Getting Ahead By Giving Back…

In the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight two amazing organizations I have the pleasure of serving. Last year, I realized I was missing the “giving back” piece to my business, so I set out to engage in the community with organizations that would allow me to truly get entrenched with their mission, and service to others.  It has been life changing to be involved with both Voices for Children as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and the San Diego Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team.

mlk-day-2014

As a CASA, I have been assigned a sibling group of four dynamic young women who have been in and out of the foster care system. My role as the CASA is to interact with these girls and to advocate on their behalf to the judge and attorneys assigned to their case. So often, when kids enter the foster care system, adults make all of the decisions, but little attention is paid to what is best or the true desire of the child. CASA’s are solely focused on the children. I have had the pleasure of getting to know these four girls and to help them to navigate the foster and court system. Far too many children become lost in the foster care system, due to their parents inability to truly parent. It’s a system that is very broken and often impersonal due to heavy case loads for the social workers and the attorneys. As the “grown ups” spend hours trying to come to a settlement in the case, I have the fortune of engaging with the girls on a very personal level. I visit with them monthly, and check in on them frequently. In our outings we enjoy lunch, shopping or even a visit to the dog park. The outings don’t have to be fancy; they just have to be interactive so I can get to really know the girls. When children are showered with love, they bloom in very dynamic and wonderful ways. To learn more about Voices for Children, please visit http://www.SpeakUpNow.org.

As a Crisis Interventionist with the San Diego Police Department, I have been exposed to a wonderful community of dedicated volunteers who are the silent heroes in our neighborhoods. A Crisis Interventionist is requested by a police officer when he or she arrives on a scene and finds a trauma. Most often this is due to a death, missing child or natural disaster. The officer will ask the family or victims if they could benefit from additional support and resources in the midst of the crisis. An Interventionist is dispatched and we arrive on scene to provide resources and emotional support to the victims. We often encounter the deceased on scene, and help the family to navigate the process of selecting a mortuary, notifying other relatives, and offering resources. The work can be very emotional because you are meeting people in their most vulnerable moments, but it is also incredibly rewarding because you are bringing sanity to a situation that makes no sense. The SDPD pioneered that CI program over 20 years ago, and it is now recognized as a model across the country. Research shows that victims are able to heal quicker when they receive immediate support from an interventionist.

I often get asked “how can you see so many dead bodies and not get bothered?” and the answer is quite simple. The deceased is not our focus; instead we are there to support the family and to help them with the overwhelming logistics that ensue when a loved one dies. I leave every scene grateful for my own family, and for the privilege of being welcomed into the home of strangers in their weakest moments. To learn more about the SDPD Crisis Interventionist program, please visit…http://www.sandiego.gov/police/recruiting/volunteer.shtml#crisis and watch: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Volunteers-Sought-for-San-Diego-Police-Department-Crisis-Intervention-Team-SDPD-288609021.html

Where are you volunteering? Drop your comment below!

Ms. Henley’s Must Haves for Kids!

Our list of Ms. Henley’s Must Have’s for the holidays continues with today’s focus on the kiddos!

Kids Gift Guide

  1. What teen girl wouldn’t love the best in lips, lashes and shadows? We love this Smash Box Art. Love. Color. Studio Set as a fun stocking stuffer!
  2. We’ve all grown up playing Monopoly but we can’t get enough of this personalized game board. Add your favorite family pictures to customize this childhood favorite!
  3. A super cute set of PJ’s and a corresponding book, like “Dinosaurs Love Tacos” makes bedtime fun! Books to Bed
  4. It’s never too early to start teaching the art of grooming! This father-son set of razors by Harry’s will create fun memories for both the boys in your life!
  5. From scrunchies to hair ties, these fun accessories by Invisibobble will make every pony tail pop!

Have a gift you think should be included on Ms. Henley’s list? Tweet us at @henleyco or IG @MsHenleyCo and use the hashtag #mshenleymusthaves

 

Ms. Henley’s Must Have Gifts…Men

Men's Gift Guide

 

Yesterday, we focused on the must-have gifts for the women in your life; today it’s all about the men! Ms. Henley has curated the best of the best for the guy you love!

  1. Give the gift of organization! We love Pine Cone Homes charging station that combines functionality and style.
  2. Converse has taken their classic sneaker to the next level with these Chuck Taylor All Stars. It’s the dressed up sneaker you’ll approve of!
  3. Nothing sexier than a man in a perfectly fitting sweater! We adore this timeless half-zip pullover by Polo Ralph Lauren. Paired with the Chuck Taylor All Stars and your guy becomes a style monster!
  4. Plaid is all the rage these days! An easy way for your man to stay on trend is to incorporate plaid into his accessories. We love this pop of color on the Timex Expedition.
  5. A monogrammed beer holder with bottle opener, by Cathy’s Concepts, makes for the perfect gift for your beer lover or home brewing fan!

Have a gift you think should be included on Ms. Henley’s list? Tweet us at @henleyco or IG @MsHenleyCo and use the hashtag #mshenleymusthaves

Ms. Henley’s 2015 Gift Guide…Women

Women's Gift Guide

 

Tis the season for all things gifting and giving! To help you with your last minute shopping, Ms. Henley, the ambassador for The Henley Co., has put together her favorite must-have’s for the woman in your life.  #mshenleymusthaves

  1. If you’ve been hanging out with anyone under the age of 18, you know there has been a lot of dancing and singing of “Now watch me whip…watch me nay nay” going on! This grown up version, by Skreened, allows women to get the last laugh!
  2. Who wouldn’t want this cheeky desk accessory to bring a little spunk to her work station? We  would love to personalize our space with this unexpected pencil holder by LennyMud.
  3. The layered necklace never goes out of style, and this little gem, from Charming Charlie, is not only ridiculously affordable but also easy to take from day into night.
  4. For the woman who has everything, customize a pair of Nike running shoes. You get to pick the color, the style and the personalized monograms that will make these Nike’s worthy of hitting the streets or just looking adorable at your local coffee house. Be original by customizing.
  5. Let there be peace on earth, and in your closet! Share peace wherever you go, while looking adorable this winter in a cozy sweater by Gap.

Have a gift you think should be included on Ms. Henley’s list? Tweet us at @henleyco or IG @MsHenleyCo and use the hashtag #mshenleymusthaves

Here’s the Dirty Little Secret…

…No one is actually working an 8-hour work day!

feet on deskIf you are reading this article, it’s more than likely between the hours of 9-5 and you are sitting at your desk (which is owned by the company), reading this on your computer (which the company provides) and taking a “break” from your “demanding” work (which the company pays you to do). From the outside, you look busy because your eyes are aimed at the screen. This should make your manager happy. The reality is that this virtual “smoke break” will not be just the standard 15-minute break from your workload. Instead, it will morph into 2.09 hours per 8-hour workday, not including your lunch break or allocated break time, according to American Online and Survey.com [1] That’s 2.09 hours PER employee. Now multiply that by the number of employees you see in your immediate eyesight and you realize that there is a whole lot of nothing being done each day. The research by American Online and Survey.com has shined a bright light on the fact that employees are wasting twice as much time as their employers think they are wasting. And to really add salt to the employer’s wounds, Salary.com ran the numbers and found over $750 Billion (yes, with a B!) is spent on salaries (translation= compensation for actual work) for work that was never performed. Who’s pulling a fast one on whom?

Now before the employees start muzzling me for exposing the dirty little secret, it’s important to take a look at why they are spending so much time sitting at their desks without actually producing any relevant work for their employers. Given the current economic climate, it’s easy to justify the feeling of burnout most employees are experiencing and the overwhelming inability to manage work / life balance.

53% of employees would opt for a personal assistant rather than a personal trainer. [2]

Only 14% of Americans take two weeks or more at a time for vacation. The average American spends more time in the bathroom than on vacation. [3]

88% of employees say they have a hard time juggling work and life. [4]

70% of working fathers and working mothers report they don’t have enough time for their children. [5]

64% of Americans report that time pressures on working families are getting worse, not better. [6]

Work is inevitable but does it mean we have to give up our personal life for the sake of a paycheck? Not at all. It just means that employers should recognize that work / life balance is a huge motivator for employees. So if you can’t beat ‘em, why not join ‘em? A corporate concierge program can bring sanity to an otherwise scattered workplace filled with unsuspecting managers overseeing unproductive workers.

Texas Instruments is a perfect example of a company that understands happy, stress-free employees make for profitable champions for the business. According to the Texas Instruments website, in 2010, their concierge program served more than 2,900 U.S. employees and fulfilled more than 8,000 requests. They also expanded on-site services, providing 1,276 employees an opportunity to save a trip away from the work site during business hours. [7]

Implementing a corporate concierge program equates to:

  • The ability to retain and recruit quality talent
  • A far more productive and engaged workforce
  • A reduction in absenteeism
  • A lower level of stress within the workplace

Corporate concierge programs can be operated either virtually, with employees having access to the concierge through email or a dedicated website, or on-site, where employees can interact with the concierge in a face-to-face engagement. The concierge is retained to provide a solution to the employee’s work/life balance problem.

Frequent requests include:

  • travel coordination
  • errand running,
  • household management
  • personal shopping
  • personal assistance and
  • event planning

Imagine stopping by the concierge desk in the morning on your way into work with a request for designing and planning tonight’s dinner party; only to leave the office 8 hours later armed with the necessary groceries, a customized cd for background music, a paired wine selection and personalized favors for each guest. A corporate concierge becomes the one-stop solution for the time strapped employees. Without a concierge, the employee must manage this to-do list from their own desk and their lunch hour is spent running the errands.

As the workforce begins to shift from retiring Baby Boomers to Generation X & Y prodigies, employers need to evolve. What worked “back in the day” in terms of designing a workplace is completely foreign to today’s up and comers. Gen X & Y demand instant gratification because they have grown up in a world of access.

Although this might seem extravagant to those over the age of 45, the “children are the future.” (cue Whitney Houston).  I think this is what Darwin would call “survival of the fittest.” The strongest employee benefits package will become King of the Jungle. If you don’t make their life easier, I’m sure your competitor would be glad to invite them over. Now is the time to be a trailblazer and create a workplace that can be a place for a Gen X / Y’er to park themselves for a while because their work/life balance needs are met, versus just being a hop, skip and a jump on their resume.

Check Your Passport! Is It Ready for Your Next Trip?

Passport-Renewal

There is nothing worse than getting ready to take an international trip only to realize your passport has expired! Since we are still fresh into 2015, it provides a great opportunity for you to pull out your passport and make sure your ticket to the world is ready for your next adventure! You must renew your passport a minimum of 6-months before the expiration date.

According to the US Department of State, you can renew your passport if:

Your Most Recent U.S. Passport:

  • Is undamaged and can be submitted with your application;
  • Was issued when you were age 16 or older;
  • Was issued within the last 15 years; and
  • Was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change with original or certified copy of your marriage certificate or the government-issued document evidencing your legal name change

If you need to apply for your first passport, you can do so by mail by filling out Form DS-82.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a passport since I was a toddler. It is the vehicle that allows me to become a global citizen, and a gift that keeps on giving!

It’s a big world out there – go experience it!

 

Top 15 Places to Go in 2015: Cuba, Helsinki, Cape Town – Condé Nast Traveler

I’ve been spinning my globe trying to figure out where my travels will take me this year. So far Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Italy seem to be topping the list. We are Condé Nast Traveler evangelists, so when they give us their top 15 places to go in 2015, we pay attention!

Top 15 Places to Go in 2015: Cuba, Helsinki, Cape Town – Condé Nast Traveler.

What do you think of their list? Any places you would add? Our travel concierge are currently helping clients to get to far reaching places around the world. Where’s your next great adventure going to take you?

See you at an airport near you!