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Kim_Sawyer_TSEYour Name: Kim Sawyer

Business Name: The Locator Services Group Ltd., a service for identification and recovery of unclaimed property

Type of Business: Other — Corporate Asset Recovery

Business Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Website: tlsgltd.com

Reason for starting
When I was sixteen years old, I was diagnosed with dysgraphia, a learning disability, which significantly impairs my ability to write and process information. Additionally, because of related sequence processing issues, many people diagnosed with dysgraphia lack basic grammar and spelling abilities and often transcribe the wrong word when trying to formulate thoughts on paper. When I began my career, I worked as an associate in a large, downtown, Boston law firm and later as General Counsel for a financial services company. At both the law firm and the company I was expected to “work” the same way as everyone else, which was impossible given the severity of my learning disability. I realized that the only way that I could succeed in my career was by creating an environment where I could best process information and minimize my need to write. In order to overcome the limits that dysgraphia appeared to have on my career potential, it would be necessary to create a workplace where I could express my thoughts and hire a staff that could compensate for my weaknesses. It was in my unsuccessful search for a work environment in which I could best manage my disability that led me to start my own company, TLSG, nineteen years ago.

How do you define success?
Success is creating or recognizing opportunities, which could have a positive impact on our own life, our family, our community and those less fortunate than us, and taking advantage of those opportunities.

Biggest Success
I live about 4 blocks from where the marathon bombings took place. A few hours after the bombings, my husband and I left our home and walked towards the finish line. The 1st runner we came across, Derek, was a 66 year old man from Taiwan who barley spoke English. He was exhausted, hungry and cold. The 2nd runner we saw was Ken. He was shivering and distraught. Ken was trying to find a phone so that he could call his family, who were waiting at the finish line, to make sure that they were safe. We brought them to our home, successfully contacted their families, fed them, provided warm clothes and ice for their feet as well as a shower for Derek, who could not leave our home until late that night when his hotel finally opened. I cannot think of anything more indicative of my “success” than subsequently receiving an email from Derek stating “I Love America!!” and receiving a thank you note and flowers from Ken.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
As a small business owner, a significant challenge is seeing the forest for the trees. It is very easy to get caught up in the details of day-to-day operations and lose focus on the big picture. I was fortunate enough to be selected by BlueCross Blue Shield of Massachusetts as one of their mentees in their annual mentor/mentee program. Beginning with a SWAT analysis, my mentors redirected my focus from the minutiae to the specific strategies necessary, to fully implement TLSG’s Mission. These strategies include: automating all of TLSG’s processes, the development of HR policies that are mutually beneficial to both my employees and the company and responding effectively to both Federal and corporate RFPs.

Who is your most important role model?
Unfortunately, I did not have a role model or mentor until I was honored to be chosen by Blue Cross Blue Shield as their mentee. The five women who mentored me are my role models.

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