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Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Last Thursday was LSI's annual Christmas Party at Terminal City Club hosted by LSI owners Hilda Henry (pictured on the left) and David Chao.
You can be sure that it was a lavish affair with incredible food, entertainment, gifts and prizes. Not surprisingly, it was a great turnout with over 75 attendees composed of former and current clients, recent Green and Blackbelt graduates and LSI coaches and support staff. With such a large crowd, TCC had to open up four rooms to create the warm and Christmas-themed atmosphere.

A stranger looking in from the outside would have thought he was intruding on a room full of close friends- such was the air of familiarity. The high energy and warmth is characteristic of lean-champions-in-arms. Many have either experienced what transformations 'lean' can have on one's outlook or are eager to embark on this journey.

6:15 Perhaps an unusual start-time for a party. But we pride ourselves on being different. To be fair, we did not start precisely on time. A certain time-keeper (whose value has been under appreciated thus far) could not attend.

6:30 A welcome 'non-speech' from our gracious host David (pictured on the right) and his associate MC- Alicia (pictured above), Master Blackbelt Candidate, who as such, meant that she was at "David's mercy for the whole week".

All three Master Blackbelt Candidates: Jeff, Janka and Alicia (pictured above) facilitated an icebreaker to get the party started. All 75 attendees had three minutes to organize themselves in groups by month of birth, "and if I count thirteen groups I will be concerned," Janka exclaimed. There may not have been thirteen groups, but there was a January group with only one member- our very own Lynn Osler! Quite unusual- I wonder if Malcolm Gladwell would have anything to say about this outlier?
Shortly after....

A six table 'buffet' which was closer to a four-star six-course dinner (even better because you didn't have to settle for one item with each course).

For the 'gourmands': I suggest pacing yourself! starting with soup- following with cold cuts, pate, salmon terrine or seafood cocktail. Next, the entree- prime rib, turkey, steak and salmon with all of the usual delectable accompaniments. By this time everyone had to be stuffed- but as our mother always told us.... Let's have some salad to cleanse the palate: penne and blue cheese, tomato and bocconcini, seasoned zucchini and mixed greens to name a few. As the Japanese proved with tiny cameras- there's always room for dessert- so that wasn't an issue: crème caramel, traditional rum raisin, chocolate mousse, mini tarts -all complement a warm cup of coffee- just in time for the comedy show!

7:30 In true perfectionist fashion- David scoured the improv. troupe in Granville Island for an entire week. At the end of that week, a select three were entrusted to perform at our Christmas Party. This trio did not disappoint and had the crowd roaring with laughter- incorporating 'lean' jargon, company attendees and involving the audience. Some of the more notable acts involved our clients 'marionetting' the actors, improbably guessing the audience's choice words: Nun chucks Uni-cycling in Iraq and four different versions of the same scene. The setup: a normal Christmas morning with a child opening a gift only to find the batteries are missing! Then, reenacted in Mexico, as a horror/zombie flick and most appropriately -in Japan. At which point this version's mother exclaims, "no batteries? But this is Japan, we do everything efficiently here...!"

8:30 David previews LSI's new promotional video. Our latest Greenbelt and Blackbelt guests were pleasantly surprised to see themselves represented as fresh students- a mere three months ago.

And, at the expense of our dignity we all got to see unflattering photos of LSI Support and Coaches either mounted on stickfigures with afros dancing and doing the splits or as penguins rocking out on thin ice. These videos (don't ask me how David found the time) were compiled with that neat tool-jibjabs  which has been a source of much amusement here at our headquarters.

9ish Hilda and David's generosity was evident by the long row of gift baskets meant for the draw. Conscious of the late hour and long day for our clients, we sped through the names- randomly picking them out from Santa's hat.

Our grand prize was an IPad 2- which Michael had the good fortune to win- dashing many of our hopes. He, jokingly (I hope), claimed it would make a great 'regift' at which point his boss, Jeff, said, "Thank You!"

Although there were only 30 lucky winners, no one left empty-handed.

At the exit, we were there to offer them a beautifully crafted box of Belgian chocolate and bid them, "Merry Christmas and Good Night!"

And to the rest of you reading this...Please join us next year!

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