Coaching, Consulting & Training
for High Value Personnel

What Others Are Saying

Rob's services will definitely add value to anyone's operation! Highest standards and professionalism. Thanks Rob, for all of your work with us!

Jack Fortenberry, CPA

Client Testimonials

Note: we have had the pleasure of working with truly outstanding companies, teams and individuals. Below are a sample of their kindnesses.

We hired Rob to facilitate and lead a two day offsite for our seventeen member leadership team. This was not an easy task as this group struggles with a number of crippling dysfuntions. Rob was easily up to the task. He was well prepared and used his intuition to guide the team. It was one of the most productive offsite meetings I have been a part of in my 20 year career. Rob can get the job done.

Pat Thomasson

Rob is a "driver" personality of legendary proportions. He has a phenomenal capability to drive consensus amongst people of various perspectives, can move complex business issues forward, and has the ability to get people to engage and meaningfully commit in order to make important things happen. He's also one of those rare people of great integrity and character. I cannot recommend Rob more for work that taps into his multitude of professional talents.

Elizabeth Allen

The workshop “Performance Coaching” contains good course material as well as good presentation skills by the instructor. The feedback I received was very positive. We have noticed real improvement in the quality of data entered into our coaching database by our leadership team.

There are a few areas where our site procedures are not in verbatim alignment with what you taught in the workshop. Ironically, we are re-evaluating our procedure [not your training] for potential enhancements. The material you administered has many key data points that we may have overlooked in procedure development.

Ben Avara
FIN Superintendent
Entergy Operations, Grand Gulf Nuclear Station

Rob is one of the most professional and passionate people that I have ever had the opportunity to work with. I learned more from him about facilitation, leadership, organization, creativity and program building in five days than I have with any other company. Rob made sure that each one of our specific goals were not only articulated, but met to their maximum ability. There was not a single one of us in the program that did not feel that we were able to leave with exactly what we wanted out of the training.

Krista Gypton
Lead Teacher
2008 Arizona Teacher of the Year

When we met Rob our business was struggling. We were having trouble genterating new leads and finding people interested in our product. What his teaching and training has done is help us to be intentional about what we are doing. With the YBR system he teaches we are able to indentify possible prospects, put them in our system and work to move them up the system till we obtain a close. Any of our staff is able to determine where the prospect is in the process and also help to move them along. It has given us confidence in what we are doning and that goes a long way when you are talking to your customers.

His knowledge and expertise in what he is doing is very strong and I would encourage any company wanting to build a pipeline of prospects to sit down with him and let him explain how it works. It has helped us get back to work in tough times.

Gordon MacFarlane
DCI Pool

Rob is a great example of a person working in his 'sweet spot'. He is able to quickly build rapport with an individual, identify the issues and then facilitate to create options. He is able to leverage his personable style to deal with the hard issues and is not shy in stepping into the situation in helping you see the real truth. What I like the most about Rob is the way he is able to assist YOU getting to the core issue at hand. He does not give you the answer but partners with you.

David Neal
Neal Leadership Group, LLC

Thank you for everything you did. That was the best and most thorough ropes training that we have had in years. They have all been talking about how much fun they had really enjoyed working with you. Everyone feels like they have a great understanding and knowledge about he course, and that is exactly what we wanted.

John Dreyfus
Duncan Gray Episcopal Conference Center

Rob does a great job teaching leaders 'how to' lead and is able to move from one industry type to another fluently. He is more then a 'canned' program, he makes it work as discussions come up - the learner comes away with much more then when they came into the class.

Celine Craig
Director, Human Resources
Kings Daughters' Medical Center

Rob had the ability to be especially adroit in dealing with group conflict, oddities, and plowing new ground in his role as Facilitator for the Kellogg Foundation. Almost everything about the Mid-South Delta Initiative project was unique, especially Rob's tri-state group. We were literally charting new territory, and Rob was our trusted guide.

Jerry Smith
EDA University Center for Regional & Community Development

Mr. Benson is excellent ... His skill in causing the client to really concentrate on the goal of the consulting arrangement helps to provide the client a valuable return on the investment of time and money. He doesn't provide the client with a cookie cutter approach to what he thinks but through his ability to engage the client and their staff into helping identify the solutions that are best for the client ...

As the Chairman of the Board of North Midtown CDC, our organization along with Good Samaritian-Midtown engaged Rob Benson to assist us in reaching a decision on merging our two organizations. Political, personal, program and political issues had to be addressed.

We were very pleased with the results achieved in our consulting arrangement and have proceeded with our decision to finalize the merger between our two 501c3 organizations and and would confidently recommend Rob Benson as someone who is very talented in facilitating organizational change.

Jerry Cotton
Executive Vice-President
Mississippi Baptist Health Systems

I worked with Rob for 18 months through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Mid-South Delta Initiative to develop a 'Strategic Vision" for the Delta. Through that experience and relationship, I'm more than honored to say that Rob was the beacon for our success. Thought provoking, challenging, compassionate, articulate, strict attention to detail, engaging, humourous and a gifted leader are the qualities that Rob Benson posesses. Because of those qualities, we were successful in accomplishing our goal and I came away a better person.

Clinton O. Walden
Community Consultant
W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Mid-south Delta Initiative

The First Steps’ facilitator training was one of the most profound professional educational experiences of my life. Rob created a true learning community amongst the participants – we learned the concepts, we developed teamwork, and I reconnected with myself. I learned how to effectively guide group discussions towards real learning.

Rob is a consummate Master Trainer, able to simplify the complex and make it accessible. That being said, this was not a beginner’s training, but one that stretched me. I give Rob and First Steps my highest recommendation.

Justina Rudez

Rob led an intensive team building series of meetings with our office. He was very energetic, creative, and extremely caring. He followed up with "one on one" meetings, which were also very constructive.

Cindy McKey
Human Resources Director
Mississippi Development Authority

Rob facilitated a strategic planning group for a tri-state based effort to improve conditions in the Delta. One of the greatest advantages to working with Rob was his team building skills and his advanced knowledge of social media and technology which aided a group that large to maintain contact. With 180 people spread across portions of three states, maintaining communication was no easy task but Rob helped us accomplish it. I have recommended him to other and will continue to recommend him in the future.

Patricia Brannin
Prevention Resource Coordinator
Health Resources of Arkansas

Rob's services will definitely add value to anyone's operation! Highest standards and professionalism. Thanks Rob, for all of your work with us!

Jack Fortenberry
Fortenberry CPA

I coordinate a youth leadership group in Simpson County, MS. This group is compiled of 30 Juniors from our local schools. This group is required to meet many qualifications to be a part of this program. We hire Rob to spend a weekend with our kids to kick off each year of a new program. The results have been amazing. Rob is very talented and he makes the weekend very productive. He shows them confidence, teamwork, and most importantly, he shows them how to be good people. From all of us invoved in this program, Thank you Rob!

Chris Dunn
Simpson County Youth Leadership

I know Rob to be an attentive solutions person. As facilitator of our group, he was sensitively tuned to the various personalities and continuously focused these dynamics to reach project objectives. This was accomplished with genuine professionalism.

Max Sprinkle

Hey, not to encourage you to raise your rates or anything but I had a comment from [participant name], the gentleman who is critical of most everything, that you guys were worth every penny we were paying you!!! Thanks for making this past weekend such a success! You have really gotten to know what our needs are over the past few years. I will get with you soon to schedule a date for next year.

Lynda Richards
Director of Patient Services
Mississippi Kidney Foundation

Hi Rob,
It was a pleasure seeing two pros in action. It goes without saying, but from what I could see, both you and George are natural trainers.  You make it look easy, but I know it takes a lot of skills to do what you do.  I would like to be included on your distribution list for the newsletter.  I will also be happy to provide you as a contact if someone needs a good training outfit.
Patrick Gallizzi
State Program Director
Corporation for National and Community Service, Wyoming State Office

Hi Rob,

Just wanted to drop you a note to thank you for the training you conducted in ... June, Troubleshooting Logic, of this year ... The feedback that I received from our salaried and hourly folks is consistent: the training goals were clearly identified and reached with a very high level of employees' satisfaction. ... Thanks for conducting both training modules!

Alexander Lamm, PHR, MS.
Senior HR Generalist
BorgWarner Transmission Systems

I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how pleased our staff have been with the work you have done with us over the past year.  When we began our initial assessment of the state of things in our office, we had some major hurdles to overcome.  Trust levels were low, and communication problems and personal conflicts were getting in the way of our delivering services as effectively and efficiently as we need to.

I am happy to report that things are very different in our office now, and I can only attribute it to the skill that you exercised in working with our group over the past year.  Your one-on-one coaching of our supervisors, the teambuilding retreats, and the conflict resolution training were very successful.  I was skeptical at first, but the results speak for themselves.  Again, thank you for being a significant catalyst in our transition.

Laura Mullens
Mississippi Development Authority

I am pleased to offer my wholehearted recommendation of Rob Benson and First Steps Training and Development for educational retreats and workshops.

For the past two years, First Steps has provided the programmatic portion of our Freshman Orientation Trip to the Henry S. Jacobs Conference Center.  Our trip is designed as an orientation for our 9th graders into the Upper School at McGehee.  We have found that the ropes course and related workshop designed by First Steps goes hand in hand with our emphasis on integrity, honor, respect and trust.

First Steps worked closely with our teacher sponsors to tailor the program as needed while it was going on.  Rob provided great personalized feedback to us after the workshop, so that we could continue to build on the lessons learned in working with our students.

The staff is highly professional, very knowledgeable and easy to work with.  Our students have benefited from this program, and we plan to continue our relationship with First Steps for our freshman trip for the foreseeable future.

I would not hesitate to recommend Rob Benson and First Steps to any school looking to build an orientation or workshop that is about problem-solving, team-building, communication, honesty, and integrity.  We look forward to continuing to work with First Steps as a part of our Upper School curriculum.


Kim Wargo
Head of the Upper School
Louise S. McGehee School

I am writing to commend you for the work you did on behalf of the Board and staff of Voice of Calvary Ministries.  The strategic development planning process that you led us through was a major step in our efforts to insure the long range sustainability of our community development organization.

I was particularly impressed with the extent of your preparation prior to, and between, our meetings.  Your diligence enabled us to accomplish our objectives in a very short period of time.  You delivered exactly what you promised in a timely manner.  That is truly a rare occurrence in today's consulting industry.

I give you and First Steps Training my highest recommendation.  I look forward to working with you in the future.

Phil Reed
Voice of Calvary Ministries

Rob Benson has worked with our organization on numerous occasions over the last five years.  His services are provocative, heart-felt, effective and timely.  I love how Rob always works with us before the training to be sure we are all in agreement about our goals and expectations.

Beth Dickson
Training and Member Development Specialist
CampusLink AmeriCorps

David Hayes and Robert Benson have developed and conducted a full-day Diversity Awareness program for St. Dominic Hospital.  Overall evaluations from the participants were very positive.  We would definitely use their services again to deliver this training and highly recommend them to other organizations.

Dianne Mott
Director, Education Service
St. Dominic/Jackson Memorial Hospital

Thank you and First Steps Training & Development for your assistance with our recent staff program review and planning meeting.  Your detailed preparation efforts were obvious, and your professional facilitation activities were perfect for our organization.  For an agency such as ours, that also conducts many training and development related activities, you helped us to organize our thoughts in a manner that we could not have done on our own.  We especially appreciate your well thought out agenda and your ability to target your activities to our particular needs.

Your professional assistance had provided us with a beneficial product outcome.  We look forward to working with you in the future, and thank you and First Steps Training & Development again for your excellent facilitation assistance.  We will be seeking your services again.

Steven C. Hardin
Manager, Community Operations
Mississippi Development Authority

I write on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Mississippi Institutions for Higher Learning Campus Link AmeriCorps program to express our gratitude for the superlative training services provided by Rob Benson during our staff retreat.  Mr. Benson conducted an in-depth team assessment that included the completion of a survey prior to the retreat, observations of staff interactions at one of our regular staff meetings, and a review of results prior to the retreat.  During the retreat, he facilitated discussions relating to our internal work habits, work styles, team roles and structure.  As a result, we as a staff were able to unveil issues that contributed to conflict within our team.  The staff unanimously left feeling that this was a very intense and rewarding experience.  The newest member of the team expressed afterwards that she was so thrilled to be working with a group that could share so openly (even with the Executive Director) about such sensitive issues and work honestly through them.

To say the least, the retreat was a great success.  We achieved the goals that we had put forth for the training, we learned new skills for working together, and we had fun doing it.  We are grateful for Mr. Benson's training expertise and would recommend his services without any reservation.

Carlotta Brown
Program Officer
CampusLink AmeriCorps

Your work as a trainer and mentor for our staff members has made a tremendous difference in their performance and success on the job.  Of particular note are the lessons about leadership, group management, and communication that your training imparted.  Many of our staff members look to you as a role model -- quite a compliment.

Jonathan Cohen
URJ Henry S Jacobs Camp

You have enhanced our training programs with your innovative approach to learning through experiential and interactive activities.  The feedback received from participants in your training sessions is positive and reinforces the need for relevant material and unconventional methodology.  You have a great ability to engage participants in the learning experience and relate to individual styles in the classes.

Lesly Lloyd
Director, Management Training Division
Mississippi State Personnel Board

The enthusiasm that you have for management training does not go unnoticed.  I often get requests from other state agency training directors for you to conduct their training.  I know that when I schedule you to facilitate our leadership programs that you will perform your duties in a consistently professional manner.

Juette Bingham, Ph.D.,
Basic Supervisory Course Program Director
Mississippi State Personnel Board

Our warmest thanks and respect for the thorough work that you did this past year on our Unified State Plan.  This strategic planning took various stages, each one unique and crucial and took skills to maneuver.  The work involving two state agencies and a federal partner was paradoxical and frustrating but with your assistance we managed to accomplish our strategized goals.

Marsha Meeks-Kelly
Executive Director
Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service

I am writing to say thank you for the wonderful job that you did facilitating the Parents for Public School's Annual Planning Retreat.  I know this was a difficult day to facilitate as we had so much we needed to accomplish.  I congratulate you on successfully taking us through all of the necessary activities and doing it in a way that we all enjoyed.  The report card activity where we evaluated the accomplishments of the organization was a big success and will provide a useful tool for the coming year.  You were also very helpful in leading us through the process of identifying and creating activities for the coming PPS year.  I feel that we are off to a good start for this year as a result of our planning retreat.

I was not surprised that you did excellent work at this planning retreat, as I was also impressed with the previous training that you facilitated for the Foundation for the MidSouth in which I participated. During those sessions I learned a lot -- and had a lot of fun -- as I worked with my colleagues to develop a team as well as to enhance our skills at our primary jobs.

Rob, I always enjoy working with you; from the planning stages through the final event.  I look forward to working with you in the future.

Mary Esther Schnaubelt
Executive Director
Parents for Public Schools (Jackson)

2379 Merluna Drive, Lexinton, KY 40511
Phone: (800) 870-9380

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