Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stage mom


There are moments, in hindsight, where you reconsider your actions.

This weekend I was asked by my sorority chapter that I advise to be a judge in their fund raising event, Karaoke for the Cure. All proceeds were to benefit the group Autism Speaks.

I had a lot of fun with the two other judges getting all Simon, Paula and Randy-like in critiquing the competition portion of the evening. There were some shining stars and some duds, but overall it was a fun-filled night.

After the competition portion of the night was over, it turned back to open karaoke. After watching everyone, meaning the college students who this event was for, have their turn on stage, I felt left out and wanted to give it a go.

I am no stranger to karaoke. My family has been having karaoke nights for several years. When the family gets together, its a ridiculum of hats, wigs, glasses, props and many, many drinks. We turn on our inner rockstar and give the most outlandish rendition of Aretha Franklin, Guns 'N Roses or Queen that we can muster. Embarrassment has no place with us.

So that night, completely sober among people who were toddlers when I frequented the Rider Pub as an undergrad, I grabbed the mic, took the stage and belted out Madonna's 'Express Yourself".

I didn't suck. And I hope I didn't embarrass the women of my chapter. But I had fun and there was dancing on the floor.

But looking back now, all I can think of is someone in the back probably asking one of the women "Gee, who brought your mom?"


Monday, February 15, 2010

Life update, part 1

I've been radio silent for a long time. But don't think that I've been lounging around in my pj's on the couch. At least, not all the time.

I have had quite the amazing few weeks; it's been hard to keep up with writing it down. Even my journal has been feeling neglected and I do feel a little bit bad about that.

For the most part I've been keeping up with the 365 Project. It has been easy since I always have my iPhone on me. The more difficult part is finding shots that I think are interesting or that I haven't taken before.

First on the job front.

I have been loving my job lately. I finally feel like I know what I'm talking about, that I'm taken seriously and that I can see actual positive results of the work that I'm doing. After putting in a few hours work, I can stop and having something to show for it. And I'm proud of it!

The first project that I finished last month was the writing and development of 6 online courses. They weren't life-changing or the most creative things in the world, but I built them on time, with little to no issues and the client was pleased. So much so that they asked me to stick around for another 6 weeks to work on developing a classroom workshop that will be delivered to 150 people in 5 breakout sessions.

Again, working with the client and my project manager has been wonderful and actually inspiring! Brainstorm sessions to determine what the goal of the classroom session will be turned into great collaborations; and I got to draw all over the whiteboard to help pull together all the ideas into something spectacular. It's moments like that where I feel great. Everyone on the team was pleased and excited about the work that we were now all required to do.

Already, all my preparations have been spot-on and I can write all my documents and practice for upcoming train-the-trainer sessions without panic because I'm ahead of schedule. I have such a sense of calm about this that it's almost frightening.


Also job related... I got a new job!

A few weeks ago I applied for a contract instructional design job. I had a phone interview with Cammie, the recruiter, that turned into a wonderful 45 minute conversation. I completely geeked-out talking about training and elearning and the challenges of clients 'not knowing what they don't know' and the additional job of trying to explain better training options rather than showing them 100 PowerPoint slides of fluff.

It was so exhilarating to speak with someone else who 'got it' about adult learning. It reminded me about all the little things I've done to bring me to this point and how it all ties together. Project Management, web development, graphic design, audio/video production,... even the skills I picked up while in a sorority is valuable -- but that's another posting.

She suggested that I speak with Stacie, the Director of Instructional Design for a full-time position with the company that she works for. That turned into an interview the next Friday where I traveled to King of Prussia, PA. It's over an hour away from my house, but the great part is that the job is mainly virtual.

The interview was more of a meet & greet. It was easy and interesting. I showed some of the projects that I worked on and spoke intelligently about my experience. It was just fun! I was asked to come back the following Friday for my 2nd interview which went equally well. Before I left I was given a verbal offer and just a few days ago I received my official offer letter. Granted, it's a bit of sticker shock to go from a consultant salary to a full-time salary, but I think the opportunities this job will provide will be invaluable and I am really excited to start this new gig in April.


Also career related is an opportunity I have developing a workshop for my local ASTD chapter. ASTD is the American Society for Training and Development of which I'm not a paying member, but I attend local meetings.

At the last meeting was a presentation about the useful of social media to develop your personal brand. I was excited about it because I'm all about social media! I blogged about the presentation which then led to a conversation with one of the local chapter officers about creating a hands-on workshop for members who want to know how to set up their own social media accounts.

W00t! Game on! I meet with the group this Saturday to discuss a plan for creating this hands-on workshop. I am so excited!

Phew, that's enough for now. There's still plenty of stuff going on, but I'll save that for another post.


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