AIM IT Leadership Academy: Trends in Business & IT/Executive Perspectives

This months  AIM IT Leadership Academy session was at Kiewit Business Center on Trends in Business and IT/Executive Perspectives.

The three goals of this session were:

  • Learn how to create a concise message to sell an idea to a group of executives in a limited window.
  • Practice Team work and presentation skills.
  • Achieve a clearer understanding of a executive’s point of view on an organization.


I was under the impression this day was about what was called our capstone presentation. My group consisted of a employee of Team Software and Werner Enterprises. We meet once Team Software, a few times at Farm Credit Services of America and the other times virtually through Zoom. I was extremely happy with the effort by the group and everyone being a good team member.

Our presentation was “Emotional Intelligence in Agile Teams“. Our hook for this presentation was this:

Our company can increase effective communication, engagement, and empower our employees through Emotional Intelligence education and the formation of teams based on complimentary thinking preferences.

We had about 8 to 12 minutes to give the presentation. The presentation was on a actually stage with a podium. The other members of the AIM leadership group were at their tables. There were three volunteers from different organizations who acted as our supervisors.


  • Words matter never use “We hope this will work because” instead say “We are confident this will work because”
  • Too much detail on Agile and Emotional Intelligence.
  • Measuring success over a longer period of time.

Executive Breakouts

We had three breakout session with leaders in executive roles from different companies.

EVP Operations Business Process

  • People vs Technology
  • You don’t know it all
  • Invigorating Culture
  • Listening and Framing
  • Develop Strong Team Interpersonal Skills

Field CTO

  • 12 steps to native cloud development
  • Strategy of a Team
  • Technical Management in leadership
  • Happy people are productive


  • We are in the business of IT. IT = Business
  • Measure Critical parts of business
  • It is OK to say I don’t know, Let me go find out.
  • Data centric based on information.

My three take a ways from this session were:

  1. Before presenting always ask about the environment.
  2. There is a breadth of Technologies to be educated on.
  3. The art of words when presenting.

I am excited that next months session is the last. I am hopefully graduating.

2019 Spring UNO Capstone Cup Finals

On Friday, April 12th from 12 PM – 3:30 PM was the University of Nebraska-Omaha College of Business Administration Capstone Cup Spring 2019 finals.


This was my second time being a on the judges panel for the Finals.  This is one of the perks of sponsoring the Capstone Cup is FCSAmerica has a judges seat reserved for each round of the competition. I arrived about 12:45 p.m. to do a debriefing with the other judges in a class room. We were told for the final round of competition, the final four teams will be developing recommendations for Roku Inc. Once again, each team’s job is to identify a strategic issue facing Roku, conduct strategic analyses and come up with a strategic solution/recommendation that is driven by their analysis. The judges would be the ones deciding the overall winner.

The day of the finals I posted on social media a video that was created to show FCSAmerica’s support for the competition.


About 1:00 p.m. the judges were taken to the auditorium which is a two-story, 186-seat capacity which was standing room only. I found out that actually over 200 RSVPS were sent in for the event. The Judges are placed in the front row. A wide variety of Omaha Companies sponsor the event.


The Associate Dean Harlandof of the CBA says a few words while revolving display of Agenda, sponsors and thank you to judges appear.



Teams presented every twenty-five minutes. Each group has 12 minutes to present, with warning times given for 5 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute. This is followed by 5-10 minutes of Q&A with the judges.  The level of the presentations were good. Two of the teams presenting I heard in round 1 and round 2. At about 2:35 the Judges will leave and deliberate.

The format for the next hour was different then previous Capstone Cup finals. The students that have not made the final round have been asked to address the final case in a Poster Session Competition where guests can vote on their favorite case recommendations.  I made sure to vote the students I met from Innovation Works Here.

During the deliberation. The organizing professors asked if a two judges would be willing to announce the winners. I raised my hand to volunteer. I was given runner up. I also had to determine what to say. I kept in simple.


Before the winning team was announced. The professors gave each judge a thank you plaque.


After the winning team was announced. I stayed and networked with the students and faculty.

A few days later I received a thank you note.


I believe having someone at FCSAmerica on the  judges panel is a good thing. I enjoyed the overall experience as a judge.  I am sold that supporting this event for the future is money well spent.

2019 Spring UNO Financial Management Association

In mid March I was sent a email from Laura Sansoni, Director, CBA Career Development to be part of a panel for a University of Nebraska-Omaha College of Business Admiration student group Financial Management Association (FMA). Like most request I would be happy to sit on the panel if chosen.


Then sometime in April I received a email from Ray LeBlanc who the faculty advisor for UNO’s Financial Management Association confirming that I will be on the April 9th panel. I did offer to sponsor any snacks or treats which the professor let me know that was covered.  I also offered to get some gift cards to raffle away to everyone that attends which he was fine with.


The student meeting was held on Tuesday, April 9, from 4:30-5:30 in Mammel Hall. When I arrived to the room there was about 25 to 30 students. There was food catered in from Hy-Vee.  So I understand how that was covered. I asked the advisor to make a sign up sheet so I know who to give the gift card to.

What I realized in a hurry that this originally was supposed to be a Human Resources Panel. There were representatives from National Indemnity Company, KPMG, and Valmont. Everyone I recognized was someone who I saw at a previous UNO career fair.


This was the sample questions for each panel member to answer, followed by open Q & A from our students. Initial questions include:

– An introduction of panel members and their company, providing a brief overview of their professional/educational background.

– Discussion of entry level jobs for students graduating with finance degrees at their firm.

– Importance of internships (and availability, if applicable).

– What are the most important factors you look at when sifting through applications and interviewing for internships/entry-level positions?

– Discussion of the culture at their firm. (This is an area I feel that most students do not take seriously enough out of college)

– Describe your most successful new hires. What characteristics do they exhibit? (and the opposite as well… What should you NOT do once you’re on the job?)

– Any other tips/advice for current students that are looking to enter the workforce?

After the panel members address the issues above, there is usually about 20 minutes remaining for more open Q & A from students, which may be directed at a specific panel member or all panel members.

My Responses

This was my notes from the various conversations going back and forth between the students and panel.


At the end a random person was selected which I gave a $10 dollar Applebee’s gift card to.

A few days latter I received a thank you note from the student leadership.


Overall this was a good experience for myself. I built a relationship with another student organization for future appearance’s.

2019 Spring UNO ACM Hackathon

On April 4th I had done a presentation at the ACM Student Group.  As I was leaving the student officers asked if I was able to be a judge for the upcoming HACKUNO event the group was doing the upcoming weekend. I did not want to commit on the spot to being a judge since it meant giving up some time on Sunday, but I wanted to help. I asked to send the information via email and I can see how we can help.


The next day I posted a message on Teams if there was someone from Application Development that would be able to help.

Angel Raffety has volunteered to judge this weekend.


Besides being a Judge we had offered to buy snacks for the event. Dan Kuyper bought the snacks and delivered them to the event on Saturday afternoon. Mostly popcorn and M&M’s.

Here is the Judge information given to Angel. A big thank you to her for volunteering.


Here is Angel with the Winning team of the event.


2019 Spring UNO ACM

On April 4th I had secured a presentation with the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) student group Association for Computer Machinery (ACM). Based on experience the group looks for guest speakers to talk with more programming-focused base. Anything interesting in terms of  development tools, design patterns, algorithms, or data structures that have a big impact on development.

What I proposed which the group which they liked was a session on Blockchain development. The talk would be about understanding development in the Ethereum platform. I would shared the journey from doing a hackathon on blockchain to experimenting at FCSAmerica.  


The meeting took place from 7-8PM at room PKI269. For the meeting we sponsored pizza, wings and snacks. A ACM meeting has about 25 members which was about the amount that showed up. I was lucky enough to have Dan Kuyper volunteered to assist in any way.


I started right about 7:00 p.m. I showed the Technology Works Here Video. I then jumped into the presentation. During the time I passed around a iPad that had the Office 365 form.  I have been using the form to capture student information. Every student I followed up with a email with a link to a Github repository that had everything I talked about in a mark down.


On the way out the president talked to me about being a judge at the Hackathon the group was putting on the upcoming weekend. I wasn’t able to commit at that time, but I knew this was something not to pass on. So look for a future post about the ACM hackathon.

2019 Spring UNO Capstone Cup Round 2

Round 2 of the University of Nebraska-Omaha College of Business Administration Capstone Cup took place on  Friday, March 29th


This is also the image I used on Twitter.

For the 2nd Round of competition, the students are given a case briefing on a company–essentially a starting place for their research. The company the teams have been assigned is  ADT—yes, the security company.

The Itinerary for the event was the same as round 1.

Itinerary: March 29th

9:00 am          Arrival & Check In, Room 117

9:30 am          Presentation 1

10:00 am        Presentation 2

10:30 am        Presentation 3

11:00 am        Presentation 4

11:30 am        Presentation 5

12:00 pm        Debrief/Lunch


I heard five presentations’ that tackled different perspectives from a company. One was focused on working with another company such as a pet security to a merger with a bigger home security provider.

2019 Spring UNO ACM-W

On Saturday March 23rd at 1:00 p.m. was the University of Nebraska-Omaha Association for Computing Machinery-Women (ACM-W)

student group.   The theme of the visit was to do a “Sprint, in a hour”. A traditional design spring is a five-day process for answering critical business questions through design, prototyping, and testing ideas with customers. We are going to break the 5 days into one hour.


In December of 2018 I contacted ACM-W via email about sponsoring a 2019 meeting.


Through corresponding via email the date of March 23rd at 1:00 p.m. a topic wasn’t yet confirmed, but this was a Saturday. I found out the group meets on a Tuesday and Saturday through out the year. I also let them know I would sponsor some type of snacks or lunch for the meeting.


During the ACDC All Career Fair the president of the ACM-W stopped by the booth. I pitched the idea of doing a “Design Sprint” in an hour. At first she was under the impression that this would be more of a white boarding exercise, but I expressed this would be a interactive session which has some non technical aspects like white boarding.

When I returned from a career fair I asked the two business analyst Stacey Fletcher and Jeneen Sagonon my team if they would help with this idea. The reason is as a team they booth have gone through this process. Their were some concerns about doing this process in an hour, but through some persuading and talking it through they were booth on board.   I also did reach out to the floor to see if anyone would want to help. Remember you can’t do anything awesome by yourself.



This is where I am grateful for having teammates who believe in my vision to go above and beyond to help me out. Leading up to the meeting we practiced three times on what a “Sprint” would look like. Here is a PowerPoint that would be our guide in the presentation. .


The ACM-W has a Social/Public Marketing Officer who reached out for attached photo and company logo. The final product looked like this.

I did question if I should I be on this poster. The goal of the meeting is to talk about the sprint process from my Teammates (women colleagues) to acm-w. The acm-w felt Just like motivational events that show the person’s face and making it the focus point was OK.

ACM-W.Design Sprint Process (003)

Day of Event

The morning of the event I picked up chips and Quesa from Qdoba’s. I also picked up wings, popcorn, M&M’s, and pop for snacks. I arrived about 12:45 to bring everything up.

The meeting kicked off right at 1:00 p.m. Stacey Fletcher, Jeneen Sagon, and Angle Raffety joined myself to help with the Event. 



The ACM-W starts the meeting with announcements. Then they gave us the floor. Stacey, Jeneen and Angel helped get the room setup.


The flow worked great. All the students were engaged and we finished on time.



Toward the end I talked a little about prototyping, but I hurried through it to save time. We finished right about 2:15 p.m.


I stayed around to network. I think this was the most interactive student meeting I had ever been part of. This also provided a nice changed of pace for the group since they have mostly guest lecturers.

The social media manger made some social network posts.


Then a video to recap the event. This is a great example of knowing how important social media is to student organizations. Another great interaction with UNO students in the books.

2019 Spring UNO Capstone Cup Round 1

Round 1 of the University of Nebraska-Omaha College of Business Administration Spring 2019 Capstone Cup! took place on Friday, March 8th 2019. I was a judge in all 3 rounds in the Fall of 2018.


I posted on Likened and Twitter that I was a judge of the contest.


Itinerary Morning Session

9:00 am                Arrival & Check In, Room 117

9:30 am                Presentation 1

10:00 am              Presentation 2

10:30 am              Presentation 3

11:00 am              Presentation 4

11:30 am              Debrief/Lunch

12:00 pm              Reset for afternoon


The case the teams presented on for the first round was GameStop. The teams are given only the information in the case – some teams will likely do some outside research to assist in their analysis, but for the most part the students are told to focus on the information presented in the case.

Each group had 12 minutes to present, with warning times given for 2 minutes, and 1 minute. This is followed by approximately 10 minutes of Q&A with the judges.

As a judge, I was acting as board member for GameStop in the case. The students are acting as a consulting group hired to identify and tackle a strategic problem GameStop is facing.


2019 Spring UNO Connectaha Sponsorship

At the Nullify Student Meeting and UNO All Career Fair. I told all students about a chance to win a free ticket to a upcoming conference Connectaha that Farm Credit Services of America was sponsoring. Anyone who submitted info with the Office 365 Form I would put in a drawing.

The email looked like this:


About 10 students took the time to reply. Three students were chosen almost at random. The day before the conference I purchased three tickets for three UNO students. I waited a longer just incase one had to cancel.  I had worked out a deal with ConnectHa to get students in for a discounted price. All together $295.86 total.

The three UNO students were all students I had multiple contact points with.

The morning of the conference, I showed up Connectaha  to get a picture by the FCSAmerica booth with them.  Connectaha has agreed to send a social thank you to Farm Credit Services of America for sponsoring UNO students.   I believe it is more meaningful when it’s originated by the organization hosting the event FCSAmerica is sponsoring as opposed to self-promotion.


I heard from the afternoon group booth Srishty and Kim both stopped by the booth and were a pleasure to talk too.  This sponsorship for students is a great way to build relationships with relationships with the University of Nebraska-Omaha and the student population.

2019 Spring UNO College of Business Administration and Internship Career Fair

The College of Business Administration (CBA) was the second University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) career fair for the 2019 Spring School year. The timing of the career fair compared to the other UNO fair in spring  was about a week apart.

I am always interested in finding UNO Alumni who could help out at a career fair. I put a message on our Yammer in February that I was looking for help for the CBA Career Fair. 


Carol Brush, ODL Specialist volunteered to help out. This was good since Carol was a UNO Alumni.  She also could be a new perspective on how I do things and provide feedback.

The day of the Fair

I always make sure to post on Twitter and LinkedIn.


I arrived at fair about 10:00 a.m. to setup. I setup the TV to show the Careers page. I also had some cups left over from Technology Works Here. I had the iPad with the Office 365 Form to capture student information. I keep hand sanitizer in my digital toolbox.   

I had a spot right when you walked in. so I was able to multiple ways to setup the table.


The one that seemed to fit our space was to setup the display on the side of the table. This allowed anyone walking down in to see the banner.


Student started stopping by after 11:00 a.m. The amount of students who stopped by because of a class room visit is a great story to tell. This means students are seeing Farm Credit Services of America as a first class employer.  This also means a student stopping by had a previous touch point and I don’t have to explain who Farm Credit Services of America is. There were students who attended the Class Room Visit on Wednesday night stopped by the booth because I came to the class. There where students who attended the Innovation Works Here on February 15th.    


The fair ended about 2:00 p.m. I went to the front desk to ask a simple question. How many students actually checked in. The unofficial count I heard was under 150. This was the same number as in the FALL of 2018 I think this was a very low number. When I got back to the office I looked at the inputs from the Office 365 Form. We had 24students give us contact information which was 6 lower than last time.  .  Even though the numbers were not high. The multiple touch point is a big deal in the long run of recruiting.

Follow up

In all 24students filled out the form.  I followed up with this email.