Will Kesselman is the President and Founder of Control and Power Strategy (CP Strategy), a consulting company that specializes in guiding parents, families, and professionals through Government and Community Systems, from volatility to safety. CP Strategy is known for being possibly one of the only consulting companies helping women protect their children and family when they are being investigated by an unprofessional Child Welfare (CPS) Investigator, saving them time, aggravation, money, and potential Foster Care situations.
Mr. Kesselman has fourteen years of experience as a Child Protective Specialist- someone responsible for investigating child abuse and neglect cases, for the NYC Administration for Children’s Services (NYC ACS). This is the government agency tasked with ensuring the safety and well-being of all children in New York City. While working for NYC ACS, Mr. Kesselman has served in a number of elite specialized units and has helped over one thousand women and children empower themselves by escaping dangerous situations. From his career experiences, Mr. Kesselman has gained proficiency in and can consult and assist families and professionals with concerns of Child Protection Investigations, Domestic Violence, Harassment and Stalking, and Bullying/Teasing in school, among others. When he’s not guiding families and professionals, he also takes his dad to as many Yankees games as he can. Or, they usually end up watching it on TV.
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Let’s learn a little about you and really get to experience what makes us tick – starting at our beginnings. Where did your story begin?
Will Kesselman: When I was a child growing up in Montreal, I was bullied in school, in summer camp, and in my neighborhood. I was also abused by my mother, while my father was out working long hours. Once I reached the middle of high school, I had worked on myself, lost weight, joined the school’s ball hockey team, and a teen or youth community (BBYO) that helps to instill identity and empowerment. I had good skills, which developed to be even better, in ball hockey. So, some of the other kids started to accept me.
I was also accepted into the youth community organization. This helped me find my strengths and weaknesses, and also empowered me to find my place in all aspects of my life. With the increased self-esteem, discovered skills, and acceptance by my peers into different circles, I started to be a leader among my friend and fellow teens. I ran for and won VP of Student Council. This was a major upset, because I wasn’t popular, but was respected. And, in BBYO, I also was elected to positions where my main task was to help others. So, with the experiences in school and in BBYO, I saw the impact I was having when helping others. And, I wanted to continue to empower others.
Was there somebody in your life that inspired you to take that specific journey with your business?
Will Kesselman: There isn’t one person who comes to mind, who inspired me to take my journey with my business. What inspired me was the work I was doing with the sheer amount of mothers and children and their families. They, and their families, would ask me the same or similar questions, repeatedly. So, because of my desire to empower others, I took that information and eventually worked on a specific method or strategy to help more than just families in NY. What also inspired me were the stories about mothers going through divorce or separation, while their children were caught in the middle.
Some of those stories resulted in outcomes that should never happen- ever! So, every time I feel emotionally or physically weak, I remind myself of those stories and the need for what I do. I use that to keep pushing me to work, help, guide, and empower.
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Will Kesselman: The most common mistake I see is that most entrepreneurs think they can do something similar to what’s already out there. For example, many entrepreneurs who’ve been successful for a while, usually post regularly on social media. So, you’ll see those starting out also try to use that same thing and post themselves. What an entrepreneur needs to do is to post with a purpose and the desired outcome. The purpose can’t just be to gain followers. It needs to be about providing value. Even if you’re a coach in a crowded space, you need to have a different successful approach, so that it adds value. In my opinion, people respond to entrepreneurs and companies who provide value.
Has the pandemic and transitioning into mostly online shopping affected your company positively or negatively?
Will Kesselman: This has actually helped a lot. It has been positive because most of the consulting are either by phone or especially by video-chat type platforms (like Zoom or WhatsApp). Instead of those in local communities resonating with our message and services, it has allowed many to be more open-minded to see the value of our work and the benefits we can give them, most clients find us on social media. They’ll then go to the website. Then they’ll reach out, once they recognize that we can give them the guidance they’ve needed to help them, or what they’re going through.
What is most important to your organization—mission, vision or values?
Will Kesselman: The most important focus values. And, the most important value is to over-deliver in all aspects of how we help mothers, children, families, and professionals. From the thorough assessment of the client’s situation to the follow-up and customer service aspect of our services, we always try to offer more value in each aspect of the entire experience. We want our clients to say that they got more value than they thought or expected. This also happens that in the very rare event we can’t help someone, we say it upfront. People come to us for help, so there is no reason to offer anything to a potential client unless we know we can actually help.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Will Kesselman: The three character traits that have helped my success the most are honesty, integrity, and my passion for serving others. It’s why I decided to work for the government as an investigator to help and empower others, and it’s why I started CP Strategy.
How important do you think it is for a leader to be mindful of his own brand?
Will Kesselman: It is absolutely important. I wouldn’t even say that I’m an expert in branding, and I’m always learning from others. But, my brand is so important. It allows CP Strategy to connect with our current and, especially, future clients, It allows anyone to connect with my company or any company; then, it allows them to connect with the products or services that can help them, or fill a need.
How would you define “leadership”?
Will Kesselman: When I’m asked that question, or, when I think about the leader I try to be every day, I always think back to what I heard Tony Robbins say about this. I believe he quotes Jim Rohn and a former American general, whose name I can’t remember right now. He gives two aspects to this, where the first is to always “do what’s right”. The second aspect, he says or quotes is “when placed in charge take command”.
And, Mr. Robbins goes on to say that when you take command, it means you have to make decisions- good or bad. To go a little deeper, it means that indecision is the killer of any company. So, the only thing to do is make a decision and see what happens. Obviously, you make the best decision given all of the information you have at the time you make it. But it also means that part of taking command is to have the humility and open-mindedness to recognize when something isn’t working and to immediately change direction. So, this once again boils down to outcomes or desired outcomes. How you get there is leadership.
Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?
Will Kesselman: I think most are born with it, but I also know a lot of entrepreneurs who learned it from one or both of their parents. I think it is something that comes from within. It is an itch that needs to be satisfied because I believe that entrepreneurs know that they can help solve a concern or need. And, they are driven with this drive, this need to help others with concern. I also know of a few entrepreneurs, like myself, who entered entrepreneurship later in life. So, if I’m talking about myself, It’s about knowing myself. It’s about knowing what I can and can’t stomach- and there are a lot of days that you need to be really strong mentally.
And, how I strengthen myself on tough days is to see and remember the proven result for over a thousand women and children, It’s about knowing that my knowledge of government and community systems, my understanding of how those in government react to words or situations, and my skills to actually give results, are needed. For me, it is about focusing on the responsibility and privilege others agree to give me because I’m actually able to make a difference. Solving an issue or need determines entrepreneurship, and the “why” helps push through being an entrepreneur.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Will Kesselman: I could easily answer this question as the most important life lesson, or favorite business quote, or even favorite leadership quote. For me, they are one and the same, because you- rather I, need to be the same in all aspects of who I am. While I have many quotes that keep in my head, one of my favorites is from Maya Angelou. It is, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I’m by no means perfect with this mantra to live by, but I work on this, step by step, one day at a time.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Will Kesselman for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Will Kesselman or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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