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Language and Learning: Toastmasters

I belong to a local Toastmasters group. This organization has many functions: first of all- skill-based training for better communication, increasing language literacy, learning to speak extemporaneously in a group, but it is most known for helping people overcome the anxiety associated with Public Speaking. We do learn so much more…. here is a beautiful poem from a recent speech on “Kindness”


By Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand, what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride thinking the bus will never stop, the passengers

eating maize and chicken will stare out the window forever.


Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness you must travel where the

Indian in a white poncho lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you, how he too was someone who

journeyed through the night with plans and the simple breath that kept him



Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know

sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore, only kindness that ties

your shoes and sends you out into the day to purchase bread, only kindness

that raises its head from the crowd of the world to say It is I you have been

looking for, and then goes with you everywhere like a shadow or a friend.

Apply for a Educational Grant for YOUR Kid’s School

Schools face many financial hardships, it is important, more than ever, to support our Bay Area schools.

Image result for brandon crawfordWhy not apply for a GRANT??

Wells Fargo/KNBR Step up to the Plate for Education” grants provide funds so that teachers receive extra dollars tocreate better opportunities for our children.

For the past 15 years, Wells Fargo has partnered with KNBR to provide $100,000 in grants to Bay Area schools. Professional baseball player Brandon Crawford is the spokesman for the program and has featured ads on KNBR broadcasts promoting the grants. Wells Fargo will also be encouraging our customers to submit school nominations through special advertising messages on 1,200 Bay Area ATM screens.

$$$$   Please visit www.knbr.com/stepup to learn more about the grant rules and apply for the education grants.

TONIGHT July 25- Nerd Girls Hidden Figures at NASA

HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.


Come join NERD GIRLS – Hidden Figures Party – Dress the Part!   July 25, 2017  7-10 pm

Location:  Vasper Systems   580 Cody Road   Mountain View 94045

Are you in your comfort zone? GET OUTTA THERE!? — the editor

Better Customer Experience – whether Online or In Store

Give your customers an excellent IN-STORE or ONLINE experience:

Train your staff to KNOW the products. Product knowledge is essential and often a #1 difference in making your store’s customer experience great rather than just OK.

In 2016, online shopping increased 10.1% with brick and mortar growing only 1.4% (PWC 2017 Retail Trends, US Census, Bloomberg, Strategy & Analysis). Stores must keep the inventory up-to-date, well organized and easy to find. After all, one of the best store attributes is the ability to touch, try on, and have a hands-on experience with how it works. No shipping is also a huge in-store benefit.

Make sure your payment processing is EASY to use and understand. Keep it quick and simple. If in a store, look hard at line wait time. How many customers “walk away”. Same applies to abandoned shopping cats online.

All businesses need a presence online and in social media. Be easy to find. 40% of customers research their purchase online before they buy. Make sure you are there! If you don’t sell online, you can still have a vibrant site with coupons, demos, and examples of your products.

Have LOCAL goods. This is a huge advantage of a store, you can specialize in items that online doesn’t carry or even seem to care about. Providing goods that are unique and local can increase a customers preference to shop in your store. Have items that are unique and not carried in big online retailers.

Have online reviews…. gather opinions. Encourage loyalty. Respond to reviews with THANK YOUS and problem solving messages for experiences that were not up to par!


Combining AI, Machine Learning and Advanced Analytics

For those that love social media and are involved in the interplay of new ideas, there are several resources to learn more. Many groups are using all the tools available to create communications / marketing / white papers that are “on-point” and enticing to their customers and potential customers.

Getting the look and feel “just right” used to be enough, but no longer. Big Data analysis is combined with AI to create everything from web sites, social media posts, to marketing campaigns. Polling, gathering preferences and checking through consumer preferences affect our perception. These engineered statements move into your home, your heart, and they just “feel better”.   You are likely to ADOPT the message, RESPOND to the action item, and JOIN in the conversation. One statement or white paper can be altered over time to create dozens of other communications, just like the TV commercials that are played multiple times in an hour, but at a fraction of the cost (no human writer needed in many cases!).

Or is this all just a way to get you to pay attention and a manipulation of your emotions? Making communication have less “friction” is a way to get the viewer to spend money. Marketers & Advertisers have been doing this for centuries: getting you to buy something you never wanted or didn’t even know about.  Now they can do it faster and better with computer algorithms and AI. This being done now to develop news articles, to test appeal then to refine messages into “facts you believe”.  — the editor

From Accenture: We augment the power of humans with artificial intelligence to help our clients pivot to the new, now. We leverage AI and proprietary advanced analytics algorithms to sense, comprehend, act and learn across the value chain – at unprecedented speed and scale. Our network of over 1800 Data Scientists, Academic Alliances, patented apps and Innovation Labs and Studios rapidly test proofs of concept and accelerate time to market so our clients become industry disruptors. LINK TO ARTICLE

From TechSmith—84% of all marketing communications is predicted to be visual by 2018, and social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined.

From BrightTalk and Dresner Advisory: The data landscape is constantly evolving, and the proliferation of smart devices, machine learning, and embedded analytics promises to introduce many exciting new breakthroughs in business intelligence…

From ReadWrite: This landscape is our way of visualizing all the disparate pieces of our industry. Our goal is to use that understanding to make more fluid connections between the different areas, driving innovation and deals.

From Pyramid Analytics: Are you considering a self-service analytics solutions? It makes sense. Reducing the dependency on others to gather data and build reporting provides agility and allows you to make faster decisions…

From ATD and Comcast: “A consistent learner experience drives a consistent customer experience, and that’s what the cable TV business is all about…”

Web Strategy by Jeremiah: Jeremiah is a great promoter of crowd sourcing ideas, he develops insightful info-graphics and has seminars to help you understand how ideas and various industries work together.

From the Content Wrangler: You know all those “rules” you were taught in school about “good writing?” They were lies. Our focus today needs to go beyond grammar and punctuation, and towards clarity and understanding. What works for real people? And what really ARE the rules?

Thought Leadership and Results

LinkedIn and Edelman partnered to produce a study which clearly show some interesting results for Sales Managers and those whose jobs depend on lead generation.


And so powerful. In research hot off the press, LinkedIn and Edelman interviewed over 1,000 C-Suite executives for their views on Thought Leadership. For 86% of respondents, the single most important factor in being effective was that ‘it’s forwarded by someone I know and trust.’

Quick summary: The expected results vs. the actual from the decision makers is profound.

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Jobs and Health Care

The crisis about not having consistent portable health care is not a political debate. I know we are hearing a lot of “they did…” or “they won’t…”  between Republicans and Democrats but the political squabbling is masking a bigger problem.


Yes, I know my nephew thinks its just nasty politics, and doesn’t want to get involved. I understand.

However, getting health care for temp workers, contract workers and full-time traditional workers could change the landscape of WORK in America.

This huge issue affects every 18-30 year old profoundly. If you have been looking at jobs for this age group (~Millennials), they are relying on contract work, gigs rather than careers. Their parents look on with worry, wondering WHEN they will ever have a “real job”.


The job landscape has changed profoundly and permanently in many sectors – – working temp is a real job and often preferred by many groups. It helps our workers that are starting out gain lots of experience, find their niche, experience the work rather than applying for grad school in Adaptive Technology or Environmental Science and hoping they will like that industry. (–or be able to find employment with their A.A., B.S., M.A. or other degree). Getting a temp job or a series of temp jobs can be so rewarding. I did this for 10 years, switching to something new every 6 months or so. I had to study, learn new tech and land “on my feet” ready to fix, code, plan in tools I had never used before – but it was thrilling, good, hard work. It DOES NOT work for people with families or health care issues IF there is NOT PORTABLE AFFORDABLE health care available.  Yes, you can go “naked” without care for a while, but not for a decade. It is just too risky.

If we had an innovative plan that worked for me …. I’d go back to contracting. I’d free up my well-paid predictable job, and someone else with kids, dogs and a family would love it. I’d like the flexibility of tech contracts again. Imagine! More work getting done where people are engaged and working the way they want.  More satisfaction, more productivity.

But we have to get portable, flexible affordable health care to make that move. The job market would become much more fluid. And for all the “potential contractors” out there – We’d stop waiting on the sidelines… waiting and wishing… and jump in the big pool of flex-time, virtual work, work-anywhere and live the dream.

Great Articles:

American Dream and Portable Benefits (Fast Company – Senator Mark R. Warner)


The Yerba Buena Community Benefit District (YBCBD)is honoring heroes to the community with the establishment of the Yerba Buena Conservancy. Their mission is to provide programs that foster a safer and more secure community, create a cleaner and greener neighborhood, and reinforce the viability of our economic base.


Senior Operations Manager of Recology Golden Gate, is honored for helping to bring Yerba Buena to the forefront as one of the greenest neighborhoods in the world. As a Board Member of the Alliance John has been instrumental in helping all of our businesses and public areas meet and exceed our goal for conservation and awareness. And as a community advocate working with a variety of residential and business groups and non-profit organizations.



Southern Station of the SFPD is recognized for their true partnership and commitment to the future of the Yerba Buena community. Their dedication ensures the continued growth of Yerba Buena by providing security, getting to know the community, creating an inviting and safe atmosphere, and improving the quality of life for businesses, residents and visitors  on a daily basis.

YBCBD mailing address:
Yerba Buena Alliance
735 Market St.
Suite 302
San Francisco, California 94103
415.541.0312    | 




Our Military Heroes – Happy 4th of July, America!

Learn more about these great exhibitions, web sites and the history of our military service that keeps the USA safe and proud.

Soldiers to Summits – This climbing expedition is designed to help wounded veterans overcome barriers in their lives. This year, the expedition will take place on Mt. Whitney. Located in California, it is the tallest peak in the contiguous U.S. with a top elevation of over 14,000 feet (the exact height varies depending on how it’s measured). Visit their website to learn how you can get involved.
Presidio to Pacific Powerhouse, How the Military Shaped San Diego Exhibit – This exhibit runs from April 26, 2014 to January 4, 2015. There are several special events this July, with speakers.
“It was an honor to be one of the first to see this exhibit and its fantastic documentation of the long standing tie between San Diego and our military,” said Captain Curt Jones, commanding officer, 32nd Street Naval Base San Diego.
Blue Star Moms & Blue Star Mothers Blue Star Mothers FaceBook here, a discussion of issues to military families, Moms in uniform and more. Blue Star Moms have chapters all over the USA, and provide support and service to our military.
There are also often campaigns to send postcards and letters to our Active Duty soldiers. It is a wonderful thing to do as a team (gather postcards) and sending an encouraging word is wonderful to receive. Look at all these bundles of postcards on their way to remote spots overseas.
The Veterans History Project (VHP) of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center is primarily an oral history program that collects and preserves the firsthand interviews of America’s wartime veterans. VHP relies on volunteers(both individuals and organizations) throughout the nation to contribute veterans’ stories to VHP. In addition to audio- and video-recorded interviews, VHP accepts memoirs and collections of original photographs, letters, diaries, maps and other historical documents from World War I to the present. For more information or to learn how you can participate, visit the Veterans History Project website. There is no deadline for participation.
Fourth of July
Did YOU Know?? 
When the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists wanted complete independence from Great Britain. By the following year, hostility toward Great Britain had grown along with the desire for an independent country.
On July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress voted for independence from Great Britain. Two days later, Congress signed and adopted the Declaration of Independence, and the United States has celebrated the Fourth of July every year since (Independence Day was officially declared a holiday in 1941).
Since 1776, millions of men and women have fought in multiple wars and served in peacetime to protect the United States and keep that independence.
There are approximately 23.2 million military veterans in the United States. 9.2 million Veterans are over the age of 65 and 1.9 million are under the age of 35. 1.8 million Veterans are women. Five states have veteran populations over 1 million: California, Florida, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania. (Information in this section was collected from History.com.)
As we celebrate Independence Day this month, thank a veteran, active military member and military family members for all he or she has done to keep the United States “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Did You Know?
  • In the Roman calendar July was originally called Quintillis, meaning fifth, because it was the fifth month. However, Julius Caesar added two months at the start of the year, and July became the seventh month. It was then named after Julius Caesar.
  • George Washington did not sign the Declaration of Independence; he was in New York City with his troops on July 4, 1776. John Adams believed that July 2 was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4 events in protest.
  • In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence to later serve as Presidents of the United States, died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the declaration.
  • A women’s rights convention was held at Seneca Falls, New York in July 1848. Topics discussed included voting rights, property rights and divorce. The convention marked the beginning of an organized women’s rights movement in the U.S.
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on July 2, 1964, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race in public accommodations, publicly owned or operated facilities, employment and union membership and voter registration.
  • The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) estimates that more than 14,000 fireworks displays light up U.S. skies each Fourth of July.
  • The famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest takes place on the Fourth of July at Nathan’s flagship restaurant on Coney Island. It has been held every year since 1916, except 1941, as a protest to the war in Europe and 1971 as a protest to civil unrest and the reign of free love.


South Bay (San Jose) Team Event?

I love bringing a group to a game at the San Jose Municipal Stadium! It is easy to get to, lots of parking, the price is right – about $12….. and the have the best Churros. It is great fun, all kinds of things to see and do. You’ll cheer, you’ll laugh, and you will definitely relax.

C’mon managers…. bring your team for some great summer fun!

San Jose Giants

Minor League Baseball Team

The San Jose Giants are a minor league baseball team in San Jose, California, — Class A – Advanced team in the Northern Division of the California League, and have been a farm team of the San Francisco Giants since 1988 and have played continuously since 1962 under several different names/affiliations. Home games are played at the  San Jose Municipal Stadium. Fireworks nights are fantastic, and often sold out. Check early!

The San Jose Giants are a minor league baseball team in San Jose, California, USA. They are a Class A – Advanced team in the Northern Division of the California League, and have been a farm team of the San Francisco Giants since 1988 and have played continuously since 1962 under several different names/affiliations. Home games are played at San Jose Municipal Stadium.  Official website

TIP! OSH – Orchard Supply Hardware makes complimentary tickets available to the community! Stop in at a local store to pick up some passes and check the dates available. BIG THANKS OSH!! 

We love these tickets, I have brought several Boy Scouts or little league players, the free tickets are so generous, and the kids love watching their heroes!