A Million-Dollar Visit

I’ve just wrapped up a wonderful few days, spent mostly with Lisa Fast, a million-dollar Stampin’ Up! demonstrator!

Lisa reached this milestone in July, and as is our tradition, we invited her to the home office to celebrate this significant achievement in style!

Our Events staff did everything they could to create an event that would be perfectly suited to Lisa. Her favorite colors—pink and brown—dominated the entire event, from invitation and pillow gifts to home office decorations (balloons and banners) and food tags. Everything we could make pink and brown, we did! (Check out the personalized M&M’s!)

 

Lisa arrived in Salt Lake on Wednesday morning and was whisked away to the hotel, where she and her guest (husband Verlyn) got to rest and relax a bit before heading to the home office. There, they were greeted by an impressive crowd of cheering, confetti-waving employees—and a cheesecake spread to die for! (Cheesecake is Lisa’s favorite dessert, and there were plenty of kinds and flavors to choose from!)

Wednesday night, Lisa and Verlyn went to dinner with the corporate team to a steakhouse in downtown Salt Lake City. Anyone who knows Lisa knows she’s a meat-and-potatoes girl, so we thought that might be the ideal dinner location.

At dinner, one of the corporate team members asked Lisa what she was going to do on Thursday. “Just hang out with Shelli,” she said.

And that’s exactly what we did!

Lisa arrived at my house Thursday morning around 10, and we spent most of the day in my stamp studio. Lisa worked on a 6x6 album (guess what the colors were?), while I answered a few phone calls, signed certificates, worked on some Europe convention projects, and even managed to do a little on my album.

I LOVED just visiting with Lisa and getting to know her better—and snacking on the M&Ms was nice too!

Verlyn enjoyed a special behind-the-scenes tour of Stampin’ Up! in the morning, then he arrived just in time for lunch with Lisa and I; Sterling also joined us.

Lisa and I kept stamping in the afternoon, while Verlyn and Sterling spent the afternoon checking out a few local sights. We had dinner at Thanksgiving Point, and then spent the evening watching a show at Deseret Star Theater, a local community theater that has built quite a reputation for doing productions spoofing well-known shows. We saw “Snooty and the Beast,” and it was delightful. If I had more time, I’d think about buying season tickets!

It was a very relaxing, delightful day. Lisa and I were both surprised when it was time to each lunch and then leave for dinner—the time flew by. And it’s interesting that it took someone coming in from out of town for Sterling and I to discover a local attraction that was very entertaining. On the way home last night, both Sterling and I commented about how much we’d enjoyed ourselves.

Today Lisa and Verlyn returned home, after what I hope was a fabulous three days recognizing and rewarding Lisa (and Verlyn too) for what she’s accomplished.

Congratulations, Lisa!

Stampin' Up! Day

Yesterday afternoon I was scheduled to speak at an entrepreneurial forum in Kanab. The meeting was held at our manufacturing facility. In typical fashion, I was running a bit late, so Sterling and I raced down to Kanab to get here in time.

When we arrived, I noticed that several of our employees were there; they had stayed after their shifts were over to attend. The meeting began with an unexpected surprise—an official declaration signed by the governor of Utah making yesterday (September 24) officially Stampin’ Up!—Rural Entrepreneurship Day!

I was absolutely unprepared for and, I have to admit, a little uncomfortable with the honor. But I was also humbled and pleased, not necessarily that anything I’ve done was being complimented but that the accomplishments of our employees were being noticed!

After the hoopla, the meeting continued on as planned—I presented the Stampin’ Up! story, answered questions, and enjoyed sharing with others all that Stampin’ Up! offers people. And although the official Stampin’ Up!—Rural Entrepreneurship Day is now over, it was nice that our Stampin’ Up! family received this distinction.

Two Busy Days

As Founder’s Circle ended and everyone headed home, I told the Advisory Board members (who were heading to Salt Lake City for our annual Advisory Board retreat before going home) to get a good night’s sleep on Sunday. “We’ll be working your tushees off during the retreat!” I warned them.

They laughed; I don’t think they took me seriously. But they know I meant it now—they are going home tired! I hope their families will forgive us for spending all their energy! We definitely worked them, but the last two days have been full of energy, great feedback, wonderful ideas, and lots of discussion. I’m impressed with the diversity of this board, yet the unity as well. They aren’t afraid to share their opinions, but they also respect others’ opinions, even then they aren’t the same. And everyone seemed willing to listen and learn.

Of course, I know you know that everything we discussed is confidential, so I’m sure you won’t ask any of the board members about topics discussed during the retreat—thanks for respecting that.

While the entire last two days has been delightful, a few things stand out as highlights for me. An Advisory Board tradition is to have a “My Favorite Things” night on Monday, when we put on cozy pajamas, gather together, and share our favorite things. It’s a great way to get to know each other!

For the first time, I hosted this activity at my own home this year. I don’t know why we haven’t done it before! After a full day of meetings, the ladies stopped by their hotel on their way to our house, put on their pajamas, and then headed our way. Sterling fixed a tasty dinner (Dutch Oven potatoes, baked beans, barbecue chicken, and a few other yummies), then we settled in for the sharing.

I loved having demonstrators in our home. I wish I could do it more often, but there’s never really a small enough group to make it feasible.

And tonight was great too—our last dinner at the Roof Restaurant in the Joseph Smith Building in downtown Salt Lake City. (Hmmm, does it mean anything that my two highlights involved food? Smile) This is also a tradition. We reserve the Library Room in the restaurant, where 16 of us can gather around a round table and, because of the outstanding acoustics, talk at a normal volume and hear what anyone around the table is saying. It’s a delicious buffet dinner, wonderful ambience, and fabulous conversation.

And the conversation never stopped—the entire two days! Constant dialogue back and forth, with board members asking us questions and answering our questions. They weren’t ever bored (or if they were, they hid it well!), and they showed wonderful energy. This year is going to be a great Advisory Board!

Now I’m heading off to bed, because I’m just as tired as they are!

 

Blooming in St. George

I just returned home from Founder’s Circle, one of my favorite events ever! (Do I say that about every event!) But I really mean it!

Founder’s Circle is a smaller event, only about 120 demonstrators, with an informal atmosphere, lots of free time, cute pillow gifts that tied into the gardening blooming theme, and a few activities designed to reward and pamper our top-performing demonstrators. And to top things off, it all takes place in southern Utah, one of my favorite places in the world!

This year was extra special, because Sara came with me (after not attending for two years)! It was wonderful to have her there—we split up and talked to as many different demonstrators as we could, then we huddled together at the end of the evening, looking through the Founder’s Circle yearbook (a handy little book that has everyone’s photo in it) and sharing what we’d learned about each demonstrator. I think between the two of us we talked to just about everyone!

I enjoyed every single day! The first full day (Thursday) I actually went shopping, one of my favorite activities but not something I would normally do at Founder’s Circle because my focus is on the demonstrators. But when I walked into the Gathering Place that first day, a group of demonstrators invited me to go with them, and I jumped at the chance. I figured it was a win-win! We tried on clothes, shared opinions about what looked great and not-so-great, and had a ball!

Friday  most of the group went to Kanab, where we toured our manufacturing facility—love this trip and the opportunity to show off our roots. Many of the demonstrators had been there before, although almost one-third of our group this year were first-timers, a fact I find inspiring and exciting!

Friday ended with the pajama party and business share, with a card swap. For the first time ever this year, I actually had my swaps done on time and got to participate! (Usually I end up sticking my cards in a basket on the last day and telling everyone to grab one.) It was fabulous to stand in the line and give a card and receive a card from everyone—loved it!

Saturday was another free day, ending with a wonderful final dinner, held at the Ledges, a charming restaurant on the edge of the golf course. Dinner was delicious, the sunset was breathtaking, and everyone got to release real-live butterflies (part of the garden theme of the entire event). Although the butterflies didn’t all take off in graceful flight like we had planned (I think they were a little stunned at being let free), it was still a memorable experience.

Although many of the demonstrators planned outings (shopping, spa, the Grand Canyon, Zion Park, Aida, etc.), I spent much of my time at the hotel, hanging out in the Gathering Place or the dining area (no surprise there, right?)

 

The Gathering Place is the hub, the center of all the Founder’s Circle activities. It’s in a large, bright room, with natural light streaming in, full of energy and excitement. There were plenty of sofas and chairs and pillows (all decorated in Designer Series paper designs!—everyone wanted to buy them) to relax on, more treats than anyone could possibly imagine, a My Digital Studio computer corner, and plenty of tables for stamping.

If I wasn’t there, you could probably find me in the nearby dining area. If you went kind of late to breakfast and chatted long enough, you could be first for lunch! (I know, because I did it!).

I was particularly impressed this year with the way demonstrators made new friendships, while playing catch-up with old friends as well. Everyone seemed to be warm and welcoming, whether we were eating, stamping, riding on the bus, whatever. And I loved the opportunity to spend some rare face-to-face time with some of my favorite people in the world!

So that’s my Founder’s Circle report. I’m sure it’s not as detailed as some. I imagine there are a few blogs out there with lots more photos and minute-by-minute happenings! I hope everyone else enjoyed their time in southern Utah as much as I did!

 

 

 

Home at Last

I arrived home from Cincinnati today, tired but happy; the regional was wonderful, as they always are.

We had a full house both days, which was great. Sometimes the Friday sessions don’t fill up, so it was nice to have a big group for both sessions.

Because we were filming this regional for a regional DVD we are going to make available for our demonstrators, there was definitely a little more pressure. When you’re on stage in front of a thousand-plus people, it’s normal to feel a little pressure (you know, hoping you don’t trip or flub up or forget what you’re supposed to be doing). But because we were filming, we had to worry about additional things (strictly staying within our time limits, not referring to anything that was copyrighted or legally off limits for a recorded presentation, etc.).

And because we were filming, we’d actually come in a day early and done a full rehearsal, which is not normally part of our routine either. So by Saturday night, we’d been on our feet (and, of course, I was wearing high heels!) in “performing mode” for three long days, so we were more tired than usual—and my feet hurt!

But it was worth every minute.

Although we didn’t get outside much, the weather was perfect! On Friday, we did go out for dinner (I changed into jeans and flats first) and then, for dessert, visited a well-known ice cream shop that was to die for! Every taster spoon I tried I loved! I can’t even remember which flavor I ended up choosing because they were all so delicious. That was a perfect way to end the evening!

And as always, spending time with our demonstrators was fabulous! I met many new demonstrators, who were attending their first-ever Stampin’ Up! event. I also visited with demonstrators who I have before, and I loved seeing them again.

There were several babies in attendance too. Those who know me know that I love to “borrow” babies for a few minutes, just to get my baby fix. There were more babies yesterday than I could snuggle with, and that’s always fun for me.

I usually post at least one of the projects that I show at regional, but because we filmed this regional, I can’t show my projects (although I will be showing how I use the projects next month when Shanna comes home—hint, hint).

 

 

Instead I thought I’d post photos of some wonderful people. I mentioned in a recent blog that the highlight of my traveling is the people I spend time with—both those who I meet at the event as well as those who I work. If you have to travel, it’s so nice to travel with people that make it fun, rewarding, and professional! Thanks, guys and gals, for all you do!

So it was a great trip to Cincinnati, and although I’m glad to be home at last, I’d do it again in a heartbeat—just give me a little while to recover. . .

The Ultimate Destination

I’m in Cincinnati, Ohio, getting ready for our regional today and tomorrow, and I overheard something on the shuttle from the airport that made me stop and think. Two passengers—an older gentleman and a young woman—had struck up a conversation, and the gentleman mentioned that he traveled quite a bit for work.

“Wow,” the girl replied. “That must be great to travel so much.”

I bit my tongue as the man politely tried to explain that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be—I wanted to jump right in and second everything he was saying and add my own two cents’ worth as well!

I’ve had people mention that they were jealous of my “glamorous” life and they wished they could travel and see all the places I’ve seen. While I’m not complaining by any means, these comments always make me smile.  

When I think back about the many places I’ve been to, my main destinations mostly include airports, hotels, ballrooms, and convention centers. I’ve landed at an airport before and thought, “Ah, I’ve been here before—I remember that kiosk!” And once in awhile I’ll check into a hotel that seems vaguely familiar as well.

I seldom have the opportunity to leave the convention center (can you count the brief walk between the hotel and convention center?), and I’m almost always unaware of the sightseeing spots that are sometimes only a few miles away. We usually wrap up after dark, which limits tourist activities; I usually end up in my hotel room, catching up on work. (I get a lot of work done when I travel because I’m typically alone, with nothing else to do!)

My travels are defined and remembered by the people I am with—Stampin’ Up! employees and demonstrators. I love spending time with the people I work with; we eat together and visit between setting up and rehearsing and presenting and taking down. And I always feel jazzed the night before an event because meeting demonstrators is a highlight.

Who needs to see famous landmarks or buildings or attractions, when you’re rubbing shoulders with some of the neatest people in the whole world! That’s the ultimate destination for me!

 

Cincinnati--Here I Come

I can’t believe I’m heading to Cincinnati in two days for regional! I feel like convention just ended, but I guess that’s been weeks ago! Time flies. . .

I’ve been working on the project that I’m going to show on Friday, and I’m getting excited—partly because I love to show you what I’m working on and partly because this particular projects has to do with Shanna’s homecoming!

I’m also excited to see what you’re bringing to show and share. I know we’re bringing a few loaded display boards, but I also know we’re bringing a bunch of empty display boards too—all waiting for you to fill them up.

One of the highlights of regionals (and all of our events) for me is walking around and checking out the swaps, so I’m excited to see swaps up on the boards this year. Be sure to drop off your swap as early as possible so we can show it on the board!

And I’ll work on getting my project ready so I can show it on stage!