Gratitude Beyond the Feast: Reflecting on Thanksgiving Blessings

Gratitude Beyond the Feast: Reflecting on Thanksgiving Blessings
Gratitude Beyond the Feast: Reflecting on Thanksgiving Blessings
Written by Lodestar Solutions Team Members, November 2023

Heather Cole

As the season of gratitude approaches, I find myself reflecting on the abundance of blessings that have enriched my life throughout the year. Foremost among them is my incredible support team, a mosaic of love, encouragement, and inspiration. My heartfelt gratitude extends to my husband, cherished family members, steadfast friends, and invaluable colleagues at Lodestar Solutions and Heatherized.

Pine Marten

This year has been marked by the joy of shared moments with loved ones, as friends and family gathered in various locations to revel in the beauty of nature. From encounters with Morrie the moose to the peculiar pine marten that resembled a charming blend of raccoon, fox, and squirrel, we found solace, inspiration, and the space to challenge each other creatively.

What I treasure most about my support network is their unwavering spirit of growth. Friends, family, and team members alike embody a relentless pursuit of improvement, challenging not only me but the status quo itself. Their belief in finding a better way serves as a constant reminder to seek innovation and push boundaries.

Beyond the human connections that grace my life, I find immense gratitude for the role of artificial intelligence (AI). This transformative technology has liberated precious time that would otherwise be consumed by tasks like crafting blogs, marketing content, and persuasive emails. The efficiency brought by AI empowers us to focus on serving clients, elevating the skills of analytic professionals, and delivering heightened value to our respective enterprises.


In the tapestry of gratitude, there is a special thread reserved for my steadfast companion, Ozzie, my 13-and-a-half-year-old golden retriever. His enduring presence, marked by slow but cherished walks, serves as a poignant reminder to appreciate each day with the old man Oz. 

As we gather around tables laden with the warmth of Thanksgiving feasts, let us carry this spirit of gratitude into the coming year. May the blessings of companionship, innovation, and the simple joys of life illuminate our paths. Wishing you all a fabulous Thanksgiving and a year ahead filled with endless possibilities in 2024.

Mike Bernaiche

It is that time of the year when we talk about what we are thankful for.  But as I sit to write this, maybe we should be talking about what we are thankful for all year long, not just the week of Thanksgiving.  In this crazy world filled with war, hate, and uncertainty, maybe expressing our thanks more often will give us that warm feeling that you get during this week.  I’m going to commit to giving thanks each day.  Will you join with me in this endeavor?

Since we are writing this blog, I will provide all the things I’m thankful for.  I’m thankful for the God I serve and his grace and forgiveness.  The thanks I have for my wife has no limits.  Our kids have all grown and with that comes change in the house.  We are navigating these changes together and have grown stronger than ever.  Speaking of my kids, I’m so very proud and thankful for them.  They continue to grow into incredible young adults with amazing hearts. 

I’m thankful for all our family.  As our parents get older you realize that you should savor each moment with them.  I’m thankful for our friends many of which we play softball with.  It is so much fun and such a great time playing with them throughout the year.

I’m blessed by our clients and business partners.  Without all of you, I wouldn’t find the joy in what I do.  I really appreciate my coworkers and Heather Cole.  Working in an environment like this provides such peace in my work life.

I hope you will join me in this season of reflection to give thanks today but in every day of the year.  Thank you for a great year and I pray you have an amazing holiday season.

Christina Vandeveer

“Thankfulness is the quickest path to joy.” – Jefferson Bethke

Finding joy in our world sometimes can be a discipline. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of work, meeting deadlines, and hitting sales quotas. Or maybe it’s family, kids’ sports schedules, extra-curricular commitments. All of these are good things, but it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in our to-do lists that we forget to find the joy in what we are doing. I’m not sure who first penned this quote, but I’ve heard it said many times that if the devil can’t make you bad, he will make you busy!

This November I’ve been trying to share something I’m thankful for each day as a way to remind myself of all I truly have to appreciate in my life. God is such a faithful God, and his abundance of goodness in my life is so evident to me.

I am so thankful for my church family. As seasons of life change, friends can come and go. But my church family has always been there. I’m thankful God has provided me with such supportive people in my life.

Christina Vandeveer

I’m thankful for my three boys, Lucas (6), Cooper (5), and Hunter (2). They definitely keep me on my toes! They are so busy, and each with their own different personalities. They will go from driving me absolutely crazy one minute, to making my mom heart well up with tears as they sing worship songs the next. My life was so dull with out them! I am so thankful to be their mom.

I’m thankful for my husband of 9 ½ years, Richard. He works so hard for us and at the same time supports me and makes sure that I have the time I need for me. When I told him I wanted to start a side gig, he was in full support! Even if that means it takes up more time. He sees me for who I am, supports my need to always want to be busy, and yet helps me slow down when I need to. God sure gave me the right partner!

2023 has been a busy year and a year of growth. I am hoping to carry this practice of thankfulness into 2024. I have big goals, and I know if I only focus on what is left to be done, not all that has been accomplished, and my blessings, then those goals will feel unreachable.

6 Myths About Working with a Boutique IBM Partner, Like Lodestar Solutions

6 Myths About Working with a Boutique IBM Partner, Like Lodestar Solutions
6 Myths About Working with a Boutique IBM Partner, Like Lodestar Solutions
Written by Mike Bernaiche, August 10th, 2023

In a world where big names often dominate the business landscape, boutique IBM reselling firms offer a refreshing and highly effective alternative.  A boutique firm like Lodestar Solutions may be smaller in size, but its uniqueness lies in its personalized approach and specialized expertise.  We believe our boutique size and laser focus on IBM analytic solutions is a key to why Lodestar Solutions has been so successful in implementing IBM analytics solutions and elevating clients’ soft skills for over 19 years.

Lodestar Solutions - Offering a Better Way with Analytics

As a boutique IBM gold partner, Lodestar Solutions is often asked, why should we work with you for our IBM analytics needs? Wouldn’t we be better off working with a large firm or IBM directly?  Today we will share the 6 myths that you may believe when checking out a boutique firm and the reasons why you should embrace a boutique partner like Lodestar Solutions for your IBM Analytics software, support, training, and consulting needs.

Myth 1:  It Costs More to Buy from a Boutique IBM Reseller Instead of a Big Firm

Choosing a boutique IBM reseller like Lodestar Solutions does not incur higher costs compared to larger firms.  Our boutique approach offers competitive pricing, and we prioritize empowering your team with self-sufficiency.  We embrace the 'teach a man to fish' principle by educating your team, and additionally, we provide exclusive benefits such as quarterly client-only virtual user groups and membership in our Analytic Success Klub (ASK).  This commitment translates to substantial cost savings for our clients.

Learn more about our Analytic Success Klub which is free to Lodestar Solutions’ clients.

Myth 2: Working with Our Existing IBM Partner is Better for Us

Exploring new partnerships, such as collaborating with Lodestar Solutions, can bring significant advantages to clients.  Our objective is not to replace your current partner, but rather to enhance their services with our distinct offerings.  For instance, some partners might overlook discussions about new licensing options during support renewals, or they might not ensure seamless system upgrades to prevent audit issues.  At Lodestar Solutions, we prioritize your success.  Our commitment to excellence means we can seamlessly complement the services provided by your existing partner, ensuring a comprehensive and proactive approach to your needs.

Myth 3: I am Better off Working Directly with IBM

Choosing to partner with a boutique firm like Lodestar Solutions offers distinct advantages over a direct engagement with IBM.  Our collaboration with IBM remains strong, ensuring that you don't sever your connection with the company.  In fact, our close relationship empowers us to deliver exceptional support, harnessing the combined strengths of both direct IBM resources and our specialized assistance.  Surprisingly, IBM's business model encourages midmarket companies to work with Partners, not directly with IBM.

Clients cherish working with Lodestar because of the stability we offer; our staff turnover and account transitions are notably lower than those experienced with IBM.  Some clients have been with us for an impressive 19 years.  Unlike the vast expanse of IBM, where each client interacts with multiple representatives for different aspects – be it software sales, renewals, or services – Lodestar Solutions provides comprehensive expertise solely in IBM Analytic Solutions.  Our team is well-versed in support renewals, upgrades, training options, software consulting, and more.

While our core focus is on IBM Analytics, we extend beyond by offering programs to develop the essential soft skills vital for success in analytic solutions.  Our exclusive initiatives include the Analytics Success Klub, Requirements Discovery Workshops, Internal Demoing skills, and the highly sought-after Software Upgrade Bundles.  Partnering with Lodestar Solutions ensures not only specialized support but also a comprehensive approach to enhancing your analytic journey.

Analytics Success Bootcamp

Myth 4: I Will Not Have Good Enough Service Coverage from the Boutique

Collaborating with a boutique firm like Lodestar Solutions opens the door to a wealth of resources, ensuring you benefit from the most comprehensive coverage possible.  Despite our compact size, our access to top-tier resources is vast.  Lodestar has forged strategic partnerships with fellow boutique IBM Analytic implementers across the globe.  Unlike merely assigning available personnel to your project, we prioritize a deep understanding of your business, objectives, and timelines. This approach enables us to match you with the absolute best resource available, often consultants with profound industry insights to expedite your success.

Our commitment extends to addressing every facet of your IBM Analytics needs, guaranteeing meticulous and dedicated support.  We recognize that each client's situation is distinct, and our services are meticulously tailored to accommodate your unique requirements. Designed to evolve alongside your growth, our services cater to entities of all sizes, be it a small business or a large enterprise.  Our adaptive methodology ensures consistent, personalized attention and unwavering support quality.

The advantage of our boutique scale becomes evident in our responsiveness.  Our expert team is at your immediate disposal, translating to prompter response times and swift solutions to any challenges that arise.  Typically, our response time falls within 24-48 hours, often even quicker. Partnering with Lodestar Solutions equips you with a powerhouse of expertise and a rapid, tailored approach that prioritizes your success.

Myth 5: A Boutique IBM Reseller’s Resources Aren’t As Good

Boutique firms like Lodestar Solutions often stand out with superior resources compared to larger entities.  Our certified professionals possess profound expertise in IBM Analytics, having undergone the same rigorous certification courses and exams as IBM itself.  The key difference lies in the extensive experience many of our resources bring – often spanning over 20 years with IBM Analytics solutions.

Lodestar's mission, to 'Elevate Analytics and the People that Deliver them,' is at the core of our approach.  Beyond educating your team on IBM Analytics solutions, we go a step further by enhancing your team's soft skills.  Our commitment goes beyond simply placing an available individual on your project; we form a partnership to comprehensively understand your needs.  Then, we strategically assign the ideal resource based on their knowledge, experience, and personality, ensuring a harmonious fit that maximizes project success."

Myth 6: Changing Partners is Scary & Painful

Making the move to partner with Lodestar Solutions doesn't have to be a source of worry or stress.  We understand that change can be unsettling, but our dedicated team is here to guide you through the transition process seamlessly.  Whether you're considering enhancing your current partnership or seeking a new one, we prioritize a smooth changeover that minimizes disruptions to your operations.

In light of recent shifts in the IBM partner landscape, many firms are adjusting their focus.  However, at Lodestar Solutions, our unwavering dedication remains with IBM Analytics and the people who drive its success.  Our unique focus and commitment provide us with direct access to IBM executives and top-tier talent.

Reach out to us today to start a conversation about your challenges.  Let's explore how we can collaborate to deliver swifter and more cost-effective analytics solutions, all while ensuring a stress-free transition process.

Additional Benefits:

In addition to our core services, our extras, such as quarterly user group meetings, ASK training, and license review, offer unique opportunities for skill-building, networking, and ensuring compliance.  These benefits directly contribute to your long-term success.  We firmly believe that in the analytic world, it is people, processes, and tools – in that order!  Our unique programs level up people, and improve processes, resulting in better end-user adoption of tools and happier, better-equipped employees that bring success to your organization. 


In conclusion, the journey with a boutique partner, exemplified by Lodestar Solutions, unfolds as an expedition into a world of unparalleled advantages.  Our distinct methods, customized solutions, and attentive care cultivate an environment ripe for achievement.  If you're in pursuit of a partnership that harmonizes expertise, innovation, and an authentic dedication to your triumph, I urge you to contemplate the transformative journey with Lodestar Solutions.  Together, we stand poised to chart a course toward excellence, scaling remarkable summits in the realm of analytics.  Don't hesitate to connect with us at or, and let's embark on this enriching adventure together.

Below are a few of our recently written blogs and demos for you to check out. 

Unleashing Analytic Leaders - A Recap of Lodestar Solutions' Business Analytic Success Bootcamp

Unlocking the Full Potential of IBM Subscription and Support for Cognos and Planning Analytics: X, Y, and Z Parts Explained

Cognos Analytics 12 Demo

Heather L. Cole Embarks on a Podcasting Journey: Seeking Engaging Conversations and Thought-Provoking Insights

Heather L. Cole Podcast
Heather L. Cole Podcast
Written by Heather L. Cole, July 13th, 2023


In the ever-evolving landscape of data analytics, one name stands out as a beacon of knowledge and expertise: Heather L. Cole.  With her unrivaled experience, diverse skill set, and profound passion for driving positive change, Heather is now venturing into the realm of podcasting.  But before she dives right in, she is actively seeking opportunities to be a guest on other podcasts.  In this blog post, we will delve into Heather's remarkable background, her areas of expertise, and her upcoming podcasting endeavors.

Heather L. Cole's Biography and Expertise

Heather L. Cole is a highly sought-after expert and thought leader in the field of data analytics.  With over 30 years of experience in data analytics and finance as well as 19 years as the owner and developer of a successful software reseller and implementation firm, Heather's expertise is unparalleled.  As a lawyer, scrum master, certified high-performance coach, and captivating speaker, Heather brings a diverse skill set to her work.  Her purpose is clear: to elevate the use of data analytics and the people who deliver them, driving positive change in the world.  As the founder of Lodestar Solutions and Heatherized, Inc., she leverages her multidisciplinary knowledge to empower businesses and individuals to succeed in the data revolution.

High Performance Coach

Previous Appearances:

Here are a couple of samples of Heather presenting if you missed them before.

Topics Heather L. Cole Is Qualified to Speak On

Heather's vast expertise spans numerous topics within the realm of data analytics, budgeting and forecasting, leadership, and personal development.  Here are just a few areas in which she excels:

Business Intelligence Bull's-eye by Heather L. Cole
  1. Socializing the Nerds: Bridging the Gap between Tech Experts and Non-Technical Professionals
  2. Analytic Leadership, Developing a Data-Driven Culture: Challenges and Strategies
  3. How to Increase End User Adoption of Analytics Solutions, Unlocking Innovation and Collaboration
  4. From Strategy to Execution, Aligning Analytics with Organizational Goals to Drive Business Value
  5. Tech Talk with a Twist: Women's Perspectives on Innovation and Disruption with Analytics
  6. Ethical Considerations in AI Adoption: Implications for Finance and IT
  7. AI-Powered Growth Strategies: How CEOs & CFOs Can Drive Transformation and Gain a Competitive Edge
  8. The Power of High-Performance Executive Coaching: Unlocking Your Full Potential
  9. Financial Planning and Budgeting: Best Practices for Driving Growth and Profitability
  10. Influence, Persuasion, and Negotiation: Essential Skills for Business Leaders
  11. Empowering Women in Leadership: Overcoming Challenges and Driving Success
  12. The Future of Data Analytics: Trends, AI, and Innovations Shaping the Industry
  13. Balancing Work and Life: Tips for Busy Executives to Achieve Personal Well-being and Success
  14. What Every Executive Should Know about Buying and Negotiating Software Purchases
  15. Overcoming the Loneliness and Stress of Being the CEO

Heather's captivating insights and dynamic speaking style make her an ideal guest and collaborator for podcast hosts aiming to explore the limitless potential of data analytics and its impact on the world.

Call to Action:

If you host a podcast or know of one that would benefit from Heather L. Cole's expertise, we invite you to contact us at  Heather is eager to engage in insightful conversations and share her transformative insights with a wider audience.  By featuring Heather as a guest on your podcast, you'll provide your listeners with a unique and valuable perspective on the world of data analytics, leadership, and personal development.


Heather L. Cole's journey into podcasting marks an exciting chapter in her illustrious career.  With her exceptional expertise, impressive track record, and genuine commitment to making a difference, Heather is an inspiring figure that executives and podcasters are eager to engage with.  Her insights, speaking style, and coaching approach have impacted countless lives worldwide.  As Heather embarks on this podcasting adventure, her desire to share knowledge, inspire change, and explore the future of data analytics is set to captivate audiences in new and exciting ways.  Stay tuned for the upcoming episodes and prepare to be enlightened by Heather L. Cole's podcasting endeavors. 

For more information click here!  

Why Upgrade Planning Analytics?

Why Upgrade Planning Analytics
Why Upgrade Planning Analytics
Written by Heather L. Cole, May 18th, 2023

Are you challenged to get the funding or resources to upgrade your IBM Planning Analytics?  Maybe your team is too busy just keeping their heads above water with all the requested changes to your Planning or Budgeting models.  Maybe IT says it’s not a priority… Today I’ll share 3 talking points to help you make upgrading a priority.

1. Lack of Support for outdated Versions -

The most important reason for upgrading your IBM Planning Analytic software with the latest version is that older versions are not supported by IBM.  Like all software companies IBM only supports a specific number of versions.  At some point they will announce that a version will be sunset which means they will no longer offer support for the old version.  What this means is if you have an issue like the Log4G issue that presented itself in Dec 2021, they may require you to upgrade to resolve the issue or security risk. 

You may be thinking, but we haven’t had to log a support ticket with IBM in years.  What we find is disaster strikes, not because Planning Analytics had a bug, but rather because a client upgrades their SQL or other 3rd party software, and it breaks the connect with the old version of Planning Analytics. 

Imagine this… You are in the middle of your budget cycle and Microsoft updates their software.  But the new Microsoft update is not compatible with your version of IBM Planning Analytics and suddenly your Planning software is not working.  End users start calling and emailing.  After a little investigation you log a support case with IBM.  Then you get the news, that the update from Microsoft is not compatible with your version of IBM Planning Analytics but since you are on an old unsupported version, IBM will not create the patch, and you must upgrade.  All this in the middle of a budget cycle.  How stressed would you feel?  What would you do? 

Well, this has happened to a client.  The client was extremely stressed because the CEO, was apprised of the situation.  They called Lodestar Solutions, in a panic.  We were able to restore them to where they were before the update, but you could feel the panic.

Another client had the SSL Certificate expire 3 days before their budget cycle.

So, it happens, but you don’t want it to happen to you.  So, if you are on an old version, reach out to us at  and let’s discuss your plan.

In order to see if you are on an old version of IBM Planning Analytics check out this link.

2. New Functionality will save you time!

Another reason you should upgrade your IBM Planning Analytics is that they are always releasing new functionality.  IBM continuously adds functionality to the software.  The functionality is based on what clients are asking for, so the enhancements are often game changing.  But here’s the thing, if you don’t take time to learn what’s new you will continue to use the software the way you always have.

Imagine trading in your 2010 car and never using the auto breaking, blue tooth or airplay that comes with a modern car, because you didn’t bother to ask about the new functionality.  Well, with software it happens more than we would like to admit.  Clients upgrade and they never stop to explore the new features.  But there is a simple resolution.  Email and we can discuss all the cool new stuff and share how our clients utilized the functionality.   Here’s the link to a previous blog on the new functionality.

3. Keep Talented Team Members

Would you mow you ½ acre lawn with a weed eater?  Probably not.  You would want the right tool, a lawn mower for the task.  Well top talent is the same way.  Top analytics performers want the latest tools to perform their jobs.  Keeping updated IBM Planning Analytics software and investing in their growth and learning will help you attract talent, keep it, and win the analytics race.

Call to Action

So, what are you waiting for?  Take the first step.  Open your IBM Planning Analytics and check your current version.  Then click the link Life cycle to see if it’s supported.  Next contact Lodestar Solutions to discuss the functionality you might not know exists in your current version.  Email

ASK: The Secret Society for Data Geeks Who Want to Change the World (or at least their Boardrooms)

Analytics Success Klub
Analytics Success Klub
Written by Heather L. Cole, May 5th, 2023

Are you an analytics professional looking to take your career to the next level?  Are you tired of being a behind-the-scenes nerd, crunching numbers all day without much recognition?  Well, we've got just the thing for you!  Welcome to the Analytics Success Klub (ASK) by Heatherized, Inc.

Your Best Investment is YOU

We believe that the best investment you can make is in yourself.  But analytic professionals are often too busy to attend expensive training.  So, Lodestar Solutions in partnership with Heatherized, Inc. is bringing a unique membership program for ambitious analytic professionals that want to go to the next level.   Regardless, if you use IBM, Power BI, Tableau or Qlik, social skills are the secret to promotions, raises and interesting projects.

Soft Skills

We know that analytics professionals often have impressive technical skills, but soft skills are just as important for success.  That's why Heatherized created a monthly membership program designed to help you level up your communication, influence, facilitation, presentation, negotiation, storytelling, and other essential soft skills.

Not a True Story but Could Be

Don't just take our word for it.  Let us tell you a funny story about a socialized nerd leading their company through the data revolution.  We know this one guy, let's call him Dave.  Dave was the ultimate analytics nerd, spending his days holed up in a corner, pouring over data sets and running complex algorithms.  But one day, Dave had an epiphany.  He realized that his technical skills were not enough to get the recognition and success he deserved.

So, Dave started attending networking events, joined a mentorship program, and invested in himself.  He even attended a Tony Robins event.  He worked on his communication and presentation skills, and before he knew it, he was leading a team and presenting to executives.  Dave became known as the go-to guy for all things data-related, and he was even invited to speak at conferences.  All because he took the time to invest in himself and develop his soft skills.

Now, we're not saying that you need to be the next Dave, but we believe that investing in yourself is the key to unlocking your full potential as an analytic professional.  By joining ASK, you'll have access to a community of growth-minded individuals who are all working towards the same goal - career success.

What is ASK?

As a member of our community, you'll have the opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals and learn from industry experts.  Our virtual meetings every month will feature guest presenters, breakout sessions, hot seats, and more.  You'll have the chance to share your experiences and learn from others in the field.  We're here to support you as you grow and thrive in your analytics career.  Heather Cole, an industry thought leader and executive high performance coach will provide ASK members insights and things she learned the hard way as an introvert turned socialized nerd.

Lodestar Clients

And here's the best part - active Lodestar Solutions clients will receive two complimentary ASK memberships for their team members!  Just email with the name of your team members and we will get them registered.  Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to invest in your team and take your analytics capabilities to the next level.

If you are not an active Lodestar Solutions client, no worries, ASK is software agnostic.  The early bird membership fee is only $49/month.  Investing in yourself has never been easier or more affordable.  For the cost of a nice lunch with a friend, you can join our community and start building your skills and connections.  Don't wait any longer to take your career to the next level.  Join us at the Analytics Success Klub - ASK and let's grow together!

You can cancel at any time.  But if you do you will lose access to the ASK library and an amazing network of high performers.

Our first live session is on May 19th from 1-2:30pm Eastern.  We can't wait to see you there!  So come on, join us at the Analytics Success Klub - ASK and let's grow together!

Lodestar Solutions is Thankful!

Lodestar Solutions is Thankful
Lodestar Solutions is Thankful
Written by Lodestar Solutions, November 23rd 2022

Every year we gather around the table with our family and friends and give thanks for all that we have. This year the Lodestar team has so much to thankful for, and below is just a little piece from each of us at Lodestar Solutions.

Heather Cole

Many of you that follow me, know I do “what’s my number” and “3 gratefuls” every day.  But at Thanksgiving I like to look back at the year to give thanks.  This year there is so much to be thankful for, but I’ll list a few of the top

1. My family – Without them I would not be whom I am today.  My 80 something parents are doing well and very active, especially mom the pickleball champion.  My husband Gary is extremely supportive of my crazy goals and makes me laugh every day.  And I can’t leave out the boys, our two golden retrievers that emit their super chill vibe.  But more importantly they have my back.  I always know in good or bad my family will be there.  This is so important because without their safety net, I would not have the courage to try new things, take bigger risks and be willing and able to fail.  Guess you could say I fail because of my family and that’s a good thing.

Louie and Oz
“You are the Average of the Five People You Spend the Most Time With” - Jim Rohn

2. The Lodestar Team – I am so thankful for our amazing Lodestar Team and Partners.  Their energy and commitment to serving our clients are unsurpassed.  Their positivity infects all our clients and makes work fun.  According to Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”  And I am grateful I get to spend my time with the Lodestar Solutions team and clients.

3. Finally, I am grateful for Mother Nature.  Although she can show her furry, she provides such amazing events and views.  I cherish her imagination and creativity as often as I can.  Watching her spell bounding sunsets and sunrises, climbing her majestic peaks, or witnessing the first snowfall energize me.  When I am stressed, upset or just feeling down, I go outside take a hike and immediately feel better.  Mother Nature seems to put everything in perspective.  I just wish more of us could respect and honor her more. 

So, I guess you could say I am thankful for FAMILY across the board.  My immediate family, the Lodestar Solutions Family and Mama Nature, all inspire me, challenge me, and most of all make me feel grateful!

Mike Bernaiche

As I inch close to that magic birthday of 50 years old, I find myself thinking about things vastly different than I did even just a few years ago.  As I think about things, I also find myself being thankful for more and thinking about trivial things less.  When you boil it down, I’m really thankful for so much but here are the top things I’m thankful for this year.

1. Family – I have an amazing family and wife that I cherish every day.  Casey is an incredible wife and mother.  Our kids are all adults now, with 2 in college and 1 who entered the work world after graduating college last year.  Yes, we are basically empty nesters now.  While that is strange, I’m so very thankful our kids are doing well, and our relationships are incredibly strong. My parents and in-laws are getting older, and I appreciate all the time we get to spend together.  Finally, my dogs are aging as well and I’m thankful I work from home and get to spend time with them each day.

2. Health – As I mentioned, I’m approaching 50 this year and my health is generally good.  Yes, I take a statin for cholesterol and had that “wonderful” test you get when you approach this age.  Folks, go get a colonoscopy, it is so important and can identify something that is so treatable if caught early.  Overall, my family is healthy.  What I’m most thankful for in this category is that someone chose to give the gift of life through organ donation.  My mother-in-law was in kidney failure and through someone’s tragic loss, she received a new kidney almost a year ago and is doing really well.  I know this is an individual decision and I encourage everyone to make it known if you wish to be an organ donor and save a life.

3. Lodestar – Having a job that keeps you fulfilled and gives you purpose is a blessing.  I enjoy the daily grind of work and it is because of the people I work with every day, both internal and external.  Really Lodestar could be categorized under family, because that is how much I care about the people I work with. 

I wish each of you a very thankful Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season!

Christina Vandeveer

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1.

1. Faith - I know that my blessings come from my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I am so thankful for his goodness in my life. I’m thankful for my church family that supports me and my little family.

2. Family - This year has flown by.  Navigating life with 3 boys, now 5 and under has been well….insane!  However, I know the days are long, but the years are short.  Our boys are Lucas (5), Cooper (4) and Hunter (18 months).  I am so blessed to have such a supportive family that partners with me to raise our boys.  And I couldn’t do any of this without my hard-working hubby.  One of the things I appreciate the most about him is no matter how long of a day he may have had at work as soon as he walks in the door, he jumps into dad mode.  He truly enjoys doing bedtime with our boys and he rocks at it!  He is never too tired to read them their books at night and hear all about their days. 

3. Friends - The street I live on is called Calvin Ct.  And all of us on the street have named ourselves the, “Calvin Ct. Crew.”  There are 17 kids under 7 that live on the street plus many older siblings.  These people aren’t just my neighbors, they are my friends.  From the constant asking each other what house our kids are at, to the late-night mom time hiding in the hot tub from our kids.  I know these friends have got my back.  They have become my village and I and so grateful for them.

4. Sports!  Did you know my husband and I met through church softball?  It’s such a fun story and I love every detail of how God used softball to bring us together.  But whether it’s playing softball with my husband or going to watch our littles play whatever they are feeling this month, currently it’s basketball and baseball, I love it!  Playing a sport and exercising teach discipline and teamwork and these are so valuable for my kids to learn.

Along with playing softball I am thankful for my local gym that I attend.  I may not make it every day, but the days I do make it are better because of it.  The encouragement and challenge that I receive from the coaches and members makes me a better person and momma.  Whether it’s trying to do the heavier weights or working on my boxing form.  I’m thankful for this consistent positive in my life.

We all have many things we can be thankful for, and those were just a few!  We at Lodestar hope you know that we are thankful for our clients and hope that you have a fantastic holiday with your friends and family!

Lodestar Solutions is Thankful

Lodestar Solutions is Thankful
Lodestar Solutions is Thankful
Written by the Lodestar Solutions Team, November 18th, 2021

This week we are going to take a brief time out from our normal value driven IBM Cognos and coaching blogs.  We at Lodestar Solutions have a lot to be thankful for both personally and professionally.  Please take a moment and read our thoughts below.

Heather Cole

2021 Started out as a year of hope.  The vaccine was being released and I think we all hoped that life would return to “normal.”  But what is normal?  Despite the fact for many of us the world might not have gotten back to where we wished I believe there is still a lot to be grateful for! 

I am thankful for being asked to speak at various virtual events.  I love inspiring people and missed the stage.  I am grateful I have been able to surround myself with amazing individuals remotely like our clients, the new global Artificial Intelligence Data Analytics User Group for which I am a founding member, my fellow high-performance coaches and of course my family and friends.  I love being around people that challenge me to think bigger and act bolder.  On a personal note, my husband Gary was given his green card, so I get to keep him.  We also added a new furry to our family, Louie.  But most of all I am grateful my family and friends have been safe during this uncertain time.


Mike Bernaiche

Thanksgiving is always a great time of the year to really sit and take stock on what you have to be thankful for.  As I write this, I’m thankful for so many things both professionally and personally.

In a time when many have had to change their career path due to the pandemic, I’m blessed to have a stable job and work for a company that provides so many opportunities for growth and development.  I work with the best clients, peers and team members a guy could ask for. 

Mike Bernaiche

Personally, I’m so thankful and blessed by my family.  My wife is an amazing partner in life and the best wife and friend a person can ask for.  My oldest daughter is a senior in college (yes, I’m starting to feel old) scheduled to graduate in May 2022.  We had another daughter graduate high school in June and she is now in college working towards her future goals.  Our other daughter is now a senior in high school and is applying to a number of colleges and is very interested in political science as a major.  My wife and I are basically empty nesters now and we are so very proud of our children and how successful they are at such young ages. 

In a time where Covid is still a major issue, we all have health and happiness and for that I’m forever grateful. 

Christina Vandeveer

As the year draws closer to the end, I feel I have a lot to be thankful for. In May my husband and I welcomed our 3rd boy to the world, Hunter Thomas Vandeveer. We rescued a four-year-old Boxer named Clark. We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. We have overall had good health as a family, getting through COVID together at the end of my pregnancy. I am thankful for my work with Lodestar Solutions, being able to work from home and be a full-time mom to my three boys and still contribute to the work force. I am able to have such valuable time with my boys when they seem to be getting so big too fast!

As I reflect on the year, I am reminded how easy it is to forget what I have to be thankful for and sometimes focus on the struggles the year has brought. 2021 has not been easy, we are still battling the pandemic and are living in a world that can seem so full of anger and loss. It sometimes is easier to just succumb to the weight of the world than to try to find the joy in every day. My encouragement to you and reminder to myself is to not take one day for granted. We are not promised tomorrow. We have to choose each day how we will live. We can complain about what we don’t have or choose to focus on all we have to be thankful for. I am thankful for so many wonderful people that make a difference in my life for the better every day and I pray that I will choose to do the same. Wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving!


Recent Lodestar Solutions Blogs

Thank You

As you can read, we have a lot to be thankful for at Lodestar Solutions.  Thank you to all our clients for an amazing year.  We sincerely appreciate you and the relationships we have developed.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Lodestar Solutions Reflects on 2020 & Goals for 2021

Lodestar Solutions Reflects on 2020 and Goals for 2021
Lodestar Solutions Reflects on 2020 and Goals for 2021
December 31st, 2020

Every New Year I take the time to reflect on what our Lodestar Solutions team accomplished, what we learned, and then set goals for the new year.  This year I thought it would be fun for some of our team members to share their experiences and would love to hear yours too!

Heather Cole -

Biggest Accomplishment 2020 –

Personal - On a personal side I have to say my biggest accomplishment was having one of the first Zoom Weddings.  Gary and I were returning to the US when the world shut down.  He is English and was scheduled to head home to the UK when his flights were cancelled repeatedly.  The realization that if he left, we had no idea when we would see each other again was just the nudge we needed.   Since we have family and friends all over the world it was perfect as everyone could attend. 

Work Related -  I have to say my biggest accomplishment was figuring out how to pivot to better serve our IBM Cognos clients in the new COVID world.  Lodestar Solutions worked hard to help clients do more with the resources they had and software they owned.  We revamped our user group to be virtual.  We got creative and found new ways to help clients save money on their support renewals and licenses.

Learning Experience – This might be more of a reminder then something I learned about the power of reaching out to people and just showing you care.  I started sending more cards in the mail and calling people that popped into my head just to say hi.  The add by ATT to reach out and touch someone should be recycled.  Everyone is missing the personal connection, so it is even more important to get on camera just to say hi. 

Goals for 2021 – 

Say No More - For 2021 I am going to say “no” more, and only say yes to things that are in alignment with who I strive to be.

Volunteer More - I am committing to leading at least 3, Ready for Jobs programs where my husband and I teach youth that age out of foster care how to map out their future and interview for a job.  We are always looking for job coaches if you want to join us.

Random Act of Kindness - At least once a week I will do a random act of kindness.  It can be something as simple as paying for someone’s coffee at Starbucks or leaving flowers on a neighbor’s doorstep, because the world can benefit from even a little more kindness don’t you think?

Automate more – As for a business goal, I want to automate more processes, so Lodestar Solutions runs even more smoothly.  The first thing I will overhaul is our partner program and contract process.  Think about your life.  Is there a repetitive task you must do that could benefit from automation? 

Mike Bernaiche -

Biggest Accomplishment 2020 –

Personal - As I thought about this one, my thoughts went to, “what a year!”  As March hit and COVID started spreading to the US and shutdowns started, life changed in many ways for many people.  Me included.  However, I look back and think it was a blessing in disguise to spend more time with my family, to slow down and be thankful for what I have in my life.  Yes, I missed out on playing softball, coaching basketball, and going on vacation.  All things that are very important to me.  Yes, I struggled some days but honestly, I am just so thankful to work, have an amazing wife and family and slow down and re-prioritize my life.  This pandemic will end and so many in the world will have lost so much.  I think it is important to step out of your own mind and see the big picture.

Work Related - In the COVID world I had to learn to be as agile as possible.  Learn to shift and add more value to our wonderful Lodestar Solutions clients.  I shot videos to provide more info, we created a virtual user group that has been extremely well received and I tried to provide more and more value. 

Learning Experience - I think my learning experience is a combination of personal and work related.  Things in my personal life that I thought were “everything” are just things I did.  They were not everything.  I do look forward to playing and coaching again but now I believe those things will be a part of my life, not my life.  From a work standpoint, adding more and more value is what matters. 

Goals for 2021 -

Learn from Lessons Learned – It is one thing to learn the lesson, it is another to continue to grow based on those lessons and not step backwards.  I am committed to striving to add value and prioritize my work and personal life in 2021.

Senior Year – My middle child is a senior this year.  Her year has been rough starting in March due to COVID.  She is in virtual school, missing out on sports seasons and senior type things like homecoming, football games and just hanging out with friends.  My wife and I have committed to making this best of this year for her.  It is tough and I feel awful for her, but we must stay positive and make it the best we can.

Random Act of Kindness – I am going to steal from Heather on this one, but I feel it is so important.  In this very divided world, I think it is more important to show kindness, compassion, and love.  I will commit as Heather did to a once-a-week random acts of kindness.  I will ask Heather to keep a journal of hers and I will do the same for mine.  Check back towards the end of next year to see all of our random acts of kindness!

Christina Vandeveer -

Biggest Accomplishment 2020 –

Personal – This last year has gone by so quickly and yet so slow at the same time.  Due to COVID I had to adapt many things for my family.  Childcare was shut down, and my husband (works for UPS) went to mandatory six day work weeks.  For several months it was just myself and our two boys, ages 1 and 2 at the time.  I had to learn how to create a sense of normalcy for them when everything had changed.  That didn’t stop once summer came, it really has continued through this whole year.  It has been a struggle, however I am proud of how I have grown as a wife and work from home mother during this last year.

Work Related – Working for Lodestar Solutions has been one of the biggest blessings of 2020 for me.  It has allowed me to still contribute to my family, while being able to stay home with my kids and raise them.  While I have missed having childcare, I haven’t missed a moment with my kids and that is a huge win!  I am happy with how I have been able to juggle learning new ways to help out clients and new ways to juggle work and home.

Learning Experience - I have learned a lot about myself this year.  I am a very social, active person and those were all the things that had to stop in 2020 with COVID.  So, I learned to adapt.  One of the biggest things I discovered is if I am happy and whole, I am a better mom, wife and employee.  So, I stuck to my daily exercising as much as possible.  I found accountability in my gym/coaches and neighbors.  We made goals and stuck to them.  I learned that if I really focused, despite all the negative in the world I was happier.

Goals for 2021 -

Family of 4 to Family of 5! – Our family is expecting a little one at the end of May 2021.  We are excited and slightly terrified but so filled with joy for this blessing!  Looking forward to growing and adapting even more as a mom of three. #teamgirl

Love in Action – One of my love languages and strengths is acts of service.  I feel the most alive and closest to God when I am serving others.  Just because the year flips from 2020 to 2021 doesn’t mean the struggles of today won’t be here tomorrow.  My goal is to face those challenges with hope, and to make sure I find ways throughout the year to do what I know fills my cup.  Plans I have are to continue to serve on my church’s mission board and run the youth basketball league for kids in 1st-12th grade.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.  We here at Lodestar Solutions hope it will encourage you to leave 2020 with hope for 2021 and be ready to have your best year yet.  Remember, if you need anything in regards to software licensing we are here to help, email us at  To stay up to date on all our blogs click here.  You can also subscribe to our mailing list by clicking here

Thankful Thoughts from the Lodestar Team

Thankful Thoughts
Thankful Thoughts
November 25th, 2020

As the Lodestar team is preparing for our end of year we wanted to share some Thankful Thoughts with all of you.  2020 has been a different year for everyone.  You could describe it as tough, frustrating and exhausting.  But despite the challenges that have been thrown at us this year, we all have much to be thankful for in 2020.

Thankful Thoughts from Heather Cole

Heather Cole

2020 was a year of change. As whole I agree with the rest of the world it was not a good year with COVID, but I like to turn lemons into lemonade and as a result I think 2020 has been one of my best years ever! Yes, crazy right? But not all the effects of the COVID world were negative. And I like to always focus on the positive.

Therefore, I am grateful for:

  • COVID making me realize what is important in life! Friends, family and health!
  • The fact that despite several family members getting COVID everyone is healthy and thriving.
  • COVID giving me the nudge and maybe the courage to get married and doing it on zoom.
  • Having the most amazing husband, who was willing to put his career and gypsy soul on hold to marry an American and apply for a green card.
  • COVID motivating our organization to provide even more value to our clients, especially in struggling industries. See our previous blog on adding value.
  • The amazing Lodestar Solutions team members, partners and clients.  They show up with positive attitudes every day and make the magic happen.
  • Zoom for keeping us all connected. Heck even my almost 80-year-old mother is a zoom expert now, she wasn’t going to miss the wedding.
  • Finally, I am grateful for the best clients in the world! You guys inspire me, challenge me, and make me a better person!

So, how about you? What are you grateful for?

Thankful Thoughts from Mike Bernaiche

Mike Bernaiche and Family

2020 has been an unprecedented year for the world. Icons of different industries have passed. This includes but not limited to - NBA star and his daughter, Kobe and Gianna Bryant, Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Black Panther Actor, Chadwick Boseman, TV stars Alex Trebek and Regis Philbin, original James Bond, Sean Connery, legendary guitarist, Eddie Van Halen and congressman and civil right icon, John Lewis. 

Along with these losses the United States has lost 250,000+ citizens to the COVID pandemic and the world has lost over a million more and growing daily. People continue to worry about their jobs, the economy and their health and loved ones as the pandemic surges. With all this tragedy, it is important to take a moment and think about what you are thankful for. Here is my list of thankful thoughts. 

I’m first and foremost thankful for my faith that I can lean on through tough times. I’m thankful for my wife and children. My wife and oldest daughter were both sick throughout the year with COVID and they have both recovered well. With preexisting conditions, I was worried for many weeks. Thankful that Lodestar Solutions is a company that is agile and shifted accordingly to changing economic conditions due to the pandemic. (See our recent blog, 5 Tips to Hosting a Virtual User Group).

We have all had to change what and how we are doing things and Lodestar is having one of the best years in its history. I’m thankful for a boss that cares not only about clients but employees and provides us with opportunities to grow and improve. I’m thankful for good friends, a roof over my head and food on my table. Was this year different because we stayed in and didn’t do a whole lot outside of the home, yes. Was it stressful at times, yes. Do I realize that I’m fortunate that my family and I have weathered this storm pretty well, YES.

My wish and prayer for all during this holiday season is to sit back and be thankful for what you have, be considerate and helpful to those who may be going through more difficult times and that we come together as a people to beat this pandemic.  Let’s get back to the gatherings, the fun, the sporting events, and concerts, back to work and back to as much normal as possible.

Thank you for your support of Lodestar over the years. All of us at Lodestar are incredibly thankful for you.

Thankful Thoughts from Christina Vandeveer

Christina Vandeveer and Family

2020 has been a whirlwind of a year for my family and me.  This was my first year not working outside of the home and being a, “work from home mom.”  I embraced this new role as I was able to spend more time with our two boys, ages 3 and 2 and work.  I had childcare two days a week so I could still “adult” and then have intentional time with the kids.  And then… COVID. 

For many this forced families to work out of their homes.  Husbands and wives split time caring for their kids and working.  I watched as my neighbors all took lunch breaks together from work or virtual school and enjoyed time together as families.  That wasn’t the case for our family.  You see, my husband Richard delivers for UPS and when everyone was forced to stay in, he was forced to stay out.  The Christmas “peak” season ended and a short while later it’s like it began again.  Online ordering skyrocketed and he was pushed to mandatory six-day weeks again.  His mom moved in with us for the first two months of quarantine to help give her some companionship, and me! 

The craziness of Richard’s work never really slowed down, and now we are back into the holiday, “peak” season once again.  It would be easy to sit here and complain about being stuck at home with two toddlers and another baby on the way, #teamgirl!  Or stress about time away from my husband.  But that is not what I am going to choose to do, I am going to choose to be thankful!  Here are some of my thankful thoughts:

  • The love and grace of my Heavenly Father.
  • My family, that they live close by and we work as a team to weather the storm of life together.  They are my best friends!
  • My gym, TRVFIT Fitness in Pinckney, Michigan.  They have come up with creative ways to keep us engaged and still reaching our health and fitness goals even when we can’t meet.  I lost 20 lbs. during quarantine and competed in my first ever exercise competition.
  • My husband and his work ethic and love for our family.  We are a team, and I couldn’t choose a better one!
  • UPS, for going out when others need to stay in.  For providing a wonderful job for my husband.
  • COVID forcing many of us to slow down.  I was able to truly connect with my neighbors this year and form new friendships because I wasn’t distracted with the busyness of life.
  • My job at Lodestar Solutions and the opportunity it provides me to still learn and expand my knowledge outside of my at home, “toddler world.”
  • Co-workers and a boss who value giving back to others!  See our previous blog, Lodestar Gives Back.
  • Our clients.  Often you are the only adult interaction I may have in a day and I appreciate our conversations.

Long story short, 2020 was tough.  But I have so much to be thankful for.  My encouragement to you is, don’t rush off into 2021 without taking a moment to focus on all the good that did come out of this past year.  If you look, you will find it!

Let’s finish 2020 strong together.  Lodestar is here for all your IBM Licensing needs. Contact us at  

Lodestar Solutions Team Shows Up During COVID-19

May 21st, 2020 ​

Our world will never be the same.  During crisis and times of uncertainty, we all have a choice!  The choice is how we each show up in the world!  As the CEO, I am proud that Lodestar Solutions’ team shows up during COVID-19. 

Showing up and giving back does not require a huge effort or a lot of money.  It just means you choose to help uplift people.  You choose to think of others and ask yourself, how can I help?  I have learned that giving and helping is one of the most rewarding feelings.  The trick is to expect absolutely nothing in return.  Do not look for recognition. Do not get upset if the people you help don’t even say thank you, because they could be in such a bad place, they are just in survival mode.

Here is how the Lodestar Solutions team has showed up.  I am sharing this because I believe they deserve recognition and I hope that this will inspire you to examine how you show up today!  Every day is a choice! 

Cheering on the UPS Drivers - 


If you are a Lodestar client you have probably worked with Christina, our support renewal specialist.  What you might not know is that her husband is one of thousands of dedicated delivery personnel risking their health and the safety of their families to deliver your online orders. Her husband works at a UPS facility in Michigan where they lost a team member due to complications with COVID-19.  Imagine the fear and grief they must feel every morning knowing they lost a co-worker.  Well, Christina has one of the biggest hearts I know, and she helped organize an event to honor the UPS drivers and raise their spirits.  She arranged for lunch to be delivered but did not stop there.  Christina, Mike Bernaiche, another Lodestar team member, and several of their friends and family lined up in cars, social distancing of course, just outside of the UPS facility with signs cheering on the drivers as they started their routes.  I am sure the drivers and UPS team was uplifted by this experience, but what I loved to see, is how their generosity uplifted Christina and Mike.  Christina was almost giddy with excitement.  Which during these trying times, is fabulous to witness. 

Ready for Life Food Drive

If you have been following Lodestar for a while you also know that I am involved with a charity called Ready for Life in Pinellas County Florida that helps youth that age out of foster care.  The youth in this demographic have a tough time normally but with the pandemic they are especially at risk and many have lost their jobs.  After receiving a text asking for help, we immediately sent funds to cover a week of groceries for the youth and their families.  If you would like to contribute to this amazing organization, please check out their website, Ready for Life Pinellas.

Extra Mile at Work

Giving and showing up can also be done at work. Lodestar Solutions realized that this crisis was going to hit industries like hospitality and travel much greater than other industries.  For clients that had upcoming IBM Cognos renewals in high risk industries, we jumped into action. Lodestar recognized the fact that cash preservation was going to be a top priority, so we worked with IBM Global Financing to get financing for client’s renewals.  Many clients do not realize that IBM Global financing is available for renewals and can often save clients money. See our previous blog on this topic.  

If you have a renewal and would like Lodestar to provide a competitive quote, please email

The Wedding

The Wedding

I would be remised if I did not take this opportunity to thank Mike Bernaiche, whom many of you have worked with at Lodestar for stepping up in a way that I will never forget! On May 8, 2020 my boyfriend and I got married in a virtual zoom wedding.  With the help of Mike and our close friends Chris Orlando, our virtual MC and Connie Klingler, who married us, we broadcasted our wedding all over the world to friends and family.  We had over 100 people join our amazing day from 4 continents and 10 time zones.  Mike was our zoom master!  He ensured people were muted during the ceremony and unmuted for the world-wide toast.  But most of all, their efforts gave our moms who were in London and Chicago a front row seat. What I did not realize when we planned the wedding just weeks before, was what a positive uplifting impact it would have on everyone.  People dressed up in silly hats, they gathered their families and had zoom pre parties.  Without even asking, our neighbors all contributed to make the day amazing!   I think during this time we all just need a little joy. Or maybe it’s hope.

Showing Up for Others!

I am so proud of how the Lodestar Solutions’ Team shows up during COVID-19. But it does not surprise me. But I must ask you, is there something you could do to bring a little more joy to someone else’s life?  Maybe sending a card, calling someone you lost touch with, or maybe your company could extend terms to a client in need. It does not take much. Today, do one thing to bring a smile to someone else. Seek nothing in return and watch the magic happen.  Good deeds are contagious!  Let’s infect the world!