Archive for February, 2011

home sweet home

February 25th, 2011 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

All this talk about my social life made me think more and more about the fact that I’ll be leaving the DC area soon. (Noooooooo!!!!!) It’s so bittersweet landing a great job in a city you’ve never lived. I have to make sure it doesn’t sound like I’m complaining, because I am SUPER excited about my upcoming job. However, I am absolutely, positively, in love with living in this area. I have family here- my mom and one sister- plus, I have friends here! We all know that the older you get, the more difficult it becomes to make real friends. So, I want to keep the real ones close by!

So what’s so great about this area, you might be wondering if you’ve never lived here. Well, where to begin??

The people- okay, so maybe they’re not as friendly as the ones you find in the South, but they are definitely nice enough. More importantly, they are diverse, especially within the young professional segment. You’ll find people that look like you, and plenty that don’t, if you know what I mean. I love that!

Nightlife- There’s something for everyone! My classmates have introduced me to the DC bar scene, as before, I tended to lean more towards the dance scene (clubs, lounges, etc). Either way, there are always new people to meet, a new place to try, or old favorites to revisit. Parking, I have to admit, can drive you crazy.

Location- I happen to live 40 minutes from DC, in a great not-so-little suburb called Columbia in Maryland. Since I have a daughter, I don’t mind trading the metro-riding-live-in-a-small-cool-place-city living for a more laid-back, spacious, and convenient-for-moms type of environment. The reason is that I still have access to all the cool stuff in the city! Everytime I drive through DC and pass the Monument, or the Capitol I realize how much I love the city. Philly, NJ,  and NYC aren’t far away either.

Let’s see…what else? Well, there’s lots of jobs (not necesssarily for CPG marketing folks like myself…but I’ll still give credit), there’s lots of culture, great food…and did I mention, it’s just awesome??

I guess there’s no telling what the future holds- maybe my career will bring me back here one day. For now, I’ll just enjoy my last months in the DC area. Home Sweet Home.

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Mia’s 3rd Birthday!

February 18th, 2011 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Ahh…the joys of parenthood. These are the days I live for. Mia had a blast at her daycare birthday party! She’s the best thing that ever happened to me so far. I cannot tell a lie- having a daughter in an MBA program is not easy. (see a previous post about this!) But, Mia is probably the source of most of my happiness, a portion of my stress, but a larger portion of my sanity too. It’s weird, I know. I just love being able to come home to her. Anywho, I wanted to share some pictures of the small party I threw for her. Check it out!

Mia and her best friend at daycare

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let me check my schedule…

February 10th, 2011 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

The other day, one of my friends said to me, “You always have a school thing!” This was in response to my explanation of my plans for my Thursday night. This morning, when I got to campus, I started to think about all the activities that I’ve been going to lately, and even since I started school. And it’s true- I DO always have a school thing! And that’s a good thing. Probably one of the things I like most about being here.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve had a community (free!) lunch, a happy hour, and a bowling event. Tonight, I have the pleasure of attending the annual culmination of the International Week here at Smith- the International Night and Food Festival. Food from all over the world in one convienent place- heaven!!!  Plus, good company consisting of classmates, their spouses, and even the their kids! It’s one of my favorite events.

Me and Mia at International Night 2010

Next weekend, is the much anticipated Monte Carlo Night. It’s a charity event that raises money for a fund started in honor of two Smith Part Time MBA students that died in the September 11th terrorist attack at the Pentagon.

The most fun night of the year- I LOVE MONTE CARLO! I guess, you can tell I had a really good time last year. Should be just as good this year…

The week after that, we’ll be having a Black History Month Celebration sponsored by my club, and the list goes on. You really have to try hard not to be involved here, because there’s something for everyone.

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New Product Development

February 4th, 2011 by under Uncategorized. No Comments.

Right now, in my New Product Development class, we are still in the introductory phase- learning about the product development process and walking through specific examples from some of the most innovative companies. This week, I was supposed to read a paper on Blue Ocean Strategy and in class we were to talk about a company called IDEO.

Somehow, I found myself so caught up in the optional reading about IDEO, that I neglected to read the ASSIGNED reading. 🙁  Oh well… at least I was still learning and luckily, I had time to read it quickly the next morning… So back to what I was saying-

In class, we watched a video from a little while ago, when ABC’s Nightline had asked IDEO to redesign the grocery store shopping cart in 5 weeks. In the video, one of the IDEO founders described how their company could do anything. It’s a simple statement, but if you really think about it- it’s extremely bold. Your company can do ANYTHING? His reasoning was that everything was a result of their perfected process. The process, no matter the subject matter, would produce a winning result. (Winning is kind of like beauty though, I guess- it’s in the eye of the beholder.)

IDEO shopping cart concept

So what is their process? Well, they kind of have this laid back, organized, creative chaos thing going on, with a huge focus on the consumer. I’d go as far to say it’s the type of environment that most “marketing-types” crave. It’s a super flat organization, where people take on roles in different projects because of what they do best, not because of tenure or other typical factors.

They started out by using secondary research and a preliminary brainstorming session. The result was a few key areas they intended to focus on for the remainder of the project. The team broke into smaller groups to speak with various experts on shopping carts (customers, manufacturers, store employees, etc) and then returned to share their discoveries with the team. Rather than just merely telling the team what they had found, each group came back with photographs and other visual aids to really communicate the lessons learned.

After everyone shared, another brainstorm took place and it was exactly the way a brainstorm was meant to be- a free flow of ideas,  people drawing sketches, demonstrating their ideas, politeness and respect all around… organized chaos, as they say.  Wild ideas were encouraged and believed to be viable starting points for winning ideas. Three ideas were chosen from the session and the team broke into groups to further develop each one and build a prototype to show. Finally, one new design was produced based on the best elements from the three prototypes. It was impressive, to say the least.

If you take a look at their website, like I did instead of doing my homework, you’ll be able to find lots more that will intrigue you. I definitely added them to my list of cool companies to watch and am hoping to be able to infuse a few of their ways of doing business into my next organization. I mean, wouldn’t it be great to be confident enough to say you can do anything?

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