A Conversation with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Author, ‘World War C: Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One

Join me and Dr. Sanjay Gupta as we discuss his new and very important book, World War C, Lesson from the Covid-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One which addresses many of the most important issues arising out of the pandemic: Why weren’t we ready? What went wrong/right? Pandemics are here to stay; how are we preparing for the future? What are the lessons that need to be learned and operationalized?

Dr. Gupta is an American neurosurgeon and serves as associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and as an associate professor of neurosurgery at the Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Gupta is a New York Times bestselling author and the Emmy Award winning chief medical correspondent for CNN.

Thank you to The George Washington University Master’s in Strategic Public Relations for supporting today’s episode.


Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the multiple Emmy®-award winning chief medical correspondent for CNN and host of the CNN podcast Chasing Life. Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon, plays an integral role in CNN’s reporting on health and medical news for all of CNN’s shows domestically and internationally, and regularly contributes to CNN.com.

Since 2001, Gupta has covered some of the most important health stories in the United States and around the world. On March 9, 2020, Gupta penned an op-ed announcing the network would refer to the novel coronavirus outbreak as a “pandemic,” ahead of both the WHO and the CDC. Throughout 2020 into 2021, Gupta reaffirmed his role as a trusted guide to viewers worldwide on navigating between facts and fiction surrounding Covid-19 and the pandemic.

A few months after joining CNN, Gupta reported from New York following the 9/11 terror attacks. That fall, he broke several stories regarding the anthrax attacks. In 2003, he embedded with the US Navy’s “Devil Docs” medical unit, reporting from Iraq and Kuwait as the unit traveled to Baghdad. He provided live coverage of the first battlefield operation performed during the war, and performed life-saving brain surgery five times in a desert operating room. In 2004, Gupta was sent to Sri Lanka to cover the tsunami that claimed more than 155,000 lives in Southeast Asia, contributing to the 2005 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for CNN.

In 2005, Gupta contributed to CNN’s Peabody Award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina, revealing that official reports that Charity Hospital in New Orleans had been evacuated were inaccurate. His “Charity Hospital” coverage for Anderson Cooper 360° resulted in his 2006 News & Documentary Emmy® for Outstanding Feature Story. That year, he also covered the Lebanon War. In 2007 and 2008, Gupta and Anderson Cooper co-hosted the global film series “Planet in Peril,” which examined the impact of climate change all over the world.

In 2009, Gupta embedded with the US Army’s 82nd Airborne, accompanying them on life-saving rescue missions in Afghanistan. In 2010, Gupta reported on the devastating earthquake in Haiti, for which he was awarded two Emmy® awards. His distinctive reporting in 2010 also included live coverage on the unprecedented flooding in Pakistan. He also contributed to the network’s 2010 Peabody Award-winning coverage of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2011, Gupta reported from earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged Japan, adding clarity and context to the human impact and radiation concerns.

During the rollout of Healthcare.gov in 2013, millions experienced glitches in the online portal. Gupta spoke exclusively with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the magnitude of the botched website launch, for which she took responsibility.

In 2014, he was the first western reporter who traveled to Conakry, Guinea, to investigate the deadly Ebola outbreak that would soon find its way to the United States for the first time in history. When a major earthquake hit Nepal in 2015, Gupta flew into Kathmandu to cover the aftermath. In 2016, Gupta told the exclusive story of the separation of craniopagus twins Jadon and Anias McDonald in the Emmy® award-winning documentary “Separated: Saving the Twins.” Gupta extensively covered the Flint, Michigan, water crisis and Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. That same year, he moderated a panel with President Barack Obama on the opioid crisis.

In 2017, Gupta reported from the frontlines of a breakdown in the medical infrastructure of Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria. He also broke the news about Sen. John McCain’s diagnosis with brain cancer. In 2018, Gupta cohosted “Finding Hope: Battling America’s Suicide Crisis,” for which he won another Emmy award.

Over the last few years, Gupta has increasingly focused on long-form reporting. He is the host of the CNN Original Series “Chasing Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta,” which follows Gupta’s travels around the world in search of the secret to living longer, healthier and happier. Gupta also stars in the HBO Original Documentary “One Nation Under Stress,” which examines why life expectancy is declining in the United States. His enterprise reporting on medical marijuana has led to five documentary films, “Weed,” which were awarded the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.

In addition to his work for CNN, Gupta is an associate professor of neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital and associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. He serves as a diplomate of the American Board of Neurosurgery. And in 2019, Gupta was elected to the National Academy of Medicine, considered one of the highest honors in the medical field.

Gupta contributes to the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” and serves as an executive producer for the HBO Documentary Unit. He is the author of three New York Times best-selling books, “Chasing Life” (2007), “Cheating Death” (2009) and “Monday Mornings” (2012). His fourth book, “Keep Sharp: Building a Better Brain” will be published in 2020. In 2021, Gupta co-founded LIFE ITSELF conference with Marc Hodosh of TEDMED. The four day conference will features extraordinary thinkers intersecting health & medicine — from research, technology, government, entertainment & business.

Gupta has been named one of PEOPLE magazine’s “Sexiest Men Alive,” a “pop culture icon” by USA Today and one of the “Ten Most Influential Celebrities” by Forbes Magazine. He has won several awards for his humanitarian efforts and the John F. Kennedy University Laureate award. Gupta has received numerous honorary degrees and delivered a commencement address in the “Big House” at his alma mater in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Gupta received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and a Doctorate of Medicine degree from the University of Michigan Medical School.


Michael Zeldin

Michael Zeldin is a well-known and highly-regarded TV and radio analyst/commentator.

He has covered many high-profile matters, including the Clinton impeachment proceedings, the Gore v. Bush court challenges, Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation of interference in the 2016 presidential election, and the Trump impeachment proceedings.

In 2019, Michael was a Resident Fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he taught a study group on Independent Investigations of Presidents.

Previously, Michael was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice. He also served as Deputy Independent/ Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files, and as Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, investigating the handling of the American hostage situation in Iran.

Michael is a prolific writer and has published Op-ed pieces for CNN.com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Hill, The Washington Times, and The Washington Post.

Audit Your Social Media Efforts

Jill Kurtz, Owner, Kurtz Digital Strategy

Conducting a social media audit helps you assess how well your current social media strategy works for you. A plan enacted last year, last month or even last week may not be as effective as you hoped. You need to pay attention so you can adjust for greatest success.

Know the Basics to Soar with Social Media MarketingEvaluate Current Efforts

To begin your audit, look at what you’ve already accomplished. Ask yourself:

  • What’s working?
  • What’s not working?
  • Who’s connecting with you on social?
  • Which social media sites does your target market use?
  • How does your social media presence compare to that of your competitors?

Also look at the metrics you are tracking that relate to your goals and objectives. Look for patterns that reveal what’s working, what’s missing the mark, and what has changed over time.

Once you gather all this information in one place, you’ll have a good insight into how to improve your results.

Check Your Channels

Your audit should give you a clear picture of the impact of each of your social accounts. If the impact of an account isn’t clear, think about whether it’s worth keeping. It may be a valuable account that just needs a strategic redirection, or it may be an outdated account that’s no longer worth your while.

Also explore any new or emerging channels. Do they have potential to impact your goals?

Ask yourself :

  1. Is my audience here?
  2. If so, how are they using this platform?
  3. Can I use this account to help achieve meaningful business goals?

Asking these tough questions now will help keep your social media strategy on track as you grow your social presence.

Tackle Impostors

During your audit process, you may discover accounts that you and your business don’t own that use your business name or the names of your products.

Impostor accounts can be harmful to your brand, so be sure to report them. Also be sure that your social accounts are verified by following the steps for each channel. This helps people separate real sites from fake sites.

How To Tell if My Startup Needs a Business Phone Line?

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

Startups are a popular company concept that promotes global transformation growth in the economy. Every year, startups introduce new sorts of goods & services. These companies are the embodiment of innovative and enterprising individuals with wonderful ideas.

Whenever we hear the word “startup,” we generally think of varied inspirational stories and rapid economic growth. In practice, though, not all startups succeed. We frequently only read about the prosperous ones, which is merely a piece of the puzzle and does not tell the complete narrative.

Many people picture startups as a group of six individuals working together on a single project, a high bar for confusion, but even a six-year-old organization can be labeled as a startup.

Getting purchased, building more than one location, having earnings over more than $30 million, or having more than 70 people are all ways for a startup to grow into a larger firm.

And why is it imperative for startups to have good communication?

Effective communication is one of the most important aspects of any start-success.  Businesses that prioritize effective communication — either in and out of the company — find that their job is completed more quickly with far less tension and conflict. 

A wise businessman should attach great importance to how communications move at all stages and connections in his or her firm in order to get the work properly done.

Communication processes that are effective have various advantages that can help businesses not just make better decisions and increase staff performance, but also increase profits. 

Internally interactions that are accessible, concise, and honest keep managers energized, connected, enlightened, and updated at all moments, making them feel appreciated, committed, and encouraged to work beyond a single objective.

Communicating creates information, which propels the group and organization forward in the direction they want to go. Internal communication, on the other hand, is about more than just establishing a well-organized business communication network; it’s about cultivating a culture where employees aren’t afraid to share, represent themselves, and come up with new ideas.

How can a business phone help?

A business telephone number enhances your reputation by making you appear professional and accomplished. Society expects to see your phone number on your greeting cards, websites, pamphlets, and other marketing materials. 

Make sure all of your conversations are handled appropriately and in a manner that matches your company’s identity.

Consumers prefer to phone companies rather than send emails or messages and wait for feedback if they have the option. Owning a telephone number and a digital operator guarantees that your company is available to answer calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Outbound calls are also made by your telephone incoming call to inform your clients about meetings or whatever else. Some of the clear benefits of having a business phone are:

  • Reliability in the business world
  • Accessible at all times of the day and night
  • Confidentiality and safety
  • Information and CRM management
  • Improved customer service

How to tell if your Startup needs a business phone number?

When you want your personal life private

Would you like to dodge telemarketing calls while on a vacation or when you’re deep asleep? A business telephone number protects your privacy by ensuring that the company contacts do not intrude on your personal life. Business phones have a virtual receptionist that is ready at all times to take your conversations and reply professionally and courteously.

When you need more information

Relationship management and customer acquisition benefit from call records since they provide helpful info. You should train your attendants to use a cloud phone systems platform so therefore they can simply incorporate call-related info into your preferred CRM. 

To put it another way, you get more than just a company telephone and a digital secretary; you also have the opportunity to manage, analyze, and utilize crucial customer-related information.

To improve client service

Whenever consumers want any support or assistance, having a distinctive business phone line makes it easier for them to contact you. This direct telephone number, when connected with our answering machine, can enable you to provide the greatest service experience a startup can offer today.  Moreover, contacts to your number will be handled instantly, ensuring that your services are genuinely available at all times.

To look more trustworthy

Clients will know they can call you directly if you provide them with a business telephone number. This gives you a more trustworthy appearance than a basic email address or social network profile. 

People will believe you stand behind your products if they know they can call you. If a customer wants information quickly and has a choice between two organizations, they will most probably choose the one that appears to be more “reputable”.

When you want to connect more with your clients

Most people actually prefer the calling to any other way of communicating, like it or not. This is because calling has much to do with the straightforwardness of a phone conversation. When someone has a request, it is often more convenient to just phone than wait for a response to an email or a Tweet. 

Consider that for a moment. How many occasions have you called a company with a query without looking up the answer online? Although social networking has a tremendous impact on people’s daily lives, it is not necessarily the most efficient way of communicating for commercial deadlocks.

Bottom line

While you don’t have a business telephone line, you’re falling behind in service quality. In the situations listed above, it was demonstrated how having a dedicated business phone line may help your company succeed. 

There is no simpler solution to build a connection with people than by dialing a telephone number. It gives clients a channel via which they can communicate with a company at any time and from any place.

Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

The Miracle Workers

The Miracle Worker

All my life’s a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
Moon rolls thru the nighttime;
Till the daybreak comes around.

It seems like I’ve been here before;
I can’t remember when;
But I have this funny feeling;
That we’ll all be together again.
No straight lines make up my life;
And all my roads have bends;
There’s no clear-cut beginnings;
And so far no dead-ends.

– Harry Chapin


At dinner the other night with an old friend, an executive at another public relations firm, at a favorite local restaurant, we had a young but old-souled waitress who was as kind as she was efficient and who joined us for a brief conversation as the dinner rush slowed. She was sharing her background which included graduating from Howard University, where, she revealed, her father had graduated a generation before and had played soccer in the early 1970s. I asked, “When Howard had one of the greatest collegiate soccer dynasties of all time?” “Yes,” she responded, to which I started citing chapter and verse of those great teams. Two had won National Championships, though one would be revoked by the NCAA who it is hard to imagine was inspired at the time by anything other than racism.

Back then, there was a baseball Game of the Week, Sunday football, and the Wide World of Sports. No ESPN. You either watched it live, or in the case of the Howard Championship Game of 1974, you watched it on PBS. I was just 16, and watched it on a grainy, black and white screen at my grandparents’ house in New York. Up until then, the only thing I really knew about soccer was Pele, but now I wanted to play. And I would, for the graduate team at the University of Michigan—touched, unknowingly, by her father.

Later in the conversation, we asked her what she wanted to do next. She talked of her love for public relations, which is when my dinner companion and I immediately provided her with our contact details – “Let us know however we can help. And please tell your dad that he inspired far more people than he could ever have imagined.” We would have helped anyway, but her father was “paying it forward” a half century early.

Isn’t that the way it is in life? We have our golden moments and our darker ones, when we ask ourselves the existential questions. Seldom do we realize that our wings can resonate as a tsunami countless miles and light years away. We are ignorant of our own inspiration.

The ragged pages of long dead authors, poets and theologians inspire me daily. How can I tell their ghosts they should have never doubted? Did her father know while on the pitch that the results of his sweat and toil would not only be an NCAA championship but to inspire a suburban white kid who in turn would want to help his not-yet-born daughter? Look behind your shoulders. That is where you will find your wings.

Going back even further, when I was a young child in the 1960s and the TV Guide was still a mystery, my sister, two years older, was the wellspring of wisdom. She had shared with me the names of three of her favorite movies – “Sorry, Wrong Number,” the tragically long-forgotten “The Next Voice You Hear” (with Nancy Davis, later Nancy Reagan) and “The Miracle Worker.” One year, we got really lucky, and “The Next Voice You Hear” was playing during the holidays, when we were staying at our grandparents so we could stay up late (until 11!) and watch it straight through while eating Jiffy Pop popcorn. That was living!

I saw each of those movies only once, though I have listened to “Sorry Wrong Number” as a radio adaptation so many times I can hear every syllable of Agnes Moorehead’s growing anxiety as it elevates to panic by the end of the evening. Those movies taught me about regret, perseverance, love and, of course, miracles.

The other voice I so often hear is my late father’s, with his wise words resonating long after his passing. Like the poem Desiderata, he taught me to “Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,” and to never compare myself to others because there will always “Be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” Be grateful and thankful, as there are always those who have far less with far greater burdens.

It is why the water scene in “A Miracle Worker,” with Anne Bancroft playing the indefatigable teacher, Anne Sullivan teaching Helen Keller, blind and deaf since infancy due to scarlet fever, played by Patty Duke, resonates with me through the decades. The impossible becomes possible. Anne Sullivan, blind herself, was completing the cycle.

My father’s lesson is, unfortunately, lost on most of us most of the time. We turn miracles into expectations within minutes. Donald Trump, Operation Warp Speed and multiple pharmaceutical companies shortening the development of a vaccine from an average of 10 to 15 years to 10 months; Joe Biden overseeing the process that has 192 million Americans vaccinated in a year? “Ho hum. Next?” No wonder his approval rating is under 40%. We don’t want presidents, we want gods.

We limit our appreciation of miracles to the parting of the seas and the burning of the bush. What if we stopped to see the miracles all around us? To live in a state of grace, where we appreciated rather than judged? To play soccer with the realization that a teenager watching would remember that moment for more than half a century?

This week, on In House Warrior, the daily podcast I host for the Corporate Counsel Business Journal, I hosted a number of miracle workers who make the world a better place.

Dan Kracov is co-chair of the Life Sciences and Healthcare Regulatory practice at Arnold & Porter, which was recently named the top healthcare practice in the country by Law360. For decades, he has been one of the foremost Food and Drug Administration lawyers in the country, with his expertise in critical regulatory matters widely recognized by multiple legal publications. He assists pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and diagnostic companies to negotiate challenges relating to the development, approval and marketing of FDA-regulated products, including the accelerated approval of drug products for serious diseases.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and my cohost Lori Kalani, co-Chair of the State Attorney General Practice at Cozen O’Conner, discussed how the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and attorneys general have partnered over the years to combat anticompetitive, unfair and deceptive trade practices and how this relationship is evolving. What impressed me about the Attorney General was his sincere and endearing ability to reach across the aisle to get things done.

Janelle Sam, co-founder of Cambium Consultants, along with my cohost Derede McAlpin of LEVICK, discussed how her company uses artificial intelligence to significantly increase the efficiency of identifying expert witnesses for complex litigation. Cambium is a proprietary online platform – using needle-in-the-haystack capabilities – that makes it far easier for attorneys to find the precise experts they are looking for and for experts to be found.

Take a look. There are miracle workers all around you. And while you are at it, try out your own wings. You have no idea who is watching. Or, who half a century later, will return the favor.

Enjoy the shows.

Richard Levick

Listen to The Miracle Worker

Listen to A State Attorney General’s Perspective

Listen to When You Can’t Afford to Be Out-Experted

How to Make Your Vaccine Mandate Successful

How to Make Your Vaccine Mandate Successful - Ragan Communications


Follow this smart guidance to ensure your mandate messaging is on point, effective and persuasive.

Dr. Leilani Carver

In September, President Biden asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to enact a new rule that would require any company with over 100 employees to either mandate vaccinations or require weekly testing. So far, most of the large companies have supported this, with 80 percent of CFOs in a recent survey agreeing with Biden’s mandate. Many organizations, particularly in the healthcare and travel industries, have already gone ahead with their own mandates. Kaiser Permanente, for example, has suspended 2,200 employees who chose to remain unvaccinated out of approximately 216,000 total employees, and United Airline stands ready to terminate several hundred employees (a small fraction of their employee base) unless they get vaccinated by the company’s deadline.

Despite all this, it’s helpful to remember that there is still a fair amount of controversy over this issue. Worker-led protests against vaccine mandates continue in cities throughout the country, with some groups taking legal action to try and prevent organizations from enforcing their mandates. So, it is all the more important for organizations to use effective, constructive communication and messaging about their stance on vaccine mandates so as to minimize conflict and maximize compliance.

[FREE WEBINAR: Learn how to thrive as an internal comms pro in 2022. Join us Nov. 16]

Continue reading here…

Your Roadmap to Cultivate a Purposeful Culture

Your Roadmap to Cultivate a Purposeful Culture - Ragan Communications


If you want to retain your team and recruit the best talent, you must have a purposeful culture that’s rooted in core values—not perks.

Roula Amire

Pool tables, happy hours and free meals are perks your organization might be proud to showcase. But they won’t keep employees from fleeing your doors.

A culture that aligns with employee purpose, on the other hand? Now you’re talking.

Employees are leaving jobs in record numbers to, in part, find more meaning in their day-to-day work. A post-pandemic world has left many reevaluating their lives and careers—and joining workplaces whose values align with their own. Purposeful cultures foster a sense of belonging and meaning.

Study after study repeatedly show that employees working for purpose-driven organizations are more engaged in their work. Engaged employees are more productive and perform better. The result? High retention and job satisfaction. And happier employees.

So, how do you infuse meaningful purpose into your culture? Here are some steps to consider:

1. Define your core values.

Do you have a list of values? Are they defined? And are they easily accessed by all employees? Your answer should be yes. Cultures are formed by design or default. The absence of values speaks volumes.

You can’t have a purposeful culture without a set of values. That means more than a list of feel-good words or phrases sitting on HR’s desk collecting dust.

Continue reading here…

The Future of Telephony: 5 Ways Your Biz Can Thrive

The Future of Telephony_ 5 Ways Your Biz Can Thrive

Photo from Pexels

Sierra Powell, Freelancer

Telephony stands out as a great way to help businesses thrive since they need to communicate with employees and customers. If you want to help your business succeed, you should look into telephony to see what it can offer. When you do this, you can make your company thrive through the points listed below.

Minimize Work for Your Employees

If you have a telephony service for your business, you can connect your customers to your business. Many telephony services allow you to create pre-recorded instructions for the customers to follow. They can listen to the instructions, press the corresponding numbers on their keypads and get to the employees they need.

This means your employees just need to wait by the phone and answer whenever they get calls. This allows your employees to work on other assignments while they wait for calls to come their way, so they have more flexibility with their work. Since the process minimizes work while allowing your employees to focus on assignments, it can save you money.

Manage Your Business Calls as Needed

You can also take advantage of telephony systems to properly manage your business calls when necessary. If you work with VIP VoIP, you can let the system manage your business calls for you. You can use systems like this to interact with your customers, add your brand to it and figure out your pricing as explained in the link.

You can work with different companies to see what they’ll allow you to adjust and change for the phone system. You can determine which telephony company you want to work with based on the services they provide. Since you can benefit from these services, you should see if you can work with telephony.

Have Dedicated Work Phones

If you go with telephony, you’ll have access to dedicated work phones, so your employees can make phone calls when possible. Depending on your position, you may prefer installed work phones, so your employees don’t run the risk of breaking their phones by taking them home. This can also help your employees always hear their phones when they get calls.

Since your employees have access to these dedicated phones, they can focus on their work whenever they get calls. You also won’t need to deal with employees making personal calls while they work for you, so you can minimize problems. It also gives them a direct connection to other employees when necessary.

Look Into Mobile Options

Telephony doesn’t stick to wired phones since many of them will offer mobile systems for your business. These services allow employees to make calls from various locations, so this might work for companies with workers around the world. Even if you don’t have employees across the planet, you can still enjoy some nice benefits by getting a mobile telephony service.

For example, your employees can answer calls while away from the office, so they can address problems and help people out. On top of that, they can easily reach out to other employees when they need to ask important questions. This option gives your employees plenty of versatility to talk as needed.

Redirect Customers as Needed

Sometimes, customers may call your business seeking help with specific tasks. If they call and end up talking with the wrong person, your employees can re-direct them through a telephony system. That way, they don’t have to call the business again as one of your employees helps them contact the person they need to talk with.

Having a service like this makes it easy for your employees to redirect calls to the right people. Even if the customers need to go on hold for a bit, they can receive help quickly with whatever problems they face. Above all else, you want to use a telephony system to take advantage of this benefit.

Helping your business thrive involves finding a way to communicate effectively among your employees. If you take advantage of a telephony system, you can talk with your employees and even your customers. If you don’t know whether to get a telephone system for your business, you should review the points above and see if telephony can benefit your business.


Tips on Presenting Crypto Assets on a Website

CommPRO Editorial Staff

It is of vital importance that website owners publish content that looks good on their website. If you fill your website’s pages with lots of disorganized images, text, tables, menus, and charts, you can’t expect visitors to stay on the website for long. Not only will you lose visitors, but a poorly presented website will have a negative impact on your site’s ranking on major search engines.

CryptocurrencyWith the cryptocurrency industry booming at the moment, several site owners are wanting to publish information about crypto assets to their websites. Of course, you can take screenshots of the Microsoft Excel tables or Google Sheets charts that you have created and upload these images to your site, but it is unlikely that the images will look professional. On top of this, every time you edit these documents, you will have to take a screenshot and upload them all over again, which can cause a lot of frustration, especially if you need to make minor changes. This is why so many site owners are looking for an easy and professional solution. 

Invest in a Plugin

If you want to create professional charts and tables to display crypto assets on a website, you should consider investing in a WordPress table plugin. There are several plugin developers out there selling similar services, and many of them allow website owners to create responsive charts and tables with ease. 

Once you invest in a plugin, it will be installed on your website. They allow you and anyone else to edit, create tables, and publish them to your site. The best WordPress plugins will help you create different charts for your website without any coding. Before these plugins became available, website owners were forced to create tables using HTML4 tables, which didn’t appeal to everybody. These plugins make the entire process straightforward, from creating to editing to uploading. A well-designed chart or table showing crypto assets will encourage visitors to spend more time engaging with your site. 

Why is it Important To Create Great Looking Tables and Charts?

Website owners must keep in mind that most visitors don’t read a site, they scan through it. Although a table created in Google Sheets might look good to you, it’s doubtful that it will grab the visitor’s attention. Of course, it will have the same information as a fancy table, but it is completely pointless unless people take their time to read the information.

A well-designed table or chart will stand out, so you can expect visitors to take notice, even if they are quickly scanning through your site. It will show professionalism, and your site will earn extra credibility. If you think visitors are going to spend their entire evening reading through endless listings of crypto assets published to your site, think again! It’s far too boring to keep them focused, which is why it is so important to make any visuals on your website easy on the eye. Of course, you don’t need to create a table or a chart, but you must realize that most of your visitors will find data easier to digest when they see it in a visual format. This is why almost all the top cryptocurrency sites use graphs and charts to show the different crypto assets. 

Why Is It Important To Make Dynamic Charts and Tables?

As discussed earlier, you can take a screenshot of the charts and tables you’ve already made, but crypto assets are constantly changing. If you go down this road, you are going to have to create new charts and upload them to your site all day every day, which will cause a lot of headaches. WordPress plugins are designed to simplify the process and allow you to create dynamic charts. With most well-known plugins you will be able to create lots of different responsive charts such as graphs, pie charts, scatter charts, column charts, etc.

Even if you know how to code, other people working for the website might not. Investing in an easy to use plugin will allow people who struggle with coding to make and edit different graphs and charts. 


There are a lot of free trials and demo versions of plugins out there, which allow you to try the plugin before spending a single penny. Even if you can’t find a trial version on the developer’s official website, there is no harm in making contact with them directly. However, not all plugins have the same functions and features, so you might want to shop around until you find one that suits your site. In saying this, even the best plugins available won’t break the bank, which makes them a worthwhile investment. Plus, it can be a lot of fun playing around with the different tables and charts, so why not give it a go!

Symptoms & Signs of Burnout at Work

Burnout at Work


In the modern workplace, stress is inevitable, but if work-related stress goes ignored the risk of burnout increases. On an organizational level burnout at work can result in a decrease in employee’s job performance and job satisfaction, reduced commitment to the company, and an increase in absenteeism and employee turnover. On a personal level, occupational burnout can result in severe health issues that can be difficult to overcome. Employers need to recognize the symptoms and signs of burnout so they can monitor their team members and intervene if necessary.

What is burnout syndrome?

Burnout at work is a syndrome that results from chronic work-related stress, with symptoms characterized by feelings of emotional exhaustion, a negative attitude relating to work, and reduced feelings of work-related personal accomplishment.

Burnout syndrome can have serious consequences on employees’ physical and mental health. Burnt out team members suffer from perpetual fatigue and lose all joy they once felt at their job. Not only does this have a negative impact on your business, but there can be serious consequences for the individual if burnout is not addressed.

The 5 stages of burnout

The signs and symptoms of burnout vary from person to person; however, they can be categorized into the following five stages; The honeymoon stage, onset of stress, chronic stress, burnout, and habitual burnout. Each stage has specific characteristics, which progressively worsen as employee burnout advances. 

  1. The Honeymoon Stage

As the name suggests, the honeymoon stage is when an employee is experiencing high job satisfaction as they have taken on a new role, or undertaken a new project. Commitment levels are high, they feel positive, productive, and creativity is free-flowing.

Ideally, employees should be able to maintain the honeymoon stage indefinitely, but this is not a simple task. 

In the first phase of burnout, employees may begin to experience the predicted stresses of the initiative they are undertaking, so it’s important that they start to implement positive coping strategies.

  1. Onset of Stress

The second stage of burnout in the workplace begins with the onset of work-related stress. Employees might start to become aware that not every day is plain sailing. Their initial optimism starts to wane and you may start to notice common stress symptoms affecting them physically, mentally, or emotionally. These can include; anxiety, avoidance of decision making, fatigue, lack of social interaction, or an inability to focus.

  1. Chronic Stress

The third stage of employee burnout is chronic stress. This is when a person experiences a marked change in their work-related stress levels. Some days they might feel motivated and driven, but they begin to experience job stress on an increasingly frequent basis. The mental and physical symptoms of burnout are more intense than in stage two and can include; anger or aggressive behavior, apathy, chronic emotional exhaustion, feeling a loss of control, an increase in alcohol, drug, or caffeine consumption, missed work deadlines, procrastination in the workplace, and physical illness.

  1. Burnout

Stage four is burnout itself, this is when symptoms become critical and it becomes increasingly difficult for employees to cope. At this point the stressors intensify to the point where it is not possible to continue as normal and at this point, intervention is key for employee wellness. It is important to remember every employee is an individual and each person has their own unique limits, where one might handle a certain amount of pressure, others may struggle. The warning signs of job burnout include; extreme behavioral changes, chronic illness, a complete lack of self-care, self-doubt, social isolation, developing a pessimistic outlook on work and home life, and the development of an escapist mentality.

  1. Habitual Burnout

The fifth and final stage of occupational burnout is habitual burnout. This is when the symptoms of burnout are so embedded in an employee’s life that they are likely to experience serious ongoing mental, physical, or emotional problems. Chronic mental fatigue, chronic physical fatigue, chronic sadness, and depression are all possible at this stage. Habitual burnout doesn’t go away on its own; rather, it will only get worse until it is addressed. It’s important to recognize the symptoms so that your employees can begin recovery as soon as possible. 

Possible occupational burnout causes

Job burnout can result from numerous factors. It is important to be aware of these factors so that you can recognize the signs of job burnout more easily and effectively:

Unclear job expectations 

If employees are uncertain about their degree of authority or what is expected of them in the workplace they may begin to lack confidence and feel uncomfortable at work.

Dysfunctional dynamics

Within your work environment there may be certain dynamics that contribute to work-related stress. This could involve bullying, micromanagement, or team members undermining one another.

Lack of control

When employees have little or no influence over decisions that affect their job — such as scheduling, workload, or task management — this can lead to job burnout. 

Lack of social support

If a team member feels isolated at their place of work and in their personal life, they might feel more stressed out and isolated. 

Extremes of activity

If a job is monotonous or chaotic, it requires constant energy to remain focused — this type of activity can lead to fatigue and job burnout.

Work-life imbalance

If work is taking up so much time and effort that your employees don’t have the energy to spend time with their family members and loved ones, this can have a negative impact on their mental health and they might burn out more quickly.

Work burnout symptoms, risks & consequences 

According to the World Health Organization, burnout has three elements: feelings of exhaustion, mental detachment from one’s job, and poorer performance at work. Every person experiences job burnout in a different way, but there are common warning signs that you can watch out for. Severe burnout syndrome symptoms should be addressed as soon as possible to maintain employee well-being.

Symptoms & signs of burnout at work

Signs of burnout in the workplace for employees include:

  • Becoming cynical or overly critical at work
  • Lacking enthusiasm and finding it hard to start the work day
  • Showing signs of irritation or impatience with other team members or clients
  • Low energy or an inability to be consistently productive
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Showing no signs of satisfaction from their achievements
  • Feeling disillusioned about their job
  • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to feel better or to feel nothing at all
  • Unhealthy sleeping habits, or feeling tired even when they have had enough sleep
  • Unhealthy work-life balance, or working excessively long hours 
  • Obvious lack of self-care
  • Physical health issues such as unexplained headaches, stomach problems, or other physical symptoms

Risks & consequences of being burned out at work

Burnout affects our health, leading to physical and mental health issues. Work-related ramifications include job dissatisfaction, poorer quality of work, professional mistakes, absenteeism, intention to give up a career, and abandonment. 

Ignored or unaddressed job burnout can have significant consequences for the individual employee, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Chronic stress
  • Insomnia or feeling constantly tired
  • Sadness, anger, or irritability
  • Alcohol or substance misuse
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Vulnerability to illnesses 

Key takeaways

The consequences of experiencing burnout at work can be extreme and affect not only the individual employee, but the whole organization. Employers must monitor where workplace stress might exist within their organization and understand that people react differently, even under similar circumstances. 

Learning to recognize the common symptoms of burnout across the five stages will allow for earlier intervention and prevention of burnout before it occurs. 


5 Benefits of a Pure Player Business

5 Benefits of a Pure Player business


Regina Thomas, Freelancer

A pure-play is a phrase used by investors to describe a publicly listed firm that concentrates its efforts and resources on a single line of activity. As such, the performance of its stock is strongly correlated with that of its industry or sector. A pure-play is a business that concentrates only on a single line of business. These are distinct from diversified businesses, which have a wide range of product lines and income streams. Pure plays have simple cash flows and revenues and often serve a specialized market. Pure plays often do badly in weak markets and carry a greater level of risk. The following are some of the primary advantages of a pure-play company.

1. Simple management procedure.

Due to the company’s narrow concentration on a single line of business, it is simpler to manage. A business process is a series of interconnected activities that culminate in delivering a service or product to a customer. Additionally, a business process has been described as a collection of actions and tasks that, when completed, achieve an organizational objective. The core business is comprised of operational processes. One advantage of simple business management is the ease at which you can develop business flows. And the rationale is straightforward: when properly designed, it is intuitive to understand and practical to produce and present to different levels of the company.

Not that the job is easy or trivial. On the contrary, developing an effective business process flow diagram that is helpful for understanding, mapping, and eventual process improvement requires considerable effort and skill.

2. Ease of analysis

Business analysis is a job that requires the application of ideas, expertise, and information to identify business requirements and solutions. Business solutions are intrinsically linked to business needs, such as user requirements, their characteristics, usefulness, resources, and so on. Many business methods emerge for each of these business issues. The majority of the successful individuals are business people. You can also learn to be an entrepreneur by researching how to start a business online on a variety of different platforms.

The process enables a better understanding of the organization’s capabilities and vision (purpose). It enables the organization to respond to what it wishes to accomplish and implement these actions through strategies and tactics.

3. You are in the business of providing value-added goods

For companies, the idea of added value is critical. Businesses that offer more value to their goods and services may charge their consumers more, which results in more income. This is because they offer more value to the same product than the other businesses.

When it’s tough to distinguish your solution from the competition’s, you often win by providing additional services, or Value-Added Benefits, to your customer. These are supplementary services that you offer and your main product or service at a fee to the customer.

4.Global expansion

Each market is unique. It may be due to variations in consumer preferences, local carriers, and payment or return policies that vary by nation. Consequently, many pure-play retailers choose to utilize a standardized set of fulfillment criteria, dubbed a ‘template,’ that they can ‘copy and paste’ from area to region. This enables them to grow more rapidly. However, the fulfillment logic must be customizable for each area. In this manner, you may benefit from economies of scale while still meeting regional requirements.

5. Distributional expansion

When you begin as a pure-play retailer, you usually operate from a single Distribution Center. However, as you expand, your fulfillment requirements increase. Certain shops will opt to extend their operations in the same area. However, if you have several distribution centers located across the country, you may keep your goods closer to your consumers.

Drop Ship Vendors are popular for two reasons. They enable you to increase your product offering as well as your fulfillment capability. Additionally, it enables you to test new items without paying for inventory upfront. It’s a win-win situation. However, while using DSVs, you must maintain a large amount of data in sync. This includes, but is not limited to, inventory data and order status. And the situation may get much more complex when it comes to refunds.

If you have the same stock in several locations, you’ll want to ship from the most advantageous location to optimize order routing and maximize profit on each order.

In the retail and e-commerce worlds, the term “pure-play” is becoming more popular. New ‘online-only businesses are eroding the market share of established brick-and-mortar shops and are often expanding at a tornado-like pace.

FINN Partners Expands Its Global Travel Practice with Acquisition of Luxury Travel PR Firms Hawkins International and Maverick Creative

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Global independent marketing and communications firm, FINN Partners, announced today that it has acquired Hawkins International PR, a 26-person bi-coastal, boutique luxury Travel and Hospitality PR agency with offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Jennifer Hawkins, Founder and CEO of Hawkins International PR, will join FINN as Managing Partner, Luxury Travel and become part of the agency’s Global Travel Practice leadership team. The Hawkins team will transition to the FINN brand name over time. As part of the deal, FINN also acquires Maverick Creative, Hawkins International’s 10-person affiliate agency specializing in creative communications for travel and lifestyle clients. Maverick will retain its current branding and operations will continue under Managing Director Catherine Colford, while expanding to the UK.

“Hawkins International works with many of the most celebrated hotel and resort brands in the industry. They have an excellent reputation and a keen grasp of what drives high-end demographics. Their expertise within the luxury travel sector will complement our experience with large travel brands and leading destinations around the word,” said Peter Finn, Founding Managing Partner and CEO, FINN Partners.

Hawkins specializes in serving premier multinational luxury brands in the worlds of travel, hospitality and wellness. The firm’s capabilities span the breadth of travel communications services, including consumer and trade media relations, media intelligence, trendspotting, content development and storytelling, brand partnerships, social media strategy and advertising, influencer marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, experiential and thought leadership.

Current Hawkins clients include: Montage International, Inspirato, Dorchester Collection, Seabourn Cruise Line, onefinestay, Gstaad Palace, Wilderness Safaris, Palmaïa – The House of AïA, Living Vehicle, The Dolder Grand, The Sono Collection, and Tradewind Aviation.

Current Maverick clients include: Rocco Forte Hotels, Arlo Hotels, The Point, The Shelbourne, RVshare, Asbury Ocean Club, the Nines, and Chebeague Island Inn, among others.

FINN’s acquisition of Hawkins International and Maverick Creative follows strategic moves by the agency to bolster its position as a leading global integrated travel powerhouse, including its recent purchase of Hawaii-based Anthology Marketing Group, which has a strong travel practice, and hiring of Luxury Travel Expert Steven DeLuca as Senior Partner. With the addition of Hawkins and Maverick, FINN’s fast-growing Global Travel practice will reach more than $20 million with more than 150 people serving clients across three continents. The move will also complement FINN’s extensive portfolio of large travel and hospitality clients, which includes, South Africa, Singapore, Turkish Airlines, Bahamas, Iceland, Intrepid Travel, Italy, Belize, Dubai and Panama.

“The global luxury travel market was worth an estimated $945 billion in 2019 (Source: Allied Market Research). This market segment is lucrative in normal times, but with the pandemic, pent up demand has caused many travelers to ladder up to more bespoke, premium experiences and indulgent getaways. Now is the perfect time for FINN to build out our footprint as the go-to global luxury travel communications agency for clients around the world,” said Debbie Flynn, Managing Partner and Global Travel Practice Leader.

Said Jennifer Hawkins, Managing Partner, Luxury Travel, “It’s energizing to play a key role in FINN’s momentum as a global travel communications leader. They are a dynamic, independent agency that inherently shares many of Hawkins International’s and Maverick’s core values and a philosophy rooted in collaboration, respect and making a true difference in the world. I’m excited about the synergies between our companies, and the ability to leverage the resources across our global network to better serve existing and new clients within the luxury sector.”

The Stevens Group made the introduction between FINN Partners and Hawkins International and helped facilitate the transaction. Hawkins was advised on the negotiations by their business advisor, Seth Rosenstein.

Interview Stress: 6 Steps To Minimize Your Anxiety

Identifying Stressed Workers


Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Interview stress is very normal and it can actually help you.  However, being over stressed will definitely cause you difficulties.  You want to be in control and manage your stress.  Here are some steps to get your anxiety in check:

  1.  Prepare for the interview.  Never underestimate this step.  Review your skills against the job skills required. Practice sharing examples of how you applied these skills and any positive results you’ve had. Review the company web site and any current news about the company or their products. Have questions prepared in advance about the company as well as the job.
  2. Prepare yourself. Make sure your get enough sleep the night before and, if possible, exercise some of your stress away. Avoid alcohol and caffeine and eat lightly before any interview.
  3. Interview. Have your friends do mock interviews with you. If you haven’t interviewed in a while, you want to become comfortable with the process.
  4. It’s only a job.  While you may need or want this job, remember, there will be others. Don’t add to your stress level by putting all your hopes/desires into one interview.
  5. Pay attention to yourself.  If you find yourself fidgeting, stretch your feet or change positions.  Rambling?  Go back to the main point and restress it, stop and ask if you can give the interviewer more information.
  6. Be positive, not negative.  If you feel you made a mistake, don’t focus on it. Everyone makes at least one mistake in an interview. Feel you won’t get the job? Then focus on completing the interview as a practice session. For every down side, there is an upside. Focusing on the upside will decrease your stress level.

Interview stress can help you focus. Keep your stress level to a minimum and you will ace the interview.

Will the Metaverse be Meta-Worse?

Will the Metaverse be Meta-Worse


Dr. David Hagenbuch, Ethicist and Professor of Marketing, Messiah University, Author of Honorable Influence, Founder of MindfulMarketing.org

A name change is seldom a small thing.  It’s especially significant when one of the world’s most valuable companies decides to rebrand.  Facebook’s move to “Meta” offers an important signal about the firm’s future focus, which promises to impact billions of people who regularly sign onto its social media platforms.  The idea of a ‘metaverse’ sounds exciting, but will it really be a better place?

The recent decision of the planet’s most widely used social media platform to rename itself Meta surprised many; yet, it’s a move we’ve witnessed before, one of the most notable happening in 2015 when Google grew into Alphabet.

Like Google, Facebook would never do something as rash as discard one of the world’s most valuable  brands.  Rather, the company recognized that by retaining the Facebook name for just the specific social media platform and renaming the umbrella corporation Meta, the company’s expansion would be much more free from perceptual constraints.

Moreover, Meta might stimulate a whole new world of virtual possibilities.  According to the New York Times, the move encapsulates CEO Mark Zuckerberg’ plan to “refocus his Silicon Valley company on what he sees as the next digital frontier, which is the unification of disparate digital worlds into something called the metaverse.”

Wasn’t ‘unifying disparate digital worlds’ what Facebook did when it allowed users to link the platform to their Instagram accounts?  In a manner of speaking it was, but the metaverse purports to be much, much more.

So, what exactly is the metaverse?

Despite its sudden popularity, the concept is not one that’s easy to define, mainly because “it doesn’t necessarily exist”; rather, it’s “a dream for the future.”  It’s also hard to get a handle on the metaverse because, like the Internet, it’s not a singular product that Facebook or any one company can build alone.

Crypto game developer Andrei Shulgach, who spends several hours each day in the meta-space doing research for metaverse-related projects, affirms the concept’s evolving and evasive meaning:

“For the past four years, the term metaverse has mainly been a buzzword without a defined meaning, and even now it is often used ambiguously. For instance, there’s a distinction between the gaming metaverse and the metaverse as a whole.”

To the end of reducing the ambiguity, here’s how some have described the metaverse:

If it’s challenging just to understand what the metaverse is, it’s even more difficult to estimate its moral impact.  As Facebook and a slew of other organizations aim to engage us in their own region of the new ream, it’s important to ask:

To what extent will the metaverse be a force for good?

For those who don’t now frequent the metaverse, cynicism may be the understandable reaction, especially when some of the companies spearheading the change regularly make headlines for moral lapses like profiting from divisive content, playing fast and loose with data privacy, and allowing people to pummel others’ self-concepts.

There are undoubtedly more, but here are four main moral concerns related to the metaverse:

1. Time sink:  Whether it’s watching hours of TikTok videos or compulsively checking one’s Facebook feed, social media has already become a time waster for many, so one can only imagine how an even more immersive virtual experience might consume each waking hour.

2. Distraction:  In keeping with the first point, virtual worlds and avatars might also draw people’s attention away from what’s happening in the physical world around them, including relationships with flesh-and-blood people and resources that should be spent on real physical needs like food, clothing, and housing.

3. Safety:  Internet safety is already a perennial concern, especially for children.  Will even more complex and blended interaction, e.g., augmented reality, present new ways for predators to deceive and disadvantage vulnerable populations?

4. Accessibility:  As technology serves increasingly important functions in many of our lives, it’s easy to forget that not everyone has the same access, which can be because of limitations that are financial (affording hardware and related services), physical (seeing or hearing), cognitive (distinguishing the virtual form the physical).

These and other moral issues may be further complicated by what Shulgach has observed: “many companies jumping into the space, trying to ride the wave and catch an audience when they really have no experience or know what it takes to launch a successful metaverse project.”

Yes, its cynical, but it’s also realistic to expect that at least some of these firms that are willing to overleverage their experience and expertise will also be inclined to undervalue ethical concerns.  We see some of that ambivalence now with the Internet–Why would the metaverse be any different?

However, that rhetorical question can also have a favorable frame:  Despite its flaws, the Internet has been a tremendously positive force for communication, work productivity, relationship-building, entertainment, and more–Why should the metaverse be any different?

As the metaverse continues to evolve, we’ll likely witness increasingly positive outcomes such as:

  • Organizations using the metaverse to train employees and serve customers, all while saving time and conserving other resources
  • Individuals finding even more interesting and engaging opportunities for information, education, and entertainment
  • People forming meaningful relationships with others who they otherwise would have never known.

Shulgach, who actively works within the game industry metaverse with others, has a vision for a metaverse that makes such a positive impact:

“The idea of connecting users through virtual worlds, and digital economies powered by crypto and NFTs with real-world effects, is crucial for what the metaverse will be defined as in the future. This is an incredible opportunity to re-define and innovate the way we interact with each other moving forward.”

Like many things in life, the metaverse is a kind of tool.  Whether a tool is something as simple as a hammer or as complex as a car, most can be used for either good or bad—the outcomes depend on the motivation of the user.

The metaverse is a collection of tools that together form a mechanism unlike any other.  It’s wishful thinking to believe that every user of the tool will actively consider its moral impact, but hopefully many will, if not most.  There’s no reason that metaverse marketing can’t be “Mindful Marketing.”

David HagenbuchAbout the Author: Dr. David Hagenbuch, Ethicist and Professor of Marketing, Messiah University, Author of Honorable Influence, Founder of MindfulMarketing.org 

eCommerce Aiding Women During the Pandemic (INFOGRAPHIC)

Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing

eBay always strives to support their creative and passionate community of sellers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.  In 2020, the pandemic brought with it multiple challenges that affected the society and economy, such as job loss, reduced income, and increased household and childcare responsibilities.  However, selling on eBay, whether to maintain a small business or earn extra income, helped women earn money, support their family, and work flexibly at home during these difficult times.  

Although people from all walks of life have been impacted by the pandemic, studies show that women suffered more negative impacts compared to men during the first few months of economic downturn.  This was due to the fact that several businesses that were affected the most had mainly female employees, such as in-store retail, hospitality, and non-emergency health care services.  Women also were the ones who took on more of a drastic increase in household and family burdens that came with remote-school, childcare disruptions, caring for sick family members, and other hardships.

eCommerce opportunities on eBay have helped women with various backgrounds deal with the economic and social challenges of the pandemic.  According to eBay’s  Empowering Women Through eCommerce Report, 69% of women have stated that the ability to sell on eBay was a benefit with 82% of women who began or increased their selling in the past year saying they did so because of a hardship like job loss, reduction in income, and loss of childcare among others.  Additional benefits that were important to women selling on the eBay marketplace include the flexibility of working from home as well as being their own boss.  eBay’s eCommerce report further shows that many of the women behind the numbers are located in towns and cities across the U.S.  

The ability of sellers using eCommerce to reach a more global audience beyond their local markets became significantly important during the pandemic when in-person retail and various kinds of face-to-face work became restricted.  In the first six months after the pandemic hit, the number of small businesses in the U.S. on eBay increased by 34% while sales by U.S.-based small businesses on eBay grew by 38%.  Furthermore, 97% of U.S. women-owned, eBay-enabled small businesses exported in 2019 and reached an average of 16 different countries which surpassed the reach of traditional export reach.  

The eBay marketplace has helped women across the U.S. facing economic and social challenges become more resilient and able to move forward, and continues to use technology to promote entrepreneurship nationally and globally. 

eBay Empowering Women Through eCommerce

Brian WallaceAbout the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

Ronn Torossian On Fundamentals of PR

With the rise of social media and the propensity of news to become viral, Public Relations is indispensable. PR not only transforms the way a business communicates, but also enables the business to start taking greater control of the direction it is heading in. There are some fundamentals to good PR practice that form the bedrock of PR effectiveness. Some of these fundamentals of PR are given below. 

1) Knowing the target audience – To keep PR efforts focused and appropriate, it is important to be clear about whom the PR activity needs to target. Professional organizations have industry data available for their PR members. A business often conducts research on the target audience at product-development stage. There may be several groups, each requiring a specific PR approach. Target audiences are important because they will connect with a business, care about what the business or brand is selling, and how the service it provides can impact customers’ lives. The target audience can be grouped on the basis of personal preferences or the demographics they share. For instance, the target audience for a fashion brand could be trend-conscious teenagers residing in an urban area. 

2) Establish goals – When trying to identify pr goals, it is important to start with the big picture and work down to the specifics. PR goals filter down from business goals. For instance, the goals of a business could be to retain existing customers, combat the threat of new competition, increase the customer base, and increase profits. The related PR goals would be to raise the profile of products on social media, give special offers to shoppers, and to devise creative campaigns for more visibility. 

3) Crisis management – Public Relations allows businesses to operate with minimal disruption by trying to manage any crisis that could arise. During a crisis that a business may face, it is the responsibility of PR to present accurate facts and data to the public in order to avoid and minimize negative publicity that could affect the reputation of a business. Communication systems are one of the most important parts of a company to protect during a crisis, since communicating is what a business must continue to do should there be a major problem. For instance, during a crisis like the pandemic, key external stakeholders need to be made aware of all a business is doing to rise to the challenge of the moment and set firm foundations for future success. 

4) Media relations – For PR to create buzz for  brands , they have to depend on media relations. Nowadays, PR agencies create buzz through viral marketing campaigns, blogs, and carefully curated posts to secure media placements. In spite of this, media relations is still a valuable strategy in the PR toolkit. Potential customers are easily influenced by journalists, bloggers and influencers. The concept of what is newsworthy is constantly evolving. A press release can be about new partnerships, rebranding, or even industry awards.

Is the NFL Ready for Kaepernick’s Return? - Ronn TorossianAbout the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR agency.

Analyzing The November 2 Election Results (At Least In My Opinion) In Less Than Five Minutes 

Arthur Solomon

I’m an unabashed political junkie. I have been as long as I can remember. And while I made my name in the PR business as a sports marketing publicity specialist, few people know that I have worked on many none sports programs including political campaigns, ranging from local, to statewide to presidential ones.

Thus, like all the political pundits who are expressing their opinions on television, I too have one on why the Democratic Party is still reeling from their November 2 shellacking. In my opinion, despite all the hours listening to the self-designated TV political experts giving various reasons for the election outcome, the causes can be summed up by the time you are finished reading this analysis (if you do). Then instead of listening to the all-the-same gibberish on the various political shows, you can do something much more beneficial. Unlike the know-it-alls on TV, I’ll let you decide what’s beneficial for you. That’s because I don’t encourage bloc voting or bloc thinking, like the various political special interest groups that make you feel like you’re living in the 17th century or that you think like a Neanderthal if you only agree with 90% of what they want. To paraphrase a well-known idiom: With special interests groups it’s “Their way or the highway.”

To summarize, there are six main reasons for the Democrats’ defeats that they must solve if they don’t want what happened on November 2, 2021 to be repeated on November 8, 2022.

  • Democratic voter turnout declines in mid-year elections.
  • They must broaden their appeal to non-college educated voters (which means recognizing that lenient policies toward many criminals, a major talking point of the far left elements of the Democratic Party, affects voting, as does their political correctness stance, calls for defunding the police and accusing everyone of being a racist if they voice an opposing opinion about policies affecting people of color.
  • Democratic candidates must also come to grips that for many voters “values” are more, or at least as important, as policies. This does not mean that Democrats have to abandon their liberal policies. It means that they should take into consideration the concerns of “value” voters that have abandoned the party. It means that the far left wing of the Democratic Party should be more open to compromise when initially drafting legislation and not insist in all or nothing policies.
  • They must rebuild their party structure and propose legislation that appeals to voters in rural areas and not depend only on suburban and urban voters. 
  • They should follow the GOP playbook and conduct their intraparty disputes in private, not on TV.
  • And most important: Most American voters don’t like zealots of the left or right. 

In the 2020 presidential election, voters defeated the zealot in chief, Donald Trump.

In the November 2 election most voters again voted against the zealots. But this time it was the demands of the Democratic progressive caucus that was the target.

Despite what GOP politicians and most of the cable political gang are saying the results of November 2 does not necessarily indicate a Republican wave that will drown the Democrats next year.  

Don’t take my word for it.  People my age remember when the Republican Party was doomed forever after LBJ crushed Barry Goldwater and again when Richard Nixon was forced to resign from his presidency. And remember how the same prognosticators who now are telling you to believe their expertise predicted a Hillary Clinton landslide in 2016?

What the recent election means to me is that the Democrats have to stop giving into every demand from their self-interest caucuses. 

They have a year to do so. And in politics, a year is like a century. During my political days, and even more recently, I witnessed many “sure winners” who were defeated. Some were projected to win until they didn’t.

In 1992, when he was advising Bill Clinton in his successful run for the White House, James Carville said, “It’s the economy, stupid.” To a major extent that’s still true today. Bread and butter politics are very important to individual voters and must always be a top line talking point for a candidate.

If I was advising Democratic candidates, I’d tell them to lessen their campaigning on issues backed by woke and other pressure groups and mainly stress four issues: The economy, health care, the dangers to our democracy, and the Covid-19 situation.  Those are issues that everyone can relate to, whether they are liberal or conservative or middle of the road voters.  Everything else should be considered “and in addition” issues during the election season. The zealots won’t like it, but they are not as important as independent voters in determining election outcomes, and their “must issues,” AOC and gang, should be treated as add-ons during political campaigning by national and statewide candidates, exceptions being during interviews, at the end of a speech, during discussions or at town hall meetings. 

The national and statewide candidates should campaign in broad strokes – like FDR did when pushing his New Deal programs and LBJ did when explaining what his Great Society agenda would accomplish. (Or like Donald Trump did when campaigning in a demagogic manner with his Make America Great Again motto.)The nitty- gritty of various legislative proposals should be left to the local candidates and the national candidate’s surrogates.

Finally, a strong personal belief:  Voters should not base their opinions on what they hear while watching the political shows on TV, or from reading columns like this.

The only way to get the complete story is by reading the hard news articles in major print publications. In my case, it’s the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. And remember, editorial writers and columnists are the equivalent of TV pundits, though more knowledgeable about the details of issues.

The Unspoken PR Tenet: Bad News Is Good News for Our Business By Arthur SolomonAbout the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller, and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He also traveled internationally as a media adviser to high-ranking government officials. He now is a frequent contributor to public relations publications, consults on public relations projects and is on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr (at) juno.com or artsolomon4pr@optimum.net.

The True Nature Of Magazines… A Mr. Magazine™ Musing

The True Nature of Magazines

Digital delivers content; magazines deliver experiences.

In a nutshell, that’s the premise of my blog today.

Magazines are more than content provider; they are experience makers.

No experience can be developed without repetition regardless of whether that repetition is weekly, monthly or even annually. Think of it as a weekday, a month, or a holiday.

Bookazines are not magazines yet they are invading the newsstands… they are paperbacks printed on better quality paper or as one publisher says, “they are the poor-man’s hardback books.”  Bookazines do not provide repetition, and without repetition there is no habit creation, and without habit creation there is no engaging experiences and without engaging experiences readers never turn into customers, and without customers there is no marketplace.

Magazines have in them a built in expected pleasant surprise that is based on continuity and change. Readers/customers are always looking for that surprise in the midst of the familiarity of the nature of the magazine… they know there will be a diet article or a cooking feature, but the surprise is in what is the diet this time or what is the meal plan in this issue?  An expected surprise

As you know, it’s my postulate, if it is not ink on paper; it is not a magazine. Magazines are in your face, no need to search for them or Google them.  You can see them at the newsstands or you can invite them to your home.  Like a trusted friend they will visit you issue in and issue out.  There are no interruption or pop-up notifications, guaranteed.

Even the original definition of the word magazine (from the Arabic or French word Maghzen) means a place where goods and supplies are stored:  a warehouse.  The store rarely changes its physical appearance but always changes the goods inside the store.  However, the goods are kept in areas where repeat customers can easily locate the goods they need.  The same is true with the magazine.  The readers can easily locate the regular departments, their favorite columnist, and always be surprised by the ever-changing yet constant themed content regardless of the subject matter.

In fact, some magazines are like an apartment building and others are like a mansion.  One can actually count the apartments in the building or the rooms in the mansion.  Everything is quantifiable.  The size, the width, the depth, all the dimensions are there.  You see the front door and you see the backdoor. You enter the first floor and you can move up to the top floor. It is one complete beautifully designed building or one gorgeous mansion.  You move from floor to floor or from room to room without ever leaving the building or the mansion. Everything in it is connected like a perfectly done jigsaw puzzle, some are 100 pieces and others are 1,000 pieces.  Digital is more like a maze.  You enter at your own risk and you hope to find the right exit without being caught in its web (pun intended).

The content and the ads reside in the same real estate without feeling out of place.  They complement each other to create one experience for the customer.  Unlike digital, the ads in a magazine relate to the topic and nature of the magazine.  Unlike digital, you will not find an ad about dog food in a food magazine or vice versa.  The majority of the ads in magazines are endemic to the content of the magazine, and unlike digital the ads are not foreign to the content matter that one is reading on the digital devices.  Ads in magazines are part of the experienceads in digital are an eyesore.  The ads on digital devices don’t add anything to the experience or to the content matter.  They are only after you and your data.

To put it bluntly, ads in magazines are like inviting friends and their friends to your house; ads in digital are like a thief invading your house when you least expect it.

And lest we forget, you can actually own the magazineshow the magazine, and display the magazine since it is a physical entity.  As for digital, even if you pay for it, you own nothing, and you can show nothing, all what you’ve paid for is in a virtual world.  The magazine is private and is yours.  You can hide it or display it, you can toss it or collect it, and you can share it or recycle it.  In short, it is yours and you can do whatever you want with it.

So, what are you still waiting for?  Head to a newsstand or bookstore, pick up a magazine or two, and come back home and lose yourself in an experience any other medium can provide.  Happy experience making

Until next time…

Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D.

President and CEO, Magazine Consulting & Research, Inc.

National Press Club Events

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NOTE: These events are free to NPC members and open to non-members who will be charged a donation fee of $15 that will go the NPC’s Employee Holiday Fund.  So please feel free to share these out with friends and colleagues who might find these topic of great use.

The Future of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

The Future of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


While there is a strong trend for diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, studies show that progress is slow, and many companies are struggling with these concepts.

According to the HR Research Institute’s report, The Future of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion released earlier this year, most organizations lack mature and effective diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs. 

Measuring DEI Initiatives

The report shows that only 30 percent of companies rate their DEI programs as highly effective.

“From a global perspective it is very challenging to measure DE&I,” says Gloria Puentes, DE&I practitioner for Sodexo, a large global company with offices in 67 countries and 400,000 employees. “Not everyone collects the same data, so it’s easiest by looking at regions. Companies need to look country to country, but with a global lens.”

For example, the UK, Brazil, and the US have similar challenges with regard to people of color.  In the UK companies are experiencing a pushback against the use of the acronym BAME – Black, Asian, and minority ethic – because it groups numerous ethnicities together, stripping them of their individual identities. In the US, the LatinX community has a range of ethnicities – some who identify as white, others as black. Many LatinX who are brown don’t identify as either black or white. 

“It is complex, but it is important and necessary that corporate America does a better job of making sure that their workforce is reflective of the people they serve,” says Puentes. “You can’t just rely on workforce demographics. It must go beyond recruitment. Look at retention numbers and how to provide people with a successful career.”

Puentes believes that the focus is too much on recruitment and not enough emphasis is placed on professional development and promotion. “After 20 years of diversity recruitment the needles have not moved much,” says Puentes. “And that impacts retention. If your DEI programs are cosmetic, you’re just decorating a house that needs foundational repair.”

DEI Recommendations

Address micro- aggressions.  

These are the daily verbal, behavioral or environmental slights, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes toward stigmatized or culturally marginalized groups. “Everyone has biases, but we can choose to be aware of our biases and not allow them to interfere with our decisions,” says Puentes. “That is often very hard for people as we tend to make decisions based on life experiences.”

Align DEI efforts and result to the company growth plan.

A report by McKinsey reinforces the link between diversity and company financial performance—and suggests how organizations can craft better inclusion strategies for a competitive edge. For too long it’s been seen as more of a good thing to do or a right thing to do, rather than as something that must be done for the success and benefit of the company. Once you gauge your DEI efforts against why and how it will benefit the company financially, things start to change.

“For example, calculate the cost of a job fair against how many interviews you got from that fair and how many qualified diverse hires it produced,” says Puentes. “If you continually fish in the same pond, you get the same kind of people applying for jobs.  You need to broaden your scope, so you can reach a more diverse group, who also have the skills you need.”

Training and development

Break the cycle of your diversity hires getting stuck in entry level positions. Look for people who show promise and have ambition.  Work with them. Offer development and coaching, so that they can move into management positions.

Place emphasis on equity

Without access to fair opportunity, no matter your ethnicity or social background, a diversity program can flounder. Examine your company culture and establish whether you do offer a level playing field for all employees. If not, then that’s the place to start. It is vital to make sure all employees have what is necessary and needed to be successful. 

“Sodexo recently added equity to the brand, and we feel it is making a real difference,” says Puentes. “We’re making sure that all employees have what is necessary and needed to be successful.”

Fulfilling the Promise of DEI


Delivering through Diversity



Can Your Agency Afford Inaction? – A Virtual Executive Roundtable

Free Virtual Event

A Communications Week Event

On-Demand Video


Can Your Agency Afford Inaction?


Revenue expansion, organic growth … We all say we achieve it to some level, but does your agency make it a priority? Have you ever calculated the Cost of Inaction and impact to your P&L?

CommPRO in partnership with Pemberton are bringing together agency leaders for a virtual discussion on the significance of organic growth and creating more personnel-assets than personnel-liabilities, significantly growing accounts, and your business.

Our special guest host is Bill Nielsen, Chairman of the Advisory Board at the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Relations, and a true “PR Master,” as well as J. Mark Riggs, CEO & Founder, Pemberton, who will facilitate a conversation about the extraordinary opportunities for the business of the agency and the philosophies that have generated millions of dollars for agencies, worldwide. It’s time for the agency industry to realize its true value, mitigate attrition and empower staff to generate revenue from existing clients.  You’ll hear from industry leaders at Golin, Finn Partners, IPG DXTRA, RacePoint Global, rbb, Peppercomm, Evins| PR+, Lambert & Co., PRecise Communications, Mission + Cause, and others….

Please join us for a rich discussion long overdue..

Our executive roundtable guests:

  • Christine Barney, APR, CEO & Managing Partner, rbb Communications
  • Steve Cody, Founder/CEO, Peppercomm
  • Fred Cook, Chairman Emeritus of Golin and Director of the Annenberg Center for Public Relations at University of Southern California
  • Alexis Davis Smith, President and CEO, PRecise Communications, Co-Founder, The Change Agencies
  • Matthew Evins, Chairman & Co-Founder, Evins | PR+
  • Peter Finn, Founding Partner, Finn Partners
  • Brad MacAfee, Founder & CEO, Mission + Cause
  • Michelle Olson, APR, Managing Partner, Lambert & Co.
  • Andy Polansky, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at IPG DXTRA
  • Larry Weber, Chairman & CEO, Racepoint Global



J. Mark Riggs, CEO & Founder, Pemberton which is a consultancy collaborating with professional services firms to expand revenue, lead account management maturation and develop change management strategies resulting in measurable Sustained, Strategic Growth.




Special Guest

Bill Nielsen, a public relations and corporate communications authority, is currently a consultant to management of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.

He retired as corporate vice president of Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in December 2004, after serving l7 years with the company, where he was the chief public relations and corporate communications officer. He joined J&J in 1988, following l8 years as a public relations agency consultant with Carl Byoir & Associates and Hill and Knowlton. In addition to executive roles in agency management, he specialized in corporate communications and crisis management in such industries as consumer finance, insurance, defense, biotech, and airlines.

Nielsen was elected to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Board of Trustees in January 2011. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Advisors to the Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communications at Penn State University.

Nielsen served two terms as president of the Arthur W. Page Society and was inducted into that organization’s Hall of Fame in September 2003. He served on its board of trustees for 17 years and continues as chair of the Society’s Honors Committee. He also chaired the boards of The Seminar and the Institute for Public Relations and continues as an emeritus director. He is a member of The Wisemen and the Public Relations Society of America.

In addition to his consulting work, Nielsen is a frequent guest lecturer at public relations and corporate communications graduate programs at universities across the country. He was inducted into the PRWeek Hall of Fame in December 2014, and was honored by The Plank Center with its Milestones in Mentoring Legacy award in 2017.

Following graduation from Oregon State University, Nielsen served in the U.S. Air Force as a public information officer in Washington, D.C., and Japan. He and his wife, Doris, reside in Maryland, where they are both active in community affairs.


Christine Barney, APR, CEO & Managing Partner, rbb Communications

Christine M. Barney is CEO and managing partner of rbb Communications. rbb is a triple threat repeatedly recognized as champions in the field of PR, Digital/Marketing and Creative Services.  In 2020 alone, rbb was among Top Five Global Creative Agencies of the Year, the PRovoke US Small Agency of the Year, named to the Forbes Top PR Firms and took home campaign honors in every competition entered.  rbb is a certified women-owned business with a diverse team across a broad spectrum of crafts including healthcare, consumer services/products, luxury lifestyle, B2B/professional services, real estate and travel.

Barney is the author of “The Breakout Brand ™ Strategy: An Evolutionary Approach to Creating Customer Passion” and her firm, headquartered in Miami, with a presence in Los Angeles and New York is known as the Champion of Breakout Brands ™.

Barney’s innovative management style and “employee-driven workplace” philosophy makes the firm a repeated winner in “best place to work” rankings.  She is active in her home state having served as founding chair of the South Florida Business Council, past chair of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, a board member of the Orange Bowl Committee, board member of the Beacon Council, member of the International Women’s Forum, Leadership Florida, 2020 Florida Influencers Series and the Florida 500.

She is a member of The Page Society and is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) where she received the 2016 Bill Adams PRSA Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a married mother of three and new grandmother.


Steve CodySteve Cody, Founder/CEO, Peppercomm

I’m a comedian, climber and dog lover, but not necessarily in that order.

I am also the founder and CEO of Peppercomm, a fully-integrated strategic communications firm headquartered in NYC, with offices located in San Francisco and London. In that role I’m responsible for everything from implementing strategy and counseling clients to leading business development and bringing new products and services to market. In short, I do everything but clean windows.

My biggest passion is helping others. I derive immense satisfaction from mentoring students, guest lecturing at the universities who are brave enough to invite me to speak, and helping fellow mid-life marketing communications professionals who have lost their way in life. There may be hope for us yet.

I am the current chairman of the Institute for Public Relations, a longtime member of the Arthur W. Page Society, a member of the advisory councils of the College of Charleston and the University of Florida, and was named one of Northeastern University’s 100 most successful alumni. I have also co-authored “What’s keeping your customers up at night? which was published by McGraw-Hill in 2003 and has put thousands of readers to sleep over the years.

I’m proud to say that I’ve used my love of stand-up comedy to raise more than $100,000 for countless charities. I’m just as proud to see Chris and Catharine, my two children, grow up to become successful professionals. I’m confident the family tradition will continue with my grandson, Adrian Joseph “A.J.” Cody. May he outperform us all.

A sense of humor means:

A person has the resiliency to deal with the realities of the modern world while maintaining his energy, drive, enthusiasm and smile. Life’s far too short. Loosen up.


Fred Cook, Chairman Emeritus of Golin and Director of the Annenberg Center for Public Relations at University of Southern California

Fred Cook has worked at Golin for over 30 years. He started as an account supervisor in the Los Angeles office and moved to Chicago 15 years ago to become Golin’s third CEO. Fred credits the company culture for his long tenure with the firm.

During his time with Golin, Cook has had the privilege to work with a variety of high-profile CEOs, including Herb Kelleher, Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs. He has also managed a wide scope of crises for his clients, including airline crashes, product recalls, and sexual harassment.

Fred is proud of the firm’s accomplishments, but he is even more excited about the future. The world is experiencing profound changes in demographics, globalization, multiculturalism and technology which are impacting the way people communicate with each other. To stay ahead of their changes, five years ago, Golin completely redesigned the agency by adopting a proprietary business model called g4, to deliver deeper insights, bigger ideas and broader engagement to their clients. Since that time, Golin has been named ‘Agency of the Year’ more than a dozen times.

In 2014, Cook published “Improvise – Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO,” which shares the wisdom he gained as a cabin boy on a Norwegian tanker, doorman at a 5-star hotel and chauffeur for drunks. In 2015, after speaking on college campuses around the world, Fred accepted an additional position with the University of Southern California as the Director of the USC Center for Public Relations at the Annenberg School whose mission is to shape the future of public relations and those who will lead it – through research, education and thought leadership.


Alexis Davis Smith, President and CEO, PRecise Communications, Co-Founder, The Change Agencies

Building on nearly 30 years of experience and reputation as a trusted communications strategist, Alexis Davis Smith is a leader in Atlanta’s public relations industry and a national voice for multicultural marketing. She is responsible for creating breakthrough and strategic communications programs for major consumer brands.

Alexis has provided public relations counsel for leading global companies such as Coca-Cola, Toyota and Pfizer. For Coca-Cola, she has directed nearly 100 PR programs including the launch of the innovative Coca-Cola Fridge Pack and the award-winning Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program. Her work with the world’s No. 1 automaker, Toyota, has enhanced its brand reputation among multicultural audiences via media relations, experiential marketing, community and philanthropic activities and strategic partnerships.

Alexis maximizes her influence and position to help make a difference in the community. As a result of her recommendations, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store established a scholarship for history students at Spelman College, which continues to assist deserving young people today. In addition, Toyota has donated $20,000 the National Trust for Historic Preservation to help save endangered sites representing important moments and icons in Black history.

Prior to establishing PRecise Communications in 2000, Alexis was an account supervisor at Ketchum, a top 10 global public relations firm, where she traveled the world supporting several key consumer accounts. In 1998, she co-founded the agency’s African American Markets Group, the first-ever in-house ethnic marketing team created by an international PR agency. Her work since that time has established her as a nationally recognized multicultural communications expert.

That expertise earned her the position of one of the six co-founders of The Change Agencies (TCA). TCA is the PR industry’s first national collective of firms to offer inclusive communications services to represent, engage and connect with African American, Asian American, Latinx and LGBTQ communities. The group was launched in the summer of 2019 with the objective of changing how marketing communications professionals reach diverse audiences.

Alexis has received a number of industry awards including a Silver Anvil, “the Oscar of PR” from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and seven Phoenix Awards from PRSA of Georgia. She is immediate past president of the Black Public Relations Society of Atlanta and a board of director for HOPE Atlanta. The Atlanta Business League has recognized Alexis as one of Atlanta’s leading female entrepreneurs and a top 100 black women of influence. She served on its board for two terms. She is also on the executive committee for PRSA’s Counselors Academy section.

Alexis considers herself an advocate for multicultural consumers, helping companies recognize and tap into the viability and business opportunities ethnic groups offer. Her opinion has been featured in the popular industry trades, PR Week and O’Dwyers as well as Vanity Fair. She has also appeared on a number of PR and entrepreneurship-focused podcasts. Black Enterprise profiled her professional journey in a 2017 online article. In addition, she has served as a speaker at various local and industry events including the 2015 Insurers Public Relations Council Fall Meeting, 2015 Public Relations Society of America International Conference, 2013 Black Public Relations Society National Conference and 2018 PRSA Counselors Academy Spring Conference.

A Philadelphia, Penn. native and proud graduate of Florida A&M University, Alexis has a passion for women and giving back to the next generation of public relations professionals and entrepreneurs.


Matthew Evins, Chairman & Co-Founder, Evins | PR+

Mathew Evins is the Chairman and Founder of Evins Communications, which has received consistent acclaim for its integrated branding, marketing, and communications programs for legacy, luxury and prestige brands. In addition to the firm’s specialist expertise in travel and hospitality, Evins Communications encompasses four group practices: Digital Content & Integration; Food, Spirits & Wine; Lifestyle and Travel & Hospitality.

Since its inception in 1987, Evins Communications has been consistently recognized for its brand strategies, business insights and creative programming, having made a consequential contribution to the development and growth of numerous icon and innovator brands and businesses, including American Express Centurion and Platinum, Bergdorf Goodman, Cakebread Cellars, Colgin Cellars, Departures Magazine, Exclusive Resorts, Hotels & Resorts of Halekulani, Inspirato, Jet Linx Aviation, Leica Camera, LVMH Watch & Jewelry, Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Marquis Jet, Neiman Marcus, Park Hyatt, Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Rosewood Hotel & Resorts, The Knickerbocker Hotel, The Lanesborough, Uniworld River Cruises, Valentino, Vera Wang, Vitamin Water and Wheels Up, amongst many others.

Prior to founding Evins Communications, Mr. Evins previously served as CEO of Pain Therapeutics Corporation, as CEO of Cardiff Consultants, a business and financial strategic consultancy and as a Vice President of Vector Petroleum Corporation. While an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, from which he received a B.A. degree, Mr. Evins created and co-published “The Talisman Report,” which became the world’s leading investment advisory newsletter for the three years of its publication. While attending the University of Pennsylvania, and for more than six years beforehand, Mr. Evins served on the staff of Cornell Medical Center, initially as a Surgical Research Associate in the Cardiovascular Research Laboratory and, subsequently, as Associate Director of the Rogosin Organ Retrieval & Preservation Laboratory.

Mr. Evins is one of the most respected authorities and thought leaders in luxury and luxury hospitality, has lectured at the Cornell Hotel School and NYU’s Graduate School of Business, and has authored numerous articles on luxury and luxury hospitality for such publications as Elite Traveler and HOTELS Magazine. Mr. Evins currently serves on the boards of The International Luxury Hotel Association, Luxury Travel Exchange International, ULTRA Luxury Exchange and the International Hotel Investment Forum. He is also a cofounding board member, Secretary, Treasurer and a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Global Virus Network, a non-profit 501(c)(3) coalition comprised of 57 Centers of Excellence in 33 countries worldwide, working collaboratively to prepare for, defend against and provide an integrated first research response to, existing, emerging and unidentified viruses that pose a clear and present threat to public health, such as COVID-19.



Brad MacAfee, Founder & CEO, Mission + Cause

Brad is the strategist and pioneer of people-first transformation. He builds profitable, socially-responsible brands to maximize positive impact on the world. At MAC Talent, he is committed to immersing himself in the client perspective for each search.

As the former CEO of Porter Novelli, Brad has a long history of hiring and retaining the best people in the industry. His passion is attracting, growing and retaining talent, and has been involved in the hiring of hundreds of executives in both agency and corporate environments.Brad has received a long list of awards for which he credits the talented practitioners who always seem to surround him. From PR Week Best Purpose Agency to PR News Best CSR Agency, from PR Week Best Place to Work to CR Magazine CEO of the Year, Brad is no stranger to accolades and recognition for his bold and transparent approach.

Driving purpose and growth, Brad looks for talent that delivers greatness through empathy, imagination and engagement. They are the qualities that drive him personally and make him a trustworthy partner. 

An early champion of diversity and inclusion, Brad embeds diversity principles and practices into all leadership, talent, business and philanthropic initiatives to foster creativity and inclusivity. It’s a founding tenet of Mission + Cause, and one that he credits with broadening his worldview and critical thought foundation.

Brad holds numerous board roles, including Board President of the Global Impact Relations Network, Executive Committee Member & Former President of the Board of Trustees of the University of Georgia Grady College, Board of Trust Member of the LAGRANT Foundation and additional roles with Junior Achievement of Georgia, PR Council, Center for the Visually Impaired, and Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation.

Brad grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and relocated to Atlanta after graduating from Indiana University. He and his wife, Nicole, and their two daughters share their time between Atlanta and New York City. 


Michelle Olson, APRMichelle Olson, APR, Managing Partner, Lambert & Co.

MichelleOlson, APR,is the managing director and head of the Phoenix office for Lambert, a Michigan-based public relations firm with offices in three states. The nationally-recognized firm works with clients ranging from global brands to emerging leaders in a variety of industries including automotive and mobility, consumer, education, financial and business, food and beverage and healthcare and biotech. With more than 30 years in public relations and integrated marketing, Michelle has served clients across the U.S. and internationally, and has significant experience in corporate communications and issues management across industries. She is a notable business leader and entrepreneur, having founded and led her own company prior to its acquisition in 2014.

Michelle’s work for clients involved in the U.S. opioid crisis has drawn attention from top tier media across the country and has received recognition from industry trade associations. She routinely integrates content marketing, social media, brand journalism and other online initiatives into public relations strategies, reaching audiences efficiently and quickly to impact change. She currently leads non-traditional communications strategy for two distinct projects for Bell – its bid to win a Future Vertical Lift contract from the U.S. Army and its entry into the future of mobility through a VTOL air taxi and an Autonomous Pod Transport (APT).

In 2018 Michelle was named one of Arizona’s Most Influential Women in Business by BizAZ Magazine and her firm ranked #3 largest PR firm in Arizona by the Phoenix Business Journal. She is a past chair of Arizona Forward, a 50-year old statewide advocacy organization convening dialogue on sustainability and quality of life issues. Michelle is a member of the Urban Land Institute (and a founding board member of its Women in Leadership subset), Experience Scottsdale, the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce and Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. She has served as a judge for the prestigious Environmental Excellence Awards, the ATHENA Awards (recognizing outstanding women leaders) and the IMPACT Awards (recognizing Arizona’s most impactful companies).

Nationally, Michelle was recently elected to be chair-elect of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), a 21,000-member trade organization for which she has served as a leader at the chapter and regional levels as well. She was honored with the PERCY Award for her career achievements in Arizona in 2003 and previously chaired Counselors Academy, PRSA’s national section for agency owners and leaders. She currently serves as an advisor to the organization’s 10,000-member student body, PRSSA, mentoring its national committee and assisting at its governing assembly and leadership rally.

Michelle launched her career in Minneapolis but has made her mark in Arizona for 27 years, building relationships with business leaders, government staff and officials, influencers and media throughout the state. She is an avid mentor to students and young people interested in public relations as a career choice and a frequent guest lecturer at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.


Andy Polansky, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at IPG DXTRA

Andy Polansky is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IPG DXTRA, a collective of 27 of Interpublic Group’s (IPG) specialty marketing firms across a variety of areas, including public
relations, sports and entertainment marketing, experiential, brand consulting, digital marketing and healthcare communications. Global brands within the group include Weber Shandwick,
Golin, Octagon, Jack Morton, Current Global, DeVries Global, Rogers & Cowan PMK, and FutureBrand.

Andy also serves as Executive Chairman of Weber Shandwick, after serving as its CEO from 2012-2019. A leader in the public relations and marketing services industries, Andy has delivered
outstanding results for hundreds of companies around the globe. Under his direction as Weber Shandwick CEO, the agency was named to the prestigious Ad Age Agency A-List several times
and was named to Ad Age’s Best Places to Work list in 2019. Weber Shandwick was also PR Week’s Global Agency of the Year four years in a row (2015-2018) and PRovoke Media’s
(formerly the Holmes Report) Global Agency of the Year in 2014, 2015 and 2017. In addition, PRovoke Media recognized Weber Shandwick as its Agency of the Decade.

Andy sits on the Board of Directors for The Ad Council, which uses the power of communications to tackle the most pressing issues facing the country. He has served on a number of other Boards as well, including for the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) Health Group, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit independent provider of home health, hospice, and community-based care.

Andy has a passion for engaging with students and young professionals as they plan their careers. He has lectured at colleges and universities across the country and currently serves on the University of Florida Public Relations Department Advisory Council and as an adviser to Syracuse University’s Newhouse PR Practitioners Group.

In December 2019, Andy was inducted into the PR Week Hall of Fame. He also was honored with the John W. Hill Award, which recognizes professional achievement in public relations, from the New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. In addition, he received the Alexander Hamilton Award from the Institute for Public Relations (IPR), the organization’s highest award for lifetime achievement.

Andy received The Holmes Report’s Individual Achievement Award in 2016 and has been a fixture on PR Week’s Power List for many years. He also has been named PR Week’s Global Professional of the Year (Agency) and has received the prestigious Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations’ Milestones in Mentoring Award in recognition of his people-centric

Andy started his career as a journalist, working as a municipal reporter for the Bucks County Courier Times in Levittown, PA, a business and feature writer for the Princeton Packet in
Princeton, NJ, and a sportswriter at The Trentonian in Trenton, NJ. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and sits on the TCNJ Foundation Board of Directors.


Larry Weber, Chairman & CEO, Racepoint Global

Larry is a globally known expert on public relations and marketing services, founder of several successful public relations and interactive marketing agencies and author of six forward-thinking marketing books. Recognized as a thought leader on the convergence of technology, the Web, and communications, Larry has helped both enterprise and emerging companies become powerhouse brands; his client experience includes ARM, AT&T, Boston Scientific, Coca-Cola, General Electric, General Motors, IBM, John Deere, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, PTC, Panasonic, the Pittsburgh Steelers, SAP, and Verizon Wireless.

Larry has nearly 40 years of experience as CEO of both mid- and large-scale companies. He is co-founder and chairman of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX), the largest interactive advocacy organization in the world. Additionally, he sits on the Board of Directors for Pegasystems, Inc. (PEGA) in Cambridge, Mass. and Macromill Group (TYO:3730) in Japan. In January 2019, Larry released his latest book, Authentic Marketing: How to Capture Hearts and Minds Through the Power of Purpose, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Authentic Marketing discusses the need for all companies to have a corporate purpose in order to capture the hearts and minds of today’s audiences.