Monthly Archives: May 2015

meet jazz: alternative agriculture advocate in columbus

Whenever new friends discover our blog for the first time, they invariably ask: How do you find these people?

Jazz Planting a Tree

How does Jazz stay disciplined being back in school full time? “Being my own supervisor, all my time is my own, and I pretty much work during the day like a normal person,” she says. “I work from home, so I’m eating constantly.” I feel ya, Jazz.

Here’s one story: Back in 2012, I was working for Reader’s Digest as a copy editor. I loved my team (like Deb!), but I was trying to figure out how to unite my passions for the environment, health, animal welfare, social justice and community into the next step of my career. The food system was the place I thought I could blend all those things and use my skills to make a difference, so I reached out to Jazz Glastra about Victory Garden Initiative’s (VGI) Food Leader Certificate Program. On a chilly winter night, she met me in the Saint’s Snug at County Clare Irish Pub in Milwaukee, which will forever hold a special place in my heart. Jazz told me all about how I’d learn to grow food, organize groups of people, and make a difference starting in my own community. I signed up for the program the next day.

Two and a half years later, I’m now working full-time at VGI, and Jazz has moved on to pursue her Master’s of Science in Environment and Natural Resources with a specialization in Rural Sociology at the Ohio State University. I miss her more or less constantly, so I’m so glad to share part of her story with you.

Jazz went to high school in an agricultural area of Washington state and hated it—the FFA kids in their big trucks blared country music and made it seem like farming was about not caring. After graduation, she went off to Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, planning to get into environmental action or law—until she arrived. At Kenyon, Jazz totally fell in love with religious studies and became disillusioned with the policy world. Before she veered too far, though, she started her first farming internship at an organic farm in Ohio during her sophomore year. It was there that she became intrigued with agriculture and the local food movement. Continue reading

the best boss ever

Kate and I were talking this week, and she said, “It’s not always easy to be a human who has to deal with other humans.” She is hilarious—and right. After all, she has to meet with ME every Monday night! But this applies to all of the humans in your life: friends, family, co-workers, bosses…

Best Boss

Duncan Ferguson’s “Best Boss” study kept finding five pervasive themes. Looks like they align with what we’re hearing, too!

We’re all a little crazy, messy and unpredictable, but when you’re a manager, somehow it seems like it gets even more complicated. Kate and I think about this so much, interviewing entrepreneurs and women taking leading roles in their careers all over the Midwest. You get a promotion for being great at your job and, all of a sudden, you’re a boss. Or you start a company and have to hire a bunch of people you don’t quite trust yet. Or maybe you always wanted to be a great people developer, but didn’t realize how hard it really is. Kate’s mom always says: “Leadership would be easy if it weren’t for the people.” I’m in a pretty fantastic situation, because Kate (and her mom) work in leadership development and culture transformation, so not only do we talk about this all the time, but she actually knows things.

We thought it would be interesting, empowering and inspiring to hear what some of our friends, loved ones, and even my last supervisor thought of the best bosses they’ve experienced. The answers weren’t quite as diverse as I expected—a few even said they hadn’t had that great of bosses yet—so I’ll share four of the core tips I distilled from everyone’s comments that seem to add up to the Best Bosses Ever.

May we know them, may we work for them, and may we be them. Continue reading

gold at goldplaited

Remember Goldplaited from this week? Mal and Corinna not only offer finishing salon services, hold Dabble classes and sell their own make up line, they also sell jewelry by SeeSong Designs and Three Hearts Jewelry boutique. The Chicago necklace, however, is exclusive to Goldplaited and was designed by Corinna!

Remember Goldplaited from this week? Mal and Corinna not only offer finishing salon services, hold Dabble classes and sell their own make up line, they also sell jewelry by SeeSong Designs and Three Hearts Jewelry boutique. The Chicago necklace, however, is exclusive to Goldplaited and was designed by Corinna!

meet mal and corinna: the golden girls of chicago beauty

It’s officially wedding season.

Over the last few years, I’ve been really challenging myself: How many weddings can I get invited to in one year?

Me and Jim

Me and Jim at wedding No. 2 of 2015

In 2013, it was 2. Last year, I took a huge jump to 9 (and attended all of them). 2015 is a sad year, trailing behind at 3. But next year might be a record breaker—the unofficial 2016 total right now is 9 weddings!! So fingers crossed that they all happen plus a surprise bonus wedding, so that I can break my record.

Having just spent the last two weekends in Chicagoland celebrating the weddings of close friends, it’s safe to say the wedding season is well underway. Last weekend, my dress was one-shouldered with a HUGE bow on the right side. So I thought it would be a fun change to put my hair in a low updo to balance out the bow. It wasn’t a terrible idea, but I tried to do this side-pony-bun-updo-thing that I made up on the spot… and the results were mediocre at best. If I’d been a bit more prepared, I would definitely have made time to go to Goldplaited finishing salon in Lincoln Park. Continue reading

Farewell to Forget Me Knodt

One of the most joyful parts of writing this blog has been watching the women we meet grow and change and follow their dreams. For example, Lisa of Sister Pie in Detroit just celebrated her first full week as proud owner of her very own brick-and-mortar pie shop! Moriah in Milwaukee recently got her dream job where, in her words, “IT’S MY JOB TO LISTEN TO OUR COMMUNITY AND MAKE CHANGE!” (High five these two when you see them next!)

Others surprise us. This is the week Janessa, formerly and forever of Forget Me Knodt, turns from boss lady into Employee of the Month. (Fleur Inc., you’re going to have your hands full… of flowers!)

With no further ado:
“A Fond Farewell”
by Janessa Ambrosio

fmk_closing Continue reading