Monday, August 27, 2012

Coming to Terms with Change

Things change - sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and sometimes they just change.

My friend Cyndee has been the longtime Director of Program and Curriculum Development at Computer Explorers

Cyndee retired on Friday, after 20 years. This coming Friday she is jetting off to Paris for a few months - I want to be her when I grow up...with a tiara.(you can follow her travel adventures at I  miss her more than words can describe.

I have thought about sitting under my desk and crying - but I am pretty sure that the rest of the team, who have come to depend on me, would drag me out, so I had come up with a way to deal with the change andI believe I have come up with the perfect way!

Cyndee is a former High School English teacher. My writing has improved 100% under her subtle guidance. I am now worried about things that I never knew were an issue before working with her. She wielded a mighty red pen. Whether being a good witch editor or a wicked witch editor I learned a lot. However, now, without her editing - I can go crazy!

  • I am going to put adverbs any place I like..I can “boldly go” now...With Cyndee around I could only “Go boldly”.

  • (I will put punctuation OUTSIDE the quotes).
  • I will tell people to “don’t forget” instead of  to “remember’  

  • I  will use: semi-colons; judiciously;

  • I will use many many indefinite pronouns! No one will know who or whom I am talking about.

  • (I may end a sentence or two with a preposition)

Though, today, my first official day without Cyndee, I wrote a newsletter and a blog post...and then demanded harsher critiquing from my new team.

Cyndee, You have taught me much more than proper sentence structure. You have taught me that life has many exciting chapters and that I can always do better than I thought.  Please go boldly into the next phase of your life and please remember you are loved.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's Never Too Late

Two and a half years ago the guy I had been seeing showed up on my doorstep one Friday morning to tell me we “should cool it for awhile” and he thought by now “he would have stronger feelings”.  I pulled the knives out of my gut, cried at a friend and partook of some retail therapy in the chocolate and wine departments of my local Target. 

Then I put on my tiara! Called him some not so ladylike names and decided that I would never again waste my time on something that didn’t benefit me.  Earning my Bachelor’s degree had been on my Bucket list since I was 20 years old and had chosen love over education the first time. I placed a few calls to online schools and Kaplan University called me back.  The representative Steven Young was amazing. He listened and I decided “What the hell, let’s do this!” He and I stayed on the phone for the better part of the day as they walked me through my FAFSA and the financial aid process. They made the request to the schools I had attended in the past and poof I was enrolled.

The program runs in 10 week terms with a 1 week break between. There is not time to think that you will take a semester off. The next thing I know it is 2 and a half years later, and as of today, I am a graduate – I have my BBA and am considering my Master’s.

I have learned a lot in the process, many academic theories and the terminology for things I already knew, but the non-academic lessons may have been the most valuable.
  • Your networks are VERY useful!  Those people you know that actually understand supply and demand curves and cash flow can get you into the right frame of mind to write that essay.  The CFO will come to your office and explain Excel formulas

  •  Excel has formulas that figure interest

  • There are way too many ways to figure interest

  • ALWAYS do the crap work – posting to the discussion boards using the rubric for grading will make the difference in your GPA…take care of the details for a successful outcome

  • Your kids want you to succeed and they like saying “Mom, do your homework!” (Thank you Bonehead and Princess)

  • It is completely possible to write a 10 page paper from a hotel room in Orlando while attending a conference.

  •  Your parents will cry from pride no matter how old you are (I love you Mom and Papa).

The biggest lesson – When someone does you a favor by freeing up your mind and your time – take care of YOU. It is never too late to put on your tiara make magic happen for yourself. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sharing is Caring

When I started using Pinterest, was a little irked, when building a page for business, that the boards I created were either just up to me to post - or they were open to the public to post - this didn't really work for me. Pinterest was listening. You can share boards now! so if you are planning a real wedding or decorating a real home - your whole team can be involved.

To share go to your home page and click the EDIT on the board you wish to share:

You will then see this;

Under the 'Who can post"  - you will see yourself and an option to add another pinner - Type in their name then hit save. 

The person you invite will get an email telling them they have been invited - they can then accept or decline. 

After they accept - it will show up on their page just like the other boards they have. 

You each receive an email when the other has posted to that board. 

Happy Pinning

Tiara on the road

Testing out this app for blogging. We can look forward to strange autocorrected posts!

There will probably be weird stream of consciousness posts too!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reading for Fun with your Tiara On

I need to put my Mom Tiara on for a moment here.

There has been a lot of talk about The Hunger Games vs. Lord of the Flies in our school curriculum lately. Google Hunger Games vs Lord of the Flies

When Lord of the Flies was assigned to my daughter earlier this year, the initial response by her grandmother and I was "UGH!, I'm sorry, good luck." And when she finished the book, her opinion was the same as the generations before her (Her opinion could have been swayed by ours, I will give you that). But this same child devoured the hunger games series.

 I talked about this debate with Cyndee Perkins when the blogs about the two books started hitting the net, and maybe I would have enjoyed Lord of the Flies more if Cyndee had been my teacher, I might have even finished it. Cyndee says that  Flies is all about bullying and is very timely...this is why we need good teachers to help students understand what they are reading - but it also brings me to the reason for this post.

Summer brain drain and reading lists are becoming ever more popular. And while adults get to read 50 Shades of Grey at the beach (NO! this is NOT on my daughters to read list - don't go all crazy on me) - Our kids are given lists with Silas Marner and Ethan Frome and other deep dark meaningful stories that lead to napping. These books NEED a teacher to help the student find the meaning and to relate to the story at all. Why are they on a summer list?

Summer reading lists should be about books that encourage the JOY of reading! Books that take you someplace other than the little town you live in. Books, where as a teenager,  you can save your family, fall in love and try to change the world!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

5 Things you Should Know about Doing Business with Franchise Systems(or anyone for that matter)

The biggest draws at the annual IFA convention (International Franchise Association) are the trade show and the vendor forum.  Vendors that understand franchising relationships contribute immensely to the industry and to the success of franchisees.  But you can’t cast your sales net into franchising waters and expect huge and easy sales.  There are a few things you should keep in mind.

1.       Make my franchisees lives easier – Franchisees are small business owners. Their time and money are scarce and valuable. I won’t let you near mine if your product and or processes are convoluted and difficult.  I shouldn’t have to tell you this – if you can’t improve or make someone’s life easier – you probably should find another line of work.

2.      Make my job of supporting the franchisees easier -  My day to day working life is a lot like juggling cats. I am more than willing to support  your brand with the franchisees – but don’t make more work for me – I don’t need yet another roster – Have an awesome support like Constant Contact

3.       Don’t expect to get the whole system to buy your product or service – if you get 30% you are doing good. I think many suppliers believe that  if they can get approved vendor status with a system that they are guaranteed to have all of the franchisees as a customer – probably won’t happen - so save yourself disappointment and bad sales projections

4.       Know what my business is before you pitch to me  - I had a vendor charm my socks off yesterday because she knew our challenges and what services we would need – she did her homework.

5.       Pay attention after the sale – If you mess up, I have to deal with the fall out. Be part of the team – speak in terms of “US” and “We”. Do not suggest that we do something we are already doing – it makes me wonder if you are paying attention to anything other than the check. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pretty + Interesting = Pinterest

I am going to attempt to explain Pinterest to those of you who just don’t “get it”. My explanation is based on my own use and some stereotypes. So let me please just state for the record, my comments are about women in general and stereotypical..I know this – but I need to in order to explain my new favorite addiction.

Women like pretty things. We make ourselves pretty with clothes & jewelry. We make our homes pretty by adding flowers, art and window treatments.

We are generally the homemakers who stay home with the preschooler and try not to drive ourselves nuts by preparing the same 4 meals over and over for dinner.

We like to shop together and look at magazines and catalogs.

Enter Pinterest.

From the comfort of your home you can post all the pretty clothes you see, the meals you would like to make, ideas for the next birthday party, wedding or shower. Hence pinning. By pinning via the pin marklet can share with your friends the great book from Amazon, the pretty dress from Anthropologie, or the meal that Paula Dean has posted to her website. You can re-pin something the other women have pinned in essence saying “yea me too!” They whole idea is akin to saying “look at this” or window shopping with your Mom, daughter or BFF.

OK…now what about business, why do they care?

Many times while shopping the “yea me too!” means I want to buy that cute dress too. So the friend clicks through and purchases from the online retailer.

If the “yea me too!”, means that is a great idea and I am going to re=pin to my boards and show my other friends. …each of these pins and re-pins is a another inbound link (ah! SEO!)

The very brave retailers? They start their own Pinterest board with pictures of their wares..with the same results as above, with the added benefit that all of their products can be pictured, pinned and don’t have to sit on the website and wait to be found there and shared.

There are other aspects, and there is even an analytics platform coming out – but this is the draw and the explanation in a nutshell.