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Thoughts on Learning and Learners Everywhere!

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 8, 2018
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2018

As I reflect on the past several weeks, I have been thinking about learning. I’m sure we all have stories of our own “Back to School” moments. In my own life, my grandson experienced a first of many “Back to School” poses for social media as he embarked on his learning journey with his first day of Pre-School. With excitement in his eyes and butterflies in his tummy (I suspect), no doubt he will experience many ups and downs along the way. His life-long learning journey has begun! My newest daughter-in-law to be has begun her Residency in Atlanta this past August. With a passion for oncology research for women and ethnic minorities (she hails from Colombia, South America), she will be an awesome Doctor! Her learning journey continues…she recently admitted to us that she would be perfectly happy to continue cracking books and studying her entire life – aha! A true-life-long learner!

I’m not getting any younger…learning keeps my brain going, so I consider myself, by necessity to be a life-long learner. We’ve all heard about learning styles – that process of gathering, sifting through, interpreting, organizing and storing information. I recently read an interesting article entitled "Learning Styles" from Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching, suggesting that one’s learning style is really tailored to the content of the instructional content, and we can all find value in all types of learning. That notion really makes sense to me – using the kinesthetic learning style for painting or woodworking classes; visual activities must work well for a course in geography or map-making; reading activities would be great for a course on American Poets; and my favorite – haul out the old turntable and put those auditory skills to work with activities for a class on the music of The Beatles. I have always found myself drawn to an eclectic mix of musical tastes – I love a good Chopin Nocturne, and my favorite bands run the gamut – from Green Day to AC/DC to The Eagles. I can really embrace the fact that we might all have a bit of every learning style in us. With that in mind, I encourage everyone to take a class this next year just to develop one of those learning styles that might be hiding out in the dusty crevasses of our brains!

One more thing – if you haven’t already been certified by SDA, take this opportunity to consider signing up for the Certified Design Firm Administration (CDFA) exam – this winter might be a great time to brush up on your learning skills, plan to take the test next May during EDS19, and work towards earning a very useful certification at the same time!

What learning are you planning to do in the coming months? Tell us in the comment box below.



Marie Tomala, CDFA,  is an Associates and the Data/Project Analyst at Cuningham Group Architecture in Minneapolis, MN.

She also serves as the 2018-19 SDA National Secretary.


Tags:  AEC  Lifelong Learning  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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SDA National President's Message - October 2018

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 1, 2018
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2018


SDA National President, Susan Lankey, CDFA has prepared her October President's Message to share what's happening at SDA National currently. Be sure to check it out and share your comments in the box below.

Tags:  President's Message  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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Welcome Our Newest SDA Members

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 1, 2018
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2018

Please join us in welcoming our newest SDA members who joined in the month of September:

First Name Last Name Firm Chapter
Lindsay Altobello TWINSTEPS, Inc. Orange County
Jessie Maran Crandall Arambula Portland
Keri Savoy SRSS & Associates, Inc. Atlanta

Be sure to connect with our newest members on SocialLink and encourage them to join in our many discussions!

Tags:  New Members  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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There's Usually One at Every Meeting

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2018

So, I'm spending my Sunday taking a few on-line courses that are available to my firm's employees 24/7 (I love that option; I can grow my knowledge and skills whenever I want—in my jammies or with beverage in hand, pausing if I need a break—you get the picture).

So anyway, one of the courses I finished today was talking about the sins of meetings (did you know there are seven of them, and that they are deadly?).

The webinar guy (from LeadershipIQ) talked about people who show up late for meetings. That's just downright annoying, if you ask me. If I'm the leader of the meeting, I must confess I still don't have a set way of addressing the tardy person, if that person should even be addressed/acknowledged when they walk in late to the meeting.

I remember attending an educational session in which the speaker said she wouldn't acknowledge the tardy person; wouldn't allow them to break into (upset the rhythm of) her presentation.

I recall being at another session and someone walked in late. The speaker backtracked to bring the tardy person up to speed on what they missed.

Today's webinar guy talked about how meetings cost your company money (he had an example formula, something like: 8 people x $50/hour x a 3-hour meeting = $1,200). And he said that tardy attendees should not be allowed to continue to be tardy. And he gave some examples of what some firms (or meeting leaders) do to try to curb the tardiness, such as: If there are 8 people in the meeting, buy only 7 doughnuts or coffees. Or, the person late to the meeting buys dinner for everyone.

Those tactics might work, but do you think the person who is habitually tardy gives a hoot if they never get a doughnut? I think not.

The webinar guy offered this solution: When that annoying person shows up late, tell him/her (something like) this, "Your being late is a waste of my time and a waste of everyone's time in this room. You just cost this organization [insert dollar figure here] because of your tardiness. Your tardiness is not going to be allowed to continue."

And then don't invite that person to future meetings.

The webinar guy suggested you bluntly, calmly, and rationally tell the tardy person the results of his/her tardiness.

I kind of like that tactic. It's bold, and sometimes you should be bold. Right?

What I'm not sure of right now is whether I'd say that in front of everyone (right when the tardy person walked in), or whether I'd wait to speak to the tardy person privately. I do know that if I did it privately, I'd be sure to let the other meeting attendees know the reason why the tardy person is no longer invited to our meetings.

How do you handle tardy meeting attendees (or what ways have you seen others handle that situation)? Share your ideas in the comment box below.




Judy A Beebe, CDFA, is the Principal Technical Associate - Office Administration

for WSP-USA in Seattle, WA

Tags:  Late to Meeting  SDA  Society for Design Administration  Tardy 

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September is Emergency Preparedness Month

Posted By Administration, Monday, September 24, 2018
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2018

September is National Preparedness MonthAs the wildfires in the west and more recently, Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, remind us, we all need to be prepared for a variety of emergencies, both at home and at work. Is your office ready for the emergencies that might arise in your area? Remember, "Disasters Don't Plan Ahead, But You Can." 

The emergency could be large (fire, flood, storm, etc.) or it could be something smaller that impacts the ability of your firm to operate for a few hours or days (power outage, pipe burst, etc.). SDA has many resources to help you think about and prepare for emergencies. Have you completed a Company Emergency Plan to consider all of the emergencies that might affect your firm in your particular location?  Find a template in our Office Administration Forms and Templates toolkit. SDA offered a webinar a while back entitled "Emergency Preparedness for Home and Office" that covers some of the basics for a home and office emergency plan and the items that need to be planned for in advance, as well as ways to help your office practice for them.  Is your front desk ready for the office security issues that could arise? SDA also provided a webinar that reviewed the issues to consider as well as ways to help your front desk team be prepared to handle situations in a calm manner.  You can find all of these resources in the SDA Store (use keyword search "Emergency").

In addition to the resources offered as a benefit to being a member of SDA, our discussion forum has several conversation threads about topics related to emergency planning.  Be sure to join in the conversation or start a new topic to get your particular questions answered by the SDA community. 

What does your firm do to prepare for business continuity planning? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment box below.

Tags:  Business Contingency Planning  Emergency Planning  Front Desk Security  SDA  Society for Design Administration 

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