Sunday, October 26, 2008

October 26, 2008 - Is it already the end of October?

Hey there, hi there and hello there everyone ... phew, this year is going by ridiculously fast I must say! I do owe a birthday wish to my cousin Kristi and a special hello to all you fans of Halloween; I can't wait for Friday;)

It was another swift week at Aflac, but not quite as crazy as weeks in the recent past. We finalized performance appraisals this week and I must say, bureaucracy does get to me a bit after a while. I think if people perform at a high level and exceed expectations that they should be recognized, but that's all I have to say about that. We continued planning activities for the various projects we're working on and it appears that we'll be doing quite a bit of planning in the coming weeks for 2009 ... yipppeee. The highlight of the work week though was a very unique opportunity that Aflac offers their employees with Habitat for Humanity. Over 900 of the 4,500 HQ employees put their name in the hat to be selected for the 250 spots to help build an Aflac Habitat House. I was very fortunate to be one of the chosen and was able to help out on the last work day ... yard work! After countless wheel barrels of dirt, pick-axe tilling, tree planting and hundreds of squares of sod being laid we finally completed the house. It only took Aflac 12 business days to build the house from ground up and on Friday we dedicated the house to Patricia, a very kind lady whom happened to be blind. She was moved by the support our group gave and it was very rewarding to see the happiness of her and her family when she was handed the keys to get a hand up ... not a hand out.

It was a pretty busy week on the volunteer front as well, which I always enjoy:) We had a couple YP meetings this week where we made a plan of action on how to fund raise for various events. In addition, I proposed the idea of the Get on Boards activity in Columbus, since it worked so well back in Cedar Rapids with the ol' MMC SIFErs, and everyone loved it. We should have a pretty eventful year for 2009 with the YP! Also, we had our quarterly Literacy Alliance board meeting. We learned about the Favorite Word project (now set for Sunday, December 7th) where we will feature local philanthropist, elementary aged kids, national celebrities like Vanna White and sports idols like Chipper Jones and John Smoltz as they display their favorite word to raise literacy awareness in our community. They asked me to be the project chair, but the event is pretty much set ... all I have to do is make sure people show up (which is a task at times:)

Of course I had to save the best for last as my soccer team, En Fuego, goes on to win our second straight game. We're 2-0 in the last two games, and if you count the scrimmage we won on Thursday, that's 3-0 ... never mind the 7 games to begin the season:) The kids had a great time and the parents were elated after the game. I have really seen the kids grow in the last few weeks as they're starting to play as a team and have some fun. One more game and then the tournament ... anything can happen.

Well, there's a busy week to be had this week again and I am looking forward to all the new things. I have my first Miss Georgia Pageant Board of Trustees meeting tomorrow, we have a leadership retreat for work on Wednesday, Halloween with the consumers at Easter Seals on Friday and the Steeplechase on Saturday ... what a week!

Dr. Robert Firestone is going to help me out with this week's morsel, "You're not going to find the meaning of life hidden under a rock written by someone else. You'll only find it by giving meaning to life from inside yourself." I truly believe in the power of giving back ... whether you coach a team, serve soup in a kitchen, teach a child to read or help to rebuild someone's life, it will change your life forever ... give giving a shot.
Until next weeek, have some wonderful days!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

October 19, 2008 - Thanks for a great bday!

Hey there, hi there and hello there everybody. First off, I want to say thank you to all my family and friends for the wonderful gifts, cards and good times in celebration of me making it to my 24th year ... only one more and I'll get a reduction in my car insurance, I can't wait:)

What a week at the office, I tell you what ... the duck is a pretty dern good place and I've got a great team! We made some great progress on all of our projects this week and I counted 22 meetings this past week alone, holy schnikes! I do love meetings though, productive ones that is, because I think you can get a lot accomplished and I usually get to meet new people. I kicked off our Online Services Advisory Council meetings with a bang this last week and we're already hittin the road running for 1st Qtr. 2009 elevations ... woooeeee. I also learned a bit more about the competitive research environment as we're looking to work with an industry magazine, LIMRA, to learn more about the market. We also had our annual SIFE Round table discussion to chat with HR about the SIFE Analyst program and suggest improvements. It was a very productive meeting and had some good follow-up with the HR team.
Probably the highlight of the work week though was when my team punk'd me on my birthday. I arrive at my desk around 7:15ish on my bday to find an email from Haleigh at about 3:49am. Now Haleigh has a little boy on the way and had an appointment scheduled in the morning, but informed me that she had no clothes that fit so she would not be able to make it in after her appointment. I would've known it was a prank right away, but I thought ... who wakes up at 3am to prank their boss, so I sat around for 1o minutes trying to figure out how to respond to her email. I had to be firm, but caring at the same time ... wow, that was tough. So, then I was on my way to a speech when I get a call from Adam "The Tank" Hart, the nickname will play into his story. He calls me all groggy to let me know that he had been celebrating a bit much the night before and that he had a hangover. Anyone else on the team I wouldn't have thought anything of it, but this is the Tank ... so after a few clarifications I said alright, see you tomorrow. Then, John calls me to let me know he had went to El Carrizo's the night before. Now this is a new Mexican restaurant that I have not heard good things about, so he tells me that he may have eaten something bad and won't be in that morning. At this point I was a bit suspicious waiting for the 4th person on the team to call, but she never did. So did I call out the bluff? No, I immediately try to think of excuses for my boss if they ever would've walked by that day b/c one of my people was shopping, one was drunk and one was on the toilet ... how could I explain that one?! Luckily, as I walked around the corner getting back to work they were all waiting to let me know they had punk'd me ... pretty good to say the least! In addition, for Boss's Day the next day they had all gotten me a card and gift card to Barnes and Noble plus lunch. We're a squirly group, but I really appreciate the team I have ... they keep me on my toes but are all good people!

I also received a late birthday present on Thursday night when the soccer team I coach, En Fuego, picked up our first victory of the season! It was so exciting and the kids/parents were extremely pumped, they still haven't given up:) To add to the fun, I got in a little talking match with the other coach as she tried to "tattle" on a couple of my kids. I've never had a 40-something come up to me after a game to tattle on my kids, sorry mom, my sarcasm came out a bit but it was funny ... even the parents laughed;) I had a couple Young Professional gigs this week as well as a meeting for our Hands on the Valley Advisory Council. They even baked me a cake for the birthday before we re-capped the Hands on Georgia event success!

In addition, I had a speech on my birthday for the Jordan High senior class. I've had some interesting speaking experiences, but this one is right up there. I went to chat with them about choices after high school and my L.I.V.E. motto when I realize it's their homecoming week. Not only is it there homecoming week, but the day I am there to give a speech is cross-dress day! A couple minutes into my speech I see these big ol' football players walk in with skirts and stockings on, even a bright pink wig for a couple. How am I supposed to deliver an inspirational speech with gentlemen turned gentle ladies? But I think it worked out as they were very attentive and the teachers enjoyed it.
All in all, it obviously was a great week. I can never thank all of my family, friends, co-workers and yes ... even Jenny, for the birthday wishes and gifts over the last week or so. I could never ask for better family and friends ... you've all made it a truly special celebration!

Until next time, have a fantacular week!
ps, thanks Steph/Blake for the 31" Penguin and check out the pumpkin:)

Monday, October 13, 2008

October 13, 2008 - Wonderful times in Shueyville

Hey there, hi there and hello there to you all. I hope everyone had a great birthday week last week and enjoyed the declining gas prices:)

Last week was a big one for the duck as we had a great deal of PIC team projects that elevated over the weekend. We now have a new workflow system, real-time processing of transactions and we even had an Online Services elevation that was quite successful. I was able to chat about our OLS to a few groups this week and I even had the opportunity to talk with all of the managers throughout Aflac about their role in building their direct reports. We were on a panel of about 6 young professionals that got to shed some light on mentorship, vision and what we saw in good leaders ... it was a great exercise I must say. I also had a wonderful time with the team going over their goals to see where they'd like to be in the next year and start trying to figure out how to get them there. It was fun to look at all of the suggestions for our department and start to figure out where the best bang for the buck would be! O yes, and I finalized my first formal performance appraisals for the team which was a very intriguing experience to say the least!

Outside of work was wonderful as well this week as there was a great deal of volunteer action. The ol' En Fuego soccer team is still sporting a goose egg in the win column (think I found something I'm not too great at) but the kids are having a great time and the parents haven't fired me yet. I also had a few meetings for the Literacy Alliance to discuss our Word Gala coming up and I even got the Aflac President Paul Amos II to commit to helping us out with the event by painting his favorite work on a canvas ... wahoo:) Young Professionals (YP) had a big week as well with our monthly FUNdraising meeting. It's pretty difficult now with the times to ask for big funds, but we're trucking along. We had a wonderful political event as well on Tuesday with some local candidates ... I even made it on the ol' WTVM late night news to chat about YP political engagement. Last week was also my last Making it Count speech for the semester, but I go to Columbus, OH in December to re-certify for the Spring so I am looking forward to it.

After all the working and volunteering was done I flew back to Shueyville for the weekend. Friday morning I had a little breakfast action with Steph and the Jenny at ol' Victor's Place. It's great to see his business up and running after all of the madness with the Summer's flood. After that I went and spoke in a Marketing Communications class for my good pal Anne King about Aflac and getting the most out of the college years. After lunch with Coach Amir and some ol soccer buddies, I went down to the U of I to chat with some folks about applying to be accepted into their Doctoral program for Management and Organizations ... won't find out until March but I'll keep you posted. Friday was a wonderful time when the Flugum family, Jenny and myself headed up to Des Moines for a pretty awesome Secondhand Serenade concert followed by some intense shuffleboard and pool action ... where Gump and I dominated an old couple of course!

Saturday morning was full of food in Shueyville to hang with the bro, grandparents, parents, sister and new boyfriend (whom seems like a good guy ... good work Steph:). Had a little lunch action with some ol' MMC SIFE gals at Zio Johno's; delish. Thanks ladies for coming out to say hello and I'm glad to hear you're all doing well! Saturday afternoon/evening was the big bash for Miranda/Dylan's wedding which was beautiful. Jenny and I cut a rug on the dance floor and I was able to see some great people I hadn't seen for a while ... congrats again Miranda and Dylan! After a stop at the Shueyville Drydock to dance with ma, I was able to just hang with Jenny for a bit and Doc of course (he's huge now;).

Sunday I had to say farewell to Jenny, some one's got to put food on the table back to work, before I headed over to pops' for a brunch. I think there is a reoccurring theme here that every event was centered around food! Thanks again to Barb, the fam, grandpa and all the aunts/uncles/cousins for stopping out to say hello ... it means a lot to me to see all the family I did on Saturday/Sunday!

I had a wonderful time and received some great gifts for an early birthday celebration which was topped off by a molded thumbs up from Jenny and a 36' lighted cow for the front yard from Blake/Steph ... thanks all, I really enjoyed it. It's always too short when I go back home, but it's great to see wonderful family and friends when I do.

I think Oprah will close out our morsel this week, " Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." So, thank you again to my great family and friends back home and afar for everything ... I can never thank you enough!



Sunday, October 5, 2008

October 5, 2008 - Public speaking isn't such a bad gig.

Hey there, hi there and hello there one and all. Wow, big birthday month of October is here and the big birthday week is this week. Happy birthday celebrations to cousin Haleigh, Grandpa Seda, Uncle Dave and Sarah Bear ... hope you all have wonderful days! Also, a big good luck to Miranda and Dylan for the upcoming weekend ... can't wait to be back home:)

Work was pretty amazing this week, turns out my move a few months ago to the PIC team has been the best one yet. We did quite a bit of planning for Online Services (OLS) this week as we gathered data for a competitive analysis and are attempting to work with LIMRA to figure out industry statistics with the Competitive Intelligence department. I was also asked to help with Triple Crown at the Trade Center which is a contest for first year associates throughout the U.S. We promoted OLS for a few hundred associates and had our CEO come and reassure the audience that we are financially stable. At this point, I have to take his word for it but it's kind of tough seeing the financial sector how it is ... I think Aflac will be alright b/c we've been pretty diverse in our investments and we've got the duck on our side:) We had another PIC presentation this week to try and help the Sales Support division start something up for themselves, and I think it'll work out well for them. It's also performance appraisal season and it has been pretty interesting to start putting those together and reading the self-appraisals of the team. I have to turn in my final appraisals on Tuesday, so we'll see what the boss-man has to say.

This whole speaking in public thing has gotten pretty darn cool I must say. On Thursday I went to Jordan High for a Making it Count presentation for about 300 freshman, pretty good crowd I suppose. They were pretty darn rowdy, but I had a handful come up to me afterwards and thank me for the tips so it was all worth it! The counselor even asked if I would come back and speak with her seniors in a couple of weeks about the college search and getting involved ... right up my alley I suppose. Then when I got back to work on Thursday we had our Toastmasters Boss' Day Luncheon where I was fortunate enough to give a speech for all of our management and fellow Toastmasters. I think it went pretty darn well, I even had the corporate training manager come and ask if I'd ever thought about becoming a corporate trainer. Making it Count also invited me to Columbus, Ohio for another training session in December for the Jr/Sr programs ... should be a great time.

The Young Professionals program is taking up quite a bit of time, but it's a good time. We had a board chair meeting this Monday where a few folks said we were providing our members with "too many events" ... I think we just accomplished our mission, but we're going to take a more strategic approach in the coming months and I think our FUNdraising will pick up in the next month or so. We had another YP event downtown this week for a bit of light jazz and hanging out. I also did quite a bit of work with the Literacy Alliance this week for the Favorite Word Gala and had the first few execs accept the invite ... so hopefully more get on board this week. Then our SIFEr group got together with the Easter Seals organization on Saturday to do a bit more painting ... that is one class act organization I must say.

Had a busy week last and this one should be just as packed ... except this one ends up back in Shueyville to hang out with the fam and friends. I can't wait to see you all and until then ... have a wondermous week! Remember that if you want to change anything about yourself, the best time to start is now:)