My Leadership Statement


I choose to inspire by my actions, not my words.

I try to take advantage of each day I have on this Earth and live life to its fullest whether that means helping rescue battered horses, SCUBA diving in Belize, snowboarding in Maine, surfing in Nicaragua, backpackaing across Central America, or perusing the foothills of Spain with a bottle of wine in hand, I am present in each moment, and aware of how little I am in this big world.

All too often, I hear the phrase “I wish I could do that”.

My response varies, but my favorite is “Passports aren’t just for awesome people named Sara, you too can get one!”

My leadership goal is not to stand out because of my outgoing personality, phenomenal sense of humor or because I can talk louder than the next Person.

My leadership goal and perhaps my style is very different.

I like to inspire and motivate others to think outside of their boundaries, see the limitless possibilities and remove or navigate around any roadblocks they face.

I will continue to inspire by action, and perhaps someday, perhaps when I am long gone, someone will think of me, and say “she was a pretty cool chick that did some pretty cool things, and because of her, I too did some pretty cool things.”




Exceptional Leadership: Asking for Help

I had the opportunity to attend a leadership course at the Univ of Tennessee. During my time in this class I learned a lot about myself and my leadership style. The first thing that stuck out to me and really hit home, was a topic that was brought up after we did a class activity that required 11 of us to determine how to travel approximately 30 feet with ten blocks of wood across a room without touching the carpet or leaving a “resource” without human contact. We initally tried to lay the blocks out in front of the first person, while sharing the block with another person and slowly and carefully walking across the room. Our first attempt failed when a woman lost her balance from the block. We regrouped and started over. This time we had a lot more communication, trust, we physically held on to each other and asked for help throughout the activity. Afterwards, we reflected on the activity and how we came together to reach a solution.  The “asking for help” portion really resonated with me. I was reminded that although asking for help is not our first preference on getting something accomplished, it is a great way to show your team that they are valued, their input and assistance is needed, and it shows that you trust them enough to help you. So asking for help is not a sign of weakness, nor does it show vulnerability, but it is an opportunity to allow others to feel good about themselves and important within the organization. Consider asking for help even when you may not need it and remember how good it makes you feel to help somebody…



What Does it Take to Become a Pararescueman in the Air Force?

Many people have no idea what it takes to become a pararescueman in the United States Air Force. For that matter, many people don’t know what a pararescueman a.k.a. “PJ” does, nor that they are a part of the Special Operations community just like Navy SEALs. PJs know that SEALs are in the limelight when it comes to Hollywood and International news, the PJs don’t mind being the silent heroes or “quiet professionals” as they like to call it.

As a training evaluator for Battlefield Airman group at Medina Annex, I was able to really get some insight on what it takes to be a PJ. One of my many roles in this awesome job is to talk to the students who don’t make it to determine the root cause of why they self-eliminated, and talk to the graduates to see which tools they used to push through, and why they felt they were successful at completing the course of initial entry, PJ Indoctrination. But first thing is first, what does a PJ learn and do?

A PJ is super-athlete who is trained to jump out of aircraft, SCUBA dive, survive in rough seas and on dangerous land, shoot with a ridiculous level of accuracy and perform life saving techniques while being shot at or flying through the air in a helicopter.

PJ training starts at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas, where the majority of them go through Basic Training, followed by an eight week Battlefield Airmen preparatory course. Once they complete “BA Prep”, they shift to the dorms on Medina, an annex of Lackland and start a nine week training program called PJ Indoc. This course is designed to test the limits of the trainees. It separates the men from the boys and weeds out the weak ones who weren’t meant to be a part of the SpecOps community. During indoctrination, the trainees will be pushed to their limits on the ground by running up to 5 miles at a time at 7.5 minute pace, rucking several miles with 45 pounds worth of gear, and carrying their assigned training aid (a telephone pole) with them to and from chow and back and forth from the dorms. They will go far beyond what they thought was possible in the water with exercises such as buddy breathing, finning, treading water, ten-ups, buddy brick and even crossing the Boerne lake. If they complete Indoc, which only about 20% will, they will then move on to two different dive schools, open and closed circuit, both of which are in Panama City, Florida. Then they will PCS (move permanently) to Kirtland AFB in New Mexico and go through a 7 week basic EMT course followed by a 28 week EMT course with a hospital rotation. Most paramedics go through 18 months of training, while PJs only get 6 months to absorb the same amount of information. There is some attrition in the EMT courses, but once they get passed the EMT courses, they tend to rarely lose people. Afterwards, the fun starts again. They go through Combat Survival training, three different jump schools, Underwater Egress Training (escaping sinking aircraft and such), and then they finish it all off with a 24 week apprentice course where they tie everything that they learned together. So you may ask yourself, what kind of person does it take to successfully become a real live super hero?

Several studies have been done to determine which characteristics are more beneficial for the Spec Ops career field. Most commonly, those with a Type A personality tend to want to “be the best”. But that doesn’t guarantee success. According to a recently graduated class from the indoctrination course, it takes more than just physical strength and mental resillience to make it through the course. Their advice is:
– Maturity is a major factor- Very few 18 year-old, fresh out of high school graduates complete the indoctrination course.
– Train beyond what you thought was possible- Don’t train for just the entry test or even graduation standards, train for more than you can imagine that you can do. One student was told to run a mile carrying a cinder block. “It sounded impossible, but that is the mentality that you need to get through.”
– Expect to want to quit- You have to go in knowing the you will have the urge to quit several times, you need to want it bad enough to get you passed actually quitting.
– It is 50% physical ability and 50% mental resilience- Be strong mentally, and your body will endure.

Some additional characteristics that have been noted over the years include leadership skills, willingness to make sacrifices for the team, and putting the team before self.

So if this is a career field that interests of fascinates you, buckle up, it is a long, hard ride. The training lasts about two years, and the first 2 months includes carrying a 65 pound ruck and being part of a 20 man team that carries a telephone pole everywhere they go, equally distributed, that adds about an additional 100 pounds per person.

Article published by Sara Winder, April 2018

Implementing Augmented Reality

An easy and inexpensive way to create augmented reality is to use the app on iOS called HP Reveal, formerly known as Aurasma. Once you have downloaded the app, you then need to create an account with the app and also create an account on your computer with “Studio for Aurasma”. Once you have that, you can create a new aura. This is where you will upload the trigger image. The trigger image is the image that you will hover over and it will trigger things to happen. It should be relatively simple and straight forward, however, I have my name on my card as the trigger image and that works. Once you select the image, you can mask out everything around that image. For example, I removed all of the other words and the frame, so only the name is the trigger. Here is how to view what it will look like:

card side 1 When you download HP Reveal, and go to the studios website, you have to favorite the my auras, then when you hover over this image, you will see various icons to contact me.

Now, back to creating!  You have your trigger image in place, now you need to determine what you want to appear once the trigger is “pulled” so to speak. I have a linked in icon, a Facebook icon, an email icon, and a website icon, all of which link to my personal accounts. So you can add different icons, but you will have to download the icons and save them in order to upload them. Once you upload the image, you can add an action. if you want to do a mailto, remember it must say “” without the quotes of course. Otherwise, just add in hyperlinks to the different websites or social media sites. I know this is a very broad overview on how to do this, and if there is enough interest, I can generate a short micro training video demonstrating how to create different auras. so please let me know what you think, or if you have any questions. Happy reality!


Prototyping and Design Experiences

Turning Ideas into Reality by Nick Floro

Completely unformatted notes below:

Sketching a mock-up

– help tell a story and explain a concept to stakeholders – get fancy, use colors

  • Buttons, text = squiggly
  • Accordian – touch button that expands
  • Hamburger menu (Designers don’t like this- it implies additional navigation), play button,  blind/modal= alert or a warning
  • req’s- text on top- so be aware of real estate on a mobile device. They wanted multiple choice, drag and drop, and photos. Take a photo of your sketch on your phone

Free app: office lens- allows you to take a picture from the side and squares it off and you can safe it various ways- as pdf.

-templates: phone, tablet, and screen. We work with stakeholder and audience- show the users feedback as early as possible, after a conversation on what they needed or want. You want to share with the users, what you are doing, get buy-in and feedback, start with 20 users, then narrow down to 10. Then when you get to development and launch, everyone is happy.

Brainstorming- sticky notes, we each have a different color, or you can use “post-it, the app, you can take a photo of your post-its and move it around, or organize the post-its. its only $4 and great for online collaboration.

Taking to audience and stakeholders: What are you goals, what is the challenge/problem you are trying to solve? What are the options (timelines- which tools and techniques work with this audience, in order to creat a better experience for the learners)

Come up with a plan!

Present, Feedback, Develop (Agile Process)

3 Key factors when you start to design and prototype:

  1. Audience: computer, iPhone, touch screen?
  2. Technology: does your LMS, LRS work with the technology
  3. User stories; translate what you learned about the audience whit tecnology in mind. Describe how a user would go through the process and what would the user achieve.

Ask Why! DO they want it mobile friendly? DO they Have mobile devices.

Brainstorming session, have just one person taking notes, not everybody.

Sharing what works. Context, and content strategy (what is the audience using? Consider the rotating of the device, how does that affect the usability of where the buttons are. If you rotate and buttons move to top of screen, that is annoying

Keep it Simple. MVP- Minimum Viable Product (software development term) What is the basic functionality that we need to launch the product/course/app. We can add bells and whistles in phase 2 or 3.

Mobile apps:

Adobe Illustrator Draw- sketch on phone or tablet.

Paper by Fifty Three for iOS- Draw on your mobile device – easy for sketching- they sell a pen for about $30.

If you have a Microsoft surface pro or iPad pro. it has a pen to sketch and draw.

Notebook programs Take a pic of screen and sketch it u on iPad, then screen share with your Web Ex

Sketchbook- similar to photoshop as it has layers you can turn on and off. Free or a few bucks for cloud storage and additional features.

Carbo: Handwriting – you can draw, and lasso part of your image and move it around or reposition on the screen. Has filters too

Using mobile devices you can share.– web based prototyping product that uses chrome/firefox. Name project- add some designs. photo of hand sketch, or grab pen tool…add multiple screens. you can add links between the screens. You can add transitions between the links. Touch and hold- Free for up to three projects at any time. and users can share/email. Pretty cool touch navigation.

Wireframing (Low and high fidelity) – translate sketches into real screens. Prototyping screen with boxes and words.

Keynote/power point are great tools.

“this is my question, here are the answers, here is an image on the right”

This is a good way to show stakeholders what happens when there is too much on a screen for mobile device.

Keynote Kung-Fu – library of images and objects to start prototyping faster, buttons, accordions, etc. $12 toolset.

**Best: Keynotopia 12-150. Templates and entire library. Simple, you can edit the objects like button names.

Keynote template for wire framing. includes his buttons, notes, images, etc. (Add link – to hyperlink)

Power Point and Keynote allow for interactivity. Hyperlinking between slides (same as Marvel app) but i can export it as a pdf to the stakeholders so hey can see how they like it. Not necessary to program it these days.

Sketchy & imockups: not the best tool, but good to experiment as an option.

Envision allows you to prototype on the web and share a link so stakeholder can try on their computer- managed environment, a team can collaborate and provide feedback. Great for larger projects with lots of people involved– advanced prototyping tool swipe, inch and zoom, three fingerr touch.

Adobe Acrobat- link tool called add link. add same navigation as in keynote.

Sketch- best app for a mac ever. Keynote/power point/ photoshop and illustrator in one product. Lots of ux designers use this today $99

Craft for Photoshop or Sketch app- a plugin from envision.  Good for designing for a platform. Design an ecosystem and ou want to design tiles for courses we might have. Fills in with real data. offers step and repeat… so “make what i just made again”

Adobe XD experience Design, included in cloud environment subscription. Zoomed out sketch board. quick and fast to navigate through different panels.

Start to create content-

Screenshot/screengrab- as you are looking at things to build a library of image.

Understand how to interact with our devices, finger motions, etc. using your fingers makes you feel more connected with the content, rather than using the mouse. Most devices support up to 11 touch points. So how can you use those to creat more interesting content.

User Experience: how does the user feel as they interact with the content. I want them to smile, add some emotion in the course!

Responsive design: Tools like captivate allow us to do this. Uses pixel size depending on device. If videos are not accessible on phones, without wifi, remove the video- so be aware of what happens on each device.

Get– build standard html page, it will rearrange your content based on orientation of the device- they use get from Twitter, but also has build in UX, “add alert box, or menu”. It optimizes for different templates, and devices. Can rearrange panels for phone versus desktop.

Parallax- technique where you can tell a story with the user scrolling up and down, like facebook. Look at marketing for product called “Home” Different elements come to life as you scroll, so it keeps the users attention. Apple Retina 5k site is pretty cool. Do research- Apple has some great design- borrow from their text, layout, etc.

Design for Flexibility, how will the user update the content if the course changes: UI/UX: Apple weather app, forecast, etc. look at the Yahoo father app. It just has an image, high, low where you are. (Shows key data) scroll down to “dive deeper”

Swipe left or right- in this case it is cities, but it could be topics or modules.

Resources: 12 apps for your phone- to create content, breainstorm and even generate stuff.

Book: Don’t Make me Think: Steve Krug Creating intuitive navigation and information design.

Slideology, Resonate, Presentation Zen, Garr Reynolds

Chrome browser: view, developer, developer tools, it will show you the code in CSS, and you can pick to simulate different devices so you can see how it will appear for spot-checking. You can select your network speed to replicate speeds for various users in different locations.

Browser use to spot check courses on all devices, but $40 a month per user. Design,, content strategy for mobile, designing for emotion.

Other Tools:


Wink: create, concepts, browse, sketching, passing the iPad back and forth and adding photos. record, records what you do on the app, and has a built in mic. That is pretty damn cool. Draw and record audio and screen. Create several slides. Grab photo from library and edit it. Just for a quick little micro learning video. Share, and can save as MPEG4 for captivate, storyline, etc. You can do fine editing in the audio tool. You can use a web-browser course (an LMS) and highlight stuff. Feedback on a course or website. Draw and record. The classic version is $5 works on phone and iPad.

Reflector App, recording device for a tutorial/training

Ipsum generator- cupcake

It doesn’t work! install Jingproject – screen sharing.

Or Snagit