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Business Improvement Seminars

Please note: our upcoming and most recent Seminars are posted below.

Thanks to Cambridge Trust Company for sponsoring our business improvement seminar series workshops.

Cambridge Local First is quickly becoming the go-to place for business improvement ideas. We hold three seminars yearly with the generous sponsorship from Cambridge Trust Company.

Please check back for more information on upcoming seminars.

Upcoming Business Events

The Practice of Leadership: Essential Tools for Resilient Small Business

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The practice of leadership is a core discipline of successful and resilient businesses. Caleb Dean from Owl, Fox & Dean will introduce some of the methods that he uses in helping organizations across a wide range of sectors develop leadership capacity. Participants from any role within an organization can benefit from attending.

The participant should leave the meeting with:

  • Practical tools to help develop leadership capacity for yourself and within your business
  • A five step process to prepare for and structure difficult conversations
  • Methods for developing high quality relationships with staff and stakeholders
  • Approaches to develop strong team working agreements

Join us on May 6th from 9:00am – Noon at the CLF Conference Room located at 99 Bishop Allen Drive, Cambridge Ma 02139 for this incredibly valuable workshop!

Sign Up Today
Business & name of attendee(s)

HR Workshop


This is a FREE workshop put on by Cambridge Local First in collaboration with the City of Cambridge’s Community Development Department, sponsored by Cambridge Trust Company. There is a suggested donation of $20.

Register today!

Suggested Donation
Business & name of attendee(s)

Topics covered will include:


Amy Carlin’s performance management insights will teach you tools to motivate, understand, and effectively interact with employees to encourage ideal performance, starting with the essentials to properly hire employees. She will also discuss proper channels to instruct and, if necessary reprimand or fire employees to ensure the best outcomes.  Amy is passionate about ensuring that business owners have all of the tools to streamline these processes.


Judy Polacheck will cover HR best practices such as the essentials that any employee handbook must have (and the importance of having an employee handbook) as well as common questions about relevant HR policies that can often seem ambiguous. Judy’s focus in her law practice is to create systems to help prevent employment conflicts, and her experience will be invaluable in helping to create  your own systems.


Jim McSweeney and his team from The CIP Group will discuss employee benefit strategies designed to maximize value and improve employee retention.  The presentation topics will focus on the differing needs of all employees, key employees and business owners.  This is a condensed presentation intended to provide the audience with some real life insights gained from The CIP Group in their 25 years of working with Small & Growing Businesses.

The participant should leave the meeting with a better understanding of:

·         Key employee strategies to retain talent and offset employer costs in the event of an            unforeseen loss

·         Benefit strategies to reward business owners

·         The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and how to make it work for you

·         Advantages/Disadvantages of Group vs. Individual insurance contracts

·         Buyout strategies for partners



Health Care Reform and How It Will Affect You and Your Business

health care reform

The rules on healthcare and the future of reform seem to change weekly. How will this affect my business and family? How will it work in Massachusetts? Will our regulations change, too? Does it even involve me; what will I need to do to accommodate the changing laws? Will there be tax implications?

These are just some of the questions and issues you are facing as HR managers, business owners and/or the person who handles operations for your organization. Join CLF member James McSweeney from The CIP Group to hear more about these issues and get your questions answered!

The presentation will address current topics regarding the Affordable Care Act such as Employee Notification, the delay of the shared responsibility provision for over 50 life accounts, taxes and fees associated with PPACA, what you should be telling your employees now, the new Exchange/Marketplace plan designations, subsidies, the 9.5% rule and minimum coverage.

In addition we will talk about what to expect in the future regarding rate setting, waivers that Massachusetts has received, wellness, the impact on seniors, expansion of w-2 reporting requirements to small employers, and the role of brokers.

This is a FREE workshop that Cambridge Local First and the City of Cambridge are cosponsoring on Wednesday October 23rd from 9:00am to Noon at Cambridge City Hall Annex, located at 344 Broadway.

Please R.S.V.P. by clicking here

2013 Employment Law Seminar


Thank you to all who attended the most recent CLF Business Improvement Seminar and to Attorney Amy Carlin for taking the time to share her legal expertise, answer all questions, and guide us through new complex employment law issues! I think all who attended can agree that the seminar was beyond informative and contained essential information for all businesses. If you were not able to attend but are interested in connecting with Attorney Carlin, you can get in touch with her here.

If you have an idea or suggestion for a seminar -LET US KNOW!  

Speed Coaching

Are you a busy business owner or entrepreneur looking for some quick advice on your business? The Economic Development Division is organizing a Speed Coaching event on Thursday, November 8, 2012 from 5:30 P. M. to 8:00 P. M. for Cambridge small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Using Social Media to Grow Your Business – Business Improvement Seminar

Across the nation, innovative local and independent entrepreneurs use the web and social media as the foundation of their marketing campaigns for good reason. Cambridge Local First is committed to supporting the growth and development of our member businesses, and this upcoming Social Media Seminar provides a terrific opportunity for learning to market your business in a cost-effective, results-driven way.

Most people know social media can be a tremendous asset for increasing sales, but figuring out how to make it work can seem a major challenge. In this seminar, you will learn from several advanced practitioners how your business can leverage social media to engage both new and current customers. Through an interactive approach, the seminar will teach practical and specific ways to make web-based marketing and social media work for your business.

Social Media MarketingNo matter what level of success you’re having in social media, there is room for growth, and in this seminar you will learn to:

  • Create a social media strategy
  • Evaluate the latest social media trends and how they impact your business’ strategy
  • Identify which social media platforms best fit your marketing goals
  • Tailor messaging to specific social media platforms
  • Understand network size versus engagement
  • Reach and engage your target customer
  • Grow your social media interactions
  • Create social media partnerships to further expand your audience
  • Turn social media interactions into new business
  • Build an online community centered in part around your business
  • Manage daily social media postings in a way that is sustainable, effective, and fun
  • Identify relevant social media metrics
  • Quantify the results of your social media strategy

What: Seminar for local business owners and staff

When: Thursday, May 10, 2012

Time: 8:30 am to Noon

Where: Cambridge Innovation Center

Refreshments: Continental Breakfast

Cost: $45 for the first person and $35 for each additional person.
$35 for the first person and $25 for the second person if paid by April 23, 2012. $10 more per person after April 23



8:00 : Registration and continental breakfast

8:30: Welcome and Introduction to seminar

: Opening Panel Discussion on Cambridge Local First success stories
Catie Hayes, Advanced Digital Websites, Inc. –Moderating
Elizabeth Stagl, Cambridge Naturals–panelist
Alex Meriwether, Harvard Bookstore –panelist

: Break

: Interactive Breakout sessions
Intermediate and Advanced: Catie Hayes
New to Social Media: Joe Grafton

: Wrap-up and Closing

: Seminar ends

Joe Grafton

Joe Grafton is the Executive Director of Somerville Local First and is a professional consultant for a variety of small local business around Greater Boston. He has built one of the strongest social media platforms in greater Boston for Somerville Local First (Cambridge Local First’s sister organization). Joe is a nationally recognized speaker, panelist, and trainer for Local First networks, Facebook,Twitter, and comprehensive social media strategies.

Catie Hayes

Catie Hayes is the VP with Advanced Digital Websites Inc. and Editor of She has fourteen years experience doing web design with a specific focus on search engine optimization and social media. Her search engine optimization experience encompasses site-based optimization, off-the-page optimization and developing relevant inbound link volume as well as having managed Google pay-per-click ad campaigns. Her social media experience spans all major platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest, etc) and she develops strategies matching clients with most relevant social media platforms and creates campaign messaging to best leverage a multi-platform campaign. and


Elizabeth Stagl

Elizabeth Stagl is the co-founder and co-owner of Cambridge Naturals, one of the nation’s most successful retailer of natural health and life-style products. Serving as it’s Marketing Director of Cambridge Naturals, Elizabeth has developed a strong web-based marketing and social media presence for her independent retail business.

Alex Meriwether

Alex Meriwether is Social Media Coordinator for Harvard Book Store, Harvard Square’s landmark independent bookstore. He has grown the store’s Twitter feed to 17,000 followers, and maintains a Facebook page, YouTube Channel, and Google Calendar. Harvard Book Store’s social media presence focuses on author event updates, book news, staff recommendations, and the unique flavor of this locally owned and independently run Cambridge institution.

Harassment Prevention in the Workplace – Business Improvement Seminar

Harassment Prevention in the Workplace – 3/1/12

Presented by Amy Carlin, of Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLP

CLF is excited to bring back Amy Carlin, of Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLP. as a presenter for the next business improvement seminar sponsored by Cambridge Trust Company.

When: Thursday, March 1, 2012 from 9 am to 11.

Where: CCTV’s new studio space in their community board room in Central Square on 438 Massachusetts Avenue.

Cost: $25 and includes breakfast from Veggie Galaxy!

Why:Harassment in the workplace poses serious risk to your business. Both corporate and personal liability can result from unlawful harassment. Learn how to prevent sexual harassment and other illegal harassment in the workplace, and what all of your managers and employees should know about keeping your business free of unlawful harassment.

Attendees will learn:

  • How to implement a harassment prevention policy
  • What conduct and behaviors can be construed as workplace harassment
  • What the legal consequences are of harassment in the workplace
  • How to develop internal procedures for reporting and investigating conduct that is or is perceived as harassment

Purchase Tickets

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased securely through Google Checkout. If you’d like to purchase more than 4 tickets, email

Creating Value by Leading with Values

Build High Performance Teams that Wow Your Customers!

Facilitated by Alicia Korten founder of ReNual.

When: October 6, 2011, 8am-4pm
Where: Cambridge Innovation Center on 1 Broadway in Kendall Square.
Cost: Between $80-140 (details here)

Alicia Korten founder of Renual and award winning author will facilitate an interactive workshop that will be a game changer for you and your business

Alicia Korten, founder of Renual and award winning author, will facilitate an interactive workshop that will be a game changer for you and your business

We don’t need to tell you how tough the economy is–you feel it every day! How do local businesses survive and even thrive in these challenging economic times? Zingerman’s recently led a workshop for Cambridge Local First that demonstrated concretely how their company is growing by adding value to their products and building a high-performance service-obsessed team that provides extraordinary customer service!

Cambridge Local First is excited to offer another workshop in the Cambridge Trust Business Improvement Seminar Series that will give you practical tools that you can use to strengthen your business the very next day. Alicia Korten founder of Renual and award winning author will facilitate an interactive workshop that will be a game changer for you and your business if you want to:

  • Grow your business
  • Develop a high-performance team that provides extraordinary customer service
  • Identify key ways your company can add value to your products and services
  • Develop the foundation for a dynamic marketing campaign
  • Re-energize and excite your staff to be more engaged in the success of the business

Alicia has worked with well-known companies like Levi Strauss & Co., Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group, Mary’s Gone Crackers and The Longfellow Clubs. She has successfully guided the transformation of company cultures by helping companies manifest their values, purpose and identity, bring out key stories that make the company unique, and deliver on their brand promise.

Great companies begin with great cultures, and great cultures are a product of clearly established values. Entrepreneurs and staff will leave this workshop inspired to take their business to the next level of success. In the workshop you will:

  • Identify your core values–both personal and business
  • Learn how a clear set of core values can transform your business
  • Discover how other companies are using values to drive their success
  • See how the company culture and values serve as the foundation for effectively training staff to provide superior customer service

This extraordinary workshop will fill up and is limited to 70 registrants. Don’t miss out, register today and save $30.

When: October 6, 2011
Where: Cambridge Innovation Center on 1 Broadway in Kendall Square.


*Members Non-members
By September 27 $80 $110
After September 27 $110 $140

Take $10 off for the second, third, fourth, and fifth participants from the same business. Participants MUST be from same business for $10 discount.

To purchase more than 5 tickets, please email us at

*Members of SBN, Cambridge Local First, and Somerville Local First

About ReNual and CEO Alicia Korten

Alicia Korten is an author, Fulbright scholar, speaker and strategist, and is CEO and founder of ReNual LLC.

ReNual helps build game-changing cultures and communications strategies that help companies identify and manifest their core values, identity and purpose, ReNual uses storytelling, creative emergence technologies, focus groups, surveys and retreats to help companies build values, identity and purpose into their day-to-day operations and marketing strategy. Learn more at

Employment Law Breakfast Series – “Top 10 Common Wage & Hour Mistakes”

Top 10 Common Wage & Hour Mistakes was a great success.

Cambridge Local First continues to provide workshops that our members and friends love! Thank you for your participation!

Top Ten Common Hour and Wage Mistakes that Employers Make
(and how to avoid them!)

with Amy Carlin of Morgan, Brown & Joy, LLP

Tuesday, May 3rd — 8:00-10:00 am

Where: Cambridge Historical Society on 159 Brattle Street [map]

Cost: $25 – includes breakfast

We sold out the first of our breakfast sessions on Employment Law. Our speaker, Amy Carlin, once again entertained and educated us on the aspects of law every small business owner and manager should be aware.

Expect to learn:

  • Federal and state wage laws that apply to your business, and the most common employer violations
  • The difference between an employee and an independent contractor
  • Workplace policies to prevent wage and hour violations


ZingTrain – “The Art of Great Customer Service”

March 29, 2011 - 8am-4pm

Zing Train Customer Service Workshop Sold Out!

Cambridge Local First continues to provide workshops that our members and friends love!   Thank you for your participation!

In partnership with Cambridge Trust and the Sustainable Business Network (SBN), CLF is bringing back ZingTrain for a hands-on interactive workshop designed for owners, managers, and front-line staff.

We all know superior customer service is one of the main ways that differentiate local businesses from the chains and big box stores. ZingTrain has established an extraordinary reputation for workshops that are an efficient, effective, and economical way to push your staff up a notch in the never-ending quest to exceed customer expectations and make an unforgettable impression.

ZingTrain is the nationally acclaimed training program that is a part of the Zingerman’s family of companies. It has been featured on the cover of Inc Magazine and is one of the companies profiled in Small Giants written by Inc Magazine editor, Bo Burlingham. Paul Saginaw founded Zingerman’s twenty-five years ago in Ann Arbor, Michigan and he and his associate Ann Lofgren will be co-leading this dynamic and interactive workshop.

When: Tuesday, March 29, 2011
8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where: Cambridge Innovation Center on 1 Broadway in Kendall Square.