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Archive for June, 2013

Why Write and Publish, Anyway?

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

To my Fab 13 – you may know that I’ve been off talking all about book writing and publishing here locally this past week.  I’m happy to report that the spirits of both writing and publishing are alive and well in central Indiana!

Also, I was asked about my slides.  A modified version of them are over at slideshare and below.  There’s always more to say about writing and publishing, but here’s a good start to get the dialogue going (and while Slideshare’s upload bumped around my final slide, I’m purposefully NOT going to fix it, to stand by my point about art never really being perfect, or finished when it comes to books):

Career Development through Book Writing & Publishing by Dr. Erin Albert from Erin Albert


Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

The word of the day HAS to be: authenticity.

First, I found myself (along with many of my friends) ripping through Twitter and Facebook this morning to follow the SCOTUS decision on DOMA and Proposition 8.  Then, after the holding, the comments started flying–positive and negative.  I watched as though it was Wimbledon, back and forth, utterly fascinated.

Whether or not you believe DOMA is right or wrong, and whether or not you believe gay marriage is right or wrong, at the end of the day, to thine own self, one must be true.  I am proud to live in a country where justice does try to be equal, and where we can all discuss and debate and share our authentic opinions–and even agree to disagree if they don’t match.

I think the most striking piece today around this subject was an article that a friend on Facebook wrote, about his own struggle for supporting GLBT people (one of his own family members included), while also being a Republican.  It takes guts to argue with one of the two major political parties in this country, ESPECIALLY when running for office.  I can relate to his story – as I just returned from Yale Women’s Campaign School, more confused than ever about what party really represents my own political views.  (I am a fiscal conservative and social liberal–seriously, which party is that!?!?)

But–despite the fact that my own political views don’t fit neatly into one of the two political boxes, the ONE thing that stuck in my head both from the above as well as Yale was that above all, to thine own self be true – and stay strong on being 100% you.

Last, I gave a talk to some graduate students at IUPUI today about writing and publishing.  But it turned into a parade of all my failures in life – pink slips, not passing the bar the first time I took it, etc.  (I mean, there’s a LOT of material here to work with, I realize…)  But for me, while I don’t like talking about myself, and I REALLY don’t enjoy talking about my failures, I sort of felt…a little more real after I shared those stories.  No one is perfect.  And if I can share my mistakes, blunders, pitfalls–not only does that potentially help others avoid them–but I also get the shot at being…authentic.

Authenticity in this day and age I think is a hallmark of a true leader.  Anyone can get up and tout all their awesomeness to an audience.  But it is a much, much harder thing to do to stay true to yourself and expose your failures along with your awesomeness.  Only then do you get the full, true [Hollywood] story.

I’ll end with a quote I shared today from the great e.e. cummings, which sums this post up WAY better than I’m articulating, and goes like this:

“To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.”

I won’t.

I hope you won’t.

Hair Hangover Day

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

I haz it.

Not to get all meme on you, but…

…hangover hair day is that first day AFTER you go to the salon and they spend at least 4 hours making you look like a rockstar.  There’s nothing better than fresh salon hair.

Then, you go home, and wash your hair.  You try like &*$@! to get it the way the hairstylist got it…

…and you fail by 150%.


The Nancy Drew Effect

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013

I’m baaccck!  Hell hath no fury like an email inbox after taking a week off, so my apologies for not being back with you earlier.  I think I’m (relatively) caught up now…

So, I want to talk about something I discovered at Yale Women’s Campaign School last week.

We learned how to write campaign plans and actually run a campaign for an office.  But I was put on one part of the campaign plan–around candidates running for the 8th District Congressional Seat in Pennsylvania (yes, a real campaign, and yes, while I tweeted the team’s presenting’s ideas, both candidates decided to follow me on Twitter).  I digress.

Our team consisted of 12 amazing women.  I worked in opposition research, with my Yale undergraduate student friend, let’s call her “digger.”  (She actually nicknamed herself, as she “loves to dig up dirt on the opposing candidates.”)  Digger and I worked on opps research throughout the week, and definitely found everything we could on our opposition, Kevin Strouse (sorry, Kevin, if you’re reading this – but while you’re new to the area, we found all the info we could on you, and with Digger, it was pretty thorough).

When giving our presentations on our campaign plans, we (Digger and I) presented on Opps research, along with the rest of the team in their respective areas of expertise.  When we were done, and when we were being critiqued, our team was actually called out for thorough, detailed Opp Research – I exclaimed it was because we had “Digger” on our team!

What’s my point?  Well, later that evening, when we celebrated our graduation from WCS with dinner, I had a chance to sit down with Digger and learn a little more about her.  I’m always curious about undergraduate experiences with students anyway, with the day job and all.  Digger and I were talking about curriculum, requirements for graduation, etc.  Then, I asked her about how she got so interested in online research.  Eventually, the topic go on to books, and eventually, Nancy Drew.

Digger stated, “I read the entire set of Nancy Drew books.”

Digger and I share that in common.  And I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a connection: I think girls who read Nancy Drew grow up to be killer researchers.  Digger and I shared both a passion for research AND Nancy Drew.

The bottom line: get your kids to read Nancy Drew.  They will grow up to be amazing supersleuthers.  And let’s face it: supersleuthing is a key skill we all need to have in the 21st century.  To all the authors of the Nancy Drew series: thank you!  Even though Digger and I are from different generations and grew up at different times, we had the chance to share a commonality in our childhoods–the Nancy Drew series.  THANK YOU for writing it!

6 Minutes

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

I know what you’re thinking, my fab 13:

Where have you been?

Well, I now LITERALLY have 6 minutes remaining to tell you – I’ve been at the Women’s Campaign School at Yale all week!  They LITERALLY have us in class from 8 in the morning until 6 ish at night – and after that we have homework.  (They’re tougher than me as a prof!)

But – I PROMISE that once this amazing experience is over, I will be back to share some of the hi-lights I learned with you, along with a big push for YOU if your she-fabulous and reading this and pondering office one day, to go for it yourself and apply!  It really is an awesome program, and while I’m exhausted, I’ve literally been drinking from a firehose of knowledge this week that they never, ever taught me in school the 4 times I went!

I’m down to 3 minutes.  I’m off to try and help my team build a campaign plan, which is kind of like a business plan, with a much bigger budget and a LOT of work.  Here’s hoping our presentation goes swimmingly well tomorrow – and I promise – hold tight, I’ll be back soon!

Squirrels, Time and Graduation

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

All three of these were topics of conversation this evening.

Tonight, my fellow classmates and I successfully completed the 2013 Hamilton County Leadership Academy.  If you don’t live in Hamilton County Indiana, you may not know about it.  But–I am so grateful for the near-year long experience, as I frankly didn’t know much about the county, and I moved in almost a decade ago.  Now I do, thanks to this Academy experience.

Part of the learning experience over the year was to visit corners of the county and learn about them, but there were group projects as well.  Our team’s project was figuring out how to connect non profit opportunities with HCLA alums in order to maximize philanthropy and volunteerism.  We called it HCLA NFP Connect.  But–there were other cool projects as well on artpreneurship (which was part of Lemonade Day this year at The Palladium), developing other resource guides to the community (such as a database of resources for domestic violence victims and NFP resources in general under an umbrella organization called Good Samaritan), and last but not least–a public art project involving…squirrels.  (I can’t give more away than that – I don’t want to steal any other teams’ thunder. I can hint that the squirrel thing came from the great squirrel stampede that occurred in Hamilton County in the 1800s…but that’s all I can give ya!)

Also, some of my teammates and I had an interesting conversation tonight on philosophy, classes, graduation, deja vous, and…time.  One of my teammates commented that she actually experienced more deja vous in her life when she was on the ‘right path’ and doing what she was meant to do.  I thought this was interesting, because I never thought of “flow” in the Csikszentmihalyi-sense and deja vous were even in the same ballpark…but maybe they are…?  I don’t know.

But above all, I appreciated that my colleagues in the leadership academy challenged my own ways of thinking about the world.  Not just the county, but on philosophical and life–stuff like this.  One of the lessons we were to carry away as improving leaders was to seek by understanding and asking, “help me understand,” when we really didn’t get the other person’s point of view.  While everyone in the group was awesome and had their own unique strengths to bring to the table, I appreciated most this diversity–even above learning about the county.  Because really, my definition of a leader is a person who can bring together a diverse team, get them all going in the same direction, and maximize their individual strengths and talents along the way.

That’s really what it’s all about.

That, and squirrels…apparently.

The Outsiders

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

If you’re of my generation, the first thing after seeing this blog title you might think is: Pony Boy.  Or S.E. Hinton.  Or C. Thomas Howell.  But I’m going to talk about something a little different.  Let me switch to…art.

There was a great piece on CBS Sunday morning today on Outsider Art.  The art was totally legit and currently on display in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  And while I’m certainly no art critic, what struck me about it was the fact that the art, although it looked like art, was not made or created by “formally trained” artists.  The people who made the art were “unknown” to the art world during their lives.  They just made art out of their passion or calling or love of art.

Let me switch gears again.  I have a friend, let’s call him “Pony Boy” for purposes of this story, since it fits…who owns a business.  But the business focuses on content he never was “formally trained” in school to write about, or even studied in a formal education program.  Why does he own and run this business, you may ask?  Well, it’s definitely not based upon formal training–it’s based upon passion and love.  That’s pretty much it.  However, he is definitely considered an “outsider” when it comes to this content his business focuses upon, and from time to time, he gets very, very frustrated with the fact that the insiders don’t pay him credit for his work.

Pony Boy, in my mind, should forget trying to please the insiders.  Be an outsider.  We all have an outsider in each of us.  Heck, I write about subjects all the time that I wasn’t formally trained in – like economic development, entrepreneurship, women’s leadership development, and interdisciplinary healthcare, just to name a few.  About 99% of this stuff I never, ever received formal training on in school (and I’ve been to school more than a few times).

In the end, we are all like Pony Boy.  We are outsiders, in some respects.  We can’t know everything.  However, if we have a love or a passion for something, and no formal training–maybe that’s actually a GOOD thing.  It can challenge “conventional” wisdom.  It can stir the pot.  It can help the insiders see their industry from a different point of view–whether or not they choose to listen or not is of course up to them.  It can make us question one of the most important questions of all–why?  Why is something the way it is, and is there a better way to improve it, rather than just keep the status quo?