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National Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month and we will celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political contributions of women. The highlight of the month is International Women’s Day on March 8 — an annual tradition that started back in 1911. However, this celebration is not just for women. It is a day that belongs to all groups, because gender equality is an issue for all, and we all win if we push for change collectively. You’ll see many showing their support by wearing purple and green. Purple symbolizes justice and dignity; green represents hope.

Square a SF, Beloved Company and Venmo adopts Rainbow motif

This is part of our commerce world. Making it easier for small business and more customer friendly for the big corporations too.  Take a look …

Square Posts Strong Growth for Cash App, Its Entry in the Hot P2P Payments Market
Square Inc. is rapidly growing into a heavyweight player in the hard-fought market for peer-to-peer payments. The San Francisco-based company had 15 million active users in December for its P2P product, Cash App…

Venmo launches a ‘limited edition’ rainbow debit card for its payment app users  TechCrunch article  · Sarah Perez · 2/22/2019

Hoping to entice more users to attach the Venmo Mastercard to their account, Venmo this morning announced it’s launching a “special edition” rainbowcolored version of its debit card that will only be available in limited quantities.

Affirm & its instant financing option

Following the best path of  MAKE IT EASY, BE TRANSPARENT  and PUT THE CUSTOMER FIRST….. Affirm continues to make sense to merchants – even the Big ‘uns!

The 7-year-old startup Affirm Inc. has already signed up more than 2,000 merchants to accept its instant-financing option.

On 2/27, it announced it had added: Walmart Inc.

Affirm users will be able to check out with the service at more than 4,000 of Walmart’s U.S. stores &  planned to be available on Walmart’s e-commerce site “over the coming weeks,” , Affirm said.


  • Affirm allows approved users to repay purchase amounts with monthly installments over three, six, or 12 months
  • Interest charges are  displayed  in terms of actual dollars not as percentages
  • Choose the Affirm option at the point of sale
  • Affirm pays merchants in full, less a transaction fee
  • Financing is limited to a range of $150 to $2,000
  • Link to article

Days to Remember for MARCH

March  from 1 to 31

Watch for Employee Appreciation Day.  It is on the FIRST FRIDAY in March!

march calendar

  1. Peanut Butter Lover’s Day
  2. National Banana Cream Pie Day and Old Stuff Day and Dr. Seuss’ Birthday
  3. Peach Blossom Day
  4. National Pound Cake Day
  5. National Frozen Food Day
  6. Happy Birthday to Luther Burbank, American botanist (1849 – 1926)
  7. Johnny Appleseed Day
  8. International Women’s Day
  9. Alfred Hitchcock Day
  10. Jewel Day
  11. National Potato Chip Day
  12. Everything you do is Right Day
  13. Submarine Day
  14. National Pi Day.
  15. National Chocolate Carmel Day
  16. Anniversary of the founding of the first black newspaper in the US, Freedom’s Journal, on Varick Street at New York, NY. 1827
  17. Saint Patrick’s Day
  18. National Bio-diesel Day www.biodiesel.org. Wells Fargo Founded in 1852.
  19. Happy Birthday to Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren (1891-1974)
  20. National Quilting Day and Kiss your Fiance Day
  21. Selma Civil Rights March in 1965
  22. United Nations: World Day for Water
  23. National Chip and Dip Day
  24. National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day
  25. Pecan Day and Waffle Day
  26. Make up YOUR own Holiday
  27. Something on a Stick Day
  28. Reba McEntire born today, country singer AND Lady Gaga, singer / performer
  29. Amy Sedaris is born today, on “Strangers with Candy”
  30. National Hot Dog Day AND I am in Control Day (oh sure you are!)
  31. Oranges and Lemons Day AND National Clams on the Half Shell Day

A Month to Celebrate-February! 

Febuary Days 24th & 25th!
April Days are Here!

march typeface
march calendar
filoli SF

2019 Lunar New Year celebration – tea tasting

Tea tasting and descriptions of the types of tea we tasted for our 2019 Lunar New Year celebration.

Type of Tea Description There are 4 basic types of tea made from Camellia Senensis leaves.
green tea After they are picked, green tea leaves are spread out in the air to let it dry and wither. The process makes the tea leaves flexible and soft for pan frying, this helps prevent oxidation through fermentation. After that, the tea leaves are then twists, rolled, curls and make into a ball-like shape for packaging. Lastly, the tea leaves are dried through firing which retains all the nutrients while baking in the natural flavor and fragrance of the tea. The whole process helps preserve the active and beneficial substances in the fresh tea leaves so they all be release during infusion. Green Tea is packed with a lot of nutrients and antioxidants that has a great effects on our body.

Some of the proven health benefits of Green Tea includes; improves our brain function, loss weight, prevent the risk of cancer and a lot more.


black tea Complete fermentation process that ensures full oxidation is what makes Black Tea different from Oolong and Green Tea. The process involves withering the tea leaves for a much longer period of time so most of the moisture in the leaves will be dried out. After which, the tea leaves are then rolled and broken so their aroma will be release. Next step involves spreading out the tea leaves in layers to be properly oxidized. In the oxidation process, characteristic flavors begin to release and also the leaf color darkens.

After the leaves had been fully developed, they are then fired in big ovens which helps stabilize their flavor, thus enabling the tea to retain its freshness and last long until the time they are put into a boiling water. The last part of the process involves sorting and separating the tea leaves according to its size; Fannings (smallest size that are suitable for tea bags), broken leaves and whole leaf, after which they are rated for quality.

According to the scientist at the US department of Agriculture, Black tea helps reduce cholesterol in our body between 7-11%.


oolong tea These semi-fermented Chinese tea creates a unique flavor and color that is somewhere between Black and Green Tea. Making an Oolong Tea involves plucking the tea leaves and spreading it out under direct sunlight to make the leaves softer, reduce its moisture and wither.

The next step will be to put the leaves in a bamboo basket and shake it in order for the edges of the leaves to be bruised. After that, tea leaves are then laid out in shade for them to dry. This process is repeated a couple of times in order for the leaves turn red and ferment. The oxidation process doesn’t affect the center of the leaves thus they all still remain green. The semi-fermentation process involve in Oolong tea differs from region to region and what type of Oolong tea.

Additionally, this process creates tea that has much longer shelf life than that of White and Green tea and it is a highly-guarded secret by some tea producers. The difference in fermentation can be around 60 percent for a classic Formosa and 20 percent for a “Green” Oolong tea.The fermentation process is then put into a halt via pan-frying the leaves at high temperature which helps lock the unique characteristic of Oolong tea.

white tea This type of tea is the least processed and a great amount of care is needed to pluck only the finest young leaves for the creation of white tea. Steaming and Drying are needed to make a white tea, without the other process in tea making, it basically is unchanged from the moment it was picked.

Majority of the cell damage in our body is due to oxidation that is why we need anti-oxidants to help repair damage cells. And this tea is full of anti-oxidants which is 50 times greater than those found in Green Tea


Other Teas Description
*Organic Teas From the name itself, these type of tea are being grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals that can harm the environment.

Organic teas are often Fair Trade and Organic certified which means that from cultivation, handling and packaging, the tea was carefully inspected to ensure the authenticity of the claim of being organic. This kind of certification is given and performed by independent third-party certifying agency.

*Blended Teas These types of teas are usually twice the strength if sugar and milk is to be added (ex.: Chai). Depending on taste, you may also enjoy the tea at regular strength, straight or with a bit of honey.

These tea type uses Nilgiri Teas, which does not cloud when iced and tastes smooth, thus making them the right type of tea if you want to make an iced tea.

*Herbal Teas This type of tea is not made from Camellia Senensis, the teas are based on different plants such as rooibos, honey bush, mint and chamomile with natural flavorings extracted from freshly ground spices and fruits.

Some popular herbal tea includes Rooibos, Lemongrass, Mint and Chamomile. Rooibos is a caffeine-free red tea from South Africa. These tea is widely use in creating other flavorings and flavored herbal blends.

Lunar New Year Celebrations in the SF Bay Area

This year we celebrated Lunar New Year at our company in several sites, for SF it was a catered lunch ($15), with lantern making, lion dancing, singing and tea tasting. We are also having a photo contest at work with contributions from historical photos, team member family photos and event photos. We have had so much fun. We have held a LNY celebration for several years now, and the planning and execution is getting easier. We are all becoming better leaders and event hosts. This is a side benefit of working on these events – we learn new skills. Our group is Asian Connection – Bay Area…. and this is a volunteer activity that we create for our team members…. we all have regular day jobs, but sharing culture, diversity and fun is so important too!


I was the tea lady.  This was interesting for me because, although I love tea, I was able to learn about the ways it was picked and prepared, and the health benefits.

When / What is Lunar New Year?  February 5, 2019. For this year, the date is determined by the lunar calendar, this is  Year of the Pig. Last year was Year of  the Dog, and we walked in the SF Parade, which is the largest parade outside of Asia! This was a winding trek through downtown SF and Chinatown, with spectators clapping and cheering and firecrackers going off everywhere. We walked with other corporations, school groups, Lion Dancers, Traditional dancers, stilt walkers,, martial arts groups, historical groups, cultural groups, museums and many college bands. The atmosphere was lively and energetic. (that is a bit of an understatement!)

Lunar New Year is a public holiday in China, which lasts for a few days. It is also a public holiday in countries such as Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, North Korea, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam.

The Chinese Zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao, is based on a twelve-year cycle, each year in that cycle related to an animal sign. These signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. The start date is calculated according to Chinese lunar calendar.


Most of the top traditions of Chinese New Year observed during the 15-day holiday serve one purpose: to usher in a year of good fortune and prosperity.

The ancient Chinese lunar calendar, on which Chinese New Year is based, functioned as a religious, dynastic and social guide. Oracle bones inscribed with astronomical records indicate that the calendar existed as early as 14th century B.C., when the Shang Dynasty was ruling.

Traditionally, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are reserved for family celebrations, including religious ceremonies honoring ancestors.

Also on New Year’s Day, family members receive red envelopes (lai see) containing small amounts of money. Dances and fireworks are prevalent throughout the holidays, culminating in the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated on the last day of the New Year’s celebrations. On this night, colorful lanterns light up the houses, and traditional foods such as yuanxiao (sticky rice balls that symbolize family unity), fagao (prosperity cake), and yusheng (raw fish and vegetable salad) are served.

Tasting Tea and Having Fun

Learn more about Lion Dances


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…