31 Days

Wow, just like that we are 31 days into 2018.  It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year.  The days and weeks have passed as if they were on an unending conveyor belt.  Now here we are peering into February, girl scout cookies in hand, battling to keep hold of our new year’s resolutions.  Oh, we are fighting the good fight, but those damn Thin Mints are so amazing!  Nevertheless, we fight on!


My resolution to hit the gym early has hit a snag with the sinus infection and illness in the house.  There are so many people around us that have the flu, so we’re doing everything we can to avoid it.  Unfortunately, this means foregoing the morning workout for additional sleep.  Once I kick this sinus infection, you can bet that I’ll be back.


As I drove home tonight, my mind was a conveyor belt of thoughts.  I know, I know a blonde thinking.  You’re probably imaging steam coming out of my ears and  you’d be right. I played sports growing up in multiple organizations as did my brothers.  I can’t say that our sports careers were perfect or picturesque, but I would say that the leagues and organizations we were part of actually followed the rules.


In contrast, my kids experience is wildly different.  In fact, once they’ve aged out, I’ll write a book about it.  Of course, I’ll have to label it carefully as non-fiction because people won’t believe the stories and anecdotes I have to share.  Here’s my biggest frustration.  If you have rules as a league, why aren’t they enforced.  More to the point, why are they selectively enforced?

I can’t for the life of me understand how our league works here.  Truly, it is diametrically opposed to what I grew up with.  Moreover, when we’re back in Minny and we speak to Goalielocks’ coaches or are friends whose kids play hockey, they look at us sideways.  They can’t believe the stories we’ve shared.  It’s the same sport, but wow what a difference.

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I guess it goes back to the sliding scale of accountability, which drives me bat shit crazy.  If you have rules, you should equally enforce them across organizations, teams, and players.  If you sit one player for being late, you should sit them all.  Its no different than how you would/should operate in a corporate environment – everyone is subject to the same rules regardless of who they are or how they perform.  I know, I know, common sense or at least I thought.

Anyway, this aggravating conveyor belt of thoughts is driving me to Samoas, so I’m going to cut my losses and go hang around for a bit in my silk.  Tonight’s song performed by CNCO ft. Little Mix is “Reggaeton Lento.”



Well, it was a day full of choking.  When I say choking, I don’t mean the kinky 50 Shades stuff, I mean sports teams utterly out performing.  Once could say shitty decision leads to shitty outcomes, but that seems a bit obvious.  As a hardened Vikings fan, I knew tonight would be disappointing.  Consequently, I spent the first half of the game working out.  Fortunately, while they gave up touchdown after touchdown, I burned 632 calories.  (At least there was some winning today!)


My kids, however, have not yet accepted what it truly means to be a Minnesota fan.  You know, the team will build up your hope only to choke in dramatic and devastating fashion.  Come to think about it, I probably should have used disappointment or today’s title, however, that would be redundant.  Nevertheless as a consequence of the Vikes’ epic collapse, I have one kid in a full on melt down.  Truly, I think he thought the world was truly ending.  Like many fans, I would have loved for my team to win, but hey reality is reality.  I simply don’t get my hopes up anymore.

Despite their epic loss, I love my Vikings and fellow fans.  How many organizations have a fan base that would raise well over $200,000 for an opponents charity? Not many.  At least the Vikes are honorable, which is more than I can say about many people.  I actually had some tell me today that they have a sliding scale of accountability and were proud of it.  Things to keep to yourself..  If you are in charge of anyone and have a sliding scale of accountability, you should probably quit your job.


Unfortunately, the highlight of my day was the awesome chili I enjoyed at Culver’s between games.  When the chili was the highlight of the day, you know it was a bad sports day.  Additionally, I started reading Sun Tzu’s TheArt of War, which was quite enjoyable.   If you lead people, in any capacity or environment, you need to read this book on military strategy.  While this book was written with a military audience in mind, its principals are applicable across all industries and all leaders. In fact, I’m pretty sure its the first time in recorded history that a leader referred to a style akin to servant leadership.


Ultimately, win, lose or draw, I love spending time with my family.  In that regard, today was a total win.  The Vikings’ season may be over, but I still have my Wild and soon the Twinkies will start spring training.  In short, soon the other sports teams from Minnesota can break my heart.   Lastly, if you’re looking for a good book to read on strategy, pick up a copy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

Tonight’s song performed by Minnesota’s own Soul Asylum is “Runaway Train.  I know, I know it is a bit melancholy, but after the drubbing my Vikes endured it seems apropos.  Of course, it also happens to be a great song and a great video.


Disappointment is such a heavy word as it coveys all the feelings that come along with it.  The pit in your stomach, the sadness, that gnawing feeling that you should have listened to your gut, etc.   I don’t like being being disappointed, but it is a part of life.   I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this feeling.   Moreover, nobody likes to be disappointed by their leadership.  This is something I take very seriously in my role.



I’ve lead teams at major corporations for the last eleven years.  When you talk about leadership, two important tenets are equality and fairness.   If you hold your people to different standards, you will falter as a leader. Actually, you will fail as a leader.  Nobody will have respect for you and ultimately your results will reflect the inequity and unfair practices.  For me policies and procedures are agnostic to performance or tenure.  While this is common sense it isn’t always widely practiced.


While these tenets apply to leadership in a corporate environment, they also apply to schools, sports organizations, organizations like the boy scouts.  A lack of equity or fairness in leadership is much more insidious when it impacts our kids.  While life is certainly unfair, it emboldens bad behavior.  Unfortunately, due to poor leadership, some kids or players think that they are above the rules.  As a result, they are woefully disrespectful to everyone.  This isn’t a recipe for success.


Ultimately, these types of leaders create an environment that lacks accountability and respect.  They may enjoy short term success, but ultimately the culture will lead them to failure.  This type of leadership creates an unsustainable environment.  In addition,  people that are treated unfairly learn to be honorable in the face of dishonor.  Moreover, they learn resilience.  Ultimately, they move on to new organizations.  


As I said above, life isn’t fair, but that’s not what this post is about.  This post is about leading a team or an organization honorably, which creates a high producing environment.  I witnessed a lack of leadership this evening that was  disappointing.  Truly, it was the same story last weekend.   However, change is always on the horizon.  Don’t be the type of leader that creates misanthropic kids or employees or an atmosphere rife with disrespect.

Tonight’s song performed by Offspring is “The Kids Aren’t Alright.”  Offspring’s debut CD was also one of the first CDs I bought.  Moreover, this is one of my favorite songs from the late 90’s.  It is also one of my kids’ favorite songs.  The Mayor had two hockey games at home today.  I was able to play the music today, so I chose a 90’s theme in honor of Delores O’Riordan.  What’s your favorite song from the 90’s?


What a Week

What a Week

What a week!  Our Angel Tree events were an absolutely success!  I cannot get over how amazing it is to witness these precious children receiving their gifts.  Moreover, I beyond excited to grow our partnership with ARC through various volunteer opportunities.  Admittedly, I was proud of the team’s efforts and how they pulled together the drive, but I think we’re all exhausted.


In the holiday season being able to help others even if it is in meager amounts is a gift.  It’s funny how as we get older Christmas morphs from a holiday about receiving gifts to a holiday about giving gifts.  They’re is truly more joy in giving than receiving. However, I do think its important to give ourselves gifts from time to time.


For example, the last time I received a raise, I wanted to buy a nice pair of red bottomed shoes.  I think you know the shoes I’m talking about, but instead I bought a membership to the local fitness studio.  First, it was significantly cheaper than the red-bottomed shoes.  Secondly, there’s nothing better than little yoga or barre to get oneself re-centered.  I don’t do many things for myself – I drink my DD and I go to the gym, the rest is for my boys (all four of them.)  Seriously, I haven’t had pedicure since SAHOF (state hockey tournament), which happened in March.



Of course, the hockey mom life entails acceptance of the fact all of your money, and I do mean all, goes to hockey  My boys, again all four, would have it no other way and truthfully nor would I.  Tonight my boys headed to practice as the Piggie and I headed out for a run. As I embarked on my run, one phrase kept running through my head “I’ll remember this.” There’s no need for a backstory here only the reminder that words can cut like a knife.

Tonight’s song performed by Michael Buble is “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”




Breakfast With Santa

Breakfast With Santa

Today was our annual Breakfast with Santa at work.  I know what you may be thinking.  We’re far too old to be eating with Santa, but you’d be wrong!  Importantly, our annual breakfast is the culmination of our Angel Tree drive. In fact, this year we adopted 363 angels for Christmas!

Our Angels come courtesy of ARC Broward, which is an incredible organization that provides people with disabilities and other life challenges the opportunity to fulfill their potential.  Raising children in modern times is incredibly expensive.  Unfortunately, for parents of special needs children, the costs can be exponentially higher, which is where we come in.

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This event started over seven years ago when my CRO and his wife adopted their daughter’s classroom having seen the need first hand.  Thankfully, my CRO shared this opportunity with our military team and we took up the challenge.  Excitedly, this is my second year leading the event with my partner in crime MK.  By comparison to years past, our team is bigger, more diverse and incredible this year.  We made a concerted effort to expand the team outside of our unit, so it would encompass representation from units across the company.

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First, we started off our morning staging the gifts downstairs.  As a result, our employees could get their pictures taken in front of the gifts with Santa.  The sight was beyond impressive with gifts for over 300 people including 20 bikes staged in reception! What struck me as I looked at the gifts, was the amazing generosity of my colleagues.  In that moment, I felt truly blessed and proud.  Blessed and proud to be a part of an organization where community involvement and philanthropy are prized and encouraged.

Importantly, current employee engagement theory has shown that engaged employees happier and more productive.  Since I had the pleasure of taking the pictures with Santa, I got to witness our employees reaction to the event first hand. Without fail, our collective generosity blew away my colleagues.  Time and after time, people made comments about how awesome it is to work with such great people and at a great place.  Undoubtedly, for me, witnessing both their pride and their joy was a profoundly rewarding experience.  As a result, I have no doubt that today’s event was an employee engagement win!

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Afterwards, I headed back up to meetings.  Meanwhile, the team loaded the gifts up for delivery.  I simply cannot wait to go hand out the gifts later this week.  Last year, it was such an amazing, life affirming experience.  Unquestionably, the joy on the children’s face coupled with the gratitude of the teachers and parents is indescribable.  Meanwhile I’m filled with the joy and gratitude for today’s experience.

Tonight’s song performed by  music legends David Bowie and Bing Crosby   is “Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth.” 

hockey culture

Hockey Culture

One of my favorite aspects of hockey culture is the commitment of older players to encouraging and mentor the younger players.  It manifest in a number of ways.  When Marty St. Louis played for the Lightning, his son played travel hockey here in Florida.  There were a number of tournaments we attended that when he was there, he’d offer his encouragement to our boys.  As loud as these hockey players are the minute an NHLer walks in the room, you could hear crickets.

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You may recall from my blog a couple weeks ago that Goalielocks had skate courtesy of a professional rehabbing here in Florida.  Well, today was our boys turn.  Goalielocks’ team was offered the opportunity to volunteer at the Panthers’ Learn to Skate program that is being hosted at our rink.  Goalielocks equipment was still in the truck, so he helped them set up.  Meanwhile, the Mayor was more than happy to go out on the ice and help.

Dressed in their black tracksuits, the Mayor, his friend Justin and a handful of Goalielocks’ teammates took to the ice for learn to play.  We watched from the glass fondly recalling how they were all that little once.  By comparison to the learn to play kids, even my Mayor looked gargantuan.  Our bantams looked like giants next to these little players.

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Unquestionably, these boys are tough on the ice. Most of them visit me in the box at least once a game (my Mayor included.) Nonetheless today on the ice, they were gentle giants.  It was awesome watching them help the up and coming hockey players throughout the hour.  As tough as they can be, they were patient, caring coaches.  For my boys, it was a rewarding experience.  As we left the rink, they were excited to return next week to help coach.

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Post learn to play, I got my second coffee of the day from Dunkin’ before heading to the pet store.  Our first stop was a Tanks A Lot, which sells aquarium and a wide array of marine life.  For my boys, it was like a candy shop.  This store had everything from sea horses (I want one) to two different shark species.  Unquestionably, my boys wanted to take home both of the sharks.  Unfortunately, we don’t have an aquarium large enough to house the sharks.


After our trips to the pet store, we headed home for Goalielocks to setup his new aquarium.  He got several small fish to cycle the thank.  Meanwhile, I was hoping to run, but the weather and my hamstrings were not cooperating.   Instead I chose to cuddle on the couch with the Mayor and watch the Office.  It was a solid choice.  Nonetheless, it also means I’ll have to run more miles tomorrow.


Lastly, we’re seven days out from the Broward Palm Beach Purple Stride and still $3,500 away from our fundraising goal.  While it looks doubtful that I’ll be logging a PR at this race, due to poor preparations, I do not want to fall short of my fundraising goal.  If you’re in S. Florida, join us at the event.  If you’re not local to S. Florida, please consider donating to Team Deb Force Five.  You can join the team or donate to the team via this link:  Team Deb Force Five.

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Tonight’s song is a flashback to the 80’s.  It’s also one of my kids’ favorite song after it was featured on Family Guy.  Enjoy Toto’s “Africa.”



Friday Afternoon Bowling

Friday Afternoon Bowling

Today I spent my Friday afternoon bowling at a team building event for one of our business partners.  On the heels of yesterday’s BBQ for our team, bowling and building relationships with our business partners was awesome.  Truly,  I spent a good part of my week building relationships and on employee engagement.  Is there anything better?


Unequivocally, one of the things I love about my job is the people I work with.  Some are on my team, but many work across the organization in the departments we work with daily.  Silos are the greatest danger to any organization.  Make it your mission to remove silos from our place of employment.  Make it your mission to make positive relationships with the people that support your department, but may work outside of it.


That’s all I have for career/work advice tonight.  Let’s talk about the bowling.  I’m awful.   Truly I don’t have enough fingers on my hand to count the gutter balls I threw today.  Consequently, during our second game I switched to bowling from my left hand.  The first ball I threw left handed resulted in (gulp) a gutter ball.  I promptly followed it up with a right handed spare.   Thereafter, I alternated between the hands in resulted in a score that was double my second game.


In fact, in game two I even led for a moment.  Albeit a brief moment.  For that brief moment between the 2nd and 3rd frame of game 2, I was in the lead.  Since this never happens, I simply had to take a picture of my amazing accomplishment.  Unfortunately, I followed it up with some more gutter balls before netting another spare and two strikes.  You can only imagine the awesomeness of my post-strike strut.

My AD and I had joined the white team.  There were five teams and we rocked it.  As sure as I was that I would torpedo the team, we killed it.  We had a blast!  It was such a great opportunity to meet new  people, connect with those we know and build positive relationships.  While I will never become a professional bowler (cue the small violin here,) I look forward to my next bowling trip my colleagues.  Special thanks to our friends TE and NM for the invite.

Tonight’s song “Smooth” by Santana ft. Rob Thomas.

serving others

Serving Others

Today was all about serving others – literally.  As a thank you to our staff and business partners, we threw a BBQ for our entire South Florida team.   While this wasn’t our first rodeo, it was our third, our last two BBQs have been for a team of 40-50.  Comparatively, today’s BBQ was for a paltry 450 people! For the majority of the team, leadership included, this was their first offsite BBQ.


Our day started early with a trip to Sam’s to pick up the food we had pre-ordered.  While MK and I got the food, the rest of our crew headed to the park to start the grills.  In order to serve by noon, we started grilling at 10.  Our chefs, as always, were fantastic. When I finally got a chance to eat a burger, it was incredible.  By the time our teams showed up to eat, we were more than ready to go.

For the next three hours, my team and I served our employees burgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers.  It was an amazing opportunity for us to interact with our teams and build new relationships on our expanded team.  We spent the entirety of our day preparing for the BBQ, executing and cleaning up the park.  Unquestionably, it is hard for us to be away from the laptops for extended periods of time, but it is worth it to serve our teams.

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Some leaders fall into the trap of getting caught up in titles and even self -importance.  True leadership, however, is about serving those that report to you.  I privileged to be part of a team that espouses the servant leadership philosophy.  After I left the insurance industry years ago, I never wanted to be in a leadership position again.  Surprisingly, here I am in a leadership position again.  What drew me back into the leadership role was the commitment to servant leadership.

Today was an exhausting, but rewarding day.  The opportunity to meet and celebrate the people that make an organization successful was amazing.  I look forward to our next event celebrating the team’s success and our employees.  In the interim, I remain grateful for the opportunity to serve my team as a servant leader.

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Lastly, I’ve been handling my iPhone X gingerly, so as to not drop it.  I’m acclimated slowly to the major changes on the phone.  Truly, the facial recognition piece is amazing. Once I’ve gotten accustom to it, I will post my review here.  

Tonight’s song: “Mr. Jones”  I’m totally on a 90s music kick this week.  Can you tell?  What’s your favorite 90s tune?

Don't Quit Keep Going

Don’t Quit Keep Going

Don’t quit keep going!  When you first start running or any fitness routine, it is easy to give up when it starts to get uncomfortable.  But you can’t!  As Jillian Michael says “unless you puke, faint or die, keep going.”  As you learn to push through those walls, you’ll build both physical and mental  endurance and strength.  What could be better?  Remember if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

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Don’t Quit Keep Going

Moreover, working out is the perfect panacea for a bad day.  Run mad, run wild and exercise the stress away. Your mind, body and family will thank you.  The beauty of exercise is that it gives you both physical and mental clarity.   Many people, myself included, do their best thinking while running or working out.

Don't Quit Keep Going
Don’t Quit Keep Going

As you build both the mental and physical strength that allow you to break through barriers in your workout, you’ll also find it translates into other aspects of your life.  The grittiness and confidence you find in your workouts will help you immensely.  Namely, it will help you find the mental strength to persevere through life’s toughest moments.


your trademark

Your Trademark

What’s your trademark?  Is it the way you smile? Is it the cup on Dunkin in your hand?  The way you dress?  Or maybe it is the way you make people laugh.  Each of us has unique gifts, a unique look, unique ideas.  Either way your trademark is uniquely yours, so own it.

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I get it, trust me I do, its tough to own your fabulousness while fighting through the minutia (aka brave sierra) of the 9-5:00.  One of my favorite movies is Office Space.  As our protagonist became miserable in his job, he lost himself for a minute.  It wasn’t until he decided to make a change that he was invigorated again.  In the end, he defrauded the company and ended up in a construction job.  Obviously,  I’m not advocating defrauding you company, but I am advocating finding and following your passion.


Nobody in Hollywood today or yesteryear, could compete with the awesome persona that was Mae West.  Without a doubt , her trademark blonde hair and acerbic wit were and still are absolutely legendary.  I love the quote from her below.  It’s not what you do or what you say, but how you say it.  Say things in your voice.  Do things in your own way.  Be true to your identity.

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As I wrote at the beginning, each of us has things that are uniquely ours.  This along with the way we make people feel is our trademark.  As I look at my own kids, each has a trademark of their own.  Jake’s trademark is his dimples and passion for music.  Goalielocks’ trademark without question is his flowing blonde hair and brilliant, inquisitive mind.  The Mayor’s is well he’s the Mayor – that’s his trademark.  Everywhere we go, people know the Mayor.  Certainly. his cute dimples and personality don’t hurt.    No matter the pressure, no matter what happens, don’t let life’s up and downs impact you amazingness.


Tonight’s song:  Queen Ft. David Bowie Under Pressure