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Posts Tagged ‘IAVA’

milestone

March 7, 2011 3 comments

my dream captured in a screenshot

One of today’s events was the culmination of nearly four years of work, many thousands of hours of networking, and many people not fully understanding what I was trying to do. (I can’t take all the credit, I can only say I had a dream and that through connections, it is coming true) Today’s event was simple; get Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America to partner with my friends at Adaptive Action Sports. Well, it finally happened in the form of an all veteran’s snowboard camp being hosted by AAS in Copper Mountain, Colorado.

IAVA uses a reward’s site called the Rucksack to give veterans opportunities that most people could never dream of. These opportunities are given by our gracious sponsors in the hopes that they are showing support to veterans how fought for their country. If you read my ramblings, you know that I have been the recipient of many amazing good times, from doing a stint as a Joseph Abboud model, to sideline/box tickets to an NY Giants game, Yankees playoff tickets, and IAVA’s Heroes Gala. Others have won trips to Vegas and even to the Super Bowl. But today, we offered up three all expense paid trips to AAS’s Learn to Ride pipeline event in CO. This event is made possible by Disabled Sports USA, United States of America Snowboarding Association, and Challenged Athletes Foundation with AAS hosting. This pipeline camp is designed as a feeder for AAS’s ultimate goal of having America sweep the podiums in snowboarding at the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi, Russia (I have my fingers crossed that I am making this trip as well!). Read more…

valentines scmalentines

February 15, 2011 1 comment

It was funny to hear the rumblings in the office as February 14th rolled closer and closer. The people with significant others were often looking for advice on what to shop for, what to do for that special night, or just needed help in every aspect. Inside and outside the office, I could feel the mounting tension of the entire island of Manhattan. The feeling wasn’t the same for me this year either. I’m obviously in a different place than last year (I was in a relationship last year and this year I am not, plain and simple), but the singledom wasn’t what seemed different. It’s like my mood around the holiday suddenly became neutral, like I wasn’t even effected by the fact that on the most “romantic” day of the year, I could care less. I even laughed as I typed that, but it was so true.

I felt indifferent to the whole celebration. Indifferent to the red and pink hues everywhere. Indifferent to all the couples I watched stumble down the street and into the subway after my celebration of Valentine’s Day. I just laughed, muttered “look at these schmucks” a couple of times to myself, and carried on without a second thought. I hope this doesn’t make me a bitter old man because I actually like the whole Valentine’s Day thing. I don’t know if I agree with the monetization of the day or the expectations of romance every February 14th, but I like the idea of a day spent with a person you love. I don’t want to celebrate the holiday any more. I would rather it be a Tuesday in May when the birds are chirping and the sun is shining. Why not be romantic that day? Or why not be romantic on a beach in the summertime? Or why not cook a meal for that special lady on Friday night after a hard week’s work? That’s what I like to think of, but these are the words of a helpless romantic, and someone who could give two #2’s about Vday 2011. Read more…

Google visit

December 10, 2010 Leave a comment

welcome to Google

I’m not sure how many people go beyond using the search tools and maps and earth and docs and gmail, but have you ever read about Google? I mean, read articles about the coolness of Google? I get that some people hate “mainstream” entities because they are the monopolizers of our creativity and leave no room for small business….blah blah blah. Only hipsters and closed minded people think like this.

If you have ever read about Google, you know that the reason they are number one in the world of business is because they invest in the happiness of their employees. Tony Hsieh of Zappos surely read something about Google when he started his vision quest for an online shoe retailer to end all shoe retailers. In doing so, he became the coolest shoe dude there is, trumping Lebron and Kobe (besides, neither of these guys is Jordan). Tony started a happy company and I would bet that he learned a thing or two from Google.

I have read a ton of articles on Google. Everything from their earnings reports to blogs about Groupon turning down their $6 billion buyout proposal. Must be nice to turn down $6 Billy. The one thing that always stuck out to me was the fact that Google bred creativity. I don’t mean, Googlers (that’s what they are called inside the Google-talk) standing up on a pedestal and preaching to the masses about how to be creative. I mean that they actual breed a culture in which it is IMPOSSIBLE to not create! I have seen a couple of pictures of the inside of the “campus” before but never dreamed I would get to walk through the golden arches, shit I got MickyD’s on the mind, I mean those pearly gates to a heaven of creative powerhouses. Well folks, today I did just that and it was everything I dreamed it could be. You know how I know that it was everything that I ever dreamed it could be? Because there was a laminated painting of Michael Jackson set in an 1800’s ballroom on a table in a microkitchen (tiny kitchen with all the necessary amenities). MJ in white opened button down, black gloves and hair blowing in the wind. The people around him in puffy ballroom garb and top hats. (UPDATE! See below – Thanks CL)

HEE HEE, Hell Yea MJ!

When I walked through the doors from the elevator, I was greeted by a gingerbread house made of cardboard that served as the reception desk. This was complete with snowmen riding Razors who had badges and hipster glasses on. Typical New York Snowmen. Just as the icon of Google changes online most days, so does the decor of the company. As we crossed into the badged areas, I immediately became a kid again. I mean they have a Lego room where you can have a meeting while building something out of Legos! WHAT? A working erector(ha)set ferris wheel that stands at almost eye level. Tables and comfy chairs riddle the landscape of halls, meeting rooms, and open office space as far as the eye can see. I mean this literally too because Google takes up several floors of a building that is one city block large. They ride Razors around inside because there is so much area to cover (now if I can get them to buy in on some Bustin Boards Longboards. I happen to know the owners…).

Everything about this place screams “THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX! DO SOMETHING THAT HAS NEVER BEEN DONE! CREATE!” The walls are littered with interesting murals, paintings, Google adaptations, story boards of new products/ideas. The insides of office spaces are personalized. There are funny quotes, drawings, pictures, posters all over and you can sense what each person is about and what fuels them by looking around their area. It’s a hyper-creative atmosphere that just got my heart pumping. It’s EXACTLY where I would want to work. Let me rephrase that, it’s EXACTLY how I want my business’s environment to be. No 9-5, no cubicles, no over watch. Just open, free air workspaces filled with what each person in the team needs to be creative AND all the tools imaginable to make those ideas come to life. Read more…

IAVA, NY Giants, JOE Joseph Abboud, JCPenney, and little ol’ me

December 8, 2010 5 comments

drip, drip, hole in the ceiling

I was so excited about today that I couldn’t sleep last night. Not so much like a kid waiting on Christmas, but like a near 30-year-old man excited to do something that I haven’t done before. This morning as I woke, I felt good, I felt like it was going to be a GOOD day. Then I heard dripping in my utility closet and the morning went to shit. Part of the ceiling fell and water is coming out of the light, the fire detector, AND the sprinkler system. Good morning to you too world.

After dealing with my unbearably South African/British landlord this morning who insisted I must be an idiot, I called the fire department to come out and inspect. Thanks Hoboken FD for coming out, but I didn’t get any help there. Upstairs tenant wasn’t any help either, awesome. With no plumber and the landlord on his way, I bolted to get to the city (maybe not the most responsible thing to do?) in time for our event at JCPenney.

The JCP in the Manhattan Mall on 33rd and 6th is massive and was a cool venue to hold this event. Right as soon as you walked into the mall, there was the event; set against the towering inside of this surprisingly ornate building. Today was yet another part of the “Welcome Home Joe” program. This fall 2010, JOE Joseph Abboud®, JCPenney and IAVA celebrated veterans with the national campaign “Welcome Home Joe,” which provided Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with $1 million in certificates to purchase professional attires as they transitioned to the civilian workforce. I have been lucky enough to be a part of this and have been smiling from ear to ear since. Today’s event was aptly named “Combat to Career” which supplied 100 female and 100 male with care packs that included items to ease the transition from military to civilian life. Read more…

Review: “Restrepo”

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Restrepo: “Simply an incredible piece of film-making that allows the viewer to wear the uniform, then lock and load for 90 minutes.” – Matt Colvin, 29Nov2010

I arrived back in the city just as the sun was going down today. This is my favorite time to look across the Hudson at NYC because the light at that time sets the city on fire. Though the bus ride was lacking, I felt some kind of energy in the city today. I’m not sure exactly what it was, but something was there. Maybe it was because I was home where there is no fast pace, no slow pace, there’s just no pace. I don’t mind that for a while, but I think I start to go stir crazy after a shorter amount of time now. Stepping off that bus fueled me for another interesting night. I was feeling good. Partly because it was so beautiful out and partly because I was heading to IAVA to watch the premier of “Restrepo” on Nat Geo.

The documentary takes place over a 15 month period in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. This place has been named the most dangerous place on earth and for good reason after you see what these soldiers had to endure. I have seen this part of the country from above and even from up there it looked menacing. TICs (troops in contact) were almost a nightly event as we flew overhead. Now to see what it was like through an unbiased lens and through the eyes of those that lived it just puts those troops on the ground that much higher on a pedestal for me. Read more…

Medal of Honor recipient SSG Giunta on the Colbert Report

November 18, 2010 5 comments

as you walk in the offices, priceless

Today started out slow in my world so I left the house, grabbed a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks(Christmas is coming!), then swooped over to Panera to steal some internets.

I caught up on some posts about Veteran’s week (the Gala, Veteran’s Day, and the Giants game) that I hadn’t found time for in the blur of it all. I was already grinning from ear to ear as I engaged my brain and reminisced on the week that had just passed. Meeting Bill Cowher, walking 5th Ave with my brothers and sisters of the military, and football games VIP style are just some of the great memories from last week, but tonight trumped all that.

Let’s back up a couple of days. Tuesday, I along with the entire office at IAVA, watched President Obama award the Medal of Honor to SSG Salvatore Giunta of the US Army for bravery above and beyond the call of duty. I was privy to American history unfolding, but realized that many Americans hadn’t paused to pay respects. I wrote about it that night because I felt that yet again, we had forgotten the war. We go on with life most times without thinking about the men and women that patrol the hills of Afghanistan in those times when we’re taking a warm shower, sipping a peppermint mocha, or tucking our kids in at night. The fact that nearly all channels went on with their regular programming while America awarded a hero for the new generation made me sick. For the ones that have been there, for the ones that empathize with us, they got it. I wrote this so that all those in between could get it too. Read more…

The real Medal of Honor

November 16, 2010 1 comment

President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta

No, not the most popular video game on the planet, but the no shit, real deal thing. A Congressional Medal of Honor (MOH). The first MOH to a living hero in this generation’s wars and the first living recipient in nearly 40 years dating all the way back to Vietnam. If you didn’t hear about this today, then where the hell were you? If you thought today’s top news was Prince William getting engaged then you need to be slapped! If you watched the Real Housewives today at 2pm EST then you have no concept of what “reality” is.

Paul Rieckhoff (IAVA Founder) said it best today that if you weren’t watching, then “you need to wake up!” I had a hard time believing that regular programming continued while this, one of America’s shining moments, was overshadowed by the every day. The “every day” that happens every F@ck!n& day! This is something that comes along a handful of times in a person’s life and we are too busy with the trivial to pause and pay respect to the phenomenal. A hero stood before us today and was awarded THEE HIGHEST military honor a person could ever be bestowed, yet many channels never televised it. Way to go networks, way to go America. I still love you to death, but like the mystery that is “women,” I will never figure you out.

SSG Salvatore A. Giunta of the US Army received the Congressional Medal of Honor today for heroics on a mountain top in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. His patrol was ambushed, he covered one wounded soldier then realized another was missing. He singlehandedly took on enemy fighters who were dragging away that missing wounded soldier, killed his kidnappers, took fire himself, yet still administered first aid until the medevac chopper arrived to evacuate the wounded. The wounded were airlifted and SSG Giunta continued on his mountain top patrol with the rest of his squad as if to say, “all in a day’s work.” What did you do today? Anything close to that? Me neither, but I did recognize that heroism and paid my respects.

SSG Giunta has now been indoctrinated into the Congressional Medal of Honor Society where so few have been granted membership and even fewer have lived to enjoy its perks. What an incredible day for our United States. Too bad many of us didn’t get the chance to see real history being made. Do yourselves a favor and read up on this example of American heroism, hopefully the next time the Medal of Honor is awarded, the whole country can watch.

We now return to your regularly scheduled programs…