Mother left a legacy for NFL prospect Zack Hodges

The head of our Charlotte office and Vice President and Business Development Manager, Chris Kenny was featured in the Charlotte Observer on April 18 heading into the NFL Draft.

One of the draft’s prospects, Harvard graduate Zack Hodges, came from the Charlotte area and, despite so much hardship leading up to draft day, defied the odds to make his NFL dream a reality. Our Chris Kenny was a big part of that.

Hodges’ father, a professional boxer, died when he was 1. His grandfather, who became a positive influence, passed away when Hodges was 14. And for a few stretches when Hodges was a teenager, he and his mother had nowhere to live in Charlotte. But in September 2008, his mother Barbara Wright died at 48 after a massive stroke.

It was Chris and his wife, Yovonne, who lived down the street from Hodges, who became like family to Zack, both before his mother passed on and after. They were home one weekend when Hodges knocked on the door and asked to mow their lawn. Chris had just cut it but told Hodges to come back the next week.

Kenny says Hodges didn’t show up at the agreed-upon time but was at his door shortly after sunrise two weeks later to cut the Kennys’ grass for $20.

His mother later came down to inspect her son’s work. “Well, aren’t you going to rake it?” Wright asked him.

The yard work led to a close bond between Hodges and the Kennys, who would host him and his mother for holiday dinners. Other times Hodges would drop by to help Chris install hardwood floors or hang out while Yovonne called businesses for her job with the Yellow Pages.

The Kennys have remained incredibly close with Hodges ever since and recently watched him graduate from Harvard. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Indianapolis Colts after the completion of the 2015 NFL Draft. To read the full story in the Charlotte Observer click here.


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Sharp Decisions Named As One of’s Top Businesses in the U.S. for 2014



Jared Baiman,, 212-403-7571

New York, N.Y. (May 30, 2014) –, the nation’s leading multicultural social media site, has recently acknowledged Sharp Decisionsas one of the nation’s “Top Businesses” for 2014. This exclusive ranking is a reflection of Sharp Decisions overall vision, leadership and economic accomplishments in moving our economy forward. The award, known as the Div500, represents the most unique class of companies who have earned the distinction of fostering a culture of sustainable growth among the communities they serve.

This is’s 14th annual listing of the nation’stop businesses. Over 1.3 million businesses participated in this year’s program. The “Top Businesses” are determined by a selection committee that evaluates the eligibility for all submissions in each award categories. The selection committee bases their decision on a set of criteria which includes: reviewing each entrant’s business profile, website and gross annual sales submitted. The businesses selected on these lists have become highly coveted among corporations, government agencies and educational institutions that desire to increase opportunities with privately-held businesses.

“We are very proud to continue to support men and women who have become the core of our nation’s innovation, productivity and growth,” CEO Kenton Clarke said. He goes on to add, “I am very optimistic about our future especially as this distinct group of entrepreneurs continue to produce immeasurable results and serve as a prime example for current and generations to come.”

“We are honored to be included among some of the most recognized companies in the nation,” Sharp Decisions CEO Karen Ross said. “It’s a testament to the hard work our people put in day in and day out. There are a lot of deserving organizations out there; I just want to thank for recognizing us as one of those companies.”

The List

This List is a classification that represents the top privately-held businesses in the U.S., in sectors such as technology, manufacturing, food service and professional services. The List offers a comprehensive look at the strongest segment in the United States economy- America’s privately-held businesses. Large organizational buyers who do business with multicultural, small and women-owned businesses all use the list. The List has garnered over 20 million annual views since inception.

For the complete list of winning companies, please visit:


About Sharp Decisions

For over two decades, Sharp Decisions has provided superior, award-winning service in strategic business and technology consulting services to government agencies at all levels, as well as domestic and global corporations. With subject matter expertise in Investment Banking, Finance, Healthcare, Media & Telecommunications, and Manufacturing, Sharp Decisions is highly equipped to serve your needs.

Established in 1990 with headquarters in New York City, and locations in Princeton, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Europe and Canada, Sharp Decisions has been the technology backbone for a client portfolio that includes an array of high-profile companies. As a Certified Woman-Owned Business Enterprise and approved vendor, Sharp Decisions offers a powerful, cost-effective advantage. We actively partner with other MBEs to add value and meet diversity program requirements. Sharp Decisions is also committed to hiring and training post-9/11, tech-savvy U.S. armed forces veterans through the V.E.T.S.™ (Vocation, Education and Training for Service members) Program.


Launched in 1999, is the largest organization of privately owned businesses throughout the United States that provide goods and services to Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and colleges and universities. provides research and data collection services for diversity including the “Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities”, “Top 500 Diversity Owned Companies in America”, and others. Its research has been recognized and published by Forbes Magazine, Business Week and thousands of other print and internet publications. The site has gained national recognition and has won numerous awards for its content and design. Its e-magazine reaches over 3,000,000 readers, an e-newsletter that reaches 2.4 million, and website visitors of 1.2 million a month. It is a leading provider of diversity management tools.’s produced by Computer Consulting Associates International Inc. ( of Southport, CT. Founded in 1980.

Sharp Decisions receives 2013 New York Excellence Award



Jared Baiman,, 212-403-7571

New York, N.Y. (May 15 2014) – Sharp Decisions has been selected for the 2013 New York Excellence Award amongst all its peers and competitors by the US Trade & Commerce Institute (USTCRI).

Each year the USTCRI conducts business surveys and industry research to identify companies that have achieved demonstrable success in their local business environment and industry category. They are recognized as having enhanced the commitment and contribution of small businesses through service to their customers and community. Small businesses of this caliber enhance the consumer driven stature that New York is renowned for.

Sharp Decisions has consistently demonstrated a high regard for upholding business ethics and company values. This recognition by USTCRI marks a significant achievement as an emerging leader within various competitors and is setting benchmarks that the industry should follow.

As part of the industry research and business surveys, various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the selected companies in each category. This research is part of an exhaustive process that encapsulates a yearlong immersion in the business climate of New York.


About Sharp Decisions

With two decades of achievement and superior service, Sharp Decisions has provided strategic business and technology consulting services to state and local government agencies and national and international corporations in—but not limited to—Banking, Finance, Healthcare, Media, Telecommunications and Manufacturing. In 2008, it added a Finance Operations division to specifically address the non-technical operational needs of major financial institutions.

Sharp Decisions has been the technology backbone for an impressive portfolio of clients, including Fortune 500 and other high-profile companies, and has been dedicated to maintaining strong relationships with existing customers, while strategically forming new alliances. Sharp Decisions is also committed to hiring and training post-9/11, tech-savvy U.S. armed forces veterans through the V.E.T.S. Program.


The USTCRI is a leading authority on researching, evaluating and recognizing companies across a wide spectrum of industries that meet its stringent standards of excellence. It has spearheaded the idea of independent enterprise and entrepreneurial growth allowing businesses of all sizes to be recognized locally and encouraged globally wow po.

Particular emphasis is given to meeting and exceeding industry benchmarks for customer service, product quality and ethical practices. Industry leading standards and practices has been developed and implementation of the same has been pioneered by the dedicated efforts of the business community and commerce leadership buy wow gold.

V.E.T.S Program will continue to Thrive in the New Year.

SharpVETSbyLogoWhen Karen Ross created the V.E.T.S Program, she recognized that there was a dire need for Veteran jobs and while other organizations were sitting idle she chose to do something about it. At the same time, Ross realized that overcoming the stigma of the “ability and stability” of Veteran hires would not be easy. When many companies were nervous to invest in Veterans, Ross discerned that if given suitable training and the proper avenue for success, these Veterans would thrive.

And she was right.

Veterans jumped at the chance. Expressing their gratitude to be able to work for their success, instead of having it handed to them. They wanted an opportunity, not a hand out. Because of their desire to grow the success rate of the program has been high, and many Veterans have completed projects at top tier companies such as Emblem Health.

A manager at Emblem Health was thrilled at the service she received from Sharp Decisions V.E.T.S Graduates, stating in a review,

“Maritza and Victor both made it a priority to ensure that there was complete understanding regarding their assignments and asked questions to ensure there was no miscommunication between us. They are both hard working and very diligent in ensuring that they’re assigned tasks are completed both accurately and in a timely manner.”

She was not only pleased at the quality of service she received, but also the personal demeanor of the Vets.

“My team has actually told me how much they will miss them. They participated in our Secret Santa gift exchange and have gotten along well with everyone around them, even during our floor move. Maritza and Victor, were both extremely professional and integrated into my existing team with ease, it was as if they had been working with Emblem Health for years.”

The success of this program is in large part due to the Veterans who continue to work hard every day to prove that they can do it, that they are just as capable if not more capable then the non-veteran worker. Another huge key to the success of the program is Ross’s and SDI’s, constant commitment to see this program not only grow but thrive.

The SDI team now works effectively as unit a total unit, invested not only in the program but in individual Veterans like Maritza and Victor. They, just like at Emblem Health have cohesively melted into the Sharp Decisions team, and their success is just as vital as our own.

In the New Year SDI will continue to work tirelessly with new Veteran Classes, alumni, and companies to make sure that Veterans do have that chance. That when they come home or complete their service, they recognize that there are companies out there like Sharp Decisions who want to help provide them with a spring board to their futures. As Emblem Health and SDI can attest, the venture can pay off for everyone.

Do You Know When your Interview is Really Over? You Might be Surprised.

Thank you ! aRTICLESo you have just finished the interview you have been prepping all week for. And you are most likely overcome with the mix of emotions that can flood you after the excitement of the interview wears off.

“Did I do well, why did I say that, did they like me?”

It is easy for us to get lost in the post-interview whirlwind of thoughts, but one thing that is important not to forget: once you step out of the interview room you are not entirely done with the interview.

You should make sure that you always remember to send your interviewee a thank you note. Doing so shows that you are responsible and considerate of others time. Not receiving a thank you note from a potential employee, can be a red flag to employers.  This is also a chance for you to stay fresh in the mind of those who interviewed you.

Writing a thank you note can be easier and much quicker than you think.

According to, “In your note, thank the interviewer for their time, mention a specific part of the job or interview you connected with, reiterate your interest in the position and close with, ‘I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks,’ and sign your name, including your contact information again.” Outline some of the positive moments you had during the interview.

Sample of a thank you note: 

Dear Mr. Richard,

            I want to thank you for taking the time to meet with me this afternoon. I really enjoyed speaking with you on 123 inc.’s strategic plans for the future. Again I am very thankful to be in consideration for this position, and excited at the possibility of working with such a great company in the future. I look forward to hearing from you.

     Thank you, 
         AA. Smith

Keep the note short and simple, and send the note in a timely manner. The better late than never mentality does not work here. Sending the thank you note a week later defeats the purpose. You want to get a chance to send the “Thank You” before they have a chance to make their decision.

It is simple: When in doubt say Thank You. It is never a bad idea in any situation to thank someone for their time.

2014: The Year of Kicking Your Goals in The Butt

It is almost the New Year which means a fresh start for most people. It is the time when individuals begin to reflect on their past and refocus on the present. Some of us are happy with our lives at the current moment; others are hoping the New Year may bring with it a new job, stronger relationships, a promotion, etc. Whatever you wish for in the New Year,

Impossible .

below are a few tips for setting and achieving those goals.

First, express your goals. It is hard to see a goal come to fruition if you have not yet determined what it is that you want. Give yourself some time to reflect on what you would like to see happen in the New Year. Ask yourself what is it that would make me happier; is it less time at work, a new job, a desire to be more social, or to be smarter about saving money. Setting goals can give you both short term motivation and a long term vision with incentive. Write your goals down and place them in a spot where you can be reminded of them.

The good news is that most goals can be accomplished if we create a plan and stick to it. The hardest part can be actually following through with the plans we set.

Think about it, how many of us vow to lose ten pounds after the holidays only to find ourselves three months later stuck with a gym membership and a holiday gut that refuses to go away. Life, children and family can get in the way until we find that we are no longer going to the gym three times a week like we did in January, now it is more like three times a month (if we are lucky). So how do you prevent that from happening?

According to, “a useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic”

S – Specific (or Significant).

M – Measurable (or Meaningful).

– Attainable (or Action-Oriented).

R – Relevant (or Rewarding).

T – Time-bound (or Trackable).

For example, instead of having “get a new job” as a goal, it’s more commanding to say “Secure a new job by December 31, 2015.” When you set a deadline for yourself it can drive you to work harder. “Putting in dates and times allow you to measure achievement. If you do this, it will be easier to know exactly when you accomplished the goal, and you can take satisfaction in having completed it“.

Make smaller goals for yourself. If you want to lose ten pounds in the New Year, perhaps you can plan to lose 5 pounds by June. Once you have completed that goal, you can create another one. If the first goal you set for yourself was too easy, then make the next one harder. “I am going to lose another 5 pounds by October”. “Or I am going to start sending out resumes in January and I want to be interviewing and working with a recruiter come March”. Smaller goals are easier to accomplish and help move us towards the “bigger picture”.

Breaking your goals down is not the only step in accomplishing them. You cannot complete anything if you do not give yourself the time to work on it. Factor in time, specifically geared towards accomplishing your task. Allow yourself a couple hours each week to focus on your overall goal. If you want a new job spend those hours refreshing your resume, sending out applications, or talking to recruiters.

Set realistic goals. Think; is it realistic that you will find and be hired at a new job by next month, probably not. If you give yourself 6 months to acquire a new job that can be a little less intimidating. So be realistic about what you can achieve in a given amount of time. Not allowing yourself enough time may cause you to become discouraged or overwhelmed.

Remember some goals take longer to accomplish, and not all plans will work out as “planned”. But that is why having a “smart” strategy, and allowing yourself room for mistakes will help deliver you to the results you want.

With time your goals will change. It is okay to adjust your target if you want to.Maybe you have tried finding a job and nothing seems to work out so you get tired of it. Perhaps starting a new job, or moving, or whatever else your goal is motivating at first but then become daunting as time goes on. Bumps along the road are inevitable, but if you want to see your goals accomplished your best bet is to stick with it. That is why it is essential to know what you want to accomplish out of your goals and why. If finding a new job is what you want because you are not happy with your current position; try to not let the challenges entice you to walk away. Remember the outcome will most likely be worth the struggle.

And when you do complete your goal, like finally landing that job of your dreams or losing those 10 pounds reward yourself.

You worked hard, and you deserve it.


Sharp Decisions Annual Holiday Party 2013


“This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays!” - D.M. Dellinger

V.E.T.S Program Veteran David Anderson – Adjusting to Life After Service

An Army captain, skilled with foreign languages and trained to fly planes carrying personnel and cargo, wouldn’t be believed by most people to be lost in their career path.

But when David Anderson came back from his 2009 deployment to Baghdad, he caught himself going for month-long stretches without a job. One of the biggest problems he faced was translating his wide skill set into something of value for prospective employers.

“I moved to NYC, and I could not find a job for eight months,” he said. “As far as growth in my career, it wasn’t great.”

Before he joined the National Guard, David was a stockbroker who held a degree from Michigan State. As an enlisted soldier he served as a logistical specialist, but eventually the skies called him and he went for flight school in Alabama.

Soon after it was an officer’s commission, but it did not change the constant sting of unemployment for David. His last spate without work led him to join V.E.T.S. after meeting a group of trainees at a conference in Pennsylvania.

“It’s nice to work with veterans,” David said, adding that he enjoys the camaraderie and knows the other team members will be supportive if one person is struggling or having trouble.

David must still fulfill his duties in the Guard as a pilot and commanding officer, and one of his concerns when joining the program was being able to balance his military duties and civilian employment. While some employers are not receptive to those aspects of his life, David said he has found in V.E.T.S. and Sharp Decisions willing partners that understand and appreciate the sacrifices he makes to serve his country.

Since starting with the program, David has already worked on projects as a software analyst. He said that while the work has a sharp learning curve, he is confident in his training and is glad the program exists as a relief to veterans looking for work.

CEO Karen Ross on The Blaze: Giving Veterans a Opportunity not a Handout

Entering its 9th month in December, the V.E.T.S program has seen its share of ups and downs. Just like most programs in its early stages the program is learning, adapting to the changes and continuing to grow.

Sharp Decisions CEO Karen Ross, recently sat down with Andrew Wilkow on The Blaze to discuss the V.E.T.S program.

Check out the interview below:

Changing the Industry One Recruiter at a Time

In today’s competitive job market, surviving as a recruiter in this cut-throat industry can be tough; especially when now more than ever before when there is a low supply of jobs that are in high demand.

But not all recruiters or recruiting companies are dishonest.

Take for example, recruiter Karl Klein who is trying to clean up the recruiting industry’s reputation. Karl refuses to get caught up in all the recruiting dishonesty.  “Here at Sharp, recruiters aren’t like that. We respect one another. We all want to see each other succeed.” While other companies are pulling applicants out from one another,” Karl says, “here there is a mutual respect for the process,” which is hard to find at many other recruiting firms.

That respect is not only good for business but is helping Karl, who is still new to the recruiting game by industry standards, grow and succeed.

It is not hard to tell Karl apart in the office with his impenetrable long island accent and constant eagerness to ask questions and learn. Karl will try to really get to know who you are as a person and what you are trying to achieve out of your career. And even if he is short for time, if you need assistance or have a question, he will make time to help you.

That is because Karl truly feels a good recruiter is one who is there at all stages of the process. “A good recruiter is someone who listens well, who works hard at building relationships” he smiles, “a bad recruiter, hmmm, I would say someone who doesn’t listen.”

And so Karl everyday shows he is ready and willing to listen to anyone he is trying to help place in a job. He asks questions and tries to find the right person for every job he is placing for.

Karl first fell in love with recruiting when he worked for a firm in London, just over two years ago. He knew from there that his passion was in recruiting, and he was up for the challenge. He wanted to find a firm that matched up with his ideals and values, which is when he found himself at Sharp. He enjoyed being a part of a company that wanted to see him succeed. He enjoyed that the senior recruiters actually wanted to teach him, to see him grow.

And Karl recently has been able to pay forward what he has learned, in a trip to California where he helped train new junior recruiters joining Sharps Los Angeles team. Advice that he has to new recruiters, “just keep working and learning. Don’t stop making those cold-calls and get as involved as possible.”

In the next five years Karl sees himself managing and continuing to grow and thrive as a recruiter.