The Web Never Forgets

I recently read an article called "Think Again Before You Post Online Those Pics Of Your Kids" that made me think. It made me think A LOT about what I have been posting about my family and friends on social media. How many of you have posted a funny video of your kids that might be slightly embarrassing for them, but it is just too good not to share? I know I have. But what I have failed to do is to think about how many will view and share that particular video, and for how long it will be available for anyone and everyone to see.  The carbon footprint, so to speak, that we leave behind of ourselves on social media is there for the public to view forever! That ‘fun’ video you posted of your kids will be on the internet for your kids’ friends to view forever, even when they are teenagers and most likely do not want anyone to see it.

In trying to keep my kids safe, I have always been very concerned with what my kids share on their preferred social media platforms (which, incidentally does NOT include Facebook). I often tell them that what they post will be there for an eternity. I have put down a long list of ‘rules’ of what is okay and what is not okay on their social media; there can be no indecent photos, no bad language, no mean comments, no bullying, no connecting with strangers, no rude comments about myself or their dad, and he and I both have to be a ‘friend’ of theirs, so we can keep tabs on their social media activities. But in all honesty, I haven’t given much thought to the longevity and potential reach of what I post on social media. Of course, I don’t post anything about my kids maliciously, but rather to share what is going on in my life, which includes not only my activities but also those of my kids. My family lives in Europe and it is an easy way for me to connect with them and vice versa for them to see what is going on in my life here. But here is the thing: How do my kids feel about what I post about them on social media? I am embarrassed to say that I have never asked them…

Social media hasn’t been around that long (Facebook started in 2004, about the time when most current middle school students were born,) so it is hard to say how growing up on social media can affect your kids’ privacy and security. However, it’s time to consider the issue seriously. What we as parents post on social media about our kids shape their online image, which is there to stay forever. My daughter turned thirteen in the fall. As any other young teenager, she is concerned with her image and wants to be portrayed in a positive light whether it is on my social media or at school.

After reading that article, we decided that it’s time we sit down with our kids and draw up guidelines for what they are comfortable with being posted on social media. Working together on deciding what to post and what to avoid will create a mutual respect and appreciation, and at the same time teach great social media etiquette. In my household, we have set up a family meeting for this Saturday to make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to posting on our social media.

With that said – Good luck and happy posting!

The Beauty of Instagram Story Design

Instagram stories have grown a lot since its launch, and it has become a wonderful communication tool for everyone. On a platform where it is easy to overwhelm your audience by posting too many photos, stories allow you to convey a lot of messages quickly, but they are creating an even greater opportunity with graphic design. Many stories seen on the platform are more “handmade” with markup style drawings, text and a quickly snapped photo, however a trend of creating beautiful looking stories for companies and bloggers alike has begun.

On Instagram it can often be difficult to bring brand elements to the forefront except with the tones, mood, and general aesthetic of photos posted. Stories are a wonderful way to get followers more familiarized with the brand after only experiencing it on your website or in person. This also helps build trust when audience members interact with other digital platforms, and a good way to increase customer loyalty and potentially conversions. It doesn’t mean that every story posted has to be amazingly designed and planned; there is certainly room for what we often think of as stories, taken in the moment, more playful, or however they are being utilized now.

Some great ways to use well-designed Instagram stories are:

  1. Announcements
  2. Sales
  3. Team/personnel feature
  4. Contests & giveaways
  5. Polls
  6. New Blog Posts

The best part about stories right now is that there are a ton of ready-made Instagram Story templates that anyone with Photoshop can utilize and upload to their phone to post. If that seems a bit out of scope for now, the easiest way to start is to come up with one branded background that has a space to place text, polls, tags etc. that social media managers can just use whenever a more well designed story is called for. Another great benefit is if the account is a verified account or has 10k+ followers, users can swipe up to be taken to links directly without leaving the story, which makes linking to sales or content outside Instagram so much easier.

If you want a great stories template for your account let us know! Here are just a few amazing examples of instagram templates from Creative Market for inspiration:

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Pande

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Onurcan Erdem

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Onurcan Erdem

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Onurcan Erdem

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Onurcan Erdem

 Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Onurcan Erdem

Creative Market - Instagram Stories Pack - Onurcan Erdem

What Does It Mean To “Throw Like A Girl”?

BC is ready to rethink the conversation surrounding hospitality leadership. We invite women to take their seat at the table, whether it be the prep table, bar counter, reservation desk, or boardroom.” - Joanna Jagger, Founder of the BC Women in Hospitality Association.  

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On May 28th, 2018, women from accommodation, food service, and tourism were connected for an evening of networking with an inspiring panel discussion. Empower Her brought together a community of hospitality leaders to expand their network and create meaningful relationships.

A panel of Vancouver’s top female hospitality executives shared inspiring ideas and sparked dialogue about issues that impact women in the workplace. Their perspectives and insights helped inform, inspire, and empower women as we collectively identified ways to accelerate women to senior roles in the hospitality industry.

 Panelists:

  • Meeru Dhalwala, Author, Chef, Co-owner Vij's, Rangoli

  • Arlene Hall, Regional Director of Human Resources, Fairmont

  • Marion Harper Treskin, General Manager of the JW Marriott parq Vancouver & The Douglas

  • Chef Elizabeth Manville, Innovation, Procurement and Quality Control at Cactus Club

  • Claire Smith, Vice President, Sales and Marketing at the Vancouver Convention Centre

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Why Hospitality?

From a Restaurant Hostess seating guests for a meal, to an Event Coordinator planning weddings and events, to a Marketing Manager driving business to hotels in a thriving downtown core, I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for 11 years. I can tell you first-hand that the industry is not as glamorous as one may think. The hours are long, the expectations (from your boss and guests) are extremely high and the pay is often not commensurate.

So why do we do it? I truly believe it takes a special type of individual to pursue a career in hospitality. In an industry that focuses on personal connections, you need someone who enjoys working with people, someone who can think outside the box and someone who can go above and beyond to create a memorable experience.

Having a personal interest and connection in the industry, I recently had the privilege to attend Empower Her, the very first networking event hosted in Vancouver, BC by the BC Women in Hospitality Association. The association provides members with opportunities for networking, mentorship, education, and development.

 The Gender Pay Gap. Discrimination. Work/Life Balance Challenges. Lack of Advancement Opportunities. Retention Challenges. Sexual Harassment. Occupational Gender Segregation. Bias. These topics only scratch the surface in examining the complex landscape for women in hospitality and tourism leadership.

 The BC Women in Hospitality Association was formed to combat these issues. It's time for female industry leaders work to collectively move the dial. Hospitality lags behind other industries in advancing women into senior roles.

Some Key Takeaways:

  1. Imposter Syndrome - There is a psychological phenomenon, known as impostor syndrome, that reflects a belief that you’re an inadequate and incompetent failure. In a study, it was found that a third of millennials experience self-doubt at work, with 40% of women saying they felt intimidated, compared to 22% of men asked. When we break through the noise telling us we are not enough or we cannot do something, we can truly begin to work towards achieving our personal goals.  

  2. Perspective -  There is an age-old dichotomy between feeling and thinking. This dichotomy has been packaged as emotion vs. rationality, and is, of course, highly racialized and gendered. Women feel, men think. This does not mean that a man is better suited to be a leader compared to a woman, or vice versa. Instead of pitting the two traits against the other, remember that a strong leader should possess a balance of both. A good leader is someone who is able to connect and relate and also is someone who can think objectively.

  3. Female Guilt - Why is it so hard for women to have both a career and family? I am someone who has an aspiration to become a supermom one day and I was extremely inspired to learn that several women on the panel are moms themselves. As a woman, there is certainly an innate feeling of expectation to be the primary caretaker for your family. However, in 2018, why do we applaud dads for taking their kids to the park but shame moms for going back to work?

Imagine yourself standing in front of a 6-inch wall. When you are working, you are on one side of the wall. When you become a parent, you step over that wall to care for your child. When you return to work, you step back over that wall again. If you decide to take time off or work part-time, you step over that wall again. That’s all it is. Making a decision that is best for you and your family should not be any more stressful than stepping over a 6-inch wall.  

4. Success and Gender - According to The Castell Project. Analysis of the STR Directory of Hotel & Lodging Companies, 2016, less than 2% of women hold leadership positions in the hotel industry in BC. As of 2016, men have been 10 times more likely to be promoted to the principal/partner or president levels than women, four times more likely to be promoted to the EVP/group president level and more than twice as likely to be promoted to the Senior VP, VP, or district level. Today, women are still pursuing leadership positions built for men. Instead of trying to squeeze yourselves into a mold created for your male counterpart, think about changing the mold to make it fit for a female. Success and gender do not need to be related.

I am so proud to be a part of Thin Pig Media, which was the first company to jump on board as a title sponsor of the BC Women in Hospitality Association. Our team was honored to create the logo and provide graphic design services for the event.

  Logo for Empower Her networking event

Logo for Empower Her networking event

  Logo for the BC Women in Hospitality Association

Logo for the BC Women in Hospitality Association

  Email Banner for Empower Her networking event

Email Banner for Empower Her networking event

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I believe it’s time to rethink the conversation surrounding hospitality leadership. I believe it’s time to empower women to think outside the box and encourage them to break barriers. I believe it’s time to let everyone know that “throwing like a girl” means you’re a bad-a$$ player on the team.

The Value of Jury Duty

2 months ago, the mail slipped through our mail slot like it does everyday. Like everyday, my two dogs charged full-steam to the door and started barking their heads off. Nothing special, just a normal day. Thumbing through the envelopes, it was all the normal stuff - the electric bill, credit card offers, and catalogues addressed to the previous owner of our house. But one letter stuck out. It was from the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office. 

Cut to me to last Wednesday I was actually excited for jury duty. Working from home has a ton of perks, I can’t stress that enough. Working in sweatpants is awesome, need I say more? But it was actually energizing that day to shower, wear non-sweatpants, hop in my car and drive downtown.

When I walked into the jury waiting room there were about 300 potential jurors each wearing a three digit number clipped to their shirt. After about an hour of just waiting, numbers started getting called. 248. 198. 337. 

337? That number sounded familiar. I looked down to the number hanging off my shirt. 337. Wow, third number called. I joined the line in the appropriate order and after another period of waiting, I was led into the court room along with the 75 or so other jurors called. The order in which we were called ended up being important and we filed into the court room in that specific order. The first 12 were led to the jury box. The second 6 sat in the alternate jury area. The other 60 or so sat in the general seating area of the courtroom. 

Yep, I was one of the 12 right off the bat. The jury selection process in and of itself is fascinating. I bet a lot of readers have been through the process, so I will skip ahead to say I was not removed from the 12 and when it was all said and done, I was on the jury.

I’m not going to talk about the case or what the outcome was except to say that after 2 days of opening statements, testimony, evidence, closing statements and deliberation, we the jury did come to a unanimous verdict.

So why am I talking about this on my blog post? Well first of all, last week when I was supposed to be working on my blog post I was on jury duty. Second of all, if you can’t tell from my story I actually was excited to be on jury duty and I think you should be too. Also, Thin Pig is extremely supportive of our employees serving on jury duty, and your company should be too. 

Regardless if you are an employee or an employer, serving on a jury is a sacred duty in our country and should be supported. During one of the many, many periods of waiting during this process, another jury member said, “If you have ever lived in a country that doesn’t have free elections, you would vote in America every single election.” I think there is a similar sentiment to jury duty in the United States. A couple hundred years ago it was a novel and inspiring idea that your peers would decide your fate. A jury by your peers is a fundamental component of American democracy and participation in what is one of the most direct implementations of our Constitution should be exciting.

Unfortunately, jury duty makes some employees nervous. Am I going to get paid from my employer? Am I going to get in trouble? What if the trial goes on for months, will I still have my job?

Thankfully there are federal and state protections for jurors. For instance, in Missouri an employer is prohibited from “discharging, threatening, disciplining, or otherwise taking adverse action against an employee because he or she takes time off to serve on jury duty”. Also, Missouri law “prevents an employer from requiring that an employee take vacation, sick leave, or other paid time off to respond to a jury summons, participate in the jury selection process, or serve on a jury.” 

However in Missouri and other states, an employer is not required to pay an employee for days served on jury duty. For the jury I served on, you received $14 per day for appearing for jury duty and a whopping $18 per day for actually serving on duty. For people who are unable to work because of jury duty, there is no way that $18 per day covers what you lost. And I think that is a bummer. As an employer, I suggest not taking the viewpoint of “well the employee did not work that day, so why would I pay them?” but instead squint your eyes and think about what you did get out of your employee serving on jury duty. 

From first hand experience, I can say that there was a wealth of value gleaned from serving on a jury. Serving on a jury provides a first hand experience with the constitutional values of “Participation, deliberation, fairness, equality, accountability, liberty, and the common good.” I believe that those values directly translate into just about every job. 

For instance, the experience of formal deliberation, 12 jurors in a sealed room working together to unanimously come to a decision that will affect multiple peoples lives, is a skill that translates to any team-based organization where people need to work together to solve problems, compose proposals or even just decide where everyone should go to lunch that day.

The argumentative nature of a courtroom also breeds an awareness of how formulating strong, cohesive arguments can further causes within your organization you champion. Understanding how evidence can either benefit or denigrate your position can easily be applied to the professional workspace. 

In conclusion, I personally relished the opportunity to see American democracy in action from the jury box, and the insights gained will absolutely influence in a positive way my work performance. I hope employers will take a cue from Thin Pig Media and view jury duty as not only a solemn civic duty, but also a unique opportunity for the professional development of their employees.