Monthly Archives: September 2014

Blossoming Bookworms: Gary Kapanowski and Adult Literacy

Gary Kapanowski was the first in his family to attend and graduate from a private high school. Gary Kapanowski was also the first to graduate from the University of Michigan. Once Gary Kapanowski earned his degree, he went on to become a respected figure in Detroit, Michigan’s competitive accounting world. Gary Kapanowski understands the importance of reading and education, and volunteers his time at Macomb Literacy Partners. Today, he shares some of the benefits of literacy.

Gary Kapanowski

Gary Kapanowski

Literacy Builds Independence

Adults who grew up illiterate often don’t learn to read because they’re ashamed or feel stupid, Gary Kapanowski says. Lack of literacy makes them dependent on others to complete most tasks. Illiteracy may also place the adult or someone else in danger. An adult who learns to read increases his or her independence. Literacy also builds confidence; an adult afraid to leave a familiar neighborhood can go out and enjoy new people and places more easily when he or she learns to read.

Literacy Opens Culture

With the advent of Kindles and Nooks, books are more accessible than ever. With accessible books comes access to a plethora of information on millions of subjects. According to Gary Kapanowski, illiterate adults often have unexplored interests or struggle to keep up with current cultural references. Once that adult learns to read, he or she can absorb any new information desired and form intelligent opinions on more subjects.

Literacy Inspires Others

People of all ages eschew reading because it’s difficult, especially adults, Gary Kapanowski says. When an illiterate adult becomes literate, it proves learning is possible. The accomplishment inspires others to challenge themselves and learn, too.


Untying the Tongue: Mastering Public Speaking with Gary Kapanowski

As one of Detroit’s leading financial experts with a solid background in aviation and defense and in his role as an adult literacy tutor, Gary Kapanowski has plenty of experience in public speaking. Gary Kapanowski’s audiences range from 5 to 1500 people, and he will soon be a certified master public speaker. Gary Kapanowski understands the value of public speaking skills in all fields and shares tips on speaking more confidently.

Gary Kapanowski

Gary Kapanowski

Calm Down First

Gary Kapanowski understands the fear inherent in public speaking for many people. Sharing ideas with others is frightening because they might get rejected. Gary Kapanowski recommends a few things to help calm fear. Practice in front of a mirror, then in front of a pet or a few friends or family members. Deep breathing exercises help, as does focusing on a special spot in the room.

Embrace the Topic

People who don’t care about their topics can’t engage an audience. Gary Kapanowski recommends speaking in public on topics that stir emotions and passion. For example, a human resources worker may not want to give a speech on manufacturing statistics. However, that worker is ideal for a presentation on workplace bullying prevention. According to Gary Kapanowski, adding appropriate humor or anecdotes helps, too; it shows the speaker has warmed to the audience and wants to share special details with them.

Know the Audience

Don’t condescend to the audience, but don’t talk over their heads, either. If the audience is well-versed in Six Sigma, go ahead and use technical terms. If they’re not, Gary Kapanowski recommends you speak on a more casual level and keep explanations simple.

Protégé Perks and Pitfalls: Cultivating a Good Mentor Relationship

Gary Kapanowski works in several fields where employees benefit from strong mentorships. Gary Kapanowski has twenty-six years of combined experience in accounting, aviation and defense, business planning, adult literacy, and more. Gary Kapanowski has had several competent mentors in the past, including Peter Drucker and Dr. Robert Kaplan. Gary Kapanowski shares his advice on building a strong mentor-mentee relationship.

Gary Kapanowski

Gary Kapanowski

Manage Time Wisely

 Gary Kapanowski notes potential mentors often don’t realize the time commitment involved in mentoring. Mentors also tend to think once their protégé understands the process they were meant to learn, the mentorship is over. A mentee’s technical understanding is no guarantee of producing his or her best work. Trainees must be mentored in technical skills and people skills, all of which take great amounts of time. A mentor must readily make and stick to that commitment, says Gary Kapanowski.

Build Rapport

Some mentees complain their mentors were not invested in them or were not engaged. In other words, the mentor did not build rapport. Gary Kapanowski believes a mentor should get to know the mentee as a person. Ask about family, hobbies, or goals. Offer to take the mentee to lunch or out for coffee to discuss work as well as lighter topics.

Seek Feedback

Mentors will often be asked how their protégés are progressing. They should periodically ask their mentees the same thing about their own work. For example, does the mentee feel valued? Does he or she feel that learning is taking place? Would the mentee like to change goals? Knowledge like this, Gary Kapanowski says, makes a good mentor a great one.

Just My Type: How Personality Types Influence Six Sigma Roles

Gary Kapanowski regularly works with accounting firms and other businesses using the Six Sigma model. Gary Kapanowski has seen the Six Sigma model work for a myriad of companies, as well as a wide variety of people. However, Gary Kapanowski and his associates are also aware Six Sigma is a people-oriented process and people are always unique. Gary Kapanowski discusses how personality types can influence Six Sigma roles.

Gary Kapanowski

Gary Kapanowski


The Sanguine employee is the one who makes the company fun for everyone else. As Six Sigma team members, they won’t make good project leaders because of disorganization. Gary Kapanowski believes they can contribute great manufacturing ideas and boost morale.


The Choleric is the one who sees work and gets it done quickly and efficiently. He or she is generally right about how an error should be fixed or a problem handled, according to Gary Kapanowski. As mentors, they may make trainees feel imperfect and squashed. Yet as spokespeople and project leaders, they will thrive.


Melancholic people will latch on to the idea that a good Six Sigma product is 0% defective and has no errors. They may get so bogged down in project details that the project never gets finished. However, they are meticulous and conscientious, and can encourage team members when morale is down, according to Gary Kapanowski. This makes them extremely valuable to the team.


Gary Kapanowski says phlegmatic people may resist Six Sigma and other models because they require everyone to learn a new system, which causes conflict. Once they’re used to the model though, Phlegmatics are valuable for their easygoing and calm approach to projects.

Gary Kapanowski: A True Renaissance Man

Since childhood, Gary Kapanowski distinguished himself as one of Michigan’s most well-rounded individuals. Not only did Gary Kapanowski play high school football, but was also the baseball team’s manager and an excellent student. Gary Kapanowski was the first in his family to graduate from a private high school as well as the University of Michigan.

Gary Kapanowski

Gary Kapanowski

Gary Kapanowski is now one of Detroit’s top accounting professionals, with fifteen years of experience in the accounting field. He also has eleven years of experience in aviation and defense. Gary Kapanowski currently works in accounting and teaches the Lean Six Sigma process to several Michigan business owners at various conferences and training sessions. He is a Lean Six Sigma master black belt. Gary Kapanowski bases his management principles on a quote from Peter Drucker: “Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things.” Kapanowski studied under Professor Robert Kaplan, who he describes as the “guru of the Balance Scorecard,” another proven business concept model.

Kapanowski is well-versed in financial planning and fiscal responsibility. He has mentored several team members in Lean Six Sigma, Balance Scorecard, and other business models throughout his career. Kapanowski has won several awards, including the 2006 Financial Executive of the Year Award.

Gary Kapanowski comes from a hardworking and close-knit family. His mother worked as an administrator for the City of Warren Fire Fighters. His father fought in World War II on the Japanese front, and Gary Kapanowski’s siblings are also highly accomplished.

Gary Kapanowski is also involved in the revitalization of Detroit. As Kapanowski says, it’s about time to come home.  It’s about time to come home, to see the real Detroit. The Detroit Homecoming, says Gary Kapanowski, offers new opportunities to reconnect, recharge, reinvest. That’s why a coalition of partners invites you to participate in the two-day event Sept. 17-19, 2014. We want to bring “expatriates” — whether they were born in Detroit or attended school in the region — back to the city to explore the opportunities to invest, engage and reshape the city and its story in its post-bankruptcy era. Gary Kapanowski and others involved in the homecoming have invited key local executives, investors, entrepreneurs and grassroots leaders to meet you. Together, they hope to educate about the new Detroit narrative and experience, as well as to visit places in Detroit otherwise difficult for out-of-towners to access on a quick trip home.