A New Chapter

After nearly five and a half years at the University of San Diego, I’ve decided to leave for a new job with Vistage International.  This move for me is bittersweet, since I have enjoyed my time at USD and I’ve built so many great friendships.  My new role will be as a marketing manager for a program called Vistage Inside, and I’m really excited about the new challenges I’ll face there.

My work with the MS in Global Leadership program has touched the lives of more than 350 graduate students in 24 cohorts  (myself included, as I graduated from the program in 2008).  I’ve become friends with many of these alums, and continue to enjoy hearing how they’ve made an impact in the world.

Our word-of-mouth marketing has remained a strong part of the recruiting strategy, and stands as a testament to the quality of the program and the level of satisfaction of our students.  We’ve made great strides using social media to communicate with alumni, students and prospective students.  More than two years ago we established a student-written blog and created more ways for them to tell the world about their experiences in a graduate business program that strayed from the traditional MBA.

I’m leaving behind a business school that has built a lot of momentum in the past few years.  The part-time MBA program was recently ranked #14 in the US by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and many of the same A+ faculty from that survey teach in the MSGL program as well.  As the USD school of business administration continues to gain attention on the national stage, so does the MS in Global Leadership.

My time with USD included two trips to China (Beijing and Shanghai), two trips to Buenos Aires, and numerous recruiting trips around the US.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My time at USD will always hold a special place in my heart, since it was during these five years that I met my wife, got married, and welcomed our first child into the world.  I’m thankful for the time I’ve been able to spend with my son during his first (almost) two years, and the work-life balance I’ve enjoyed has been a situation most could only hope for.

Moves like this don’t happen without a lot of help.  And help shouldn’t go unrecognized.  So many people have been a part of my professional network for the past few years – offering advice, making introductions, writing recommendations, and providing encouragement.  Bob Schoultz, Dean Dave Pyke, and Stephanie Kiesel were instrumental in my professional development over the past several years.  Their support of my learning and development in the marketing community has been incredible.  Special thanks to Bob for giving me the opportunity to work at USD in 2006 and for his support, guidance, leadership, and friendship for the past 5+ years.  Thanks to the rest of the MSGL team – Stephanie, Sam, & Suzy for always having my back.

There are so many others I could (and should) thank here – but my word count tells me I’m already beyond 500.  If we got together for coffee, had lunch, exchanged emails, talked on the phone, met at a conference, grabbed a beer, tweeted, LinkedIn, Facebooked, or traded business cards – you deserve thanks.  It’s highly likely that your influence helped me reach this point in my career and I’m happy to have you as a part of my network.  If I can ever return the favor…

Most of all, thanks to my incredible wife Danielle for all your love and support.  I love you.

Stay tuned as I embark on my next adventure.  I’m anxious to get started, but first – let’s enjoy a great holiday season!

Army Navy Football 2011

  1. RT @albyox: If you’re talking about the best rivalries in college football, you better start and finish the conversation with #ArmyNavy
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  2. December 10, 2011 11:58:18 AM EST
  3. December 10, 2011 11:59:20 AM EST
  4. If you’re not watching #ArmyNavy you’re missing out on good football and some of the best young men in the nation. #wordsofadvice
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  5. December 10, 2011 6:44:35 PM EST
  6. I don’t care what you think of Obama. Pretty cool to see the pres sitting in the student section at a football game #armynavy
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  7. Go Navy Navy Navy! Beat Army Army Army! Fire it up! #armynavy
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  8. RT @rcunnyftw: @darrenrovellda crowd at #ArmyNavy game. Sorry Dan Synder, but I dont think Fedex Field will be this full tomorrow… http://yfrog.com/mgahbhcj
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  9. 2011 Army Navy Football- A Game of Honor: In the Trenches
    October 18, 2011 10:40:31 AM EDT
  10. Future SEAL Alexander Teich runs it in off the right corner to put Navy up 14-0. Looking like past 9 outcomes. #ArmyNavy
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  11. The Army/Navy game once again makes me feel very proud of my two wonderful Academy daughters.
    December 10, 2011 3:55:07 PM EST
  12. December 10, 2011 11:58:18 AM EST
  13. Trent Steelman 34-yard touchdown run and Army is back in the game #armynavy
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  14. Whoa!! Pete!! Your super close!! RT @PeterBurnsRadio: Barack’s ride. #ArmyNavy http://yfrog.com/nxvqonfj
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  15. Giant blowup Shamu getting bounced around in the stands at the #ArmyNavy game. Yay college football!
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  16. BOOM! And @USArmy is on the board … #ArmyNavy
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  17. The Corps of Cadets erupts in cheering as Army ties the game at #ArmyNavy. http://pic.twitter.com/pS0FehES
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  18. The momentum has clearly switched sides. Navy offensive line getting dominated right now #armynavy
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  19. Is this the year? #ArmyNavy tied up http://yfrog.com/mgh72nnj
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  20. Halftime! Can’t wait to see the halftime show. #armynavy #GoARMY #ProudToServe
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST
  21. And just in time for the halftime break — our tailgate photo gallery is up at stripes.com/go/armynavy2011 #ArmyNavy
    December 10, 2011 2:31:15 PM EST

See the second half, more photos, and lots of comments at the full Storify page!

My Blog: A Year in Review

Last week marked my 1-year anniversary of starting my own personal blog.  Since I’ve actually stuck with it and kept somewhat of a regular schedule, I now have a lot to look back on.  Thanks to all of you who have read, commented, and linked to my blog this year.

My Family at Grand Canyon - Sometime in the 80s

When I started my new blog, I set out with only a couple of specific goals:

  1. Write about subjects that interest me, such as marketing, technology, social media, travel, music
  2. Write at least one post per month.

As for the first goal, this one was easy.  I find a lot of interesting things on the web and I like to stay current on the newest social media trends.  I didn’t write much about music (besides recapping the concerts I’ve attended), but maybe I’ll do more with that in the next 12 months.

With 34 posts under my belt, goal number two was easily met.

So what were my favorite posts?

Ty Webb Has Real Klout

My personal favorite (mainly because it includes a strong reference to the movie Caddyshack) was my short blog on Klout, the new service that measures online “influence.”

My most visited post was written about what we can learn from the Chilean miner rescue from a leadership standpoint.

I also enjoyed writing (and re-reading this week) all my posts about my family and travel.  Honorable mention goes to my posts on marketing and related events I’ve attended.

So where will the next year take me?  Who knows.  I just hope you’re able to come along for the ride.

Memories of 9/11

As I watch the 9/11 memorial coverage today, I thought I’d share my thoughts remembering where I was on that fateful day.

I was serving in the Navy with Beachmaster Unit One as an Officer in Charge of a Beach Party Team (BPT).  In a traditional amphibious (ship-to-shore) assault, the BPT is one of the first groups to land on foreign soil.  The BPT is tasked with organizing the entire ship-to-shore movement of vehicles, people (usually Marines), gear, and supplies. Imagine having 1,000+ Marines on a Navy ship only a mile or two off shore.  Then think of trying to get all those Marines and everything they need to fight a war to the beach.  That effort was what my team of 25 did time and again (mostly in a training environment).

Training for the real thing

On September 10 my team and I departed for a week-long training session at Camp Pendleton, CA to help us prepare for war.  We were excited about working with the Marine Corps to learn how to set up a defensive perimeter, the basics of urban warfare, and lots of live fire exercises.  We would run endurance courses, obstacle courses, and crawl through the mud with machine guns – all with a very unlikely chance that we would ever have to do these things in a war-time scenario.

On Tuesday September 11, my team and I were participating in a morning live fire exercise, enjoying the chance to hone our proficiency with the M-16.  Our first word of the attacks on America came from some of our Marine instructors. Since we were somewhere in the middle of Camp Pendleton, we had no TV, internet, or news sources to confirm or amplify the bits of news we were getting.

Planes flying into the World Trade Center?  There’s no way that could be true, I thought.  This has to be some kind of a drill that they’re running.  A story like that gives our week of training more meaning, but it’s only a story.

We quickly learned this wasn’t a training scenario.  Planes had flown into the World Trade Center.  And the Pentagon.  And there were more headed for other US cities.

I remember being huddled around a white van with the doors propped open, the radio tuned to the local news channel. We listened intently and immediately we all knew that the US was going to war.

The remainder of the week was a bit of a blur, as we were still in shock that the unthinkable had happened. I remember that we had a renewed sense of purpose for our training.  We continued to get bits and pieces of details by word of mouth and newspapers that were delivered to us, but still no TV.  We headed home on Thursday afternoon and saw US flags everywhere – bridges and overpasses, car windows, buildings, and businesses.  This was our first contact with the outside world since Monday of that week, and we were amazed by the displays of patriotism around San Diego and immediate outpouring of support for the military.

I arrived home and turned on the TV to see the first images of that terrible day.  Like everyone else in America, I was completely stunned.

In the days that followed, I met with my operations officer and commanding officer to talk about how quickly we could be ready to deploy overseas.  Previously, my team had been preparing for a post-Christmas deployment, and we had a lot of work left to be ready.  After the President’s address to the nation declaring war, we knew that our timeline would be shortened.  We rose to the challenge and were ready to go 17 days later.

We got the call to leave shortly thereafter and deployed onboard the USS Ogden alongside the USS Bonhomme Richard and the USS Pearl Harbor.  Our six month deployment turned into 7+ months, but we were never called to do more than training exercises.  The US war effort was still ramping up.

My story isn’t particularly poignant, moving, or meaningful – especially when compared to those in and around Manhattan, Washington DC, and on Flight 93.  My team was charged to be ready for war.  And we were.

My Naval Academy classmate, LT Darin Pontell, was among those whose lives were taken in the attack on the Pentagon.  Other friends of mine were sent to fight the ensuing war; some of them didn’t return.

Seeing the images 10 years later, I am without words.  I remain proud of my service to this great country and proud to be an American.

Never Eat Alone: Who Wants to Join Me?

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, or if you’ve been lucky enough to meet me in person <grin>, you know that I definitely value my personal and professional network.  Twitter, for example, has opened doors for me that I couldn’t have imagined.  I continue to meet and converse with so many incredible people that I wouldn’t have otherwise known.  Call me a fan.

So I started thinking this past week about how life always seems to get in the way of keeping up with some people.  Even some of my best friends I don’t see very often and I regret falling out of touch with those who live outside of San Diego.  Facebook has made it too easy to feel connected to others without much (if any) real-life social interaction.

For these reasons, I’m making a concerted effort to reach out and reconnect with my network these days.  I’m also interested in meeting some of the folks I’ve conversed with on Twitter, but haven’t had the privilege of meeting in person yet.  In connection with that, I’d like to have a standing lunch appointment with anyone who would like to join me every Wednesday.  Topics of conversation may include marketing, technology, career moves, music, travel, kids, family, or all the above.

Author's note: actual lunch venue may vary... do they even have these places anymore?

Author Keith Ferrazzi has a book out from a few years back called Never Eat Alone.  The title pretty much sums up the idea for me.

So here’s a link (I’m experimenting with Google calendar appointments) for you to let me know you’d like to join me:  http://bit.ly/kwKDYL

Or you can just reach out on Twitter or leave a comment below to say hello.  I’m hoping this will eventually become a group thing – not with any specific agenda or purpose other than networking.

For now, who’s with me?

Lessons and Links: 3 Takeaways from 3 Days at a Marketing Conference

After spending 2.5 days at the Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education organized by the American Marketing Association, I’ve definitely come away with a ton of new ideas, energy, and renewed focus.  Below is a quick summary and my top 3 takeaways from the great event.

Attendees included folks from higher education from around the country (and a few I met from other countries).   From what I could gather, most of the participants were from the east coast (as shown by the big map displayed at the readMedia booth.  Note: the map continued to fill up and most of the biz cards were pinned to the wrong coast).

Credit: Amy Mengel, readMedia

First, my top 3 takeaways from the week:

  1. Measuring your efforts is key. At the symposium I attended in Chigago in 2008, measuring social media efforts was still a bit of a mystery to most people. Some argued it could be done, but few believed it could be done with any accuracy. Obviously, many things have changed and there are more ways to measure than ever. I heard it said best this week: you can’t manage what you don’t measure.
  2. Mobile is one of the highest potential segments for higher ed. Read below for some impressive examples of mobile apps on campus.
  3. You’re not alone. I heard lots of people all expressing similar frustrations regarding centralized control of marketing functions, getting faculty buy-in, branding, logo policing, and more. Incremental progress is the way to go. Many of the presenters talked about 2007/2008 as the year they started some of these initiatives – they’re just now presenting results at a conference. Be patient, be realistic.

Ok, so on to my summary of the experiences I had at the conference.  Day 1 started with an “interesting” keynote from Marita Wesley, director of creative strategy development for Hallmark Cards.  Many people didn’t get her presentation style, as she blew through about 200 slides in a 45 minute talk, often spending no more than 2-3 seconds on a particular slide.  Still, I grabbed a few nuggets from her presentation on trends in 2010 and beyond – including a few interesting books to check out.

The breakout sessions that followed were great for me (we had 4 great choices for breakouts, so it was sometimes difficult to prioritized and decide which to visit).  First up was a session on mobile apps on campus with Lisa Lapin and Tim Flood from Standford University.  The school embraced mobile technology early on, and as a result, they’re pretty far out ahead with their iStanford application (12,000 registered users).  Follow the link for a great look at the features of the app.

Rounding out the morning, I sat in on the presentation by Michigan State and their branding company, 160over90.  I had a chance to talk with the folks from 160over90 and was really impressed with their work (not to mention the college-themed party they threw on Monday night, complete with foosball tables and a movie reel of college movies like Revenge of the Nerds and Rudy)!

The lunch keynote was Spencer Frasher from Google, who mainly talked about the importance of search in all types of marketing (surprise).

Day 2 of the conference was again very valuable, starting with a presentation by Teri Thompson, VP marketing for Purdue University.  Since Teri came from industry, her stories and examples were a bit different from the others we had heard throughout the week – and they were all great.

Tuesday’s lunchtime keynote, Macalester College President Brian Rosenburg, was also very engaging, and quite possibly created the most buzz from those on Twitter.  Just take a look at the video and you’ll see what I mean.  Over 60,000 hits on a low-budget masterpiece that has inspired some great conversations and press for a college of only 2,000 students.  Definitely a social media win!

Tuesday afternoon, Joe Hice from NC State stole the show, again talking about location-based services on campus.  Everyone was floored by this one, since they’re light years ahead of most for-profit businesses (at least from what I’ve seen) regarding their adoption of mobile apps and the full integration of mobile in their entire strategy.  Well done, NC State!

Tuesday ended with more networking and all those drawings that I never seem to win.  You know, drop your business card for a chance at a $100 iTunes gift card – that kind of stuff.  This time,  I actually won something… big… like a 32G iPad from PlattForm Advertising!  I mean, I never even win the $25 bag raffle at Trader Joe’s, so this was a complete surprise.  Thanks again, PlattForm!

So, yeah, I actually won two grand prizes.  Did I mention the $200 Apple Store gift card I picked up from Zone 5?  I actually won by scanning a business card with a QR code – pretty neat idea and had people talking.  Now I can actually go buy a few accessories for the new iPad!

Day 3 started with a great presentation by Dave Kissel from Zocalo Group, a “sustainable word of mouth marketing” company.  Dave focused on the use of social media and provided stories from outside higher ed to show how the fundamentals are still the same.  Finally, we wrapped up the conference with what was more of a conversation between everyone in the room about their best practices, burning questions, and predictions led by Rachel Reuben, Michael Stoner (great blog, by the way, which he used to help create the content of his presentation), and Fritz McDonald.

Some conference attendees wishing they could stay in SD a little longer!

Shout outs are in order to tons of other people I met this week, but the list is pretty long (and so is this blog post).  Amy Mengel created a killer Twitter list of AMA attendees who tweeted using the #amahighered hashtag.  Some of my favorite tweets came from Michael Perrone, Ray Witkowski, Amy Mengel, Rachel Reuben, Michael Stoner, and so many others!  Thanks again to everyone for sharing great ideas and stories.  I hope you all enjoyed our fair city and had some time to get out and see the sights.  See you in Chicago in 2011!

Four Leadership Lessons from the Chilean Miner Rescue

Watching this week’s rescue of 33 Chilean miners who had been trapped underground for 69 days, I was reminded of the tremendous leadership lessons demonstrated throughout the entire ordeal.  From the rescue effort from volunteers around the world, to the miners themselves – there’s a lot to be learned by watching the rescue.  Here are four of my observations.

Photo: Reuters

1.  Success is a team effort. I haven’t found total numbers  in terms of people, resources, and cost – but obviously, this rescue is a complete team effort.  The trapped miners had to work as a team to endure such a long stay underground.  Their leader, Luis Urzua, divided the miners into three teams and had them work in shifts to stay occupied and keep them on a schedule.  Meanwhile, the team above ground – made up of experts from around the world – was working hard to find a solution.

2.  Leverage your resources. Leadership isn’t about always having all the answers.  More importantly, great leaders know where to find solutions.  For the rescue, the Chilean government called upon experts from NASA, the Chilean Navy, and many others for ideas, answers, and help.

3.  Look for alternatives. Often times, great leaders don’t rely on one single solution.  Instead, they build redundancy into their systems and try to have a backup plan when possible.  The Chilean rescue team had at least three possible solutions working at one time.  If one failed to materialize as an option, they would move on to the next effort.  BP could have learned a thing or two from this one, as they seemed to try only one effort at a time while the world waited for the oil flow to stop.

4.  Take care of your people. As a leader, a big part of your job is likely making sure that your team has the tools, training, and environment they need to be successful.  Two leaders stand out in the Chilean mine incident – the Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and the shift foreman, Luis Urzua.

Throughout the entire 69 days, the Chilean President has been very much a part of this story.  In fact, he was present when each of the 33 miners was brought to safety and gave them a personal, heartfelt greeting.

The shift foreman, Luis Urzua, taught the world a lesson by rationing food, organizing his team, maintaining the group’s morale.  Long before the incident, Urzua made sure his team was properly trained and ready for anything.  Even in the rescue operation, he volunteered to be the last miner brought to the surface, extending his time underground by nearly a day to see that his team made it safely out first.  Reminds me of my time in the Navy, where leaders eat their meals last – only after their team is fed.

Like the Olympics, Hurricane Katrina, or perhaps the OJ verdict – it’s pretty cool to be witnessing the making of history and to know that the whole world is watching.

These are only four of the many leadership lessons the world can learn from the inspiring Chilean mine rescue.  Can you think of other lessons good leaders can take away from the events of the past few days?