Monday, November 24, 2014

What Birthdays Mean at 38-Years-Old

I woke up this morning at 3 a.m. with a surge of energy and a house full of sleeping family members. I thought about trying to go back to sleep, but after a few minutes decided the effort was futile and headed upstairs to brew some coffee and read. It is my birthday today and I am now 38-years-old.

Lately I've been investigating spirituality and trying to be open to what the universe is trying to tell me. Sometimes that means I realize great insights about myself and where I belong. Most often it finds me reaching rather than being, struggling while I would be better off letting go. There are many lessons I have yet to learn.

Family means more to me now than ever. Margaux lost another tooth this weekend and while she sleeps upstairs with her winnings tucked securely in her stuffed crocodile, my mother who is visiting from Missouri, is sleeping next to her...two of my favorite people in the world asleep in the same bed. This makes me happy.

I have no grand trip planned for my birthday. No parties. No sexy dinners scheduled with my husband. My Instagram feed shows me the possibilities. Pictures of the exotic locations my friends are visiting or extravagant food and drinks that beg to be consumed populate the app on my phone. But these quiet minutes before the entire house wakes up seem almost magical, like the world gave me extra time that no one else knows about. This is my secret bonus to use as I see fit, the luxury of time for self-reflection. This is the gift I've been waiting for without even realizing it. Thank you. Thank you.

What birthdays mean to me at 38-years-old is different than what they meant to me at 28. My desires sound so simple. But the fact that my birthday sits so close to Thanksgiving, a holiday focused on gratitude, doesn't mean that I desire nothing but altruistic dreams for a better tomorrow. No. Rather, I find myself imagining new dishes for the cupboard (all artistically complementing every dish, all matching) and for the upstairs guest bathroom to be fixed (a dismantled toilet seems to be taking forever to be repaired). With desires like these, it seems almost comical and wasteful to want a fabulous new suit or a long deep-tissue massage.

What I want to say is that I'm thankful to be here. I'm thankful for this life that I have full of friends and family and bathrooms that need to be repaired. I'm grateful for my desires, whatever they might be, sexy or not. I'm happy I have all kinds of possibilities, new paths to take in the future. Happy Birthday to another year of growth and opportunity. Happy Birthday to new dreams and old. Happy Birthday to this crazy body of mine. Happy Birthday to me.



Friday, November 21, 2014

Where I'll Be Speaking In 2015

This year has been incredible for speaking engagements! I have to admit that though it can be tough to do so much traveling, I do enjoy meeting new people and having the opportunity to explore new ideas with them.

In 2014, I transitioned from primarily talking about social media and branding to talking about other big ideas, like how to be more productive ("How I Get Stuff Done") and creative topics like how to find your voice. While I'll still be talking about all things social media in 2015, I have been working on a new keynote (and book, God help me) about overcoming three primary fears that everyone shares to reach greater success. I'm working on this because it is something I care very deeply about and while it may seem a little "woo woo" of a topic, there is plenty of science to back up how these fears can impact our lives. 

My mentors for speaking have always included the brilliant Jeffrey Cufaude and Jeff Hurt and this year was no different. Highlights from my interactions with them have included Cufaude's insights on Association Chat (the chat happens on Twitter at hashtag #assnchat every Tuesday at 2 pm ET) and a long, fascinating discussion about brain science and learning with Hurt at the American Society for Association Executives' Annual Meeting. I can never get enough of these guys and I thank my lucky stars that they are a part of my life.

Speaking in 2015

So far, next year I am scheduled to speak at a few events that sound incredible. Those that I can share, include:

ASAE's Online Conference for Small Staff Associations (February 2015 - Online) - This is the second time I'll be speaking at this event. I'll be part of a panel of speakers discussing, "Solutions for Small Staff Membership Challenges."

ASAE's Great Ideas Conference (March 2015 - Orlando, FL) - For this conference I will be moderating a discussion between some fascinating individuals for "Next Generation Learning: EdTech Partnerships That Work" - Great Ideas is one of my favorite conferences of all-time and I am excited to be a part of it again for 2015!

PMPI's April Educational Experience: The Latest on Mobile Apps (April 2015) - I'll be presenting and then moderating a panel focused on the trends and best practices for organizations adopting and using mobile apps for their events.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's Health Care and Business Institute (July 2015 - Phoenix, AZ) - I'll be leading two sessions about social media at this conference and I've heard that other speakers will include the lovely and super smart Adele Cehrs, so I'm pumped.

National Association of Home Builders's Association Leadership Institute (July 2015 - Pittsburgh, PA) - I'll be leading training on social media for representatives looking to enhance their skills.

American Society for Association Executives Annual Meeting (August 2015 - Detroit, MI) - Did you know I'm in love with productivity methods and learning about ways to get more done with the time I have? Well, Scott Oser of Scott Oser Associates, Inc., and I will be leading a crazy fun session about the tools you need for better productivity.

WebLink Summit (October 1, 2015 - Las Vegas, NV) - I'm sharing lessons learned and talking about cultural shifts and technology changes in "From Slam Poetry to Social Media Success"at the WebLink Summit.

 Looking for a speaker?

If you are looking for a keynote or breakout speaker in 2015, I am open to adding a limited amount of speaking engagements for the year. 

You can visit my page about speaking and an example of my speaking style may be seen here or here and you can contact me at