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NSA Leaks: The Big Data Two Step for Businesses This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of their influencer program on June 10, 2013.  To see the original post click here. I expect we will be seeing a lot of dancing over the next few...


Coming to an Agency Near You! This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of their influencer program on September 23, 2013.  To see the original post click here. I am often pondering what is next in the world in which we...


Customer Service Week: Here's Your Call Center This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of their influencer program on October 7, 2013.  To see the original post click here. As we begin Customer Service Week I want to thank all those...


Defining the Customer Experience Role This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as part of their influencer program on October 2, 2013.  To see the original post click here. Customer experience is a term growing in popularity within businesses...


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When Life Gives You Lemons, Just Make Lemonade!

Posted on : 11-01-2010 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Inspirational, Living in Philadelphia

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“There is a lesson to be learned from the Lemonade Girl with the pretty blue eyes and hair that once curled.  You see, Alex lived by the words from which her foundation was laid…when life gives you lemons, just make lemonade”
Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand
Written by Liz and Jay Scott with help from Alex Scott

I know all to well how life throws various things at you, and somehow we live through it.  This past Saturday I had the privilege to attend the Alex’s Lemonade Foundation 2010 Lemon Ball.  I am not going to say I did not have mixed emotions, I knew, just like everyday, I would think about our Angel Gia.  I also knew we would relive some moments in life that at time we would love to forget.  At the same time we love the cause and we wanted to learn more about it.  The event was filled with various life changing stories that hit close to home for us.  Over the years I have been a part of many charity events, but none could ever measure up to the beauty, energy, and inspiration radiated throughout the Lemon Ball.  I know that may sound odd for a charity dedicated to a cause like pediatric cancer, a cause all too close to my heart.  Walking into the hotel you were immediately greeted by kids at a lemonade stand happily offering a cold drink or guide you through the hotel to the event.  Upon arrival you were greeted by more high energy volunteers happy to help get you in the spirit of the evening.  The yellow gowns and accessories made the room shine as if it were the brightest of days.

I love when companies encourage employees to participate in charitable events.  I work for one such company with our Comcast Cares Day.  My wife also works for a company that values this way to give back to the community they serve.  The company, Reed Technology, part of LexisNexis and Reed Elsevier, encourages every employee to take 2 days a year days to volunteer for a non-profit organization, while still being paid for the day by the company.   During this incredible evening, I learned the story of another Reed Technology employee, Bea Quindlen.   It was such a surprise to see someone my wife knew being honored as the Volunteer of the Year.  Bea’s story is not what you would expect for a charity like this.  She did not have a child with cancer, and I do not believe she was connected to one.  She volunteered through her work to participate in a local telethon for the Alex’s Lemonade Foundation.  She left the event so inspired, that she became a regular volunteer.  Stopping by the office weekly to help out, bringing homemade snacks to keep Jay energized (Jay, since you will be reading it I did hear about the Krimpets, I think I could win!  Sorry, inside joke).   Bea connected with Jay, Liz and all the other families and friends in this battle.  She dedicates so much of her personal time to help others.  I just met Bea for the first time on Saturday, and she is not the type to want to be honored, in fact she was so shy in even accepting the award.  Her goal was simply to do good things for a foundation made of good people that she cared for.  A lesson that is so important for businesses and non-profit groups alike, inspiring positive people influences and energizes so many around them.  Bea, thank you for being such a positive influence!

The evening started with a girls dance troop performing to some current hits.  They did great, but don’t ask me to name the songs (not really my music!).  This was followed by a special performance by American Idol and recording star Jordin Sparks.   Jordin was looking much more mature than I remember from American Idol and despite not being her standard performing stage she shared a song close to her heart.  She followed this with unique words, that would ring to be true, “Let’s get this party started.”  And with those words she sung a much faster paced song and encouraged everyone to get  up and dance.  She literally disappeared on the dance floor as so many joined her.  It was a sight to see.

As is typical in events like this, during the meal you heard from others about the work of the foundation, childhood cancer, and the plans for the organization.  There was no overwhelming request for money, or creating a sense of desperation.  The event was much more a celebration of the foundation and the life of Alex and so many others that have dealt with pediatric cancer.   We were sitting with other families that have personally experienced childhood cancer.  It may sound odd to those that have not dealt with it, but we have found it much easier to connect with families that have been through some of these life experiences.  There is a stronger bond shared than most other friendships could ever hope to have.   It was nice to share that time with them.

The true inspiration for this evening was hearing from Liz and Jay Scott.  I have said it before: Liz, Jay and Alex Scott are my heroes.  This evening just reinforced all the reasons why.  Liz and Jay did not seek the limelight or to even a foundation to do so much good.  I think they simply wanted a good life for their family.  But life throws you those curve ball sometimes, and you do what you think is best.  In this case Alex was diagnosed with cancer, her parents, to achieve the best possible care, moved the family to Philadelphia so they could go to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  Alex started a lemonade stand to raise money “to help ALL kids get better.”  All of a sudden, the Alex’s Lemonade Foundation was born, and Liz and Jay would see a new path in their life.  What was interesting about their talk, they really did not talk about any of this, they spoke more about other families and the researchers for the foundation.  They were just so grateful for everyone around them.  Their spirit, which is the same spirit of Alex, is what attracts so many people to love this cause.   Although I have met Jay before, that night was the first time I had the pleasure to meet Liz.  The moment I felt a connection to her was the she tried to answer the question that gets asked all too often, does it get easier as time goes by.   This is something that every parent who has lost a child struggles with, but you would be surprised how often it comes up.   Liz tried to be tactful in her response saying in some ways it does get better as time goes by, but it is difficult as your realize all that is missed.  I can tell you as a parent who lost a child, not a day goes by that you do not miss the child you lost.  You are happy to share in the lives of your other children and family, but there is a hole that is not filled.   You still experience many of the highs in life but there are moments that are very difficult.  She did not say all that.  I can understand that.  The overall event was upbeat, but I do not think it is within their style to focus on themselves.  To them it is about Alex, and what she wanted – helping other kids.  Kudos to Liz and Jay on a job well done!

The evening was followed by the live auction, with 1 item I could only wish to afford.  Liz makes special lemon cookies, this year  she made 14 because Alex would have turned 14 on January 18.  The cookies sold for $14,000.  Wow!

Key to the evening was truly just having a good time, and that was what was all about.  The party got started and dancing took over for a night filled with all the energy of Alex’s amazing lemonade.  The whole event was perfect down to every little detail.  The sponsors were class acts, especially with Mike and Ike’s presenting Jordin Sparks and Volvo having the car giveaway (purchase ticket for the drawing here).  Now as Alex’s Lemonade Foundation embarks on its goal to raise $100 million over the next decade, Liz and Jay should know that they have done is priceless in the minds of all parents that are part of this same fight.

Visit Alex’s Lemonade to Learn More About this Cause

What do Murals Teach Us About Leadership?

Posted on : 10-09-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Inspirational, Living in Philadelphia

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Photo of Jane Golden courtesy of Philadelphia Magazine

Photo of Jane Golden courtesy of Philadelphia Magazine

This is a follow up to my post titled “Part of Leadership is Giving Back.”  In that post I spoke of the importance for leaders to give back to the community, but I did not address what really makes a leader.  We call many people leaders as a sign of respect for a level they attained in life or business, but that is not leadership.  Leadership can take many forms and in many areas in life.  To me a leader is someone willing to take risks, and do something completely different.  Not because they are told to, or because others are having success doing it, but because they believe it is the right thing to do.  Leading the way has risks, and many failures, but that willingness to have the insight and accept the risks make the person a leader.

Holding Grandmothers Quilt, © 2004 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Donald Gensler, 3912 and 3932 Aspen Street, Photo by Jack Ramsdale

Holding Grandmother's Quilt, © 2004 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Donald Gensler, 3912 and 3932 Aspen Street, Photo by Jack Ramsdale

In business we see many following others.  One of the areas that I have seen a lot of following is with process improvement programs.  When Motorola had great success with Six Sigma, every company seemed to jump on the bandwagon in embracing the Six Sigma concept.  Black belts and green belts were everywhere.  I think it is a great program, in fact my wife was a green belt with GE and I was trained on the program at the Vanguard Group, but implementing this based on the success of others is not leadership.  It is simply following.  Risk in implementation was minimal based on the success already demonstrated by others.  I know many may say that even Motorola was following the lead based on work of many in Japan.  This is correct, but the tools and concepts developed by the Motorola team were innovative and took the concepts to another level leading to the popularity in American business.

So what does this all have to do with murals?  Well over the past 2 years I have worked at Comcast I have had an opportunity to be a part of incredible life experiences.  To me the greatest of these experiences was the opportunity to hear from Jane Golden about the creation of the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network, which has evolved to the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.  As part of the leadership program that I am luck to be a part of, Jane joined us to discuss the history of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.  Imagine the year 1984 in the streets of Philadelphia.   Graffiti was a major problem, just like most major cities in the US.  Jane Golden came in and took the unique approach of embracing those that were doing this graffiti and providing them a more structured outlet to release their artistic energy.  Many could not believe that someone would invite perceived criminals into her home.  She helped them harness this energy and release it into amazing works of art, like those on this page.

Bridging the Diaspora, © 2008 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Willis Humphrey, 5741 Woodland Avenue, Sponsored by the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health, Photo by Jack Ramsdale

Bridging the Diaspora, © 2008 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Willis Humphrey, 5741 Woodland Avenue, Sponsored by the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health, Photo by Jack Ramsdale

Today the Philadelphia Mural Arts Programs is considered to be one of the best in the world.  Others often attempt to imitate it.  People travel from all around the world to see the amazing show that is part of the landscape of Philadelphia.  All started through the vision of Jane Golden.  Many of the people that joined the program from the streets have gone on to college and paved their own path in the arts, business and many other fields.  I am sure they are now leaders on their own, thanks to the mentorship of a true leader in Jane.

The moral to the learning was part of leadership is going against the expectations of others and setting a path that moves your team, organization or simply yourself into a uncharted territory.  As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the mural arts program, I would like to thank Jane for her leadership.  The work of the program is cherished by so many.

How do you lead each day?  Who are some of the unsung leaders that have made a difference in your life?

Visit http://www.muralarts.org/ to learn more.  If you are in Philadelphia, I highly recommend going on a tour!

Witnessing the Rebirth of the Radio DJ

Posted on : 25-06-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Living in Philadelphia, Personal

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Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 - June 25, 2009)

Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Today was a sad day in music as Michael Jackson passed away at the age of 50.  I, like many, have said my share of Michael Jackson jokes, but I must admit he really changed music in so many ways.  Starting as a young boy through most of the 80′s his music redefined expectations.  The music video for Thriller redefined how artists wrote songs, and the visuals chosen to represent the music.  There will be so many tributes to Michael’s work in the days and weeks ahead, and it is not my area of expertise, so I will let others do that.

I have written a number of times how Customer Service needs to shift to be more personal and develop relationships, the same is true on the radio.  In recent years the way we hear music on the radio has changed dramatically.   You may not realize it, but many stations use computers to program and play music, and, on many stations, when there is a DJ, it is actually prerecorded voice tracks.  Now that is personal!  Today as I was driving back from Newark, NJ I was listening to a NJ station.  Like many stations they were playing all Michael Jackson songs.  It was reminiscent of when John Lennon passed away back in 1980.  I was only 8 but I remember they kept playing The Beatles.  The DJ popped on to explain what happened and provided personal insights in the career of a great musician.  I was lucky, I was listening to a station with a live DJ and it was an excellent experience to hear live updates regarding Michael and hear there insight.  I wish I remembered the station, but it was closer to NY so not a station I typically listen to.

A good friend of mine, Jason Lee, recently lost his job as the late morning/early afternoon host for Philadelphia’s Ben 95.7 FM (WBEN).  They decided to go with only DJ’s for morning and afternoon drive.  Well this started me thinking, how would stations handle this without a live DJ?  So I started to scan the stations in North Jersey, New York and Philadelphia areas.  What I found were a number of stations that did not have any different programming.  I guess they were not able to change the computer settings???  Other stations did change the programming, but did not have anything (at least while I was listening) to explain why they were playing all Michael, all the time.  That would cause me to switch stations just to find out what was going on.  WBEN at least had their afternoon drive time host record a spot explaining why the were playing Michael.  It was good to see that they recognized the moment and changed programming but I still missed personal interaction.  Out of all the stations I listened to, I was so happy to hear the ones with live DJ’s making a personal connection.  One station not only had a live DJ, but they also encouraged listeners to call in and share their own remembrance of Michael.  I enjoyed the tributes.  That was a great touch, and shows the flexibility of a live DJ.

In this tragic loss, I believe we may have seen an unlikely rebirth of the radio DJ.  I think it is time that radio stations start to connect with their listeners, and this sad event showed the reason why it is so important.  What did you hear on the radio today?

In the Middle of a Groundswell

Posted on : 08-06-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Brands, Customer Service, Living in Philadelphia

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Over the past 18 months, some would say that I am living within the groundswell, but since Friday I have truly been witnessing it first hand.  I have always felt that groundswell typically would be large scale and involving social media, but in this situation I have learned that it can happen wherever multiple Customers can communicate with each other.

I should start the story off by saying parents, including myself, become very attached to really good care givers for their children.  For me it takes a lot, but this is the story of one such exceptional person.  Her name is Sam, and until Friday she was the director of our daycare, Children of America.   I am going to try to stay unbiased in this because I am really trying to share a story about a groundswell.  The daycare has been very good to us, and I am sure many would take credit, but to me it was how our center ran, which I credit Sam.  We have reported issues to her, and they were immediately addressed.  Including 2 teachers that were no longer there shortly after we gave the feedback.  Anyway the story starts last Thursday.  We arrived later then usual and in our mailbox was a notice that Sam would be leaving effective the next day.  They would have a party 7-9 in the morning.  The letter was signed by the regional director.  It also stated the district director would be taking Sam’s place until a new director was identified.  We did not realize it, but there were 2 problems with the letter.  First Sam does not work at 7 on Friday’s, she works at 9.  Second, the letter was not placed in mailboxes until after many kids were already picked up.

So I am thinking there are a few key components  to a groundswell:  passion and a negative Customer experience, like poor communication

But there is another key component, means of communication.  The next morning it all began.  Early in the morning an email came through asking about a rumor that Sam was leaving.  I did not realize it, but many of the family members were connected via email.  Based on the review of the emails, everyone was irritated that they were not informed ahead of time of Sam’s departure.  I think I know what the issue here was.  Sam was leaving to be a regional director for a competing firm, so following procedure the company is paying her for the 2 weeks and asked her to leave.  I can not take offense to this because I have implemented this elsewhere.  At the same time, if it were me I would have tried to find a way to retain this employee (in my opinion she is that good).  So the emails continued and calls started to the regional director.  Then discussions started about the district director that was planning to work at the center.  Needless to say they were not complimentary about either of them, words such as demeaning, condescending, intrusive, and creepy.  I have never really met either, so I am not sure but these emails are my first impression.  I hope people remember that this is due to the passion people feel for their children and the best possible care for their children.  The statements are not personal, just the passion coming out.

The next thing I know emails are now flying to the CEO and other leaders of the company.  It led to some good conversations, but then a response was sent to the list from one of the leaders, Jim.  It was really a bulleted list of talking points and not a conversational email, but it was an attempt to provide the companies position.  The email even included a phone number to call him over the weekend if there were concerns.  They also made sure the regional and district manager were at the location when it opened today on Monday morning.   This may have helped a few, but it further agitated some on the chain.  So then the one person decided to call Jim.  According to the many emails on the topic, lets just say  the conversation did not go as you would have expected.  Obviously I was not on the calls but perception is reality and the group was provided a certain viewpoint.  According to the one email he yelled at the Customer and told her to follow Sam and leave.  Needless to say things were blowing up much further and truthfully control was lost.

Groundswell can happen wherever there is passion, negative experience and communication among a group.  The control is not there and you may not even have a say in how it plays out.  What this taught me is everyone has to be on top of their game when dealing with any Customer.  They need to create the right experience.  When passion is there, be careful what you say, and listening may be the best recourse.   In an email I sent to Jim on Friday night was a recommendation that they apologize to the families for the miscommunication, and I thought it would also be a good idea to invite the families to be a part of the hiring process.  This may not be the usual approach but based on everything I was reading this seemed to make the most sense and would start to diffuse the trouble.  Unfortunately with the emails today about the phone conversation, it may be lost cause.  It is really sad to see because the teachers at the school are great, I love the fact that they supply lunch, and are opened during many of the holidays.  But this little activity over the past 5 days will change the feeling for many, whether due to real circumstances or not.  This was a large groundswell for a relatively minor issue that will define this brand for a long time, especially among the families at our location.

I am hopeful for recovery, but it is so much harder when a brand loses control over the situation.  It is interesting to watch.  Have you ever seen a groundswell?

What Can Tabora Farm & Orchard Teach Us About Business?

Posted on : 15-02-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Living in Philadelphia, Politics



Recently the economy has hit home for me.  Many of my friends lost their job at my former employer, Advanta Bank.  The company due to a variety of factors impacting the credit market is downsizing from about 700 people to around 400.  When I was there it was about over 1000.  I am really sad because it was a great place to work, mainly due to the people.  There was a rare atmosphere where most people in the company were actually friends.

As I have thought about the current environment and all those that have lost their jobs I have wondered how many companies and individuals have thought more short sighted, whether it be through layoffs or cuts in expenditures to meet lower expectations for the market.  Is the right move trying to make the number today or for years to come?

For Valentine’s day I decided to make a special dinner, including crab cakes from a little place we have grown to love. the Tabora Farm and Orchard Country Store.  This little place has all kind of goodies, including great baked goods and a nice selection of fresh foods.  So what can this little store teach us about doing it right in an economic environment like this one?  Well this store has been around since 1990.  It is very cramped and in need of a little clean up (although I love it the way it is).  I am sure the company, just like all businesses is hurting right now, but walking in there was no sign of that.  Actually there was a sign, one that caught my eye.  It talked about how they are going to be closed on Tuesdays for the next month or so as they renovate the place.  Wow, they are actually not pulling back, but investing for the future.  That is the way it should be done!  I am sure this is not their busy time so it will not impact their Customers too much but as things rebound they will be so ready.

How many businesses are busy closing locations or downsizing due to the current environment?  Now I agree closing poor performing locations, especially when in the past there was over expansion (think Starbucks), that does make sense to do that.  At the same time how many retailers are pulling back on planned renovations.  Wouldn’t now be the perfect time, especially as there is less foot traffic?  Now is a great time to redefine your business.  Layoffs may still be inevitable in some areas, but maybe it is time to rejuvenate other areas of the business.  Maybe look for some of the best minds that can add immediate value to your long term planning.  Instead of cutting Customer Service, revamp it and create the best experience.  As the economy improves your Customers will remember being treated right.  Are the tools your company uses outdated?  Work to improve them and use added resources to further train your employees.  This may not help companies make the number for the current quarters, but it will add to the profit margins for a long time to come.  It will also assist the overall economy in expanding therefore making prospects for future growth even sooner.

We can be our own stimulus package, just in the way we approach these tough times.

The Holiday Spirit

Posted on : 01-12-2008 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Holiday, Living in Philadelphia, Personal

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This weekend we had a lot of fun doing family things to get in the holiday mood.  For those that do not know me well, the holidays are a blah time for me the past few years.  But as Lily and Robyn get older I know that will change.  In a way it started to already this year thanks to Lily, our 2 year old.  So on Friday we had our family holiday picture taken and we went to Koziar’s Christmas Village.  On Saturday we did a little shopping and we went to a place called Peddlers Village to see the “night lights.”  Finally on Sunday I had the opportunity to cook my own Thanksgiving meal.  This Thanksgiving we went to family, which was fun, but in recent years I have cooked so new traditions have been developing.  It is funny how you miss some of those, so we decided to have a mini-version on Sunday with my wife, Lily and Robyn.  It also means we now have leftovers!


I realized this weekend that we sometimes forget the meaning of this time of year.  I do not mean the religious connotation that comes from Christmas or Hanukkah.  I mean the giving spirit and togetherness before the winterfest really takes place.  Most people in the winter spend more time in the house and not as much visiting family and loved ones.  From November to December this is really about family and friends.  Unfortunately when I was driving on Friday and I heard a few news reports that certainly did not have this meaning.  Most of you have heard of both of the incidents by now:  The trampling to death of an employee at WalMart and the shooting at Toys R Us.  Have we truly lost sight of what this time of year is about?


On Thanksgiving we watched a pay per movie movie called “Fred Claus.”  My wife and I were looking for a way to get into the holiday spirit.  We enjoyed the movie, and it started to help.  While watching the movie there was a part in it that talked about how the amount of gifts increased over the years.  It really had me thinking.  While we were driving on Friday, my wife was talking about the candy as Christmas gifts on Little House on the Prairie.   That brings me back to the incidents on Friday.  I still am not sure why the shooting happened at Toys R Us.  Indications are that it was not about a toy, but I am sure it was something just as silly.  At WalMart it was very obvious.  It was a crowd of people rushing in to get some stupid gift that years from now no one will care about.  How stupid is that?  Dr. Judith Rich wrote a good post over at the Huffington Post called “Black Friday At Wal-Mart: The Cost Of Crazed Consumerism.”  In the post she makes a number of recommendations for giving this year.  Here they are:


1) Give an authentic acknowledgment to the people you love. 
2) Look them in the eyes and tell them who they are for you.
3) Open up communication with someone with whom you’ve had a misunderstanding. 
4) Apologize to someone you’ve unfairly judged.
5) Extend kindness to a stranger or offer support to someone and expect nothing in return.


I will add to that (although it fits with #5), with the economic conditions the way they are, consider giving to a charity in the name of someone or group.  Charities are struggling because people are concerned about the future so they are withholding their giving.  You never know when you may be in need of the charity, so choose something close to your heart and try to give something, even if it is small.  On this topic I heard another report this weekend that disturbed me.  It was regarding financial planning and preparation for the end of year tax giving.  It was recommending not giving to charities but doing other things with your funds to maximize the tax benefits.  If this is why you give, it is time to look into your own heart.  Seems like the Scrooge like reason for giving to a charity. 


So this weekend we developed new traditions in our household, do you have any traditions?  How do you show the holiday spirit?

When is the Right Time?

Posted on : 23-11-2008 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Living in Philadelphia, Personal

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For years I have said that I needed to do certain things in life, but always allowing other things to take precedence.  One of those things was finishing school.  It has always been important to me, but life has always sent curve balls, or at least ones that I used as an excuse.  To me having this accomplishment is not about career advancement because I believe if you work hard you can get whatever you want.  It is about the life experience and being able to discuss ones own life experiences to create better, more well rounded individuals.  It is also a great opportunity to learn more and develop new interests.  So what have the excuses been?  Well they have been going on for the past 12 years.


When I was in school I was probably not the best student.  I was alway more dedicated to work and friendships.  I actually found many of the classes to be too easy and not challenging.  I always enjoy a good challenge.  So I completed 2 years and then moved into the working world with the intent to go back.  I was successful very quickly.  I think this has to do with work ethics and the ability to retain information easily.  As I continued to grow I decided it was time to consider returning to school.  At the time my wife and I were just about to be married.  I decided to wait after that.  Of course then we were buying a house and moving.  You guest it, wait until after that.  Shortly after moving into our home my wife was pregnant with our Angel Gia.  So I decided until after she was born.  Since she was premature she was in the NICU for 3 months.  After that I was dedicated to her and making sure my family was cared for.  As life was normal, when Gia was 2 I started thinking about school again.  But then right after her 3rd birthday she was diagnosed with cancer which we dealt with for 1 year until her passing.  Then I was not in the mood for school.  The next think I knew it my wife was pregnant with Lily so I found more excuses.  They continued with the Robyn.  When I switched jobs and started to work in the city I decided it was perfect for returning to school.  It is now a year later and I have not started.  But now is time to make this happen!


So the first is to decide where is the best place for me.  Living and working in the Philadelphia area I have a number of great places to choose from:


  1. Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania – Outstanding school and a place I have always wanted to attend.  It is very expensive but a well respected degree.  But would they accept someone like myself?
  2. Drexel University – Drexel is really known for engineering, but they have broadened their offerings and have worked to create an online program that is a leader in the profession
  3. Temple University – Another really good business school that has created many of the leaders in the Philadelphia area.  This school has a campus near my home as well as one close to work.
  4. Villanova University – This is where my wife and many of her family members attended.  It is a little out of my way, but if I could live the dream and move to the main line area it would be perfect
  5. University of Phoenix – I have heard good stories from adults going back to school and selecting their program.  It is geared toward working adults so they know the importance of time.
So they are the selections I have to chose from.  There are probably many others too, especially in the Philadelphia area.  What I would have to look into is credit transfer, life credits (always worth asking about!), and costs.  I am lucky Comcast does have a good education program.  At the same time I am not looking forward to the initial outlay of funds.  Of course I have to make sure I do not use that as an excuse.  
So why do I write this post today?  Well I am sure my many friends will make sure I remain focused on this goal.  I read somewhere that for those trying to accomplish tasks, pressure from online friends can be a great help.  Have you procrastinated on something that you really want to achieve?  Have you used social media to make sure you accomplished it? What recommendations do you have for me?  You can also email me at work frank_eliason@cable.comcast.com if you have helpful advice.

Inspirational Notes – Alexandra Scott & Lemonade

Posted on : 01-11-2008 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Inspirational, Living in Philadelphia

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One of the items I will use this blog for is to share stories that inspire me. Sometimes this will be related to social media, other times service, but I wanted to start with a story more personal. These will be people that truly inspire the best out of everyone they meet. To start this off I planned to talk about people I have met recently but I kept coming back to a story very close to my heart. Have you heard of Alexandra Scott? You may better know her by Alex. She started Alex’s lemonade stand back in 2000. Here is the story how a 4 year old started something that will keep her close to people’s hearts for a long time to come. She and her family are the definition of inspirational.

Her story begins when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, 2 days before her first birthday. When she was 4 years old she wanted to have a lemonade stand to get some money. Her parents were willing to give her money for whatever she wanted. This is similar to any parent in this situation. But it turns out she wanted something bigger. She wanted to find a way that should could help her doctors find a cure for kids with cancer. She did this by starting her lemonade stand. Her family, in an effort to make sure she received the best care, moved to the Philadelphia area. They continued the lemonade stand in their new location. In 2002 the popularity continued to grow with many cancer survivors starting stands of their own. By 2004 the effort was national and raised close to $1 million. Alex took her message to the world through the Today Show and Oprah.  Even as her health was not doing so well, Alex lived the dream to raise funds to help her doctors make life better for so many others.  She had amazing strength.  Alex passed away at the age of 8 on August 1, 2004, just 5 days after our Angel Gia.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand has raised over $19 million for pediatric cancer research.

If you are looking for a great charity check out www.alexslemonade.org.  How can we create an online lemonade stand for everyone to have a refreshing drink for a good cause?

Jay and Liz Scott you are my hero’s for what you have done to keep Alex’s dream alive! The strength and leadership you have shown with your foundation is amazing.  Who are some of your heros?

World Series Champions! Philly Fans and Service

Posted on : 30-10-2008 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Customer Service, Living in Philadelphia

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The Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series!  What a great a day for Philadelphia.  Many of you do not realize how important this is to all of us in Philadelphia.  You may have heard that we are a little passionate about our sports teams.  Yes we have thrown snowballs at Santa and batteries at JD Drew.  I remember the cheering when Cowboys star Michael Irvin was injured.  All true, and many other stories that you may not have heard of.  But Philly fans are really just passionate for their team.  It is this passion that drives us.  If you did not notice, that passion also helped the Phillies go undefeated during the playoffs at home.


This is the first major sports championship in this City since 1983 when the Sixers won the NBA championship (the Soul won the Arena Bowl this year too).  We have been in desperate need to have a parade to celebrate our beloved teams.   As I think about this, and the news of the fans in the streets is playing in the background, this is all about passion.  I have a passion for Philly sports.  I also have a passion for Customer Service.  Unlike many people, I believe service by many companies has been improving over the past couple of years.  That is because companies have drifted away from bad measurements such as sales and handle time and went to concentrating on first contact resolution and Customer satisfaction.  I think that is a good start.


But what we really need is a few Philly sports fans, or at least individuals that have a similar passion for Customers.  When people are doing what they are passionate about they have more fun at work and have much better results.  Wouldn’t you love your job if it was something you were passionate about?  How many sports fans would love the opportunity to work for their favorite team?


Does this mean the wrong people are hired for Customer Service?  Maybe, but not in my opinion.  I think the trouble is managers have coached toward numbers.  Gen y’ers, which make up a number of Customer Service positions, do not care about the numbers.  They may not even care about the Customer or the company.  I will talk about Gen y’ers at times because I think they can be the greatest employees.  In many cases they have a passion, it is just trying to show them how they can direct that toward Customers.  They just want to know why it is important to them.  That is not hard to show.  Once companies do more of that, we will see service improve to new levels.  Passion is good in many things in life!


Now back to the Phillies.  Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!  This is so exciting to have a World Champion in Philly.  I think they partially won because of the fans, and maybe because of Comcast (hehehehe).  For those that have not heard, the Curse of Billy Penn is now broken.  In 1983 the first skyscraper was built higher than a statue of William Penn on top of city hall.  Rumor has it there was a gentlemen’s agreement to never build higher than William Penn.  Well no major Philly team has won a championship since.  This is how the curse became known.  Well when the Comcast Center was built to be the highest building in Philadelphia, a small statue of William Penn was placed at the top!


That is my first ever blog post!  Have a great day.