Many of you may have come to know Roger Fleming because you seek help with navigating Engage, but Roger’s SCORE story began long before the roll out of the new CRM. After serving as a Naval Combat Information Center Officer on a destroyer during two tours in the Mediterranean Sea, then a long career with Unisys Information Services which began in sales, then technical customer support, followed by various management positions he found SCORE. Roger joined SCORE in 2002 as he looked for something to do in retirement. At that time, finding the Chester County chapter was not easy and he came to find the local SCORE chapter by way of the Delaware chapter. There may have been 20 members at the time, but only 10 were very active.
In 2002 all mentoring was in person at the chapter’s office. There was not the strong National presence, so the volunteers (including Cal Leighton and Frank Farmer) were left to develop and grow the chapter. Roger, driven by personal curiosity and understanding the need for better communication, developed the first chapter website. The team then connected with Kutztown Small Business Development Center (KSBDC) that was actively presenting workshops in the Exton area to share with clients. Eventually, when KSBDC no longer had the personnel to continue their educational programs, the chapter took it over. And when the then chapter chair, Jim Schoonover, who fostered the fire behind the chapter’s growth, determined Roger would be a good replacement as chair, he assigned him the role as Treasurer, (the one and only year Cal was not!), to give him Executive Team experience. Those were the days when chairs served a two-year term and Roger led the chapter in 2006-07. He mentioned that one of his roles was to pick up the doughnuts for the monthly meetings, and one box was sufficient!
Although Roger had many ideas for moving the chapter forward, like today, recruiting volunteers to implement the required plan was hard work and wasn’t always successful. Little by little the chapter made progress. Roger also served in the volunteer intake role, conducting new member interviews for a number of years. From one per month, to several per month new prospects were vetted and the number of volunteers began to grow. Roger found the quarterly meetings of chapter chairs organized by the district leadership helpful to share initiatives. It was there that he learned how unique it was to have the support of the Chester County Commissioners, the free office space, and funds to pay an office administrator.
The chapter also partnered with the Lancaster chapter on several projects. Although a “friendly” competitor at the time, Lancaster offered a more robust education program and the chapter wanted to learn more. Roger noted that Chester County developed the first version of the business planning series of workshops. Several years later SCORE national adopted the BP series of workshops and launched the series as the Simple Steps program which is still being presented nationally today.
It was personal interest and the need to coordinate the chapter’s growth that led to Roger’s involvement in the data management initiatives being implemented. In 2006, National introduced Webit, a server-based system to organize records. In 2011 Salesforce was implemented as a formal Client Relationship Management (CRM) system. The system was poorly implemented and soon crashed. National failed to fully understand the roles of Counselors (now Mentors) in the field. Webit was brought back until CORE, a few years later could be introduced. It was his history and experience with these systems that made Roger the perfect subject matter expert for Engage.
He believes with Engage much has changed and much has improved, but it will take some time to work out some wrinkles. A limitation is SCORES’s available funding which slows down enhancements. That being said, Roger, in his role as Chapter Manager is trying to support chapter users while embracing the needs of clients and meeting their needs. A prime example is client self-scheduling where mentors and clients are still adjusting to the new system processes.
To help facilitate a better understanding of the Engage system, Roger has started emailing mentors “snippets” of the system’s functionality to highlight the functionality and answer questions before they arise. The new Engage platform provides a wealth of information and may be the most well-documented system in SCORE history. To help our volunteers take advantage, he is trying to simplify understanding the processes with "Just in Time" information.
When asked why he continues to volunteer with SCORE, Roger said initially it was because of the clients with their ideas and passion. He found it interesting to learn about all the different levels of individual needs and their focus on being successful. He discovered you didn’t need to know much to help, you just needed to listen and know how to provide the information. He also admits the internal chapter growth intrigues him. To get to be a part of moving the organization forward is gratifying.
Some days it may seem like he is back at work with lots of time spent on the computer, but Roger enjoys getting outside. There is a big benefit to volunteering, flexibility. Members can decide on how involved to get and how much time to invest. For many years he has enjoyed sailing his Sunfish, then his catamaran off the beach in Lewes, Delaware. Eventually he moved on to a motorboat for the grandchildren to enjoy life on the water. Now days you can find Roger 2-3 days a week on the golf course, sometimes accompanied by his wife, enjoying the game while still enjoying summertime with family at the beach.
“Where does it go from here? I have no great vision, but it will be what it will be.” –Roger Fleming
Congratulations Roger for all you have done to encourage the chapter’s growth and on being selected for this quarter’s Volunteer Spotlight!