The Virtual Meeting Coach

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Posts Tagged ‘Oregon’

Ashland Social Media and Virtual Meeting Coaching Groups: It’s Time to Register for Fall ’11 Sessions Now

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Southern Oregon authors, coaches and consultants! Here’s a Local Opportunity!

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Hello Ashland, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, Grants Pass, and Jacksonville, Oregon! I’m looking for one more Rogue Valley author, coach or consultant who’s ready to add virtual meetings to your communication toolbox this year!

At the end of this month, I’m starting up a 6-week small-group coaching program where you will meet in person with others like you and learn-by-doing in a fun face-to-face setting.

Ready to skill yourself up for 2011? We’re going to have some big fun! Read more here. If you’re interested, give me a call right away.

Elders Everywhere – and Especially Online! Mountain Meadows Cloud Computing, Part 1 of 3

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009


Regular readers of this blog know I’m not a thirty-something. In fact, I’m almost sixty-something, an ABB (aging Baby Boomer) who’s been online teaching and learning with people around the globe since before we had graphic browsers. A hundred thousand hours of typing and mousing have earned me the arthritis showing up in my hands…

What you may not know is that this spring I moved the World Headquarters for “The Virtual Meeting Coach” to Mountain Meadows, an active senior community in beautiful Ashland, Oregon. The move was not planned, and I’m not retired. But coming to Mountain Meadows has turned out to be just as powerful a next step for me as it was for my neighbors who planned their retirement here.

I’m surrounded by beauty and some of the smartest people living in the Rogue Valley, ages 55 to 104. Some are retired. Some continue working. All of us enjoy meals in our fabulous clubhouse, the warmth and companionship of our community garden, an onsite fitness center, and the comfort and stimulation of each others’ humor, curiosity, and lifetimes of experience. I’ve been telling friends I fell through the looking glass into a world I never imagined could be so much fun.

Within the first week of my arrival, I hooked up with the computer users group, shepherded by Chris Menefee, a brilliant, generous retired librarian and active senior technology advocate. Chris had been leading the group’s exploration of social networking sites and begun working with Ning to setup a private site for Mountain Meadows residents. With a little more coaching from me from the wings, Chris launched the network within the month and residents began signing up for it by the dozens. At the same time, I started offering some informal group computer coaching for residents having trouble using their computers.

Like flowers just waiting for water, one resident after another has raised their heads – and their hands – asking for help crossing over the great “digital divide” into the 21st century. Bob Griffin, chairman of the activities and events committee of the Mountain Meadows Owners’ Association authorized my “cloud computing initiative” for interested residents. And, beginning in September, it’s our shared hope that over the coming year, we will grow a garden of elders who  feel confident and comfortable computing anytime and from anywhere they can get on a WI-FI connection.


I’m calling the first step of this cloud computing initiative, “Up, Up and Away: Elders Everywhere and Especially Online!” Participants who don’t already have a laptop or netbook have been shopping for them this summer so they can take advantage of all the FREE Web2.0 apps available in the cloud and the clubhouse Wi-Fi internet connection I’ll be using for their classes. Championed by the intrepid online shopper, Annette Pirie, dozens of Mountain Meadows residents have been shopping – both locally and online – collecting stats, features, and best prices for netbooks and cheap laptops, and sharing their research with each other in the community Ning. I’m so proud of them all I can’t quit grinning!

I promised folks I would put my own arthritic fingers on as many netbooks as I could find during a recent business trip to San Francisco and post my research and my recommendations into the Ning before September 1st.  As I started writing up my notes this weekend, it dawned on me it made good sense to share my experiences here, too. (Duh!)

So, tomorrow’s post will feature my brief notes and recommendations for currently available netbooks that I expect will perform well for Seniors and ABBs (Aging Baby Boomers who don’t yet want to call themselves “Seniors”) who are seeking an easy, cheap route to cloud computing.

The Ground-Up Healthcare Revolution: Upcoming Focus on Telehealth, Telemedicine, Digital Doctor Visits, and More

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Photo: Progress Ohio

This morning The Virtual Meeting Coach made a trek up to Medford to speak face-to-face with the legislative staff of Oregon Congressman Greg Walden. The topic? What else? Healthcare reform.

I’m one of the millions of Americans who has health insurance that doesn’t cover my care. I pay premiums every month. Big premiums. And HealthNet of Oregon denies my claims, classifying me as a “special case.” This has been going on since I moved to Oregon three years ago. What HealthNet is doing to me is nothing short of highway robbery and I resent the hell out it, not just for me but for the thousands of other Oregonians and Californians that HealthNet holds hostage because we’ve got “pre-existing conditions.” If we drop their coverage, we’ll be uninsurable. That means we pay the Mafia every month, or force our out-of-work neighbors and the gasping local hospitals to pay for our care.

At the President’s request, I thought I’d explain my predicament to my Oregon Congressman this morning on the chance that I might motivate Mr. Walden to support national healthcare reform. I drove up for a face-to-face meeting. Needless to say, he wasn’t in the office. And, his staff member – a person who told us she’s not actually part of his legislative staff – gave me and a handful of other folks a fully lukewarm welcome.

Then she spent most of our time together explaining to us in a decidedly patronizing voice why it wasn’t Greg Walden’s job to support legislation that he didn’t agree with. She listened to the needs and concerns I brought to share, but made no effort whatsoever to make even one written note although she said she’d tell the Congressman. So much for making a trip for a face-to-face meeting with my elected representative at 9:30am on a Wednesday morning.

My next best option is canceling my so-called “insurance” and forcing local tax rolls to absorb my care. Maybe my Republican Congressman would rather explain to Oregonians why they’ll have to pay new taxes – or cancel even more essential government services - instead of telling them what he’s doing to protect them from the cost of not giving people like me a way to participate in a national plan that enables us to remain responsible for ourselves.

I drove back to Ashland, shaking my head over the stone wall I ran into in my face-to-face meeting and, on the other hand, celebrating the excitement I’m feeling in recent online conversations around cost-saving telehealth, telemedicine, and digital doctoring initiatives.

It’s not part of my preventative care regimen to allow my blood to boil. So, after I return next week from a quick trip to the Bay Area, I’ll be following the path with a heart. For the next several weeks I’ll be focusing on the explosion of new medical applications for virtual meeting tools and other kinds of social media in the delivery of cost-effective healthcare and longterm care.

To wet your whistle, take a peek at this spiffy new site called Hello Health. Hello Health is a group of doctors setting up a simple way to serve their patients in web conferencing rooms while also trying to make it easy for other docs to work with them. What a concept! Based in NYC, they call themselves the “ground-up healthcare revolution.”

Welcome from Hello Health on Vimeo.

No gigantic bureaucracy. No death panels. No end of patient-doctor-relationship-scenarios. At Hello Health, all you have to do is “friend” another doc to give them access to your records.

Do you suppose this group’s got something to teach others about simple civility, collaboration, and creativity in meeting patient needs?

Do you suppose this could be generalized in some way to meet American’s political needs? Maybe they could show some of our Congressmen what it means to “friend” all their constituents. You think?

“In the company of nudists, no one is naked.”

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

This week I read a stunning piece by Jeff Jarvis in Business Week.

Jeff teaches at the CUNY School of Journalism and blogs at His piece is short but packed a big punch.

He probed around a number of key issues in the conversation about openness – or transparency – and the Internet. The whole conversation of “publicness.”  His opening line was provocative, “In the company of nudists, no one is naked.”

The longer I live here, in southern Oregon, the more I see that what’s most important to people here is having a place to live their lives in “peace and privacy.” Migrants and natives alike.

I moved here not quite three years ago from Austin, Texas, and it’s taken me awhile to appreciate just how deliberately my fellow residents of the “State of Jefferson” cultivate their disconnection from the rest of the nation – and the world. I consider myself a very “private person,” but compared to most of my neighbors, I’m a virtual slut. So, I spend a lot of time trying to calibrate my enthusiasm for online learning and virtual business relationships with the thinking of most folks I’m shopping for groceries and gardening supplies with.

All week I’ve been pondering Jeff’s point about  the obstacle to more transparency in our online relating being “control,” not  “privacy.”

Privacy and Control Are Not the Same Issue

A new friend (who’s a 30-40-something) told me this week she just signed up for Facebook and that she wanted to talk to me about some “virtual meeting coaching.”  She was in a panic about how she was going to keep her real-life friends out of her Facebook. She said she didn’t want them “in there acting like they do.”

When I asked her why not, she said she wanted to be able to keep taking crazy, fun road-trips to the beach with them – without having to acknowledge “in public” that she enjoys their carousing. She was worried that if she let them into her Facebook, they would make her look bad to the other people she wanted in her Facebook and she wondered what she could do about that.

As I listened to her, I heard a perfect testimony for Jarvis’ suggestion that our hesitation about increasing the transparency of our online communication isn’t about “privacy.” It’s about “control” of how we reveal (or conceal) our different faces.

Privacy and control really aren’t the same issue, are they?  What we want from relating “virtually” are new ways to strengthen relationships – without being misunderstood or taken advantage of.

I gave my new friend some personal advice about how I’m handling this challenge, but I’m really interested in how the rest of you are handling it. How are you handling the opportunity to become more and more transparent with your online communication?

Will you help me out by leaving some comments below?

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