Introducing the Skagit BASAM class of 2021

September 13, 2019 was a historic day at Skagit Valley College. It was the day we held the program onboarding for the second cohort of the college’s Bachelor in Applied Management program.

We spent the morning getting to know each other and the program. We learned we have a number of people for whom sky diving is a bucket list item as is travel. We discovered that many of us graduated from Skagit Valley College and that we represent a host of different professional interests from diesel and medical to culinary and banking. Most of all, we uncovered a sense of determination and a sense of camaraderie that will make each of us successful in our goal of obtaining a bachelor degrees.

Stay tuned folks: great things are coming from this class and I can’t wait to share their journey with you

Skagit Valley College Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Management – Class of 2021

Pen & Paper vs Mouse & Keyboard

I’ve been reading more and more about the advantages of using pen and paper for note taking over a laptop. Sure, electronic notes are a blessing, particularly if you have illegible writing as I do. But what I’ve been discovering from work such as this from Inc (no pun intended) is that pen and paper helps us to form better connections between what we already know and what we are learning.

I ditched electronic note taking five years ago. I was told by colleagues in a past life that there was a perception that because I was always behind a computer (taking notes), it seemed I was never mentally present. It took me a while but I find myself now agreeing with this observation. Electronic note taking gave me a huge amount of efficiency in terms of capturing thoughts, follow ups and “to do’s”. However, this efficiency came at the expense of truly hearing what was being said and listening with my eyes and ears (it’s hard to listen with your eyes if you’re looking at a computer screen).

It’s now rare to see me in a conversation or a meeting with a laptop. I have even ditched my Apple Watch that always seemed to misbehave at the most unfortunate moments — right in the middle of a teaching observation as some of my program members will remember!   With this change, I find I’m building better relationships and paying attention to details I otherwise might have missed. Losing a smidgen of efficiency seems to be a small price to pay to gain the power of personal connection. I’m now also a huge Bujo fan, but I’ll save that one for another post.

I’m curious to hear other experiences with the two note-taking media. Does one work better than the other for you? Why?

Ready to start “N”th grade ?

This fantastic op-ed that appeared in a recent issue of the New York Times eloquently captures the opportunities for re-sets that a new year brings.

As we approach the start of a new academic year at the Skagit Valley College Bachelor in Applied Science program I’m full of fervent New Year resolutions for my “nth” grade in the learning journey that is life. I’m sharing the top three themes I’ve been mulling on over the summer, along with the ways I’ll be attempting to put my ideas

In all my interactions, I want to be as cool as a cucumber on a hot summer’s day – I’ll work on this by assuming good intent;

I want to live each day with the same enthusiasm and joy that my puppy Bandit shows – I’ll do this through the power of exercise endorphins (in other words, I’ll sustain the workout routine I’ve developed); and,

I want to give my best to my program participants. I’ll do this by prioritizing time to “reboot, recharge and refresh”- nothing can perform at its optimal level without downtime for maintenance.

Any of these thoughts resonate? I’d love to hear your ideas on the “nth” grade of your life

The Countdown Begins

Skagit Valley College BASAM Class of 2020 – 3/4 of the way through a bachelor degree

With Labor Day behind us, the countdown to the start of the Fall Quarter is on. We are now at T-24 days and many of us are in full back-to-school mode. We are excited to welcome back the Class of 2018-20, pictured above on the last day of the year, all attired in our BAS-AM finest. And, we are equally excited to welcome the Class of 2019-21, who will take part in program onboarding on September 13.

I’m excited about the year ahead. But, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ll miss the more relaxed pace of summer work, the long evenings, the chance to be outside golfing, gardening, grilling, reading, exploring, ambling in the countryside with my puppy, being on the water, eating ice cream, the list of summer adventures is long. I’m bottling up memories of an unforgettable summer and when things get hectic in the fall, I’ll uncork this bottle. I’m hoping that as these memories waft through my mind, it will make things seem just a little less frantic.

What about you? What will you be remembering to keep you grounded once memories of a leisurely summer become all too distant?

I am My Program Members

Final grades for the quarter and the first year of the BASAM program are due Monday morning 9 am. I have set aside the entire weekend, starting Friday morning to review all the work that must be reviewed by the bewitching hour.

So far I have :

  • Cleaned out my fridge
  • Done my laundry
  • Put away my laundry
  • Ironed a shirt and sewed a button
  • Walked my dog
  • Posted on Instagram and Facebook about how much work I have to do
  • Checked out how much progress other faculty members are making in grading
  • Written a macro to reduce the potential for inadvertent bias by randomizing the grading order
  • Compiled my to do list
  • Visited my parents
  • Talked to a friend
  • Balanced my checking account
  • Brainstormed curriculum for 2021
  • Made a grading playlist
  • Taken a pre-grading nap
  • Started this post

Sound familiar? Anything missing (other than the grading)? Funny no matter what role we play, we never lose our world class procrastination skills. I relate so well when I hear the BASAM program member stories of why work didn’t get done.

I also share my own techniques for putting my head down and getting what needs to be done done. For the record, I’m down from 76 ungraded pieces as of 9 pm Friday night to around 40. See you on the other side and while I’m grading, why don’t you let me know your favorite way to procrastinate? I’ve turned off my iPhone notifications so I won’t peek until grades are in!

Bursting with Pride

This evening, I had the honor to attend Skagit Valley College’s annual scholarship event, where eight members of the BAS-AM program received awards in recognition of their achievements and their potential. The picture below features four of the eight recipients. There are no words that can adequately capture how much respect, admiration and pride I have for these folks, for other four who we missed at the photo opp,and, for every member of the BAS-AM program.

A hearty thank you to the Skagit Valley College Foundation and to all whose contributions made the scholarships possible.

Speaking Up in Meetings

In our Human Resources for Managers class today we practiced tough workplace conversations that we can expect to have as managers. We role played being the manager and the employee and then debriefed on the conversations.

During the class debrief, I witnessed a top five personal program highlight. People who so far have held back from expressing their thoughts, opinions and experiences during class discussions shared their voice. One by one, they made perceptive, insightful contributions that prompted us all to consider new dimensions and approaches. Our conversation was enriched thanks to their contributions and on behalf of the entire class, I thank them (they and the other program members know who they are).

I then started thinking about all the reasons we can hold back from speaking, which took me to this Harvard Business Review piece on the balance between speaking up and holding. Wonder if any of the the article strike a chord? Would love to hear your thoughts and the pivot that caused a shift in your willingness to share.

June 4 1990

29 years ago today, the bright eyed and bushy tailed person you see in the picture, who had graduated from her bachelor degree just one week prior, set foot in the lobby of 120 Park Avenue, NY, NY.

Little did I know that I was setting off on the adventure of a lifetime. An adventure that took me to travels to 80+ countries and homes on three. An adventure where I made enduring friendships, formed over countless learning experiences from late nights in the office getting ready for the “nth” long range plan presentation; writing the business weekly highlights; through commiserating; and, finding the learning in the things that didn’t go as planned and the exhilaration where they did.

As I think back over the last almost three decades, the words of the immortal Frank Sinatra come to mind “regrets I’ve had a few, but then again, too few too mention”. You see, I have arrived at the conclusion that every experience, good, bad, ugly, was all in preparation for the work I am blessed to do today – guiding a group of talented, dedicated Skagit Valley College BAS-AM participants on their own adventures and learning experiences. I realize how fortunate I am that even on days where the higher ed bureaucracy seems endless and the mountains of grading appear insurmountable (I’m two weeks behind, with two weeks in the quarter to go!), I’m living my iki-gai, the life stage that Japanese culture describes as the intersection between passion, mission, profession and vocation.

And, I realize that this wouldn’t be possible without the friendship, mentorship and faith from an immeasurable number of people but most especially my parents, my sister, and the BAS-AM Class of 2018-20, who laid a bet that the bumpiness of being inaugural class would pay off. Thank you for your trust in me. I won’t let you down.

Self-Care: Banish White Rabbit

These wise words appeared on one of my social media feeds this morning. With the end to the Spring quarter rapidly approaching and stress levels ever increasing , it felt like a serendipitous reminder that self-care in whatever form is needed must be a “have to do”, never a “nice to do.

When things get hectic, as happens for so many of us, the first thing to fall of my “must do” list are the routines such as gym sessions, walks, no screen time, that I have carefully cultivated in less busy periods. I become like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland: I’m late, I’m late. And, while I get all my work done, it’s often at a significant personal cost to my well being, which takes endless time and energy to repair. I see the White Rabbit syndrome all around me, friends, family, colleagues, those with whom I’m learning.

Reading these words this morning was a much needed poke that I have to find a way to escape the White Rabbit syndrome by prioritizing self-care. So, I’m committing to one self-care action a day for the rest of 2019, with self-care to be defined however feels right that morning. I’m naming this personal accountability challenge “Banish White Rabbit”. If get tempted to allow the White Rabbit to become disruptive, I’ll be reminding myself of the alternative, less desirable outcome.

And now, I’m wondering if any one else, particularly BAS-AM program members, are interested in joining me on the mission to “Banish White Rabbit”? The support would be most welcome.

Just when you think it can’t get better, it does

What an exciting day it was today for all of us in the BAS-AM program. First, we learned that not one but two of our members received scholarships from the Skagit Women in Business organization. Then, we heard that one of us had received an amazing job opportunity and another had an interview later in the day. Next, we heard that one of the members of the 2019-21 program was just appointed as Skagit Valley College’s new Veteran Affairs Specialist. And then we heard of at least two folks who received scholarships from the Skagit Valley College Foundation. And crowning it all, we heard that we’d be expecting our first BAS-AM baby in Winter 2020.

Can’t wait to see what other great things this group of people will achieve!