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Team wisnet now partnering with TEDx organizers!

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Our geeks & creatives strive to create marketing, web and app solutions that build up big ideas for our clients to share with the world. This is exactly why we love the mission of TED so much – and are thrilled to now be partnering with TEDx organizers all over the world – and last, but most definitely not least, TEDxFondduLac.


TLTR:
Team wisnet is now providing an in-kind/free WordPress template for TEDx organizers anywhere and everywhere in the world based on our work with the amazing TEDxFondduLac. Stay tuned for the official release on TED Sponsor Marketplace and in the wordpress.org/themes/ listing.

Rad, but what does that mean?

It all started with our team being invited to join forces with the Fond du Lac planning team – lead by the mighty Sarah Spang – to bring a TEDx event to Fond du Lac. It has been a big undertaking – but this #StubbornlyOptimistic team is pulling it together.

Part of that work together involved the creation of www.TEDxFondduLac.com, where wisnet was given a blank canvas to design and build a website to feature information unique to our independent event. Including, but not limited to: theme, speakers, sponsors, program details, news and other local pride revolving around the event.


What does this mean for other TEDx organizers around the world?

The work of a TEDx organizer is demanding, exhilarating and exhausting all at the same time. Team wisnet was honored to be able to serve our local community by sharing our knowledge and skills to help ensure the event succeeds AND make Sarah’s (TEDxFondduLac license holder) job just a wee bit easier (or at least one less thing to fret about).

Which got us to thinking . . . why should any TEDx organizer – a person going out of their way to spread great ideas and make a difference in their community – have to worry about finding a quick, easy, budget-friendly and great looking resource for their TEDx website!?!

This is exactly why we proceeded with submitting our work as an in-kind/free WordPress template for TEDx organizers anywhere and everywhere in the world. All we ask is to be listed as an in-kind donor on your independent TEDx website partner/sponsor page.

With this TEDx template, you’ll enjoy:

  • Ready-to-go TED branded site, but easily updated to fit your individual event identity & theme. See full example at www.TEDxFondduLac.com.
  • Theme settings allow for quick and easy updating of your TEDx logo, theme, event date and location, social channels, and contact details.
  • “Speaker” post type provides ease in adding and showcasing the stars of your show
  • And don’t forget your planning team! Quickly and easily highlight the behind-the-scenes rock stars who make your event happen.
  • A “Partner” post type also allows you to customize and set up your donor levels – giving credit where credit is respectfully due.
  • Integrated blog functionality for ease of sharing news, ideas and more.
  • Theme comes installed with MailChimp for WP plugin to make subscriber integration a breeze. Just tie in your API key and you are good to go!
  • Additional content callouts allow you to inspire your followers with other “TALKS WE LOVE” and more.
  • Mobile friendly, because you shouldn’t expect anything less.
  • Easily add pages and build out your navigational menu with top level and children pages.

Check out these screenshots of the template layout and WordPress theme updates in the backend editor below:

 

Official release to come on the TED Sponsor Marketplace, next to the work of other techy providers and supporters like Basecamp, Tumblr, MailChimp, and more!


Have more questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of geeks & creatives by shooting us a note at customercare@wisnet.com. Whether you have a quick question on how to update your site or you’re looking for anything else wisnet can help with!

Ready to kickstart your web presence with the help of our geeks & creatives? We have your WordPress TEDx theme ready to go! We’re excited to help bring your ideas and event to life!

Need assistance on any other brand/theme marketing, WordPress integration, apps, or anything else? Learn more at wisnet.com


FAQs and other goodies:

What is a TEDx event, you ask?
Imagine a day filled with brilliant speakers, thought-provoking video and mind-blowing conversation. A TEDx event creates a unique gathering in your community that will unleash new ideas, inspire and inform on a variety of topics. Watch this video to learn more about TED and TEDx!

TEDx is coming to Fond du Lac Saturday August 19, 2017 hosted at Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts. For more information on TEDx Fond du Lac, visit http://www.tedxfonddulac.com/

Local & looking for tickets? Too bad for you! This inaugural event sold out in one day! The TEDxFondduLac team has done an amazing job of lining up presenters and promoting the conference. Stay tuned for the presentations available online for viewing after big day!


Geeking out over this article? You might also be interested in:
Be #StubbornlyOptimistic and create the community you love

Rethinking Mentors

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At wisnet, we love sharing our experiences, ideas and even reflections for the betterment of our own team –and our community! Check out the “Growing the Next Generation of Women in Management” talk on mentorship and overcoming challenges by our art director, Jenny Knuth. Jenny had the privilege of sharing her experience with Women In Management – Fond du Lac Chapter this June.


Twenty six years ago, I was described as a timid, quiet little mouse. I recall remarks from Mrs. Bitter, my second grade elementary teacher, telling my parents that I barely talked in class and when I did, she could barely make out my squeaks and whispers. I was quite shy and VERY introverted, and to this day, I’m not quite sure why….

Over the years, I did find my place and voice in many different settings. Fast forward to kicking off my career in the design/marketing industry and I can recall the essence of that “mouse” still present in my work and interactions. I struggled with how to prove myself, and at that time – in my head – unless I had felt I had something worthwhile or different to say, I didn’t say much of anything at all.

Looking at present day … with my interactions at work and in the community – yes, of course there is some anxiety in a new or different setting, but I don’t let that stop me. I now joke that if you ask for my opinion, you can’t get me to stop talking.

So what changed?

Well, I’m a strong believer in the idea that the person we are today is not who we were 5-10-15+ years ago – or who we’ll be in the future. There is a great TED Talk by Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert about “The Psychology of Your Future Self.” where he talks about our disconnect with our future self… specifically how we don’t see ourselves changing much at all – be it our values, personality or even personal preferences. But the truth is, it all does … and  more than we think. He emphasizes “Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”

I was a work-in-progress in 2nd grade – obviously.

I was not “finished” when I started my career.

And, I’m still not. And, neither are any of you… be it you’re 18 – right out of high school and ready to conquer the world; in your early/mid 20’s and kicking off your career with uncertainty; in your 30’s and just feeling like you’ve finally figured it out; in your 40’s and 50’s, settling into your mastery and teaching others; or in your 60’s and beyond, still looking for that growth & challenge.

Throughout that span of ages, change is inevitable.

A lot of that change may be uncontrollable. But some is – specifically growth as an individual.

You can let that change hinder you, be afraid of it – or choose to embrace it in all of its messiness – the twists, turns, backpedals and all.

For me, embracing and encouraging change in myself is what allowed me to overcome challenges and learn a lot along the way.

I personally can attribute that back to 3 things:

  1. Experience – which is the learnings you pick up along the way
  2. Mentors – the people in our lives who help guide us
  3. Mindset – one’s internal thought process, mental model — personally developed, but can grow with personal work and/or external influence

Life and work experiences brought a lot of confidence – which I believe most would echo. However, unless you have a time machine or a crystal ball, you just can’t control or foresee what those experiences will exactly be. What I could control was the influence & impact of mindset and mentors in my life … and those things were extraordinary in helping me grow and change for the better.

Those 3 things – experience + mindset + mentors – help me overcome the following (for the most part)…

  • A fear of ridicule — the social fear of not projecting a good enough image of ourselves
  • A feeling that I had to do everything perfectly and make everyone happy in the process
  • The idea that I couldn’t show any signs of weakness or too much emotion in my work. Vulnerability was and is hard for me.
  • The mindset that I aspired to be a leader, but that I didn’t feel I had the charisma to do so … or the title to do so
  • Thinking I was alone in creating and shaping my personal growth and professional future

Which brings me to my mentors….

When I was first asked to share my experience with mentorship, I had an unexpected reaction of “Sure! I’d love to” knowing it would be a great reflection – followed by “Wait, what the heck do I know about mentorship!?!” What ensued was some reflection, reading, and you guessed it, mentorship guidance which lead me to define and rethink what mentoring meant to me and my growth over the years.

At that point, I had another intriguing internal response to the concept of mentors in my life: the idea of having them was important, and I knew I did … but I was also quite intimidated by the idea. After all, another truth –I’ve NEVER asked someone to be a mentor! I credit this to the idea that on the surface I followed more of the traditional definition of a mentor relationship – where someone “more experienced or more knowledgeable helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.”

As a mentee, isn’t that scary?!?

Admitting we know less than perhaps we could/should, pulling down our defenses and welcoming critique with open arms. Perhaps even hearing somethings about ourselves that we might not want to hear, but totally need to. Eeeek. Definitely some strong mindset and willpower needed there!

And as a mentor…

being one just sounds like a lot of work when we’re all so busy – work, family, community commitments, you name it. And, what do I get out of it?

Then came redefining and rethinking a mentor.

As soon as I broke mentorship down to a conversation – the simple exchange of questions, ideas, thoughts with the goal of supporting & empowering individuals, I experienced a sense of ease & clarity around mentorship – specifically regarding all the women in my life who have helped shape or guide me in one way or another.

I also came upon a number of revelations or highlights that can help us all be more conscious of the mentor relationships we may have in our lives currently AND more intentional in our pursuit for that kind of guidance in our growth.

#1 – Mentors are not always named.

Shouldn’t come as a surprise … as I stated I’ve never asked anyone to be my mentor – nor have I officially acknowledged them as one, until writing this up. I’ve had some great women role models, teachers, and leaders in my life, but my takeaway was how important it is to contemplate and leverage the relationships I currently have. I realized this meant that the mentor roles we seek/need may not just be someone “above” us, but could be individuals to our left and to our right – our colleagues in work, in the community, that peer support network, and our friends.

But not just any friend or colleague…
Who do you go to when you need to think/talk through an idea or issue?

Who cares for you but will be real & honest with you?

Who makes you feel like your best self?

#2 – Understand your intent or need.

My mentors over the years have fit many different purposes and places in my life.

  • Sharing industry insights & knowledge – more of the typical coworker/new hire mentorship
  • Fueling ideas and igniting passions
  • Providing clarity and honesty – someone who asks difficult questions and challenges thinking
  • Support in a tough or uncertain time – the cheerleader who told me I was a rockstar when I needed it the most

As mentors, we don’t need to be experts in all areas. And as mentees, we need to realize it might be beneficial to seek out 4-5 different mentors in the area they can help most.

 

#3 – Mentors can take on many different shapes & forms.

It’s not always a long-term relationship nor does it always incorporate regular communications.

Many women come to mind who I might only have an in depth interaction with a couple times of year – some planned, some unexpected, but always extremely helpful.

In one of the more recent mentee experiences I’ve had, we’d never met in person … only talked over the phone. But, the relationship and foundation for trust was there. On one call in particular this wonderful woman acknowledged my struggles of feeling like I didn’t measure up. She continued to share a story from her past. She ended the story by passing on something someone had once told her.

She said, “Jenny, you are enough.”
She left a lasting impact on me.
Who knows if our paths will cross again.

 

#4 – Mentors may not have all the answers.

They do not have to think their job is to give advice. As with my previous, it’s the sharing of their stories, experiences, lessons learned. Or providing connections to the right or different people. And, for me the most beneficial mentors, have been those who ask questions of me and don’t always expect a response. The value in that exchange comes in the reflections that follow – be it clearing what’s on my head or heart in that conversation, or spending time on my own sitting in the question.

 

#5 – You don’t have to look too far for a mentor…

Yes, your inner self/inner wisdom can be a mentor! It all comes back to mindset and our self talk. And guess what? Your inner mentor is not going to be too busy to talk to you (at least it shouldn’t be!)

A little out there maybe, but think about it … who usually stands in your way when it comes to change, or stepping outside of our comfort zone? Many analogies can be made when it comes to being conscious of your mindset: the voices on your left/right shoulders … I’ve heard others reference it as “the annoying roommate”, or the now you being mentored by your future you. Initially I thought I might be a bit crazy for this idea but jumped online and found a great quote:

By dialing down your inner critic and turning up your inner mentor, you’ll find that sometimes the advice you need is hidden within – hushed by your own fears or lingering beyond your personal comfort zone.

 

The takeaway: Some days the most important conversations we have are the conversations we have with ourself. What mindset are you going to feed?

 

The Challenge

In the pursuit to show up as our best, true self in everything we do – from our relationships at home, to those at work & in our community, I’ve challenged myself in regard to the three tenets shared earlier and ask you to join me in:

  1. Mindset. As women we really need to stop judging each other so harshly, but we especially need to stop letting others judgement of ourselves cause so much anxiety. We must make decisions based on what we want to do… not what we feel others want us to do. Trust and listen to your gut/intuition/inner mentor – the power is there. A must read if you struggle in this area is Mindset, by Carol Dweck
  2. Experience. Experience is time. And time flies by, so it’s important to make space/time for this work in your day or week. It truly is a commitment.

    Not ready to be your own mentor or seek out one? Start out small… watch a TED talk, absorb as much as you can at a conference, listen to a podcast, curl up with a good book … and allow that source to challenge your thinking or to get you thinking more deeply about a topic, issue or frustration you currently face.

    As a mentor — are you concerned about finding time to provide guidance to another? Highly recommend you check out  One Minute Mentoring by Ken Blanchard & Claire Diaz-Ortiz – which was actually a joint writing venture between a mentor and a mentee. The book features some great tips about a more structured mentorship agreement with suggestions for developing an understanding and outlining commitments.
  3. Lastly, mentors. When it comes to your mentors – past or present – show gratitude. Identify those mentors who may be unnamed or discovered over the years, months, days and thank them! Let them know how much they’ve impacted you. You’ll make them feel amazing. You might be pleasantly surprised with what you hear back.

By identifying my mentors, embracing change, the good and bad experiences, and converting self-talk that was holding me back into my own, internal mentor, I was able to see myself grow from that timid, quiet little mouse in Mrs. Bitter’s second grade class into someone much different today.

How have you grown and changed over the years? And, what’s your plan for continual growth?

Friday Roundup – June 23, 2017

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Happy Friday clients, fellow geeks, creatives & friends! Enjoy our latest batch of silly, intriguing, random, geeky, creative, and mostly beneficial learnings from June 23, 2017:

By Goban1 – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15223468

  • The Chicago Bulls traded three-time All-Star, Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Craziness during the NBA Draft!
  • NASA did an awesome thing and used a numerical simulation of TRAPPIST-1 to play a piano note every time a planet passes in front of the star (a ‘transit’) and a drum every time a faster inner planet overtakes its outer neighbour (a ‘conjunction’). Annnnnnnnnnndddd it sounds prettttttttttty good.
  • Atari is getting back into the home video game console market with what they’re calling the Atari Box. No one quite knows what it’ll be, but either way, we’re up for some competitive games of Combat!
  • Google’s AI played Go, that super hard strategy game, and won. Like… a lot.
  • There’s rumors that President Kennedy was concerned about the speed and efficiency during Cuban missile crisis and had all nuclear launch codes changed to 00000000.
  • Just read Eats, Shoots & Leaves, and boy is a hyphen important!
  • The best way to pull off a bandage – From the story & research of Dan Ariely on human behavior and being predictably irrational, it’s best to pull slowly and extend the pain out over a period of time vs. create extensive pain in a short time-frame.
  • Feeling hatred and unwilling to forgive? Forgiveness is for you, not the person who hurt you or someone close to you. Let go of negative thoughts/emotions and you’ll be able to move forward lighter.
  • Kidney stones and removal = not fun. There are 3 ways to remove kidney stones, and typically, you only need to experience one and be done. Steve experienced all 3! But your best bet is to stay ahead of the game and stay hydrated – drink water regularly throughout the day!
  • If you plant the chopped off rooted end of your green onion, it’ll grow!
  • 40% of search on mobile is for tips on parenting, health concerns or beauty advice! But we can save you a search: You’re a great parent, get out there and bike some more and you look beautiful today!

Friday Roundup – June 16, 2017

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TGIF clients, fellow geeks, creatives & friends! Enjoy our combo of silly, intriguing, random, geeky, creative, and mostly beneficial learnings from June 16, 2017:XY Position Indicator


What’s this “Friday Roundup” all about?

At wisnet, we strive to support a culture of growth and experimentation – be it personal or professional. To encourage and share our growth mindsets, we kickoff our Friday’s by sharing bite-sized nuggets of what we’ve learned that week for all to benefit from – even you!

Image originally appears on Stanford University MouseSite

Area Student Case Study

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At wisnet, we’re typically pretty modest. We don’t like to toot our own horns all that much (except maybe on Taco Tuesday). It’s most likely attributed to our mid-western modesty… And the fact that 90% of us are total introverts. So when an area student reached out to share a case study they wrote about our little company, we were floored, humbled, touched and overall feeling so appreciative of the community and support we have surrounding us.

The student said they’re more than happy for us to share it, but we’re keeping their identity confidential so we’ve made some tweaks here and there to help retain that confidentiality. Huge thanks to the student and we’re so thankful to have their support 🙂


In Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, there is a group of individuals who proudly call themselves geeks and creatives. Their open-concept office is an inviting shade of blue with standing desks, bicycles lining the outer walls, and a fitness center among other amenities, complete with a cardboard cutout of Homer Simpson eating a donut to cheer on those who are working out. These small amount of geeks comprise wisnet.com, LLC, a marketing and website development firm that believes in keeping up with the latest technological trends, creating trends for themselves, and being the best they can for their countrywide clientele.

Who is wisnet.com?

wisnet.com, LLC (or wisnet), was founded in 1996 and to this day is still owned by the same two brothers that founded the company. Since then, the company has grown to 14 employees of various website design, coding, and marketing backgrounds. (…) The individuals who work there are highly engaged in the community, taking active roles in committee and board leadership (…), and are the kinds of individuals to get on a new initiative from the very beginning. (…)

They, as a company, live by a few short and simple core values that define who and what they are at the end of the day: we are honest, we are friendly and fun, we are a team, our customers are part of our team, we listen, we know where to get solutions, we have a sense of urgency, and we seek feedback for continuous improvement. (wisnet.com, n.d.). An additional anecdote on their website states “We are a highly-driven team that takes pride in our work. Each one of us brings something unique to the table. We bring years of experience to the planning, designing, and building of interactive websites and applications. And we have fun doing it!” (wisnet).

Innovation

Hardagon explains that an innovative firm is one that operates as a technology broker. This entails that an organization has the right organizational structure, work practices that will support innovation, and an appropriate corporate culture. By creating a supportive, innovating work environment, practices should include capturing good ideas, keeping good ideas alive, finding new uses for old ideas, and putting promising ideas to the test. (Hardagon, 2013).

wisnet could very easily be the definition of innovation according to Hardagon. They may be a technologically-based firm, but being a company that focused on technology does not inherently mean it embodies the criteria above. A firm must strive everyday to meet those criteria and not take its industry or activities for granted, assuming it means they are innovative without putting in the time and energy.

The core values of wisnet are proven to be true. (…) They are truly an organization that values the customer and will rope them into the processes occurring. The experience that I now have in basic website functionality and coding has been because of individuals from wisnet taking the time to help me understand how to look at a website not just as a place to house information (…) but as a living, breathing resource that will truly show an organization’s character and acts in accordance with the desires of those who will be viewing the various pages.

“We listen” is an innovative technique that not all companies will embrace, but one that the wisnet geeks do. Not only do they listen, they understand. (…)

Application

wisnet applies its innovative nature to both professional and personal development. The wisnet Labs on their website serves as a showcase of new projects the team is undertaking to diversify and be to as much service as possible to their clients as their needs expand and grow. Included in the Labs currently is an application tracker system that can help organizations effectively recruit talent to their company, digital signage that is customizable and eases the process of promoting events and programs, a job search tool, and a newer venture into voice/AI integration that can respond to locally-based questions.

Personally, wisnet gets involved in the community in a number of ways and supports all of the team being as involved as possible. Team outings and other gatherings build the camaraderie so that the team is truly that: a team. When you think of wisnet, you don’t think immediately of one individual. You think of a team of individuals who are all working towards the common goal of providing great service and expertise to their community.

wisnet could easily get by as a web development company. Their clientele all across the country proves that their staff is capable of doing a great job to showcase the individual needs of any company and they can build beautiful websites. However, they apply their innovative nature by not just being great. They are the best by staying ahead of the curve, creating new services out of needs that may have gone unnoticed, and being pioneers of embracing new challenges. They are truly a company that Fond du Lac should be proud to have and will be a continuous organizational leader other organizations can strive to be like.

Friday Roundup – June 9, 2017

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Another week comes to an end and we get to share our bite-sized nuggets of what we’ve learned this week for all to benefit from. Some are pretty geeky, some are creative and some are just plain goof-tastic. But they’re all distinctly us 🙂

Enjoy our combo of silly, intriguing, random, geeky, creative, and mostly beneficial learnings from the week of June 9, 2017:

biking up hill is hard

  • Biking is hard and going up hills is tricky.
  • You can clean so many things besides just dishes in your dishwasher. We’re talking tools, hubcaps, dog toys and more!
  • When putting together parameter / variable names and code, you can’t interchange between ids and strings. #geekSpeak
  • Experimenting with gardening by the moon – “they” say it does impact the growth environment like moisture in the soil/surface, etc. Just like the moon phases impact the tides! Today is a full moon – last day for planting above around veggies/plants. Tomorrow the waning moon starts with is great for root veggies! Yay for beets & kohlrabi! #gardenGeek
  • Typists’ fingers travel an average of 12.6 miles per day. That means it would take a typist 39.7 days to walk 500 miles.
  • Solar eclipses are pretty rad, but it can be a bad idea to just stare at one. So learn how to watch one!
  • To easily and quickly edit your WordPress site, once you’re logged in, take advantage of the tool bar when digging around each page. Those quick access tools can save you quite a bit of time! Not seeing the tool bar? Easy-peaszy: Go to “Profile” in your dashboard, check the box for, “Show Toolbar when viewing site” and click “Update Profile.” Done!
  • The new Oshkosh D-League basketball team name is the Wisconsin Herd!
  • In Churchill, Manatoba many locals will keep their car doors open in case someone needs to protect themselves from polar bears!
  • Wellness is important, both mental and physical. Here’s some tips for trying to maintain emotional wellness:

1) Avoid asking ‘what if?’  (except if you are a programmer)

  • There are a million different directions not all good
  • Throws fuel on the fire of stress adds to anxiety

2) Take time each day to appreciate what you have

3) Disconnect

  • Schedule blocks of time each day to cut the cord / and step away from the phone.

Friday Roundup – June 2, 2017

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At wisnet, we strive to support a culture of growth and experimentation – be it personal or professional. To encourage and share our growth mindsets, we kickoff our Friday’s by sharing bite-sized nuggets of what we’ve learned that week for all to benefit from – even you!
Enjoy our combo of silly, intriguing, random, geeky, creative, and mostly beneficial learnings from this week: