Catching Fire Family Update

31 Dec

Family 2013

The Poston family candle not only burns at both ends, this year the whole thing caught fire. Just thinking about 2013 is exhausting. We work hard to cram a lot of living into every day of the year. We made some memories worth noting in our search for perfect peace, hit some milestones on the journey of life, and chose to ignore a lot of nonsense going on in the world. Catching fire is fun.

In March, Jensen’s “grand surprise” came in the form of grandbaby, Walker Rye Richard. Jensen and Sarah are wonderful parents and we think grandparenthood is – like hyperbole – the best thing ever. As Gigi and Bully, we get all the good stuff. Walker FaceTimes with Richele so much that he seems confused when she appears in three dimensions. Billy even changed a diaper, raising his lifetime total into double digits. We are setting aside money for Walker to deal with the inevitable body image issues that will surface later in life from being called “little fattie” during his first year. In all seriousness, this is one big, happy, roly-poly baby.

In her junior year at Tulane, Charisse assumed parental responsibility for three underprivileged fraternity boys and is housing them in the Pine Street Projects. She spent the summer cruising the Mediterranean and doing “field work” in Marrakesh, Mykonos, Malta and the like. Charisse successfully navigated the train system in Italy and acquired the “best tan of her life.” For this she received nine credit hours. Remember college? Ever the activist, she went on a hunger strike to protest the government shutdown this fall, although it only consisted of not using real mozzarella on her pizza bagels. Her honors thesis is on the effect of hairstyles on social interaction in developing economies. Charisse has it all figured out. She is teaching us to properly pronounce “summa cum laude.”

As a senior, Cheyenne combines brilliance and discipline with an “act like you’ve been there before” attitude about her most exciting accomplishments. After studying the Theory of Relativity this summer, she decided to attend Stanford University next year, likely on her way to a Nobel in some field of science that we don’t understand. The subject of her application essay on a historical event was a critique of Luke Skywalker’s destruction of the Death Star. She is the MVP of her high school swim team, star of Academic Decathlon, and won 1st place in a state chemistry competition named NaChO. (Surprisingly not an eating competition.) We bask in her glory and hope that she doesn’t try to explain covalent bonds or wormholes to us again. The Force is strong with this one.

Jacob passed his driving test with a score of 84. This gives him the highest score in the house by ten points, parents included. With his license and vehicle he has become a free-range teenager. We are not sure what life will be like next year when he is the only one left in the house, but he is encouraging us to take lots of weekend trips alone. Jacob has become a serious swimmer breaking records and hearts meet after meet. His swim team honored him with the “Charger Pride Award” in the spring making him the first freshman ever to earn this recognition – if you don’t count his sister. If you can overcome the gravitational pull of his laptop, he loves adventure. After spending a week in the summer catching sharks, he spent Christmas SCUBA diving with them.

After retiring from her long career as a taxi driver, Richele changed her occupation to community volunteer (and exercise fanatic.) She got hornswoggled into a seat on the Boerne Education Foundation Board of Directors and quickly learned the oxymoronic definition of legislative leadership. Politics are vicious when the stakes are small. Her new role as grandma Gigi is destined to be a classic. Oh yes, we will remember it well. Richele is also the reluctant primary care giver for our narcoleptic Labrador, Tyson. That job requires almost as much love and understanding as her ongoing struggle to get Billy to finally complete obedience school.

Billy may have gone over the edge. Since the name of his consulting firm is Kalypso, he and his business partner decided to buy their own island. They keep talking about brand support or some other nonsense to justify it. We don’t really care as long as we get to go. You can go, too. Check it out at www.royalbelize.com. Ask for the friends and family rate. In addition to tropical ventures, Billy continues to teach the Housley Principled Leadership course and will be at three universities in the spring. He is active blogging about innovation, supporting a couple of startups, raising money for Stelos Alliance, and serving Texas State on the Development Foundation board. He manages to squeeze in work between frequent trips searching for snow, sun & fun. He remains disobedient.

We moved around as much as ever this year with family trips to Deer Valley, the Inauguration, San Diego, Lake LBJ, Kiawah Island, New Orleans, New York a couple of times, and the Bahamas for Christmas. Richele and Billy left the kids for a week of sailing and diving in Belize, a long weekend in Cabo, a party in Monterrey, and a first time trip to Palm Springs. We also went to Chicago for a taping of Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. And then, of course, Billy travels for “work” to places like Saint Martin, Belize, Monterrey, and Cabo San Lucas. Nana and Papa celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in Houston in July with a sunset cruise.

Home base continues to be the Texas Hill Country where we go for peace and our version of normal. It may not be the Utopia we set out to create, but it is pretty good when we are there. The family is growing while the number at home will shrink further in the year ahead. Who knows what the future holds? You may have to come visit us on the island where we will be spoiling grand kids.

Jens

Getaway2Give

10 Nov

G2G Logo

I admit to being a spoiled traveler.

Especially when it comes to vacations.

After years of cramming our growing family into hotel rooms, we began to rent houses when we traveled with the kids. We quickly learned that the home rental market is full of people that are better photographers than housekeepers. After a couple of memorable debacles, we invested with an equity-based destination club named Equity Estates. We were truly spoiled by the amazing, multi-million dollar homes in the portfolio. The business model is great, but getting in requires a large upfront investment.

When the Equity Estates sold out their first fund, two of the principals I respected launched a new vacation home portfolio named Getaway2Give. I immediately signed on as a member, investor, and charity partner. The G2G model is simple with much lower upfront costs and more variety. You become a member with a one-time fee, half of which goes to the charity of your choice – like, maybe, the Stelos Alliance. You receive a tax deduction for that portion of your membership fee.

After that, you have access to a diverse and rapidly growing portfolio of luxury vacation homes at discounts that range from $800 – $1500 per night. You can use these properties on an unlimited basis. No more cramming into hotel rooms and no more “vacation rental by owner” stress. You know that every aspect of your stay from the planning service to the on-site concierge to the home itself is going to be fantastic. Oh, and the company continues to support your favorite charity by donating 5% of your nightly rental fees to the organization you select.

The business model is even better than I can articulate here. G2G can offer big discounts off market rates by eliminating marketing costs and increasing the utilization of the homes in the portfolio. There are a number of add-on options available like the City Club that gives you free unlimited access to the properties in New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Chicago. The portfolio of homes continues to grow with the membership in the collection. We have never been disappointed by a G2G vacation home.

I highly recommend that you look at the Getaway2Give offering. Ask yourself if you and your family would enjoy supporting your favorite charity while making memories and spoiling yourselves in a luxury vacation destination. You will never regret these experiences. Call me if you are interested and I will answer any questions you may have. Aloha!

Housley Stars!

9 Nov

2013 Fall Housley Class

Yesterday we wrapped up our fifth offering of the Housley Principled Leadership Program at Texas State University. The thirty students in the class are outstanding examples of the extraordinary young leaders that the Stelos Alliance was created to support. I am very proud of all of them for the commitment they made to themselves and their classmates. It has been a pleasure watching them mature week to week.

These young people know who they are, what they believe, and what makes them come alive. Their comments about the program validate its objectives. Here is what they said during our closing ceremony:

“Housley gave me the confidence to take risks.”

“Housley forced me to specify my mission in life.”

“Housley helped me define my strengths and grow up.”

“Housley clarified my values and caused me to reevaluate everything.”

“Housley changed my life.”

The program is full of high-talent student leaders that are prepared to make their mark on the world. In our final session we discussed the role of service in leadership and our obligations to each other. The students commented on my essay titled, The Debt.  All I can say is, “Look out world.”

I want to especially recognize the four recipients of the Housley scholarships. They are:

Rachel Wilson
Aleecia Head
Meghan Bates
Christian Carlson

Please join me in congratulating them for this recognition. They really are Stelos Super Stars.

In the spring we will continue to offer Housley at Texas State and are expanding the course to both Trinity and Angelo State Universities. You can read about the Trinity course offering here. Please let me know if you are interested in getting involved.

2013 Kalypsonian of the Year

3 Oct

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I was at a recruiting event in Texas last week and was asked the question, “What are the attributes you value when evaluating candidates?”

The first part of the answer was easy and boring. I said we want reliable people that possess a strong work ethic, creative types with sharp minds, and leaders that have demonstrated ability and ambition.

But what is it that makes the people of Kalypso special?

The people of Kalypso are so much more than just those great professional attributes I listed. They are as humble as they are smart, as funny as they are fearless, and they radiate positivity as they support their clients, colleagues, and compadres. They might have graduated at the top of their class, but they still know how to have fun in a state school kind of way. Most of the people on the team are a little bit quirky (this is a polite word for weird.)

In 2013, the person that best exemplified the Kalypso brand of professional was Colin Speakman – our Kalypsonian of the Year.

For the rest of the year he is only to be referred to as “Your Highness, Mr. Colin Speakman, Kalypsonian of the Year.” No abbreviations, shortcuts or informalities allowed.

The choice was not difficult. Colin is the Kalypso prototype. Not only is he an incredibly competent consultant, he displays all of the characteristics we admire in our colleagues. He is a great father and he accepts the fact that he is inferior to his wife in basketball, fishing, and just about any other activity that requires either brains or athletic skills.

Colin knows more about barbeque sauce than anyone else I know. As a kid in upstate New York he wanted to grow up to be a pumpkin farmer. Colin smiles a lot. He either knows something you don’t, or maybe he is just goofy that way. We all love Colin and I am proud to have him as a colleague and even happier to call him a friend.

Colin is an optimist and a dreamer. He is a Cleveland Browns season ticket holder.

At least he can say that he won something this year. Congratulations Mr. Kalypsonian of the Year!

Kalypso Recognized by Consulting Magazine

28 Sep

Consulting Magazine is out with its annual “Best Firms to Work For” edition and, once again, Kalypso was honored to be named in a handful of important categories. We were listed as a “Top Ten” firm for having a strong firm culture, doing interesting work, and having a positive impact on clients. Can you imagine better categories for a consulting firm?

We pride ourselves on having a strong set of core values that define our culture and set us apart. Among those values is a belief in the power of creativity and innovation to solve the world’s most pressing problems. This is the source of all that interesting work that we have the privilege of doing for clients every day. Delivering on the promise of innovation means moving the needle on our clients’ results. There is nothing more gratifying than seeing the outcome of your efforts highlighted in an annual report or – even better – on a store shelf.

I think that the good folks at Consulting have us pegged right. The people of Kalypso work incredibly hard within a culture where we genuinely care about one another’s success. We have fun doing the work we love while delivering on the promise of innovation for the best clients in the world. Kalypso is not only one of the best consulting firms to work for; I believe it is the greatest firm ever.

Read Consulting magazine’s “Best Firms to Work For” edition here.

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