I am very excited to be attending the upcoming National Speakers Association meeting this weekend in Nashville. You are bound to hear much about it since I always come back with new, creative ideas for my clients (and for my blogs!). This is where I first heard about graphic storytelling, a great tool for facilitation.
I have been a member of NSA for more than 20 years and was recently the president for our local chapter. NSA is where I learn about the latest techniques and best practices. And, I invariably make new and wonderful friends.
Pre-pandemic, I attended the NSA conference every year. There I found colleagues who were genuinely interested in both my business and my life. The hallway discussions were as valuable as the keynotes and small group sessions.
This conference will be the first time I have attended in person in 3 years. While I am grateful to have stayed in touch with colleagues and to have had many phone calls and zoom calls, for me, nothing beats sitting face-to-face and truly sharing.
What professional conferences and workshops are available in your industry? Do you attend, and if so, what do you gain? If not, how do you stay current in your field?
As the calendar turns and we go from one special occasion to the next, I am often surprised to hear, “I hate Christmas!” “We never celebrate Valentine’s Day.” “Every day should be Mother’s Day!”
If we read between the lines, we will understand that what is actually meant is, “Keep Christ in Christmas.” Or, “Share love every day instead of supporting the Valentine’s Day marketing ploy.” Unfortunately, we can now add Juneteenth to this list.
If you didn’t know, Walmart started selling a Juneteenth ice cream last month, and soon after experienced a social media backlash. You can read about it here.
Since I was not in the Walmart meeting rooms when the decision was made to create, brand, and market the product, I won’t speak to that. I will, however, point out that Juneteenth is a time to honor and support Black business owners as well as Black playwrights, scientists, and authors, just to name a few.
So, if Walmart’s attempt to capitalize on the holiday is controversial, how should we support the holiday and its meaning?
Take some time this week to watch a documentary, listen to a podcast, or visit a museum. Learn about our country’s history, and work to create more change in your community. Buy from Black-owned businesses. We produced a list last year for our DC friends, but it’s an easy Google search wherever you live. And if you are having a hankering for ice cream, order Creamalicious.
On April 28, 2018, I was driving home from a speaking engagement with the Training Officers Consortium. I spoke on how to resolve conflict in the workplace and then I packed up my bags and started driving. It was pouring; not one of those gentle spring rains, but a deluge of water making it difficult to see and drive.
I stopped for gas along the road and then I continued my journey. As a treat for taking the trip and conducting the program, I decided to reward myself with a little shopping adventure on the route home. I had been shopping for about an hour when my phone rang.
“Hello, is this Karen Snyder? This is Ella Franz and I have your wallet,” said the older, shaky voice on the other end.
“Oh, I don’t think so,” I replied. “I have my purse right here.”
She proceeded by telling me my own address and phone number. I moved all the clothes I had been trying on out of the way and started searching through my purse, which is a rather oversized and overstuffed bag. No wallet.
“How did you find me?” I asked.
“We called our friend. He’s good with computers and he found your website and your phone number.”
“How kind of you.” I babbled feeling overwhelmed with gratitude, while also embarrassed and annoyed at myself for losing the wallet and not believing her when she said she had it.
Ella explained that they were snowbirds, in their eighties and they were making the trip from Florida to New York. She then said, “We found your wallet on the pavement when we stopped for gas. We didn’t want to just turn it in because we wanted to be sure it got to you. Can you meet us at the rest stop? We will wait for you there.”
I looked at my GPS and realized that if I drove hastily, in the pouring rain, it would take me an hour to reach Ella and her husband. I didn’t want to hold up this sweet couple for so long. I suggested, “Is there a Fed Ex near you? You could mail it to me and I would pay the charges.”
I could hear Ella asking her husband if he knew of a FedEx and he did not. I suggested that she “Google it” and she replied that they didn’t have a computer. I said, “Well, if you don’t know about a FedEx office, should I assume you don’t know of a UPS office either?”
“No honey, I do not,” Ella retorted. “We will just wait here until you arrive. We only have about another 8 hours before we get home.”
Of course when I got to Ella and her husband at a rest stop off of I-95 near Fredericksburg, Virginia, they were as sweet and kind as she sounded on the phone. My wallet had all the cash and cards, just as when I had last seen it. I was scheduled to fly to the West Coast the next day for another speaking engagement and because of her honesty and kindness, my plans were not altered.
I hear people say that honesty, integrity, and kindness are gone, but that is simply not true. Give this question some thought: Who are the “Ellas” in your life? What chance encounters have you experienced that made an impact for the positive? Who do you look up to and count on in your personal life? Is there someone at work who helped you manage a challenging situation just because it was the right thing to do? Instead of focusing on the times when we have been disappointed, why don’t we retell the stories of honesty, integrity, and kindness over and over and over again.
And let’s make a real effort to be someone else’s “Ella.” I think that we will see our personal and professional lives transform for the better!