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Archive for "Leadership"

Ginger’s Retirement Party

Posted on June 23, 2018 by under Events, Leadership, Life.    

The longest boss I’ve ever had retired a few weeks ago. She was my boss for thirteen years — starting on August 2004 when she hired me as a Contact Center Supervisor to June 2017 when I got transferred to Michelle’s team. But she was more than just a boss to me. She was like a second mom. For years she and Terry (another wonderful leader who I’ve had the privilege of working for; he retired a couple of years ago) looked after “the kids” — that’s what they called us. When Terry retired, I knew this day would eventually come but I had always been kinda sorta in denial.

I’m not really in our Wichita office as much because I’ve been reporting to Kansas City the last few months. Mostly I am there on Fridays (and late on Thursdays when I have to return the company car that I’ve borrowed for the week). Even so, it still feels weird to me not having Ginger around. At least before she retired I knew I could pop in once in a while and see her. Her old office is now Isaac’s and, whenever I walk by, it’s just not the same.

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Here are a few pictures that we took from her retirement party at the Pumphouse a couple of weeks ago.

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What you don’t see in these photos is that my black dress turned white from getting cocktail sauce spilled allover it and then being cleaned up. It was pretty bad. I was lucky that it was dark in the restaurant because it didn’t look as bad. However, as soon as Brian and I walked out into the daylight, you could see the entire mess all over me. The only thing worse was the smell. LOL.

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It was a great turnout.

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Carmen did a great job on Ginger’s picture board.

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For our part, Brian and I didn’t get too fancy. We just put together a “retirement care package” consisting of a “No Work All Play” pilsner and Ginger’s favorite beverages (Tito’s Vodka and Coronas).

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Here are some progress pics of putting the present together.

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Brian printed nice labels for us to spruce up the crate.

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The part that required the most effort were all the origami flowers which took me several hours to do. I tried to get Brian to help me but he has such a short attention span that he gave up after making only one. LOL.

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I had to make the rest of the origami flowers by myself. It’s totally worth it, though. I wanted to put our special touch on the present. Or, I guess, my special touch.

Anyway, I’m super sad about Ginger’s retirement but at the same time I’m really happy for her. She no longer has to be bogged down with work and finally has the time to pursue all the things that are meaningful to her.

I hope someday when it’s our turn leave the working world, we have the opportunity to retire at a reasonable age to still enjoy life (#Goals).

I guess that’s all for now. GNG.

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Kansas YP Summit

Posted on May 2, 2016 by under Events, Leadership.    

Every time I feel like I’m almost caught up with the blog, stuff happens and I’m behind again. So, we’re almost caught up but we were busy this weekend so there’s still a lot of stuff to catch you guys up on.

Here are some pictures from the Kansas YP Summit last week.

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I’m so glad work approved me to attend because they had some fantastic speakers lined up: Stephanie Sharp, Armando Minjares, Heather Morgan, my friend Aaron Wirtz, Richard Rierson, Christina Long, Ted Kriwiel, Mark McCormick, and keynote speaker Jon Acuff, author of Do Over, Start, and Quitter. Some friends of mine had breakout sessions in the afternoon as well.

I wanted to go to the pre-summit social at the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park but I didn’t end up leaving Topeka until 6 PM. The mingle was only scheduled to run until 8 PM so I was too late. At least I got to go to the actual summit.

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Retired educator, Jan Davis, did an ice breaker activity in her opening remarks.

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She asked us to form groups for three. This was my first group. That’s Kat on the left and Amy in the middle. Amy is with the Kansas Leadership Center and actually had a breakout session in the afternoon on storytelling.

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This is my second group.

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My friend Ebony did a wonderful job as the event emcee.

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I also got selfies with a couple of the speakers — Stephanie, pictured above, and Aaron, pictured below. You might recognize Aaron from his TV commercials. He’s brilliant.

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I remember meeting him when he first started working for the car dealership. Four years later, he’s an icon. I’m not surprised because he is a marketing genius. And, he’s super talented to boot.

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I also some selfies with my coworkers.

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Here’s a photo of Amy at her breakout session.

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I paired up with Chelsea from our Topeka office for the activity. This is a picture of her “leaning” into her story.

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Here’s a picture of our keynote speaker, Jon Acuff, who was both insightful and funny.

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Here’s a selfie with my friend Ryan and his daughter, who was a wonderful breakout session assistant. I walked into the session a little bit late and she walked over and gave me a handout. She was on top of it.

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Here’s a selfie of me with my activity partner.

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Christina, below, has inspired me to design my own decade.

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Ted, has inspired me to be more selfless.

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And then we had closing remarks by Mark McCormick.

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It was a truly amazing day and I feel very grateful that I had the opportunity to attend.

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Leadership Wichita 2014

Posted on August 21, 2015 by under Community, Leadership, Things to Do.    

Last year I completed Leadership Wichita. I had some amazing experiences, made some new friends, and got a really cool plaque for my office. Besides that, I wrote a letter to my future self that’s significantly shaping my choices this year (and years to come).

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First let me tell you about Leadership Wichita. Leadership Wichita is a leadership training program through the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce that is unlike any other leadership training program I’ve ever experienced. There were eight sessions in total and I got to participate in some amazing, enlightening, life-changing activities that I would never have experienced otherwise. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because I didn’t want my classmates to think I was weird but I did take a few that I’d like to share with you.

I got to spend half a day at Wichita West High School and learned that, despite all of its challenges, USD 259 is actually a great school district. They’re this really cool thing at West High where you declare your academic focus (whether it be Business and Culinary Arts, Engineering and Manufacturing, Fine Arts and Communication, or Health Sciences and Human Services) and you get to take classes toward that focus during your high school years. It’s a really great opportunity to learn whether you really have the passion or aptitude for something. For instance, had I known sooner that Engineering wasn’t for me, then I wouldn’t have wasted four years in college pursuing it. The students in the Business and Culinary Arts academy learn skills that they can use to become entrepreneurs right out of high school, if they so choose. It’s really cool.

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But it was the kids that I got to spend time with that really impressed me most. Since there were 30 of us in our Leadership Wichita class, we were divided into four groups. Some of us got to spend time with each of the academies. Our lunch that day was prepared by the Business and Culinary Arts students assisted by some of our Leadership Wichita classmates. They prepared their award-winning school lunch that they were invited to Washington, DC to present at a national competition. The lunch had to meet budget (so that schools could afford to feed it to thousands of kids), nutritional requirements, and also be delicious. They served us buffalo chicken mac and cheese, some kind of red cabbage and corn salad, and a peach crisp topped with granola for dessert. It was a surprisingly delicious meal for about a dollar a person.

I wasn’t part of that group but I was lucky enough to spend time with the Engineering kids who were some of the smartest students I’d ever met. They were taking Engineering classes in high school that I didn’t take until college. They were learning CAD and printing things with their 3D printer. As a parting gift, they gave me one of these puzzles that they designed and made in their classroom. I got to design and make one of the pieces on the computer. It was awesome.

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We also got to spend time at the Wichita/Sedgwick County joint training facility at Lake Afton doing shoot/don’t shoot simulations. The exercise was really nerve-wracking and gave me a greater appreciation for the stress that our law enforcement officers go through. They really don’t get enough credit for the work they do.

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Another session was spent doing mock interview, receiving feedback, learning about working with the media, and we got to watch a live newscast at the KWCH station at the end of that session.

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This is a picture of Ryan Bond, one of my Leadership Wichita classmates. We voted him into to the Leadership Wichita Board of Trustees.

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This is a picture of me with one of my social media idols, Lou Heldman from Wichita State University. We’d met years ago through Twitter but since neither of us haven’t really gone to any tweetups recently our paths hadn’t crossed much. He was one of our presenters for our Leadership Wichita session about media. It was nice to run into him and listen to him speak on a topic that he’s very passionate about.

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This is me with another one of my classmates who I really connected with, Stacy Gear. She is such an amazing person and super funny, too.

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This is me with Michelle Stroot, another classmate who is quiet but also amazing. We were the two shortest people of the group.

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Mom and dad both got to attend my Leadership Wichita graduation banquet.

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My friend Faith came. My boss Ginger was there. Isaac and his wife, and Don and his wife were at the graduation banquet also.

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It was such an amazing experience. All of the sessions were great (well, except for when they fed us jail food – LOL – JK – even that was really good too). During one of the sessions we got to write letters to our future selves, which brings me to the title of this blog entry. I had challenged myself to become more become more involved in the community. I have lived in Wichita for over 20 years now. It’s time that I invested in our community because this is my home. I’d always wanted to be more involved but I just kept putting it off and putting off. Well, after reading my letter to myself, I decided that procrastination time was over.

I made a couple of significant decisions this year. I joined the Andover Rotary Club. I had planned on telling you all about it in this blog post but now that I’ve made it so lengthy I decided I probably best save it for later. I also joined the Kansas DUI Impact Center board of directors. I’m also helping to connect others in my organization who want to get more involved in the community with nonprofits that they’re passionate about so, while I can’t be on ten nonprofit boards, at least I have people I know and trust who will be helping these other nonprofit organizations serve the community.

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I owe my 2015 self in part to my Leadership Wichita experience. I cannot say enough about this program. It was really life-changing for me. Among all the things I learned, I learned that I can do so much more for the community than what I’m already doing. The experience ignited something that was already in me. It just needed a catalyst, which is what Leadership Wichita did for me.

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When Life Hands You Lemons

Posted on September 21, 2014 by under Leadership, Videos.    

When life hands you lemons, do you make lemonade? Or do you whine and skulk and moan and groan and complain? It’s not about what happens to you. It’s about what you do with what happens to you. No matter what life throws at us, we need to learn to always make the best of the situation.

I had the privilege of seeing Chris Waddell speak at a leadership conference last week. He is an amazing person and his story is truly inspirational.

To me Chris Waddell embodies this John Wooden saying, “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

Next time something bad happens or things don’t work out according to plan, resist the urge to whine and complain. Don’t be that annoying, always negative person on Facebook who is always grousing about something. Focus on all the good things and make the best of it. Once you start focusing on the positive, your life will change. I guarantee it.

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Throwback Thursday

Posted on August 28, 2014 by under Leadership.    

I graduated from Leadership Westar exactly five years ago today!

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