Archive for November, 2012

Three is a Magic Number

Recently, I was able to hang out with a handful of wise, inspiring people who gathered to start something new, something desperately needed in South Bend. If you’ve followed my blog through Startup Weekend South Bend (SWSB) , what comes next will not surprise you. If you have not been an avid reader of my daily adventures during SWSB, then you might want to go back and catch up (just sayin’).

After attending a Startup Weekend, the hardest step is taking the NEXT step. What is the next step? How do I take that step? Where do I even begin? Those are just a few first questions after completing my weekend with my awesome team. Luckily, many from the Startup Weekend, and others–like the cool people at enFocus–have realized that we need a way to support and encourage each other. We need an avenue to connect to others that can help us at every scary turn.

I know, I said “scary turn.” Maybe for you brave readers, this notion of taking an idea and running with it seems easy. For me, it’s a BHAG if there ever was a BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) in my life. And it’s scary – truly scary to me.

This is when three proves to be a magic number. Three fellow teammates who are still there to walk through the next steps. And, most excitedly, Three Degrees of Separation, a new meetup group that wants to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in our area.  This group’s goal is to inspire and connect people to the local “ecosystem, the community and to the world of start-ups.”

Luckily for those of us in the South Bend area, we are a close-knit community.  We have realized what that closeness affords us – that we are likely never more than three degrees away from success.

Need inspiration or just curious? Consider joining the Three Degrees of Separation MeetUp on Tuesday, December 4th from 6pm to 7pm at Main Street Coffee House (downtown South Bend). There will be a few quick speakers and then plenty of time to connect to other idea people, founders, angels, VCs and more.

I’m excited about the 3s in my life. Those 3s inspire, empower and encourage me. Do you have 3s?

3 d logo

November 30, 2012 at 8:57 am Leave a comment


I can’t say thanks enough to everyone that voted for ConnectHelp in the Global Startup Battle. I just finished a meeting with my ConnectHelp team. We are all thrilled after hearing from so many of you. Your positive comments validated our idea and have encouraged us more than you can know.

We will be diligently working on the website and look forward to sharing it with you next year. In the meantime, consider reaching out to friends and relatives around the country for us. We need to connect with helpers that will assist us in this process of building community. Might your cousin in Salt Lake City or your buddy in Montana be willing to help? If so, please connect us.

Thanks again for your votes and kind words. We’re moving forward to build a better community (and a better nation). Peace!

November 28, 2012 at 10:40 pm Leave a comment

Voting Closes Soon

I was blessed with an awesome team at Startup Weekend South Bend. We worked for 54 hours to make ConnectHelp a reality. Now we need YOU to vote for this idea on Facebook in the Global Startup Battle:

  1. Go to (you will need to like this page if you haven’t already)
  2. Vote (be sure to do this everyday until the 27th)
  3. Share with your friends (on Facebook, through tweets, etc.) and ask them to vote the one-stop resource connecting local human needs with local resources anywhere in the world. Let’s show the greatness that is MICHIANA – go and vote, then please ask your friends to vote. Keep voting every 24 hours until midnight (PST) on the 27th.

November 26, 2012 at 10:43 am Leave a comment

Michiana Pride

We all know how amazing our community is – full of innovative, generous, compassionate people. And, most importantly, how we have come together to build a better community. We love our stories and the part that we’ve have played here. Now, your help is needed to show the world our greatness. Here’s what you can do (it’s pretty simple, but would mean a lot):

  1. Go to (you will need to like this page to continue)
  2. Vote (be sure to do this everyday until the 27th)
  3. Share with your friends (on Facebook, through tweets, etc.) and ask them to vote the one-stop resource connecting local human needs with local resources anywhere in the world. It’s time for MICHIANA PRIDE – go and vote, then please ask your friends to vote.

November 23, 2012 at 8:45 am Leave a comment

Vote for South Bend Idea in Global Battle

Your help is needed today and, really, all week. You’re thinking, “Seriously? It’s a holiday week.” I know. I know. But if you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know that I attended Startup Weekend South Bend and that my idea has made it all the way to this Global Startup Battle (GSB). You’re thinking, “What is GSB? And why do I care?” Well, GSB ( is a competition “in an entrepreneurial battle of epic proportions.” Each city that hosted a startup weekend (approx. 120 all over the world) is battling for bragging rights (and other prizes). We, as in my amazing ConnectHelp team, just want our idea to gain validation by receiving thousands and thousands of votes. We are also excited by the opportunity to raise awareness of our website and idea. We want ConnectHelp to reach people all over the globe. But we will need your support to get there. In the meantime, could you please help us by:

  1. Taking time to vote today and everyday (or as many days as you can remember)
  2. Share the link with your friends on Facebook and ask them to vote as well
  3. Ask your friends to share it with at least 10 of their friends

Here’s how you vote:

  1. Go to: (you might be able to get directly to my video here:
  2. Click on “view entries” (you might need to LIKE this page before you can continue)
  3. Search for ConnectHelp (one word)
  4. Click the vote button the one-stop resource connecting local human needs with local resources anywhere in the world. If you think this is a good idea, please vote. If you think it’s a great idea, please ask your friends to vote.

November 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm Leave a comment

Who Doesn’t Love a Treasure Hunt?

What comes to mind when you think “treasure hunt?” Are you whisked back to your childhood and those fun treasure hunts at special parties? Or perhaps recall a team building activity at work? Or are you a modern treasure hunter that uses geocaching?

Whatever comes to mind, we can all agree that a treasure hunt is an adventure. And who doesn’t love an adventure? Well, be prepared to enjoy a local adventure with the Shop Local Treasure Hunt on November 24, 2012.

You’ve heard me talk about the benefits of shopping, dining, supporting local businesses and services. You know that more money stays in our area when we do that. So, some smart people (spearheaded by Willow Wetherall and working in collaboration with other organizers and DTSB) have decided to combine the shop local theme with a treasure hunt.

Brilliant, right? I know!  I just LOVE ideas that highlight the awesomeness that is South Bend with new and innovative ways to experience them. So let’s show our support of local businesses (as well as these hardworking volunteers) by taking our feet to the streets next Saturday. If you can’t be there physically, plan to engage online. Let’s keep cool ideas coming!

For more about this new event, you can check out their Facebook page: (If this link doesn’t work, when on Facebook, search for Shop Local Treasure Hunt)

November 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm Leave a comment

The Final Pitch

Day 3 of Startup Weekend begins with our awesome facilitator, David, reminding us of the day’s agenda and checking in to see if the teams have any last minute needs. We have six hours until our tech check. Doesn’t that seem like a long time? It’s not. It feels more like 38 minutes.

I’m not even sure what happened in those six hours. Last minute details. Phone calls. Pitch writing and re-writing and re-writing and re-writing. Lunch. Slides. Frenzied activities. Website polished (you know this isn’t me). Snacks. Tech check. Lipstick application. And, of course, final pitch. Who’s ready? It’s game time.

Guests are able to attend these pitches. My family arrives and I’m excited to have my own personal cheering section. Once you get a chance to meet my family, you’ll understand why.

After introductions and instructions, the pitching begins. You get 5 minutes and not a second more (so don’t even try). Team City Action goes first, followed by Keep It in the Bowl, then Switch Blade, and finally ConnectHelp (you got it, saving the best for last. ha!). Everyone rocked their presentations. Who won? We all gained exactly what Startup Weekend promised: education, empowerment and inspiration. We all made new friends. In our case, already has an online presence and is a viable website that will soon be helping people in our county (and hopefully not too far behind – helping people all over the world).

You’ll hear more about ConnectHelp soon (if you’d like to join our email list, click the logo below). In fact, in a week, I will ask you to vote for us in the Global Startup Battle. Not only will I ask you to vote, but I will beg you to reach out to your friends to vote as well. I was blessed with a brilliant team and they deserve to see this idea win. I couldn’t be more proud of the work they did.

I have a few random thoughts about Startup Weekend to share (should you ever dare to go and have your life changed):
1. Wear a great color (say, an orange sweater) and you’ll be picked to lead during Friday’s ice breaker.
2. Don’t be afraid to pitch your idea. It’s 60-seconds of your life. You may regret not doing it, but you won’t regret doing it.
3. Realize that you may not want to pitch your idea, but your name may get on the pitch list regardless.
4. You may miss out on some sleep over the weekend, but you won’t miss a meal (or snacks).
5. You will gain an even greater love for the talented, smart and generous people in your community.
6. While it was a competition, there was never a moment that another team wasn’t willing to answer questions or offer encouragement.
7. While you are gone all weekend, the laundry will not do itself.

If you ever have the opportunity to experience Startup Weekend South Bend, please do. You won’t regret it. You might be mad that you didn’t make a weekend sooner. Thanks for listening to me the last three days (if you missed Days 1 & 2, be sure to catch up on those).

Thanks to Grant, Laura, Phil and Jim for organizing this event. It was truly top-notch. Thanks to David for traveling from Seattle to facilitate our weekend together. Thanks to my brilliant team of Rowland, Chris and Laura for making my idea come to life in 54 hours. And thanks to every attendee, coach and judge for your enthusiasm and expertise.

I can’t wait to make a global reality. Give me a shout if you can help us in your state. Be a part of something amazing!

November 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm Leave a comment

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