I recently flew in for a one day working event with UNOS (that’s the United Network for Organ Sharing that oversees all organ donation and organ transplant in the U.S.) in Richmond, VA.   As usual it was a great meeting involving volunteer support for their amazing IT department, part of my now over fifteen years of working with UNOS staff on many important issues.  The ‘cherry on top of the sundae’ for this trip was an invitation to attend their quarterly SONU competition (that’s UNOS spelled backwards).  This unique day brings together UNOS staff and their IT teams who have 24 hours to tackle some issue of their choosing in hopes of actually creating a working solution to that issue.  This day eight teams were culminating their 24 hour creative effort with 5-minute presentations before a panel of judges and an open audience that included our ITAC group of IT professionals that volunteer their time.

The theme for this round of SONU efforts was “Minions” – you know, those yellow little creatures so popular in their movies.  This was serious business blended in with a lot of fun for all.  Each team shared their challenging issue along with demonstrations of their solutions, some ready for full implementation that promises to save time and money and/or make existing processes easier for users.  It was amazing to see how creative they were, both in terms of the proposed solutions and the fun way they had integrated the Minion theme into their shows, bright yellow Minion SONU shirts on all!

I was blessed to have this opportunity to join the event and cheer along with voting for “the People’s Choice” award that is a result of the full audience voting.  Only wish every organization could make their teams enjoy their work with such fun blended into it.

Here’s the scene as one 4-person winning team accepts their award (check out those working smiles!):
20150916_171809even UNOS CEO, Brian Shepard gets into the fun as seen here with myself along with another Brian, an IT manager/contestant developer in full costume:


Yes, life is very good and fun, especially being able to be still enjoying such creative working environments, recalling many that I had the good fortune to bring with my own team leadership 40 year career with Unisys IT before retirement a decade ago (10 years ago – that’s an awesome thought!).

Ok, with getting up by 5:30am it was a long day of travel and meetings by the time I got home late that night, but have to confess I loved it.  Even waiting for flights was made special by engaging conversation with two noted transplant surgeons.  “Thanks Lloyd & David!”

I pray that you too still find fun in your own life each day.

  • Jim (21 years this October 19th with the anonymous gift of a donated heart)