Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Before moving to Palm Springs, friends had said, “Kath, you have to come down here and go to garage sales with us”. While I liked garage sales, it wasn’t high on my agenda to fly to Palm Springs and get up early Saturday morning.

Okay, I am hooked. Let me explain. Friday’s paper lists the garage sales in the Palm Springs area. If you wanted to branch out and go to other parts of the Coachella Valley, there are many more listed for other areas. Normal starting time is 7:00 and ending at 1:00-2:00 p.m. – remember it gets warm here in the afternoon.

Our routine is to meet at my friend’s house at 8:00 a.m. She has a car that will hold lots of “stuff”. Normally, there are three of us. With cash in our wallets and the route researched by our friend, we head out.

Invariably, on the way to the designated first stop, we see signs for still another garage sales. We pile out and check out the “stuff”. Yup, one of us will find something and then it is back into the car…..where we find still another garage sale before we get to our goal.

Last week, we went to a gated community that was opening its’ gates for garage sales. We learned this is a once year occurrence and since it was high-end homes we were convinced we would find treasures.

Within the gated community I found at first stop:

New toaster for $3
A folding wooden white chair like they use at weddings $3 (Looks great on my casita deck)
A glass cutting board with art design $1
New dishtowels for $.25
Foot stool for $1

Second stop:

I wonderful cloth tablecloth for $3 (Ironically, the woman was moving back to Washington State)

Third stop:

White icicle lights for my girlfriend’s house --they will probably wrap around ½ of her house. $8

Fourth stop:

The most amazing black leather sofa with not a flaw $160
A dining room, solid wood, with six great chairs $360

No I didn’t buy them….but boy did I try to figure out “why” I might need them.

I trust I have painted a picture for you—garage sales here --- ANYTHING you need can be found at a fraction of the new cost. Imagine what it is for sale when the snowbirds leave in the spring?

Oh, I forgot….look at the sky in the picture that I have with this blog….How could I not get up early on Saturday morning?


When you are thinking you are not accomplishing much in your day, start an activities page. Write down what things you have touched that day. I do believe you will be surprised at how much you actually have accomplished.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


There is not a person in the world that knows everything about every subject. Yet, we have all run into a person that has an opinion or feels he is an authority on any subject that may come up in a conversation. The trick is finding a person that has a background in the area for which you are seeking advice.

This week I had the opportunity to have breakfast with a man who was a capital fundraiser for a major University. (He is now retired) I am working out some dynamics for working with non-profits for my current project, Palm Springs Wild WestFest http://www.palmspringswestfest.com.

I said “This is the issue, what would you do?”

He methodically explained his approach. I listened closely for I respected this man and the years of real experience working in the field. During the course of the conversation, my colleague arrived for a cup of coffee. He was able to hear the “why” the approach was sound from someone else other than me.

Once the retired fundraiser had explained his approach, I talked to him about my findings, which matched his advice completely. He smiled and said, “Kathy you did something really well. You did not tell me what you had decided, instead you asked for my advice. You didn’t put me in the position of having to tell you your approach was all wrong.”

As I drove away, I smiled. What a nice compliment. I realized that my business communication skills had automatically kicked in. If you ask for advice, listen first.


When you are going to be working on a project for any length of time, be sure you subscribe to the local newspaper before you arrive. You will learn the issues facing the community. In addition, you will learn about the restaurants and even activities that you might want to put on your calendar.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


My friend, Kim, was on a mission. She needed new merchandise for her stores called “Mario’s of Palm Springs”. http://www.mariosofpalmsprings.com We left Palm Springs, coffee in hand, and settled in for the two-hour drive to the garment district.

She had made this trip many times, so I sat back and enjoyed the scenery. This was the first time I had gone to Los Angeles without being the one to drive. It was interesting watching the temperature change, first warm, then cooler and windier, and then just pleasant as we parked the car.

Kim was on a mission. She knew exactly what stores she wanted to visit. As we entered the first one, the owner greeted her with a big smile. There I was standing among hundreds of garments. You want a slinky tank top? Imagine seeing hundreds of them (all different sizes) hanging together. Color? Your choice of probably about 10 different colors. Of course, there were matching skirts, slacks and jackets.

While Kim was putting together an order, I looked at things with a new eye. I discovered a couple of things that I thought would be great for her store. She looked at them and said, “I believe you are right. Good we’ll add that!” It seems we were working pretty well as a team.

Now the hunt was on for a stylish sweater. We headed to a store around the corner. Once again, the owner greeted with her a smile. It was interesting to watch the interaction—he was showing her new things and “why” he thought they would be good for her store. There it was the perfect sweater. She added them in three colors to her order.

Next stop, a jewelry store. As many of you know, I am always on the hunt for unusual jewelry. Kim sells a great deal of jewelry and her supply had been diminished. In addition, all of a sudden she was getting requests for pins.

Now let’s talk about jewelry. Imagine a store entirely full of costume jewelry. Earrings were arranged by color….thank goodness. (Interesting to note, I have wanted red, longer earrings and even here, there were only a couple of pair in the deep Christmas red).

Kim grabbed a basket and was able to move through the aisle at a great speed. I was so overwhelmed by the selections, I spent my time just looking and marveling at the wide-range of colors and styles.

Next stop, scarves. Yes, I know I am in a warm climate. Remember her clients come down here from cold places and they will be looking for holiday gifts. Let’s see what color of scarf would you like? How wide? What kind of fabric?

I looked at scarves that are perfect to serve as blankets and pillows on airplanes. Kim hadn’t thought of that as a selling point, so again our two minds working together were coming up with some new ideas.

As we walked out of the last store, and put many of the purchases in the car (Many of her purchases had to be shipped). I was feeling overwhelmed. On the other hand, Kim was full of energy and pleased about how the morning had gone.
As an Executive Coach, it was great to see Kim flourishing and energetic in her chosen profession.


If a person spends any amount his/her business time giving you some advice, send him a handwritten note. You are honoring him and his time. Trust me you’ll will be remembered with a smile.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Vetting Defined: Formal and thorough examination prior to grant of approval or clearance.

Words don’t cost anything. People can say anything they want—it is a free country. As a businessperson, you are judged by the company you keep. It is in your best interest to do your own due diligence before you enter into a contract with someone.

Some steps to consider:

Ask for a resume. Yes, I know many people do not have one. However, many people of prominence do have resumes. A resume provides a great deal of useful information. Often you may be surprised that you may have even more in common than you thought.

Ask people in the same field for their opinion of the person. Yes, it will/can be biased; yet, if you are good at reading body language there is much to learn from their peers.

Ask the person if there anything in is his background that you should know.

Ask at least one other person to accompany you on the final interview. I suggest you have one man and one woman interview the person. (I am a big believer that men and women make a great team because they think differently.)


Before doing business with anyone, be sure to Google his or her name.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Now that I am living in Palm Springs working on the Palm Springs West Fest http://www.palmspringswestfest.com, I am in within easy driving range of a number of interesting destinations. Since it was August and the new Ellen season was approaching, I went to her website http://www.ellendegeneres.com to see if there were any tickets available. My friend, Kim, who I wanted to take with me, has Tuesday and Thursday off so I aimed for one of those two days of the week.

October 7th and 8th were available, so I choose the 7th. I used my Washington address feeling that might give me a leg up on tickets. Two days later, I got a call from her office asking if I would be able to go on the 8th instead for we would be guaranteed tickets instead of being on the Stand-by list. No problem.

Two weeks before the date, the letter arrived. Interesting, it said to wear “nice casual”, no Ellen logos, or logos of any kind and no matching shirts and no flip-flops. Anyone who has seen Ellen have people in some of the games knows why.

We arrived at the assigned time 1:30 p.m. and were given a number. We were 20 and d 21 and as we suspected it meant the order you entered the studio. After sitting in a non-descriptive holding area for 2 hours --- they showed the Ellen show that was on TV that day. We learned the staff was watching us like a hawk and chose 15 people to go a trailer. These 15 people were the ones that were being considered to play the game.

We were ushered into the Riff Raff Room—quite the impressive place, that also houses the Ellen Store that was stocked with things to support Breast Cancer. We were there for about 15 minutes and then Kim and I were ushered in – front and center five rows back.

The set is exactly as you see on TV – really beautiful and no fake walks. Tony was the first one to come out AND he looks exactly like he does when we see him on TV. A crew member was excellent at presenting the rules and explaining what was going to happen. He led us all into lively dance routines. We were pepped up to welcome Ellen.

She came out and much to our great joy, not only did Ellen look as we expected, her personality radiated throughout the room. She took the microphone and talked directly to the audience after the taping was done.


If anyone thinks a talk show host job is easy, think again. We watched Ellen change topics with each guest. She was phenomenal with a nine-year old who is sure to be a singing sensation for years to come.

During commercial breaks, she talked with the guests until a staff member urged her to move on. Then it was on to directions for the next segment. She was constantly on for the entire hour, and all the while, her famous smile was there. We also commented on how nice her staff was to everyone. Not the slightest hint of frustration and always smiles. Terrific customer service.

At the end of the show, we were told we could pick up our gifts: A CD from Joe Perry of Arrowsmith, IHome earphones/speaker for our computer, an accessory kit for the new Netbooks, and a new game “Bop” that taking the country by storm.

We went out the backdoor and hopped the cart to the Warner Brothers' gift shop and coffee shop. A word of warning when you go to tapings, be sure to take a sweater, it is freezing in there. Coffee warmed us up and then we marveled at seeing so much “stuff” related to TV shows that we were familiar with over the years.

The cart was waiting for us to take back to the entrance…the guide was terrific and drove us by many studio stages…one that sticks out is where the Mentalist is filmed. Alas, they were out on location for a shoot.

On the two hour drive home back to Palm Springs, Kim and I finally had time to talk about the day. The best way to sum it up is “There were no disappointments. It was day of relaxing, and learning how television tapings are done.”

PS We watched the show the next day on television. The only glimpse of us was the back of our heads at the beginning of the show—stardom obviously was not to be this time.


Networking means you are ALWAYS on your best behavior. You never know when the person you just met will become a big help in our profession or an opportunity to develop a new friendship.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


You are having coffee with Rae and she says, “You really should meet, Frank Brown.” Instead of letting the statement go, write the name down. It is unlikely Rae will have Frank’s contact information with her, yet you have captured a name.

Once you are back in the office, send Rae a note and ask for Frank’s contact information. This illustrates:

You were listening closely.

You are honoring Rae’s advice.

Once you have followed up with Frank, send a note to Rae. Let her know what happened because of you got in touch with one of her referrals.


Make sure to add referral names to your contact list. Include a note from whom you received the name.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Working and living in Palm Springs since August has brought some interesting insights and reminders about how varied the United States is in form of geography, climate, and social norms. Even though I have traveled a great deal, the past two month have served as reminder about how much I do not know.

The Coachella Valley is a desert. Lawns are mostly white gravel and mountains surrounding the valley are barren and reflect the sun at various stages during the day. No matter how often you look up at the surrounding mountains, you cannot help but be in awe. The street that follows the edge of the airport gives one a majestic view of mountains on both sides of the valley. I take it as often as possible.

Last week I was to present at a formal meeting of the General Managers of the major resorts in the area an update on the Palm Springs Wild West Fest http://www.palmspringswestfest.com

I met my colleague in the lobby of The Parker Palm Springs http://www.theparkerpalmsprings.com When he saw me he said; “Now you got it, the Palm Springs look.” He was referring to my outfit that was flowing, classy and business-like. Quite different then my customary Northwest business attire that is fitted, much more conservative, though always contains a splash of color.

We were directed to the site of the 8:00 a.m. meeting. It was a beautiful morning. I was “surprised” to see that it was entirely outside. The patio was beautiful and surrounding gardens served as an outstanding backdrop.

Upon reflection, I have to laugh; of course, they hold meetings outside all the time in Palm Springs. My mind had not switched to the fact that I was in Palm Springs in October not the Pacific Northwest. In fact, now that the summer heat is behind us, apparently, people pretty much live outside.

This is an interesting assignment and with great anticipation, I welcome each day and marvel at how much I can learn by keeping my eyes and ears open.


It is proven that men and women’s brains are different. Men think to talk. Women talk to think.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


Many years ago a retire Army General told me one of his favorite ways to keep organized. He labeled file folders 1-31 and kept them in the bottom drawer of his desk. He started his day by pulling out the folder. In it were reminders of items that he was to follow up on that day.

When you are meeting people, often they will say, “Would you call me after the 8th? “ I make a quick note on my notepad “Call Jim after the 8”. That note goes into the file #9.

Personally, I would rather make the note on a hard copy. I find it distracting when someone pulls out his Smartphone while we are in the middle of a conversation, scrolls to his calendar and then enters the information. Personal interaction is becoming more and more valued. I would rather save that time for real interaction.

The folders also serve a depository for your airline tickets, theatre tickets and that all -important jazz concert. No more wondering where you put them.


Pick up the phone and make an appointment with someone you would like to get to know better. Suggest a coffee spot near her office so she can have a break from her routine.