How working for Walt Disney made me a better employee.

Here at Intellezy we focus on getting companies and employers to invest in career development training for their employees. There is an old adage from the legendary Zig Ziglar, “The only thing worse than training an employee and having them leave, is to NOT train them, and have them stay.” When employers invest in upgrading their employee’s skills, they may wonder if they are training them for the next company in their career.  But studies show that an employee who feels invested in, valued and heard will give back markedly increased effort and commitment and is more likely to stay. I believe this is 100% true.

One of my favorite jobs in my career was working for Disney Animation in California for a short-lived movie called WildLife. Becoming part of the Disney family was a dream come true for me and I almost lost my mind the first day of training when they informed me that part of joining the Walt Disney Company was traditional animation training. I was the assistant to the Associate Producer. My job was sitting at a desk keeping budgets and production pipelines organized. Never did I dream I’d get to learn on the job! Now, straight up, I can’t draw to save my life, but the sheer excitement of getting to learn how to draw and animate characters was outer limits! For the first week of my new job, I would attend a class in the morning where I learned to draw faces and then characters.  We toured the main lot and saw Walt Disney’s original animation studios where we learned about the many layers of cells it took to create a cartoon character’s movement. Between the physical drawing and the historical knowledge, I fell in love with my company. Each week we would pile into a theater for “dailies”, the rough animations of upcoming movies and sometimes, I was asked to help with character voices and even input my ideas into a few story sessions. I felt like I was part of something BIG. I was totally invested in my job and wanted to work hard to put my company on top.

Receiving the training that helped me understand what my company did, the history of it, created my ownership of its success. It allowed me to participate more in meetings and feel comfortable adding input occasionally because I understood more.  It taught me more about the functions of the production pipeline which made me a bigger asset to my boss. And there were always opportunities available to learn more if I wanted to, all adding to the feeling of being valued.  Look at what my company was offering me so that I could have more skills! I felt like I was encouraged to learn more since it benefited me as well as my boss, and I brought that enthusiasm and loyalty back to my desk.

When employers invest in training their staff, they add confidence to the employee and obviously, increased skill knowledge. But it’s more than that.  Frankly, it shows they care about having the best employee around… YOU… and that’s going to make anyone feel good!

                 
Yours truly, back in the Disney days, surrounded by lots of cool animation and my fun goodbye poster from some amazing folks!

Be brave, be awesome and smile whenever possible.
Kristen Teixeira

*Invest in improving and advancing your skills with the new Office 365, other Microsoft programs and your Business Skills. A happy employee gives back!

Why is Development a necessary part of Training?

by Ryan Stebbins, Training Specialist                                              

When most of us hear the phrase Training and Development, we can instantly recall some of our worst corporate training experiences. Whether it was a day-long workshop on strategies which were never implemented or a mandatory training on software which no one was invested in, we’ve all had our fair share of disappointing trainings.

Now that we’ve taken a not-so-happy trip down memory lane, think about some of the BEST training experiences you’ve had in your career. What made those experiences stick out from the rest? Odds are it had to with the Development portion of Training and Development.

While Training is what ultimately teaches us new skills and knowledge, Development is long-term and ensures we hold on to our learned information. Where Training is focused on satisfying an immediate or present job task, Development is focused on growth and future performance. In other words – Training is nothing without Development.

In order to create worthwhile training initiatives, the learning can’t end when individuals leave the room or walk away from the computer. One way to ensure that a training is useful is to check in with participants at a later point in time to see if their learning has stuck. Make sure you’re training on relevant topics which will be used constantly in your work environment. This will allow for continuous development of skills outside of the classroom or away from the computer. Another way to make a training more beneficial is simply to engage your participants. While this may seem like common sense, many trainings eventually devolve into a lecture, and we all remember how much (or how little) we learned in boring classes. Finally, make sure you touch on the big questions: What are we training on? How do we implement/use it? And why should we care? You’d be surprised how often these questions are overlooked!

Ultimately, it is up to participants in a training to utilize the information provided to them, but a trainer has the control to convey that information in a way that facilitates individual development. Next time you provide training, or are trained yourself, think about whether you are giving, or have been given, an opportunity to improve after the session is over. Engineer your training and your learning so as not to neglect your development.

*Ryan is Intellezy’s newest star trainer and part of the amazing crew bringing you deeply developed courses with the best trainers to make sure you are getting the most out of your investment. From Office 365 to Windows Server Install to How to Interview… we’ve got it all!

Leave it to the Diva: Why Subject Matter Experts, well, MATTER…

We seek knowledge everywhere and obviously, want to learn from the best. One of the things I love about Intellezy is the caliber of trainers we have available. Subject matter experts who bring a wealth of practical and applicable knowledge delivered in easily digestible chapters. It’s important to know where to go to get the best.  As a mom, I think I know tons but really, I’m learning every day.  And I have definitely learned how important it is to have an expert on hand. Just ask my kids.

My Elsie is a fashion diva.  She is 8 years old and knows EXACTLY what one needs to wear to look sparkle-rific. And yes, that is, in fact, a word in our world. And in our house, it is a mandatory requirement of anything that kid puts on. When we were school shopping this year, she rejected many outfits for being too blah, no sparkle, no glitter, and when pressed why they wouldn’t do, I was told “There is just no LIFE to them, Mommy.  Listen you just gotta trust me. I KNOW fashion ok?”  I said “All right dude. I won’t suggest anything else. Here is your budget. I’ll just pay.” And 3 hours later, we left the mall with bags full of everything an 8-year-old fashion maven with an eye for sequins, sparkle and zebra prints could ever want. Of course, not one thing matched, but that little girl was the happiest kid on the planet.

The teenager was no easier.  I tried the same approach to try and steer him away from $69 completely ripped jeans and Thrasher t-shirts but the response was a simple “Mom, seriously? This IS totally what people wear.” So with new renditions of basically the same black clothes he wore last year, we headed home.

Now if you have kids, you know that school clothes shopping is supposed to be getting “outfits” that you can wear for the first 3 days and then go right back to the old stuff. But hearing my mother in my head, I tried to get my daughter to get pieces. However, the rationale of having a few pairs of pants and several shirts you can mix and match along with practical shoes for the playground and gym class is lost on a child obsessed with wearing every glitter shirt from Justice with a kitten on it, all the outfits from Disney’s Descendants and of course, fingerless lace gloves that “everyone in school who is cool is wearing.” And don’t even try it with a teenager.  I mean dude, we know NOTHING.

But really, I am a 46 years old mom of 2 who seeks the cleanest sweatpants in my clothes pile. Who am I to speak fashion? I remember being them. I was obsessed with shoulder pads, paisley sweaters and stirrup pants. My hair feathered just like Blair’s on the Facts of Life and I rocked the blue eyeshadow.  I was like, totally outrageous when I pulled into school in my two-toned Monte Carlo.

So this old lady will just leave today’s fashion to the experts: my kids. I will happily stay with my Spanx and $14.99 billowy “hide my pooch” tops from Marshalls and let the kids rock their looks.  When you want to know how it’s done, just follow the lead of the experts and you will do fine.

Elsie and Jax rocking their looks.

Be brave, be awesome and smile whenever possible.
Kristen Teixeira

*Trust the experts!  At Intellezy, we seek out the best of the best subject matter experts to help you learn the nuts and bolts of all the programs you need. Office365, Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Adobe, Oracle, Azure… learn at your own pace with fantastic instructors!

I call it Gathering. Tips to bring your job, and what you love, together.

Many of us just have a job.  Something we do to pay the bills.  But the lucky ones?  They feel passion for their career. That kind of excitement is contagious and why I believe passionate people are so successful.  So how do you marry what you love with your job?  One way is what I call the “gathering” method.  You work at places you like where you make the paycheck you need and gather from them the skills that will help you with your passion so eventually you can have it all.

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU LIKE TO DO
I like to talk. I love to make people laugh.  I want to make others feel good and encourage and inspire. And I love to organize. Big time. Every job I’ve ever had I have taken on a fun, nurturing, people role while organizing things.  From getting the birthday cakes to arranging the Christmas parties to helping with social media. I have included myself in the social aspect of my jobs since I started working when I was 13.  That’s %& years (you don’t need to know) of learning how to make people feel happy and a wealth of info at my disposal.

NOTICE THE SKILLS THE PEOPLE YOU ADMIRE HAVE
I have always paid attention to the people at my jobs who are genuinely liked and respected.  Are they funny?  How do they interact with others?  Work ethic?  Sense of humor?  How could I emulate their positive qualities? And what did they know how to do that I didn’t?  Computer skills? Negotiate?  Speak another language? What could I add to my personal grab bag that might propel me ahead?

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE
This does not mean bragging but rather, focus on the things you are good at and don’t be afraid to humbly offer your skills.  And then hit it out of the park! You never know when someone is looking for what you have in spades! And don’t wait to be noticed.  Show ‘em what you’ve got!

My background is predominately the music business.  I love all things music.  Almost every genre, every type of artist and show. From the behind the scenes prep to the show itself to the search for the next great gig or performer.  No matter how bad my day was, and there were many that left me like “Whaaaaaaaaat am I doing here?”, I was always excited to get up the next day and do it again. And when I look back I realize that for 20 something years I was gathering the bits and pieces in each job, from collaborating jazz music tours to cast parties for Disney films, that centered around my passion for being social.

Fast forward to today. I took the position at Intellezy to coordinate our video administration, something that spoke strongly to my OCD and organizational skills, but because of my years of gathering, now get to write blogs and make people laugh and work on our social media connection to the world. It’s amazing and I am truly passionate about my work.  What I’ve done has led me here and now I do everything I love!

So I encourage YOU to gather the bits and pieces of your work experiences so that you can find passion in what you do and know that we are here for you to help you enhance the skills you need.

Be brave, be awesome, and smile whenever possible.
By Kristen Teixeira


Me and my 2 best friends, Ang & Lex, WAY back in the day when I worked for Billy Ray Cyrus. What did I learn from him?  Be genuinely nice to everyone, every fan matters and always have the best snacks on your bus. 

What Would Peg Do? A lesson in business etiquette from the master.

Now, I know you all don’t know my mother, but let me tell you, she is one classy chick.  Army wife married to my dad for 63 years, raised 8 kids, and teacher for 40 years, all of which obviously places her in line for sainthood.  Yup, Peg is awesome.

She came from a very stern, Irish Catholic, Massachusetts family. Her mother was a strong-willed suffragette and her father was a highly respected surgeon. You can always see the pride in her face as she tells us of growing up in a strict but loving household, rich with antics and chock full of lessons learned.  And the biggest thing I learned from my mom is a saying that I follow every day and teach my kids:

“Good manners never go out of style.”

Ain’t it the truth? Think about the course of your day.  How often are you faced with the choice of whether to cuss someone out or smile and wave? From my kids in the morning to driving home after work, I am constantly two seconds away from that choice.  And nowhere is this more evident than in our business etiquette.

Now this doesn’t mean being stuffy.  Obviously, you need to know what is appropriate for where you are culture wise, etc., but if you are using good manners and polite etiquette you can usually genuinely be yourself and all will be well. But always think about the vehicle.
If you are face to face: are you listening? Making eye-contact? What is your body language saying? Are you dressed for the occasion?
If you are on the phone: are you focused? Listening? Is your office noisy? Are you munching Cheetos?
Even via email: are you being precise and to the point? Have you spelled their name properly? Are you sending your email to the whole office or just one person? Are you dropping saucy language in there?  (Tsk, tsk, Peg would not approve.)

How we handle ourselves in business, how we interact with coworkers, clients, and every person we meet or speak to during the day, is a direct reflection on our company. If you are employed, you are a representative, plain and simple, so you must make sure that you are handling yourself professionally with decorum.

Before you make your next move, remind yourself that “Good manners never go out of style” and I guarantee you will be ok. And if you are not sure, ask yourself: do you pass the Peg test?  Check out our videos on Business Skills for email and online meeting etiquette.


Nana Peg at the beach with grand #13.

Be brave, be awesome, and smile whenever possible.
By Kristen Teixeira

 

Keeping up office skills for trade based professionals

My very good friend is a skilled plumber. He works hard every day doing something that I am clueless about past turning off the water when the toilet overflows. He also has a business degree that he puts to use daily running his own company. I am constantly in awe of how many things he juggles at once. One of the things that keeps him moving forward and succeeding is learning new technology.  He understands the importance of the latest accounting software as well as mastering the art of social media. Those skilled in labor have apprenticed and studied and had real world, practical experience in their chosen field. That kind of experience can’t truly be taught in an online course. At the same time, it is recommended that those in a trade field keep their computer skills up to date for the future should they choose to retire from their field or change careers.

And that’s where we come in.

Online education allows everyone to learn a skill that can advance their career whether they are working on a construction site or in the office. It is a level playing field. From electricians to engineers, the field of e-learning offers everyone at every level an opportunity to learn.  And we make it simple with our easy to follow videos and skilled instructors. From the most basic of programs to the highly advanced, to business skills and even every day corporate focused tasks. By staying up to date with relevant business programs and practices, everyone in almost every field can succeed in a career change or shift.

Listen, I’ve done the “do-it-yourself” route more than once and several times been somewhat successful however, when it comes to wiring light switches or nailing on shingles, I know where to go. We value those in the trades more than we can say.  Those kinds of skills literally build the foundation of our lives. And we want to make sure that you can be successful at any point in your career so we offer a free 10 day trial, and a by the minute or business subscription. There is nothing holding you back from learning all you can!

Be brave, be awesome and smile whenever possible,
Kristen Teixeira

 

Sing, Sing a Song… How do YOU learn?

My last name is Teixeira. It’s one of those names no one understands and it causes massive confusion at the DMV, on the phone, well, pretty much everywhere.  It’s a doozie, and when my kids were little, I had to come up with little tricks to teach them how to say and spell it in case of emergency:

“It’s pronounced TEX like a cowboy, SARAH like a girl.”

“To spell it, you can sing the Old McDonald song and replace the O with an A. Let’s try it! Old McDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-A!“

And there were more. Many, many more. God bless those kids, because I think I made up a song for everything from vocabulary to bedtime to Nana and Grandpa’s real names. I remember they thought I was crazy when I would force them to sing, but to this day, they remember it all.  My poor teen is mortified enough that I am teaching him to drive, but then I make him sing “Left and right and Left again!” to the tune of Mary Had A Little Lamb, and he could just positively DIE of embarrassment.  But hey, it will achieve 2 things for me.  First, he will never forget to look left, right, and left again and secondly, when he is 85 years old, every time he turns he will think of his mother. AS HE SHOULD.

Benjamin Franklin said “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

We all learn differently, but you must be involved to make it stick. When you find a way that works for you, whether it’s writing things down repeatedly, flash cards, word association, or a song, involving yourself in learning is critical to retaining information. Recently I was writing the subtitles for our American Sign Language tutorial, and it occurred to me that it was a great example of tactile or kinesthetic learning. To remember the signs, you had to physically do them, creating a new neural pathway. And now it is so cool to know that I have the communication basics if I meet someone who is hearing impaired.

One of the things I love best about our videos is the ability to stop and start, so you can work at your own pace. And the instructors involve you in the process of learning through examples so you can actually follow along on your computer to learn a new Excel trick, remember quick and easy lists for preparing a meeting, or say thank you in sign language.

Let someone know in ASL “YOU ROCK!”

Whatever way you learn best, just never stop.  It’s so exciting to improve an existing skill or learn a new one. Teach yourself a sign or even better, try singing… seriously… it works.  Start with your next left turn… you’ll see!

Be brave, be awesome and smile whenever possible,
Kristen Teixeira

Magnet Wisdom for a Balanced Life

Big kitchen fridge magnet fan here.  With #1 being my bed, the fridge is my #2 favorite destination in the house. It holds my ice tea, a bevy of vegetables I say I will make for my kids and never do, leftover chicken tenders, my chocolate stash in the freezer, and, of course, a ton of random magnets holding up lists, coupons and my 8 year old’s artwork. Along with the dentist and pizza place ones, I love to collect magnets with cool or inspirational sayings.  And as I reach for my empty calories, right there is my daily advice to make me a better person who makes smarter choices.

This is my favorite magnet:

“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.”
– Teddy Roosevelt

We are all busy, but when applied to our busy lives, in my opinion, this is perfect advice for everyone. Here are my thoughts on it:

24 hours
There are only so many hours in a day and you can only get to what you can get to. So when you wake up, do your best to organize yourself and tackle what you can. And at the end at the end of day, don’t beat yourself up for what you didn’t do. Add it to your running list, reprioritize said list, congratulate yourself on the things you DID accomplish today (yes, showering counts) and then close your eyes and pass out.

Be Present
Personally, I actually do NOT want to be in two places at once.  I can barely manage my ADHD, shiny key, constant snacking self in one place, let alone two! The minute you start thinking about being elsewhere, you split your attention from the present. Note your thoughts, write yourself a note to revisit later, and stay focused.  What you have right in front of you needs your attention.  Make things awesome HERE and NOW.  You may find that it exceeds your expectations. And if it doesn’t, you still got it done, rocked it, and now you can focus on the next thing, building on that success.

Resources
While I cannot tell you the secret teachings I learned as a sister of Kappa Gamma Chi, I absolutely can tell you the #1 thing I learned during pledging.  USE YOUR RESOURCES. There was no Internet when I was in college (yes kids, I am 1000 years old) and we were forced to rely on the things and people we had around us for direction and answers.  Now we have the internet with a vast expanse of information we can use to educate and advance ourselves.  Don’t know it?  You can learn it with the click of a button!

Now obviously when Aristotle delivered his teachings he didn’t know he’d show up on the door that opens to our milk, eggs, and bacon, but I believe he would be happy to know his words were guiding us. Inspired by Teddy, here at Intellezy we want to make sure you have the resources to be prepared with what you need, where you are, so you can stay informed and always be learning at all stages of you. And from me personally, thanks to my fridge for being a tried and true partner in my search for creating a balanced and always evolving life.

Be brave, be awesome, and smile whenever possible.

By Kristen Teixeira

 

It’s all about the skills! Meet Kristen Teixeira, Intellezy’s new (AMAZING) employee

I’m brand new here at Intellezy. I’ve been a stay at home/working mom with my kids for 12 years, and while I don’t regret a single moment, I could not wait to get back to an office environment and have big people conversations NOT about bodily functions or Shopkins or the disgustingness of green vegetables.  Luckily, I’ve landed at a smart, forward-thinking company with stellar people, especially my brilliant, hard working boss (blatant, shameless plug).  When I was raising my children, I refused to let my skills lapse and was well known for obsessively watching YouTube and Facebook how-to videos and teaching myself everything. I could be heard far and wide saying “Hmm, let me Google that!”  And I totally saw social media coming (yes, I am that old) and was determined not to be left behind.

I cannot tell you how much access to those tools saved me.  I was able to build a profitable business from home, a pretty stellar, if terribly irreverent, blog, keep the household finances organized (even if not quite paid) and stay up to date with ever-changing technology. It struck me when I started combing the job sites for positions just how MUCH is required of job seekers.  In order to get ahead, you simply cannot afford to fall behind.  And because tech changes so fast, you need the competitive edge of being able to roll with those changes to stay on top of your work. Those videos saved me. Despite being home (which many considered not working – another blog for another day – ugh), I presented a resume and knowledge base to most employers that showcased the current and very necessary programs for everyday work. And it gave me the confidence to be able to have relevant discussions in interviews to show potential employers I had the chops they needed.

When I found Intellezy, I was psyched.  Being able to provide the necessary content to businesses and individuals to allow folks to stay ahead of technology trends, business skills, or develop a deeper knowledge base in complicated programs is awesome! I’m really proud of what we do and how we help everyone—from stay at home moms to CEO’s, businesses to individuals—continue to learn and grow.

(And now I’m hoping this is a good time to ask my boss about my upcoming vacation…)

Be brave, be awesome, and smile whenever possible.

by Kristen Teixeira

 

They like me! My kids, Jax & Elsie!

The Importance of Continuous Learning

I stumbled across this interesting article today: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/317602.  In it, the writer discusses what commonality uber-successful people like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Barack Obama, and even Benjamin Franklin all had in common.  The answer was a commitment to continuous learning, specifically at least an hour a day or five hours a week.  The article focuses a lot on reading as a source of learning.  As a lifelong bibliophile and committed reader, I’ve long sought books that inform and not just entertain, but the exciting thing about today is the multiplicity of ways we can continuously learn.  The author touches on this a bit in discussing audiobooks as an avenue for busy individuals, but there are so many more ways!

Consider online aggregators that can deliver to you online content curated based on your interests and desired learning goals, or access to subject matters through social media, or the immediacy of online archives for news and information, or the abundance of special interest groups that gather in person or online to discuss new ideas, or the growing number of online videos that teach everything from how to code a website to growing heirloom tomatoes.   There really has never been a better time to be a learner.

The commitment to continued learning and ease of access to learning is why Intellezy exists.  Our videos are designed and delivered by experts in their fields and structured in a micro lesson format that allows you to spend as little as two minutes at a time chipping away at your five hour a week learning objectives.  Available on your computer or your mobile device, you can learn how to format a Pivot Table in Excel while waiting to see your dentist or take an entire course on Managing Employee Performance.  You choose.

Whether you do it through reading or the Internet or our videos, the important thing is to commit to continued learning.  Increasing what you know improves not only you but the world.  We’re here to help if you need us.

Learn on!

By Pam Conway