Archive for April, 2010

Cheetah Run- Part III- Phoenix

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Dr. Laurie Marker at the Cheetah Learning booth

The Cheetah Conservation Fund’s mission is to work with all stakeholders within the cheetah’s ecosystem to develop best practices in research, education and ecology and create a sustainable model from which all other species, including people, will benefit.”

We had our third, and final (for this year!), Run Ror the Cheetah event in Phoenix, AZ this last weekend. This event topped off our Cheetah run adventures very nicely with yet another group of wonderful volunteers and runners. We were invited to a bag stuffing party with the volunteer group the evening before the race, and were offered tasty food and delicious wine that had been specially created to provide funds for the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF).  Together, we successfully stuffed 750 gift bags for the runners.

Even though we stuffed 750 gifts bags- more people showed up on race day than expected. This delayed race time- but lifted spirits.

We were especially excited to discover that Dr. Laurie Marker, who founded the CCF in 1990, would be attending the Phoenix event. Dr. Marker has won numerous awards in the past for her expansive humanitarian and conservationist efforts. This year Dr. Marker was awarded the prestigious 2010 Tyler Environmental Prize because of her excellent conservationist leadership abilities and the real progress that she is making through environmental restoration.

CCF's Livestock Guarding Dog program has been saving Cheetahs in Namibia since 1994

It was interesting to learn that the Cheetah Conservation Fund focuses on many different aspects related to the Cheetah’s survival, such as the Bushblok Project which aims at removing an invasive bush that is destroying the Cheetahs habitat, while at the same time creating jobs for the Namibian people. CCF also protects Cheetahs by placing Livestock Guarding Dogs to help farmers keep Cheetahs away from their livestock without having to resort to guns.

Meeting Dr. Marker was very inspirational. Her conviction and passion for this cause brought people of all ages together to support an animal that lives halfway around the world in Africa.   Dr. Marker made that cause, and that passion, real and relevant for every volunteer and runner that was present.

A Cheetah enthusiast. She is making a difference.

I’d also like to give a big THANK YOU to Claudia for organizing this event, and a thanks to the entire group of volunteers for making the Run for the Cheetah- Phoenix, such a memorable experience. Find out how you too can help at the Cheetah Conservation Fund website.

The earth is not ours; it is a treasure we hold in trust for future generations.

Thanks for reading,


Reduce Time to Prepare for Exams and Improve Your Exam Scores

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

With final exams right around the corner for many college students, I thought it would be good to share the model we use to help people accelerate their exam preparations for the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification exam. You can use this same framework to better prepare for any exam. It will reduce your study time, increase your retention, speed your rate of instant recall, and improve your exam performance. It’s worked for over 35,000 Cheetah Learning students over the past decade – it might even work for you!

Reduce The Time to Prepare for Exams and Improve Your Exam Performance

Reduce The Time to Prepare for Exams and Improve Your Exam Performance

Six new calves from four Belgium Blue Mama’s – all full bloods

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

We have six new calves joining our full blood herd of Belgium Blue Cattle. Four cows were pregnant and two had twins – which is a WOW. The two mama’s producing twins had over 140 pounds of babies. All the cows gave birth naturally which is a very big accomplishment for this breed where most other herds the births are done cesarean. At the BBO ranch, we are all very proud of our new mama’s. For all of these girls it is their second or third live birth.

Baby Pictures of our New Calves

Baby Pictures of our New Calves

Lobster, Leeks, and Beet Juice Reduction over Homemade Pasta

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Michelle LaBrosse, PMP

While Kristen and Miquette have been busy traversing the country running to save Cheetahs, Monica, Jean, Barb and I have been sponsoring PMI meetings, doing keynotes, running conference sessions, and generally having a great time with our project management compatriots around the world. In between meetings, I have been perfecting my pasta making skills. On this latest trip to the East Coast, we undertook a recipe that became an epic journey to create.

Lobster, Leeks, Beet Juice Reduction over Homemade Pasta

Lobster, Leeks, Beet Juice Reduction over Homemade Pasta

Project Initiation

This project started with Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Cookbook. For a week, this recipe for lobster with leeks and a beet juice reduction sat staring at me on my kitchen table from Mr. Keller’s book. It was a daunting recipe – it required steeping the lobsters, pulling all the meat out of a partially cooked lobster (no easy feat), and finishing it off by poaching it in this emulsified butter mixture. It required reducing a beet concoction to a thick syrup, blanching leeks, and a bunch of other steps we decided to skip. We also decided to skip the step to make an oven fried variety of potato chip as the starch and replace it with homemade pasta. I knew making this recipe would be a substantial effort.

Project Planning

The Pasta – I have become quite the homemade pasta snob. Only the best and most fresh ingredients. This started quite by accident when I learned in Italy that pasta just required eggs and flour. As I noted in a previous post, inspired by the 100 mile challenge TV show, I have begun milling my own flour. I found a source for durham wheat berries – the type of wheat used in pasta. I now have enough durham wheat berries to make pasta for the next decade. Also, about three months ago, my right hand man, Kent, found free chickens on Craig’s list. These chickens produce a dozen or so eggs every day. I have an abundance of very fresh eggs. However, my chickens are in Nevada, right now, I am in Connecticut. My initial supply of durham wheat berries are also in Nevada. Since I frequent the east coast for the biz – I now have a ten years supply of durham wheat berries here and a source for fresh local eggs. To make the homemade pasta for tonight’s dinner, I had to start procuring the ingredients a week ago. Homemade pasta is now a several time a week staple at my dinners (with my travel schedule, I have become the traveling pasta maker – sometimes I have to use standard eggs and semolina flour – the bane of living out of a suitcase). So the pasta was really nothing special about this dinner, but it totally made this dish.

The Sauce

This was the biggest pain in the neck pasta accompaniment I have ever made. Monica and I decided early on to take license with the Keller recipe – it was still quite a complex endeavor.


Blanched Leeks
2 – leeks
1 tbs butter

Beet Juice Reduction
1 cup beet juice
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tbs red wine vinegar
3 tbs butter

Poached Lobster Meat
3 – 2 lb hard shell female lobsters
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup half and half

Project Execution

Lobsters – this recipe called for steeping the lobsters just so they were partially cooked and then removing the meat. We are NEVER doing this again. Pre-cooked lobster meat, crab meat, halibut, sword fish, or shrimp can easily be substituted. This also called for making this butter emulsification. After hour two in the kitchen, we bagged that idea and just melted the butter, tossed in the partially cooked lobster meat and tossed in a bit of half and half – it was FANTASTIC.

Leeks – clean very good, slice thin, toss in boiling water for a minute, strain and then put in ice. When ready to use on the pasta, take a bit of the lobster butter and cream in a small fry pan. Toss in the leeks and heat.

Beet Juice Reduction – we were very worried about this as it was a stretch for us to consider this a good combo with the lobster. It was very easy to make (quite a different story with procuring the actual beet juice – we went to three health food stores before finding it). Mix all the ingredients in a sauce pan and reduce until a thick syrup. Then add the butter and let it melt into the sauce.

Plating the food – put a tablespoon or two of the beet juice reduction on the plate. Then put the pasta. Next put a tablespoon or two of the leeks, and cover with the lobster butter cream mixture.

Project Control

Most of this is timing. The meat removal of the lobster was the longest time requirement. We waited until the lobster was poaching in the butter and cream mixture before tossing the pasta in the boiling water. While one of us was removing the meat from the lobster, the other was making the homemade pasta.

Project Closeout

No need to start with fresh lobster. You can get the lobster meat pre-cooked and this would be fantastic with any white fish, crab, or shrimp.

The ingredients were fantastic together. The beet juice reduction gave the dish a nice touch without being overpowering. The lobster taste was the prominent feature with the other ingredients nice fresh accents. Maybe starting with the lobster live was worth it from a taste perspective. I am going to try this next with halibut.

Cheetah Run- Part II- in the Windy City

Monday, April 12th, 2010

"Did you know...."

"Did you know... "

This weekend, Cheetah Learning participated in the second part of the three-piece series of the Cheetah Conservation Fund sponsorship (Including a run in Portland, Chicago, and Phoenix) – The Run for the Cheetah, Chicago style.

This had been my first time to visit Chicago, and while we experienced some of the tourist’s “must-dos”, such as a boat tour down the Chicago River and into Lake Michigan (I would like to give a shout out to our fantastic tour guide, Mallory- you rocked!), and indulged in mouth watering Chicago Pizza (Pizano’s Pizza and Pasta would be eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a perfect world…), the highlight of our trip by far was the Run for the Cheetah event that we participated in this past Sunday.

"...That there are only about 12,000 Cheetah's Alive Today?"

"...That there are only about 12,000 Cheetah's Alive Today?"

My coworker, Miquette, and I arrived at the race early to set up our Cheetah Learning stand-up signs and to register for the 5k race. As we set up our signs, we realized that the windy city would not be gentle on us – our large “stand-up” signs refused to… stand-up. We put our MacGyver hats on, and after using some skillfully tied balloon strings, which were strategically anchored to anything that was static- we managed to have semi upright signs that only swayed slightly in the gusts of wind. Chicago has rightfully earned its name, “The Windy City”.

The Chicago group of Cheetah Runners was a massive conglomerate of gusto, exuberance, and Cheetah face paint. From small children to… not so small “children” ;-), everyone was there to have a good time, and to support a very good cause.

"... That Cheetah's can run over 60 mpg?"

"... That Cheetah's can run over 60 mph?"

"...And that YOU can help get them off of the Endangered Species List?"

There were signs posted throughout the race that displayed facts about the Cheetah, and reminded us of why the run was so important.  My takeaway from this event is an ever growing conviction that a few people can make a significant and important difference in this world when motivation is combined with action.

Thank you Kris and Jayne for organizing this event, thanks to the entire group of volunteers and sponsors of the Run for the Cheetah- Chicago, for making this event ROCK! Find out how you too can help at the Cheetah Conservation Fund website, and come visit us at the Cheetah Run in Phoenix.

Thanks for reading,


Run for the Cheetah’s

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

This past weekend Cheetah Learning went to Portland,   Oregon to support our fellow Cheetah’s- and we’re not talking about the fast paced career savvy folks that take our Cheetah Learning courses and move on to conquer the word.

We’re talking about another type of Cheetah, the kind that runs at speeds of 70 mph, the most specialized member of the cat family, and the kind that are now endangered due to a population decline of at least 30% in the past 18 years.

Why have Cheetah’s become endangered? The reason that the Cheetah population has lowered so drastically is threefold:

  • Human encroachment
  • Shortage of prey sources due to human hunting
  • Increased deaths of cheetah cubs due to predation by lions, hyenas, and other carnivores that are

What is being done to reverse population decline?

  • Education for live stock farmers about how to reduce cheetah/livestock interaction
  • Teaching farmers how to avoid conflict by monitoring breeding schedules.
  • Teaching farmers to use dogs to protect livestock rather than guns.
  • Promoting stronger enforcement anti-poaching laws and habitat restoration

How can you help? Visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund site to see how you can help.

In an effort to help reverse the cheetah population decline, Cheetah Learning sponsored the Portland Run for the Cheetah, and will be sponsoring the Chicago (April 11th) and the Phoenix (April 25th) Run for the Cheetah events.

Our experience at the Portland Cheetah Run was very exciting. We arrived at the run at 6am sharp to a pitch-black field and a downpour of rain. We found our very cheery Cheetah Run host’s in rain jackets and sipping warm java, and ready to help us set up our booth.

I ran in the 8k run, which helped to warm me up and get me energized on that chilly morning. The run took us by a river, and twice around the Portland International Raceway, and brought us back along the river to a finish line full of cheering cheetah supporters.

As the morning went on, the clouds became less ominous and there was soon just a small drizzle. We couldn’t have asked for a better crowd there, from enthused Cheetah activist to little tykes in cheetah jump suites, the mood was cheerful and upbeat throughout the morning.

We look forward to the next event – Chicago here we come!