Fast and Furriest Is Much More Than a Timed 5K Run & 1M Walk With Your Dog

Most Dogs Are Natural Networkers 

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Your neighborhood is filled with dog lovers. In the United States, nearly half of all households, 44 percent, include at least one dog according to the American Pet Products Association. Not only are dogs great companions, they help connect their owners to their communities and people who enjoy being outdoors with their pets.

Just visit a park to see what I mean. Pets are natural networkers introducing their owners to a variety of possibilities. FF-group-336x223I recall a dog park visit where I met a woman and her pet visiting for the first time. Hank was met with wagging tails. Hank’s owner had just moved from Atlanta. Other pet parents learned Hank came into her life in college and has been a constant companion through moves, break-ups and celebrations including the job promotion to Saint Louis. Hank helps her meet people, network and explore their new neighborhood.

You see, Hank loves to exercise with his owner. I mean serious running. Hank is a Whippet, a superb athlete as well as a gentle companion. Several of us made sure Hank can stretch his legs in an upcoming event to help homeless pets. I want to make sure you know about it too whether you have a pet or not! ffThe 9th Annual Fast and the Furriest 5K Run and 1-Mile Walk will be Sunday, April 23, 2017 at Hollywood Casino in Maryland Heights. The run is the Saint Louis original dog-owner professionally-timed race. Others with or without pets will take part in the walk at a leisurely pace or activities on the grounds. This is an event not only for athletes, but the entire family! There will be food trucks, vendors in addition to the activities. This major fundraiser for homeless pets in the Saint Louis area is sponsored by Purina.

Great FFYou can take a gamble on the 1 mile Pooch Poker Walk, which offers a more leisurely pace with the added fun of creating your best possible poker hand along the way. Both the 5K and 1M come complete with a race t-shirt and the best goody bag in town. There are special awards for fastest runners in each age group and for the fastest overall male and female dogs. But you don’t have to have a dog to get in on the fun.

FF%Collecting pledges for your participation with your pooch is another way to involve your friends and family while increasing your impact to help pets. A generous donor is matching all the pledges at the Fast and Furriest to raise double the amount for homeless pets at the APA Adoption Center. The top fundraiser will lead the race and gets a grand prize

It is easy to get registered and be a part of this fun mission to help pets. This is the link to learn more, register and invite pledges or visit the APA’s website at apamo.org.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to spend some quality time with your pup, get some exercise, help homeless pets and meet great people who love dogs. I’ll be there and I hope you will too!

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Prepare Your Workplace for Take Your Dog To Work Day

Businesses looking to increase productivity and profitability; while reducing workplace stress and boosting morale may want to check out the benefits of pets in the workplace. Research by Virginia Commonwealth University touts the benefits of dogs on the job, citing reduced perceived stress and increased job satisfaction for employees with their pets at work.

Pets in the workplace can improve productivity

Pets in the workplace can improve productivity

A survey by the American Pet Products Association found that nearly one in five U.S. companies allow pets in the workplace. In fact, the survey found that:

  • 55 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace leads to a more creative environment
  • 50 million believe having pets in workplace helps co-workers get along better
  • 38 million believe having pets in workplace creates a more productive work environment
  • 37 million believe having pets in workplace helps improve relationships between managers and staff

2010_tyd_photowinner_louise_thmbAn upcoming event hopes to increase the number of firms with pets on the job! The 17th observation of Pet Sitter International’s Take Your Dog To Work Day®  (TYDTWDay®) is on Friday, June 26, 2015. Many businesses—even those not traditionally pet friendly—are opening their doors to employees’ dogs for this day to celebrate the great companions dogs make and promote pet adoptions.

Interested in being part of the fun? Check out the 2015 TYDTWDay Action Pack. It is an online planning guide for participants and provides step-by-step instructions for executing an office event. It even addresses common management concerns and includes a sample “dogs at work” policy and event participation forms.

09_tydtwday_hitachi_data_systems___staff3Event creator Pet Sitters International offers these tips for participating dog owners to help ensure management, employees and pets are all comfortable on TYDTWDay:

1. Do an office check. No one will mind your dog being in the office, right? Well, maybe. Check with management and co-workers to see if anyone is allergic, afraid of or opposed to you bringing your dog to work on this special day. Be respectful of those you work with and plan an alternate celebration, if necessary.

2. Puppy-proof your work space. If you plan on working with your dog, make sure your office environment is safe. Remove poisonous plants and pesticides, hide electrical cords and wires and secure toxic items such as permanent markers. Any office items in question should be placed out of paw’s reach.

3. Make sure Fido is fit for work. Even dogs don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Be sure your dog’s shots are current. Make plans to have your dog bathed and groomed before accompanying you to work. Be mindful of your dog’s “work readiness.” You know your dog’s demeanor, so if he is aggressive or overly shy, it’s best to leave him at home. Consider how your dog has behaved in the past around strangers before making the decision to bring him. If your dog has shown fear, irritability or aggression, or if your dog has never met strangers, the workplace is not the best place for him.

4. Prepare a doggie bag. Include food, treats, bowls, toys, leash, paper towels, clean-up bags and pet-safe disinfectant. If you are routinely in and out of your work space, consider bringing a baby gate for your doorway or a portable kennel for your dog’s comfort and your peace of mind.

5. Plan your pet’s feeding times carefully. During an important sales call is probably not the best time for a bathroom break. Plan your dog’s feeding time around your work schedule and be sure to choose an appropriate area for your dog to relieve himself afterward.

6. Avoid forcing co-workers to interact with your dog. Dog lovers will make themselves known. Sally from accounting and Joe in human resources may not want to play fetch or offer belly rubs, so be mindful of fellow employees’ time and space. To avoid pet accidents, monitor the amount of treats your pet is being given from your co-workers. Remember that chocolate, candy and other people food should not be shared with dogs and that not all non-dog owners will be aware that these items can be very toxic to your pooch.

7. Have an exit strategy. Although most dogs enjoy TYDTWDay, your pet may not. Should your dog become overly boisterous, agitated or withdrawn, consider taking him home or plan in advance for your professional pet sitter to offer a midday check-in visit. Never, under any circumstance, leave your pet alone in a vehicle while you work.

Are you interested in planning a TYDTWDay event at your office? There is a free downloadable TYDTWDay Action Pack on the event website, http://www.takeyourdog.com.

Businesses unable to participate on Friday, June 26, or that wish to incorporate other pets in the celebration are encouraged to pick any day during Take Your Pet To Work Week™, June 22-26, to plan an event.

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A Contest Allows Fans to Win Job of a Lifetime and a Million Dollar Prize

300593Football season is underway, but the gridiron contests are not the only competitions people are talking about.

Two of the upcoming Super Bowl commercials will be made by fans once again. Year after year, these consumer-created ads have consistently ranked among the best and most talked about during the big game. This year’s Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest prize is bigger, upping the ante with a major, life-changing grand prize.

In only the second year that the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest is global, two finalists will get their ads seen by millions during the Super Bowl. And the finalist whose commercial receives the highest number of fan votes will win a guaranteed $1 million grand dollar prize!

There is another part of the prize for the winner, a Hollywood job opportunity. The grand prize winner will also win the job working onsite for a year at Universal Pictures in Hollywood.
Check out Video below and Doritos.com for official contest rules and submit your ad before November 9th, 2014.

 

A Team Offering High Tech Fun and Skills for the Future

 

How many fun team sports will help young students land a high paying job? Your answer may include some professional sports, but high school players who reach the pros are almost as rare as lottery winners! 

Another team sport underway at schools across the nation promises fun and long term career potential for girls and boys alike.

It is a growing initiative backed by some of the biggest names in business to get youngsters’ attention with innovative, after-school projects.  Corporations including Intel and General Motors are using high-tech team sports to recruit the next generation of engineers, innovators and scientists.

Ask any kid what they want to be when they grow up and you’ll get an almost infinite number of answers. But ask a parent what they want their child to be when they grow up and, these days, you may get one predominant answer – employed!  And while unemployment statistics vary, many large companies are having difficulty filling high paying positions that require candidates with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) based education.

This is why the FIRST® Robotics Competition is more than just an exciting extra-curricular activity and fiercely competitive team sport. It is actually the beginning of a student’s recruitment connection with the companies who both provide sponsorship and are actively looking to recruit the innovators, scientists and engineers of tomorrow.

Students have fun and learn valuable skills

Students have fun and learn valuable skills


The FIRST® Robotics Competition was founded in 1992 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the self-balancing, two-wheeled personal transporter known as the “Segway”, FIRST®.  The competition attracts hundreds of thousands of students each year as well as hundreds of major corporations like Google, Microsoft, Johnson and Johnson, Underwriter’s Laboratories and General Motors who provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in sponsorship and support.

This year, General Motors will sponsor more than 70 teams in the FIRST® Robotics Competition and provide additional sponsorship and event support to over 600 teams in other programs such as the FIRST® LEGO League and the FIRST® Tech Challenge.

The FIRST Championship games for 2014 will be held at America’s Center Convention Complex in St. Louis April 23-26, 2014. The Gateway City also hosted the robotics competition in 2011, 2012 and 2013 with thousands of people attending to see the robots and students in action!

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Students have an opportunity to learn about all kinds of technology at competition exhibits

To learn more about the teams, how to get involved and the upcoming season go to  http://www.usfirst.org/

 

Say My Name

There is a song stuck in my head: “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child. I know when it got stuck there and why.

It was a cold and wet start to my morning. Gusty winds made it impossible to use an umbrella as the rain rapidly turned to snow. It was a grey day outside but a bright spot for me. It was to be the first day of a new way to help some of my neighbors. I’d done some research and was full of ideas I hoped could make a positive impact. As I drove along slushy side streets, it began to snow harder and 30-mile-per-hour winds whipped the flakes around limiting visibility. I arrived early and was dismayed to discover there was no place to park! I was driving around the lot looking for an empty parking space when the call came not to come in to work as scheduled. A computer crash was putting my plans for a new bigger mission on hold.

The snow was falling faster. I turned up the radio to hear it would not continue at the rapid pace much longer. The radio meteorologist called it a ‘fast-moving clipper’ with big, sloppy flakes. In a short time driving would be easier according to his forecast. So rather than return home, I headed to a coffee shop in my favorite shopping area to wait for the snow to pass.

The coffee shop was packed as many other customers were taking a java break and waiting for the snow to slow. The line was long. Some of the coffee shop’s employees were delayed due to winter’s latest blast. Just one person was working to handle the customers at the counter and the window. I was waiting in the long line when, someone asked me if the folded newspaper on a table was mine. After I said it was not, the person behind me tapped me on my shoulder. I turned around to see a neatly dressed young man with a smile as bright as the sun. He exclaimed, “I thought it was you, but I could not see your face. When I heard your voice I was sure.”

I stammered, “Hello, how are you?” I attempted to place the friendly, engaging face before me. I did not have a clue. I decided to come clean and attempted to frame my inability to place him in our shared quest for caffeine; “Please forgive me, I don’t recall your name. I can’t even remember my own name until I get some coffee,” I sheepishly explained.

The smile grew bigger, “Oh sure you do. Every time you come into my line at the store, you say, Hello, Steve. You have two white dogs who like Purina dog food. I helped take it to your car. I saw them in their back-seat dog house. You remember me.”

And he was right. Now, I did remember him. I recalled he found amusement in my dog’s frantic barking as he placed groceries beside their car-crate in the back seat. Believe me, very few people find the charm in their expressive nature right away. No, I had not recalled his name; but I did not forget his delight and wonder in how such small dogs could produce major vocal eruptions.

I always try to use people’s names when I see them on uniforms, tags or receipts. It is a practice I learned in my high-school and college retail jobs. When checking out customers I would use their names from checks or credit cards as I thanked them for their business and asked them to come again. So without his name tag on, I did not remember Steve’s name. But I recalled his enthusiasm for bagging groceries and his courteous regard for my pets.

I told him I did remember him loading the dog food into the car. Nodding, he replied, “I have a good memory. I like your dogs and I like it when you say hello.”

I asked Steve how long he had worked at the neighborhood supermarket. I learned he began at Schnucks Markets through Paraquad, a St. Louis nonprofit that assists disabled individuals to live independently. 

It was finally my turn at the counter and I ordered my coffee and hot chocolate for Steven. He took his cup to go as he walked next door to work at Schnucks. I sat down to drink my coffee and waited for the weather to clear.

It wasn’t just the coffee or the clearing skies improving my mood. I was happy to connect with Steve and be reminded of the power of a person’s name. A name used correctly can convey respect and appreciation. The moment we hear our name our ears perk up. It doesn’t take extra time to make an effort to recognize the other person as an individual. Such a simple part of social interaction; greeting someone with their name. Make an impression: say their name.Image

Small Business Tip: Firms Working to Take Some Pain Out of the Workday

This is the last day of the month and a close to Pain Awareness Month. Not a big small business event? You’d be surprised. Thousands of small business owners are taking steps and making accommodations to help employees living with chronic pain stay productive.

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Fibromyalgia affects more than five million Americans and is one of the most common, chronic widespread pain conditions, yet it is often called an invisible illness. The disorder is one of the most common chronic widespread pain conditions in the United States.

This short streaming video reveals some of the ways small business owners and entrepreneurs are making changes to help the millions of Americans living with chronic pain.

Please follow me on Twitter to learn more about small business trends and events to give you a competitive edge in business at http://twitter.com/danitablackwood

Human Resource Managers Are Optimistic About Third Quarter

Another report is showing a glimmer of optimism for the economy and small businesses in the third quarter.  The Society for Human Resource Management, made up of personnel and human resource professionals are reporting increased confidence in the third quarter job market according to a new survey.

The Labor Market Outlook survey finds 37 percent of respondents have some level of concern for the U.S. job market in the third quarter: 33 percent are somewhat pessimistic about job growth and anticipate job losses and 4 percent are very pessimistic and anticipate job cuts during the quarter.

These new numbers are big change from the previous survey when a combined 70 percent of respondents expressed some level of pessimism and predicted deeper cuts in the U.S. job market.

A total of 69 percent of respondents said they will either eliminate jobs or keep their payrolls flat in the third quarter: 56 percent will maintain current staffing levels and 13 percent will cut jobs. Among employer categories, 28 percent of large companies (those with 500 or more employees) will conduct layoffs in the third quarter.

During the second quarter, 81 percent of respondents said they either cut jobs or kept payrolls flat: 43 percent maintained their staffing levels while 38 percent conducted layoffs.

The Society for Human Resource Management is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management and represents over 140 countries.  You will find a host of management articles, podcasts and streaming videos about management topics on http://www.sbtv.com