Friday, December 31, 2010

62262 :: HNY from The President

Like millions of you, I just got my Happy New Year text from the President. And, earlier this week, I ordered my “snail mail” Happy New Year card from the first family; I even got a reminder email from Vice President Joe Biden.

The White House has the social media thing down; makes you at least feel like you’re a part of the system. Now, the trick is to really get involved and stay involved in our communities as we rev up for 2012.

Consider raising money for your favorite cause via --

2011: Set High Goals and Make Memories That Last

As we begin to enter a new year, I’m looking forward to the annual fresh start. It’s never too late to make making new memories and establish positive traditions. Take stock of your goals and aspirations and get started NOW—before the new year officially begins!

Allow me to take this opportunity to catch you up on what I’ve been doing for the past few months.

Blizzard Basics

Like many of you in the northeast, I’m still living through the aftermath of the self-proclaimed “delayed response” of Mayor Mike Bloomberg and team following the Blizzard of Dec. 2010, affectionately known as “Snowmaggedon.”

Over the past few days, I caught Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio on WNYC this morning, who presented many common sense solutions regarding how he plans to focus on adverting similar city snafus in the months ahead. And, we can always count on Mayor Marty Markowitz for a spirited recap of any issue affecting his beloved Brooklyn.

I’m thinking of attending the Jan. 10 City Council Public Hearings, which are sure to be a doosey! Brings back fond memories of covering government for the cities of Dunedin and Largo for the St. Petersburg Times in Pinellas County, Florida. While that was 30 years ago, one thing is constant. If you want to institute effective change, you’ve got to become part of the process. You’ve got to get involved.

While New Yorkers heard a lot of whining over the past few days, these are the same people that will forget to get involved in the process once the snow has melted. It doesn’t have to be involvement in city hall; do whatever works for you. Maybe the snow was a blessing in disguise. Thankfully, it fell when school was out. It forces us to take stock of our lives and most importantly, slow down and purposely plan for the new year.

Christmas Eve
The Lady in Line

Sometimes, people just make us smile. At one of my favorite neighborhood stores here in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, a wonderful young woman burst through the store and gave the store owner a big hug exclaiming “Happy Holidays!”

It just put everyone in a good mood as we checked out during the hustle and bustle of Christmas Eve. Upon checkout, she shared how thankful she was to be moving into a new apartment with a backyard at the start of the New Year. With children ages 1 and 4, she was appreciative that her new landlord was allowing them to take a look at the place on Christmas Day; that was the family’s main gift – a wonderful new place to live!

Never forget the simple things. Gifts are nice, but the main things, like shelter, food, family and friends—count for much more. I thought about this woman and loved ones as I savored memories of days gone by and the new year ahead.

Make Each Day a Holiday

While year end is a hectic time for me, I’ve grown to appreciate the fact that it doesn’t matter when you reach out. To all in my circles, you’ll hear from me at some point in ’11 – it just may just take a little time. Over the past few years, I’ve managed NOT to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all. It’s much more restful and personally rewarding to recharge, renew and reset my psyche in order to rev up for the months ahead.

Ad/PR Workshop

Hats off to my Ad/PR Workshop teams for helping to spread the Healthy Monday message to City College students, faculty, staff, administration and the residents of upper Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens, New Jersey and beyond. During the Fall 2010 semester, students worked in support of, a Harlem Health Promotion Center program. The goal was to encourage residents to take charge of their health at least one day a week in hopes those habits would evolve over time. Specifically, college students were encouraged to stop smoking and adopt a healthy diet as a way to ward off diabetes.

All student teams -– Health 4 U Communications, Green is Healthy and Nutritious and Triumph Innovation Consulting -- presented top-notch integrated marketing communications programs that included public service announcements on CCNY’s WHCR and unique awareness events Dec. 6 at the campus “hub,” otherwise known as the North Academic Center, or NAC building

The Media & Communication Arts’ Advertising/Public Relations Workshop aims to provide students with real-world experience as they hone skills in preparation for careers in a fast-changing industry. Many students use these extensive multi-media campaigns, digital portfolios and binders to set themselves from the pack as they interview for coveted positions in the nation’s number one media center – New York!

To date, Ad/PR students are spanning the globe, and hold positions throughout the US, as well as Hong Kong and France, to name a few.

Entrepreneurial Concept Competition

Earlier this month, I was honored to serve as a judge for The City College of New York’s Entrepreneurial Concept Competition, sponsored by the Black Male Initiative under the leadership of Dr. Claude Brathwaite and Troy Urquart. They were assisted by talented young professionals and CCNY alums Malita Esnard and Kristelle Grant, who coincidentally happen to be former Ad/PR from the Media & Communication Arts department.

While Genius Empire won the competition with a solar power lighting system for Kenya, the competition featured 22 brilliant teams from throughout the City University of New York’s system. Watch for outstanding results from these young minds.

Lessons in Learning: Saints Philip and James School

Pre-Thanksgiving, I experienced the “gift” of traveling to the Bronx to speak to young people at Saints Philip and James School in the Bronx during a festive career day. Attending at the kind invitation of Guidance Counselor Seth Nagel, the visit brought back fond memories of my son Clinton’s days at Bishop Loughlin High School here in Brooklyn.

The attentive Bronx middle school students were interested in a variety of careers that included veterinarian, teacher, writer, scientists and celebrity managers/agents and publicists.

If you have the time or inkling, do what you can to help out; often your presence is the only necessary ingredient which could result in a recipe for career success. In this case, I was referred by a long-time business associate and communications colleague, Peter Himler of Flatiron Communications. Among the best in the business, he took time out to speak to Ad/PR Students at CCNY. I was happy to somewhat return the favor.

Building Bridges Between CCNY Alumni, Recent Grads and Pre-Professionals

Thursday, Nov. 18 marked the 5th Annual “Building Bridges” networking event at Shepard Hall, co-sponsored by the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA).

It was wonderful to have alumni Adam Maldonado, Alex Suazo and others share success stories to aid college students who will soon follow in their footsteps, gaining entry level jobs in the communications field.

Stalwart CCNY Communications Alumni representatives Sam Gronner and Esther Tolkoff were on hand to lend advice and welcome newcomers into the organization.
Stay tuned for news about the annual communications alumni dinner at the National Arts Club.

Project Runway Features Life and Business Lessons

Hats off to 2010 CCNY alum Millana Snow (Williams), winner of this year’s Project Runway! Following are my responses to questions posed by Ad/PR student Courtney James, who wrote a story for campus media about Millana’s tremendous win.

1. How did you find out about Ms. Williams' accomplishment winning Project Runway?

I saw the finale and of course emailed her right away to offer congratulations! The following day, when I shared the great news during an Ad/PR faculty meeting, Prof. Lynn Appelbaum urged me to immediately email the CCNY communications office so the entire CCNY community could share in the wonderful excitement of Millana’s well-deserved win!

2. Have you ever seen Project Runway?

This summer, Millana shared the great news that she made it on the show; I watched every single episode in support and was elated (and relieved) when she survived another week. I must admit that I truly got into PR—while Mondo Guerra was my favorite, I do have to agree with judges Michael Kors (love his clothes) and Nina Garcia (Marie Claire magazine) that Gretchen Jones’ (winning designer) collection is on trend and more marketable for today’s young consumer. Andy South and Michael Costello made up the “final four” and also presented fashion-forward designs all season until they were devastated by host Heidi Klum’s terse, “I’m sorry, you’re out!”

In addition to being “must see” Thursday night reality TV, I found the show included a good mix of life lessons and leadership skills. Tim Gunn presented spot on mentoring and advice, encouraging designers to dig deep, edit thoughtfully (interesting to learn that yes, designers, like writers/content developers must edit and fine tune)—yet stay unique and true to their individual aesthetic. The critique phase was interesting because the judges were very direct and it forced participants to take a real look at themselves to determine how they could improve, not only their designs but in many cases their relationship skills.

While many designers and models often work in a vacuum, the show pointed out that in order to make it big in any industry, you have to master the fine art of teamwork. That’s what we try to encourage our Ad/PR students to do; to see the big picture, play to the strength of the team in order to ultimately eek out a win!

3. What are your thoughts on Project Runway as an opportunity to hopeful models and fashion designers?

It’s an excellent show! Many have gone on to have exciting careers in the world of fashion/beauty/entertainment and beyond, landing major merchandizing deals with major retailers and brands. From a media perspective, the publicity and awareness during and following the show are unparalleled. Millana now has the opportunity to be in the orbit of L’Oreal and other world-class brands and brand managers—people who can help catapult her talent to a whole new level.

Finalists had the opportunity to show at Fashion Week / Lincoln Center, which is the crème de la crème of the design world. Just to be among those chosen to appear on the show is quite a coup, and a tremendous boost to any participant’s resume. Any business, including the fashion business is about steps. Project Runway is a huge step forward for Millana. She’s taken those steps down the runway with grace, and now earned her rightful place in the fast lane!

4. Did you know Ms. Williams while she was a student at CCNY? If so, then what were your thoughts of her? Was she an avid learner? Good listener? Determined?

I’ve known Millana since her first semester at CCNY; she joined the Media & Communication Arts department about three years ago as an Ad/PR major.

I vividly recall one of the first classes in Intro to Public Relations, whereby she called me aside after class. During our hallway conversation, she asked for tips and advice in the area of career development. I gave her a “mini” assignment, whereby she had to outline her goals and aspirations, plus set goals for the years ahead. She gave a class presentation on what she hoped to achieve, which inspired others to dig deep and think about their dreams. Following her example, many classmates took on this personal development challenge and began to charge of their personal brands.

Soon after, she had the opportunity to meet senior executives at Uptown Magazine, whereby she landed an internship. That later evolved into an extended position/part-time employment. I had the pleasure of seeing Millana and her colleagues in that class blossom from students to pre-professionals to those who now hold coveted entry level positions in New York and beyond. Some in her cohort have gone on to land international positions in France, Hong Kong and beyond.

5. Do you believe Ms. Williams will take her major in Ad/PR with her as a new and upcoming model?

Definitely! We’ve already discussed how she literally has a leg up on many others in the profession. Why? Not only is she a stunning and poised young lady, but she understands the business side of the fashion/modeling business. This allows her to be extremely versatile as she takes each step on her spectacular career runway. Winning “Project Runway” coupled with her newly minted Media & Communications Arts degree will allow her to literally take off and soar in many directions. Her itinerary is in no way limited to the modeling world, but can now include business/talent management, editorial/channel development and many other exciting media and interactive options. Mark my words, she’s the next Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks all rolled into one!

6. Where do you see Ms. Williams heading in the future?

Ultimately, I see Millana as a multi-faceted mogul, running an expansive, multi-media business empire with product lines that include modeling, clothing, fragrances and all the finer things in life. She also has a tremendous capacity to share and give back; I certainly envision her mentoring others who would like to follow in her footsteps.

As I tell all of my students, “Don’t forget CCNY when you’re rich and famous.” I always tell them that if I see their limo on 42nd Street and I give them a shout out, they’d better wave back. If not, they know I’ll definitely chase them down the street and then blog about the experience.

The entire Ad/PR family is tremendously proud to be part of Millana’s fast-growing entourage! Indeed, we all stand on the shoulders of others; Millana gives past and current CCNY students yet another reason to proudly strut their stuff as they take flight on their own runways of success.

7. Additional Thoughts

I’ll never forget how humbled Millana was when she was a guest speaker at Syracuse University last spring; she spoke to students interested in media careers. When she revealed her numerous modeling/editorial positions and internships, students were amazed to learn she was only in her early 20s. She said one young woman was teary eyed, because she realized how stiff the competition would be, particularly since she had limited internship experience.

Upon her return to New York, Millana said, “We’re so lucky to be CCNY students, we’re in the heart of New York City and have so many options; other students aren’t as fortunate.”

Millana has shown the seeds of success are right here at CCNY. You just have to be committed to keep your mind focused in a positive direction; take thoughtful steps—
and remember, don’t trip (life and runways include uneven patches and bumps). Each student has the capacity to make it down the runway and earn a thundering round of applause as they bask in their own bright light!

WOW! Fashion Week Moves to Lincoln Center and Inaugurates New Trends

Special thanks to Sabrina Hartel of Jonathan Marsden Public Relations for my invitation to, The Women on the Web Breakfast on Thursday Sept. 16, featuring “Miss Manners” Judith Martin, supermodel Paulina Porizkova (who still looks fabulous) and Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes fame.

Sponsored by Estee Lauder, the event was an excellent way to start off a crisp late summer day, and experience the final days of New York’s Fashion Week! Not only was the breakfast a celebration of the fashion industry, but it was a powerful gathering of New York women who continue to make their mark on the business of fashion and it’s supporting industries.

Lessons from Breakfast Mates

Always take stock of each and every personal exchange. You gain insight to the next steps your life will (or should) take as you grow, evolve and contribute.

On my left, one woman casually mentioned she had teenagers, with one recently returning from a study abroad trip to Africa. Her daughter was excited to learn other cultures don’t hold the traditional “rail thin” imagery of Western models/women in such high esteem. It allowed her to take pride in her normal (not rail thin) physique.
An important lesson to learn as a girl wrestles with how best to embrace womanhood.

I had the honor of being seated next to the infamous Gael Greene. In addition to writing the Insatiable Critic restaurant column for Crain’s New York Business, she Co-Founded Citymeals-on-Wheels with the (late) chef James Beard. Since 1981, Gael and associates have brought smiles and warm meals to seniors on weekends and during the holiday season.

Gael is an icon and I’m honored to have met her in person. She encourages me to consider what is my unique mission? What legacy will I leave for New York and beyond? During the holidays, she was featured on a TV segment and it promoted me to do a little research on the organization she started. It also encouraged me to write a few checks to organizations that had long been in my pile of things to do.

And, it got me thinking about the fact that next year I will have been out of college for 30 years. In celebration of that anniversary, I need to get one of my many philanthropic efforts off the ground, because there are a lot of people in need.
Like I said, “chance” meetings can reap untold rewards. Thanks, Gael!

Take a chance and change a corner of your world. You never know where it may lead!

Staying Curious

While in the powder room of the Four Seasons, a few attendees asked if I was a writer, because I was taking copious notes -- which I always do. Thus, I was of course inspired to craft this blog post. That inspired a round of small talk and chatter, along with a few of us who did our “quick change” from fashionable heels to comfortable sneakers and flats in order to enjoy our walk through the city.

Remember to stay curious and write things down. You never know when you may need to retrieve a nugget of info. While it may seem impossible, what you personally experience may be lost for all time if you (yes you, not others) don’t take the time to take note and capture what’s being said.

Lesson: Information is everywhere, but if you become known as the “go to” individual, the one who can be counted on to retrieve what’s needed, you’re already proving yourself to be indispensable in the digital age. Think of yourself as being a thought leader, someone who tinkers and contributes to the world of ideas.

The next step of course is to chronicle and organize the data in some sort of usable form – which is much easier said than done.

Entourage: Ari & Dana
Fine M/F Inter Gender Business Performances

As a good American, I support TV, just like the humorist / attorney Ben Stein. As HBO fans know, we’re nearing the end of the 7th Season of Entourage. The series will end Summer 2011 with six episodes, followed by a feature film! I love the show because it deftly handles pop cultures and situations that often come up in talent/management agencies.

Entourage explores the subject of male friendship and bonding from a New York perspective. And, serves as a great resource for my communications courses.

However, last week’s episode included an explosive exchange (read: curse out) between talent agents and arch enemies Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) & Amanda Daniels (Carla Gugino). Set in one of LA’s finest restaurants, the scene stole the show!

As you probably know, Ari’s character is reportedly loosely based on real-life experiences of Executive Producer Mark Wahlberg and his agent Ari Emanuel, brother of the President’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (now running for Mayor of Chicago), among others.

What it spoke to was the following:

> Excellent writing: Entourage has among the best writing team on TV. I would have loved to have been in the writer’s room when that scene was developed.

> Actors command a powerful presence. Jeremy and Carla deserve Emmy’s for their performances. The scene was all of two minutes, but I’ve seen it five times and it gets better and better.

> Workplace issues --

1) The often domineering and volatile male/female relationships model, spiked with raunchy language showing a woman who can hold her own.

2) Females come out ahead when they keep their cool. No yelling, just the facts.

3) Things aren’t always as they seem. While Ari thought he had the upper hand, his arch enemy was actually a better player at the game of business and was focusing on the money, the check as I like to say. In this case, how, despite their differences, could they partner and win a coveted new NFL team for the City of Angels.

4) You never know who is in the room. You never know who’s watching. That’s why you always have to keep your cool and never let them see you sweat. Never let emotions get the best of you. Ari revealed his had and volatile temper in full view of NFL execs. No one wants to work with a loser. Star players are always polished and professional—even if they’re pissed off.

5) Uncontrolled testosterone – while Ari’s wife tries to pull his coat and sit him down, he refuses to. Ah, man does not always know best. Let’s keep in mind the trophy wife funds the business (she’s a smart woman and probably has a pre-nup).

6) Embarrassed but unswayed – the wife refuses to leave the restaurant with Ari, embarrassed and humiliated. Alas, she composes herself and probably gets some sympathy from the power people of LA who are gathered in the room. Remember, keep your cool and never let them see you sweat.

Without stealing the scene, check out the episode that originally aired Sept. 4. The reason I like the show is the fine writing, cameo appearances, fast pace and how they manage to stay somewhat topical and capture dominant Hollywood stereotypes all in a 30 minute format.

Can’t wait to see what next week’s season finale Sept. 12 has to offer.

The Power of Biographies

I’m a pure sucker for CNBC biographies. Last evening, learned about the Harley-Davidson families; Wednesday night I got my fix of McDonalds’ Ray Kroc. Sam Walton, Frank Purdue and Henry Ford are other favorites recently viewed. You can always learn from those who have mastered their crafts, fast-forwarding your dreams and allowing you to benefit from their mistakes.

News flash! These revealing bios have encouraged me to have students delve more into this arena. While I always have my young entrepreneurial students delve into business icons, I’ve just made note to have my Spring ’11 classes explore it as well.

Favorite Quote

Do what you do best and link to the rest!

Can’t remember where I read this over the past few months, but it’s a mouthful. In this age of social networking, use the power of your own mind to share thoughtfully share resources with others.

Not junk, but valuable nuggets they can use. Hmm … that’s what Oprah is doing with the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), slated to launch January 1, 2011.

Curate and aggregate info via your channels, be they word of mouth, notes, emails, Facebook or Twitter.

Victoria Rowell’s Inspirational Message of Empowerment and Hope

This summer, I had the great pleasure of meeting Actor/Philanthropist Victoria Rowell, a preeminent foster care advocate and humanitarian. She provided an inspirational message to leaders at the National Dental Association (NDA) Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii, sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive Company.

A foster child, Victoria poignantly told of the difference dentists and health care advocates had made in the lives of her family while growing up in Maine. She inspired leaders of NDA constituent chapters to continue their hard work and applauded the tireless efforts of Dr. Marsha Butler and colleagues who created the company’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program which serves children throughout the globe.

For those who remember Victoria’s work on The Young and the Restless, below is an
online petition to bring her back to the role she made famous. It’s an example of how one woman can take her life experience and turn it into positive change that can affect the lives of others.

Here’s my comment:

Victoria Rowell is an outstanding talent, role model and humanitarian. Her contributions to the show and valuable storylines are sorely missed; it's time for her passion and energy to return to the screen! Not only does the viewing public miss her, but CBS has a tremendous opportunity to expand its fan base. Victoria’s return, coupled with the explosion of digital integrated branding and promotions could easily be tied to special market appearances and community service tie-ins (with) foster care organizations and underserved audiences. Local affiliates would undoubtedly join in this corporate social responsibility effort. As a loyal Y&R fan and marketing communications veteran, I urge corporate America / mainstream media to accept the challenge to reflect changes in consumer attitudes and US demographic shifts). Victoria's return to Y&R would provide irrefutable evidence that CBS/Y&R listens to their audience and responds in kind.

What’s on my Mind

Recent statistics about the high school graduation rate of young African-American males are appalling. Recent findings from the Schott Foundation provide a grim glimpse into a dire national scene --

Google this issue to obtain the startling statistics. Better yet, think about what you can do to rectify the issue via your community organization, civic/faith-based group, sorority or fraternity.

The “80/20” Rule

Tyler Perry says there’s an 80/20 rule to relationships and life. Strive for 100+ percent in all that you do; be pleasantly surprised when you’re over the 80 percentile ranking in all aspects of your life!

The Marine Corps has what's called the "70/30" rule. As I recall, if you have 70 percent info to make a wise decision, then their motto is to forge ahead.

I guess the main thing is to do your homework, have enough insight and info to make wise choices and then, usually the most important step -- follow through!

Social vs. Selective

Yes, social media is all the rave. But consider, do you have to be a part of every single network out there? It’s all about managing relationships and information so it makes the most sense to others.

Niche management (formerly known as list or data management)

Remember, you can’t be all things to all people. Coordinate your top 5-10 areas of expertise so you can stand out in those areas. It’s cool to be a generalist, but today’s world is very specialized. Fine-tune your Facebook and Twitter connections to those areas and you’ll have a better chance of standing out from the pack.

So, do what you do best, and link to the rest! People appreciate that you don’t know it all, but can tip them off to those with the real goods, advice and services.

Woes vs. Work Ethic

If you’re fortunate enough to have a job, don’t complain. Think about how you can contribute more to your organization, business or entrepreneurial venture. If you have extra time and a little seed money (read: a few hundred bucks), then plan ahead and think about a business you can start.

Write a blog. Spend a few days in your local library. Volunteer. Surf the web regarding classes you can take in the Spring or take advantage of FREE courses and self-improvement ebooks from the library.

There’s always work to do -- even if it’s “work on self.”

And, for those who are fortunate to have enough, part with some of your good fortune and share with those in need.

I was struck by a recent CNN story whereby a Las Vegas couple who moved to the West to strike it rich, only to be pummeled by the recession. Formerly comfortably middle class, they’re now living out of a trailer the size of a bedroom. Meals often consist of groceries from food pantries. They’re happy to take any work that comes their way.

What stuck with me was the husband’s comment: “When I was doing better, I didn’t give enough thought to those who had less. Now, those people are me. I wish I would have given them more thought.”

Give other folks pain a little thought. If you’re able to pay your bills, then stretch and send a few dollars to your favorite charity. It doesn’t have to be a lot; every little bit helps and people are in need, from the cities to the heartland.

Everyone is walking such a tightrope these days. Help out where and if you can.

LSJ’s Book List

Enhance your professional development with a good book or two. Truth be told, I’m usually reading about five books at a time. Whether you prefer the kind you actually turn the pages or the kind you read on your Kindle or iPad, it doesn’t matter—just read! Diverse ideas expand your worldview and leads to new ways of thinking.

Here’s what I’m currently reading --

> What Would Google Do?
> Facebook Marketing in 24 Hours
> Columns from Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone With the Wind)
> The Lost Soul of Higher Education
> The Global Brand

Exciting Times

August is an exciting time to conduct major research for a variety of accounts and Fall academic assignments. Email is quiet and creativity is high, just like it is at the end of the year. Up since 4:30 am, I’ve put in a full days work by mid-day, allowing me to get even more done. Plus, I have time to watch Mad Men and Entourage tonight!

As many of you know, I’m addicted to my work—because I love it! Today’s progress included --

> Snagged a few new domains on
> Researching social media, began to read my new Facebook marketing book

Hawaii Recap

It was wonderful to experience the “Aloha Spirit” of Hawaii, birthplace of Obama.
Whenever I visit a city, it’s nice to see how the real people live. In this case, it was fun to experience “paradise in the ‘hood.”

Simple bungalows. Zippy’s is the local chain eatery; a mix of a Manhattan deli with a super-sized menu along with friendly service.

Museums & Me: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Caught the Picasso exhibition at the end of the summer; priceless experience. Renewed annual Met membership; made pact to visit at least once a quarter to expand the mind. Fond memories of the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition a few years ago.

Take time out to explore what your city has to offer. And, if you have the opportunity to visit a new locale – meet, greet and explore the streets! This makes me take stock of the fact that I simply MUST get back into my walking regimen, which always kept my mind and eyes open to unique city experiences.

Here in Brooklyn, we have the Brooklyn Museum of Art. While many arts venues are hurting throughout the US and globally for that matter, others have found ways to blossom and pay tribute to their neighborhoods and residents while introducing new audiences to the power of new art forms, which often utilize technology.

Labor Day Interview Tips

If you’re like me, I’m always working. Luckily, it’s not work, because I love what I do. My day job as a college professor allows me to combine my research, writing, communication, consulting and mentoring skills for the benefit of a wider audience – the next generation of communications professionals.

This afternoon, I happened to pick up a few excellent tips from Ellen Gordon Reeves, featured on CNN’s “Your $$$” with Ali Velshi. Ellen wrote Can I Wear My Nose Ring to the Interview? and encourages professionals of all ages to be aware of three types of interviews:

> Exploratory

Just like the word says, Ellen says these type of interviews allow you to talk with friends, family members and business associates about specific skills or background that might be needed for certain positions. This type of interview is perfect for career changers and has a broad approach. Following this type of conversation, you should think about the advice a person revealed; it’s a wonderful all-around networking opportunity whereby you can let the person know about a wide range of skills you might bring to the table.

> Informational

These type of interviews are more specific and allow you to learn about various companies. You should learn about specific openings and the skill sets that are required. Of course, you will have done your homework. Ideally, you will be well versed in the industry. At this point, you’re trying to find out about specific job opportunities and how that person might be able to assist you. Linked In and other social networks may be able to introduce you to resources who can offer insight about particular companies.

Always make the exchange a two-way transaction; the more you give, the more you get. Think about how you might be able to reciprocate (at some point in the future) offering info or insight to other colleagues. This can include articles of interest, responses to blog posts or invitations to events/venues. Example: you learned they like jazz and happen have a freelance social networking assignment for a musician appearing at the Blue Note in the Village who offered comp tickets for a November event. Voila – you may want to pass along those coveted tickets to the person who provided you with complimentary advice to help you rise in the industry.

> Concrete

Job interviews for specific employment opportunities. The goal is to convince the potential employer that you’re right for the job. Your resume and cover letter should be specifically tailored to the position and there should be no room for doubt.
Whether you’re looking for employment, in transition or seeking an internship, always work to make important connections that can propel you to the next level.

LSJ’s Favorite Websites

Helps businesses capture, display, share and analyze online customer conversations.

Publishing what the world wants to know and share; opportunity for freelancers to reach millions of consumers. Think of this as the new publishing platform and the future of journalism.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Colgate and the NDA
A 20 Year Partnership with a Bright Future

Early tomorrow, we’re off to Honolulu for the 97th Annual National Dental Association Convention! And, it’s the 20th Anniversary of the Colgate – NDA partnership; I’m humbled to have been involved since the program began in 1990.

In addition to the camaraderie and scientific sessions, it’s a special honor because conferees can take part in the island’s wide range of attractions, including Pearl Harbor and tours featuring President Barack Obama’s famous haunts.

NDA really is a special family. Over the years, they’ve done so much good volunteering their time and talent to Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures and many other community and public health initiatives.

Each year, I proudly share this case history with students as a testament to the power of partnerships. The program is a great example of how an idea can blossom into a sustainable program that’s institutionalized throughout the corporation.

Millynneum is honored to work with Dr. Marsha Butler, Maria Diaz Santiago, Dawna Michelle Fields and their team of professionals who work tirelessly to make the program happen. More than 100 million children and their families have been served in 80 countries over the past 20 years and there’s a bright future ahead.

Historical tidbit: The NDA got it’s start at Buckroe Beach in East Hampton (VA), where I’m grew up.

Independence Day
Freedom Isn’t Free

Lizette Alvarez’ July 2, 2010 New York Times about Iraqi Vet Brendan Marrocco made many Americans take pause. After losing all his limbs, Brendan is making a miraculous recovery with the aid of family, physicians, therapists and his trusty caregiver Michael, who lives with him at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Spirit Intact, a Soldier Reclaims His Life

Take the time to read it. Send the link to others. Allow the contributions of our US Armed Forces time to sink in—we’re are so fortunate.

Then, make it a point to make your actions stand for something positive, in the honor of American veterans.

There’s no time like the present to press forward. If you’re reading this with all your faculties in tact, you’ve got nothing in the world to complain about!

It’s July 1—Happy New Year!

Readers of this blog know that I take a mid-year break to recharge and celebrate the mid-year mark. As corporations start a brand new fiscal year, I take time to recharge and take stock of finances; it’s a breather to remain fiscally and physically fit.

June certainly ended on a high note. I was honored to work with OUTSTANDING summer learners on the undergraduate and graduate level throughout the month. Entrepreneurship for Media Communications (CCNY) and Writing Essentials for Public Relations & Corporate Communications (NYU) final projects and oral presentations were tremendous!

I’m always energized by the talent out there, talent which inspires me to excel and complete scores of outstanding projects on my desk.

BP: Bad Press—A Case History
Difficult Situations Call for Decisive Solutions

As the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf unfolds, my crisis communications learning module is basically writing itself for the Fall semester.

It’s a pure mess.

What’s particularly disturbing are offers of help from other countries that have seemingly fallen on deaf ears.

Note to the White House and Congress—take the help; bend the rules or enact new legislation. Time is running out in that hurricane season will soon be in full swing soon.

“It’s like cleaning the ocean with a toothbrush,” one environmentalist put it as he observed the number of vessels currently deployed to assist in the clean up efforts.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper points out BP Corporate Communications has dispersed bloggers to the region to put a sunny face on a dark situation. Pardon the pun re: the bright yellow and green British Petroleum logo.

The sun has eclipsed into an epic environmental disaster.

As noted by my talented NYU Writing Essentials for Public Relations and Corporate Communications students: “There’s no clear message. Don’t they have a plan?”

Ah, out of the mouths of tomorrow’s communications leaders.

Our three Saturday “intensives” included a real-time exercise where teams
strategically devised solutions for BP’s global headquarters (United Kingdom), the United States Louisiana regional outpost, community / employee and government relations.

As I tell my undergraduate, continuing education and graduate students, “You embody the solution! Today’s corporate communications official is a unique hybrid of knowledge worker, writer, corporate/product evangelist. If you’re in the room, be a part of the solution. Arm yourself with knowledge, because indeed, it’s a war out there and you’ve got to be prepared for battle. Be resourceful; help your managers; dig deep!”

Texas Textbooks
A Textbook case of MisEducation

Let’s get one thing straight. Textbooks contribute to a child’s education. But shame on government leaders who are rewriting history.

It just isn’t right!

Here in the hood, we have True North books. Run by former New York Institute of Technology professor Monroe Brown, it’s a treasure trove of historical books, accentuated by community discussions about Black history. We’re very lucky to have Brother Brown in our midst.

However, even if you don’t have a True North books within walking distance, nearly everyone has access to the world via the Internet. While everything online isn’t pretty, the availability of “true knowledge” outpaces the trash. Take a moment to surf the web for historical sites. At the least, you’ll broaden your conversational skills.

If you see something online, take a moment to search for more facts. You don’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to be scholarly. Make time to stay current. Be informed and then share what you’ve learned with others.

News flash: some new Bed-Stuy residents are rewriting history. There’s a move afoot to renamed a portion of Bed-Stuy the “Bedford Corners” landmark district due to the influx of new neighbors.

Names can change (I’m fine with progress), as long as you don’t erase the vast contributions of those who contributed in days gone by. Why? Because old heads are watching and passing along the knowledge for new generations. If we all practice the each one, teach one philosophy, then history remains true, despite changes and the influx of a vibrant new mosaic.

Plus, it will always be Bed-Stuy Do or Die, Harlem, South Side, Crenshaw or Southeast to those of us in the know—if you know what I mean! Because we remember Spike Lee’s NYU thesis film is titled “Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads.”

Not Bedford Corners, a new beginning. True history resonates with those in the know. Alas, what’s old is new and what’s new is old; it’s all how you look at things.

The Jewish community has done an excellent job of retaining their history. Even though action may lead his cinematography repertoire, Steven Spielberg has contributed to history with Schindler’s List and documentaries that keep the plight of his people front and center—for the world to consider.

Maximize Your Momentum

It’s true—what you put out into the universe comes back 10 fold! I’ve experienced this on a variety of levels this spring.

CCNY Ad/PR Workshop Classes

Students tend to do a tremendous job when they’re inspired to excel. This semester,
my colleague Professor Mike Macina and are extremely proud of our class, and all seniors. They’ve raised the bar on what can be accomplished in one semester in support of the New York Organ Donor Network (NYODN).

Don’t Forget Haiti

At last count, 28,000 people have improved shelter. But that’s a drop in the bucket; millions are still destitute as a result of the hurricane earlier this year.

While the mudslides are grim and the situation is still dire, there is a glimmer of hope. Children are starting to go back to school. While they’re in tents, you can tell from the smiles on their faces that any sense of normalcy can lead enhance self esteem.

What to do? Do something. Soledad O’Brien’s CNN “Rescued” special was tremendous. People like Sean Penn are doing their part. It’s incumbent on each of us to do what we can to help out.

The trick is to do something. Keep the pressure on. Ask questions of your local representatives. Contribute. Ask exactly what the Red Cross and other organizations are doing.

Through it all—give. Then make a point to give more!

A Fantastic Friday of Cultural Understanding

April 23, I had the pleasure of attending a Korea Symposium sponsored by the CCNY Powell Center for Policy Studies. I made new friends within the CUNY network; aligned myself with colleagues with roots in China, Korea and beyond.

It always fascinates me how our stories are similar and somewhat familiar, despite the fact that they span continents. Young people who have left small towns for the big city. A young woman from China told her “career-centric, follow your dream” story during our lunch discussion. This was my story 25 years ago.

DMV Express

It was literally like clockwork. I renewed my license in about 18 minutes at the DMV Express location near the corner of 8th Avenue and 34th Street in midtown.

The reason I marvel at the experience is because I can still remember the process taking a day at a Brooklyn location in the heat of summer a few decades ago. In this case, bureaucracy has improved.

Associates and security were pleasant and efficient. Mr. Gilliam, who took the photos, and I even chatted about our Brooklyn roots. He had friendly banter with everyone in his line as he kept things moving, allowing us to pause and take a final look in the mirror prior to our digital snapshot.

To the gentleman who answered B #194 Friday—thanks again for efficiently handling the final steps of my renewal. Hmm … I might want to play that number, because it was my lucky day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

“60 Minutes”: An Hour of Edutainment

Last night I caught a CBS “60 Minutes” special on the late Don Hewitt, creator and executive producer of the show who died last summer. He served in that role until he was forced to retire in 2004 at the age of 81.

While Hewitt bridged generations from the days TV news was invented to the hyper local 24/7 news cycle, he never lost passion for his job. He called himself the ring master for “The Greatest Show on Earth” and he said the secret of the show’s success could be summed up in four simple words: “tell me a story.” That’s what audiences craved, and he was right as the show continued to rank among the most profitable business units of the network for decades. The show began in 1968 and it’s still running—longer than any other show on TV, which is truly amazing.

Armed with a feisty demeanor, correspondents and fellow news persons said his tirades were legendary. But that’s what allowed him to attract the best talent. Hewitt admitted he flunked out of college and was afflicted with ADD (attention deficit disorder); but said he managed to use his short attention span to his advantage.

“60 Minutes,” an hour-long, news and info program, pioneered “edutainment” and was condensed into three or four 15 minute segments. Why? Because Hewitt determined that was the attention span of Middle America. He honed into that simple fact and made boatloads of money for the network (and colleagues) in the process.

Always play to your strengths and then surround yourself with others who have talent in areas that compliment your unique skills. And, like Hewitt, always be open and receptive to a good debate. In his case, as the boss, he usually won. But, colleagues admitted—he was often right!

It’s a different era, but the show was reflective for me because I grew up as a staunch “60 Minutes” viewer. It was a mainstay for my parent’s generation, and as I got older, it was a mature and serious way to end the weekend and begin the week, providing nourishment in the news arena. Undoubtedly, this contributed to my role as a political junkie to this day.

Hewitt’s vision is what writers and editors must strive to achieve as they capture the limited attention spans of today’s splintered audiences. Audiences who have countless options: mobile media, Internet, radio, TV. Today, producers and channel managers have about a 15-second window to capture viewers’ attention, before viewers’ attention literally clicks to another subject.

When you write or produce: be pithy, be precise; cut out the clutter and get to the point.

Like Don Hewitt, do what you love and have the discipline to keep improving it over time. Have a simple clear message (“Tell me a story”) and follow-through on a simple theme or topic.

You never know what you might create as your legacy, leaving an impact for future generations. It doesn’t have to be on the magnitude of “60 Minutes,” but make sure your message can be delivered in bite-sized chunks. Make every minute count!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Power of the Presidency

Kudos to former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton for joining forces with Commander in Chief Barack Obama for the long-term Haiti rebuilding effort. Undoubtedly, this organization will be the “go to” place for corporate donors interested in being involved for the long haul.

Talk about heavy lifting. Haiti will need decades of economic development and humanitarian support. We may not live to see it, but we can start seeds of progress. Hats off to these leaders of the free world who have come together to rebuild a country. Truth be told, it will also go a long way toward rebuilding their legacies on a global scale and regain the trust of Americans and citizens of the world.

Watch out for Vacations

Before the holidays, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley reportedly enjoyed a commanding 30 point lead in the polls in the special election for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s seat in the U.S. Senate.

Then, she mistakenly took time off.

Polls now show Republican Scott Brown could squeak out a win. President Obama will visit the state this weekend in an attempt to encourage strong Democratic turnout in Tuesday’s election. A Brown win could derail the healthcare bill which Democrats have fought so hard to pass. Now, they have a 60-vote Senate majority. Without a Coakley win, Republicans could stage a filibuster, blocking the bill.

The moral of this story as mentioned in Millynneum Insight a few weeks ago is to always watch your back and don’t clock extraordinary amounts of vacation time. Never get too comfortable, because competitors smell relaxation. Before you know it, they're gaining on you!

I know from my time as a reporter at the St. Petersburg Times in Pinellas County, Florida that Republicans are shrewd political operatives. On my beat as a general assignment reporter for the cities of Dunedin and Largo, many city council members I covered were conservatives. As one of a few African American reporters for that newspaper in the 1980s, I found the Republican politicos to be extremely open and fair.

In fact, a Dunedin city councilman even tried to recruit me to the GOP! I was somewhat enamored by his bold nature and serious conversation about what I wanted to do with my life in the long term. He questioned if I had considered a life in politics. While I didn't have political aspirations at the time, he explained there were numerous training centers in place throughout the US to train young political talent.

Further, Pinellas County Republicans knew how to mobilize on a grassroots level. As we know, Florida represents a gigantic retiree voting block. The leaders of senior communities were literally courted like royalty, because Republican operatives knew their power and influence in getting out the vote for local, state and government elections. Over the years, they have amassed tremendous power. To this day, you still have to swing through certain retirement communities, particularly if you want to raise money or run for President.

Thirty years ago, the Florida county I lived in had perhaps a 5% ethnic population, on a good day, and I'm being generous with my statistics. Yet a Republican elected official was bold enough to have visionary thinking and reach out to a then 22 year old woman fresh out of college and encourage her to one day perhaps run for office.
To this day, I appreciate Dave Ramsey seeing something in me as a young African American woman.

Use each experience as a chance to grow and get to know how other people think, operate and succeed. You'll find it often helps you believe in your inherent talents and what you can ultimately achieve.

And usually, you can achieve even more if you squeeze in a little work during those hard earned vacations!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help Haiti: Fast and Easy

As noted on the White House blog, Americans can:

> Donate $10 to the Red Cross that will be easily charged to your mobile phone bill by simply texting “HAITI” TO “90999.” Painlessly efficient; just sent my text. Like you, I’ve been glued to CNN and will do more as the US and 30 other countries get a handle on this seemingly insurmountable humanitarian rescue effort.

> In the area of corporate social responsibility, remember which companies have helped out once the news crews have departed and you’re making a decision how to spend your hard-earned dollars. Take note of those companies who make an impact locally or globally via effective long-term corporate social responsibility programs. Many make it easy for customers/clients to do good by waving fees for those who make contributions to the Haiti earthquake victims.

Social Media Steps Up

Facebook, Twitter, Skype and other social media sites are proving to be “miracle” communications mechanism for distributing basic information and helping people to connect regarding news about their loved ones. And, old school communications tools like radio are providing vital links in the homeland and in US Haitian communities and beyond.

Haiti: The Face of a “Raceless” Tragedy

When an earthquake or tsunami hits, isn’t it interesting how discussions about race are quickly replaced by compassion and human need.

Color doesn’t matter; it’s all about the caring. Countries come together. Everyone counts. Whatever your ethnicity or politics, everyone “gets” the fact that a nation is in ruins.

While Hurricane Katrina comes to mind, this is different. One Haitian community executive based in Miami described the natural disaster as “apocalyptic.”
Aptly put.

As my husband Roland recalled last evening, “Say what you want about America, but within a week or so, Louisiana residents were airlifted to other parts of the country. They had shelter, food, at least a start at a new life. In this case, that won’t happen.”
Sadly, this is true.

Haitians will rebuild, because they’re a proud people. In a square in Port-au-Prince, there were numerous news reports about last night’s prayer vigil. In the midst of destruction, Haitians paused to hold each out, chant, pray and give thanks—for merely having survived. Hopefully this can give a second of peace and solace to the echoes of wailing citizens who question why a higher power would or could cause this type of unfathomable death and destruction.

Somehow, people dig deep and survive. They manage to find a way to lift themselves out of the ashes. The least Americans can do is give thanks for our way of life and learn to stop complaining about trivial things

Perhaps, with a renewed interest in global affairs, world leaders can use their influence and power to rebuild Haiti as the global economy rebuilds from the ground up. The country’s proximity to the United States could be a benefit as the mid-Americas region finds its place in the international landscape.

Kudos: Sec. of State Hillary Clinton

Let’s commend Sec. Clinton for immediately jetting back to DC to oversee State Department and USAID rescue effort. Way to go Hillary! One thing’s for sure, the
Obama administration has leapt into action this time around.

Even former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are using their persuasive powers for the public good, helping to mobilize international relief efforts. We need these power couples and many more because the task at hand is seemingly insurmountable.

Somehow, some way, the job will get done. In your own circles, try to do the same thing and effect change where you can, even if it’s here in your own back yard. While Haiti holds our attention for the moment, don’t forget their needs once the cameras are focused on something else.

For that matter, don’t forget your neighbors or those in need right here at home.

Celebrity Shout Out

Kudos to Bragelina (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) for donating $1 million to the Haiti Rescue effort via Doctors Without Borders. Years ago, I had the pleasure of attending one of their seminars at the Fashion Institute of Technology; the organization does fantastic work all over the world.

Other power couples … making your matching donation now! Disasters like this make me want to be uber rich so I’ll have more to give.

Race Relations: Reality Check

Last weekend, news channels were abuzz regarding Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-NV) comments that President Barack Obama was an acceptable black person to run for leader of the free world because he was light-skinned and didn’t speak with a Negro dialect.

Thankfully, that topic has been displaced by real news: the tragedy in Haiti, something really worth discussing.

Here are a few ways you can change the game in your own community or be effective among audiences you influence:

> Speak up in class or in the workplace;
> Start frank discussions;
> Be confident enough to be yourself;
> Display excellence;
> Demonstrate your top-flight work ethic each day of the week;
> Practice ethical integrity;
> Forge new connections by joining a networking group or professional association where your ethnic group is the minority;
> Continue to learn and expand your worldview by having a real conversation eye-to-eye, in addition to online conversations (when you’re dealing with race, face-to-face is important)
> To understand how backroom politics really works, purchase Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, HarperCollins Publishers. For a taste of the book, check out:

An Excerpt From John Heilemann and Mark Halperin's 'Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime' -- New York Magazine

Diligent implementation of the above will show friends, colleagues and peers that you can relate. That’s race relations in its finest hour. Don’t merely sprint, be a race relations realist for the long haul. Government or human resources won’t solve the problem; you have to do the heavy lifting by starting a dialogue with people who sit right next to you, in the office, at school or on the subway. Take a risk and have a substantive dialogue, rather than a “lamestream” packaged approach.

Think about race. Bring up the subject in small forums. Be honest about your feelings. Understand your comments may receive raised eyebrows, but you’ll aid in a frank discussion about something we all need to talk about in order to move forward.

And, understand race relations is a subject for the ages. It will take time, but you’ve got to remember to make time and a safe place to talk about it in the first place.

Shout Out to Sarah!

Think what you want about Alaska’s favorite hockey mom (like me) and politician, but Gov. Sarah Palin has parlayed her time on the national scene into a multi-million deal with Fox News. Girlfriend has achieved the American dream—good for her!

While I don’t agree with most of her politics, she’s an excellent case study of personal branding at its finest.

Sarah’s lesson: Go for your dream. Really, what do you have to loose? You might even succeed!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Terrorism and Tactical Errors

The past few weeks have been rife with the spectacle of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s foiled attempt to snuff out the lives of innocent Americans and citizens of the world.

Luckily his attempt was thwarted by Jasper Schuringa, otherwise known as the “flying Dutchman,” a young man who jumped over rows of seats to wrestle the wanna be bomber and save the lives of fellow passengers.

What a “Holiday Hero.”

While we’re thankful Umar literally didn’t have “the b_ _ _s” to go through with his diabolical plot, what’s puzzling is how our ace team of high-powered political advisors couldn’t adequately counsel the leader of the free world.

No one can do it alone. We all need a team of advisors/supporters to be in peak operating mode. If you can’t trust your instincts or “team of advisors” to know when it’s time get back to work (officially/as in back to Washington), then it kind of makes you wanna say “Huh?”

Some say the president had a rough year and he needed a little down time. I say ask the 7 million Americans who are unemployed how bumpy the past year has been for them and their families.

Guess what? The year would have been a lot more volatile if a man hadn’t literally hurled himself through the air to thwart a mid-air explosion.

What oh what will we do if a terrorist plot goes through?

Many pundits say the terrorists may have done us a favor, and I tend to agree. Perhaps now we’ll go into 9/12 mode – the day after 9/11 and ramp up our allegiance to country and conscience, taking the time to all do our part to keep America safe.

Mission Possible: Global Benefits of Being Media Savvy

Yes, President Obama is media savvy. But this was a big “misstep” and everyone on the home team knows it for sure. While the President serves as mission control, we all know there’s a collection of smart men and women who share the helm as it pertains to the distribution of news and information to key audiences.

Via colleagues in a vast network of communications/associate positions, they develop and massage important relationships with and monitor news distributed to:

> Government (Pentagon, State Department, Homeland Security, etc.)
> Multi-Channel Media representatives (traditional news organizations like CNN, social networks like “Twitter,” linked in, etc., laptop/desktop communicators, TV, radio, citizen journalists, blogs)
> Organizations
> Leadership Groups

Many, Robert Gibbs (Press Secretary) and David Axelrod (Communications Director) to name a few, are specifically charged to lead divisions of information disciples, otherwise known as mass (news/info networks), niche marketing (social networks) and a wealth of grassroots to global public relations organizations that disseminate messages on a moment-by-moment basis.

These “ace communicators” advise the President on how and when the media can and should be used to get the word out to key publics/audiences. And, they can effectively persuasive messages (and visuals) to keep the mindset of Americans calm.

Palm trees and beach backdrops – in the midst of airport security breaches –
just doesn’t pass muster.

These media monitoring soldiers are an important part of today’s information militia.
Everyone must have a strategically solid game plan. No one, especially the communicators, must waver from the mission at hand.

It’s tricky, because other branches of government have delineated tasks. Media gurus must focus on multiple missions. In fact, that’s why the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that PR careers will increase 24% through 2018.

Vacation Vacuum

Lesson: Keep vacation time to a minimum when the sanctity of the free world is at stake. If I had the good fortune to be on the President’s “A Team,” I would have counseled him to:

> After the Christmas Day bomb attempt, immediately take Air Force One back to the mainland and set strategy from the confines of the nation’s capital. Be near the Pentagon.

> Communications specialists and senior execs can then strategize eye to eye, not via BlackBerry or Skype.

As you know, I’m not big on vacations. I’d much rather work and take “snippets” of time on any given day to regroup.

Often, vacations result in lost time and reduced momentum. In sum, you loose your mojo. When others are on vacation, I’d just rather work. For me, it helps me keep my edge and usually I come out ahead of the pack.

Media Management Mistep: If you’re the President and someone has just tried to blow up an American airplane, it’s not acceptable for the global public to see palm trees in the background or news coverage of your SUV caravan on patrol from the golf course.

It doesn’t matter how many press conferences you’ve held or what a somber tone you’ve struck. Remember, pictures speak louder than words, and I can still see those palm trees swaying. [Disclaimer: I have a conference later this year in Hawaii, more on that later.]

These recommendations are for our Commander-in-Chief or rank in file CEO’s. Use the precious “intellectual capital” you’ve earned to:

> Set the right tone;

> Highlight substantive and meaningful messages;

> Consider all audiences.

The President certainly can’t help that he’s from a beautiful locale – good for him. But also, think about grieving families of armed service members who lost loved ones in battle in Iraq or Afghanistan. How do they feel when they see these palm trees swaying in the background during the holiday season? How do these visuals play out in middle America? Could a “middle American” vacation perhaps have been better for 2009? Could a visit to the South Side of Chicago been planned with a midnight candlelight vigil encouraging local youth to start 2010 off right without violence that has senselessly snuffed out the lives of scores of teenagers.

Visuals add vitality to any story. Visuals count big.

Maureen Dowd - New York Times

Kudos to Dowd for today’s spot on analysis of the President and his politics; well put!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Power of Morning

After shaking off my "nothing pressing" holiday schedule, I had to kick my brain back into high gear for a full day of meetings. While my active mind needed the holiday rest, I'm now raring to go as I plan for a new semester at CCNY, strategize for my work on Colgate and stretch to complete many overdue personal ventures.

To gather my thoughts, I got up at 4 am. The house is quiet and it's the perfect time to plan, write and create. If I discipline myself to rise at least two hours before the sun, I'm amazed at what I can accomplish by 8 or 9 am -- the time most people sit down at their desks to start the day.

Understand zones when you do your best work and play to that energy. Carve out the time to maximize your output. With discipline, you'll soon find that items on your to do list are quickly evaporating.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Become a “Shark”

One of my long-time pals and I often speak in code, referring to ourselves as “sharks.” Not the dishonest underworld types, but the type comfortable in any environment; people with unusually great skill in one area or another.

Sharks navigate rough seas, but manage to stay on course. Be a shark. If you’re excellent at something, you’ll never be a fish out of water.

Take a Stand, Get Involved and Magnify Your Voice!

In the tradition of President Barack Obama, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has created an Office of Community Organizing to encourage citizens to start petition drives and initiate civic actions against city hall.

If you believe in something, learn how to maximize your influence by joining forces with others who are like minded. There is strength in numbers. As Americans return to a “power of the people” approach

And, here’s a shout out to John Liu, our newly inaugurated Comptroller, the chief fiscal officer of New York City.

Learn how your government works by attending city council meetings in the year ahead.

The Next Wave: Freescale’s Tablet Reader

According to Media Bistro, Freescale will introduce a new $200 7” tablet reader at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). The device will have a touch screen and combine features of a smart phone and notebook computer.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Win in 2010!

A new year brings a fresh start. This year, I’m vowing to complete outstanding projects and recommit to advance action and forward thinking.

As I surveyed accomplishments at year-end, it provided me momentum and a new mantra: “Win, Lynne, Win— in 2010!” As the holidays wind down, I’m wound up about the New Year ahead and can’t wait to get started.

I’ve already lined up a few guest speakers for my CCNY classes and scheduled pre-semester face time with key individuals, plan two business conferences and develop my for impact service venture. And, I’m going to embrace what I do best: utilize my people skills to bring people together and make things bigger and better than what organizers originally envisioned.

That’s the secret: do what you do best and let others handle the rest. Translation: subcontract and delegate when possible and see your ideas blossom brighter than you ever imagined.

Stay in the moment, maximize your momentum and win in 2010!

Saturday, January 02, 2010


A grassroots to global forecast for 2010 and the decade ahead

> Americans embrace the “era of inclusion”

> "Generation G" ... grassroots to global enthusiasts ... grows exponentially

> Substantive relationships replace “followers”

> Audiences “search” for meaningful dialogue rather than retrieve mountains of misleading, meaningless information

> People opt-in for “face time,” along with Facebook

> Social networks help solve world and workplace issues in real-time

> Service to others overtakes list serves and eblasts

> Consumers make news by contributing time, talent and dollars to organizations they believe in

> Men and women “reset” values and boost respect for family, friends and work

Friday, January 01, 2010


Although you may not hear from me
I often wonder “How you be?”

Responsibilities and passions take our time,
Drain our energies … and thankfully stretch our minds

In order to move forward—we must not only pray
But cut back on “play” to find our way

We no longer want (or need) to do it all
By taking time to regroup, it allows us to stand tall

Part of life’s joy is learning to maintain composure
While eliminating “undue exposure”

Less emails, texts, notes, visits and calls
Results in a year-round “gift” of “the present”

Cherish this gift throughout the year
Hold loved ones near
And schedule time to savor life’s fleeting moments

Wishing you Simplicity & Success
in 2010 and Beyond,

Lynne Scott Jackson