Working on Challenges is an Opportunity to Give Back

Interview with IdeaConnection problem solver and facilitator Tasha Lewis
By Paul Arnold
Tasha Lewis is a multitalented writer, motivational speaker, and innovation consultant. As president of International Connections Consulting she helps clients successfully navigate the business jungle.

Tasha brings a valuable body of skills and vast experience to IdeaConnection challenges, and recently steered her team’s delivery of a successful solution to a seeker.

In this interview she talks about her role as a facilitator, the importance of giving back, and an exciting new venture in her life – the forthcoming publication of her first novel.

photo of Tasha LewisOne thing that being a facilitator did for me is it reactivated a lot of my project management skills. When things crop up and when you’re dealing with deadlines and software and a lot of other issues along those lines, you really have to be organized. In fact since we’re soon going into phase two of this particular challenge I came up with an action plan in addition to a checklist way before we would meet again. This will ensure that things will run very smoothly. I’ve worked on some very very high powered projects in my own company as well as on other projects with international companies and I know that it can be extremely stressful.

How would sum up your skills as a facilitator?

Humility comes to mind, because when you’re working on a project where you can’t go into a specific place every day and utilize the same facilities, you have to be flexible. The most important skill that I think I have is understanding.

My background is very broad which is wonderful because that means I’m open to understanding a lot of different things. This is especially useful when you are working with a very diverse team even though they might have similar backgrounds.

I make use of SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) where basically each team member dissects their areas of expertise. Then wherever they have weaknesses the team members can facilitate that. Any area I saw where help was needed I would address that with them individually. And if they wanted to talk to the team about it that was fine. If they didn’t that was fine.

You have worked on a successful challenge that has received a financial reward. What did this mean to you?

Doing something like this and the magnitude of the importance of the projects, it feels wonderful. I’m one of those people who love working on anything that’s helping others. So when I’m working on a project that’s exciting I’ve already decided that whatever opportunities they give me I will donate a portion to different charities. I give back, and that’s something I’ve always done in every area of my life and so that was a great feeling.

Will you take part in more challenges?

Definitely. I was looking at the list of what they have and there are so many things that I would be happy to be involved with on an as needed basis. I know everyone’s busy with many other things which I am as well, but I’m happy about a lot of different things that I was able to work on. I feel that what I learned from this is how to be a better facilitator and do an even better job.

So learning and honing your own skills is just as important as contributing your knowledge?

Exactly. I’m a lifelong learner. There’s always something new and exciting out there to learn.

You have many strings to your bow, and you’re about to add novelist to that. Tell me a little about your first novel.

It’s called ‘Searching for the Perfect Place’ and it’s semi-autobiographical – it’s fiction, drama and motivational. It’s a type of book that people were telling me I should have written a long time ago. It’s something I’ve been working on for a while. I’m really excited about it and ready to go for it.

I am going to host a seminar related to developing your first novel, because I figured what better way to promote your book than with a seminar. But more importantly, to give back. That is what every aspect of my life is about. I figure by helping others to find the novel within themselves will help to promote mine and make a better world.

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