Archive for November, 2012

Just as Good as the First

Day 2 of Startup Weekend was just as good as Day 1. Probably better. While Friday night meant meeting new people, enjoying an interesting and fun ice breaker and securing enough votes to have my idea chosen to be in the contest (who doesn’t like that, right?), Saturday was about getting it done. And that process was educational, crazy and exciting. Of course it helps having an amazing team. Somehow I was blessed with three brilliant team members (Laura Gekeler, Rowland Rose and Chris Weaver). Without each one of them, I would have been lost. Actually, I was lost. I was lucky that it was my idea or they could have kicked me off the team.

Time to set the scene for Day 2. The day begins with a run down of the tasks and assignments verified. Each team member plunges into their tasks. Laura leaves the building to work on customer validation. Rowland and Chris begin working their magic (I’m not a techie, so don’t ask me specifics). I try to figure out what I’m doing.

We realize we need a name. We also realize that finding a url that isn’t already registered is almost impossible. We get lucky. We can purchase Yay! Thanks to Rowland for this find. A little while later, as I’m thinking about our name, a logo idea comes to mind. That gets added to the white board. Chris takes that idea and turns it into the amazing logo that we have now. Yay!

The day continues with research, website development, phone calls, conversations and a frenzy of activities that are mostly a blur now. One of the highlights is the time with our coach, Michael Patton. He discusses funding, idea validation, and resources with us. And most importantly, he’s excited about our idea. His time with our group is so encouraging. We feel like we’re on the right track with a great idea. We are even more determined.

Suddenly it’s getting late. I’m exhausted. Chris and Rowland plan to stay a couple more hours, but I just cannot. Phil and Jim pitch in so I can get some rest. Yay! I leave, but the work continues. Did I mention how awesome all of these people are? (there are more to mention… like David and Grant)… Stay tuned for Day 3.

November 12, 2012 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

Why Startup Weekend?

Thanks to this blog and my desire to grow my connections in South Bend, I learned about Startup Weekend South Bend (thanks Grant!). I have to say that I’m sorry I missed the first one, but so thankful to be in a room of amazing people.

Let me set the scene for you. First, think about how intimidating it can be to go into a new environment alone. I asked a few friends to join me for this weekend, but was not able to find anyone available. With the encouragement of my husband, I chose to go without my usual support network. While I’m not particularly shy, this proposition was still a little scary. You know all those thoughts that invade your mind as you deliberate…Who are these people running this event anyway? As good as it sounds on paper, how will it really be?

Immediately upon arrival, as I meet a new friend, I am encouraged to share my idea. I have considered pitching one of my ideas (I have many), but think maybe I should just observe this time. Luckily, my name is added to the pitch list. When time comes, I use my 60 seconds to tell far too much about myself and the problem, but am somehow able to let my passion for this idea through enough to entice a few people.

The next step is truly exciting. Time to take a “post-it note vote.” Will I get any votes? As I see the post-it notes added to my idea, I’m stunned, amazed and overwhelmed. Are you kidding me? Might my idea make it? We’re not done voting, so anything can happen. Now it’s time to weed out those with the least votes and decide on just a few. I can’t possibly make it through to the end. I’m new. What do I know? What am I doing?

But, alas, I’ve garnered enough support. Now I’m even more stunned. Even more excited. Then I realize that the real work begins. I’m lucky enough to have amazing teammates (Laura, Chris and Rowland). We begin to work through the business model. We have many notes. We have a plan (at least a bit of a plan). I can’t wait to see where the rest of the weekend takes us! Stay tuned for more.

November 10, 2012 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Help Shape School Plan

The South Bend Community School Corporation is developing a strategic plan and wants your input. Working with Synergetic Leadership Group, SBCSC has a five-phase approach to support collaboration between and among the Board, Superintendent and community.

“In effect, the corporation’s strategic plan, founded on community-based tenets, provides a decision making framework for a system focused on doing the right thing, the right way for the right results. It also becomes the tool for the ongoing monitoring, review and revision required of a continuously improving organization.”

SBCSC is seeking input from all stakeholders (community members, businesses, non-profits, etc.) with forums scheduled for specific areas. You can find the full schedule at their website:

There are two community forums being held on Monday (11/12) at Adams High School and Tuesday (11/13) at Washington High School from 7pm to 8:30pm. If you are not able to attend either of these sessions, consider taking a few minutes to complete the survey. This deadline is November 16th, so don’t wait. You can reach the survey at the above link.

Interested in seeing the progress so far? Here’s the draft versions of the vision and mission statements:

All children will experience quality learning every day, receiving the respect, encouragement and support they need to be academically and personally prepared for post-secondary success, and equipped to thrive in, and shape, a changing world.

In partnership with students, families and community, we educate every student to successfully navigate the challenges of today and seize the opportunities of tomorrow through the continuous pursuit of excellence.

South Bend residents, now is the time to collaborate with SBCSC. Take advantage of this opportunity to be involved in this process to move our students forward. If you attend one of the meetings, please share your thoughts here.

November 9, 2012 at 8:50 am Leave a comment

How Does It Work?

That’s what the Michiana Science and Technology Center, inc. (MSTCi) wants you to experience this weekend: the science behind local business. On Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 10 & 11) from 1 to 5pm, you will find hands-on displays that include wind tunnels, nanotechnology, and even using legos to see how your odometer works in your car (thanks to The Tire Rack for this display). This event is free and everyone is invited. It is being held at Union Station (326 W. South St., across from The Cove).

MSTCi wants to give the public a chance to see what’s happening in South Bend as well as nurture interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). What a great opportunity to encourage our youth in these vital areas and to raise awareness of how these areas impact our local workforce. For more on MSTCi, check out their website:

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

Have an Idea? Skill? Dream? Want Inspiration?

Startup Weekend could be for you. It promises to be a fun weekend filled with motivated people that can help move your ideas forward or help you learn (& engage in!) the entrepreneurial process. You know the entrepreneurial history of South Bend and now you can be a part of its future, by joining this group at Startup Weekend.

The weekend begins at 5pm on Friday with dinner then a hearty welcome and encouraging words from Mayor Pete, followed by idea pitches that will be facilitated by David (from Startup Weekend in Seattle) and teams formed (teams need developers, marketers, designers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts). Be ready to collaborate as your team works through business strategy and product development to the final pitch. Judges will declare the area’s 2nd Startup Weekend winner, and along with their local prizes, will be entered in the Global Startup Battle (see more here: This event also coincides with this worldwide initiative:

Be inspired, educated, and empowered!

Hope to see you there. To register and get more info:

November 7, 2012 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

I Had to Chuckle

It’s election day, and while most find this to be a serious topic, I have noticed a couple of yard signs that made me smile. Have you seen these? One is “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha… (clever, right?) McClure.” Another one is “Kruk for Treasurer.” Now I do not know Mr. Kruk, but when I see that sign, I read it as “Crook for Treasurer.” I realize this is just an unfortunate circumstance beyond Mr. Kruk’s control, but it still makes me chuckle. And I do also realize that his name may be (and probably is) pronounced another way, but, again, I still just chuckle.

Now on to the more serious side of election day. Have you voted? While there is so much focus on the national races, keep in mind that we have some state and local races that are very important as well. With education being so important to the vitality of South Bend, I encourage you to read about the two candidates for State Superintendent (Bennett and Ritz). These two candidates have very different ideas. Which do you believe will serve our needs the best?

While doing your research, be sure to look at the many candidates running for the two at-large seats on the South Bend School Board. These are critical to keep our schools moving forward.

Feel free to share any interesting signs that you have seen as well as your opinion on any candidates running for the school board. And be sure to VOTE today! I was number 106. What number will you be?

November 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm Leave a comment

Kids’ Night Out is Downtown on Friday

It’s November, so you know what that means: First Fridays in Downtown South Bend. There are so many activities for the family, from music and dance classes at The Music Village to bookmark making at Idle Hours Bookshop to geocaching to free kids’ hot chocolate at Main Street Coffee House to hay rides (small fee) to free trolley rides. And that’s just to name a few things. There’s also entertainment and special dining promotions and other activites. It’ll be a great night to hang out downtown. Make plans now and bring your neighbors! Get more info at DTSB’s website:

November 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

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