An Awesome Example of a Team Acknowledgment… and a “Behind the Scenes” Look at IPMDay!

Teamwork and team spirit - Hands piled on top of one another .

I want to acknowledge my inspired and inspiring, inventive and creative colleague, Lori Milhaven, Executive VP Marketing, for one of the best examples of acknowledging a team I have ever seen (except when she does this every year following IPMDay – a contribution we on the team have come to expect, and look forward to). We can all be inspired by her example! So with her permission, and my “seconding” of her acknowledgments of every member of our awesome team, I share her Team Acknowledgment with all of you:

ODE to IPMDAY 2015


We have never been so nervous
and were hoping for the best.
We needed beyond amazing service
as we continued to test and test.

The event went live the night before
as we watched and waited for any news.
Each hour that passed we knew the score
YEAH! No need to sing the blues.

A team is needed to make it through
and together we achieved great success.
I need this time to call out a few
as focused they stayed under tremendous stress.

IIL Media the speaker videos were great
the best so far from any year.
Clients loved them and could not wait
to tell the world and give a cheer.

A social dynamo was on our hands
tweeting, liking, and posting nonstop.
Richard/Samantha we are forever your fans
your efforts really made us pop.

ShaunMara managed more than you know
her overall skills did us very proud.
Nolan/Kaylin each a seasoned pro
by design and pen they brought the crowd.
Judy worked on tasks non-stop
up to the very last minute she could.
This year she really came out on top
like we always knew she would.

Kate and Roy super job this year
you came through big and made it work.
IT supported us without any fear
and helped us all that were going berserk.

Joyce and Katherine what can we say
we are so grateful for your support.
I know the craziness that was your day
and you never once came up short.

Olga joined and was on the run
she learned quick and managed her team.
Bekah/Sarah/Barry got the jobs done
each day planning a new scheme.

Presenters we honor you for making the time
to put out your message and forever guide.
Around the world your words will chime
to make positive change far and wide.

Sales teams we have to say job well done
your successes and stories on daily alert.
Our hope is new clients are easily won
by your skill and will to quickly convert.

Please know I personally thank you all
and for your time on this you spent.
Working as one we will never fall
and will always be ready to represent.

LaVerne’s message was to do our part
and help make a difference where we can.
Her passion for world change she did impart
so I invite you to think of your personal plan.

We are thinking of next year as we close
bigger, better, bolder are words that we say.
No rest for the weary as everyone knows
but please I need just one more day :)

A sincere thanks to EVERYONE that supported, promoted, managed or played any role in our success achieved with IPMDAY 2015: Ensuring a Sustainable Future.

And by the way, the viewer access period goes on until February 3rd, so if you haven’t yet registered, it isn’t too late. You will LOVE it! Registering also gives you free access to IIL’s six hour On Demand course on Grateful Leadership, along with two other courses. So check out and join us!



Permission to Acknowledge Myself…Please!

adfadf   I teach tens of thousands of people the value and importance of acknowledgment. Numerous participants in my courses have requested that I even add an 8th Principle to the 7 Principles of Acknowledgment, one about the importance of self-acknowledgment, but I haven’t done that yet. So I will just ask your tolerance and your permission to step out of my usual role of acknowledging others, and to let you know what I’m proud of that I have recently accomplished.
This October I celebrated — truly celebrated, with joy and a sense of accomplishment — having had Type 1 Diabetes for (count them) 60 years! At the time I was first diagnosed, this was felt to be a terrible fate. My dear mother used to rip pages out of a diabetes magazine that came to our house, which related in grisly detail the complications of this dread disease. But I found out on my own anyway, as I grew older and others filled me in, some with pity, some with sadness. So I became a bit of a rebel, not even imagining I could outwit my “fate.” But eventually the kindness and caring of some awesome medical practitioners helped turn me around. This led me to convert to taking amazing care of myself, and it’s not an easy job. For years now, I have been testing my blood glucose about a dozen times a day, I have an insulin pump and a glucose continuous monitor and sensor that I wear and carry the remote devices for at all times. If this is more information than you would like, I apologize. But it is this constant monitoring that has made me a bit of a “poster child” for what good control can do — to achieve 60 years with the disease and without the complications of it. When I had reached the 50 year mark, the Joslin Diabetes Center gave me an actual medal which reads “For 50 courageous years with diabetes.” There is no special medal for getting to 60, but I am aiming to collect the one for 75 years that they bestow.
And yes, it does take courage. It does take commitment. It does take a constant awareness of what is going on in my body. But it is truly worth it, as all of my loved ones and certainly my Grateful Leadership “fans” would say. I wrote my first book, The Power of Acknowledgment just as I was getting my 50 year medal! And the other two books came after that…so having this time in a totally healthy state has made a difference, and not just for me.
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and I want to acknowledge all of the diabetics out there who are doing their best to get or to remain healthy. I am available for coaching, or support for anyone who wants to take on this important work and major challenge. And I am a cheerleader for the work being worthwhile. Thanks for “listening” and for your ongoing and great support.
Now I want to ask you this: what are YOU proud of YOURSELF for? Please share this with us! It is important to be able to acknowledge ourselves, isn’t it?!
Until the next time…. Judy Umlas



Truck Sample Flat

I was riding with my daughter, an account manager for a cosmetics company, to a shopping center in Pennsylvania where her product line was carried. She was doing the driving, and we were engaged in good mother/daughter conversation. All of a sudden Stefanie yelled, “Mom! Did you see the back of that truck?” “No,” I responded, wondering why she would be calling my attention to the back of a truck! “You’ve got to read their sign on the back,” she yelled even more loudly. “It’s what you say in all of your books!” Now she had my full attention, but the truck was exiting the highway, and we were falling farther and farther behind. I couldn’t make out the signage and felt devastated. So I shouted to her, “FOLLOW THAT TRUCK!!!” My daughter heard the urgency in my voice, so she put the pedal to the medal and we caught up within reading distance pretty quickly. And when I saw the signage, I could hardly believe my eyes: “A company that CARES for you; more HOME time; CULTURE OF APPRECIATION” (I use those words so often, I thought I had made them up! Was I dreaming? I quickly jotted down the phone number for truck drivers to call to join the A&S Kinard FAMILY (as this was too good to be true).

The moment we got to the shopping center, I made the call. “I’m not a truck driver,” I began somewhat apologetically when someone answered the phone, “but I need to talk to someone about the sign on the back of your truck!” I’m sure the nice person there thought I was a bit out of my mind, but she could hear that this was urgent! I was put in touch with Corporate Recruiter Thomas Ghoerig, who seemed to think I was not only NOT out of my mind, but really on to something. He told me that while throughout the trucking industry, driver turnover rates were extremely high (over 100%), in their company, the average was much, much lower (28%). He attributed this difference to their very successful employee engagement and retention policies, focusing on having and demonstrating a true culture of appreciation! This was awesome, and I knew I had met up with a kindred spirit and company. So I asked for the visionary of the company — the person responsible for making this a reality.
I was directed to A&S Services Group CEO Ken Buck, who had this to say about how and why they created this culture:
“Our Management Team is made up of people that have spent their entire careers in trucking,” Mr. Buck told me. “They are the on the front line with our customers and are the backbone upon which all of our successes rest. They deliver the goods that our culture relies upon each and every day. Without them, our economy would fail. We therefore embrace them and their hard work at every step. Most of what we do to create the “family feel” for drivers in our company, is about culture. As part of this culture, we create a “driver manager to driver” relationship that addresses each individual’s schedules, work assignments, family requirements and earnings requirements in order to try to match all expectations and to go beyond the normal employer/employee relationship. Ours is a very challenging work environment, and we need to remember that and act on it at all times!”

This really rang true for me when I thought about what it takes to establish that “culture of appreciation” referred to on the back of the A&S Kinard trucks. This is true for any organization, anywhere and everywhere, but particularly in a challenging work environment, it is even more necessary. Think of police officers, fire station personnel, hospital emergency room doctors and nurses, soldiers, and countless other industry examples.

In further explaining A&S Services Group’s excellent track record in employee retention and engagement, Ken Buck continued with his own personal pride, “When either professional or personal accomplishments are made known to us, a driver’s name is published and he or she is included in our group that is branded with “A&S Kinard Pride” and they receive a shirt and companywide notoriety. We are more successful than our peers in hiring and retaining drivers because we offer primarily short haul, local opportunities where drivers can live at home, be active with their families and not have forced hours on weekends and holidays. There is a high degree of variability in the types of jobs our drivers can elect to do. This is all because we care about them as people,”

And that certainly shows! We can all help create that culture of appreciation, and I think we are coming close to reaching that “tipping point” in making this a reality.

A Treatise on Grateful Leadership and How it Complements Organizational Transformation




 If I hadn’t…  by Judy Umlas

If I hadn’t gone to my local post office to mail a copy of the newly published Grateful Leadership book…

If postal worker Diana Rodriguez hadn’t then taken a keen interest in the book as she was preparing it for mailing to my Executive Coach in the UK (I didn’t just slip it in an envelope for a US mailing).…

If she hadn’t been taking a course in Leadership in her Organizational Management program at Nyack College…

If she hadn’t taken my business card and then contacted me immediately for the e-File of the book I had offered to her (I do this often but rarely get taken up on it)…

If she hadn’t asked my permission to prepare a PowerPoint presentation for the class about Grateful Leadership (see linked blog post below which contains that presentation)…

If she hadn’t offered to connect Professor Hundley with me, which she did …

If he and I hadn’t enjoyed a lively conversation over a delicious breakfast in Nyack, NY…… then Professor Alfred A. Hundley, one of whose major academic interests is the comparative study of most effective Leadership Models, might not have learned about Grateful Leadership until much later on, and might not have written the very positive and insightful article about it that you see below!

Sometimes, seemingly inconsequential things just happen — in order to make great things happen! And I am truly grateful!


Guest Blog

A Treatise on Grateful Leadership and How it Complements Organizational Transformation by Alfred L. Hundley (September, 2015) 


Before we come to the conclusion that grateful leadership complements the transformative nature in organizations, we must look at the two leadership behaviors that grateful leadership builds on.

Transformational Leadership

According to Bass (1999), transformational leadership refers to moving the follower beyond immediate self-interests through idealized influence (charisma), inspiration, intellectual stimulation or individualized consideration. It elevates the followers’ level of maturity and ideals as well as concerns for achievement, self-actualization, and the well-being of others, organization, and society (Bass, 1999, p.11).

Servant Leadership

According to Laub (1999), “servant leadership is an understanding and practice of leadership that places the good of those led over the self-interest of the leader” (p.81).This definition was further expanded by adding the following descriptive framework. “Servant leadership promotes the valuing and development of people, the building of community, the practice of authenticity, the providing of leadership for the good of those led and the sharing of power and status for the common good of each individual, the total organization, and those served by the organization” (Laub,1999 p.81).

Grateful Leadership

Grateful leadership builds on both transformational and servant leadership behaviors by using the dimensions of transformational and servant leadership, and emphasizing authenticity in employing the essence of acknowledgement and gratitude. The notion here is to use authenticity to foster courage to make decisions; the willingness to take initiatives; the trust in the organization and fellow employees; and motivation to strive for continuous improvement (Umlas, 2013). The potential for grateful leadership to become a high order construct is the conceptualization of acknowledgement, in the context of organizational change, individual gratitude, and institutional gratitude which will help to foster organizational transformation.


So, grateful leadership appears to have the important hallmarks that help to complement the processes of organizational transformation. The defining elements to this argument are that organizational transformation is driven by a vibrant organizational culture; and that a vibrant organizational culture is sustained through an interaction with a leadership behavior that manifests authenticity to foster (1) the courage to make decisions;(2) the willingness to take initiatives (3); the trust in the organization and fellow employees; and (4) the motivation to strive for continuous improvement.

What remains for the future of grateful leadership is its validation as a theoretical construct and the development of a scale to measure its effect on organizational transformation (change), productivity, organizational effectiveness or any variable of interest to be studied.


Bass, B.M. (1999): Two decades of research and development on transformational leadership. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 8, 9-32 

Laub, J.A (1999): Assessing the servant organization: Development of an Organizational leadership Assessment (OLA) instrument. Dissertation Abstracts International, 60(02), 308A (UMI No. 999219220 

Umlas, J.W. (2013). Grateful leadership: Using the power of acknowledgement to engage all your people and achieve superior results (1st Edition). McGraw Hill: New York


Alfred L. Hundley has over 15 years corporate experience in both public and private sector organizations, and has held senior and executive level managerial positions as well as serving as a corporate trainer, before transitioning to the world of academia. Hundley is a Professor of Business and Leadership at Nyack College. He has been teaching in higher education for over 14 years. His scholarly interests are in leadership and organizational studies, specifically studying organizational development and change issues. 

(Professor Hundley plans to write a future article titled: “How Do Grateful Leadership and Appreciative Inquiry Coalesce to Impact on an Organization’s Transformation?”)  


Read more about how Judy and Professor Hundley began their relationship here!


Taking the Opportunity to Acknowledge the Person Who Set Me on My Path: Joan Lunden!

Judy with Joan Lunden

Joan and Judy at Books and Greetings in Northvale, NJ


Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to acknowledge someone who truly made a difference in the path I took in life, and the fantastic career that has come about as a result of it! That was Joan Lunden, Host of the network television show Good Morning America. Those of you who have read the Grateful Leadership book know the story, but for the rest of you, I will cite the very first thing I wrote in the book:

From: Grateful Leadership, Using the Power of Acknowledgment to Engage All Your People and Achieve Superior Results, co-published by McGraw-Hill and IIL © 2013

Excerpt from Chapter 1  “I’m Mad as Hell!” to Acknowledgment Activist:

Years ago I was troubled by the way people spoke to me or acted

toward me at my job at CBS Television while I was pregnant. So I

wrote an article for Working Woman magazine entitled “How NOT to

Talk to a Pregnant Businesswoman.”1 Overnight, I became the authority

on this subject, appearing on Good Morning America and a multitude

of radio stations.

I achieved this notoriety simply because no one else was talking

about this phenomenon publicly. I had only opened my mouth (or

poised my pen) and offered some commonsense, no-brainer (at least

to me) “rules” of communication to create a more respectful environment

in the workplace.” 

Once I saw the power not only of the written word to describe a negative condition, but the phenomenal way that getting the word out can actually change that condition, I knew the power of this combination (for years people told me they took that article once they heard about it and passed it around at work, creating real change in their environments). And this was thanks to the fabulous interview the host of Good Morning America, Joan Lunden, conducted with me on the daily show that seemed to reach the entire world! So when I heard that Joan Lunden herself was coming to a bookstore near me to do a signing on her inspirational new book Had I Known, A Memoir Of Survival (Harper Collins ©2015), I  knew I had to go and personally acknowledge her for the huge opportunity she created for me. And, when you think about it, she created it also for the rest of the people in the world who have benefitted from the messages of my books on The Power of Acknowledgment and Grateful Leadership. If I HADN’T KNOWN that writing about something and then speaking about it and creating tools for change could make a huge difference in a condition in the world, I would never have written these three books on a subject that started out being as painful to me as the improper communications and gestures by colleagues when I was pregnant at work. The subject was the LACK of acknowledgment of people at work, in families, in communities and throughout the world. I saw examples of this all the time, and it hurt me on a deep and personal level. But I knew from my experience with Joan Lunden that I could actually CHANGE THE WORLD!!! And when I see the results of the work that I do with and through IIL and its many platforms for transformation, I celebrate this and the fact that Joan and the staff of Good Morning America, who originally approved me as a guest, really gave me my chance!

So to Joan Lunden, and on behalf of all of the people who have benefitted from my work over the years, my heartfelt, deepest appreciation and gratitude for showing me the way!

Check out Books and Greetings Book store here!

See more about Joan’s book by clicking here:



My Unexpected Connection to 9/11/01 in a New Found Land

My holiday trip to Newfoundland, located in Canada, was the direct result of the pronouncement of a new friend, Chris Norman (Click Here for A Random Act of Acknowledgment), after spending three months there, that the people of this area were the friendliest in the world. So when I told him we were going to go and check this out for ourselves, he sent a mass email to all of his “newfound” friends, and told them to open their hearts and their homes to his friend, Judy, and her husband Bob, who were planning a trip as a result of his recommendation. And they did, but that’s another story…

During our travels, we found our way to the town of Gander. This was at the suggestion of other friends who assumed that we knew of the vital role the residents of Gander and surrounding communities had played when thousands of travelers from Europe (including many Americans) became stranded there after New York airspace was closed on 9/11/01. I didn’t know the details of the story, so as soon as we arrived, I decided to do my research. We went right to the North Atlantic Aviation Museum in Gander, where we saw evidence of the amazing account of the 6,700 passengers, a number almost equal to the total population of Gander (10,000), who were stuck in the Gander International Airport as their mandatory “stopover.” No one was allowed to leave the planes, because they and their baggage had to be carefully checked to make sure there were no additional dangerous people or items aboard. But finally, they were allowed to disembark, and here’s what happened, according to the report of the office of the Mayor at the time, Claude Elliott, who is still the current Mayor:

As word of the arriving aircraft spread throughout the community, donations of bedding and food began pouring in, even before arrangements could be made for collection and distribution. The still-new Gander Community Centre quickly became the main staging point.

Businesses were equally quick to step up. The local Canadian Tire store filled a truck with whatever stock they imagined stranded travelers might need, and Wal-Mart management ordered its cashiers to ring up purchases as usual, but to accept no payment from the “plane people”, as they would become known. Two local pharmacies would spend much of the next week verifying and filling prescriptions for the stranded passengers, again at no charge.

What amazed me the most, though, was the way in which the residents of Gander opened their homes, their hearths — and most importantly — their hearts to the stranded people.

“It truly was a community effort in every sense,” Mayor Elliott insists. “What the terrorists accomplished on September 11 only brought us closer together and gave us the opportunity to show the world how easy it is to bring care and comfort and how hard it is to break our spirit.”

Click Here for the Report

When I saw the television news reports in the museum, and heard what Mayor Elliott had to say about this effort, I knew I had a job to do! I then had the audacity to go directly to the Mayor’s office. There, with the able assistance of his Media Coordinator Greg Seaward, I gave him both a copy of The Power of Acknowledgment and my profound appreciation of and acknowledgment for the people of Gander and surrounding communities for the role they played during that incredibly challenging time.

Below is the video my husband took of this presentation to the Mayor, while we stood together before a piece of steel from the collapsed World Trade Center buildings, widely considered the most sacred symbol of the 9/11 experience.


Mayor Elliott summarized the power of this incredible generosity and caring displayed by all of the people of this area:

“One woman told me when she was leaving that September 11 showed us the very worst of mankind, but that her time in Gander restored her faith in humanity and that here she saw the very best of mankind,” he relates. “I can think of no better legacy from those events than the message to the world that hope and compassion will always triumph over hatred and violence.”

For all of this, I am truly grateful! Again, my belated, but deeply personal thanks and acknowledgment to all who participated in this effort!

One more very important acknowledgment! On this day, the anniversary, I want to send my thoughts and prayers to all those who were lost on this tragic day along with my thanks and deepest appreciation to everyone out there that did their part to help all those in need.

A Random Act Of Acknowledgment

It’s always so inspiring when I come upon what I would call “Random Acts of Acknowledgement” in my everyday life. I was staying at a hotel while on a business trip, and overheard the delightful exchange you can see in the video below… well almost! In actuality, I just happened to be sitting there having a quick bite, when I witnessed it. I was practically moved to tears — it was something that could have been a “how to” right out of any of the books I have written. In fact it was so wonderful that I acknowledged both the giver and the receiver in this exchange, told them about The Power of Acknowledgment in 10 brief seconds, and then (I know you won’t believe this…) I had the audacity to ask them to “reenact” the exchange that had just taken place, so that I could shoot a cell phone video of it!!! I requested that they do it just the way I originally saw it. Please click the link to see what I’m so excited about!

Click Here to Watch the Random Act of Acknowledgment

My heartfelt appreciation goes to Chris, the magnificent acknowledgment bestower, and to Julieta, the lovely waitress and grateful recipient. I later learned that Chris had sought her out again in order to introduce her personally to the owner of the hotel, whom he had spent some time getting to know. He wanted to make sure that her service could be further acknowledged, in a way that would truly make a difference for her! I was told that the owner, in turn, gave her a huge hug and let her know how proud he was of her.

I was also proud to be a witness to the “reenacted,” yet equally moving exchange! It was truly a Random Act of Acknowledgment! Please send us descriptions of yours!

CAR CHASE: “Driven” to Acknowledge!

I was running a bit late for a doctor’s appointment this week, and was on a major thoroughfare on which traffic was fortunately flowing. So I wouldn’t be too late… But suddenly, the car two ahead of mine slowed down and then came to a gentle but complete stop — there was no traffic light or other reason to stop that I could see. I waited rather impatiently until the “reason” emerged — a stooped over, elderly lady with a cane who was walking about one step every few seconds as she crossed in front of the long line of cars! Not a horn was honked! Instead, we all waited patiently now for that lady, who was truly taking her life in her hands, to cross the very wide road. Once she had crossed completely to the other side, not just gotten through the lineup of cars, the first driver took off with some speed. I raised my hands in applause above my head, but knew the driver would not see my appreciation. I hoped that the other cars behind me would, though.

I was already late for my appointment, but I suddenly felt “driven” to FOLLOW THAT CAR!!! I needed to tell the driver that what he or she had done was truly an act of kindness and consideration, and how moved I was by that action. So I edged out in front of the second car (I was the third) and sped up to catch up to the lead car. I could see the clock ticking and my appointment time getting farther and farther in the distance, but I was compelled. With relief, after several minutes, I saw the car turn into a supermarket parking lot and I pulled into a spot right near the one the driver took and parked. The driver emerged, and energized by my enthusiasm, I walked up to the person, a woman I could see now, with determination. I called out “Miss!” to her and she turned around with some surprise.

What I told her was this: “I was two cars behind you when you stopped to allow that elderly woman to cross the highway.  I have to tell you that what you did was an amazing and caring act of kindness. I just HAD to thank you for what you did and for the example you set for all of us behind you. No one was honking you, or trying to get you to move on!” She got misty-eyed, as did I, and reached out to take my hand. Though she was from another culture and seemed to have a bit of difficultly with the language, we were definitely speaking the same language. We spoke it with our eyes and we spoke it with our hands. Then she said, “I was just doing what anyone would do! It was the right thing to do!”

“Yes,” I said, “but many people would not do what you did, even though it was definitely the right thing to do. And that’s why I had to follow your car, even though I wasn’t coming here, and tell you personally how much that meant to me.”  Her face lit up, which lit me up! She thanked me several times for letting her know how I felt. And I let her know that it was my honor and my pleasure.

And that folks is the Power of Acknowledgment! But you don’t have to go on a “wild” (for me) car chase to do so; it just shows that opportunities are all around us to let others know the difference they make and how this moves and inspires us!

(Oh, and by the way, that really is my car and that IS my license plate!)

Is Judy losing her mind…or just her fear?

In the spirit of putting together my IPMDay 2015 keynote address focused on the 5th C of Acknowledgment for Grateful Leaders: Courage (“From Cowardly Lion to Lion-Hearted Leader”), I have been thinking a lot about what stops us from doing the brave and inspiring things we want to and are able to do. That would include acknowledging and appreciating our people in a heartfelt, authentic and profound way, even when it makes us feel vulnerable!  So I must admit that when I was offered the opportunity the last time I was conducting Grateful Leadership training at Volvo Construction Equipment to drive a massive earth mover, I think I found my schedule to be “just too tight” to accommodate this incredible adventure. But this time, when I was there to co-lead a Grateful Leadership Book Club session with Michelle Madsen, Delivery Specialist, Volvo Group University, I was thinking a lot about overcoming fear or else doing what we want to do that terrifies us … doing it in spite of our fear. So this time I ASKED to drive a massive earth mover! I must have been out of my mind. But the kind and courageous Wade Turlington, Director of Volvo’s Customer Center said, “Of course!” and volunteered to risk his life and limb to sit next to me as I drove.  So after the great book club session we had, I mustered up my courage and drove the A35G Articulated Hauler that they provided!!! (My family members will tell you how they feel like THEY are risking life and limb when they drive with me in my normal vehicle). And ooooooooh, that was some wild and crazy ride on that A35G! It was also transformational. If I could do that, I knew I could do virtually anything, since I was taking on the challenge of doing something so out of my normal reach. Okay, so hang gliding is NOT up my alley. But name something else and maybe I will try it. In the meantime, you can overcome YOUR fear, muster up your courage as I did,  and deliver heartfelt acknowledgments wherever they are truly deserved. Have a ball doing what terrifies you — it is a heck of a good ride! And my thanks and deepest gratitude to Volvo Construction Equipment for allowing me to do this!!!

Behind the Scenes of my International Project Management Day Keynote Taping: From Cowardly Lion to Lionhearted Leader!

I worked as a television producer and writer at WCBS-TV for about a dozen years. I know the workings of a TV studio inside and out. So that should make my keynote videotaping a piece of cake for me, right? Wrong! I worked on the “other side of the camera,” so I can’t begin to describe the agony I always put myself (and everyone around me) through in past years to make sure my IPMDAY presentation is perfect, and then I never feel like it is!

But this year, I made a choice: I was going to be as passionate in my presentation to the IIL Media crew and cameras as I would normally be before an audience of hundreds, or even thousands of people, which doesn’t throw me much at all. I would let my passion, mission and purpose come through even though I was addressing inanimate objects (the cameras).

I have to tell you that IIL Media, headed up by Emmy award-winning producer and director d.b. Roderick, cared as much about my presentation as I did! Coordinating Producer Andrea Skipper worked with me for weeks getting the script just right, the visuals dramatic and attention-grabbing. Leroy Patton was meticulous with the lighting and camera work. Andres Valencia (I later learned) was operating the teleprompter for the first time due to a last minute substitution. He did a great job, considering! Then there was Andrea Johnson, Production Manager, who made sure to tell me that the darts in my skirt were crooked and to please fix them. She also made me change my outfit to something all felt was much more suited to my “colorful” personality. I did as she suggested!

The really great part, though, was that I actually felt as though I was addressing live people when I spoke, due to the attention and true listening I received from this delightful crew. And at the end, they spontaneously broke into applause. I was exhilarated and felt like I had broken through my own barriers to full self-expression in front of cameras rather than people. This crew – this wonderful group of people – made it possible for me to connect, and I saw that my message resonated with all of them.

I also give my thanks to the whole IIL crew outside the studio that made this year’s production work so well for me: IIL Marketing, including ShaunMara Begley who found some of the great images used in my presentation; Kaylin Berry, who works with me on all social media projects so successfully with me on social media projects and posts (such as this one!); Lori Milhaven, EVP of Marketing who takes everything in her stride and just gets the word out to the world; Nolan Voss, Sr. Graphic designer who makes everything look so artistic and beautiful; Gregory Johnson, VP Enterprise Solutions who is always a great sounding board/idea person for any of my new and venturesome content creations; and CEO E. LaVerne Johnson who tolerated my trepidation and numerous pleas for her to read my updated script “just one more time…”

Now I will ask you to be the judge of the final result when you attend International Project Management Day 2015: Ensuring a Sustainable Future on November 5th. I would like YOU tell me if I have truly grown greater than my constraints. As noted author Jack Canfield wrote, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” I think I really took that message to heart with this year’s presentation, and hopefully all of you will take it to heart and be the beneficiaries as well!.

There will be a live Q&A at the end of my keynote session during which we can all have some conversation! And you can register now for this great event (there are 38 other thought leaders and Project Management, Leadership and Sustainability practitioners who are presenting). If you do register now, you can get exciting updates from IIL about and until the Big Event! Hope to see you there!

Until the next time…

Register for IPMDAY Here »