Carolyn Browne Tamler

has helped hundreds of businesses and organizations with her thoughtful facilitation and research services. She also writes colorful and compelling articles about new business initiatives! Would this help you? Call Carolyn today!

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    p:| 360.222.6820
    c:| 425.351.7531

    f:| 360.222.6820

    2055 Pheasant Farm Lane
    Freeland, WA 98249

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    5-18-17 Hearts & Hammers on Whidbey Island: Businesses and residents give back to the community

    May 6th, the first Saturday in May, was Hearts & Hammers (the concept was created by Blake and Lynn Willeford, owners of The Clyde Theater).  Rich and I have participated in this wonderful community program for several years.  Large numbers of people come together on a single day to help elderly or low-income people with home repairs so they can comfortably stay in their homes.  The Whidbey Hearts & Hammers has become a template now being used in many other communities.

    In a small community like South Whidbey, you notice how much the local business people donate to the local non-profits and help out in many other ways.

    This year, about 350 people contributed their skills and energy.  Many, like my husband and I, simply show up and do what we can to help.  But, there are also many professional people who donate their talents, like the two master carpenters who were on my team.  Electricians, plumbers, roofers and other skilled people who have their own businesses, participate.  Many of the large commercial businesses in the community offer special prices for, or donate, materials needed for the projects.

    At the end of the workday, there is a joyful time when the volunteers and the homeowners come together for a delicious dinner.  This year the dinner for nearly 400 people was donated by Des Rock owner of the Useless Bay Coffee Company.

    When you see businesses giving back to the community, it certainly makes you want to do business with them whenever you can.




    5-11-17 Helping a local non-profit is good for business, and for the community  

    Most non-profits are dependent upon donations from individuals and businesses for survival.  I am on the Board of Whidbey Children’s Theater, and one of the major tasks of being on the board is to keep looking for donations to support what the theater is doing.

    Our next production, The Phantom Tollbooth, runs for two weekends, beginning Friday, May 12th.

    We are very pleased that four local businesses are sponsoring the show, and we have heard that people in the community who support the Whidbey Children’s Theater specifically like doing business with our sponsors:

    • Fine Balance Imaging + Printing
    • Matt's Import Haven
    • College Search Consultants
    • Les Schwab Tire Center

    In addition, Tom Hanify, a well-known, highly regarded local photographer, wanted to make a personal contribution to Whidbey Children’s Theater and created a way to do that and promote his photography business.

    During the run of Phantom Toll Booth, and till the end of May, some of Tom’s framed photographs will be on display near our box office. Tom is inviting people to visit his website and select any item, framed or unframed, to purchase. Mention WCT – or Whidbey Children’s Theater – and Tom will donate a very generous 50% of the proceeds from the sale back to the theater.

    If you haven’t seen his work, I guarantee you will be impressed with the quality and variety.  I recently wrote a story about Tom for “Tom Hanify, highly acclaimed Whidbey photographer, blames it on a camera that invaded his life."

    Please visit his website, select one of his beautiful photographs, and let him know you appreciate his making a donation to WCT.


    5-4-17 Langley Makes Its Mark… a great place to visit and do business

    Our little town of Langley, Washington has been recognized nationally.

    Langley’s $2.2 million redesign of Second Street in 2014 is being recognized by the The National Complete Streets Coalition as a leader in safe, convenient and comfortable travel on a national scale.

    The link to the complete story is on my business Facebook page, and it’s worth reading to appreciate how special our small community is.

    No wonder an increasing number of local people and tourists are chosing to visit Langley and to shop there.




    4-27-17 Making a person feel welcome in your store is your most important job

    Recently, my husband and I stopped off at a takeout restaurant on our way back to Whidbey.  We had been to the place before.  The restaurant was busy, and we stood in line behind two people waiting for service.

    We waited for our turn....and none of the staff looked up from what they were doing; no one made eye contact or said “Hello” or “We’ll be with you in just a minute.”  We waited.  Finally, my husband said, “Let’s go somewhere else.”  And, we did.

    I can imagine the young staff had had a long day, or some cranky customers, or were just anxious to be done with their work day and head home.  

    But, as the customer, my only concern was being waited on, or at least having someone greet me and say they would be helping me soon.  I wanted to feel welcome.

    Anyone who is meeting the public in a business must always be aware of the power of that first moment when a potential customer walks through the door.  More than anything else, a customer must be noticed and made to feel welcomed.


    4-20-17 Creativity is often easier within a group

    I understand that many artists find their creative expression on their own.  They have a creative concept for a piece of artwork or music, and they execute the idea on their own.

    However, it has been my experience that if you ask a single person to come up with a creative idea for a plan or a marketing concept, or simply a way to solve a problem, often there is a deer-in-the-headlights moment.

    That’s why I love bringing people together and facilitating a discussion that will generate creative ideas and solutions to problems.  The most productive group number is 10; not sure why (in Jewish tradition 10 is a “minion” or the amount needed to have a formal meeting process), but this does seem to be the magic number where everyone feels comfortable about speaking up and sharing opinions and ideas.  Less than 10, and sometimes the discussion isn’t quite as lively; more than 10, and it becomes a bit more difficult to control.

    I do want to stress the need to have a good facilitator for a group process.  It’s important that time is controlled, that the discussion stays focused and that everyone in the discussion feels comfortable speaking up.

    It’s also interesting to me that some of the most creative ideas coming out of someone in a group have been preceded by the phrase, “I really don’t know much about this, but……”

    To summarize: Bring people together in the group that have some kind of common interest (community, interests, knowledge, etc.); have an agenda that is followed as much as possible; create an atmosphere where everyone in the group feels comfortable speaking up; and make sure that no one individual dominates the conversation (I usually say something like, “I can see you feel strongly about this, now I’d like to hear what someone else has to say.”)