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Banter, Jokes & Hurt Feelings

Yes, we all want to be included in the fun, but it can get “out of hand” at work. The US vs THEM can get intimidating. As a woman in technology, I still remember the football jokes and less than gentle teasing, I have worked in teams that are at least 3/4 men my whole career. I don’t understand most football rules, and would rather enjoy baseball. At this time of year, the early morning meetings with 10 minutes on football scores were boring, but every once in awhile I’d try to say something…. usually not well received. OK, it’s meant to be fun, but sometimes the banter feels bad. (and then nobody feels good)

An excerpt from the Lead Star group, is really a good list of “best practices” when talking about the Super Bowl, coming up:

Trash talk is alive and well in our culture. It’s certainly alive and well this week as we approach the Super Bowl. You might be participating in office pools, and there might be some friendly fan vs fan banter. If we are honest, there might be some unfriendly banter, too, which is why I’m writing this Leadership Moment. I’ve got some good guidelines around what’s funny, and what’s not, when it comes to workplace humor:

  • First, it’s not funny if you’re the only one laughing. A good joke involves everyone.
  • Don’t use humor to put someone down; use it to bring them up!
  • Don’t try too hard. If you have to force it, it’s probably not that funny anyway.
  • ALWAYS think before you speak. If it involves race, gender, orientation, ethnicity, it’s a “no go”. Don’t ever do it.
  • Make fun of things or events, not people.
  • If you want to start a joke by saying, “I probably shouldn’t say this, but…” then you probably shouldn’t say it. Doubt means “don’t.”

Remember: it’s just sports. I get it. Some people take their teams quite seriously. Think about the relationship and what you value more — a quick laugh or a friendship. If you feel moved to say “C’mon, I was just kidding!” or “Can’t you take a joke?” after you launch a joke, chances are you crossed a line. This is a time when you should apologize swiftly and take responsibility.

  • excerpt from Patrick Nelson, Lead Star newsletter

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Lead Star • PO Box 328 Fairfax VA 22308 • 800-381-7780 • leadstar.us Would you like to get your own copy of the newsletter? Click here to subscribe!

Pay with Zelle

We use Zelle at work to pay for dinner’s out, event lunches, buy tickets to sports events that we will go to as a group. We can get a group discount this way and there is no waiting at the venue.  It’s also really easy to get payments for a Lunar New Year’s lunch, we are using it this week! It’s easy to move money, track payments and everyone can pay now, rather than forget later!

Zelle’s 2018 Transactions Jump 75%, While It Moved $119 Billion in P2P Payments
Zelle, the peer-to-peer payments service, had a banner 2018 with $119 billion in payments on 433 million transactions processed via its network of banks…

Best Ideas of two companies?

Jeff Bezos and Jamie Dimon: Best of Frenemies

“The fortunes of the two companies have become more entwined over the years. They are closely connected through a credit-card deal struck when the retailer was still mostly selling books and CDs on the internet. JPMorgan is in talks to partner with Amazon on a number of financial ventures, and the bank lends to the tech company. With Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the companies are working on a first-of-its kind venture to lower health-care costs for their hundreds of thousands of employees. Increasingly, JPMorgan has begun to emulate some of Amazon’s signature management practices.” –  excerpt from Wall Street Journal (paywall)

and here is another collaboration> which results in entertainment while waiting (yawn)

Phillips 66 Links With Honda in a Push for Dashboard Commerce
Phillips 66 Co., which has long been a leading player among petroleum companies in digital payments, has taken a step into in-car commerce in a tie-up with Honda Motor Co. Inc. that will allow customers to find the nearest station, claim a pump, and pay for gas from the infotainment system in their cars…

What Consumers Want? It Pays to Know

Most shoppers won’t buy from e-retailers that don’t offer free returns

“North American online shoppers expect free shipping, as well as free returns. And, if a merchant’s return policies are not lenient enough, many will head to another merchant’s site or app. A majority (51.0%) of U.S. online shoppers and nearly as many Canadians (49.3%) avoid buying from online retailers who do not offer free returns, according to a survey of more than 2,000 consumers in the United States and Canada from Omni-channel services vendor Radial Inc.” — excerpt from Internet Retailer


Is Apply Pay getting a boost?

Target, Taco Bell, And Other Chains Are the Latest to Sign up for Apple Pay
Apple Inc. on Tuesday announced Target Corp., Taco Bell, and two regional chains are the latest merchants to agree to accept Apple Pay in-store, a development that could bolster the mobile-payments service…


There is so much change for business, but knowing the trends help a businesses bottom-line.

The Five Biggest Trends in Payments

“All of the 2019 prediction stories got me thinking about the mega trends in the payments industry. These are the year-over-year tectonic shifts in the industry that you can bet your company’s strategy on — maybe even bet your career on. In a landscape of trees, this is what the forest looks like.”  — excerpt from Payments Views


The Ultimate Mobile Payment It was only a matter of time before the stars lined up to put digital-payment capability into automobiles. After all, where do U.S. consumers spend their time when not at rest? And what has been their favorite pastime, after sports, politics, or videogaming?…


Bill seeks to mandate digital receipts in California |Chain Store Age

“A lawmaker in California thinks paper receipts are mostly useless. Assemblyperson Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) has introduced a bill that would make California the first state in the nation to mandate that all retailers offer digital receipts to customers starting January 1, 2022. The receipts would be issued by email or by text. Under the proposed legislation, customers would be able to request a paper receipt in lieu of an electronic one. If the bill is approved, businesses that do not comply would receive two warnings before being fined up to $300 per year.”  — excerpt from Chain Store Age


When you really don’t like waiting in line or grocery stores…. you may like this!

Report: Amazon Go could become $4 billion business

“In a research note, RBC estimated average annual sales of $1.5 million apiece for the current nine Amazon Go stores. A Bloomberg report in September said Amazon.com Inc. may open up to 3,000 Amazon Go outlets by 2021. Based on the per-store sales estimate by RBC, that would translate into a $4.5 billion business over the next several years.”  — excerpt from Supermarket News

Square unveils new Debit Card for small-business customers

Square unveils new debit card for small-business customers


“With the Square Card, which is free to obtain and use, business owners will be able to spend their Square balances immediately in stores and online. Previously, those who used Square for payment processing had to wait several days for their funds to transfer to their banks accounts, or else they could pay a small fee for instant access to their money.” — excerpt from MarketWatch.

Get Creative, Be Innovative

Excerpt from Leadership Moments:  This is an inspired newsletter, written by a fantastic team  of military Veterans.

In today’s business environment, creativity is more important than ever because businesses must be able to adapt to an ever-changing landscape that requires innovation and flexibility. The lifecycle of many products and services is much shorter than it used to be. Remember Blockbuster Video? Many of us have fond memories of renting movies there but their lack of creativity and innovation caused them to be left in the dust by the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Without creative leaders, businesses are destined for mediocrity at best and extinction at worst. Just like you would practice your golf swing to become a better golfer, science has shown us the importance of exercising our brain to become more creative. A study on identical twins by George Land in 1968 found that as we get older, we learn noncreative behavior that decreases our creativity. To combat that, we need to actively exercise our creative brain. Here are some things you can do to help spur your creative side:

Get away from your desk. Go for a walk, ride a bike. Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown that we think more creatively when we are distracted, such as when exercising. This is due to increased dopamine levels in our brain and the distraction factor allow us to stop ruminating on ineffective solutions. How about a walking meeting?

Break your routine. Do you stop at the same coffee shop every morning or sit in the same seat on the metro every day? Changing your routine can help provide you with different perspectives and expose you to different people.

Collaborate with others. Not only does this help bring more ideas to the table, but it also allows you the opportunity to inspire creative thoughts in others.

Make some noise. In this article titled “Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise on Creative Cognition,” researchers discovered that mild levels of ambient noise led to more creativity in individuals by activating our abstract cognition.

Play with toys. Believe it or not, many creative design companies encourage their employees to have toys at their desks. I found the value in this first-hand through experiencing the impact playing with playdough had on my creative process during a recent executive education course.


by Patrick Nelson, a great team member and contributor to the Lead Star Group.  Read more articles by Patrick >

Lead Star • PO Box 328 Fairfax VA 22308 • 800-381-7780 • leadstar.us Like this newsletter? Click here to subscribe!

Get Inspired – Volunteer!

The holidays can be tough enough, even when you have a job, good food, friends,  a spouse, and kids + a dog that all love you. Imagine missing a few of these elements… it is much tougher. It might be nearly impossible…. and that’s why I volunteer. I know that I am lucky and I want to give back. I know my time is needed as a volunteer. Volunteering connects me with my community, and brings a big reality-check about how much is needed in our community to keep us all strong and healthy.

I volunteer all year, but during the holidays, the need for volunteers is staggering. I volunteered with 100 team members at Toys & Joy, this is just one of the many programs that is sponsored by Salvation Army. It was so well-organized and beautifully put together  – it was easy and inspirational to help.  Imagine a basketball court filled with tables, stacked with toys. Then imagine hundreds of staff and volunteers, carefully organizing the toys, stacking, bagging and delivering the toys. Add in a top-notch dedicated Manager or Two and you have an amazing event.  We had stuffed animals sitting quietly on the bleachers, tables of LEGOs (more varieties than I had ever seen), tables for baby items, books, art materials, trucks, dolls, puzzles, and much more than all that. This event served 1400 families, mainly in the Tenderloin in SF.

If you want to get involved, consider the Salvation Army.  They have several opportunities, and many different roles: set-up, bilingual translators, food and toy sorters, organizers, and more.  There are volunteer events all year long, maybe you’d like to deliver food to seniors or work in the office. There are many ways to help.  We did this as a team event.

Location:  Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center 240 Turk Street San Francisco CA 94102


Kids & Art – what a Impactful Year to Help Kids with Cancer

As we close out 2018, you may be thinking this is a year to be grateful, you may want to SHOW your gratitude in a concrete  way and get involved in your community! What better way to be grateful? Volunteer!

Kids & Art sent a gratitude email: “Grateful in 2018“.  Please read it, to see their many sponsors and volunteers. Support them with your $$, time, and help by spreading the word. If you love art, you know the healing properties of being creative. For Kids with Cancer, art is a happy, healthy way to get well.  They support kids and families, that are going through the hardest time in their lives.  This is an inspiring group, the kind of ACTIVISTS with big hearts and lots of love.

Learn More:

You can also purchase a copy of our 2018 Kids & Art 10th Anniversary Book here.

Check out this news segment of our founder, Purvi Shah, on ABC7 News with Kristen Sze, our Guest Emcee for the 10th anniversary celebration

Dear Kids & Art Community,

What an incredible event we had on December 1st, as we celebrated the 10th anniversary of Kids & Art Foundation at Salesforce East’s Ohana Floor. It was lovely to commemorate this milestone with friends new and old, and we are so grateful for all of the support. We are incredibly thankful to our sponsors Trianz, Whamix, David Deutscher, Pixar Animation Studios, Perkins Coie, and the Perisic Family, and to our many in-kind sponsors Artist & Craftsmen, Avant Planners, Cavallo PointDraeger’s Market, Fete Fraiche, Jalsa Catering, Jensen & Novacic, Inc., New Dehli Restaurant, Nothing Bundt Cakes, One Brick, Salesforce, and Trader Joe’s, Bay Street SF. Thank you to our Special Guest, Catharine Clark, of Catharine Clark Gallery, our Guest Emcee, ABC7’s Kristen Sze, and to our Guest of Honor, Kori Rae, from Pixar Animation Studios. Also, tremendous thanks to all of the volunteers who gave many hours to the event! Thank you to everyone who attended and celebrated with us. This event would not have been possible without the dedication and heart of our entire Gala Committee and Event Team. Thank you to our Event Chair and Board Member, Teri Behm, to our Event Co-Chairs, Kiran Chadha and Rachel Handsman, and to our Event Team, Deborah Hopkins, Davina Moussa, Jade Kwan, Joe Moussa, Lauren He, Renae Davidson, and Sejal Desai. Thank you to Board Members Rinat Goren and Robert Owyang for your guidance and support. And lastly, a most heartfelt thanks to Purvi Shah, our Founder and Board Chair, who was there every step of the way in conceiving, planning and executing of this celebration. Thank you, Purvi, for positively impacting the lives of so many pediatric cancer patients and families and for allowing so many artists, volunteers and staff to be a part of this meaningful experience too. If you missed our event, no worries. You can still keep us in your end-of-year giving plan and donate through our event site, on our website, on facebook, or via check.

With much gratitude,

Suzanne Yau, Executive Director

Location:  1443 Howard Ave. Suite 218  Burlingame, CA 94010  650-877-2750  art@kidsandart.org

Monthly Celebrations for December

Need a theme for a party at work?  These are fun.  No Budget? Make an event for zero dollars!

For December Days — look at all the potential for a more fun meeting, just pick a day, think of a theme.

There are special acknowledgements in each month, many more than are listed here… these are some you may not know about:

  • Winter Month – celebrate snow, wearing mufflers, drinking cocoa!
  • Hi Neighbor Month – meet a cubicle neighbor and have a 15 minute coffee chat!
  • Read a New Book Month  – have a book sharing event. Bring a book  that you have read and trade!
  • Universal Human Rights Month – find a volunteer event to do as a group. It feel so good. We are working at Salvation Army’s Toy and Joy in SF this month!
  • National Stress-free Holiday Month – take time to relax. Bring in an essential oil diffuser – with peppermint oil see people in the office smile! I do this, it works!
  • Safe Toys and Gifts Month – donate a favorite toy (new or gently used, maybe gathering dust in the closet) to a toy drive.

You can make a tradition of your own at work or home.  It is fun to have a celebration or even something silly. So how about this: End of world celebration?  Even though the day has passed….. there are many celebrations on the quirky numerical dates every year…. you get the idea! (celebrate PI day 3/14)

The Mayan calendar is set to end on 12-21-12, and many seems to have an idea of the events that might take place. These discussions usually range from ideas that the calendar means nothing at all – to talks about prophecies of doom and gloom, where the calendar portends the “End” of our world from a global cataclysm.

If it were the last day on Earth, (which it is not!) I for one, would prefer to make a party!!! So let’s celebrate and party, and make it a night to be remembered!!!! Mayan Calendar Cartoon

End of Another Great Year! December Days!


Check out December Monthly celebrations too.

1  National Pie Day and Eat a Red Apple Day
2  National Fritters Day
3 Galileo invents the telescope in 1621
4  Wear Brown Shoes Day and National Cookie Day
5   Happy Birthday to Walt Disney, American animated film producer (1901 – 1966)
6   Happy Birthday to Dave Brubeck, American pianist and composer (1920)
7  National Cotton Candy Day
8 Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour” album is released in UK in the year 1967
9  National Pastry Day
10 10,000,000th model T Ford assembled in 1915
11 In 1975, 1st class postage rises from 10 cents to 13 cents
12  Happy Birthday to Cathy Rigby, American gymnast and actress (1952)
13  National Cocoa Day
16  National Chocolate Covered Anything Day
19  National Oatmeal Muffin Day
20  Games Day
21 Winter Solstice
22  In 1964,The first test flight of the SR-71 “Blackbird” took place at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif.
23 Night of the Radishes (Oaxaca, Mexico)
24  National Egg Nog Day
25  Christmas & National Pumpkin Pie Day
26  National Candy Cane Day
27 In 1966, The Cave of Swallows, the largest known cave shaft in the world, is discovered in Aquismón, San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
28  National Chocolate Day
29 In 1937, The Irish Free State is replaced by a new state called Ireland with the adoption of a new constitution.
31 New Year’s Eve

December 31 marks the end of 4th Quarter.

Dec 2012 calendar

AND there are monthly fun celebrations for December, many charities and organizations have a special month.

November Days to Remember are here! 

January Days to Remember are here!