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.