I Love Musicals

I’ve always loved musicals. I’m not sure if it’s that every Disney movie has a singalong soundtrack, so I was indoctrinated early or what, but I’m always up for a movie or play where people burst into song as if it’s a normal part of conversation.

Today I saw The Greatest Showman which is a musical about P.T Barnum and his circus. Spotify has been teasing me with shot clips of a few of the songs over the last month, so I was excited to hear them in full and see how they would fit into the storyline. Overall I enjoyed the movie. I was expecting a happier story, but it was still highly entertaining with good music. I tend to tie memories to musicals, and I expect to remember this musical as the one I saw with my family at Christmas one year.

Some of my other favorite musicals are:

Phantom of the Opera

I got the song book for Phantom when I took piano lessons as a kid, and I would pound away at the keys while playing the dissonant run. I owned the soundtrack, saw it at the Fox Theatre, and went to see the movie when it came out as well.

Hairspray

I wasn’t familiar with Hairspray until the movie came out in 2007, but I quickly fell in love (hey, Zac Efron!). Again, saw the movie, bought the soundtrack, bought the DVD, etc.

Moulin Rouge!

I suppose I saw this in middle school? I don’t remember watching the DVD too many times, but my sister and I would belt out “Come What May” in the car on the way to Wednesday night youth group attempting to hit the high notes and harmonize to the best of our (limited) abilities.

Rent

Who doesn’t love that 525,600 minutes song (aka “Seasons of Love”)?

Into the Woods

My familiarity with Into the Woods started with Gilmore Girls when Paris tried to intimidate Brad by singing the song under her breath when he was near. Then when they made it a movie staring Anna Kendrick, I was sold!

Into the Woods is also special to me because one Friday I had a particularly bad day at work, and I decided I would do see it that evening (my husband had no interest, so this was a solo trip). We lived across from an AMC where you buy your seat, and as I was in line to buy my ticket, the show sold out. Devastated, I went back to my car and sat there crying before composing myself, searching for showings in a theater 20 minutes up the road, and then speeding there to make it on time. I got to see the movie and loved it, so all was well.

Grease

A classic! Put aside the problematic storyline of trying to be someone else for your high school love interest and just enjoy it.

 

And then there are musicals that I still haven’t see but really enjoy the soundtracks. I hope to cross them off my list one day!

Hamilton

Dear Evan Hansen

Wicked

 

What I Learned about Languages

I’ve noticed that this 12-day blogging challenge is far easier than the 30-day challenge I did in April and not just because of the length. I can remember running out of ideas 5 or 6 days in during that challenge, and so far for this one (knock on wood), I can typically think of an idea quickly and am getting out the posts in far less time.

I’m following the mantras:

To be creating, you must be consuming.

To be interesting, you must be interested.

Both of these are paraphrased from various Praxis materials or just conversations we end up having in Slack. So, to have a full stocked inventory of blog post material, I need to be learning something every day.

Today I learned about languages. I listened to the 2 episodes of the Freakonomics podcast about language and the follow up episode about Esperanto, a constructed language designed to be simple enough for anyone to learn and possibly be a universal language. It’s such a great analogy for business/products where someone could create something “everyone needs” and then hardly anyone buys/uses it.

What would a universal language look like? Will the UN form a super government, take over the world, and force an existing language on everyone? Will Esperanto or another newly constructed language gain traction (like International Fleet Common in the Ender’s Game series)? It’s certainly an interesting question.

The podcast also brought up that many languages come with the baggage of their past. English has British Imperialism (not to mention the US’s involvement in everybody’s business), German from its part in both World Wars, and Sinhala caused an entire civil war in Sri Lanka!

I’m not sure I see a future with a universal language. Given the spontaneity of how they change and the size of the world and the population, I lean more toward a technological solution like live translation.

If I’m wrong, I can always try to learn Esperanto – now available on Duolingo!

Happy Winter Solstice!

Today is the first day of winter, which is my least favorite season of the year. Technically, today is my least favorite day of the year because the season change marks the shortest day in terms of daylight hours. But there’s something about it being the shortest that gives me hope.

Quick recap on how seasons work: The earth rotates around the sun (the big yellow one is the sun), and the earth is on a tilted axis. The day that the north pole is the furthest from the sun is the winter solstice, and the day that the north pole is closest to the sun is the summer solstice (for the northern hemisphere). There are 2 days where the tilt is neither away from or toward the sun, and those are the equinoxes for summer and fall.

 

Winter is my least favorite because in addition to being cold, gray, and everything dying, there are also barely any daylight hours. If you commute to your job, you likely drive to work while it’s still dark and drive home after the sun has already set. You spend all of your daylight hours indoors and might need to take a vitamin D supplement. No sunshine is also a cause of seasonal affective disorder. Overall, winter is kind of the pits.

The reason the winter solstice gives me hope is because it’s the shortest day of the year, so every day for the next 6 months is just a little longer. Typically in December we haven’t gotten extreme winter temperatures or weather (with the exception of the random foot of snow the south got 2 weeks ago), so I haven’t really started to suffer or hate winter yet. I hang on to the hope that every day the sun rises a minute or two earlier and sets a minute or two later for when I need it in the bleakness of January or the inevitable rain of February. Each day the sun rises just a bit higher as the north pole tilts its way closer to the sun.

So today is a day to celebrate because tomorrow will have a bit more daylight, and so will the day after that and the day after that…all the way until summer.

Thoughts I have while Sick

There are certainly always times where our rational self argues with our irrational self, but this occurs the most often with me when I’m sick. Since it’s such a rarity, I consider it a major inconvenience. Having to take time out of your day to see a doctor who is usually rude, not to mention the exposure to other sick people, makes a trip to an office a harrowing journey. Here’s my typical thought process for being ill:

(The moment something feels off)

Rational me: Probably nothing

(Symptoms persist, textbook for X condition, X being strep, flu, cold, etc)

Rational me: I should probably check on this.

(Google symptoms)

Rational me: Yep – looks like I might have X. I wonder if I should go to the doctor?

(Enter, Irrational me)

Irrational me: It might go away. You might not even be sick. You’re being a hypochondriac and overreacting. Just give it another day. You don’t even feel that bad!

(Wait a day, symptoms persist, sometimes getting worse)

Rational me: I need to go to the doctor. This is silly – I could be a day closer to feeling better if I just went yesterday.

(Check the wait times at nearby Minute Clinics, where you can sign up to reserve your spot in line, 3 of which are within 20 minutes of my house)

Irrational me: 118-minute wait time! No way! Ain’t nobody got time for that (choosing to ignore the save your place in line function). Again, I don’t even feel that bad. Won’t this go away on its own?

Consult Dr. Google again – “Will X go away on its own?”

Read various articles, all of which say “not likely”

Rational me: Ok, that’s it. I can’t just flush this out of my system by doubling my water intake. It’s actually something that responds to antibiotics. It’s not a virus, and all of these people are saying even if they did get better on their own, they wouldn’t recommend that to anyone just because it can get worse without treatment.

Irrational me: I should probably read a few more articles and a Reddit message board first. Americans are over-medicated anyway! Doctors prescribe antibiotics for everything these days! I really don’t want to kill all of the good bacteria in my stomach for nothing.

Read another article and a Reddit message board for more of the same – some anecdotal evidence of it clearing on its own, most people recommending a doctor visit.

Rational me: Americans are over-medicated. Doctors do prescribe antibiotics for things that don’t need them. But if I have X, and I think I do, antibiotics can treat it, and I don’t have to feel this way anymore.

Go to Minute Clinic.

Test positive for X.

Get prescription for antibiotics.

 

The happy ending to this story is that I feel better tomorrow! Crossing my fingers.

Also – check out the “Nurses to the rescue!” episode of the Freakonomics podcast. It talks about things like Minute Clinics staffed by Nurse Practitioners, like the one I saw today. And for the record, My NP was delightful – better than almost any doctor I’ve seen.

 

 

 

Podcast Recommendations

I am a late mover to most technologies, and this year is when I fully jumped on the podcast train. Here are some of my favorites, by category.

Professional Development

Office Hours – I don’t care if it’s cheesy to plug the podcast from the company you work for because Office Hours is often pure gold. Isaac and TK take submitted questions as well as riff off of situations they encounter with young professionals, and it’s often unfiltered. One time, Isaac’s initial response to a question was, “What is WRONG with you?”

Masters of Scale – Isaac recommended this podcast to the Praxis staff, and it has been fascinating. If you’re interested in how companies like Google and Facebook grew to current size without imploding or how serial CEOs know when to start a new company, check out this podcast.

How I Built This­ with Guy Raz – Similar to Masters of Scale, this podcast interviews founders of various companies. Some of my favorites have been Stonyfield Yogurt, Rent the Runway, and Buzzfeed. Nearly all of these founders had the odds against them in some way, and it’s inspiring to hear how they overcame them.

Forward Tilt – Yes, I’m plugging another Praxis podcast, but these episodes are little gems and under 10 minutes each, so they’re easy to take a listen.

Intellectually Engaging

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know – This is a fun game show style show where contestants compete to tell the most interesting, useful, and true fact based on the night’s theme. The show has gone through a few different versions (used to have a panel of judges, now sometimes the host invites one other guest to be the judge and that’s it), but it has always been very entertaining.

Freakonomics Radio – Economics is everywhere, bro! Since I’m an econ nerd, I like to occasionally listen to this podcast as well. Some of my favorite episodes talk about lying, the war on sugar, the demonization of gluten, and when helping hurts.

Soccer

From being in the car with my husband, I’ve listened to quite a few soccer podcast episodes. My two favorite shows are:

Total Soccer Show – This is the intellectual soccer podcast. They provide in-depth technical breakdowns of matches as well as report on current events in major soccer news. They also have a less serious episode where each host fields a full team based on Parks and Rec characters.

Dirty Tackle– This is the inappropriate NSFW version of analyzing world soccer. They sing their own opening song and have a segment called “True, are ya?” where one of the hosts either reads a fact or makes something up, and the other two have to guess. It’s hilarious.

Pure Entertainment

The Shipping Room Podcast – This podcast is about TV relationships which might sound shallow but I am not ashamed because I really enjoy this show. A friend introduced me a little over a year ago when they did an analysis show of the Gilmore Girls revival. I literally banged on the table a few times in agreement when listening to that episode. I sporadically listened over the next few months before getting hooked this summer. It’s been a fun to have a shared experience with the hosts and other listeners as they discuss famous OTPs (one true pairings), BroTPs (best friend pairings), and NOTPs (people who don’t belong together). [Note: the show is currently on hiatus as one of the hosts just had a baby. You can still listen to the last 2+ years of content, though!]

Good Christian Fun – One of the hosts of this podcast came from Gilmore Guys, which is how I heard about this new show. GFC analyzes Christian pop culture without proselytizing or harshly judging (most of the time) it. Since I grew up very conservative Christian, it’s fun to listen to them talk about things that were normal in my childhood (VeggieTales, Relient K, the Left Behind books/movie) but might not be to the general public. It definitely is borderline (and sometimes definitely is) sacrilegious, so listen with care if you’re easily offended.

 

If you have holiday travel coming up, I just supplied you with endless hours of entertainment. Enjoy!

 

 

Real Life Doesn’t Always Have Closure

A friend told me about the Up and Vanished podcast recently, so I binged it this weekend. Between errands, gift wrapping, and cleaning, I had plenty of time to listen to all 24 episodes, many of which are only half an hour. Now that the podcast is over, I’m left feeling very unsettled and lacking closure.

Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for Up and Vanished.

In case you aren’t familiar, Up and Vanished (UAV) chronicles the disappearance of Tara Grinstead, a 30-year-old teacher from south Georgia who went missing in October 2005. Her body was never recovered, and when the podcast started in 2016, no one had ever been arrested, either. It’s debatable whether the podcast helped “shake the trees,” but two suspects were arrested in 2017 for her murder and for helping to conceal her body, respectively. Knowing all of this ahead of time, I thought for sure there would be resolution to this case, unlike when I listened to Serial so many years ago.

Second-mover advantage meant that I got to zip straight through the podcast and not have to wait 2 weeks in between each episode. I got more and more excited as information about the first arrest came into play and later the second arrest as well. But as the episodes started dwindling down, I noticed we were running out of time to hear about the trial, the verdict, and most important to me – the whole truth.

Well, the podcast is over, and there isn’t even a trial date yet. While there is some slight resolution to the case (it’s a murder, not a missing person case), the podcast left me with a ton of unanswered questions, which I hate.

It brought me back to my first and only experience on jury duty. It was an armed robbery case where the defendant had already confessed to the crime in a police interview. I thought it would be a slam dunk, easy case. Surely everyone tells the truth on the stand, right?

Maybe, but I doubt it. We were met with conflicting stories, extraneous details, and a defendant who said he falsely confessed for fear of his life. While I am still confident this man was guilty, which was what our unanimous vote was, it still bothered me that all of the puzzle pieces didn’t fit together.

The Tara Grinstead case is worse in that these two seemingly random young men who she possibly hadn’t had any contact with since they graduated 3 years prior were the ones responsible for her disappearance. The lack of motive leaves me confused and irritated, and the harsh reality is that even a guilty verdict in a trial doesn’t guarantee a motive or the answers to many other questions will be revealed. And that sucks.

 

Gem Quote from Lady Bird

All of the best movies come out in November and December. I went to see Lady Bird today and had pretty high expectations due to its 100% (but now 99%) rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Very tiny number of spoilers below! If you don’t want to know anything about the movie, stop reading!

“There are different kinds of sad! It doesn’t all have to be war.”

I loved this quote the moment she said it. It’s after a disappointing sexual experience, and the guy tries to minimize her feelings by talking about how many people have died in Iraq since the invasion (movie is set in 2002).

While it is important to keep perspective on how large your problems are in the grand scheme of the world, it’s not an excuse to invalidate someone’s feelings.

 

Budget Tips for your Wedding

I’m a planner and a saver, so planning my wedding a few years ago was the typical mix of exhilarating and stressful when you consider the wedding premium placed on everyday party objects.

The wedding premium is when the price automatically increases just by being classified for a wedding. For instance:

House warming, birthday party, graduation invitations: $0.50 – $1.00 per card

Wedding invitations: $6.00 per card

You get the idea. So here are some tips on how to avoid the wedding premium:

Find a dress you like and order it in white.

This tip came from a friend who posted about it on Facebook, inspiring today’s blog post!

Arrange your own flowers.

I do not possess the talent know as flower arranging, but I have some friends who do, and their wedding flower bouquets and arrangements have been gorgeous! If you have that skill or a close friend with that skill, hit up the local grocery store or Costco to get season flowers a few days before your ceremony and save yourself a ton of money.

Outer envelopes are not necessary.

Have you ever received a wedding invitation and opened it to find another envelope containing the invitation, response card, and response card envelope? Why the double envelope? I actually Googled this when I was engaged, and it allegedly dates back to the Pony Express days (might be an exaggeration) when mail tended to get dirty during transport. To preserve the cleanliness of the invitation, people would use an outer envelope like a rain jacket. Now that we get our mail delivered in climate controlled vehicles to little rainproof boxes, outer envelopes are just extra paper.

If people are going to throw it away, avoid it or look for inexpensive options.

Similar to outer envelopes, I didn’t want to spend a significant money on anything people were going to throw away. The two biggest things that came to mind were invitations and programs. While I might keep them and frame them, my guests won’t, so I didn’t want the paper products to break the bank.

I used Vistaprint for both. They always have coupon codes, and their prices are often below other printing services as well. I used a wedding invitation template and designed my programs myself. It was a lot of trial and error with Microsoft word, but I pulled it off! The programs were my favorite because I used the “rack card” product for programs. This was my greatest hack in terms of spending way less money than was expected since the template for wedding programs were significantly more expensive.

Other options: you can also use emailed invitations which are free and there’s nothing for guests to throw away. If you want to have physical invitations that go in the mail and want them to look nice, consider enlisting the help of a friend with graphic design skills or hiring one on Upwork or another peer to peer network.

Keep an eye on stamp prices.

If you go the route of mailing invitations and include pre-stamped return envelopes, the cost can add up quickly! Luckily the government announces forever stamp price increases well in advance of them taking place, so you can save 2-3 cents per invitation if you buy stamps before the price increase. As the name suggests, they are good forever, and depending on the size of your wedding, you could save over $100.

Decide what you care about.

This is obviously a catch-all, but it can be overwhelming to create an event that lives up to the expectations of all of your guests. Luckily, you don’t have to! You (and the person you’re marrying) and the only one(s) who need to be satisfied with the day.

I struggled with the decision between real dishes and plastic (but the nice-looking plastic that almost convinces you it’s real). The price differential was extreme, not to mention the fact that actual dishes have an additional cleaning fee, run the risk of being broken, etc. I finally decided to go with plastic because if someone was going to judge me negatively as a person based on my cutlery, they weren’t the type of person I would invite/want at my wedding anyway.

There will be things you care about, though, and that’s ok! It’s just important to remember that the only things you actually need to get married are an officiant and someone who also wants to marry you.

The Curse of Mississippi

Mississippi is the worst state. Let me give you anecdotal evidence to scientifically prove my point.

Every time my team went to Mississippi in college, something bad happened.

In January 2010, we came back to Berry a few days before the semester started, so we could travel to Jackson, Mississippi for the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon. To date, this is the coldest race I’ve ever run. This is what I wore to packet pickup the day before:

It was 18 degrees at the start, and many of us pulled something during the race just from our muscles’ inability to warm up. Volunteers were furiously sweeping up the cast aside water cups on the course water stops since any remaining liquid immediately froze once it hit the ground, creating an icy patch for runners to cross. Teammates finished with their sweat frozen to their faces and had icicles in their hair. We huddled together wrapped in space blankets, happy to head back to the motel for hot showers.

Unfortunately some of the doors wouldn’t open when we got back. The rooms that were closest to the pool were the least protected from the cold temps, so the doors were frozen shut. This delayed our departure as it took maintenance almost an hour to get all of those doors open.

When we finally got on the road, we started planning activities for that evening. It was our teammate Taylor’s birthday, and Jackson back to Berry was only about 6 hours, so we had plenty of time for birthday festivities.

After some time on the road, there was some traffic on the interstate. I’m not sure how long we sat completely motionless on our Leisure Time charter bus before someone started investigating (this was pre-smartphone for me). There was a jackknifed tractor trailer a few miles ahead, and the whole interstate was shut down. With a wall of cars in front of us as well as behind us, there was nowhere to go.

We spent 3 hours sitting in the same spot. Despite the fatigue from the half marathon, knowing that we couldn’t move resulted in a fair amount of cabin fever. During those 3 hours, we fit Michael (a tall skinny runner, who would imagine we had one of those?) into the overhead baggage compartments, had a dance party, and wrapped Jacque up in toilet paper like a mummy (I decided against photos to protect the innocent).

All in all, we made it home, no one was hurt, and we were able to celebrate Taylor’s birthday the next day. This trip did make all of us a little suspicious of Mississippi, though.

The nail in the coffin for Mississippi came the next school year in the fall. We were going to a new cross country meet – the Brooks Memphis Twilight. This was exciting because it was a night race, and my aunt and uncle were living in Memphis at that time, so they could come to the race.

To get to Memphis, you have to go through Mississippi. We were in the middle of the state when the bus driver put on his hazards and pulled over to the shoulder of the interstate. Apparently some part of the roof of the bus near where his sun visor attached was broken. I to this day don’t believe it was stop-worthy, but safety first, I guess.

It quickly got very warm on the bus, so a lot of us ventured outside, just hanging out on the side of a major interstate. Thankfully it was wooded for the inevitable needs of well-hydrated runners.

After an hour or so, the bus driver let us know that another bus was on the way, and he needed to take this bus to a mechanic. We had to unload all of our stuff and watch the bus drive away (cough, fully functional, cough) and look like a group of matching homeless people.

Thankfully, our coach had the infinite wisdom to plan for an extremely early arrival, so we would have time to explore the city a little bit. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, we knew we should still make our races.

Finally, after another hour, a new bus showed up! Instead of the usual charter bus, it was a tour bus, and it had (allegedly) shuttled Jason Mraz around the night before. Happy to have a new means of transportation, we crammed into the new bus. Rather than the usual rows of seats, this bus has a few leather bench couches, so it was a tight fit for a group our sized with each person also having a duffle bag.

We made it to the race venue in just enough time to drop our stuff and get in a warmup. We cut it close for sure, no thanks to the traffic we encountered once we got into the city, but the night races were a success!

 

While these stories both have (eventual) happy endings, I still believe this offers definitive and objective evidence for Mississippi being the worst.

 

 

One Year at Praxis

A little over a year ago today. Isaac Morehouse turned my life upside down by sending me an email: “Got ten minutes for a quick phone call?” That quick phone call led to me giving notice at my job – my first job out of college where I had been for 4.5 years – and embarking on the new adventure of working for Praxis. Here are some of my favorite memories from the last 12 months:

November

I dove straight in by getting to know the product better, getting to know the team better, and getting caught up on the implementation of Salesforce and Hubspot. I found Hubspot to be very intimidating since I had never worked with a marketing automaton software before but I quickly became a fan. Anything that gives you stalker level data (page views, email opens, etc) is fascinating to me.

December

My first trip to Charleston! I witnessed a Ceterus vs. Praxis basketball game and burned more calories from laughing than I would have if I played myself.

I got to meet some team members in person, and Isaac asked me to do a presentation on Salesforce for everyone. I was extremely nervous for this (funny looking back how nervous I was about literally everything), but it went well! I love Salesforce, and talking about something you love and use for 90% of your job is fun, not scary.

January

January was an exciting month because it was a fresh start in terms of data for the year. Since we got Salesforce in November, I spent 2 months importing and organizing all of the past customer/applicant data. When you import hundreds of new leads one week, it kind of throws off your lead capture tracking! January marked a month where all of that was finally over, and we could have consistent metrics going forward.

January was a lot of dashboard building. I had experience building reports at my old job but never dashboards, so that was a new project to tackle. Having visual representations of our data is incredibly useful for team members who want the “at-a-glance” summary of what’s going on.

February

February had a very memorable phone call. Accepted applicants typically set up a time to talk with me about tuition questions or start date questions while they’re making their decision. An applicant scheduled a call with me and let me know his dad was joining the call. I had never spoken with a parent before and immediately feared the worst – he was going to think we were a scam or not the right path for his son (aka not college), and he was going to take out his doubts and frustrations on me.

In reality, the call was fantastic. Yes, they both had some logistical questions, but the dad was on board and a huge fan. He was one of those parents who say, “I wish this had been around when I was younger!” I left that call feeling on top of the world.

March

March was a crazy month for the team because Isaac went on Fox Business News, and our website traffic (and every other metric) blew up. Everyone on the team went into recon mode, and we were working around the clock to keep up with all of the emails and calls and applications. It was managed chaos that had moments of stress but was mostly a blast – that sweet spot of having a full (and interesting) plate without being detrimentally overwhelmed.

March was also our second team get together in Charleston! This trip was centered around a Rugged Maniac race – a 5k course with 25 obstacles along the way. Some of us enjoyed it more than others.

April

I started this blog! Since our participants build a website and blog for 30 days during the bootcamp portion of the program, I thought it was probably time for me to get on board and tackle the challenge on my own. My coworker Chuck built my website and I got up 30 blog posts over the next month.

I kept telling myself April was a terrible time to start since we bought a new house, did a week’s worth of renovations, sold our old house, and moved during that month, but it actually provided some good material for writing.

May

May started our first discussions on upgrading our Salesforce from Professional to Enterprise level. I visited the Salesforce office in Buckhead and had a meeting with our account’s team, and then we had many, many meetings over the course of the month. While I was eager to get the functionality of workflows back in my life, in the end we weren’t able to justify the huge jump in cost (for now – keep reading!). It was a good exercise for me to quantify the benefits rather than just be excited about “all the cool things we could do!”

June

In June I created my first custom object in Salesforce! With our program growing, it became more important to have an accessible record of what all of the participants are up to. I created a simple object where advisors can log their notes as well as the advising session date, so we could track sessions by date. I also had to make a new user profile for advisor permissions – more new territory in customizing Salesforce.

June is also when FEEcon happened! It was a fun mix of my past FEEple and current Praxians, and it was the first time I met many of our participants and alumni in person.

July

I further delved into the customization of Salesforce and built my second custom object. Our participants complete deliverables each month, and I worked with Chuck to make the submission forms and mapped all of the information into the new Deliverable object in Salesforce. Since each deliverable has different fields, I made a different page layout for each deliverable record type and then created a report to show participants with and without deliverables, so our Education team can easily see who has submitted what.

When your job doesn’t consistently create a tangible product in the same way a carpenter or a painter does, it’s incredibly fulfilling to build something new.

August

Praxis came to Atlanta! We had about 70 participants, alumni, advisors, and staff gather downtown for a Praxis Weekend. I gave a talk for the first time in my life (not counting being a moderator or running an activity) and enjoyed meeting people in real life as opposed to conversing over chat or email.

We also made a huge change in August: we switched our marketing from Hubspot to a mix of Salesforce (upgrading to Enterprise, reuniting me with my one true love – workflows) and MailChimp. We had to remake our entire marketing and sales funnel by the end of August before Hubspot turned off on September 1st. Chuck, Brian, and Derek flew to Atlanta and stayed at my house, so we could grind through the 12+ hour days together. I was insanely excited to move to Enterprise and work with Salesforce workflows, but there were certainly some frustrations along the way (like how formula fields and workflows can’t kick off other workflows and how annoying it is to design HTML emails inside Salesforce). We made the deadline, though, and successfully transitioned into a new marketing funnel and application process.

September

The beginning of September was juggling practice as I had August applicants in the old application process who needed certain emails manually and September applicants in the new application process who were in automated workflows. It all worked out fine, but I was counting down the days until everyone was successfully transitioned to the new system!

October

I started advising sessions with participants! I’ve been interviewing applicants since I began working at Praxis but have had little involvement in the education experience. Isaac asked all staff to be open to advising sessions, so I set up my calendar and got a booking! Even though I was nervous about the new territory, all of my sessions so far have been a blast. I leave the sessions with energy and excitement for what the participants can accomplish. #thePraxianeffect

 

It’s been an awesome year, and I can’t wait for what’s next! Here’s to 2018.