your medications at the normally scheduled time.


    Recent estimates reveal that approximately 171 million people worldwide suffer from Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common form of diabetes. Diabetic patients are at risk of developing periodontal disease, increase rates of oral infections, delayed wound healing and a higher incidence of gingival bleeding.

    These concerns are minimized by taking the proper medications as prescribed by your doctor, and by following a healthy diet. Regular dental visits and oral hygiene are necessary to monitor oral health, and minimize oral infection in patients who have diabetes.


    There are several oral symptoms associated with the onset of menopause. Among them are oral discomfort, mucosal changes, and osteopororsis. Oral discomfort includes pain, burning sensation, altered taste perception and dry mouth. Oral mucosal changes result in a change in the appearance and sensitivity of gum tissue, and at times be accompanied by an increase in bleeding gums. Lastly, osteoporosis is a condition more commonly known to affect bone health, however this condition can also make one more susceptible to periodontal disease due to lowered bone mineral density. It is important to see your dentist regularly in order to assess periodontal health, and to have regular professional cleanings in order to control gum sensitivity, swelling and bleeding.

    Current recommendations include a dental exam and cleaning at least once every 6 months. Make sure to inform your dentist of any changes in your medical history. Regular dental visits and good oral hygiene can help to better manage the oral manifestations of systemic and chronic diseases. Your dental provider can also educate you on proper oral hygiene techniques, and products.


    “Women’s Oral Health Issues”. 2000 Journal of the California Dental Association.
    “Diet, cardiovascular disease and oral health: promoting health and reducing risk”. Journal of the American Dental Association, Vol. 141
    ADA guide to Dental Therapeutics. Third Edition.

  • w050 4:08 am on December 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply  


    By: Linda Jacobson

    For the past ten years my practice has focused on women. I believe that a very important part of their whole health is directly related to their financial health. As women we most often don’t take our long term financial planning seriously. We are busy! We focus on everyone and everything around us making sure we fulfill the role of family engineer – caring for children or grandchildren, or parents, paying the bills, cooking the food, being a taxi driver. The majority of us have busy professional lives with continually increasing demands. We find some time for church and social activities. We need our network of girlfriends but due to lack of time we too often have to text, twitter or tweet! Thank goodness that we now have Kindles on our purses – an extra five minutes between appointments and we can read!! Why, we wonder, are we so exhausted? When are we supposed to find the time to plan what we want our retirement to look like?

    To some women the idea of looking closely at their long term personal finances is just too overwhelming. Have you ever thought about defining what the “life you love to live” is? Is it different from the life you have now? Is it just like the life you have now? Wealth is not just about money. It is about the quality of your life.

    Here are a couple of documented reasons as to why you might want to take some steps towards that goal: 80 – 90% of women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives—mainly due to divorce and the fact that, on average, women outlive men by five years. (National Center for women and Retirement Research, 1996) An average Social Security check per month is $1,076 for men versus $826. for women. (Social Security Administration) When you factor in that the average woman is expected to live 87 years, we begin to understand just how long our money must last during retirement.

    The cover story on the October 2010 issue of Smart Money Magazine from the Wall Street Journal is Why Women Get a Raw Deal on Retirement. The article on page 50 by Reshma Kapadia is titled The Forgotten Majority. It is a very direct and concise picture of the risks facing women during their retirement. Cindy Hounsell, President of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement says, “Millions of women are going to lose their standard of living unless they take hold of the situation” …This article will answer some of your questions or help you to know some of the questions you should ask. It also points out some of the positive and negative aspects of the financial services industry and what you should look for in a financial professional.

    “Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.”
    ——-Belva Davis
    (First female African American Television reporter on the West Coast)

    My purpose today is to encourage you to take action for your financial future. How do you start? If you do not already have a financial professional to talk with consider putting that on the top of your to do list this week. Connect with someone who will invest the time needed to build a trusting relationship with you. Together you can then focus on identifying your goals and dreams for your retirement years. This partnership can be fun. It can bring you much peace of mind. The goal is for you to have this valuable resource as a guide as your financial needs change. The ultimate goal is for you to not to outlive your money.

    There are many resources for you to get the information that you need to begin or continue to pursue your dream for your retirement years.

    It would be my pleasure to have a conversation with you. You can reach me by calling Capstone Consulting Group at (760) 243-2551.

    Linda Jacobson
    Capstone Consulting Group

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