Yesterday was Election Day in the United States. As I write this, I wonder if we will know who the new leader of the Free World will be by the time you read this. We’ve heard the rhetoric for many, many, MANY long months now. The TV news people are on an Election Night high, almost foaming at the mouth as they “predict” which state will be red and which will be blue. It’s worse than kids shaking presents before Christmas – can they not just wait until the polls are closed and the votes are actually counted? Are we that into immediate gratification? And I am the only one who feels this system has become more about the ‘game’ and the ‘winner’ than about what’s really at stake?
Lest you think I’m going to go on a political harangue, I’m not. I’m probably one of the most apolitical people you know. But I saw our election process as the perfect segue to a little peek behind the scenes at pixels2Pages! You may wonder how we decide what gets put on our website and who does what and when anything gets done. Knowing that we are spread out all over the world – seven of us in the United States, from California to the New York Island (and the Gulf Stream waters), from the heartland of America to deep in the heart of Texas, and five of us Down Under, from the west coast to the south coast to the east coast of Australia – you may wonder how we are ever able to make a rational decision!
Come with me ‘Behind the Globe’, and I’ll give you a little taste of a week in the life of a Pixie. Our week starts on Sunday evening in the US, which is Monday morning in Australia. Almost every single week, give or take maybe six or so, we have a team meeting through the magic of the internet. We hop on our GoToMeeting line and cover an agenda (usually hastily scribbled by me, minutes before the meeting, much to the dismay of the more analytical members of our team) in a meeting that usually lasts at least two hours, but has been known to go much longer than that.
We start with Anne presenting our financial report, and then we move to committee reports. We have four standing committees – Curriculum, Design, IT, and Marketing. Carolyn and Mary co-chair Curriculum and are joined by Anne and Janice. They oversee everything that gets added to the website, from what it will be, to who will do it, to when it will get posted, and to when it is due. They are the ones that keep a cool head when situations arise that keep people from getting their work done on time, and so far, they’ve kept goof-ups to a minimum. They also schedule our quarterly crops and handle anything else that resembles teaching and/or learning.
Kerrianne is the chair of the Design team, which is responsible for everything from Blueprints to Pixie Dust and Challenges to banners, and anything else that needs a little flair or bling added to it! She is joined by Kim, Justine, Janice, Mary, and Anne, and those girls must dream of things they want to make and create! In my next lifetime I will never be as creative as they are in one day! Kim is the Pixie Dust queen, as she collates and posts the Pixie Dust collections designed by these six women. Justine brings Blueprints to life, and I think it’s safe to say that all of us have shared at least one Blueprint at some point along the way. Janice checks and rechecks things to make sure everything works as it should. In addition to making Blueprints and Pixie Dust, Janice, Mary, Kim, Justine, and Kerrianne also dream up and present our challenges. Anne writes our handouts and tip cards and will be doing Snap2Share p2P2Dos. They are one busy crew!
Our awesome IT team is chaired by Jenny, and she is assisted by Shelley, Jeannine, and Kim. We have come a long way in the past (almost) three years, having now built three websites that get more complex with each turn. Jenny posts almost all of our videos, and she makes sure links work and things are as they should be on the backside of the website. She also did the yeoman’s share of work on the membership side of getting the new site set up. Shelley is the mastermind behind the look and function of the new site – didn’t she do a great job? She also backs me up on answering the Contact Us emails and is the keeper of the documents that are important to the group. She’s the go-to person for most people on the team, and she’s quick to find solutions. Jeannine comes to life in a crisis, capably handling phone calls, IT tickets, and troubleshooting while remaining calm and unruffled. Kim takes care of lots of tasks that keep the website running smoothly, and they all keep an eye on things to make sure they are where they should be when they should be there.
Our marketing team is chaired by Tameka, who is joined by Jeannine, Justine, and me. We deal with membership issues, PR, sales, and new concepts. We have more ideas than we have the time and manpower to implement! You know that Tameka is the brain behind our Focus on the Fans monthly newsletter and calendar, and the rest of us put our heads together to plan the best ways to present pixels2Pages to the world, and then we trust the other three committees to make it happen.
We have a few other subcommittees – there is the Reference group, who write our tips. Shelley and Jenny write our SBC, MM, and technical tips, while Carolyn writes our journaling tips and Justine contributes our photography tips. We have a p2P Live team of Mary, Kerrianne, Kim, Tameka, and me. We plan out our live training curriculum and are usually the ones (except for KA) presenting live training. Janice and Justine keep the fires burning on our Day2Day Facebook page, and we all do our best to comment and post our pages on our p2P Facebook page. Carolyn, Anne, and I work together to keep our numbers in order, and Mary is now our project task manager..We’ve had numerous other committees and subcommittees along the way, but those are the main ones that keep us running smoothly.
During committee reports, we’ve learned to listen to the proposals that each committee makes and we try really hard to offer feedback in a considerate and respectful way. We’ve learned that sometimes we have to actually try something one way to learn it might work better another way. It’s sort of like making a scrapbook page. You put photos and papers on the page, add your title and journaling, toss on some embellishments, then sit with it a while. You might even post your page for feedback, and even if you hoped for only compliments, someone almost always sees that word you spelled wrong, or wonders if you couldn’t move this one way or another, or maybe a different paper would look nice….. You see what I mean?
During the week, our communication takes place via Facebook, emails, Google docs, Skype, GoToMeeting, and phone calls. I have never been so thankful for the internet – I cannot even imagine what my phone bill would have looked like! Not only that, but if not for the internet, I’d probably still only know Anne and Mary! There is never a dull moment in Pixieland – everybody is always working on something! We spend hours recording videos, only to have them viewed by the team and sent back to the drawing board – at least now, we plan that bit into our schedule so that no one is surprised that their first draft is rarely the final copy. We have buddies who check our work before it’s posted, and we all try to make sure things are done in excellence. It is truly a team effort!
As I reflect back on the past three years, I am amazed and delighted that we are still here – twelve independent, creative, intelligent, hard-working, opinionated, passionate women – still speaking to each other and still finding things to share with you. I marvel that half of us don’t know the other half – at least, not in person, anyway – and that we’ve conquered distance and cultural differences and personality quirks and a few obstacles along the way. Somehow, without campaign rhetoric and elaborate voting booths, and definitely without deep-pocketed contributors, we’ve managed to find a way to agree to get things done, just because. I couldn’t be prouder!
PS I would be remiss if I didn’t give a big Pixie shout out and hugs of encouragement to our friends and fans who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. I am sure the things we are seeing on the news are but a fraction of what it is really like where you live. Being without power, water, food, gasoline, transportation, and even homes is beyond stressful. We hope that you and your families stayed safe from harm, and that life returns to a semblance of normal for you soon. It is my prayer that the forecasted Nor’easter does not add to an already dire situation. Remember that you have people praying for you and thinking of you all over the world. Stay strong, and please let us know how you are doing. We care about you!