No One is a Failed Experiment

meanHow are children and teens supposed to stay away from Cyber-Bullying when there are so many adults doing it. Today I ran across a link from KTVB about a woman who had been arrested. I don’t care what she was arrested for, she did something wrong and the Boise Police Department are taking care of it. What drove me nuts were the responses on the post. I have never had a mug shot, but I am guessing it wouldn’t be the most flattering picture. I mean it’s not like they give you time to touch up your make up or comb your hair. In most cases you are probably not even sober (in this case) and usually being drunk is super attractive…not… Just because she doesn’t look like your normal housewife that surrounds us does not mean she is ugly. How do you decide what is pretty and what is ugly, or as someone said a “failed experiment.”  I can tell you none of us were an experiment and no one deserves to be called a failed experiment. No matter the mistakes we make in life, we are still human. We never know the behind the scenes of someone’s life. I don’t know if she has seen any of these comments or if she ever will, but I hope she doesn’t. The internet is not a place to share the thoughts that would be considered rude in person. Your words are hurtful. Maybe when her ordeal is over she will realize that she needs to fix some things in her life, let us lend her encouragement mean 2instead of hate. I ask you which one is more motivating? The next time you come to a post on the internet, whether it be a mug shot, the “ugliest” person in the world, or the high school skank, leave them a nice comment or no comment. A click can take a life, and the correlation of cyber-bullying and suicide is growing. Think before you click!


The Ag-Gag Selfie

It is a well-known fact amongst my friends that I am not an animal lover in any way. I would literally have two sets of quints before letting a dog or cat (and maybe a fish) into my house. I don’t judge others who do, it is just a love I never developed. The closest I get to animals is Pinterest, and yet I sit here, questioning YOU Idaho… This congressional session was a waste of time. You literally passed the “Ag-gag” bill. The Huffington Post perfectly summed up Bill SR 1337. This bill “would make it a crime, punishable by imprisonment, to simply photograph or videotape abusive, unsanitary or otherwise unethical activity on a farm. Even employees and journalists who take photos or video to document misconduct on farms — whether it’s mistreatment of animals, food safety hazards, worker safety violations, sexual harassment, financial embezzlement, or environmental crimes — could face criminal prosecution if the bill is passed.”

I decided to write the world a letter… from Elle Wood’s Perspective

cow selfieDear Mr. Law Writer:

I recently took a tour of a dairy farm, and I was preparing to post it all over my Social Media when I got a tweet that said the “Ag-gag” bill had passed. First I was like AS IF! How could they do this to me right now? I needed this to up my Klout Score. I just want you to know Mr. Law Writer by passing this law you are totally infringing on my freedom of speech and the press, and cramping my lifestyle. Honestly,  in MY life, I document everything. When I took a tour of dairy I knew I would definitely be Instagramming it. If I didn’t Instagram it, I would run the risk of it “never really happening” because I did not document it to my followers. That is like SOCIAL SUICIDE. As I was walking through the dairy, I was totally trying to capture some good selfies, I was so upset though. Every time I went to capture this moment some cow would photobomb it. Not only the cow, but it’s owner with a cane hitting him! Ugh it’s called a selfie for a reason. At first I didn’t let this bother me, because I just kept thinking I would have another chance to get the perfect profile picture for Facebook. At the next stop, I went to take my soon to be viral picture, and it was photobombed again! This time it was a one of the workers jumping up and down on the cows back while blindfolding them. Seriously?  Can’t we make a law that bans people from photobombing? That would be much more beneficial. I tried like 5 more times and was never successful, I couldn’t even believe that these people would dare to ruin my pictures. It was super stressful, but I decided I just wouldn’t let it bother me… I would just let the world see and hope they only focused only on me! Obvi, no one cares about the cows it’s about the meat and milk. So driving home I started to Instagram my day. Ugh to my distress, people started texting me and calling me and told me that I can’t post things like that. I was like WTFREAK? I am just posting what I saw on my tour and I am being punished… I decided that ORANGE was not my color (and the prison thing scares me, I’ve seen Shawshank…) and so I deleted my pictures. Devastated that a WHOLE day had been wasted, I sat down to write you this letter. So Mr. Law Writer, I just want you to know if you see any of my pictures, I am sorry… I didn’t even mean to, I had no idea what was going on in the background of my selfies (seriously let’s talk on that photobomb law).


Your Super Concerned Citizen

Okay, that was a satirical approach, a joke, sarcasm… But seriously? This law is a joke. The problem here is not the people filming, it is the ABUSE that is happening. Shame on you for trying to cover it up. I deserve to know what happens to the animals I am potentially going to eat (sorry PETA, my Dr. says I need to gain weight). You as our Government have power (or so you think) use it for good! I mentioned some real things in my fake letter, why are we not upping the punishment for animal abuse or texting and driving. I know I don’t know everything about this law, but what I do know… Is it is not humane… I hope that the next time I am taking a selfie, that none of these animals being abused show up in it and I end up being punished for capturing the moment….


I Was a Bully.

yellow flowersI was a hellion growing up. I was not always a nice goody-goody girl, I had a mean streak. I remember walking home one day with two other boys. These boys had hard lives and were a little rough around the edges, they had an idea to start throwing rocks at people going past. It was my turn, instead of saying no, I picked up the rock and I threw it. My t-ball years had paid off (unfortunately) and I hit a girl riding her bike, right in the head. She wobbled and then toppled off. My heart sank. I was torn between two things, fitting in with the boys and being kind. I felt guilt. I got home and didn’t say a word about it to anyone, hoping I could forget. The next day at school, I was called into the principles’ office. It was a scary thing, I was at a brand new school, and I had only been there for a few days. The principal asked me why I did it and even thought it was a witty comeback… “It wouldn’t have hurt if she was wearing a helmet,” to this day I regret my action. I don’t regret it because I got in trouble. Literally, I have never seen my mother so mad, she marched her way down the street, grabbed me by the arm, and walked me home. I spent the day in my room. I regret it because I missed an opportunity to be kind to those around me.

I thought I had learned my lesson but a year later I fell into a similar trap. Once again I was being a bully. I was still hanging out with the rougher kids, and I still did not excel at making friendships with girls. I don’t know if it because I felt threatened by them or because I was that insecure, whatever the reason it doesn’t make it right. I had started playing the trumpet. There was another girl in my grade who started to play as well. My parents had rented me a nice one and I felt very proud about it. There were no scratches, and it was shiny. The other girl’s trumpet was not as nice as mine, and I made sure she knew it. Later, I found out how much I had really hurt her feelings. I apologized years later, but it is something to this day I still regret. Who am I to judge?

A few years later…”I got what I deserved.” I was bullied. Some girls ganged up on me and started rumors about me that were crude and not even a little bit true. It caused me a lot of grief. It made me a different person. I sometimes hated myself because, I began to believe those things flying around about me. It was a hard to shake those feelings, but I was able to find people who were willing to show me kindness.

When the reality of my actions set in, and my own wounds were healing, I decided to change, I was always going to look for ways to be kind… To Everyone. To make someone’s day better. I am still not a professional, and I still have moments when I think, I shouldn’t have done that. Instead of waiting years now when I make a mistake, I go straight to the person and apologize. Whether it is a CEO of a company or someone who is homeless, I strive to treat them with kindness. Today, I watched a video that reminded me of my bullying days, and days I was made to feel like nothing. It was a powerful video that highlighted very real things. As many of you know I am very passionate about anti-bullying and anti-cyber bullying. There is never a life that is worth less than yours, so don’t make them feel that way. You have a choice, don’t be the bully, be the one who sticks up for others. Watch this video, I know it has an LDS religious tone to it, but the overall message is what matters.

Featured in Perspectives

Today, I am flattered. I was looking through some old Utah State things and found this gem. I had no idea it had been published. They had approached me during my Senior year of college about featuring me in the magazine, but I didn’t know it really happened. The Perspectives Magazine happens once a semester and I was featured in Fall 2013 on page 17. It is a true honor!

While reading through it, it reminded me of some of the goals that I am aspiring to accomplish. I really do have a passion for equal rights. Some of my of my feeling inferior came from studying computer science, the field is predominantly male. If I ever made a mistake it was because I was a woman, I even was asked if I was taking the classes to find a rich husband… The reason  I wanted to work towards this degree was because of a female professor who had inspired me. Professor Duhadway. She was a female programmer, she taught me the history of the subject and the basics of computer programing. I was always impressed by her and wanted to have her talent. Once I started taking the upper division classes, those dreams slowly diminished as the only female in the class, with know one willing to actually teach me. It was very frustrating, and after an internal battle with myself wanting to prove myself and being successful, I dropped out. I decided to take another route, I would pioneer my own way into the cyber world. I would take on Social Media. I finished my degree in Communications and have gone on to work a full-time job as a Social Media Consultant. It has been a roller coaster that I have enjoyed. I am so glad that my education helped prepare me for the real world. Can’t wait until some of these goals become a reality!Perspectives

Gallup Strength Finder 2.0

Strength FinderWritten by: Clare Vaterlaus

This was originally posted on my work website.

I have often heard but never fully understood the sentiment -“a brave man acknowledges the strength of others.” At a recent training for Echelon Group this statement became clear to me. It is not hard to learn our own strengths and even our weaknesses, but it is more difficult to learn and acknowledge the strengths of those around us. Kim Schaff, Echelon Group’s Human Resources Consultant led us in a Group Strength Finding Activity. It is not often that our team members take time away from their work, but this was a special occasion that has proven to be very worthwhile.

Prior to the group meeting, each team member took the Gallup Strengths Finder 2.0. The survey included 140 questions that you had 20 seconds to answer. To answer the question the test taker was to pick the answer that fit them best. After the test was completed we received our personalized results, highlighting our top 5 strengths. I will use my top five themes as an example.

  1. Activator- Turns thoughts into action
  2. Empathy- Sense feelings of other people
  3. Developer- Recognize and cultivate the potential in others
  4. Communication- Easily put thoughts into words, conversationalist, presenter
  5. Individualization- Intrigued with the unique qualities of each person

Amongst the general top five themes were personalized paragraphs of information For example both Kim and I received the strength Individualization, but our paragraphs read two very different explanations. This test was spot on in describing my top five strengths. What made me feel better was they all apply to my current position at Echelon Group and what I graduated in at Utah State University.

After reviewing each of our strengths on our own, we spent time sorting our talents into four different categories that allowed us to see who we would work best with.

         Builds Relationships

    Influence on Others

       Working Hard

     Working Smart

My top five strengths fell into the top two categories, which focused on working with people. I have been able to see that as a strength in my professional career, but also a weakness when it comes to creating processes. This is a weakness that I would like to work on, but is not something I could do on my own.  This training showed me people in the office who could mentor me in this aspect. Todd Severance, our Business Consultant, was the only one to have the Analytical theme present in his top five. This indicates his attention to detail in any situation. Together Todd and I could use our strengths to get the job done faster.  Through this training we found who would be the “go to” person in a situation based on our strengths.  In the long run, it could be more time efficient and effective to combine your strengths with others instead of spending countless hours improving your weaknesses. It takes a brave person to accept help from someone who has a strength you are lacking, but the results are worth the uneasiness. The first training helped us create a trust between one another; our next training will cover conflict and how to deal with it in a positive way. If you are interested in using this training in your workplace or group, give Echelon Group a call for more details.


Nathan BarryA while back my boss, Don Reiman, attended an event that was featured local authors in Boise. Don is currently putting the finishing touches on his own book, RESET, and will be debuting it in early 2014. While at this conference he purchased me a book, Authority, written by Nathan Barry. This book is a step-by-step guide to publishing your first book independently. I am a Social Media Consultant and have had little experience with the book writing process… I have blogged, done press releases and some articles, but after reading Authority I learned that they overlap, and quite well. I sat down and read his entire book today, and was impressed by his ability to teach. There have been many times in the past few years where I have sat down to write a book. I even got up to 30 pages in my word document, but fizzled out because of work, and the Walking Dead. What this book did for me was inspire me, it helped me understand that anyone could write a book. It is just the matter of sitting down to do it. This book has some valuable websites in it that I had never heard of. I’ve already contacted my brother in hopes of helping him publish his book. What most people think is that you HAVE to have a HARD copy of the book, but it was apparent in this book and through Nathans experiences that even e-books make money. I have heard stigma’s about self publishing and e-books. However my perception was changed and my mind is much more open to the idea of self publishing on the internet. Now, I am not yet prepared to publish my own book, I would say I have a head start and will be there in the near future. However, I did find Authority to contain information to make me a positive asset to Don and his publishing team as we enter the final stages of his book. I was able to take notes, and change our plans to better fit Don’s book launch. It was well written and it was also a quick read. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for guidance in the publishing world!

LinkedIn Live- Boise Idaho

LinkedIn Live Boise

On Tuesday November 11, 2013 I attended the beta LinkedIn Live event sponsored by the Idaho Technology Council and the Boise State University School of Business and Economics. The event was in the Stueckle Sky Center, which has the most beautiful view of Boise.The conference had a great turn out and was an opportune time to network with others as you can tell from all my new contacts. The conference had three main workshops. I will share a few things I learned at each of them.

Personal Branding Checklist- 

Personal branding is all about you. The most important thing is to let your profile speak for you. If someone were to search it they would be able to know what kind of person you are from looking at your accomplishments as well as you written endorsements.By putting a face to your name and telling your story you are building up your own personal brand. In your profile, make sure that you have linked to your other social media accounts especially your blog/website. This is a place people will check out your professional skills and also see who you are connected to. Don’t just connect with anyone, but make sure you have had dialogue with them.

Marketing Checklist- 

A major part of marketing is establishing your company presence by creating a company page where you can showcase products and services. Having a LinkedIn Company page allows you to connect all of your web presence and creates another access point for a potential employee or customer. Once your page is set up, it is time to post information and begin engaging with your followers and your colleagues. LinkedIn also allows you to be members of different groups that you can actively participate in. The more you participate the more you will get out of it.

Hiring Checklist-

This workshop focused on Employee Value Proposition- allowing someone else to share your companies story on your LinkedIn. This can be done by allowing a 2nd party to help create and review your profile, as well as asking for written endorsements. You want to build yourself up on your LinkedIn, always be truthful but let the good things shine. The company culture, mission, and working environment should be implemented into a profile. As you build your profile up, the talent will find you.


I had a great time at LinkedIn Live and one of my tweets even made it in a storify by Jennifer Quinn. If you have more questions feel free to comment.

*All of this information was from the event as well as the checklists that LinkedIn Live Boise provided.

“Women Should…”

Women ShouldMy friend Rica sent me this article and said I should write a blog on it. I was thoroughly disappointed with my results upon my experimentation of using Google Auto-complete. I don’t know what upset me more the picture included in the article or what I found when I went to Google and started to type in “Women Should…” The results matched just what the article had said:

“Women should not speak in church”

“Women should be seen and not heard”

“Women should not work”

The article even went on to say that the algorithm is constantly being tweaked but the results are not better:

“Women need to shut up”

“Women shouldn’t go to college”

The question now is, is this Google driven, or are they really the most popular search items? All I can say is, “Women Should…” do what they want! We are strong and powerful. We have things to do in this world. We must continue to voice our opinions and live our lives. Don’t let the biases dictate your outcomes. What are your thoughts on this? 

p.s Google “Men Should…”



Combating Hate with Love: Cyber Bullying

TJ Pratt Anti Cyber Bullying Two days ago I saw a post from one of my friends at Utah State on my Facebook feed and became interested about #TaylorVail. She had been cyber bullied. This is something that I am very passionate about. I am a firm believer of “think before you click.” I wasn’t able to find the original messages that were sent to Taylor Vail. At first I thought, I need to know what the bully said! After reading the article and watching the video, I realized that Taylor and her family did what was right. They focused only on the positive, a new trend in combating cyber bullying. Her father, an employee of my Alma Mater Utah State, took a stand against cyber bullying and encouraged people to #bepostive. Her twitter feed exploded with comments that would make anyone smile ear to ear. I wish that being positive and kind was the norm, and that it did not have to be encouraged. These reactions should be our natural instincts. Taylor’s story is a great example of turning a potentially negative situation into one with endless positive possibilities. Taylor is a hero because of this: she said she did not want to know who said those mean things, she wishes that the bully would receive the same over pouring of positivity that she has received. She truly was able to combat hate with love.

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