Thursday, November 11, 2010

Movember Austin Growing By Leaps and Bounds

Movember, movember the second movember . . . there's a quote that goes something like that.

This is my second year to participate in the Movember movement. See my post from last year here.

If you aren't familiar with Movember it's a movement that started down under in Australia in 2003 to both be a silly way to bring back the mustache (Mo) and in turn as a way to raise awareness and funds to fight cancers that affect men's lives.

'Cmon. When you see pink what do you think? Breast cancer awareness, right? When you think about what cause is talked about the most during October it's what? Cancers that affect women.

But did you know that in 2010 tragically more than 32,000 men will die as a direct result of prostate cancer?

My husband, Charles was diagnosed with prostate cancer and subsequently underwent a radical prostatectomy last October. I blogged about it as "Our Life After Three Words."

In the last week he's had a one of many followup appointments with his urologist and he's completely cancer free and has NO PSA level.

Men, it's so important to talk about PSA levels with your physician. Women, it's so important to encourage the men in your lives to get consistent checkups that can catch things like cancer.

Charles' doctor told him that his cancer probably grew over a period of about five years. Yikes. That's a long time. There were definitely symptoms that were disregarded and thank God that he decided to get a check up and be completely honest with his physician when he did.

If you'd like to get involved with Movember please visit If you're in the Austin area we're hoping to have 250 members by the end of November and as of tonight we're at about 150. Join us - Team AUS!

If you aren't in the Austin area, see if you can find a team near you or consider making a donation.

And tell me about your stories either here on this post or on my Movember page. We'd love to have you share!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Time to Post

I think about it often. I know I haven't posted in a long time. Okay - six months. How did that happen?

Since my last post I've been busy working, working, working.

I launched The Talent Sleuth almost immediately after I found out I was going to be affected by a lay off in March. I use the site to post positions I'm recruiting for in the Austin, Texas area and beyond.

I've also been doing some Human Resource consulting.

Immediately after I left Kershner Trading Group I went to work onsite in both an HR and recruiting and front desk capacity at Hall Plastic Surgery and Rejuvenation Center. Tricia Hall and her husband Jeff own the company and even though I've been a client of hers for almost a decade, working in the beauty industry again was fun and enlightening. While there I consulted on HR practiced and located and hired a new front desk person.

As that position was wrapping up I came across my next position - a contract HR Manager at CSIdentity. An amazing group of people and amazing technology. This organization works to fend of identity theft. Sadly, it's also an industry that I don't think is going to go away anytime soon as there will always be horrible criminals out there.

In between both of those positions I was also recruiting for a few various positions at Convio here in Austin. I was able to locate and Convio hired a new PMO Director. This organization went public early in 2010 and helps non-profits with their fundraising efforts.

After CSIdentity I went to work on a full-time contract basis at PayPal's Austin office where I'm still working as a Sourcer in their Talent Acquisition group. I've always been a PayPal (owned by eBay) admirer, so the work I do in finding top talent for them is very rewarding.

I'm continuing to pick up extra work on the side as well including a position I start recruiting for this week for Illuminas' New York City office. I flew up there about a week ago to get to know the staff a bit better and had a great, albeit quick trip in NYC. Hmmm . . . how do I get back there and Jane Quigley, can we go back to The Cafeteria? Okay, I'm sure there are plenty of breakfast places we can try!

I've also, via The Talent Sleuth, met and career counseled a number of people in person and over the phone. I'm always amazed when we wrap up our sessions at how they tell me how much they get out of our conversations.

The last six months have been a whirlwind of possibilities and fun, intriguing, insipiring and challenging work. I'm so glad to be so busy and thankful for the opportunities that continue to open up in front of me.

As much as I joke that I need to learn to say no, I think I'm not quite to that point yet . . . bring it on. All of it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Free Agent in the House

About a year ago I started a website - Help I Was Laid Off (and on Twitter as @HelpIWasLaidOff).

As a recruiter I was often approached by people who had been laid off, those thinking about leaving their jobs and others keeping an eye out for friends and loved ones. They'd ask if I could help with their job search or review their resume. I was getting invited to coffee and breakfast and lunch left and right. My dance card was filled.

Then it dawned on me. I was repeating much of the same information time and time again.

Lightbulb - Hey, why don't I create a place where I can dispense all of this information at once?!

Thus the site began. But I also didn't want it to just be me. I, by no means have all of the information where job searching is concerned. Don't get me wrong - I think I have a lot to offer and having been laid off in September of '01, but I also thought it would be interesting to also have others' vantage points.

I solicited a few friends and acquaintances that I'd met along the way from various places and asked that they write about what they'd like where job searching was concerned and it's been a pretty successful endeavor. Great information and lots of folks reading the information and telling me how helpful it's been for them.

So . . . when I received news a couple of weeks ago about my impending lay off - my last day is tomorrow . . . I wasn't nearly as frightened as I might have been.

The site was preparing me for a day in which I might hear those words.

And you know what I did? I followed the suggestions that I've made to hundred of other folks and the suggestions that my writers dispensed.

I immediately reached out to my network! I received my notification before it was officially announced to anyone else, so I made sure that the people I reached out to in the first 24-hours would honor my request for confidentiality.

Then my network went to work.

I'd recently given a talk to the Austin Women in Communications Association and reminded the 70 or so in attendance to get to work on building their network before they needed it. If you start building your network once you need it, it will simply take longer to get to your desired destination.

What does my network look like?
  • I run Help I Was Laid Off's site and Twitter account (over 400 followers combined)
  • I run AustinTXJobs on Twitter (over 400 followers)
  • I run the Out of Work Austin group on LinkedIn (currently over 800 members)
  • I have over 1700 followers on my personal Twitter account
  • I have over 900 direct connections on LinkedIn
  • I belong to over 40 groups on LinkedIn
  • I belong to a confidential group of HR professionals in the Austin area comprised of over 60 companies and I manage their social network
  • I serve as the communications chairperson for our home owners association.
  • I've attended the same church and been involved in various areas for over 10 years
Within 24-hours of my news, a contact in Atlanta put me in contact with a recruiter in New York looking for a sourcer (someone to search for candidates) and within 48-hours I had a signed contract to work with her on a project basis as her sourcer.

It's now been two weeks since I knew I'd be joining the intervewing circuit. I have had a well networked recruiter calling me a couple of times a week about opportunities. I've been on two face-to-face interviews, turned down one opportunity and have calls on schedule with a couple of others about specific positions.

It's nice being a free agent. Not something I necessarily wished for or hoped for, but I'm looking at it in a very positive light and feel good about the possibilities of where I'll land next and how I'll spread my wings.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Why A Vigil To Remember A Tragedy?

Vigil according to Wikipedia is an outdoor assembly of people, held after sunset. The definition continues with it can be held in protest or in memory of lives lost to tragedy.

After the horrific plane crash that occured in Austin, Texas last week, a few of us decided to host a vigil tomorrow evening. Our goal is to remember those who lost their lives as well as to show those left behind and those affected by the event that we are here to support them.

It's both a sad and controversial disaster and the opinions abound on all sides.

I called Lani and Benn Rosales the day after the crash and told them how I thought that we as a social networking community should be the ones to step up and hold the vigil. Omar Gallaga, of the Austin American Statesman, is the one who put the idea in my head with his article titled, "Social media speeds up news-gathering in plane crash aftermath." (Steve Buttry posted a similar article dissecting how Twitter played a part in the event @statesman : A case study in using Twitter on breaking news)

For many people in Austin area, it was the first time since they'd joined the social networking community to experience the lightening fast speed that occurs when news travels via microblogging.

In January of 2008, when Twitter was a much smaller community many of us were affected by the death Ashley Spencer in Louisiana. People were chatting with her within the same hour that she died in a car wreck. Her Twitter stream went from vibrant and very alive to listless and dormant. Those of us who had become her virtual friends knew that Ashley was a new mom and looking forward to her military husband returning from overseas.

We grieved together online. Several people even traveled to her memorial service. It was shocking and sad and it moved us. An account where we could make monetary contributions was set up to be distributed to her surviving family.

This has obviously happened more than once over the years.

As a physical community it's easy to join together and grieve and be supportive of one another.

For those that are still new to online communities whether it's on Facebook or Twitter or other online sites it may seem weird at first to meet in person with the people that you only know in an online world.

For those of us who have been on Facebook or Twitter for a while it's actually quite normal. We love to get together for over coffee, to learn about new ideas over breakfast (Social Media Breakfast), to hang out in the evening over pizza (Social Media Club), to learn how how teachers teach in unconventional ways (Ignite Austin) or to come out and have a drink at a happy hour (Big Ass Twitter Happy Hour).

Attending those events are networking opportunities, fun times, and often times silliness abounds.

A vigil though? A vigil for a tragedy steeped in controversy started by a man who burned down his families home and killed another person, hospitalized people and traumitized countless others?

Yes. Sometimes we come together in a physical sense, take our relationships offline and share a quiet moment together. Tomorrow night we will do just that.
  • If you Tweeted about the event
  • If you sent an e-mail to others about the event
  • If you cross-posted a story about the event on your Facebook page
  • If you took a photo of the building and posted it to an online site
Then tomorrow's vigil is for you.

Join us and remember the tragedy of a husband lost, a family's home destroyed, a son who will never hear his military veteran father's laugh again.

Join us to show your neighbors who officed in the Echelon building and complex that you are here for them, to listen to them and to console them when they are awake for hours on end because of nightmares they have from being in the building.

Join us for a moment of silence at sunset on Research Boulevard in front of Manny Hattens in the large grassy area as we look across to the building as it stands a week after the Austin, Texas Plane Crash.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thankfully Those Days Are Past

A dear friend of mine, we'll call her Alisha, told me that she recently filed for divorce. It was years in the making. I've been aware of trouble, not necessarily to the extend that finally brought them to divorce. Isn't there always a string of events that causes the demise of a marriage?

In speaking with another friend, we'll call her Casey, a few weeks ago, she is now in the final stages of her divorce. She's moved on. Actually, she's moved cities, found someone old and made him new and is working on rebuilding her life.

Alisha is at the very, very beginning stages of understanding what divorce feels like. She grew up in church and was taught and believed that marriage is forever. She and her husband have been involved in church in various capacities and I'm certain she thought this would never happen to her.

I can totally empathize. Both friends' experiences bring me back to my first marriage and ultimate divorce. I was married on paper longer than I was in person. I married a man that I had known and dated on and off for over 15 years. I should have known that if we broke up as often as we did, then the likeliness that we could make a marriage work would be a pipe dream. It was a horrible experience. I mean the majority of it. The marriage had a super brief honeymoon and then it just got dramatically worse.

And still, I was devestated to watch it unwrap. I tried with everything in my being to convince him not to end it. I finally had to give in because as soon as he decided he wanted out he never turned back.

My heart hurts for my friends. Alisha, has three children under the age of 10. I see her updates on social networks and there are words like depression, not wanting to get up in the morning, trying to just make it through the day. And my heart breaks.

My other friend, Casey, seems more ready to move on. She too has children, two of them under the age of eight. I think part of where she's been able to get to emotionally also stems from the new guy she's found and how unhappy she'd been for so long. But I hurt for her as well. I know that her family has their thoughts on her new life and the support for her simple is not there.

I want to make a point to reach out to both women and to remind them and encourage them that their feelings of loss will subside, that there will be a better day and that the sun will eventually shine again. It's so much easier to live in the moment of the sad times and I remember all too well how I'd find myself wallowing in the grief of the loss and wondering what I could have done differently or better.

In reading this post let me ask you one favor. Please keep both Alisha and Casey in your prayers. Keep their kids in your prayers. Pray that their tomorrow's will be amazing as they both begin to reshape and begin their new lives.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New year - new goals

I've been pondering what to write about as the new year approaches for the last week. When looking back at this post at the end of 2010 what would I like to say I've accomplished? The goals are almost always the same, lose weight, live healthy, etc. That won't change.

Mostly I know that this coming year will have more challenges that I'm expecting to tackle than in year's past. So, I don't feel all together capable of even knowing what goals will surround those challenges.

This past year has been event-filled for certain. Charles and I married in May. Charles was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in September and had his prostate removed in October. Just the last few months alone have been a whirlwind in our personal lives.

At work, still loving my job, we've laid off more people than we hired and our hiring goals at the beginning of 2009 was pretty hefty. Not a big surprise here. Seems like everywhere you go you hear something negative about the economy and how difficult it has been for so many.

I think I'll take a few more days before declaring what I'd like to accomplish in 2010.