Strategies for Meaningful, Productive ESL Lessons


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ESL Lessons

An established Houston accountant, Sue Ann Ma leads Seminal Financial Group, Inc., as president and provides coordinated services that include bookkeeping and tax planning. Sue Ann Ma supports nonprofits such as the American Red Cross and would like the opportunity teaching children English as a second language (ESL) in the future.

One ESL strategy is introducing vocabulary and language that is carefully targeted to the lesson at hand. The use of universal themes and meaning-based context helps ensure that the material is applicable to real-life situations in which students have interest. Common examples include going out to eat in a restaurant or taking a trip to the beach with friends.

As lessons progress, authentic assessments are used as a method of evaluating students’ understanding of material. A key aspect of this is realizing that the students will often be unable to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts learned using advanced language skills. For this reason, the ESL teacher must take time to understand each student’s abilities and particular way of conveying knowledge.

American Red Cross of Greater Houston Hosts Third Annual Golf Outing


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American Red Cross of Greater Houston

A graduate of Lamar University’s MBA program, Sue Ann Ma serves as president of Seminal Financial Group, Inc. in Houston, Texas. A philanthropic individual, Sue Ann Ma supports the American Red Cross.

Founded by Clara Barton in 1881, the American Red Cross helps people dealing with emergencies. The non-profit organization coordinates volunteers and uses the support of donors to help those in the time of need. In addition, it provides care, shelter, and blood during these emergencies.

To reach as many people as it can, the American Red Cross has chapters throughout the world, one of which is in the greater Houston area. This chapter began in 1916 and has helped people deal with floods, hurricanes, fires, and explosions.

To help this chapter raise funds to support its endeavors, it sponsors several fundraising events, including golf tournaments. The third annual Red Jacket Fall Golf Classic, scheduled for November 8, 2017, takes place at the Fazio Clubhouse at Carlton Woods. Teams of four receive lunch, dinner, and a round of golf. They also have access to one caddie per team. Afterward they can participate in a silent auction.

Estate Planning Reduces Federal Estate Tax Burden


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Estate Planning

The former vice president of Hibernia Bank, Sue Ann Ma now serves as the president of Seminal Financial Group, Inc. A certified public accountant, Sue Ann Ma offers her clients various financial services including estate planning.

Estate taxes can be costly. There are essentially two types: federal estate taxes and state estate taxes.

If you live in Texas, you need not worry about state estate taxes because the state does not levy the tax on inheritances. However, you may have to pay the tax if you inherit property from a relative who lived in a state that levies estate tax.

Texas residents are eligible to pay federal estate taxes if they leave behind property worth more than the federal estate tax threshold, which currently stands at $5.4 million. The threshold adjusts with inflation, so it may change from time to time. A person who passes away and leaves behind an estate worth more than the threshold will pay federal estate taxes from the estate. Levied at 35% of everything above the threshold and payable in cash, the tax is very costly. Thankfully, estate planning helps people reduce their estate tax burden, ensuring their spouses, children, and other relatives inherit as much as they deserve.

A Brief Overview of Chinese Dining Etiquette

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Chinese Dining Etiquette

For more than 16 years, Sue Ann Ma has provided clients of the Seminal Financial Group, Inc., a variety of bookkeeping and tax-planning services as a certified public accountant (CPA) and the company president. Beyond her professional activities, Sue Ann Ma enjoys travelling internationally. She likes to try local food on her trips and has become particularly fond of Chinese cuisine.

Sampling local dishes is one of the most exciting benefits of traveling abroad and represents a unique window on the culture of another country. At the same time, travelers are advised to learn and adhere to local dining customs and traditions.

When dining as a guest in China, for example, individuals must view every meal as a special occasion. Guests should dress nicely, find out if they are expected to bring the host a gift or dessert, and, most importantly, arrive on time. In China, elders are highly respected, and travelers must remember never to begin eating before seniors at the table have started. In fact, a meal may not officially begin until an elder declares, “Let’s eat.”

When it comes to etiquette, Chinese table manners often resemble Western manners. That said, travelers should realize that there are subtle differences and that any breach of etiquette can be viewed as much more offensive than at home. A diner should never reach across the table for a serving dish but, instead, eat from the dishes nearest to his or her place at the table. Should an individual need to sneeze or dispose of unwanted food, it is best to do so away from the table, out of sight of the other diners.

Other aspects of dining etiquette are unique to China. For instance, individuals who have not mastered eating with chopsticks should refrain from using them at all, rather than skewering pieces of food and eating off the stick. Chinese meals often feature a number of small dishes, so diners must remember to sample a little of each plate, rather than finishing a tasty dish before others at the table have had a chance to try it.

Requirements of the Master Certified Estate Planner Credential


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Master Certified Estate Planner

Sue Ann Ma is an experienced finance and accounting professional who serves as president of Seminal Financial Group in Texas. A graduate of Lamar University, Sue Ann Ma holds several certifications including Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Master Certified Estate Planner (MCEP) credentials.

A professional membership organization that represents the estate planning profession, the National Institute of Certified Estate Planners (NICEP) administers the MCEP and CEP certifications. To earn the credential, candidates must qualify by first holding a professional license in a financial, legal, or tax field prior to enrolling in the course. The educational component of the certification consists of a series of eight online self-study modules. In addition, candidates must participate in 16 hours of interactive discussion that covers the educational material.

The NICEP recommends candidates spend five to six months of preparation time prior to taking the final certification exam. Following the exam, which is a proctored test, candidates must complete eight hours of continuing education requirements every two years to maintain the MCEP certification. For additional information on the certification, visit

Stay Prepared and Connected with the Red Cross Mobile App Series

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American Red Cross

A Certified Public Accountant and Master Certified Estate Planner, Sue Ann Ma provides a variety of financial services as a president of Seminal Financial Group, Inc., in Houston, Texas. Alongside her activities as an accountant, Sue Ann Ma supports the American Red Cross.

In a recently released statement, the American Red Cross announced that over 1 million people have now downloaded its free Blood Donor App. Launched in 2014 as part of the Red Cross mobile app series, the smartphone application gives Red Cross donors the ability to find donation sites, schedule appointments, and track their donations while on the go.

Since its release, the Blood Donor App, which received a 2016 Webby Award, has led to approximately 988,000 donation appointments. The Blood Donor App and the Red Cross’ popular Emergency App and First Aid App are all available for both Android and iPhone devices.

In addition to these tools, the organization’s mobile app series features applications focused on disaster and emergency preparedness as well as veterans’ services.

Tips Before Donating Blood to the Red Cross


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Donating Blood

A certified public accountant, Sue Ann Ma owns and heads her own accounting firm based in Houston, Texas. Sue Ann Ma is a supporter of the Red Cross.

The Red Cross plays a crucial function in the United States health care system as it is the nation’s largest individual blood and blood products supplier. It collects and processes around 40 percent of the country’s blood supply. For those who want to donate blood, the Red Cross offers some tips before making a donation.

First, you should keep an acceptable level of iron in your diet by eating food rich in iron, including fish, poultry, red meat, beans, and raisins. It is important to get ample sleep the night before donation. Prior to donating, drink an additional 16 oz. of nonalcoholic fluids or water.

You must also eat a healthy meal prior to donating, avoiding hamburgers, ice cream, and other fatty foods as these types of food affect the tests done on your blood. Your system must be aspirin free for at least two days before donation. Lastly, do not forget to bring your donor card along with your driver’s license (or two other kinds of IDs).

Red Cross Volunteers Help Veterans and Military Members

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Red Cross

Accountant and certified estate planner Sue Ann Ma has a range of experience in accounting and finances, including with Chase Bank, Hibernia Bank, and Seminal Financial Group. While at Chase Bank, Sue Ann Ma won received a Circle of Excellence Award. She also supports several charitable organizations, including the Red Cross.

The Red Cross does a range of charitable work including blood donations and disaster relief. The organization also places a special focus on supporting veterans, military members, and their families. Since 9/11, the Red Cross has provided support in different ways to over a million military families.

Volunteers from the Red Cross help at active military bases in whatever way they can, including providing home comforts or, in at least one case, bringing a dog to a command tent in Kuwait to build morale. The Red Cross also supports veterans, whether through providing food and shelter in emergencies or providing referrals for mental health or career counseling. The Red Cross aims to be present at any time, including before any emergencies happen, so veterans and military members know they have support when they need it.

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An Overview of Red Cross Training Courses


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Training Courses

A certified public accountant (CPA), Sue Ann Ma received her master of business administration from Lamar University. For more than 16 years, she has served as president of Seminal Financial Group, Inc., in Houston, Texas. In addition to her professional activities, Sue Ann Ma engages in charitable work with organizations such as the American Red Cross.

The American Red Cross provides a variety of life-saving services all around the world, including education and training courses in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the use of AED defibrillators, and other areas of first aid. All Red Cross classes draw on the latest technology and science available, while also adhering to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Best Practices for Workplace First Aid Training Programs.

The Red Cross offers a number of related services beyond the traditional two-year certification training programs, such as online training opportunities, free digital course materials, and various continuing education units. More information regarding courses, including locations for local classes, can be found at

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Red Cross’ Red Crescent Network and Emergency Preparedness

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Red Crescent Network

A financial services professional with more than two decades of experience, Sue Ann Ma, MBA, CPA, and CEP, provides tax and estate planning as well as accounting services at her Houston-based firm. Outside of her professional responsibilities, Sue Ann Ma is an active supporter of the Red Cross.

Specializing in disaster relief and emergency preparedness, the Red Cross’ global Red Crescent network recently partnered with the United Nations Development Fund and the United States Agency for International Development to alert people in Iraq of the threat posed by the potential of the Mosul dam collapse. Iraqi Red Crescent volunteers traveled door-to-door, providing crucial information and encouraging residents to download Red Crescent mobile apps, which feature potentially life-saving information, warnings, and alerts should the dam collapse.

Assessed as the world’s most dangerous dam by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the highly unstable Mosul dam has not received critical maintenance in recent years. If the dam were to collapse, roughly 45 feet of water would flood Mosul within four hours, while an expected 33 feet of water would flood Baghdad within four days.