An early adopter of social media and online marketing, Will Gladhart was self-employed in contract marketing and web design. But after 10 years working in digital space, he was finding it difficult to keep up as a single business owner, and he came to the realization that he wanted to mentor and work with other businesses and do things in the community.
A member of the Mid America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Gladhart sat in on a business-focused sexual harassment presentation during a MAGLCC Master Minds session. Fellow Chamber member Paul Russell gave the talk. He’s the founder of ej4, a video e-learning company that focuses on workplace performance improvement, based in the Kansas City Crossroads.
Gladhart thought that his digital background would blend well with his ability to understand the needs of business owners. He approached Russell after the presentation and said, “I don’t know how we can make this work, but I want to work for you.”
In September 2014, Will Gladhart Consulting (www.willgladhart.com) was launched. Now it’s one of only four licensed re-sellers of ej4 products.
Gladhart provides off-the-shelf content — tactical, 8- to 11-minute training videos — on subjects like human resources and compliance, anti-harassment, sales, marketing, customer service, and Microsoft skills.
“Most companies have a misconception of what their biggest asset is,” says Gladhart. “They may think it’s their longevity, the legacy of their company, their industry position, but the reality is their customers are their most important asset. And who deals with their customers? It’s their employees. We provide content to help improve employee performance, which mitigates liability as well.”
Gladhart Consulting also customizes content for companies that want to use their own corporate brand on training products. Gladhart’s clients include big names such as Dr Pepper, 7UP, Snapple, Anheuser-Busch and Pfizer. He also consults with small businesses and boutique firms.
A resident of Overland Park, Gladhart is involved with the Overland Park Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Kansas City Chamber. But he says he particularly enjoys the MAGLCC.
“The thing I really appreciate is it’s small … and intentionally grew slowly to foster those memberships, foster relationships,” says Gladhart. “I find it to be an invaluable resource. We’re fortunate to have it here in Kansas City.”
Gladhart, 42, also has talents outside the business realm. He has played the piano and violin since age 6. While in his 30s, he toured with a country music band called True North, playing at events such as the Des Moines Arts Festival and opening for such musicians as Keith Urban.
He also enjoys visual art, including visits to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
“I know it sounds geeky,” he says, “but I love the Nelson. I could go there every day and find something new and not be bored.” In his basement, Gladhart has a studio where he works with acrylic paints on modern art pieces.
When Gladhart compares his current role as a consultant to his former work in digital marketing, he finds the challenges more complex in working with human resources or in workforce solutions. He says he finds more of a relationship-building aspect in consulting. More education is needed, he said, and the process to bring customers on is much longer than contracting with clients to build a website or offer marketing needs.
“I love being able to find and to help those business, business owners or organizations, because they’re there. It’s just sometimes connecting the right people is all it takes,” Gladhart says. “And that’s what I love doing.”
Photo credit: Landon Vonderschmidt
The Mid-America Gay &