Ladies Weekend

Well we kicked-off the first annual ladies weekend.  See pictures to the side.  It is always important to sometimes get away and spend sometime with your close friends.  I am amazed at these women and all they do.  They are all so different but all a part of me.  You guys are great- keep changing the world and until next year when we head to Greece! 

Learn about the Microsoft Innovation Center

 
MISSION
To help organizations in the West Region reach their full potential by having a facility and partners to help them solve their greatest challenges.
 
GOAL
Help Oregon and the West Region build economic development through building student knowledge and empower local organizations to better utilize technology more succesfully.
 
SOME ACTIVITIES
We will organize events, seminars, workshops, and presentations that build practical knowledge of how the Microsoft platform and partners solutions help the community achieve its goals and drive new innovative solutions for the global economy.
Come visit us at 1900 Sw 4th Avenue, Portland, OR SUITE 150

NW Career Fair- Helping Youth in Oregon

We can all make an impact in our community and help our youth.  Learn about efforts in Oregon to reach students and get excited about careers in technology.  Article posted in the Oregonian:
 

‘Aha’ possibilities await teens at career fair

Oregon jobs – Young people can meet employers and learn about training
Wednesday, May 09, 2007

SPENCER HEINZ

By age 10, Rane Johnson-Stempson was cooking and doing the family’s bills.

If she fell short of an A, she says, her father would knock her around. By 14, when word finally went out that she needed help, she got it.

Two decades later, she’s the one who helps.

On Thursday, thanks to efforts by her and dozens of others, more than 4,500 high school students from throughout the metro area are expected to converge on the Oregon Convention Center for a careers fair.

For employers, it’s a chance to highlight Oregon’s job choices and earning potential. For students, it’s a chance to learn what kinds of schooling and training they need to land good jobs in such fields as health care, construction, metals manufacturing, arts and technology.

"This could be your ‘aha’ moment," Johnson-Stempson said of the third annual NW Youth Careers Expo. "If you don’t take this opportunity, you could be giving up the opportunity of a lifetime."

Drew Park, president and chief executive of Columbia Wire & Iron and one of the expo’s key organizers, said the gathering could help students see how their classes apply to their lives. "You may be able to find an answer here," he said.

Thanks to various teachers, mentors and counselors, Johnson-Stempson said, she went from a tough childhood to the life she has now at 31 — traveling the country as a technical field sales engagement manager for Microsoft. The Lake Oswego resident helped organize the expo’s technology panel of executives and others, who will share the pathways of their careers.

Her own story begins in Vietnam. During the fall of Saigon and while pregnant with Rane in 1975, her Vietnamese mother escaped with her U.S. Army husband and son. They settled in central Texas. Her mother mastered some English, but not enough to read or write. Rane said her late father was a heavy drinker who never seemed satisfied with anything she did.

"I needed to have straight As," she said. "In soccer I needed to score at least one goal in every game, otherwise he’d ground me and then hit me. And the same with gymnastics. . . . Same thing with grades. Same with my room.

". . . So I learned to be perfect in everything. . . . I was in almost every club you could think of, and the president of almost everything."

The turning point came after her family moved to Vancouver. It was her freshman year, and her high school team had just placed well in an academic decathlon. The awards ceremony ran late, and her father, who’d been waiting to give her a ride home, was fuming by the time she reached the truck.

She showed him the award, she said, hoping it would please him. Instead, she said, he started yelling. It was the first time she’d ever questioned his treatment of her and she argued back. Things escalated, she said, and he pushed her out of the truck. She said she hit the shoulder, rolling into the grass.

Though she didn’t tell anyone about what happened, a friend noticed her cuts and bruises at school the next day and told the principal. Soon afterward, she was in a group home, then foster care.

At age 14, she said, a judge emancipated her, allowing her to move in with her 21-year-old brother. She says she eventually forgave her father, whom she says suffered from alcoholism and Alzheimer’s; he died nearly two years ago.

Once on her own, she relied on a network of teachers, mentors and others to help her through.

She recalls, for instance, a career fair where she met an engineer who advised and encouraged her throughout her college years. With more than $150,000 in scholarships, she graduated from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania with degrees in mechanical engineering, and economics and finance.

She hooked up with SkillsUSA, a career technical-education organization, and she learned computer-aided drafting.

Four years ago, Johnson-Stempson joined Microsoft. Now she also sits on the education foundation of the Software Association of Oregon, the force behind the expo’s first technology panel, and looks forward to the fair.

"It’s the possibility," she said "of finding the mentor who could change your life."

Spencer Heinz: 503-221-8072; spencerheinz@news.oregonian.com

Education-GET INVOLVED

If you have time- please fill out this survey and get involved with Education and Technology in Oregon
 

Please take the time to fill out this survey.  The SAO and SAOF are partnering together with Portland Public Schools to bring Relevant Technology Speakers into the classroom to give students more experience with Technology Careers and Opportunities in Oregon.  Eventually, we will be creating a database to automate this process.  We would like to thank Microsoft for taking a leadership role in organizing the first stage of this pilot program.  Please fill out this survey.  We will be doing the first set of classroom presentations in April and May.  Next year, we will branch out to include more school districts.

Additionally, we will be participating in the May 10th Career Fair with a Technology Cluster.  If your company is interested in participating in the Career Fair or the Technology Panel Discussion, please contact ranej@microsoft.com

Thank you and we are excited to be extending our SAOF programming this year and bettering our connection with the SAO membership to the future technology leaders in Oregon.   School and Industry Linkages Pilot with SAO and Portland public Schools

Koa Tao

Yesterday we went to Kao Tao.  We started breakfast at 630AM, you would think after 10 days here they would know what we would be ordering for breakfast.  We had to stuff our breakfast down in 5 minutes and made our poor bus driver.  We then got on a large catermeran and headed to Kao Tao.  Inside it was air conditioned and we wateched Misson Impossible 2.  At Kao Tao we snorkeled for 1.5 hours and it was great- FINALLY GREAT SNOREKLING.  It was a lot of fun.  Greg was first to jump off the boat and then everyone else began to follow- he broke the ice…  Next we headed to Nangyuan and had lunch.  Buffet style this lunch wasn’t as good as the previous lunch we had.  There were alot of Japanese and french tourists, very few Americans and this group wasn’t as friendly as our previous group.  After lunch we hiked to the top of the island- it is 3 islands connected by beach and then snorkeled for another 1.5 hours.  This snorkeling wasn’t as nice as Kao Tao.  We then headed back to Koh Samui. 
 
We then got massages and went shopping and Greg finally had his Lobster for dinner- HE was very happy.  Today we did another cooking class.  It was a lot of fun- I will be able to cook some great Thai dishes not sure if Gordon will be able to handle the spiciness.  Greg is hungry and loosing patience with me, so we are going. 

Thai cooking class

Today we did a Thai cooking class.  Well I did the cooking and Greg watched and drank beer and flirted with a cute German girl.  It was probably the best adventure we have had thus far.  The teacher was very funny!  We also had as our partner an Isreali model from Japan.  Greg really wanted to spend more time from her.  But she wouldn’t eat much and was ready to go party and ignore us all.  We will do another class, lunch this time instead of dinner.  I will be able to cook some great Thai food, except I don’t think Gordon will like- very very spicy!  As Greg says it makes you shit fire! 
 
We then headed down to Reggae Pub as it looked very fun but it was dead only 8:30PM as things don’t start until 11PM, too late for us old people.  We then headed back and stopped by a few bars to play pool.  they were full of Thai girls wanting Greg to take them home.  they were disappointed as they thought I was a Thai girl already taking him home.  Very interesting place….  Reminds me a lot of Jamaica.  And more Muy Thai boxing, small truck with load speakers going up and down the street.
 
As for the weather in Thailand and if it was like Hawaii.  Very similar weather and beaches and ocean, but the surroundings and people are more like Mexico and Jamaica.  On the beach you constantly get bugged by vendors selling you crap.  It is beatutiul but I don’t think ou both will like it.  Food way too spicy for you and there are golf places but not very many.  It is all about spa and pampering.  The massages are great!  Food is excellent.  Weather very hot and humid.  Today we had a huge wind storm.  Hot all day but very windy.  Very Deceving as we thought it was cloudy and cool- Greg got very sunburned. 
 
Tomorrow we are going to do an elephant ride to the waterfalls. 

Ang Thong Snorkeling

Yesterday we went to Ang Thong.  We had a van drive to meanam and then got onto our boat.  The boat had 600 horsepower- very fast!  We got to the island and kayaked around and then had lunch.  Afterwards we went to the Emerald Lake it was fomed by the rock collapsing under ground and the ocean water emptying into a small lake area between the rocks, it was very pretty.  The steps to he lake would not pass US saftey standrads- very scary!  And there was limestone every where, after the hike we then went snorkeling.  The snorkeling as okay, not as good as Hawaii.  The Asians don’t take good care of their habitat and fish everything.  We met some really nice people twins from LA that were Korean, a kid from Santa Barbara that was with his parents who live in Seattle.  A couple from Columbia and lots of Germans.  It was probably one of the best days we have had.  We then had dinner at betelnut the Chef came from the betelnut in San Francisco.  He was fun to talk to.  It is a little annoying they are running more power to the island and instead of just having the power off on period they turn it off every 2 hours.  At least our hotel has generators so we are not affected by the power outage, but many of the resteraunts you can’t eat until after 7pm when the power will go back on for 2 hours.  The food last night was probably the best we have had thus far. 
 
Today we just relaxed on the beach and by the pool.  Tonight is our first major rain shower.  Tomorrow we are going with a couple of employees from the hotel to the waterfall and elephant treking.  It will be cool to ride the elephants and go with people who speak the langage and help us not be taken advantage. 
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