Hey there, hi there and hello there to everyone. Today is a day that I want to thank my dad, my step-dad, grandfathers, uncles and every other father that has had an impact on my life. You have all been there through the thick and thin to guide me to where I am today and I can never say thank you enough!
Also, before I go on I must say God bless to all of my family and friends back in Cedar Rapids. As I sit here in Georgia, pictures cannot explain what you are going through. I can keep myself busy with a hundred different things, but my thoughts never clear of what you are going through. I can sit here and talk about the tragedy of the $700 million in flood damage, the hundreds of families displaced or even the businesses that will never be the same, but I won't. The one thing that makes me most proud to have lived in Iowa my whole life is the mere fact that you're all resilient. Every single time I would call someone from back home I would here of the tragedy, but it would always come back to how they had helped someone. Some of my mentors I've talked to were working the switchboard and helping the Red Cross and National Guard. Jenny just told me she's going to volunteer with her sister on Tuesday which made me smile:) I could never be more proud of my family though for helping so many people ... from serving meals on wheels to serving breakfast to volunteers and housing friends who have been displaced. I've never been more proud of anyone though as I am of my sister. However hard it was that I did not speak with her for four days, every time I knew she was out there helping others and bringing others with in her cause. It tears me up inside knowing that I cannot physically be there to help save the city, but it warms my heart to know that the city is pulling together to help those in need. People down here are talking about how refreshing it is to hear about the volunteer efforts and how there has been no opportunistic crime. I can't imagine how hard it is to be going through this, but I know that you will all pull through and make Cedar Rapids a better place to live even if it takes weeks, months and years. Hopefully I can help in a couple weeks ... God bless!
It was again a crazy/busy work week. Our team is pulling together and have picked up some momentum. We did a presentation for all of the managers in Policy Services on a project and they were elated at the progress. The team has been attempting to document the current processes since its inception over a year ago and we finally have just decided to bear down and git ir done ... everyone seems pretty excited. Then I had one of the most amazing employee learning experiences when some folks from FranklinCovey came in to talk about the "4 Disciplines of Execution." The consultant talked about results, urgency vs. importance and laid out a tried-and-true plan to help organizations execute. It got me so jazzed up that I'm presenting it to the team tomorrow and will hopefully have it implemented in the next week. To give you the gist of it: it narrows your focus down to some Wildly Important Goals (WIGs), helps to create a tactical/measurable plan, forces you to create a team scoreboard (which will be quite creative and hung in our cubicles for all to see) and brings it all together with 20 minute weekly meetings where everyone is held accountable for small action items. I know that was brief, but I'm quite excited to see how it goes! I also had to create an executive summary in crunch time for our VP ... love working under pressure, especially when I had 3 hours and no idea what the project was;) Towards the end of the week I found one of the best guys on my team is being moved which adds to the adage, the only constant is change. Fortunately, we have Haleigh starting tomorrow and it'll give me another opportunity to interview for the position ... everything happens for a reason right Jenny:)?
I've been quite fortunate to have, what I think, is the best mentor at Aflac for the last few months. Joe Smith and I went to a two hour lunch this week and had an amazing conversation. He has provided me with a great deal of guidance and been a wonderful friend through it all. He has challenged me to read quite a bit more and think outside of the box for different situations I've been in. Also at Aflac this week I was able to defend my Toastmasters Table Topics title. During our last meeting a few weeks ago we brought back the traveling trophy for speeches, table topics and evaluators. I took home the first trophy and defended the title after a pretty good laugher where I incorporated the phrase, "sometimes you're the squirrel and sometimes you're the nut."
It was also a pretty solid week on the volunteer side of things. I started off the week with the Young Professional chair/vice-chair meeting. My first duty was the change the fundraising committee to the FUNdraising committee on all official documentation ... yes I know, I'm weird. The first meeting was a good one, now it's time to get things going though, so hopefully we can catch some traction on this initiative. Friday I had another Literacy Alliance board meeting. It was a pretty solid meeting where there was a good bit of heated discussion at times on where the organization should go. I found that some folks had all the ideas in the world, but when it came time to volunteer for sub-committees to attack them they just stood back. I spoke up quite a bit and called out the members to volunteer more of their time if they're going to be on the board, in a more tactful way of course:) I was nominated to head up the Program Committee and prepare a report for the board and be on the Financial Fundraising Committee ... fortunately I was able to take on one, not both ... we'll see how long that lasts. Saturday I rounded up about 12 Aflac folks to help out with Habitat for Humanity (pictured above). Since I can't sandbag, I figured I'd try to help out somewhere. It was a fun time ... SIFErs got to meet some of the new interns and I even got to frame up some doors, good stuff! Today I escorted our Literacy Alliance award winner onto the field of the Columbus Lions arena football game for the coin toss. Shaniqua won a Sylvan learning package and the chance to flip the coin before the game where I represented the Literacy Alliance ... also good times!
We had a rousing SIFE event last night at the Duarte's with a sweaty game of Guesstures ... ok, so maybe I was the only one profusely sweating. It was a great BBQ event though and fun just to hang out with all the people. They were shocked at how much fun they could have without alcohol ... weird how that works:)
Well I guess that brings me to the now and the morsel for the week. I know that Cedar Rapids will recover, no matter how much time it takes and I know this because of what Bernard Williams once said: "Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit." Even though I'm 1,000 miles away, I can feel the spirit and hope that is put forth by the people in the Corridor. Your resilience inspires not just those in your area, but people from all over the world and it is that resilience that will help to rebuild the city to greater heights than it once was! Best of luck and our thoughts/prayers are continually with you.
Thanks again to all the fathers in my life ... for everything!
Alwayz, Nate (ps, I hope this extra picture of Doc makes you smile:)