Hi everyone! I'm Julia Drewniak, a Metro DC member, volunteer, and one the Virtual Conference Coordinators. I started volunteering with Metro DC last year during the pandemic when I was furloughed from my job. I've gotten to work with a lot of great people and am excited to help put together interactive conferences for our members.
In my day job, I work as an Instructional Designer/Learning Consultant for a growing optical company. I get to develop a wide variety of trainings with the rest of my team, from courses on helping our patients, understanding the optics of glasses, leadership development, and much more. It's allowed me to grow my skills and create training tools that help our associates serve our patients.
While no two days look the same, here's a peak at my typical routine...
7:00 AM: Workout
I start each day getting up early and getting some exercise. It allows me to feel I got at least one thing accomplished during my day. I typically do some sort of strength training or cardio. I work with a virtual trainer, who provides me exercises to do on my strength days. Since the start of the pandemic, it's been hard to find weights, but I've slowly built up my workout stash to have a good variety of equipment. For cardio, I may do a dance video, ride my indoor bike, or when the weather's nice go out for a run.
9:00 AM: Start the Day
I log on around 9AM. While my commute wasn't too bad when I went into the office, now that I work from home, it's gotten a lot shorter. While I eat my breakfast, I check my emails and review the meetings I have for the day. If there's anything I need to get done, I try to put a block on the calendar - both as a reminder to myself and to have the time set aside for that particular activity.
10:00 AM: Project Time
My role really allows me to be creative and use my background in media technology to develop training for our associates. On my team, I'm the one that develops the job aids, eLearning modules, video projects, and all the physical elements of our learning solutions. Some days I may be using InDesign & Illustrator to create a comparison guide between the products we offer. Or I may have to set up my camera and mic to record a preview screencast of our latest project. My favorite days are the ones where I'm putting together a video project- from creating a script with visual descriptions, snipping pieces of footage together in Premiere, or creating animated in After Effects.
11:00 AM: Team Meeting
As a team, we meet once a week to formally review our projects and talk through company initiatives that will have an impact on learning and talent development. Even though we have a weekly team meeting, we're always quick to reach out should we need anything. Fun fact - no two team members live in the same state - so we leverage technology to quickly instant message or hop on a video chat to talk through projects.
1:00 PM: Lunch
Even when I was in the office, I always made a point to close out of my computer and take a break. When I have a live session with my virtual training, I may use my lunch to workout. Most of the time, I get to eat with my fiancé and talk about our day so far. Stepping away from work allows me to come back feeling refreshed and energized.
3:00 PM: Working Session
One of the best ways to keep a project on track is to regularly communicate with my stakeholders and subject matter experts. One of the best ways I've found to get feedback on a project is to hold working sessions, where I review a project, illicit feedback from the team, and make changes in the moment. This way, adjustments can be made in real time, everyone involved is on the same page, and each contributor is able to hear the feedback of others which may impact their own opinions. As easy as it is to send a product and ask for edits, this allows us to build the working relationship and get more done in a short amount of time.
1:00 PM: Lunch Time
During my lunch, I enjoy cooking lots of different things. On this day, I made a large southwestern salad with corn, crema, and chipotle. I love adding some cayenne pepper as a balance to the crema and the cheese. Also, during lunch I quickly check and reply to my email as well as social media.
5:30 PM: Volunteer Meeting
Once a week all the virtual conference volunteer members get together to work on planning the next conference. We collaborate in order to create the best experience for our attendees. Since this is a new initiative for the chapter, we look for new ways to create an engaging event that can be repeated each time. We're also working on documenting our processes and look for ways to become more efficient with each conference we hold. My favorite part of these meetings is creating the weekly Powerpoint where I include fun gifs that correspond with teach topic.
6:30 PM: Dinner Time
I love to cook and try out new recipes. My fiancé and I plan each week so we're always prepared when it's time to prepare dinner. We get ideas from everywhere, NYT Cooking app, America's Test Kitchen cookbooks, or even Binging with Babish YouTube videos. We like to try new things but keep it simple.
7:30 PM: Unwind
After the dishes have been cleaned up, we take the time to relax and unwind. Sometimes we'll use this time to be productive, like meal planning for the week. Other times we may just watch fun YouTube videos. Lately, we like to play video games with friends. At the end of the day, we like to disconnect from work and enjoy the time together.
Thanks for joining me on my day! No two days ever look the same, but that's the fun in it all! I enjoy the opportunity to create great products and outcomes that help advance learning and development. The relationships and connections I've made along the way, whether at work or Metro DC, are what keeps me going each day.