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Gardian of the Month: Kate Pojeta

Our Gardian of the Month is Kate Pojeta, Director of Meetings and Technology for Event Garde.

Learn: What's one subject you'd like to learn more about? 

If I think of this from a professional stance, my answer is “facilitation work”. It’s something I did for years without the knowledge that there is so much MORE to how I was trained to perform that work. While the experiences I delivered before being enlightened were adequate for their intended purposes, as I’ve learned more about this work - the process, thinking, methods and strategies - I am more and more intrigued!

Network: How do you help someone not comfortable networking at a professional event loosen up? 

As an introvert and expert at avoiding networking, and at the same time someone that is asked to facilitate networking events, I like to think I help others that are uncomfortable by sharing those honest feelings with people up front, by putting it out there about how awkward networking can be. When facilitating those events, I try to give them an environment and tools for the experience so that it is (hopefully) less awkward.

Transfer: Tell us about an experience in which you learned something new and then applied it to your personal or professional life.

In my work with one particular client, a few years back, I was introduced to the concept of pronouns being used and the importance of that, at a time before it was more widely used. Learning about why those were important helped me both in personal and professional endeavors to provide events and interactions that were inclusive and welcoming. That has catapulted my desire to learn more about gender-based challenges, which has further propelled me to educate myself more on racial, social and educational inequities.

Please share with us a resource and why you can’t live without it.

I love to read and if money was no object, I would buy ALL. THE. BOOKS. However, I don’t tend to re-read books, so it’s not an expense I want to incur nor one that is really necessary, and of course, money is a factor overall, so limitless books is not in my future. I am a frequent visitor to my local library and when their hours were impacted in 2020 by COVID-19, I went in search of inexpensive books. I stumbled upon betterworldbooks.com and it’s like a personal party whenever a box of books arrives! I can save my list of books I want to read, buy most of them at less than $5 per book, and when I buy from them, they donate books on their end of things. When I’m done reading a book, I deposit it in one of the many local “book nooks” or “little library” locations around my city - or I donate back to my library, thus doubling the donation efforts and hopefully introducing someone to a book they might not have found elsewhere!

Just for Fun: Which actor or actress would you most like to meet and why?

Tom Hanks. His breadth of work is so impressive and I’m captivated by so much of what he has produced and acted in. I appreciate his personal sense of humor, his down to earth style, family values, etc.

Gardian of the Month: Andrea Starmer

Our Gardian of the Month is Andrea Starmer! She shares how she might help a wallflower loosen up at a networking event, the way she prepared for the CMP, the resource she can't live without (you probably can't either) and just who's life she'd like to live for one day. 

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Applying Our Understanding of Personal & Social Identities Within Associations

During the pandemic, I was introduced by my colleague to the University of Michigan Inclusive Campus Collaborative which seeks to foster a campus climate in which all community members feel respected, valued, and empowered to engage in the life of the university. Among the resources developed and shared by the Collaborative are two identity wheels, which I’ve found useful in helping association staff, volunteer leaders, and/or members better understand themselves, one another, and how they can improve their interpersonal relationships.

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Are Too Many Meetings Wreaking Havoc on Your Employees’ Mental Health?

Are you have too many meetings and it's causing you (and your team) mental health issues? Find out here.

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A Practical Guide to Stakeholder Mapping & Why It’s Important

There are two primary groups of people involved in your organization’s strategy work: participants and stakeholders. Depending upon their lived experiences, tenure in your industry, engagement with your organization, and a host of other factors, the opinions, insights, and recommendations of your members are going to vary greatly. Want to test it out? Ask a group of 10 members how to solve just about anything and you’re likely to get several dozen suggestions. And that’s because how people see the world, including the blocks and barriers impeding our organizations from achieving their preferred visions, varies.

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Gardian of the Month: Rachel Kuntzsch

Our Gardian of the Month is Rachel Kuntzsch! Check out her tip for balancing work and studying with family time, why the New York Times is her go-to resources and why she feels Spring truly represents her!

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Navigating Difficult Conversations Using Nonviolent Communication

During a recent strategic planning session, participants were working in small groups when Aaron overheard a participant make a comment that didn't sit well with their colleague.  Aaron and his co-facilitator brainstormed a course of action and turned to nonviolent communication.  This is how it went.

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