Friday, January 11, 2008

January 11 - Thanks and I'm off again

I can't believe it's all over. This weekend I'll start the task of consolidating my experience and pulling together some presentations to share internally and externally. If any of you have a group that you think would like to hear about this program let me know. I'll probably send the presentation out to all you hard-core readers regardless.

I'm back in the swing of work and heading off to Toronto on Monday (yes I love my job!) for my next project guessed it...Test Manager. Apparently my reputation preceeds me. Serves me right for doing such good work in the past. Doh! I will be in the T-dot Monday to Thursday so if anyone is around and hungry let me know. :-) No, I don't know how long I'll be there yet but at least through the summer.

On other news I have also found a flat in Ottawa which is great. I'll be a Glebe-ite as of Feb 1st living 1/2 a block from a Running Room and a Beer Store...ah Canadian Glory!

It's a crazy snowy day here and there's much to do to prepare for Monday so I'll wrap this up. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you learned a thing or two and laughed once or twice.

Take Care All!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

January 2 - Back Home :-)

So sorry this took me so long but guess what...I'm home!

I'm glad to be back in Canada and it honestly feels like I never left (aside from the subtle differences like the Golden Turtle being crap and a few zillion more potholes).

The journey home was bitter-sweet and the last couple of days in Woking lovely including home-made kitchen twister:

And many delightful meals (scrumptious breakies, amazing dinners and traditional yummy tea!)

The flight home was a long one when our tvs shorted and I realized the fellow beside me didn't even bring a book. He also ended up sitting next to me between Toronto and London, ON too. We chatted for hours about absolutely nothing...crazy.

It was so nice to see my whole family again and Christmas was delightful. I wish I could have stayed longer but headed to Toronto to see the gals (Sarena, Elena and Jess avec baby) and see Jess' new house (beautiful!). Breakfast with Phil, Sarena and Jacs and then off home with a quick stop in Belleville to meet Jen's new baby Catriona (beautiful!). I got to Ottawa to find Christie and Leslie waiting for me at Christies...yay!

This was the snow-insanity that greeted me Christmas morning when my jetlag woke me at 4am. It certainly was a winter wonderland! Dark and snowy :-)

I have been asked a few times what it feels like to be back. It's hard to describe. Somewhat anti-climactic and partially manic.

I am still trying to sort out work and where I am going to live but my fabulous friends have been amazing support. It has been so fabulous to see them all and find out what they have been up to (even though they claim 'nothing's new'). I've been snowshoeing and to my bike-run class so am getting back in the swing. Had a great New Years Eve (if you get a chance to try the game Rock Band DO IT!) and tomorrow will head into the office and the dentist. Not sure which one will be more painful.

I'll send an update on my transition back to non-ADP Accenture and contact details for my Ottawa life.

Thanks for reading all this time. I appreciate your support and care. It's been a great help in my sometimes very difficult path through the last 9 months.

Happy New Year to All!

Friday, December 14, 2007

December 14 - Last day at Plan :(

Well this is it. My last day at Plan. Sad but happy...

The people here keep asking me one thing...are you sad to go? Sure I am. I'll miss the day to day interaction. The chatting at tea time in the kitchen, the jacket potatoe lunches and the mandatory 10 mins of social talk when you nip up to someone's desk with a question. The folks here are amazing (I believe I said that yesterday) and I'll miss them but I know they have made a contribution to my life and I theirs. Somewhat cliche again but true.

Having been in and out of the country I don't have a desk here so there's no box of acquired 'stuff' to lug home with me. There's no name plate to add to my collection and I don't even think I'll take a single extra piece of paper with me (trust me, when you are in Sierra Leone you learn quickly to print less).

I know this won't be the last I hear of these people. I've made some truly great friends here and have promised to visit again. I've also invited everyone to Canada...I think I have convinced Nana...just need to get rid of some of that snow!

Time to finish 'transitioning' then head off to the pub for a couple of Guinni. It's been a slice!

I'll be here for another week so expect one or two more updates and few more photos.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

December 13 - No Go...Talk about anti-climactic

It's been a few days since the chaos of last Friday and all of the panic-ed preparation for the decision on whether or not the full ChildData system would go live in all 67 countries so I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the decision.

It was decided that due to:
> Several outstanding system stability issues
> Lack of readiness from several field and sponsorship offices and,
> Issues with support coverage over the holidays

that we would not add any new offices (we are live in 9 countries now) until January 7th and have an additional wave January 28th (anyone from STSI reading this and cringing?).

So, that's that. I have redone the deployment plan around those dates and the team is busy gathering readiness of the offices to see who can go on the 7th and who will get the extra three weeks.

It really is sad for me as I won't be around to see the system go truly global. It's also a resourcing nightmare as the two new folks replacing us will only start Jan 14th and so will be of little help with the additional work in January.

All in all I think it was the right decision. This was definitely the most interesting go/no-go decision I have ever been apart of as every single person in this organization feels they should have their individual say into the decision and it boggles my mind how all that input can be managed.

Susan did a fabulous job in wading through the politics and whinging and making a very smart recommendation.

I wish the team all the luck in the world and can't wait to get the email that the system is global. Tomorrow is my last day at Plan and it will be a sad one. So cliche to say but the people here are fabulous and I will miss them a lot. It really does feel good to work for an organization that is doing good and with people who sacrafice a lot to work here. Amazing folks!

I'll be in the UK for an extra week and look forward to touring about a bit and just relaxing. I am also super pumped for my journey home on the 22nd. I can't wait to jump in the snow and hug my family and friends and pat Franklin!

Here's a couple more shots of the folks around here from our Plan Christmas Party last week. Yes, it's actually called a Christmas party and not a Holiday party and, at last count there are 4 Christmas trees in the office...and one of them is real! woohoo!

(Me and Kate; Jon and Jamie (who were drinking rose...seriously); Milton, Mark and Jaime (the first person from Plan I ever met aside from Susan); Paul and Bruce (who's dog I am going to try to pack in my suitcase); David, Simon, Dave and me)

December 13 - Conor's Article

Howdy! The following article came out today in the Accenture online journal. Those of you who are Accenturites can see the full thing here:

For the rest of you lucky folks here's the cut and paste:

Conor Sheehy raises awareness of children rights through Accenture Development Partnerships program

Conor Sheehy, consultant - Public Service, applies his Accenture consulting skills far from his London office in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Sheehy, in partnership with Accenture Development Partnerships, is working with Plan International – a non-profit a humanitarian, development organization that works with families and their communities to meet the needs of children around the world.

“Plan International’s child sponsorship program aims to make global communities aware of and involved in the needs and rights of children,” Sheehy explained. “My role involves working from three continents to support the rollout of the initial release of the new, cost-effective solution for ChildData – a system and associated processes designed to manage global sponsorship information.”

Sheehy continued, “In early October (2007), I presented the training rollout for ChildData to 20 representatives from West Africa, with the help of a French interpreter, in Ghana. The system is currently scheduled to go live globally on December 10.”

“When Plan International’s operations were pioneered in Sierra Leone, a lack of trust among local communities existed,” Sheehy said. “Superstition permeated the minds of people who believed a legendary genie, Kasila, had appeared in human form to take their children away to the underworld.”

Sheehy continued, “Since my arrival in Freetown, I have heard tales of supernatural cats, human teleporting and witchdoctors controlling thunderbolts from the sky. I have witnessed only some of these firsthand but can confirm that suspicion has been eradicated and visitors are now greeted with open arms.”

After spending his time providing training sessions to the local people of Sierra Leone, Sheehy explained “it is perhaps I who should be saying 'tєnki' (the local Krio expression to give thanks) as I have learned how people can be so resilient in the face of abject poverty. I am optimistic about Sierra Leone’s bright future following the 10-year war.”
“Working with Accenture Development Partnerships and Plan International has been a great experience,” Sheehy said. “I am helping to make a difference for children’s rights and, in the process, I have traveled to three countries to do so—I spent two months in Sierra Leone, a month in Kenya and a month in Mumbai, India. I am now back in the United Kingdom where Plan’s International Headquarters is based and I will be wrapping up my project at the end of the year.”

Monday, December 3, 2007

December 3 - One year older and clearly no smarter!

Happy Monday! Only 9.5 more work days left. Can you believe it!??!? It seems like just yesterday I was weepy-Tina-nearly-missing-her-flight and now I am frantic-Tina-trying-to-finish-her-work-and-enjoy-the-rest-of-her-time-here.

Wanted to say thanks to everyone who sent birthday greetings and everyone who has sent messages that make me more and more excited about coming home. I hear there is snow so that's great! The sun is shining here in the UK!

One more week until we go live around the world so keep your fingers and toes crossed for me. I'll be happy to see it in place but sad that all the work is done.

I had a couple of folks aske me about supporting Plan so here's the link to the Canadian site in case you want to take a look. I would be happy to chat off-line with anyone who has questions about how the money is used and my opinions on the efficiency of this (and other) NGOs which I think is a smart thing to have an insite into before you invest your money.

I also wanted to post some photos from my shindig on Thursday so you can all see some more of my amazing colleagues so when I tell you stories you have faces to names:
(photos: the chilly feast, Nicki and Susan post Sangria, Me and Mike the chef, Nicki demonstrating the power of Bailey's cake, Super Lyn and I)

Friday, November 30, 2007

November 30 - Interesting Comparison

So the other day when I got into the elevator in my flat the other day (I know, I usually take the stairs but I had a load of stuff for my party and wimped out) I noticed the max capacity sign and had a giggle.

In England the sign says:
Max Cap 8 persons/630kg

In India the sign said:
Max Cap 10 persons/630kg

Can someone check an American or Canadian elevator? I'm curious to see which country's lifts can hold the most folks.

Hosted a small but fab party last night. Many photos. Will post some on the weekend. Note: Sangria, although seeming like a great idea is WRONG.

Oh and we are now live in eight countries...wooohoooo! [UK, US, Australia, Spain, Ecuador, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and the Philippines!]