Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Holiday Builders Gets Viral

I've been struggling with trying to learn all of the new technology that's out there to get the word out and trying to understand what works and what doesn't. I love blogging and having the opportunity to share my experiences so I signed up for Twitter but I just didn't get it. The other day I stumbled across some of Holiday Builders "tweets"  and discovered how effective this form of viral marketing can be.

Holiday sends out a tweet when a Realtor® sells one of their homes and identifies them as well as congratulating them for getting one home closer to wining a trip in a promotion they are having. Everyone loves to see their name in print and the tweets are also proof that Holiday is selling a lot of homes!

I feel empowered now and I'm ready to try and conquer the Twitter challenge again. Be sure to check in and let me know how I'm doing.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Greatness is Personal

DSC_0196Today many of us gathered to say goodbye to a great man - Norman Brinker. Most people know of Norman as the mind who started and refined the trend of casual dining and the founder of Brinker International, but to me Norman will always be a horse lover, polo player and wonderful father first.

In my horse days I had a barn behind Norman's equestrian center - Willowbend Polo Club. We would ride back and forth between barns and most of my horses came from owners at Willowbend that owned horses that were too much for them and wanted to unload them. Those were wonderful days and how fortunate we all were to be able to watch Norman streak across the polo field doing what he loved. Norman had an uncanny knack of knowing and remembering everyone's names from the grooms to the owners and he treated everyone equally.

When I had two very young children I decided to work as a waitress at Steak and Ale - a concept that Brinker owned and was fairly new at that time. I helped open the Plano location and Norman spent an amazing amount of time with us learning what worked and what didn't. He also wanted to make sure that we knew our jobs inside and out and we did a lot of wine tastings to learn about what we were serving. That was my first exposure to wine and it's an experience that I still enjoy. His passion about the company made us passioniate about what we were doing, and we took our jobs personally and wanted to make Norman proud of us.

Our lives continued to intertwine - my sister was married at Willowbend and went on to work at the corporate offices at Brinker International. Being a "Brinkerhead" she loved being a part of that culture and was always amazed when she would visit a Chili's and Norman would be there often by himself just enjoying a burger. He always remembered my sister and made her feel special.

What Norman and many great self-made leaders understand is that to succeed it has to be personal. Your own integrity, how you treat people and love of what you do  is not a small part of why these people have succeeded and why so many people people love and respect them in return. I wish I had taken a pen and notepad to the service because the wisdom and stories that were shared were incredible. Ross Perot and Mr. Brinker were good friends for many years and I can understand why - they are a lot alike, and both have a great, dry sense of humor that I love. Mr. Perot spoke and he was able to capture what made Norman so special. Even though he had been in a coma and had health issues from a polo incident and had other obstacles, nothing was going to keep Norman down and no matter what he did it was always with an amazing positive attitude and a love for life and everyone around him.

We'll miss you Norman, but know that you are happily playing polo on the most heavenly fields any of us have ever dreamed of.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Simply Summer

Summer is here! I was fortunate enough to start mine off with my kids and grandbabies in simply-summer-1258Florida last weekend and it reminded me of those wonderful innocent summers I enjoyed when I was growing up. Special days of running free at my grandparents farm sitting in the raspberry patch stuffing ourselves with delectible juicy fruits, spending time on the rocky shores of Lake Erie floating under the summer sun in an innertube with not a care in the world, and evenings of family dinners featuring fruits and vegetables that we had helped raise and pick on the farm.

Spending time with the kids reminded me how uncomplicated life can be sometimes if we let it and that the more simple our lives are the more sometimes we can enjoy those special times.