Come see me at

7 10 2013

I am no longer posting to this blog, but please come see me over at!

Thanks for stopping by!!!



An Overview to Kripalu Yoga

9 12 2009

The link below is a small guidebook for beginners of Kripalu Yoga. It contains an overview of the yoga discipline, vocabulary, illustrations of a few poses as well as a list of things you’ll need to begin. I had the pleasure of taking Kripalu Yoga at Clemson as an elective and really enjoyed it. I can verify first-hand that it definitely assisted me in dealing with the stress of taking a full load of classes while working and dealing with the curve balls that life throws at us!

Kripalu Project

Hmmph. Concepts of Conflict

5 12 2009

Hmmph – Words and Phrases of Conflict

For the class, Communication and Conflict Management, we were assigned to use between 10 and 30 key terms from the course to create an artifact to teach an audience about conflict.

I created a booklet, to teach my peers and to use as a reference, for terms that I found meaningful during the course of the semester.

Leadership Experience

5 12 2009

Sat 05 Dec / Chapter 12: Leader and Leadership Development

  • Think of a time when you took charge of a group, or when you were in a group where someone else took charge. What challenges did you (or the leader) face? How did you you (or the leader) accomplish the three tasks of taking charge? Did you (or the leader) pass through the stages described in the chapter? How successful was the leadership transition?

“Experience is not what happens to a man [woman]. It is what a man [woman] does with what happens to him [her].” – Aldous Huxley

According to our text, “leader development helps to make a person effective in a variety of formal and informal leadership roles. While developing leader abilities improves leadership effectiveness among those who serve in formal leadership roles such as supervisors, managers, and project leaders, it can equally as important in developing competencies for those who play informal leadership roles in their campus, community, workplace, or religious organization” (Hackman & Johnson, 2009, p. 370).

Leadership development can come from a number of experiences and activities we participate in at different times in our lives at work, at school and in our personal lives. When I worked for Classic Photography of SC, Inc., I was responsible for leading groups of 6-10 photographers at various events. One aspect of our business was to take graduation portraits at the ceremony. During these events there are many things to consider. Our team was always situated between the audience and the ceremony itself; therefore, we had to work hard to be as inconspicuous as possible and do our job at the same time. During these events we took several types of photographs: PR shots – which were shots of each speaker during the ceremony, headshots of students after they received their diploma, sometimes a group photo of the entire graduating class prior to the ceremony, and the picture of the graduate as they received their diploma. Taking this last photo sometimes involved standing on stage or on a stepladder just off stage. There were many factors to consider during the moment that the actual picture was being taken such as the facial expression of the graduate, direction the graduate was walking, speed of the graduation, the handshake, the swinging of the tassel, the camera function – f-stop, flash, timing, ISO, etc. Needless to say, the job could be highly stressful. In addition to taking the photographs, someone was responsible for making brief notes regarding the appearance of the graduate as well as making sure the recorder was working to record the names in order for us to match the correct name with each grad. Additionally, someone also had to be responsible for back up equipment just in case. There were also sometimes one or two more photographers taking shots off stage and another team member collecting name cards or the list as they were read. Timing and professionalism were crucial to our performance at each event. All of this process involved challenges that the team leader faced, sometimes varying from event to event depending on what problems may have arisen- employees being late or not performing well, equipment difficulty, travel dilemmas, changes in the names of the graduates, ceremony timing, etc.

The text identifies three main types of work of “taking charge processes”. In terms of being a team leader for graduations at Classic Photo, there was definitely a time for cognitive work. I first had to learn how the graduations generally went. Additionally, I had to learn how to take consistent, sellable, graduation photos, how to troubleshoot equipment issues, how to earn the respect of my team members, and how to approach faculty and staff at whatever high school or university we were photographing. Should a problem arise at the time of the event we were working, I had to think quickly to assess the situation and what could be done to correct the problem as quickly as possible. In terms of organizational work, we would always meet before the event and caravan or ride together. Either on the way or when we arrived I would brief the team on how many grads there were, whether or not we had to do a group shot and/or shot off stage, who would be performing what task, etc. Additionally, the team leader and members would meet briefly with the contact of the school to touch base, find out about any last minute changes or developments, and of course set up and check equipment. All of these factors allowed us to be organized and ready to perform together when commencement commenced. As far as the interpersonal process, we would often ride together and enjoy a meal together. These experiences were more relaxed and allowed time for developing relationships among the group in an informal setting.

As far as my experience in passing through the stages, I definitely did. I began working at Classic Photo as an event photographer and held this position for a little over three years before becoming the general manager. During my first six months in management at Classic Photo, I probably worked eighty hour weeks simply because there was that much to do. I then worked very hard to learn exactly how everything operated – our online business transactions, our customers planning processes, the steps each photograph went through after going to the lab, and the many other processes involved in running a regional company. After that, I worked a few less hours, but became more intensely involved in all of the processes of the company. Instead of learning how the business ran, I was taking steps to improve the performance of myself and its employees. I did not take part very much in the consolidation and refinement processes as much however, because I left the company to take a position with another company after managing Classic Photo for about a year and a half.

Through it all, I felt that my transition to a leadership position went pretty smoothly. The employees who were previously my peers reacted very cooperatively and I genuinely enjoyed my job.

My Credo Memo

10 10 2009

“Leader credibility is the cornerstone of corporate performance and global competitiveness”. – Tom Peters

One option for my leadership assignment this week was an exercise developed by James Kouzes and Barry Posner:

“Imagine that your organization has afforded you the chance to take a six-month sabbatical, all expenses paid.  The only hitch is that you may not take any work along on this sabbatical.  And you will not be permitted to communicate to anyone at your office or plant while you are away.  Not by letter, phone, fax, e-mail, or other means.  Just you, a few good books, some music, and your family or a friend.  But before you depart, those with whom you work need to know the principles that you believe should guide their actions in your absence.  They need to know the values and beliefs that you think should steer their decisions making and action taking.  After all, you’ll want to be able to fit back in on your return.  You are permitted no long reports, however.  Just a one-page Credo Memo.  Take out one piece of paper and write that memo.”


To: My Office
Subject:  The next six-months…and beyond

In my absence, I would like for you to remember these principles. Be committed to our organization and maintain the standard of excellence that we have built together.  

Hard Work. Hard work is necessary for success. Remember to put forth your best efforts in everything you do, and you will always know that you gave at least 100% of your efforts. Failures, from time to time, are inevitable. However, if we give our best in everything then the occasional failure is easier to take and can be a learning experience.

Perseverance.  Working through adversity and difficulty makes us stronger and more equipped to deal with problems should they arise in the future. Stay steadfast and committed to your goals and you will eventually succeed.

Honesty. Being honest with our co-workers, our clients, and ourselves is of the highest importance. A lack of honesty will lead to nothing beneficial in the long run. Dishonesty destroys trust and integrity.

Humility. Maintaining an attitude of humility allows interpersonal relationships to blossom and grow. Consider for example the statement: “The customer is always right”. It requires an attitude of humility to adopt that statement and implement it well. Humility will also allow your relationships with co-workers to be strong and positive by remembering that others have needs that may be more important than your own.

Collaboration. Work together towards the success of the organization. Working against each other will only lead to disintegration of the structure and success within the organization. Remember that we are all on the same side.

Fun. Have fun. Enjoy what you do. Laugh. Celebrate your successes.

This has probably been my favorite activity so far in regards to this class and possibly this semester. As a graduating senior facing a less than inviting job market, identifying those values and beliefs that are important to me and my work ethic is something very important to be able to communicate to potential employers. Having a personal knowledge of where I stand is very relevant to my current position in life; being able to communicate them makes this knowledge even more valuable. My “Credo Memo” is something I will most definitely retain and carry with me.

Leadership Communication

10 10 2009

Our leadership blog this week required us to think about these two questions:

  • Describe a time when you or someone you know became a leader by communicating like a leader, and then identify the specific behaviors that led to this result. What can you learn from this situation that can be applied to other leadership situation?
  • Are theories of leadership culturally bound?

My husband is a member of a group in Anderson called FYMA, which stands for Fine Young Men of Anderson. The group began as sort of a joke when the boys were in high school. They identified each other as friends and gave themselves a name, as many high school cliques do. However, he has been out of high school for 11 years, and the group still exists. A few members have left the group and a few have joined, but the majority of the original “members” are still close friends and still maintain membership. The group has monthly meetings that have been named “First Fridays”, where one member hosts the rest of the group (men and spouses/significant others) for a primarily social function during which, at some point, there is an official meeting called to order and business is discussed. Members (and spouses) bring canned goods to each meeting which are then donated to the local soup kitchen. The organization is also the official adoptee of two roads in Anderson, complete with FYMA printed below the “Adopt-a-highway” sign. Several other ideas for community involvement have been discussed, and there are always ideas being thrown around. They also sponsored a recycling initiative at this year’s soiree. To top it all off, the group has held an annual Christmas party for (I think) the last eight years. Although there is no officially appointed leader, there are two particular members who generally seem to be “the guy in charge”. They are often the ones that questions are directed to, the most heard voice at meetings, and the one’s usually referred to for decision making. Both gentlemen are responsible, intelligent, personable, outgoing, well-liked, and confident. They are also opinionated, hard workers, dedicated and loyal to the group, their families and friends.

What I have learned from this leadership situation is that no matter what the group may be, someone will be appointed the “leader”, either officially or unofficially. The members of FYMA will all tell you that there is no current “official” leadership position, but I bet if you questioned them further, they would identify the same two men as leaders.

 We are also asked to assess the question: “Are leadership theories culturally bound?” It would be very ethnocentric of us to think that all leadership theories applied to everyone in the world. There are many, many cultures and communication styles differ throughout these cultures. Some cultures can’t even be understood yet by theorists, much less theorized about regarding their behavior and communication patterns. Also, many cultures value personal relationships, material goods, gender roles, and other aspects of life differently from those of the theorists’ culture, which makes it hard for those theories to be applicable.

Leadership and Power

10 10 2009

       Is power a dirty word?

 “Power is America’s last dirty word. It is easier to talk about money and much easier to talk about sex than it is to talk about power”. – Rosabeth Moss Kanter

 In reference to this statement, I agree with our book’s determination that “treating it as a dirty word won’t make it go away” (p. 136). People have struggled over and for power for centuries. There will always be those who have power and those who have not. Some people desire power and some do not. Some people seem to innately have power over others through their behavior, actions, sometimes even their presence. People are forced into positions of power and people are forced out.

 Our book defines power as “the ability to influence others” (p. 136). It is not a dirty word, but it is a position that should be taken seriously, not misused, and used carefully.

        Do you agree that leadership should strive for expert and referent power?

 I definitely think leadership should strive for expert power; however, I think that referent power should be reached naturally as opposed to being pushed upon “followers”. Education and knowledge are things that everyone should reach for whether they desire to lead or follow. Aiming to be liked by everyone is not necessarily always a good thing and sometimes compromises our “selves”. On the other hand, if someone is a good leader, often, they are liked simply by being themselves…in which case, I think it is appropriate to use referent power in moderation. The book mentioned several other types of power, and I think it is important to recognize that all types of power may be appropriate in various situations.

        Describe a job, situation, or context in which you felt most empowered and then least empowered. How did your effectiveness compare in those two situations?

 I felt most empowered while managing a regional event photography company where I was responsible for running the office, booking events, maintaining relationships with clients, writing bids for contracts, photographing events, hiring/firing, scheduling photographers, etc. In this position, I had a lot of responsibility and power on my shoulders. On many days, my boss would not even be in the office, and normally I would travel to and photograph events alone. There was a lot of work, as well as stress, involved in this position. However, I was also extremely motivated to perform well because there were such high expectations. As a young(er) adult, I worked in banquets/catering for a hotel. There was a large staff and I was one of many ‘servers’. I helped set up the banquet or event, serve the meal, and break down the event. While I worked there, several changes in management and procedure took place and the overall attitude of the staff was not great, with a high turnover rate. I eventually quit, without remorse or fear of being replaced easily. In these two situations, there was a major difference in my feeling of empowerment, and I was much more effective in the position where I felt empowered.

        How do you rate yourself as a self-leader?

 I used to rate about 3 out of 10 on the self-leadership rating scale. However, with a little maturity and perseverance, I feel that I am now about 8 out of 10 with sights aimed on 10 out of 10. I definitely have tried to develop a sense of self-discipline, I genuinely strive to find rewards in whatever task is at hand, and I work hard to keep a positive attitude.