The Oxford Adventure Begins

Hello world! I’ve returned from my blogging hiatus excited to document my upcoming One-Year MBA at the University of Oxford.

Here’s my first post as I ease back into the blogosphere:

What would you do if you had a year to reinvent yourself at one of the oldest and most historic universities out there? Thoughts and advice greatly welcomed below!

The Frankenstein Role Model

Did you have a role model growing up? Someone you wanted to emulate? Someone who you looked up to and made you think, “That’s who I want to be when I’m older.”

John Adams

Second President of the United States, John Adams.

For myself, being the odd duck that I am, I always wanted to be like statesman, diplomat, and second president of the United States, John Adams.

Or at least, mostly like him.

I wanted to have the courage to follow my convictions, the guts to stand up for what I believed in, and the to intelligence to make good decisions for the betterment of society. I wasn’t, however, interested in being a short balding white man who owned a farm and was widely considered to be obnoxious and disliked.

But in some ways, I really wanted to be like him.

In a video I recently saw on Business Insider, the fabulously articulate Astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, presents a new take on this traditional role model business. He discusses how he’s always striven to create a Frankenstein Role Model.

In the video, Tyson argues that “[i]f you need a role model to be what you want to be, that precludes you from ever doing something that no one has done before.” Therefore, Tyson has always created his role model figure “a la carte” so to speak. A little bit of Carl Sagan here, a little bit of his parents there, and voilà – you have the famous narrator of “Cosmos” that everyone is talking about today.

With the new year just a few hours away (or already started if you’re in the Eastern part of the world), I couldn’t help of think of those traditional new year’s resolutions everyone has started making. Lose weight, eat healthier, listen more, etc… How do you know when you’ve actually reached those goals? How do you know you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do?

So this year, instead of giving myself a list of resolutions to work on that might not have a firm goal or destination outlined, I’m going to give myself a Frankenstein Role Model. And my Frankenstein looks something like this:

– Learn to be a great listener like John P (He’s the Chief Sales Officer where I work)

– Discover how to connect with people like Darren LaCroix (World Champion of Public Speaking)

– Embody the same type of goofy humility as Ellen Degeneres (Actor and Talk Show Host)

And how will I know when I’ve achieved my goals? How will I know that I’ve accomplished what I mean to?

Well, if I look anything like these three people by the end of next year, I’d say I’m on the right track.

So how about you? What skills or abilities do you want to have next year? What do you want to work on?

What does your Frankenstein Role Model look like?

Happy New Year!


P.S. If you create your own Frankenstein Role Model, post it below! I’d love to hear what you’re working towards.

Don’t Let Success Hold You Back – Words of Wisdom from Robert Redford

A few weeks back I had the pleasure of attending the Adobe Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is a big tech conference for folks and companies who use Adobe products to get together and learn more about current tools and see sneak peeks of upcoming ones.


Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, UT.

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Dancing Through Life

In today’s fun post friday, here’s a fun throwback to my wedding in June of 2013. You may have seen the article earlier about how my husband and I are competitive ballroom dancers. Given that fact, there is no way were going to do the “stand-and-sway” at our wedding.

So, without further ado, our first dance.

Mike and Marla’s First Dance from Drew Mason on Vimeo.

A Professional and Modern E-mail Signature for 2014

Working as a Digital Marketing Specialist, I get to play with new technology on a daily basis. (The good, the bad, and the ugly…)

Today, I want to quickly share an awesome way to spruce up your e-mail signature. Put your info in a QR code!

If you follow the steps below, it should end up looking like this:

QR for blog


Marla Woodward

Digital Marketing Specialist

Cell: xxx-xxx-xxxx


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Let Them Tell You No

Really enjoyed this post from Sarah today. You lose 100% of the shots you don’t take, so why not take a chance? Why not ask for what you want? What’s the worst thing people can say? Let them tell you, “no.”

Ready Set Sarah

Take a chance. Photo by ReadySetSarah Take a chance. Photo by ReadySetSarah

When it comes to career, life and taking chances, don’t take yourself out of the running. Give “them”- whoever “them” is- a chance to tell you no. You might be surprised how often you get a yes.
Among my close female friends and colleagues we all talk frequently about what we are passionate about, what innovative, creative and meaningful ideas we have for what we would like to do with our lives and our careers. But, rarely do we take steps towards those dreams. When a pathway opens that could get us one step closer we talk ourselves out of it, or fail to recognize the opportunity.
I have been in way too many conversations with friends where they (or I) have talked ourselves out of going for an opportunity, or trying something we think we’ll like (promotion, new position, long coveted hobby or…

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The Two-Step Method to Going Above and Beyond at Work

P3 Above and Beyond 2

“Tommy goes above and beyond to get the job done!”

I feel as though I always see recommendations on LinkedIn or references from job seekers with that catch-all phrase for a high performer: above and beyond.

But outside of over used corporate jargon, what does that epithet really mean? Tommy could do the research I asked him to do and also create an interpretive dance to explain it to me. I just asked for the research, but the interpretive dance is certainly “above and beyond” what I asked him to do.
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Financial Planning – The Best Pre-Marital Counseling Out There


Nothing says “Just Married” quite like a Cinderella carriage.

Calling all soon to be newlyweds!

First of all, congratulations! You’ve found your soul mate. The one you want to wake up with every morning, the person you want to grow old with, and the one person in the world you have broken the fart barrier with. (Ladies, if it hasn’t happened yet, just trust me, it’s coming…)

But before you jump into that proverbial land of marital bliss, it’s time to have some conversations with your spouse to be about money. Seriously. The No. 1 reason that marriages end in divorce today is, you guessed it, money problems.

So keep reading, and we’ll talk through what you can do to start tackling the wonderful world of marital financial planning.
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