Shannon Ingram's Place

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Location: Orange County/CA

Musings of a woman who left her corporate career to become a caregiver for elderly parents, wrote a book and found her way back to corporate - with love, instead of fear, leading the way. Now working at my Alma Mater, UC Irvine, as Marketing and Communications Director for the School of Biological Sciences.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gary Hates Mercury Retrograde

Thank goodness the recent period of Mercury Retrograde is over! This one was more challenging than usual for Gary, who hates the whole "concept" of the phenonmenon. Astrology is where you find the most information about Mercury's retrograde periods which happen about three times a year and are always about three weeks long. The planet slows it's orbit and appears to be going backwards, hence the term "retrograde." Astrologers and some physicists believe this has an impact on the earth's energy fields, especially those related to communication. Mercury rules communication, so lots of communication glitches seem to happen during these times. Computers crash. Car alarms go off in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. We can't remember where we parked our cars in a big lot. Our words get jumbled while we try to talk. Fender benders and weird kinds of accidents happen, most of which are not life-threatening, but can be extremely annoying.

Gary used to think it was hogwash. Over the years, though, he's learned that perhaps there is some merit to Mercury Retrograde theory, particularly as a rationale for all things more irritating than usual. Take his experience last week with a porta-potty.

Construction sites usually feature those wonderful blue portable "restrooms." Gary has one at a job he's currently managing. Well, last week he arrived for an early meeting and it had been knocked over, either by a car or by bratty teenagers in the neighborhood. Thankfully, it was "sealed" and nothing had leaked out to cause neighborhood evacuation. Gary called the porta-potty company to come set it up again.

Later that morning after Gary's meeting, it still wasn't upright, so he decided to be a hero for his construction workers in need. UNFORTUNATELY, as he was bringing it back into place, the door flew open and Gary was doused in sewage from his shorts to his shoes. He raced to a hose and tried his best to wash off, but ended up putting the shoes and socks in the back of his truck, then had to drive the 45 miles back home sitting on a plastic trash bag. When he got home, he promptly put his clothes in the garbage, his shoes in the washing machine with detergent and bleach, and took a very long, soapy shower. Then he sanitized his truck and finally, drove back to work.

When he got home that night, he actually had a drink with me, and we toasted Mercury. He's a believer now!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Back to Business & YOU

Wow. What a great time we had at the UCLA Conference Center at Lake Arrowhead participating in yet another fantastic "Business & YOU" (B&Y) weekend workshop. It's always fun to reconnect with our old friends and acquaintances from the B&Y network, and always rewarding to share the excitement of such powerful information with people we just met. It's been over 10 years since Gary first attended B&Y, and almost 25 years since I went to "Money & YOU" at Makaha on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. It's as amazing today as it was then. The information is new, thanks to the massive changes of the past quarter-century, especially in technology. The Blocks Game has "evolved." The results are always enlightening, if not downright transformational.

I loved spending time with my B&Y "family." Besides Gary, it now includes Jim Mikula and Ruth Ann Hattori, pictured above with daughter Sydney and another precious friend-like-family, Allen Mann, and with Jeff Perlis and Trev Pelzer (also pictured). Friends from our church, The Center for Spiritual Living/Orange County, attended this time - Christie Shulbin, pictured with Gary, and Marguerite and Dovell Bonnett.

It's fun to assess something new I've learned every time I go to a B&Y weekend. This time, my learning was all about INNOVATION and SERVICE. First innovation...I know that innovation cannot thrive in an environment where fear is a dominant emotion and permeates everything, whether it's a company, an office, a non-profit Board, a family or a single mind. Let me clarify that fear sometimes causes innovation to happen as a rejection of the fear. But innovation is driven by a quest for love, mastery, alignment and synergy. Silverado Senior Living has an operating philosophy of "Love > Fear." It's a foundation for our marketing strategy of innovation. I can see that more clearly after picking up some key distinctions this past weekend.

Next, service. I have a big ego. Most of us do, especially the people who say they do not, in my experience. At B&Y, I like to be in the training room, soaking up all the information along with the participants, even when I'm on the staff. I've been the staff logistics coordinator dozens of times and loved that leadership role. One of the most important staff jobs is to take care of the break food and beverages, and the person who does that has to be out of the room much of the weekend, attending to the veggies, fruits, crackers, iced tea, water, etc. The hardest job on staff is doing the music. I tried that once and decided it's just not the right job for my skills and talents.

This past weekend, I was offered the job of Music, and I turned it down, based on my previous challenges in that position. I recommended the workshop organizers invite Marcelo Soares, a young man I work with who took B&Y last March, to come and work the music, knowing he would enjoy reviewing the course, too. Marcelo, also pictured above, accepted the volunteer staff job instantly when they called him - and of course, he was fantastic. When I arrived on Friday morning, I was told I would be doing the food. For a split second, I think I may have winced, knowing I'd be out of the room for hours all weekend. And then my mind slipped back into memories of good times doing food at other workshops and how much I had learned about being of quiet service to others. Truly, it made for a magical weekend for me. I visited with participants who came to the break room to partake of the goodies (but didn't discuss the workshop, nor did I talk about what I do in "real life"). My ego settled into acceptance and I loved every minute of the work. And going with that flow seems to have allowed me to be in the room for some of the things I "needed to learn," like the information about innovation.

It was a fabulous weekend with a wondrous, committed and aligned staff - people who go back to their jobs as Assistant County Treasurer, President of a highly successful Oregon seminar business, Resort Hotel Manager, ER/Trauma Physician, owner/president of Maui's largest independent catering and party rentals companies, Contractor/Certified Aging in Place Specialist, Production & Traffic Manager, Real Estate Brokerage Owner, Retired President of Major Clothing Company/Innovation Consultant, and Director of Marketing of world-class senior care company. We checked our egos at the door and created a great experience for the participants. And it just doesn't get any better than that.

Finally, I feel deeply grateful to Marshall Thurber, David Neenan, Jim and Ruth Ann, who have created and continuously refined this workshop to make it the very best there is. And to Carol Maero Fetzer, Dan Fetzer, Dwight O'Neil, Bob Bender, Sharon Neenan and Allen, who have been the lights in the back of the room, producing the workshop over the years, or serving as logistics coordinators, showing the way for people like me.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Silverado Martini

OK, everyone, how cool is this? Last week Silverado hosted about 50 family members and friends for a party at The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills to celebrate the pre-opening of our new community, Silverado Beverly Place. The party was called "A Silver Soiree." Our new Administrator, Phill Barklow, being a brilliant marketer AND former bartender, suggested we have a "signature cocktail" for the event. He came up with one and the Hotel's beverage manager was so impressed with the tasty concoction that they put it on the bar menu at the Peninsula! Here it is.....


One ounce of Ketel One Citron Vodka
One ounce fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
2 table spoons simple syrup (can use sugar to substitute)
3 ounces Champagne (Moet White Star seems to work best)
½ ounce of Chambord

Of course it goes into a chilled glass with sugared rim, and is served with a twist of lemon on the side of the glass - and in the case of our party, the outside edge of the twist had been dipped in silver! AMAZING. You can get it at the Peninsula for just $16; however they may be raising the price to $20 and donating $4 of every drink purchased to the Alzheimer's Association. I thought the ice sculpture of our logo (also pictured) was the coolest thing (pun intended) until I realized having a Silverado Signature Martini lasts longer.