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The Ahlquist Top 10 of 2016


For the last three years, I have created a top 10 list featuring moments, highlights and announcements that made the year memorable. Click the years to check out those past posts from 20132014 and 2015!
So let me state this upfront. 2016 was not an easy year, not just for the Ahlquist’s, but what seemed to be for the entire world. I thought about skipping this year. I pushed it off. Maybe I would write out the bottom dwellers list.
But I found no light or love going low. I aim to be grateful. So even if no one reads this post, the exercise of selecting and writing about 10 significant things, gave me pause and do I dare say love for 2016. What would make your list?
In no particular order… 

10. Chicago Triathlon 

Ever since my 20’s I have set a goal to compete in a challenging race every five years. At 25 and 30 I finished the LA Marathon. This year turning 35 I set my eyes on a completely new race – a triathlon – the 2016 Chicago International Tri!
I started training for the .9-mile swim. 24.8-mile bike. 6.2-mile run back in April. I blogged about the entire experience here. One of the biggest highlights was having my dad and Lloyd there to support – I could not have done it without them!

9. Lloyd’s EP Album Here

Directly after the new year, while on break from Epic Rap Battles, Lloyd locked himself in his studio. After years of talking about releasing an album and months of work – he finally did it! In July EpicLLOYD Here dropped on iTunes. Check out his first video release below!


8. Josie Goes Global 

This past year has taken me on epic adventures beyond the United States. In February, I flew 16+ hours to the United Arab Emirates to spend two days on the campus of New York University, Abu Dhabi. I also got to spend an entire week with a close friend and mentor that works at NYU to explore the area. It was an amazing and life changing trip!
In June I went to both Canada and Mexico for speaking engagements. First, I visited Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada for a special professional development workshop with student affairs staff.
Later that month, I headed to Monterrey, Mexico as the keynote speaker for the annual Student Affairs Global Summit.

7. More Nieces & Nephews to Spoil!

Lloyd and I absolutely love being an aunt and uncle. Our niece Satori, born May 2015 totally stole our hearts and pocketbooks. This year we found out we would be blessed in 2017 with more kiddos not just once, but twice! My brother Cody and his wife Suzi Hutchinson are expecting March 2017 and Lloyd’s brother Travis and wife Tiffany are expecting January 2017!  Both of the baby announcements are below. We can not wait to spoil them both as much as we do for our niece Satori!!

6. The Emmys

This summer we learned that ERB was nominated for the first ever Emmy given for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series. Never in my life did I imagine that I would be going to the Emmy’s not just once, but twice! The events included the actual award show, but also an incredible governors ball. While they did not win, both events were such a highlight of 2016!

5. Josie & The Podcast

Two years ago an idea started to brew. I had been blogging for a couple of years, but I wondered what other mediums I could explore to share content. This past summer I finally drummed up the courage and creativity to put my ideas on paper and get to work. The result was kicking off a sponsored podcast with nine episodes! I have learned so much through the process and look forward to continuing the project in 2017.
Check out the entire series here. You can also subscribe on iTunes, StitcherGoogle Play!

4. Things Got Weird 

This summer my brother and I’s childhood music dreams came to life on stage at the Hollywood Bowl – Wierd Al! Because of Lloyd’s previous video collaborations with Weird Al through ERB, not only did we get to enjoy his show, but we had backstage passes! Cody even got him to record a special greeting to his good friend John. We had a great time!

3. Epic Studios

Imagine a workplace comedy in a music studio — in Canada — add in some EpicLLOYD and over a dozen musical performances and you have Lloyd’s latest project Epic Studios. This web series began over three years ago when Lloyd partnered with our good friends, Aaron and Jill Krebs in the writing process.  The show completed production in May in Toronto and editing was done by September.  After an exciting private screening at the Westside Comedy Theater, Epic Studios is now completed and is awaiting distribution placement which will look to happen in early 2017. For now, enjoy the trailer found here.


2. Josie’s First Co-Edited Book

After nearly a two-year process, this fall the New Directions for Student Services volume, Engaging the Digital Generation was released! This was my first co-edited book with Dr. Ed Cabellon along with authors: Dr. Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, Dr. Paul Brown, Dr. Jason L. Meriwether, Dr. Liz Gross, Dr. Kara Kolomitz, and Dr. Laura Pasquini. Get your copy here!!

1. ERB Going on BREAK

After six years, five seasons and a total of 70 videos – Epic Rap Battles creators Pete and Lloyd are finally taking an overdue break. Lloyd is really looking forward to the time off to recharge his batteries, but to also focus on other projects. The entire team of ERB is like family and will continue to be going forward. For now, we get to have pure fun together and not just crazy work hours. There is one more battle of 2016 set to release, but for now enjoy the latest Roosevelt vs Churchill.


What’s Next in 2017?

Lloyd and I look forward to another eventful year. While we didn’t list the lows or struggles, we also grew and found strength in those too. 2017 will quickly bring a very big birthday for Lloyd – so we are heading to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to celebrate with some close friends! A number of family events will bring us together including the birth of two babies, my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary, Lloyd’s brother Kirk and fiance Tim wedding, and much more.

I will continue my travels as a digital leadership educator for college students, campus administrators, and faculty – from conference keynotes to campus consultant – this last year I traveled over 65,000 miles! I will also continue to teach online for Florida State University and now serve as a Research Associate for the FSU Leadership Learning Research Center. I am part of another co-edited book available by March called Going Digital in Student Leadership. Another big highlight for 2016 was signing a book contract (gulp!) and will also release online curriculum for Digital Wellness later this spring. I haven’t signed up for another triathlon yet, but I am loving my new road bike and hope to get back into the pool while continuing to run for fun and fitness.

While Lloyd will be on break from creating new rap battle videos, there are already a number of projects he is cooking up. Stay tuned, as those aren’t yet ready to be announced! In addition, performing live is at the top of his list, releasing Epic Studios, continuing to strengthen his knee after surgery this fall and sharpening his long board surfing skills.

We are both excited for the new year and hope our paths cross with as many family and friends that 2017 can handle.

From our corner of the world to yours,

Josie & Lloyd, Parker & Dakota 


Please subscribe to stay updated with us and all the things I’ll be working on in 2017!

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About Josie

I’m Dr. Josie Ahlquist—a digital engagement and leadership consultant, researcher, educator, and author. I’m passionate about helping people and organizations find purposeful ways to connect, engage, and tell their unique story. I provide consulting, executive coaching, and training for campuses, companies, and organizations that want to learn how to humanize technology tools and build effective and authentic online communities.

My blog and podcast have been recognized by EdTech Magazine, Inside Higher Ed and the Chronicle of Higher Education. My book, Digital Leadership in Higher Education, was published in 2020 and was listed as a #1 new release for college and university student life. I have been growing my consultancy since 2013 and am based in Los Angeles. When I’m not helping clients lead online, you might find me training for a triathlon, spoiling my nieces and nephews, or exploring with my husband and our rescue dogs in our new RV called Lady Hawk.

I’d love to connect! Find me on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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