She may look like a mild-mannered application analyst, but peer into Claudia’s background and you’ll see a host of oddities. Working as a massage therapist? Done it. Decades of performing as a musician at Renaissance festivals? Check. A short stint as a veterinary assistant? Mark that one, too. This varied life experience Claudia has collected thus far has taught her an appreciation for the unusual and unexpected, and sharpened her skills at communicating with all sorts of people in all sorts of situations. At Susquehanna, Claudia uses her communication skills to help employees using the bank’s core computer systems. Claudia is also mother to two young children, who keep her on her toes and laughing every day. They have proven to be the toughest challenge for her communication skills, but also the most rewarding and fun!

More Posts by Claudia:

Going paperless: Is it the right fit for you?

PaperlessAs I began taking notes for this article with a pen, on a legal pad, I savored the delicious irony of my actions – since the topic is “going paperless.” There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about going paperless. Many companies, driven by a desire to save money and be more environmentally responsible, have attempted the transition to a paperless workplace. Perhaps you’ve considered doing the same thing at home. You’ve signed up for paperless statements with your bank and credit card companies and are pleased with the reduction in physical mail you have to sort through and the accessibility of the information. But, is a truly paperless home right for you? Continue Reading »

Break your New Year's resolution yet? Here are tips to get you back on track

resolutionsLast summer my boyfriend moved in with me.  He’s a great cook.  And I love to bake when I’m happy.  So, as they say, I got fat and happy once we started sharing a home. I have been hemming and hawing about this for a while, halfheartedly making a New Year’s Resolution to address the issue.  Then I got invited to a wedding, in May, in Florida.  And I discovered that nothing lights a fire under me to get in shape like an invitation to a wedding, in May, in Florida. With three months to make a change, I knew I needed some accountability, stat.  So I turned to a tracking website my friends have used, with success.  Called, it’s free of charge and easy to use. I entered my current weight and target weight, and the site calculated how many pounds I need to lose per week to achieve that goal in a reasonable amount of time.  Even that first step felt like an accomplishment, because it gave specificity to an otherwise amorphous goal. Continue Reading »

Elaborate collections often elicit fascinating stories

kitchen-utensilsDo you know someone who has a beloved collection?  Perhaps it started with a gift from a loved one and blossomed from there.  Or maybe a hobby led to more and more of a particular item taking up residence in the home, like baseball cards or rock band posters. Collectors are a fascinating bunch of people, and their stories vary greatly. I asked some co-workers of mine about their collections, and got such a variety of answers! Sports memorabilia, ceramic turtles, as well as teddy bears, antique sewing implements and kitchen utensils, and even metal flashlights from the early 20th century.  Alicia added her own twist, claiming her genealogy hobby is an ancestor collection!  Continue Reading »

How a bowl of soup can teach us all a lesson in generosity

soupDo you know the tale of Stone Soup?  It’s a wonderful fable of how those who are seemingly poor can pool their resources and help to take care of one another. The story goes like this: Three weary, starving travelers come upon a village and ask for food.  The people of the village, wary of strangers and unwilling to share what little they have, tell them they have nothing to give.  So the travelers promise to share a secret recipe for making soup from stones. They put a pot over a fire, and lay in three smooth stones and some water.  Little by little they mention ingredients that would help make the soup perfect, and one-by-one the villagers “recall” something they have that could add to the pot.  By story’s end, they’ve all contributed to a hearty meal, and the villagers have learned a valuable lesson of generosity. Continue Reading »

Smartphones have made life easier, but at what cost?

silhouettesCell phones. What is your reaction to those two words? Do you smile and give your smartphone a loving pat for keeping you in touch and entertained during your every waking moment?  Do you eye your flip phone warily, wishing the expectation of constant reachability were not the new norm?  Or do you throw your hands up in despair, bemoaning the bad manners of most of the cell phone users you encounter every day? As of January 2014, the Pew Research Center reports that 90 percent of Americans own a cell phone, and 57 percent of them have a smart phone.  These hundreds of millions of people use their phones for everything from basic calls and texts to surfing the web, checking stocks, and playing games. Continue Reading »

Technology has made it easier to track your fitness goals - if you use it

[caption id="attachment_3694" align="alignright" width="300"]Technology has replaced this method of tracking your workouts and fitness goals. Technology has replaced this method of tracking your workouts and fitness goals.[/caption] It’s June. New Year’s resolutions are a thing of the past, yet bathing suit season hovers on the horizon like a mirage on hot blacktop. You may be looking in your closet wondering how this happened, yet again, and wishing there was something to keep you motivated through the winter doldrums. Because one of the biggest challenges to any fitness regimen is staying motivated, wearable fitness devices have become increasingly popular. There are many varieties, but in general, they all track your biometric data and keep you honest about the miles you’re logging and the calories you’re consuming and burning. These little gadgets (and most of them are quite diminutive) are becoming more advanced all the time. Gone are the days of the portable tape or CD player, that one- trick pony that played back music and nothing more. Today we have mp3 players that sync to your sneakers to track your miles and your pace, and bracelets that treat your activity tracking like a real-life video game, with indicator lights flashing as you progress toward your daily goals. Continue Reading »

Susquehanna employees explain lessons learned from first jobs

first job blog photoSpring is in the air, which means summer is fast on its heels.  And for many teenagers, summer means their first foray into the world of work. In the short term, they are probably most excited about having their own income, independent of allowance or money earned for chores or as birthday gifts.  In the long term, though, the benefits are less tangible, and longer lasting. My co-workers at Susquehanna were happy to share the lessons they learned from early employment, whether it was taking surveys on the phone or waitressing.  Many of those lessons involved the importance of giving good customer service, no matter what.  Continue Reading »

In Tough Times, a Strong Support System Can See You Through

Rear View of Group of Friends HuggingRecently I had the chance to celebrate with some close friends as they overcame a string of challenges in their lives.  This got me thinking about how I cope with stressful and difficult times in my life.  There’s comfort food, of course, but sometimes the rough patch is more than a big bowl of ice cream can combat.  So what to do?  Turn to your friends! Continue Reading »

Embrace these cold weather comfort foods, but with an eye on healthy eating

SONY DSCIf you’re reading this from within the mid-Atlantic region, you’ve probably shivered through a cold snap in the past few weeks.  In the midst of that deep freeze, I polled my colleagues for their favorite cold-weather comfort foods, to find out what recipes they turn to when there’s a serious chill in the air.  And boy, did they deliver, speaking in sometimes passionate tones about their favorite winter dishes. Classics like tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches were celebrated, as well as baked macaroni and cheese, and lasagna.  Some were a bit quirky – Brenda makes cornbread and beans when she gets homesick for West Virginia, and me, I order spicy Thai lemongrass soup when nothing else will warm me up.  Alyssa likes to whip up breakfast for dinner, and Sara swears by her family’s tradition of hot chocolate and buttered toast. Numerous people mentioned the comfort of a simmering pot of homemade soup on the stove, whether it is Kate’s scrumptious-sounding sausage and tortellini concoction, or the delicious (and practical!) ham and potato soup Adam makes, using leftovers from Christmas.   Then there’s chili made with four pounds of meat – Lori’s family doesn’t mess around. Continue Reading »

Balancing act: Find your happy place during the busy holiday season

holiday stress blogThree French hens, two turtle doves, and a headache as big as the moon!  Is this how you feel when thinking about the impending holiday season? A common complaint about the holiday season is that there is just so much to do: Responding to party invitations, writing cards, visits with family and school events.  The upcoming weeks can be a time of magic, or a time of panic and stress.  Finding a balance between what we have to do and what we want to do can be a real challenge. In talking with friends and observing general comments about this balance, I have reached one conclusion:  The most important step in achieving a balance is recognizing what is within your power to control!  Once you identify what those things are, then you can determine how to change them, and take steps to do so.  The extra pressures of the holidays make this all-the-more important, so I have some helpful tips. Continue Reading »

November is National Adoption Month: For those considering adoption, help may be available

iStock_000022194839XSmallWhat do actress Melissa Gilbert of Little House on the Prairie fame and Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas have in common?  They were both adopted.    So was figure skater Scott Hamilton, as well as Apple founder Steve Jobs.   You probably know someone who was adopted, even if you aren’t aware of it. You may also not be aware that November is National Adoption Month.  It started in 1976 as Adoption Week, established by the  Massachusetts governor as a way to highlight the need for adoptive families for children in foster care.   In 1984, the first National Adoption Week was declared, and in 1995, November was declared National Adoption Month. Continue Reading »

Eat Better, Eat Together: A great idea for October and every month

Multi Generation Family Enjoying Meal At Home In this blog, we often write about unique holidays or commemorative months. Some can be frivolous and fun, some educational and others philanthropic in nature. October is home to one I think is really special, and one we can all benefit from – National Eat Better, Eat Together Month. We all know the drill – if you have kids, changing gears from the relative leisure of summertime to a packed fall schedule can be overwhelming. Sports, scouting, music lessons and homework all clamor for attention and time. It’s easy to feel like we’re on an out-of-control carnival ride, zooming past home and family time on the way to the next activity, and grabbing snacks on the run. But this month we’re reminded of the pleasure and value of dining as a family. Continue Reading »

Umbrellas for shoes, noodle coolers, dust mop onesies and other quirky inventions through time

iStock_000020669427SmallHere’s a little-known October anniversary in which bean-counters and number-crunchers everywhere may find worth celebrating: The first patent was issued to Dorr Eugene Felt for an adding machine – an ancestor of the modern day calculator – on Oct. 11, 1887. The original model was made out of a macaroni box and meat skewers! Known then as a comptometer, the device was revolutionary in that it did not require hand-cranking, which increased the accuracy of the computations.  Over the years, Felt made numerous improvements to the design, never tiring in his quest to create the ideal device for performing repetitive calculations.  This milestone in history inspired me to discover more about modern-day inventions. Continue Reading »

Throwback Thursday: Do these One-Hit Wonders Strike a Chord in your Memory?

One hit wonder photoAs Sept. 25 is designated One-Hit Wonder Day, this throwback Thursday seemed like a great time to celebrate some of the many well-loved songs that achieved Billboard Top 40 status only once. No matter what style of music gets your toes tapping, it seems many of us have a soft spot for that special breed of artist known as the one-hit wonder.  I asked my co-workers to name some of their favorites – their responses span a multitude of styles and decades.  Continue Reading »

Take a Hike! No, seriously, on these trails

hiking blog photoAn explosion of color on the trees, crisp morning air and flocks of migrating birds: All herald the arrival of autumn in the Mid-Atlantic.  What better way to celebrate the changing seasons than by communing with nature? Susquehanna’s footprint (and the surrounding areas) offers some of the most picturesque hiking trails in the country; below is a sampling  of  opportunities for low-cost exercise and enjoyment available in your own backyard! Continue Reading »

Financial should-haves and could-haves: What are yours?

Financial Should Haves blog postI should have… If only I would have… Why did I EVER…? Do you find yourself looking at your savings account, 401(k) balance, checkbook and wonder where your paycheck went and what happened to your nest egg? Continue Reading »

How Long Can You Go Without ...? Take 'Financial Dare' and Watch Savings Add Up

© lisa marzano 2007Remember playing Truth or Dare as a kid?  Sure, we all do.  Well, what if I asked you to play right now – financially?   Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you take a big financial risk (or tell us a deep dark secret); I’m talking about challenging yourself to be a little more frugal. I asked my co-workers recently what their favorite little splurges are, and how long they think they could go without them.  The answers I got were pretty compelling.   Continue Reading »

Finding an Activity You Enjoy Can Help You Reach Your Fitness, Wellness Goals

sportGetting healthy, staying healthy – these topics are all the rage these days.  We talk about them endlessly,  in part, because we can’t help but hope to find a silver bullet, a quick way to fix a problem that was years in the making – being overweight and/or stuck in some unhealthy habits. For me, it took years to undo those habits, but I feel like I have accomplished that goal.  I still have some distance to cover toward my weight loss goal, but when I look at my activity level now versus a few years ago, as well as my eating choices, I know I have come a long way. Continue Reading »

Volunteering: A Win-Win Proposition

volunteeringblogphotoDoes your 2013 to-do list include any of these: Make new friends? Learn new skills? Expand professional network? Help others in the community? If so, you are a great candidate for volunteering!  Since April is National Volunteer Month, it’s a perfect time to think about getting involved. Continue Reading »

Common Courtesy: ‘Paying it forward’ can cause chain reaction of kindness

Holding the DoorI often hear people say that common courtesy has become all too uncommon.   As March 21 is National Common Courtesy Day, it seems the ideal time to reflect on what it is exactly, and why we ought to try harder to practice it more.  As a starting point, I found a great definition of common courtesy from writer and consultant Tim Bryce: “Common courtesy represents a genuine respect for the human spirit and how we should interact.”  Continue Reading »

The Cost of Love on Four Feet

Price of Pet PicValentine’s Day is upon us, and while many will focus on our romantic endeavors this time of year, there’s another kind of love to ruminate on – the unconditional love of a pet.  As a pet owner who just last month had to say goodbye to my beloved old dog, I can attest to the joy an animal can bring, but also to the cost of opening your home to one.  Over his fourteen years of life, Gabe went to the vet a few dozen times, was kenneled twice, cared for by in-house sitters on numerous occasions, and of course ate his way through countless bags of dog food and treats.  I never regretted my decision to take in that silly little puppy someone found on the side of the road, but I did have to adjust my budget to make room for him.  Continue Reading »

A Gift You Can Keep On Giving

Oh, the holidays - the twinkling lights, warm cider, office parties, long lines at the post office – these are part of our traditions.  But there’s another one, a more sinister holiday theme that persists year after year- the Bad Gift.  Maybe your Aunt Matilda just can’t remember that your sweater size isn’t what it was when you were 12.  Or your neighbor Frank is so proud of his unusual crocheting skills, he foists a lopsided tea cozy on you in the worst color combinations imaginable, every year.  You awkwardly accept, express your gratitude for their kindness…and wonder what the HECK you are going to do with this thing? Continue Reading »

Focus on Financial Literacy for National Young Readers Week

Do you know that November 12th is the start of National Young Readers Week?  Susquehanna is dedicated to furthering the cause of literacy, and does so through its Mind Your Pennies events.  Mind Your Pennies is an interactive story time Susquehanna offers to local libraries over the summer months.  The program’s goal is to begin teaching young children about saving, while also encouraging reading as a healthy habit.  In honor of National Young Readers Week, which promotes literacy and a love of reading in elementary-age kids, I recently took some of the selections home for a test drive with my own young children. Continue Reading »