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World Quality Month… Yeah, Quality Matters


What’s World Quality Month, anyway?

“The purpose of World Quality Month is to promote the use of quality tools in businesses and communities. Quality tools, such as flowcharts and checklists, reduce mistakes and help produce superior products. Quality principles could reduce headline-making errors, like food safety, toy recalls, and financial disruptions. World Quality Month calls on people who use quality tools to share their knowledge by submitting their stories to illustrate the value of quality principles.” (ASQ)

“The purpose of World Quality Day is to promote awareness of quality around the world and encourage development and prosperity” (CQI)

This year, I decided to help out ASQ’s Education Division and work with them to organize the Quality Education Conference & Workshop (QECW) that was held in Houston, TX this past weekend. I figured the best way to spread the word is to contribute my time to something that would raise awareness.

First, let me say that that I have gained a whole new level of respect for people that organize conferences.  The behind-the-scenes efforts of volunteers and others is just unbelievable. The passion of ASQ members is unparalleled, and the QECW experience was nothing short of awesome.  I tweeted for the division, so more info can be found here. And, another member took some great photos for us.

My presentation related to critical thinking and STEM was well received, but I am most grateful for all of the amazing people I met at the event.  Educators truly are special people! And, there’s no doubt education is where we need to start if we’re going to integrate quality into our personal and professional lives.

This World Quality Month also marks a few personal achievements of which I still can’t keep smiling about!  First, I am honored to be among the Fresh Faces identified in the November issue of Quality Progress. Wow.

Secondly, I received an email notifying me that my nomination as Fellow was accepted. I won’t lie… achieving this took a ridiculous amount of effort, and I count it as one of my proudest achievements. I truly feel special to be among such an elite group of quality professionals. I’m more motivated than ever to make a difference! Thank you so much to my ASQ friends that supported and helped me achieve this… You know who you are!

“Fellow Membership is an honor bestowed by other ASQ Members. A Fellow represents the upper echelon of the quality profession and serves as the backbone of the Society.”

Finally, I got word that my two proposals for presentations at the World Quality Conference in May were accepted.  I’ll be able to share information regarding social accountability audits in the manufacturing sector and also an After 5 session related to living a socially responsible life. I can’t wait!

I’ve written a few posts in the past related to World Quality Month as well:

You don’t have to be in quality to recognize World Quality Month! As Deming famously said… “Quality is everyone’s responsibility.”



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Quality Tools for Critical Thinking & K-12 STEM Success


This will be my first year attending ASQ’s annual Quality Education Conference & Workshop.  I’ve had a lot of fun volunteering and working with the Education Division, so I have no doubt the event will be exceed expectations.

I submitted to speak this time because I wanted to share some insight I’ve gained as someone who has instructed sessions related to critical thinking in the workforce. But, I’ve also used these quality tools as a parent and have done a fair amount of research related to importance of critical thinking & decision-making as it relates to STEM success. I’m excited to have been chosen and am in the process of polishing my presentation.

Critical thinking allows us to use our own creativity and curiosity to research, design test and improve solutions.  “Critical thinking is a skill that is impossible to teach directly but must be intertwined with content.” ~Christodoulou

Highlights of my presentation include:

  • Critical Thinking & STEM: Making the Connection
  • Keys to Success
  • Games & Activities
  • Applied Tools
    • Affinity Diagrams
    • Fishbone Diagrams
    • Six Thinking Hats
    • Mind Mapping
    • Grid Analysis
  • Additional Resources

If you’re interested in QECW, check out the site here. Bill Troy, ASQ’s CEO is just one keynote I’m looking forward to. And, the other speakers and their sessions will be hard to choose from. This will be my first conference volunteering also, so I’m leveling up on the fun!


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Video: Quality for Life & Me…


For all the times I’ve stood up and encouraged people to challenge themselves and stretch their comfort levels, I must announce a person win.

My SWOT analysis consistently reveals a weakness related to my video presence. Somewhat surprising is that I’d say public speaking is a strength, but that camera changes everything. I’m told it’s quite an entertaining sight to see.

Long story short, I’ve responded to ASQ’s call for participants to share stories for a few years now. And, each year I’ve found that my expectations of looking like someone physically suffering have materialized.  Each year, I’ve requested they don’t post the video even before I saw the final copy.

Not this year.

I decided to give the video thing another try this year at WCQI because, why not? I had a message I wanted to share and a personal obstacle to overcome.

It surprises me that I forgot about the video, but I did… A friend recently texted a link to none other than myself looking mostly normal on the ASQ site.  I’m so excited to be able to share this information in a format I challenged myself to improve in. Yay.

Quality for Life: Using Quality Tools in Your Personal Life

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My Top 10 World Quality Takeaways – #WCQI16


FullSizeRender (2)ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement has once again come and gone, this year celebrating 70 years of quality in Milwaukee, the association’s current headquarters.

I think this is my 7th WCQI, or at least that’s how many badges I’ve retained.  This year, as ASQ reflected on seven decades, I considered my own journey. I was inspired to see a local quality superstar, Ken Stephens, acknowledged for over 60 WCQIs. I have a long way to go!

The first few years of attending WCQI, I did so to gain more knowledge about quality because it was the industry I worked in. I also thought networking among the community would be good for both my personal and professional endeavors.

As the years went on, I continued to get inspired to be one of the people you notice walking around the show either presenting or participating as an obvious part of the member-driven association leadership. When a good friend of mine asked me to consider a position as our local section’s Education Chair a few years ago, I saw the value of ASQ and my experience at WCQI go up significantly.

You miss a lot at WCQI as just a passive observer.  You’d be misled to believe the key value of the show includes what you learn from the sessions. Underneath is a close community of like-minded individuals that participate and make ASQ what it is. Participation is mandatory here.

My top 10 takeaways from this year’s WCQI include:

  1. It is such an honor to return again as a speaker at this event. For real. I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive about my time slot coinciding with a local tour, but I was relieved to see a good number of people attend. Connecting personal wellness and quality tools was personal. It was cathartic.
  2. There is never enough time to spend with everyone you want to at this annual event! Throughout the year, I connect with so many seemingly wonderful quality professionals that I look forward to spending time with. But, it goes by so quickly. When I do see a new face with a name I recognize, it’s always a joyful feeling and a welcome personal introduction.
  3. Hospitality suites must be managed carefully. I have yet to perfect attendance here.
  4. Exhibitor life is not nearly as fun as that of an attendee. I’ll just say it like it is.  Setting up a booth, hanging out in the booth and taking down the booth can at times seem daunting.  But, I’d be lying if I said talking to people that stop by doesn’t completely recharge me. This year, Pro QC generated some solid leads and added a few auditors to the team. The “<3 Quality” pins I had made were a hit! – I also worked the Social Responsbility Technical Community booth for a couple of hours. With limited resources, we really pulled together something that definitely helped spread the word. We collected ideas on a flip board that we’ll be following up with via the LinkedIn Group over the weeks to come.
  5. One person, or a small number of people, can really make a difference.  There are only a handful of us leading the SRTC currently, but we worked together to get a few minutes of time at the SAC meeting.  And, I believe we were successful in communicating the SR purpose and educating leadership on how their respective sections can make a difference within their own communities. That’s good stuff right there.
  6. I finally did OK with the ASQ TV taping.  For the past few years, I’ve been asked if I would like to participate in sharing a brief story with ASQ TV. But, this  is the first year where I think I’ve actually represented myself well. Laugh if you will, but that camera turns on and I get stupid. I challenge myself each time they ask because that’s who I am and it’s advice I give to others. So, I tried and tried and think I finally came up with something acceptable this year.  I’m taking props on that one. Personal win.
  7. The Tuesday evening networking event is a must-do. ASQ did such a great job this year getting attendees to and from the Harley Davidson Museum. It was a great environment to follow-up with a few of the people I had met earlier.  Dancing is always fun too, although my karaoke version of Son of a Preacher Man on the first evening did leave something to be desired.
  8. Milwaukee was a blast! Sure, it was chilly for a Florida girl… But, it is a beautiful city with a pretty good selection of local brew and a complementary local culture to match. I checked out the Wicked Hop and Bryant’s as local dives. Both were awesome!
  9. This is my first year volunteering with the Education Division. I recently stepped down from the local section and have gotten more involved here.  I’m so thankful for the new connections I’ve made, and I can’t wait for the Quality Education Conference & Workshop (QECW) coming up in November! I’m excited to be working with them on the conference and with social media in general. Check out our Twitter page for pics and posts from WCQI. Fun group! Great mission!
  10. Turkeys mating. Thanks for ruing the breast Dubner!  

Counting down to next year…

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Dallas Dunlap… Author, Economist, Friend…


I’ve always been an avid reader and writer… a lover of communication of all kinds. At some point after college though, I said farewell to my comics, to Vonnegut, Rand, Huxley, and Robbins. I found a comfortable home in non-fiction, both as a reader and a writer. Today, I spend my time reading about superstar CEOs, management & marketing stuff and of course quality… My writing is almost always rooted in quality, with more creative fiction certainly something I long to be able to tap into one day.

For fun, I teach at the local community college because I actually do enjoy business that much. Over the last several years doing that gig, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting interesting characters of all kinds. One of my favorites is an adjunct economics instructor I’ve come to admire and really enjoy spending time with. He reminded me why I loved fiction!

I can’t remember exactly how I met Dallas Dunlap… adjunct training or something like that. I kind of gravitated to Dallas because he’s such an interesting guy… a true Renaissance Man of sorts. He seems to know something about everything, never forgets anything and has held a fascinating assemblage of jobs that range from life as one of the first EMTs in Florida, to economist, to independent author of crime fiction that incorporates sprinkles of science fiction and erotica here and there. He built his own house and even designs his own cover art for his books. I’m not sure there’s anything he can’t do!

I wanted to pick Dallas’ brain a little to see how his writing process works.  I like digging into interesting people’s brains to find out what makes them tick and usually find some inspiration for myself that I like to think of as a bonus.

Why does he write?

“I have a rich fantasy life. When I write, I get to experience other lives and other worlds.”

Where does he get his ideas?

“I don’t get ideas. I have visions… daydreams really. A question trips a whole sequence of daydreams as I explore all the ramifications. What happens if some Southern rural teenagers find a time machine? What happens to them? To their parents? To law enforcement? That process made The Cabin.

Or, what would a real life vampire be like? How would a rural Sheriff’s Department deal with a vampire? That launched The Food. If I may brag: To make my vampire character believable, I inserted him into an extremely detailed and realistic environment – Narvaez County – and pitted him against vivid and realistic characters. The characters, who continue from one book to the next, are so real to me that I can close my eyes and see them. When it’s quiet, I can hear their conversations about their everyday routines. I don’t feel that I am creating people. I feel that I am watching them. I describe what they do and write down what they say.” 

What does he find to be the hardest part of writing?

“Editing. I edit as a I go. My characters are like everyone else. When they talk, they drift off topic, use incomplete sentences and bad grammar. I write down what they say, but I have to rework conversations to move the story along while keeping each character’s unique voice.  Also, there are many vignettes and even whole subplots that ultimately have to be left out in order to keep the story to a reasonable length. But, beyond the mechanics of writing, the hardest thing is keeping faith. You have to believe that finishing the book is worth doing.” 

What’s his process?

“I try to write at least one page a day. There are many days when I edit out more than I write, though. And, there are many days when things come up and I don’t write anything. But, once I sit down to write one page, I usually end up with five or so.”

Writer’s block?

“I don’t get writer’s block in the sense that I can’t think of anything to write or can’t get started. Sometimes though, I have several alternative directions to take the story so I stop for a few days and think about it.”

His advice to aspiring writers…

“Write something. Writing isn’t something you aspire to. It is something you either do or don’t do. If you want to be a published author, go to a college or university that as an international reputation for its creative writing program. Take it from there.  If you just want to write, write.  Be an indie writer. Learn how to write, edit and do cover art. It’s fun, interesting, and if nothing else, you can give your books to friends for Christmas.” 

I like quality people, and Dallas Dunlap is one of my very favorites. He inspires me. Earlier today, I sent him a random text asking him what his purpose in life is… His response: “Learn and do things that interest me.” 

Check out his books on Amazon!  

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