Tuesday, August 23, 2011

#NexusCafe Twitter Chat at the Indiana State Fair

I started a Twitter chat for digital marketers through my work Twitter account last year as an experiment to highlight some of our partners. I was inspired by some of the Twitter chats that I participate in such as #bfcafe and #healthychild in the mommy-blogger world. I found a kinship with moms even though the chat is only once a week, the hashtag was a great way for people to connect throughout the week. Marketers are a lot like moms. They like to share ideas and learn from each other, so I pitched the idea and my colleagues and manager were really supportive.

Now #NexusCafe Twitter chat is an exciting part of my week! The chat is every Thursday at 11am EST and we discuss different digital marketing topics each week. My role is to moderate the chat via our @ETNexus Twitter account. With my role changing to the user community manager, I'm now integrating the chat in the customer community as a whole. Two weeks ago, we hosted a #NexusCafe chat with an ExactTarget client and my favorite non-profit, the Indiana Mother's Milk Bank. The IMMB supplies donated human milk to hospitals and out-patients for babies in need. The antibodies and highly available nutrition in human milk helps sick and premature babies recover fast and help rehabilitate faster than artificial infant formula.

As a donor mom who has shared 24 gallons of milk, I've had the pleasure to work with the program manager, Dane Nutty (@milkbankguy), who is a gem! He was the mastermind behind their annual initiative to organize three Lactation Stations at the Indiana Sate Fair along with his team of summer interns. The Lactation Station offers a place for a nursing mother and child to take a break from the heat and hustle of the fair. They have cold water and a place to change your baby's diaper. The stations are staffed by lactation consultants, La Leche League leaders, and experienced breastfeeding mothers for moms to ask any questions. They work with local organizations such as La Leche League of Indiana, March of Dimes, Indiana Perinatal Network, and others to help educate the public about breastfeeding. The IMMB is also able to find potential donor mothers by the awareness campaign. They use the ExactTarget application for their program to organize the volunteer network to staffing the Lactation Stations for the 17 days of the fair.

On the day of the #NexusCafe chat, I organized a tweet-up at the Lactation Station. I tweeted with Dane and Sarah from the Indiana Perinatal Network. I had issues getting on the WiFi network so I had to hook up directly to an Internet LAN cable that as dangling from the side of the 4H building, which is why we did the chat sitting on the grass. We sat in the mid-day sunshine which made our computers feel like they were on fire by the end. Even with the ants crawling on my legs, it was still worth it! Our chat was successful and we had great ideas shared and many marketers "show up" on the Twitter hashtag. I'm excited that I could combine my personal passion with my work in a single day.

Check out my #NexusCafe recap blog post about non-profit digital marketing.

Flashback! Last year, Ava and I volunteered at the Lactation Station and here's my post about our experience.

This year, instead of volunteering a shift at the Fair, I hosted the Twitter chat and posed for some nursing pictures which the milk bank used in their main Lactation Station. Some of my friends who were at the fair told me that they recognized me and Ava in the picture hanging at the Lactation Station! Our pictures will be used for breastfeeding education programs throughout the state. I'm so honored!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Family Photos Summer 2011

Last weekend, we took family photos downtown Indianapolis at the Canal. When we arrived Ava was sleeping, but she woke up in a great mood. She loved seeing the ducks swimming in the canal. We walked in Military Park and then down on the Canal path. Our friend, Shawn, does our photography for us. His philosophy is to follow us around and let us play with Ava. He is a father and knows Ava so the pictures are so natural.

Ava just turned 17-months on Friday. She's getting so big this summer. Ava is really into giving kisses right now and makes the "mmmm" sound when does it. It's very sweet. Most of the time, she is really into singing. She sings the ABC song, making up the letters but you can hear the melody. She sings "row, row, row" quite a bit after our trip to San Francisco because Grandma sang it to her that week that we were traveling. And Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is another favorite including the hand motion.

We're moving her to a new daycare in another week. I'm really excited for her. The new center will provide her more one-on-one interaction and fun learning activities. They have an art room that they kids rotate through and a big auditorium with a stage to play dress up. I took her Friday morning to meet her new teacher and have some time in the new room. I'm planning on taking her a couple more times this week before she starts full-time next Monday in order to make her transition a bit easier. It takes her some time to warm up to a new care giver.

We're going through so many transitions this summer. Aaron and I both started new jobs. I took a new position at my company as a user community manager focusing on forming user-to-user groups in local cities. And Aaron just left Nuvo to work also at ExactTarget in Corporate Sales. We won't work together, but we're enjoying working at a growing company together. ExactTarget has a progressive work culture and surprisingly has many other couples working there. All three of us have changes under foot, which makes life at home interesting as we're settling into a new rhythm.

And last Saturday, Ava and I helped set a world record of simultaneous nursing celebrating World Breastfeeding Week. We got together in Broad Ripple Park with 57 nursing pairs. With all the family members we had 160 people attend. We also had the local news join us. What a great way to show support to families around the world sharing the health benefits through long-term breastfeeding. As I continue my journey in becoming a La Leche League leader, Ava is with me the whole way. I gain my experience with her nursing so it makes sense.

We're looking forward to Labor Day weekend at the Lake house!