Sunday, October 25, 2009

October 25, 2009 - Live United!

Hey there, hi there and hello there. What does it really mean to Live United? That's what this weekend has been all about, a life-changing experience for the students and volunteers:) O yes, one more week until Halloween as well and I still need to figure out what I'm wearing to work!
Aflac was still pretty busy this week even though I was there only Monday through Thursday. We had our big Online Service roll-out this week with a re-skin and the elevation of the Duck Pond, an online community for our accounts to share, connect and learn. I was asked to be the community manager, so it shold be a pretty interesting next few months to see how we can incorporate all the feedback into what we do to improve the customer experience. This week was also the final week for my appraisals, which I administered to most of my team on Thursday. The best feeling is walking out of an appraisal and having every single employee thank you for a fair and just eval, great feeling indeed:) O yes, and I received mine that went quite well too.
I handed in my 19 page Econ final on Wednesday, the first one to hand it in of the 100 classmates ... now, I don't think that guarantees the A, but I tel you what ... lifts a huge weight off my shoulders for the weekend. I am very excited about my new Processing Systems class too that talks about process innovation, improvements and manufacturing systems. The professor is pretty engaging and the topics are truly relevant to what I've done in the past and what I'm doing today.
The best part of the week started Friday morning as we began day one of the 1st Annual Live United Youth Camp. This was an idea that was sparked from my mom's Pacesetter Youth Camp back at the United Way of East Central Iowa, so I brought it to Columbus about 10 months ago. All of the planning was worth it to see the impact the camp had on these 12 seventh grade students' lives. Friday we focused on what others do without money, so many lessons on homelessness were learned at Open Door Community House and the Homeless Resource Network. They volunteered with a showering program, listened to a homeless man tell his story, participated in a homeless simulation and helped Open Door by stuffing 372 bags of candy for kids less fortunate. The end of the day reflection gave me goosebumps for a half an hour when the kids shared their aha moment of the day and how it had changed their lives. Saturday the students helped sort clothes for the Columbus Dream Center, played some soccer tennis and bought clothes for those less fortunate after a tour of Goodwill. Today was our last day, so we all met up at the local Wal-Mart where we split the kids into 6 groups of 2 as they brainstormed ideas for items to give back to Open Door and the Homeless Resource network. Each team had $50 to buy tubs, backpacks, toiletries, rec equipment, blankets and so much more for these well deserving agencies. The graduation ceremony brought all of the student's parents together to learn about the weekend, and instea of going on for another 4 pages, I'll let you check out the video we showed the parents ( & (
I've always volunteered, but helping others learn the importance of giving back is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. Thanks to all the volunteers, agencies and most importantly, the students for an experience of a lifetime!
Hope you all have a week in which you can learn what Living United is all about:)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

October 18, 2009 - Thank you all!!!

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all. I can't thank everyone enough for everything over this last week. Turning 25 seemed like it would be just another day in the neighborhood. It was anything but, thanks to Jenny's birthday week, all the family/friends good wishes/gifts from here and back home and my team's 250 balloons in my cubicle:)
Working in a cubicle that has a lid and 250 balloons in it is quite exciting, I don't think many other folks at Aflac have had that experience ... although it's a great one! Work was pretty darn busy last week with 2010 planning and preparing for the Duck Pond next week. It only took 20 meetings to get all of that done;) My team is absolutely awesome though with my birthday and boss's day celebrations to boot. We were called upon quite a bit this week by our VP to prepare reports for executive management since we've gained a reputation as a team the can put together some visually sweetacular documents:) And yes, we finally got all of the performance appraisal material finalized; yahoo!!!
I had a pretty interesting Literacy Alliance meeting this week as treasurer ... I really need to get my head around all of those financial reports. We have our quarterly board meeting this week, which I am thoroughly looking forward to. Also, we had a Young Professionals gathering on Friday where I was recognized for my work on the FUNdraising committee. It looks like the YP has really turned themselves around with new leadership, so I may try to get involved at a small level with the Servant Leadership group. But, the most exciting part of the volunteer work is coming this weekend, starting Friday with the 3 day Live United Youth Camp. Twelve seventh grade students from around the community will come together with volunteers to put on the first annual volunteer camp in Columbus, which was inspired by the United Way camp back home. Instilling a sense of altruism into today's youth will make a huge difference in the future ... I can't wait to post the video for you all next week:)
Emory has been crazy busy this past week as well since Wednesday was my last Econ class and I just got finished up with a ridiculous 19 page final. O, and then my other class of course had a midterm take-home exam in addition to preparation for my new operating systems course which includes a 300 page book (luckily one of my partners had The Goal on CD ... gotta love the 8 hours of driving each week for class:). Lastly, we did have a pretty fun activity on Saturday morning up in Atlanta where the consulting firm Deloitte came and worked with us on hypotheses consulting techniques. Then, the Atlanta Falcons folks came to give us some fan data that we get to analyze and present solutions for the real-world application of the program.
This weekend was fun too with Caden and numerous games of fetch. Friday night Jenny and I went to the new movie Law Abiding Citizen (1.5 thumbs up) and then Saturday we all got together for a haunted walk-about in downtown Columbus, GA. Sunday has been very relaxing knowing that the Iowa Hawkeyes are in the top ten and Packers are back on the winning track.
Pretty busy week ahead I suppose, so I better get back to Transformers to help rejuvenate me before the week begins!
Have a great week all and thanks again for all of the birthday wishes.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October 11, 2009 - A glorious start to birthday week

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all! Wow, this is the week I get to realize a nice reduction in my car insurance ... 25 came quite fast I must say! I owe some birthday wishes out to my godfather Uncle Dave, sister Sarah, cousin Haleigh and Grandpa Seda ... hope you all had wonderful celebrations indeed:)
After a weekend back home, it was a tough week to catch up back at work with all of the backlog to catch up on. It was customer service week at Aflac, so our team came up with some ideas to get in better touch with our customer base both internally and externally. This week I also had to put on my old analytical hat for some Online Services projections; with everyone looking to tighten up budget, everyone's figures are being put into question to figure out how we can get more with less, should be an interesting 2010! Tuesday my boss lady let me stay up in Atlanta to finish up my team's performance appraisals, which is an interesting task in itself.
I stayed up north on Monday night through Tuesday because we had class up at Emory Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night because of a make-up class. I'm actually taking a break right now from analysis-overload with my Managerial Econ final ... yeah, I typed final. This course is only a six week course, so this Wednesday is my final class. It's been a pretty productive day getting the homework for both Monday and Wednesday done and with about two weeks left for the take home final, I think I'm about 50% done ... hopefully I can get motivated to just get it done today:) Next Saturday our whole class gets to meet with Atlanta Falcons officials to take a gander at some of their fan data to provide them with some recommendations at the end of the semester, should be a blast!
I feel bad for the folks back home with mid-November weather and snow whilst I sit here in the gorgeous 75 degree wonderfulness;) Jenny and I went for a long walk with one of Caden's new buddies, Mya, over on the RiverWalk. The pooch is even learning how to fetch, it's pretty fun! Sit, walking well, shake, come and now fetch ... all in a matter of 2 months, we're pretty excited!! O yes, and Thursday night's kickball game ended with our team on top 20-1. I didn't think that would be possible, but every time I stepped up, I tried to hit it over the fence, only to settle for an inside-the-park homer ... I even tried to pop the ball up as far as I could, they just couldn't catch it out in the grass:) Our team is good and we always have a blast.
Well, this week should be somewhat normal, if there is such a thing:) I hope you all have a fantacular week and until next time, have fun!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October 6, 2009 - What a great weekend back home!

Hey there, hi there and hello there everyone. Sorry it took so long to get on the ol' blogging action, but a late Sunday night flight and Monday night class until 10:45 just pushed it back until today:) It's been a wonderfully exciting last week and a half though, I can barely contain myself typing!

I think I found the culprit of the crazy work load ... Aflac Work Load = (Starting Class X Each additional layer of management to report to X the number of people to report to X the number of reports) / working with great people. I think I will submit that to my boss, maybe professor, to see if that's the right equation. There are a lot of big projects going on and I just found out the big online service and blogging initiative I have been working on is being postponed because of another project. I'm kind of bummed because I was really looking forward to becoming a community manager for this new technology, o well, December will come soon enough. This week also marks the start (and hopefully the finish) of performance appraisal season. I took today to stay up in Atlanta to be secluded from meetings and emails to git ir done and I think all I have to do is deliver it now, yahoo! This week our team also took part in a volunteer team-building activity for the Literacy Alliance by stuffing dictionaries for the local 3rd graders, great way to end the work week I must say.
School is going very well up at Emory, I do have to say I have an awesome group that I'm working with that makes it better. I received an A on my first returned assignment, so I'll probably end up posting that one on the fridge;) It's crazy to think, but next week is already midterm time for one of my classes and final time for another ... hopefully the take home Econ exam isn't too much of a dooozy. I did have to have make up class tonight though since a class was cancelled due to flooding, so class Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night is going to be a bit ... well, interesting.

Best part of the last week though was the trip back home to Iowa. I wish Jenny could've joined, but as she says, "someone has to put food on the table!" I flew back Thursday afternoon to watch my studdette of a sister coach her volleyball team to victory at the brand-spankin' new Prairie Point Academy ... very impressive I must say. That night I was able to catch up with my ol' roomies Flugum and Horman and of course Jenna and Jess. Horman's house looks amazing and Gump's hair is glorius if I do say so myself. Friday, one of my old SIFE advisors Anne King asked me to come speak to her Principles of Marketing class. It was great to chat with the students about the Duck and their college years. One of them even sent a note to Anne, "I have to say that Nate was one of the best people I have seen to keep an audience intrested throughout the whole time of his presentation." ~Maria. Ok, so I guess Maria wasn't the guy in the back that was nodding off during class, but that was pretty cool to hear back. I even ran into one of my old babysitter friends from over 15 years prior, what a small world. For lunch I met up with some of the former MMC SIFE ladies Ashley, Miranda, Lindsay, MJ and her squeeze at Victor's Place. It's always great to see those girls and congrats to you Ashley on the wedding coming up this weekend. Friday night we had a big block party in Shueyville with some of the neighbors. It was fun to catch up with the family and have some good eats. Saturday morning I ran out to the Farmer's Market for a breakfast burrito before heading up to visit Grandpa Klein. Life is rough getting old and I never want to do it, but he is holding in their strong with good spirits ... It was great to see him to say hello. We also had my niece Addison's birthday party on Saturday which was a blast to see the other family for a bit.

It was also Mount Mercy homecoming weekend, so that afternoon I headed up to the Mount for an honors program reunion to meet up with some of my favorite professors. That night was Jenny's sister Becca's homecoming out in Benton too (yes, she is putting her arm around an imaginery you Jenny), so I ventured out to Atkins to take some photos with her in the beautiful dress and to strike fear into her date's eyes ... ok, maybe just make him laugh a bit. Saturday night was the ol' MMC SIFE reunion at CSPS where I got to chat with lots of old friends and remember back to the good days in SIFE. I am so thankful that I was a part of such a great organization with wonderful people. Sunday I wrapped up the trip with lots of family time, a sleepover at Steph's and ice cream with Jenny's fam (and a pic with Karley of course). A quick weekend indeed, yet full of fun times before it was back to Columbus.
I'm looking forward to spending some more time with Caden and Jenny in the next few weeks as fall settles in ... no big trips planned right now, but it could all change this weekend:)

Hope you all have a great day and a wonderful week ahead.