Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fun in Columbus, Georgia!

Flag waving in downtown Columbus
My niece was in the Miss Georgia's Outstanding Teen Pageant so I had the good fortune of going down and spending a few days in Columbus, Georgia.
Mel with her best friend
The Miss Georgia pageant has been held in Columbus for as long and I can remember though until my niece became involved in the pageant I'd never had an overnight stay in the city.  I'm hear to tell you that Columbus is great.

I was able to do some interesting work while visiting the city which was actually quite fascinating.  Our firm is helping with a really timely project called Race, Law and Law Enforcement and I had volunteered to conduct some interviews and it just so happened there were candidates willing to be interviewed living in Columbus.  It was an unusal way to be introduced to some of the local people while at the same time, very interesting. As much as I was helping, I felt like I learned a lot.

 My hotel was located in the downtown which happens to have lots of shops, restaurants, a riverwalk and on Saturdays a fantastic farmers' market not to mention that it is right in the historic district so there are lots of beautiful homes nearby.

In the afternoon I managed to walk about 3 miles but who wouldn't? The scenery was lovely!


  Did you know that you can go whitewater rafting in Columbus?  And if you cross the bridge you enter Alabama!

I ended up buying a mess of purple hull peas at the market.  They are my favorite and when the afternoon heat got to be too much it was nice to sit in my hotel room and shell peas.  (I bet the cleaning ladies got a kick out of the trash I left behind)!
We were the cheerleaders!!!
My grandgirl came down to enjoy the pageant so it was fun to be able to have play time after everything was over.



Columbus is a beautiful city and after conducting interviews I decided it is a really friendly city. Most of the time I'm rushing around to get to wherever it is I need to be but it was really nice to slow down and enjoy a city in this great country of ours.  We've got some great towns, great people and lots to be explored.  Happy 4th to those who are celebrating.  


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Quicken Loans, Detroit AND the Great Place to Work Executive Strategies Network

Okay, the title of this post probably makes no sense but this month because our firm is a member of the Great Place to Work Executive Strategies Network, I was able to visit Detroit and spend a couple of days at Quicken Loans headquarters and wow, what a great trip!!  Detroit was amazing and so is Quicken Loans.  I have never experienced so much enthusiasm for a city and a workplace.
Great Action Words Throughout Quicken Loans
Don't You Love This "work" Zone?


Work - Life = Balance
Meet Melissa - The Woman Who Helps With Buildouts - Amazing!


Getting ready for discussion

Love the ESN!

What a perk - Red Bull!
 Prior to the trip I wasn't expecting much and I'm sure you are thinking the same thing - Detroit?   There has been so much negative publicity about the blight of the city and the bankruptcy.  It just doesn't sound good, right?  But what a surprise.  Perhaps because the city really had no place to go but up, the city entered a modern-day renaissance and Quicken Loans is one of the major driving forces behind many efforts. It is incredible. Quicken Loans is working to renovate dozens of properties and historical buildings, helping start new companies, encouraging and investing in new entrepreneurs all while growing their core business.  You can feel the enthusiasm for the city from the moment you arrive.

Quicken Loans operates a summer internship and guess what?  They never advertise and yet every summer 1,500 students get an opportunity to work at Quicken Loans.  They meet for one entire day with Dan Gilbert, the CEO and get a full day introduction into the "isms", the core values that get put into action and are the foundation of QL's success.
Isn't this a great philosophy for the workplace?

The "isms" as a Fathead.

We met Melissa. She oversees the build of new space. I was amazed at her enthusiasm, artistic passion, her artistic eye and practical vision in work spaces.  Then came Bruce.  Believe me - NO ONE is more proud or has a greater passion for Detroit than Bruce.  I left there wanting to move to Detroit.
Sample work space.  Can you say fun?

And cool?

Pianos on the street.  Music at lunch.

Bruce showing us a layout of downtown.  Orange roofs are Quicken Loan Buildings!

View from the QL exec floor



Bruce on the street.  He is something!

Bruce showing us art in a parking deck.  Artists are leaving their mark everywhere!!!

Yes, the can says...Detroit, Opportunity!  Detroit is an opportunity and even keeping things clean is an opportunity to make a city better!


Dan Gilbert owns the Cavaliers, thus there is a basketball court in corporate headquarters.  Gotta love it.




Ezelle and Tony - Great Place to Work

Safety Deposit Boxes - Dime Bank Building 

And Art!

The vault conference room

Vault conference room

A little fun!


The vault door



Were it not for the Executive Strategies Network and my workplace I would not have had this opportunity.  Wow!  Now I can't wait to go back to Detroit.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

LBJ All the Way - The Presidential Library

I'm a nerd and I don't mind admitting it.

This week I went to Austin to attend a conference and the night before the conference got underway we were given the opportunity to visit the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. I was thrilled.  It's hard to say what I enjoyed most.  He did so many things during his presidential term - declared the war on poverty, began Headstart to help jump start education, kick-started efforts to support the arts, funded NPR, continued the civil rights act, voting rights act, Medicare, and seriously, the list goes on.  I loved being able to walk through the museum to see his notes, and photos of personal moments.

I also loved being able to see Lady Bird's office and see so many special family photos and memorabilia.  The docent shared so many stories with us making the tour so special.  Throughout the museum you can listen to recorded conversations and my favorite was when the President was practicing his speech and Lady Bird critiques him ultimately giving him a B+.


















Across the street from our hotel was a wonderful Italian restaurant that is housed in a gorgeous building. It was a treat to enjoy non-hotel air, food and atmosphere.



There was a "Pun-Off" taking place next to our hotel.

 Maybe I'll come back next year and next time maybe I'll get to see more of whatever it is that is supposed to make Austin "weird" but I was happy to leave town after enjoying a Brisket Frito Pie (yes, we slipped out of one of the hotel lunches to go try some brisket) and a fantastic tour of the library.