Farewell to SecureWorld Amid The Global Pandemic

For nearly seven years, I have worked for SecureWorld, a cybersecurity event company. Last week, just like 40+ million of my fellow Americans, I filed for unemployment. Many industries have been hit hard by the pandemic, with the event industry certainly high on the list.

At the beginning of March, I found myself traveling to Charlotte for work, a little nervous about the Coronavirus, but it was the very beginning…

The day before the conference, it was my job to speak with representatives in every booth to ensure they were all set to utilize our conference app, and answer any questions. This particular conference had 35-40 booths – that is a lot of contact – and we didn’t know the 6 ft. rule yet.

It was an awkward introduction every time; do we shake hands, do we wave, do we say anything about the awkwardness…? It was the beginning of uncharted territory, and learning a new way to communicate. One of the booths had a “no handshake” sign – a little foreshadowing of the months ahead.

Never underestimate the effectiveness of good signage!

For the next two days, I heard side conversations about what it would be like to stop travelling for work. I didn’t hear anyone mention, “What would it be like if we lose our jobs?” None of us knew how quickly things would shift over the next few weeks.

I was back home in Portland for only one week when our office decided to work remotely. Two days later, the shelter in place order was issued.

I was proud of the way we pivoted as an organization quickly. We moved to an all digital presence, hired a PR firm to communicate effectively with our different stakeholders, and did our best to hang on for the next few months.

We rescheduled our in-person conferences for later in the year with hopes that the wave would pass, and conferences in late summer and early fall could still be held.

However, as the weeks and months unfolded, it became clear that the conference world just wouldn’t be possible in 2020, and quite likely 2021, and who knows for how long into the future. There was nothing I did wrong, quite simply, my role with SecureWorld no longer exists.

These past few weeks have been filled with every emotion concerning my employment. A part of me is excited to find a new opportunity in a field that aligns more with my interests. Truth be told, when I took the SecureWorld job I envisioned myself with the company for a year or two; but life happens.

It’s no secret I’m sentimental. Anytime my life changes, I feel sadness as I experience the chapter closing. SecureWorld was my very first “grown-up” job out of college. I was so excited to get paid vacations, PTO, and not wait tables on the weekends and holidays.

This company saw me through buying my very first home. My daughter’s middle school and high school graduations, and her acceptance into the University of Oregon.

This company saw me through a pregnancy, and the first years of my son’s life from infant, to toddler, and now preschooler.

This company saw me through loss; loss of loved pets, dear friends, and family. For some people on my team, we were a witness to each other’s lives for nearly seven years. That’s a lot of life stages and transitions.

I have so many happy memories of traveling for work conferences, holiday parties, and Friday bar cart trivia. Some of my colleagues watched me jump out of a tree into a lake, learn all important skills like curling, lawn bowling, glass blowing, archery, and fly fishing at company outings. Everyone endured my recycling and composting presentations, and single use plastics shaming.

I grew so much with this company; learning new technologies, skills, and ways to communicate. I learned to advocate for myself and ask for what I wanted and deserved. I learned to work with a wide array of personalities, how to find work/life balance in the past four years working mostly remotely, and how to juggle managing several different projects and tasks every day while marketing to 17 regional conferences across North America.

To my colleagues: I will miss all the silly banter and serious life conversations. Thank you for all the encouraging words, teaching me new skills and technologies, and sharing nearly seven years (some of you) with me.

For those of you staying with the company, I wish you success. I never had a true passion for “cybersecurity,” but I know we had a good thing going, and it felt great to be a part of something that our audience absolutely loved.

For my fellow colleagues moving on like me, I wish you the very best. Good luck finding something you LOVE! Whether it’s a new job, going back to school, or adventuring…follow your heart.

I believe 2020 is asking us to contemplate what truly matters, grow and stretch; which is often uncomfortable, but this is the space where magic happens. I’m wiping the sentimental tears away; ready and excited for the next chapter!

I appreciated the opportunity to try many new things while
working for SecureWorld – farewell.

Dusting Off: A Return to Writing Amid the Global Pandemic

One thing is certain, it is much easier to be a blog contributor when you are unemployed. For nearly seven years I have been working full time for SecureWorld, an event company, and my writing went to the wayside. During this time, I bought my first home, and had a second child. Basically… life happened.

I started to get the writers itch last year when a series of life events unfolded, giving me a book idea. At the same time, I was reading Amanda Palmer’s book, The Art of Asking and felt inspired (thanks, Amanda). I serendipitously found myself traveling to Boston (where much of her book takes place) while I was reading it, and was certain it was a sign.

I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. Her belief that ideas float amongst us to be realized and embraced by a human resonated with me. Muses are real and will not wait forever. (Thank you for also inspiring me, Elizabeth.)

My oldest child left for college last fall, and I decided to take a “Writing Your Memoir” class at the community college. Yes, just like the new hit series, Mrs. Fletcher on HBO. The course was fantastic. It helped me carve out the time to write, and provided the necessary discipline I need under the pretense of “homework.”

Now life is very different, as it is for nearly all of us. My role at SecureWorld shifted drastically from marketing our in-person conferences, to marketing digital content.  I also began writing for our “news” segment of the company. I’ve had to dust off those old writing skills, but I’ve been enjoying the change in job duties.

So, I’m back to build my online presence again. Much like I declared in this post from 2013, The Long Hiatus is Finally Over!  I’m making myself accountable. Afterall, what better time than during the global pandemic?

Brattle Square – Harvard

During my Boston work / vacation trip (March 2019), my daughter and I spent half a day exploring Harvard. I stopped to pay my respects in Brattle square where Amanda Palmer was a living statue street performer in the 1990’s. This bronze memorial marionette was erected ‘in celebration of all street performers.’

International Women’s Day – Celebrating the March on Washington: Portland Oregon Style

I’m posting this event late, but the energy of the day needs to live on indefinitely, and it seemed fitting to share my moments on International Women’s Day.

Please Note: To my followers who may not know me well, I’m a new mom to a now 8 month old, a mom to a 16 year-old, still working 40 hours a week, and trying to maintain my volunteer commitments and sleeping once in a while – so…I haven’t had a lot of time to blog, but this was clearly an important day to capture.

I’m excited I shared this day with millions of people around the world on January 21, 2017 with 400+ marches happening across the U.S. and 80+ other countries.

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Riding the max to downtown, the energy was felt right away as marchers poured onto the train at every stop with signs and pink hats. I knew I was right where I was meant to be, among the nearly 100,000 who attended.

The crowd waits to march…

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One side of the bridge to the other side

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Lining the Bridges

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I loved the signs. Here are a few of my favorites – some for cleverness, some for message.

    Women Signs

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March 11

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And the march begins…thousands and thousands of people funneling through Portland’s narrow streets – it was amazing.

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And of course, the emphasis on Trump…I’ll let the signs do the speaking.

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That pink marker is proof that it POURED!

Place & Time Images

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The grand finale….

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Thanks to everyone who showed up on this historic day. Be sure to take that energy with you. Pursue the issues you care most about, and keep fighting the good fight!

Save the DATE: Climate March April 29th

Celebrating One Year in the New Home – Kenton to Lents

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New Home

It’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since we moved into our new home! We owe the fabulous non-profit Proud Ground for the amazing opportunity. When I first moved to Portland 5+ years ago, I noticed houses with “Proud Ground” signs in front indicating the home was for sale. I looked into Proud Ground and found an amazing program for first-time home buyers who fit into a particular income bracket (make enough money to pay a mortgage, but low enough income to qulify for the grants).

I had my initial meeting with someone 4 years ago and placed my name on the LIST. We first looked at the home pictured above in January 2015 and 6 months later, we had the keys. Constantly hearing horror stories about the rental market in Portland (and the buyer’s market), I’m SO thankful for our home. Not only is our mortgage less than what we were paying in rent, we are home-owners, which is a pretty great feeling providing a lot of security.

From the Proud Ground website:

Proud Ground gives families with stable jobs and steady incomes the chance to buy their first home—affordably. We serve families who can qualify for a home loan, just not one at market rate. And because Proud Ground homes are forever-affordable, family after family has access to the stability and wealth-building that come with homeownership, and our region has a growing supply of homes that are affordable for generations to come.

At the time I got on the LIST I was still looking for employment, obviously not in a position to purchase a home, but the sooner you get on the list, the sooner you move toward the top. When a home becomes available, you fill out a form of interest. If you are at the top of the list, and you qualify for the loan, the home is yours (basically).

We bought this home for way under market value, so it was affordable to us. The catch, if and when we sell the house, it stays in the program so it’s affordable for the next buyer. Although we will make some money if we sell, we can’t turn around and sell it for a huge profit on the open market.

The gem of this program – keeping affordable homes in neighborhoods for generations!

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First Entry – Got the Keys May 15th!

We said farewell to the Kenton neighborhood in North Portland, a place we watched become the new hot spot in Portland, and said hello to the Lents neighborhood (about as far away from Kenton as possible and still live in Portland). We had our trepidations about moving to what seemed like “so far away,” but we kept hearing about Lents being the next big thing, and we had faith it would be fabulous.

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Thanks for all the great times Kenton!

Funny, my daughter and I volunteered for her 8th grade project at the Lents International Farmers Market the summer of 2014 – so a little foreshadowing I suppose.

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Hard to get a smile when she had braces…

We spent the first year settling in and getting the inside organized with new Energy Star appliances, drapes on the windows etc. and we experienced all those fabulous firsts! First holidays, first storms, first seasons…

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January – first snow – a special treat for Portlanders

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Plenty of wildlife to keep our Australian Shepherd entertained

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Plenty of room for the chickens and dogs

This spring we started working on the yard. We basically have a blank slate, so the opportunities are endless and fun (although a little overwhelming). I figure it’s one project at a time. We want to eventually get rid of the grass in the front and plant natives (that don’t require watering) and build a rain garden. I also want to begin my rain barrel collection soon on all the gutters.

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Dressing up the front porch

Our big project this spring: building vegetable beds!

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Since I was nearly 7 months pregnant at the time,the bulk of the project landed on this great fella!

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Before the chicken fence went up…

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Six weeks later – eating on our strawberries, salad greens, turnips and zucchini!

We participated in our first Sunday Parkways in the new hood! The route was only a block from the house, and even the pouring down rain didn’t stop us (or my big belly).

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Hadders and a friend – May 15th, 2016

I want to extend a huge thank you to all the dedicated folks at Proud Ground for making the dream of home-buying a reality for us and dozens of other families. We look forward to many more years here and watching the Lents community blossom.

Please check out the Proud Ground website and schedule a free consultation to learn more! https://proudground.org/

 

2015 in Review

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It only took me 2.5 months to complete this, but there may be a good reason mentioned at the end. Travel down my 2015 journey…Enjoy!

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Triple “R” July & August Give-Back

GiveRacking up those give-back hours this summer, I’m working on the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle realm – wrapped up in the all-important education component.

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I started a compost bucket a few weeks ago at work. It was something I thought about for months, but I wasn’t sure how well-received it would be. Some people think, “oh gross!” when compost is around, but I thought “what the heck, let’s try it!” All my worries about smell, bugs (fruit flies) and anything else that might turn my colleagues sour have so far been non-existent. Fingers crossed we continue to have zero problems. Granted, it’s mostly used for coffee grounds and only minimal food scraps.

Working in Lake Oswego, I thought there wasn’t a compost program, but good news, they recently adopted one! For now it’s easy to take the re-used coffee container (I love repurposing), every Friday and throw in my compost bin at home, but I have a future commercial composting project on the to-do list. Info on the program: here.

In just three weeks, we have diverted 8lbs of compostable items from the landfill (we are a small office).

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My recycling efforts in the office are going along smoothly. We have nearly everyone doing their best to place items in the appropriate bin. 

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I take materials to the Far West Recycling (formerly known as Far West Fibers) center about once a month. I throw it in with our household pile, so it’s not a lot of extra work, and it’s satisfying to see it diverted from the trash. All the clamshells (before my co-workers knew better), used to go in the recycling – yikes!

As a side note: Did you know Far West Recycling takes:

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I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) as a Master Recycler for the second year in a row. I love volunteering at festies! Doing something good for the community and the planet in a fun environment, and be rewarded with a beer mug and tokens to boot – can’t beat that! (FYI for my fellow festival volunteers – OBF offers double beer tokens when you volunteer on Sunday. You can use them earlier in the week on the honor system or they are valid to use in future years.)

Special Announcement:
I now have 51.25 hours logged for the Master Recycler program. I’m half a Centurion!

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Master Recyclers assist with managing the waste prevention volunteers, ensuring they are educating the public on how and where to place trash, compost and recycled materials. This year the festival wasn’t able to compost the plate ware since the ban is now in place, so I didn’t think the rate of landfill diversion would be very high…but Mitzi, waste coordinator for the event, rocked it out in other ways. Way to go Mitzi and the Waste Prevention Crew!

Here is her follow-up message:

“Great news, OBF reduced its overall waste by 25% this year! (From 12.28 tons to 9.28 tons.) Our overall diversion rate this year was 52.4% (4.86 tons).  I’m bummed that the garbage was so darn heavy…but the good news is that we didn’t have a huge increase in actual garbage, despite the fact that all food service ware was going in there, so we must have done much better on our overall recycling efforts.”

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I joined the Recycling Advocates board this spring and had the pleasure to table for the non-profit a couple of weeks ago in the Hazelwood community fair at the soon-to-be-developed Gateway Park. It was one of those 100 degree days resulting in a small turnout, but I did receive the surprise gift of seeing a friend whom I have not seen in years, so it was well worth my time! She works for Friends of Trees (Portland has SO many great non-profits) and our tables created the eco-corner.

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Want to learn more about Recylcing Advocates, or simply passionate about recycling and living an eco-friendly life?
Join us for our annual meeting!

What: Recycling Advocates Annual Meeting 2015
When: September 1st, doors open 6:30pm, program begins at 7:00pm
Where: Sierra Club, 1821 SE Ankeny St, Portland, OR 97214
Who: YOU! RSVP to info@recyclingadvocates.org
or call 503-777-0909

This event is free and open to all Recycling Advocates members and friends. We’ll provide food and drinks from our friends at Laughing Planet and Lucky Lab.

Finally, to round out mid-summer, my daughter and I checked out the Recycled art show at Edgefield McMenamins for a couple of hours one night. Pretty impressive stuff!

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-Cracked Pots – Recycled Art Show-

Celebrating Earth Day 2015

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One of my favorite days to celebrate! Here’s a little history: “The very first Earth Day, April 22nd, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.” Excerpt Taken From: HERE

I started Earth week out giving a somewhat informal recycling presentation to my colleagues at work. It was great fun to share my knowledge, answer questions and a really good reminder that recycling can be confusing. Living in the Portland Metro area, most people REALLY want to recycle, so they throw items into the recycle bin that shouldn’t go in there (I know, I was one of them).     But…When IN DOUBT…THROW IT OUT!

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Do you live in the Metro area and interested in recycling and waste management? Check out the Master Recyclers Class.  Part of graduating class 54, I was shocked at how much I learned since I was already so eco-minded. It’s a fabulous experience-you will learn a great deal and be with a room full of like-minded awesome individuals.

GIVING BACK

My family started a tradition several years ago to volunteer for SOLVEIT  – one of SOLVE’s big volunteer days. Last Saturday we went to the Wilkes Creek Headwaters (154th and NE Fremont in Portland) to discover a new area, enjoy the beautiful weather and clear invasive English Ivy from the restoration site.

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SOLVE partnered with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council (yes, one of my favorite non-profits I volunteered with a few years ago), Portland City Parks, an employee group from Boeing (yes, there is one in Portland too with 1,700 employees) and Portland Geocaching Group. So it was a fantastic eclectic crew and a wonderful turn-out.

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A small group planted native species and mulched a designated area while the rest of us pulled English Ivy. It was a gentle procedure because we didn’t want to disturb the native plants, many of which are blooming and growing this time of year.

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 -Trillium-

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                      -Trillium and an awesome mushroom patch that quilted the forest floor-

Wilkes Creek Headwaters contains the springs that feed the only free flowing stream in the city that still enters the Columbia Slough. The City of Portland and Metro acquired the site in 2011.

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Portland Parks uses some herbicide to clear unwanted plant life, but since this site was full of Native Indian Plum trees, they wanted to resort to manual volunteer labor. Indian Plum apparently is very sensitive to any kind of herbicides… Glad we could all help!

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Indian Plum Tree

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RESULTS

Over 8,500 volunteers came out on Saturday for SOLVEIT events all across Oregon! SOLVE estimates that this year over 25 tons of trash and debris was collected from 162 sites including neighborhoods, parks, school grounds and natural areas around the state. Invasive non-native plants were cleared from 11 acres and 3,000 native trees and shrubs were planted.

ENJOYING NATURE

Sunday my sweetie and I went to Sauvie Island to hike the lighthouse trail I featured back in 2013 HERE. At that time, we saw 2 other cars in the parking lot. Last weekend was a complete madhouse (granted, it was in the high 70’s). I love that so many people are enjoying our natural areas, and hopefully are inspired to care for them, but it’s hard to share sometimes. Fortunately, most everyone was hitting the nearby beach so we had the hike mostly to ourselves.

 

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-Happy pups exploring a cave in the river bank. Inca (on the right) went all the way through. :)-

Happy Earth Day Around the World! Get outside, enjoy some natural beauty, breathe fresh air, walk barefoot, soak in the sun or rain and feel gratitude for all the beautiful gifts we receive from this planet.

SOLVE, NATIVE PLANTS & EARTH HOUR UNITE!

March 28th, 2015 is a Big Day!

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This Saturday provides several ways to ramp up for April Earth Month! If you are near the coast, you have the opportunity to give back to Oregon in the morning hours by volunteering with SOLVE at one of their beach cleanup sites. (Obviously a nonprofit I love since I serve on their communications board.) Shop for Native Plants in the afternoon at a fantastic fundraiser, and then celebrate EARTH HOUR with the rest of the world in the evening-what a day full of opportunity!

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The following link has all the information you need to get involved with SOLVE’s Spring Oregon Beach Cleanup. You can see my 2014 volunteer fun below (although it wasn’t on the beach).

There are 45 cleanup sites scattered along the coast, from Astoria to Brookings. Pick your favorite beach or site near you by checking the online Calendar of Events and registering!

Last year, 4,800 volunteers cleared more than 48,000 pounds of debris from the Oregon Coast! See the final report and photos from the 2014 event.

EARTH HOUR!

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One of my favorite events, and this year it almost slipped right by me! In 2008, we played a board game via candlelight and my daughter asked to do the same the following year! (It was very memorable.) Earth Hour started in 2007 in Australia as a lights-off event to raise awareness about climate change. It has grown to engage more than 162 countries and territories worldwide. For just one hour, don’t use electricity – no lights, no electronics, no power tools, or appliances (well, leave the fridge running) …get creative!

           Earth Hour is on Saturday 8:30pm – 9:30pm          local time all over the GLOBE!

Visit the website for more information: HERE

Friends of Baltimore Woods

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In 2014, we volunteered with Friends of Baltimore Woods for two of SOLVE’s big volunteer events. (Photos Below) Located in St. Johns (North Portland) between Cathedral and Pier Parks, the 30-acre Baltimore Woods Connectivity Corridor is a unique urban greenway with a ton of community support & love turning it into a wonderful natural site.

This Saturday, Friends of Baltimore Woods is having a Pacific Northwest Native Plant Sale in Portland’s St. Johns Plaza from 10:00am – 3:00pm!

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Our Volunteer FUN – 2014

My daughter and her friend (volunteering is way more fun with a buddy) and I volunteered on SOLVE IT Earth Day, April 26th, at Baltimore Woods. I was so surprised I hadn’t noticed this special gem!

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Look closely behind the people standing in the photo above, you can barely see the cement steps in the back covered in ivy, shrubs and debris. My helpers were super motivated to clear these steps-and they rocked it!

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Volunteer Day #2

My kiddo and her two friends volunteered with me September 27th, 2014 at Baltimore woods for the second time last year, and we could already see some changes!

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The next volunteer opportunity at Baltimore Woods is right around the corner-so mark your calendars!

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Plus you get this awesome view!

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So, this Saturday-March 28th – Volunteer with SOLVE in the morning, check out the Native Plant Sale in the afternoon, then Celebrate Earth Hour in the evening – what a great day and wonderful way to prepare for April…Earth Month!

The 2013 Job Journey Conclusion- and Many Many Thanks!

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I haven’t had as much time to write blog posts recently, but I wanted to get a final update out for all those rallying behind me in my job seeking goals the past year. After 9 months of being unemployed or underemployed, I now have a full time job! Woohoo for consistent money! Here is a look back at 2013 and my job seeking journey…

At the beginning of 2013, I made a New Years resolution to take back my career path. In addition to updating my online presence, networking my butt off, attending job-seeking workshops, and applying for jobs continually, I joined the blogging world again. I made myself accountable with this blog post: The Long Hiatus is Finally Over

In those first few months I spent a lot of time building my connections. For all of you out there presently looking for work, the adage “It’s all about the people you know,” is absolutely true! Every door that opened for me was a result of my own determination, and the help of someone I met along the way.

I knew volunteering would be key to meeting new people, and building that network, plus I love giving my time to organizations doing good things, (and… being unemployed offers you a little more time in your week).

My first venture was with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, a non-profit focusing on stewardship and place-based education.  I wrote a 4-part blog series here: CSWC Blog Series

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I did some volunteer communications work with LettuceGrow, a  nonprofit that brings gardens and gardening education to correctional facilities in the State of Oregon. I assisted with the annual fundraising dinner and wrote all about the big night HERE. (pictured above)

Last fall, I joined the Communications Board at SOLVE (an organization I have had my eye on since moving to Portland). Here is our Earth Day volunteer experience.

university-of-oregon_200x200I wrote a 5-part blog series for the University of Oregon Career Services Department, and a 5-part series for Mac’s List, a well-known Portland based job-seeking platform. Both of the series were based on my job seeking journey, and tips I came across along the way. (Links to these posts below)

networkWhat really sealed the deal on my employment in 2013 however, were the individuals I met along the way. Not only did these people assist me in my job seeking goals – inspiring me, coaching me, telling me to “hang in there,” some of them have become friends. It’s beautiful to watch your network grow. Although many people touched me and encouraged me along my path in 2013, there are a few that really  went the extra mile, or came into my life at just the right time. Below is my example of just how connected we all become, and how one thing truly leads to the next!

My networking break really came when the fabulous Aimee Fahey came into my life. I met Aimee through Twitter back in the spring. She reached out to me, asking to meet for coffee and I remember thinking, “things are really starting to turn around for me!” Aimee owns her own career coach & recruiting business, and knows A LOT of people. (She also writes a great blog!)ecogrrl

Not only was Aimee the catalyst for many of my new connections, she has been a huge support to me. She is a strong woman with conviction, and I admire her spirit and tenacity. Aimee has encouraged me to believe in my abilities, value what I bring to the table, and ask for compensation that is fair – all things I appreciate so much. It’s partly because of Aimee that I negotiated my current salary. (A few years ago, I would have accepted what was first offered without question.)

Macs ListAimee introduced me to Jessica Williams, which led to the blogging opportunity on Mac’s List. At the time, Jessica was leading Mac’s List (a Prichard Communications project), and I met with her for an informational interview. She was so kind, very encouraging, and offered to let me write some blog posts for the site. (Just weeks before this unfolded,  I was reading a guest post on Mac’s List thinking, “how did this woman get on here-it would be so COOL to have that opportunity”….Well-manifesting what you want really works sometimes)!

I also did an informational interview with Mac Prichard, such an outstanding man of the community, and I really appreciated the time he gave.

One of my favorite job-seeking events of the year was with Vicki Lind (I found on Mac’s List). She offers a free interviewing & networking practice workshop once a month. This opportunity was extremely helpful, and Vicki was kind enough to give me a copy of her book, “Finding a Job Worth Having.” 

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Aimee introduced me to Michelle Lasley, Executive Assistant at SOLVE, which led me to meeting Mark Bendinelli, SOLVE’s Marketing Committee Chair, and now I’m on the Marketing Board for SOLVE! (Check out Michelle’s blog!)

My involvement with LettuceGrow was also Aimee’s doing, which led me to meet the Founder and Executive Director, Sarah Patterson. Not only did Sarah rally behind me in finding a job, she actually helped me get one! Sarah introduced me to Mark Gaskill, President & CEO of MKG Financial Group, Inc.

office view-4thof July-My Office View – Fourth of July weekend, Waterfront  Blues Festival-

I was interviewed for a communications/marketing position for MKG, and started a few days later. I was thrilled to finally have a “real job.” And getting to work downtown in a beautiful office on the river was exhilarating. But, this position was only part-time, and after 4 months, I decided to begin looking for something more full time with benefits.

Two days later, I received a phone call from Jackie Mathys from Mathys+Potestio, the creative recruiting company that I made connections with way back in February! I wrote about them in my Dance of Networking  post. Jackie had a position she was trying to fill and thought I would be a good fit. She met with me briefly to explain the job duties; but more importantly, she was a real cheerleader, encouraging me to fight for what I want in my career life and be a strong woman. I value these conversations and moments dearly.  Don’t ever underestimate the impact you may have on another individual!

I interviewed on a Friday, and started working the following Monday. After two months of the temp-to-hire arrangement, I was offered a permanent full-time position. See how everything comes full circle!

New Office View2-No “Office” view at the new job, but we are right next to the river trail in Johns Landing-so I have a slice of nature on my walk every day.-

During this time, I also had the good fortune of meeting Greg Bell, founder of Water The Bamboo Center For Leadership. I love how we meet individuals during pivotal moments of change in our lives. Greg met with me one morning, and his presence is calming and his spirit is inspirational and encouraging.

BambooGreg wrote the book, Water The Bamboo, a highly recommended read for any individual forging their dreams, or any business desiring to create a solid foundation. I am so grateful Greg took a morning out of his week to meet with me, as the seeds of hope he planted that day have become a new foundation for my living. Again…never underestimate the impact you may have on another!

I now work for the cyber security event company SecureWorld Expo as there communications and marketing coordinator. It has been a great atmosphere for learning many new things with a fun group of people. Plus, I have my very first “grown-up” job with paid vacation and benefits!

I’m slowly learning the life-work balance, and my career journey certainly isn’t over; but for now, the stability of employment is a true blessing I’m very thankful for.

Office SunriseAnd…I still work very part-time at MKG, so I get the perk of that great office view every so often. Now I watch the best sunrises as I start my day very early!

Many thanks to all of my friends and family that supported and believed in me through my 2013 job seeking year, and many thanks to all the new people that entered my life – what a journey it was!

Extra Links From 2013:

Guest Interview: Post on Aimee Fahey’s EcoGrrl interview blog series

Mac’s List 5-part Blog Series:

1. Don’t Do These Four Things When Looking For Work in Portland (This was shared nearly 2000 times.)                                                                                                           2. What to do Before You Send Your Resume to a Portland Employer                     3. How to talk about Your Job Search                                                                                       4. Maintain Your Online Presence-4 Tips to Keep it Fresh                                              5. Use Feng Shui to Help Your Job Hunt                                                                    BONUS: Top 10 Most Read  “Mac’s List” Blog Posts of the Year

University of Oregon 5-part Blog Series:

1. Introducing Heather – What I learned From My Job Search Mistakes
2. How to Start Your Job Search
3. How to Maintain That Online Presence – 4 Tips to Keep it Fresh 
4.How to Talk  About Your Job Search –  Keep if Fresh                                                        5. How Heather Got the Job – BONUS Interview Video  

Urban Backyard Farming Part II

  A Look Back…Late Summer 2013

vegies1-August Harvest-

Although I haven’t had time to write new blog posts, I collected photos and took notes over the past few months, and as promised, here is part II to my urban farm story.

Eggs1

Our darling chickens started laying in mid-August. I was a very proud mama, and we have been so happy with our fresh eggs. Since we have four different breeds, we have varying eggs from size to color, making the carton a beautiful site!

We wanted to maintain their natural laying season so opted not to install any artificial lights in the coop. (This is how farmers make chickens lay year-round.) Most chickens will stop laying when the days grow shorter, yet even in mid-winter we still got a couple eggs every day.

Eggs

hops2

Because my partner loves to grow things, and he loves to make beer, HOPS are an obvious part of our garden. The harvest wasn’t as large this year as last year, but he made 10 gallons (two batches) of tasty beer from our very own hops!

Hops

Pom2

Most will say, “You can’t grow pomegranates in the Pacific Northwest.” But, we did, and we grew a handful! (Well, it’s not really a “we” thing, I can’t take any credit.) The tree got a beating this year, as we got a new roof installed and the roofers weren’t very sensitive to our vegetation – but it bounced back and looked great all summer and fall.

plant2-Pomegranate Tree-

We had some late sunflowers bloom beautifully in the front yard (courtesy I’m sure from the neighborhood squirrels and birds). These were so fun to have near the front window.

Flowers

If you missed it:  Urban Farming Part I

Stay Tuned For Part III!