Laura Pulido - Founder and Owner of The Protocol Institute
Transforming Traditional Etiquette Into A Contemporary Lifestyle
Being raised in the small, southern town of Graceville, Florida, manners and etiquette were a part of everyday life for Laura Pulido. As early as kindergarten, Laura remembers attending numerous “manners” classes at the local community center. She learned the difference between a fish fork and a salad fork as well as the importance of standing when someone enters the room for an introduction. Back then, Laura was taught to pick up the receiver, smile, and clearly state, "Hello, Benefield's residence, this is Laura" using a dinosaur -age telephone with a rotary dial - the idea of a smart phone was far from being conceived.
When Laura became a mom, she knew manners would be a priority in raising her children. Four years ago, Laura searched for age-appropriate etiquette classes for her nine year old daughter and four year old son. Surprisingly, the closest class was 45 minutes away (on Los Angeles freeways, that would translate to 1.5 hours on any given day).
As Laura continued her research on this subject, she discovered Train-the-Trainer courses offered by the top etiquette institutes. She decided to enroll in one of these costly programs with the thought of training her own children. Laura distinctly remembers sitting in class with a thick binder of materials thinking to herself, "There has to be a way to make this readily available, convenient, simplified, and cost-effective for parents, yet engaging for children." Laura also knew that instruction alone would not get her four year old to behave better. She needed to discover a way to make learning fun and relevant for this iGeneration and technology needed to play a major role. Laura resolved to find a solution that met all of the above criteria.
In June 2010, The Protocol Institute officially launched as an eLearning company that combines etiquette and technology to deliver interactive online courses for children and adults. The technology based company rolled out their first etiquette series targeting tweens. Laura saw her dream realized even in the beta test phase prior to launch as she received very encouraging feedback from moms. They expressed enthusiasm in learning alongside their tweens. These involved moms also saw new and relevant applications of traditional etiquette from this simple, contemporary package. It was an "Extreme Makeover" for manners!
While it would be easy (and free) to download a Google search for "etiquette", research shows that multi-modal learning which incorporates audio, visual, and assessment achieves over 70% knowledge retention. eLearning was the solution. The Protocol Institute partnered with Interactyx for their award winning software, TOPYX, to store and sell our eLearning courses accessible online anytime, anywhere. TOPYX even has a social media component that allows learners to collaborate with each other on knowledge gained from taking the courses.
In being a successful entrepreneur, Laura believes you must adapt and change within your environment for long term success. The company continues to progress by taking traditional etiquette and repackaging it for the 21st Century. However, Laura also acknowledges that the etiquette industry is deeply rooted in face-to-face interaction for training purposes and it will take time for customers to rely solely on eLearning for their primary training. As a result of these findings, Laura is incorporating a more collaborative approach into the company's marketing strategy with respect to the etiquette industry. Laura envisions partnering with other etiquette experts to achieve the common goal of a global practice of etiquette, taught with passion and maximum impact. With the onset of emerging technological advances in the areas of social media and smart phones, we need distinct behavioral guidelines to enable respect and consideration necessary for building healthy relationships with new connections.
The Protocol Institute is looking to partner, rather than compete, with etiquette professionals by providing one-of-a-kind technology training in the manners toolbox. For those wishing to enroll in face-to-face manners training as their primary source of learning, logging in to The Protocol Institute’s eLearning courses is a valuable reinforcement and refresher. For everyone else, the convenience of 15 minute courses viewed at any time from the comfort of home are easy to schedule.
The Protocol Institute is committed to providing resources and delivering world class products that meet the needs of this digital literate generation. The company's collaborative strategy positions them to be an aggregator for all etiquette related content that will help transform knowledge into action.
This fall, The Protocol Institute will release their next series, The Professional. These comprehensive eLearning courses will educate and prepare the Business Professional in the areas of Social Media Etiquette, Communications, Dining Finesse, and Interview & Resume.
With the rise of mobile devices, the company is also in development of an mLearning (mobile based) series that will target the needs of the learner-on-the-go, set to release in late 2010.