Feb 17

What does it mean to be CURIOUS?

Last week I wrote a post on LinkedIn about What Skills Are In Demand For Grads. I used survey results from a recent “WorkForce Prepardeness” report compiled by PayScale and highlighted the top hard and soft skills employers are looking for.

To be honest there weren’t too many surprises, but there was one “soft skill” in particular that I believe requires some more discussion.

According to the survey 16% of Hiring Managers believe that new grads lack curiosity.

I thought that was very interesting. What is it about curiosity that would land it on a soft skills for employees list? To be curious means that you wonder about things. You want to know more. You seek out knowledge. And, you are excited to do that. As I considered the importance of curiosity to hiring managers I realized that it isn’t that different from what I look for in an engaged student.

Curiosity Definition from Google

When I have a student with a strong desire to know or learn something it is an exciting moment — they question, they engage, they bring in more information. They seek out other sources. Their excitement is invigorating and challenges me to be a better teacher. So why wouldn’t this be an important skill that employers need in their employees, especially now?

Technology continues to drive change in so many ways that no one can “rest on their laurels” at work anymore. Platforms get updated, new tools come out, technology enables us to do things faster, more efficient and more effectively. Naturally it makes sense that employers need employees who are CURIOUS.

So how can a college student foster curiosity and even more importantly prove it on a resume or LinkedIn profile?

Step 1: Practice

As a college student the easiest way to foster your curiosity is to practice it! Take the extra step in your classes to bring the professor outside readings, or ask questions outside of class about a topic of interest. Seek out new sources of information that will help deepen your exposure to a topic.

Step 2: Share

Share your knowledge with professors and with friends. Consider writing about what you are learning on a blog or on a platform like Medium or as long form posts on LinkedIn. As you share what you are learning or questions you have, others outside of your university experience will connect with you and answer questions and provide further resources.

One great tool to help students find information about different topics is Twitter. It is no secret that I am a supporter of Twitter and have been for a very long time. If you follow the right people it is a great platform to expose yourself to new ideas, current events, and points of view different from your own. Hashtags can be very helpful as well.

I recommend to my students who are in Marketing and Digital Marketing to follow a group of individuals I’ve been connected to for a very long time. They continue to keep me current and allow me to be on top of my game as I bring current marketing trends and information into the classroom.

Here are several of my Twitter Lists of people to follow:

So students how about you practice being curious? Start your own Twitter list and see how it works out for you. Consider following organizations, associations and people in your discipline who are on Twitter. Then, take information you learn from them and talk with your professors.

Challenge yourself to become that “curious student” and start a habit that will benefit you for a lifetime.


Aug 15

Advice to the Class of 2019: OWN your Education

It’s that time of year again. It’s back to school! So many of my friends are posting first day of school pictures of their young ones heading on to the bus or off to the classroom. I remember those days but now that my daughter is in college, my “first day of school” is much different.

It really begins with convocation. Here at Champlain College we have convocation on the Friday before classes start. Friday morning is move in day, get settled in a bit, say goodbye to your parents, convocation, and then various and sundry other epic adventures, capped off with academic orientation on Saturday morning. Want details on it all? By all means take a look at the Champlain College Orientation 2015 schedule!

Over the years, I’ve found that listening to the President’s speech and watching as students and families say goodbye has been both heartwarming and nostalgic. Up until last year it was the picture of things to come…and now I remember watching my daughter go through it as well. I enjoy convocation where we have the opportunity to see our incoming first years (this year is the Class of 2019), salute an outstanding citizen and hear words of wisdom from the Lyman Professor. Last year, my colleague and friend Dr. Nancy Kerr even brought props!  You can read her speech on our website.

Dr. Nancy Kerr and Dr. Mike Kelly (holding the typewriter)

This year, however, is going to be a whole new experience for me. You see I’ll now be the one standing up on that stage dropping words of wisdom on the incoming class of 2019. I have been awarded the honor of being the Lyman Professor for this year which comes with it a few nice perks and the privilege of giving a speech at convocation.

As I’m sure you can imagine this is both an honor and actually something that is quite overwhelming. I’ve spent the summer noodling on this and what I wanted to impart upon the incoming class and finally, this weekend as I sat on a rock by my pond, it started to gel.


And here it is. Already Friday. And I’m about to give that speech. According to my daughter it is pretty good…actually she said “That’s going to be amazing”. Here’s hoping so.

For those of you who are unable to attend the convocation in person, here’s what I ended up writing.

Wow. Look at all of you. The Class of 2019!

I just listened to the President’s speech over at Akin Lawn and watched as you headed off in your groups and left your family members. You’ve mostly moved into your dorms if you live on campus, and for those of you living off campus, you’ve probably gotten the lay of the land at this point. Most of you are now, officially, “on your own”. Perhaps for the first time.

How does it feel?

How many of you are excited? … thrilled? … nervous? …. anxious? ….hungry?

Last year at Convocation my colleague and friend Dr. Nancy Kerr encouraged students to take out their cellphones and take a selfie, or a picture of the crowd and document this moment. I’m going to continue that tradition and encourage you all to take a minute and go for it. Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook…just use the hashtag #champ2019. Go ahead. I’ll take my own and wait for you.

Oh and if you want to, go ahead and Meerkat or Periscope this speech, or live Tweet it. I can’t speak for my platform partners up here, but while I’m speaking go right ahead. I’ll trust that you aren’t going to just text random stuff to your friends. Naturally, texting what I have to say is ok, though.

So here we are. Getting ready to embark on a grand adventure together. Each of you filled with a variety of emotions — emotions that I feel too. I’ve watched this process of first years entering Champlain for almost 15 years and I’ve even watched my own daughter go through the process too. As a professor and a parent this time of transition is filled with all sorts of awesome. Really. There’s pride, wonder, nostalgia, worry, and even relief. As I thought about what I’d say today, and all the “advice” I wanted to drop, I realized that everything I had to say could be boiled down into one very distinct and specific message.

This education thing you’re doing? The next four years of your life? It’s yours. Let me say that again. It’s YOURS.  It belongs to you. This is no longer high school where you go through the motions because everyone tells you to. This is college. This is expensive. But no matter who is paying for it, or how you are making this work in your life, remember that this education belongs to you. So own it. If you love what you are doing, then stick to it. If you don’t then switch your major. Don’t let your families, your friends, even your professors have so much influence on you that you don’t pursue your education to its fullest. The next four years are so full of learning that you cannot be passive about it. Face each day with a sense of purpose because you never know what the day will bring and what you will learn from it. Yep. This is YOUR education.

I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many students during my time at Champlain. And I’ve watched all of them come in as first years and over the four years (sometimes five) that they have been here, I have watched every single one grow, change, and become young professionals who were ready to take on the world when they graduated. Trust me when I say to you that the person you are today, sitting here at Convocation, is NOT the person you will be in four years when you graduate from Champlain College.

The emotions you are feeling today are there because you know deep down inside that you are getting ready to embark on an adventure that will expand your mind, change your point of view, increase your knowledge, and make you a different person. I’m here to tell you that it is one of the most awesome experiences you can have. Look forward to it. Be excited and above all be open to all that is coming.

We live in times of great change. Every day we are reading news about challenges our country is facing. We are entering an election cycle and you all will have the opportunity to vote in your first presidential election. You are on a college campus where you can learn about other’s points of view. You can get involved and engage with clubs, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Student Government Association, Sustain Champlain — heck you can learn how to raise bees and sell honey! You can practice civic action and get involved with our Center for Service and Civic Engagement. As a student here you can exercise your voice and if you are unhappy with something this college is doing, you can band together and change it. Here is where you begin to learn that you not only have a voice, but you can use that voice to have a positive impact on those around you.

Every single moment you are at Champlain College is a learning opportunity. A step towards your future you. Think about it. Every single moment. Even right now.

In and out of the classroom you can take steps to your future you. And here are some things that will get you there:

Help each other. Right now, turn to the people around you and smile. A smile is the first step to friendships. Go beyond your dorm and your major. Some of the most powerful and long lasting friendships I’ve seen students make have come from being open to accepting others into their lives.

Take advantage of every opportunity. Be curious and open minded. Take on internships and work-based experiences. Say yes to study abroad. Get involved. Start a club. Challenge your stereotypes. Push your boundaries. Each time you do, you’ll be rewarded.

Use your resources. You’ve by now heard all about our “human touch”. (You just heard it from Pres. Laackman when he talked about Mind, Heart and Body.) Well it’s not just marketing (and I know marketing). Professors and staff actually do care. You aren’t alone here. Really. When you have questions, when you are uncertain, when you don’t know what action to take, even if you don’t know what question to ask…reach out to one of us. We will help you.

Remember that College is HARD. Change is HARD. Learning is HARD. So be kind to yourself. Eat well, get enough sleep. When you are feeling stressed, you are not alone. Your peers are stressed too…whether it is class work, personal life stuff, missing your family and friends, feeling overwhelmed…know that you are not the only person feeling this way and remember what I said earlier about using your resources. Don’t hide. Talk it out. You WILL be ok! 

Do NOT be afraid to FAIL. College is where you learn. When you FAIL remember that it is just your First Attempt In Learning. Entrepreneurs talk time and time again about the amount of failure they had before they succeeded. Now is the time to fail so you can learn and be ready when you enter the professional world. Don’t let failure stop you. EVERYONE fails. You belong here. Take it in stride. Learn from it. Grow.

Finally, relax. Chill Out. Enjoy the experience. Remember that there really is nothing so bad that it cannot be worked out. 

And above all, resolve to






Because you are awesome and you are here at Champlain College where we know you will flourish as you embark on one of the most amazing journeys of your life.

Sep 14

Developing your Professional Digital Identity

Each semester when I teach my marketing Capstone course, the students engage in a semester long process to build up their personal brand. We call it the PDI or Professional Digital Identity. Throughout the years it has been updated and tweaked a bit, but has primarily stayed focused on helping our graduating seniors show their expertise not just in digital marketing tools, but also in content development, while highlighting their passions and interests.

The results of their work have been outstanding and many students have been able to secure internships and jobs because of what they practiced and learned through this assignment. Just see for yourself and look back over the years on this blog by reading the #ccc410mkt tag.

I’m quite passionate about this particular project and over the years have seen first hand just how important it is for students to complete this work. And yet, at the same time, I see how it is becoming even more important for most individuals to take a hard look at their online identity and make sure it reflects them in a way that will help them professionally.  Don’t believe me? Check out this handy infographic posted at UndercoverRecruiter from Reppler that tells an important HR story:

How Employers Use Social Media to Screen Applicants

So here are five things I think everyone should do to develop their own PDI. Oh, and if you want to see what my students are required to do just take a look at the PDI assignment guidelines.

  1. Google yourself. You might be surprised by what you find.
  2. Assess your current social media content and “professionalize” it. Delete content that could get you overlooked, add content that will spark employer interest. Be sure to maximize the security and privacy settings on tools like Facebook and take control of the content that is posted about you.
  3. Make it easy for people to find you. Pick a username and use it across all your social profiles. Put links to all of your online content sites on all of your online content sites. For example from this blog you can find all of the social accounts I am active on. From my LinkedIn you can find my blog, from my G+ you can find all my accounts as well as my blog.
  4. Pick one or two online tools to create content with — and build quality content about yourself. A blog is a great way to start, but if you don’t feel you have time for that, then use Twitter, or tools like Medium to create smaller, more manageable content, or go visual with Prezi, or Instagram, or Pinterest. Make sure you do put quality effort into LinkedIn.
  5. Build your network. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Klout to find people to follow, read, and connect with. Share great content. Try to meet people in person when you can. Participate in Tweetchats that have to do with your chosen field.

It’s not hard to do, but in today’s digital workplace it’s becoming even more vital that you have a Professional Digital Identity that will help you … not hinder you. Want to see how you stack up? Try this handy PDI Rubric I created for my students.

Oh, and as a special BONUS: take a look at Brandyourself.com for a handy way to increase the visibility of several of your online profiles for free. You can also take a look at Reppler to help you as well.


Jan 13

Six Things College Students Should Do Right Now to get Ready for Graph Search

On the 15th of January, Facebook announced Graph Search, an expansion of their search feature. Here’s a three minute intro from some of the folks at Facebook:


Pretty nifty eh?  Now Facebook is not just like a chair…it’s like Oprah or Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker. Don’t get my “chair” reference?  Take a minute to watch it.

Now that we have that out of the way, Graph Search has had a great deal of news coverage, at least when it was announced. However the average user may not even be aware that it’s slowly rolling out to people each day, and those people are conducting many different searches.  While Facebook has been clear that your privacy settings drive what people can find about you, it has been my experience that many people are not very thoughtful about their privacy settings, or they set them and then forget them, not realizing that as Facebook makes changes, that they should go back in and update them.

In the past it hasn’t really mattered as significantly as it is now going to matter because in the past I could search for people or organizations by name. Now I can search for “People who work at Champlain College” or “Students who go to Champlain College” and I can get a wonderful visual result of all of those people (my friends first and then others). In the view below I am able to see all the profile pictures in a grid format. I can also choose to see the results in list format.

Graph Search REsults

When I mouse over the individual’s picture I get even further information in a helpful pop up:

Facebook Graph Search Results

So you may be wondering what the big deal is.  Well there are two ways to look at this — and I look at it in both of these ways.

Way 1: HOLY CRAP THIS IS AMAZING! No. Really.  The ability to leverage the social graph of people to find places to eat, individuals with similar interests, pictures my friends or family took in different places at different times is super awesome! It’s like, “Hey Facebook…what took you so long!”.  The fact that it has taken this long to pull this together continues to surprise me.

Way 2: HOLY CRAP THIS IS TERRIFYING! Yes. Really.  If your privacy settings aren’t fully updated and you haven’t given careful consideration to the things you have “liked” and your interests, all sorts of craziness can ensue. Just check out some of these great searches that @tomscott has pulled together and posted on a special Tumblr page.

If I were a college student getting ready to apply for an internship or getting ready to graduate, I’d be a little nervous. What I’m finding is that I have students who feel very confident that they’ve locked down their profiles and so far the only person I haven’t been able to actually find on Facebook has been my colleague @jtrajewski who says he has a personal page, but all I can find is his official page. Of course, Jon is in Digital Forensics and those people are very, very careful about content they share with free social media sites…or with any website for that matter.  By the way, you should follow him. Go on. Go do it now. He’s super smart and knows all sorts of security things.

Anyway here are my tips for College Students (and others) who want to be prepared for the full roll out of Graph Search.

  • Only post what you are comfortable with ANYONE seeing. It’s not just about Grandma. It’s about an employer. It’s about law enforcement. It’s a spouse or a partner. Make sure you keep in mind that just because you share it with your friends doesn’t mean it couldn’t show up in search in some way. Remember, the only true privacy setting you have on Facebook is what you choose NOT to post.
  • Update your Privacy settings. Facebook recently made this “easier”. Just click on the little padlock to get some of the basics, or click on the gear and select Privacy Settings.  I’m fairly intentional about mine as I allow followers and I let people find me via my work phone and email as well as have search engines find me.  I do that because of the work I do. If I didn’t do this work, I’d change it. What follows are some screen shots that might help you to find and consider how you might want to address your global privacy settings.

privacy settings part 1


I’m also careful about my Timeline and Tagging.  I don’t let people post on my timeline, which frustrates them on my birthday, but other than that it’s not a big deal. They can still tag me in posts and comment on my posts so it all works out.  I review all posts that I’ve been tagged in before I allow them on my timeline as well. I use custom settings for “only me” for many things as well.

privacy settings part 2


Take a few minutes to review the help section on Facebook on Privacy with Graph Search: https://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch/privacy

  • Clean up your photos. This is no easy task. Facebook is not making it easy to do a global switch on the visibility of your images. Remember that cover photos are always public.  Each photo has it’s own privacy settings. If you don’t want things to come up you need to delete them or change the privacy settings on EACH ONE. Conversely if you DO want them to come up, adding in tags and a strong description will help people find you/your photo.
  • Clean up your groups and apps. Super simple. From your news feed just click on “more” next to the groups section in the left navigation (it is hidden until you mouse over it). This will give you a list of all the groups you belong to and you can then easily remove yourself from the groups you do not want to be associated with. Do the same thing for any Apps you are running. To do the same things for pages, you’ll have to go through the Activity Log.


  • Monitor your Timeline: Look through your Timeline and hide things that you don’t want people to see.  Please remember that this does NOT prevent others from seeing them if your friends have tagged you in them or if they can be associated with your friends in some way.  It just hides them from your Timeline.
  • Monitor your Activity Log: Can’t remember what pages or posts you liked? Can’t remember what you commented on? Check out that Activity Log. Consider it the main dashboard for every action you’ve taken on Facebook. This is where you see all the content you have posted based on category, such as the friends you friended and all the songs you listened to (with Spotify or other apps).  Once you remove something from here it is essentially removed from the interface… I won’t say it’s actually removed because, well, it’s the internet and we all know that means there’s a cache of this somewhere on some server. To get to your Activity Log click on that little gear, then click on privacy and then under “who can see my stuff” click on “use activity log”.  You’ll probably find some interesting surprises.

activity log

There you have it. Six things to do to get your Facebook profile ready for Graph Search.  Naturally you should do this every few months or so, or whenever Facebook makes a change (whichever comes first). Or whenever you forget to log out of your account and when you get home your cat is hanging around looking really, really innocent.


Jan 13

A joyful re-entry isn’t that hard…really!

I’m stunned. Seriously. It seems like just a few hours ago that I left campus for my sabbatical, and here it is already the third week of classes in the Spring 2013 semester. I’ve been officially back to work now for three weeks. And I’m already sick, and have already had to miss one of my classes (thankfully, didn’t need to cancel it since my partner in crime, Professor Kelly Thomas was fit and healthy!).

sicklolcat Put me back into the petri dish that is a college campus at the beginning of the semester and no matter how much antioxidant foods, and antibacterial soaps I utilize, it is no match.  For those of you who teach, you know what I mean.  That third week pandemic that hits every semester. It’s shear luck to beat it.  Clearly my luck in this case did not hold.

You’d think I’d be upset about it.

But I’m not.


I’ve been away for months. I’ve had the summer and fall of a lifetime enjoying this amazing privilege called “sabbatical”. I’ve rested. I’ve relaxed. I’ve re-energized.  I’ve done amazing things, like level my blood elf, Lisaralisa, to an 88, overcome my fear of riding motorcycles, continue on a journey of health and wellness and I’ve slept… a lot. Oh, and I’ve been writing a book too! But something in all of that has been missing.  As wonderful as it has all been (and it’s been wonderful!), there was something that I have come to realize about my absence that has moved my re-entry from being onerous and difficult to a time of joy.

I’ll start by saying that it was clear to everyone, even myself, that I was burned out, exhausted and needed a break. Life as an administrator was very difficult and even my spring semester last year, when I no longer had the administrative responsibilities was still very difficult. I am the first to admit I was not a pleasant person to be around, and certainly not a good model for my students.  I even questioned if I should continue being a teacher. I’ve been doing this for thirteen years.  I didn’t feel I could reach the students any longer.  I walked into my sabbatical unsure, unclear, exhausted, and burned out.


Thanks to several former students (you know who you are), I pretty quickly came to realize that I love teaching and I love being in the classroom with students who are learning, growing, and teaching me new things every day.

This became even more clear to me as I walked back onto campus this January. My first day back, I started meeting with students. My first office hours were jammed packed. My classes have been fun, engaging, and super interesting. Quite joyful actually.After just a few short weeks into my sabbatical I was able to notice that the one thing I missed was the interaction I had with students.

It’s all about the students.

The reason why I became a professor in the first place was to teach. I felt that my background and interests would translate well into the classroom and that I could bring a lot to students. Over the years I’ve had good classes and bad classes. I’ve had great relationships with students and I’ve had very bad situations happen. It’s been an amazing ride and my sabbatical has provided me with a real gift.  A gift to come away, see things clearly, and remember why I decided to become a teacher in the first place.

My father was a teacher. I remember as a child watching him help high school students learn, and I remember him trying to teach me math (algebra was when we realized I make a really good writer). He was patient, kind, and met students where they were.  I’ve always respected his ability to calmly and thoughtfully reframe answers over and over helping his students make mental connections that allowed them to learn.  When I became a teacher I think he was proud of me.  We talked about it once recently while he was in the nursing home and he told me stories of his teaching and how he was able to connect with and reach his students in meaningful ways.  I talked about my work and I remember how engaged he got as I told him about issues with students. He would give me advice and we realized that we had some common ground, which is nice to remember.  My Dad passed away on Monday, December 3. This Thursday would have been his 77th birthday.  I think about this connection we shared as I walk into my classrooms now after sabbatical and after saying goodbye to this wonderful teacher and I am filled with gratitude.

And that, my friends, is why my re-entry is joyful.

Nov 12

Your Experiences + My Knowledge = Awesome Guidebooks

On the Internet no one knows you are a cat

Being a parent in the digital age is just as difficult as being a child growing up in the digital age.  It’s true. None of this communication technology comes with a manual really. Every day there’s a new tool, a new innovation, a new way to communicate and reach others. And somehow as parents, we are supposed to know how to guide our children through it…

Then of course there are those who believe because our children were born in the digital age they somehow have an internal “knowing”  that automagically allows them to fully understand all the communication technologies, know how to fix them, and how to use them accurately, so THEY should be showing their parents how to use them.


There are a host of guidebooks out there on how to keep your children safe from the “internet” and the “evils of Facebook”. There are experts who tell parents what to do, what rules to set, and how to be “age appropriate”. There is software that helps a parent monitor their children online, block content, and send text alerts.

And yet…

Mistakes are made every day. People get fired every day. Children post inappropriate content every day. Sexting, bullying, addiction, oh my….

With all the advice and guidebooks and warnings out there you’d think we would have adjusted by now. You’d think we would have this digital content thing all figured out.  That Emily Post would have written the book.  That the schools would have it all integrated into their curriculum.

Well it’s not happening.  Digital literacy, it turns out, is not easy to teach and certainly not easy to learn.

Why? Let’s see….

  1. No one can agree on the definition of “Digital Literacy”. Does it mean software literacy (like knowing how to use Excel)? Does it mean knowing how to program? Does it mean security and privacy? What about content creation? Or mobile? Is it about policies? Rules? Regulations? Is it all of these?  (here’s some interesting comparison resources: Microsoft, Wikipedia, National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the US Government.)
  2. It changes. EVERY DAY — seriously. New hardware, software, infrastructure, tools….every single day there is some new thing to learn, to try, to apply.  Who can keep up? Did you ever read about Moore’s Law? Yes, it’s about chips and yet every innovation in computing processing speed means our capacity for digital technologies and innovation increases. Check out this great article from CNET to get some tech perspective and increase YOUR digital literacy.
  3. We are all figuring it out as we go.  Some K-12 schools teach it, some don’t. Some colleges teach it, some don’t. Some people like to learn it…most don’t. Experts are narrowly focused in specific areas and when ever someone writes something about it, refer to item number 2 above.
  4. We are all busy making assumptions. How many of you have heard the term “digital native” and the idea that the “millennial” generation “get’s” technology which of course means that anyone born before 1983 doesn’t understand technology. Naturally because I was born in 1967 I clearly do not understand technology and thankfully made a child in 1996 who helps me navigate my every day life because she was born into all of this (just in case you missed it, that was sarcasm).  Take a minute to read this Population Reference Bureau report from 2009 to get a full sense of generations and the concept of “cohorts”. Once you look at it you will begin to understand why making assumptions about someone’s age and their technology use/comfort level is … well … to put it politely just stupid.  But, we do it all the time. Employers are hiring “young people” who can manage their communication technology because “they just get it” while I watch many of my students self select into majors where there isn’t “technology”. I myself wrote my dissertation topic back in 2007 about this very thing, and in the time that has passed, little has changed when it comes to people and their behavior around technology. Age does not determine anything about it. Period.

As you can see, it’s a complex challenge and there is no simple answer.  However, my goal is to respond to this challenge. With your help.

I’m writing two guidebooks.  One for parents and one for tweens/teens. Using my experiences and knowledge as a Mom and as a professor of digital marketing, coupled with a long history as a communication professional with degrees in communication, public relations, internet strategy management, and organizational behavior, I plan to write guidebooks that will get at the heart of these challenges. Avoiding tool-specific “how-to’s” and focusing more on ways in which to cope with specific situations, I hope to create useful guides that will help families and individuals become comfortable with navigating these ever-changing waters.

The key to all of this are the experiences of individuals just like you. Parents who are on the front lines every day. Young professionals who have survived high school and have successfully launched their professional lives whether that included college or not. Your experiences and advice will help make the vision of these guidebooks a reality.

Today I kick off two surveys:

  1. For young professionals 18 – 26 years old who don’t have children: What advice would you give to tweens/teens to manage their “digital life”? What would you say to parents? http://bit.ly/eybook201218-24
  2. For parents of children any ages: What are you and your child(ren)s experiences with digital communication tools, social networks, online games, mobile communication technologies? http://bit.ly/eybook2012parent

Please take a few minutes to fill out the appropriate survey. Share them with your friends.  Pass them around.  I’ll be collecting responses through December 2, 2012 and will be using them to add depth and context to the two guidebooks I’ve been working on during my sabbatical.

Starting next week I’ll begin blogging my book outlines, interesting facts, experiences and stories as I pull together the content to create the manuscripts.

The manuscripts will be turned over to Champlain College students in the Publishing in the 21st Century class in the spring semester for them to edit, publish, and market.  (I’ll be blogging about that process as well).

So will you join with me and help me write some guidebooks that provide context, advice, and support for families and individuals as we all work together to figure out how to successfully navigate our digital world?  I hope you will — I am very much looking forward to reading about your experiences!

Thank you.

Sep 12

Thank you Mr. Cannon for inspiring my daughter…and for inspiring me

On Monday morning I received a text message from my daughter.

She asked me if I could take her to lunch that day.  I fired off a list of things I had to do as I was walking on the treadmill (don’t do this at home, it’s very dangerous to text and treadmill at the same time).  Honestly, what was she thinking, asking me something silly like that.

And then I got her response.

Mr. Cannon died.

Just like that. Everything stopped.

Mr. Cannon died.

George Cannon, South Burlington High School Teacher via the Burlington Free Press

Photo via the Burlington Free Press. George Cannon teaching Chemistry class.

And just like that everything changed.

Several days have now passed. I won’t bore you with the details of the process we’ve gone through here in my household except to say that it’s been a time of sadness, tears, avoidance, reflection, laughter, stories, and unease.

My heart goes out to Mr. Cannon’s family and close friends and to his students. Based on the memorial group in Facebook, it is clear that he touched so many lives in a positive way, it is almost unbelievable.

But I believe it.

I’ve seen what he has done for my daughter in just a few short weeks. She went into her chemistry class with a sense of uncertainty, and some curiosity…and came out after the first day ecstatic.  I began to hear stories of burp charts, juggling, chemistry experiments, and saw her come alive as she talked about her favorite class and what a great day she had.

As an educator myself reading the comments from students (even some of my students) who had him at South Burlington has been a learning opportunity. Taking a break from my teaching on sabbatical has allowed me to rest, refresh and begin to think about my teaching approach. I never thought that a man I never met would leave me with inspiration to dig even deeper to explore how I might do things differently. Change my approach. Rethink my process.

And yet, he has.

There is much to say about a man who can touch lives of people he hasn’t even met.

I’m grateful today for the internet. No. Really.  It is because of YouTube, and several video interviews that George Cannon participated in that I can be even further inspired and challenged in my work.

On Classroom Climate:

On Advice to Educators:

As the SB Community comes together to mourn and then celebrate the life of this amazing man (here’s a link to the obit) I’m left with a sense of loss of never having had the chance to know this man personally, and yet also a sense of optimism as I reflect on his advice that has been left for educators all over to consider:

The biggest impediment to optimal student learning is the limitation of their teacher.

Anything that comes out of a student’s mouth, in my mind, is the beginning of correctness.

So thank you Mr. Cannon.  Thank you for what you have done for my daughter. For your kind words last week when she turned on the showers, and they wouldn’t stop, and you thanked her for creating a wonderful and memorable learning opportunity for the class as you raced around sopping up the water that was leaking everywhere.

Thank you for inspiring me to be an even better teacher.

Aug 12

Spark and Hustle

Who doesn’t need a little Spark and Hustle in their lives? Exactly!

Tory JohnsonI just returned from a wonderful conference in Boston where I had the opportunity to enjoy a speaker-packed day with a room full of women (and a few men) that focused in on all the things women entreprenuers need to know to be successful.  I met Tory Johnson in person, and if you haven’t heard her story of rising above a “down sizing” to carve out her own success, you’ve missed a fabulously inspiring story.

The day-long conference was packed full of energy, awesome swag, laughter, most excellent advice and tips, and a whole lot of women. Like…a lot of women.  For once, there was only one man on the agenda (vs. always seeing only one woman) and there were very few men in the audience.  It made for a very interesting and completely different vibe in the room. It. was. AWESOME.

Elaine Young at Spark and Hustle

Here I am at the beginning of the conference. Notice the awesome swag on the tables?

There were many things that made this conference especially inspiring for me….naturally I’ll share them here!

  1. The Road Trip: I had the pleasure of spending a car ride back and forth to the conference and a great night on the town in Boston with Kim Dubrul and Candy Weston. These two women entrepreneurs inspire me with their strength, creativity, and courage.  They are following their passion every day. They remind me that no matter what the obstacle, you can overcome it and do awesome things.
  2. The Speakers: The speaker line up was really powerful. Women entrepreneurs sharing their experiences and their advice. The kick off speaker was one of the co-founders of Birchbox.  Katie Beauchamp talked us through what it took for Birchbox to launch — from crazy idea (wait, people will pay for samples from fashion brands? Oh yes they will!) to what it is like now that they have funding and continue growing.  What was major fun for me about this one was that as I live tweeted about the company, I actually converted a sale for Birchbox!  There were so many other great speakers but two really stood out for me.  Corissa St. Laurent  with Constant Contact did a super job talking about “Engagement Marketing”.  So super in fact that I retweeted a Constant Contact post and won a copy of  Gail Goodman’s new book, “Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wines in a Socially Connected World”. Can’t wait to receive it!  Finally the woman who spoke about Accounting was super funny, totally engaged, and had everyone wishing they were her clients.  I, of course, was thinking, “I wonder if she has thought about teaching!” Seriously. Follow this woman. Her name is Dawn Brolin and she co-hosts a radio show called RadioFreeQB (no I’m not kidding).
  3. This Inspiration: I walked away from this conference inspired to push myself even more, start blogging again (yeah, it’s been a long time), fired up to work on my sabbatical project (oh yeah, I’m on sabbatical! More on that later.), and ready to get more serious about my own speaking. It’s time for me to expand beyond the classroom and do more speaking engagements, so as you look around my blog you’ll see that I’ve added a page on booking me as a speaker or workshop presenter.
I walked away from this conference with inspiration, closer friends, and pride for the wonderfully strong, passionate, and courageous women I met and interacted with at the conference.  It just takes a little “Spark and Hustle”.