Mandel's Future

December 9, 2022

To my dear Mandel Associates:

From: Ed Musselwhite, CEO

Subject: Mandel’s future

As I write to you about Mandel’s future, it is impossible for me to not think of the exceptional elements of the amazing company you have created.

For a moment here, I’m going to indulge ourselves in those thoughts.

I have enormous respect for you, your talent, your loyalty, your energy and your accomplishments at Mandel.

What you have done

You have created a truly world class global communications training and coaching company with a highly respected culture and reputation that stands out among its peers.

Created over almost 30 years, the human connections at Mandel have provided an uncommonly collaborative and caring work environment where people can thrive, make a good living and do excellent high value work with other talented colleagues for hundreds of great customer companies.

Equally important, the Mandel culture has allowed us to codify, share and seek to demonstrate a set of profound human values that are worthy of encouraging the best in people (in ourselves and in others) — while allowing Mandel’ers for the most part to be ourselves at work without common pretense.

You and I have not been perfect in these endeavors, but we have achieved — as individuals and as a group — extraordinary successes in our markets, for our customers, in our careers, in our relationships and in our reasons for living.

You have created and delivered extraordinary training and coaching that improve people’s communication skills in remarkable ways—both at work and carrying over into their personal lives.

Your Mandel training sticks and can pay off for a lifetime.

Mandel participants worldwide total many hundreds of thousands of people in key business professional and executive positions. They have been taught by Mandel in a dozen different languages by Mandel trainers located across the globe.

The proprietary Intellectual Property library that you have created stands out as best in class worldwide.

Mandel has a strong track record created by devoted people. You are fabulous colleagues.

What has befallen us–

Unfortunately, during the last three years, a once-in-a-lifetime series of external phenomena have relentlessly and savagely pounded on the world and on Mandel.

We have experienced cumulative wave after wave of personal and business obstacles and hardships, such as the all too present:

  • Covid (surging again and again) with all of Covid’s shutdowns, upheavals, frights, deaths and political strife, followed by–
  • Worldwide supply chain disruptions
  • Astoundingly rapid inflation to record heights
  • Equally astounding interest rate hikes
  • Wars and rumors of wars
  • Stunning mass layoffs in tech and beyond
  • Rumors and predictions of recession and even depression

Hopes and promises of relief and a return of “normalcy” or predictability fall by the wayside under the pressure of the next “surprise.”

This is where our personal and business lives reside at the moment.

Our customer buyers live in the same world.

What did we do?

During this crushing period, we Mandel’ers increased our investments in the business each year, innovated, created new IP, delighted customers with our training and coaching face-to-face and virtually worldwide, stayed in high gear with sales, marketing and product development, and we survived — all thanks to you and to our customers.

We fought hard in every way we could discern to keep this company alive and growing.

2021 produced a sales uptick and profit after down years. We had high hopes for 2022.

The unhappy result

By mid-2022, despite our best efforts, the relentless pressures on our market shattered the market’s cohesion and momentum and drove down our major business opportunities with our customers to unheard of low levels.

By all measures, our customers still love doing business with us, and they highly value the training and coaching we provide.

Unfortunately, in the current exceptionally unstable business environment, most of our large corporate customers have been forced to either: 1) buy substantially smaller and fewer training components now and in their foreseeable future or 2) postpone training altogether.

In short, we are looking at a sales financial forecast for 2023 that has evolved and eroded fast to a shockingly low level (compared to all previous years).

That low revenue level shows no light at the end of the tunnel, and it cannot sustain our continued existence in this brutal economy.

What we have decided to do

Mandel had reached the inflection point where we need to bring this beautiful enterprise to a conclusion.

The decisions are:

  • Mandel will cease active new sales and marketing activities as of today, December 9, 2022.
  • We will complete training workshops for customers by January 31, 2023.
  • Accounting and IT systems close downs will be 95% completed by Feb 15, 2023

Other paths besides ceasing operations were seriously considered.

If I had thought another path forward would be successful, I happily would have approved that path. Furthermore, the team of revenue and financial executives at Mandel, who were in these deliberations with me, would have been eager to take that alternative path.

To be clear: The decision to cease Mandel operations is mine alone (with Steve’s concurrence).

No decision in my long work life has ever been so hard to make and no decision has ever been so sad.

Neither you nor I expected to be in this situation.

We have played at the top of our game. As fine athletes say when they have given it their all, “We left it all on the field.”

I am profoundly sorry that we are in this spot, and I am deeply, deeply grieved by the pain and loss that this creates for you.

Next step: You and I are meeting in a Town Hall setting on Zoom on December 9, 2022, to discuss this difficult situation. Immediately after that meeting and ongoing as needed, you will meet with your executive team leader to talk about the details and how all this affects you.

I’m sending you this written statement after our Town Hall meeting, so all Mandel Associates will be clear about the decision made and its rationale as presented at that meeting.

With great regret and with my profound respect for you and appreciation of you, Ed


Ed Musselwhite, CEO

Mandel Communications, Inc.