Archive for December, 2011


What You May Not Know About Me

As the year comes to an end, I realize there are a few things on my “to do” list that I can still accomplish.

In July, I read a great blog post by Amber Naslund called “What I Wish More People Knew About Me. I shared the post on Google + commenting that I couldn’t find the nerve to write a similar post. Amber and Carrie Wilkerson, The Barefoot Executive encouraged me to try. As Carrie said; “what’s the worst that can happen?”

 So here goes!

I’m a wife, mother and a GiGi (grandmother)  – My family is my first priority. I am insanely proud of my kids, grandson and husband. Translation – I brag about them incisively on Facebook. There are two rescues, a 100 lb Doberman (Emmett) and six month 50 lb German Sheppard (Bullet). They are very much part of the family and get equal bragging rights.

Bullet and Emmett

My husband tries to convince me to cut back on the videos and photos. The great thing about Facebook is that if my updates annoy my family and friends all they have to do is hide my posts.

I’m extremely passionate – I have been involved with Computer Explorers, a technology education franchise since 1996. I have yet to present an opening or closing at one of the annual conferences without shedding tears. Why? When I look into the audience I don’t just see a roomful of franchisees. I see a roomful of friends. I see people that I worked closely with when I was a franchisee (from 1996-2004). I see people that work hard and I want to work even harder to help them succeed. I think about the smiling faces of the children in their classes and the difference each franchisee makes in their local community delivering a quality technology education program.

My passion comes from doing work I love.

I want to be a Geek! – My third anniversary with Twitter was this month. Yes, I know what my anniversary date is and if you want to find yours use this link: http://www.tweetstartdate.com/

In May, 2010 I decided to take the next step with social media and start a BlogTalkRadio show, Social Geek Radio. I was thrilled that one of the franchise industry best social geeks, BJ Emerson agreed to co-host with me. My responsibility was to be the social co-host and BJ’s job was to “GeekItOut”.  Each week BJ shared geeky sites and tech tips. Not only did the audience learn something but so did I.  I quickly became a geekwannabe. Today, AK Stout is my co-host and my Geek mentor.  I’m constantly amazed by what AK knows about social media and technology.

Social media and technology are a big part of my business and personal life. It’s exhilarating to think about 2012 innovations and social platforms.

I love meeting strangers – This is the total opposite of my husband. He cringes at the thought of attending a big event where there is a crowd of people he has never met. On the other hand, the very same event excites me. Spending the time getting to know new people seriously interests me.  I can’t stand in line at a store without socializing with the person next to me. My daughter once asked me “Mom, can we please go shopping without you chatting with the person next to us?”  I’m not noisy or a chatterbox, I’m social and very interested in other people’s stories. It’s amazing what you learn with a smile and a simple hello.

In February I will attend the annual IFA (International Franchise Association) convention in Orlando. As one of the Ambassadors I will have the opportunity of greeting people attending IFA for the first time.

Too often I speak without thinking – It’s a bad habit. It’s totally embarrassing to scramble like a cartoon character trying to pick up my words after they have spilled out of my mouth only to find that I can’t shove them back in. I’m getting better and my hope for 2012 is to learn how to pause, think and then speak.

When I retire I want to own beachfront property – When we lived in NJ it was a short drive to the beach. One of the best ways to relax was to sneak off on a work day with my beach chair, a good book and listen to the waves. I miss that.

Today, my book would be replaced with the Kindle or the iPad but the beach and the chair would be the same.

There you have it, a few things you may not have known about me. Hopefully, we are connected and there is more you know about me than I have listed here. If we are not connected, then let’s take care of that in 2012.

Happy New Year!

2011 Tech Trends

I have really enjoyed the last few days of the year with family. Working a little here and there. No surprise that I’m  Tweeting, checking in with Foursquare, posting to Facebook, viewing LinkedIn status updates and now “pinning” thanks to AK Stout and Lisa Johnson who introduced me to pinterest. I think I will soon post a blog “Help me please! I’m addicted to another social media platform!”

Today, I’m thinking about the top tech trends of 2011 and contemplating what will be in store for us in 2012.

Top Tech Trends of 2011

My friend Gini Dietrich, CEO of Arment Dietrich says she believes 2012 will be the year of “integration of all disciplines.” She says:

This is kind of selfish one on my part (because I have a book coming out about it), but integration is going to be crucial next year. Today we talk about mobile, social, marketing, public relations, advertising, direct, email, customer service, and sales as if they’re working in silos. But 2012 is the year it needs to integrate. Customer service can’t do its job without talking to sales. Sales needs the help of public relations. And mobile can’t live without marketing. You’ll see these disciplines all work together, as if they’re in a circle, and not in silos.

What do you think 2012 has in store for social media and tech trends?

Social Media Hiatus

2011 was a good year for incorporating social media into business. Many business owners, entrepreneurs, franchisors and franchisees recognize the opportunities and potential of social networking for business. They are executing  strategies for 2012 to build their social presence.

There are individuals like Alissa Ramsay, Franchise Development Director for Appleton Learning that are taking a different approach and taking a hiatus!

I had the pleasure of meeting Alissa in September. She was visiting a Houston Appleton location and introduced herself. We spent a morning discussing social media, IFA and franchising in general. Alissa and I met again at FranCamp in Nashville. She was a great participant and I had the pleasure of getting to know her better.

After FranCamp, Alissa immersed herself in social media. She was active setting up new social media networks and engaged eagerly on Twitter, Facebook and setup a blog. Then she decided to stop cold turkey! I asked Alissa what prompted her hiatus …

What made you decide to abstain from social media?  

Preface: As they would say down south, I LOVE ME some social media!   

It was a difficult decision to take a personal hiatus from social media.  For those of us immersed in social networking, you know this was a PAINFUL choice and one that did not come lightly!  I took a break for a few reasons, but mainly I was clearly addicted, lacked content and was distracted from my goals. It may sound dramatic, but I feel like to live life to the fullest, you have to live it on your own terms and without the clutches of any addiction.  Some people’s vices are cigarettes, coffee/caffeine, a relationship… in my case, it was social media.  And yes, I cut out coffee from my life about 10 years ago because I thought it was ridiculous I could not function without it!  Balance is the name of the game and I had to find it with social media.

At the time of my decision to go on a social media hiatus, I had just received a promotion to Director of Franchise Development, my studies to become a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) were being neglected and, ironically, Appleton asked me to head up our social marketing efforts.  I consider myself a pretty discipled and focused person, but social media got hold of me and I found myself distracted from achieving my goals, especially earning my CFE in one year.  

Not only was SM distracting me from my goals, I didn’t feel like I had a focus.  I was relatively new and dabbled here and there, but couldn’t find my footing online.  I needed to take a step back and to find my focus and my voice.  If content is king, I felt and feel obligated to put quality content out into the world and I did not feel like I was being a responsible social media ambassador.    

What social platforms were you using and how hard has it been to stay away?  

The social media platforms I am personally using are Facebook (started a page- currently down), Twitter (@AlissaRamsay), LinkedIn, and I started a blog (www.AlissaRamsay.com).  Pretty basic.  Facebook and Twitter have been difficult to stay away.  LinkedIn has received some update love because of my promotion.  The blog will wait until 2012, but I am very excited about what’s to come!  

I have, however, been engaged online for Appleton.  We have a pretty aggressive growth plan for 2012 and our friends online are definitely part of the party.  It has been exciting to use social platforms through the voice of a strong brand shaking things up in the education industry.

What are you social network goals for 2012?

My personal social networking goal for 2012 is to put purposeful content online focusing on my passions of brand identity/management, customer service, franchising, and social media.  I hope to maintain quality content at least 90% of the time.  I’m sure some fluff will get in there from time to time!  I also want to reconnect and meet more amazing people like everyone at FranCamp.  Video is a passion and I am working on how to incorporate it into the blog content.  We will see. 

I was surprised by Alissa’s decision to step away from social media but impressed with her rational. Goal planning, purpose, direction and strategy are imperative. A social media hiatus is not for everyone but I applaud Alissa for taking the first step in her strategy for 2012. She is taking it one step at a time, purposefully and with focus.

Good luck Alissa and I look forward to your return!

Lead with Fun

When it comes to teaching children, the best way to get the job done is to make it fun. This is how Computer Explorers creates an environment where children are excited to learn new things. Hans Wagner, owner of Computer Explorers of the Lehigh Valley, helped organize an after school program for the children of Allentown School District elementary among several others. Watch this short video of Hans talking to a reporter describing the programs and his students sharing their work!

Not everyone can work with children and LEGOs. But … it is possible to have fun while working! Here are a few things I enjoy to do:

  • Lead with Fun – be willing to wear silly hats or gloves. Walk the halls and show off the silliness. Post pictures on social networks. It’s ok to laugh at yourself! Work can be boring but there is no reason why I have to be boring!
  • Engage with peers – I love dragging the folks from accounting, legal, and/or the print shop into the fun. In the picture below, Lorri Wyndham and I sported our gifts from Cyndee Perkins and walked the halls. We threatened to sing Christmas carols.
  • Be passionate and determine – this is one of Zappos core values and I try to live by it. My friend Joe Mathews, Franchise Performance Group says our work “should be a calling.”

We are coming to the end of 2011. If it wasn’t “fun” for you, think about 2012 and what changes you can make to enjoy it. Life is too short not to enjoy it and we spend too many hours a day working not too have fun while doing it!

holiday gloves and hat

Goodbye 2011…Hello 2012

Yes, I know we still have a few weeks of 2011. If you are like me and many others, we are ready to say goodbye to a very tough financial year.

Personally, I have LOTS to be thankful for! They are priceless blessings and I am confident there will be more in 2012.

I would love to hear what you are thankful for.

So goodbye 2011 and hello 2012. I’m ready for you!