Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kershner Trading Gives Back

One of the things I've quickly uncovered in my first week at my new job is that Kershner Trading is a giving organization.

Tonight's event at 10,000 Villages of Austin was a fun way of showing their charitable side with proceeds going to Caritas of Austin.

A few employees really got into the holiday spirit by doing their own rendition of Feliz Navidad!

10,000 Villages of Austin is an amazing little shop in Austin's So-Co (South Congress) neighborhood filled to the brim with great artwork, home decor, toys, clothing, jewelry and more. Each piece indicates the country of origin and many of them have information about the artisan, but if it's not clear the store volunteers just input the item code and can give you a full story of its maker.

They host benefit evenings for various Austin non-profits and the holidays seems like the perfect time to not only holiday shop, but to do so and benefit a great cause.

Great Fundraiser Event to Benefit Caritas of Austin

So, for those of you who may not know it, I've left Bulldog Solutions and have joined Kershner Trading as a Recruiting Specialist. I know I need to update a ton of things on my blog, but first things first.

If you're in Austin today (Wed., Dec. 3) we'd love to have you join us tonight!

This year, my new employer, Kershner Trading has partnered with Ten Thousand Village's Austin's SoCo location and Caritas of Austin to create a unity holiday shopping evening.

When: December 3 from 5-8 pm

Where: 10,000 Villages, 1317 S. Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78704

Come support two great charitable causes and find unique gift ideas for the upcoming holidays. For those unfamiliar with 10,000 Villages, here is the mission statement from their webpage:

At Ten Thousand Villages, we work with over 120 artisan groups in more than 30 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America to bring you fair trade jewelry, home decor, gifts and more. As one of the world's oldest and largest fair trade organizations, we build long-term relationships with artisans that are based on mutual understanding and respect. Fair trade enables artisans to earn a fair wage and provides the opportunity for a better quality of life.

Additionally, since Kershner is sponsoring the event through their volunteer support, we are able to donate 20% of the total sales from 5-8 PM to Caritas of Austin. Caritas is another great organization fighting hunger, homelessness, and poverty in our greater Austin community.

Questions? Please contact me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How To Use Web 2.0 To Get Ahead

I had the pleasure of speaking with two good friends today at Texas State's Mass Communication Week 2008. (See Mass Communications Week at Texas State Adds Web 2.0 to Schedule post)

For my portion of the talk I spoke to students and shared with them keys to successfully making sure that hiring managers take notice of them in our Web 2.0 world. It's important to know that as the web continues to grow and the wealth of information expands exponentially that they use the skills they're developing and their natural inquisitiveness.

You can watch the recorded podcast here: Web 2.0. (apologies up front - not great audio or video - promise the next one will be 100% better)

And download the slide presentation here: slideshare

And finally check out the Texas State Mass Communications site for a brief documentation of the entire presentation.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What an Amazing Privilege

I'm not one to write on political topics, but I'm pretty darn patriotic. I grew up with my father not only decorating our front yard with little flags, but then making sure that the neighbors were all decked out as well. He was big on showing support of the candidates he liked by allowing them to post their HUGE signs on his back yard fence which was a perfect spot for advertising on the busy street.

It's one of the things that I found enticing about Charles from the get-go of our first conversations. He was a passionate . . . okay, I'm going to leave parties behind in this post . . .

Whatever your preference of candidate, party or beliefs, if you're an American and able to vote you should. Many countries don't allow their people this right. Many Americans take it for granted and think their voice doesn't count. But it does. It matters.

And even though I have incredibly opposing views to many of my friends and even some family members I also know those same people are adamat about one thing - exercising the right to choose, the right to vote, the right to participate in the world's most amazing democracy.

Be sure do your part. Vote.

Texas voters find more info here. Vote Texas.



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Friday, October 10, 2008

Mass Communications Week at Texas State Adds Web 2.0 to Schedule

Sheila Scarborough, blogger-writer, asked me to join her and Omar Gallaga, reporter at the Austin American Statesman, on a panel discussion entitled Web 2.0 in the Real World. (photo shows left to right, Sheila, Omar and me). The panel is just one of Texas State's Mass Communications Week events set to occur October 20 - 23, 2008.

This is a super exciting honor for me as I'm a TX State (SWT) alumni and hold my degree in Journalism, it became Mass Communications the following semester, with a focus in Advertising.

I'm always eager to share with people on how to interact with each other on the internet. Talking to students about it will simply be a bonus. I think they are much more familiar and already take part in so many Web 2.0 forums that they probably don't even think twice about it. Talking to adults is a whole other topic.

In the Human Resources world, that is my profession, I think it's a struggle right now to define where we can and can't join in on conversations. About five months ago I set up a Ning site for a group of my HR colleagues in and around the Austin area. We're involved in HR departments of technology companies so one would think that this would be an easy step.
For the most part it has been pretty easy. And I believe that's probably one of the large misconceptions. Web 2.0 is all about interaction and conversations. It's not a stagnet website that tells me this and that and doesn't allow me to take part.

Our HR Ning allows us to communicate in a much more efficient way then we did when we blasted e-mails to the entire group several times a day. It also allows us the ability to keep our group closed and we don't accidently give our member's personal contact information away to the rest of the world.

I've been so impressed with our little Ning site that I've also set up one for my Home Owner's Association. I'm the Communication / Newsletter Chairperson and the Ning site is simply an extension of that group. It allows the members of our HOA to connect in a way we haven't before. It personalizes our neighbors and brings a sense of a better community.

Web 2.0 to me simply brings the world to my doorstep and allows me to interact with others from the comfort of my living room and from time to time allows me the chance to put on events, host events, speak at events with the people I've become friends with in my cyber world.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Watching and Waiting on Ike

My family is from south of Houston and I don't know if we ever evacuated for hurricanes when I was growing up. We generally boarded up the house and slept - they tended to come on land overnight.

But since Katrina and then Rita, people from home and my family in particular, take the warnings a bit more seriously.

Today my family is evacuating from the Gulf Coast and headed to Central Texas. Tough to keep my mind on work when I'm thinking of all the things back at my house I'd like to do to be better prepared for the arrival.

As we sit and wait . . .

Monday, August 11, 2008

What does your company offer you for a referral?

When I talk to people who are looking for a job I always tell them the number one way to most of your best positions is through networking.

According to Roberta Chinsky Matuson in her article entitled, Networking 101 on, a leading career website,
A vast number of job openings never make it to the newspaper or job boards.
These positions are often referred to as the "hidden job market." Candidates
find out about these positions through word of mouth. The higher up the ladder
you go, the more likely a position will be filled this way.
And since recruiting is one of my key responsibilites at Bulldog Solutions I network in various locations always keeping my eyes open for a potential recruit.

When I joined Bulldog Solutions in March of 2006 I was recruited by our Vice President of Strategic Accounts, Heather Hoetger. She and I had worked together at CyberTrader, now a fully owned entity of Charles Schwab, as HR Managers. Since she knew that Bulldog was looking to hire their first HR manager and she knew that I was in the job market and had experience working with me, she contacted me and well the rest is history. What I found in joining Bulldog Solutions is that most of the people in our company were recruited simply from our own networks and that we'd recruited just about everyone that we knew to fill what positions we had. So my next task . . . find new blood.

Which we did and over the last two years we've been recruiting through a variety of sources and while we've continued to hire referrals there hasn't been a big push to really hone in on each others networks. Until now . . .

We are looking at starting an employee referral program and I thought I'd reach out to YOU! If your company has an employee referral program would you mind sharing how it works here on my blog. We're looking for both its successes and pitfalls.

Oh, and by the way . . . if you're looking for a job in the Austin, Texas area be sure to stop by our Career page and if you don't see something of interest that's okay too. Sign up to be part of our Kennel Club where we'll keep you abreast of positions as they become available.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Leading the Lost

Are you an expert?

Webster defines an expert as:

One with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject

Have you worked in the same area for a while? Have you studied a particular subject in depth? Could you share some of your insight with others?

Most of us are an expert in something whether or not we realize it. If you're a stay-at-home mom you may be an expert of hushing a tired toddler. If you're well organized you may have the keys to keeping a closet uncluttered. You don't need to have an advanced degree to be an expert. You simply have to have enough of a passion to become good at something.

More and more I've been called on to lend my HR / Recruiting expertise to associates and new friends. I'm happy to do it.

I know that by no means do I have all the wisdom to impart on others. But I'm willing. I love to share. I love to help. I think sometimes it's tough to ask for assistance and I'm honored when others approach me.

Often I'm asked to meet for coffee or a chat and I meet every single time not suspecting anything in return aside from someone feeling like I listened and cared.

How about you? Are you sharing your expertise? Are you imparting the knowledge that you have with others that could use it? If you do share your knowledge, are you doing it to help someone else or to just to show off?

Learn how to give for giving sake. Ask for nothing in return. Share. Choose to make a difference in someone else's life today.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sure, I Can Help

So many folks that I speak with seem to be amazed at how and why I connect in the social networking world of places like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Plurk. Often times they get the fact that one of the hats I wear is that of a recruiter and I simply don't know where my next great hire may be lurking. They understand I want to be ready and have figured out that networking is a means to an end.

This week, however, I think I have had a chance to really make one of my connections become real in a different sense.

Through my connections I’ve made on Twitter and face-to-face connections I met at SXSW interactive earlier this year, I received a desperate call earlier this week from Jane Quiqley, one of our past Friday Morning Live speakers at Bulldog Solutions, asking if I could go and help “run” an event here in Austin that’s being broadcast to another convention in San Francisco tomorrow.

Two conferences: and

and one of my coworkers and I will be there to make sure they connect via

This is the panel in particular:

And today’s New York Times article on the event:

I think it’s pretty nifty that some of my online connections feel good enough about me that they trust me and our team to help them when they're in a pinch. Good stuff.

Friday, July 4, 2008

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Celebrating the Red, White and Blue

This is the second year in our home and we decided to show off a little bit more American spirit.
I came home yesterday and Charles had hung the bunting just like I had asked him too. Today I posted the flags along the driveway and front yard.

My dad is the one who got me started on the flag posting. See, this is their house.

I haven't taken it quite as far as he does though. He makes sure his neighbors get in the 4th of July spirit by distributing flags and placing them in their yards too.

Happy 4th of July all!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Get Out And Give!

Virtually join the Austin Twitter/Tech community to save lives by donating blood on Thursday, July 3, at the Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas. Connie had the idea to do a blood drive in association with the Frozen Pea Fund, and Michelle Greer and David Neff stepped up to help organize the Austin event.

The idea is to gather with some friends from your favorite social network — Twitter, Plurk, Ning, Facebook, for example — at your local blood donation center and give a few pints for a good cause. It’s especially timely this Thursday, which is the day before a major summer holiday, when the blood banks need extra inventory.

Choose a sign-up time for the Austin blood drive here. And if you organize a drive in another location, please let us know in the comments below.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Sr. .NET Lead Developer Sought by Bulldog Solutions

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Bulldog Solutions is a fun, fast-paced place to work. Our Lead Generation process has been embraced by businesses all over the world, including many Fortune 500 companies. We have developed successful lead-generation campaigns and strategies for B2B organizations in many different industries, including technology, finance, science, health care, telecom, insurance and publishing.

Senior Developer

Bulldog Solutions is currently seeking a Senior Developer to add to our Information Technology team. The Senior Developer will be the technical lead on software development projects supporting internal development, as well as, external facing product development. The successful candidate will be responsible for managing multiple development projects at a time, running code reviews, mentoring other developers, managing release cycles and writing code. This position requires an expert technical skillset in a Microsoft environment, as well as, as strong skillset with current Web 2.0 technologies (AJAX, Web Services, SOA). As the Senior Developer, you must possess a thorough understanding of rapid development methodologies, object oriented analysis and design, .NET best practices, and the development of highly scalable, maintainable and secure Web solutions. This is a full-time salaried position.


  • Lead the software development team in estimating, planning, designing and coding of software applications

  • Mentor developers by contributing best practices and holding code reviews

  • Ensure that all code retains logical stability, reliability, confidentiality and integrity

  • Manage source code versioning and system release schedule

  • Review and analyze the effectiveness and efficiency of existing systems and develop strategies for improving or further leveraging these systems

  • Meet with decision makers, systems owners and end users to define business, financial and operations requirements and systems goals as well as to identify and resolve systems issues

  • Stay on top of industry changes and drive innovation of the Bulldog Solutions products


  • Bachelor degree or equivalent in computer science or MIS

  • 5+ years development experience in fast-paced, technology company

  • Expert knowledge of ASP.Net [preferably ASP.NET 2.0] and Web Services development using both VB & C#

  • Experience with Web and Web 2.0 technologies including Web Services, Ajax, RSS, CSS, XML/XSLT and JavaScript

  • Expertise in database design, data architecture to support systems development (preferably in a SQL Server environment)

  • Web UI design exposure including basic principles and patterns
    Proven success mentoring junior developers (previous experience in lead developer role is a plus)

  • System integration, SOA architecture design, implementation and management is a plus
    CMS (or WCMS) implementation and customization familiarity

  • Proven experience working in environments where software applications are being built from scratch (concept to deployment)

  • Demonstrated commitment to continuous personal improvement of business and technical skills, including the ability to learn and apply new technologies and techniques

  • Microsoft developer/architect certifications are a plus

Desired Characteristics:

The successful candidate will posses expertise in both written and interpersonal communication and be at ease with public speaking, in relationship building, and in collaboration in a cross-functional team comprised of diverse personalities, skill sets, and levels of experience. Excellent organizational skills, focus, and attention to detail are a must, as is the ability to work in a fast-paced, dynamic and energetic environment.
Description of relationships and roles

Candidate must demonstrate a proven track record of obtaining results without direct report authority.


We offer a competitive salary based on experience; health care plans including medical, dental, and vision; a bonus plan; corporate fitness discounts as well as various other employee benefits in an energetic and cutting-edge work environment.


To be considered an applicant, you must apply for this specific position and meet its minimum qualifications as determined by Bulldog Solutions. This job description is not meant to be an all-inclusive statement of every duty and responsibility of the jobholder. Certain features of this job are described in the above headings, but are not necessarily limited to the above written statements. They may be subject to review. All positions within Bulldog Solutions may include other duties as assigned.

This is a full-time, regular position in our offices in Austin, Texas. As this is an immediate need, local candidates will be given more serious consideration. We are not offering relocation packages.


Please forward your resume to

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Social Media Club Austin

About 40 or so in attendance listening to a presentation entitled The Headless Organization

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Music Man Comes To Town

Charles' son Jareck came to town earlier this week after he graduated from high school in North Louisiana. He's a musician by heart and plays the piano, guitar, bass, violin and drums. Jareck also sings and writes music.

Tonight he sat out on our porch and rounded up a group of neighborhood girls who even asked for his autograph and his MySpace page so that they could become fans. Oh, the party has just started. Watch out John Mayer!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Our New Addition

In only a matter of days our home will have a new addition. One big day includes Monday, May 5, 2008, the day that Charles' son Jareck graduates from high school - a pretty important day for him. It's followed by Tuesday, May 6, 2008, which is also a monumental day for him as he turns 18 on this date.

For Charles and I both of these dates are pretty big milestones too as Jareck will be moving in with us on Tuesday. He'll be leaving the familiar of Homer, Louisiana and setting off to a new adventure of adulthood.

We're of course hoping that he secures a well paying job that will help him save money towards college. I also suspect he'll be learning a lot more about himself and us within the coming months.

So, he knows that I'm truly excited and thrilled about his arrival this is my first public shout out - Welcome Jareck, can't wait to have you here!

Friday, April 25, 2008

How to Hire Someone in Social Media

My friend, Jason Falls from Twitter has the right idea when looking to hire his next Social Media Marketer. He's posted the position requirements on his blog and is only looking for someone steller that connects to him via the various social media outlets.

In addition to listing the normal things like what this person needs to do and what they are hoping to find, he lists how someone can really stand out from the pack and make themselves known.

  • Don’t send me resumes. Connect with me. I’m easy to find.

  • Give me an elevator pitch on why you are the person we’ve described.

  • Send me (via whatever electronic method you deem most efficient) a short list of what you’ve done and where I can find evidence of it. Or have a full profile on LinkedIn. It’s easier that way.

  • If your profiles are hard to link to you on social media sites, tell me which are yours and what you’re hiding.

  • Understand this will be a competitive search and I’m hiring one person. Be outstanding.
Great job, Jason. I'm looking forward to watching your search progress.

Monday, April 14, 2008

So this is what happens when you blog

Seriously, Julie, my cousin, couldn't have dreamed in her wildest dreams that this would happen to her.

Back in 2002 Julie began to blog. She set out in her blog titled The Julie / Julia Project to write about her experience cooking every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Who knew people would read the blog?

In 365 days she was going to cook 536 recipes and write about it. Who knew she'd publish a book about it now titled Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.

After a successful book tour, who knew she'd watch herself portrayed on the streets of New York as they filmed about it in a film titled Julie & Julia?

But all of that has happened to Julie.

In October 2007 they named Amy Adams to portray Julie and Meryl Streep was cast to play Julia Child and Nora Ephron directing.

And just how does Julie feel about all of this especially when Amy Adams isn't allowed to meet my dear cousin? Well catch her latest blog posts on What Could Happen.

Good for you Julie. I'm so terribly proud of your accomplishments!