Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Calling all Singles!

Over the last few weeks I have been helping a former co worker out with building up her business. Cookology is a recreational cooking school, with its own blog and a great location in the Dulles Town Center mall. Loudoun County is a suburb of Washington, DC. I live in a more urban area of Washington, DC and I find it hard to meet good quality men who I'd like to date. One of the areas that we're trying to get going is Single's Night.

I have put out the feelers to some single's event organizers, some meet-up groups and some of my single friends. In the DC area, there are many singleton's and we all could tell our horror stories. However, what better idea to meet someone than in a class where you both have a common interest. For me, cooking is a social event. You've got great food, good conversation and wine. I love to entertain. I am always looking to learn a different recipe, and I attempt to master it until I deem it "perfection."

If you're looking for single, looking to mingle in the DC metro area, get into touch with me and we'll get some events up and running on the September calendar.

The power of the Mommy Bloggers

During my morning routine of job searching and hanging out around the house, I was watching the Today Show when they did a segment on Mommy Bloggers. These bloggers will review products and offer tips to other Mom's.

Tori Spelling was co-hosting the final hour with Kathie Lee Gifford and she said that she felt that the books that she had read were outdated. The blogs that the Mom's run offer a support system and virtual network for Moms with questions or concerns. Tori went even further to say that she trusts these women's opinions and suggestions because they are Mom's and have done the same. The power of these Mommy bloggers is probably huge. Everyone in marketing knows that referrals are the cheapest and most effective way to continue to grow your business. I think about all my friends who ask for my dentist, who I love. I always give out her name and number and a good number of them go to her. My ENT I found through a bunch of co workers.

At one of my former employer's Sunrise Senior Living we were trying to push our communities that we helped market to use the "Friends & Family" referral program because of the low cost-per-lead. We put together a program where we'd give the resident or their family member $500 for every person they referred to Sunrise that moved into a community. The success of this was hard to measure because the communities used to code the referral source to Site & Signage. They are now not running any print media for the core business. I wonder how well the "Site & Signage" is treating them now?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Beach weekend

Everywhere you go you hear about the deep and dark recession that we're in. I had the ability to get away to the beach this weekend with a few friends. One of my friend's mutal friend's had a place down in Ocean City on 69th street. We headed down late Friday night, and began our fun on Saturday.

The place we grabbed breakfast from had people standing outside of it all morning. Recession? I guess people still have to eat. Then we headed to the beach and it definitely wasn't as crowded as it has been in the past. But there were a good amount of people on the beach, spending money on their sleeping arrangements, food and entertainment.

The Boardwalk was full of people, and there were even lines to get food. Where is the recession? Not on vacation. I was not spending a lot of money while I was down there.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Interview with the Vampire...

Since my position has been eliminated almost a month ago I have been actively interviewing with various industries and organizations. The last few days I have been on a few interviews in the restaurant industry. Now each corporation has the right to be as rigid or as structured as they want to be in the interview process. However, they should not connect the dots and make assumptions about your life and the way in which you think and work.

This one company that I interviewed with today had me thinking that I had issues. The guy was late to the interview, and had to go upstairs to get my application and resume. They have a test that you're supposed to take that requires you to do long division by hand and move the decimal places in places that I haven't gone in years. Then they ask you 10 questions like what would your previous employer say about you, etc. Then they ask you back for a final interview. The final interview was the interview with the vampire. He asked me about my previous work and I told him I was laid off. He then started trying to be my therapist and talk about deeper issues, and even quoted Shakespeare. I was not excited at all by this, and at the end of the interview he told me he was gonna think on it. I was gonna think on it too, about not seeking employment with them anymore.

I can honestly say that it was one of the worse interviews that I have ever been on. I don't know if it was our chemistry or what, but we did not get along nor were we a good fit. I like to think that I interview well, and this has got me thinking about things for sure. Each interview is an opportunity to learn and grow about yourself. I am gonna learn something from this I am sure of it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ever run a meeting?

I have never held the official title of Meeting Planner. However, I have over 7 years experience with non profits who put on small to large shows. I can still remember my first job and my first Annual Meeting at AUSA where I made lots of great friends.

Each year, AUSA hosts their Annual Meeting in Washington DC. The first year that I worked there was the last year we hosted at the Marriott Wardman Park & Omni Shorham hotels. The meeting started at the Marriott 50 years prior to my start date and outgrew that hotel quickly. The existing convention center was too small for a meeting of our size so we did overflow and additional exhibits at the Omni. At my first Annual Meeting there were 40,000 military and industry professionals at the show.

The Annual Meeting's show size requires a lot of the 100 person staff to attend the meeting and stay in the hotel and provide 24/7 support. It means long hours and lots of socializing and entertaining. My department had me check into the hotel the Friday before the show, and I was running exhibitor registration. We used fax forms for the registration and the badge program that we used did not alphabetize the badges. I had to proof, print and alphabetize approximately 8000 badges. As I was preparing to leave for the hotel, I locked my keys in my car, while it was running. I didn't have a spare set, but luckily I did have AAA. They arrived and got me into my car.

As soon as I stepped foot on site at the Marriott, I knew what they had told me was true. I was as prepared as I could be but nothing really does prepare you for the onslaught. We had a lot of good times, and fun stories. My very first boss has become one of my dearest friends and he still works there today. Each October, the meeting is held the weekend of my birthday and I still celebrate it with him downtown while he's at the meeting.

The following year, the new convention center opened up and it changed the way that the meeting was run. We were able to accomodate more exhibitors. I hear from my buddy in the year 2012 they will occupy the entire convention center. The first convention center year, I lost 10 lbs while working the show. The size of the center is huge! I highly recommend it for large and small meetings. AUSA puts on an amazing meeting and in my years of experience since, I haven't seen a show of it calibre.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Early 4th of July Weekend!

As many of you begin to head out to your long weekend vacations, it seems the my work has just begun. I am talking about my family is heading to town. The hurricane arrives around 1 pm tomorrow and I will be seeing them for better or worse till Sunday. Before they head into town I have many things to accomplish!

I will not be having your typical 4th of July BBQ fare this weekend. Why? The extended family is having a wedding in the Dulles area. What does this mean? Lots of drinks, lots of food and plenty of laughs. Did I mention little sleep? Being unemployed does have it's perks, especially when you're a consultant and you can make your own hours.

If you're in Loudoun County this weekend you should definitely check out Cookology. Can you tell I have a new gig and I am trying to suggest it to all those greater DC residents? Why? Because cooking is fun. If you're new to cooking or you just want to improve your skills on the knife, we've got something for you, your family and even your fellow co-workers.

Hope you all eat too much, drink too much and you're merry!

Happy Early 4th of July Peeps!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Kids & Obesity

It's been in the news lately that America is FAT! Even our poor kids are getting a bad rap. How do they get these unhealthy habits you ask? I believe it starts with our relationship with food.

This news story calls our attention to the staggering rates of obesity in children statewide. As a northerner I am not surprised by the southern states leading the charge in obesity. All that comfort food and delicious delights to enjoy. As a young adult I have struggled with my own relationship with food. So you're reading this and you're like what is the point of all of this?

My new gig where I am responsible for generating new business hosts cooking classes for kids. It helps teach them how to prepare their own meals, and can even help them improve their relationship with food. You can sign up your kids for a special one time class or even an intense summer camp. If you're interested in helping your kid fight the fat or learn more about cooking, please visit their website at www.cookologyonline.com.

The product and the service are great. Culinary masters created the material and execute the program. Drop me a line there at beth@cookologyonline.com if you would like some more info.