A word with Mindi Anderson of Maximize Solutions

Sharon Fisher//January 21, 2021

A word with Mindi Anderson of Maximize Solutions

Sharon Fisher//January 21, 2021

Mindi Anderson
Mindi Anderson

It’s not unusual for Idahoans to wear many hats, but in the case of Mindi Anderson, she has a whole hat rack.

At one point or another, Anderson is or has been a CEO; an entrepreneur; a veteran; a diversity, equity and inclusion coach; in charge of COVID-19 compliance on a major sports network; a nonprofit founder and executive director; a consultant; a teacher; regional manager at a major Idaho hospital chain; a state employee managing community health emergency medical services and a radio operator. She also holds a doctorate in health and health care administration and management from Capella University and a whole fistful of undergraduate degrees and certifications.

We spoke with Anderson about her varied experiences and how they all fit together.

This article was edited for length and clarity.

What does Maximize Solutions do, and what do you do in particular? How did you come to found the company?

We provide business strategy solutions through organizational effectiveness management, and HR consulting services, enhancing performance and processes within day-to-day operations and through special project management.

We also deliver corporate and government organizational development and learning courses with an emphasis on diversity, equity, inclusion, emotional intelligence and leadership coaching to strengthen and transform organizations/companies into higher-performing teams and executive leaders.

In particular, I am a certified Associate Diversity Coach through Coach Diversity Institute and am certified by Georgetown University on leveraging diversity and inclusion in the workplace. I am a certified emotional intelligence trainer with Talentsmart (the only one in Idaho). The curriculum follows the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book by Dr. Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. Dr. Bradberry is the founder of Talentsmart as well. I am the principal consultant and coach as a facilitator of courses for group coaching at all levels of a company. We also have independent consultants locally and from across the country that support our organizational development offerings to have a greater impact and reach.

What led you to pivot from the military and EMS to diversity and inclusion?

I grew up in a foster home for all my high school life. I know firsthand the impacts of not feeling valued and included. I made the commitment that I would not be a statistic. I also made the commitment to never let others feel the same way.

I joined the military in my second year of being out of high school after failed attempts to live on my own and go to college. My military career track was primarily in the medical field. I did a few tours as a radio and satellite operator as well.

What I learned in being a medic and a combat operator is there is one constant: Every human thrives on feeling valued and included no matter what walk of life they come from. What I have found is that we must start with looking at the diversity of a person from the inside out, meaning, their personality, knowledge of thought and experience. We all walk a different life and are engineered differently. Some things we cannot change about our genetic makeup.

If we are able to accept, not always agree, but truly accept the differences we all have from the inside out, the outside shouldn’t matter. I want to share my journey with others and leaders because this is my way of paying forward to all of those social workers, law guardians, foster parents, friends, and their parents, teachers, and neighbors who made a difference in my life when I needed it most. They did not judge me, they didn’t belittle me, they loved me and gave me the encouragement to maximize my full potential and live my best life. They didn’t care what I looked like from the outside. They looked at me from the inside out and knew I was destined to do great things.

How’s your company doing, especially in the COVID era?

We thought we would need to close our doors one year ago. We are now experiencing an increase need and request for services focused around our emotional intelligence and leadership workshops. Most companies did not include professional development as a priority in 2020 and we have quite a bit of healing to do in 2021 and beyond. We have also seen an increase in organizational re-alignment consulting and business management consulting as the need to evaluate current structure of business models and processes are a priority. Companies are not only evaluating the past, but looking to the future.

How did you come to be the COVID Compliance Nurse for Fox Sports Broadcasting Team for college football, and what has that been like?

The Power of LinkedIn. I was sought out from a connection that I had not met. She found me through some mutual connections and reached out. The experience was fun, and neat to see how broadcasting and productions operates. I never would have dreamed I would be providing COVID compliance to a major broadcasting team and be one of the few people that could be at the stadium as the Broncos played. You don’t hear this often but, if it weren’t for COVID, I would not have had the unique opportunity.

What is Idaho Partners for Good and what is your role there?

Idaho Partners for Good helps bridge the gap between a donor’s need to know they are making a difference and a nonprofit’s need for consulting services to support their nonprofit on the business management side so they can focus on their mission as a nonprofit and the good they do in the community. What I love most about IP4g is it is a team of consultants that specialize in nonprofit consultancy in Idaho and at an affordable cost to eliminate outsourcing to a company that doesn’t understand our Gem State.

I am a part of the impact team of consultants. Each consultant has their own superpowers and brings a diverse set of skills to the impact team to then support nonprofits. I had the privilege of working as a consultant as a special project management lead to facilitate the complexity of kicking off a capital campaign for the last half of 2020 with a local nonprofit.

We used four of our consultants from the impact team to come together and support a nonprofit and be the critical part of the equation that resulted in them not having to close their doors. We had two consultants that specialized in donor engagement and one that focused on how to manage a CRM to effectively collect good data.

You’ve been appointed as founding executive director of the Idaho Veterans Chamber of Commerce. How did that come about?

I quite honestly just got tired of being a ping-pong ball. I have had painful experiences in finding the right resources in the community because of my affinity bias with the military. We have an identity as a military member and have great trust in our military family that makes it challenging to find our network in the community. I know how important a chamber has been in starting a business, but being a member of a chamber did so much more. It created a community of friends that has become my network to lean on, learn from and grow professionally with.

I started to research veteran chambers and came across the National Veterans Chamber of Commerce that provides the support to launch one in your own state. We had never had one before and so I went through the process of being interviewed to start one. We became a partnering chamber in the fall of 2020.

What is the role of the Veterans Chamber of Commerce, and what makes it important to Idaho businesses?

The role of the IDVCC is to establish strong bonds of collaboration with like-minded individuals, organizations, and businesses who are positive and have a strong passion for supporting and empowering veterans, military currently serving, and their families. Our mission is to create space for networking and connection between the military, veteran service organizations and the community to share resources for our men and women that have made the ultimate sacrifice by serving our country.

The chamber builds strong community partnerships with employers, businesses, veteran service organizations, military installation support centers and the Division of Veteran Services that allows for the military community to become more connected. We do so by offering navigation/coaching services in five core areas. education, family and wellness, Housing for Heroes, workforce development, and vet-preneurship.

Military members and their families develop a strong identity with other military members that creates an affinity bias. It makes it more challenging to navigate a large community of resources when they are accustomed to them all being in one location on a military installation. Instead of giving up from feeling lost, our hope is they will join the Idaho Veterans Chamber of Commerce so we can bridge the gaps, create the connections and find the resources they are seeking to find a sense of belonging and their identity in the communities they live in.

Did you know that on average, 80% of our Idaho National Guardsmen that currently serve foreign and domestic military and state operations currently live in the civilian community 28 days a month? They are the 28-day airmen and soldiers. They live in the community 28 days a month and train to be ready for the next mission two days a month with the military. The military hovers around the 5th largest employer in the state each year. We also have a higher number of military members transitioning from active duty to the Idaho communities. They are coming from all over the world. During a time of economic growth in Idaho, it is in our best interest to bridge the gaps. We believe that our veterans and their families are only as successful in the community as the relationships, networks and collaboration space is that we have in place to guide them.

You’re also on the advisory board for the Idaho Women’s Business Center. What sort of advice have you been giving them?

My board position is to serve and advocate for military connected women business owners. I strive to be an advocate for the importance of military-connected entrepreneurial women in Idaho. The resources provided by the IWBC are, without a doubt, impacting the extreme success of women in business in Idaho. I know this because I am a product of bootstrapping my business with them by my side since day 1.

What do Idaho businesses need to know about diversity and inclusion for 2021?

Businesses must understand that operationalizing diversity and inclusion strategies will bridge the gap and bring the healing our economy needs through being more human-centered. Diversity, equity and inclusion, when approached from a human and humane perspective, bring forward meaningful value in being aware of the unique experiences and knowledge of every person.

The diversity of individual personalities’ thought and knowledge, when seen from a different lens, creates a space for trust, ultimately leading to colleagues becoming or illuminating their best self. Colleagues will go from status quo to creative and innovative thinking. Positive outcomes will also include a colleague feeling valued, being actively engaged, demonstrating high performance and developing meaningful job satisfaction that leads to loyalty, commitment, and a sense of pride for the organization. Having high emotional intelligence, understanding unconscious bias and developing a deeper human connection through more empathetic leadership tactics will be of utmost importance for leaders. Never underestimate the value of inclusion, it has no price!