Hey there, hi there and hello there. A special birthday hello to Roger and Cheryl this week. Also, I hope everyone took the chance to remember 9/11 and keep the folks on the Gulf Coast in your prayers through these tough times.
I started off the week at the best conference I've probably ever been to; the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum at the Trade Center. On Monday I joined about 800 other folks from in and around Columbus to hear Newt Gingrich speak on real change in leadership as well as General Russell Honore on his topic of preparedness. Tuesday brought a pretty big slate as well with Chief Justice Sears, author Daniel Pink, leadership guru John Maxwell and Pulitzer Prize winning author/columnist Thomas Friedman. I think I gained the most information from Daniel Pink as he discussed the shift to right-brain leaders. Everyone besides Friedman and Sears brought me a great deal of information and I met some very interesting folks at the forum. I felt like I was back in college with all the notes I took, but it helped me to come back and share some knowledge with the team at Aflac ... it was fantacular!
That made my week at the duck fairly short, but it's funny how 5 days of work can fit into 3 days so well:) We continued making progress with Online Services with advancing enhancements and meeting with different folks. I also started in on the performance appraisal season where I had everyone on my team fill out self-appraisals before we went over them. It was interesting to sit back and see how some people saw themselves doing so well and how some were very modest. I also had a wonderful lunch with one of my mentors, Bob Ottman ... he has been very helpful thus far in my post-grad career I will say!
We had our first volleyball match this week and thanks to the lessons from Steph, I did well and the Setting Ducks dominated:) I also coached my second game of the season with En Fuego of which our team was dominating, until Mother Nature said ... no soup for you. I tell you what, we have a great team ... especially since we're the only coed team with girls, which is interesting. I will say that our girls dominated and I even had one that knocked down the other coach's son ... she was sorry, but I gave her a high five when I saw he was alright;) Hopefully we can keep the momentum going!
The FUNdraising Committee with the Young Professionals had our first corporate ask this week, which was probably one of the most nerve racking experiences of the week. I've been involved in a lot of fundraisers in the past, but never like this ... but it was a success nonetheless as the CEO said he would help us out by sponsoring an upcoming event! Saturday I went over to the Hope Harbour shelter to play some hoops with some of the kids. We played some basketball for a while and then they wanted to play some soccer, so we kicked it around for another hour. It was great to see the smiles on their faces, we even came up with some sweet handshakes before I left which included the classic: up high, on the side, down low ... too slow Joe. Don't pretend that didn't just act that out! Last night I also had a good opportunity to help out with a fundraiser for Westville at their silent auction and program. It was pretty hectic, but I was able to use the ol' Break Zone convenience store skills as the money collector for the auction (which was hilarious to watch as folks battled for the win).
I have my first speaking gig for Making it Count on Tuesday, so I've been brushing up on that a bit and it again should be a very eventful week as it shapes up. I'll leave you in the light of Dr. MLK Jr., "Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness." Remember that you have the talent and skills that could help out a great deal of people ... there is always someone out there in need, all we need to do is take the time to realize that we can make a difference. Change the world.