Monthly Archives: January 2017

Visionary Board Retreat


39 North Downtown Board of Directors

I recently joined the 39 North Downtown community organization board of directors. We had our first board retreat on Friday at Visionary Reno where we created vision boards. We worked on individual boards and a group board. It was an excellent activity that I highly recommend personally, professionally, and for all your non-profit groups. It is a great tool for building focus and making goals a reality.

What is a vision board?

A vision board is a collection of images that help you clarify and focus on whatever you want to be or make happen in your life. The concept is based on the law of attraction: “like attracts like.” Thinking about something means you invite it in. What you put out to the universe will be attracted to you.


  • A large board for photos and magazine clippings
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks or tape
  • Pens
  • Fun decorations like gems, pearls, ribbon, pictures, etc.
  • Magazines
  • 2-3 hours of dedicated time to focus on creating a vision board

Our board of directors’ visionary experience took place at Visionary Reno. Our exercise leader was Jessica Snyder, owner of Visionary Reno. Jessica started by giving us some ground rules and encouragement. She frequently leads inspirational workshops and team building classes. She puts out so much positive energy you can’t help but be inspired.

Our goal for the day was to create vision boards for our involvement as 39 North board members. We went through magazines and ripped out any pages that meant something to us or resonated with what we wanted to do with our board position. We didn’t have to know why the magazine page meant something to us, we just had to pull it out if it inspired us on our mission.

After pulling out lots of pages, we started cutting out the meaningful parts of the page. We then separated the cut outs for our individual boards and for our group board. As we were crafting our boards we were visiting with each other and discussing what we wanted to achieve. We also got to know each other better through small talk and a little bit of a gossip session. It was a great team building exercise for our group since we are always so rushed when we see each other. The exercise took about two hours.

We each started crafting our own boards. Jessica helped us put together the group board. When we were all done, we each mentioned one highlight from our board and then we went over the group board. It was a great exercise because it got us all moving in the same direction on the same goals. It was a very inspiring afternoon!

I highly recommend using vision boards. No matter what the goal or project is, a vision board can help you visualize what you want to do and keep you focused on your objectives. If you live in the Reno-Sparks area I encourage you to contact Visionary Reno and make an appointment. They hold classes for individuals, nonprofit organizations, work teams, and groups of friends. You will definitely feel inspired!

If you can’t make it down to Visionary Reno, you can try to make a vision board at home.

First you will need to find a place at your house that is an inspiring setting. When you go to Visionary Reno you walk into a beautifully decorated room stocked with everything you could possibly need. Visionary Reno is clean, it has all the supplies you could dream of, and if you like…it also has a bar where you can buy drinks. Try to replicate this inspiring setting in your home. Find a nice quiet place with no distractions. Look for a clean working space that inspires you and allows you to focus on creating your vision board.

Next, you will want to start working on what you would like to get out of this experience. You want to work on visualizing a goal or focusing on what you want to feel. It doesn’t have to be anything big, small goals work too. Don’t just focus on materialism, focus on how you want to feel and how you want to live.

Start the exercise by looking through magazines and visualizing and focusing on what you want and what you want to feel. You can’t mess this up. Anything can go on your vision board. As you look through the magazines start ripping out pages that mean something to you or that you identify with. Even if you don’t know why you like the page, or why it resonates, just rip it out.

After you’ve got a nice pile of magazine pages, and you feel good about what you’ve found, start clipping out the meaningful pieces. Clip out pictures, phrases, anything that will help you create the vision that will inspire you. Then start laying these pieces out on your board and gluing them in place.

It was funny to watch our board members do this part of the exercise because two of us are event planners and very Type A personalities. We put everything in order all organized and then started gluing. Other members just glued the pieces as they went and built it as a puzzle in real-time. It was funny to see the group dynamics and personalities showing up in such a small gesture.

Once you finish your board look back over it and go over all your pieces. It is really inspiring! You can’t help but feel you are on your way to reaching your goals.

After you are all done make sure you put your board in a place where you will see it often. This will help you stay motivated on your achievable goals. Use this as a daily affirmation to keep focus on your goals and you will see results in no time.  If you can see it, you can achieve it!

I have placed my vision board on the book case near the front door at my house. I look at it every time I leave the house and every time I come home. I take pride in the board and I feel like my goals and objectives are obtainable. I already feel like this exercise has inspired me and that I’m ready to put more energy towards my goals.


Vision Board 1-27-17

Here are some tidbits from my vision board…

  • An extraordinary year – Make this an extraordinary year. There are changes on the horizon and lots of opportunity. Make the most of this for 39 North.
  • Gardens that inspire – We are planting seeds right now that will make the community better for years to come. We just need to water these seeds and watch them grow
  • You’ve Got A Great Team – The 39 North board is enthusiastic and ready to climb mountains. With a great team like this, we will make a difference.
  • Local Designers on Decorative Arts – We want to focus more on art and bring more art to Sparks, NV.
  • Share Some Holiday Happiness – Make 39 North Pole Village the best one yet. Share the event with more people and get more sponsors and Griswold Challenge contestants.
  • Own A Moment In Time – Remember to focus on the present and not get too carried away planning the future. Live in the moment.
  • Business – I’m the new leader for Sparks Business Connection so I need to focus on that and take it to the next level.
  • The Change Maker – Make positive change.
  • Dig A Little Deeper – Keep working even when you think you don’t have anything left.
  • Photo of a present with the letter C – This is to remind me to focus on what a blessing my boyfriend Charlie is and to show him appreciation.
  • Travel – I crave it, and I need more of it.
  • The essentials of life – Don’t lose sight of what is important and what you can’t live without.
  • Tiny Home Big Dreams – My house may not be the biggest right now, but the dreams under its roof are mighty.
  • I’m thankful for… – this is a reminder to show appreciation and count my blessings.
  • Who Wants Happiness? You – ME! Work hard to make things happen. Remember to give myself time and space to be happy and do what I enjoy doing even if it has nothing to do with accomplishing goals or moving to the next level.
  • Simply Beautiful – Making a difference and reaching new heights is a beautiful thing.

I’ve enjoyed the process of creating a vision board. I’m a big fan of this concept and the law of attraction.

If you are already a vision board enthusiast, please comment below about your experiences with vision boards and what is on your vision board. 

For everyone else, I encourage you to go out and make a vision board, heck make five of them! If you’d like to go to Visionary Reno and experience the perfect setting to dream, please check out their website and contact them to sign up for a session.

39 North Pole Village 2016

39 North Pole Village Returned to Sparks December 9 – December 10, 2016


Volunteer Sweatshirt

39 North Downtown community group presented the 2nd annual 39 North Pole Village on Friday, December 9 and Saturday December 10 at Victorian Square Plaza. I have had a lot of fun with this event because I helped start it last year, and I am helping it grow each year.

The event unofficially started in 2014 with a tiny event where parents brought their kids down to Victorian Square to write letters to Santa and put them in a large mailbox. Then in 2015, we decided to add a light festival and vendors to the event and call it 39 North Pole Village. Interest in the event skyrocketed! It has been very rewarding to see the event grow and I’m proud to be co-chair of the committee that is making this happen for the Sparks community.


Photo by: Donald Abbott

The second-year of 39 North Pole Village was at least twice as large as the 2015 event. The winter wonderland featured thousands of sparkling lights, holiday shopping booths, great food and holiday cheer. There were free pictures with Santa and a special booth where children could write letters to Santa. The highlight of the event was Engine 39, the newest member of the “Rail City” fleet. Rides are always free, so this is a great option for families that are looking to entertain the little ones.

Another new addition this year was the Veterans Resource Center of America booth run by Shane Whitecloud and crew. This booth was fully stocked with Christmas cards so event attendees could sign a card and have it sent to military folks serving overseas. It was so popular that they ran out of cards and had to find more. It was a great addition to the second annual event and nice to see our community sending holiday wishes to our military serving far from home.

39 North Pole Village is a truly special holiday celebration. This year we added the Griswold Family Challenge. The event, inspired by Clark Griswold in the Chevy Chase Christmas Vacation movie, saw families and businesses compete for the best light display. This is a really fun competition because there is cash on the line. It costs $100 to enter the competition and $50 per entry fee goes into the prize pool. The winner this year was Salon 2000 and they won $350. I’m going to try to get a lot more businesses to compete next year, hopefully the prize money is more than $1,000 in 2017.


This was my Griswold Family Challenge display. I didn’t win, but the kiddos loved my display.

We also had a larger vendor tent in 2016. It was sold out to vendors renting space. The tent is heated so it is very popular at this winter event. The vendors said it was a great event for them and they all went home with quite a bit of extra money in their bank accounts just in time for the holidays. We hope next year to have so many vendors that we need two tents.


Vendor tent at 39 North Pole Village – Photo by: Donald Abbott

We were happy with how the event turned out this year, but there was one big issue. Mother Nature. On the second day of the event it rained all day and all night, which put some pressure on the power grid and caused some of the light displays to go dark. We are going to need to invest in more electrical supplies and protective boxes since this is an outdoor winter event.

We also had a bit of flooding in the vendor tent because it was raining so hard. Our volunteers and board members jumped into action and we were able to save the light displays and reroute the flood waters as best as possible. Having events during the winter is challenging to say the least!

We have big plans for this event. I personally hope that over the next 10 years it continues to grow and eventually it is so big that the displays stay up the whole month of December. It is a lot of work to setup the displays so it is a bummer when you take them down after two days. The event needs to grow so that the displays can be built and left open to the public for the whole month.

We had several new sponsors this year and I’m sure that will also continue to grow next year. With the community’s help, we will grow a new holiday tradition for future generations!

I can’t wait to see what we accomplish with the 2017 event!

For more information about 39 North Downtown click here.

If you would like to become a sponsor or volunteer for 39 North Pole Village, please email me at and I will send you more information.


Saying Goodbye to NuggLife

Resigning is never easy. And resigning from a job you love is heartbreaking.

After four-and-a-half years and five event seasons, I decided it was time to try something new and to leave behind my beloved NuggLife. I had reached a new level of burnout after Rib Cook-Off and I was constantly dealing with illness. I was working six to seven days a week and a lot of overtime hours. It was supposed to be my slow season, but when your company sells, life changes. In the last four-and-a-half years I’ve been through two back-to-back company sales, which is extremely challenging. There were so many signs, and I knew it was time to move on and find a job that would offer me a better life balance and normal working hours. So, with a heavy heart and just a smudge of anxiety, I decided it was time to try something new.

I hadn’t started seriously looking when my mother sent me the job listing for the Assistant Vice President of Community Relations at One Nevada Credit Union. I was honestly trying to resign and be unemployed over the holiday season, but this job listing was exactly what I was going to be looking for. It was a perfect opportunity! I applied and after several interviews, I received a great offer. I started working at One Nevada on December 5, 2016.

My new job duties at One Nevada include developing public relations programs, marketing, sponsorship development, and event planning to engage with members and build community awareness about One Nevada Credit Union.

Before leaving the Nugget, I gave four weeks’ notice. My last day was December 3, which was the night we held the inaugural Nugget Christmas Tree Lighting event and kicked off the 12 Nuggets of Christmas charity event. I gave the company a lot of notice because I wanted to make sure this event went well. I am a huge fan of the Nugget. I’m grateful for all the opportunities I received while working there, so I didn’t want to let them down and leave them right before a big event. I worked with a fantastic team and I will always be grateful to them for their support and friendship. It was hard to say goodbye to my coworkers that I absolutely loved and adored. We had so many great memories together!

My Last Week at the Nugget and the Last Supper

My last week of work was crazy. You would never even know I was leaving. I was taking care of business as normal and making sure that we were ready for the tree lighting and the 12 Nuggets of Christmas event.  Even though we were busy, my team found time to have a going away lunch for me, Tim and Adam, who were also leaving at the end of the week. The Marketing Department tradition is that we walk down to Great Basin Brewery together for lunch and we take a group photo. This isn’t just any group photo, it is the Last Supper picture. The people leaving have plates held behind their heads just like halos. We all make a funny pose. I was so bummed to be leaving my coworkers, but I was glad we were able to celebrate together one last time. Below is the picture from our Last Supper of NuggLife.

My Last Day Working at the Nugget

Like any good workaholic, I made sure to put in a whole day for my last day. I started at 9:00 a.m. and I didn’t finish that night until nearly 11:00 p.m.

It was an exciting day because it was event day. I love event day! The excitement, the butterflies, the burst of weird event energy, it is always a good time. I started the day off by going through all the event details. I was responsible for the tree lighting ceremony and also for making sure the 12 Nuggets of Christmas was planned. Everything looked to be in order. The checks were printed for the charities, and everyone knew when and where they were supposed to be each night of the 12 Nuggets of Christmas event.

The tree was magnificent! It was a towering 105 foot tall White Fir from Klamath Falls, Oregon. The tree was a gift from the Marnell Family and the Nugget to the community of Sparks. After a whole week of a sign company using cranes to decorate the tree, we were ready for the lighting. The ceremony began at 5:30 p.m. It started with Reno High School students singing Christmas carols. Mrs. Clause and Engine 39, the 39 North Downtown community train, delivered almost 300 unwrapped toys for local children in need. Then our general manager gave a welcome message, presented Toys for Tots with a $2,000 check, and we had the crowd countdown to light the tree. When the crowd gave the sign, my coworker’s two sons hit the big switch for show, and our Elf Greg hit the power box for real, and with a big pop the tree lit up. It was gorgeous!

The event went well, but if I was planning it again, I would add a big stage and have the general manager and an MC host the event. I would also add a DJ spinning high energy Christmas tunes and a few portable heaters. It was freezing out there!

After the ceremony and a lot of photos were taken, it was time to have a celebratory drink and then head back to my office to pack up. After I was gone, my coworkers told me that was the cleanest that office had ever been, even in the decade before I worked there.

I’m officially a recovering workaholic. It is a bit odd to go from working so much and in such an intense environment to working a normal schedule in a calm work place. I love my new job, but it is definitely different. I’m adjusting, but sometimes I miss my old coworkers and the high energy felt working in a casino. I’ve been going through files and old pictures trying to get organized and get my life back together at home. I’ve been finding a lot of souvenirs that bring back memories of NuggLife.

In my new role at One Nevada, I will continue to blog about event management, public relations, marketing, customer service, sponsorship relations, and community relations. I will also tell a few stories and share some memories of my crazy days at the Nugget. Now I can tell the really good stories! Stay tuned!

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