L’Oréal Beats Revenue Projections in Fourth Quarter

L’Oréal Beats Revenue Projections in Fourth Quarter

Paris-based L’Oréal, the world’s largest manufacturer of cosmetics and cosmetic supplies, maker of the Maybelline and Lancome brands, beat revenue projections for the fourth quarter of 2020 as beauty customers shifted to online buying and sales in China rebounded. L’Oréal’s sales reached $9.56 billion (€7.88 billion) for October through December, flat compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 on a reported basis but rising 4.8% like-for-like, without accounting for currency effects and asset acquisitions. Analysts had predicted flat-to-3% growth.

Earnings at beauty companies and luxury retailers sagged as pandemic restrictions reduced traffic at duty-free shops and high-end stores, and the pervasive use of face masks has reduced the market for makeup. But L’Oréal experienced increased demand for its professional products as beauty salons reopened along with increased demand for its skincare products as consumers shift to pampering products to be used at home. L’Oréal’s online revenues reached one-quarter of total sales, jumping 62% in 2020 alone.

L’Oréal China Sales and Online Sales “Spectacular,” Chairman Says

Chairman and Chief Executive Jean-Paul Agon told Les Echos newspaper ahead of a conference call with analysts that L’Oréal’s Q4 sales were “spectacular.” Said Agon, “E-commerce has become L’Oréal’s main market.” Despite the pandemic, the world’s number one cosmetics maker limited its turnover to a decline of 4% and maintained its margin at a record level of 18.6%. The explosion of e-commerce and market share gains – particularly in China, said Agon – have enabled the group to remain stable in a context of crisis.

L’Oréal’s success in China and its success online are intertwined, General Manager of L’Oréal China Stéphane Rinderknech says. Rinderknech says the success of the brand in china is based on L’Oréal China’s “consumer-centric 5-power model.”

The success of L’Oréal China rests on its recognition of the importance of social value. Chinese consumers respect companies that seek the greater good of society in all of their endeavors. But that does not mean that Chinese consumers do not appreciate a plethora of product choices.

L’Oréal China maintains a 22-brand portfolio in China. While each brand is unique and aspirational, the company maintains equity in capitalization and resources.

L’Oréal China recognizes that the needs and desires of Chinese consumers require unique innovations. Products that “work” in other settings do not necessarily provide Chinese consumers with desired results. In 2005, L’Oréal established a Research and Innovation Center employing 400 people who invent new products in China and for China.

The third factor in L’Oréal China’s success has been its investment in the retail market. Customers are able to buy at a store counter with their phones. But the same customers can also buy the same products online. L’Oréal China created disruptive online marketing content that maintained sales until China’s success in managing the pandemic allowed brick and mortar stores to reopen.

Stéphane Rinderknech says the success of L’Oréal China also rests on a basic insight into Chinese consumer behavior. He commented in an interview for “Beauty and the Middle Kingdom” that

“Over the past 20 or 30 years, there has been a tsunami of change in terms of consumer behavior. The generation born in the 70s, during the Cultural Revolution, was mostly behaving in conformity. Today if you look at young Millennials, it’s exactly the opposite. There is no norm for them. It’s all about “me, me and me” and about the way to express my own personality. This expression is also an explanation for the boom of the beauty market in China because this difference has to be expressed in some way. And on the other side we have this “silver generation”-the seniors- who represent hundreds of millions of additional potential consumers.”

However, L’Oréal can manage both the “we, we, we” as well as the “me, me, me.”

Agon Attributes Strength of Company to Corporate Culture

In his interview with Les Echos, L’Oréal chairman Agos attributed the strength of the company to its corporate culture. Agos commented to the newspaper:

“L’Oréal has weathered the crisis very well. Our priority has been to protect our employees and to support frontline healthcare staff. Our group’s solidarity with its suppliers and customers has had an incredible echo.”

In the second quarter, when hairdressers and small perfumers were threatened with going out of business, we froze their debts and made advance payments to small suppliers, which helped save many small businesses. It was a bet worth several hundred million euros, which we fully recovered. Everyone reimbursed when they could, as the reopening progressed, depending on the country, and was keen to do so. This created a very strong relationship with the L’Oréal group.”

L’Oréals culture of cooperation extends to its operations in the United States. In January 2021, the company announced a partnership with the NAACp to launch a grant program to support Black-owned businesses.

Protests against racial injustice sparked by the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd have moved major corporations to support initiatives that advance social change. L’Oréal USA has launched The Inclusive Beauty Fund to provide one-time grants of$10,000 for Black-owned services and brands in the beauty sector to help maintain their businesses.

“As the leading beauty company in the United States, we believe that we have a responsibility to invest in the small business owners and entrepreneurs who are the lifeblood of our dynamic beauty industry,” said Angela Guy, chief Diversity & Inclusion officer, L’Oréal USA told Black Enterprise.

“We are proud to team up with the NAACP to advance our shared mission of creating a more inclusive and equitable world during this time of great economic vulnerability for so many. We hope the Inclusive Beauty Fund will introduce us to entrepreneurs in the beauty industry that we can build strong relationships with well into the future.”

“Black-owned small beauty businesses are the heartbeat of their neighborhoods, and beauty business owners are navigating tremendous challenges stemming from the Covid-19 and recent events,” said Yumeka Rushing, chief strategy officer, NAACP. “The NAACP is proud to partner with L’Oréal USA to help support these entrepreneurs and ensure the longevity of the services and community their businesses provide.”

Agon Predicts a Roaring 20’s for the Beauty Industry

Agon, who is slated to hand over his CEO role to his No. 2, Nicolas Hieronimus later this year – told Les Echos that he remains prudent for 2021 but is confident that demand for beauty products will soar long-term.

“I’m convinced that when we come out of this crisis, it will be like the roaring 20’s,” he told Les Echos.

“After years of pervasive anxiety, the end of the pandemic will release a feeling of freedom. People will want to party and wear make-up and perfume.”

How to Find the Right Auto Insurance Policy for Your Needs

How to Find the Right Auto Insurance Policy for Your Needs

When it comes to finding auto insurance policies for your family, it’s imperative to understand what you’re doing. As an informed buyer, you’re far more likely to get the right policy at the right rate.

5 Things You Need to Know

Car insurance doesn’t have to be a confounding topic. With some willingness to learn the ropes and understand what’s really going on behind the scenes, you can find the perfect auto insurance policy for your needs. Here are a few recommendations:

1. Know What Your State Requires

Every state has its own laws regarding how much insurance drivers are legally required to carry with their vehicle.

In total, there are five types of coverage that a state can mandate: bodily injury (BI), property damage (PD), uninsured/underinsured bodily injury (UIM BI), uninsured/underinsured property damage (UIM PD), and personal injury protection (PIP). Some states only require BI and PD, while others require all five. Likewise, every state has its own minimum coverage.

There are only a few states that don’t require insurance. In New Hampshire, drivers only have to prove their ability to pay for damage in a car accident. (However, the state can require drivers to get minimum coverage after a major violation, like a DUI.) In Virginia, residents can pay an uninsured motorist fee of $500 per year instead of getting insurance. And in states like Mississippi, Alabama, and Alaska, drivers can post a cash deposit or bond equal to the minimum car insurance amount if they don’t want to purchase car insurance.

2. Understand How Rates Work

Car insurance rates are determined by two major factors: underwriting and rating.

Every insurance company assigns a risk value to each applicant. Based on the results, a rating is assigned and a price is given that reflects the cost the insurer believes it’s taking on for a potential claim. Each carrier’s rates are impacted by a proprietary blend of factors, which may include any or all of the following:

  • Driving record
  • Location
  • Age and gender
  • Marital status
  • Vehicle (make and model)
  • Vehicle use (higher mileage means more risk)
  • Prior insurance coverage (missed payments, canceled policies, etc.)

Because each insurance company’s underwriting process and risk models are unique, you’ll find that rates vary from one carrier and policy to the next.

3. Know Which Discounts You Qualify For

Insurance companies offer discounts to customers as incentives for good behavior and loyalty. Being aware of these discounts and which ones you could potentially qualify for will make you a more informed driver.

Examples of discounts include multiple vehicle, home and auto bundles, driver education courses, anti-theft devices, safety devices, anti-lock brakes, and low mileage. The more of these you layer together, the better your rates will be.

4. Shop Around for Rates

Car insurance rates can vary significantly from one company to the next. If you put your focus on one insurance company and never consider the alternatives, you could end up paying more than you should for basic coverage.

As a recommendation, consider doing an annual rate check where you get at least three quotes from different companies to see if there’s a way to save money. You’ll have to be the judge of when it makes sense to change policies, but knowing the rates keeps you informed as to what the market is like at any given point in time.

5. Figure Out Your Own Risk Tolerance

You can significantly increase or reduce the cost of your auto insurance policy by playing around with different deductibles. One recommendation is to figure out how much you’re comfortable spending out of pocket in an accident. Based on this number, you can figure out your own personal risk tolerance.

If you have adequate financial resources and are able to pay a larger deductible without compromising your financial situation, you might be willing to raise the deductible and “self-insure” part of the risk. But if a large deductible would sink your finances, it’s better to pay a few bucks more every month for lower risk. Massage the numbers to see what works!

Don’t Rush the Process

When shopping for auto insurance, it’s important that you take your time and do the proper due diligence. Rushing through the process could lead you to make a premature decision that leaves you paying more and/or getting less coverage than you need. Be disciplined and intentional!

Developing Professional Relationships

Developing Professional Relationships

Judge Napolitano knows that building professional relationships play a crucial role in career growth. However, most people overlook the need for networking and association. Some relate such a move with awkwardness and dependency.

Despite all the negative connotations linked to networking, it involves developing lasting professional relationships. This helps to build an excellent business reputation. Support and trust are elements of good networking, and the people involved in such connections benefit from each. Networking is based on the principle of sharing rather than taking. Below are ways in which strong network connections enhance career growth.

Boost Business Connections

Since professional relationships are two way traffic where both parties benefit, it becomes easy to achieve set career goals when you are working together. Furthermore, each party strives to create a stronger bond by presenting their counterparts with opportunities. This kind of mutual help leads to a permanent business bond.

It Helps Generate New Ideas

A network is an excellent source of fresh ideas. That’s because the parties involved create a platform for exchanging information on experience, challenges, and goals, all of which are vital aspects of networking. Most professionals love it, especially when asked for help. It makes them feel valued and will go a long way to provide the insight needed.

Build an Excellent Reputation

Having a good profile is the gateway to success. Through networking, skilled individuals get to attend professional social and events, which exposes them to potential customers.

Additionally, they build a name for themselves by being supportive and coming up with useful information. Again, building one’s profile within professional circles gives one an upper hand among employers who are always searching for better skills.

What’s the Impact of Strong Professional Relationships?

Most successful people worldwide, such as Judge Napolitano, have advanced their careers in different sectors by building network connections. He’s an American and popularly known for his excellence as a judge, Fox News analyst, not to mention that he’s a successful author of political books.

Napolitano is what we call a ‘Jack of all trades’, but he owes his success to networking. Having served as a judge for years, he resigned in 1995 to concentrate on private practice, and he is still investing heavily in professional relationships.

According to him, that’s how opportunities come knocking his way. His passion for building relationships has compelled him to engage in different activities, including teaching, writing, and even started a TV career. From 1989 to 2000, he became an adjunct professor for 11 years at Seton Hall University School of law.

The judge points out that it’s through building connections he has excelled in everything he lays his hands on. However, developing and maintaining professional relationships calls for dedication.

Napolitano started the journey by understanding his relationship needs and weighing the value such bonds would add to his professional life. He insists involved members must have superb communication skills, collaboration, and problem-solving skills for the relationship to last. Also, the parties need to work on their emotional intelligence to support their strong community.

Taking Breaks During the Work Day

Taking Breaks During the Work Day

Recent research has shown that sitting stagnant for long periods of time is difficult on the human body. According to Better health Channel, sitting stationary for multiple hours in a row, can be just as dangerous to the human body, if not more than, smoking. Due to health risks of staying at one’s desk without movement for a long period, Diego Ruiz Duran takes multiple breaks throughout the workday. Duran will leave his workstation every hour for a few minutes, to increase blood flow, increase metabolism and reduce severe health risks associated with cardiovascular disease. Taking multiple breaks from a work station throughout the day has also been known to improve one’s anxiety / depression disorders, improve body mass index (avoid weight gain) while improving one’s overall health. Heart Disease and Major Cancer types have been linked to those individuals who hold stationary positions as their main career focus throughout their life.

There are many reasons why individuals in a typical office environment should take multiple breaks. As listed previously, it can assist in avoiding major health concerns as a result. However, taking multiple short breaks throughout the day can also increase brain functional and development. When the brain has time to be removed from a computer screen multiple times throughout the day, screen fatigue can be avoided. Thus, the human brain can interrupt information clearer when resumed.

A well-known Japanese automobile manufacturing company uses this method across all levels of employment. Every few hours, an announcement is made, and employees are strongly encouraged to participate in the company-wide stretch time. This is to help keep employees motivated and energized at the task at hand, while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is stated that the average person should walk 10,000 steps per day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If one spends 1/3 of their day sitting at a desk, it will be difficult to average the recommended 10,000 steps per day. However, if one takes multiple small breaks throughout the work week, this can easily be accomplished. Reaching this 10,000 step recommendation can also be made easier when the employee: parks away from the office door entrance, walks the long-way to the restrooms, and even takes small detours when fetching a glass of water or a copy of the printer machine.

Multiple breaks throughout the workday have many health, emotional and social benefits in the workplace. Besides helping in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it can also assist in nutritious social life as well. Human beings were made to have interaction with one another throughout their lives. When employees take multiple breaks throughout the day, this provides many possibilities of small talk, greetings, and other communications related to the company, location, job at hand and other common, socially acceptable topics. Employees should participate in multiple, small breaks throughout the day to increase work effectiveness, brain function, blood circulation, reduce possibility of severe long-term health concerns and social-norm queues just to name a few.

Importance of Giving Back

Importance of Giving Back

Robert Ingersoll said “We rise by lifting others”. A community can benefit from good people that make it their life mission to set aside their own wants and desires just to uplift others. Shalom Lamm is a great example of someone who could have just gone to college, built a career and left it at that. Yet, it was the Jewish whose call he answered. A call from beyond the grave and through the tears of their families.

Shalom Lamm’s Heart for Community

Lamm earned a degree in Philosophy from Yeshiva University in New York City and from there established a career in real estate. Later, he earned a Masters in U.S. Military History at American Military University in Virginia.

He was touched by Jewish families who lost loved ones in WWII and were never properly buried. Out of this tragedy, Operation Benjamin was born. Operation Benjamin “ensures that the fallen heroes are buried under the Star of David.” The non-profit organization has been running successfully and there is no cost to the families that it helps.

Operation Benjamin

Jewish burial under the Star of David is crucial to Jewish faith. Jewish soldiers that have fallen were never given their proper burial. 

For generations, Jewish families had to sit with the sad fact that their loved ones were incorrectly buried. Operation Benjamin, through accurate and sharp genealogical research, have succeeded in changing the grave markers of all Jewish soldiers buried under crosses “but there could be hundreds more.”

Operation Benjamin is not the only volunteering Lamm is doing. He and his wife Tina “created an initiative” that delivered thousands of nonperishables to Jewish communities in Kiev and during the pandemic of 2020, he urged safety first because of the coronavirus claiming lives and the importance of still having museums available for educating the masses.

Giving back may not be wildly popular but it yields benefits for humanity and Lamm understands this. Others like Lamm understand this concept as well. When a community suffers and has no answers, sometimes it is one person who has the idea to give back, whether it is food or help for paying others’ rent. It will spark a warm kindness in their hearts. It doesn’t take much. Kindness can begin with one person handing out canned goods or helping single parents. It can inspire a nation.

Lamm is one of many examples of the “quiet hero” But anyone could be if they see the value in the act of kindness, and he may not want others to sing praises of him, but just the act of giving back will never go unnoticed by those who are helped.

A Hopeful Outlook for the Arabian Hospitality Industry in 2021

A Hopeful Outlook for the Arabian Hospitality Industry in 2021

The downturn of global tourism during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 significantly impacted certain regions where the hospitality industry was going through a renaissance. Armed conflict and political tensions in Iraq, the Levant, and Yemen had already driven tourists away from established destinations such as the United Arab Emirates, and the pandemic managed to exacerbate the situation even further.

It took quite a few months for tourism industry leaders to realize that they had to come together in order to face the crisis and make the best of it. The challenge was underscored by reality; in order to stay in business, hospitality leaders had to adjust accordingly and offer safe and hygienic accommodations to travelers, guests, and patrons, but the diminished activity was unsustainable on its own. Thankfully, we now have the prospect of vaccination campaigns on the horizon, and this has brought about hope that 2021 will be a much better year.

In 2020, the annual Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference was held in a virtual manner through a series of video conference calls via Zoom and other platforms. The feeling was somewhat surreal because traditional tourism conferences typically take place in a major tourism attraction such as a landmark hotel, and the activities include taking potential investors on tours of spots that travelers are bound to enjoy. For 2021, the AHIC event is tentatively scheduled to be held at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai in September. The tentative label must be attached to all major gatherings in 2021 because it is nearly impossible to chart the course and genetic mutations of SARS-CoV-2, but the outlook is positive in this regard.

There are many reasons to be hopeful about a recovery of the Arabian hospitality industry in 2021. The contagion rate in many regional countries has been taking a downward turn, and public health officials are working closely with vaccine providers to ensure they have adequate supplies not just for healthcare workers but also for people employed in the hospitality sector. Health and hygiene measures have been implemented across hotels, resorts, shops, restaurants, pubs, and tourism attractions. The region is eager to welcome international visitors once again, and tourism operators have been preparing for their return.

In the last press release AHIC issued before the World Health Organization announced that SARS-CoV-2 had become a pandemic, the investment forecast over the next two years suggested that more than $20 billion would be spent on new hotel construction in countries such as Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. These projects were certainly delayed by the pandemic, but everything points to a resumption of activity as soon as public health conditions improve.

The establishment of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel in 2020 is already bearing fruit for the regional hospitality sector. As reported by the Washington Post in mid-December, thousands of Israeli visitors have been flocking to the UAE over the last few months; many of these travelers are Arabs born in Israel who could not previously visit because of passport restrictions, but shop keepers in the famous gold souk of Dubai have been pleasantly surprised to see Orthodox Jewish businessmen visiting with an explicit interest in jewelry.

One particular tourism market that is very eager to get back to normalcy is Ras al-Khaimah, the tourism jewel of the UAE. For this year’s AHIC, His Highness Saud bin Saqr al Qasimi, ruler of Ras al-Khaimah, will be a featured speaker, and he has a lot to tell about the tourism boom that has been developing in his emirate over the last few years.

Long before his ascension, His Highness Saud bin Saqr had already spent a couple of decades working on the socioeconomic development of his emirate; he has always been a firm believer in the power tourism has in terms of promoting development, and he knows that Ras al-Khaimah has a lot to offer in this regard. In ancient times, the natural beauty of Ras al-Khaimah attracted visitors from all around the Arabian Peninsula; thanks to the geographical location and topography of the emirate, the climate is far more refreshing when compared to Dubai. Basically, Ras al-Khaimah is like a giant oasis in the UAE, and it is filled with family-friendly tourism attractions, which means that it will soon attract many visitors from Israel and around 

the world.

Why You Should Think About Owning a Gym

Why You Should Think About Owning a Gym

Owning a gym can provide you with the ideal opportunity to get involved in the health and fitness industry while you should also be aware of the various franchises that are available in a particular area. This is especially pertinent if you are looking to open a franchise gym business while you should also consider a number of other factors to make sure you choose the right franchise for your needs. This is especially pertinent if you enjoy going to the gym on a regular basis or even if you are a fitness instructor and you are thinking about expanding your business operations to include running a gym. However, you may not be aware about how to go about the process of purchasing a franchise or even a gym business while you should also understand the business model of any potential option to make sure you choose the right type of business for your requirements. For more information about companies offering gym franchises in a particular area, you should think about consulting one of a number of online business directories as you will be able to identify a variety of companies that you can contact.

  • Think about the business model
  • Understand the franchise
  • Offer several services to the members

A.           Consider the business model

One of the most important things to think about when you want to own a gym is to consider the business model of a particular franchise. Indeed, if you are looking for a franchise opportunity, then you should consider Ninja Parc as this particular business will be able to provide you with a high level of return on your investment. This is especially pertinent if you are looking to operate a gym business while you should also be aware that a franchise opportunity can allow you to attract a variety of types of members.

B.           Understand about the franchise

Another important consideration that you should make when you are thinking about owning a gym is to consider the franchise as well as understand what is involved in the deal. Indeed, if you are looking for an ongoing and consistent form of revenue that attracts a variety of types of members to undertake regular exercise, you should think about purchasing a franchise opportunity in the gym business as soon as possible.

C.           Variety of services

Lastly, it is important to understand that if you are thinking about investing in a franchise you should understand the business model that you will be buying into while also adhering to local health regulations. Indeed, if you are looking for an extensive offering of gym equipment as well as several other services, you should think about taking out a franchise as soon as possible. This is especially pertinent if you are looking to offer casual play passes or even holiday programs while school-based offerings including parties and kids experiences can also be offered.

Therefore, in conclusion, if you are thinking about operating a gym in the near future, you should consider contacting a specialist company that can assist you throughout the process of getting a franchise opportunity in the gym business.

How Much Money Can You Get in a Trucking Accident Settlement?

How Much Money Can You Get in a Trucking Accident Settlement?

Truck crashes happen every day. When a tractor-trailer hits your vehicle, you usually face severe injuries that could change your life forever. But most people aren’t equipped financially to handle the burden, so they rely on a truck accident settlement to take care of their health and financial needs.

Anyone suffering severe tractor-trailer crash injuries wants to know what they can expect in a settlement. There’s no average settlement for such severe accidents, but there are a few things that affect how much you get in the bank for your injuries.

Here’s more information to help you understand what your accident case could be worth. Remember to run your case by a truck crash attorney to get more information. They usually don’t charge for the consultation, so you don’t have anything to lose.

Truck Crash Settlement Factors

A truck accident case involves personal injury. Your attorney must demonstrate the driver’s or company’s negligence to receive money for your injuries and damages. Negligence happens when a person or entity acts in an unreasonable way that causes someone else losses. The losses could involve money, health, or both. But if you don’t prove negligence, your case vanishes.

Getting a rough number for your possible settlement involves a solid understanding of the following aspects:

Injury Severity

Severe truck accident injuries that involve high medical bills and surgery always get more settlement dollars. Bad injuries, such as broken bones, internal injuries, and head trauma, will get more sympathy from a potential jury.

The insurance company knows juries award more money to seriously injured people. They’re also more sympathetic to those who are hurt by corporate negligence. The insurance adjuster is more likely to offer a higher settlement because they know that they could pay much more if it goes to court.

Medical Costs

The more severe your injuries, the more medical care you need. Most insurance companies focus on your medical care costs to arrive at a possible settlement figure.

For example, if you shatter your hip in the accident, you’ll probably need surgery and a hospital stay. Plus, you’ll have physical therapy for weeks or months after surgery. This type of care usually involves tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. This will be a significant driver of a truck accident settlement.

But there are a few exceptions. Insurance companies value medical care from a doctor or surgeon much more than chiropractors or acupuncturists. If you claim $10,000 in chiropractor bills, the insurance company may view that skeptically. But $10,000 in hospital costs will be valued higher.

Lost Earnings

Another massive factor in a truck accident settlement is how much work time you lose. If you’re out of work for three months because of a herniated disc, you’re probably going to get a more significant settlement than if you lose a week of work for a strained wrist.

An attorney will also receive more lost earnings than a marketing specialist because they earn more per pay period.

If you’re unemployed, you’re mostly out of luck; the insurance company won’t pay you for lost work time.

Pain and Suffering

Truck crash victims with a lot of pain and suffering get more compensation. For instance, you’ll have more pain and suffering with a broken kneecap than a sprained wrist.

But how do you prove pain and suffering? Documentation is critical. Your doctor needs to confirm that your injuries cause so much pain and suffering. It also helps if you keep a ‘pain journal’ that describes how much your injuries hurt and affect your life.

Also, insurance companies have a good idea of how much various injuries hurt. They see these cases every day.

Of course, pain and suffering are still somewhat subjective. This area is open to negotiation, and it’s up to your attorney to make a convincing argument for more money.

These factors will influence your potential truck accident settlement. Keep in mind that all cases are different, and your lawyer is the best one to give you a possible settlement range for your specific injuries and circumstances.

Matthew Fleeger, Gulf Coast Western Bring Holidays to Hospitalized Kids

Matthew Fleeger, Gulf Coast Western Bring Holidays to Hospitalized Kids

Matthew Fleeger, Gulf Coast Western, and the Sadie Keller Foundation are on a mission to provide Christmas joy to kids who are in the hospital, stricken with cancer.

The day Gulf Coast Western and Matthew Fleeger host the company Christmas party has become a day its Dallas office transforms into a hub with a truckload of toys to be loaded onto Sadie’s Sleigh — the charity’s means of distributing toys to 11 hospitals covering all of Dallas-Fort Worth, plus treatment facilities in Austin, Houston, and five other states.

At the core of the relationship are two cancer survivors, Gulf Coast Western CEO Matt Fleeger and 13-year-old Sadie Keller.

“I have a survivor’s compassion for the emotional and physical impact cancer can have on an adult, but I could not fathom what it takes for a child to endure the suffering, treatments, and emotions,” Matthew Fleeger said.

In 2020, the friendship was tested by the pandemic that forced the entire world to change its focus. COVID didn’t stop kids from getting cancer. It only piled onto their problems.

Because of COVID protocol, hospitalized kids no longer get to be around each other in common area playrooms. Their visitors are often limited to a single parent. 

“In any given year, your heart goes out to these families and these children in the oncology wards. Removed from their home, removed from friends and family,” said John Engel, chief operations officer for Gulf Coast Western. “Typically, they can only see immediate family and other kids in hallways and the playrooms. But this year, they can’t socialize because of COVID.”

Charities that provide relief, like the Sadie Keller Foundation, are facing the economic brunt of the pandemic. The Foundation had to cancel its annual Yellow Ball fundraiser. Some individual contributors are tapped from helping people in need since the spring, when COVID hit. Others are among those now out of work. 

“It is my goal to not only collect over 10,000 toys for kids fighting childhood cancer in a hospital during a pandemic,” said Sadie, who has collected toys for kids who are spending their holiday season in a hospital since her own Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia diagnosis at age 7. “To hope they all get what they want for Christmas and maybe just have a smile for a minute.”

Matthew Fleeger Gulf Coast Western
Matthew Fleeger and Sadie Keller

All told, it’s a huge burden for 13-year-old shoulders. But Sadie’s relationship with Gulf Coast Western is deeper than corporate partners who cut a check. These are friends.

“This year was different. I’m so proud of my Gulf Coast Western coworkers. They really stepped it up,” said Tim Taylor, executive vice president. “Even with a tough year for an oil company, it pales in comparison to what they are going through.”

With Matthew Fleeger matching his employees’ contributions, Gulf Coast Western increased its contribution to Sadie’s Sleigh by 25% over 2019 with thousands of toys donated.

The shopping is done personally, with employees matching their strengths to specialize in age groups, often playing off their own parental expertise to find gifts that fit from toddlers to teens. Once it’s known they’re on a mission for cancer-stricken kids, Engel said the Gulf Coast Western shopper employees feed off the energy of workers and others in the store who watch in awe as thousands of dollars in gifts come off the shelves.

“Our focus changed to toys they could play within their rooms,” Taylor said. “We shifted away from bicycles or Power Wheels and focused on toys like Nintendo Switch, Oculus, action figures, and even wireless headphones. We really wanted to get items that could provide ways to pass the time and enjoy in their confined spaces.”

Clearly, they are toys any kid would want, continuing what the foundation praises as the company’s track record of getting the gifts just right.

“It’s about emotional support,” said Sarah Keller, Sadie’s mom. “To allow a child who’s fighting cancer to still be a kid. To help their mental health that they’re able to fight.”

In addition to the toy donations, Matthew Fleeger has also purchased more than a handful of Sadie’s paintings – artwork that supports all aspects of the foundation.

Just as Sadie has other donors, her foundation is but a slice of the charitable portfolio for Matthew Fleeger and the company. Gulf Coast Western is also involved with the North Texas Food Bank, Children’s Medical Center, Shriner’s Hospitals, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Magdalene House and Smile Train.

Most of Gulf Coast Western’s Boise, Idaho, office employees were also able to join in the 2020 presentation for Sadie’s Sleigh.

“At the end of the day, when we’re all together at the company Christmas party with our spouses, the toy donation is still all the buzz, separate from the awards and the other traditions of the event,” Taylor said. “It’s the best team-building exercise we’ve ever done.”

Just as Sadie was unable to see the emotions of the children at the receiving end of the gifts this season, the masks worn at the gathering prevented the corporate and charity friends from seeing the smiles when the lobby full of gifts were presented and loaded on the truck by dozens of Gulf Coast Western employees.

But the feeling in their hearts was the same, maybe even better, than at previous Christmases.

“It’s what makes them different,” Sarah Keller said. “Even in hard times they come through and come through big. They’ve shown up for us in a year that it matters most.”

How the Healthcare Sector is Using Cutting-Edge Technology

How the Healthcare Sector is Using Cutting-Edge Technology

The healthcare sector has been hit hard by the global Covid-19 pandemic and hospitals are offering virtual consultations in a bid to keep people away from those infected with the virus, which makes perfect sense. Your family GP is obviously a very busy person and rather than spending the day at their surgery, seeing members of the community with health issues, the medical professional prefers to offer virtual consultations to their patients, which eliminates human contact.

Artificial Intelligence

As an example of how AI is being used in the medical sector, a group of AI developers created a super-computer and fed it 100,000 X-Ray images, while entering the parameters. The computer then began to digest the data and the team started to feed more images, and as the computer is learning from the new images and adding that knowledge to its database, it soon outperformed a skilled doctor by accurately diagnosing X-Ray images. Hospitals in the UK are receiving healthcare delivery services from Tecdis, a leading white glove logistics provider that transports and installs complex medical equipment.

Surgery Robotics

When precision surgery is required, such as with brain surgery, for example, special robots are being used to carry out the operations, as they are extremely accurate, removing error from the loop. Of course, this technology is very expensive and there are not that many hospitals using this technology, but that is changing fast, as robotics develops and becomes cheaper. Micro-surgery offers non-invasive solutions, with nano-technology bringing unlimited potential. If you are thinking of starting up a restaurant business, here are a few tips.

Virtual Medical Services

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, many GPs are offering their services in a virtual way, as this eliminates human contact and, in most cases, an audio-video connection is enough for the medical professional to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the right medication. Other virtual medical services include mental health counselling, where you can search online for a qualified mental health counsellor and book a Zoom video call. If you would like to talk to someone about your fears or anxieties, a Google search will help to locate a professional counsellor and whether you need to use their services often, or just need someone to talk to, these services are available.

Track and Trace

With so many people who might be carrying the Covid-19 virus, it is important to have a track and trace system, which can be in the form of a mobile app, which you install on your phone and if an infected person visited the same location as you, the authorities can inform you via the track and trace app. You may have already used such an app, indeed, many countries are asking their citizens to download the government tracking and tracing app, in a bid to beat the virus.

As you can see, there are many new technologies that empower the healthcare sector and with the arrival of AI, we can expect to see even more new tech that will help the medical profession.