One time Taxi Driver, Skier, Reader, Wannabe Writer, Skier, Ocean Sailor, Bacon Afficiando. IBM Redbooks Thought Leader. GM Social Business @Actiance
Posted in Uncategorized on May 8, 2013
I’m excited to be in the last week before we get to Unleash 2013, Actiance’s inaugural User Summit, where we’ll be welcoming more than 150 clients, partners and friends from the industry to celebrate, discuss, and advance social business. I’m especially excited about the social track. (of course I would be with my focus on that particular area of our business!).
Now the full agenda can be found here and registration is open until Wednesday 14th May – so grab one of the few remaining seats while you still can. Why should you do that? Well you’ll love the social track that we’ve put together for starters. Here’s a taste of what you can experience:
Join the Social Stakeholders in our panel discussion because enabling Social in a financial services firm involves many aspects. Not least ensuring that all the stakeholders are involved – the earlier the involvement, the more successful the implementation of social tends to be. From Social Media and Digital Marketing, to Information Technology, Risk and Security, Compliance and HR – the enablement of social requires the buy in, education and advocacy of each of these departments and more. In this unique panel, we’ve brought together those stakeholders to guide you through the challenges – and give you key tips as to how you can safely and effectively navigate the successful implementation of social in YOUR organization.
- John Malone, Director of Broker Dealer Compliance, Pioneer Funds Distributor, Inc.
- Joe Correiro, Head of Digital Marketing, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
- Mitch Slater, SVP Financial Advisor, UBS Financial Services
Join us for what will be a lively discussion between interested stakeholders, with strong, but often opposing views and requirements and take away three key tips from each on effectively working with all the stakeholders involved in social enablement.
CIBC Wood Gundy began their journey towards building social into their business practice some two years ago. Hear from COO, Carole Foster, how the organization promoted the innovative use of technology to deliver social media to investment advisers as a key element in their communications tool kit. Understand the challenges that the firm overcame, the business drivers for the project and where the firm goes from here. Carole will share candid thoughts on how the stakeholders in her business came together to enable Wood Gundy to be the “first on the street” in Toronto to deliver social as a key element of the business and marketing mix for the wealth management community.
Finally – this conference is about you. Our customers, our users, our partners – so join “For the People, By the People: the Actiance Social UnConference”. We’ll gather for 90 minutes on Friday morning, with the Social UnConference, we have created a space that helps YOU make connections, share knowledge, collaborate and create brainchildren. This is your session – we encourage participants to give a presentation, create a discussion, or even chair a debate. Bring your ideas, your intellect, your debating skills – because there’s an entire room full of social individuals who WANT to hear your opinion and who want to engage with you.
The Social Business Team is counting down the hours to our kick off on Thursday 16th May – and we do hope you’ll join us for two days of engagement, interaction, sharing – and challenging of ideas. Hope to see you in New York!
Today’s #TravelTuesday comes from Sarah Carter, who fulfilled a long term dream to sail the Atlantic. Here’s a much, much shortened version of her story..
I started my life as a sailor by booking a holiday in the Norfolk Broads, renting an original Broads yacht, with a mast that lowered to go under the bridges and a retro fitted outboard that kicked something rotten against the rudder. I also started my life as a sailor by reading a book on how to sail, while being driven to said Norfolk Broads. Skip forward some 12 years and an idea that had been growing with my sailing experience became a reality.
I decided I wanted to sail across the Atlantic. Belay that order, I wanted to RACE across the Atlantic.
The idea was to join the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, (the ARC) by buying a berth on a 40.7 metre Beneteau, along with 4 other paying crew, her skipper and first mate. The ARC runs from Europe to the Caribbean. That’s at the shortest point, about 2,000 miles. Add in that, I’d only met half my crew, and only for 36 hours. And oh yes, the longest stretch I’d sailed before was 300 miles – and this was over the course of a week, in a bikini, light winds and with a cold beer in my hand!.
It’s hard to pinpoint what I was expecting. Or expecting it to be like, because the whole experience was like nothing I’ve ever done before. It feels surreal, even now, years after the fact, It felt as though I lived a different life in the month I was away, but it also seems to have been over in a flash, I still remember the bruises on my legs, the tide mark on my wrist left by the watch, how my hair bleached almost white by the sun and how anything more than at most shorts and t shirt seemed restrictive.
I also have a series of snapshots in my head, which still have me smiling wryly, grinning inanely and almost shuddering as I flick through them. Some are silent memories, others come with bursts of music and there’s a disjointed nature to the memories, to the random reminders of conversations and the way that they jumble together, which rather reflects the emotions of the trip.
We were a strange crew, four IT people (although why I think four IT people is strange now is beyond me), a chap with his own sign business and our skipper and first mate and we were to spend more than 3 weeks in a confined space in a potentially stressful situation with people that we’d never met could not be one of our better decisions!
Our race started, 2nd across the start line, we rounded the Island and Venus (our Yacht was Spirit of Venus) – those Brits in the audience can summon up all the “good ship Venus” songs you want, believe me, after 19 days at sea, we’d done them all.. – so, we heeled over, Venus went on her side with the wind, as 30 knots of wind and full sails didn’t go that well. And so began our adventure, and the two days of seasickness for most of the crew..
We began our watch system at 1800 on 20th November. 3 hour watches during the day and 4 hours at night. Skipper Bonnie, Neil and I took the first watch, making our first day a long one. When you’re on watch, its like every watch becomes a day. I didn’t have 19 days at sea, I had 3 watches x 19 days at sea. No wonder if felt like a lifetime in itself.
It’s hard to sum up 3,200 miles, and 57 watches into one blog entry, so if you’d like to track more of the trip that I took, then head on over to my personal blog where I’m serializing it, but before you do that, here’s a few thoughts.
WATER on a DRY BOAT
There is very little fresh water on board. We have a water maker, but it takes somewhat MEH. We drink orange squash by the gallon. We wah our hair with wet wipes, or sea water, or not at all. Crew members who smell, are told in no uncertain terms. We are a dry boat. Until we hit half way across. Then we share a bottle of fizz between the 7 of us, to celebrate half way, Neil’s birthday and my wedding anniversary. I get to send an email to Nigel via sat phone connection.
I know the earth spins around, but I’ve never seen it before. The long nights of two four hour watches, seeing the stars in different positions as the night progresses made it all real. The Plough and the planet Venus become my lifeline at night, my drift off time. Shooting stars are everywhere; we puzzle for hours over those with green flashes and settle on space debris. Yet we’re alone. On still nights, where we ghost long, or barely move, we plankton spot, leaning over the side, torches in hand, and childlike fascination with glowing dots that go down infinitely.
Dark nights with cloud cover are miserable and last longer. The sensation of spinning or constantly turning left is overwhelming.
Watching the moonrise is more spectacular than the sunrise or the sunset and sailing by it’s light when it’s full is like having a torch on the sails. Squalls coming in black and thunderous is scary in a heart racing way, wondering whether they’re going to “get us”, or if we’ll escape with just a little windy nudge on our way. Waves rush by, in a hiss, fizz and effervescent bubble as they slide by the hull. White horses chase the stern, faster and faster, almost overtaking, I swear some nights you hear them snort as you see them pull up short out of the corner of your eye.
DOLPHINS, FLYING FISH and WHALES
Dolphins! Swimming alongside, and jumping up at the bow. Wow. Then a pod of killer whales swim across the bow, a momentary panic and they’re gone. Another whale days later, it seems our constant companion are the flying fish, fleeing prey, flying for what seems like forever, we dread them landing on Venus. Stinky little things. We “catch” five in our trip, one lies dead on the foredeck for a day or so, until we smell it’s there, tangled in the sail. Another lands in the cockpit, while we’re on an all girl watch. We shriek. No rescue; and brave Mary has to throw him overboard
(Never have I needed to sheet in so much in my life to avoid it!). Our worst encounter is the one that lands in the wheel well at the darkest point of night and dies shuddering while Neil helms, talking us through its death throes. As the sun rises, Monkey spears it with the bread knife and the boys examine it (it has real wings!!), photo it, video it for posterity and use it as bait on the fishing line.
And then almost as soon as it began, it’s over. We sight St Lucia, it’s dark as we sail into Rodney Bay. Racing to the end.
We’ve run our engine every watch to charge the batteries yet not engaged forward gear for 3200 miles. But now, it won’t start. It won’t engage forward gear. We’ll have to anchor off in the bay. No beer for us tonight! A frantic effort goes into fixing it. Victorious. We motor through the narrow gap into Rodney Bay Marina, wide eyed at all the people, the bars. As we motor through, applause rings out and we look excitedly at each other. For us? And then it hits me, that yes it is, we’ve done it! Made it across the Atlantic. Blimey. It’s a stunning thought.
Skipper Bonnie brings us into the marina, slipping Venus into reverse to slow us down, the revs go up and we head towards the concrete pontoon at 4.5 knots. A crowd is gathered to welcome us, music plays, the rum punch is chilling, our screams and waves of “no reverse” go un heard. Needless to say we stop. Suddenly. After 3,200 miles, we slam into the concrete pontoon and we made it.*
#TravelTuesday from Actiance is just one of the ways in which we get our extended team involved in social. Our team are passionate about what they do, whether that’s sailing, attending the Grammy’s, Turkey or just plain traveling to the office. What are YOU and YOUR team passionate about? What makes your team tick?
Welcome to #TravelTuesday. The Team here at Actiance are a well traveled lot, whether it’s our regular trips to conferences, our offices around the world, customers or partners, or simply our latest vacations. We’re increasingly using social to expand our travel horizons, meet new people and share our experiences. Seeing as we can’t invite y’all around for a slide show in front of the TV, we’ll take you on a virtual trip every week on our #TravelTuesdays.
Our first trip on #TravelTuesday comes from Sarah Carter, and she recounts the exploits of the Cheapskis team way back in the mists of time, in the “chunnel”, on the autoroutes of France and into the Alps.
Once upon a time, there were a team of friends, family and colleagues, who discovered a mutual liking for adventure, skiing, snowboarding and driving. Luckily this collective weren’t real fans of much sleep, they didn’t have a huge amount of disposable income, but did have a great desire to spend time in the mountains. Sadly they lived in the south of England, not a location known for it’s mountains or even hills that you can ski on.
Our plan was simple. We’d leave from the office on Thursday evening. Get the 10 or 12 of us into 3 cars and drive for the Channel. Hop on the Chunnel, for a quick 22 mile trip to France and then, arriving on the Northern Coast of France, find an autoroute south and, well, drive. And drive we did. For round about 12 hours. Swapping drivers, navigators, lead cars and catching a few zzz’s in between times. Our plan was to end up in the mountains in time for breakfast and first tracks. From there on in, the plan was to ski all day, party all night through until Sunday after skiing, when we’d hit the autoroutes again, and the Channel tunnel, arriving just in time for the working day on Monday morning.
Now over the years, there were several Cheapski trips. The first, to Villars in Switzerland, where the highlights were the ski equivalent of a route march across linked resorts, that involved skiing across roads, taking a bus and ending up at the top of the Les Diablerets glacier in a snow storm, teaching a couple of the newbies that wiping out in about 4 foot of power was actually pretty fun and didn’t hurt. The lowlights: Well lets say we learned that we had passed the Youth Hostelling phase of our travel lives. There was a memorable trips to Les Deux Alpes, where the brightness of Andreas’s jacket still burns my retina’s and I think I can probably still taste the garlic from the home made garlic bread that Steve was responsible for. There was a trip too, to Italy, where we skied between Zermatt and Cervinia and enjoyed the glorious mountain restaurants, and a 15 mile top to bottom run down to Valtournenche. One of my favorites though, was Les Trois Vallees, the Three Valleys in France.
It was an upgrade for us, we rented a chalet apartment near the ski lifts. A wonderful place, close to the slopes, to bars and restaurants, with a great kitchen lots of space for us all – the group dynamics changed over the years, the cars got newer, the drivers older, the right feet heavier, but the premise remained the same. From Thursday night, drive, ski, party, repeat until Sunday night and arrive at work on Monday with weary bodies, great stories and planning the next trip.
Our group always had different levels of skiers and boarders, there was usually a beginner here and there, and those who were more adventurous, so we usually split up during the day, meeting perhaps for lunch or at least for beers at the end of the day, when we generally cooked group meals, to save on the costs of the long weekend, of course then blowing our savings by apres skiing in a local bar until the wee small hours.
The adventurers on the The Three Valleys trip had a mission. We planned to ski all three Valley’s – Courchevel, Meribel and Val Thorens in a single day. We’d start in Val Thorens, where our chalet was, head up the mountain, connect through to Meribel, head up the mountain and down the other side, aiming for the base in Courchevel. There we’d have a little lunch and head on back at the end of the day. Nothing like a challenge to whet the appetite. It turned out that we upped the challenge a little. Pushing our speed and now being experienced in how to navigate French ski lift lines (sharpen your elbows and get your ski’s on top of others, before yours get stuck), we decided that actually that wasn’t challenge enough. That’s right folks, we skied the Three Valleys and back before lunch.
There’s an old saying, “what happens on tour stays on tour”, so I hope the Cheapskis team will forgive me for sharing some of our stories. We’re all a little older, somewhat wiser, we definitely need more sleep, although we all still ski, board and drive with that joie de vivre that has never left us, I’m sure we all sometimes wish those times back, all, apart probably from that bathroom in the hostel in Villars of course.
What’s a memorable trip for you? Did you meet new folks? Have a great time with friends and family? Where are you heading to next? And who do you want to hear from next on #TravelTuesday?