Professional Development Tips; Read, Listen & Watch.

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We know, like us, you probably want to stay at the top of your game. To stay at the top of your game, it is important to participate in ongoing professional development. As an employee at a large corporation, there are usually many training programs available, from ethics training, to corporate policy, anti-harassment and bias training. If you are an entrepreneur, these types of sessions may come second (or lower) on the priority list. As a result, sometimes entrepreneurs may skimp on professional development. That is unfortunate. We believe professional development is a critical component for every organization, no matter the number of employees. We understand not everyone has time to weed through all the how to books, virtual seminars, get rich quick scheme podcasts, videos, and training sessions that have popped up during the past few years.

At KIR Co, we are avid learners. Our Founder is “unapologetically curious” and believes in training. So, we make it our mission to #KeepLearning. We are delighted to share some of our favorite and inspiring professional development tools.

These days we have a lot of choices. There are so many ways we can learn. To make it easier, we’ve broken it down into three categories; Read, Listen Watch. Take a minute to read on to see what might inspire you to keep up your professional development. We hope you learn something useful and are inspired to continue your professional development.

Professional Development Tip #1 READ:

I’m a sporadic book reader, but coming into 2021 I’ve actually been reading. I even purchased a few books. Yes, actual books. I still use the kindle app, and audible for audiobooks. But, in 2020 I bought a bunch of books. Some were business related and some where biographies from authors I was curious about. I am sharing my book pile revelations here. Take a look and see which one’s seem interesting to you.

For those of you not into reading. Skip it. Because, if you don’t feel like buying the books, you can always take a walk and listen to an audible book. Or listen to a podcast or watch a seminar. That is to say, if reading is not for you, skip to LISTEN: or WATCH: below.

2020 pile of books

Key for the book recap listings below. For example, the name of the book is in italics; followed by the name of the author in bold, followed by my thoughts after reading and finally, an overall [letter grade]which summarizes my opinion on the book. I will update the blurbs as I complete the rest of the books, check back to see my updates. Happy reading!

Professional Development: READ. This is a graphic with the words "What I read in 2020" and a photo of a stack of books.
  • God-Level Knowledge Darts by Desus & Mero. Funny, written like a SHO episode. Lots of drug and bodega talk. [A]

Brag Better by Meredith Fineman. A must read. Tips to teach us all how to confidently talk about our accomplishments and “BRAG Better” LOVE this! I am a huge fan. Also bought a copy for my sister. [A++]

SEO 2020: Learn SEO with Smart Internet Strategies by Adam Clarke. Great tips, still working through some of this one. [B]

Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhnik. I had this book on my shelf since I moved from NYC. I read it, and then sent it to my sister to read. [A++]

Disloyal by Michael Cohen. Interesting look at the rise and fall of the consigliere and puppet of #45. I read this and watched The Vow on HBO, the parallels are spooky. [A+]

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene. I first read this in the 2000’s after taking an NYU management course. Bought it again so I could navigate some 2020 challenges. This book will stay on my desk as a reference manual. [A+]

2021 pile 1:

Professional Development: READ. What's on your reading list? 2021 book stack #1.
  • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

Sick in The Head by Judd Apatow

The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer

Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Is This Anything by Jerry Seinfeld. A complete record of all the jokes Jerry ever penned, organized by decade. I’m a Seinfeld fan. Beware, this is not a book to read from cover to cover, it is nice to read a few jokes every day. [OK to skip unless you are a Jerry fanatic]

2021 pile 2:

Professional Development: READ. What's on your reading list? 2021 book stack #2.
  • Zero to One by Peter Thiel
  • Non-Obvious Megatrends by Rohit Bhargava
  • Eat a Peach by David Chang. An inside look at the daily grind of chef and owner at Momofuku, the acclaimed NYC restaurant. This book uncovers Changs’ personal and professional life from his manic depression to raging on the staff and some of the sickest staff emails I have ever seen. [A]
  • What It Takes by Stephen A. Schwarzman

Professional Development Tip #2 LISTEN:

We are huge podcast fans. We love to lose ourselves in a juicy podcast while driving on a monotonous road trip. Since road trips have mostly been on hold for us, we knew we had to carve out time. When we are working, we usually listen to a lot of music. We love music and also love making Spotify playlists. Here is a link to Don’t Believe The Hype, our founder’s playlist.

After some consideration, we came to a happy compromise, when we decided to alternate our music fests with some choice podcasts during our WFH. As you may recall, we shared our fave podcast list in 4q20 as part of international podcast day. To build upon our favorite pods, we wanted to share a few specific episodes to get you started on your professional development journey.

The Michelle Obama Podcast

Working Women: Valerie Jarret and the Importance of Mentorship

To learn more about the impact of the Mentor/Mentee relationship, the stories we tell ourselves and much more….listen to Michelle Obama and an early Mentor, Valerie Jarret. During this episode they talk about getting to know each other and their experiences balancing working and raising children.

Tip: Having a Mentor can help your career and life.

LISTEN. QR code for LISTEN: The Michelle Obama Podcast: Working Women: Valerie Jarrett and the Importance of Mentorship.  Quote by Michelle Obama, " Being able to say to my team....let's block out all the things that are my life first. Let me, put me on my calendar first.

If you don’t usually listen to podcasts, you can find them on Sticher, Apple, Spotify, Google and more… On the other hand, you can click on the graphic above and you will be taken to the podcast. Alternately, you can use the QR code and the camera app on your mobile phone to find the original podcast on Spotify.

#mentoring #learn #teach #grow #ProfessionalDevelopment #EverUpward #Equity #Read #Listen #Watch

Across Generations: Michelle Obama and her Mentees

Tip: Becoming a Mentor can help your career and life.

This episode covers more about the impact of the Mentor/Mentee relationship. During this episode, Michelle Obama chats with three of her White House Mentees. They talk about their life experiences, about confidence and self doubt, perceptions and expectations. Above all, this episode is an earnest discussion which we find touching and powerful.

LISTEN. QR Code to Listen to the Michelle Obama Podcast, Across Generations: Michelle Obama and her Mentees. Quote by Michelle Obama, " Let's talk about that, self doubt, ...we all experience that doubt.

Professional Development Tip #3 WATCH:

Since we cannot attend anything IRL, these days we’ve been attending virtual networking groups, panel discussions and seminars. We discovered lots of solid national seminar hosts including; INC, Forbes, FastCompany, AdWeek, & The Female Quotient. We even found some on LinkedIN, like David Meltzer and Gary Vee.

The one seminar we’d like to recommend here today is The Non-Obvious Diversity Summit.

The Non-Obvious Company was founded by Rohit Bhargava. Rohit Bhargava is on a mission to help the world be more open-minded by teaching anyone how to be a non-obvious thinker. Bhargava is an author & speaker with a background as a marketing strategist.


Tip: Create the content you want to see.

Hosted by Monika Samtani with Deniese Davis; producer of Insecure on HBO and Meera Menon; director of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon & Ms. Marvel coming in 2021 to Disney Plus. During this seminar Samtani, Menon and Davis talk about their roles and experiences producing video content and working in the media and film industry.

WATCH. QR code to link to Watch: Non Obvious Diversity Summit: Women of Color: Top Producers Flipping the Script.  Quote by Meera Menon, "I learned how to make a movie, by making a movie."

NONOBVIOUS DIVERSITY SUMMIT VIDEO Casting Calls: How to Create Accurate Representation for Underrepresented Communinities

Tuesday Tip: It is a business imperative to speak authentically to different communities.

Hosted by Zora DeHorter, Casting Director, with panelists, Charlene P. Corely, VP at Nielsen, Y. Shireen Razack Exec. Producer of New Amsterdam, & Lydia Dean Pilcher, President, Producer, Director at Cine Mosaic and author. In this seminar DeHorter leads a discussion about content trends and representation of stories. That is to say, the participants talk about their experiences and share research and stories about the film and media industry.

#LEARN #Laugh #Teach #Dream #MIH #MakeItHappen #BecomeYourDream #ProfessionalDevelopment #Hustle #WomenWhoLead #MarketingTips #Equity #Diversity #Inclusion #Training #Tips #Read #Listen #Watch

WATCH. QR code to link to Watch: Non Obvious Diversity Summit: Casting Calls: How to Create Accurate Representation for Underrepresented Communities.  Quote by Charlene P. Corely, "It takes alot of courage to be first".

Finally, if you aren’t familiar with how to connect to a virtual seminar (these are on YouTube); click on the image above. Then you will be taken to the You Tube video. On the other hand, if you want to use the QR code, please open the camera on your mobile phone and point it at the QR code. After that, click on the link and it will take you to the video on YouTube.

ICYMI: below is the 9.30.20 LinkedIn post listing all of our fave 2020 podcasts.

Professional development: Listen Graphic for : International Podcast Day 2020, our top list of Podcasts....

#mentoring #learn #teach #grow #ProfessionalDevelopment #EverUpward #Equity #Read #Listen #Watch

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It’s time to make some money; #theintern is skipping naps to make bank.

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Despite being a teenager and wanting to nap, #TheINTERN says...."ITS TIME to make some Money"
Despite being a teenager and wanting to nap, #TheINTERN says….”ITS TIME to make some Money”

A note from Kirsten on it’s time to make some money.

Maybe it is cliche….but I thought an assignment for #theINTERN of “What I did over Summer Vacation” could be interesting with a twist of quarantine.  So #theintern is here to show you, even in a global pandemic it’s time to make some money. Turns out; teenagers pretty much operate the same as when you and I were teens. Sleep, make money, play, repeat. Admittedly, even though there are differences….maybe like me, you didn’t have a phone when you were a teen. The only video games we had were “educational” hand held electronics for math. I remember Dataman and before that Little Professor ….guess the parents were prepping us for the years ahead. Anyway, there is a lot that #theINTERN wrote that made me smile. I agree. It’s not easy being a teenager. Maybe it never was? Cheers and good luck to the teens in all of our lives! I wish them great new adventures, continued good health, sleep, bank and good grades as schools all over start back up again. Read on and remember what it was like to be a teenager….. xoxo Kirsten

Sleep. Some teenagers wake up at 12 because they went to bed at 2.  People’s sleep cycles are very messed up right now. It might be the global pandemic, but it might be a teenager thing.

Some people probably wake up from their sleep looking like goblins and some people wake up from their sleep looking like Gods, it just depends on how much you get. Personally, I have been getting a lot of sleep and I think that is definitely good for me. Once I get up I usually go downstairs and use my phone for a while. When I get hungry I go to the kitchen, grab some food and then use my phone again. What do you expect?  Once I’m tired of using my phone maybe I’ll do something else, just maybe.

You cannot sleep in when you have to get up for work, so some days I just have to get up because it’s time to make some money.

I have gotten lots of little odd jobs this summer to try to make bank.

 My jobs range from moving rock walls, painting machinery, cleaning out weeds and muck from the pond, to taking care of chickens and little kids.

I have been taking care of a friend’s chickens and let me tell you it’s not as easy as you think.

Maybe you think, it is easy? Before I started I did too.

You think that a chicken sitter just needs to feed them? Or maybe, feed them, watch them and go home?


These are some high maintenance chickens. 

I need to go to take care of them 3 times a day! 

  1. First of all, waking up at 7:00 am to let them out is not too fun. Especially because I’m not an early riser. The chickens are pretty interesting. When I go in the morning to let them out they know exactly what I’m there to do.  They crowd around the door like kids at a toy store window. The second I open the coop door, I hear some high pitched bocks, chirps and whines because only two can fit through at a time and every one of these chickens wants to be the first one out. 
  2. By the time I get back home and lay down on the couch it’s time for me to go back over and feed them and clean the coop. The second time I go I make sure they are all alive, clean the coop and then I go back home. 
  3. Later, (after human dinner) I have to go inside the chicken run and push them inside the coop again for night time. 
You may think I am getting some eggs in return for taking care of these chickens. Nope.

They are not old enough to hatch eggs yet. 

If I watch them again in 10 weeks, I should be able to have some scrambled eggs for lunch! 

Because I am only 15, I have to rely on my bike and my Mom to get to the chickens.  Biking has been another good way to pass time. If you can’t drive, just bike! 

Why do I work so hard, chicken sitting? It’s time to make some money and I want money in the bank.

The reason for me getting all these jobs and working so hard to make money, is to have that feeling of independence. Plus, I’ve got expensive taste, so I need to make some moolah.

I want to be able to buy the things I want with the quadruple digits of money I have made. So, yeah, I am excited to buy some new sports equipment, like protective pads, a new Patagonia jacket and fleece and a Dakine backpack. 

Saving is more important though.

So, I am opening a bank account to watch my fortune grow.  I also am getting a bank card. Plus, I downloaded the bank mobile app so I can do all of my depositing online. I am excited to be able to bank from my phone! It is cool to just take a picture of a check and then….

Ka-ching, money in the bank.      

The life of a teenager in summer… it may vary from day to day but I think it’s mostly the same for a lot of teenagers.  You either play video games all day or you try to make money. This summer for me?  Well, now you know it’s all about making money and getting enough sleep.

Sleep plus Cheep equals money in the bank. graphic
Summer mantra of #theintern

You can check out another post written by #theINTERN If you LOVE someone, let them nap and read the blog post by the #newintern on swimming with sharks. Follow this link to read about the 4 things are bringing #TIAboss joy

New Intern, a 5th grader talks about swimming with sharks and how to get out of doing the dishes at home.

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A note from Kirsten. It’s Shark Week at KIRated… In this blog #newintern, a 5th grader talks about swimming with sharks and how to get out of doing the dishes. The #newintern has been with KIRated since right before his 10th birthday in May. His role is offering feedback on all social media content prior to publishing. He also shares funny stories on our video conference calls and helps me #tiaboss and #theintern brainstorm new ideas.

Shark week at KIRated……Brought to you by a 5th grader who swims with sharks and doesn’t like doing dishes. Enjoy! xoxo Kirsten

Hi, I am now a 5th grader. I am also the #newintern. I live only three blocks away from the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.  Let me tell you about my week or as I call it, shark week.

The #NEWINTERN, a 5th grader wearing his Covid Mask #NYSTRONG overlooking the beach where he swims with sharks

Not too much has changed here at the beach in the summer of Covid 19. For me the only two new things about the global pandemic that I am involved in now are, my brother and I refuse to get haircuts and since we are already in phase 4 #NYStrong that everyone has to wear masks to go into public places. 

Now I will tell you about my typical summer day.  During a pandemic or not….

The first thing I like to do is swim in the ocean. 

I am a 5th grader and I swim with sharks. I don’t think about it much, that I am swimming in shark infested waters.  But it is true. Sharks are just off the coast, right here, at the beach where I swim.  I am there early in the morning from 7:45-9am. This is before the lifeguards go up. Sometimes we surf, other times we swim and at the end we play in the ocean.  There were shark sightings every day last week. It was shark week!


After that I will go home to eat breakfast and then go back to the beach. If there are no sharks! 

If there are sharks, I play with my brother, maybe even ride on my bike or skateboard. 

After that we get stuck on what to do next. 

I might go to a friend’s house or maybe to swim in my neighbors’ pool.  Sometimes we skateboard or bike around the neighborhood with them. 

Then around 5pm, we have to start thinking about dinner. 

I try to help with making dinner so I don’t have to help clean up dishes after. 

That is the rule at my house, you have to help. We all have chores.

Then we go to bed. 

And that is a day in the life of a 5th grader during coronavirus at the ‘beach’….

Sometimes I swim with sharks.
Some days I get out of doing the dishes and helping with dinner clean up.
Other days, I don’t.
The #NEWINTERN, a 5th grader at the boardwalk near the beach where he swims with sharks and tries to get out of doing the dishes DURING SHARK WEEK
The #NEWINTERN, a 5th grader talks about swimming with sharks and how to get out of doing the dishes

Like reading this? Want to compare a 5th grader’s thinking on #covidsummer to a 15 year old’s #coronacation thoughts? Check out the blog post by #theintern

The Intern at KIRated shares his thoughts during a global pandemic…

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If you love someone, let them nap; a teenager reacts to life and shares thoughts and questions during Covid-19 pandemic

A note from Kirsten. #theintern has been with KIRated since right before his 15th birthday in March. In addition to creating original social media content he offers feedback on all content prior to publishing. Recently #theintern was assigned to write a blog post. I figured, let’s get a teenager to share his thoughts on life during a global pandemic…and in the process, why not help him to learn a little about SEO? So, as of today, this teenager knows about tools that help optimize a blog post for Search Engine Optimization. This turned into a triple threat. An intern assignment + new content + a teachable moment….that’s a a win win win. Below is his blog post submission… We’d love to hear your comments and thoughts. Virtual Hugs, Kirsten

Hello. I am the intern. As the whole world knows we’re all living in the tough time of a global pandemic. Life has changed.

photo of #theINTERN who handles social media and helps with marketing at KIRated Co
#theINTERN wrote this guest blog over summer vacation. He is a rising sophmore in HS.

I was asked to share my thoughts on life during a global pandemic. Covid-19 has affected many different people in many different ways. This worldwide pandemic has opened big doors for people and it has closed doors for people. Some have found new talents and some have seemed to lose the ones they once had.

For me it has been a little bit of both, I’ve gained some and I have lost some. Being a teenager in this era I enjoy video games and spending time with friends. Most of which has been notched down due to the virus. Sure I can play games online with my friends but it isn’t as fun knowing we won’t be able to go to school the next day and share our tricks. And staying six feet away from a friend who is like a sibling to you is just not ideal in any circumstance.  Although there are countless games to play, friends to talk to and things to do, they all get boring.

Basically being a teenager in the times of a global pandemic brings a few unanswered questions to the surface.

How many times can you practice your favorite sport without having a game to show what you’ve learned?

What’s the point of doing extra school work if you don’t even know if you will be able to meet your teacher in person?

image of vertical lines with the word reading spaced out in between the lines.

Being the youngest sibling I have always had a knack for reading in between the lines. Over quarantine I’ve noticed that lots of people are trying to sustain food for themselves. Some people have planted gardens, some people  planted apple trees. Heck, some people even bought chickens with the hopes that they would provide eggs for a hungry family. Sure it’s a good thing to do to get your head out of the crazy thoughts of the pandemic..

Do you really want to be woken up by a rooster every morning?

Do you want to scoop chicken poop every night?

I say no.

In my opinion, it is just so easy for my mom to go to the store and get a carton of eggs.

In general I would say an average day for a teenager in quarantine differs from kid to kid. In fact the difference is from day to day, one day you’re motivated to go out and do something good for yourself, the other day you just want to sleep.

I mean what do you expect from a teenager? 

Philosophy of a teenage summer intern
Philosophy of the Intern at KIRated. You can quote him on it.

To read more thoughts on quarantine life, check out the post from our founder on 4 Things that make me happy during Quarantine 2020

Searching for Happiness and JOY in May 2020.

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May 2020 Update- Four things I am doing these days that make me happy and bring me JOY.

Week eight of #QuarantineLife. Yep, it’s May 2020 and in New York state we are in week 8 of the #stayhome #staysafe orders. These times are challenging. I have a positive outlook. Even in challenging times, I seek out things that make me happy. Normally, that is having great meetings with clients, hanging out with friends, traveling, going out to restaurants and spending time with my family attending sporting events of a niece or nephew or some other celebration. These days I’m looking at everything and trying to see the positive in it! In the past few weeks, the weather has gotten nicer, with sunshine and spring in the air. Now is the time to discover and celebrate things that make me happy and bring JOY! In this post I will share four things I am doing these days that make me happy and are bringing me JOY.

Growing up I watched David Letterman. I used to love his segment where he ran down a top ten list. Thanks Dave!

Here goes: my top 4 to-do list for May 2020….

  • 4 – Get outside, enjoy Spring
  • 3 – Prancercise around the neighborhood
  • 2 – Not-so-serious video chats with co-workers
  • 1 – Set up a College Pals Virtual Happy Hour

4 – Get outside, look for signs of Spring

During my walks around the 518 I often stop to smell the roses. When I think about it, I mostly stop after a long uphill, when I really just need to catch my breath. But regardless of why, I have been enjoying discovering flowering trees and flowers along my route. There are parks and plantings even in the heart of downtown, if you look, you too will see them! The past week has been fabulous!  The sun is shining, the trees are blooming, flowers are abundant.  Typically, at this time Washington Park in Albany is home to Tulipfest. This year it is called Virtual Tulipfest. I have been doing my own tour of the tulips and other things in bloom. WOW, they are spectacular!  Photos below will give a peek at some of the blooms from my walks this week….I wish you could smell them! #518Tuliptracker

3 – Go prancercising around the neighborhood

I am a beginner at Prancercise….still on level one for most of my walks. To keep pushing myself, I have added the arms of level four. I also do it without the ankle weights. I do love prancercising!!!!

For those of you who say, “wait, what is prancercising?” Oh, I am so glad you asked! I grabbed the official definition from the website. Joanna Rohrback, BHS, the owner of Prancercise LLC, defines prancercise as follows; “a springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse’s gait and is ideally induced by elation.”

Wow, now I am confident my prancercising is induced by elation.

I wish more people felt induced by elation like Joanna and me!

Please enjoy this video of Joanna doing a demo.

Next time you go for a walk, don’t just walk…PRANCERCISE you will laugh out loud and that is joyful!

“Let’s stop talking and do some walking” Prancercise is JOY

If you would like to learn more, please check out the official website for Prancercise here https://prancercise.com/.

2 – Video chats with co-workers

Entrepreneurs are all adapting to how to operate a business during #stayhome #staysafe. Today’s students are adapting to the virtual classroom and all the challenges that come with remote learning.

I am lucky enough to have two interns at KIRated. My interns wish to remain anonymous so I have opted to give them nicknames; I’ve got #theintern and #newintern

#theintern is 15 years old

#newintern is 9 years old

This is not a traditional #internship.  I “hired” #theintern about 6 weeks ago. He is my nephew and a freshman in HS. Freshman have a lot of schoolwork. #theintern has been creating and designing social media posts every other week or so. So #theintern was my first hire.

The other day my sister in law mentioned that her 4th grader seems to have some really light days of remote learning work. She asked if I needed another intern. HUH? I never thought I’d be lucky enough to have two interns!

We had our first hangout call with the whole team last week!

Highlights from the first official Google hangout video chat;

#newintern had dirty knees (he was outside playing right before our mtg)

#theintern was hungry (he had eaten lunch but at 15, he is always hungry)

During a screen sharing tutorial #tiaboss somehow clicked on something that put a virtual viking helmet on my head. #newintern started giggling and said he didn’t think this would be what a business meeting would be like.

image of #tiaboss in a virtual viking helmet during the Google hangouts meeting with the team last week.
#tiaboss in a virtual viking helmet

All those giggles were followed by magic trick mastery. Below is a practice session of a disappearing avocado trick. The #newintern plans to perform this trick for the whole family on the next group zoom.

#newintern Magic Tricks with solo cups and avocados
#newintern Magic Tricks

After magic, we got down to business…..the boys were very helpful designing and creating an upcoming social media post. The post is for “Eat What You Want Day” on 5.11.20. Both of the boys were really excited to include their favorite foods. Their choices include tacos, ribs, bbq chicken, fried calamari, a chocolate milkshake, a shirley temple, donuts and chocolate cake. Check out the post on the kirated_design Instagram feed. #YUM

1 – Weekly College Pals Virtual Happy Hour

Some of my closest friends are friends I met during college.

There is a core four that started the HHs. I’ll call us the 4 OG’s. I love a good nickname and abbreviation in case you haven’t noticed. Anyway, the 4 OG’s have been connecting virtually over Zoom calls since the March #stayathome and Covid-19 changed all of our lives. 

To honor everyone’s wishes, I will be talking about our participants using our college nicknames. I am Game Girl, in the 4 OG’s we also have Coiler, Ginger and P-Ness.

During quarantine life the four of us have been enjoying our virtual Happy Hour every Thursday night. It all started March 26th when we instituted a theme for each HH.  First we started with a “Tiger King” theme. After that we also had OTG (Off The Grid in case you don’t speak abbreviations…) athletics, tv/movie character and a “vintage SNL character” theme. 

Once we started talking about SNL characters, we decided we needed to make it our mission to get Jimmy Fallon to join our Virtual Happy Hour. Why? Because one, Jimmy Fallon is a fellow St. Rose alum and two, the four OG’s were all at Jimmy Fallon’s first stand up gig when he performed at a College of St. Rose Beer Garden event.

One of us somewhere has the VHS tape of the event, if only we knew someone who has a VCR! We are very hopeful that Jimmy will join in on a future CSR Virtual Happy Hour!

For example, our reach-outs to Jimmy include social media, snail mail and email inviting him to join us. We are interested in other ways of getting in touch, so if you know how to get in touch with Jimmy directly or have a cellphone number, please share it with us!

College of St Rose, CSR Alumni Zoom Virtual Happy Hour Athlete theme
Athlete Virtual Happy Hour

The 4 OG’s have extended an open invitation for Jimmy Fallon to join our Happy Hour.

SNL characters the Sweeney Sisters, Margaret Jo McCullin and Mary Katherine Gallagher

For the latest happy hour the 4 OGs decided we wanted to “share the laughter and the joy” with some of our other friends and roommates. So we invited some of our roommates from Lima, Maginn, Fontbonne and suite-mates from Alumni Hall to join. We planned a 1990’s theme Happy Hour.

Our HH was fabulous, lots of laughter, catching up on lives, reminiscing about some of our favorite memories and more!
1990s theme College of St Rose Virtual Happy Hour
1990s theme College of St Rose Virtual Happy Hour
As always, the four OGs have a plan!

We had many planning meetings before we expanded our group. That is to say, we are going to be methodical about our “invite list”. We are planners, we have a vision, we know how we want this to go. To further clarify, we already have a list going with other alum we want to connect with and invite to our Virtual Happy Hour.

We cherish these and all of our friendships. Cheers to long lost connections, laughter and storytelling.

Above all, we hope you will try to find the positive today and everyday. Moreover, we hope you will consider some of these tips to help you find your own joy! Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Interested in reading more posts in this blog?

Check out two posts written by #theINTERN

If you love someone, let them nap written by #theintern at KIRated

#theINTERN on skipping naps, to make bank

Creatives in Quarantine or when life gives you lemons, get PR.

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Everyone I know is in quarantine due to the Corona virus pandemic, It is really challenging! I recently participated in a Q&A for Creatives in Quarantine with the Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy. You can read my thoughts, featured in Creatives in Quarantine on the ACE website.

Cap Region Creatives in Quarantine: Kirsten Voege

Life seems to be giving us abundant lemons these days

Our lives are overflowing with lemons these days. I’m thinking of this global pandemic; Covid-19, work on pause, quarantines, social distancing, supply chain issues, furloughs, lay-offs, graduations, weddings, holidays, sports seasons, all canceled. Forgot to mention… the stock market roller-coaster. With Quarantine Life in full effect these days are an emotional roller-coaster.

So, you know how people say, when life gives you lemons make lemonade? As an eternal optimist, I say, okay, I’ll take those lemons. I actually love lemons! Everyone who knows me knows I love lemons. I don’t love the situation we are all living through, but figured I’d make the best of it by figuring out ways to think positively about it.

I think the biggest adjustment for most is the WFH. Working From Home.

Me? I am very familiar with WFH. Before Covid-19 struck the US I had been full time WFH. So the 100% WFH life wasn’t a huge adjustment for me.

There are so many changes with Covid-19 and Quarantine Life. Change can be stressful, it is difficult to have things in our lives change so much.

When life gives me lemons, I make the most of it. Some people may want to hibernate, take a break, and wait for the air to clear. Not me. I want to get out there. Since I cannot actually “get out there”…. I am doing all sorts of new things to virtually “get out there”. Including participating in a Q & A about Quarantine Life.

I can’t wait to see what the next opportunity is!
Kirsten of KIRated, posing from her work from home counter desk while in Covid-19 Quarantine.
Hi! from me in my WFH (work from home) set up.

Interested in reading more of my blog posts? Check out the rest of my blog.

Our New Reality

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It’s March 2020. We are all dealing with a new reality. This new reality is challenging and unsettling.

What is our new reality? The streets are empty. People are hunkering down at home. Schools are closed, workplaces are closed, only gas stations, supermarkets, hospitals and liquor stores seem to be open. I don’t know much about what is going on “out there”. I filled up my tank with gas, got a bunch of Lactaid, eggs and vodka before the whole sequestering thing really took effect.

I talked to my sister last night, I told her, the lucky ones are still getting paid to work remotely…(she’s one of those). Many of us in the creative, consulting, service community are trying to figure it out.

My new reality? I have been trying to keep to my schedule. This includes logging on and being productive. If today is any indication, my new reality includes falling into a rabbit hole of social media content consumption, sort of to pass the time. I think I’m looking for inspiration, but also looking for connection. Then I find myself coming back to reality. Shoot, I need to get cracking and produce something!

So here goes, my reality? People need community.

I know I do, I am looking for connections. It is hard when you are sequestered to not let your mind wander. What is next? Is our new reality of social isolation and challenging times here to stay? I am trying to stay busy, find ways to stay creative while home-bound. Oh yeah, I painted my kitchen chairs pink (more on that below)

How are you doing? That is the question I get asked most. I’m good. I respond. I am good. I think.

Yesterday a maintenance crew came by to test the fire alarms in my apartment. We kept our distance, but I chatted with Mike, someone I know in real life. I hadn’t seen AND spoken to someone that I knew since March 11th. That was thirteen (13) days ago! Sure, I’ve had conversations. Just that morning I ventured out to the supermarket to get coffee-pods, more Lactaid, eggs and salad greens. I was back home by 8 am. Mission accomplished. I’ve talked to many using my phone, I’ve texted, set up family video calls. I’ve reached out to people on FB, IG, LI and Twitter. I scheduled a virtual happy hour on Zoom. But I haven’t had a conversation with someone I know and been in the same room with them. Ugh. This is hard. I can understand why all the gen z’ers are still on spring break.

My new reality….. painting my chairs pink… is that practical, was it productive? Who knows? Pink kitchen chairs are my new reality. 

Along with painting the town pink, I’ve written press releases, taken online classes, from Wharton no less! I have watered my plants, cleaned the buttons on the elevator and the doorknobs at the entrance of my building, sent off my 2019 paperwork for my taxes (this is early for me!) made some amazing egg frittatas, watched a ton of netflix, avoided the news, built a new invoice template for my business, listened to podcasts, walked, meditated, daydreamed and even “hired” my 14 year old nephew to help with social media content. I hired an intern!

What’s next you ask?

I hope to support and bring smiles to my community of people that are in the same work from home (WFH) solo-preneur boat as me, and keep plugging along. My goal is to be a consultant succeeding and growing her business. What else? I’ve got important stuff to do. I’m still working on training my ivy plant to stay in a wreath circle shape. I am seriously contemplating wearing a bandanna around my neck John Wayne style every day (today is day 2). I am drinking lots of water. I am going to keep reaching out to people. I am going to start changing out of my slippers during the day. These. Are. My. Goals. What are yours?

Your socially distant friend. Kirsten.

My new reality is pink kitchen chairs. What's yours?
What’s your new reality? Mine includes pink kitchen chairs.

nterested in reading more of my musings on solo-preneur life and balancing all the challenges that come with it? Check out another post on the KIRated Co blog.

Women Who Lead

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Women Who Lead. A conversation with Sonya del Peral, Nine Pin Cider Works.

Sonya del Peral is the general manager at Nine Pin. She is also an attorney, a momboss, a community leader, a trailblazer (literally) and mom to Nine Pin founder Alejandro del Peral.

Sonya is a trailblazer because she is a founding member and helped establish the Capital Craft Beverage Trail (CCBT). See how that worked? To start your own craft beverage journey, check out the Capital Craft Beverage Trail, and get your passport stamped at the local cideries, distilleries, wineries and breweries!

Look for signs.

photo of Sonya del Peral, General Manager at Nine Pin Cider Works in front of a Nine Pin Sign

As she tells it, Sonya del Peral was hiking with her son Alejandro and they were talking about his interest in opening a farm cidery. When they reached the summit there was a double rainbow. That was a sign. That sign sealed the deal for Sonya del Peral. She was 100% on board with helping her son start the hard cider business based in Albany, New York.

The double rainbow timing was perfect, Nine Pin is the first licensed Farm Cidery in New York State.

When they were looking for a site, the team originally passed on the 929 Broadway, downtown Albany location. Why? Because they thought it would be too much work. Sonya went to look and agreed it would be a lot of work but thought it had a lot of potential. She was sold when she noticed the adjacent building. As you can see, there is a rose. Sonya’s husband, Casiano painted the rose over 20 years ago. Another sign!

View of 929 Broadway the location of Nine Pin Cider Works, Albany New York
The Nine Pin location at 929 Broadway, Albany, NY and the rose painted over 20 years ago by Sonya del Peral’s husband Casiano del Peral
Follow your passion, build a great team, be responsive and reliable, don’t over apologize.
These are some of the words of wisdom Sonya shared at the most recent Women Who Lead event.
photo of attendees at March 11,2020, Women@work event
Some of the attendees at March Women at Work event photo credit: Phoebe Sheehan/Times Union

The Women@Work, Women Who Lead event was held at the Hearst Media Center in Colonie, NY.

Enjoy reading this update? Check out my other blog posts on Women Who Lead and social events.

Google Techstars Startup Weekend 2020

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The Google Techstars Startup Weekend event is a Google for Entrepreneurs program in partnership with Google for Startups.

Another day, another event at the beautiful @urban Co-Works space in Schenectady!  This time I was there to see the final day of the Google Techstars StartUp Weekend. More than 50 participants including inventors, entrepreneurs, students, educators, advisors, business owners, engineers, founders, mentors and community members all come together for 54 hours over the weekend.  The Google Techstars brainstorm business ideas, collaborate, form teams and together develop the business ideas into actual business plans.  At the end of the Startup Weekend a panel of judges from the business community listens to the five minute startup pitches and conduct a three minute Q. & A. session. After hearing all the pitches, the judges then decide on the top performers and award prizes. Exciting eh? I thought so. 

On Sunday, I joined the Google Techstars crew at Urban Co-Works as a supporter

and audience member. I was excited to see the final presentation phase.  It was great, there were ten final Google Techstar pitches. The teams pitched business that ran the gamut. including educational services, games, e-comm, a bear butcher, and the judges Q & A.  It was pretty incredible to hear the different ideas and see how each pitching group handled the questions from the panel of judges.  

photo taken at Urban Co-Works of the Techstars Start Up Weekend Schenectady in March 2020
Photo: Left to right, Judge Tom Franceski, CFO & Principal at Computer Professionals, Judge Nicole Snow, Founder & CEO of Darn Good Yarn, The Puzzle Chest father/son team, Judge Julianne Clouthier, Manager Industry Engagement at FuzeHub, the U-Create team and solo-preneur for High 5, the biggest winner of the day.

Did you like reading this? Check out another article in my work/life blog about co-working in the 518 here.

Talking Social Media

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Billboard sign for AMA NY Capital "Get Social" Talking Social Media

AMA NY Capital Region Panel Discussion “Get Social” Talking Social Media

Hosted @urban Co-works Schenectady, NY

It seems everyone is talking social media.

So, I decided to see what the experts had to say and attended the American Marketing Association New York Capital Region “Get Social” panel discussion. These panelists shared lots of interesting and actionable information during the discussion. Including social tracking tools, potential media vendors, managing social media, creating content, image sourcing and apps to try.

I learned a bunch and have lots to research on new vendors and tools.

Photo of Panel Speakers, Left to Right, panelist Lauren Cifra-Social Media Specialist at Stewart’s Shops Corp, Will Trevor- Moderator, President of AMA NY Capital, panelist Jess Ayotte, Social Media Strategist at Albany Times Union, and panelist Caitlin Nicholson, Senior Social Content Manager at Media Logic