Have 100% Focus – No, Lifelong Learner – Yes

There are so many things that I love and am interested in. Each year I decide that I am going to focus on this or that and each year I fail. I have come to the conclusion that I am not going to succeed at focusing on one thing. I believe that the multi-faceted set of interests that I have make me who I am. It allows me to be able to sit in an IT conversation and mostly understand what the IT team is talking about, but most importantly it allows me to ask informed question. It allows me to talk and execute learning and development projects. It allows me to take pictures of pretty flowers that look pretty decent.  It allowed me the ability to be able to determine how the Learning Content Management System was actually supposed to work and move it into operations. It allows me to manage projects to completion, at least most of the time. 🙂 It allows me to document requirements,  create use cases (that was a new interest), and eventually create test scripts. It allowed me the skills to be able to be the President of an ATD (ASTD) chapter. It allowed me the ability to raise a daughter that is a productive member of society.

So do I have 100% focus, NO. Am I a Lifelong Learner, YES! I can’t see going a day without learning something. I learn something from family, friends, co-workers, books, the Internet, the radio, the TV, and more everyday.

Do you have a focus issue?


My 50 Year Resolutions

Well, I hit the big 50 yesterday. I don’t feel like it at all. In celebration of this milestone in my life, I am making a few resolutions.

  • I am going to exercise regularly so that I can lose 50 pounds. OK that isn’t realistic so I will at least aim for 30 pounds and try to get to 50. I  bought new tennis shoes so that I can exercise in style.
  • I am committed to eating a mostly vegan diet. In general, my diet is mostly vegan, but I do occasionally have the Snickers bar, cookies, and cakes that all contain some dairy or eggs. I will strive to eliminate the animal products from my diet. Sweets and sweet drinks are my weak areas.
  • I am also going to simplify my wardrobe. I have a ton of stuff I never wear in my closet. Away it goes over the next few weeks.
  • I am going to simplify in general. I don’t lead a very complicated life. It is just full of learning. Sometimes it is to much learning and I need to focus. This will be the hardest of all. I love to learn new stuff and that is what keeps life interesting. Focus Focus Focus…
I will let you know how this all works out. I don’t succeed if I do this on January 1st each year, so I am going to try a new approach. Wish me luck!

Thank You to My Metro DC ASTD Chapter Friends

As it is time for me to transition off of the Metro DC ASTD Chapter’s Board of Directors (I was the 2012 President Past), I would like to thank a lot of people. Warning – The list is long! I tried to keep the thank you’s short but please know that I am so grateful for and to all of you.

Each person that is mentioned below was placed on this DCASTD-ASTD Twitter List if I could find their Twitter name, if there was not Twitter name, than I used the LinkedIn address if available to point to each person. I wanted to point any reader of this post to the special people I know and their businesses, books, blogs, and websites. As I kept finding more and linking to the items, I started to think WOW, I know some pretty smart, awesome, and influential people! I am so grateful to know all of you and to have benefited from your knowledge and wisdom during my time on the Metro DC ASTD Chapter’s Board of Directors from November 2007 – December 2012.

Thank You!

Dr. Greg Williams (+Greg Williams, Program Director of the UMBC ISD Program)  – Dr. Williams thank you so much for providing information on the UMBC ISD Program to me at the MICCA conference in ~2004. I was looking at JHU (where I have my BS) and then came to your booth. From there I applied and completed your program. During the time that I was there your program opened my eyes to a much bigger world than I was seeing as a school teacher. I learned a lot in the program and use the things I learned in the ISD program almost daily. But also thank you for the support of the Metro DC ASTD Chapter over the years. I may not have even known about the chapter had it not been for your sponsorship of the 2007 DCASTD conference. Thank you also for serving on the CLO Panel during 2011.

Sharese Essien (Program Coordinator of the UMBC ISD Program) – Sharese, thank you for sending that email stating that if you are one of the 1st 10 people to respond, you will win admission to the 2007 Metro  Metro DC ASTD Chapter Conference. Winning provided my first exposure to the chapter. Additionally, thank you for all of the other things you helped me with while I was in the UMBC ISD Program.

 Alexa Krezel (+Alexa Krezel)  – Thank you for all of your advice and encouragement over the years. You were an example of a very dedicated volunteer and you showed me the dedication that would be required to be President of the Chapter. Thank you for contributing to my UMBC final project by answering my interview questions at the  2007 Metro DC ASTD Chapter Conference.

Halelly Azulay (+Halelly Azulay, Owner of TalentGrow)  – Thank you for encouraging me over the years and that first interview with you and Kathy. Thank you also for being an example of an excellent communicator. Thank you for placing my case study on page 152 of Employee Development on a Shoestring of which you are the author.

Kathy Reiffenstein (President of And…Now Presenting!) – Thank you for encouraging me over the years and for even helping me to understand that being president was a possibility. Most importantly thank you for being my mentor over the years. 🙂

Sardek Love (President of Infinity Consulting and Training Solutions) – Thank you so much for that first meeting at ALC 2007. Thank you for the many calls and meetings over the years. I learn so much each time I talk to you. But more importantly thank you for being an example of professionalism, building a personal brand, and knowing that you need a mentoring team behind you.

Foster Rockwell (Current President of the Metro DC ASTD Chapter) – Foster, thank you so much for your support from the time we were at ESI together, to the time I was president, and even up to now as I am retiring off the board. Your guidance has been invaluable in multiple situations and I really appreciate it.

Deadra Welcome (+deadra welcome, Author of the Concerning Learning Blog) – Deadra, thank you for all of your support from when I met you at ALC to when you became Director of Professional Development during my term as president, to when we became Mentoring Partners, all the way up to now as we talk about instructional design, business, restaurants and any number of things. I have learned at lot from you as you are an excellent example of a Performance Consultant, Instructional Designer, and leader.

Tiffany Prince – Thank you for your support during the year that I was president and thank you for all of our after EC meeting conversations.

Darlene Brady Christopher (+Darlene Christopher, Author of the ASTD Inforline Facilitating in the Global Virtual Classroom) – Thank you Darlene for your support and being the talented Virtual (Synchronous) Programs person that you are. Thank you for the excellent webinars during the time you were the Director of Virtual Programs.

Sylvia Benati – Sylvia, thank you so much for greeting me at the door of the Metro DC ASTD Dinner Program in 2007 and welcoming me to the chapter. That was one among many things that I have to be thankful to you for over the years which include advice on being president of the chapter and also for the implementation of the Mentoring Partnerships program during my term as president.

Annabelle Reitman (Author of The Workplace Creative Responses Blog and the book Career Moves) – Annabelle, thank you so much for all of your encouragement since I have met you. Thank you for your encouragement during the time I was president and also thank you for implementing the Mentoring Partnerships program during my term as president. Additionally, thank you for these words in your book Career Moves, chapter 8-

“You can integrate volunteering into your plans for achieving professional goals. By volunteering for leadership in professional organizations you not only reap those standard benefits but also expand your WLP career and continue your professional growth…Identify your goals and needs before you volunteer.”

 I think I can say that I have fully taken this advice.

David Heckman – Thank you for being a great example of a VP of Finance does. Even though I wasn’t ever even thinking about becoming the VP of Finance for the chapter, when I finally did, you were the example.

Mirella Addante (Owner of Just Fur Pets) – Thank you for teaching me how to carry out the VP of Finance roll. After our conversation, I felt very confident that I could competently serve in this role.

Lisa Cohen – Thank you for sticking with me as VP of Finance in 2011. I know it was a lot of work and please know that I appreciate everything that you did for us keeping us organized and in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.

Diane Elkins (Owner of Artisan E-Learning) – Diane, thank you so much for your leadership and skills in our website transition from SquareSpace to Wild Apricot. That was a huge transition and with your leadership, it became a reality in 2011. Thank you also for your support of the Free Agent SIG.

Andrea Evans – Andrea, thank you so much for being a model of poise and grace as the Membership Outreach Director for the chapter and thank you for such great Networking Events.

Robin Altice (Owner of Robin Altice Photography) – Robin, thank you so much for your great ideas about the Chapter’s communications and your support. With your vision the eFlash became the Beltway Bulletin and other communications improvements occurred. Keep taking those beautiful photos.

Lorraine Barclay Nordliner (Owner of Nordlinger Consulting Group) – Lorraine, thank you for your support as the Director of Sponsorships during my term as president.

Paul Signorelli (Paul Signorelli & Associates)- Thank you for teaching me about non-profits and the importance of treating a non-profit like a business during your ALC sessions.

Mallard Owen – Thank you for your support before I was president until after.

Karen Mack (Onwer of Karen Mack Management Consultants, LLC) – Thank you for being a consistent and vocal supporter. Every time that I saw you, you expressed strong words of encouragement. I really really appreciated that each time that I saw you.

Cheryl Berthau (Past President, Maryland ASTD Chapter) – Thank you for that talk of encouragement over dinner before I decided to run for president. It helped give me the confidence to know that this was not an impossible feat.

Kia Poe (Past President, San Diego Chapter) – Thank you for the great conversations about the things I could do with the chapter. The things that you did with the San Diego chapter sounded awesome.

Veronica Adams – Thank you for your support and creating the Diversity SIG.

Diane Smith – Thank you for all of the great dinner programs you put on as Director of Programs.

Trish Uhl (+Trish Uhl, Owner Owl’s Ledge, Past President, ASTD Chicagoland, Author of 10 Steps to Successful Teams) – Thank you for the eternal encouragement and being such a great person to all of the ASTD people out there.

Gina Urgena – Thank you so much for your support of the chapter over all of these years.

Tony Bingham (ASTD, The New Social Learning) – Thank you for the meeting at ASTD headquarters before my term started. It was invaluable.  It meant so much to me to have a conversation with you about the things that I wanted to do for the chapter. Thank you for the time you invested in me.

Geoff Woliner – Thank you for arranging the day of meetings at ASTD before my term started. It was invaluable. And thank you for your support of the chapter as our Chapter Coach during my term.

Cami Best-Jones – Thank you for talking with me during the time I came to visit. But also thank you for all of the great conferences that you manage and that the chapter is a part of.

Jennifer Homer (ASTD Career Development CoP) – Thank you for the time you spent with me when I came to visit ASTD. I really appreciated the time that you took with me to talk about the various ASTD communications vehicles.

Carol Goldsmith (The Discovery Coach) – Carol, thank you for the time that you gave doing the resume review and coaching after one of the 2007 dinner programs with Janet. It was great and so many people felt they got so much out of the time with you. Thank you for your encouragement during my term as president. And thank you for taking me through a coaching session. Your skills as you asked me probing questions were top notch and I know that I was experiencing something special from a special person.

Janet Spadola (The JAS Group) – Janet, thank you for the time that you gave doing the resume review and coaching after one of the 2007 dinner programs with Janet. It was great and so many people felt they got so much out of the time with you.

Phillip Power – Phillip, thank you so much for all of your support over the years.

Neal Henderson – Neal, thank you so much for your support over the years. Thank you for leading the Leadership SIG.

Philip Martin  – Thank you for all of your encouragement from before I was president and up to now. I really appreciate it.

Last but not least, thank you to my boss, Patrice Collins. During my terms as President-Elect, President, and President-Past as she encouraged me and supported my work with the chapter and has also provided much needed advice. Patrice, thank you so much for your support.

I hope I haven’t left anyone off, but please know that if I did it wasn’t from lack of trying to remember.

I have benefited greatly from everyone above and would like to say a since heartfelt Thank you for your contribution to my professional development and growth.

For more information on the Metro DC ASTD Chapter, please navigate to their website.
For more information on ASTD, please navigate to their website.

Vegan Fail 2012 #vegan

It is almost time for our 2013 resolutions and it is time again for me to confess how I have failed again at my quest to eat a 100% vegan diet.

I of all people should know better. My husband is a personal trainer and a true vegan and I have read enough articles and books to know the benefits of a vegan diet. Below, I am going to outline where I fail in an attempt to do better next year. The sub-bullets are what I propose to do to help myself next year to resist temptation.

Food Purchased for Me Situations

  • Metro DC ASTD Dinner Programs

    • Issue – There are times where I don’t want to just eat a salad and the choices are usually a meat and a pasta. The pasta tends to have dairy on it or in it.
    • Solutions – Give in and eat the salad and vegetables. Order a dinner from the restaurant in the hotel.
  • Metro DC ASTD Board Meetings

    • Issue – When I go to LaMadeleine for the EC meetings I sometimes can’t resist stuff with eggs in it.
    • Solution – Resist. This will be easy since this is my last year on the board.
  • Lunches at Work brought in for All Day Meetings

    • Issue – The choices (COSI, Booeymonger) are usually a sandwich with melted cheese that is impossible to remove from the bread or a salad that has cheese mixed in. On top of that I shouldn’t even be eating the bread because the yeast causes issue for me.
    • Solutions –  Be sure to get to the person ordering the lunch to ask for the cheese to be on the side. I miss Jennifer, she always did this for me. Or buy my own lunch. This really would be bring my own lunch because we usually have working lunches.
  • Visits to relatives houses

    • Issue – Sometimes it is just hard to resist macaroni and cheese and other items that taste really good.
    • Solution – Resist but never insult anyone. Although I have a goal, I am never going to insult a host by not eating their food. It is easy to explain that I don’t eat meat but to explain the no eggs, no dairy, no honey is another thing when talking to an older person. I will never insult an older host if they are persistent.
  • Accidents

    • Issue – If you put your Starbucks order on the piece of paper with 10 other people, you may accidentally get a Chai Tea Latte with Milk instead of Soy Milk. I could tell upon the first sip. Yuk.
    • Solution – Either resist or take the chance.

Sugar Addiction

  • Sometimes when I am out, I totally forget and will buy a dessert from one of the many delicious bakeries around where I live and usually these are not vegan bakeries.

    • Issue – The chocolate ganache cupcake from Georgetown Cupcakes is pretty delicious. If there is no line, I will forget my Vegan Quest and buy one. The desserts at Leslie’s Cakes are great and I like frequenting this non-chain bakery. She has beautiful cakes.
    • Solution – Resist and see if there is any dessert at Leslie’s Cakes that might be vegan.

Pure Choice

  • When I go out to dinner with my friend Deadra, I always seem to get something with cheese in it. And I know the consequences that will occur, as I tell her, I will become gurgly. The other day we went to Founding Farmers and I just gave up and had the fish and chips.

    • Issue – We have gone to so many different restaurants that I want to try what is on the menu.
    • Solution – Listen to Deadra. She tries to warn me. 🙂

The good news is that if I am at home and cooking I don’t get into these situations.

Percentage of Vegan Meals

By my calculation I may have eaten non-vegan food 78 times this year.

If you do this calculation 365 days x 3 meals = 1095

1095 meals – 78 non-vegan meals or snacks = 1017

1017 vegan meals / 1095 total meals = 92.8%

Hmmm, as I look at this 92.8% isn’t that bad. But I am going to try even harder. In my next post I am going to explain why and provide some resources that point to why a vegan diet is a better way to go than the standard American diet (SAD).

Aveda Bethesda Salon and Spa

On Saturday, I had the second day of what has been a great Christmas gift from my husband. A trip to the Aveda Bethesda Salon and Spa.

During the week after Christmas it started with a visit to Michel Cohen. Michel fixed up my eyebrows. I asked her for the perfect eyebrow that I had seen on an Oprah show many years ago. She mentioned that the guest on the show was probably Anastasia, she was correct. The perfect eyebrow does not look like a frog eyebrow of which someone did that to me once before. She did her magic all the while with a very pleasant personally and ripping the tiny little hairs out of my face at the same time. In the end I didn’t even remember the slight pain. They looked great and coincidentally there was no redness. I have seen that happen to my daughter.
On Saturday, I had part two of the visit.

It started off at 1:30 for my 1:45 appointment. I was already impressed because I have been to hair salons where nothing is ever on time. Ms. Roa got me in her chair and started to fix up my hands. She rubbed all kind of stuff on them, trimmed, buffed, placed them in parrafin wax and when she finished I had ten beautiful red nails. Ms. Roa is a very sweet lady. Through the time I was there customers were coming back to say hello, hug her, tell her they loved her and such. As I saw this, I knew I had found my manicurist for life.

After the manicure, Ms. Roa had me sit in another chair that was up off the ground. She first scrubbed my feet with a substance that looked like sugar and oil. She filed and clipped my toenails and then put them in a warm bubbly bath. She then proceeded to scrub the year of neglect off my heels. Suffice it to say that even if there was a little pain (what would you expect with foot neglect?) it was all worth it in the end. The result beautiful heels and nice red toenails. In the picture you are supposed to see the smooth heel not the red toes. Really, I should have taken a before picture. 🙂

So then came the hair. Martha came to get me so that she could wash my hair. Martha’s hands are stronger than a vice grip (I was having a hard time thinking of an example). The shampoo felt so good. After this under the dryer I went with conditioner in my hair. At every moment I was offered a drink of water or some tea. Martha finally washed the shampoo out and off I went to Dina.

When I made my appointment I told them that I was African American and had natural shoulder length hair. Dina, I was told, was the one to see. Well that was so true. Dina proceeded to blow dry my hair and then actually told me how much she would cut off, this was a miracle in itself because I know many of you have had the I only want you to trim it and end up with the three inch hair cut experice before. Dina proceeded to educate me about why my flatiron process is going wrong, I am not drying my hair all of the way at the roots. She explained that the blow drying is the most important part of the process. My experience with Dina was an education and very pleasant through the rest of the conversation we had. As I saw the results, I knew I had found my hair stylist for life.

There is one more person, Asa the manager. Asa helped book all of my appointments. She did it professionally and knew what needed to be done to have these three services in one day.
I still can’t believe how good my feet look. Now, I won’t be going back evey two weeks, I can’t maintain that, but I think I can manage four times a year considering this cost the same as a low end car payment. Many of my friends have their nails done frequently, so maybe I will get my nails done once a month.

When I walked out at 5:45, needless to say, I was happy. Overall, my experience was an A+ experience.


So this year we have gone through a change. My husband and I moved from our house of 13 years into an apartment. The move was designed to reduce my commute to work. In our previous home I had a 12 mile drive to the subway station. In normal circumstances this should take about 12-15 minutes. Faithfully each day, especially in the evening, it would take about 30 minutes or more. There were traffic jams everyday. I could never leave home after 6:30 am to get to work.

Well, after much thought and questioning (are we doing the right thing?), we finally decided to take the plunge. On October 7, 2011 we moved to a one bedroom apartment in an urban suburban location. We are loving it!

All was not perfect because we figured that we would just get an air mattress for our daughter when her college breaks arrived. Well, she had to come home for two weeks prematurely because of a medical emergency. We were slightly crowded a little sooner than we thought but we survived. We are considering a move to a two bedroom before the summer break.

We moved to a neighborhood called Bethesda. Bethesda has over 100 restaurants, stores, many day spas, and a subway stop that is two blocks from our apartment.

Bethesda is a very walkable neighborhood. Our previous neighborhood is beautiful to walk around because they basically tried to design the neighborhood with nature in mind. I could not get up the desire to walk around the neighborhood though. Here I am much more inclined to walk. More importantly, I get home in time to be able to walk!

I can leave for work anytime between 7-8am and get to work at a decent time, I love it!

Are there flaws, sure, to many people own dogs in the building and though the dogs are great the owners have issues. 🙂 Do we have enough space? Another bathroom and one more room would be nice, but it doesn’t matter. I love it!

If you ever visit Bethesda, check out http://www.bethesda.org. It shows many of the stores, restaurants, and services that are available here. I especially like the farmer’s markets that are on Saturdays in the summer and Sundays all year.