GU@SXSW

Georgetown is headed to SXSW. Are you?  4 events are happening for Hoyas – we hope you’ll join us! #GUatSxSW

Georgetown SxSWedu Panel
: Designing the Future University from the Inside
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 
1:30-2:30 PM
Why college? Is the degree doomed? Can universities be unbundled? Higher education is at a critical juncture point. We believe that the decisions we make over the next 2-3 years will determine what Georgetown is going to look like 20-30 years from now.  Our panel will convene “ed” (academic) and “tech” (digital, technology) to discuss how universities can be proactive in their evolution amidst the potential disruptions in higher education. We’ll share how we’re experimenting with ways to deliver a valued education and using a university-wide design challenge to explore the future(s) of the university

Georgetown Reception
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
6-8:30 PM
Malverde at La Condesa: 400 B W 2nd Street, Austin, TX
Join us for cocktails and conversation with education thought-leaders, our senior University leadership, and fellow alumni. Featuring Robert M Groves, Ph.D, Provost, Lisa Davis, Chief Information Officer, Randall Bass, Ph.D, Vice Provost for Education. Space in limited.
RSVP here by February 27
Host: Alex Shoghi, B’04

Redesigning the Future of Georgetown
Friday, March 7th
12-1:30PM
Conjunctured Coworking: 1309 East 7th Street, Austin, TX
Help us imagine the Future of Higher Learning at Georgetown. Dr. Randy Bass, Vice Provost for Education, will lead us through a lab exercise modeled on an undergraduate design course to explore issues facing higher education. We will pick a point in the future, define the features of that world, and create a Georgetown that will most effectively produce leaders of industry and society.
Invite-Only. RSVP here to Molly (mkb101@georgetown.edu) by February 28 

Georgetown Meetup
Saturday, March 8, 2014 
1PM
Little Woodrow’s: 520 W 6th Street, Austin, TX
Meet fellow creative, digitally-savvy Hoyas and watch the Hoyas taken on Big East rival Villanova

Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, Cyber Monday… and now #GivingTuesday

Amid the stories of Black Friday crowds, midnight shopping frenzies and Cyber Monday frenetic web browsing, there is a new story emerging. From Shop Small Saturday to #GivingTuesday, America is beginning to reframe it’s holiday traditions and what it means to give back.

Shop Small Saturday began in 2010, gaining popularity every year since,  as a way to support local mom-and-pop type shops that are often overlooked amid the Black Friday ads.  It mission is to educate the public and create a culture shift in how we exercise our financial decision making power to infuse local economies, support job creation, and focus on sustainability.  From 2010 to 2012,  Shop Small Saturday grew to 67% consumer awareness with over 5.5 billion dollars spent at locally owned businesses. It seeks to bring meaning and understanding to how we all essentially vote with our wallets every time we pull out our debit card.

#GivingTuesday is another national movement emerging as a holiday tradition and gaining momentum quickly.  Started just last year, it’s mission is to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support non-profit organizations. The results in 2012 alone were staggering, including partner organizations from all 50 states, and resulting in a 53% increase in giving as compared to the previous year. But #GivingTuesday is about more than just philanthropy. It’s about celebrating giving back to your community. It’s about giving of your talent, your time, your spirit. It’s about being men and women for others. In so many ways #GivingTuesday is just so Georgetown.  

This year, Georgetown is participating in #GivingTuesday. Consider joining the movement and supporting Georgetown’s mission of men and women for others.  As part of the #GivingTuesday celebration tomorrow, Alumni Career Services is hosting a webinar entitled Mastering Service in the Service of Others.  We hope you will join us. 

Share your story of service (@GUAlumni #GivingTuesday)  and consider making a gift in celebration of #GivingTuesday. 

Meetings… And Meeting About Meetings…

We’ve all been there… Another meeting on our calendar… Another seeming waste of time.  Meetings. Meetings about meetings.  We all have so many meetings to talk about our work that often it doesn’t leave us enough time to actually do our work.

The Year Without Pants talks about the culture of the corporate offices of WordPress.com and how they do their work and think about their work.  Most meetings are online which is somewhat of a different beast, but, for the most part, the same issues prevail. A few highlights from the book specifically about meetings that I found interesting:

“If what is being discussed is important, people will pay attention.”

“If the people in a meeting think its a waste of time, then either they’re the wrong people or what’s being discussed is not important enough to justify a meeting.”

“A good sign as a leader is when output is high and meetings are short.”

Here are some tips for leading your next meeting… Keep in mind these apply to everyone, including you!

1. Start and end on time.  Being late implies that your time is more important.  Value the time of others and the ripple effect one late meeting can have on and entire day’s schedule.

2. Keep it consistent and hold people responsible. Create a process and stick with it.  Use the same form for your agendas, create some consistent themes or practices. For example, have a round-robin in the beginning of every meeting where each attendees states their most pressing issue or project.  Or have employees bring an article of interest and give a 30 second summary.  While it may take a while for everyone to get in the habit of new procedures, if you are consistent and people know you’re serious it will catch on.   There is nothing worse than a lack of consistency.  It makes people unsure as to when and if your next idea will actually stick.

3. Delineate action items. Take it a step further by assigning responsible parties and create deadlines.

4. Send follow up notes.  And within 24 hours. Summarize the meeting and action steps so everyone is on the same page and you create a record of your team’s progress.

5. No smart devices.  Put the smart phones and Ipads away (except for taking notes).  If you’re meeting in person, make sure people are connecting in person. Otherwise it could have been done via email or phone and probably in a shorter amount of time.

6.  Be patient.  We tend to be uncomfortable with silence and fill the room with rambling in order to fill that silence.  Give people time to warm up, think, and respond.

7.  Leverage brainpower. Use meeting time to not only report out but leverage the brainpower in the room for discussing and brainstorming about strategic objectives.

8.  Do you really need to meet?  Think about whether you can accomplish the goal in another way (email? phone? quick chat?) or how you can leverage one meeting for multiple goals in order to maximize time.

9.  Be the scribe.  In Year Without Pants, the author suggests that while this is often seen as a chore, it can help establish your credibility as a leader and inspire the trust of your team.  According to Berkun, your team will see how you think and if/how you summarize things accurately, clearly and concisely.

10.  Share ownership.  Make others feel engaged in the meeting by letting them own a piece of the agenda.

What we’re doing
In a world of meeting after meeting, Alumni Career Services has started “White Paper Wednesdays” in order to focus on the future as opposed to the here and now.  Once a month (the first Wednesday) we block our calendars – there are no meetings and less emphasis on email responses.  We do strategy work the entire day – those projects that are often the most important but we put on the back burner because we are too busy responding to fires.  Similarly, Sarah will post later this month about the book she is reading called Quiet which mentions one company’s policy of “No Talk Tuesdays” where individual work could be done with a thoughtful approach.  For our chatty team, we haven’t quite gotten to these yet!

We want to know: what do you think makes an effective meeting?  What are you biggest meeting pet peeves?

Make sure you check out our upcoming webinar “The Art of Meeting Facilitation” on Tuesday, November 12th!  Register here

Georgetown Alumni Gather at DC EShip Hub 1776

1776 Lobby

Last night we celebrated the 8th Annual DC Area Entrepreneurial Alumni Networking Event. The Georgetown University Alumni Association, Entrepreneurship Alliance, Entrepreneurship Initiative, and Alumni Career Services joined forces to bring together alumni entrepreneurs.  This year approximately 100 Hoyas descended upon 1776, the hub of entrepreneurship and start ups in the DC area, founded in January of this year.  1776 serves as a global hub for startups tackling major challenges in education, energy, health care, government, and other critical industries.  We heard from 1776 co-founder Evan Burfield who stepped in for Donna Harris, his co-founder and GU Entrepreneur In Residence. Brittany Heyd (L’13 , MPP’13), also involved with 1776, shared her experience, noting Georgetown’s ability to open her eyes to entrepreneurship and the world beyond big firms. James Li (B’13) also discussed his business, Encore, and the impact of GU on his choice to pursue the start up world as opposed to big accounting firms.  “Something,” he said, “just makes Georgetown entrepreneurs different.”

The venue of 1776 could not have been more perfect for our event.   Sarah, Whitney, and I arrived early to set up and were greeted by a casual, buzzing atmosphere of burgeoning entrepreneurs taking phone calls from headsets as they walked across the room, lounging on couches as they met with possible potential investors, huddling around laptops, even grabbing a beer out of the communal kitchen. One person needed a bit of quiet so they took a call from one of the three red London telephone booths.

The decor I would call hip Americana – vintage and modern all at once – dark reds, embellished vintage couches, repurposed doors as tables, a metal mattress frame as a light fixture.  The concrete floors are painted with wide, bold, red stripes and the walls include inspirational quotes. If you didn’t already want to work for a start up, you definitely did by the end of the night.

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All of the furniture and tech equipment is on wheels and easily moveable so at the strike of 5:30 we began clearing the room to prepare for the arrival of our hoyapreneurs.  We selected the menu to match the decor – american comfort food including mac and cheese cupcakes, pigs in a blanket, and mini grilled cheese and tomato soup shooters.  With 70’s rock piped in from Pandora, the vibe was definitely right.

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Jeff Reid, Founding Director of the Georgetown Entrepreneurship Initiative, also known as StartUpHoyas, articulated the relationship between Georgetown and entrepreneurship best when he said “For almost 225 years, Georgetown has attracted bright, ambitious people who want to make a difference in the world. Today is no different. The entrepreneurial spirit on Georgetown’s campus is not new, but it is definitely stronger than ever.”

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For more information on the GU e-ship community of hoyapreneurs visit:
http://startuphoyas.com
http://Georgetowneshipalliance.wordpress.com

Join the conversation: 
@hoyapreneur
@startuphoyas
#startuphoyas

The Year Without Pants: Part I

In our blog post a few weeks ago, I talked about the book I’m reading, The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work by Scott Berkun.  I’m a few chapters in and it’s already a really interesting read about company culture, how we work, and how we think about our work.    Here’s what I’ve found particularly fascinating so far…

Customer Service: The Happiness Team

  • WordPress.com calls their customer support team “Happiness” and it’s employees “Happiness engineers.” The author admits that he began working for the company he was suspicious: can you change the reality of an onerous job and often overlooked team by changing a name?   All employees begin their tenure at WordPress with a few day stint in customer support (i.e. Happiness Team).   It puts employees on the front line, responding to customers, and learning the intricacies of their company.
  • The Happiness Team analyzed not only the types of problems coming in to them, but data around ticket numbers, response time and the experience of the customer when they submitted a ticket.  They strategically changed the process by which customers submit issues so that it sets a tone of responsiveness as opposed to interrogation.  They ask each customer, “What did you do?” “What did you see?”  and “What did you expect?” in order to gather the most information.  This thoughtful approach to the process and content of customer service, beyond just providing “good” customer service in terms of response time and problem solving, was very interesting.
  • They also analyze the success of new employees in the support role as data showed that it was an indicator of future performance.
  • The performance dashboard of each support team employee can be seen by all others, instilling a sense of healthy competition, importance, and accountability.

Management Trends: Fads Must Fit

  • “Every year new trends in work become popular in spite of their futility for most organizations that try them.  These trends are often touted as revolutions and frequently are identified  with a high-profile company of the day. Concepts like casual Fridays, brainstorming sessions, Lean, Six Sigma, Agile, matrixed organizations, or event 20% time (Google’s policy of supporting pet projects) are management ideas that become popular in huge waves, heralded as silver bullets for workplaces. The promise of a trend is grand, but the result never is.  Rarely do the consultants championing, and profiting from, these ideas disclose how superficial the results will be unless their places in a culture healthy enough to support them” (p. 29).  Read: We all can’t recreate the Google headquarters, nor should we.
  • It’s easier to utilize the latest trend in company culture than to honestly examine and attempt to change company culture.
  • In the case of WordPress, it was founded based on the principle of open source programming to “democratize publishing.” As a growing start up, this tended to attract like-minded individuals with shared values.  Their philosophy eventually distilled down to Transparency, Meritocracy, and Longevity.
  • “Talent is hard to find, especially at new organizations, which allows leaders to justify rushing to hire people who are selfish, arrogant, or combative” (p. 36). Hiring for immediate needs creates problems in the future.
  • Even their employment offer letters are non-traditional examples of the culture, values, and ideals of the company. They come across as more of an inspirational mantra or manifesto than an offer of employment.

These are just a few tidbits… stay tuned for more blog posts as I read on.  I haven’t even covered HOW employees at WordPress do their work yet (only 1% of their work is via email)!

Questions that have arisen for me as I read have been: How do you change a negative company culture? How do you hire for culture?  How do you know which management trends (read: fads) will work for your company/organization?  What is the role of team culture vs. company culture?

Interested in reading it on your own? http://scottberkun.com/yearwithoutpants/

New companies added to virtual career fair line up!

CaterCow.com
CaterCow.com is a marketplace where you can find and order catering online. Order hors d’oeuvres from a local restaurant, buy and artisanal lunch for your office, rent a food truck for the day, or hire a private oyster shucker for your next event. Each clearly priced package can be ordered online without the frustrating back and forth of traditional catering.

Lynxsy
We connect startups with smart, highly qualified, entry level talent.

Hitch!
Designed by professional taxi drivers, everyday riders, and talented engineers, Hitch! is a new taxi dispatch and credit card processing app for premium taxis and riders. Our free iPhone and Android app is the fastest and smartest way for riders to connect with taxis for a convenient and pleasurable ride. Our driver app delivers cost savings, revenue growth, and competitive benefits to drivers, while providing hassle free payment and safety for riders on the go. Backed by private investors, our management is composed of industry veterans with extensive mobile, telecommunication and software development experience. Available in Washington D.C., Hitch! will be coming to a city near you.

For additional companies attending see our previous post!

Looking to connect with top startups and small businesses? Register today!

Looking to hire hoyas?  Sign your company up!