Author Archives: Melissa Robaina

Melissa Robaina

About Melissa Robaina

Melissa Robaina, MBA is an Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator and Consultant for the Company of Experts. For the last few years, Melissa has worked for the Company as a content creator and has collaborated with numerous subject matter experts around the world researching, organizing, and writing material that nurtures discussion and is applicable to today’s rapidly changing environment. Melissa has an interest in adult learning theory and is passionate about coordinating, developing, and facilitating transformation solutions in all human systems. Melissa has also co-facilitated Company of Experts offerings related to Change, Paradigm Shifts and Online offerings.

New Beginnings for Natalie Aisoff

Today is a big day for all that have worked, interfaced, had a conversation, or requested information from Natalie Aisoff.  Natalie is leaving the Company of Experts to be closer to family in Arizona. We wish her success, good wishes and happiness in everything she does.

Since the Company of Experts was purchased by Jim Pulliam and Kathy Becker in 2005, Natalie has been a mainstay of the organization. Her never ending smile, friendly and comforting voice, mixed with a willingness and interest in assisting others are attributes we shall miss. One of the most important values for service is, did the individual make a difference for others in their journey? Without hesitation, Natalie Aisoff made a “difference”.

Natalie, in turning the page, enjoy the journey.

We welcome you to sign Natalie’s virtual “Card” via the discussion threads found on the Company of Experts’ Facebook page.

COE Celebrates Earth Day 2011

Heather Henson (left) and Melissa Robaina (right) are all smiles as they partake in a local cleanup in celebration of Earth Day

On April 22, 1970 over 20 million Americans rallied in the streets, parks, schools, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. According to earthday.net, “Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values”. That day in 1970 is one to remember. As a result of everyone’s efforts, Congress enacted the United States Environmental Protection Agency in addition to passing the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.

Company of Experts got down and dirty in celebration of Earth Day. The Company’s Social Marketing Director, Melissa Robaina, along with their student intern, Heather Henson, joined Get Outdoors Nevada – an interagency volunteer program – in its fight to preserve the desert ecosystem. Together they spent hours picking up trash in a remote area east of the Las Vegas strip that is often used for illegal dumping. More than thirty volunteers from around the Las Vegas area joined the cleanup efforts in order to restore the desert landscape to its beautiful, well-kept state.

When asked to reflect about the cleanup event Melissa replied, “This experience has been humbling and has ignited my desire to find additional ways to ‘go green’. I am very thankful to work for the Company of Experts’ whose principles not only value the people we serve, but the world for which sustains us all.” Heather’s response was brief and to the point, “Life is a garden, dig it.”

What’s Behind the Shine?

Everyone likes a clean home, but few of us like the chore of cleaning. Even worse, we often rely on a cocktail of hazardous substances to make our bathrooms sparkle or our floors shine. Dishwashing detergents often contain phosphates that pollute the groundwater; wood polish generally contains flammable toxins like nitrobenzene; and laundry detergent may contain bleach and other corrosives. We lock these compounds away in closets or under the sink to keep them from our children-but we often don’t consider what they may be doing to our own bodies.

Even as they help us pick up dirt and dust, many modern cleaners irritate our skin, eyes, and lungs. They can also leave toxic residues or pollute the water when we rinse them down the drain. But keeping our homes clean and avoiding toxic cleaners don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Several companies now produce “green” cleaners that avoid ingredients that are toxic or don’t biodegrade. Green cleaners can also be made from a range of safer substances we might already have around the house. If you are interested in making your own organic cleaning products? If so, WorldWatch.org lists several household items that can be used to clean different surfaces throughout your home, click here to learn more.

Congratulations to Lane Glenn, the new president of Northern Essex Community College

This is one of those warm and fuzzy stories of success that we just love to share. For those of you in higher education and/or if you have participated in our Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator Training, you may know Lane Glenn. Lane has been an Expert of Call and AIFT Trainer/Facilitator for years. He is one of those people that truly stands out in a crowd. He is fun, energetic, optimistic and cares about people and helping them find the best in themselves. The kind of person you know will do terrific work in whatever he does and where ever he goes.

With pleasure, we send this public congratulations to Dr. Lane Glenn as the new president of Northern Essex Community College. Lane will be serving NECC after the long tenure of a fine college president David Hartleb, who will retire this coming June.

We welcome you to sign Lane’s virtual “Congratulations Card” via the discussion threads found on the Company of Experts’ Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

Changing Education Paradigms

Description:

This animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin award.

Resources:

Robinson, S. K. (2010, October 14). Changing Education Paradigms . YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. Retrieved October 21, 2010, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U

Keeping your Pets Safe on Halloween

Hallie, Company of Experts' #1 fan, showing off her Halloween costume

Attention all pet owners! Halloween is just around the corner which means strange people wearing costumes, loud noises, lit candles, candy and candy wrappers, in addition to other temptations. While Halloween may be a fun time you and your loved ones, the change in routine, decorations, and smells can often stress out our little furry friends. As avid animal lovers, the Company of Experts’ staff would like to share some tips that can help avoid injury, reduce stress experienced by your pet, and ultimately keep your pets safe.

  1. Noises: Halloween is full of loud noises. Your doorbell is constantly ringing with trick-or-treaters, who are laughing and screaming with excitement, that can frighten your pet. It is suggested that all family pets are kept inside a quiet room within the house, during trick-or-treating hours, where they are insulated from the Halloween commotion. Equip this room with food, water, toys, and a litter box, if applicable. Check in on your pets throughout the night and let them know that everything is fine and reward them for their good behavior.
  2. Walk early: If you have a daily routine of walking your pet, make sure to walk your pet before it gets too dark, and before the trick-or-treaters are out in full force. Some kids may already by trick-or-treating, make sure to keep a firm grip on your pet’s leash as many dogs are frightened by people in costumes.
  3. Strange people in costumes: People of all ages have fun dressing up in costumes, however to your dog or cat, they may not look like people at all. Consequently, your dog or cat may react with fear or aggression if approached by a child or adult in a costume (one more reason to leave your pet home and indoors on Halloween night). Even the friendliest dog can snap at strangers if scared or provoked. Protect everybody’s safety by leaving pets at home. However, if you do decide to take your dog out on Halloween, keep your dog on a shorter-then-normal leash with a firm grip.
  4. Pet Costumes: If you do decide to dress up your pet, make sure its costume is not constricting, annoying, or unsafe. Your pet’s costume should not impede your pet’s ability to move, see, hear, breath, bark or meow. Examine your pet’s costume carefully to make sure it does not have small, dangling, or easily chewed off pieces that your pet can choke on. Have your pet try on their costume before the  big night. If your pet seems distressed, irritated or demonstrates allergic behavior, remove the costume immediately. Do not force your pet to wear a costume if it demonstrates discomfort. Undue stress and discomfort can cause aggression in even the nicest pet.
  5. Trick-NO-Treats: No matter how much your pet begs for a piece of candy, the bowl full of candy is only for trick-or-treaters. Explain to everyone in your home (including children) how dangerous candy, especially chocolate, are to pets. For younger children, take their Halloween candy supply put it somewhere out of reach of pets. According to the ASPCA:
    1. Chocolate in all forms—especially dark or baking chocolate—can be very dangerous for dogs and cats. Symptoms of significant chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, increased thirst, urination and heart rate—and even seizures.
    2. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol sweetener can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar, which leads to depression, lack of coordination and seizures. In cases of significantly low blood sugar, liver failure has been known to occur.
  6. Pick up the evidence: After enjoying some Halloween candy, it is important that you dispose of candy wrappers before your pets get to them. Make sure your pet can’t get into the trash. Swallowing tin foil or cellophane candy wrappers can be as harmful as the candy – potentially causing your pet to choke or experience intestinal blockage.
  7. Pumpkins: It is fun to adorn the house and yard with festive decorations such as pumpkins and corn. These popular holiday plants are considered to be relatively nontoxic to your pets; however, caution should still be exerted. Pumpkins and corn can produce gastrointestinal upset should your pets ingest them. Intestinal blockage can also occur if large pieces/portions are swallowed.
  8. Candles: While a jack-o-lantern is festive, it is important that you exercise extreme caution when choosing to add a candle. Animals are curious by nature and often investigate items that intrigue them. Lit candles left burning in pumpkins or decorative holders can be easily knocked over; burning your pet’s paw, wing, or tail on the flame. Animals should be watched around candles during Halloween and anytime of the year.
  9. Mischief Brews: It is suggested that you do not leave pets outside on Halloween night. Many animal welfare groups warn that pranksters will tease or abduct pets, some may even try to hurt your animals. Animal abuse happens everyday but kids are out playing tricks in full force on Halloween night, so be aware. Again, it is suggested to keep all animals indoors on Halloween night, if possible, to eliminate any chance of this.
  10. Update ID Tags: It is better to be safe than sorry. Whether you are letting your pet go out on Halloween or not, make sure they are wearing an up-to-date I.D. tag. If for any reason your pet escapes or becomes lost, a collar, tag and/or a microchip can increase the chances that your pet will be returned to you.

Fun Halloween Word Search

This word search features a variety of words associated with Halloween. There are 33 words to find. Play alone or with loved ones ~ Happy Halloween from the Company of Experts’ staff.

To Play:

  1. When you find a word, click on the first letter and then the last letter of the word you found.
  2. The word will highlight and flash red if it is an incorrect answer.
  3. If you correctly found the word, it will flash green and the word will be crossed off.
  4. Continue until all words have been found.
Make Your Own Word Search

Tomorrow’s Cities

Tomorrow’s Cities from Luke Younge on Vimeo.

“Tomorrow’s Cities”, a succinct and inspiring film (15 minutes long), presents a compelling and easy to understand account of the major developmental challenges facing our cities in South Africa and more broadly cities of the global south. Framed within these challenges, the film unfolds a vision, through the voice of a school child and exciting use of animation, and proposes practical solutions towards achieving breathable, sustainable, equitable and low carbon urban futures.

The film is intended as a learning tool to raise discussion and awareness and ultimately inspire action toward the development of sustainable and equitable, low carbon cities.

Source:

Younge, Luke. “Tomorrow’s Cities.” Vimeo, Video Sharing For You. N.p., 7 Jan. 2010. Web. 8 July 2010. <http://vimeo.com/8030989>.

CNAQ Strategic Planning Process (Phase 1)

A brief overview of Phase 1 of the CNAQ Strategic Planning process using Appreciative Inquiry.

Source:

hfriesen123. “CNAQ Strategic Planning (Phase 1) overview.” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. . N.p., 29 June 2010. Web. 8 July 2010. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofl0GmnnoYI>.