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October 2012
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December 2012

Sending a Video Camera to "Near Space"

For the past two years I've volunteered with TEDx Asheville.  For the November 2012 event we selected the theme of "THE EDGE".  I thought the theme was the perfect opportunity to send a video camera to "the edge" of Earth's atmosphere. In the fall of 2012 I began working with a group of middle school students and their science and math teacher to design a payload to carry the video camera.

This project turned into a great community builder for the school (teachers, students, parents). Area businesses gave us a great deal of support.

It was an amazing experience.

Here's the video of the flight.


Asheville, NC Tedx Near Space Project from Peter Lutz on Vimeo.

Leadership Webinar: Katie Spotz -- Leadership lessons learned while rowing solo across the ocean



In 2010 Katie Spotz rowed a tiny boat 3,038 miles across the Atlantic Ocean all by herself. Katie was 22 years old then and she set the new world record for such a feat!

Throughout her row, Katie wasn’t just seeking to make history. She was also raising money, for the Blue Planet Network, a San Francisco-based non-profit funding safe drinking water projects around the world. As interest grew in Katie’s amazing exploits, donations came flooding in and, at the moment, the total stands at over $150,000.

I had the pleasure of meeting Katie at the November 2012 TEDx Asheville event where she was a presenter. Katie's amazing story thrilled the audience and her inspirational message was one I thought everyone in the IATF community would benefit from.

Katie describes herself as having been the “benchwarmer” throughout her life. However, there came a time when she made a discovery:

You don’t have to be extraordinary to achieve incredible things.

In this live an interactive Webinar Katie will share her story and the leadership lessons her incredible journey provided her.

Have you been thinking about how 2012 went for you?

Have you been thinking about setting big (even scary) goals for 2013?

Join us for this live and interactive Webinar to learn how you can achieve incredible things in 2013.

Event Details


Rowing Solo Across the Ocean -- Lessons on leadership and perserverence with Katie Spotz


Wednesday   December 5, 2012


Starts at 11 am  Eastern (NY City time zone)
runs for 60 minutes


Katie Spotz, world record holder for youngest woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean

Tom Heck, President & Founder of the IATF


Registration is not necessary.  The Webinar will take place on this same web page.  Be here on Wednesday December 5, 2012 at 11 am EST (NY City time zone) and you'll see a LIVE broadcast which includes chat.  There is no phone number to call.  Everything is free.


This event is FREE.


This Webinar was recorded and is available for free in the new IATF Members Only Area. Become a member for FREE and watch the video for FREE.  Membership information is HERE.


Are you happy?

When you're a leader you get the opportunity to work with all types of people. Some people are happy while others not so much. This info graphic might help you work with both.


Mental Models -- How does your perspective shape your reality?

This school year, like last school year, I volunteer each Friday morning at the middle school my son attends. I teach a leadership class and use the curriculum developed the Center for Creative Leadership.

This week and next I'll be teaching a lesson on "Mental Models".  Mental Models (think "paradigms") are deeply held images of thinking and acting. They are a framework we use to make sens of experiences. We create Mental Models about the world around us and about ourselves.

While preparing to teach this lesson I've been gathering videos I'll likely share with the students. These are videos that speak to the topic of Mental Models. 

How do your Mental Models support you? How might they hinder you?




Virtual Team Research Project

Do you work on a Virtual Team?

IATF member and doctoral candidate Faisal Shehab is conducting a study on Emergent Leader Detection and Identification in a Virtual Team Environment.

Date: November 12, 2012
To: IATF Members & Community
Re: Request for Participation in a Doctoral Study to Investigate Emergent Leader Detection and Identification in a Virtual Team Environment

The rapid advancement of technology and globalization has created an opportunity for organizations to tap into a new market and customer base by expanding their operations globally. Globally distributed teams working outside the organization geographic boundaries have become more popular and have grown into an important element of the organization’s ability to achieve business objectives. The new demand for working outside geographical boundaries has created human resources (HR) risks for organizations wishing to hire the best people for the task. By using the VT option, organizations have mitigated the risk and can hire the best people, and give organizations the opportunity to bring together employees with a variety of skills to work without restrictions of time, travel, and cost limitations.

Team leadership is an important factor for improving team performance, controlling, decision-making, and providing direction. The ability of an organization to detect, identify, select, and develop emergent leaders is essential for any organization wishing to capitalize on such leadership skills to improve organizational performance and to optimize resource utilization practices. Due to the increasing complexity of the business environment, the demand for leadership has rapidly increased. Even if raw talent has no shortage, organizations can fill the leadership vacuum only if they know how to detect, identify, and develop their emergent leaders, which is not happening. Adding virtualness to the mix increases both the environmental complexity and the identification process, which makes the procedure for detecting and identifying emergent leaders more difficult. Currently there is, no research addressed how organizations detected, identified, or selected such leaders in a Virtual Team environment. 

We invite your participation in a research study on Emergent Leader Detection and Identification in a Virtual Team Environment. IATF member and doctoral candidate of the University of Phoenix Faisal Shehab, BSc, MMI, PMP, is conducting a study on Emergent Leader Detection and Identification in a Virtual Team Environment. The purpose of the research project is to determine the factors that virtual team members, virtual team managers, and human resources managers consider useful to identify emergent leaders in a virtual team environment, and to explore the processes used in the identification process. The objective of the project is to identify the challenges and obstacles managers face when identifying such emergent leaders and the organizational risks that might emerge by the inability to detect and identify such emergent leaders.

Using qualitative research method, this grounded theory study seek to explore the process of emergent leader detection and identification in a virtual team environment, as well as generation of a theory to explain the processes, actions, or interactions of participants in such contexts.

Faisal is seeking volunteers to participate in the study. Once selected based on experience on virtual teams, a small number of team members will be asked to answer questions on a survey and during an interview. Participants will need to have at least 1 year of experience working in or dealing with virtual teams in their workplace. Participants will not incur any costs and may withdraw from this study at any time.

Your participation will involve providing information about yourself (contact information) and your work experience working in or with virtual teams for the purpose of identifying the participants who fit the criteria for the interview stage.  If you are selected for the interview stage, you will grant one interview lasting not more than one hour. During the interview, you will be asked to respond to open-ended questions regarding your experience working with or in a virtual team in relation to the detection and identification of emergent leaders in a virtual team environment.  Your participation will provide valuable feedback to HR management practitioners on how to create effective strategies and processes to enable organizations to take advantage of emergent leaders in a Virtual Team environment, thus enhancing overall organizational justice and performance.

All information that you provide will remain confidential and will only be used for the purpose of this research project. This study is entirely anonymous and has been approved by the University of Phoenix Review Board (IRB). Mr. Tom Heck, the President of IATF, has granted permission for IATF participation.

Participant Requirements:

If you have experience in working, leading, managing, or dealing with Virtual Teams as an HR practitioner, you might have the knowledge and insight to uncover the mystery of emergent leadership detection and identification in a Virtual Team environment. With your help we can make a difference and improve organizational justice and effectiveness by providing organizations the knowledge on how to improve their ability to detect and identify emergent leaders in a Virtual Team environment. Please join me to uncover this mystery.

==> Participants with at least 1 year of experience as VT members, VT managers, or HR practitioners dealing with VT.
==> Participants who work in the United States or Canada.

About participants demographics survey:

The purpose of this survey is to collect participants’ demographics information to determine their eligibility to participate in the second stage of the data collection process. People who provide their name and email address will be contacted to schedule 30 minutes to a maximum of one-hour interview session.

Your participation in this study is greatly appreciated, and I thank you in advance for being part of such important topic. To participate, please click on the survey link below to provide your demographics and contact information. This survey should only take 5 minutes of your time.

Survey Link:

Faisal Shehab BSc, MMI, PMP
Doctoral Candidate
IATF Member

Free Leadership Webinar: "Mean Girls at Work" with authors Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster


Watch the recording of the Webinar now in the IATF Members Only Area

BASIC Membership is FREE

More than 90% of women of different social strata claim that envy and jealousy toward other women colors their lives.

90% of women in diverse jobs also report that competition in the workplace is primarily  between other women, rather than between women and men.

With women comprising over 50% of the workforce, a new dynamic has emerged. Women find themselves working with each other in large numbers on all levels of the corporate structure for the first time. While one would think this would create harmony and a supportive workplace atmosphere, it often fosters power struggles.

Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster have written an enlightening new book entitled "Mean Girls At Work: How to Stay Professional When Things Get Personal".  This is a women's guide to the new frontier of professional development - - making the best of the worst situations with other women in the workplace.

Katherine and Kathi say women-to-women relationships are naturally intense. When they are good they're very good, when they're bad, they can be horrible. 

The challenge for today's professional woman is to develop skills and strategies that enable her to thrive in the workplace - - even among covertly competitive colleagues.

Common "mean girls at work" behavior includes:

  • Excluding you from important emails.
  • Gossiping about anyone and everyone.
  • Making you look bad by failing to meet deadlines.
  • Needing too much personal attention.
  • Communicating in an unprofessional manner - or maybe choosing not to interact with you at all.

Learning goals for this Webinar:

In this free live Webinar Katherine and Kathi will share office-tested solutions for dealing with "Mean Girls at Work".  They will provide a 3-step plan that will empower women to support each other in succeeding at work and help them troubleshoot any stressful situation involving a female boss, colleague, employee or client.

This will be an interactive Webinar.  Our guests will be taking your questions.

About Our Special Guests

Katherine Crowley is a Harvard trained psychotherapist, and Kathi Elster is a management consultant and executive coach. Together they create the yin and yang of their company, K Squared Enterprises. They use an "inside-out approach" which transforms the way businesses uncover and resolve their greatest interpersonal dilemmas.

Previous books by Crowley and Elster include "Working For You Isn't Working For Me -- How To Get Ahead When Your Boss Holds You Back" and "Working With You Is Killing Me -- Freeing Yourself From Emotional Traps at Work"


Event Details


"Mean Girls at Work" -- How To Stay Professional when Things Get Personal


Wednesday   November 14, 2012


Starts at 1 pm  Eastern (NY City time zone)
runs for 60 minutes


Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster, authors of Mean Girls At Work

Tom Heck, President & Founder of the IATF


Registration is not necessary.  The Webinar will take place on this same web page.  Be here on Wednesday November 14, 2012 at 1 pm EST (NY City time zone) and you'll see a LIVE broadcast which includes chat.  There is no phone number to call.  Everything is free.


This event is FREE.


This Webinar was recorded and posted in the IATF Members Only Area. Become a member for FREE and watch the video for FREE.  Membership information is HERE.


Watch this video of Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster describing their book Mean Girls At Work