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Archive for the ‘Communicating’ Category

would we have seen more news coverage? In and among sports updates, weather reports and other usual news on any given day, was 15 seconds (or so it seemed) enough for what appeared to be a pretty sophisticated bomb found in a backpack along a Martin Luther King parade route in Spokane Washington? I almost didn’t catch it and waited for further information, but none appeared during that particular news hour.

Searching the internet, I found several stories including this brief on Reuters.  I wondered at the seemingly lack of news coverage. Was it because it was in Spokane and not New York city? Was it the fact it was found along a parade route honoring Martin Luther King and not, dare I say, Ronald Reagan or the allegedly soon to be sainted Pope?

This morning I found I wasn’t alone in my questioning. The Maddox Blog had a post, “The mystery of the Spokane bomb.” I was glad to see it, but honestly, it made me angrier that my unease of “lack of coverage” seemed to be validated.  As one of the commenters to a news story said (and quoted in the Maddox blog post), ” I personally think that to be just a LITTLE more newsworthy than Sarah Palin trying to paint herself as the true victim of Tucson.”

Could you find an act more of hatred and racism than placing a bomb along a Martin Luther King parade route on a day honoring his work and philosophy? Could you not have paid this domestic act of terrorism the same attention as you did the football games? Oh wait, maybe if the bomb had gone off…

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I’ve had a couple of days now to reflect on what the 2009 ASAE Annual Meeting taught me. Learning is what it’s all about, no? Educational sessions, “Thought Leaders”, social media opportunities, vendor products and last but certainly not least, networking. Yes, each of these areas taught me one or more somethings, but not necessarily what I thought I would be learning.  So, in no particular order, here are some of the highlights for me of #asae09.

1. Realizing what a great divide there seems to be between associations who are unafraid to understand what it may take to move forward, what tools are needed now, what trends to watch– and those  who don’t appear to realize business is not “as usual” even if what they are doing is working today. “Today” is a short period of time if you think about it.

Social Media is a key indicator of this divide, as conversations with others showed me. Those who understand the potential and use it now;  those who know there’s an unknown element and risk involved, but who are willing to try; vs. those who are “leaving it to the younger crowd”- -for which I responded with the well publicized statistic that the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is women between the ages of 55-65.

2. Once again, learning much valuable information, whether from insightful people such as Gary Hamel, Li, Shirky, or Jeff De Cagna’s wonderful, thought provoking session looking toward the future (including his recent post about 2010), and other sessions of importance to me and what I needed to learn for my organization — to Fareed Zakaria’s closing session (once we finally got to him!). I agree with my fellow twitterer @bkmcae, who thought FZwas a brilliant writer but not the best of speakers. I bought his book and already can tell how much I will learn.

Were the sessions relevant to what associations needs are today/tomorrow? Only each attendee can answer that as we vary so. Don’t know if this is feasible for 2010 or beyond, but it would be great to indicate “for beginners” or “advanced”, etc, per each session description. Many of the social media sessions could have been tagged in that manner – so that those who needed the “how to” could get that info, while those looking for “ok you have it, now how do you maximize it, measure it, get ideas from it” could focus, exchange experiences, etc.

3. Really enjoyed the whole “twitter thing” (I am @christytj).  Not only learning from other’s tweets (found myself checking out #asae09 constantly for new info or insight), but discovering that there were so many folks who couldn’t attend the conference who were closely following our tweets and seemed to learn right along with us.  How useful this was too for staff who couldn’t attend, who passed along questions via tweets that were answered by some session speakers directly. How cool was that!

Maybe ASAE should get all 2010 session speakers into tweeting for increased communication before, during and after! Or Facebook, or podcasts, or whatever form of social media is hitting it’s peak next summer.

4. Also am seriously thinking about the questions that are being raised now via post #asae09 conversations. Do I think dues paying membership organizations are a thing of the past? Do I think social media is the only wave of the now & future? Do I think ASAE can change so much between now and 2010 (can any of us)? Will I find the answers in any of the books I bought during #asae09? In reviewing the sessions online? In the tweet exchanges? On Facebook or online articles? Probably not all of the answers, but certainly a lot of input that would never had occurred to me if I didn’t review any of these resources.

In case you missed it: content availability: ASAE’s the Hub has made it easy to find opinions, videos, Twitters, etc. I found I didn’t visit it as often as I should have as I was caught up in tweeting myself  but check it out if you haven’t. Also – just remembered, the book “Free” by Chris Anderson (of Wired mag) was mentioned over and over again – I’ll be getting that too.

And lastly as I sit and face piles of catch up work (yikes), I smile as I think of the numerous conversations I had (and am still having) with old/new friends from #asae09, whether in person, or via any form of Social Media. Can’t wait to continue these, I think of them as the “future is now” chats as I face forward to catch new ideas, new concepts, new things that worked for someone else and take advantage! Thanks.

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When I was in my twenty’s, I worked at a residential treatment center for juvenile delinquents. It was  one of the few programs at the time that housed both boys and girls, ages 12-18. Most just dealt with boys since “girls are just too much trouble.”  Having had counseling training and work experience with the Juvenile Court system during college,  I thought I knew what I would be facing. Wrong.

My years there taught me more about parenting than I ever would have realized. I went in thinking I would be helping a bunch of rebellious kids who had succumbed to peer pressure and gotten into trouble despite the best efforts of their parents. Naive? You bet!  The more parents I met, the more I realized that 95% of what later turned into delinquent behavior by the child, started with inappropriate, absentee or even abusive parenting. And it was not necessarily based on economic, cultural or other what was deemed “typical” demographics.

What started me on this train of thought today? I read Nicholas Kristof’s NYTimes Op-Ed column, “Girls on our Streets” of yesterday. I’m used to his descriptions of overseas prostitution, of trafficking in girls usually between the ages of 12-14, but this column discusses young girl prostitutes in the United States. Even social services call them “throw-aways”, young girls whose parents see “no good” in them or who can’t handle the behavior patterns developed as a result of the girl’s low-self esteem. Low-self esteem developed because of serious parenting issues. See a vicious cycle here?

My first instinct upon reading Kristof’s column was to jump, yet again, on the bandwagon for more resources, guidance, counseling, teaching, etc., etc., for those who are parents in trouble as well as for the child.  While I still believe in that, I decided instead I wanted to actually do a complete turn-about and celebrate parents who are great, who are taking wonderful care of their children, who are making a positive difference.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, when I learned of a delightful opportunity to create an easy online video award for the mother you want to honor as “Mother of the Year”, I couldn’t resist passing it along. From MomsRising’s Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner:

*See your name in lights on a prime time online newscast in this funny, inspirational and, yes, customizable video: http://news.cnnbcvideo.com/index2.html

You can also make this online video feature a friend, your mom, and anyone you know who could use a little lift for the hard work she does just being a mom every day.

TRY IT! It’s fun, and the mom who receives it will love it. And then maybe we can look at putting mom power behind those who could benefit from learning what it takes to be a loving parent. For their child.

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Swine flu media blitz influencing the youngest generation?? I don’t know if the author this particular story, Little Pig is Missing,  was subliminally impacted by the recent massive media coverage of the swine flu… but I do know this story made me smile widely. Written and illustrated by Quinn, an intrepid five year old, I was given this as a gift and recognize it for the treasure it is. Couldn’t resist sharing your story and some of your illustrations – thanks Quinn!

Little Pig is Missing    Written and Illustrated by Quinn

pig-is-missing

Little Pig and Daddy Pig

Little Pig and Daddy Pig are swimming in the jungle water .

 

 

 

 

tiger-and-rhino1

Tiger and Rhino

The Tiger and the rhino came and they were talking to Daddy Pig. The rhino stepped on Tiger’s tail and he ROARED!

 

 

 

 

Little Pig got scared and ran away.   And then he was lost forever….but the parrot brought him home.

Parrot in Little Pig is Missing by Quinn

Parrot saving Little Pig

 

And Little Pig and Daddy Pig swam at slug-o-rama in the sluggy water.

 

                  THE END

 

 

copyright 2009 Quinn C

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I pass the National Education Association (NEA) main office everyday going to work and today I happened to notice a big sign out front celebrating “National Teachers Day.” Of course it made me think of the numerous teachers in my life, both good and bad, and pay a mental tribute – again both good and bad.

I remember in third grade a certain Mrs. Kennedy (it was always Mrs. or Miss in those days, no Ms. to choose from). She was an African American women, strong in opinion but gentle in approach. There was no doubt that I liked her, but what made her memorable was the fact she was going to have a baby and actually talked about it. I think we all learned more about “sex ed” though her conversations on the subject than anything we received officially for years to come, whether in school or at home. It made us more aware of what was real vs. rumor as well,  helping down the road when the subject was of much more considerable interest.

Then there was Mr. Cook in the 9th grade, our Spanish teacher who refused to speak English to us from day one. I suppose he thought that was a good approach, “immersion” as it might be called now, but without any English explanation, I was lost from the beginning, and Spanish was my first language too – not from heritage but logistics as my dad was in the Army and we had been stationed in Columbia. An honor student, I actually flunked the class which was shocking to everyone but me, I felt relief the year of torture was over, until I discovered upon entering the 10th grade, that “Senior Cook” and I were paired once again.

There was Mr. Mason, a high school history teacher who made me realize the importance of learning from the past so as not to repeat the future. There were others who taught me lessons I only vaguely remember now but who’s impact I feel all of the time as they have become part of who I am. And there was that nameless substitute health teacher (coach of the football team), whose one-liner, “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are” has stuck with me always.

So here’s to you, the teachers of America, underpaid, overworked and unfortunately leaving the profession in droves as a result. You tend to be wonderful, compassionate people who really do care about our children. As we honor you today, may the halls of our leadership do something about recognizing your value to the future of this country and address your needs.

And if you are not a teacher but would like to show support, there is DonorsChoose.org, a wonderful organization that allows you to contribute in a meaningful way to the school of your choice. Of course, there is AAUW too, contribute so that a graduate study student can continue their higher education in today’s tough economy.

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I remember the first Mother’s Day after my mom had passed away, I felt a bit lost and saddened when I realized I didn’t need to go looking for the usual Mother’s Day card. I didn’t have to go get groceries for the meal she chose, or get the present I thought she wanted. There was no Internet at the time, no last minute Amazon to overnight something, no 1-800 number to order Flowers. Either you planned ahead and mailed early or made sure you were going to be with her – otherwise, it was the dog house for sure.

I remember it was the gift giving that was especially hard. My dad – Old Spice, every year rain or shine. My mom, oh no, nothing that simple. In fact she made it harder by saying she wanted something from you that wasn’t “material”, but rather a promise that you would or wouldn’t do “x” this year. The X Factor I called it long before the term became popular for other reasons, always seemed to have some little guilt to it, which made it seemingly unbearable even in its “goodness.” I did find a web site  article on the art of giving memories, which I wish I had known when mom was still here. She would have loved it and I would have breathed a sigh of relief as it mixes love and memory without guilt.

There are other mothers I would honor, some in person, some in memory. You didn’t have to be my actual mom to act like the wise elder I thought mothers should be.  Political mothers are present more than ever, I make sure to read “PunditMom” often for example.  In browsing, I found Australians are focusing on government child care initiatives as we are here in the States, urging folks to  support paid sick days to keep families healthy by making sure to tell their Congresspeople to pass pending legislation. Global sentiment is also growing as I found the opportunities to buy a gift for mother available in many languages – commercialism vs. sentiment I fear.

Sentimental, political, or obligatory, Mother’s Day is coming — are you ready?!

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I’m taking a break from headlines, horror stories, and other fears that are seemingly being blown out of proportion. I happened to receive an email this morning from a friend of mine, Anita Singh Soin. She and her husband have just posted a new website for their company, Ibex Expeditions,  highlighting the eco tours they provide in some of the most majestic places in the world.

Rated “amongst the best adventure travel companies on earth,”  by National Geographic Adventure, I just have to talk about them here. They are one of the most environmentally committed couples I’ve met (and working for a tourism association for fifteen years, I met many!). They truly care about this planet of ours and having heard how eco-conscious they are from people who went on their tours, I have to applaud their efforts.

Have I ever been on one of their tours you ask? No — time, distance and being out-of-shape my excuses. I have been to India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and other parts of that world though and know the beauty, not only of the scenary, but of the people (check out my Travel, Travel, Travel blog).  I consider myself very lucky and expect to go back someday, maybe even start working out to get into better shape to take one of those treks…

Meanwhile, I’m not going to let fear be my decision maker, either for where I travel, or whom I meet. I’m a firm believer in taking precautions and  being pro-active to learn what I need to do/watch out for, but not in just refusing to try something, go somewhere, or shake someones hand because of headlines in the news.

Speaking of headlines, I can’t resist, here’s one that’s worth a read! Wage Gap Study arrives in time for Equal Pay Day.

“A state-by-state analysis of male and female earnings provides fresh fodder for today’s Equal Pay Day. Among women with college degrees the widest wage gap was in Nevada. The widest wage gap overall was in Wyoming.”

After you check out your state and realize how much less money a woman makes than a man, go check out the IbexExpeditions web site, there’s nothing like dreaming of how you would have spent that money you would have earned.  Besides, ecotourism is still a great thing and something we all should focus on a bit more when we can. Enjoy.

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