wineyards2015-eblast2 I am super excited to announce that Old Town Suds is participating in the City Paper's WineYards at Nats Park. Over 20 wineries will be providing wines for festival attendees to sample (and purchase) plus your favorite wine soap store will be there too!

Ticket includes: unlimited wine samplings and souvenir glass. Best part? If you use our coupon code: OTSWY10 you'll get $10 off of your already super affordable ticket.

Wineries & vineyards include: Opici Wines, Red Ink Imports, Senator Wines, Folio Fine Wine Partners, Vina Bujanda, Joao Portugal Ramos, Franco Espanoles, Vini Inc, Tradewinds Specialty, and more to be announced soon!

Hope to see you at WineYards!

How to Save the Lives of 600,000 Children Per Year

Myriam Sidibe is a warrior in the fight against childhood disease. Her weapon of choice? A bar of soap. For cost-effective prevention against sickness, it’s hard to beat soapy hand-washing, which cuts down risk of pneumonia, diarrhea, cholera and worse. Sidibe, a public-health expert, makes a smart case for public-private partnerships to promote clean hands — and local, sustainable entrepreneurship. - TED

#sbww14 part 1

A few years ago, actually, not that long after my surgery; I met this blogger named Jane. I'd been following her blog somehow. (I really can't tell you HOW I found out about her.) Fast forward to the weekend of the Super Bowl, and there was this blogger meet upScreen Shot 2014-02-10 at 9.09.14 PM I had just started working on taking Old Town Suds to market so it was a good time to test out some selling points. I met a few other bloggers and we have all stayed in touch in carrying degrees. But - what spawned from that informal meeting at Caffee Amouri surrounded by uber delicious coffee, was a small business group.

Over the next few months our meeting grew from every so often to monthly to "omg I need a relief from the show schedule let's get wine after the show".  We've become known for our coffee and wine habits. Which later turned into coffee, wine and detox on scrumptious juice habits.

This past summer, our meetings included our husbands. They started to wonder what we actually accomplished at our meetings. Was it just to hangout? (yes) Just to cheer each other on? (yes) Consume mass amounts of cheese? (hell, yes) But from weddings, births of first babies, unexpected loss (be prepared to ugly cry), and huge business wins - we've been there to support each other as we grow our businesses.

This past weekend, we gathered for our first overnight retreat. We'd always talked about doing something but understanding the handbag pockets only go so deep (and I'm rather picky about hotels), we ended up a Housman B&B, otherwise known as my dining room and guest rooms.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 9.50.47 PM

Stay tuned for Part 2.

Alexandria Events About D-Day

For the last year I have been involved with the Alexandria Sister City Committee - Caen, France. This year, we are holding a few events I thought a few readers might be interested in.

Join us for two exciting events commemorating D-Day! Both events are FREE to the public but reservations are required. Please call 703-824-1186 to reserve a space.

Thursday Night Movie

A film, D-Day: Down to Earth – Return of the 507th, will be shown Thursday, June 2, at 7:00 p.m. in the Goodwin Hall Auditorium. The documentary recounts the history of the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment through remarkable battles in World War II and the inspiring culmination of its story 60 years later to reconnect for one final mission – to honor their fallen brothers and establish a legacy for future generations. The running time is 56 minutes.

The documentary includes a first-hand account by Colonel John Marr of the D-day events and is a precursor to the upcoming Saturday morning program on June 4.

Saturday Morning Lecture

Please join us on June 4 at 10:00 a.m. in the Goodwin House Auditorium as Goodwin House Alexandria and the Alexandria-Caen Sister City Committee bring a special event to the Goodwin House community in recognition of D-Day. Colonel John Marr will be speaking about his experience as a Lieutenant in Company “G” of the untested 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborn Division, when they descended into Normandy, France on D-Day. This is a follow up to the showing of the film D-Day: Down to Earth. Also present will be The Sister’s Cities Committee members, along with Alexandria City Mayor, William Euille.

We hope to see you at one or both of the events. Just don't forget to RSVP to: 703-824-1186.

Leadership is a Discussion

One thing that I keep reminding myself of is a comment Jim Kouzes made in the Open Leadership discussion I attended a few weeks back. He said, "...leadership is a discussion; that is why social media is so important".  You can't lead others without talking, listening responding. This statement seems to be the answer to many questions people have been asking me lately.

The other day a coworker was asking me, why I love twitter so much. I asked her if she remembered what it was like to send her first email (she did). Take that exciting feeling of using a new technology, a new way to communicate with someone and you have twitter. Never before have I been able to communicate with NFL players, my favorite actors, and people like Jim Kouzes without a multi-step process that would probably end up with me being disappointed. Now, they actually talk to me! I am a better follower, in this instance, because they are directly communicating with me. The people that I highly respect that are normally out of reach are having discussions with me! They are making me feel special and connected because they are taking time out of their day to send me something in 140 characters.

So, why do people still only have one way communication with their accounts when there can be such a great return on their tweets? This is actually starting to turn into a pet peeve of mine because so much can be accomplished by talking to someone with twitter.

An example: A few weeks ago, I was searching for people who talk about leadership. I found and followed a few accounts. One leadership consultant posted a tweet that asked people to fill out a survey for his new book about leadership. I was interested so I clicked over. The first questions asks if you are a leader or not. Point blank. Based on the tweets of this person, I think the question he was asking was, "Are you a CEO?" assuming that because you are a CEO you are a leader and if you are not a CEO you are not a leader. I asked for clarification to twitter. A month later, no response. Outside of completely disagreeing with the premise of the question, I really expected a response from the person! Now, they are down a follower. I want to chat with people. I want to know why you are different and special.

Another example is something that happened yesterday. One person I follow tweeted about a sale at one of my favorite stores. I then preceded to purchase a few items from the sale and my friend and I tweeted back and forth a bit about it; at one point I called her a bad influence. I wasn't expecting the store to respond, at all, even though we included them in several tweets. Then:

How awesome is it that the store responded? They did have to. We were just having a conversation about them in a positive manner i.e. we both got great deals online at a sale that we were reminded about through twitter. 

Leaders can really take advantage of this. They can help develop their followers and find new ones. They can aid other leaders and connect people together. It is exactly what others are looking for! Plus, we are impressed and excited when you respond; which, in the long run, creates a more dedicated follower. 

Social & Leadership

The Friday before last I took an hour out of my day to listen to a webinar about Charlene Li's latest book, Open Leadership. (Shortly, you will be able to listen to this webinar and the other in the series as well.) This particular session was on redefining leadership. What exactly does leadership mean in the world of social media? Charlene had a great guest speaker, Jim Kouzes who wrote the Leadership Challenge and, his new book, The Truth About Leadership.

Two things really struck me about the webinar. The first is a comment Jim made. He said that he uses more social media tools, and uses them more often, than his 21 year old grandson. Then, he tweeted back to me: 

In my day job, I utilize The Leadership Challenge to teach leadership skills; now, the author is talking to me! He provided a personality for the book that I have read and have had many leadership students read. And he says he is more effective at social media than a person who is stereotypically suppose to excel at social. This is turning into more than I ever expected to get out of a free event. He is showing that "getting" social media is a mindset, not an age requirement. He is showing how he is leading with the tool as well. He is responding to his "membership".

Second, he is leading openly. What do I mean by that? Jim is being authentic about who is and what he stands for by putting himself out there. Unlike other "leadership experts" that you can find all over Twitter, he is responding. He is making himself vulnerable. He is really modeling the way for other leaders and executives. (Area 1, anyone catch that?) He answers questions and retweets too! It is exactly what I am looking for in a leader. He is demonstrating what a leader is in a different tool that is assessable by all. 

Fast forward a bit. I was in a meeting with 2 other staff and a member. The member was saying how she understands social but she isn't sure about it, but she really wants to do better. I went off on my little spiel and ended with what Jim taught me. CEOs, associations, and businesses in general need to embrace the tool as a means of leadership. It is a way to show who the organization is, what it stands for and where it is going. For the CEO, it is a way to lead your membership and inspire them in ways that haven't been attainable before. It can show your authenticity in ways that required you to be in person for in the past. In the end, the person got it. It took some time, but the added input on social not just connecting people, but allowing you to lead really hit home for her. 


Board Leadership - What Not To Do

The Situation

The other night I was at a committee meeting for a group I volunteer with. The group, in a round about way, does have an organization that it is affiliated with and a board member from that organization came to our meeting to give us an update on ways we could get involved with upcoming events. We are going to call him Al*.

Al came to the meeting about 30 minutes late for a 1 hour meeting. The committee members didn't know Al was coming, but our Chair may not have passed that information along. Al was hoping to get us all involved on an event that is this coming weekend and wanted us to come to their annual meeting. But, Al couldn't give us any information on either opportunity. Al didn't know the dates of the annual meeting, but he did know it was coming up!

Al continued talking, causing out meeting to run late. He was trying his hardest to provide all the information he knew. But, outside of the event this coming weekend, we weren't sure how we could be involved. We knew the Board wanted our aid but were confued with how they needed us.

*Not the real Al So what can we learn from Al?

First, educate your Board members. Al had a captive audience of 20+ people including the Mayor of the city for a few minutes. He should have this information at his fingertips. I had my iPad with me and had to lookup the dates of the Annual Meeting for him. Al should have been ready to answer any questions we have, within reason, about that meeting; really sell it to us.

Second, that we, as nonprofit staff, need to teach our Board members what they should be doing in these situations. Imagine what all Al would have been able to accomplish if he would have had the right tools at our meeting? He could have inspired us to really lead our community to do more great things. Instead, we were all thinking about when the meeting was going to be dismissed. We were ready to leave and were not listening to AL. Board members need to be organization promoters and take advantage of every opportunity.

Third, Al needed to define his ask. He needed to be armed with specifics of what the organization needed from our group. Al needed to be prepared to share that with us and get us on board. Then, Al should have gotten a firm commitment from all of us.

In The End

Luckily, we have some really great volunteers and we are able to make the upcoming event.  Based on the email chain, everyone has figured out everything else as well. Learn from "Al," and be prepared! 


*Al is obviously not the board member's real name and I am purposely trying to hit which organization Al is a board member to. 

Chief Collaboration Officer

The last few days, HBR has caused me to start thinking, yet again. There was an article posted to their blog about how each organization needs to have a Chief Collaboration Officer. As I started reading and processing the article, it made perfect sense.

Increasingly, companies are embracing collaboration as part of their strategy to grow, by cross-selling products to existing customers and innovating through the recombination of existing technologies. But this won't work unless employees work effectively across silos — across sales offices, business units, sales, product development, and marketing.

This new Chief would be the person responsible to connecting the different areas within the organization and beating down those silos. Beyond this, new media would be housed under this Chief. Which, in my opinion, is the perfect location. This person is someone who would teach their staff how to develop relationships on and offline. Staff in other departments would know who to go to for specific projects. They would be the people connecting others together to work more efficiently. They would be the new type of project manager.

...craft a holistic solution to collaboration, one that involves strategy, HR, product development, sales solutions, marketing, and IT. In short, he needs to be a masterful collaborator. Choosing a CCO is less about which role a person currently occupies and more about whether he or she has the skills. Pick the best collaborator.

In a older, hierarchal system, this would be extremely difficult to implement. This new type of employee could be perceived as rocking the boat. I would encourage those who see this type of position this way to examine their structure. Where are the silos? Are there any? Is this type of collaboration happening naturally? Are specific people already fulfilling this role but without the Chief title? If they are, connect with those individual. You never know, you might already have someone on staff who is perfect for this role.

Blogworld - Day 1

It is Friday in Las Vegas, the city that really doesn't sleep. And I thought NYC had the hold on that statement. It seemed like most people were going to be when we were getting up at 7 am.

The best part of the conference for me so far, has been the expo hall. There are a lot of products and services I have been wanting to learn more about. The best place for me to do that is here. I am kinda excited to try out a few new toys when I get back to DC.

Networked Nonprofit

Session! Have been slow coming for me. I did catch a the end of an awesome session that Beth Kanter was a part of with Clare (@hope140) from Twitter. It wasn't anything too new for me personally, but they did provide some nice tips for organizations.

"We make many mistakes; social media is forgiving if you are real"

It is simple for nonprofits to excel in twitter; just follow Clare's 5 steps: T.W.E.E.T.

Target - you can't get anywhere if you don't know what your goal is and you need to customize your account accordingly. I am so tired of the standard twitter background that is everywhere. At least pick another option that they have. Even better, would be a background with your logo and contact information on it. Then, serve as an information source and personal face to the organization. It is social for a reason, so get out there! But, no matter your goal, customize, customize, customize

Write - Tweet! Get your worlds and thoughts out there. See what works! If it doesn't work, change your strategy.

Engage - Get people interested in what you are saying. Jump in in conversations. Favorite tweets and retweet. Engage with your followers. My biggest pet peeve when organizations don't do this!!

Explore - Search! Search for when people are talking about you and the issues that you are connected to. That is how people notice you. Good way to do this? Influencers. Develop relationships with key influencers, media, etc to eventually help promote your cause/issue.

Track - If it is working, then you need to learn how to simplicity. Depending upon your job, so it takes 30 minutes to 1 hour to manage your tweeting.

The Biggest Test

I cannot believe I am about to post this, but we test drove a Ford today. Thanks to the TWiT, Joel hears about Leo's car with Sync all the time. Since Ford is a major sponsor here, we decided to learn more about sync and to see if it does what we are looking for.

Ford Flex Test Drive

The main thing is that we want to be able to control our iPhone's through the car and have an integrated navigation system. Both of which we saw could be accomplished through their demo of sync on the show floor. So I signed us up for a test drive. Yup, I am a sucker. If it is well made and does what I want it to do, then I am sold.

Tomorrow we are going to test drive the Edge which is another car they have. The Flex, although rather nice, is just way too much car for us. Joel wants the Focus, I am pushing for something bigger. The Edge may just be the compromise we need. Plus, it has the new sync features in it that I want to demo.

The Future of Blogging Platforms

This panel was interesting to me because, well, I am trying to decide if I want to stick with Squarespace. Do I pay for a designer or do I totally switch? The facilitator is the head honcho at Woopra, which I love.

Future proofing your blog. The constant battle of staying up to-date. It is something that I am currently struggling with day in and day out. What should I be doing, especially when I feel my current platform isn't giving me the support it feel it should.

The best and worst part is the session never covered that. It did lead to a very interesting conversation with John Foster afterwards. We met John way back in '08 when visiting San Francisco and loved bumping into him during the session. Our conversation revolved around who actually owns the content on a blog if it isn't self-hosted. That really made me reconsider using WordPress and our server. Then, a Squarespace rep came over to talk to use because he recognized us from our many twitter "conversations". What he said about V6, which will be (fingers crossed) rolling out shortly, is making me rethink everything. I don't have the best answer yet, but I have a feeling I should wait it out and see. I am very intrigued by what he had to say (which I can't share here, sorry!).

With that, I will leave you with the quote of the session: "We'd do file management as well as SharePoint does the blogs" Sachin Agarwal

Videos from LA

Finally,  the videos from LA! I am slowly getting these off of the Flip and into iMovie. I will keep posting updates as I get more videos uploaded. 

The first, Cyndi Lauper with the song we were waiting for:

Closing Party with Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Want to Have Fun from Steffanie Feuer on Vimeo.


In other news, I have no harddrive space left after these, so I am getting a super big harddrive next week :-) I remember when I thought I would never fill an 80GB drive. Now, I have done that several times over. Oh, well. It was worth it for these videos. 

And Go!

It is official! The opening celebration is tonight. The volunteer brunch was this morning and my Young Association Executive Committee is "facilitating" (we are learning about leadership right now). For your viewing pleasure:

Yesterday, I was in Pasadena at our golf tournament raising some funds for one of my programs. 

I met Marcus Allen there too!


And my committee Chair Aaron:

Social + Community

Over the past year I have focused a portion of my time in the office on our young professional community's social efforts. The past two months have led to great strides in what we have been able to accomplish with the tools we use. Three weeks ago a national news source came to a happy hour I hosted and we were the top headline. Two weeks ago I was in Chicago for an event I was hosting and an on-site registrant came because of a facebook fan page update.

This morning, I was finishing my yougart and a tweet pops up that I wasn't expecting. (My program aggregates specific keywords I have set.) A person I haven't met wrote a thank you tweet to us for hosting an event last Friday; then a tweet went out about blog post was written about the community by someone else I haven't met. Both tweets were re-tweeted with all of our info over and over and over again. With a little analysis, from the first tweet, we had over 5,000 impressions. This is mostly in front of people we haven't reached before. For our community, with just over 700 members, this is a big deal! Add the second blog post in there, coupled with the total impact of the first tweet, and we are at 15,000 impression. On a Monday morning.

Now, take this to the next level. Where could this go? The great, and scary part, is that it can be taken to a whole new level. If we continue to cultivate this audience, on and off line, we will have a whole new grouping of potential members and program attendees. Plus, they are already more likely to get involved with my origination based on the positive experiences that were just reviewed. So, I think it was a great Monday for the community.