Saturday, December 06, 2014

Do They Know It's Christmas in Syria?

I can't believe it's been 30 years since the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was released. At the time, in 1984, mass famine was impacting Ethiopa, and Bob Geldof and Midge Ure wrote the song and rallied other musicians to raise money.

30 years later, sadly there is a new hunger crisis, this time in Syria and with the Syrian refugees. 

Please take a moment to remember read about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria and the World Food Programme's efforts to help.






Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Charity Blast

logo

As most of my friends know, through Date on Purpose I am helping the The C4 Foundation raise money for childhood cancer research and support. The C4 Foundation was created to honor the memory of Colin M. Wegner and his fight with Medulloblastoma, a childhood brain cancer.

I am posting today to ask for your support in spreading the word about the C4's upcoming fundraiser -- a Charity Blast that will be held this Saturday, September 27 at 7:00 pm the Lancaster Country Club. The proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated to University at Buffalo and their Pediatric Brain Tumor Fund, which is used for pediatric neuro-oncology research.

The Charity Blast is a social fundraiser event for singles and couples. Last year, many people came out and enjoyed an evening of socializing, music, and fun.

Tickets may be purchased at http://www.thec4foundation.org/date-on-purpose-charity-blast.html.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Ron Piwowarczyk

This week Reserve Hose Fire Company remembers longtime firefighter, President, friend, and dedicated member of the fire service Ron Piwowarczyk, who passed on Friday, September 5, 2014. As Vice President of Reserve, it has been my honor and pleasure to work with and get to know Ron this past year. His enthusiasm and passion for the fire service was infectious, and he loved giving back as much as anyone I've ever met.

Ron was a Life Member of Reserve who joined the company on August 4, 1986. In addition to his volunteer service, Ron was also a veteran of the U.S. Navy and a Senior Special Agent for U.S. Immigration. Ron was also one of those first responders from Western New York who went to Ground Zero to assist after New York was attacked on 9/11.

This picture below was taken during Reserve's installation earlier this year, when Ron posed for a picture with Autumn Lewandowski before being sworn in as President.



http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/buffalonews/obituary.aspx?n=ronald-e-piwowarczyk&pid=172383176&

Friday, July 25, 2014

Top 10 Serious and Silly Points from Digital Experience 2014

I had the privilege to attend and present at Digital Experience 2014, an IBM event focused on the latest technologies, best practices, and the business benefits of delivering great digital experiences.

Though I'm still reflecting on the many great ideas expressed during the presentations, I wanted to put together a quick, day after list, encompassing both the serious and silly, of my immediate impressions.

10. A good way to explain Portal is to compare it to a tree.

Embedded image permalink

via @benshoemate

9. California is having a historic drought. Thank you, IBM Digital Experience 2014 event organizers, for the reminder to conserve water.

8. Toronto is an incredibly diverse Smarter City: 240 ethnic groups, 169 countries of origin, 140 languages spoken.

via @kristinaverner

7. There are 4.55 billion smartphone users in 2014.

via @garydolsen

6. Contextualize digital experiences based on demographic, historical, and situational data.

via @sa_powers

5. 50% of user experience is search.

via @benshoemate

4. IBM employees have perfected remote working but enjoy the interpersonal synergies of conferences.

3. We may be in the Age of the Customer, but that doesn't mean it's easy to transition from cable without jumping through some hoops.

2. It may be too late to Apologize, but it's never too late for a rock star (@MoveUpMedia) to become a Portal Information Architect.

1. The color of 2014 is Radiant Orchid.

via @IBMiCIO


Friday, June 20, 2014

Why I Introduce People in My Network

I received the following email from a fellow business professional in my area. He was following up on my having introduced him to another individual in my network who I thought would be able to help him explore career opportunities.

His brief note sums up why I connect people and the benefits of a large, extended network. Personally, it was gratifying to observe two interesting people in my network come together and help each other out. Note that I have omitted personally identifying details out of respect for both people.

##

Hi Frank,

Last we spoke, I was looking at COMPANY ...

I wanted to let you know I'm starting a new role Monday where I'll be running the DEPARTMENT. I'm super excited and grateful to have a second chance at working in economic development in CITY. 

I also wanted to send you a huge thanks as your introduction to PERSON led to several other introductions which ultimately triggered the consulting work I've been doing for COMPANY for the last several months.  That gave me a huge leg up in winning this gig.

Looking forward to seeing you soon. 




Thursday, June 19, 2014

2014 IBM Digital Experience Conference

In July, I will be presenting at the 2014 IBM Digital Experience Conference, an event focused on the latest technologies, best practices, and the business benefits of delivering great digital experiences.

Below is the description for my session:

Session: BUS-S20

Date/Time:  Monday, July 21, 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Successfully Enabling Enterprise Content Management, Cloud, Mobile, and Social Business at Superior Group

Superior Group focuses on the agile delivery of people, process and project outsourcing solutions. Our session will detail how this organization accelerated its content management and social business needs by implementing a combination of content management, cloud, mobile, and collaboration solutions.

Attend this session and you will have an opportunity to learn from Frank Gullo, Director of Digital and Mobile Strategy at Superior Group and IBM Social Business Insights blog contributor, on how a mid-sized organization transformed its digital capabilities and grew employee engagement and customer impact by leveraging IBM Web Content Manager, Connections, and Sametime. Understand the best practices this organization developed, practical examples, and resources used that can also help you on your journey.

If you're attending the Digital Experience event, please be sure to say hello or attend my session. For more information, access the event website at http://www-01.ibm.com/software/collaboration/digitalexperience/event/.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day, 2014

We talk of Father's Day, and think of one-on-one time with Dad, fishing and catch, and gifts of ties and tools. I appreciate gifts like these as much as anyone, but what I value most are the non-tangible gifts and life lessons that my daughter gives as a matter of course, that are part of the big girl she has become. Below are some of the many Father's Day "gifts" I have received over the years, and my thank yous to my daughter.

Thank you for helping me learn to put someone else's well being and interests above my own.

Thank you for reminding me of the importance of patience, especially when it's taking a long time to leave for work because a certain little person is taking her time getting ready and putting on her shoes.

Thank you for your laughter, silliness, and our crazy, kicking games.

Thank you for your willingness to try new things.

Thank you for your curiosity and endless questions of why and how things work.

Thank you for your creativity and all the artwork and pictures you have created for me.

Thank you for your hard work, and attention to your school and homework.

Thank you for trying so hard to listen, even when you are so angry and upset because you're not getting what you want.

Thank you for your love, on Father's Day and everyday.

Thank you for the gift of immortality, because I am you and you are me, and you will go on.


I love you, daughter.


Monday, June 09, 2014

NY Special Olympics 2014

I recently volunteered at the 2014 NY Special Olympics, during the volleyball matches on Saturday, July 7.

The games were intense and fun to watch, and the athletes were more than impressive. I also enjoyed spending time with two of my fellow volunteer firefighters. Reflecting on the day, I think what stayed with me the most is the fact that even if you struggle in some area and are not great at something, you can excel at something else. You can be excellent. Like how these special Olympians dominated at volleyball.


Friday, June 06, 2014

Do you mean social business or social business?

I recently started a discussion about social business in a LinkedIn Group, and thought it was worthwhile to reproduce here.

Do you mean social business or social business?

I've noticed an increase in the divergent usage of 'social business' recently. Among my peers who work in social collaboration technologies, there's an emphasis to define social business (quoting Charlene Li and Brian Solis) as "The deep integration of social media and social methodologies into the organization to drive business impact."

However, many other business professionals -- particularly those involved in social entrepreneurship -- define social business (summarizing the Wikipedia entry for 'social business') as a business or organization created to address a social problem.

It will be interesting to see how the different definitions evolve and if there will be any conflation. I would love to hear opinions from this group.

Link to Discussion on LinkedIn

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg

It was over two years ago, at the BIF-7 business conference in Providence, RI, when I had the opportunity to hear author Chris Van Allsburg speak. Like many in attendance, I knew of the author's celebrated Christmas story, The Polar Express, and I was curious to hear his talk.

The subject turned out to hit closer to home than I expected, as Van Allsburg's talk was about his newest book, Queen of the Falls. This was a lovingly rendered picture book which told the story of Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel. As Western New York native, I felt great appreciation to Van Allsburg for telling the story but surprise that Annie's story wasn't widely known. I was also excited to get the book and bring it home to my daughter, who had just turned four.

Earlier this month, I finally read Queen of the Falls to my daughter. Though I was tempted to read it to her back in 2011 when I first brought it home, the language and story themes prompted me to wait until she was older. As we finished, my daughter smile and remarked that she was glad Annie made it over the Falls and that the next time we go there, she wants to learn more about her.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Monday, April 07, 2014

Video from Connect 2014

Here's a video of me from Connect 2014, talking about social business and how my company uses IBM Connections and Sametime.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Connect 2014: An Energizing Conference

I had the privilege to attend and present at Connect 2014, an IBM conference focused on social, collaborative, and mobile technology. The theme of the event was "Energizing Life's Work" and it all got started in the kickoff session with the up-tempo "Best Day of My Life" from the band American Authors. From there, the ideas, technology, and people in attendance fueled the energy and collaboration until the event closed against the panoramic backdrop of Mars.

Many of the Connect speakers and sessions focused on the current pillars in technology: social business, mobile, big data and analytics, and cloud. To get a sense of the richness of topics on display at Connect, search the Twitter hashtag #IBMConnect to start. Within that mix, below are some of the specific topics and technologies that held my attention.

Sametime 9 - I was impressed with Sametime 9, particularly the strides in high-fidelity video across devices. Spending a lot of time as I do thinking about workforce solutions, I think this product can really assist organizations as they continue to support remote workers, telecommuting, and flex.

Mail Next - If anything needs disruption, it's email, and Mail Next looks like the first truly social email solution. This could be huge for IBM if the product really adds a new dimension to email while eliminating some of the redundancy.

Kenexa Talent Suite - It's been over a year since IBM acquired Kenexa, and it will be interesting to see how the new Talent Suite product impacts (and potentially disrupts) HR technology and the recruitment industry.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) - BYOD isn't new to some, but Connect was the first event where I encountered so many people using their own mobile device for work purposes -- all via technology and policies encouraging employees "to use their personal mobile devices — and, increasingly, notebook PCs — to access enterprise data and systems."

Connections Guest Access - My company is on Connections today, and I'm often asked if we can support external users. Though we can't add external users in Connections today, fortunately from what I heard at Connect, Connections Next will support partitioned access for external users. This will extend the utility and versatility of Connections as a viable extranet for customers, vendors, contract employees, and independent contractors.

Social Analytics and Visualization - There was some amazing technology on display at Connections. Though leading edge today, I suspect social analytics and visualization will be commonplace in organizations within five years.




Rudy Karsan and Louis Richardson - One of my favorite sessions at Connect was a Mythbusters-inspired Q&A in which Rudy Karsan (Kenexa CEO) and Louis Richardson gave their opinions about some commonly held beliefs about employment and talent. I particularly enjoyed when Rudy Karsan debunked the myth that work-life balance is important and commented that it's not really a factor in engagement. Instead, he said, people should "stop balancing and start juggling".

Connect 2015 - If you missed Connect this year, mark your calendar for January 25-29, 2015!




Friday, January 24, 2014

My Connect 2014 Presentation Details

Below are the dates, times, and locations of my Connect 2014 presentations. If you attend one or both of the sessions, please say hello afterwards.

Session: ECE104
Program Stream 1: For Business Leaders
Track 03: Solutions for Exceptional Customer Experiences

Brand Refresh and Responsive UI at the Superior Group

When: January 28, 10:00 - 11:00 am
Where: Swan Ballroom 7-8

Founded in 1957, Superior Group focuses on the agile delivery of people, process and project outsourcing solutions. When your business is people, brand is critical. Mobility is also critical as HR professionals and recruits are not always sitting in front of their computer. Come to this session to see how The Superior Group partnered with Avnet Services to deliver a new brand, leveraging rich content management capabilities. In addition to the new brand, the new sites are fully responsive so users are given the proper experience from any device. You will learn the business drivers as well as some technical details of the implementation.

Session: CUST122
Program Stream 2: For IT Practitioners
Track 07: Customer Case Studies (from an IT perspective)

Superior Group and Waters Corp: Successfully Launching IBM Connections

When: January 28, 5:30 - 6:30 pm
Where: Swan Ballroom 3-4

Anyone looking to deploy a social business platform should attend this session to understand how to plan, build, and launch Connections. You will learn from the real life experiences of two mid-size organizations. Waters Corporation and Superior Group are from different industries and geographies, but each wanted a globally connected internal communication platform that promoted company-wide knowledge sharing and collaboration. We will showcase each deployment and discuss how to leverage business objectives to drive high rates of adoption and engagement across the enterprise. This session will provide valuable lessons learned for you to consider when planning and orchestrating your IBM Connections launch.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Connect 2014

This year, I will be presenting during two sessions at Connect 2014, an IBM conference focused on social, collaborative, and mobile technology. I will be speaking about my company's implementation of IBM Connections (a social network for the enterprise) and responsive web design.

Below are the descriptions for both of my sessions:

Session: ECE104
Program Stream 1: For Business Leaders
Track 03: Solutions for Exceptional Customer Experiences

Brand Refresh and Responsive UI at the Superior Group

Founded in 1957, Superior Group focuses on the agile delivery of people, process and project outsourcing solutions. When your business is people, brand is critical. Mobility is also critical as HR professionals and recruits are not always sitting in front of their computer. Come to this session to see how The Superior Group partnered with Avnet Services to deliver a new brand, leveraging rich content management capabilities. In addition to the new brand, the new sites are fully responsive so users are given the proper experience from any device. You will learn the business drivers as well as some technical details of the implementation.

Session: CUST122
Program Stream 2: For IT Practitioners
Track 07: Customer Case Studies (from an IT perspective)

Superior Group and Waters Corp: Successfully Launching IBM Connections

Anyone looking to deploy a social business platform should attend this session to understand how to plan, build, and launch Connections. You will learn from the real life experiences of two mid-size organizations. Waters Corporation and Superior Group are from different industries and geographies, but each wanted a globally connected internal communication platform that promoted company-wide knowledge sharing and collaboration. We will showcase each deployment and discuss how to leverage business objectives to drive high rates of adoption and engagement across the enterprise. This session will provide valuable lessons learned for you to consider when planning and orchestrating your IBM Connections launch.

If you're attending Connect, please be sure to say hello or attend one of my presentations. If you'd like to learn more Connect, access the event website at http://www-01.ibm.com/software/collaboration/events/connect/.