Saturday, November 26, 2011

Misc Happenings - Nov recap

Ambassador Day...
...went really well! A HUGE thank you to all the LGO volunteers for making the day such a success. Leah and Jane in Admissions do a great job presenting the program in a professional way to potential students. It was fun sorta being the 'face' of the LGO program to the attendees. I really enjoyed leading this effort!
Last year Brad wouldn't take a picture of me with the balloons because he said it was 'unprofessional' or something. This year I made sure I got my picture with them. Yay!

Ice Hockey
I know it's hard to believe, but I play ice hockey now! Playing on the team is definitely in the top 5 best experiences of LGO. Our team is pretty terrible but it still is SO much fun! Michael Joyce does an amazing job coaching!

Me looking completely ridiculous

"Out on the ice" :-)

I am now the ripe old age of twenty-seven. Brad threw me a birthday party that I kinda hijacked and turned into an LGO/Baltic (my sloan cohort) party. It couldn't have turned out any better! I ended up cooking the 70+ guests a Tex-mex fajita dinner but the best part was just getting to chill with my new Boston friends!

Pie Night
It is a tradition in the Sommerkorn household to have a whole night dedicated to pie. When they first told me about this I couldn't even think of more than maybe four types of pie. They have really expanded my pie horizons over the last 6 months! This year pie night was on my birthday and it was a great way to celebrate! I acted as Liz's sous chef and got to learn even more about various types of pie. Liz made 14 pies for the occasion (she is SO talented!). It was fun asking guests which pie was there favorite. It was a really tough question because all of them were so stinkin' good! Crowd favorites were the Apple/Cranberry/Ginger pie and classic French Silk but the most talked about pie was the delicious Peanut Butter Bacon pie.

With only a couple days off school and work and with flights being pretty pricey, we decided to stay in town for Thanksgiving. The amazing Crail's had us over for dinner to celebrate. Paige and Clayton are incredible hosts and made us feel right at home with their delicious smoked turkey, super sweet tea, and the Dallas Cowboys football game!

Newport Mansions
Over Thanksgiving Break Brad and I rented a car and drove to Rhode Island for the day. We went to see the beautiful Newport Mansions decorated for Christmas. On the way down there I connected that this was the same city in which my dad was born so we got to stop by and see the house he was born in and spent the first 10 years of his life.

My dad's childhood home

I could definitely see myself being a-okay living in this era in one of these 'summer cottages'. The women couldn't have a job, vote, or hold office and they had 40+ person staff that took care of all the cooking and cleaning. Their sole job in life was planning parties. They had $300K (in today's dollars, $7M) budgets to host 400+ person parties that even the president would attend. Yes, definitely could get use to this life...

 The Elms

Side view of the Breakers - Cost $322M in today's dollars to build

Coastline - Cliff Walk

It is crazy to think we only have a few more weeks left of the fall semester. It has absolutely flown by. I'm trying to make the most of still being on campus in classes because I'm doing an off-cycle internship at MGH starting in February. I'll be writing more about that in the spring!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ambassador Day 2011

This time last year I was contemplating a change in my career and thought LGO might be the solution. Since I had only really learned about the program from the information on the website and blogs, I wanted to visit in person to figure out if this was really for me, and if I should apply or not.

Last fall my husband and I flew up to Boston and spent the weekend touring the city and ended the trip with a Monday visit to MIT for Ambassador Day. All the information on the websites and blogs, albeit helpful, didn’t hold a candle to actually being on campus and experiencing the LGO energy first hand. The students I met were so friendly, outgoing, and warm. Everyone had such wonderful things to say about their experiences.

I remember taking a walk along the Charles after the final event that evening and deciding that I would apply to LGO. It was really scary and exciting knowing I would take that next step!

Now, a year later, I am helping actually lead the Ambassador Day event! I know what an impact it had on me and I’m pumped about getting to host 100+ potential applicants on campus this year.
Ambassador Day 2010 - SO happy after a day on campus!

Ambassador Day 2010 - Picture taken during the campus tour

The day’s schedule and my personal commentary on the events is below:

Ambassador Day Schedule: November 7, 2011 9:15 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
9:15-10:30 a.m.: Check in at the LGO office
This is super casual just hanging out and talking with current students. There will be coffee and bagels available. Make sure to get to the LGO office before 9:30am if you want to go to a morning class.

10:30 a.m.-Noon: Tour the campus with current students -OR- Attend a class
You have two options in the morning. We are encouraging everyone that can, to attend class in the morning because we have limited spots in the afternoon classes. The tour will take you around MIT to the places students use/visit the most.

Noon-1 p.m.: Engage in a student-led panel discussion
I’ll be moderating this panel. This panel will be more casual then the one in the evening. You can ask the students tough questions- we’ll tell it to you straight! Also, there will be significant others at the panel/lunch for you to ask questions as well.

1-2:15 p.m.: Enjoy lunch and mingling with LGO students and staff members
Lunch…it will be delicious!

2:30-4 p.m.: Tour the campus with current students -OR- Attend a class
Same deal as above- tour or class.

4-5:30 p.m.: Attend a partner company pro-seminar—Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Angela Thedinga ’10
Representatives from partner companies come to campus each Monday to talk to us about their company and current issues they are facing. It is typically presented in an interactive way, which makes them pretty interesting. The guest coming next week for Ambassador Day is a 2010 LGO alumna!

Information Evening Schedule: November 7, 2011: 6 - 8:30 p.m.
6-6:30 p.m.: Registration and pre-reception
Mingling with current students, alumni, admissions, and staff.

6:30-8 p.m.: Introduction by Jane Deutsch, Director of LGO Admissions and Career Development
Welcome by JoAnne Yates Deputy Dean & Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management
Welcome by David Hardt Ralph E. and Eloise F. Cross Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Program Presentation by Don Rosenfield Director of LGO program
Don gives a really nice overview of the program and you get to learn a little about its history.

LGO Student and Alumni Panel Discussion with Q&A Session
We will have several area alumni at the evening panel discussion that will give their perspectives on career/life after LGO.

8-8:30 p.m.: Reception
More mingling!

It isn’t too late to register for the event! Email to sign-up. Significant others are welcome to attend.

If you are interested in the program, I highly recommend taking the time to come to campus and checking out LGO in person. It definitely made a difference for me!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


In between the Summer and Fall semesters, LGOers get a week and a half off from school. Over the break I got to go to San Francisco, Sonoma Valley, Maine, and the Sam Adams Brewery.

San Francisco / Sonoma Valley
Brad's company is headquartered in Fremont, CA. In an effort for him to network with the main office they flew him out to CA for the week and I got to tag along!

While Brad worked during the day, I went hiking and running along beautiful trails.
On the weekend we visited Sonoma Valley and went on a wine tour. We had a blast!
It was so beautiful in CA. Now I can see why so many people want to live there! I can't imagine having that kind of weather year round!

Sam Adams Brewery Tour

Since none of us had anything do to during the day over break, a few of us went on the Sam Adams Brewery Tour here in Boston. I asked the tour guide manufacturing questions and he looked at me like I was crazy. :-)

Let's be honest though, we weren't there to get additional manufacturing knowledge, we were there for the free beer.

I'll definitely be back with my friends that visit Boston this fall! 

Taking a trip to Maine was high on the Boston bucket list so we were excited when an opportunity to visit Acadia National Park came up! 

We went hiking...

...and ate a ton of lobster!

While I'm not working full-time, I definitely want to take advantage of the breaks and continue traveling and visiting new fun cities!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Leadership Reaction Course

At the end of the summer we went to an army base to participate in something called a Leadership Reaction Course. No, we are not big tough army officers, but we do have pretty good problem solving skillz and we had a blast trying to do some pretty tough obstacles.

At the end we had an “all-star” team that did the hardest course. I was representin’ for the ladies. It was definitely the most fun course of the day. The students not participating got to watch from a viewing deck above. It was a blast!

For more pictures of the crazy obstacles: LRC Photos

China Leaders for Global Operations (CLGO)

Oh, the CLGOs….I love them so much! We have a sister program with one of the top universities in China. Each year either we visit China or they visit us. This year they came to the US for 2 weeks and spent a week here with us in Boston. For almost all of them this was their first time in the US and first opportunity to be immersed in English conversation. Some of my favorite memories:
  • At dinner someone asked, “Why do Americans love Lady Gaga so much?”
  • They told me in China when someone is surprised they say, “Oh- my- Lady Gaga!”
  • When they met Brad they kept telling me how “handsome” and “very good looking” he was.
  • Trying to explain the correct response to “How are you doing?” Do you really say how you are doing or do you just say “Fine”?
  • Learning how to speak a little Chinese and instead of saying “thank you,” I kept saying “uncle”. Finally I just decided to always say “Thank you uncle!” They would then laugh hysterically at me.
  • Getting to have a traditional Chinese meal with them and learning all about the dishes. Apparently General Tso’s chicken isn’t actually Chinese!
  • Michael Joyce and I just ordered water at the Chinese dinner and one of the leaders apparently felt that this must mean they weren’t being good hosts, so they had every type of soda the restaurant had brought over to the table.
  • At the end of their visit they showed the most amazing slideshow of pictures and memories. They were just SO sweet!

Next year is our year to visit them so in March on our international plant trek we will get to visit them. I can’t wait!

We did schoolwork this summer? All I remember is the fun!


Early in the summer I hosted a dinner party in the penthouse of my building. Brad and I thought that because our apartment would be so small in Boston we wouldn’t be able to host dinner parties for these two years. We were wrong! About 50 people came and we got to try a ton of delicious food. The view wasn’t bad either! Yum!


Brad and I learned to sail over the summer at the MIT sailing pavilion. It is just steps away from our apartment and the lessons and use of the boats are completely free! It has been a great way to take advantage of the stunning Boston summer weather and get out on the water. Every morning when I wake up, I feel like I say the same thing – “Today is a great day to be in Boston!”

Brad is hoping to get the next level of certification so we can take out the bigger MIT boats that hold 8-10 people. Wine and cheese anyone?

4th of July Spectacular

What better city to celebrate 4th of July in but Boston? It is an LGO tradition to always hold a daylong celebration at the MIT sailing pavilion as a class. We couldn’t have asked for better weather that day. The fireworks were literally the best I’ve seen. Ah-mazing!

For more pictures: 4th of July Celebration

Our Four Year Anniversary 

Brad did a really nice job with our anniversary this year (is anyone really surprised?). He started the day by having roses waiting for me outside of my classroom. He had to work with the LGO administration to figure out which classroom we were using that day. Very sneaky!

Our sweet friends, Allison and Joey Dean, gave us a gift certificate to a really nice seafood restaurant in Boston so we went there for dinner. It was delicious and really fun to get dressed up! The only funny thing was wearing a dress and Brad in a tie and jacket on the subway. We felt only slightly overdressed. J


Liz and Peter Summerkorn are another couple at LGO and live in our building. It has been fun getting to know them over the summer. One of many wonderful aspects of being friends with them is their love for and skill at eating and making PIE. We’ve had some pretty fantastic midnight pie decimation sessions with whole pies being consumed in a single sitting. Be impressed.

Liz has been so kind to *attempt* to teach me how to make amazing pie like her. The first session was actually pretty successful. I can’t wait to learn more types of pie!

Summer Catch-up + Universe Within + Team AWESOME

Summer Catch-up

It is hard to believe the summer semester is already over. It feels like just yesterday we were starting classes! I’m afraid this is a taste of how quickly the next two years are going to go! I haven’t done a good job keeping up with my blog posts throughout the summer but I do want make sure I share some of the highlights of this amazingly fun summer. So here we go: the whole summer recapped in a bunch of simultaneous blog posts! Woooohoooo!!!

First Week of LGO - Universe Within
First day of school!

I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous about my first day back to school. It felt like kindergarten all over again- will the kids like me? I wonder if I will have the right backpack. Will they give us a test the first day?

Well, it turned out that the first week was stinking awesome. We got to meet our classmates and found out the summer team assignments. We did lots of team building and personal reflection. It was great!

The hardest part about the first week for me (and actually the whole summer) was learning to step down (which is kinda ironic considering this is Leaders for Global Ops). As you can imagine with 50 Ashleigh’s, everyone is going to want to be in charge. I’ve found, however, that sometimes the best way to lead is by stepping down if that is what allows the team to move forward and be successful. It’s OK to not always be in charge- it’s actually pretty refreshing just to go with the flow.

Team Awesome

LGO assigns 6-7 students to each “summer team”. The majority of our assignments are done in groups. The workload is so large over the summer (6+ classes in 11 weeks) that you have to rely on your team just to get it all done.  I loved my summer team! We named our group “Team Awesome” the first week and it actually ended up being really true! Everyone in my group was super smart, hard working, and fun (actually that describes pretty much everyone at LGO!). The last day of class we had to make a poster that pictorially described what we did well this summer and what we could improve on. 

One of our team’s biggest accomplishments was not meeting a single weekend or late night. I think we were able to do that because we scheduled meeting time for each of our assignments in advance, everyone came prepared to meetings, and we rotated a facilitator role that helped keep the team focused and moving. I’m really going to miss working with them everyday!

For more photo shoot pics: LGO Pictures

Friday, July 29, 2011

Boston VS. Dallas

Everyone said that it would be quite the culture shock moving from Dallas to Boston. Here are a few of the differences...
Brashleigh in Boston

Brashleigh in Texas (at the Rodeo no less!)

Many of the differences between Dallas and Boston have been the differences in 'creature comforts'. These ended up being total non-issues. We moved from a house to a ~500 sq ft dorm apartment and love it! My classes and Brad's office are both right across the street. The longest part of our commutes is the elevator ride down 20 floors. Tough life, I know! :-)

House in Dallas

Dorm Life in Boston

Yes, our place is a bit smaller but the view more than makes up for it!

Another creature comfort that it turns out you don't actually need is three cars! Now we ride the "T" (Boston's subway system), use zipcar and get our groceries delivered (since there isn't a grocery store in walking distance). Sometimes we use our homeless cart to walk 3 miles to Target. Okay, we actually only did that once. :-)

Transportation in Dallas

Transportation in Boston

One of the biggest differences in Boston is that I no longer earn a salary; now I pay someone else to let me work! The transition back to school was much better than I expected. One of the best things about no longer working in consulting is that I don't have to travel all week for work. I love being home and getting to cook Brad dinner every night!

Brad has had a transition as well from working for Mustang Technology Group, a defense contractor, to working for Acorn Product Development, a mechanical engineering design consulting firm. Brad was blessed with TWO job offers within a week of us moving here. Everyone at MIT told us he wouldn't have trouble finding a job. We just had no idea how quickly the jobs would come. It was a huge blessing that he was able to start working just days after I started school!

Food was a large concern when moving here because we LOVE tex-mex. We rapidly replaced our weekly mexican meal with the North End's Italian food (including Mike's Pastry's cannoli!!). It is SOOO good!!! 

Delicious Mexican at Joe T. Garcias in Fort Worth- literally the best mexican food in Texas.

Italian food and cannolis in the North End- yummmm!!
Another food obsession that we have is Chick-fil-a. I was so sad during our last lunch at Chick-fil-a in Dallas the day before we moved. BUT it turns out they have a Chick-fil-a right next to one of Brad's clients (30 miles outside the city). In Dallas we dressed up every year as cows to get a day of free meals (we would go for breakfast, lunch AND dinner!). Brad was still able to dress-up for Cow Appreciation Day last month and he brought food back to campus for me. Yay for a little bit of the South up in North! 
Chickfila in Dallas

Chickfila in Boston

Churches in the South seem to be slightly different from the churches in the North in both quantity and size. Our church home in Dallas had 10,000 members and has started a $115 million dollar building campaign. Our church home in Boston has 300 members and has services in a building that is 100+ years old. Both are great bodies of believers whose goal is to glorify Christ!

First Baptist Church of Dallas

 Hope Fellowship

I'm a big runner and I have had a pretty big upgrade in running scenery. I typically ran the Katy Trail in Dallas with my amazing running partner Melanie. I realllllly miss her accountability to run in the morning and her entertaining life stories. Running over and around the Charles river has been pretty nice though!

Katy Trail in Dallas

Charles River running trail

Georgia Tech Alumni
We had a great community of Georgia Tech Alumni in Dallas. We loved being on the exec team and knew we would miss our North Texas club. However, it turns out several of my closest friends from Tech have moved up to Boston since graduation. I love hanging out with friends that I've had since  before freshman year!!
North Texas Georgia Tech Alumni Club

 GT Friends in Boston

We miss our friends in Dallas terribly but absolutely love the friends we've made so far in Boston. Starting school with a group of 50 intelligent, fun-loving, and super nice individuals (plus all their S.O.'s (significant others)!) has immensely helped the transition to Boston. I'm excited to see the relationships that develop over the next two years!