Author Archive

InsightsOut has moved!

August 9, 2010

After many years of residing on the WordPress server, InsightsOut has become an established part of the HKA website. We’ve updated the look and feel of the blog and think it is much more “reader friendly.”

Be sure to change your bookmarks and subscribe to our new blog:

We hope that you will check us out and let us know what you think!

This current blog will expire soon, so be sure and make the switch!


Browsing the Dungeon

June 15, 2010

Have you ever gone to a library or a bookstore just to browse? This is one of my absolute favorite things to do, next to “browsing” Costco during sampling hours.

To be honest, I could probably spend as much time in a good library looking at the aged and disfigured classics and freshly unwrapped reference encyclopedias as I do watching People’s Court and updating my profile on Facebook.

I used to work at the library at my University. For the most part it was…quiet…but the very best part was re-shelving books. In our library we had three floors; there was the Library of Congress upstairs, where the newest and most cared for books were stored in an easy to navigate system. The middle floor housed reference, newspapers, journals, and a stunning display of computers.

And finally, my favorite floor, the bottom floor.

The bottom floor we liked to call the “Dungeon.” It was darker than the rest of the library since it was lit almost entirely by unnatural light that had a tendency to flicker. The bookshelves were over packed and stretched almost to the ceiling. And the smell. The smell was what I imagine a monastery in Scotland would have smelled like in the 14th century.

The books in the bottom floor held so much mystery, it would take me almost twice as long to put each of them in their place as I would get distracted by a book title or wonder why such-and-such book was so worn. They were cataloged using the Dewey Decimal system and unless you were a librarian or you had studied “Library Sciences” (yes, you can actually earn a degree Library Sciences), then it could become frustrating to navigate the seemingly illogical numbering system.

Many students would pass up great classic novels that were printed a century ago because they did not want to explore the Dungeon. Most students never even ventured to the bottom floor unless they were forced to use one of the study rooms because of overcapacity.

I loved these times where I could slow down and all I had to think about was what letter came next in the alphabet. It was incredibly rewarding also when I would come across a gnarled classic that would go perfectly with a picnic under a tree at the park.

The Dungeon is the foundational reason I read classic novels and poetry and I am forever grateful for the time I was forced to take to slow down, quiet my life and discover something new.

Has there been a time when you have been forced to slow down and notice significant things?

How to Nag your Colleagues and Remain Friends

April 21, 2010

Around the office I answer to a variety of titles, administrative assistant, blog mom, lioness, and most recently, I have become the “nag” of the office. This new addition to my administrative assistant title has made me realize some very valuable principles about nagging my colleagues. Here are some of the nagging principles I have learned from my working experience in different offices with all kinds of people.

Principle 1:  Say Please

Please is a very powerful word in the business world. It changes a demand into a request and softens even the most painful work. I have not met anyone who likes to be told what to do in a demanding and authoritative way. This little word can change the way your colleagues respond to their work and to you.

Principle 2: The Friendly Reminder

Email a person a friendly reminder before coming at them with guns a-blazin’. Usually there is no malice behind forgetfulness, most people legitimately forget. Give them the benefit of the doubt and don’t patronize them. The response tends to be better received if your first step is a quick and gentle reminder.

Principle 3: When to Nag

Notice what is going on in the office and plan around it. Does John already have three huge projects piling up? Is Suzie coughing profusely? Does Karen look like she’s been pulling her hair out? Paying attention to the people you work with on more than just a surface level is key to knowing when a good time to remind them to do something is. If George is about to blow, that is probably not the best time to tell him the TPS Report needs to be done by lunch time.

Principle 4: Danke Schoen

Although Wayne Newton wasn’t a businessman, he knew the importance of saying thank you. Positive reinforcement works really well with most people because, after all, who doesn’t like to be appreciated and noticed?

It’s funny how the things we learn in kindergarten really never change. Mind your manners, treat others as you would like to be treated, think about what you say before you say it, don’t eat crayons, etc.

So I think nag away, just nag with mercy and tact.

Website Error 404 – A Thing of The Past

February 12, 2010

As many people are well aware, web presence is not so much a good idea as it is a necessity. From personal experience, when I want to know anything, the first place I look is online. Need a great coffee place in Newport Beach? Google it in. Something to do on a Friday night? Check “Things to do” on the Want to check out a company before you do business with them? Look up their website.

It has been a struggle this last year to get the HKA website functioning properly. It was the sad victim of an unwieldy virus causing it to be testy and uncooperative leading to endless angst for our IT master, Layne. There was constant frustration over links that didn’t work, buttons that lead to dead pages and a series of old, outdated information.

It was laughable at times as it seemed we would get one link back up only to find another dropped off leading to an irritating “Error 404” page that made me entertain the idea of throwing my computer out the window (my office is on the first floor so the whole thing would be a bit anti-climactic).

Error 404 Page

Finally, we were able to get on board with Abdi over at NetServe Systems and he was brought us a sliver of hope. I’m not sure how it all worked, but lets just say whatever was wrong, they fixed it.

So then I became one of the website managers which meant that I needed to go through the whole site and update links, articles and press releases that had been stalled for six months.  Needless to say, it was a long and harrowing process.

The website is now purring like a kitten, back up and ready for action. Although the process was rough and technology isn’t always thrilling, it has been an incredible learning experience. I am now an in-house website manager and I am mighty proud.

Worker bees at HKA

January 27, 2010

As the HKA workers were creating buzz for their clients, some other busy bees were creating buzz around the office yesterday afternoon.

Working in a restored 1920’s Bungalow, HKA has enjoyed the privilege of being aesthetically differentiated in a neighborhood of modern apartment complexes and office buildings. Our office has all the modern conveniences, yet there are a few things that give the building “character” according to its occupants.

It was late last week when Nicole first discovered the addition of bees that have made their home in our attic. Their first appearance was in one of our bathrooms, yet today they boldly buzzed through the back hallway and into one of the offices. The occupant, who shall remain nameless (ok, it was me, LaDonna), shrieked back in justifiable alarm and called for back up.

Not many know that amongst her public relations talent, charming personality, and good looks, Anika is what appears to be an animal whisperer. She swept into the office fearlessly in search of the misplaced bee and within seconds had the situation well in hand. Taking the poor bees (for there ended up being two) out to their natural habitat, she rescued the office from another traumatic bee experience.

According to an article from the current number of hives has declined by 25% since the 1980’s. We may have just found that 25% in our attic.

In conclusion, do I like bees? From a distance.

Do I want to cohabitate with them? Not so much.