Glassiversary Reflections

It started with a wish...

A year ago, I posted a wish on on Facebook...just throwing it out to the universe:

"You know what would be the best birthday present ever? Google Glass."

As luck (miracles?) would have it, I got the coveted email from the Glass team the following week, inviting me to participate in the Glass beta program. My husband and I chatted, and we decided this would be my birthdaychristmasvalentinesanniversary present! 

I had no idea what to expect, except a new tech toy to play with. I had no idea how much Glass would change my life!

Shortly thereafter Glass arrived and I spent the evening setting things up and testing things out

Really late at night the first night, my first Glass selfie
My initial reaction (beyond "holy amazing batman!") was that using Glass was easier to learn than learning to use my smartphone. So, pretty darn easy. For everyone, not just this techie nerd.

I of course started wearing Glass everywhere. Early on, there were only about 6 Glass explorers that I knew of in Maine, and many of then not in the Portland area. So it was pretty much a guarantee that I was the only one walking around Portland wearing Glass. It's been that way until last week when I finally saw another Glass explorer in Portland (finally!). 

Since I was one of the very few in Maine it was likely a much different experience than my friends in bigger cities such as New York and San Francisco. I got absolutely no derogatory remarks or negative feedback ever. Just curious looks, hesitant questions, and once folks realized how friendly I was and was happy to demo Glass, definitely some requests to try them on. More often than not, however, it was me offering Glass to them to try on. Many didn't ask me outright. 

The demos have been my favorite. The reactions of folks when they try Glass on and see what they're all about. At this point, more people have tested my Glass than I can count. From conferences to subway cars, they've definitely been passed around. All the better, so any of the 'fear factor' can go away for people and they realize that Glass is a communication device.

The many faces of Katie, demo-ing Glass
My favorite quote so far? An employee on the Downeaster tried them on, was totally taken aback, then exclaimed:

"Holy shit, this is the FUTURE! And the future is AMAZING!"

I know there have been some negative reactions in different cities, but it never happened to me. Even on a packed subway train in Boston. Let me tell you, nothing will make you instafamous faster than wearing Glass on the T during rush hour. I was fielding questions from everyone which was fabulous and hilariously surreal at the same time.

On the business side, I travel a lot and had the chance to demo Glass and speak about Glass in different venues around the country. From Boston to Salt Lake, Minneapolis and DC, below are a few examples:

Speaking about Glass at Social Media Breakfast Maine... 

At the MedTech Boston/Google Glass Challenge...

Hi Trish!

At the Qualtrics Summit in Salt Lake City

Look, another Explorer in the wild!

At the Administrative Professionals Conference in DC (where I was also a speaker on mobile tech)...


At the Pri-Med conference in Boston, where I had the privilege of helping to bring together doctors for a conference session on Glass...the first time many of them has seen Glass in person...

Along the way I've gone #teamtangerine ALL THE WAY. All of my accessories are turning orange...

I apparently have determined it's all about the jazz hands when folks are trying the "Glass, take a picture" feature on my Glass...


I've acquired an addiction to GPOP... 


Besides my travels, Glass has been to formal events...

Whale watches...

Lobster bakes, it is Maine after all...


Social Media Day Maine...

And even to visit the (YouTube famous, but we knew them before then!) goats at Sunflower farm...


And even made me somewhat of a local tech celebrity (my 15 minutes of fame ;)

But the best of all? I don't think any of us ever realized that the beta program would create a #glassfamily - a most amazing group of people who I'm so happy to call friends! Some of whom I've had the luck to meet in person, and many of whom I hope to meet in person soon (at the Googleplex...hint hint?)!

Yes, Glass is the thing that united us, but it's definitely gone beyond that! 
There are too many #Glassfamily members to name (just look at Kris Kitchen's collages for a sense of scale) but just know that you guys are fabulous!

And to our amazing Google community managers and advocates- BeccaTeresa, and Sarah - thanks for making my first year with Glass amazing

It's been a wild ride - I can't wait to see what the next year of Glass brings!



Mavericks and Misfits: Highlights and Insights from TEDxDirigo2014

The 2014 edition of TEDxDirigo has come and gone, and I'm still processing what I heard and experienced at the conference.

As a side note, I've learned that with TEDxDirigo on a Sunday, we enter the workweek energized to literally SOLVE THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS...which is kind of amusing to my coworkers and staff at 9am at a Monday morning Research meeting!

I'll back up...if you're not familiar with TED, it's a global set of conferences. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and the "TED talks" (all 20 minutes and under) are meant to highlight "ideas worth spreading." 

The TED mission statement, which really gives you the oomph behind the conferences, states: 

"We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we're building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other."

TEDxDirigo is Maine's independent TED event, led by director and master curator Adam Burk and team (great interview of Adam here). The event attendees are an eclectic gathering of minds - big thinkers, artists, technologists, philanthropists, student leaders, and even roller derby queens! I had the good fortune to connect up with many other attendees, including past speaker Dr. Rafael Grossmann, a Maine physician pioneering the use of Google Glass in medicine, and Kate Northrup, author of Money: A Love Story and host of Glimpse TV

The speaker mix is just as eclectic, from a Passamaquoddy basket weaver to a former Presidential cabinet member, and the topics range from science on Mars to the study of shame. 

I'll highlight some of my favorite talks below, but I urge you to take a look at all of the talks. The livestream recording is here, and the individual talk recordings will be available in December. 

The event kicked off with the incomparable, and internationally acclaimed lyric poet, Lady Zen whose vocal stylings had the room vibrating to Black Water. 

Science writer Hannah Holmes kicked off the speaking sessions with a fascinating look (hot on the heels of the election) at the science of "red brains" and "blue brains." 

In short, red brains orient to threats faster and are primed to notice when threats arrived. Well-positioned well to secure the territory, red brains have more interest in stepping forward to confront a threat, and want strong and fast rules to have a swift response to threats. 

Blue brains seek flat (not hierarchical) systems with a high level of autonomy...and have the personality to see strangers at the gate as an opportunity, not a threat (not helpful in the case of smallpox blankets - Holmes had some great slides!). According to Holmes, the blue brain has a stronger adrenaline response "to the bunnies and flowers," so not as keyed into threats.

Obviously in the modern world, we do need both red and blue brains. A territory run entirely by protectors (red) or entirely by explorers (blue) would falter. So while the media tends to focus on the very extremes of the spectrum where the differences are more easily seen, most of us are somewhere in the middle. 

Psychiatrist Anne Hallward brought up the "secret subject" of shame. Hallward focused on how shame makes us want to retreat into silence, but she wants to bring that into the light and into the the things we don't talk about start to get associated with shame. As Hallward said "I became a psychiatrist because I wanted to deal with awkward subjects." 

Hallward feels that shame is a public health threat, as it is at the heart of addiction, depression, and suicide. To that end, Hallward started Safe Space Radio as a way to reduce stigma and provide education: "To me, the microphone is alike a talking stick. It allows people to drop into their stories and brings their stories to the larger culture."

Historian and entrepreneur (and fellow Trinity College Dublin alum!) Kristen Gwinn-Becker. Are we unknowingly letting history slip away? History, which is so important to society? Gwinn-Becker thinks we are. To the Digital Native generation (which she calls "Generation Click") it is assumed that they're searching the "world of information" but what they don't realize is that they're only searching the world that has been made available to them via search's not everything! 

As a society, we're not effectively making the transition from paper to digital of the vast amounts of our historical records currently sitting in libraries and archives. As historical records get digitized, we have to be careful and intentional about how we funnel historical information onto the web so they can be found (through proper tagging, metadata, etc.).  

Three TEDxDirigo speakers talked about using art (visual, tactile, poetry, drama) to heal: Tommy Waltz, Jeremy Frey and Marty Pottenger.

Tommy Waltz, a Treehouse Innovation Fellow, is by day a clinical case manager with Preble Street’s Anti-Trafficking Coalition. Waltz took his years of professional theater experience in New York and created a drama therapy program for the homeless. In fact, his graduate thesis was on drama therapy and the homeless experience: "The homeless label is the heaviest weight someone can carry in society today. So much so that the homeless can lose sight of who they were...and who they could be."  Waltz created an improvisational theater program for the homeless that, coupled with social work, helped his clients focus on self-worth, relationship-building, mindfulness, honest expression, creativity, and witness.

Jeremy Frey, a Passamaquoddy basket weaver descended from generations of basket weavers whose work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian and the Museum of Art and Design shared his story. In the throes of a drug addiction, Frey moved home so his family could help care for him on his sober journey. As he went through withdrawal, he needed something to keep his hands busy and his mother offered to teach him basket weaving. Simply put, he said: "During my early days of sobriety, art saved me." 

One of the final speakers of the day, Marty Pottenger wears many hats, as a writer, performer, director and activist pioneer in the community arts and arts-based civic dialogue movement. Pottenger feels strongly that "Inside all of us we have a treasure, but rarely do we use it. It's exhilarating in an excruciating way.... It's creativity." Pottenger highlighted that when a community has art-making, it provides social capital. "When we make art we're smarter, we're willing to hold contradictions, deal with immense challenges." 

To highlight this point, Pottenger shared stories and video about using art (visual, drama) to facilitate community conversation, such as between youth and police. Art can also raise spirits and moral, and release demons. Pottenger shared how she was brought in to address low morale on a police force. What was implemented? Poetry! The poetry program shifted hearts and minds...from an officer saying to Pottenger: "Marty, I'd rather fight four guys by myself than write a poem!" to sharing that (amazing, heartbreaking) poem in front of a group of colleagues...after seeing the video of that officer and his poem you could have heard a pin drop in the room. 

Pottenger wanted us to focus on "ideas that shift the bones of the world" which dovetails nicely into the theme of TED and the TEDx conferences: Ideas Worth Spreading.



Administrative Professionals Conference 2014 - It's a Wrap! On to 2015...

Hello again!
Hopefully everyone had non-eventful travel back to their home offices and are reading this with a nice cup of tea or coffee...and that work isn't too crazy after being away for a conference. 

As promised, I want to provide you with a final conference recap before we shift gears and start planning the 23rd Annual Administrative Professionals Conference kicking off next October 4th (2015) in Grapevine, Texas!

I had the great pleasure of meeting many of you at this year's conference and chatting with you about your key takeaways from APC 2014.  I've combined those with my own observations and outlined all of that below.  

Is there anything I missed? If so, let me know in the comments below.

Key Theme: Getting Out In Front of Technology
For many of you, sessions focusing on technology were key to your Conference experience. Sessions on office applications such as PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook were well-attended and many folks mentioned that they learned new tips and tricks for each of those applications. Others needed a quick ramp-up on technologies they've been asked to use, such as SharePoint. Sessions such as The Accidental SharePoint Owner were geared specifically to those who had SharePoint assigned to them...sometimes without their input! 

There's lots of chatter about social media (did you know we covered the conference via Twitter and Instagram? Search #apc14nationalharbor!) and sessions focusing on social media platforms were important for those who wanted to "get out in front of" what their bosses are doing on social media...especially when you're the one being asked to help manage their social media accounts. From what I heard, it's less about being a "super-user" of these social media platforms, but rather it's about an overall better understanding of them...such as what was shared in Kemetia Foley's Social Media Fundamentals session. I heard a few requests for webinars specifically on Twitter (essentially a "how-to"). If that's of interest, let us know in the comments below.

Many who attended Corinne Hoisington's The Mobile Tech Scene of 2014 left marveling that "the future is now" and there are a lot of new technologies emerging that may fundamentally change how business is done...and it's good to get a head start in understanding those.   

Key Theme: Now Is The Time! 
This was a key theme of the keynotes especially: there's no time like the present to go for your dreams! As Diana Nyad said, "If you want to make it across to whatever it is you desire, you'll find a way to make it happen."  Life (and lost bathing suits) will happen, but you'll succeed if you persevere. 

I know that many left each keynote invigorated and inspired, and I heard from at least one attendee that she was inspired by the keynotes and the session Get the Recognition You Deserve session led by Pamela Green to have a frank discussion with her boss about wanting to take on more responsibility...but only if it comes with more pay!

Others mentioned to me that they had put training "on hold" for a long time because "real work" took priority...but they were so very happy to have attended the APC...and put themselves first for once!  

Key Theme: Banish "Just a" From Your Vocabulary
They theme of banishing "just a" from your vocabulary arose on the very first day of the Conference, with keynoter Jon Petz telling us never to use "Just a..." as an excuse. Never say "I'm just an assistant/just a new hire/just a wife/husband, etc." 

This theme resonated throughout the following days at the conference. In many of the sessions, it was highlighted that administrative professionals bring a unique set of skills to the table and are needed in the workplace...thus "just a secretary" shouldn't be in our vocabulary.

As one attendee mentioned to me at the Tuesday night party: "I love this Conference as I'm treated as a professional with something legitimate to add to the conversation...not 'just a' secretary or admin." 

Key Theme: Connections
It was clear throughout the conference that connections were happening. Business cards were being traded, many geographical connections were being made, and even folks who work in different divisions of the same company (but who had never met in person) were connecting. One of the powerful things about an in-person event is connecting with your peers at different companies, finding commonalities and support! 

To that end, we'd love to stay connected with YOU and ensure you have ways to connect with each other!

Here are a couple of ideas (and yes, some shameless plugs!):

Join the American Society of Administrative Professionals (ASAP) 

Connect up with folks in the ASAP LinkedIn group

"Like" APC on Facebook and ASAP on Facebook
  Check out photos from the event

Join the ASAP Power Panel! Share your opinion and earn rewards.  

Finally - did you enjoy the event coverage here on the blog and on Twitter and Instagram? If so, let us know in the comments below! 

See you next year in Texas (and our social media hashtag is #APC15TX)!

Thanks from me (Katie) and all the APC team, it was a pleasure to meet, connect, train, and chat with you in DC!



Administrative Professionals Conference 2014 - Wednesday Recap - Engage!

Whew – what a conference! It’s the evening of the last day of APC, and many of you are on planes, in trains or cars on the way back home. First, let me say, it has been an honor and a privilege to have met, chatted with, laughed and learned with you all! I hope that you have found the blog and Twitter coverage helpful in recapping the conference.

So let’s dive into Wednesday’s goings-on at the Administrative Professionals Conference. Everyone looked surprisingly bright-eyed in sessions this morning after last night’s great party! It was such fun to see so many of you at the session I moderated, Tricks of the Trade: The Mobile Assistant, with panelists Amelia Maxwell from Microsoft and Christopher Whibley of Elsevier.

If you attended any of the Tricks of the Trade sessions during the conference, you’ll know that they are slightly different from the other sessions. They are meant to be peer exchanges, so our panelists weren’t’ professional speakers, but professional assistants! Our audience consisted of folks who manage bosses who are in different locations, travel a lot, admins who telecommute and others wanting to learn about becoming more mobile. And our session wasn’t all about remote locations, but also about finding efficiencies (even if you're in the same office!) through mobile and cloud technology.

We talked through a variety of topics from technology to data security to “the admin of the future”, starting with what the catalysts were for prompting Christopher and Amelia to become more mobile (from bosses leaving paper documents behind to creating efficiencies), and what some of their best practices are (always have charging devices!). The audience shared a number of tips and tricks and tech tools. Our favorite moment was having one audience member share a tech tip about an expense tracking app, and within 15 minutes another audience member had contacted her boss and had him downloading it while she sat in the session! From Evernote and Todoist to taking calls from your boss in Beijing who wants you to get him a cab…when you’re in the US, we covered it all!

Our high-energy day continued with Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, America’s first African-American female combat pilot. Having faced many obstacles in her climb to the cockpit, Armour reminded the audience to “acknowledge the obstacles…don’t give them power” and to cultivate a “breakthrough mentality” of refusing to settle, even in the smallest of moments. As she switched from flightsuit to business suit, Armour lifted the crowd with a message of inspiration, to engage fully with life, and wherever you find yourself in life to “lift off” from there. I was lucky enough to meet her in person after the keynote and snap a quick photo!

Then after a quick lunch it was off to the final workshops of the conference. Rhonda Scharf led a fantastic workshop on The Amazing Assistant – Charisma, Credibility & Confidence. After instructor-led roundtable discussions about each of those aspects, Scharf led us through a deep-dive into each area. Did you know that body language can really feed into your credibility? And that talking to someone in from the distance of the “social zone” (4+ feet) indicates disinterest on your part? Or that if someone is hearing your name incorrectly means you actually could be speaking too quickly?

Scharf cautioned the audience against overuse of the “that’s so easy I could do it in my sleep” commentary as that actually diminishes your skill set and the power of your work…don't take your credibility away by making it look so easy that you're not needed.

And with that, the 22nd Annual Administrative Professionals Conference came to a close…But we’re not done yet! Stay tuned because on Monday I’ll be doing a final recap of some of the themes and key observations of the conference, and sharing how we can all continue to stay connected until next year’s Administrative Professionals Conference in in Grapevine, Texas.

Safe travels home or to your next destination, and I’ll be chatting with you Monday!



Administrative Professionals Conference 2014 - Tuesday Recap - Education and Inspiration!

Happy Tuesday everyone! It was another fantastic day at the Administrative Professional Conference, and I can’t wait to tell you about it.

It was an exciting morning as we learned who the winner of the American Management Association’s Innovation Award. The award “celebrates outstanding business examples of problem solving and innovation performed by administrative professionals and office support staff” and was awarded to Kathy Fossetta! By suggesting and them implementing a significant and innovated pager system at her workplace, she saved her company $300,000! Kathy told the crowd, “If you believe in an idea, don’t give up!”

Our keynote speaker was up next and we were in for a treat! Actress, comedian, and advocate Maysoon Zayid…who happens to have Cerebral Palsy. Zayid’s work spans the spectrum from co-founding a comedy festival (the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival) to working with disabled and orphaned children in refugee camps in the Palestinian territories using art to deal with trauma and bridge the gap between disabled and non-disabled children. 

Zayid’s keynote was laugh-out-loud hilarious (I’ve been repeating the mother-in-law joke all day) while imparting some serious messages. Zayid pointed out the lack of disabled actors on television and in the movies; highlighting that when we look at disability on screen we have a break from reality. Claire Danes played professor, doctor and autistic activist Temple Grandin on screen, but then glides down the red carpet. Zayid asked: “Isn’t it time to have a disability on television that can’t be healed?” Zayid challenged the crowd about disabilities in the workplace, saying that accommodating people adds, it doesn’t detract, and we should “make inclusion not about obligation, but about the fact that it makes a better workplace.”

After a brief break (and pictures with Zayid!) it was time to head to the morning concurrent sessions. This morning I attended OfficeTeam’s An Insider’s Guide to 2015 Administrative Salaries and Hiring Trends. Kelly Workman of OfficeTeam walked us through the data and findings from their just-published Administrative Hiring Trends and Salary Guide 2015 which we all received a copy of.

Great news – the 2015 outlook is that there is a 3.4% average increase for starting salaries across the administrative field. Compensation for some positions, including HR assistants, is expected to exceed the national average. Workman shared that US employers are willing to pay more for certain skills including: a certified administrative professional designation, MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) certifications, and the ability to speak multiple languages…the latter for which employers may pay up to 12% more for.

Workman highlighted national hiring trends: competition for the best people is heating up, companies are shoring up key roles, and diverse industries are hiring. Skills and attributes sought by hiring managers are: Skills and attributes sought: communication strength, tech skills, initiative, industry experience, professionalism. She shared the fastest growing industries for admin hires around the country, with healthcare and manufacturing topping many regional lists…and an interesting tidbit is that nonprofit hiring for office professionals is heating up in New England. Workman told the session attendees, “Your skill sets are in high demand today! It’s a candidate’s market, it really is!”

The second session I attended this afternoon was The Art and Science of Communication presented by Pamela Green. The session opened with great questions from the audience about communication issues they have at the office, from dealing with a new boss who has a vastly different communication style than you do (happy-go-lucky vs business-y) to my favorite question of the day: “How do you effectively communicate with a narcissist?” (Answer? Sometimes you just can’t)

Green’s message throughout was to know your value and your own power, and to not give that up. Remember that you are very valuable to those you report to – you have skills that they don’t! Why is communication training important? Green highlighted that 65% of performance problems at work happen because of some type of conflict and lack of control…and often that has to do with communication. And communication is more than what’s said, it’s also body language.

She shared several key tips such as “Determine which rule you’re going to live by: must say something or have something to say” and “Get in the right C.A.B (Conduct, Attitude, and Behavior.” Communicating with respect is important, and we should assume positive intent in interactions…and we should reciprocate by being present and deeply listening. And a tip for the ladies in the room (because apparently this is not a male trait): don’t tip your head when talking or listening, in body language it diminishes your power! 

Last up on my training agenda today was Advanced Minute-Taking for Experienced Minute Takers led by Rhonda Scharf. It was a packed room, as minutes are serious business – as they are the official record of the decisions that were made and the rationale behind those decisions. Remember, minutes from formal meetings such as board meetings, corporate meetings, etc. can be used in legal proceedings so it’s important that they are done correctly! “Shorthand is a dying art” according to Scharf so it’s important to capture they key information without having to capture the actual transcript. The minutes become the official memory of the meeting so accuracy is key, and so is being unbiased. Tip: Saying “a lengthy discussion ensued” in the minutes is biased (your perception is that the discussion was lengthy).

Scharf highlighted that many organizations miss a summary of the discussion when minutes are taken, just recording what decision happened. It’s important that the summary is included to flesh out the discussion that led to the decision. How to remember if something is important for minutes? “Will it matter in 2 minutes, 2 hours, 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years? IF so, it must appear in your final copy of the minutes.” Things like “the chair welcomed everyone to the meeting” can go!

By that time my brain was full, and it was time to get dressed for the Tuesday night party! The theme this year was International Flair - and there were some fantastic international representation in attire! Great food, fantastic dancing, and connecting with new friends made the night a great success!