“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle




#WCQI17 – Time for Replenishment!

The 2017 American Society for Quality (ASQ) World Conference on Quality and Improvement took place this week (April 29 – May 3).


This is an annual opportunity for me to replenish the “Quality Kool-Aid”! This event singularly resets and re-calibrates my mindset, toolkit, outlook and joy for all things Quality.

Something new this year, I signed up to be a Site Committee Volunteer. Duties entailed 8 hours of work to include session room monitor (attendee & speaker assistance), manning an information desk. Options were given to select the sessions we were interested in. I opted for sessions selection as well as being placed where ever assistance was needed.
Back-end view provided an invaluable opportunity to glimpse the immense amount of work & resources that go into the planning & execution of a world conference. ASQ being ASQ means that top-notch effort was exercised. For instance, volunteers vetted via online customer service training & quiz, 1 hour onsite in-person training, always with the request to provide feedback to inform continuous improvement of the process (talk about walking the talk, eh?).
Compulsion to provide the best customer service and contribute positively to the attendees experience. Volunteers were required to wear blue ASQ branded vests (on shift) – this provided a great opportunity to identify, chat and connect with fellow volunteers.

Looking back on my WCQI conference experiences since I started attending in 2011, I realized that my reasons for attending & takeaways have shifted over time (to coincide with my Quality experience maturity).

A few years ago it was all about voraciously gobbling up Quality knowledge i.e. fundamentals and foundation such as getting to know DMAIC (phases and the appropriate tools). Nowadays, it is about how to apply & utilize the abundance of acquired knowledge. I’m especially drawn to lessons learned and project report-out sessions (project experiences such as what worked/not, conflicts & resolution, team & project management, resources allocation, dealing with buy-in, etc). The opportunity to connect with fellow Quality Practitioners is priceless!

See you in Seattle, WA for ASQ WCQI 2018 (#WCQI18). Hope to share conference with friends based on the West Coast who were unable to attend this year!



Making Peace – Moving Forward!

I’ve been feeling blocked (lack of a more appropriate word) the past few months as it relates to the search for the past few months as it relates to the search for a new Quality role. Hesitating each time it comes to updating CV. Why the hesitation? Severe distaste contemplating undertaking the tedious song and dance that is the present job search process. SIGH!!!

Once one goes through the search experience, now comes the battle for the use and adoption  of Quality methods in order to achieve excellence-realize organization’s strategy (goals & objectives). Alas, therein lies the underlying reasons for hesitation!!! Going through it all only to face the crushing letdown of rejection i.e. What happens if the organization you have been selected to assist does not support what you are bringing to the table (meaning Tool-kit)? Rejection is what it is and it is a very difficult place to recover from.

One of the methods for recovery is taking a break to re-evaluate, reflect, recharge, return to center (highly recommended). My sabbatical period to date has been 8 months – spent pursuing arts & crafts projects (achieved bucket-list of learning how to pottery wheel  – a great way to let go of anal retentive tendencies and go with the flow – literally!!!), professional development activities (speaking-presenting at conferences, meetings, etc.) and hundreds of hours spent in reflection, contemplating and anticipating next steps and how to deal-handle rejection of my Tool-kit.

In a sea of unknown, I am sure that being a Quality Practitioner is a vocation that I LOVE GREATLY!!!. A lot is unknown (next organization) but KNOWN is my passion and core filter of CARE & NURTURE. Which translates into:

  • Doing & contributing my very best;
  • Following-Up and Following-Through!;
  • Guiding and Mentoring along the way.

Therefore, I will take the strength to deal with whatever comes from my core filter: Care & Nurture!

So bring it on – let the Human Element tendencies begin… 🙂

Grass & Blue Skies (Tacoma,WA) ©Modinat2015

Grass & Blue Skies (Tacoma,WA) ©Modinat2015

Presentation-Speaking Butterflies!

“Call for Proposals” received. Call answered, proposal developed (per conference theme & focus areas) and submitted for consideration. Wait to receive submission status…

Fast-forward to day of presentation. Counting down the hours till time-slot. Stomach tied up in knots. These thoughts racing and jumbling through my mind – Why did I sign up for this? What was I thinking? Why do you do this to yourself? I am not going to do this again!!! Yikes! Sigh!

These thoughts are blessedly FLEETING though! 🙂 The driver/motivation behind sending in a proposal has to do with:

  • Sharing experiences which would in turn, provide content that can provide Lessons Learned that attendees/audience can incorporate into their own Tool-kits.
  • Providing affirmation or validation (via content of presentation) of attendees/audience’s own techniques and practices.

Content for my presentations are derived from professional and  personal experiences (work, home, life, education) of the past 16 years. I am apprehensive about the reception of my presentations because:

  • Fear/Worry that content might not resonate/be relate-able with audience.
  • Presenting especially to other Quality Practitioners is daunting!!! This audience knows/lives the content – if it isn’t spot on not acceptable, every effort must be made by me to make my contributions meaningful, of value and on the day deliver an interactive, fun and engaging presentation!

So on to the next “Call to Action” – invaluable opportunities to challenge complacency & Tool-kit, continuous improvement, continuous education, self reflections and all things that “stretch & contract” for the better 🙂



Yikes!!! No pressure, eh 😉

New Year. Transitioning into Post Sabbatical phase…

I took some much needed time-out to regroup, rejuvenate, reflect, review & rehash lessons learned. This week has been chuck full of professional affirming activities: Women in Data Science meetup, speaking engagement at the local ASQ Raleigh Six Sigma group, Prosci webinar and potential next step opportunity to wrap up the week!

These activities have been nectar to jump starting my post 8-month sabbatical transition 🙂


To continue the post sabbatical momentum, I am speaking at the 2017 Lean and Six Sigma conference on February 27. Session: M16.  Topic: Selling Lean and Six Sigma (Securing Buy-In). I hope content stimulates robust discussion by the attendees. Looking forward to the opportunity to learn & share!


2017 is shaping up to be a full-on year on many, many levels. It will be anything but boring/predictable. Bring it on…

Post ASQ ITEA Preliminary Judging Experience…

About the award: ASQ’s International Team Excellence Award is the world’s premier team recognition program—awarding achievements in improved performance in businesses
of all sizes.


Day 1 On-Site ITEA Criteria training:

We were split up into 4 teams – each team had a mix of new and experienced judges (my team had 7 people). Site Judge (Head Trainer) reviewed the agenda for the 2 days. There was a quiz to determine knowledge of the ITEA Criteria. The feeling of signing up for such a daunting-highly responsible task persisted for the 1st half of the day. There is no way I would be able to do this! I didn’t have a comprehensive insight into what an ITEA Judge would be doing (despite all the copious amount of material the Pre-Work section had entailed). I couldn’t let down the Teams that had submitted their presentations for review & scoring!
Experienced team members were very reassuring, supportive, empathic and instructive in clarifying the ITEA Criteria. By the end of Day 1, I was feeling more confident about my ability to apply the Criteria.
Looking forward to Day 2 when the scoring of actual presentations would begin…

Day 2 Preliminary Judging:

Our team had 2 presentations to score. Teamwork & Communication skills came into play. Ability to work successfully together – open mind, listening to each other, being respectful, speaking up to clarify position, ability to collaborate & arrive at consensus, sharing the load (dividing up Feedback content amongst the team). Time management was also used to ensure that we scored and arrived at the Feedback phase for each presentation, before we left for the day.

My takeaway from the experience:

Renewed confidence in my ability to undertake new & challenging opportunities (doing something completely foreign that I didn’t have any previous reference). Learned and came to appreciate, immersing myself into uncertain, uncomfortable, apprehensive situations (periodically) is a great way to sharpen-test-expand my Toolkit (jolt to a complacent mindset!).
As with any ASQ related activity, this was an invaluable opportunity to meet, collaborate, learn and share with other Quality Practitioners 🙂 – PRICELESS!

ASQ ITEA Judge!!!

My application to be a judge for the 2016-2017 ASQ International Team Excellence Award (ITEA) Preliminary round was accepted!!! I completed all Pre-Work deliverables on Monday.


The Process involves: 1- Pre-Work (individual on own); 2- On-Site Training (2 days with trainers, other judges).

Pre-work involved reading and doing exercises on the ITEA Process and Criteria. The process reminds me of accreditation processes that I have participated in – learn then apply! Super intimidating to begin with – a lot of material to become familiar with and then the reminder that teams are depending on my contribution and participation.

Now that I have completed the Pre-Work, the process and expectations are clearer. This is a HUGE responsibility I have signed up to undertake (the hugeness of the undertaking is making it easier for me to step up and deliver). I am so looking forward to the On-Site training: November 3 & 4, 2016 in Raleigh, NC.