The Arena Stage’s Voices of Now program is a unique initiative that allows middle school students to create original theater in their own voices, which are autobiographical and allow them to share their stories with the community.
This internationally recognized program offers a healing venue where students can express themselves in creative ways, as well as connect with older audience members and the community at large.
Following is an exclusive podcast with Anita Maynard-Losh, Director of Community Engagement, Arena Stage, who discusses the Voices of Now program.
Listen to the full podcast:
This week’s Pivotal Play was turned in by the Washington Nationals’ starting rotation. Washington has won four of its last five games to get back over the .500 mark, and the team’s pitching staff has played a massive role in the recent hot stretch (allowing just nine total runs in four victories).
Whatever the Nats accomplish in 2013 will be thanks to the club’s well-built rotation, which had hit a recent rough patch based on injuries to Stephen Strasburg and Ross Detwilwer and a turbulent couple of months from fifth starter Dan Haren.
In the past week, ace-right Jordan Zimmermann twirled seven shutout innings of eight-strikeout ball and minor league call-up Ross Ohlendorf worked six one-run innings in his Nationals debut. On Thursday, Detwiler returned from the disabled list to pitch five quality innings in a victory as well.
Winning consecutive games to get back over .500 is important for a Nationals team that isn’t allowing being 5.5 games out of first place to alter extremely lofty preseason expectations. The club’s recent starting pitching surge – is this week’s Pivotal Play — will give Nats’ fans hope that the team is about to awaken from a season-long slumber.
Welcome to the Pivotal Plays Podcast Series where we interview organizational leaders and get key insights into what truly makes them effective Pivotal Players. For this installment, we are speaking with Erik Ayers, Co-Founder of the Pivotal Plays, who discusses why uncovering and recognizing Pivotal Plays is paramount to the program itself.
Much like athletes whose actions are vitally important to the outcome of a game – though aren’t getting the recognition they deserve — Pivotal Plays are all about finding stories of achievement, progress, and the things that define our every day.
Whether it is something that occurs in the community, on the playing field in sports, in business, or in government, Pivotal Plays is about giving credit where credit is due. Pivotal Plays wants to recognize the individuals, groups, teams, and organizations that perform those achievements and bring them to light.
In addition, if you if you have a story to share that you deem to be a Pivotal Play, we want to hear from you!
The first round of Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft was held on Thursday night. Thirty-three picks were made by big league clubs looking to add talent to their farm systems that will shape the direction of baseball’s 30 organizations for years to come.
Despite the fact that the Nationals have been one of baseball’s free spending teams over the past several years, Washington was one of the few teams that didn’t have a first round pick to make on Thursday night.
The Nats surrendered their first round pick, which would have come late in the inaugural round, when the club signed veteran reliever Rafael Soriano. Not making a first round pick was a vast departure from what has become normal for a Nationals’ front office that has emphasized player development and the draft over the past several years.
Signing Soriano – a closer who has posted a 2.74 ERA through 23 appearances so far this season – at the expense of making an opening round pick was a major offseason decision for Mike Rizzo. It is also this week’s Pivotal Play.
The fact is that Soriano has pitched very well for Washington this season, successfully converting 15 of 18 save chances while holding opponents to a .230 batting average against. The 33 year-olds 1.04 WHIP and miniscule walk rate (just four walks in 23 innings) is an indication of just how frequently Soriano has pelted the strike zone in the late innings for the Nationals.
Even with the upgrade of Soriano to a bullpen that was already deemed stellar when he was signed, Washington’s relief pitching corps has underachieved. Where would the team be without him?
Let’s say Rizzo had decided that he didn’t want to spend the record money it took to lure the right-hander to DC and he was not willing to forfeit a top-round pick, would the Nats be in even worse shape than they are, at a game under .500? Probably so.
With Drew Storen scuffling, Zach Duke having been designated for assignment, and Ryan Mattheus on the disabled list, the Nationals’ once deep bullpen has become thinner than anticipated. But Soriano has proven durable and reliable, and his consistency has salvaged the team’s late inning productivity.
By not picking in the first round Washington needs to find a gem outside of the draft’s top 33 players. Mike Rizzo and his scouting staff – who once drafted ace starter Jordan Zimmermann in the second round – feel confident that they will be able to do just that.
Would it have been nice for the Nats to have made a pick in the first round last night? Of course. But the Pivotal Play to sign Soriano has benefitted the team, even during a disappointing start to the 2013 season.
In science and engineering-based fields, men predominantly lead the technology sector.
According to a FINS.com analysis of Labor Department data, between 2001 and 2010, the share of women in high-tech jobs dropped from 25.6 percent to 23.9 percent. In addition, a 2012 survey found that just 9 percent of U.S. CIOs were female, down from 11 percent in 2011 and 12 percent in 2010.
In the Machine-to-machine (M2M) sector, which is any technology that enables automated wired or wireless communication between mechanical or electronic devices, the numbers are also low.
However, Connected World magazine is changing this with its inaugural Women of M2M ranking, which showcases women who have demonstrated strong leadership and have helped grow the sector – all while inspiring young women to join the IT field.
Two highly notable executives on the list caught our attention as this week’s Pivotal Players: Alarm.com’s AnneMarie Ferraro, Vice President of Network Operations, and Alison Slavin, Co-founder and VP Product Management.
Both women have demonstrated leadership in innovation and bringing new technologies to the marketplace, while supporting employees inside and outside the workplace.
These two visionary women have helped to encourage a culture for employees to think creatively, challenge the status quo, and strive for continued growth and improvement.
As Connected World pointed out, the women who made the rankings prove that there is no real magic to success. It all comes down to “sheer determination and perseverance.”
Based on the unique innovations coming out of Alarm.com, which are mobile applications and solutions that connects consumers to their homes, it is obvious that both executives have played a key role in bringing on more than 1 million subscribers to date.
For advancing the M2M field and inspiring future generations of women technology executives, we are naming AnneMarie and Alison this week’s Pivotal Players.
The Washington Nationals decided to promote premiere pitching prospect Nate Karns to make his major league debut against the Baltimore Orioles, turned in this weeks’ Pivotal Play.
Karns didn’t deliver a star performance in his inaugural major league game, working into the fifth inning while issuing three runs, but he was competitive and kept Washington in the game long enough to allow their offense to eventually net the club a win in his first outing.
The rookie’s debut showing was not the Pivotal Play here. The Nationals’ willingness to promote one of their top prospects from the double-A eastern league, rather than to call upon a veteran journeyman in triple-A was noteworthy.
The move signifies that the Nationals understand what is at stake during this very critical stretch of the 2013 season. The club is slightly over .500 (27-26) and has disappointed throughout the first third of this season.
There is plenty of baseball to be played in the coming four months and no one would dispute the fact that Washington has yet to play its best baseball. But with three teams in the NL Central off to brilliant starts (all three have at least six more wins than the Nationals) and the Atlanta Braves having proved that they will be a formidable contender in the NL East, Washington is in a situation where it can’t afford to continue to hover around .500 for much longer. This brings us back to the Karns promotion.
The Nationals could have allowed long reliever Zach Duke to make his second start of the season, who filled in for Ross Detwiler due to injury. Duke was rested and available had manager, Davey Johnson, wanted him to start but his ceiling as a starter is low and Karns presented way more upside.
The team also could have called upon struggling AAA arm, but proven longtime big-leaguer, Chris Young. Again, Karns, 25, is more skilled and represented more potential. The team instead went with the neophyte pitcher who hadn’t thrown an offering above the Eastern League.
The decision represents an understanding that while it is only late May, the time to start stockpiling wins is now. The decision also represented an internal insight that there is an obligation to promote the best players, even if it means you have to take some chances on young prospects.
You see, the Nationals are championship built. They are win-now mode and that won’t change. Calling upon a young starter to pitch a significant game against a regional rival is a sign that the status quo isn’t going to be acceptable as the season progresses.
Playing .500 ball would have been just fine a few seasons ago, but it is not what general manager, Mike Rizzo, or Johnson expect any more. Choosing upside and raw “stuff” over what would have been cheaper in the long run if they hadn’t called up a player from the minor leagues is this week’s Pivotal Play.
Pivotal Plays Podcast: Tom Deierlein, CEO of ThunderCat Technology, Discusses Efforts to Help Wounded Warriors and Children of War
Welcome to the Pivotal Plays Podcast Series where we interview organizational leaders and get key insights into what truly makes them effective Pivotal Players.
In 2005, Tom Deierlein CEO of ThunderCat Technology, was an U.S. Army Major serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. During this time, he undertook a major philanthropic effort where he organized donations from the U.S. for the poorest Iraqi citizens and children, the true victims of war in his eyes.
Astounded by the living conditions in Sadr City, Tom activated his friends and family in the U.S. to send him anything from old clothes to vitamins to school materials for the local citizens.
Unfortunately, while on duty, Tom was shot by a sniper, which sent him back to the U.S. to Walter Reed Medical Center for recovery and treatment. However, through his friends and extended network, Tom was able to establish a foundation to keep the donations coming in and distributed – resulting in more than $120,000 being raised at that time. To date, the foundation has raised more than $1 million to help organizations that work with needy families and children living in war
His efforts eventually captured the attention of NBC Nightly News where he was featured in its “Making a Difference” segment.
Today, Tom runs ThunderCat Technology, which is an IT solutions firm that services the federal government and fortune 500 companies. The company recently made Forbes’ “America’s Most Promising Companies” list.
Tom attributes much of the business’ success to its philanthropic focus, which has reached near prodigious levels – from helping Wounded Warriors to mentoring veterans and beyond.
Tom’s commitment to helping those living in conditions incomprehensible to most of us, as well as supporting U.S. veterans, makes him our Pivotal Player of the Week. As a true inspiration, Tom truly proves that it is possible to do well while doing good, and that giving back should always be a priority for everyone.