Monday, June 19, 2006


Bridges Magazine

For the last month or so, one single project has consumed my work days, Bridges Magazine. Bridges is the annual alumni magazine for the University of Michigan – Flint. It is 64 pages long and contains dozens of stories about our alumni and the campus. Our office has been working on it since January, but May and June have been the knock down, drag-out months.

I wrote some pretty interesting stories...The alumnus who owns an island resort, the breast cancer survivor, the purple heart winner and one of the world’s top minds on sexual discrimination have all told me their story. We have put together a great piece and it is going to print by the end of the week. Now I get to go back to my other duties, which is much easier said than done.

I came in today with a pretty good idea of what the day was going hold. Lots of stuff to do, the problem is getting back in the routine of multitasking. Bouncing from one project to the next was my forte before I put everything on the backburner for Bridges. But for the better part of today, I found myself struggling to stay focused.

So…I took a walk around campus, came back to my office and updated my old project list. This is a word document of what I have to do, the problem was, I was only working on Bridges for so long, I never updated the darn thing. It is amazing how much a “honey-do-list” can help.

Friday, June 09, 2006


Graduates All Around

As the summer nears, many things come to mind…vacations, tans, bikinis, friends and graduations. Working in Alumni Relations at the University I deal with graduates on a daily basis. In fact, I just did a kickoff party and a congratulations letter to our May 2006 class. It is extremely important that we make our presence known to our gradates right away. They have to remember us from day-one of being an alumnus if we want them to give time and money back to the University. Building relationships from the ground floor, that is what I do.

This summer however, I am involved in other graduation relations. My sister just graduated from Goodrich High School last weekend. My dad has us working like slaves getting ready for her open house next weekend. In addition, I had three cousins graduate from high school, a cousin and a dear friend from Michigan State (they are both currently unemployed:), another friend from Central Michigan and a brother from Adrian College. Busy, busy, work and party with family. That’s all I do.

Thursday, May 25, 2006



It has been a while since I wrote, but I have been busy partying. My mother and father turned 50 within four days, my brother graduated from Adrian College and I did a beer tasting for fellow alumni at Cranberries (my parent’s restaurant/bar).

<----(mom was surprised!)

As I have commented before, when you earn noticeable success (you probably already have) people look to you more often. With the big birthdays of my mother and father, my family was all but telling me to plan the parties. It wasn’t too hard and I had no objections, but it was definitely time consuming. For about two weeks I was busy making picture collages, calling friends and family, sending invites, printing flyers, getting food and beverages, organizing the arrival of said parents…all while trying to keep it a secret.

I had help, but other responsibilities were neglected. Like my two jobs, four nights of softball and flag football and a beer tasting for U-M alumni. Luckily, the later was comprised of beers I have done before. I hate to admit, but they were put on the back burner for the better of my parents’ parties. I had to leave work early a few times, skipped sports and the beer tasting, well it went great, but you get my point…my comes family first.

My boss put it best when I asked her for the afternoon off, “Go ahead, family matters most. Plus you’ve earned it. I know you’ll get this stuff done.”

Until she said that, I was feeling guilty about neglecting work for an afternoon. But she’s right. As long as you are doing well and keeping up with responsibilities there should be no reason why you can’t put family over your occupation. Even if you are doing terrible at work and are about to be fired you should put what matters most first. Spend time with those who matter most, because when it comes down to it, most don’t matter.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Ups and downs

After experiencing very nice success in the last two months with some UM-Flint alumni events, I felt the pain of disappointed. I have been working on a leadership conference broadcast for my church. My pastor wanted me to get 100 people there. It was a great program, but I felt it was going to be a tough sell with everyone’s budgets so tight. My goal was 50.

After about six weeks of work, we ended up with only 20 attendees. Although these 20 people were very satisfied and felt the program was amazing, the program is seen as a failure because we did not sell all the tickets we bought.

I feel lousy about it, but am already preparing to make it better for next year. I created a debrief folder with documents and notes on this year’s program and what worked/didn’t work.

I just want ALL my projects to be a success and that is just not realistic. Keep on trucking I guess…On the other-hand, my Cinco de Mayo beertasting event was muy bueno.

Friday, April 28, 2006


Interesting fellow…

I am currently interviewing graduates for our annual Bridges alumni magazine. Each year, I find alumni with interesting life stories. Yesterday I had lunch with a retired GM worker-now Mexican resort owner.

Amazing story really, I kept me thinking…what am I doing in Michigan?

In summary, this gentleman got his college degree opened his own business, went bankrupt, then worked at GM for 20 years, took a buyout in the early 90s, started another business, came back to UM-Flint and got another degree, got into acting, traveled to Europe to act, lost his wife, went to Mexico to clear his head, bought some property four hours south of Cancun, came back to Michigan, married a widow, went to Mexico and built a resort.

He has five children, 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. His resort is on a peninsula town with only a bridge connecting it to the mainland. He has survived three hurricanes and was a catalyst in rebuilding after Hurricane Wilma. He visits Michigan three months out of the year and lives in Punta Allen, Mexico the other nine.

He is also a licensed piano tuner, notary, cable TV producer and message therapist.

Sitting there green with envy, Shardon Allen told me not to worry about my normalcy. He said I am living my ‘gottabe life’, he is living his ‘wannabe life.’

Check out his resort at

Friday, April 21, 2006


Random thoughts about making yourself valuable…

A very good way to increasing your job security is taking on several projects, doing them well, in time and letting your peers know about them.

There is a fine line between being filled up and over-flowing. I personally like to accept new projects, even when I have a lot on my plate. Like today for example, I was meeting with coworkers regarding our annual 64 page alumni magazine. Two employees were told to drop off the project to focus on another, which left a significant amount of copy to write. I volunteered.

I figure as long as I know I can do it and do it well, why not do it? It sometimes makes work stressful and fast paced, but the rewards outweigh the strain. I get responsibility, I do a good job and people find out. I don’t think anyone is indispensable, but I think many are close. The more responsibility you hold the more valuable you are.

Oh yeah, and self-promotion is a very good thing. Don’t brag or boast, but don’t be modest. In meetings and common conversation let people know what you are working on, how long it is taking and the success you are experiencing…that way you can be a walking resume (and when you check the score of the Detroit Tigers’ game they don’t think you spend all day long on

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Tugged Apart

The last few weeks have been very hectic. Between working 40 plus hours/week at UM-Flint, chairing an event for my church, bartending and planning a beer tasting, I feel like I am being tugged apart.

At UM-Flint, I have been pushing for an alumni bus trip to watch the Pistons for the last few years. Back in December, my boss gave me the green light to plan one. The invite went out via snail mail and e-mail. We sold our tickets and filled a bus. I didn’t go.

The game was scheduled for last Sunday against the Pacers at 1 p.m. The Tuesday before, my preacher asked me to be in church to make a special announcement about the event I am chairing (a broadcast seminar at our church of a big-time leadership conference). To my dismay, I got an all-too-eager co-worker to cover the Pistons trip.

At church, surprisingly my preacher made my announcement, both first and second service. So I wasn’t really needed, but I guess it was good to be in God’s house for three hours. I just wish I wouldn’t have had Pistons tickets.

On the other hand, my Cinco de Mayo beer tasting is going well. I have the place filled already…just need to find some good Mexican beers.

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