Four work meetings and Josh’s graduation party…

~Thursday~ I had a full day today, which consisted of three official meetings and one unofficial meeting at work.

The first 1.5-hour one was a meeting with suckers a team who is going to pilot a process we’ve been putting together for a couple of months now. Actually, they’re a great team of folks, with whom I’m happy to be working as well as being grateful for their help in working through—what I’m sure will be—kinks in the process.

Next in the day was the unofficial meeting, which was just free lunch (delicious That’s Amore Pizza pizzas!) for anyone who works for my boss’s boss (so about 20 people) who wanted to get together just to chat and enjoy each other’s company over lunch. This was pulled together somewhat in response to all of the turmoil in both our organization (the WolfWise migration debacle) and our university (the Mary Easley-Provost Neilson-Chancellor Oblinger labification), both on Monday of this week.

That turned out to be a very good meeting, and I was happy that during it I brought up my friend and colleague’s posting Our hearts ever hold you, N.C. State, about which I asked Jason if he knew who the “dad” was that wrote the poignant comment posted to the entry.

It turned out to be the father of another friend and colleague, and Jason’s officemate, which was pretty cool. This also led to a heartfelt discussion about allegiance in general to our university.

My second official meeting was after lunch and happened in about half the time than scheduled, which is always good. Access to our building is changing come July 1, 2009, and I was meeting with two folks from the management team to talk about how we’re going to communicate the change.

My final meeting of the day was one put on my calendar at the last minute, but one I ended up being very glad to have attended. It was a “Crises Communication” meeting, with representatives of all of the groups on campus who do communication-type work. The best thing about this meeting was that it opened with our new chancellor addressing the group. General consensus: “He ‘gets’ it,” and one of his mantras (for himself, and asked of us as communicators), “Always answer the intent of the question.”

In the meeting, a PR firm took (about 60 of) us through an exercise, all with regards to the above-mentioned labification, where we listed:

  1. What we know
  2. What we don’t know
  3. What we have control over
  4. What we don’t have control over
  5. Can’t remember this one—It was different than the previous four, though. It was not potential solutions, but whatever it was, very few if any of the things we brainstormed about for 20 minutes fell into that category.

After that, we broke into 10 groups and each created a less-than-five-minute presentation about what we thought the “preferred state” would look like and a few suggested steps to get there.

One of the lead facilitators was a lady named Joyce, and as soon as she was introduced, I thought, “I’ve worked with this woman before.” It wasn’t until near the end of the meeting that I realized that she was contracted to IBM when I was on the communication team then, which was about seventeen years ago! Good lord.

I’d ridden over to that meeting with my boss’s boss, and he was kind enough to drop me off at my house, as it wasn’t far from the place where we’d had the meeting—at the McKimmon Center.

Tonight was my good friend, and fellow Mostly Social Book Club member, Sharon’s graduation party for her son, Josh. It was good food (a catered pig-pickin’ along with a bunch of pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres) and good company. Sharon had a slide show going on their huge-screen TV of Josh—diapers-to-graduation pictures of Josh. (Well mostly. He wasn’t in some of the pics, as Sharon admitted she put the slide show together at the last minute, and at the end just started dumping a couple of picture folders into the slide show.)

Sharon made Josh open his gifts and everyone of his cards (and read them) in front of everyone. You know he loved that. He read my card, which said something to the effect of, “Congratulations, Josh! The book club is proud of you. (I know that means a great deal to you.)” This just dripped of purposeful sarcasm as, though book club is an important part of the book club’s lives, it hardly means anything to the others in our lives! We do realize that!

And just when Josh finished opening his gifts and reading his cards, Sharon made him read a bunch of “comment cards” that she’d placed on a table asking people to write a short memory of Josh over the years. It ended appropriately and poignantly with him reading hers, which said something to the eye-wetting effect of, “I remember when taking you home from the hospital that the gardenias were in bloom and I loved them. And every time I see a gardenia it reminds me of how much I love you.” Pass the tissues, please.

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