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A Call for Domestic Peace

A Call for Domestic Peace – November 9th  

We are holding a half-day seminar with several non-profit organizations to focus on Domestic Violence, Workplace effects, talks about survival and more.

It is the first time our company has worked to build awareness in a personal way with speakers sharing stories, results, strategies and “words of wisdom”. Many of us learned the hard way, to survive when the odds were against us.  Two great groups will be will us at our event to present to our team members. We have volunteered with them, and they have reached out to help many of us, survive and return to health and happiness.

  • Family Violence Appellate Project  – FVAP is the only organization in California dedicated to appealing cases on behalf of survivors of domestic violence. We are a start-up nonprofit agency whose mission is to ensure the safety and well-being of survivors and their children by helping them obtain effective appellate representation.
  • La Casa de Las Madres  this local well-loved organization makes a difference in so many lives and families in the SF Bay Area. “End the Silence to STOP the Violence.”

La Casa de las Madres    Family Violence Appellate Project

Celebrating Diwali at Work

We are lucky to be in a company that encourages cultural expression, in this way we are able to learn from each other. The days of Diwali vary each year, for 2017, Diwali starts on Thursday October 19.  We started early, we gathered decorations, enlisted volunteers, and we made a budget for a catered lunch rather than a potluck so that everyone could come and relax.  Diwali is the Festival of Lights, and focuses on the triumph of good over evil. I am not an expert at all, but I can say that I had so much fun!  We planned many activities, with many traditional stories from co-workers and other stories from new friends. Everyone was lovely, colorful and happy. All this at work? Wow!

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All the food was fantastic, that we had for our celebration!  There are unlimited recipes online to learn more about ingredients and how to make your own.  Diwali Recipes.

There are many activities and customs it is exciting to participate – my favorite things were:

  • * Our lunch room (boring) was transformed with  COLOR and LIGHTS, flowers and hanging pictures.

* The food was so delicious, spicy, with so many flavors …  saag paneer is my favorite (spinach with cheese cubes). We had butter chicken, naan, spicy beef, lentils that were so yummy and many sweets.

*Rangoli (beautiful chalk drawings), we put ours on the table, but they can be on the floor

*Everyone dressed up in bright colors, some people came in traditional dress, we brought scarves to add to our work clothes to make them festive.


Celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights, which has several  rituals for each day:

  1. On the first day of the festival, observers clean their homes.
  2. On the second, people decorate their homes with colorful floor patterns called “rangoli.”
  3. The third day, which is the main day of the festival, is when the lamps are lit and prayers are offered to goddess Lakshmi and then a whole evening of feasts and festivities follows.
  4. Day four is a significant day that celebrates wives and husbands.
  5.  The final day celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters.

Celebrate Filipino American History Month!

Filipino American History Month was first initiated by the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) in 1988 to honor the historic landing of the first Filipinos in the United States over 425 years ago. Since then, its rich cultural traditions are celebrated every October commemorating the history and contributions of Filipino Americans nationwide.

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Origins and History

  • The earliest evidence of Filipinos to arrive in the United States dates back to October 18, 1587. A group of Filipino sailors were sent to California to claim the land for the Spanish king, and landed at what is now Morro Bay, California.
  • For centuries, Filipinos have contributed to the U.S. in agricultural and food service industries – from pioneering the technique of shrimp farming in Louisiana, to the farm workers who helped build California’s agricultural empire.
  • During World War II, between 250,000 to 400,000 Filipinos served in the United States military. In the late 1960s and 70s, Filipino medical professionals immigrated in large numbers to support the developing U.S. healthcare system.
  • In October 2009, the United States Congress officially recognized October as the Filipino American History Month in the United States.

Cultural Traditions

In Filipino American culture, family, food and hospitality all play an integral role in bringing family together. Filipinos take great pride in their hospitality to prepare grand feasts for their family members and friends, regardless of the occasion. Many partake in singing karaoke while enjoying traditional dishes such as adobo (marinated chicken or pork), pancit (noodles), lechón (roasted pig), and kare-kare (oxtail and vegetables cooked in peanut sauce).

Celebrating across America

Filipino American History Month is a time of reflection, remembrance, and an opportunity for all people in the United States to learn more about Filipino Americans and their contributions to the Nation. In San Francisco, we have many celebrations for Filipino Heritage there is a marvelous Pistahan Parade and Festival the first weekend of August for the last 24 years… it centers in Yerba Buena Garden (Downtown SF) and fun baseball events in September for both the Giants and A’s fans.

And there are more Celebrations:• Art displays, film screenings/plays, traditional dances, and cultural presentations hosted by Filipino societies and their local cities.

  • Plays paying tribute to the popular novel “America is in the Heart,” a semi-autobiographical work by Carlos Bulosan depicting his hardships as a Filipino immigrant living in the U.S.
  • Traditional dance performances such as Tinikling, Singkil, and the tribal dance, Bagobo rice cycle.
  • There are many Conferences and educational workshops where Filipino Americans join together to connect and learn more about their culture. Discover more at the San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center (814 Mission St SF).

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Make Your First Video!

Making your first video is so much fun… but….. you have to start!

Watch this short YouTube, from a company we use… TechSmith.

You can be the best trainer in the world, but:

  • people don’t want to read
  • people don’t have any time to learn
  • people want to have fun

This applies to my group. Not Kids. Adults who will not read our carefully crafted documentation.

Along comes TechSmith to save the day! A great company with many products… we use SNAGIT for screen capture. It does so much more. It makes videos, take a look at the series of YouTubes.

check out the TechSmith blog

Tips & How To’s

For Educators

My Favorite: How to turn PowerPoint slides into Videos Wahoo!

TED: The Pecking Order

Image result for chickensIn her TED talk, “Forget the Pecking Order at Work,” Margaret Heffernan talks about the research of William Muir, an evolutionary biologist at Purdue. He studied egg laying productivity using two teams of chickens. One team was comprised of “super chickens” (the MVP’s) and the other was a group of average chickens. Muir studied these chickens for six generations and found that the average group of chickens out produced the super chickens by a wide margin. In fact, only three super chickens were still alive. The MVP chickens, those that were considered individually productive, had only achieved success by overpowering the other chickens in their group.

You’ll want to listen to the whole TED talk, a “listen lesson” in team, collaboration, and strengths.

“Workcation” increases Productivity?

This concept made me curious!

A “Workcation” is about fully immersing yourself in your work while also building in ways to get creative, relax, set goals, get a new perspective, and/or  unwind.

Kari DePhillips, founder of the PR agency The Content Factory, planned a  workcation  with one of her employees, Kelly Chase, a digital strategist, that extended over a year, changing locations, scenery and seasons. The PODCAST  Workcationing chronicles their experience (free, fun, with several short chats. Listen to the audio podcast in iTunes). OR  you can follow on: www.facebook.com/workationing  Or Twitter: www.twitter.com/workationing

Link to article: “Vacation Season is Winding Down – take a Workcation.”

STEM, Dance, Education

  • Math is essential as a tool for everything.
  • Dance fills your soul and brings energy into your life.
  • Education helps you be something you never thought of…. but will love doing.

That’s what I think! With so many kids trying to avoid math and very little diversity in Technology jobs, I know that kids are  thinking that STEM isn’t relevant or attainable…

There is a digital divide that is getting deeper everyday. My whole life has been spent in Tech, I wouldn’t have it any other way. HOW can my experience every translate to a young person just starting out?

THIS PROGRAM integrates Math, Dance and Education… powerful…. relevant – TAKE A LOOK!

Change your BRAIN

ONE MONTH? Fast Company has all kinds of info and working better and smarter…. but this article is an essential, change your brain, fit in meditation, :

This Is How I Managed To Finally Squeeze Meditation Into My Busy, Distracted Life

4 weeks to FEEL the change of mindfulness.

8 weeks to SEE the changes of mindfulness.

“I think we’re so addicted to external stimulation that we’re not often comfortable turning inward,” Newman says. “That’s why when you start to turn inward and try quieting the mind, it can quickly lead to a general sense of anxiety or agitation, which is a disincentive to establishing the routine necessary for it to become a habit.”

Leadership – From a Team

Every once in awhile, I’ll be working on a project that seems “out of whack”. It seems difficult – i.e., not enough participation or edgy questions that silence the room. Hearing “crickets”  (=no response)  always makes me wonder if people care or are paying attention. Making decisions by myself while on a team goes against my collaborative nature and ensures a lousy result.

This article was initially about kids naming their T-Ball team, but if applies so well to life as a project manager:

  • The executive makes a recommendation, and someone proposes an alternative that seems both surprising and random/out of context … yet, that’s the decision the group enacts upon because no one wants to ruffle feathers.
  • The group on the receiving end of the choice is hesitant to provide input or criticism because they don’t want to hurt people’s feelings, so they go along to get along.
  • Others outside of the group taunt the decision-makers for the “perceived” less-than-best choice (and propose alternatives that they would have selected IF they had a seat at the table).

As leaders, one of the most important things we do is make decisions. While not every decision we make requires collaboration, here are a few things to keep in mind for the ones that do:

  • Invite multiple opinions to the dialogue – encourage the quieter voices, too, to share their perspective. If you’re not hearing enough ideas, ask people if they need more time to consider alternatives.
  • Encourage respectful debate before a decision is made, which will help get all the ideas out there before a choice is settled on.
  • Don’t be defensive of your idea – and encourage others to divorce themselves emotionally from their recommendation. Collaboration isn’t about who’s right or wrong – it’s about making the best call.

This excerpt is from LEAD STAR:  “We have a whole chapter in SPARK related to decision-making – and how to take action on ideas that matter to you most. Curious? Learn more by visiting www.sparkslead.us.”

This group provides leadership contracting and more – They are also the authors of a book: SPARK, Howe to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success.  I recommend the book and the newsletter.  ~ the editor

Lead Star • PO Box 328 Fairfax VA 22308 • 800-381-7780 • leadstar.us  Click here to subscribe to a great newsletter with leadership articles.

Small Business – Health Benefits Discussion

Image result for healthSmall businesses with 2-50 employees are a growth engine for the American economy, continuing to grow year over year. However, fewer of these employers are offering health insurance.

The percentage of firms offering health benefits dropped from 59 percent in 2012 to 53 percent in 2016.

At the same time, medical loss ratios have increased in light of the introduction of an 80 percent minimum threshold and the rising cost of care. Carriers face a dual threat of decreasing enrollment and rising medical costs, forcing them to re-evaluate the way they do business.

Health insurance when you work in a large corporation seems like a “right” but I can assure you and you may well know, that it is a rare and unpredictable thing as a contract worker, and the same for small businesses employees. When I contracted for 10 years, changing every 6 – 12 months to a new gig… health insurance was different every single time. It can be enough stress to cause illness. Ironic, yes? In order to assist job flexibility we have to resolve this issue, with portable health care or a care account that can move with us. It has to be affordable too, which is NOT the case in most insurance for one person. I would like our country to explore basic health care, but it seems to be an insurmountable task. Many of us won’t compromise, wanting it ALL (all the benefits, Rx and extras) but some employed people are getting none – nothing – nada.  — the editor

Impacting the medical cost trend requires participation of a wide variety of stakeholders, many of whom the carriers cannot directly impact. Therefore, carriers are more likely to try to reduce administrative spend categories, where there is more that they can directly influence. The broker channel, given the high cost of commissions, is a frequent target. In theory, if carriers adopt a direct-to-employer sales model, they can cut out the middleman, thus improving service and eliminating commissions.

Full Article from Accenture Consulting.