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First 90 Days In San Antonio

Most new jobs are measured by the first 90 days on the job. As a matter of fact when I started my new role at USAA I ordered the infamous book written by Michael D. Watkins called “The First 90 Days“.

Well, today marks 90 days since I joined USAA here in San Antonio, TX and it’s been a whirlwind of a summer loaded with the start of a new role, meeting new people and establishing our family in the San Antonio area.

One common thread with all of this change is that we feel at home as a family here in San Antonio and I want to take this moment to reflect on the first 90 day from the lens of professional, personal, and cultural perspective.

Professional

USAA Financial Center in Copperas Cove, TX

USAA Financial Center in Copperas Cove, TX

First of all, my first 90 days at USAA have been everything I anticipated. I joined an association that for over 90+ years knows its member and their families. I’ve been in awe from the first day of the sense of pride that goes into being part of a team that truly goes beyond the call of duty and delivers exceptional customer service.

I’ve enjoyed the many perks of working at the home office. Perks like having multiple full service Starbucks on location. Though that isn’t necessarily a good thing for a coffee addict. Also, having multiple company stores for gifts and last minute holiday cards (that saved Mother’s day) and even an on site state-of-the-art fitness center.

It’s been great to meet people that have been at USAA their entire career with over 35+ years of service. It’s hard to fathom someone being in one location for so long in this day and age, however, I understand now that I’ve tasted the culture here in these first 90 days.

As I continue to settle into my role specifically, there have been some key wins so far and many more in the pipeline that I’m excited see go live and to witness how our current and potential new members engage with us and share their stories.

Personal

New Foundation

New Foundation

On the personal side, we started the process of building a new home with Pulte Homes here in the metro-San Antonio area. This is our first experience as a family to build a new home so we’ve been exicted to follow the progress.

We are currently on track to have it completed by November of this year and I’ve been taking daily photos of the construction with the plans of creating a time lapse type video of the experience. As a social media professional, I will reserve the annoyance of sharing daily and/or weekly progress and in the spirit of quality content, look to have a fun video to tell the story at the end.

We’ve also explored some great sights in and around San Antonio. We visited Tapatio Springs in Boerne, TX and enjoyed the oasis of this Hill country golf resort. We also had a chance to go kayaking in the colorado river near downtown Austin. We’ve discovered some great restaurants in Leon Springs with The Grill and Tre Trattoria near the Alamo Heights area.

50 mile bike ride

50 mile bike ride

Since I arrived in San Antonio I’ve been also searching relentlessly for some good biking trails and road courses. I wanted to avoid the group rides for now and just go out on my own to explore. I was able to connect with a Romanian friend here in the area that is a serious cyclist and familiar with the area, so I began to ride with him and discovered some amazing rides.

From a personal goal standpoint, I did my first half-century ride through the northwest San Antonio area in August and with the Strava mobile app, I’m finding more rides and challenges.

I’m still searching for a good mountain bike trail as my bike is eager to hit a challenging trail.

Cultural

Finally, the San Antonio area has made a cultural impression on our family. We are delighted to see the blend of old Western cowboy meets Mexican influence from the food, businesses and language. We’ve done the traditional visit to the Riverwalk and the Alamo but I was more excited to eat some breakfast tacos at Pete’s Tako House.

Another unique cultural element are the Mexican “Nationals” that you hear and see in the affluent shopping and dining areas. At the same time, the friendliness and down home goodness of the San Antonians as a whole is refreshing.

Boerne Lake Park

Boerne Lake Park

I’m excited along with my family to continue our journey here in this area and eager to see what my career at USAA will evolve and how we will root ourselves in the daily fabric of all that San Antonio has to offer.

One thing is clear, 90 days is just the beginning of a fun an exciting journey and God willing, a lifetime of learnings.

Eager for the 91st day and beyond!

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My New Role at USAA

post16a

I’m excited to announce that as of Monday May 19th, I am driving south from Dallas/Fort Worth area to San Antonio and starting a new chapter by joining the highly talented Social Business and Digital Marketing team at USAA as Director, Social Media Marketing. It’s been a long term goal of mine and my family to remain in Texas and settle in the Hill country of San Antonio. USAA is a perfect fit from so many personal and professional angles.

Joining a well established company with core values that align deeply to my personal values of serving others while being able to help Military, their families and those that are in need is an added bonus.

I’m also proud of what was done while I was at RadioShack for over 2 years. My original goal was to make social not only part of the conversation in the turn around efforts but at the core of what we did. I wanted to truly scale social at a large corporation. We were able to increase visibility and integrate social beyond the marketing team, we brought on board more support, helped kick start an amazing employee advocacy platform, lay the foundation for a community platform for over 30,000+ associates and be a part of a high risk/large reach efforts like the 2014 Super Bowl ad.

USAA Corporate HQ

USAA Corporate Home Office – San Antonio, TX

As I join the highly talented social and marketing organization at USAA, I’m eager to collaborate, learn and impact the long term bottom line results for such a respected and loved organization.

USAA was one of the early brands to adopt social into their business and have been recognized in the industry by Forrester Research as best in class and most recently they continued to set the benchmark for social listening and monitoring with their Social Exchange.

Eager to start. Exciting times ahead!

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Journey of 100 Miles

This week starts my 100 Mile Challenge. The goal is to do something I have never done before; to bike within 1 week a total of 100 miles. Many people who ride bikes for some time can do this in 1 day. For me, it is a start of a goal that hopefully will grow with time.

I’m going to take this post to track my journey every day as I push forward to this goal. The plan is to go one day on the road bike for longer miles and then alternate with a mountain bike trail ride that is a shorter distance but will build strength. Along with way I will share thoughts daily.

I will also begin to track my steps and activity during the day to make sure I’m being active prior to my rides. I’m going to be using the FitBit Zip. Its the basic one from the FitBit line of wearable health products, but does plenty for what I need.

Day 1 – 17.88 miles; 82.12 remaining

Day 1 // Road Bike

post13aToday started off later in the day as I wasn’t able to arrive at the start of the ride until after 7 pm. Posting my challenge last week got some of my friends intrigued to start my challenge together. So, I met with 3 other friends at Erwin Park to start and the plan was to do go 8.5 miles one way and then turn around and come back for a total of 17+ miles. Due to our late start we wanted to make sure we arrived back at the start of the ride before it got dark and dangerous to ride on a country road.

Originally I wanted to bike at a minimum of 20 miles my first day, but it was great to ride with more bikers and have a goal of finishing as close to possible within 1 hour for a ride. I rode for a total of 17.88 miles a little bit slower than I was hoping (16.1 mph) but overall the first day felt great. Eager for the trail ride tomorrow.

I will be tracking all of my rides with the MapMyRide+ app which tracks great basic statistics.

 Day 2 – 10.55 miles; 71.57 remaining

Day 2 // Mountain Bike

post13bThe second day of my 100 mile challenge was a mountain bike ride on the great official DORBA trail at Erwin Park. The normal trail is approximately 7.5 miles but I started off where there is a little over 2 miles left in the trail and then continued on the complete trail to get me over the 10 mile mark.

It was a great ride as the temperature was around 95 degrees when I started as the sun was going down and during my ride I caught the sunset and a nice breeze in the wooded area of the trail that made the ride really comfortable but exhausting at the same time as I pushed myself to actually have my personal best average of 8.5 mph on the trail.

Tomorrow I’m planning to hit the road again and to go solo in order to push myself to over 20 miles in 1 ride. It’s getting challenging to make sure I finish my ride before it gets dark in order to avoid dangerous situation with cars on the road. Will be equipped with lights to help.

Day 3 – 20.19 miles; 51.38 remaining

Day 3 // Mountain Bike on the Road.

post13cAlmost middle of the week and I’m nearly halfway to 100 miles. Today I decided to try a Route Suggestion from MapMyRide+ that was at a minimum 20 miles. I found this great route that was perfect as it was near a good place I can start. Only problem was that it must be where someone else started near their home and I didn’t go the exact route. Either way, I pushed it today to get over a 20 mile ride.

The bad news was that I had to use my mountain bike on the road because when I checked the PSI on my tires before leaving for the ride, the stem broke on the front tire and all of the air went out. I didn’t have a replacement tube, so I didn’t want to lose a day and decided I would have a slower mph average but I was equipped with a front and rear light to be ready for some night riding.

Tomorrow I’m going to get a tube and fix the tire so I can do road bike ride and hopefully push it to get a 25 mile day.

Day 4 – 26.78 miles; 24.60 remaining

Day 4 // Long Road Bike ride

post13dI’m in that phase now where I was eager to start my ride and put in a solid long ride for the week. I mapped out a 25 mile course on MapMyRide+ with their online tool before the ride and prepped with a new tube in the road bike, an extra tube (just in case), a few CO2 cartridges in case of a flat, and I was ready to go.

I was pushing strong for over 4 miles when I had to stop at an intersection and accidentally ended my ride at 4.61 miles on the MapMyRide app. So I had to start another ride on the app to make sure I tracked all of the ride. Really disappointed that I had to break the time in the app like that. I need to submit a bug to MapMyRide that they need to add a Back button before you fully save the ride.

Mapping my course to ride through 2 beautiful cities of McKinneyFrisco, and up and coming Town of Prosper was a treat. Wide open fields and low traffic. Unfortunately my 16.2 mph average between both times is near my average. I was hoping to be faster but there were a lot of hills on the course where by mile 17 they were painfully slow to go up. Riding the mountain bike yesterday helped with the strength, but not enough.

So far I’m on course to hit my goal by Saturday. Tomorrow I am meeting with a friend to ride more casually but still want to be near 20 miles for the day to leave the 100 mile mark for a nice mountain bike trail ride.

Day 5 – 28.53 miles; 3.9 miles over 100

Day 5 // Hit my 100 mile Goal!

post13eToday I hit 100 miles for the week!

As the week went by I wanted to seek out great places to ride in the DFW area to add more experiences to my 100 mile journey. If you are from the Dallas area, there is no better place to bike, run or walk than White Rock Lake in Dallas. It has a 9.33 mile paved loop designated for biking, running, or walking. The lake itself is also a perfect backdrop for a casual ride or for those that want to train. Since moving to the Dallas area I’ve always wanted to ride there and now was the time.

My goal was to do the course 2 times and leave the 100 mile mark for tomorrow, but as I rode the first time around the ride was so nice I decided to do it a second time before a friend of mine that we chatted before hand would arrive for us to ride together.

Sure enough by the time I finished the second time around my friend arrived and I did the course twice in a little over an hour with a great avg speed of 17.3 mph. I started the 3rd time with my friend and we rode more casually and this time I was going to hit my 100 mile goal! In total for the day I rode 28.53 miles. My longest ride of the week!

It’s amazing to have hit this goal in 5 days. I knew with the right consistency and preparation I would be able to do it. Thank God there were no major obstacles or injuries along the way. The great thing is, I still have tomorrow as Sunday I am planning to be a rest day.

I’m really excited for tomorrow as I’m meeting up with another friend to finish off my week with a nice casual ride at one of the best mountain bike trails in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I can’t wait!

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100 Mile Goal

post12Since I bought my first Mountain Bike from a Bike Shop in Rochester Hills, Michigan back in 1998 with my entire summer savings of $400 I have had a love for biking.

Over the years, life has evolved with finishing college, getting married, starting a family and a career.

During this time, on and off I have continued my love for biking as often as possible. I was never was able to invest the money in super high end bikes or components. I just needed a solid bike to keep me fit and challenge my strength and endurance.

I always liked staying in shape but there was always something about the ability to push the pedals and hit the technical trails of a mountain bike trail that was a thrill.

Since moving to Texas back in early 2010 and the lifestyle change that came along with it, my riding went on a hiatus and sure enough my body was feeling it. That is why last fall I began riding with a group of friends from my church and discovered a local mountain bike trail near my home. This led to a setting a goal at the beginning of this year to take control of my fitness, nutrition and health once again. Since early February of this year until now I have been able to take in mountain biking once again and even was introduced to road biking (which is a lot more popular here in the flat terrain of Northern Dallas) along with eating right, I was able to lose over 20 lbs and be back to the shape I was when we first moved to Texas.

Now I want to push it to the next level and push myself to have an achievable goal. Ride 100 miles in 1 week.

I know to some people this is a small feat while for others it may seem like a huge achievement. To me it is goal. The first step in any successful effort.

post12bI firmly believe that having personal goals, fitness goals, business goals, career goals, or any goal is the necessary step to succeed. It’s amazing how few people actually make a disciplined effort to not only set a goal but ensure they are able to achieve it. Since I have a full time job responsibility, family, church, and even needing to eat and sleep, 100 miles is achievable in 1 week but it won’t be without an effort to reach it as it has been something that I have never done before.

Hopefully, it will be an inspiration to the person that reads this post or to others that will see my activity in my social graph. Especially due to the fact that I will need to weigh in balancing my insulin dependent diabetes. I need to adjust things in order to know my body and how much I can push it as an organic machine. This x-factor will hopefully be an inspiration to choose something you love to do even if there are obstacles and take it to the next level.

In my case. A 100 mile goal.

Upcoming will be a post where I will journal each day and share my journey. My hope is that once I hit that goal it will lead to an even higher goal. It’s amazing what determination and willingness can do in all walks of life.

#pushingforward

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Tis The Social Season

Lately, I have been reflecting on this past year and how as a professional I deal with social media on a day to day basis and notice throughout all of my social feeds my friends and connections sharing their stories and experiences during a busy time of the year. There are various debates and opinions that are shared as well. During this Holiday season as everyone celebrates various traditional and ethnic Holidays, I reflect on the Holidays through the lens of a Christian and what has the most meaning to me. December 25th, Christmas.

It is a special day in my faith that reminds me of the miracle of the Son of God coming to this earth and becoming a person, a baby, like each and every one of us were when we came into this world. It was a special and historic gift.

There are many debates in our current culture as to how Christ is being taken out of Christmas and how Atheist groups purchase Billboards to take the Myth out of Christmas, I choose to maintain and believe in a Holiday that has been part of American tradition since the birth of our nation. During this time not only do we celebrate the Birth of Jesus, but also take a moment to reflect on the special gifts that we have in our lives that we get to cherish even more during this special day.

post7Leading up to Christmas we decided to start a new tradition with our family to watch older Christmas movies. The main movie that we watched this year was the classic story from Charles Dickens of the Christmas Carol from 1938. It was wonderful to be taken to a time where “Merry Christmas” was a delightful greeting that brought warmth and encouragement.

Too often we get caught up with everything other than the true ‘social’ meaning of Christmas. So this year, unlike years before, as a family we sent out our Christmas cards and finished our Christmas shopping early so we can reflect on what Christmas is all about. To reach out and focus on giving rather than receiving. On spending time with family and friends rather than dreading the travel and stress of the Holidays.

No matter what  you celebrate, ever since mid-to-late 4th century December 25th has been recognized as the day where we remember the story of a baby that was born to a virgin mother to be the Messiah of His people and the world.

I believe that God created me and you to have a relationship with Him. He wanted us to be with Him so He gave his only Son to be born into this world as a gift to seal that relationship and love. Because of this, it is the season of coming together, of growing our natural ability to be a social being with loved ones around us.

I want to remember this season and Christmas as a Social day in which God brought Christ and man together to have an authentic relationship with us so that we can experience that Love and share it with all of our family and friends.

Merry Christmas.

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