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Old fashioned fashion

I am as progressive as the next gal, but I just can’t abide white shoes before Easter. There must be rules to keep order. 😉

7 ways to be a rockstar leader

[Originally posted on Sisarina.com Feb. 7, 2012]

Music has been a guiding force for me since I was a kid. I got the opportunity to be a part of musical theater performances in high school. As a part of the cast, I found a place to belong, a gang to hang with. Since then, I’ve found leadership positions in college radio, local music zines, and a record store.

Now I’m volunteering with Girls Rock! DC — a rock camp for Washington-area girls — and though I joined to donate my time and talents, I have found that after volunteering for a couple of years, I have gotten back as much as I’ve given, especially in the form of leadership experience. I have a few tips I can share, which apply to more than just musical organizations:

  1. Share the microphone. Leaders aren’t responsible for providing ALL the solutions, but for guiding the team towards one. Don’t shy away from leadership because you don’t know all the answers. 
  2. Audition your band members carefully. Better teams make better leaders. When you have a good group working for you, it’s easier to communicate, to reach goals together, and eventually succeed.
  3. Write lyrics as a group. Seek solutions from the people you are leading, and help them organize a path to the best solution.
  4. Enunciate. Especially when you are delegating, be clear with expectations.
  5. Go wild on stage …to a degree. Leaders take risks, but that doesn’t mean doing things haphazardly. Risks can be taken after looking at the necessary considerations, and then moving forward in an educated manner.
  6. Now, with feeling! Passion is contagious. Gratitude is rewarding. These tools are free and if they are genuine, they can brighten up a workspace more than changing the wallpaper.
  7. Practice, practice, practice! Don’t ever stop learning. The world is changing around us. People learn and work in different ways, and effective leaders must be willing to adapt. Keep on your toes. Take a class, or volunteer somewhere like Girls Rock! DC, where you can energize your leadership batteries.

As much as non-profit organizations like Girls Rock! DC can benefit from your time and talents, you can often use your volunteer experience on the job. For instance, I kept my website and design skills sharp at Girls Rock! DC, talents I’ve been able to take back to work with me. Groups like Girls Rock! DC are real résumé-building opportunities.

Girls Rock stage

 

Women’s March on Washington

Yes, I was there! With five close friends and hundreds of thousands of new buddies.

I don’t know how many people were in D.C., and in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Seattle, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, and Paris. But it was a LOT.

I want to share why I went. wmwmarch-6

It is imperative that those of us who don’t agree with President Trump and the Republican Congress make ourselves heard. I don’t believe a march is going to make that difference. But I do believe that a march energizes people and encourages us to act. We need to act every day.

Michael Moore talked about this – any one of us can wake up and call 202-225-3121 to reach our representatives in Congress. And all of us should do that on a regular basis. Or visit congress.gov to reach your representatives via email.

The march today showed how many people care about a number of “women’s issues.” Notably, each speaker had a different definition of what women’s issues are. And the march had a broad mission statement. The issues I am most afraid for:

  • Healthcare – the ACA/Obamacare
  • Environment
  • Education
  • Arts
  • Discrimination

I could go on, but I’ll just stick my top few there. I encourage anyone who is disappointed in the current administration to take up your pen (or your laptop) and get busy. We can’t go back and replay election day, but we will have interim elections coming, and there are plenty of opportunities to let your representatives know how you feel. Remember they are meant to represent you, hold them to it!

#whyImarch #WomensMarch

Inauguration day

I’m not rejoicing about our new President today. I’m very disappointed with the way this election went. But I’ve been through disappointing elections before, and we have survived. I would like to think we can come out ahead. (And by WE I mean Democrats and liberals.)

Losing by such a slim margin hurts a LOT for sure, but it also reminds us why we wanted to win. We will be reminded many times over the next four years why we wanted a Democrat in the White House. That should energize us. It will give us a reason to band together, rather than nitpick about small details.

I suggest anyone who is on the losing side of this or any other election check out this guide: Indivisible

This is a guide on how to communicate your views to your Congressional leadership between elections. There are more elections to come, and many votes will be called between now and the next Presidential election. Don’t get depressed and hibernate for the next four years. Get out and be heard.

Returning home

We are back from our 10-day cruise. Our first cruise, our first vegan cruise, and our first trip to the Panama Canal. We were on Holland America Line, ms Zuiderdam, with the Vegan Vacation at Sea. It was overwhelming in many ways, but there were a few things that I learned.VVAS2016 - 1.jpg

  1. Cruising is fun. All-inclusive, with so many options for how to pass your time. There were pub crawls, dance lessons, a salon, even a 5k fundraising walk to beat cancer.
  2. Vegan is good. I don’t eat vegan all the time. I eat vegetarian most of the time, and if I eat any animal products they are fish or eggs. That said, we enjoyed vegan food at all three meals for the whole cruise. We also had four vegan chefs as part of our group, there to give us great recipe demonstrations, and now a vegan diet seems much more attainable (and tasty).
  3. Traveling with a group is nice. Not only did we have the luxury of knowing that all our meals would be provided vegan for us, we also knew that we would be sharing our table with other vegan folks. We all started with something in common, and learned more about each other as the trip went on. The ship held over 1,900 people, but we enjoyed getting to know a more manageable group of around 90 people.
  4. It is good to take a break from the news. We had access to national cable news channels on the ship, but we didn’t watch them. We didn’t spend time on the internet. This separation from the 24-7 news cycle really helped me relax.

I got home from the cruise feeling like I just got home from summer camp. I miss all the friends I made, the stupendous Caribbean weather, and of course the inclusive service.

On top of all that, this break is really helping me accept the results of the presidential election. (It did not go my way.) I was able to shake off some of the stress of daily campaign ads and projections before I had to handle the results of the voting. Ultimately, I’ve always been interested in politics, and I feel it’s my responsibility to continue to let my elected officials know what I want them to work for.

My one vote wasn’t enough to turn the tables, nor is one letter to a senator or governor. But thousands of us together can make a difference. No reason to let up our messaging just because the election is over.

Election 2016

The big general election will take place while I am out of the country.

whitehouse1

Rest assured, I already cast my vote by absentee ballot. I was amazed at how easy it was. In Virginia, we can register to vote online or at the DMV, and we can request an absentee ballot online, too. My ballot was mailed to my house and I mailed it right back. Done! No lines.

I’m always amazed when talking to people from other parts of the country to find that the election is not consuming them as it does my hometown of Washington, DC. We are inundated. Of course, I work in the media. I have friends who work on Capitol Hill, I have a friend who creates campaign ads. I know some ‘pundits.’ And my parents regularly write letters to the editor of their small town paper and national publications.

Once I decided to come to college in DC, I suppose I sealed my fate. I will always be sucked into politics, though it’s never been part of my job. It is more of a neighborhood pastime. During presidential elections, it is a town obsession. It’s gone on way too long and gone way too far for my taste this year.

I hope to come back to news about something other than the election, and if it doesn’t go my way, I guess I can always just stay on vacation indefinitely.

Countdown to the cruise

The cruise is so close I can taste it!

I stumbled upon a mention of the Vegan Cruise Planners on Twitter, casually checking in on #traveltuesday. image-1

My timing couldn’t have been better — they were just in the midst of taking reservations for their 10-day cruise to the Panama Canal.

It’s so nice to know that we are not alone. The idea of a cruise has always sounded like fun to me, but as a couple that eats vegetarian, I knew that we would not enjoy 10 days trapped on a boat with nothing to eat but pasta primavera, cheese pizza and the occasional veggie burger.

THIS cruise, however, will host over 100 vegans, and promises to provide us with gourmet vegan menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Add to that, Vegan Cruise Planners have planned excursions with vegans in mind, so we know we won’t be subjected to a pork bbq on the beach.

I’m still nervous, since I’ve never been on a cruise before, but knowing that we are literally going to be in the same boat (HA!) with all these other vegans is of great assurance.

I’m back!

Thanks for stopping by!

I made a New Year’s resolution to start writing more. That was January, this is October. Better late than never, yes?