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