When Bob Riefstahl founded 2Win! Global almost 20 years ago, he was ahead of his time. His company provides winning pre-sales, client-success skills, and culture guidance for technology companies. Today, his clients include IBM, Adobe, CISCO, Siemens, and Microsoft.
However, in the beginning, things were quite different.
Riefstahl says, “When we started, software sales were stuck in the past. Big tech companies like IBM had a particular way of doing things, and most of the smaller companies emulated the big boys. Had that not changed, companies like Big Blue (IBM) may have fallen by the wayside. Technology is a two-step process that includes both development and sales.”
He also states, “The greatest technology in the world is meaningless if nobody buys it.”
At the time, Riefstahl and crew began peddling what they knew. Technology companies listened, and the result has been a seismic shift in the economy of the world.
Riefstahl saw a need for technology companies to come out of the shadows and deliver what Riefstahl believed was a beneficial evolution in the way people were able to use and prosper from technology. Many believe that his company and way of doing business were an essential part of the technology revolution.
But now, Riefstahl sees a different need.
“Education has needed a technological wake-up call for some time. With the Coronavirus pandemic forcing learning online, that call is happening too quickly— delivering punishing blows to our teachers because they don’t have the correct knowledge and training to teach online successfully. Like anything else, teaching and delivering presentations online is a learned behavior,” states Riefstahl.
Just like in 2001, when Riefstahl was motivated to help technology companies succeed, he now wants to help children learn in a new virtual world.
He states, “Plain and simple, children are the world’s future, and I have two sons who were both products of the public school system, and both excelled in their careers. If we can help teachers that work with kids in very diverse school systems, we can create a better world.”
How Riefstahl Is Making A Difference In Education
Riefstahl believes his company’s expertise and experience in the business sector can translate well in the education sector.
They train the largest and most successful technology companies in the world to use soft-skills to help them connect with prospective buyers of their products in a virtual environment.
Their most deep-rooted focus is on the product presentation and demonstration, and they base it on neuro-linguistic programming.
Riefstahl realized the same techniques that his company uses to teach to some of the most talented and highly paid workers in the world could be effective with the teacher and student experience.
They teach people how to be effective communicators during in-person and virtual engagements—and have been doing so using virtual classrooms for over ten years.
Riefstahl’s virtual training started in 2008, and he saw the immediate benefit and impact by leveraging a flip-the-classroom approach.
When the pandemic broke, rather than experiencing a loss in business, Riefstahl’s business began to accelerate.
He says, “I have many friends who are teachers or know teachers, and many are struggling with virtual classrooms. At that point, I realized our methods, with some modifications, could be a lifeline to teachers and students.”
Rather than testing the water, Riefstahl and 2Win! Global have jumped in the deep end, and he has big expectations in his company’s ability to help educators.
He says, “Now and in the future, we want teachers to feel empowered, inspired, and enthused about teaching in the unfamiliar medium of virtual. We have found that our same classes taught virtually produce as good of a result as in-person classes. We want students to have that same experience.”
Riefstahl hired Joan Jahelka, a lifelong educator and fellow Colorado resident, to lead the company’s first offering, the Classroom 2.0 series, set to debut in mid-August.
They will deliver the series into three parts:
Module One: To help teachers understand how to set up their home and teaching virtually.
Module Two: To help teachers understand the soft-skills necessary to transform their virtual instruction. This module will help to ensure the student learning experience and retention are the best.
Module Three: To help teachers and administrators understand the nuances of child privacy in virtual instruction. All the modules will be delivered in a crisp, micro-learning style using two to five-minute video segments.
Riefstahl’s team at 2Win! Global believes that the education division could eventually become profitable, but that is not their primary concern.
“This goal is much more of a charitable offering on our part, and much less about profit. Our price points on this course are such that we believe it would take years to cover our costs. That’s okay, because our motivation is about making a difference to kids and teachers,” said Riefstahl.