Cool and the Gang

I spent the first half of seventh grade eating my lunch alone in the locker room, so I don’t have a lot of experience being part of the cool group. But last week I spent two days being part of what feels like the “in crowd” of local business owners. Corporate Alliance hosts the coolest, weirdest, most memorable-est event every November for a couple hundred business owners and execs. This year’s version had an ’80s theme, complete with mullets, pegged pants, giant Rubix Cube and Bon Jovi background music. We networked, learned and laughed. Chris Dexter and I even got a little teary while talking about — ironically — the junior high students we’re raising.

Corporate Alliance’s Jeff Rust was sporting a mullet while entertainer Jason Hewlett was spouting about his “flux capacitor.”

During the conference, I found myself bouncing to the ’80s tunes they blasted in between networking sessions. My iTunes collection is about to get it’s “cool” on when I purchase my favorite singles from my cassette tape collection — because “I can’t fight this feeling any longer” ….This gotta-see-it-to-believe-it event has inspired me to streamline and grow our business. It has also reminded me to have a little fun along the way, which is why I’m glad Matt and the kiddos (swimsuits in hand) came up to join me for the last night at Zermatt.

Two months of gymnastics class means that a luggage cart is an Olympic venue to Lindsey, who is my 5-year-old Mary Lou Retton (my ’80s hero!). 

This One’s for the Girls

I like men. I really do. But I’ve felt a little outnumbered as the only female at the first three BusinessQ roundtables this year. Our spring roundtable was with nine men who talked about the various aspects of starting a business.In the summer I interviewed four male lawyers.And the fall roundtable included five men in the health industry.It was time to trade the suits for skirts!Our fourth quarter roundtable (held today) featured six women who chatted it up about stereotypes and gender hype. I tried to end the videotaped discussion on time, but the women wanted to continue making connections and swapping business cards and stories. I came away grateful that I live in 2010 when every door has been flung open for women. There are still choices, priorities and sacrifices to be made, but the glass ceiling went the way of Y2K.Thank you to the six women who multi-tasked their way into our conference room today: Mary Street (Commerce Real Estate Solutions), Lynette Hilgenberg (Bank of American Fork), Kris Hoffman (Hoffman & Company), Cynthia Gambill (Remedez), Diana Hunter (UVU) and Judy Copier (Kim Brown & Associates).Today’s conversation was for the girls, but there was no “man bashing” going on. Husbands were praised for being supportive partners of their working wives. The truth is, any economy is stronger when supported by both genders.Look for a portion of the transcript in the Winter issue of BusinessQ Magazine (coming out the first week of December).

The Males Have Taken “Cover”

It’s time for the annual excruciating task of picking Bride covers! It takes a village to pick four weddings to feature on our seasonal covers of Utah Valley Bride Magazine. And by “village,” I mean all 16 staff members. But as you can tell from this picture, we tend to squeeze out the males in the office when it comes to saying “I do” to a cover.I’m seated at the computer, toggling back and forth between mockups (great design job, Leah!) while my work sisters say, “That one looks the most natural” or “When it’s zoomed out there is more room for text” or “The bouquet really pops on the third one.”Yes, weddings are joyous occasions. But picking which ones to share with the community? Now that’s one part joy and three parts pain … mostly because every bride looks happy and beautiful enough to perch on a cover. And we honestly feel mean as we eliminate choices from the running.The wedding “festivities” continue tomorrow with the complicated dress photo shoot. Who knew that something so lovely and simple as brides could dominate our publishing village?

Deck the Halls and Coffee Tables

Our holiday issue is hitting mailboxes this week, and I hope the community likes its present!This issue features a voice (and a face) I’ve grown up humming with — Michael McLean. I first hinted about this interview here and here, and then I let the cat out of the stocking here. It’s hard to contain my excitement about meeting the man who created the soundtrack to my growing up years in Idaho and Utah. Let’s just say “I see a diamond” when it comes to Michael McLean! I’ve purchased my Christmas spirit several years in a row by seeing his “Forgotten Carols” in both states.My favorite parts of the interview are in the printed version, but there were other tidbits that didn’t make it into the word count. For example, he told of a BYU comedy troupe doing an impersonation of him years ago. The Michael “stand-in” wore big glasses and a curly wig and asked the audience which of his songs was their favorite. When they couldn’t decide, the fake “Michael” strummed up and down the piano keys and said, “Yeah, my songs all sound the same to me, too.”I will admit I laughed at the story, but I immediately worried Michael would be offended. He said at first that joke didn’t sit well with him — he works so hard to create unique music. But then he said in a way he HAS spent his life rewriting his first big hit, “You’re Not Alone.” His songs teach that we can get through the ups and downs of life with help from above.This interview was one of my all-time favorites in the 10-plus years of Utah Valley Magazine. And it’s not just because he made me laugh. Or that he gave me a signed copy of his new children’s book. Or that he forced me to take Peanut M&Ms “for the road.” I loved this interview because Michael is real. He brought up the depression he has battled. He admitted having insecurities. We adjusted the photo shoot time to accommodate housecleaning and his mother’s dentist appointment. He is not trying to put on a perfect facade. He just happens to be extremely talented and willing to share his notes with the rest of us. Yep, we’re not alone — or forgotten. Thanks, Michael, for reminding us about the age-old meaning of Christmas!