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Bonnie and the Boomers

Last night my husband and I went to see Bonnie Raitt at Wolf Trap, a lovely outdoor venue in northern Virginia.  It is one of those traditions that helps kick off summer.  We are big concert fans, and each year try to see 3-4 shows.  The last time I saw Bonnie was July 9, 1994.  It was my birthday and I had just moved to Cincinnati, OH.  She toured with Bruce Hornsby that year, and it was an incredible show.  What a talented artist she is.  So when the concert schedule came out and she was featured, I was thrilled to get lawn seats to the sold out show.  As many of you might know, the 'lawn' at these outdoor venues has its own personality.  As I get older, I tend to prefer seats to the lawn, and I will admit, I have been pretty spoiled in recent years with premium seats to shows like U2, Cold Play, Train, John Mayer and Maroon 5.   The last time I was on the lawn was at Merriwether Post Pavillion to see Jack Johnson a couple of years ago and while it was an amazing show, I vowed to never 'do the lawn' again.

 Wolf Trap is different. It is an intimate venue which allows you to bring coolers and adult beverages of your own!  The ritual begins by arriving to secure a strategic parking spot around 5 pm.  (Exiting these shows can be a nightmare.)  They don't let you in to fend for your piece of real estate until 90 minutes before show time, so you schlep up to the entrance and wait with the other fans.  We arrive at the gate about 5:40 and there were probably 200 people ahead of us.  I looked around in delight to see that these fans were a sea of Baby Boomers.


As most of you who follow me know, I am passionate about Millennials and have been hanging out with a lot of them lately.  So obviously I am older than dirt by comparison, and my ego has been recovering from that. :)  But not THIS crowd!  I am actually a 'cusper.  A young Boomer, or an old Xer, or my new favorite subgroup I wrote about, Generation Jones.  But these fans were hard core Boomers.  I loved it!  I even saw a friend from college from across the crowd!   It made me think back to when I saw the Eagles, Heart and Little River Band at the Yale Bowl on June 14, 1980 (the last concert for that venue!).  I did not know it was EXACTLY 32 years ago that I saw them until I started writing this today.  So strange how that day came up so clearly last night.  It was all the same people.  Just 32 years later.  The same familiar energy. Driven, fun, laughing, light, and fabulous.  It was exhilarating.


About 7000 people attended last night.  And there was a lot of white hair, no hair, and colored hair.  And everyone was so comfortable in their skin.  There was a confidence surrounding me that I had forgotten I have earned.  As I approach 50 next year I have started to think about age more than I have in previous years.  I did not know I was 'old' until one of my darling 30 year old protégés clued me in that I am (compared to her.) But in this crowd I was actually young!  And it felt great!  These are the parents of the subject I have become obsessed with - Millennials!  And it is no wonder these Millennials are smart, tech savvy and want it now.  I looked around preshow and everyone had their smart phones out.  It was hysterical.  Wine in one hand, iPhone in the other.


I hold Bonnie Raitt in high regard.  Her music always spoke to me, and her energy is that of wisdom, grace and class.   She is very cool in my book.  And I won a few Karaoke contests singing her songs!


Mavis Staples opened for her, and she came out and played a song with her and the crowd roared.  It was so nice to experience her talent with such a civilized group of people.  It was a cathartic experience in many ways.  I embraced that I am a Baby Boomer in many ways, and I appreciate all the generations before and after me.  Today I am feeling grounded, centered and grateful.


We get to see Joe Walsh at Wolf Trap next. Now that crowd will be interesting!



Quarterly Check on New Year's Commitments

Here we are in the latter part of May and I thought it would be interesting to jog our memories on our New Year's Commitments.  How are YOU doing?  I am not proud to report that my enthusiasm for one day of rest a month, a relaxing massage and starting yoga is less than desirable.

I did get the day of rest for the first quarter of the year.  I went on a three day respite April 30-May 2 to the lovely Tide Inn in Irvington, VA which I think counted as well.  I have to put in a plug for this place!

It was lovely!  A good old fashioned family resort with bicycles, crochet, a giant chess set, tree swing, 9 hole golf course, marina, wildlife and traditional roasting of s'mores in the evening.  As Kate and I took a leisurely swing, a wonderful gentleman approached from the neighboring farm house next door.  He asked if we were guests and invited us to pick fresh herbs from his garden for that evening's dinner by chef TJ.  He was the general manager, Gordon, and he taught Kate (and me) about the marvelous herbs that were in season, and those planted for later in the year.  It was a special treat!  At dinner that night (which was spectacular) Kate identified the herbs she helped pick, and we also received a packet of sweet basil seeds that we planted recently.  We are enjoying watching them grow.  Gordon sent us a handwritten thank you and and remembered our visit, and invited Kate to take a picture of herself with the basil.  We look forward to doing that.  It was a joyous 3 days of complete family time.  Uncomplicated, unstructured.  Healing, generative.

It was topped off a great visit with a college friend and his son, and lunch at his waterside eatery Willaby's.

I want to give myself a generous "A" for my commitment for rest.  But I can see myself easily passing that up in lieu of work, or volunteer activities in the future.  I must keep myself accountable to this!!

Yoga...well, I have failed miserably.  And I really need to do this.  "F." No excuses.

Massage.  Well, I only got the one back in te beginning of the year.  I said I'd get two for the year (twice as many as the year before) so I can say I am on track, but I really want one a month.  Oh well.  Can't have it all!

How are you doing on YOUR commitments?



American Society of Training and Development ICE 2012

ASTD (American Society of Training and Development) International Conference and Exposition was held in Denver this week.  I had attended these conventions at exciting locales for several years earlier in my career and went to last years’ conference in Orlando after a 15 year absence and just loved it.  I met so many wonderful, like-minded development professionals and convinced my friend and colleague Holly Williams, founder of Magus Group Coaching to submit a proposal for her innovative product Leadership Group Coaching.  She was accepted, and also signed up for a booth.  I love the energy of trade shows and enjoy the fun of talking to a diverse group of people.  Holly asked me to join her team (my new friend Laura Maddox) and ‘work’ the booth and support her efforts which I gladly accepted!

What an experience it was being on the other side of this conference.  It was fabulous!  Magus Group Coaching’s booth 1707 was the epitome of the feel of their philosophy and the karma of their founder.  It looked fabulous and we were all excited.  After a sprint back from opening session keynote Jim Collin’s of Good to Great fame, we were ready to receive over 8500 attendees from all over the globe.

I told Holly that her booth looked so fabulous she would probably win the Newcomer award for best booth, she laughed.  Well, after a long day of meeting a melting pot of diverse development professionals from places like Korea, China, Germany, Italy, Australia, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Brazil Japan, Nigeria and all over the US, the officials from ASTD came over to us with the coveted Best Booth Award for Newcomer’s.  I was so excited for my friend!  It was a thrilling moment.  So many came to us to congratulate us.  I love trainers!  Just happy, generous people.

What I did last year during lunch was float around to find just the right table to see who I was supposed to meet.  Last year it was the amazing Barb McLin with The Kevin Eikenberry Group.  This year it was the women from an entrepreneurial effort that was born from last years’ conference called Red Feather Networking.  Last year a group of colleagues wanted some way to easily identify one another in the sea of thousands of training professionals, and they all donned red feathers in their name tags. grew to over 400 people as a result!  The entrepreneurial spirit is alive with this phenomenal group of people.  I enjoyed them immensely.

Then on to the 4:00 session Group Coaching Laboratory with Holly’s best client Capital One there to also support the positive results of Magus Group Coaching.  It was standing room only!  We had to turn people away.  Had to give that day an A+!

Day two we experienced a wave of congratulatory comments as we were showcased for our booth win at the opening session with the likes of The Ken Blanchard Group.  An honor.  Again, great conversations with people who really ‘get’ the power of leadership coaching.  As with all trade shows, there comes a time when the attendance dips and everyone is off to their sessions, so this is the time we vendors get to walk around and check out all there is to offer.  I met some really cool people, and most of all Millennials.  Ahhhhh, new interviews for my book I am thinking!  The Epicurious Brit among them. An impressive woman now living in San Francisco educated in marketing, and passionate about food and wine.  I liked her immediately.

Maestro, a company that I can envision partnering with to take our programs to the next virtual level!  And Vertical, another technology savvy group that I will be learning a lot from.

I really like Denver.  The day before the conference I got to spend the day with a dear friend and her amazing family whom I have not seen since 1996, and another friend absent from my life since 8th grade.  It was joyous.

The city has a positive energy, the people are friendly and made every effort to make our stay here memorable.  I’d come back here again in a minute.  Perhaps some skiing now that I did not break anything when I rejoined the ranks of skiers this past year.

It was a outstanding week at ASTD and I look forward to growing personally and professionally as a result.

What are YOU doing to grow YOURself this year?




Recent Comments
Guest — Kelly Phillips
Lori, it was great to meet you in Denver! I enjoyed reading your reflections on the conference experience. Attending conferences c... Read More
Friday, 11 May 2012 02:34
Guest — Holly Williams
Great write up of a wonderful week. And a good example of how we need friends and colleagues who challenge us and push us out of o... Read More
Friday, 11 May 2012 09:56
Guest — Barb
Lori Ermi, you are Remarkable. Thanks for the recognition in your post. YOU make the difference. YOU learned the critical lesson... Read More
Friday, 11 May 2012 17:32

Millennial Madness: May Showers of Hope

I found myself waiting at the SLC Airport surrounded by twelve high school seniors headed to DC for a graduation trip and college visits.  They are well armed with their technology (as am I, so at least I fit in from that perspective).  They all have a handheld device of some sort – Samsung, iPhone, Droid, all the major brands are well represented.


Five have laptops – Mac, Dell.  Six have iPods plugged in their ears, while they are all multi-tasking.  They are also having very vigorous conversations (which bursts the myth that they do not know how to talk to each other.)  One young man is clearly obsessed with technology (the Mac guy) and he has rambled off the names of at least 30 different plug ins, apps, hardware, and takes pride in showing his female peer with the Dell all about it.  Twitter feeds, Facebook profile pics, and You-Tube clips.  They all talk about food too. Food is a universal language for us all, and this group of Millennials are no exception.They are also doing a fine job of keeping an eye on each other as their boarding time draws near.  Genuine concern for their friends.

As I lift up my head from my Inspiron-mini I see two large groups of young Millennials arriving from their location for a Rocky Mountain retreat.  A musical group maybe?  Their matching shirts actually look like the Mad Men logo although I know that can’t be true.  A plethora of diversity.  Young men, women, and numerous cultural backgrounds.  It warms this writers heart to see this as a normal condition.

I hear many of our leaders expressing concern about the Millennials ability to communicate verbally.  Many eye rolls at their ability to write in anything but text-ease.  But you know, I feel increasingly more confident as I am immersed in this Millennial moment that their parents raised them the best they could.  Exposed them to so many opportunities, and gave them an amazing start.  Just like any other generation, there will be some that thrive, and others that will not.  And I think we will see this generation thriving more than not.  I am happy to be a mentor to pass over the reigns.  I don’t need to lead any longer.  I am in the deconstruction of my career ego, and focusing more on how I can make an impact.  It is sort of a relief.

I had the opportunity to train at a large Military-base. My class was filled with retired military recently hired into a civilian federal agency.  Most were younger Boomers and older Gen Xers, with one lone Millennial. It was interesting to hear about those who ascended to fairly high leadership ranks prior to their retirement just wanting to get a job, keep their head low, and NOT lead.  But in reality, the real leaders stand out. They couldn't keep away, they want to be a role-model, a mentor.  As much as they wanted to fight the urge, and achieve the life balance, they can’t help but fulfill a calling to make an impact.  I related to them.  The word wisdom came up a lot.  This lone Millennial was very talented among the sage group.  And they showed her respect.  Wanted to hear her perspective.  And she THRIVED!

I think it is that simple.  To get the most out of Millennials, show them respect, that their voice matters.  That your HEAR them, not just see them.

Recent Comments
Guest — Barb
Super post Lori, As usual you put clear vision into your obsrvation.
Friday, 04 May 2012 19:09
Guest — ermigrp
Thank you Barb! It was fantastic to see you this week!
Thursday, 10 May 2012 19:52

It's About Honor...

I found myself on a business sponsored pilgrimage to my birthplace, Salt Lake City, UT this week.  My mom was also born there, and my 5 year old is her namesake.  If heart disease did not take her in 1979 at the young age of 59, she would be 92 years old.  Salt Lake Hardware was a big employer in SLC.  It was ironically founded by men whose origins are Eden, NY where my husband was born and raised, and where my mother-in-law’s family is from for many generations.  In 1909 the founders built a Georgian inspired brick headquarters in the shadow of the State Capital and what is now Temple Square.

My mom was an amazing woman.  A very successful student, fluent in Spanish as a second language, she was unable to attend college due to family finances, and her amazing brother paid for her to go to secretarial school.  She was a record setting stenographer and typist, and was hired at Salt Lake Hardware likely sometime in the early 1940’s.  She worked for the VP of Sales, John Doubry until 1954. One of my treasures I recently received from my parents is the porcelain ballerina that John gave her for Christmas.   A pretty impressive position for a woman in WWII-era Utah.  I  hear from my dad and other relatives that she was successful in her own right, and she supported my dad as he attended University of Utah and worked in the mail-room at Uniroyal (where he later thrived for 28 years with multiple relocations landing in Connecticut where he remains today!).

 I went to see her place of employment and was pleased to find out that it has been refurbished into office space, with many authentic renderings remaining.  I found an ad for tires dated June 13, 1949.  She likely had her hand in creating this ad in some way.  Very cathartic.

Then I was off to locate the home my mom lived in with her parents until her mom’s death (also at age 59.) It is a tiny stucco 2 bedroom bungalow in the outskirts of the city.  While some of the homes were not kept up over the years, you can tell people take pride in their area, and it was still pretty cute.  Just picturing her taking care of the grandmother I never knew who suffered from multiple strokes…she was 31 when she met my dad.  Sort of borderline old maid back in 1950, but she was the youngest, and the European tradition was that she takes care of the parents.

Next I was off to Hill Airforce Base where my parents actually met.  A great story.  My mom was visiting her injured nephew at the hospital there where my dad was an orderly.

My dad is a handsome devil and my mom was tall, thin, svelte, fit and stylish in her tailored Pendleton suit.  Their eyes met, and they started chatting.  She asked my dad if he skied and if he wanted to go.  My dad is suave guy, and a wonderful athlete, so he decided to take a few runs on Wild Cat Mountain to practice up and impress my mom, an avid skier.  Well, it did not work out too well.

My mom was visiting the hospital to see her nephew she walked by and my dad was laid up with torn ligaments!  One thing led to another and they started dating.  An 8 month courtship culminated in a fabulous trip to Las Vegas and a ceremony at the Little Church of the West.  I LOVE THIS!!

Twelve years later they decide they wanted to adopt a baby.  In comes me!  She was 43 and 5 months when 6 week old Lori Dee Evans landed in their arms.  And as fate would have it, I was 43 and 5 months when I adopted her namesake Kate.  You can’t make this stuff up!

I am honored to be learning more about my mom.  What a hard life she led, and also what an exciting life she experienced.  She was a dedicated mom and wife.  And if I can be a fraction of who she was Kate will be a fine woman when she grows up.

Even though I am adopted, and my mom has been gone for 32 years, I have never felt more connected to her.  I share this because at my age (48) we unfortunately are dealing with loss, aging parents, or already have lost parents.  Yes, it is painful. And also healing energy can result from reflecting, honoring, and walking the steps of those who raised us.

Kathryn LaRue Hammond Evans – I am so grateful for you.  God put me exactly in the right place.  And Kate is in the right place with me.  And you showed me the path to motherhood I had no idea I could walk.  And you made it look so easy.  Thank you.

Recent Comments
Guest — Megan
Thank you for writing this. It's beautiful, insightful and super cathartic. "the path to motherhood I had no idea I could walk"..... Read More
Friday, 27 April 2012 19:03
Guest — Todd
Well said!!!!!
Friday, 27 April 2012 20:07
Guest — ermigrp
Thank you Megan! Are you a mommy now? Hope this finds you well. I love my print by you! I look at it every day!
Friday, 04 May 2012 18:42


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