Law Firm CIO Uses Organizational Skills to Manage Thanksgiving

Law Firm CIO Uses Organizational Skills to Manage Thanksgiving

Linda Horgan invites 40 for Thanksgiving Dinner!

The best way to handle any project, large or small, is with systems. checklists  and delegation. Linda Horgan, a chief information officer for a major law firm, takes this one step further: she uses Excel to manage Thanksgiving dinner for 40.

Over the past half-decade or so, her answer to the logistical  challenges of this national holiday has been to double down. She used to welcome about 20 people into her home. This year the count will tip closer to 39. They’re coming from other parts of Long Island, from New Hampshire, from Colorado — immediate family, extended family, friends.

There are lessons to be learned from an organizational master like Linda Horgan, 

“I use Excel to manage this thing,” she said. “And it has doubled in the last four years. So I’m kind of nervous about the next four years. Does that mean I’m going to have 80 people?”

Invitations to this celebration are sent in September. 

Ms. Horgan makes 2 whole turkeys, as well as 2 turkey breasts. Guests bring food as well — broccoli casserole, crab dip, a Polish dish of cucumbers in sour cream, baked Brie, sweet potatoes, various pies. Ms. Horgan assigns the tasks, stuffs and cooks the birds, makes the dressing, prepares four of the appetizers, bakes a cheesecake. She sets up the bar, rents the tables and chairs, sets the tables, stacks the china, polishes the silver, arranges the dessert buffet.

“If you come, you’re going to be a participant,” she said. “You’re not really a guest.” Some cook. Some clean. Some entertain. A hootenanny gets rolling after dinner, at around 8:30, in a room that is cleared out for music and sleight of hand. An annual highlight comes courtesy of a cousin named Paul, whom Ms. Horgan refers to as “the belligerent magician.”

Linda Horgan is a person who takes charge and her advice is for others to do the same. She says to “Stop. Embrace it”.

Ms. Horgan is my new organizing hero and I intend to take a few lessons from her. First, though, I need to brush up on my Excel skills!
 Source: New York Times