Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

I would like to thank my readers for their support and patience while I've been busy with work. Thank you for listening to my last post about the jewelry I made and donated to a cause, for my client, that is near and dear to my heart.

Since October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, I wanted to reiterate some of my sentiments about the Last Kiss of Summer Gala held on September 27th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown for Second Chance Employment Services.

I spent a good part of this past summer soliciting item donations and sponsorships for this event. I did other things as well for Second Chance, but I spent a great portion of my time marketing the event in a number of different forums. I even created the Second Chance Employment Services Blog to help get the word out there and stop the silence. It really means a lot to me that the event was such a success.

The Last Kiss of Summer Gala is an annual fundraiser that takes place every September, so please do remember this event when you are planning your annual giving and calendar.

I want to now highlight the evening's event that took place last month:

The picture above is from last year's Gala event with Ludy Green (Black Suit), daughter Megan, Kathleen "Kassie" Brown (Brown Dress), and me, Stephanie Willson (Burgundy Gown and Shawl).

The silent auction was beautiful with many items that had been donated including one of my own pieces of jewelry officially found at Stephanie Willson Jewelry and listed in my previous post.

The silent auction was followed a delicious seated dinner: The Four Seasons started us off with salad, then salmon, and finally dessert. During that time we had speakers and introductions. A video was played with a woman silhouetted in the shadows as she spoke about her heart wrenching tale of desperately trying to survive her divorce with little resources and the humiliation of having to ask friends constantly for help.

Another speaker and Second Chance client went on-stage and told her tearful tale, in Spanish - the only language she can speak. This woman spoke from her heart about her trials and tribulations in trying to get survive her situation and the loving help and support that she received from Second Chance in helping her with housing, food, child care, English training, and job placement. The English translation moved the room and it was difficult to hold back a tear.

Tanya Brown, internationally acclaimed domestic violence advocate, author, and sister of Nicole Brown Simpson gave the keynote address. Tanya spoke from her heart and moved the room with her personal story and sharing the life of Nicole Brown Simpson. Tanya Brown gave a speech that penetrated and moved the room. It is truly a wonderful service that Tanya is doing by sharing her story as she delivers her message so powerfully in a way that many women wish they also could share.

Dancing ended the event to a fantastic live band!

This wonderful organization would not even exist and women would never receive the services that are not found elsewhere if it were not for the incredible support of volunteers, donors, sponsors, and supporters. Thank you for letting me share this with you.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Summer Kiss Necklace

On Thursday, September 27, 2007 I attended and donated Summer Kiss to the Last Kiss of Summer Gala which was specially commissioned for the event to be used for their silent auction:

Summer Kiss was especially commissioned for this Gala event to help raise money for Second Chance Employment Services which is a non-profit that connects at-risk women with suitable employment. Summer Kiss is a hand-crafted, hand-wired triple strand necklace, approximately 22" in length. Summer Kiss is made of two (2) types of turquoise in chips and 8mm rondelles, 8mm freshwater pearls, Sterling Silver Wire, Sterling Silver O-Ring Clasp, and Seed beads.

Tanya Brown, Nicole Brown Simpson's sister was the guest speaker and I was honored to hear Tanya's heart-felt story and plea for helping at-risk women. Thank you Tanya for protecting women and breaking the silence!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Best Soft Shell Crab - Ever!!

This summer I drove down to Florida and stopped into a restaurant on Sanibel Island next to Fort Meyers and Captiva called Red Fish Blue Fish. I was greeted by a very nice and personable waitress, Amy Wayne Wright who had recently remodeled and sold her home.

I sat at the bar, which was the best seat as it is a direct view into the kitchen as you can see in the picture above. I got to talk to my chef, a very sweet, and pretty blond - Melissa Talmage. Melissa was very personable and is the new executive chef who had revamped the tasting menu.

Everything I had was spectacularly delicious! I even got to watch Melissa make my dinner which was very cool. I had the duck which was moist and juicy! I also had the most incredible soft shell crab!! I love soft shell crab and Melissa made this crab so well that I can still envision it several weeks later!

For dessert I ate the Chocolate Mousse which was also made by Melissa. The plate was decorated with carmeled pineapples. Really beautiful!

The wine that Amy was serving me was really incredible too - a pinot blanc. There was a ton of wine in the restaurant - stacked against the wall. Red Fish Blue Fish obviously has really good taste in food and drinks!

Red Fish Blue Fish is a definite stop on the map for good food and wine. I will have to stop here again to eat the next time I find myself on Sanibel Island.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Best Crab Cakes in DC

I have been on vacation this month and also moved house - thus my quiet blog. Now I'm back! Thank you for reading and commenting while I was gone.

Ken, a reader, made the following comment in one of my posts:
"If you were to recommend 3 restaurants in the district, which would they be? and who do you think has the best crab cakes in the city?"

Thank you Ken for the question!

Recommendations for 3 restaurants in the District of Columbia would be:

1) Sequoia - for the view of the Potomac. (202) 944-4200

3000 K St Nw, Washington, DC 20007

2) Guapos - Mexican restaurant with the best Chile con Carne in town and friendly service.

(Yes - it is a chain - but done right).

4515 Wisconsin Avenue Northwest, Washington, DC 20016

Phone: (202) 686-3588

3) CLYDE'S OF GEORGETOWN - It's old "cave dweller" Washington - Classic!

3236 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007 Phone (202) 333-9180

Best Crab Cakes in the City?

2218 Wisconsin Ave Nw, Washington, DC 20007

(202) 333-5640

What 3 restaurants do you recommend in DC?

Who do you think has the best crab cakes in Washington?

What do you think of the restaurants I listed?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Ads Are Easy To Make

I had another client ask me to make them an ad at 400X300 instead of the banner at 700X100. I helped them with this new size and created a new ad button.

Monday, May 28, 2007

White and Nerdy

While working for Second Chance Employment Services I had a client that requested a banner advertisement of our upcoming Gala: Last Kiss of Summer for their website. I created a new banner for them over this Memorial Day weekend. I am having a White and Nerdy moment right now, thus the music video by Weird Al Yankovic ?!

Monday, May 21, 2007

My Client: Second Chance

I have also created a blog specifically for a client that I love and support, Second Chance Employment Services! I had attend the annual Gala for Second Chance every year. Here I am in this picture at last year's event. I'm so pleased to help with this non-profit organization that I know is effective in finding at-risk women real employment to give them sustainable financial independance. God bless you Ludy Green for founding Second Chance and for making a difference in so many women's lives!!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Help for Negative Blogger

I posted this on another forum for suggestions for the "terrorist" blogger that showed up on my last posting. I thought you would like to see the various range of comments and also get a chance to make your own suggestions, thoughts, and ideas on how you handle a negative blogger or how you would have handled this negative blogger:

Hi Everyone -

Today was a coordinated day for bloggers to run "One Day Silence Blog" which I did for all my blogs. I recieved a very negative blog in opposition to proving sympathy for the Victims of Virgina Tech. How do you think this should be handled? Is anyone interested in addressing the negative comment on my blog with a positive comment?

My blog address:

Thank you,


Sunday, April 29, 2007

One Day Blog Silence

A coordinated One Day Blog of Silence is scheduled to be held today on April 30, 2007 in honor of the victims of Virginia Tech. Instead of leaving comments, please post this picture on your blog to uphold the silence and solemn remembrance. Please use this day to meditate and pray for the victims, families, and effected area surrounding the horrible incident that took place at Virginia Tech earlier this week. Thank you.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Golfing at Hanes Point

American University offers a Golf Class to students. Last week our teacher Bill took us to Haines Point or East Potomac Blue Golf Course in Washington, DC to play a few holes. It was a lot of fun even with the heat.

Afterwards a group of us went to the driving range to hit balls. The class was a lot of fun and it was good to learn something new and useful in college. What are some of your favorite college classes?

Friday, April 20, 2007

VA Tech Day of Silence

A coordinated One Day Blog of Silence will be held on April 30, 2007 in honor of the victims of Virginia Tech. This picture will be posted on this web on April 30th and instead of leaving comments post this picture on your blog to uphold the silence and solemn remembrance. Please use this day to meditate and pray for the victims, families, and effected area surrounding the horrible incident that took place at Virginia Tech earlier this week. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Innovative Job Recruiting Styles

I read some interesting articles focusing on innovative Job Recruiting Styles. This interested me since I will be doing a presentation tomorrow morning at American University on Blogging and Recruiting.

I contacted a respected blogger, Trey Reeme, at OpenSourceCU and asked him some of his thoughts on this subject. Mr. Reeme pointed out the following article called The See-Through CEO which states, “There's a whole class of CEOs who can hardly write an email. In this new digital world, there are haves & have-nots, & people who can't write convincingly - they're leaving themselves defenseless. The people who clearly enjoy writing & blogging are like CEOs 2.0 - they have competitive advantage over other CEOs.” Clearly Mr. Reeme feels strongly that writing ability which can be expressed through blogging can be a saving grace in managing a CEOs reputation.

Blogging is a great way for companies and their vital employees to reach outside of themselves into the world. How then could a company transform this power into their Human Resources division to recruit top employees?

i agree. blogs aren't all that - but they do have their place is an article about how companies should not bother with blogging to recruit employees. That instead they should focus on their current recruiting methodologies and let the website designers bother with the blogging. This may be true in general for now, but it certainly works with some of the techie companies like Microsoft, T-Mobile, and Skype. In time, like other technologies, blogging may reach a larger audience other then the IT industry.

The youth are more open to innovative recruiting methods. That's why the controversial online social network site Facebook has teamed up with Jobster which can be found in the article Facebook, Jobster To Launch A Site For Young Job Seekers. It is hyping Facebook which used to be focused only towards college students now open to the public to further be opened up with college recruiting. The irony here is that Facebook has been keeping students from getting jobs from using the website leading parents to investing in the company Reputation Defender to clean up their child's reputation. I blogged on this topic earlier in February 2007.

It will be interesting to watch the different innovative ways that companies will begin changing their mode of operations. The recruiting practices of the Human Resources department will be most telling in the new directions we take through where they feel they can implement new techniques via youth, techies, or other groups.

Monday, April 16, 2007

VA Tech Massacre Chillingly Like Columbine

Today, April 16, 2007, there was a terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech in Blackburn, VA located between Washington, DC and Richmond, VA. A shooting, a senseless massacre of 32 students, plus gunman totaling 33.

This incident outrages me as a civilian and a parent. Eight years ago on April 20, 1999, I lived in Colorado and happened to be 10 miles from a Columbine High School where 12 students, a teacher, and the two gunmen were killed. As a parent I work hard to raise my children - I have sacrificed more than could be written - it is cruel to take them away in such a stupid killing spree for someone's attempts to set their name in a blaze of bloody gore!

I cannot erase from my memory the haunting of that terrible and tragic day near Littleton, Colorado. Ironically a few weeks ago I had to give a speech to my college class at American University in which I was calming my employees at a bank branch and what I would have to say to them during that horrible event.

The news has not yet released the name of the gunman. I hope they never release it after living through the aftermath of Columbine. I refuse to list here the name of the horrible young men that shot the innocent high school children and place their names in history which is exactly what they wanted. I make a plea here to all journalists not to release the name of the gunman - erase him/her from history!

This is a shameful, senseless death and these gunman should be forgotten and wiped out of history's memory as if they never even existed. We will not forget the victims or the senseless tragedy. The names of the victims should be reported, not the gunmen.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fenty Gets A Black Eye With DC Parents

Washington DC's young new mayor has yet to impress the residents of DC with children that attend the city's public schools! On January 6, 2007, Fenty brought DC some excitement with his Inaugural Ball that seemed to take in all of Washington.

I attended along with my friend Josette.

We met lots of politicians.

I thought the best part was the art! (Those are tennis rackets!!)

Now the honeymoon is over! As a DC parent I am outraged to hear that my children's school (one of the few functional elementary schools in DC despite major budget cuts) has had its budget slashed yet again. The budget cuts are no surprise to DC parents as we know that the schools and the children of this city take a backseat to everything else in DC including the potholes.
FYI - a few years ago every DC child was allocated $10,000 to the school, but only $6,000 made it to the child's school. The remaining $4,000 evaporated somewhere in "administrative costs" before it touched the school. That was in the better years?!
With Fenty new in office, DC parents were hoping for a change! We got one alright. We were just told that our budget will be cut so drastically that our school that has been "downsizing annually" will have to let 2 teachers go!!
Without children, DC does not have a future. I certainly hope that Fenty will turn around his administration before his reputation is ruined in letting down the hopes of the parents behind him to revitalize DC Public Schools. Perhaps again the best part of this administration will be the art without substance.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Seriously - Businesses Advertising on MySpace?

An article with CIO Today called Launches MySpace for Businesses addressing security risks for businesses and their customers through hackers. It seems that many businesses are already on MySpace as it is. I wondered why businesses would pay to get put onto MySpace anymore when there are now even better social networking sites. After comparing MySpace to Facebook they are as different as day and night leading a preference of users to Facebook for more privacy and more interaction with friends. I also know that when I visit Facebook I wont get bombarded with ads or friend requests from people I've never met. Businesses should look at other places to launch their websites besides MySpace where people are specifically seeking business services. There are several business focused social networks such as SecondLife and more to come. MySpace needs to do more clean up work with it's annoying advertisements before a business could seriously set up shop there.

~REFLECTIONS~: If Only We Were Colorblind...

~REFLECTIONS~: If Only We Were Colorblind...
This was posted by an AU student which let into a discussion about the 1960s version of Planet of the Apes.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Basecamp Slows Me Down!!

This weeks reading covered collaborative software, but I decided to comment on the software that I have personally used which is called Basecamp. In the article Teamwork, Supercharged by BusinessWeek it is touted the latest online program that will change the way people do business including getting rid of e-mail. The article claims that, "'It's 300% more work' for his firm and clients to manage projects without the new technologies".

I have tried Basecamp and disagree with this article. I had to use Basecamp for a project to conference since we were unable to meet in person. What should have been an hour meeting in person became a 3-hour on-line meeting in which I was tied to my computer.

People wanted to sound intelligent and would ask questions just to ask them, so I would end up typing the same answer 3 different times throughout the session. Also not everyone was as responsive as they should have been and I had the sneaking suspicion that they were not fully engaged in the meeting and thought they could get away with it since we could not see him. Incorporating phone calls into the conference is helpful as many businesses are more likely to use this method.

I still feel that phone calls, e-mail, and in-person meetings are the better way to go for the future over an online only format of communication. Companies should set the standard that they put people first instead of opting to use this cold, slow collaborative network. People need contact with other people and the exceptions to this rule are strange indeed and I feel sorry for them.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Stephanie Willson's Financial Industry Blog: New Blog Site

Stephanie Willson's Financial Industry Blog: New Blog Site

Here is the link to my Financial Blog Postings

New Financial Industry Blog Page

I really enjoy blogging about the financial industry, especially credit unions. Since posting on credit unions has deviated from the purpose of my course at American University, I have decided to start a new blog decidated to the Financial Industry that will be kept seperate from my course blog which is I have copied over the credit union posts from my other blog and pasted them there. I am also creating a link between both blogs to further authenticate the origional postings. Thank you!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What's the difference: credit union vs. bank?

I came across this great blog posting called Communicating the "Difference" by John Cote which can be found at:

It's about explaining to people the difference between a credit union and a bank. I myself have had to explain this one several times to many people. Usually I give the quick, "A bank was originally formed to invest and lend money to commercial businesses who at a much later time began investing and lending money to regular people through it's retail branches. A credit union is a membership of regular people investing and lending money amongst each other, the regular people, instead of primarily targeting commercial entities."

I still get blank looks at the end of that explanation which is why I enjoyed John's entry so much when he said,'How is a credit union different from a bank? These and other cosmic queries are often met with a shrug, a vacant stare, and if the questioner is lucky in the latter case, a quick “I’m not sure, let me get somebody else that can help you.'"

Here are a few of many items that differentiate a credit union from a bank:
  • They don’t have customers - instead they have members
  • Money deposits are considered shares into the financial institution.
  • Tax-exempt
  • Not-for-profit
  • Volunteer and unpaid board of directors.
Clearly - this cannot be recreated by a bank.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Reputation soured by hostile takeover?

Reputation is everything, especially for an industry trying to define itself from another which is especially the case between Credit Unions and Banks. Credit Unions strive on being cooperative with each other and putting people and members first as a way to distinguish themselves from a bank. This distinction and reputation helps credit unions maintain their tax-free status. The industry is now scrambling to recover from an attempted hostile take over by Wings Financial Federal Credit Union over Continental Airlines Federal Credit Union as can be seeing in the following LA Times news post:,1,3175489.story?coll=la-headlines-business&ctrack=1&cset=true

There seems to be a lot of activity amongst credit union advocates where such avid postings about this sort of behavior can be found at many sites including Trey Reeme's Opensourcecu blog and DougTrue's blog:

Thank you Trey and Doug for bringing this issue to everyone's attention!! How will the credit union movement ultimately respond to this sort of behavior? What do you think they should do to salvage their reputation that they have painstakingly built for years?

Perhaps Wings Financial Federal Credit Union should lose their status as a credit union and be turned into a bank or better yet Wings Financial FCU should get a hostile takeover instead. What is the best remedy for the industry in this instance?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Something Important to Me

My hair got smashed in this picture and my shawl is covering my delicate dress. This is a picture of me and an attendee at a Gala to provide jobs and assistance to victims of domestic violence. Dr. Ludy Green, CEO/President of Second Chances Employment is one of the most incredible friends, and clients, to have and know. This fall Ludy invited me to be her guest of honor at her gala called Last Kiss of Summer. It was an increidble and moving event in which I had the privelage of hearing many empowering stories in getting women back into the workforce after leaving their abusive relationships. I met many wonderful people and made new friends who are an inspiration. God Bless You Ludy!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Online Reputation

The following online articles uncover a scary big brother scenario for the future of our reputations inhibiting one's ability to gain future employment due to some silly college photographs posted onto a college website such as facebook and myspace:,72063-0.html?tw=rss.index

Goffman's "Presentation of Self in Everyday Life" boiled down in wikipedia
Listen to: NPR on "Startups Help Clean Up Online Reputations"
Business Week Online: "Are Online Reputations Portable?"

The reality is that college students are getting slammed by future employers and barred from jobs due to an evening of normal college rite of passage. College students are being educated about the new horrors that await them due to their "fun times" they want to share with their friends. Perhaps the education should go the other way around towards employers as well. Employers that use such tactics for employment should be boycotted with a list of their names published for their "police state" tactics. Companies also happen to hire consulting companies to do the dirty work for them and they should be sifted out as well.

In the meantime, a company helping to protect the innocent from these busy bodies is Reputation Defender. Much like the way a credit repair agency would operate, Reputation Defender uses competer technology and human search ingenuity to locate damaging content about an individual and have it removed for a fee.

Reputation Defender has a brilliant idea and I give it 5 stars! In the meantime, more needs to be done to right back to defend our lives and freedoms from this invasive behavior. Start listing the names of these human rights violators! Fight back!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Who should use a blog?

There seem to be two opinions in the blogging world as to whom should be allowed to blog for their company. One group believes that it should be open to all employees while another group believes that blogging should only be reserved for the executives or CEO. Both groups propose good arguements and both are right depending on the individual company. When not considering the individual company and instead dealing with this issue in one bold decisive stroke, then the answer is with the group that blogging should be reserved for only the executives or the CEO of a company.

Blogging is a form of communication and all communication that goes outside of a company must be reviewed to ensure many things including accuracy and legality of the statements. Regardless of company spin - a company can get into a great deal of legal problems if their statements are misleading, false, or worse.

Blogging opens casual channels of communication - but casual does not mean unrestrained and careless. Frank conversations can be held with company VIPs that more accurately portray the company's cohesive stance on a given issue beeing discusses as the person answering such blogs is also the company decision maker.

Opening blogging up to anyone in the company could easily result in many distaters including misleading, misrepresenting, and miscommunicating the company's position to a blog post. People interested in a company want to hear from the top people anyway - it's like any form of journalism - a reliable source is key.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Cameras at Work?!

Microsoft used amature camera employee to capture the "real microsoft" for it's blogging customers. I wonder what Microsoft employees really felt about having a camera "let loose" in their work environment.

Camera's are becoming such an obtrusive invasion of privacy that there is talk of writing new laws along with companies banning cell phones into certain areas to remove the chance that a camera may be used through the phone.

Although Micorsoft wanted to be authenic about communicating with customers, I feel that taking a camera into the workplace is stretching too far what could have been done through a traditional blog.

Camera's are becoming a major intrusive instrument in society that it is getting to a point in which no one can relax. Besides the obvious places, such as ATMs, Elevators, Traffic Lights, ect. Camera's are being found in the following places as well taking pictures of people without their consent:
- Hidden camera's in their own home
- Residents at the gated community pool
- On school grounds by another parent
- On the sidewalk going to a meeting
- At the cash register
- The list continues . . . . .

Technology is increasing while presonal rights lag behind in obscurity. So then, where are societies limits?

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Naked Conversations

This week a new book was introduced called Naked Conversations. I found this book to be the most interesting of all the reading materials.

Naked Conversations talks about how blogging changed the perception of Microsoft from that of an "Evil Empire" to a human enterprise. I sometimes wonder if this is actually the case? Are people really so taken as to view Microsoft as a good company that cares about humanity now?

What about Bill Gates? Is he suddenly a humanitarian now that he has started giving away money to charities such as Carnegie had done during his time period?

Frankly I'm shocked that Americans have allowed some of Microsoft's "evils" to be glossed over due to their social corporate directives. I think it is good that companies "give". However - the biggest giving seems to be completely missed by many American consumers!

Of the things that Microsoft and Bill Gates are giving away are American jobs!! Bill Gates and Microsoft will never be able to give enough until they put their priorities where they count most - back to the country that gave them the freedoms and economics to become the man and company they are today.

I've run into many an ignorant person who believes that Americans losing their jobs will teach this country a lesson and teach us to be more competive . . . . Honey - have you ever lived through a major recession? I have!!

I've seen small towns wiped out in less than a year, family farms that were passed on through generations gone in a month, people lose their houses that no one will or can buy because everyone is walking away from their mortgage payments they can't pay! Baby parts of this country went through a depression (recession - ha ha) in the 80s that most people don't know about . . .(shhhhhhhh!)

It wasn't pretty to live through or see. Preying on people in order to move programs to be written up in India or other cheap labor countries in the name of "global competition" is as competitive as canibolizing your own family. Microsoft has enough money to cover the appropriate costs to do the right thing.

Perhaps now that Bill Gates has taken a few lessons from Andrew Carnegie in donating to the community he should now take a few lessons from Henry Ford in providing enough employment to the American workers that also make them his customers.

Henry Ford changed the economics in this country by doing the most baffling and idiotic thing in the time of his generation - he paid his employees well! The results of doing this not only made him rich, but more importantly was the starting point in creating the middle class we have today.

If you haven't actually known people to lose their home or haven't personally seen an entire town be shut down . . . then you're theoretical answers to this are purely academic. This is real life baby!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Social Network Theory

In reading from the authors Cross and Kadushin - I found it interesting networks seemed to work together. I was surprised by the idea that upon promotion an executive should not be moved into the center of the company as this will further create more information bottlenecks, but instead these people need to be moved to the peripheral. That idea seems to be illogical when looking over the heigharchy of an organization. I found this theory confusing and welcome some insight as to how this is a superior form of information sharing.

Also, I found it interesting that new experts that are brought into an organization due to their expertise have difficulty integrating into the new company in order to "prove themselves" which takes about 1-2 years. This caused me to suspect that perhaps it is in a company's best interest to hire and promote younger, "moldable" people into an organization in order to alleviate expert turnover.