The world is full of Baby Boomer couch potatoes, caught in sedentary

jobs behind computer screens, who have thought long and hard about

making some positive changes in their lives. And what better way to

become fit than to serve as a guide and model for others yearning to

slim down, trim up, and brim over with energy.

"It’s a fun job where you can do a lot of good for other people while

doing a lot of good for yourself," says Kaz Aoyagi, a part-time

personal trainer and teacher, a full-time professional at an area

pharmaceutical company, and an all-the-time go-getter. "Being

physically fit has made me 300 percent more active and productive,"

she says. "I am much more fit now at the age of 54 than I was when I

was 23."

An instructor with the World Instructor Training School (WITS), Aoyagi

teaches "Personal Training Certification," a five-week course

beginning on Sunday, July 9, at 10 a.m. at Mercer County Community

College. It covers such varied topics as exercise physiology, anatomy,

kinesiology, nutrition, cardiorespiratory fitness, flexibility,

special populations, musculoskeletal injuries, and legal guidelines.

The full-day sessions lead up to a national personal trainers’

certification exam. This is followed by a 20-hour working internship

with a certified trainer. Cost: $600. Call 609-586-4800 for more


Personal trainer is fast becoming one of the hot professions of the

new millennium with a national average pay of over $25 per hour

according to a recent ABC News story. But contrary to popular

assumptions, it is not just a job for the young and beautiful. "It’s

really almost never too late to become certified as a personal

trainer," says Aoyagi, who has been a personal trainer for over a

decade and an instructor for the past four years. "I regularly have

students in my classes who range in age from 20-something through

60-something. They can feel the difference in their lives right away."

Being a good role model is a part of Aoyagi’s job as a personal

trainer. Being physically fit is a way of life that has kept Aoyagi

feeling young and vital beyond her years. "I’ve run in the New York

Marathon," she says. "I’ve taught aerobics. I exercise every day. I

run. I work at a full-time job and exceed my boss’s expectations. I

have the energy to train other clients. I have time to study. When

teaching courses I find that I have tons of energy. So when my clients

try to tell me how busy they are, that they have no time for exercise,

even though they may be half my age, I say, `wait a minute, you have

no excuse.’"

Born and raised in Tokyo, Aoyagi earned her undergraduate degree in

Japan before moving to the United States in her late 20s. "I was a

nerd until I was about 28 years old because in Japan young women were

not raised to be physically active," she says. "But when I moved here

I became more athletic."

Since earning her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley

in the 1980s, Aoyagi has worked full-time doing research in genetic

molecular biology. She is director for a company that helps

pharmaceutical firms develop new drugs for the health service

industry. In addition she is teaching exercise biochemistry at Rutgers

and is taking courses in nutrition at Rutgers.

"I want to combine nutrition and exercising," she says. "Many people

exercise but still manage to ignore their nutrition. If you exercise

and eat garbage you are going to die quickly."

An American citizen for the past 10 years, Aoyagi, a West Windsor

resident, has a 34-year-old daughter. She says that about 90 percent

of the students who take her course do it in order to become employed

as a personal trainer; working either in health clubs, gyms, or

sometimes going to clients’ homes or businesses. The remaining 10

percent simply want to improve their own workouts.

"It’s interesting to see how much it means to people when they make

the decision to improve their health, " she says. "Having the

opportunity to share that with other people in the work that you do is

intrinsically rewarding in and of itself."

The growing popularity of health clubs and higher end gyms has created

an environment in which a personal trainer must know her (or his)

stuff. This is a somewhat new development in the profession. "The

certification industry has changed over the years," says Aoyagi. "In

the past you could have gotten along with just paying $32 and getting

a certification that way, but the quality doesn’t compare to what it

is today. When you go to Bally’s, Gold’s Gym, or other better gyms,

you expect better trainers and that is what you will get."

Aoyagi earns enough income for her needs from her full-time work in

the pharmaceutical industry. She does her training for other reasons.

"I like the feeling of helping people on a daily basis and making a

difference in their lives," she says. "I do personal training more for

satisfaction. I think that is very true for many in the Baby Boomer

generation. Most of us have the money to enjoy our life after

retirement. We want to live our lives for other reasons than money. We

want to do work that is enriching in other ways. We also want to stay

fit and healthy for as long as we can."

– Jack Florek

Calls and Puts? Options Explained

You can tell that Stephen Litwok is committed to options. Not only by

the excitement in his voice, but by the path that led him to his first

job with a brokerage. The starting point of his journey made sense – a

1975 bachelor’s degree in math from the Massachusetts Institute of

Technology. But then came the detour. He spent eight years on two

different kibbutzim in Israel, joking that his math degree came in

handy counting rows of crops. At one point he taught computer science

in an Israeli high school. His father, looking to have his son (and

now his grandson and daughter-in-law) a little closer to him,

suggested that Litwok come back to the United States to get a master’s

degree in computer science at Fairleigh Dickinson’s Monmouth County


After he completed the degree in 1989, his father suggested he work

for a while and save some money before going back to Israel. Things

didn’t work out quite the way he had planned. Finding himself in the

middle of a recession, with no computer jobs to be had, he took a path

less traveled by computer scientists: "My sister was in the brokerage

business," he says. "She took me in and got me started," and that was

it for Litwok: "I found a niche in selling covered calls."

Call options and their cohorts, put options, explains Litwok, lend

themselves to both simple and more complex strategies, which can

protect investors and serve as new ways to earn money. Now a

registered options principal for Network One Financial in Red Bank,

where he has been since 1997, Litwok is offering a workshop at Mercer

County Community College to teach investors how to use stock options

to achieve specific goals.

Participants will simulate buying and selling of both puts and calls

using the current day’s data and stocks selected by class members. The

workshop meets on Monday, July 10, through Monday, July 31, at 7 p.m.

If there is sufficient demand Litwok will offer a follow-up class in

August on more complex strategies. Cost: $90. For more information,

call 609-586-9446 or E-mail

Although people are relatively comfortable with stocks and bonds, says

Litwok, especially with the opportunities for trading online since the

late 1990s, options are another story. "Options are widely

misunderstood," says Litwok, "The typical person thinks: stay away,

it’s risky, you’ll lose all your money." His course is designed to

dispel those fallacies.

"Options are a tool designed to manage risk," says Litwok. "They allow

investors to either add risk or eliminate it." He describes several

straightforward strategies available to reach different investment


Making more money on stocks you own. One of the simplest strategies is

to use call options – which give you the right to buy shares of a

stock at a set price for a limited period of time – to make extra

income on stocks you already own. A call takes two players: Let’s say

that George owns a stock selling at $22.50 a share and is willing to

sell Martha the right to purchase that stock at a higher price, say

$25. Martha expects the stock’s price to rise beyond $25, so she is

willing to pay George a premium of $1 a share for the right to buy it

at $25. In the meantime, George has earned $1 a share, which he keeps

no matter what happens to the stock price.

If the stock’s price goes down to $20, Martha is out $1 a share, but

she certainly won’t exercise the right to buy the stock for $25. If

the stock’s price goes up to $30 a share, however, then Martha

exercises the right to buy at $25, and the two people are dividing the

profits between them: George gets the $1 per share that Martha paid

for the right to buy as well as $2.50 a share because the stock

appreciated to $25. Martha buys the stock for $25 a share and can sell

it for $30 a share or hold onto it. If Martha sells, then she has

earned $5 a share minus the $1 per share premium she paid for the

right to purchase at $25.

Litwok explains Martha’s objectives using the metaphor of

house-hunting. Suppose Martha comes up to him and says, "I love your

house. I want to live in Marlboro, and it’s perfect for me." Litwok

might respond that he is not ready to sell his house – and that would

be that. Or would it?

Litwok is thinking to himself that in the next six months or year he

may well come up for a transfer. So when Martha pushes him and

suggests she would like an option to buy the house at its current

worth of, say, $450,000, anytime in the next 12 months, Litwok thinks

about it and responds, "O.K., I’ll do it, but only if you pay me a

premium of $10,000." The $10,000 may represent how much he expects his

house to appreciate in the near future, but the size of the premium

would vary, depending on where the two think real estate prices and

interest rates will be moving. Because the agreement is contractual,

Litwok can’t sell his house for the next 12 months.

At the end of 12 months, if housing prices go down and the house is

only worth $425,000, Martha would not exercise the option to buy and

it would expire worthless, because she would be able to buy that house

or something else like it on the market at a cheaper price. But if the

house’s value went up to $475,000 or a gold mine was discovered on the

property, Martha would still have the right to purchase it at

$450,000. But whatever happens to the house’s value, Litwok would

still get the extra $10,000 premium. When Litwok sold her the option

to buy, he had expected the market to go down, and figured the premium

might cover part of his loss. Martha, on the other hand, was

protecting herself from an extreme rise in price.

Protecting the value of your stock. Put options, which allow a person

to sell an asset for a set price for a limited period of time, can

serve as an insurance policy on the stocks you own. Back to the

housing example (remember, by the way, this is a metaphor only – put

options only exist in the world of stocks): Wilma owns a house valued

at $500,000 and is considering moving into adult community in the next

couple of years. But she is worried that her house’s value may go down

by then, so she thinks to herself, "It would be nice if I could

guarantee a selling price of $500,000 for two years."

She could do something just like that with any stocks she owns. The

purchaser of a put option pays a premium to the buyer for the right to

sell at a specific price during a specified time period. "It’s almost

like an insurance policy," says Litwok. "Put options are a way of

buying insurance on your whole portfolio or on large positions you own

in particular stocks."

Generating income. Here’s an example: Say General Motors is selling

today at $26, and Alice wants to buy GM stock, but not for more than

$20 a share. She could sell Ralph a put option, which says she will

take on the obligation to buy GM from him for $20 a share sometime in

the next six months.

Ralph pays Alice a premium of $1.80 per share for taking on that

obligation. Hence, says Litwok, "Alice will make money while she’s

waiting." If Alice does have to buy the stock (if it goes down to $20

a share), her cost is the $20 minus the $1.80 Ralph has already paid

her, a net of $18.20 – an attractive price to Alice. If the stock goes

up, Alice still gets to keep the $1.80. Although this strategy seems

to have double upsides for Alice, it also has a significant downside.

"It is not a right to buy it, but an obligation," explains Litwok. If

it goes down to $20 a share, Alice has to buy it – even if the company

has gone bankrupt in the meantime.

Protecting yourself against downside risk. This time we’ll look at the

GM stock from Ralph’s perspective. It is selling today at $26 a share,

but he wants out if the stock goes below $20. If Ralph buys a put

option from Alice, then she has the obligation to buy his stock at $20

a share, no matter how low it goes. In this case Alice is serving as

Ralph’s "insurance company," picking up the premium of $1.80 a share,

but insuring him against a catastrophic fall in the stock’s price. "He

bought the put," says Litwok, "as a safety net at $20 a share." Alice,

on the other hand, "can open her own insurance company while picking

up stocks at cheaper prices."

Litwok grew up in Teaneck, where his father was in a general

contractor for construction and his mother a homemaker. When Litwok

finished Teaneck High School, they moved to a new development his

father had helped create in Manalapan.

At Network One Financial, Litwok manages the Disciplined Income

Strategy, in which people have to invest at least $100,000. He says he

has had reasonable success in the six months he has been using this

strategy, with 11 out of 13 accounts outperforming the S&P 500. He

also trades options for people, charging a commission. "I listen to

what people are saying," he says, "and convert that into an options


– Michele Alperin

Testing Women’s Entrepreneurialism

Susan Scott has been in business for 13 years. She owns three taverns

and one liquor store, and is currently negotiating to purchase a

fourth business. She also has a new business consulting with bar

owners to help them reduce inventory loss. Anne Mette Pedersen has

been in business one year. A native of Denmark, Pedersen now offers

translation services as well as cross cultural training for people who

are traveling overseas.

Both business owners wanted to learn more about the "business of being

in business," so they recently completed a series of courses at the

Women’s Business Center in Hamilton, and at the end of the series both

competed for, and won, seed grants from the New Jersey Department of

Community Affairs.

"Are You an Entrepreneur," the first in a series of seminars sponsored

by the Women’s Business Center, takes place Monday, July 10, at 9 a.m.

the Women’s Business Center, 127 Route 206, Suite 28, in Hamilton.

There is no cost, but reservations are required. Call 609-581-2220.

The seminar is held every second Monday throughout the year at the


"The Women’s Business Center focuses on entrepreneurial training for

women," says its director, Penni Nafus. Women who have been in

business for several years, as well as those who are just starting out

in business, can benefit from the many courses offered. The program is

designed for people in any type of business, from retail to services

to manufacturing.

Scott owns three taverns, Buddy’s Shamrock Tavern in Ewing, Buddy’s

Shamrock Pub in Hamilton, and Mundy’s Tavern in Trenton. She also owns

LaCasa Liquors in Trenton. But it was here newest business idea,

Bevinsure, that sent her to the Women’s Business Center.

Bevinsure is a method Scott has invented for weighing liquor bottles

to protect the tavern owner from losses. "My method can realize a bar

owner as much as $1,000 in recovered sales," she says. Word of her

system has spread in the central New Jersey area and she has started

consulting with other liquor store owners to help them reduce their


Taking the courses at the WBC has been "a really valuable tool for

me," says Scott. "Not only the information from the classes, but even

more important was the mentoring and meeting other successful

businesswomen. It was a very dynamic, positive experience."

Pedersen’s company, MOSAIK Cross-Cultural Training & ThinkLanguage

Translations, is located at 83 Cherry Brook Drive in Princeton. She

offers translation services in a wide variety of languages and coaches

people traveling abroad, either for business or pleasure, in the

cultural nuances of the countries they plan to visit.

"This is such a good part of the country to have this kind of business

because it is so international here," she says. "If I am not familiar

with the country that someone wants to learn about I can easily find

someone from that country who is an expert."

Her services are particularly important for people who are doing

business in another country, she says, because they often need to

understand the "small nuances" of behavior and language. For example,

"there is a big difference between the corporate culture in Denmark

and the corporate culture here. Denmark has a more egalitarian system.

It is less competitive and the people are quieter than Americans.

Europeans on the whole are much more reserved than Americans."

Pedersen was born in Denmark and came to this country in 1988 to study

at Yale University. She met her husband, Paulo Pesenti, here and

although he was a native of Italy, they ended up choosing the United

States as their permanent home. She worked at ETS in Lawrenceville as

a test developer for a number of years before deciding to open her own

business about a year ago.

Pedersen found out about the courses at the WBC through an article in

the newspaper. "I checked out their website and signed up for classes.

After the first class I decided to go ahead and take the entire

program and apply for a grant," she says. She was the third-place

winner in last year’s competition.

To be eligible to compete for grant money participants must complete a

series of five courses at the WBC, says Nafus. The courses total about

30 hours of classroom time and all are free. They are held on a

rotating schedule throughout the year. The courses include:

Are You an Entrepreneur? This three-hour course focuses on a variety

of skills for the new business owner, including an assessment of

skills, business knowledge, education, and experience, and an

evaluation of basic decision-making abilities and financial

requirements. It also addresses goal setting and helps prospective

entrepreneurs answer the question: "Is this the right time for me to

start a business?"

The course is a good place for the new or prospective business owner

to get answers to many basic start-up questions as well as an

opportunity to meet successful business owners and hear about their

experiences, says Nafus.

Start Right! is the second course in the series and includes

discussions on planning and goal setting, legal issues, government

regulations, and insurance, as well as the elements of a business

plan. "The course is ideal for both new businesses and businesses in

the first five years of development," says Nafus. "It is designed to

meet the needs of a wide range of individuals who want to build their

business and prepare a business plan."

Profit Savvy is the third of the required courses. It focuses on

learning the basic financial language and rules of business, strategic

financial decision-making skills, and how to plan and control for


Participants can also choose two of three other courses, Marketing

Magic, Introduction to Quick Books, or Money Smart. Marketing Magic

focuses on developing a marketing plan and positioning the business to

"sell what the customers wants to buy," says Nafus. It also teaches

the participants how to build a comprehensive prospect list, create

marketing materials, and design and deliver successful seminars.

Money Smart focuses on a variety of financial issues, while the Quick

Books course teaches the basics of this accounting software program.

"At the WBC I learned about what do and what not do in business from

other very experienced businesswomen," says Pedersen, "It was the kind

of knowledge that you don’t usually get in books."

– Karen Hodges Miller

Digital Camera Basics

Is that brand new digital camera you got for Christmas still sitting

in a box in your closet? Or have you managed to get it out of the box

and take a few photos, but don’t know how to get them out of the

camera and into some form where they can be seen and enjoyed?

Today’s "basic" camera is light years beyond the basic box camera and

point and shoots we grew up with. No longer do we simply drop a roll

of film at the drugstore, pop in a few hours later and pick up photos.

The camera and its accompanying computer software have given all of us

the ability to be darkroom technicians as well as photographers. But

it isn’t always as easy as it looks.

Help comes from technology specialist Kathleen Perroni, a Hamilton

resident who gives a three-session class on "Digital Camera Basics" on

Mondays and Thursdays, July 10 through July 20 (the class will not

meet on Monday, July 17), at 6:30 p.m., at Mercer Community College.

Cost: $104. Call 609-586-9446 to register or for information. Students

should bring a digital camera to the class.

The class focuses on helping novice digital camera users understand

the basic features and operation of the average digital camera, says

Perroni. "This course is aimed at the complete beginner," she says.

The class has been so popular, she adds, that a second course,

"Digital Camera Basics II," will be offered by MCCC for the first time

this fall.

The course will give the participants a broad overview of how to use a

digital camera, including basic camera operation, how to download the

photos from the camera to a computer, how to view the photos, and how

to organize, transfer, and archive them using various storage media.

Different methods of printing good quality photos will also be

discussed, as will how to use the digital photos on the Internet, in

E-mail, and in several popular software applications. The students

will also learn some basic digital photography terminology and will

learn about common image file types and pixel resolutions.

What camera to purchase? Perroni says that, as with most technology,

digital cameras continue to improve while, at the same time, their

prices drop. "A few years ago a two megapixel camera was a couple of

hundred dollars. Now you can get six megapixels or even more for about

that range," she says. "Two years ago those were cameras that only

professionals could afford."

A megapixel is a measure of resolution that indicates the ability of a

digital camera to record detail. The more megapixels, the more detail

in the images, and the more they can be enlarged and still remain

sharp. With a six megapixel camera 8×10 photographs should have

excellent resolution, Perroni says.

Taking the photo. Digital cameras have features that mimic the

features of a traditional camera, says Perroni. For example, "white

balance is an attempt to adjust the camera to certain light

conditions. While all of the digital cameras have automatic settings,

she says, "if you don’t like what you are seeing with the automatic

settings, you can adjust the camera manually to change the light."

Traditional cameras use filters to correct for various types of

lighting, incandescent and fluorescent for example. If a filter isn’t

used, most indoor photos came out with an orange cast. Digital cameras

replace filters with the white balance feature that makes corrections

for the color temperature.

A second feature of digital cameras is the ISO number, which indicates

the camera’s sensitivity to light. The higher the sensitivity, the

less light is needed to take the photo. Digital cameras automatically

set the ISO, but just as with white balance, it can be changed

manually. Auto ISO works best in bright light.

Downloading your photos. One of the biggest differences between

traditional cameras and digital cameras is that, instead of just

taking the photos, the digital camera and its related computer

software handle photo editing and processing as well.

"There are a lot of digital features that help you take better

pictures," says Perroni. You can enhance and improve your photos and

when you are satisfied with the result, you have several options to

display the pictures.

The first step, says Perroni, is to download the memory chip from the

camera to the computer. It is important to make sure that you have

enough memory to take all the photos you want. If you are going on a

vacation, for example, and won’t have a computer available for a week,

you might want to invest in additional memory chips to make sure that

you can store a week’s worth of photos.

Once the photos are downloaded to the computer a number of popular

software programs, such as Photoshop Elements and Paintshop Pro, allow

you to adjust the focus, make the photo brighter or darker, change the

colors, and even crop people and objects out of the photo. In other

words, says Perroni, the software "allows a person to make a good

picture even better."

Sharing your photos. Along with new ways to take photos, the digital

cameras – coupled with the Internet – offer a number of new ways to

share photos. Digital camera owners can print their own photos fairly

easily, but many of their photos never make it into print. Instead

they are shared over the Internet. Understanding how to E-mail photos

is an essential part of digital photography.

Photos can be sent as an E-mail attachment in a number of formats,

including jpeg, tif, and gif. Anyone sending a photo via E-mail should

check to see if recipients can easily download with each type of


Another extremely easy way to share photos is to upload them to a

photo storage and sharing website such as Ofoto or Snapfish. Post the

photos there and then send invitations to everyone with whom you want

to share them. They can view the photos again and again, and have the

option of purchasing prints – often at very low prices. The prints

generally can either be mailed or picked up at a local drug store.

Perroni learned about digital cameras through her work as a technology

specialist at Timberlane Middle School in Hopewell Valley. She holds a

master’s degree in education as well as a certificate in instructional

computing. "I started learning about digital cameras because it was

just part of my job," she says. "It was a new piece of technology that

we wanted to introduce into the curriculum and teach the children how

to use."

As so often happens, our children lead the way in learning about

technology. But with Perroni’s class, the rest of us can impress our

children with our knowledge and skill in the latest in digital

photography skills.

– Karen Hodges Miller

Medical Liaisons To Educate Doctors About Drugs

Doctors are busy. It seems as if they can barely sprint through their

whirlwind succession of patient interviews, let alone devote real

study to the medicines they prescribe. Quite naturally we fear that

most of our physician’s pharmaceutical education comes from the drug

company sales people, who are undeniably biased. And that may once

have been so.

But the drug manufacturers are working on boosting their

creditability, and the federal government has stepped in, demanding a

clear firewall between pharmaceutical education and promotion. Toward

this end, major pharmaceutical firms are establishing highly qualified

ranks of trained medical science liaisons (MSLs) to work with local


To help explain the medical liaison’s role and training,

Bernardsville-based Scientific Advantage (

is sponsoring workshops on Tuesday, July 11, and Wednesday, July 12,

at 7 a.m. each day at the Bridgewater Marriott. Call 908-204-0995 or

E-mail to info@ScientificAdvantage to register. Cost: $710 for the

July 11 workshop and $795 for the July 12 workshop.

The July 11 workshop provides detailed information on all legal,

government, and institutional documents that influence how

pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies communicate with

physicians and other healthcare providers. It also examines industry

best practices in compliance and risk management. The July 13

workshop, MSL CORE Competency, teaches the fundamentals required to be

a successful MSL, including effective approaches thought leader

networking, external and internal networking, external and internal

communications, and the integration of science and business.

The new profession is drawing medical doctors, molecular biologists,

chemists, and pharmaceutical researchers, as well as directors and

sales executives of related businesses.

If any person’s career has been pointed toward the scientific

understanding of pharmaceuticals, it is Scientific Advantage’s

vice-president Kathryn L. Gann. Born in Lockhaven, Pennsylvania, she

began her education with a general arts and sciences B.A. from

Pennsylvania State University in l973. She then obtained an M.S. in

microbiology/immunology from the Catholic University of America and

Ph.D. degrees in molecular biology and biochemistry from Wesleyan

University. She performed her postdoctoral fellowship at the John

Hopkins School of Medicine in the biological chemistry department.

Gann served as an assistant professor of laboratory medicine at Brown

University and taught everything from cancer genetics to public health

immunology. She supervised a molecular biology laboratory and

researched autoimmune diseases. She has served as director of the

Rhode Island Association of Facilities and Services for the Aging. She

is an active member in the Drug Information Association and American

Society of Consultant Pharmacists. Prior to training MSLs for

Scientific Advantage, she directed medical therapeutic liaison

programs for the major drug firms Sanofi-Synthelabo and Aventis.

Gann insists that the employment of more medical liaison teams is a

great leap forward in patient healthcare and in

pharmaceutical-physician communication. "An MSL is the a conduit of

information, working both ways," says Gann. "He brings explanations of

products and solutions out into the healthcare community, and carries

back from the physicians new trends, methods of treatment, and changes

in practice."

It sounds ideal, but doesn’t always work exactly that way. Dr. Jane

Chin, president of the MSL Institute ( says that

too often MSLs can be pushed into "touring the dinner circuit, acting

mostly or only as technical sales support." So the question becomes:

what are medical liaisons doing out there in healthcare land?

Tellers versus sellers. In l967 Upton John developed the first medical

liaison team to help physicians find the best treatment for a given

disease. Physicians were fed up with an onslaught of drug salesmen who

visited one at a time, each one selling his pharmaceutical solution,

each with only a limited knowledge of his product. In the medical

liaison physicians found a peer – an expert who could discuss the full

range of pharmaceuticals available, and could describe the molecular

difference of each.

This MSL tradition of sharing scientific knowledge has continued.

Today the medical liaison works as the field-based face of the drug

company’s medical affairs and research divisions. He does not make

double-team visits with a sales person to the doctor’s office. Unlike

the rep, he typically comes to the job with an M.D., or a Ph.D. in

chemistry, biology, or pharmacology.

Government firewall. In 2002 the federal government gave MSLs a huge

and unintentional boost. Tired of the pharmaceutical companies’

infomercial style of trade presentation, the Office of the Inspector

General in Health Services published the O.I.G. Guidelines, which

demanded a strict separation of promotional and informational material

in physician continuing education courses taken for credit. This

promo/educational firewall stated that educational materials should be

presented to doctors by an outside third party, such as a medical


The institution of the MSL, already burgeoning since the l990s, took

off as drug firms sought to make honest and balanced presentations.

Companies like Scientific Advantage came into being to help

pharmaceutical and medical device providers establish the MSL teams,

which helped not only with O.I.G. compliance, but also with getting

their message across.

Schooling an MSL. If you are going to chat with physicians and

researchers about molecular differentials in various drugs’ makeups,

you will probably want to bring a substantial background to the table.

Typically, medical liaisons are drawn from the ranks of physicians,

PhDs in biology, chemistry, or pharmacology. "But many less formally

educated people have gained equivalent expertise through their work,"

says Gann. Among these she includes physicians assistants, nurse

practitioners, those with advanced clinical training experience,

medical technicians who run trials, and therapeutic aids, such as

those who run hospital diabetes clinics.

Scientific Advantage offers training for those with the right

background. Those seeking an MSL certificate from Scientific Advantage

take a one-day course. They take a pre-qualifying test, and a final,

day’s end exam. In between, the students learn what Gann calls the

soft skills of the job: what MSLs do, how to communicate, and the

rules of legal compliance.

Upon completion these new MSLs are quickly hired by pharmaceutical

companies, says Gann. Their new employer puts them in its own medical

therapeutic liaison training program. Exactly how long this training

lasts depends on the individual’s experience and the company’s

product. But Gann says that it generally takes a year before MSLs feel


Off-label, on-label. Depakote stops epileptic seizures. It has also

proved successful in handling migraine headaches and attention deficit

disorder. But the label only says that it is good for seizures. These

other treatment potentials are termed off-label uses and for any

salesperson to suggest – or even discuss – such off label uses is


Actually, no drug company employee, be he in sales, an MSL, or the

CEO, can legally promote such off-label uses. The FDA wisely wants to

halt a return to the old medicine show days. They will not allow

promotions wildly claiming that "this drug is great for neuritis,

neuralgia, and whatever else ails you."

"But at the same time," says Gann, "the FDA very sensibly does not

want to restrict the flow of scientific information." Thus if a

physician initiates a question to an MSL about alternative uses, the

discussion may legitimately begin. This way the doctor gets a source

of expertise, and the claims are reined to match actual clinical test

results. "It becomes a tricky part of the compliance," says Gann "but

it is one each MSL must have stamped deep into his brain."

Doctors love MSLs. It’s like having expert, personal tech support to

help them work out their problems – a medical geek squad that makes

house calls. For the pharmaceutical companies that are paying the MSL

salaries, the benefits are not quite so easily determined. MSLs are

paid about $125,000 a year. They do not operate on commission, and

talk science, not products.

It is difficult to actually determine their benefit to a pharma’s

bottom line, but there is evidence to suggest that they build

relationships. A physician, on average, will spend two hours with an

MSL, versus just a few minutes with a drug rep.

– Bart Jackson

Scrap the Paper

Is paperless just a myth? Well, one thing is for sure. Widespread

computer use has not led to an overpopulation of trees. The nation’s

personal computer users alone use more than 115 billion sheets of

paper annually, according to the Resource Conservation Alliance. Each

office worker goes through 9,999 sheets of paper – 27 pounds – a year.

Is this incredible paper thirst, tickled by computers, going to end?

"Probably not," says John Heckman, president of Jersey City-based

Heckman Consulting, "but we can certainly get most of that clutter out

of our lives to make our world better and our offices infinitely more


To help guide legal and general business offices into this new mode of

operation, the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education

presents "Going Paperless," on Tuesday, July 11, at 9 a.m. at the New

Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick. Cost $139. Visit

Heckman discusses the hardware, software, and strategies involved in

achieving the nearly paperless office. Also, Carol Johnson, secretary

of the New Jersey Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Professional

Ethics, talks about the new paperless law, Opinion 701.

Growing up in New York and Connecticut, Heckman stands out as an

individual who sculpts his career by his own choices. Attending

Cornell University, as he puts it, "far back in another life," Heckman

went all the way, earning his Ph.D. in comparative literature. He

proceeded to teach at Brandeis and at Boston University for several

years. Then he opted for a change. Packing a bag, he headed for

Europe, and became an itinerant for the next five years, supporting

himself teaching English.

Upon returning to America, Heckman assessed his skills. "I figured out

that I was really a good typist, so in l982 I got job in a law firm’s

typing pool," he says. Shortly thereafter computers entered the scene

and Heckman began playing with Wangs. He saw and seized the

opportunity. Joining the law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCloy

in New York, he developed the firm’s computer operations. Later he

teamed up with systems designers Kraft, Kennedy & Lesser

(, where he created document managing systems for legal

and other offices. In l997 he launched Heckman Consulting to help

firms shift into paperless mode.

Law of the land. On April 10, 2006, the paperless advocates in the

Garden State received a real boost when the State Supreme Court issued

Opinion 701, which in effect allowed lawyers to shred and recycle all

their old hard copies. The opinion stated that legal firms may archive

their case documents in cyberspace, provided that adequate backup is

maintained, and provided that adequate measures are taken to ensure


Many believe that this law will ripple out to other professions,

giving cyberstorage legitimacy and encouraging it wide adoption. "This

is something people in the legal and many other professions have been

crying for years," says Heckman.

The paper culture. For most of us, if the document is longer than

three pages, we will print it out. If it is book, we will take it

lovingly in hand and curl up in our nice lumpy chair and dig in. "Much

of this is generational," Heckman says, "and, of course, until

recently hardware has been unable to compete."

Magnetic screens oscillate, causing eyestrain – a fact of modern

office life. Books have at least 2,400 dpi (dots per square inch),

while many older monitors have only 75 dpi, making resolution a real

squint. "This is like reading bad faxes all day," says Heckman. For

any office that values its workers, it is worth paying the extra $350

for a l9-inch, flat, LCD screen (200 dpi) and another $40 for a

monitor pivot.

Travel tech. After affording greater organization, probably the

greatest benefit of going paperless is portability. While E-books have

been slow to launch, smart phones, with their two-by-two-inch screen

have swept the nation. Heckman says that this is primarily because of

their organizing capability. "I can cross index all 1,500 names from

my Rolodex and check on my calendar while I am talking. It’s not so

much a reading as a reference tool," says Heckman.

As USB flash memory modules keep climbing in memory capacity and

dropping in price their use becomes more sensible. Three hundred

megabytes now fit into a storage device the size of a key ring.

To keep all your office on the same (paperless) page, why not gift all

employees with a wallet set of USB flash sticks, each of which is

color coded, like your keys? Everyone will remember that finance is on

the appropriately green key, which is accessed and updated company

wide. Use the same color coding for office and offsite archiving.

Pricey disorganization. Close your eyes and imagine all that paper

clutter swept off your desk, but all the information retained right at

hand. This is the real advantage of going paperless. Those who recall

the pre-computer days, when every scrap of data was filed in manila

folders, will readily admit that their computers now shuffle faster

and offer much more organization than any paper filing system. Heckman

wants merely to take this one step further.

The first and fatal flaw of those wanting to go paperless is that they

scan every incoming document. This, insists Heckman, only leads to

greater disorganization. It’s merely tossing all that paper into a

magnetic bin. He also warns against using the software that comes with

most desktop scanners, as it is typically crippled, outdated, and

slow. He prefers Abbyy ( or OmniPage (

But before using Abbyy or OmniPage, scan the available document

management programs and find one that suits your business needs. Many

such programs now interface directly with word processing programs,

automatically storing, cross-indexing, and linking each document

written, unless the author indicates otherwise. Most older systems,

such as Outlook, which require a drag and drop, end up filing data

according to the whims of each individual user.

The second criterion Heckman suggests is choosing a system that

gobbles all forms of data and sorts it by case or client. When a

worker searches the "Johnson file," he will have before him every

E-mail, scribbled note, formal letter, contract, calendar of sales

meetings, phone record, and memo from other departments. This not only

prevents endless circulation of paper memos, it saves time and errors.

No time, no money. "The two biggest excuses I get for companies not

going paperless is `I haven’t the money’ and `I haven’t the time,’"

says Heckman. "The truth is you cannot afford not to go paperless."

Most executives spend their days gathering information, using their

expertise to process that information, and then generating documents.

By saving time on the first and third steps, you have made way for the

best use of the executive – his mindpower. The payback in money and

staff time comes in about two to six months.

"It takes four hours of training for each employee on a new paperless

system on which everybody will save at least one hour a week," says

Heckman. "You figure it out." Additional savings can be made by

developing canned documents that automatically link in and are ready

to be custom tailored for each transaction.

Last year the peoples of this globe created a stack of paper which

would reach the moon and back eight times. At least one of those trips

is a giant waste of time, organization, money, and our earth’s


Even if you are not ready to adopt a company-wide paperless culture,

think twice before hitting "print."

– Bart Jackson

Speak Up and Out with Confidence

It’s a given. Few people relish the prospect of public speaking in

general. Add a couple of unfortunate circumstances, and the fear

becomes positively phobic. But there is an antidote – and it begins

with careful preparation.

Effective presentations to an involved audience require more than just

pulling together a sequence of PowerPoint slides with catchy graphics

and charts and clever headings. In fact, an overdependence on the

technology contributes to clumsy interactions between the presenter

and the technology.

On Wednesday, July 12, and Thursday, July 13, Elizabeth Ann Myers

presents a two-day workshop on presentation skills for the Learning

Key, a corporate training company at 1093 General Washington Memorial

Boulevard in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. Cost is $475. For

information or to register, call 215-493-9641.

Myers says that her approach to making presentations goes way back in

her own personal history, to the time when she was a child actor in

Chicago. That training stood her in good stead when she became a high

school teacher of English and communications after receiving a

bachelor’s degree in English education from Purdue University in 1971.

Standing in front of a business audience came later. She was first

exposed to that world when she got a master’s degree at night in

American studies from Northeastern Illinois University while she

taught during the day. She focused on 20th-century business culture.

"It prepared me to understand the ways people communicate in business

and through the media," she says.

With the new degree in hand, her career took another tack at Edelman

Public Relations, still in Chicago, where she coached people for media

interviews. "We taught them how to work with the teleprompter, and how

to express a very succinct message and tell it with anecdotal pizzazz

and verve," she says.

From her varied experience, Myers offers suggestions for effectively

preparing presentations that maintain the interest of audiences all

the way through:

Develop flexible, organized content. One of the challenges in today’s

fast-moving business world is that you can prepare a great half-hour

presentation only to find when you arrive at the meeting that the boss

has to leave in 10 minutes. "What am I supposed to do then," asks

Myers, "talk fast?"

As an alternative, she suggests instead an "accordion method," which

allows speakers to expand or contract a presentation according to the

time available and still communicate effectively. The first step is to

design the core content.

An example she uses is a presentation on making a quick Italian

dinner. The core content would include an interest getter – "Would you

like to learn how to make a healthy meal in 10 minutes with things you

already have in your pantry?" This could be followed by a "bare bones"

presentation of the basic content – what type of pasta, canned

tomatoes, and herbs you will use. From there, swing right into a


These are the basics, and can be presented quickly. Next come the

details you want to share – if you have enough time. In this example

it could be the advantages of different shapes of pasta and whether

you want to use dried or fresh.

With this type of planning, says Myers, "if you run out of time, you

can streamline."

Plan your transitions ahead of time. When speakers are not sure where

they are going next, they tend to get mired in details – after all,

they’re experts, and they usually know a lot about the subject matter.

"The problem," says Myers, "is that people go on and on about details

and start to lose the audience. They don’t know when to stop talking."

To avoid this verbal wandering, which is usually due to increased

anxiety, Myers tells people to plan their transitions ahead of time.

Myers shares an experience with a biologist who was talking about an

experiment he had designed. First he supplied background information,

and all was well. But then he launched into great detail about the

different types of agar that could be used to grow a culture.

Afterward she asked him, "Did you want to go into all that detail

about the agar?" His response: "No. I couldn’t stop. I just kept going

because I knew about this stuff." Myers’ take on the biologist’s

problem: "If you don’t have a constructed presentation, with

transitions built in, you can meander and go down roads that lead


Visualize the presentation. Myers points out that the design stage is

where intellectual activity is involved, and the oral delivery is

primarily physical. The challenge, she says, is how to use gestures to

release energy to the audience. She suggests visualization – for a

batter this may mean imagining how to hit a ball in a certain way, a

technique that research suggests can improve performance.

For the public speaker this involves visualizing an upcoming

presentation, picturing how he will move appropriately to use the

equipment and handle the size of the room, and how the audience will

nod to show their understanding of the concepts.

Move with confidence. Myers teaches what she calls a "triangle of

control" to use when planning how to stand and move during a

PowerPoint presentation. Find three spots where you can stand, one

next to the computer, one two steps to the side so that the audience

can view the screen, and a third two steps toward the screen where it

may be necessary to point out a small detail.

With this technique, says Myers, "you can move with confidence and

purpose." Otherwise presenters often disperse their extra energy

through meaningless or repetitive gestures, like moving their hands up

and down, jangling change in their pockets, or pacing back and forth.

Myers urges preplanning "so that gestures and walking are done with

meaning. This allows the audience to see a dynamic, confident, and

purposeful presenter."

Bring in the human element. "We are finding that people enjoy

listening to a presentation that has some kind of pizzazz or

interest," says Myers. Consequently, she encourages presenters to

bring in a metaphor for the content which comes out of their own life


A pharmaceutical executive who likes to hike, for example, was

addressing a meeting about a new product launch. He talked about

taking a difficult hike with his children, how they set goals, what

special preparations had to be made because the children were

involved, and how they thought on the way that they’d never make it.

He likened this experience to the current product launch, which he

said would be different and would require unique arrangements. "This

helped enliven his presentation and make him appear human," says

Myers. "People expect the PowerPoint and the computer, which is high

tech, but because you are presenting to people, you need to combine

high tech with `high touch’ to become an effective communicator."

Don’t depend too much on PowerPoint. The power should be in the

presenter – not the software. If you have substantive content, Myers

suggests that it is often better to hand out an article, memo, or

position paper so that people will be able to read and understand the


"The speaker can hit the high points and either persuade the audience

or hit them with what they need to take action," she says.

Sometimes the audience prefers to be active along with the speaker,

and not just sit and watch. A mechanical engineer at Princeton

University once told Myers that after spending two years putting his

lectures on PowerPoint, he got feedback from the students that they

preferred to have him write formulas on the chalk board so that they

could write them down at the same time. "We thought that was high tech

way to do it," he told her, "but it’s not human."

Another problem with PowerPoint is that its structure encourages a

hierarchy – a broad point followed by subpoints. But there are many

other formats for expressing complex ideas, says Myers. You may need a

more horizontal, linear approach, or you may have a wide chart that

requires a foldout paper given as a handout. When people talk about

visual aids, that’s exactly what they are meant to be – to aid your

message, not deliver your entire message. Placing content verbatim on

a PowerPoint slide can be distracting to the audience and prevent the

listeners from really learning and taking in the information the way

you had hoped.

Myers moved to Princeton in the late 1970s when her father was ill. He

worked at Firmenich, where his last job was vice president of flavor

sales. Her mother was a volunteer and raised five children, of which

Myers is the eldest.

Myers is a member of the National Speakers Association, the American

Society for Training and Development, and the National Society for

Performance and Instruction. She has served on the executive board of

the Mid-New Jersey ASTD, the board of trustees of the United

Way-Princeton Area Communities, and the Education Committee of the

Chamber of Commerce of the Princeton Area.

Myers founded her own company, the MYERS Method, in 1981, and she

works as a business partner with the Learning Key, a training, design,

and consulting company that focuses on technology-based organizations.

The Learning Key was founded 15 years ago by a nuclear chemist,

Elizabeth Treher, who recognized the need for technical professionals

to develop communication and business skills and to learn about their


People at the workshop will be actively giving presentations, which

will be taped, and receiving feedback. "It’s hands on and a lot of

fun," says Myers. "People come in being nervous and quickly realize

that they’re all in the same boat."

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