Lisa’s first official workshop was in August of 1997 for about 15 teachers at a preschool in the Mira Mesa area of San Diego County. It was an hour-long presentation for the staff, but took 2 hours to set up!!!
Lisa’s first unofficial workshop was at the 1996 NAEYC Conference in Dallas, TX when the presenter of a morning session promising handouts and activity ideas didn’t show up. After announcing to her new conference friend sitting next to her, “I could do that” and having her new friend say, “I dare you.” The rest as they say, is history. Lisa jumped on stage and did an impromptu session for over 500 participants. The door to what we do now was opened in Dallas. I will be forever thankful.
Lisa’s first leap into the vending/sales arena was in 1997 when she thought that KITS to make all the Ooey Gooey® activities would be a big hit! One stop shopping! You know, everything you need to make flubber, ooblick, knox molds, etc etc. Well, they were NOT hits. Not. At. All. And she had a garage full of all the supplies for years. It all eventually got used up but for awhile it looked like an ideal teacher pantry in the garage – in fact, I considered opening a “teacher’s pantry” type of store. Another great idea on the loooong list which I keep on my wall.
Lisa has moved product sales out from the garage and into an office in Rochester, NY where they have dozens of materials for sale on the company website. Additionally, they are excited to announce a recent partnership with Redleaf Press who will now handle all book sales.
While presenting her first keynote in 2001 Lisa slipped, lost her balance and almost fell off the stage as she retold a very wild rendition of the popcorn story! The people in the front row had already jumped up and were ready to catch her!
Lisa’s bags get checked all the time when she flies. But one time was kind of funny… she was heading to the San Francisco Bay Area and in the workshop tubs were unmarked, unlabeled baggies of baking soda and cornstarch for the Ooey Gooey® workshop. Needless to say it was an interesting experience… and is probably on her permanent record.
In 2002 while doing the “apple demo” for a group of educators during a presentation of The Importance of Early Experiences workshop, Lisa choked on a piece of apple, coughed it up and then casually announced to all the teachers in the room, “Don’t worry, I knew you all knew what to do!”
For a long time Lisa’s largest audience was about 5,000 people in the Arie Crown Theatre in Chicago. She topped that by filling the arena in Dallas at the Convention Center in 2008.
In November of 2009 the company’s trusty ooey mobile (the Suburban which was used for all the workshop road trips) got stolen out of a hotel parking lot. And set on fire. With everything in it. The workshop scheduled for that day in Miramichi, New Brunswick was pantomimed. And the joke of the day was, “I could show you what flubber looks like… BUT IT IS ENGULFED IN FLAMES!! I could have you paint with the plungers… BUT THEY ARE ENGULFED IN FLAMES!” The audience was forgiving, compassionate and understanding. Thank goodness for their amazing imaginations! Tragedy that it was, and as cliche as it sounds, the show must go on. And that it did.