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A Bittersweet Goodbye to American Heart Association

Saying goodbye is always hard. Even if you’re excited about the future, you are sad about what you’re losing… or sometimes what you should have lost.

Today, I’m saying goodbye to a place I’ve called my work-home for the past five years – the American Heart Association.

When I was in elementary school, I participated in Jump Rope For Heart, a signature fundraising event for the AHA. To make it memorable, I won a purple t-shirt. Here’s the deal – purple was, and still is, my favorite color. So I wore it every chance I could. I probably would have worn it every day if my mom would have let me.

And that’s how I knew the AHA, until I applied five years ago.

It’s a funny story. I was looking to move from PR and into social media, but I didn’t want to work for a nonprofit. So when a friend sent me the job description, I hesitated.

Then, I thought I’d get in some interview experience along my job hunt, so I sent over my resume.

During the interview process, I fell in love with the team… the job… the organization… the mission.

And the rest is history.

The History

My last five years have been spectacular. I’ve gotten to work on a cause I love, in an industry that’s changing quickly, and work with a host of talented people who aren’t afraid to roll their sleeves up and say, “Let’s go.” I got to build a social media program from the ground up, work with influencers and celebrities, grow a passionate and thriving community, win a handful of awards, make a real impact in people’s lives, and advise on digital/social media for a host of initiatives, programs and campaigns for one of the most respected voluntary health organizations in the world.

When I put in my notice, I told my boss, “I’ve achieved everything I’ve set out to do in the beginning.” And now, as much as I love the brand and the people, it’s time for a new adventure.

New Beginnings

In April, I’ll start a new role – as a Senior Success Manager with another brand I love – Sprinklr. It’s a major shift for me – away from the brand side, away from directly managing a social media program, now to working with clients on implementing the best programs they can. As their trusted advisor, I will be there to help their brands be as successful as possible using our tool. The good news is: I intimately know what it takes, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

When I first thought about leaving I knew I needed three things to make a shift: A great culture, a great team and an exciting role. Working with the brand as a client for the past three years, I believe Sprinklr has all three. And I’m honored to join this part of their journey.

So What Does This All Mean?

Based on a few questions I’ve already received, here’s what you may (or may not) want to know…

So, you haven’t decided to be a stay at home mom?

No. If you need details, here you go.

What will you be doing?

Making it rain. No really – I’ll get to work with some pretty fantastic brands on growing their social media programs to scale using Sprinklr’s social media management software.

But Sprinklr doesn’t have an office in Dallas. Are you moving?

Heck no. My husband’s office is getting a makeover. I’m moving out the sports autographs and making way for all my technology… and my “Easy” button that has graced my desk for the last decade. I’ll be working from home and traveling when needed. Thank God for the internet.

Will you travel less?

It’s likely, but I’ll still get to travel to meet with some of my fantastic, new clients.

What about AHA?

They can’t get rid of me that easy. I’m hoping to stick around as a passionate volunteer, now joining the community I helped create. They still have great leaders and a talented team who I know will go on to do great things.

Does this mean I can apply for your role at AHA?

Why yes you can! It isn’t publicly available yet, but check back soon for the link or send me your resume to pass along to the awesome team there.

What will you do with all your work clothes?

While I’m stocking up on yoga pants, I’m probably going to do a little spring cleaning in my closet. I’ll keep some of the stuff I love (I refuse to ditch any of my Elie Tahari dresses). The rest… I don’t know… Burn them? Donate them? Make a quilt? Only time will tell.

Every End Has a New Beginning

I’m excited about the journey ahead of me, and will miss those who have made an impact on my career thus far. I’m taking with me the many memories that we’ve created together. Thank you for your role in my life.

Cheers to new beginnings…

The last supper... or lunch.
The last supper… or lunch.

If it ain’t broke…

I recently got a new pair of black Kendra Scott earrings. Woot!

As I walked into the house with my newly acquired prize, a pack of fire-breathing dragons swept by, knocking the new earrings across the room and onto our tile floor and into three pieces.

By fire-breathing dragons, I mean two young children.

By two young children, I mean me.

Actually, my kids were there, and they may have knocked into me (like they always do), but I dropped them. Sad day.

After a few months of mourning the loss, and hanging onto my new three earrings even though I have only two ears, I decided to drop by the Kendra Scott store just to see what they’d say.

I fully imagined the conversation going something like this:

Me: Hi. I, er, my kids dropped my brand new earrings – never worn before. See – there’s no ear funk on them yet. They’re untouched.

Shop girl: (rolls eyes) That sucks. Maybe you should grow another ear. And who has ear funk? Really?

Me: (defeated, puts head down) OK. Thanks a lot.

So I gathered my three earring pieces and headed in, full of low expectations… on Christmas Eve. Because there’s no better time than to take something back to a store. I used to work retail. I know better than to do this. But I did.

When my husband and I pulled up to the store, it looked a little something like this:

long line photo

Yikes! Not what I hoped for, and yet exactly what I expected.

I grabbed my earring pieces and took my place at the back of the line.

Within a minute, Shop Girl came out with a big Kendra Scott bag full of bottled water and cookies looking chippier than ever.

Editors Note: Is “chippier” even a word? I should look that up later before I publish this.

She saw the somewhat pained look on my face and asked what was up. After I told her about my debacle, she took my earrings and headed into the store. Almost as soon as she was gone, she reappeared WITH A NEW PAIR. No questions asked. No fire-breathing dragons to be blamed.

There are a few places that get customer service right – Nordstrom consistently comes to mind. They understand their customer, how they shop, and they make it easy to do just that. Today, Kendra Scott has been added to my list of best in class. From the cookies to the water to the no problem exchange, they nailed it.

There are a few things that stuck out here:

  1. Identify and anticipate needs: They new everyone would be stressed (it was Christmas Eve just a few hours before stores closed), and knew people hated standing in line. Before anyone had a chance to complain, they found a way to keep us entertained.
  2. Listening: Of course, Shop Girl’s listening was more like looking at the earrings while I made a sad face and said, “They were broken before I got wear them.” But she got it, and responded immediately.
  3. Surprise: I fully expected to pay for another earring, or pay to have it fixed. But they surprised me, and won a long-term customer for it.

Tell me your great customer service story.

Stay At Work Mom’s Apps to Keep You Sane During the Holidays

iphone

Work. Travel. Shopping. Baking. Juggling Schedules: These are all things the Stay At Work Mom experiences during the holidays.

The struggle is real. But these apps will keep your life a little more sane and a little more organized so you can spend time on the things you really want.

Food Mom

1. Allrecipes

This app has saved my life on more than one occasion – my mother-in-law asks me to bring XX to the family get together… I need a quick dessert for a neighbors holiday party. The ratings are usually pretty accurate. Plus, it makes deciding on dinner simple when you’re on the way home from the office.

2. Pepperplate

Everyone has family recipes that they want to keep handy. Pepperplate helps you organize all your recipes that aren’t online, and save the rest of your favorites from online sources. I’ve even added my entertaining recipe lineup from my favorite cookbook, Baked. Hint: It’s not an app, but they have awesome recipes for entertaining.

 

Travel Mom

3. TripCase

All your travel plans in one app. Every avid traveler knows to use this app. And if you’re juggling kids, luggage, snacks, etc., it’ll keep you sane. There’s also a version for your Apple Watch that lets you get your updates without ever picking up your phone.

4. Routehappy

Do you need to stay connected on the road? Routehappy can do just that. Instead of listing flights just by price, they are listed by Wi-Fi quality, device charging options and roomy seats – all the amenities a Stay At Work Mom needs.

 

Work Mom

5. CubeFree

If your family holiday is a little like Christmas Vacation, and you need to get away to get some work done, check out CubeFree. It’ll show you quiet and connected places in your area, including cafes and co-working spaces. The ratings are great too.

6. Trello

This one is for the Type A Stay At Work Moms out there. Trello will keep all your projects – work or home – organized. You can also include your colleagues or spouse on projects and assign tasks.

7. Wunderlist

Do you get a thousand texts from your spouse or kids asking you to pick up something from the store? Add them to your Wunderlist, and you’ll never get those texts again. You can share lists and tasks with your family to make sure you never forget anything again.

Kids’ TV shows that should make a comeback

I realize that TV has become a bit taboo when it comes to kids, but let’s be honest. It would be nice to take a shower once in a while; and a TV show is an easy way to buy yourself some rare and treasured time alone. By alone, I mean alone for five minutes… followed by a series of “Mom, I need more milk…” “Mom, I hungry…” “Mom, my show’s over, can you start a new one?”

 

My kids engrossed in an episode of Mister Rogers

A photo posted by @krisleighh

Well, you get my point.

When I was a kid, TV was better than it is today. I was captivated for hours – that is, minus the period of time when I only watched commercials (it actually makes sense why I went into communications now). The shows I watched then, I carry with me today. I’ve found myself telling my kids about them, and have even dug up a few, in all their 80s glory, to share the experience with them.

I recently introduced my son to Doogie Howser when he wanted to be a doctor for “character day” at school. I loved the nostalgia, but think it was lost on him.

Here are a few shows I think should make a comeback:

1. Fraggle Rock

This is one of my husband’s favorite shows as a kid. Jim Henson brought us the muppets, and kept going when he created Fraggle Rock. The songs… the crazy, furry characters… the drama. Similarly to Sesame Street, the show dealt with difficult issues in a fun way.

But have no fear – I heard this one is coming back in movie-form. We have Joseph Gordon-Levitt to thank for this one. Maybe they’ll tackle what happens when mom’s caffeine has run out.

2. Reading Rainbow

This one was kind of re-booted a few years ago through in an app; and then in 2014, a Kickstarter campaign raised funds to make the app available on the web and streaming devices. Who doesn’t remember LeVar Burton? While I was really confused why he could see on Reading Rainbow, but wore crazy glasses on Star Trek, he was a great story-teller.

Everyone poops. This is important stuff people!

 

4. Punky Brewster

I had a purple vest just like Punky’s. She was spunky, to the point and super cute. Weren’t all 80s girls like this? At least we tried to be.

When it makes a comeback, they should totally cast Elsie Fisher, voice of Agnes in Despicable Me.

5. DuckTales

My mom taught piano while I was growing up. And for years, she taught at my grandmother’s house in a nearby town. So after school, I watched plenty of DuckTales. I’m pretty sure there was nothing to gain from watching this, but it was definitely entertaining – and for that reason alone, it should make a comeback.

6. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

This one is hands-down, my all-time favorite. My kids watch the originals and love them. Although, I once had to explain 8MM film, and immediately felt old. Fail.

I realize they’ve tried to re-boot it with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, but it’s not the same. I miss his calmness, his clever sweaters and the old wive’s tale that Mister Rogers’ used to kill people with his bare hands.

Nonetheless, he was still awesome.

Which childhood re-boot would you like to see?

The one that comes first

Eeeks! My first blog post. This is one of those moments that I may regret when Timehop comes around every year… but for now, I’m so stinkin’ excited to meet you!

Here’s the deal:

Let’s get this out of the way now. I’m one of those moms who popped out two beautiful kids and kept working any way. They call me a “Stay-at-work mom.” It’s perfect for our family – just like other families where mom or dad decide to stay home. Don’t give me the side-eye.

I should be featured on Pinterest fails. Luckily, they haven’t found my mishaps… yet. If you don’t tell, I’ll share them with you.

I have the wonderful privilege of working in tech for a nonprofit and meeting people every single day who inspire me. I cry regularly at work because of it. Our brand team uses it as a litmus test for good content.

I also get to travel for work and/or leisure. I’ll take both. When I was breastfeeding, I pumped in dozens of airport bathrooms and on planes. Mom problems. Anyway, I’ve always had a case of wanderlust.

And with that comes a craving for culture, food and wine. I’ve even hit up a couple Plum packets with a glass of wine for dinner in the past. Like I said, no side-eye. You know you’ve done it too.

My good sense of fashion usually comes from my husband who worked in high-end retail for a number of years and is my personal stylist. I’ll take a Gucci bag and pair of Jimmy Choos any day! Of course, good finds can be found at Target too.

I have a group of mom friends who are just as crazy as I am, and one of the only reasons I’m not in therapy. My husband – or as he prefers to be called, Super Dad – is the other reason.

Many of my conversations start out with, “So I have a funny story.” This one is the same.

So, here we are. Let’s be friends. I’ll toast you wherever you are.

Cheers!

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