Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas: A Time to Give Thanks and Crystallize Thoughts

Today has been wonderfully reflective. Solitude is a wonderful thing; something I learned from my mother. If you can’t make time to be one with God and one with yourself, then what’s the point?

My family took a trip to Virginia, which is great. Me, I took time for me and simply relish this introspective time to gain perspective and plan for the year ahead. I tend to go into self-imposed exile every two years or so and it just feels so right. Everyone else may not understand it; oh well. Never feel bad about making or taking time for yourself, even on holidays when everyone else is getting together.

Like the new title of the (Daryl) Hall & (John) Oates boxed sets says: Be What You Want, Be What You Are. While I’ve enjoyed their music for a lifetime, I had no idea about their background. How they’re Philly guys who literally met as teenagers entering Temple University and were heavily influenced by soul artists like Smokey Robinson. Makes sense; now I understand why I like their music so much. Yeah, I had the rare opportunity of listening to some of their great music as I was channel surfing yesterday, which I rarely have time to do.

My life and career choices of education and public relations mean that I’m “on” most of the time, with family, students, colleagues and clients. I relish each and every interaction throughout the year. But the down time at year end seems to be exactly what my psyche needs. It allows time to for me to just “be,” think, decompress and plan for the year ahead.

Guess what? It works! Via focused thought and a “calming” of the mind, I’ve been able to see the forest for the trees and clear my mind for the year ahead. Thus, I’m taking steps to maintain my (usually) non-judgmental, balanced self.

Take time to make time for you.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The New World Order
2010 Census Recognizes Demographic Shifts

Today’s Advertising Age story about the major shift in American demographics provides a revelation to all who thought the United States was a monolithic society.
If you truly believed that, you’ve been living in the dark ages, to say the least.
For those of us who have known the deal for decades, it’s old news.

Alas, that’s okay. It takes some of us a while to become fully awake, particularly marketers charged with taking the easy way out and trying to sell products and services to us as a single group. Today’s audiences demand unique, true pitches to obtain their hard-earned dollars. And, since dollars are limited in this economic downturn, it’s even more important to listen to customers.

To develop your own perspective on American demographic shifts, check out the complete story at

Marketing minds may want to pay $249 for the white paper, or just wait until the info is published by the government and crunch your own numbers. Pay attention to the signs, in today’s info overloaded marketplace, data is king. Learn to understand numbers and how to make them work in your favor. If you’re still in school or considering a graduate degree, a course in statistics could prove invaluable!

Since my entire career has been built on niche, one-to-one marketing to special audiences, I feel like a true pioneer. It proves that it’s important to build a career around your passion. Trust me on this one; it can result in untold rewards. For me, I combined my love of writing and talking with event management, advocacy and public service. Voila! A career in public relations was born in the early 80s; that was back in the day when no one really knew what that was and my journalism friends thought I was selling out.

A quarter century later, friends and the industry at large is finally catching up and it's a beautiful thing.

Listen: The New Buzz Word

If you’re a communications panel junkie like me, you begin to quickly spot industry trends. It’s common sense, but as we know, common sense is not common. So, here’s the tip of the day—listen to your audiences.

By listening, you will:

> Understand what makes your customers/readers/students tick;
> Be in a better position to develop products/services to meet their needs;
> Grow your own business/consultancy;
> Feel good about the info you’re sharing because you’re not simply taking people on a meaningless ride to nowhere;
> Realize time is money and you must have something valuable to impart or you’ll loose customers to a more engaging conversation, website, pitch or tweet.

A Decade Can Fly By
Y2K > Y2K+10

It just dawned on me that it’s nearly a DECADE after Y2K. Time is flying; a decade has passed in a nanosecond. For those of you who are two young to remember, there was predicted gloom and doom when the calendar changed from 1999 to 2000. It was suspected that computers might crash. Multinational companies called in scores of consultants to make sure their infrastructures could handle the threat of computer espionage.

Nothing earth-shattering happened. On January 1, we’ll welcome Y2K+10.
Pride & Perseverance
To Those Whom Much is Given (or Earned), Much is Expected

President Barack Obama’s selection as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize causes us all to take pause. Here’s a man who crafted an educational, career and public service plan, followed his dreams and became the leader of the free world.

Talk about a high achiever!

Now the Nobel Committee has given him the nod and encourages him to make even more of a mark on the global community by helping to bring about world peace. A tall order, but short, steady steps can result in forward progress.

One thing’s for sure, you never know who’s paying attention. Once you do a few good things, you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish.

Let us all leap forward to accomplish all we’ve been put here to do.

To learn more about my encounter with the President and First Lady, scroll down to read about Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Weekend experience.
Always Take Time to Enjoy the Ride

Usually I use my train time to decompress and collect my thoughts. A few weeks ago, my subway seat mate was joined by Peter Kinoy, a film/video editor and colleague at The City College of New York’s Media & Communication Arts Department.

What a treat! We reminisced about the growth of agencies and the impact of new technology on the communications profession. Notably, we thought back to our days as young professionals, and how there were more apprenticeship training programs.

Today’s training program appears to be a graduate degree. Communicators and filmmakers must hit the ground running in order to contribute and keep up with the fast changes in the marketplace. While challenging, these are exciting times!

Film/Video students are fortunate to have him in their midst. Tip: learn all you can from this knowledgeable artist!

Careers in Social Media

I’m a firm believer in the fact that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Check out Peter Himler’s excellent Oct. 6 Art of the PR Career post.

Peter and I worked together years ago, when we were both at Hill and Knowlton, a global communications firm. There, we honed our craft. And, if I might say so myself, we’re both still going strong.

Thanks Peter, for sharing your wisdom with our students!
CBC Foundation ALC ‘09

I recently heard President Barack Obama speak during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference (CBCF-ALC), Sept. 23-27 in Washington DC. It was the opportunity of a lifetime to personally set eyes on the Commander in Chief, personally witness his vision for a new America, healthcare for all citizens and witness him and First Lady Michelle Obama in action!

The President was the main attraction for the Phoenix Awards gala, honoring distinguished service in the political arena, including an award to DC native, Rhodes Scholar and US Ambassador to the United Nations, Dr. Susan Rice.

Founded in 1976, the CBCF has evolved to become Capitol Hill’s premier voice and powerhouse, multiethnic gathering for the politically aware who aim to improve life for underserved audiences.

What Obama said:

> Don’t believe the naysayers or be distracted by the “noise;”
> In 9 short months, there has been positive change and progress in America’s dire economic forecast;
> Affordable healthcare for all Americans is possible; and
> Obama Care can put America on a physically sound path to wellness.

It’s important we learn about these and other important issues affecting our communities. To learn more, visit --

What we can do:

In a word, ACT!

Always work to advance the conversation and create a dialogue with neighbors, community leaders, clients, influentials or elected officials. Millynneum Insight has developed “ACT” a simple, 3-step process to guide your grassroots to global community engagement efforts. How can you or your community group take action?

> ACT: Advocate, Communicate, Tackle

1. Advocate: Serve as an advocate for important issues you believe in, including health care, wellness, safe neighborhoods, better schools, more money for higher education, etc.

a) We must participate in the 2010 “mid-term elections.” According to the CBCF, 20 seats in congress (various districts) could be lost if we don’t get our act together.

b) Make sure you and your neighbors take part in the Census. Do you realize that an accurate census count allocates dollars for health care? An inaccurate count could result in an emergency room near you being closed.

2. Communicate: Share what you know via conversations, word of mouth, face-to-face meetings and sit-downs.

a) If I attended the CBCF-ALC weekend, then it means I have to share the important messages with the CCNY students I teach, academic/business colleagues, family/friends and associates.

b) It sounds simple, but we must rev up the substance of our dialogue and have the discipline to be more effective and get the job done get the job done.

c) This can happen in the barbershop, at your house of worship, in the subway car or shopping mall.

d) We must use each and every opportunity to communicate key messages and make an impact via substantive conversations rather than trivial pursuits.

3. Tackle: Take the initiative to find solutions to difficult problems at home, in your community or on the job.

a) Don’t complain, roll up roll up your sleeves and get the job done. Don’t complain, just bite off one more hour of work. Everyone is overloaded and has limited time. Now is not the time to be lazy, we’re too close to the finish line and too many people throughout the country are counting on us, particularly those without jobs.

b) If you see an opportunity, create a business. Put your neighbors to work.

c) Expand dialogue between diverse audiences. Forge alliances outside your usual circles of impact and influence. Stretch, soar, and do more!

d) Tolerate setbacks and challenges that propel you to the next phase

e) Join Susan Taylor & Co. and participate in an organization like National Cares Mentoring Movement Network

Personally seeing the President and First Lady was a moment my husband Roland and I will cherish for a lifetime. Make plans to attend next year’s CBCF-ALC or simply own your special part of the “Obama Era” by doing your part to make our collective national vision a reality.

The man certainly can’t do it alone. But with all our help, we can change America and we can get to the promised land!

Other CBCF-ALC conference highlights:

Midterm Elections

During a rousing panel titled “From Lincoln to Obama” featuring Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), elected officials pondered where we’ve come and where we must go in order for real change to be woven into the tapestry of American society.

All agreed that it’s critical Americans work together to get out the vote on the local, state and national level this fall and in 2010.

Through the 2008 Presidential Election, there was an electric rallying cry via Candidate Obama, a national “call to action.” Change was the watchword of the day. Now that he’s in office, all Democratic leaders encouraged everyone to do their part to stay motivated and keep the momentum strong.

That will take work, but we are up to the task.

Emerging Leaders

The Emerging Leaders conference track featured strategies used by elected officials under the age of 35 to mobilize and engage all audiences. Know this: Dynamic young people of all races hold a wide range of positions on the local, state and federal level.

It’s a beautiful, humbling and inspiring thing to see!

One panelist mentioned that she was complaining about something in her community, and her mentor encouraged her to run for office. The young woman ran and she won! Now she is charged with implementing policy that can have a positive outcome for her neighbors.

Do something, but don’t disengage. Add to the mix and fix things if you don’t like what’s going on in society.

Tribute to Ed Kennedy

We’ve come tremendously far, but until all Americans are able to partake in the prosperity afforded to some, then we must still continue to march forward. This message was emphasized in a stirring CBCF tribute to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), a champion of issues affecting the downtrodden.

Reconnecting with Old Friends and Making New Alliances

The event was a great way to reconnect with mentors, colleagues and protégés from my 30 years in the media, communications and education business. I felt a sense of pride to just be in the Washington Convention Center and have the opportunity to soak it all in.

Former Howard University classmates are attorneys, lobbyists, activists and business leaders. CCNY Alum Maquita Poole was among the busloads who attended with the staffs of Rep. Yvette Clark (D-NY).

I usually attend events like this in proud support and service to clients, working to get their messages across to constituent audiences. In this case, I was present on behalf of my company, Millynneum, in dedicated service to my entire client roster as we develop new programs in service to diverse audiences.
After Caucus Catch Up

Coincidentally, my last official blog post focused on the inauguration. While I managed to at least digitally capture reflections throughout the summer, time was at a premium and I’m just now carving out a few minutes to post those thoughts online.

As we approach 4th quarter, I’m making a commitment to be a lot more regular with my blogging and do even better in 2010. The trick is to get back on track when you get derailed. That goes for blogging or any other important project.

AirTran: A Lesson in Customer Relations

Despite an extensive delay due to mechanical trouble at LaGuardia recently, I have to give the New York gate agents credit. They remained cool, calm and collected as they rebooked nearly 100 customers, and shuttled to a local hotel for a brief rest before departing the next morning.

No one wants to ride plane that hasn’t passed muster by the mechanics. And, we got a free roundtrip!
Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction

If you’re a tri-state are resident, check out Georgia O’Keeffe’s (GO) excellent exhibition at the Whitney Museum. I’ve always been drawn to this dynamic artist, a woman who was truly ahead of her time. Venturing to NYC as a young woman to launch a career as a commercial artist, her mentor/lover was Arthur Steiglitz, a CCNY alum.

A key point to remember is that she maintained ownership of more than half the work she created during her lifetime; she lived to be nearly 100. Now that she’s in the other realm, her work tours and monies go toward supporting the foundation she started which benefits other artists who want to be the next GO.

To be blunt: GO after your dreams. You never know where they make take you.

It may sound morbid, but it’s never too soon to think about your legacy. If you don’t make all the coin, then those you love or causes you care about can ultimately benefit from what you put out into the world each day. Consult your accountant, attorney, estate or financial planner to learn more.

Frank Lloyd Wright: 50th Anniversary of the Guggenheim

This summer, I helped thousands of others celebrate the Guggenheim Museum’s 50th Birthday during the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibition. What a priceless Sunday afternoon in Manhattan!

Wright designed the Guggenheim and as an architect was truly ahead of his time.
Exhibitions included a sketch of what I feel is definitely the design for the new Freedom Tower, slated to the built on the former World Trade Center site.

Yes, it’s a new building, designed by contemporary architects. However, I think it’s a testament to Wright’s free-thinking, pr-driven genius and connection of the environment to people and the influence he’s had on generations of artists.

With each generation, we do get better.

If you didn’t catch the exhibit, then buy one of his many books. Or, simply treat yourself to any exhibit at the Guggenheim, where you can marvel at the circular exhibit hall, allowing light, environment, people and beauty to mix in exquisite harmony.

Walking for Wellness

NYC’s recent Indian summer alerted me that I have to get back into my “walking zone;” by body feels best when a have a strong exercise routine. An evening stroll along Central Park West, Columbus Circle and the West Side was simply glorious.

Thinking back, I had a similar stroll last fall. Cherish the simple beauty that is right in front of you. Don’t miss opportunities to take simple snippets of relaxation. They can offer a world of solace and provide sustenance during those days when your body and brain is literally on the run.

And yes, I supported the economy with a few purchases in support of local shopkeepers, hopefully doing my small part to keep them in business.
Alas, patches of the metropolitan streetscape are bare (even ritzy Madison Avenue)
in that businesses can no longer afford ground floor Manhattan office leases.
Brooklyn Block Party: Good Times Meet Tragedy

It’s important to keep your ear to the ground. I have the good fortune of seeing many young people on my block grow up and develop into talented young adults. Some even have children, and it’s wonderful to see them blossom as the next generation of community advocates who are mobilizing communities for positive change.

If you’re a young city-dweller, you eagerly await block parties, which are literally a rite of passage. When collecting donations for our recent block party extravaganza, here in Bed-Stuy, a neighbor shared that a young man she knew was recently killed – I repeat killed during an exchange at a block party in a nearby neighborhood.

Devastating doesn’t begin to explain it. The young man was the boyfriend of a young woman she knew.

Understand that everything doesn’t make the news, but it’s worth noting. Lives cannot continue to be senselessly lost. Whether New York or Chicago, we simply must take back our neighborhoods.

What I’m most proud of is that this young mother, in her 20s, and I went on to have an extensive conversation about values and the importance of raising kids right.
Her parents did such a wonderful job!
August Reflections

Last evening I had the pleasure of submitting grades for my outstanding Entrepreneurship for Media Communications class at The City College of New York. The class of 19 young people was an invigorating mix of talented apprentices in the areas of entertainment/restaurant management, online marketing, retail, home/commercial security and other businesses.

While most are CCNY Media & Communications majors, I had the pleasure of meeting new students in psychology, math, engineering and business.

Field trips included visits the to NYC Business Solutions and the New York Public Library’s Science Business and Industry Library. Both offer year-round advice and complimentary seminars on e-commerce, database development for customers, financial/accounting advice and a wide range of

Our summer semester culminated with winning presentations of business plans and “Entrepreneurial Icon” book reports. Students relayed info about captains of industry during an informal business breakfast exchange at Harlem’s Sylvia’s Restaurant.
The Power of Conversations

Whether it’s at the dentist or at the laundromat, take the time to exchange conversations with those you come in contact with. Connections and human interaction count big.

For example, my dental hygienist, Ala, originally from Russia is a huge Michael Jackson fan just like me. Together, we recounted events of the past 40 years of enjoying his music. In the tradition of Marshall McLuhan’s classic work, The Media is the Message, today’s new world order is a well-connected a global village.

At a recent visit to my neighborhood laundromat, I chatted with neighbors about street scapes and new businesses opening along the Nostrand Avenue corridor.
This as a new friend surveyed a Daily News piece about a man who found $16,500 worth of artwork in the trash.

Always take the time to think and look out of the box. Sometimes there’s a big payday. You creative types understand what I’m talking about. Yesterday, I took a few hours to craft a plan for a new business, including a franchise idea. Then, I took a few extra moments and purchase the domain name.

It only takes a few minutes to get started. We all know that online real estate is the first step towards pay dirt, right? After that, momentum takes over. Even if this idea doesn’t turn out to be a gold mine, I’ve kept my mental juices going and created my own gold rush of imagination and excitement!

What’s your new business idea? Go to and start building an enterprise for $10.

Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion

According to author Gary Vaynerchuk, a 33-year-old self-trained wine and social media expert, anyone can cash in on their passion. He recently appeared on CNN’s Your Money show, which airs Saturday afternoon.

Gary made a fortune by adding a digital component to his family’s New Jersey wine business. Business exploded and he revolutionized the wine industry in the process. How? By caring deeply about his audience and understanding the lifestyle, likes and dislikes of people who are passionate about wine.

I may check him out during his Oct. 13 book launch at the Borders at 10 Columbus Circle. Of, if we miss that special event, we can always order Crush It! via

Walter Cronkite—That’s the Way It Is

Alas, another icon has gone to the other realm. Many younger media professionals aren’t familiar with the impact Walter Cronkite had on the media industry.

Catch tonight’s CBS tribute: “That’s the Way it Is: Remembering Walter Cronkite,” commemorating the newsman’s signature nightly sign off; definitely a good lesson in personal branding. Watch the special and develop your own style with sensitivity to fairness, accuracy. Above all, Cronkite was passionate about all that he did.
Listen Up! African Americans
Obama’s NAACP 100TH Anniversary Speech

If you haven’t heard it already, check out President Barack Obama’s 100 Anniversary Speech to the NAACP. It’s a classic and a keeper—something you’ll want to share with family members, friends and all in your community.

In sum, it’s a mission driven speech to his “own folk” that’s full of passion. Bounce the link far and wide:

Fresh on the heels of his trip to Ghana, the speech crystallizes the transition of Africans to the new world and the pioneering work the NAACP has done since 1909.
Founded by famed scholar W.E.B. DuBois and others under the Niagara Movement banner, the multicultural organization is something all Americans can be proud of

As Obama said during his address to conferees, “I stand on the shoulders and backs” of those who walked before me.

We all do.
Mid-Year Catch Up and Lessons from Michael Jackson

As “Michaelmania” subsides, I’d like to shed a little perspective on what we’ve witnessed over the past two weeks since Michael Jackson’s death.

Full Disclosure: I've been in serious "MJZ/Michael Jackson Zone" as I’ve taken in the personal branding / image building / barrier breaking / crisis communications story of a lifetime. Yes, I purchased CDs and DVDs, baseball caps and t-shirts from street vendors for myself, family and friends. I was proud to be on 125th Street in Harlem to experience the Apollo Theater tribute. You just had to be in the mix to experience the cool vibe ... there were satellite trucks to beam the celebration throughout the world in all languages! Those waiting in the bright sunshine were huddled masses that represented the cross-cultural mosaic of MJ fans.

Sales/media visibility wise MJ totally displaced President Barack Obama for two weeks -- which is simply mind blowing! It shows the power of the entertainment business and influence of global pop culture. If something resonates in your soul (as MJ’s music did for his fans), you just can’t get it out of your system until the feelings cycle through and pass on. MJ’s death was Topic A for conversations in my Entrepreneurship for Media Communications class at CCNY, as well as at barbershops and bus stops.

However, don’t think we’re totally “We are the World” yet. There’s still a lot of work to do right here in the US. Just this week, 65 young African Americans and their chaperones from a summer camp were asked to leave a pool outside Philadelphia this week after flack from members who preferred not to have their kind in the water with them, despite a personal invitation from the president of the private club. However, the president was forced to rescind the swimming offer after pressure from his board of directors.

Now they’re in hot water and a Michael Jackson soundtrack can’t make these stories sound any better because ethnic people of a certain age have seen this before. Racism and lack of respect are messages that resonate deep inside your soul.

Or, consider that African American photographers from the Black Press were denied press credentials to cover the MJ Staples Center memorial this past week (July 2009). The arrogant denial of the contributions made by leading ethnic media is something I’ve also experienced in my career. We must stay vigilant.

Scroll down for the full story from the LA Sentinel.

As a consultant working on the Listen Up! Quincy Jones documentary years ago, I politely had to explain to studio publicity/marketing execs why Ebony, Jet, the Amsterdam News and other ethnic press had to be credentialed for the Apollo premiere, in addition to Entertainment Tonight and other mainstream outlets.
Thankfully, the Warner Bros. execs listened.

Years later, Spike Lee pressed Warner Bros. for ethnic firms to be included in the marketing mix for the promotion of Malcolm X. Purposefully, we all kept pushing. The result: a wildly successful African American Media Day whereby the Black Press got a “sneak peak” at the film, which was a public relations first and publicity/goodwill media bonanza!

Change happens … one step at a time. Everyone is a foot soldier to ensure that our rights, images or messages don’t get stomped on.

We must to remember to pay attention to the subtleties of all the news and work to right the ills of society in our own backyard. Don’t let people get a “pass;” press forward to break barriers. That’s what MJ did; that’s an important lesson to learn.
As PR practitioners, we have the opportunity to move the discussion forward and channel new solutions to age old problems that have taken on slightly different tones.

I’m someone who grew up on MJ’s music and still remember talking about the Jackson 5 in the church parking lot after choir rehearsal. Yes “Right On” magazine covers and fold out posters covered my bedroom walls.

Michael Jackson had impact. Not only as the world’s greatest entertainer, but as a humanitarian and celebrity entrepreneur who can also teach us a little about the importance of work-life balance. We should all take a look at our lives and push ourselves a little bit harder – just not to the breaking point. We have to understand too much of any one thing (even work) can send you off kilter – and sometimes be a killer.

Dodson on Jackson

Check out Howard Dodson’s blog for an insightful perspective on the life, legacy and emotional struggles of MJ. Dodson is Chief of The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Located at 135th Street and Malcolm X (Lenox) Boulevard, the center is the nation’s leading repository of black history and literature and part of the New York Public Library. Artists, scholars, musicians and rappers consume a wide range of resources to insure their creations are historically accurate. Never underestimate the power of research!

Get in the Know—At the Library

Thursday, my CCNY Entrepreneurship for Media Communications class visited New York Public Library - Science, Industry and Business Library at 34th and Madison;

Director of Training Janet Bogenshultz, provided an excellent primer of what’s available at the world’s largest business library open to the public. SIBL features databases and resources comparable to what’s available at leading university business schools. All info is complimentary – paid for with your tax dollars. You can also take advantage of free courses in e-commerce, list creation/database development, green jobs and other important business trends.

This just in from the Los Angeles Sentinel

Black Press Photographers Denied Access at Michael Jackson's Memorial - Was it AEG or the Jackson Family?
by Yussuf Simmonds
Assistant Managing Editor, Los Angeles Sentinel
Originally posted 7/8/2009

LOS ANGELES (NNPA) - Historically the Black press has been covering Black artists, entertainers and other well-known personalities when no else would, primarily out of a sense of duty, responsibility and pride in order to showcase their talent to the world. That included Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, when they were at the beginning of their rise to stardom.

So it was not surprising that the Black press came out in full force to cover Jackson’s memorial at the event that was described as a virtual sea of Blackness. Yet, photographers representing the Los Angeles Sentinel – the oldest and largest Black newspaper on the West Coast; Ebony and Jet magazines – two of the largest Black publications in the world; and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) – a federation that represents more than 200 Black publishers across the United States were not credentialed to take photos inside the Staples Center during the memorial of Michael Jackson.

“This is a recurring theme; this is constantly happening to the Black press all over the country,” says Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., the newly elected chairman of the NNPA (the Black Press of America) and executive publisher of the Sentinel. “This has got to stop. I am declaring today on their behalf that we are going to take on companies, associations and media outlets that overtly disrespect, disregard and devalue the Black press.”

It was rather apparent that the promoters of the event (AEG, the company that owns the Staples Center) did not think it was important to allow access to all the credentialed media personnel - particularly those carrying cameras. Three African-American photojournalists related their experiences to the Sentinel – three similar incidents that happened separately to three different individuals whose only common traits were that they were Black.

As a photojournalist for many years, Malcolm Ali has covered many events throughout the country. He said, “While at the memorial, I was contacted by the Sentinel to get my credential from Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was just arriving at the gate. As I left the area, the police confronted me and I told them I was going to get my credentials, and that I already had my LAPD press pass.” After getting his pass, he still was not allowed to get inside the Staples Center. “I learned that there were press cameras in there (the Staples Center) that were authorized by AEG included Getty Images and other Wire Services,” he also said.

“They’re the biggest photo distribution house in the world; they sell photos,” Ali continued, “They send their photographers to major events, capture these images and they upload them on their website, then and sell them to (Black) newspapers, and magazines throughout the world. To do this, they have to make a deal with AEG that they (Getty Images) will provide the pool of photographers (for the event) and everyone has to buy from them. And this locks outs the smaller newspapers especially the Black press.”

Expressing similar sentiments Bakewell commented, “We understand that AEG sells the exclusive rights to photography to wire services. One time before, Black reporters were denied access to a concert with Prince because they have an exclusive with some of the artists. The problem however, is that many of the Black artists, who we love, on the way up; they go up on the ‘elevator of the Black press’ and when they reach the top, they won’t let the elevator back down to pick the Black press up to shoot them anymore.”

Shon Smith is a professional photographer with D’Angelus Photos; she was another photographer who was denied access to the memorial. “When I got there the first set of officers saw my blue wrist band (identification for the media) and let me through the barricade,” she said, “That was to allow me access to places where others were not allowed. I was following other photographers when an officer called me to get out of the line.

There were a group of White photographers ahead of me.”

According to Smith, she made a left turn nearby where more of the press corps was located, an individual in a red jacket – Staples Center security personnel – asked her to stand on the other side. She told him, “All these other photographers are right here and he said ‘that’s them, you need to stand over here.’ Well who are they with?

‘They are with us’. We all have blue bands. ‘I could get you arrested’. I told them that I was with the Los Angeles Sentinel, but that did not seem to matter.”

The police officer then told her to go behind the barricade. Smith, who was also shooting photos to be published by the NNPA News Service, said she was not allowed to go places where other White photographers were taking pictures. Eventually she came to the realization, “It was because I’m Black; I’m a woman and I wasn’t all dressed up, but I had on a professional jacket and I was carrying a $3,000 camera. It was obvious what I was doing. They never let me into Staples Center, but I believed they did let a female Black photographer in but they took her camera and then her wristband and made her exit the building. I believed I was singled out because I was a Black woman with dreadlocks.”

Bakewell went on to say, “The irony of all this is that the Black press was covering Michael Jackson and his family over the last 40 years with endearment, accuracy, affection and pride when no one else was covering him. The Black press defended him when no one else defended him. Now, at his final tribute, the Black photographers are denied. Furthermore, after the Black press helps many of the Black artists to reach the top, they do not use their status and their influence to require parity to the Black press.

When they make movies, plays and records, they do not demand that the Black press be included in the budgets to promote their work. And that’s unconscionable, a violation of their own family ethic; while the Michael Jackson is front and center, this is a malignancy that exists in Black America.”

Valerie Goodloe is an ace photographer; she shoots for Ebony and Jet magazines, and she was denied access to the Staples Center. Goodloe said, “We’re made invisible when it comes to large events that are African-American driven; we are shoved to the side. Even though Revs. Jackson and Al Sharpton were working on my behalf to get me credentials along with the pool photographers from the L.A. Times and the New York Times, it just didn’t work out.” Though she went inside with Rev. Jackson she was not allowed to take any pictures. “AEG sent a person downstairs and said that I was not going to be credentialed.”

Rev. Jackson was the only individual who stood up to demand that the Black press have equal access to the Jackson memorial. The staff of Rev. Al Sharpton also pushed for credentials for the NNPA News Service, but to no avail.

Calls were made to AEG but there was no response.

Perspective: Our Mission as PR Pros

Many reputable organizations commented on this summer’s New York Times Story, Spinning the Web: PR in Silicon Valley.

In my view, it's all about perseverance and staying goal oriented -- these types of "thorns" and other worldly thinking will always be out there. The strategic contributions are key but the social media implications are only going to increase. The thoughts of this young woman will gain traction with some folks, no matter how you slice it!

As educators, we try to teach students to connect the dots, aka critical thinking.
Young professionals must gain knowledge, stay nimble and understand "nuance" in order to succeed in service to their clients, constituencies or communities.

Father’s Day Reflections

Remember to take time out for Dad, not just on his special day, but throughout the year. While my Dad is no longer in the “land of the living,” his lessons live on: a love for learning, work, perseverance and patience.

Me, I’m more of a risk taker. But I’m able to take those risks after being guided in the fundamentals of success, based on wisdom from my husband, parents, in-laws, former bosses, professors, mentors and other great men in my life.
Take an “LSJ-Day”

While I’m a self-prescribed workaholic, today I took what is hereby dubbed an “LSJ-Day” or a few hours of downtime to rev up my game.

I love to write, teach and run my business. The great thing is none of these vocations seem like work to me, it’s simply how I make a living. Today, I just took time to reconnect with myself, my family and fuel my passions.

Everyone, even a workaholic needs fuel (read: remember to eat) to keep going!

Support the Economy (If You Can)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve supported local entrepreneurs including:
> Abu’s Bakery (Bedford & Fulton – Bed-Stuy)
> Nepal-born jeweler (West 3rd & Sullivan - Greenwich Village; exquisite work)
> Numerous Harlem street vendors (125th & 145th Streets)

The economic melt-down encourages us all to scour the streets for deals. For me, an eclectic shopper, I look forward to obtaining great deals in little known places.

Retail & Restaurants: In the Ditch

“Space for Rent” and “Out of Business” signs everywhere here in New York. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not gloom and doom, you just have to hunt for bargains. And, the good news is if you have a little cash, it certainly is a buyers market. Whether you’re in an uber cool urban area or suburbia, now is the time to sign a long-term lease, if you’re able.
Open Your Mind

During a recent neighborhood walk I was energized by the Muslim Community as a group left the neighborhood mosque following mid-day prayers.

This was on the heels of President Obama’s speech to the Muslim world and again makes me feel proud to be an American and to be alive during this exciting point in history. I bought a copy of the Qu’ran to learn more. Always be open to new schools of thought; don’t allow yourself to be misguided by old ways of thinking.

Soar … learn more!
We Act for Enviornmental Justice

As many of you know, my “main mission” is Distinguished Lecturer, Ad/PR at City College. Part of that work includes service as faculty advisor for WE ACT @ CCNY, a student club.

This week, I attended the 20th Anniversary gala for the club’s “parent” organization, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, founded by Peggy Shepard, coincidentally, a Howard University alum.

Start something. You’ll be amazed at how far your advocacy work can take you and how many people you can help. My blog post won’t do them justice; visit the website to learn more about how you can get involved in climate change initiatives, environmental/food injustice and other important uptown efforts.
LaGrant Foundation :: Pure Inspiration

The Spring 2009 LaGrant Foundation Scholarship Awards at New York University’s Kimmel Center was truly inspirational. It’s wonderful to pause, reflect on how far we’ve come and understand the industry in the hands of distinguished, multicultural students poised to enter the field.

Conceived 11 years ago by Founder/President Kim L. Hunter, the awards ceremony honors up and coming communications talent. Hunter’s goal is “to get these students placed at top firms.”

Their accomplishments are already tremendous. As I spoke with this group of “high achievers,” I thought how fortunate I was to not only be in their presence, but to not have to compete with this crew for a job!

I must offer kudos to CNN American Morning’s Jason Carroll, who stayed more than an hour past his master of ceremony duties to “hold court” with pre-professionals and their families. Sharing, giving, and advising— that’s what it’s about!

Stay on the lookout for exciting plans by a variety of communications orgs who wish to make an impact and take things to the next phase. There is always room for additional scholarships or training programs for sharp young people.

Hats off to McCann Erickson’s Toni Thompson for sponsoring the reception; other
corporate supporters include a long list of contributors such as Hill & Knowlton, one of my professional alma maters.

And, of course the event wouldn’t have been possible without John Doorley and Renee Harris of New York University, and their colleagues Guiliane Blaisane and Fadia Angrand, among others. Kudos to the Lagrant Foundation’s Ericka Avila and a big welcome to Joy Hunter, the foundations new executive director!
What’s On Deck for the Summer

As soon as one semester ends, another begins. Things are moving fast and furious with summer school planning, projects and a preview of what’s to come for the fall.

Make Plans NOW to Attend the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s (CBCF)
Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) Weekend
September 23-27 :: Washington, DC

This isn’t rocket science. This year’s conclave of politicos, business leaders, entertainers and emerging leaders promises to be the hot ticket. Now that President Obama is in office, we must each chart our short and long-term plans for lasting change.

What better way than to do this on a collective basis?

To register and book your hotel and take advantage of early bird pricing, visit
Early June Reflections

It’s just a wonderful time to be alive! The spring term has ended; summer sessions are in full gear and the world is bustling with options and opportunities. Often, you must take a moment, reflect on recent accomplishments and chart your future course. This helps solidify your action plan for what’s to come. My writing and communication students know I’m BIG on planning and research.

As President Barack Obama addressed the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, visited the Buckenwald concentration camp site in Germany and participated in D-Day celebrations with world leaders in Normandy, France—it reset the worldview of East/West relations.

These actions also cause us to consider what’s possible and probably, if we take a risk, step up and answer our own “calling.”

Soldiers risk life and limb for our freedom on a daily basis. In their honor, we should memorializing their efforts by stepping up on a daily basis to do what we do best.
Org Development & Human Nature

We know planning leads to progress, action and success! Similarly, no plans and no motivation lead nowhere!

Me, I’m a catalyst. As per my company motto: Millynneum is your catalyst for connections in a climate of change! If change isn’t forthcoming, then you have to take your own steps to move your own life forward—no one is going to do it for you, that’s for sure.

Worry is just a big waste of time. Action speaks louder than words.

It’s time for us all to KNOW that anything is possible. But, one thing is probable, nothing will happen without hard work and commitment. Thus, I’ve had to take my own advice and let of some things that aren’t working. Yes, I tend to be somewhat of a perfectionist and workaholic. If I’m not hanging with like minded folks, I tend to not work at my best.

Thus, it’s time to evolve, let go and grow. It’s okay on all fronts and leaves more time for those to work with capable others who share areas of influence and success.

Growth is good!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A New Day in More Ways Than One

I’ve been on “Blog Break” for the past month due to life stuff. So, let’s play a little catch up.

JANUARY 20 – “Sunshine and Smiles”

The Inauguration was wonderful. As Amtrak neared DC on Inauguration Day, a wonderful gentleman named Lamar was my seat mate as the train left the Aberdeen, Maryland station. We were both VERY EXCITED to be a part of history and like mindedly embraced the day as lone adventurers, unencumbered by companions and thus able to find a choice spot on the National Mall.

I was a witness to history and I’ll never forget it. True to form, I maneuvered to about 20 feet from our New First Family at the start of the parade route, on Delaware Street right by the US Capitol.

The moment was priceless and will be forever etched in my memory. With my own eyes, I saw the ENTIRE Obama family up close and personal in USA 1, the new Cadillac fortress limo. The President, his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia all looked at my direction of the crowd and waved. As our new President flashed his signature smile I caught my breath and took it all in.

I was honored to be among the first few million Americans he saw after officially being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

And, it was an honor to just be among the crowd and WITNESS people of all ages who braved the cold to witness the warmth of the historic moment. It was literally the huddled masses, which included people of all creeds, occupations and levels of mobility (some were in wheelchairs; others were nearly carried by persons on either side of them), united in spirit the hope of a new day.

The crowd was immense; the crowd was America – Black, Caucasian, Asian, Native American and every other mix on the map. It’s hard to explain, I’m just glad I was there to witness “the moment” when an African American man, about my age (actually three years younger) took the oath of office and ascended to the most powerful job on the planet.

As one bystander joyfully exclaimed, “Today is all smiles and sunshine!”

BTW -- no tickets were needed. One of my mottos is, don’t EVER let a ticket hold you back. Go for it; you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish in this life. And yes, I even composed myself to snap a few pictures! Don’t get caught up in the process; forge ahead and make your own progress. Often, rules are meant to keep you out. Your charge is often figuring out a legal way to maneuver the system, and make it work for you.

This wonderful day ended similar to how it began. That evening, as the train rolled out of Union Station, I was joined by Peggy, another New Yorker like myself. We marveled at our personal brush with history and she relayed the kindness of a friendly security guard who escorted her to a private screening room on the National Mall when she strained to position herself for the noontime swearing in of the nation’s first African American president.


(quotes are from LSJ unless otherwise noted)

"God works in mysterious ways. The older I get, the more I know that's true.”
-- Peggy, my Amtrak seat mate

“I have the feeling that family members from generations had a chance to see the new President through me.”

“The massive wave of bodies must have been what it was like to march in Selma and other cities during the Civil Rights movement—move on, keep marching.”

“It’s truly amazing. Slaves built the Capitol and now an African American man is in charge of the House, the Senate, the States, the People.”

“How wonderful to pass the Library of Congress and remember fond memories of library visits with my father.”

“The Supreme Court building brings back memories of all the lawyers in my family, my Dad, my Grandmother, my Great-Grandfather. This day belongs to them.”

“Supreme beings directed me to be in just the right place at just the right time to see the new President, which calls up memories of my Mother’s gift for gab and listening skills, speaking to people and having the faith to literally will your rights into existence.”

“Always be ready to change.”
-- important as I shifted position to the corner of Delaware as the Inaugural procession began, allowing me to be less than 20 feet away from President Barack Obama

“This is a once in a lifetime experience. We can’t deny citizens that. Plant your feet firmly in the ground and enjoy the moment!”
-- friendly female US Capitol Police officers who encouraged the crowd to shore up their position without pushing, as everyone jockeyed for position to see the new Commander in Chief

“President Obama didn’t even have a teleprompter—it was a wonderful inaugural address; you could tell he really meant what he was saying. It’s always best to just speak from the heart.”
-- Philip Morse, Chief, US Capitol Police

SCOTT: Service, Community, Opportunity & Training in Tidewater

That evening, on a serious political high, my husband Roland met me at the door with news that my mother, Juanita T. Scott, died that morning after a lengthy illness. Alas, I left for DC on Amtrak before daybreak and turned my cell phone off to enjoy the moment.

Good thing I did.

I was able to focus on “the moment” of Inauguration Day, hail the new chief and regale in the splendor. Yes, that’s what my mother would have wanted. Although we didn’t always agree, she was unconditionally supportive of my goals throughout the years.

While somewhat bittersweet, I will always have meteoric and historic reflections of the day she died. It’s actually a wonderful, participatory memory. And, for family members and friends, the day is pretty much emblazoned in their minds, another cool, huge tribute to my mother.

As my grandmother Lucille B. Thorpe remarked before she died a few years ago, “In the end … it’s all just a memory anyway.”

Great advice for dealing with “passages” of time, death, loss, destruction and disappointment. First and foremost, we all must take care of our responsibilities and build wonderful memories with those around us, and have faith. This way we have something to lean on when we’re down.

One thing is for sure, my mother’s affairs were buttoned up, zip locked and airtight. No mess to wade through; everything’s in order; bills were paid until the day before.

The lesson for those she left behind: Handle your business!

Alas, that’s the reason why I’ve been AWOL for a few weeks. Interesting how life is a series of passages and transitions. The trick is to keep going, learn the lessons, accept what comes your way and pass on what you know so others can benefit from your “missteps.”

I’ve come to understand death isn’t a bad thing; folks are finally at peace. Isn’t that all we’re ever after? Doesn’t everyone deserve rest and peace? I take solace in the fact that through lung and bone cancer, my mother fought a good fight. When you’re so tired that you can’t fight any more, then you have to let go and move on … to a “higher” plane, a “better” place.

In my parents’ honor and in tribute to our new President, my brother Fred and I created a fund that will be administered by Hampton, Virginia’s Third Baptist Church; our parents collectively were members for more than a century.

Juanita & Fred SCOTT
Service, Community, Opportunity & Training in Tidewater*
*area encompassing neighboring cities

Life is a series of passages and life is sweet. I’m excited about what the rest of 2009 will bring!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pre-Inaugural Excitement

It’s fun to be a part of history! Today, I networked with two friends, Harlem’s Florine Wiley and Arlington’s Donna Patterson, a long-time friend who is Deputy Registrar for the City of Arlington, Virginia. We may try to hook up for a split second at Tuesday’s Inauguration Festivities, but online our excitement is already building; we’re just proud to be part of the moment!

I was touched by a BBC segment ( that provided a history of slaves who built the White House and included an interview with descendant of “Jennings” a slave owned by President James Madison who later served as his valet and was among his most trusted advisors.

Yet, Jennings was still James Madison’s “property.”

The BBC journalist stood near the bleachers and reviewing stand in front of the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and relayed it was once site of a slave auction block in the nation’s capital. I fondly recall my days at Meridian Hill Hall, my Howard University dorm, located in DC on 16th Street. A short bus trip or leisurely walk downtown would deposit me directly in front of the White House—a state symbol of power.

BBC reporters explained how African Americans have come a long way, from slaves and servants to patriots dedicated to public service, serving in the Civil War and every war since. Further, the piece interviewed the first African American secret service agent. He explained that he first served under President John Kennedy, whom he met him in another city and gave him the ultimate “hook up” via a transfer to his White House detail.

Progress and change have come over the decades, in visible strokes and behind the scenes. Every step helps us achieve the American dream.

On Tuesday, I'll be in the ultimate “sea of humanity" on the National Mall, vying to get as close as I can to the inaugural “action.” I’ll depart at DAWN on the @ 6 AM Amtrak, BASK in the sunlight, revel in the the GLORY OF BEING AN AMERICAN and return that evening, just after nightfall, EAGER to embark on a NEW ERA.

Something inside me said YOU MUST BE PRESENT, in DC at that moment in history. So I bought my ticket for a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m excited about simply taking it all in, examining the faces, and feeling the ELECTRIC SPIRIT of the crowd. I'll ATTEND for every family member and acquaintance who toiled (and died) for us literally experience this moment. Plus, as a Howard alum, former intern at the Departments of of Labor, Veterans Affairs and Smithsonian Institution’s Folk Life Festival, DC will always hold a special place in my heart.

I caught a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth at the Smithsonian nearly 30 years ago.
Next Tuesday, I’m there to bear witness. If I don’t get my glimpse of the Obama family Jan. 20, I’ll have 8 years (yes friends, reelection is eminent) to position myself to make my own history. I’ve shook the hands of former President Bill Clinton and Al Gore when they were in office, and I’ve been honored to personally hear eloquent speeches delivered by Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Like soon to be President Barack Obama says, “Anything is possible if you have the right work ethic.” I have a gut feeling that it’s not only probable, it’s possible—because I’m going to work and position myself for my meeting with destiny, whatever that might be. But first, I vow to make myself worthy of that chance meeting with a world leader of Obama’s character—or chance stranger— because anyone and everyone can enhance or invigorate your life.

When Miracles Meet Mission

Prayers were certainly answered with yesterday’s “Miracle on the Hudson,” whereby 155 passengers and crew survived virtually unscathed, averting what could have been a massive aviation disaster.

Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, pilot of US Airways Flight 1549, deftly and safely glided his Airbus A320 onto New York’s Hudson River. A cool, calm, professional, well-trained, multi-talented over-achiever, the ultimate leader who is willing and able to get the job done.

Do Sully and Barack have the same mentor? Undoubtedly, divine intervention often intersects with destiny.

Work, train and allow your God-given talents to act as your buoy on the seas of life. Sometimes, you’re fortunate to have a life preserver. Often, all you have is unwavering inner convictions to serve as your guide.

Back to work as I prepare syllabi for spring classes!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Greater Chinatown Community Association
Annual Fundraiser Builds Unity

It’s Chinese New Year and 2009 is the Year of the Ox. This evening I had the pleasure of learning more about the Greater Chinatown Community Association’s ( work impacting citizens and youth who live in lower Manhattan.

Representing a diverse array of civic and leadership groups, GCCA was established in 1972 and works to support the nation’s largest Chinese American population, which reside within New York City’s five boroughs. Executive Director Kendra Lee did a fabulous job of managing the annual fundraiser, which benefits a wide range of
unique individualized program services.

The festive evening included a Lion Dance, whereby dinner guests presented envelopes of money, a symbol of good luck. Perhaps the highlight was performer Jian Rong Zhao, who deftly performed a ninja “face-changing” performance, literally changing masks in mid-air from ebony black … to red … to white … to red/white/blue and a few colors in between.

What a strong message; Jian was a true chameleon celebrating how our society is constantly blending, changing, evolving … as he worked the room from the main stage to the perimeter.

In addition to BPRSNY ( colleagues Mike Millis and Gordon Balkcom, my dinner companions included and a warm introduction from Japanese-American Suki Terada Ports who despite her career in the health arena, has the natural charm of a PR pro.

A community health organizer with expertise in AIDS outreach to multicultural patients and their families, Suki has founded several organizations, including the Family Health Project, that give people hope and help them beat the odds. Petite and driven, she introduces me to June Jee, a Verizon executive who turns out is a graduate of City College where I teach. Needless to say, June is a role model and supporter and embraced by many in the room.

The crowd brimmed with optimism, which ultimately breeds opportunity. You just can’t stop the natural momentum of honest exchanges between races.

As we all remarked on the beauty of our broad cultures, Suki explained how one of her children was born at now-defunct Convent Avenue Hospital, where her Japanese American physician was granted privileges; other hospitals decades ago would not allow him to practice or patients to be treated. She also revealed how when she lived in Georgia, how she had to always ask herself which fountain she could or should drink from, the one marked “colored” or the one marked “whites only.”

Suki, a 74 year old Japanese American woman, offered to share the story of the internment camps with youth who participate in Howard Chin’s Chinese American Student Exposure after school program. He explains young people often don’t truly understand the civil rights movement and other important milestones which have provided benefits for all Americans. He tries to informally teach these lessons as he befriends them, encouraging them to get involved in student government and participate in community affairs. He advises youth to look out for others instead of only being out for self.

Many dinner partners shared that it is our job as elders, teachers and community leaders to keep EVERYONE’S story alive.

Me, I remember learning about internment camps about 15 years ago, during a PBS television special. Wondering if I had somehow been absent that day from school when it was discussed, I surmised it probably wasn’t taught in the South where I grew up. At best, it was a paragraph and if there wasn’t an Asian American student in class to relay the full story, it probably got short shrift.

Back in my day, I grew up learning about the civil rights movement from my parents in grandparents; my grandmother was an attorney. She and others made sure others’ rights were protected.

Yes, there were a few Asians at my high school but not many. Perhaps that’s why I was ultimately drawn to New York. Deep inside I’ve always had a fascination for all things cultural, which led to a career as a multicultural marketing specialist.

Suki is the same age as my mother Juanita and it seems their stories are so similar.

As the evening continued, other wonderful souls joined the conversation, including a lovely woman who patiently gave me tutoring in proper chopstick use. Yes, I manage to fumble in restaurants or at home, but the time she took to prep me was simply priceless.

From my long and frequent walks throughout Chinatown and the Lower East Side, I feel a wonderful connection to Asian cultures and other people from faraway lands.

It was a wonderful Chinese New Year and an eye-opening way to spend Martin Luther King’s birthday; a night I will long remember. It’s incumbent on my generation to pass on these messages and strengthen the ties that bind. Too many people have died for the right and honor we all have to sit and reflect on how far we have come.

A CNN newscast today featured friends of Medgar Evers who was assassinated in Mississippi during the civil rights movement. The reporter asked the friends what Medgar might have said on the eve of an African American president?

“You’ve done well, brother” said a comrade. Then, in lock step they agreed the fight of past generations was not in vein. It’s incumbent upon us all to broaden our circle of friendships and connections to get accomplish even more.

Onward, in lock step as we continue to achieve, together!

[ FYI, my favorite Chinatown shops are Lin Sisters Herbal at 4 Bowery Street and T’s Herbal on 197 Hester Street. A kind Asian doctor helped me about 4 years ago with a wonderful brew that eased clogged circulation. He advised me to be patient and said it would take time. I took his advice, drank the bitter potion and was cured in about three months. I also took his advice to reduce stress, take better care of myself and that’s when I got even more serious about my walking regimen. Those were the days; days I have to get back to, because long walks offer the ultimate relaxation. GCCA plans a few walking tours in the spring; stay tuned! ]

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Raising the Bar

I just returned from an ENERGIZING meeting with my BPRSNY board of directors (; what a wonderful group! We savored our collective plans for Inauguration Day and devised a game plan to raise the bar for young professionals who want to enter the PR / communications field.

We all agree there’s tons of talent out there, but also pounds of knowledge each generation can share. Representing a cross-generational cadre of professionals from 20–50 somethings, we represent the new era of multicultural professionals, dynamic leaders who are celebrating this new era of politics and civic responsibility.

Don’t let our name fool you. BPRSNY stands for the Black Public Relations Society—New York. Our membership is open to all and we represent diverse cultures and boast partnerships with many leading organizations, including the Greater Chinatown Community Association ( Their annual fundraising dinner is tomorrow evening; several BPRSNY members will attend. Watch this blog for updates regarding their event in celebration of the Chinese New Year; 2009 is the Year of the Ox.

It’s all about cross-cultural connections and standing face-to-face with each other as we learn how to broaden our scope and areas of influence. This allows us to raise the bar and heighten our individual and collective expectations. Heightened expectations allow for growth.

Raise the bar. Be in the room. Put yourself in different situations that extend outside your usual crowd. Stretch. Grow. Learn. You’ll be surprised at how much you can achieve by expecting more of yourself and others. Participate in vigorous debate in order to get to the next level. Push yourself--harder!

Before you know it, you’ve not only cleared your original hurdle but but are ahead of the game in more ways than one. What keeps you motivated? The fact that there are a pack of fast-trackers chomping at your heels, trying to out pace your position. However, you have a secret: You’ve raised the bar and are already off to your next achievement!

Truth be told, you may be apprehensive, but others are around to help you as you grow (or catch you if you falter). If there is honesty and a firm commitment to do better, you needn’t worry, because your network includes the right individuals who have a mutual passion for “next level” thinking.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obama Nation: Create a New Holiday

A big part of creativity is just doing things differently.

During holiday time, I’m swamped with preparation for final exams and am so over the commercialism. Too waste on wanton pleasures, too draining; no longer representative of what I’m about. It was nice to gather with family in Virginia and appreciate the small things, minus the hoopla.

Why not create your own holiday remembrance, which allows people to pause and hopefully take a moment to let important milestones sink in. Here’s my holiday card copy in celebration of next week’s inauguration.

Obama Nation

Join Voices & Resources
Formulate Wise Choices

post :: progress :: persevere

I’ll send it to cherished friends and business associates via snail mail, (the kind with a stamp), because I realize most unsolicited email is not read and usually deleted. Plus, are thousands of people interested in what you have to say. Unless you’re President Obama, probably not!

It’s all about building lasting community with valuable relationships that can reap untold rewards with intermittent, careful communications.

The rest is well, junk mail.

Before you hit the send button or reach out, think about your communication techniques and be sure your messages are on the mark and not just shots in the dark. Keep it short and to the point.
Your audience and associates will truly appreciate your willingness to fine tune the message and the medium.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Don’t Overextend in the New Year

While it’s only January 12, my Google Calendar is fast booking dates through the fall. I’ll honor priority commitments, vow to get back in shape and pass on events that no longer fit.

Each season (month, week, day, hour) calls us to review, reassess and rework our to do list so we can focus on priority projects. There’s no silver bullet; life is target practice and we’re all trying to hit a bull’s eye. Often, we’re taking aim at a blurry, moving target in an oversaturated, info-laden world. It takes persistence to squeeze out time for ourselves as constantly try to reduce excess and waste that’s cluttering our lives.

Today was well spent on my ’09 financial forecast as a recommitment to “fiscal fitness” and stretching dollars to meet new responsibilities.
Whatever your age or financial situation, don’t let January pass without purposeful review of finances and legal affairs. You’ll probably realize there’s a lot you don’t need in your life and many ways you can cut back.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What I’m Reading: The Appeal by John Grisham

Colleague Mike McBunch recently gave me a signed copy of “The Appeal” by John Grisham. Mike and I are board members of Barbers International (BI), an organization that provides networking and education for barber professionals. We just celebrated our organization’s third annual conference in Tunica, Mississippi.

This wonderful gift was unique in Mike met John at a booksigning; Grisham has homes in Mississippi and Virginia (my home state); the backdrop for the book is Bowmore, Mississippi and a toxic chemical dump run by Krane Chemical, led by Carl Trudeau, a Wall Street exec on his third trophy wife. Since I can relate to the New York storylines and southern themes, Mike thought I’d enjoy the book. Boy was he right!

A fast read, I zoomed through a few chapters whereby Krane’s stock price went from about $50 a share to the mid-teens. Grisham eloquently describes the angst of high-flyers, including a gut-wrenching sequence when the in house counsel excuses himself to the men’s room and breaks down following a loss of more than $2 million.

The character says he “understands why people jumped off buildings in 1929.”

Now, I’m on the part where the Trudeau, on a tip from a powerful senator, strikes a deal with a Boca Raton consultant to “purchase” a Mississippi state supreme court seat so the $41 million toxic waste dump appeal will be in Krane Chemical’s favor.

Sound familiar? Grisham has written nearly 20 books and is at the top of his game. Published in 2008, “The Appeal” adequately captures many present day issues. King of the modern day legal thriller, check out Grisham’s bio on An attorney by trade, he turned his passion for writing into a lucrative full-time career.

By reading bestsellers, other books and surveying author’s writing styles, you not only massage your brain, but gain a window into current affairs or other important topics.

Whether hardcover, paperback, PDF, e-book or Kindle 2.0 (Amazon’s $359 e-book reader), learn to devour books and treat yourself to knowledge as an appetizer, entrée or dessert!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

National Day of Service - Jan. 19, 2009

It’s a week before Martin Luther King Day and our National Day of Service. What’s your personal commitment to yourself, your country and the new Obama-Biden Administration?

We’ll need everyone’s expertise to get our economy out of the deep black hole of our Wall Street wasteland and corporate greed coupled with misplaced personal fiscal priorities. Every little bit helps and you can make a big difference.

Last night I got my weekly fix of Consuelo Mack Wealthtrack on PBS and I just finished watching Christine Romans and Ali Velshi’s I.O.U.S.A., a CNN special that takes a revealing look at the American debt—now standing at more than $9 trillion; check out the bulletpoints at

In both segments, pundits made dire predictions for the next 6-12 months, including retail bankruptcies (Circuit City and Goody’s are slated to go under this week). One commentary hit home: the best thing you can do in “austere” times is get your own financial house in order. Good advice!

If you don’t have money to pay your bills, then what does it matter anyway? Start with small steps, reap rewards and keep going. The segments mentioned Chinese families, who on the average, save more than 30% of their annual earnings.
Americans save about 1% and we know the rule of thumb is we have in the past spent more than we earn. But, times are tight and times are changing.

For my part, I’ll use MLK day to refine a scholarship concept and use use some of my hard-earned savings to fund it.

I was partially inspired to get my project moving by Leon McLaughlin, a Seattle shoe shine entrepreneur, theatre usher and real estate mogul. Featured on the NBC Nightly News Jan. 9, his “Making a Difference” segment shared news of his efforts with World Vision to bring fresh water to destitute Bolivians.

One man can make a difference in the lives of villagers. We take fresh water, electricity and education for granted.

I was fortunate to have parents who paid cold, hard-earned cash for my college education. In turn, my husband and I paid to educate our son, without loans. We basically debt free and have for years; we can each thank our parents—children of the Depression—for our thrifty, conservative spending habits.

While I’m not a global philanthropist like McLaughlin or Bill and Melinda Gates (yet), I can do my part to help someone in need. My modest disposable income could be help a young person get through the semester or complete their degree.

Why not? The investment in a live human being is more these days than the rate of return I’ll get at the bank.

My “Millynneum Take” on the old adage is “each one, reach one.”

Do your part. Do something to celebrate this historic time in history. Soon, you’ll realize you’re more wealthy than you know. Money is a wonderful thing, but don’t forget you can also contribute by offering talent and time as a volunteer.

Fix what you see needs fixing. Get the job done.

Contribute via solutions and make it a reflective and action-oriented MLK National Service Day.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Go Online with Your Ideas

Today, I had a wonderful planning meeting with web developer Ana Julia Ghirello of GhireLLo Design, Currently in Brazil, I look forward to launching and the Grassroots to Global Public Relations ( franchise under her watchful eye.

For now, you can learn about what I do via this blog and my business to business corporate site, which showcases what I’ve done for the past 11 years under my marketing communications consulting firm Millynneum Inc;

As we evolve throughout our careers, it’s important to develop and maintain clean and consistent images and messages for the world to see. And, you have to make it easy for people to do business with you by showcasing your talent and giving them the tools to reach you. The web is a beautiful thing, because it gives business colleagues an opportunity to check you out (online) before having an email exchange or phone/face-to-face conversation.

Let the web work for you and consider hiring people who make your job easier and let you focus on what you do best. Yes, you build a website yourself, but is that what you do best? The media landscape is splintered and online specialists are the gurus of the interactive galaxy. You get what you pay for; specialists are worth their weight in gold.

I value my role as a marketing strategist and pay homage to the following specialists, who make my job easier and are worth the money regarding what they bring to the table by way of their network and expertise: graphic designers, web design specialists, photographers, event planners, online advertising and social networking strategists and people with specialized crisis, governmental or financial relations expertise.

Inexperienced communicators simply call it publicity or marketing communications which can be a disservice to the PR profession. There are many nuances to the profession. It’s big business and is becoming increasingly important, as the US presidential campaign showed the world. Everything can’t be done from a template or your kitchen table. You need specialists who know the ins and outs and can work the system (in this case the search engine optimization system) to help you succeed.

It also pays to have colleagues who think big. During our morning telecon, Ana and I spoke about her forthcoming trip to South Africa next year for the World Cup. An accomplished soccer athlete, she first first came to the US on a soccer scholarship. A few years back she landed in the Big Apple, completing her degree at The City College of New York (CCNY), where we met.

Just a few years ago, I was her professor. Now, I’m proud to call her my colleague and business associate! That’s how the world works. Always maintain contacts and connections, and learn to spot specialized expertise and mutual areas of interest.
Soon, your network will expand dramatically and you’re in a position to help more people. In turn, more people will be in a position to help you!

Go Verbal

The beauty of email is that it’s often referred to as “a quiet phone call.” Email is tremendously efficient and usually quite effective.

But sometimes, you just have to pick up the phone! There’s nothing like “deep background” to obtain industry background and keep our creative juices flowing.

Today, I had the pleasure to connect with a colleague from a past work experience. In two words: what fun! As we rehashed the old days, I came to value our relationship and the opportunity to bounce things off a trusted colleague and friend. We're now determining new ways to work together to achieve our mutual career and business goals.

Text messages, twitter and emoticons -- : ) -- : ( -- can’t capture unique phrasings or your particular take on current affairs, etc. And, sometimes you need to give your fingers a break from the keypad, reduce eye strain, kick back and participate in a phone conversation for business or pleasure. As people who know me understand … I don’t do it often, but when I do, I share about 50 computer screens of “verbal knowledge” that would certainly take a very long time to type!


I thank client Dawna Michelle Fields for this valuable business tip. As Colgate’s National Program Manager for Bright Smiles, Bright Futures™, she manages scores of consultants in markets throughout the US.

In order to manage reams of digital reporting, she encourages market managers to set aside “administrative days” to get expense and status reports in order for submission to the national headquarters.

Bulk tasks and save time by establishing “A-Days” (or “A-Hours”) to tackle vital administrative tasks.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Downtime Discipline: A Working Winter Break

Today was a fantastic “advance planning” day at City College of The New York (CCNY). After the flurry of the end of the semester and exams, students and professors have a bit of a reprieve before the semester starts in a little over two weeks.

It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have a few moments to plan and think outside the box.

First, I had the opportunity to network with CCNY’s Wendy Thornton and Daniel Tome in the Office of Student Life and Leadership Development. Last semester, I had the pleasure of working with their colleague O’Lanso Gabbindon, who monitored approval of the first campus chapter of WE ACT for Environmental Justice, Harlem’s leading environmental organization (visit to learn about first annual WE ACT Climate Conference, Jan. 29-30).

We spoke about ways we all could be of more service to MCA students and those throughout the college. Exciting plans are in the works; more on that later. Because we used a portion of our downtime discipline to think outside the box, we even came up with a creative interdisciplinary idea that just might work to bring folks together and build visibility. We’ll see. All of us just appreciated the opportunity to get to know each other as colleagues and see how best we might be able to work together in the months ahead.

Midday I met student leaders as they strategized for the upcoming Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) Bateman competition. They are using their winter break wisely, coordinating programs and approvals as they roll out an innovative program for 8th Graders at the Frederick Douglass Academy.

In the afternoon, I got a jump on computer, telephone and other operational issues before the spring semester begins. Ann Rossetti, our dedicated college laboratory technician who manages Media & Communication Arts computer networks, is using the quiet, uninterrupted downtime to upgrade the departments smart classrooms, synching applications and installing new hardware—no small feat. Each semester, when students return to campus they are treated to system upgrades, thanks to Ann, who has the patience of Job.

Later, I learned Blackbox, college subcontractors for the huge job of replacing phones throughout CCNY, currently has 50 people on campus to deal with what must be a monumental task. My spanking new phone looks great, but alas, has no dial tone. Wayne Grofik, our MCA Technical Director, suggests that I walk through the service order rather than calling to what must be a black hole of requests. Good idea.

By just walking through my request, the gentlemen in the CCNY telecommunications office seemed relieved someone was not bombarding them with tirades of “my phone doesn’t work—come fix it now!” I was then directed to the hotline to log in my request.

“Thanks for understanding,” they replied.

Treat folks with respect and kindness and you’ll get it back 10-fold.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Career Survival Skills for ’09: Have Patience, Persist & Reinvent

In response to a young professional seeking career advice from the National Black Public Relations Society (, I’m encouraged to condense thoughts as the subject for today’s blog.

With the economy at a standstill, a new member wonders what she can do to further her career. The talented young woman, armed with military service, broadcast and agency experience and currently employed at a Florida agency, asks how best to move ahead in the public relations profession—in spite of the economic standstill.

It’s a good question. For those at similar career crossroads, consider the following:

> Conduct a serious SWOT analysis on yourself. Think about your Strengths, Weaknesses, Career Opportunities and Threats, which includes colleagues with similar skills sets. The trick is to set yourself apart from the pack and build on your unique talents.

> What can you do to make your current gig more rewarding and/or make yourself more valuable to your current organization? It pays to be grateful for your current job. Over the past few months, several acquaintances have relayed this in passing conversations. Listen when you’re in line at the ATM, grocery store, barbershop, at the drug store or in retail outlets … most are singing the same tune: “I’m just happy to be working.” You certainly don’t want to be “right sized” before you’re ready to go. The one good thing about this economic downturn is that it’s teaching us all to be a little more appreciative of what we have and understand that nothing is for certain.

> Create/secure additional revenue streams. Plan ahead; start that consultancy, if that’s something you’d like to pursue. Even if you’re not generating $5 million a month (who is these days), you’re making “missteps” without your business being your sole source of money. Word to the wise, don’t go into entrepreneurship half-heartedly; but think about how proud you’ll be if you look back on ’09 and say, that’s the year I started my business and I’m now celebrating Year 5. For me, Millynneum just passed the 11 year mark; I’m quite proud of that achievement along with my “encore” career as a teacher!

> Consider a career/life coach: This individual could help you see what your talents are and help set your career compass. Don’t think of this as “not worth it,” or “I don’t need to create another bill.” In today’s COMPETITIVE marketplace, you have to understand that times are tight and you have to be tough in your approach. Often, you have to spend money to make money. While I may not like to cut checks to my accountant, it’s the best money every spent to obtain PROFESSIONAL business advice that keeps me on sound financial footing with my business and the IRS. Similarly, isn’t your career worth the investment of specialized expertise? You decide.

> Think about your SPECIFIC dream job and what it will take for you to earn that position. Everyone needs a roadmap. If you understand where you’d like to go, then it becomes easier to perhaps take other jobs that could lead you to that ultimate position. Back in my day, folks stayed with employers for ages. Now, people make bold career moves every few years. Both ways are cool. If a job is working in your behalf, stick with it; if you need to spread your wings, then devise a flight plan and prepare for take off! However, understand there may be rough winds and bumpy turbulence along the way. It’s all part of the wonderful ride of life and there’s nothing like that fast ascent (or quick drop) to keep you motivated. Enjoy those moments when the ride is smooth—because that certainly doesn’t happen every day.

> Find a mentor. There’s no clear path in this profession, but it always helps to bounce ideas off another media professional. While the route may be circuitous, there are many ways to end up where you want to be. Mentors help you navigate and serve as valuable personal consultants.

> Take classes. In media and communications or something whereby you may eventually be able to turn a hobby into a paid profession.

> Attend professional events. The young woman who initiated this blog post is a NBPRS member, which is fantastic. Also consider memberships in Women in Communications (, Public Relations Society of America (, local publicity, journalism/content development, digital/new media associations as well as the chamber of commerce.

> Continue to network. In addition to industry groups, network with family, friends, alumni, armed services, civic and community and faith-based organizations. You simply just never know when or how a contact may reach you.

> Volunteer. Advocacy and awareness for social causes is the name of the game, even in these austere times. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) now includes corporate watchdogs, citizen journalists and bloggers who staunchly recommend or decry corporations whose hearts are in the right place. Also understand many corporate and business execs volunteer and serve on the boards of many leading nonprofits. You never know who you might meet as you give back to society. And, remember your volunteer expertise could lead to a full-time gig.

> Join a professional chapter of BPRSNY or another communications org. If a chapter doesn’t exist, lobby to start one. Nothing shows your leadership, seriousness, dedication and commitment more than taking the reigns and working toward success while helping others in the field. This expands your long-term visibility in the marketing communications marketplace.

> Follow through on the “digiwork” (aka digital documentation; old school - paperwork). A colleague recently landed a G-gig (government job) after patiently staying in touch with contacts online and via phone calls for about a year. Most folks aren’t that tenacious. It’s all about follow up and follow through!

> What sets you apart in today’s tight hiring environment? You have to understand there will be dozens of people in line for the same opportunity. And, realize with the soaring unemployment rate, there will be people with 5, 10, 20 more years experience who bring skills and experience to the table. That doesn’t mean the golden opportunity won’t be yours, but it does mean that you have to head others off at the pass by being at the TOP of several “employment lists” simultaneously.

> Remain vital and visible. There are many success stories out there regarding professionals who start blogs or ezines to showcase their talent and build a following. In today’s multifaceted media environment, individuals can play in the big leagues. A few years ago, Google and didn’t exist. People took a chance, worked long hours (and still do), received funding and succeeded. Everyone may not end up as big as these news dynamic news and info orgs, but there is room in the new media market space for EVERYONE to make their unique mark. The trick is to start, follow through and be in it for the long haul.

> Stay current and keep your skills fresh. Learn Flash or InDesign if you don’t have these skills under your belt already. Understand Google Analytics and the latest media tracking and metrics. Always work to sharpen your skills. There’s no point where you stop learning; the media landscape is too exciting and is experiencing too many changes. That said, there’s always room for fresh talent—only you can bring your unique skills to the table.

> Keep a positive attitude. Always focus on “what can be” (the mantra of NYC’s crt/tanaka agency) and continue to improve upon your strengths.

> Stay focused and keep working.

Alas, I’ve been working for nearly 30 years and it really doesn’t get any easier. However, you can definitely work smarter—and it gets BETTER each day, each year. The trick is to be in it for the long haul.

This profession calls for perseverance, stamina, sound judgment, and often long days. There are many times when family members and colleagues are off in the world of leisure and I’m glued to my computer screen. I have made a conscious choice not to be laissez faire with my career--and it’s paid off.

Yeah, worklife balance is cool, but my advice is don’t believe the hype. You can keep jumping from ship to ship or think you'e the answer to every manager's dreams. But, understand the market is now glutted with fresh talent, there are sharks in the water and less lifeboats (jobs) circling.

In sum, there are no shortcuts. However, there’s a sea of opportunity if you swim shrewdly and stay ahead of the current.

In this economy, I appreciate the fact I have a gig that I love and am exploring MULTIPLE revenue streams as I continue to plan for the next 20 years and my ultimate retirement, possibly in South Africa. You must always have a plan, dream big, think, work and network for the long term.

Be proactive, see what needs doing and then be the one to get the job done! Good luck to all, and keep me posted as you proceed to achieve your dreams.

For our New York based tri-state readers, BPRSNY ( will host a Career Transitions event Thursday, Jan. 27, 6-8 PM, Burson-Marsteller, 230 Park Avenue South @ 19th Street, Manhattan. Industry pros will share thoughts to help you develop your personal survival package.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Connections and Memories of a Past Life

Today’s post office chatter included banter with a woman who just returned from holiday travel in my old stomping ground—Pinellas County, Florida, home of the St. Petersburg Times.

Turns out she was originally from Tarpon Springs and just returned to Brooklyn from visiting relatives and friends in Dunedin. What a small world, Dunedin was my FIRST beat as a newspaper reporter! The people were wonderful, the civics lessons were huge. I still recall the City Commissioner, Richard Gehring, great guy. And, Parwez Alam, the City Engineer, who won over the city management and attained the "top spot" once Gehring moved on. Back then, it was interesting to see democracy at work as a primarly Anglo community accepted the talent and tenacity of a brilliant gentleman with the quiet reserve and perserverence of Ghandi.

Then there were City Commissioners like Manny Koutsourais and Dave Ramsey. Friendly, astute, welcoming souls, who always kept me "in the know," regarding affairs I should cover for the paper. Although a registered Democrat, I was honored when Ramsey said I should consider running for public office one day and explained that the Republican National Committee (RNC) had "training camps" to teach you how to succeed in politics. I later learned from a colleague at these were officially called "campaign camps" because he participated in one several years ago. A fellow reporter, Amelia Davis, even invited me to join the local Junior League chapter in Clearwater, the neighboring city.

Yes, times were a-changing in the early 80's and a primarily Anglo community was most welcoming to a woman like me. A young, relatively inexperienced Black woman right out of college. What did they see in me? Unbridled commitment to excellence and a willigness to do whatever it took to get the job done. Funny how those skills manage to cross all party lines.

The post office woman also reminded me this week marks Epiphany, celebrated by the Greek Orthodox Church. According to Wikipedia: Epiphany (Greek for "to manifest" or "to show"), is a Christian feast day which celebrates the revelation of God in human form in the person of Jesus Christ; Epiphany falls on January 6. I remembered covering Epiphany a few times for the paper!

Back in the day (1981) there were tons of newspapers; now known as the “dinosaurs” of the media age. Yesterday’s reporters are today’s content developers. If you can learn to write in a tight news style, you can certainly be valuable on the job and build a multifaceted career.

While I didn’t get her name, we had a real human exchange that brought back warm memories of my Florida days. I remembered the stately homes along Edgewater Drive and the marina, which was poised for an uplift 25 years ago. She explained how her mother once was employed as a chef for the Greeks and told me how the most famous restaurant in Tarpon Springs had closed, yet spawned other locations, undoubtedly in more populated, central locales throughout the county.

I’m a big fan of Greek food and Greek culture, thanks to my college professor, Dr. Frank Snowden. The chance meeting with this woman reminds me to take that trip to Greece (which I’ve been talking about forever) within the next year.

The chance meeting also reminded me of my older African American sorors of Alpha Kappa Alpha (Nu Beta Omega Chapter), who lived in northern Pinellas County.

I was fresh out of Howard University, and my Anglo colleagues and I often partied and had dinner together, often on Clearwater or Indian Shores Beaches. The older Black women I knew were reserved and hesitant about dining on those enclaves--once off limits. Why? Because they remember the day when they were not welcome across the causeway; better to play it safe.

But, I’ve never been one for caution and love adventure (or, call it youthful stupidity). During my time in Florida I experienced tremendous growth. That experience gave me the guts and fortitude to move to New York City, where I always wanted to be. I came to town only knowing a few souls, but I knew I could make it. I did temp work for months, then networked with my college professor from Howard, Dr. Larry Kaggwa. He previously taught at Norfolk State University and had a student Lydia Gardner, who happened to work at Hill and Knowlton. After I met Lydia, the rest is history. She was the “connection” I needed to interview with the global PR firm, where I worked for about 4 years.

It’s all about:

> Connections;
> Who you know;
> Who knows you and ..
> Being ready to put what you know to good use.

Yes, sometimes it’s nice to make a personal connection, speak to people in passing, walk or drive to a post office and use snail mail (that’s the kind with a stamp) every now and then.

Yes, snail mail is good for parcels, holiday cards for select special friends and handwritten notes. Try it sometime; your recipient will thank you. My current “favorite” stamps feature Bette Davis, reminiscent of her younger days. Along with being one of my mother’s favorite actresses and mine, I always remember Bette’s seriousness and commitment to the craft in interviews, and how she was a stickler about arriving on time at the studio, set and ready to work.

Good lessons for Hollywood or business types.

Now, it’s my job as a college professor to pass along sound journalism tenents from my newspaper days to my students, who now serve as copywriters, content developers and marketing professionals at leading media organizations and institutions throughout the tri-state area and beyond.

And, to complete the career circle, a few weeks ago, I joined the St. Petersburg Times Alumni LinkedIn group, a perfect transition which celebrates meaningful careers as a reporter, marketing exec, multicultural public relations specialist, business consultant, reporter and professor. BTW, there’s a LinkedIn group for everything; consider starting your own and creating lasting connections that could reap huge emotional and monetary rewards one days.