Last week was pretty fun on the volunteer front with our monthly Literacy Alliance exec meeting where we narrowed down our new list of officers to help build the bench for 2011. Wednesday was a day full of United Way when Jenny, Rick and I started off the morning down at the UW office to kick-start the planning for the 2nd Annual Live United Youth Camp. Looks like we're moving it to Thursday through Saturday with our main focus continuing to be on poverty/homelessness since it had such a huge impact on the students last year. Then over lunch I led the UW Volunteer Advisory Council meeting where we laid the foundation for some new marketing efforts including a monthly volunteer spotlight and another volunteer activity, Stuff the Bus. Should be a great year for that group, I'm looking forward to making progress with some great volunteers:) This week the we have our end of the year Literacy Alliance full board meeting all morning on Thursday where we vote in our new members and have a great time recapping the success we've had over the last year. A couple days before I am taking part in the annual Young Professionals luncheon as I'm being sworn in on the Exec Committee as the Secretary which should greatly help me work on my active listening and name remembering skillz!! This Thursday eve I get to speak with my mentor Bob Ottman at a CSU SIFE Presidential Dinner which I am pumped about, going with the trusty LIVE speech to educate students that they should Learn, Inspire, Volunteer and Enjoy life.
Had a pretty good time with school action this week up at Emory, even though I didn't have to go up for one of my classes! The highlight was this weekend during Leadership Academy when we went to an acting studio for our second installment entitled improvU, a full day of learning how the art of improv can improve your leadership style. It was pretty fun to get up on stage, do some skits and a bit of learning along the way. They reiterated one of the best concepts I have experienced in my professional life - create a "Yes, if" culture vs. a "No, because." They took the spin of saying, "Yes, and" vs. "No, and" because in every scenario, if you say Yes, and vs. the alternative, you create a very welcoming and innovative environment. People feel like you are engaged with them and care about their thoughts, even if they are wayyyyy out there. It was so much fun that I may try to figure out how to start an improv group at the Duck to help people overcome their fears of public speaking.
Speaking of overcoming your fears of public speaking at work, last week marked the first of many to come presentations I had one of my team members do. Public speaking is one of the most feared things to do in life, sometimes ahead of being bit by a snake, but everyone needs to have some comfort in doing it if they want to move on up the ladder. This week wasn't too crazy, which afforded me a good bit of time to have numerous 1v1 sessions with my team, my favorite part of the job:) This week we're kicking off a big usability study with a 3rd party vendor that will really shape the next year's worth of work, so fingers crossed it works well. More importantly though, we have our annual team chili cook-off. Sorry mom, your recipe doesn't go over well down here in the South where they want some spicy action (although I still love it:), so I'm mixin' it up this year to hopefully not come in last place!
Looking forward to the week ahead, but especially some kickball tournament action and the visit back home to Iowa to see old friends and family. Can't wait to see you all, and hopefully it'll warm up a bit so I don't freeze my southern hiney off:)
Welp, suppose I should leave a morsel for the week and it comes again from my buddy Robert Greenleaf - "Too much concern with how others did it may be inhibitive." Don't rest on the laurels or the way things have always been, venture out to create something new and give life a shot!