Dale Carnegie North Dakota Spotlight On – Getting to Know Them Better: Heather Ostrowski

September 14, 2015

HeatherWelcome to our Spotlight Series featuring interviews with instructors, trainers and staff members of Dale Carnegie Training of North Dakota.

For the month of September, we interviewed Heather Ostrowski for a second time, who began her path with Dale Carnegie when a simple postcard came across her desk.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a child I wanted to be a teacher. Didn’t everyone? I am the oldest with 2 younger brothers and playing school was one of the only activities we could agree on, and because I was the oldest, clearly I was the best pick for the teacher role! I remember teaching my brothers how to write in cursive on a big black board at home and it was really rewarding to watch them get the hang of it.

I was also going to be the next Debbie Gibson or Tiffany!

What was your educational and experiential path to becoming a member of the Dale Carnegie team?

My path to becoming a member of the Dale Carnegie team began with a postcard that came across my desk in 2003. I was a young manager of a school and I couldn’t believe that I could get training in things like building trust, credibility and respect, speaking with confidence, clarity and influence. As a young person trying to lead a group of students and instructors, I couldn’t sign up faster to receive this kind of development! And wouldn’t you know…it worked! As a recruiter for the school, our numbers doubled that year. As an influencer of our culture, we increased our retention rate by 30%. My life had been impacted forever in that 12-week Human Relations course and I became a wholehearted champion for what we do. I continued to partner with Tonya and Tamara for the next 10 years until I finally became a full-time employee!  

What Dale Carnegie principle(s) resonate with you the most? Why?

Dale Carnegie Principle #5 and #28 are a tie. #5: “Smile,” because it is so simple and people do NOT believe me when I tell them I used to have to work on this one. #28: “Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to” because I have seen this one work wonders! As a school manager, I loved seeing the best in people, recognizing their potential, and calling attention to it before they even knew it was their gift.

Looking at trends and changes, how do you see training evolving or being impacted?

Research shows that in the year 2020,  millennials will make up ½ of our workforce. This affects every industry. Because of the shift and uniqueness that comes with encouraging millennials and the greater value they have in their “why,” it becomes increasingly important that we adjust our thoughts around how we support this generation. According to a Forbes article, “7 Surprising Ways to Motivate Millennials,” workers should: explain the company vision, prioritize community involvement, develop in-between steps and titles, give encouragement and regular feedback, offer more flexibility, give education and professional development, and give them more time for personal projects.

The great news is that these are not surprising to Dale Carnegie, and as thought leaders on the topic of engagement, this is exactly what we talk about. It is exciting to know that what we do is so relevant today – even after 102 years!

What’s a big personal or professional dream that you have?

My personal dream is to watch one of my boys (currently age 5 and 11) facilitate a Dale Carnegie Course when they get older!

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