Rising Up

A true story about the passion and values at the heart of Ferrone Associates....

When I was a newbie on a project team with Deloitte Consulting in the mid-nineties, I was assigned to lead a team of more than a dozen COBOL II programmers who were designing systems in an IBM mainframe environment.

I was an English major with an MBA, with zero computer programming experience—and these programmers knew it, too.

I've always believed that honesty is the best policy, so I sure didn't try to bluff anyone. And I knew that if I micromanaged them, the result would be limited to my own scope of expertise. Instead, by empowering them to do what they were great at doing, our team achieved some phenomenal things.

The team’s accomplishments were one thing, but what they did for me was another. When Bob Combs, an amateur artist, walked into my office followed by the rest of the programmers and set this sculpture (pictured to the left) down on my desk, it was a defining moment in my consulting career.

He simply said, 'I made this for you, and it's from all of us because we all feel the same way--you're the hands that helped us do great things... you let us dream and create, you motivated us to go beyond what we thought we were capable of, and so we want you to remember what you did for us when you look at this sculpture.' I was deeply honored.

In that one profound moment, and with that sculpture as a symbol, they helped me find my focus: I am a catalyst, and I strive to position other people and their organizations to envision where they want to get to, and to encourage and empower them to strive for that next level and to be better for having tried.

So, thank you, Bob Combs! You are truly an artist, and your depiction of my passion has helped me find my focus, which is the core of Ferrone Associates. It is the core of my sustainability.

Other photo angles of the sculpture, Rising Up:


"John is not like most consultants in that he goes way beyond the concepts and reports... he is hands-on and the outcomes he has led us to achieve are very tangible.  And the best part is that we understand where he has helped us get to, and where we need to go next."   

Candy Kennedy, Executive Director, Nebraska Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health

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Grant Writing for the NE Federation of Families

Mr. Ferrone wrote the response to an RFP issued by SAMHSA for statewide family services. The grant submission won, and the Nebraska Federation of Families was awarded a three year grant in the amount of $70,000 per year.

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