Thursday, January 31, 2008


This week’s CNN-Politico Democratic Presidential debate reflected an air of civility, unlike previous sparring matches. Everyone is busy brokering deals in preparation for Super Tuesday, with 22 states in play.

On stage at the Kodak Theater: Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton, weaving between roles as political thespians, each auditioning for the role of a lifetime … Commander in Chief. Quite a change from what’s been going on in the press (and the last Democratic debate).

Good to see we all can get along.

The Kodak Theater flickered with stars who took supporting audience roles. They listened intently to what could be the nation’s first woman or African American president—indeed a Lifetime Achievement worthy of an Oscar.

This year, the star-studded debate audience may be the closest thing we get to the Academy Awards, due to the writer’s strike. Row upon row of stars, including Carl Reiner, America Ferrara, Lou Gossett and Diane Keaton to name a few, listened intently, temporarily relinquishing the stage to politicians.

The Republicans had their turn last night. It was interesting to see John McCain, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee pay homage to actress/politico Nancy Reagan, reigning queen bee of the GOP. The Ronald Reagan Library hosted “four genteel men” during a tepid, yet sometimes testy verbal jousting match.

Nancy seemed frail, leaning on the sure, calm arm of Huckabee, who patiently escorted Mrs. Reagan to her seat. There was something about the entire scene that said this was a party that had seen better days. It was eerily similar. New characters, same plot … staid delivery.

The Kodak Theatre was just more colorful and picturesque.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Whatever your business, set up good accounting procedures now and save yourself headaches later. Tax day, April 15, is right around the corner. Start now and get your financial house in order.

There is simply no way I could handle all the appropriate paperwork for my business and personal taxes alone. Don’t cut corners: invest in your business and hire a professional to take care of the numbers. That way, you can focus on what you do best. In my case, I get the best return on my investment by focusing on writing, marketing and teaching, things I do best.

I trust my accountant, Edward Torres CPA to keep me on track. If you’re in the New York area, I’d highly recommend “ET” and team, led by Marie, Roman and Carl @ Realize your “A” team can only help you as much as you help yourself. Here’s what I’ve learned over the past decade:

> Clearly separate personal and business expenses;

> Keep accurate records;

> Always obtain receipts;

> Submit city, state, federal/IRS payments on time to avoid penalties;

> Use “ion” words like extension and negotiation to your benefit, if necessary.

Building a business can be challenging, but fun! I’ve found some of the financial aspects aren’t as daunting as I first thought. As ET says, “It’s all about setting up your books right. Once everything is on track, you add zeros as your business grows!”

Good luck! You have more than 10 weeks until the tax deadline, which is more than enough time to tie up any loose ends. E-file and enjoy your electronic refund while everyone else is sweating bullets trying to meet the deadline!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Whether you’re a student, working professional or career transitional, you need a good resume, bio and photo to sell yourself. All are useful tools for networking, career moves and marketplace visibility.

Think of a resume as an advertisement for yourself; the cover letter is an “ad” for the advertisement. A plethora of resources are available online or in the bookstore; Microsoft Office templates are a good place to start.

Invest in a professional photo. While you may have a digital photo taken with your cell phone, is that the image you want to convey to the world? Pros pay special attention to lighting and other details. Remember, you get what you pay for.

A short bio is a valuable marketing tool. Three succinct paragraphs are a good start; you ultimately may have a few versions available, developed to showcase special areas of expertise. Be specific. Showcase your unique talents. Sell yourself!

Your bio is useful for company newsletters, online “about us” sections, press releases and trade publications. It’s also the perfect compliment for networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Take a look at existing material on your company or where you’d like to be employed; pay close attention to tone and manner. As a rule, today’s business writing style is brief, to the point and reflects a conversational style. In sum, write like you talk. Always use impeccable grammar; avoid slang or industry lingo that others can’t understand. All industries admire clear communicators.

Good luck as you spread the word about your recent accomplishments!


> Always work to strengthen your personal brand & visibility: create a letterhead/ format in a style similar to your resume layout for easy tracking by hiring managers

> Use tight email subject lines and correspondence “RE -- ” reference lines, which allow for easy reading, tracking and filing

> At your at leisure, review business writing and sales sections at Barnes & Noble … build your personal development library

> Develop a strong cover letter template that can be tweaked/edited for various opportunities

> Make every word count

> Use strong, active voice verbs

> Avoid generalities and empty phrases

> Spotlight specific examples of why you’re the perfect fit for xyz job

> Plan ahead for the next opportunity

> Keep track of trends in your industry niche so you won’t be caught off guard in an economic downturn

> Get additional training

> Explore new and different opportunities (could a hobby become a side business)

Monday, January 28, 2008


Today is the start of my third year teaching and third semester at the City College of New York (CCNY). Like they say, the third time’s a charm.

I reflected upon this today as I walked south on Convent Avenue to the CCNY campus, in the village of Harlem in northern Manhattan. CCNY is the crowning jewel in the City University of New York. When you meet the students, you’ll understand why.

This semester, I’m honored to teach more than 100 Media Communication Arts (MCA); two sections of Corporate Communications and the Ad/PR Workshop, which is the capstone course. In a few short months, many of these workshop students will enter the marketing communications profession. They have tons of talent to share!

First, a little about my energizing walk to campus this morning. Convent Avenue is one of those fabulous expanses of regal homes and tree lined blocks. You can easily imagine the avenue back amidst women with parasols in the 1930s, around the time when many of these stately brownstone and limestone town homes were built. The entire area, including the stately turn-of-the century buildings on CCNY’s campus, has some of the finest architecture in Manhattan.

Many of the homes are four to six stories for up to eight bedrooms—definitely built for huge families, coupled with what were once private maid’s entrances. A long narrow corridor would lead from the street to the rear of the first floor of most homes, site of the original kitchens, complete with wood burning fireplaces. Back in the day, servants didn’t have to interrupt goings on in double-parlored floors with 12 foot pocket doors, replete with imported carpets from the “old country,” English country day motif and overstuffed antiques!

What were once single family homes for moneyed robber baron families, have now been transferred to floor upon floor of multi-million dollar condos. Perched high on a a hill in Harlem’s historic Hamilton Heights district, my morning constitution takes me past Hamilton Grange, a national historic site and former home of Alexander Hamilton, the first US Secretary of the Treasury(1789-95). When Hamilton built his country home more than 200 years ago, this part of Manhattan was hours away from the bustling city more than 100 blocks south. Today, train transport can cover that area in about 20 minutes, on a good day.

As I walked passed the corner of 143rd Street and Convent, right across the street from the grange, I thought back to the Harlem United Show House (HUSH), one of my first accounts after starting Millynneum, my own PR firm. Mounted in 1998, HUSH was the first African American show house. Conceived by Roderick Shade, his interior design firm now has offices nearby.

The HUSH site, a stately town home just off Convent Avenue, was overtaken by dozens of design teams for a six month period. They masterfully transformed a an elegant, yet humble mansion—into a modern day showplace. Rooms won design awards in House Beautiful and other publications; the New York Times House & Home section, countless of other media gave it prime coverage.

Over the past decade, HUSH has literally and figuratively opened many doors, providing exposure to fresh, new interior designers, architects and artisans. In addition to spawning other ethnic show houses throughout the country, HUSH led to the inclusion of ethnic designers in exclusive venues such as the prestigious Kips Bay Decorator Show House, “grandmother” of all design venues and the standard bearer for industry trends and hot design talent.

Once I walk a few more blocks, I’m at 141st Street, the northern tip of the CCNY campus. You’re awestruck by the massive structures, many built in the 1800’s. Once again, the buildings transport you to another time, another place.

A show place for minds; a home for ideas and thought.

If you pause, you can literally feel the “education of generations” as you traipse the hallways of Shepard Hall where my classes are held. The cavernous walls and classrooms seem to reverberate with wisdom, encouraging others to seek solutions.

Funny how life comes full circle. Like I said, the third time’s a charm. In a few weeks, I’ll begin my third year teaching writing and communications courses at New York University. That path includes many more scenic walks that wind from midtown to Washington Square and lower Manhattan.

Another great home to inquisitive minds minds! Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


The Kennedy’s are the closest thing the United States has to a political dynasty. Grandpa Joe planned it that way. If he were alive today, each proud flash of his toothy grin would project to the world that the Kennedy name is still alive and well in Presidential politics!

Joe Kennedy was a shrewd businessman, ambassador to Britain, a master legislative operative and PR strategist. He fathered a commander in chief with a “Camelot” legacy, an attorney general, US senator and founder of the Special Olympics. Countless advocate grandchildren continue to wield their political muscle via their tireless commitment to public service.

They embody the spirit of the adage, “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Within the past 24 hours, Barak Obama obtained two influential endorsements from official keepers of the JFK legacy. First came a nod from “first daughter” Caroline Kennedy.

Then, came support from Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass), who will outine his rationale immediately before the president’s State of the Union address; strategically timed in true “son of Joe” fashion. This is particularly interesting in that it causes a “split” with the “Billary” Clinton camp, which frequently summered at the K-family compound on Martha’s Vineyard.

Caroline’s heartfelt support was “patriotic, political and personal.” In an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times, she made a compelling argument for Americans to support “a president like my father,” John F. Kennedy. [Obama’s head speechwriter, 26-year old Jon Favreau often peppers the candidate’s remarks with JFK references, harking to another complex period in our nation’s history.]

You couldn’t ask for a more sincere endorsement. Not even six when her father was slain, Caroline sums up values of hope, providing a glimpse into the hearts and minds of people who cross her path each day. Caroline says people admire the contributions JFK and her late mother “Jackie O” made to their psyche.

People felt good about this country. They were inspired.

While she didn’t have the benefit of a lifetime of hugs or reflective conversations with her dad, she says the warm embrace of JFK’s legacy and ideals are revealed in each conversation with ordinary and extraordinary Americans. All pay homage to his contributions, heritage and mystique.

Caroline and Ed see something of that hope in Obama.

Go on the record. Speak out. Fix what’s broken. Use your personal endorsement to spread the word in your circles of influence. You never know how your words and actions could take hold and influence others in the years to come.

You don’t have to be a Kennedy to unleash K-POW(ER)! Use your kinetic energy, or “K-POWER” to propel forward motion.

“And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you—Ask what you can do for your country.”

- John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961

Saturday, January 26, 2008


As you compose a document (doc), think about how you might be able to use it again. Chunks can be recycled for:

> Future communication

> Newsletter content

> Website copy

> Special interest blogs

Today’s business world calls for strong writers who can churn out easy to understand copy. People have no time to muddle through dribble. If the main info isn’t up front, readers lose interest.

Think with the end in mind. Time spent on an original document can serve you well down the road, if you can lift well-written chunks from the original. Then, all you need is a new intro paragraph and specific content to meet your new reader’s needs, and voila—document done!

Construct documents like a house:

> Build a strong foundation
* outline, lead, first sentences

> Create a solid framework
* paragraphs

> Add personality and interest with exquisite interior design
* headings, interviews, charts, graphs, photos

In order to streamline copy and make it useful in multiple formats:

> Make sure your original reader understands what’s required of them and takes action, if necessary

> If you repurpose, reuse or recycle the content, then only a quick edit is needed

> Use simple declarative sentences

> Stay in the active voice

If you’re using one important email again and again (say you’re in sales), then spend the time to create a compelling sales instrument—a clear doc that answers a customer’s questions and points out your company’s attributes. Once you have the framework, you can set it up in a “swiss cheese” format, inserting paragraphs with detail specific to the company you’re trying to close.

To recycle document content, set up a useable, digitized system with easy to retrieve folders and document names. In addition to being “filed” for an international audience via this blog post, it’s a Microsoft Word document, in my Millynneum Insight folder, individual tag:


This makes it easy for collaborators or colleagues to store attachments on their PC. Use a descriptor for the file name that provides info about the content. Dates are also valuable tracking tools. If you can’t remember where you put it, or when it was created, then what good is your system? Nothing’s more frustrating than being unable to find a critical piece of data when a manager is breathing down your neck.

Friday, January 25, 2008


When writing, be sure to craft clear, succinct communication that your readers can understand. Write like you talk. Make every word count.

My communications classes cover a wide range of topics, including business management, today's hectic workplace environment, information overload and the best writing techniques to effectively get your point across.

Technically, they’re titled Introduction to Public Relations, Corporate Communications, Ad/PR Workshop, Writing on the Job, Writing Essentials for Public Relations and Corporations, Media Relations and Publicity Techniques. Visit; New York University, School of Continuing and Professional Studies; The City College of New York – Media and Communication Arts

With any writing assignment, it’s important to research, organize, draft and edit. The level of detail varies if the document is an email, new business pitch, annual report, speech or website content. All communication should include a “rode” map for the reader.

As you write, always keep your audience in mind. Ensure critical needs are met or actions taken; provide solutions. Think of yourself as a "knowledge worker," someone who realizes they can impact their respective organizations through their written (and verbal) communication skills. Over time, your "writing confidence" will improve. You’ll begin to persuade colleagues and management to see things from your vantage point.

Over the years, I've found young people and adult learners are tremendously receptive to a collaborative, team environment, boosted by in-class exercises. We share and learn together. Likewise, build your own writing team on the job. Enlist help from a “writing buddy” or colleague who can proof your work.

My background is in journalism. Therefore, I stress that documents be well-organized and succinct. Time is money in the business and for impact (non-profit) world! That said, use the tenets of journalism (who, what, where, when, why, how) to create solid business correspondence. And, remember to make every word count!

anage your writing
lways be clear
eep reader interested
nitiate action
ever leave questions unanswered
enerate responses that move projects forward

E dit, edit, edit
alue your reader’s time and talents
valuate content, sentence structure, word choice
elay useful information
oke or connect key subjects

W rite like you talk
ffer insight
espond to deadlines, timing, special requests
istiguish fact from fiction; delegate when possible

C reate atmosphere of trust, supervision, partnership
pportunities & options (create)
nderstand needs of your reader, client or audience
egate challenges—provide solutions
each preferred techniques & best practices (to colleagues, associates)

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Often, you must pause to move forward. As you analyze business decisions, understand that marketplace fluctuations and changes are part of the puzzle.

While everything these days is fast forward, don’t negate—the power of wait.

Sometimes, if you wait, the load lightens.


> Waiting to hit the send button before firing off a difficult email

> Waiting patiently for responses (after setting agreed upon deadlines) instead of badgering people for info, which adds to communication overload.

Okay, the wait’s over. Move forward!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Sometimes, you just can’t retire … even if you want to. The power of Ron Dellums’ passion and the people of the port city called him back into action.

They needed hope.

He brought experience, leverage, and a comprehensive “can do” attitude.

Oakland’s big city problems of unemployment and crime called for an entirely fresh approach. Competitors for the mayor’s race envisioned the city as an even more entrenched bedroom community for nearby San Francisco. Community leaders feared lower income people would be left out of the picture.

Formerly a US representative from California, Dellums is a fixture on the nation’s civil rights landscape. He was retired. However, Oakland citizens compelled him to get back in the fray two years ago.

Dellums has a forward-thinking vision: to position Oakland as a “global green city;” with environmental issues as a pathway out of poverty for many of Oakland’s 500,000 residents in need. Green-collar jobs are at the heart of the campaign, which includes a multi-racial, multi-issue coalition of government, for impact, sustainable energy and job training programs, including the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

The Baker Center strives for economic equity. They believe investment is the “third wave” of environmentalism, preceded by regulation and conservation.

Bluntly, the Baker Center cited three possible outcomes if green, sustainable programs weren’t embraced by Oakland’s city leaders:

> Eco-Apocalypse

> Eco-Apartheid

> Eco-Equity

Pundits call this solution-based politics. Other cities can and should model the innovative solutions Oakland and other cites are beginning to roll out. On a personal level, it can be as simple as conducting an energy audit of your home. Visit the website of your local utility company; someone may even come out for free. Learn what your family, block association, neighborhood, city or region can do to be more eco-friendly.

If you’re retooling your career, understand that green has gone mainstream! Join the eco boon and explore “green collar” training or degree programs in the bio tech arena. This would include careers that support: fuel cells, wind energy, microturbines, fuel-efficient vehicles, green architecture, solar power, environmental remediation, eco-consulting and many more.

To learn about Oakland’s model programs, see

Oakland has always been ahead of the curve. The city pioneered programs for children like “Head Start” and Colgate’s “Bright Smiles, Bright Futures,” which provides free dental screenings and oral health education. Dellums and Colgate Chairman Reuben Mark met on a plane; discussed what was possible; connected the right leaders; allocated resources—and made things happen!

They launched the program in Oakland nearly two decades ago. Today, more than 50 million children and their families in 80 countries have received vital dental services as a result of their tenacity and the help of countless community partners.

Oakland is also home of the Black Panthers, who were among many grassroots community groups that launched voter registration drives and ran self-help organizations to foster community empowerment.

No vote, no voice. No chance to see an African American male or woman being seriously considered for the Democratic Party nomination for President of the US.

Start local, grow global!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Often it’s good to simply catch up with old colleagues; people like Marko Nobles of Injoy Enterprises. As one of their valued strategists, Marko just returned from the Harlem Week planning retreat in Jamaica. To learn how you can participate in the premiere uptown community relations and marketing opportunity, contact

Harlem Week celebrates its 34th anniversary this summer. I’ve known Marko for two decades; we worked on the event during its infancy. What fun. Back in the day, I handled the Eastman Kodak Company account. Our Harlem Week participation featured photo sessions for families with Kim Fields, before she landed her starring role on Living Single, for those who love classic TV. (If you like “extra classic” TV, remember her child star days as Tootie on Facts of Life?)

Things have changed in the past 20 years. Harlem now boats Bill Clinton as a celebrity resident. The further uptown you travel, the higher the rents. Georgie’s Pastry Shop on 125th Street is gone; replaced by Starbucks and other retail giants. The new establishments may have their loyal followings, but I can still savor the flavor of Georgie’s warm donuts. During the holidays, residents would travel from throughout the tri-state area to pick up their pies waiting in lines that went down the block.

Change is everywhere and will happen. Is change always good?

Marko and I had a spirited debate about business strategies, Harlem, changes in our respective lives (he's the proud father of almost 1 year old twin daughters) and the forthcoming presidential election and what it could mean to the overall political landscape. We considered how it was energizing new audiences and giving voice to more people.

New voices and new visions lead to a vibrant and vital civic scene!


Check out the Jan. 21 Martin Luther King Day CNN – Congressional Black Caucus Institute Democratic Primary debate on YouTube if you didn’t see it live.

According to moderator Wolf Blitzer, it was the most widely watched presidential debate on cable.

I definitely enjoyed the debate for its entertainment value. It was good TV.

But, in the end, was it a good show of who will potentially lead the free world? Now that I’ve had time to digest last night’s “spectacle”; I certainly hope the candidates had a good “vent.” During the feisty brawl between Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama, everyone got in a few good punches. John Edwards emerged from the sidelines of the squabble as the self-appointed “grown up” wing of the Democratic party.

While I’m not a politician, I know the feeling of festering frustration. Things can only simmer under the surface for put so long. Sometimes you just have to let out the explosion, before you implode. And, it’s always best to get things out in the open—directly confronting the issue or person at hand.

At this point in history, we certainly need grown up leaders here in the USA. Adult thinkers who can forge collaborations to deal with the war in Iraq, the money meltdown and educating youth who can compete in a global economy. Grown ups who encourage work in a flat world economy and support cooperative enterprises were everyone can make a legal buck. It’s possible!

For sure, politics is a dirty business. You have to be ready to get down in the mud.

Get ready for another round.

Let’s just hope next time everyone stays more on message: the war in Iraq, the economy, education. Check out Bob Herbert’s column, The Blight That is Still With Us, which speaks of South Carolina’s educational “Corridor of Shame” regarding substandard schools in rural parts of the state; some have been in operation since 1896 (without many upgrades).

It got about 30 seconds of time during the debate. There are too many other issues like this that need attention. Let’s hope candidates of all parties check their egos and participate in substantive discussions about important issues.

There’s simply too much at stake.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Martin Luther King would be proud! Today is his official holiday; tonight is the CNN Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Institute Democratic Presidential Debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The first of it’s kind!

The debate features John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama. A southerner, a woman and an African American citizen of the world.


As a “closet southerner” originally from Virginia*, I take great pride in tonight’s debate and our country’s current political discussion. Born in 1959, smack dab in the middle of the civil rights movement, I was young, but still remember my parents somber mood when MLK was shot in 1968 and vividly remember the flickering images from on our black and white TV. (Yes friends, TV had a colorless infancy phase.)

While times were tough, MLK brought an air of possibility, of opportunity. He was in Memphis to assist striking sanitation workers. When he collapsed on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, everyone felt the pain. However, his service, commitment and sacrifice encouraged others to step up their game and do their part to effect change.

As they say, you can talk about it or be about it!

MLK had big vision. Union leaders trusted him. His leadership in the 1955-56 Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott led to desegregation of public transport throughout the US. Think about it. Imaging riding in the “black” or “white” car today on Amtrak; it’s nearly unfathomable if you’re under 40. People in their 60’s and 70’s—they remember.

I compare my humble life and work experiences to those of my parents. While our attitudes are drastically different, they believed in me without reservation, encouraged me to believe in myself (so important) and instilled a strong work ethic, which I’ve tried to pass on to my son. I’m very thankful for a solid foundation.

But then, they come from great southern stock—just like MLK. My maternal grandparents were entrepreneurs; my fraternal grandparents received advanced degrees in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

One of my great grandfathers was born a slave in Virginia. Yet, that “label” didn’t stop him from attaining a law degree from Cornell University. My grandmother was among one of the first black female attorneys in Virginia; which encouraged my father to get a law degree. Now, in their tradition, my son is thinking about law school.

They forged their own “movement,” each doing their part to effect lasting change.


Fast forward. Howard University, 1977-1981. As a journalism major/public relations minor, we were required to work in the CBC press room during the annual legislative weekend each September. We observed. We learned. We earned our stripes under the tutelage of Ofield Dukes, a CBC founder. Ofield was one of my professors and the elder statesman of ethnic PR professionals; he remains a friend and ally to this day.

Upon commenting to another professor, Samuel Yette, that I saw, let’s say “issues” behind the scenes in the first CBC press room, re: organization and communication flow (what naiveté), he calmly said, “Well, Ms. Scott, make it a point to change things.”

So, that’s what I’ve done! If you believe it can happen, it will—success and achievement have a way of sneaking up on you when you maintain focus and keep your eyes on the prize.

Professor Yette was another of my favorites, a distinguished scholar who encouraged us to think and take part in the exciting opportunities Washington DC has to offer: observe Congress in action; take a stand; let your voice be heard; join professional associations to give your voice volume.

Sometimes we’re enamored by words like Congress, CBC, President, Boss, CEO, and Professor. Guess what? They’re just synonyms for hard working people, winning and losing battles each day.

Many battles have been forged on the backs of those who labored in the civil rights movement. It’s important we don’t forget. It’s also smart to keep up with the times and contemporize your thinking, instead of compartmentalizing views based on the past.

I’ve been exposed to core beliefs and received numerous benefits of the civil rights movement, including: integrated schools, Madison Avenue career, the opportunity to hang among the best and the brightest in the “grit and grandeur” of NYC as a business owner.

Juanita and Jane

My mother, Juanita, put “the movement” in perspective a few years ago when I relayed how a business associate, Jane (not her real name), the receptionist at a Fortune 500 company retired to Arizona after 30 years. From my calculations, she retired a millionaire.

Jane was a wonderful woman from Queens, who explained that in her day; people from her neighborhood finished high school and immediately went to work. College was not an option; she had to pull your own weight. We’d become friendly over the years as I stopped by her company on client business. Her nephews and my son played hockey; we were both staunch fans of the company’s chairman.

Conversely, my mother, with her business degree, said, “I wouldn’t have been able to interview for that position.” Juanita was fortunate to work for African American institutions and companies throughout the years.

One woman is black, the other white. It made a difference 30 years ago, but today’s society is more “zebra like”, a la the classic movie poster of intertwined black/white hands in Spike Lee’s classic “Jungle Fever.”

Working together

My generation’s success was fueled by MLK and countless comrades who struggled for equality. This fostered an attitude that all people are created equal. For my media peers, I see our collective success when mainstream shops create advertising for African American, Latino, Asian and Native American audiences, work once relegated to specialty, niche or ethnic shops. This means the boardroom discussions and ethnic campaigns created over the past decades have made an impact. Still much room for improvement, but there’s been “movement.”

The optimum approach is a fully integrated marketing communications (IMC) plan (or agency) that addresses Americans as a group. A lofty goal, but as media specialists, many are striving to make this possible.

Just last evening, I was approached by a long-time colleague in need of an ethnic pitch specialist. We candidly discussed personality type and skill set to best suit his assignment; I sourced a few leads.

One thing’s for sure; trust and camaraderie build over time, it doesn’t just happen. Folks have to develop a “comfort level” as they say, and there’s nothing wrong with that. On the flip side, it’s reciprocal. I for one must have a “comfort level” with the people I work with or refer, because I tremendously value my time, expertise and resources, and those in my circle of connections. I certainly don’t want to hook up the wrong people. In business, and in life, reputation is everything!

You have to be honest; have integrity. True pros understand the nuances of communication, respond to psychological cues and understand that often, everyone wins when a diverse account team is in front of a client. Agencies looks smart; clients get better service. Everyone learns—and everyone earns. If you can’t do both, then what’s the point?

The future

As professors, my City College of New York colleague Nancy Tag and I strive for this balance in our AD/PR workshop—as we train the next generation of communications professionals. The communications industry is improving, but we must continue to chip away at issues of inclusion on all levels in order to reach “the mountaintop.”

The generational discourse is quite interesting. Young Americans of all races encourage society to break their shackles; avoid being brainwashed by the past and embrace independent thinking. Flashback: it’s the 60’s, revisited. Believe the world can change, and it does!

I found this fascinating two years ago while leading a discussion during a New York University business writing class. When asked to describe the C-suite (chief executive types) nearly half the group said this person was probably male, but could be of any race; both men and women were included in the mix. People who thought this way were on average, under 30. How refreshing!

Based on my perspective, experiences and world view, I usually think of an Anglo male in this position, because that’s the way it’s always been. But times are changing!

Today, that powerhouse American CEO could easily be an Asian male headquarted in the Far East, especially based on how the rest of the world is investing in US companies. Yes, that’s also refreshing, because it’s a global society.

On the political front, MLK and the civil rights movement strongly resonates to this day because each achievement brings everyone one step closer to a truly equal American society, one that can regain a competitive stance in today’s global society.

Learning from the past

WEB Du Bois first uttered it at the beginning of the last century: “The problem of the 20th Century is the problem of the color line.” Instead of talking about it, he put ideas into action and created the multicultural NAACP, parting ways with those who held a “no whites allowed” point of view. Ironically, Du Bois died one day before MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963.

MLK took up the mantle for a good part of his 39 years; the CBC is still doing their part. Now it’s our turn. In order for real change to occur, it takes ongoing motivation, determination and “the movement” of many united in a single direction.

Let go of the past. Reset your thinking. Challenge yourself.

This year, I’ll be 10 years older than MLK was when he died. Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto was six years older than my 49 years me when an assassin’s bullet snuffed out her life. Often I use illustrious “global examples” in an attempt to attain 5% of their contributions during my lifetime.

Keeps me motivated; keeps me moving in the right direction; keeps me asking …

Who can I inspire?

Which movement can I lend time to?

What new movement should I start?

Fresh perspectives engage audiences and allow people to realize their true potential. Old thinking is just plain lazy and tired. Complacency breeds inactivity.

That’s why this CNN-CBC debate and an elevated discussion of issues—on Martin Luther King Day no less—is vital. Let’s hope this becomes an event we can look forward to during each race for the White House!

MLK and his wife Coretta Scott King are proudly smiling on South Carolina tonight from above.

Let us all reflect on movements, individual and collective leadership and the knowledge the dark past has taught us as we analyze the content and responses during tonight’s historic debate.

*Born in the south, I fervently claim my rightful position as a Yankee, since I’ve been a NYC resident for 25+ years. There’s a wonderful “can do” attitude about the north. While there are pockets of southern “awakening,” there’s still a “sleepy” air about the region, in my view. Of course, I respect all locales. That’s the beauty of this country, MLK and countless others died so we’re free to live where we choose.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Everyone’s throwing around the “e” word—experience. Presidential pundits, job hunters and potential employers.

For an excellent analysis of the real deal behind the “e” word as it pertains to presidential politics, check out Nicolas Kristof’s insightful op-ed piece in today’s New York Times:

The thing is, experience means different things to different people. That said, the trick is to make your unique life experiences showcase your outstanding personal talents at the end of the day. Learn to play up your strengths!

Assert yourself

There’s a difference between a flamboyant braggart and assertively communicating your talent and expertise. The more experience you have, you’ll come across associates who tout what they’ve done and who they know.

Over time you’ll be able to smile and say, “Been there, done that.”

You’ll notice most seasoned execs rarely flaunt their success. They favor third party endorsements. Good work generates congratulations and adulation. Look for the person in the room who’s “holding court.” You’ll usually find friends and colleagues eagerly asking for background on their last success! Gravitate toward that crowd and you can't go wrong.

Look at each experience, internship, job, career move as a way to improve your skills. While no job is a panacea, you can earn a wide range of experience from everyone you encounter. You’ll soon determine business traits you admire.

In the work place, pay attention to how some clamor to be part of certain teams, due to the dynamic charisma of specific individuals. Study these people as you fine tune your workplace demeanor and responsibilities. While many employees tend to emulate the group head’s management style, no one likes clones.

Stars shine bright because they’ve taken the initiative to do things their way. Don’t be afraid to put your views out there. The blogging boom makes it easy!

Learn and earn

Ask associates how they achieved their success. You’ll find business leaders are more than willing to share words of advice with young people. Smart, accomplished individuals understand others helped them climb the ladder of success.

If you’re a manager, careful analysis of experience and skills can assist in building your team. It’s wise to build complementary skills and hire others in areas where you’re weak. While senior managers are usually well-rounded; no one knows everything. Translation: a big ego does not mean people have adequate experience or understand all aspects of any business.

That’s why despite our pending economic downturn, there’s a tremendous need for talented people. Managers need help! Especially in the burgeoning communications and media fields.

Over time, senior executives become excellent technicians—and are also quite adept at hiding their flaws. The goal is to develop a transparent environment where there’s also an ongoing exchange of information. That way, everyone can contribute and work at their full potential. This means contributing in areas where colleages and management are weak; sometimes without extra pay or recognition. (That's when your own high standards and integrity kicks in.)

When the rubber hits the road, you want people on your team who have the experience and character to help your business grow. Managers crave individuals with a solid work ethic and sound business skills who have achieved tangible, sustainable results.

Quiet as it’s kept, managers also like people who ask questions. Never be afraid to ask for more info, if things seem muddy. The benefit: task clarification and experience! With experience, comes wisdom to make even better business and life decisions.

Check Your “Erometer”

Think of the following words as a way to boost and gauge your “erometer” or experience barometer, which calls for:

> Excitement

> Enthusiasm

> Energy

> Expertise

> Enterprising attitude

> Entrepreneurial nature

> Extra insights

> Elimination of excuses & challenges

Connect the dots

When you’re working on your own personal development and growth, if you’re moving from point A to point B and connecting a few dots, then you’re well on your way to success. Everything doesn’t happen in one hour, one day or one year.

However, know that every step counts. That’s when you know you can, and should, push harder, do more—achieve greatness! Everyone likes those who give a little extra.

Greatness can mean a corner office gig clocking $250K, or a more humble, yet meaningful contribution and compensation. Be careful not to compare yourself to others. Whatever makes you tick, do it to the best of your ability. Learn as you go; think of your experience as an evolution of your skill set and character. Take it one step at a time.

See the “e”

In the course of my career, which proudly spans a quarter century, I’m enamored by the dynamic changes in the media landscape. Over the years, I’ve been a journalist, college professor, business owner, content developer, wife, mother, daughter, elder care provider and public relations executive, including work at global and ethnic-shops servicing everything from mid-sized enterprises to Fortune 500 clients.

No one shares my world view. While a few have traveled similar paths, no one has my unique set of experiences.

The trick is to set yourself apart from the pack. That’s what I strive to do as a marketer; I encourage others to engage me for the unique services only I can provide.

Remember to “see the ‘e’ ” (experience) in everything you do!

Over time, you’ll develop a gut feel—an intuition that guides you to accept job offers, projects, develop products or expand your business to another continent.

This intuition is very useful when you understand some people are less than truthful in business and life. The waters are shark infested, but you don't have to be eaten by "Jaws" if you pay attention to your gut and work smart. As a PR pro, I try to take the high road and see the best in people. But hey, sometimes you have to call a spade a spade. Take heed when you run across these people; usually, their ways don’t change over time.

I call it “shadiness.”

It usually denotes something less than up front about a person’s character. I’m a pretty good read and tend to distance myself from this type of behavior.

Me, I’m “hard core;” pretty much a straight shooter. Over the years, you’ll learn to trust your gut. That’s experience; it can save you a lot of time and headache.

Spend your time and energy modeling successful, positive behaviors and work styles that mesh with yours. Be inquisitive. Ask others who’ve paved the way. You’ll find they’re more than eager to help. In business, I often model successful tactics deployed by other consultants. Remember: no one owns ideas (many think they do).

It's all about your unique understanding, experience and execution of innovative concepts that make a business unit, or your own business grow.The beauty of today’s world is that you can even model strategies and tactics used by large agencies, because technology has equalized the playing field.

As they say, “it’s PR, not ER!” These are exciting times!

The “Experati*” Class

Now that you’re gauging your experience, do you have what it takes to be an Experati? Are you experienced in your chosen field or an exuberant professional who craves to expand their exposure to mentors or role models? Do you thrive on excitement and covet exposure for your company, customers or clients? If so, then congratulations—you’re among an elite group of communicators poised for success!

*Experati ( is a new MarComm consumer segment, brilliantly poised to experience a tipping point. The network includes experienced marketers and those who wish to expand their knowledge, all united and motivated to do business in powerful new ways. The phrase “Experati” was coined by Lynne Scott Jackson during Multicultural Communication Month (April 2007) to kick-off MX—a year-long celebration of Millynneum’s 10 Year Anniversary.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Whether you’re a student or working professional, many struggle with procrastination. It’s important to visualize how good you’ll feel once the task is complete.

Take Nike’s advice and just do it, instead of avoiding what you need to get done.

Here are a few tips:

> Break the project into manageable chunks

> Handle one element at a time (i.e. research, writing, analysis, surveys)

> Set time limit(s) for each phase of the project’s completion

> Reward yourself for a job well done

Also, understand what triggers you NOT to focus. Things like surfing the web, and constantly checking email/texting are big time wasters. Set a FIRM time limit (say 20-30 minutes max); let your alarm buzz when time’s up. Learn to work efficiently and swiftly, then move on. Breaks are good and often cut the monotony of what you’re doing. Have a “digilist” ready with sites you’ve been meaning to check out; this way your web time can be spent on advance planning or goal-oriented professional development—instead of mindless “web grazing”.

Here’s a quick breakdown of my day. As a writer/consultant/professor, my time is stretched pretty thin.

> Writing (3+ hours minimum, each day, includes client projects)

> Teaching (3+ hours)

> Learning (3+ research, reading)

> Thinking (24/7: train your brain be receptive to inspiration and ideas)

> Walking (2 hours—one of my passions)

> Transportation (2 hours)

> Resting (2 hours, i.e. breaks)

> Eating/Sleeping (5 hours)

> Personal Time (6+; versatile, depending on day & responsibilities)

It’s important how much time you can find when stop and analyze your day. As you can see, on average, 18 hours of my day is booked—yours should be too! However, I usually have six or more hours to focus on MY GOALS, if I manage my time right; a constant quest. That time is reserved for IMPORTANT projects like my G2GPR book, companion website, other ventures and connecting with family or friends.

The trick: don’t waste time, manage it as the valuable commodity it is and MAKE TIME for your goals. If something’s not important or helping get you where you need to be—then stop doing it! Bulk tasks when possible. Get help when needed.

Congratulations, you’ve taken your blog break; now get back to what you were doing!