Depp Testifies About Abusive Relationship

Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR 

When the original story broke, fans of superstar actor Johnny Depp were appalled. According to his then-wife, Amber Heard, Depp was an abusive husband. After being married only 15 months, Heard filed for divorce and sought a temporary restraining order. Celebrity gossip sites and tabloids jumped on the story first, and it was soon national news. The Sun published a headline describing Depp as a “wife-beater.” 

In response to that story, Depp filed a lawsuit, denying he ever abused Heard and coming after News Group Newspapers, which publishes The Sun, demanding they make it right. Many other media sources explored this new wrinkle to the story, and something unexpected happened. As more facts came out, it appeared that there were two, definitely different versions of this story. Heard accused Depp of all manner of physical abuse, including punching, kicking, slapping, headbutting, and hitting her. Depp strongly denies all of these allegations. Not only that, though, but Depp and some close to him are also saying it was actually Heard who the abuser was. Depp alleges that, during an argument after her birthday party, Heard “threw a haymaker” at him. Some in the media have described their marriage as “tumultuous,” while Depp himself called it a “crime scene waiting to happen.” 

He also said it was a difficult time for him, as he was working to “kick drugs and alcohol” and not always being consistent in that effort. On the witness stand in the trial, Depp said Heard was making up the abuse claims against him, filing them away so she could use them against him later. Called to testify, Depp’s former personal assistant, Stephen Deuters, who was familiar with the couple’s difficult relationship, did not have complimentary things to say about Heard. Reuters called her a “sociopathic Machiavellian overlord,” and he indicated that Heard was, in fact, the abuser in the marriage. 

The testimony of Tara Roberts, who manages Depp’s private Bahamian island, seemed to support this version of events. She claimed that Heard “ferociously” berated the actor, lunged at him and yanked his hair. Roberts said Heard continued to attack Depp verbally and physically. She added that she had never seen Depp act aggressive or violent. At the time of the incidents Roberts described, Heard had accused Depp of injuring her. Other witnesses also contradicted Heard’s version of events over the past few years. As of this writing, Heard has not yet testified in the current case, though she is scheduled to offer her version of the relationship. 

Public opinion on the case has been all over the map. When Heard’s initial allegations surfaced, fans expressed shock and anger at Depp. Then, when he started disputing Heard’s claims, and others seemed to back his version of events, public opinion substantively shifted. The testimony, in this case, may go a long way toward establishing what the public at large believes about this Hollywood he-said/she-said abuse case.


RONN TOROSSIAN - HOW MANY FOLLOWERS DO YOU NEED ON INSTAGRAM TO GET PAID?About the Author: 5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian is a crisis PR expert.




Rochester Institute of Technology First University to Invest in Tokenized Venture Capital

CommPRO Editorial Staff

COSIMO Ventures, an investment firm with offices in Boston and Dublin focused on transforming promising deep technology companies into global industry leaders, has announced a seven-figure investment from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) (www.rit.edu) into its new, blockchain-focused tokenized fund, COSIMO X.

According to Robert Frasca, Managing Partner, COSIMO Ventures, this is the first time that any university in the United States has directly invested in a tokenized venture fund. Although many similar institutions, including Harvard, Yale, and MIT, have made indirect investments into digital assets and blockchain technology through traditional venture funds such as Andreesen Horowitz and Paradigm, RIT is the first to directly hold a tokenized economic interest in digital security form.

“As industry leaders, not only is it important for us to invest in businesses advancing cutting-edge technologies, but it is essential to adopt such technologies as a means by which we invest. We are impressed by the entrepreneurial experience and forward-thinking mindset of the COSIMO team and their innovative approach to venture investing. The team’s deal flow has sourced unparalleled investment opportunities and the fund has one of the most appealing economic structures in the market today.” said James Watters, RIT’s senior vice president for finance and administration.

COSIMO X Tokens, which represent economic interest in the evergreen fund, are currently available via the Securitize powered COSIMO X website (www.cosimox.com) and can be purchased by institutions, international investors, and US accredited investors here.

“We are incredibly excited to have been selected as the issuance technology for the COSIMO X tokens,” said Carlos Domingo co-founder and CEO of Securitize. “The COSIMO team has completely redesigned the way venture capital investing works by heightening valuation transparency, enhancing liquidity, and generating economic incentives for long-term holders. By deploying our Securitize ID and Instant Access products in tandem with the token, Cosimo investors have access to groundbreaking tech that enables instant trading of securities in a compliant way that leverages the broadest set of wallets such as Coinbase Wallet.”

Source: Blockchain Wire




Brave New Coin Signs Multi-Year Deal to Power Cryptocurrency Options Trading on Toronto Futures Options Swaps Exchange (tFOSE)

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Digital asset trading, research and data company Brave New Coin (https://bravenewcoin.com/) has announced a multi-year partnership with Toronto Futures Options Swaps Exchange or tFOSE, a new Canadian-based derivatives exchange and clearinghouse currently seeking regulatory approval in Canada. Through this partnership, Brave New Coin will design, calculate and administer a suite of cryptocurrency indices to power cash-settled options trading on tFOSE.

Canada has not yet made significant progress in bringing institutional-grade cryptocurrency products to the market. Brave New Coin’s indices will enable tFOSE’s clients both in Canada and globally to trade crypto derivatives on a fully-regulated Canadian exchange. This allows traders to diversify their portfolios and exposure, hedge risk, and access an emerging asset class without having to directly hold the underlying cryptocurrency as they are cash-settled products.

“After extensive research and due diligence, tFOSE selected Brave New Coin for its deep expertise in generating insightful crypto market data and indices,” said James Beattie, President and CEO at tFOSE. “Brave New Coin meets all of our needs, taking a unique approach to index design, methodology, and governance that will help tFOSe meet the specific, exacting needs of both our retail and institutional investors.”

“The crypto ecosystem is maturing and demand for regulated investment products from institutional markets is growing,” said Fran Strajnar, CEO and Founder of Brave New Coin. “Our partnership with tFOSE furthers our role as a leader in market data, indices, and benchmarking for crypto assets. We’ve dedicated our company to building products that bring institutional-grade services to this emerging asset class.”

Brave New Coin provides data and index solutions for several partners including NASDAQ, Amazon Alexa, BTSE.com, TPICAP and Dow Jones Factiva. When you ask Amazon’s Alexa for the price of any cryptocurrency, her answer comes from Brave New Coin’s data engine. Its partnership with tFOSE will see BNC providing unique, specialized indices to tFOSE.

Source: Blockchain Wire




Strategies for Enhancing Board Diversity

Reigniting a Dormant Success Practice

James O. Rodgers, Ph.D., FIMC

The Chairman of Deloitte summarized their 2017 Board survey by saying, “while executives believe in the benefits of diversity among board members, many have a difficult time defining it and developing practices for promoting it.” This represents the dilemma of advocating for board diversity. Most people believe that a more diverse board is a good thing. Few, if any, of them can prove that it matters at all. Accordingly, it is hard to argue with those who hold to old criteria for board membership and who declare support but never do anything to produce more diversity on boards.

Like any discussion about diversity in the workplace, we need to first ask, “what problem are we trying to solve?” In other words, why does it matter that boards become more diverse? Until we definitively answer that question, we can expect continued lip service to the issue of board diversity. After all, we humans only change when we have strong incentive to do so. Why should board chairs and CEOs disturb the comfortable composition of their boards, especially if those boards are performing as well as expected. For anything substantial to change with board composition, we need to confirm that more diversity produces better board performance. That means evidence of causality, not just correlation. There have been a number of studies that show that higher performing boards tend to have more diverse membership. That is correlation. We need to do the work to demonstrate that boards perform better because of greater diversity.

Here are a few thoughts on how to improve our efforts to increase diversity on boards.

  1. Back to basics. Remember the purpose of the enterprise. Hint: it is not to make a profit. It is to fulfill an existing marketplace demand. Profit is your reward for meeting that demand in a way that satisfies customers.
  2. Why have a board. Remember that a board of directors is not designed to be one level up from company management. It is instead one level down from the key stakeholders (customers, shareholders, employees, community). The board, on behalf of stakeholders, serves to make sure management stays focused on its mission.
  3. The current system. As long as CEOs serve as Chairmen, they have outsized influence on who joins a board. They are likely to perpetuate kind (select from the usual suspects). Diversity efforts may, in fact, dilute a CEO’s power. As one CEO put it, “we have a system that is not producing a good outcome. We can and we must change it.”
  4. Get what you need. Rather than focus on race or gender as the criterion for membership, think about which perspectives are needed to enhance decision making. That approach will necessarily take you beyond the usual suspects (recycled board candidates).
  5. Avoid government mandates. Mandates, like Germany’s requirement for female board members, or Goldman-Sachs requirement of minority participation are not useful. Diversity for diversity sake is not a constructive plan.

Of course, every business enterprise should include a statement in support of diversity in their governance guidelines. The key is not what they believe; it is what they can execute. I say, “don’t declare it, just do it!”


About the Author: James O. Rodgers, Ph.D., FIMC is an engineer, business strategist, and scholar who is considered the #1 thought leader for diversity management as a business strategy and competency. He is known as The Diversity Coach and has advised senior leaders in over 300 companies. He is also a spiritual teacher and non-profit leader.

 




Are You Prepared to Talk About Your PPP Loan?

Lauren Parker, President + CEO, FrazierHeiby

Shake Shack. Potbelly. Kanye’s Yeezy brand. These are just some of the large corporations that faced criticism after receiving government funds from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The program was part of the federal CARES Act, which set out to help small businesses maintain payroll and other expenses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the program did offer relief to small businesses across the country, including my own, it’s been widely criticized for lack of oversight and accountability in doling out cash to large, publicly traded corporations. (Shake Shack and Potbelly have returned the money.) 

Following demands for increased transparency, the U.S. Treasury Department has published a complete list of businesses that received loans of $150,000 or more. This has opened the door for media, customers, partners and other stakeholders to ask questions about how that money was spent. 

If you lead communications for a large company that took advantage of the program, you can stop reading this article and pivot to others on crisis communications. If you’re a leader with a small business of integrity that received a PPP loan, now is the time to prepare for questions internal or external audiences may ask. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Remember honesty is the best policy. If your business did receive PPP money, don’t try to hide the fact. With the information now publicly available, you’re only creating a challenge for yourself if you try to dodge questions or act aloof. 

Be human. These are scary times, especially for small business owners who feel the pressure to not only provide for themselves and their families, but the hard working people they employ. Demonstrate vulnerability and care for your employees by speaking about how the funds were allocated (payroll, healthcare, rent, etc.) — all in an effort to keep people on the job. 

Don’t speculate about the future. While the hope is that this small business benefit allowed many to stay afloat, there’s no way to know what’s ahead. If you receive specific questions about whether or not there will be layoffs in the future, don’t speculate. Rather, let your key audiences know that you’re committed to doing the right thing for your employees and the business, and that you’ll keep the lines of communication open. 

With 4.9 million forgivable loans worth a combined $521 billion across 5,500 lenders, the PPP data offers much for inquiring minds to examine. With the economy top of mind for everyone, avoid being caught off guard by unexpected questions and think through your messaging today. 


About the Author: Lauren Parker is president + CEO of FrazierHeiby, a marketing and communications firm based in Columbus, Ohio. Lauren has more than a decade of experience counseling clients through crisis and reputation management, brand positioning, social media engagement, employee relations and digital communications strategy. You can find her on Twitter at @ImLaurenParker or connect by email at lauren@FHcommunicate.com.




Examining the Human Cost

 

Ian Lipner, Senior Vice President, LEVICK

Since the murder of George Floyd, we have been writing about what companies can do to embrace #BlackLivesMatter and the new Civil Rights movement. We have hosted podcasts and webcasts, such as the one below with bestselling author Martin Lindstrom. Today, we take on the agony of being trapped in a prison reentry and probation system that clearly doesn’t work well.

It’s tragically clear that Rayshard Brooks shouldn’t have died in the parking lot of a Wendy’s in Atlanta. But what’s not being discussed enough is that his encounter with police that night in June should never have occurred at all.

Mr. Brooks had been incarcerated and was on probation. And he took his freedom seriously. He had a family, a job and was committed to doing better – not just for those in his own life, but for others trying to return to life after incarceration. In a brief Instagram video filmed four months before his untimely death that is both hopeful and ultimately heartbreaking to watch, he spoke out on the need for more guidance, more mentorship. It makes it that much more painful that he himself fell through the cracks.

Mr. Brooks was part of America’s tremendously overburdened system for community supervision. According to Pew, in 2016, one in 55 American adults was on probation or parole. Sadly, the United States represents less than 5% of the world’s population, yet has almost 25% of the world’s incarcerated population. Our overcrowded jails are a big problem, but the paltry resources we dedicate for offenders’ reentry into our communities may be an even bigger issue.

It’s not even controversial to point out – community supervision and law enforcement leaders agree. They know that providing support around employment, housing, mental health and substance abuse is vital to rehabilitation and that we need to do better. Making it happen is the hard part.

But it’s getting easier. Technology is evolving well beyond ankle bracelet monitors, toward platforms that deliver tools for helping offenders in each of these categories. Apps that use evidence-based rehabilitation methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy can reduce recidivism and create better outcomes for the individual. Solutions from companies like TRACKtech and Cisco can build an immediate bridge between the science and the street (in full transparency, we have a relationship with TRACKtech).

Whether a probation officer or a law enforcement officer, community professionals should be equipped with the right tools and focused on appropriate missions to do their jobs properly. They need Congress and state legislatures to pass laws that add fresh budget lines focused on social services.

Enhancing public safety starts with focusing on the causes of criminality, which quite often come down to mental health, substance abuse and the effects of poverty. While tackling these challenges from an abstract perspective may seem daunting, Mr. Brooks’ story reminds us that the opportunity comes one person at a time.

 




Simple Strategies for Building Board Diversity  

Josette Thompson, Managing Director and Diversity Lead at Prosek Partners

The business case for diversity has been made time and again in numerous studies, and rightfully so.  We know that diverse teams lead to better outcomes and have an impact on a company’s bottom line. Yet, when we look at public companies and non-profit organizations and their boards of directors, there is still an overall lack of diversity.  There certainly has been progress made, particularly over the past few years with companies like Goldman Sachs announcing it would only carry out IPOs for companies with at least one woman or non-White board member, and BlackRock calling for its portfolio companies to increase their gender diversity on boards.

As we look at the broader business environment in light of COVID-19, an increased focus on ESG, and the social awakening about disparities related to race and ethnicity, the timing couldn’t be more urgent for organizations to examine and address  the diversity (or lack thereof) within their ranks, and particularly at the board level.

So, why is it seemingly so difficult for organizations to tap diverse talent for board seats?  The short answer is that it’s not necessarily that challenging, but like any business initiative, a strategic approach with clear parameters and goals is needed to achieve success.  The three most important steps to follow for organizations looking to diversify their board of directors, include: implementing creative recruitment strategies, seeking out diverse skill sets, and building in accountability with existing board members.

  1. Think creatively about recruitment. Consider creating advisory groups or associate boards that tap emerging leaders who can be groomed for future board seats.  Millennials are among the most diverse generations in the U.S., and by seeking out and actively investing in that next level of talent, organizations will naturally be exposed to a more diverse slate.
  2. Identify skill sets that can enhance the strength of the board. Increasingly, executives with communications, marketing and technology skills are sought-after candidates as they can help boards fully understand and communicate to their audiences, introduce social media processes and enhance operations with advanced tech. By seeking out diversified skills, you will increase your ability to tap into diverse talent whether than be by ethnicity, gender or also important, diversity of thought.
  3. Hold board members accountable. Typically, board seats are sourced somewhat informally through existing relationships. To diversify the candidate slate, take an audit of the existing board and identify where gaps need to be filled.  In addition to ethnic or gender diversity, think about geographic and cognitive diversity, and have honest conversations about why diversity is a strategic priority and important to the success of the organization.  Challenge board members to think creatively with their personal recommendations, outlining the skills and other characteristics that will make the board more effective.

Overall, diversity for the sake of diversity won’t cut it, and when it comes to creating impactful change, communication is key.  Solicit the perspectives of all board members, give them a platform to share even if they don’t hold a popular opinion, and cultivate the diversity of thought you will undoubtedly tap into by looking beyond the usual board candidates.


About the Author: Josette Thompson is a managing director and diversity lead at Prosek Partners. She is also on the board of directors for The HOPE Program, a workforce development nonprofit.




Once Upon a Time There Were Places Called ‘Offices’

Is the Pandemic Making You a Mite Misanthropic? Like You’re at the Edges of Unfriendly?  That’s Doomsday for Me, As I’m in Public Relations!

 

 

Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group

Hopefully, this prolonged pandemic won’t have permanent consequences or lasting effect as I don’t think social distancing, wearing masks and staying home is making us a friendlier people. 

I see these couples walking on the beach straight towards us at the water’s edge.  They’re coming dangerously close until Rita and I have to turn onto the hot sand to walk a safe distance around them.  Do they notice our burning feet?  Do they thank us for going out of their way?   No!

If there’s a positive side to staying away from everyone, it’s working remotely.  It’s certainly been good for Netflix and the tech sector.

In a weird way, we’re sort of enjoying staying in an uninterrupted remote state at home, which allows us to concentrate for long periods that was never possible at our busy, interruptive workplaces.  

I believe they’re still called offices.

Now at home we can delve instead of shelve.  We stay assiduously on the hunt for meaning, for solutions and new business like never before.  

But are we becoming screwy or worse, Scroogy, like little Ebenezers modeling ourselves after that fictional character from A Christmas Carol.

Sometimes I’d like to give scrooges the Dickens, which has nothing to do with the author Charles.  

Misanthropy is defined as a general hatred, dislike, distrust or contempt of the human species or human nature. A misanthrope or misanthropist is someone who holds such views or feelings. 

Misanthropy may be motivated by feelings of isolation or social alienation, or simply contempt for the prevailing characteristics of humanity, today all in hiding from, running away from and social distancing ourselves from other humans suspected of being carriers of COVID-19.

When considered through the lens of an anxiety disorder, misanthropy hopefully becomes an entirely treatable condition. Using cognitive behavior therapy, the individual can learn techniques to change their behavior or thought pattern to be more rational, positive, or productive.  

By most accounts the philosopher Nietzsche was something of a misanthrope, and his biography recounts a litany of failed friendships and long periods of loneliness. individualism and as he takes to calling himself a free spirit.  

Other suspected misanthropes were the writer and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, known to have said “Hell is other people.”

Author Franz Kafka also was thought to be one and so was the well-known English writer and author Oscar Wild, who was known to have made this charming assessment.

“Other people are quite dreadful.  The only possible society is oneself.”

Oh well, let’s stay safe and keep our distance from one another. Maybe one day we’ll all embrace and shake hands again, if we can remember how to do it.  

Meanwhile, don’t come near me until the pandemic is over.  

And btw, who does your public relations?  Thanks to the Internet, I can still do it for you without coming close or touching you.

 




Making Teams Better in 2020

Loretta Prencipe and Leah Cox , Makovsky

Weariness. Fatigue. Zoom Zombies. It’s real (or real enough). No one told us that 2020 would be the year that everything changed – and the year is not done with us yet. Work is at home.  School is at home. The fight for racial and social equality is everywhere. And we still have a Presidential election to go. 

Our teams are challenged and need leadership, encouragement, space and fun. Our team members also need opportunities to be leaders – in their own ways.

Now is not the time to wonder what to do. Now is the time to create new ways for teams to work together, interact and have a little space. Since the pandemic hit and our work from home became our norm, we’ve taken the following actions: 

  • Morning tag up: a 15-minute (near) daily team Zoom meeting. This has a few benefits. It allows us to “see” each other in ways we haven’t before; creates opportunities for team members to showcase successes or for others to call out the good works of colleagues.Side benefit: Team members now jump on projects that interest them. We’ve also seen increased collaboration and productivity. Super side benefit: We’ve been able to streamline some workflows. 
  • Zoom-free Fridays: That said (see above), we’ve also found that Zoom-free Fridays can be a great break from becoming Zoom Zombies. Admittedly, this one is hard to stick to, (Extra bonus: We have short days on summer Fridays.) 
  • Your floor: If you’re in it to win it, then you must be a vocal proponent of your team’s professional development. Giving the “floor” to more junior staff members to run meetings, to showcase their work, or to present how a new business pitch was put together is a great way for colleagues to hone their presentation skills. 
  • Get outta here: We might not be travelling (much). Even so, we’re proactively encouraging people to take time off and get out from behind the computer screen. Everyone needs down time – no exceptions. 
  • Make the fun: It can’t be all work all the time. We’ve had team-led yoga sessions and we get together for a weekly trivia game. We now know who was an art major.   

Most importantly, to boost teams and team morale, we must demonstrate that we care and that we’re listening. So…

  • Rally: Gather. Celebrate big and small achievements. We recently held a virtual meeting dedicated to celebrate promotions. 
  • Address what matters: At Makovsky, the shift in how we engage around DE&I has truly been advanced by team members. It’s not easy. Dialogue and actions are happening at all levels of the firm and opening up new relationships that didn’t exist previously. This also opens the floor to team members to drive change on an important and, often personal, issue. Firms cannot ignore this or wait for other firms to demonstrate leadership in DE&I. 

In all, our overarching advice is to take action. This year will be the year that each of us will remember (even though the days run together).  We will also remember who gave us opportunities and who gave us grace. Worry less about whether you’ve taken the right step. Your team members will let you know if you’ve made a misstep and some will jump in and become leaders we all will follow.


About the Authors: 

Loretta Prencipe is Practice Lead for Energy, Manufacturing and Sustainability and director of Makovsky Communication’s Washington, DC office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leah Cox is Chief Human Resources Officer for Makovsky at the NYC headquarters 

 




Building a Foreign Relations Career: What Skills Are Required?

Daniela McVicker, Essayguard

The idea of a diplomatic career is often attractive, lucrative, and fascinating. It is a job that involves traveling worldwide while engaging in international issues: climate change, peacekeeping missions, health, aid and development, and international policy issues.

While most people struggle to get these foreign relations jobs, people in the field are striving to get even better. As it is a highly competitive field, you have to maximize your chances of emerging a victor as a woman working in the foreign policy industry.

To crack it, there are specific skills that are needed to not only create, but also build a career in foreign relations. Despite the dynamic nature of skills required in a particular job, there are timeless skills that can help boost your career as a woman working in foreign relations.

Academic Qualification

To build a formidable career in foreign relations, you need a good university degree or a combination of degrees. While your degree could be from a range of topics: law, arts, medicine, or engineering – what matters is your enthusiasm and commitment towards your degree. You should be able to do what you’re doing with utter diligence, enjoy it, and post good results.

The field of foreign relations is broad. Knowledge in any aforementioned field is viable, but that’s not what most employers look for when hiring. Employers look for your intellectual capacity and your drive to evolve with new challenges and tasks, having applied what you learned in your degree. As a woman is keen on building their career in foreign relations, academic qualifications should be excellent. 

General Knowledge

Having a degree in foreign relations is a great advantage, but it isn’t a necessary feature for getting a foreign relations-related job. The portrayal of in-depth knowledge in a field you didn’t study is a show of passion. Showing that you have passion in a field translates to interest, which may further metamorphose into productivity – just what employers need.

The skill of having a grasp at almost everything from taxes to A.I. technologies is perfected by voracious reading. You can start with journals or newspapers that touch on international issues. It will keep you up to date with political, social, and economic issues worldwide. Also, knowing literature, history, art, and music is a giant step in broadening your scope of knowledge as a woman working in foreign relations.

As a diplomat, your job involves holding conversations with people of different ethnicities and beliefs. The only way to understand them, and to be able to strike a deal, is by knowing their culture. It is the reason why to build a career in foreign relations, academic requirements aren’t the most defining factor, but knowledge of literature, history, and current happenings around people globally counts.

Foreign Language

Competency in a foreign language is an added advantage in the field of foreign relations. For most international relations companies, demonstrating proficiency in writing and speaking a foreign language, or the aptitude for learning quickly is a requirement for any significant foreign relations job.

If you haven’t learned a foreign language, it doesn’t matter the language you choose. It could be Chinese, French, Spanish, German, or Arabic. In the field of foreign relations, all languages perform equal functions, and therefore, there isn’t an advantage in learning one language over the other. Enroll yourself in a class to learn a new language. It will boost your foreign relations career, and add significantly to your pool of general knowledge as learning a language gets you absorbed in their culture.

Knowledge in a foreign language is critical. For instance, Australian Foreign service, the UN, major NGOs like the International Crisis Group, have it as a requirement to get employed with them.

Written Communication

The ability to write well, exceptionally, and excellently is the hallmark of a good diplomat. All the skills, as mentioned above, are essential, but whether you can write well or not, is what defines your career in foreign relations.

Foreign relations involve a lot of communication, most of which is written. Grammatical errors, spelling, and punctuation mistakes are grave mistakes. It shows indefensible carelessness on the side of a foreign relations officer and a bad egg to the organization.

Depicting impeccable writing skills is something else: wonderful and a show of competence among a foreign relations officer, a boost in their career. As a woman working in a highly competitive field, your mission should always be to write elegantly and lucidly like essays in list of the best writing services every time your skills are needed. 

Even as electronic and social media encourages casualness informal communication, always know that for a career in foreign relations, words are your daily currency. Your ability to spew intelligent, coherent paragraphs and use them persuasively will be your shine above your competitors.

An example where you can get guidance with writing to foreign relations, read George Orwell’s essay Politics and the English Language

Oral Communication

When you think of advocacy or foreign relations activities, the importance of developing your oral communication skills becomes sensible. Advocacy and international relations activities are mostly transacted by word of mouth, primarily through debates, public lectures, seminars, and conferences.

To build your career in foreign relations, your debating and public speaking skills should be top-notch and polished. If you’re having trouble, watch speeches made by famous diplomats, and engage in any chance where your oral skills will be tested.

In conclusion, to build a career in foreign relations requires both skills acquired academically through school, and those you learn on your own. A grasp of knowledge on current happenings, culture, and history is paramount. But your determination to be the best that will make you stand out as a woman so passionate about foreign relations.


About the Author: Daniela McVicker is a career coach and an editor at Essayguard. She’s also a business communication coach, helping future job applicants to write business emails to help them achieve success on their career paths.




The Massive Leadership Reset

Deanna Brown

For decades now, businesses large and small have relied on a standardized set of leadership rules: tactics, mindsets, behaviors, rules that have evolved in mostly small, incremental, digestible ways. Then…our entire world changed, seemingly overnight. We scrambled. We made do with makeshift set-ups and processes. It was okay when our child or furry pet randomly “joined” a virtual meeting. A bit of comic relief. We found ways to be agile. We let go of perfection and found that “good enough” really was good enough. In our personal lives, every team member and leader became stressed in multiple ways. This pandemic didn’t just affect our work world, it affected EVERYTHING. The world we had known with its reliable structures and systems is no longer the same. The traditional hierarchy crumbled as we all pulled together as humans fighting a microscopic enemy. 

What is our new world? Unpredictable. Uncertain. Often harsh. Often kind. Full of opportunity. Laden with tough challenges. The last few months have revealed our personal and organizational character in bold, front-and-center ways for all to see. So, what’s a leader to do as we step back into full-time business? It requires a reset. 

Any leader relying on the same tactics and behaviors they’ve been using with their team is now likely to be fitting square pegs into round holes. Command and control, standards that measure success among people and processes that relied on a certain historical trail of predictability simply won’t stand tall when, at least in the next year or two, uncertainty is a driving force we have to face. 

In our company, we’ve shared quite a bit on how to be resilient. It requires an agile approach, openness, deep-breathing, tolerance, a defined purpose and strong relationships. Now, in addition to refining the resilience skill, what’s next? If we’ve found anything good through this time in our homes, it’s been our ability to showcase our individuality. Countless people have shared their best tactics for WFH and technology tips. We applied creative thinking to keeping the wheels on the bus for business, education, physical and mental health, while often adding humor, innovation and kindness in ways never seen. And through this, we’ve changed. Some of the change will be short-lived and much, I believe, will find permanence. Leaders will find that many of their people will show up to work wanting and needing different things than before. 

This is the stage of innovative thinking, inclusion and clarity of purpose. Empathy and compassion. Merging individual skills and strengths of team members with the task and end-goal, comes in full force. Want increased engagement? Committed people to the job at hand? Improved satisfaction and retention? The job is to help them—and you—get into the zone. FLOW. It’s the state of being fully immersed in a task, where all attention and energy is directed toward a single objective while productivity and creativity surge, creating mastery and success. And that’s done by leading through each individual. By helping each person learn what flow means, how to get it, keep it and benefit from it, you’ll create stronger, more successful and engaged teams than ever before.  

How often in your career have you seen the traits of ‘playing the game’, ‘pretending to know the answers’ and the ‘road of unmitigated drive’ be celebrated while the behaviors of being authentic, vulnerable, asking for help and the admission of a personal life with all its challenges, be left for another unspoken time and space? This time is about throwing out the barriers that limit individuality, that remove old systems that simply don’t fit any longer. It’s ok to toss things aside that don’t make sense, standards that no one is certain why they exist, a certain homogenous approach to business. It’s time to be brave. If we take advantage of this time to recognize and leverage each person’s strengths, desires and abilities in new ways, we’ll find a team of highly effective humans that have just elevated their capacity to succeed—and that’s not only good for them, it’s good for the bottom line as well. 

Right now, we’re living in the extreme. It’s a basic law of physics, right? Remember Newton’s Law of Motion? Force and acceleration. The more force applied, the greater the acceleration of the pendulum and distance it swings. We’ll come back to a somewhat balanced state. The key is the journey in getting there. Operating in FLOW. 

Alright, you say…where do I start? 

  1. How well do you REALLY know each of your people? If you did prior to this shift, can you say the same thing now? Begin by having an authentic, 1:1 conversation. Find out what their world looks like for them. 
  2. Ask them: What’s changed? What new challenges are they faced with? What are they worried about? How do they view their role now? What do they need to feel meaning and success in their work? 
  3. Do they see how they fit into the organization’s mission and vision? Does it connect with the best skills they have to contribute? 
  4. Does your mission and vision need to get a reset? Schedule time with your leadership team and dive in with an honest, open and fresh look. The most important time to dedicate to this effort is now, not when things “settle down”. 
  5. Decide which standards and processes to toss. Unless we approach business by allowing team members to think and operate with fresh perspectives and strengths, we won’t arrive at the results we’re after. 
  6. Learn about FLOW and how to integrate it into your team. They are the gems that can paddle with you into uncertain waters, help manage change and strengthen the business. 

There’s a great quote from Peter Drucker that is constantly a filter in my mind.  “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” This moment is calling us to reset as leaders, as organizations and as the entire human collective. It is possible if we’re willing to lead with a new perspective, empathy and compassion for each individual. Be brave and interrupt yesterday’s logic. 


About the Author:

Transformative Leader
Builder of Awesome Teams
Innovative Disruptor
With a background in foundational business growth, leadership development, sales and marketing and strategic planning, I’ve focused those skills to help leaders grow from a handful of dedicated team members to a $1B+ profitable organization. From the groundwork of needs and ideas to the unifying of teams and goals, I’ve found passion in watching those business communities thrive. 



Lessons Learned From The Cancelation Of The Tokyo Olympics. And An Important Question: Will The Coronavirus Change The Way Brands And People Think About The Importance of Sports?

Arthur Solomon

Friday, July 24, was supposed to be the date for the Opening ceremonies of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Olympic Games, called “Tokyo 2020,” were postponed for the first time in history. The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games ‘Tokyo 2020” will now be held on July 23, 2021, coronavirus permitting.

When announcing the new date for the Tokyo games, Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee said, “These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel,” referring to the coronavirus Pandemic. Bad choice of words. “The light at the end of the tunnel’ is infamous for being used to describe America’s plight during the Vietnam War, and by President Trump on April 6, at a press conference about the coronavirus outbreak.

But if you think that calling an event held in 2021 “Tokyo 2020” is ludicrous, think again. Even more ridiculous is that throughout Olympic history the IOC has claimed that politics has no place in the Olympics and that the games foster world peace, proving that wearing blinders is not limited to thoroughbred race horses.

(Full Disclosure: I have been involved with various Olympics and Asian Games as an advisor to the highest-ranking games’ officials as a political and  media trouble shooter; in others strategizing publicity programs for Fortune 500 brands. I also have been a speaker at an IOC media seminar. I think that the Olympic Games are the most important of all sports events because no other event brings together the, supposedly, best athletes from around the world. But to brand the Olympics a “peace maker,” as the IOC does, is as absurd as its much often declaration that politics has no place in sports.)

Rule 50 of the Olympic charter prohibits demonstrations of “political religious or racial propaganda…in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” Nevertheless, politics has always played a major role in the Olympics and with the IOC’s blessing has been used by some of the most reprehensible totalitarian countries during our lifetime as a show case.

A few examples;

  • Despite Hitler’s fascist regime, concentration camps and anti-Semitic laws, which dated back to 1933, the IOC let the 1936 Summer Olympics in Nazi Germany be played, ignoring protests from prominent U.S. politicians and a U.S. member of the IOC, who lost his position because of his opposition to the games in totalitarian Germany. In addition, Great Britain, France, Sweden, Czechoslovakia and the Netherlands also voiced criticism of holding the Olympics in Nazi Germany. The 1936 Olympics was the first time in modern Olympic history that U.S. and European countries called for a boycott of the games because of human rights abuses. The boycott movement narrowly failed, permitting Hitler to use the games for propaganda proposes.  However, American diplomats including William E. Dodd, the American ambassador to Berlin, and George Messersmith, head of the U.S. legation in Vienna, were publicly critical about the U.S. Olympic Committee’s decision to participate in the games. 
  • The 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City again demonstrated the IOC’s uncaring attitude to political actions of host governments. After a summer of protests, 10 days before the beginning of the games, the Mexican army opened fire on unarmed protesters, killing hundreds, according to eye witnesses. An additional 1345 were arrested, said the government. 
  • In 1980, the U.S. boycotted the Summer Olympic Games in Moscow to protest the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Sixty-five other nations also boycotted the games, but the IOC refused to move the games despite the use of military force by Russia. 
  • In 2008, as the opening ceremonies at the Beijing summer games was being held, Russia dispatched troops into disputed regions of Georgia in eastern Europe.
  • In addition to the 2008 Summer Olympics being held in Beijing, China was also awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics, making the totalitarian country’s capital the first city to host both a Summer and Winter Olympics.
  • In 2014, Russia was allowed to host the Winter Olympics, even though it passed anti-homosexual laws prior to the games. During the games, Russia invaded Ukraine. 

The IOC’s reaction to China’s show of military force since they were awarded the 2022 games has been as silent as a drop of rain falling into a stormy ocean. But surely Bach, the president of the IOC, would speak out about Putin’s use of military force during an Olympics. And he did. Here’s what Bach said. He praised Putin’s “great commitment to the games,” and personally thanked Putin for his contribution to the “extraordinary success of these (2014) Winter Games,” despite it being derided around the world for its human rights violations.

But the IOC and its affiliated sports organizations are not the only entities to remain quiet about the games being used as a showcase for totalitarian countries.

Shamefully, American brands helped promote those dictatorship-run countries by its sponsorship of the games, proving that money talks in any language and in any form of government.

Thankfully the Tokyo Olympics was awarded to a democratic country. But the year’s postponement gives game sponsors an opportunity to think whether investing huge chucks of money into mega-sporting events pays off. 

Normally after every Olympics, brands question whether the enormous sponsorship costs were worth the price. Questions would be asked, “Was the ROI worth it?’ Marketing experts would write columns about how more targeted advertising on non mega events produce better results. And the sponsors will always say in public statements, “It was worth the cost,” even when privately they say it wasn’t.

The cancellation of “Tokyo 2020” provides time for knee-jerk sports sponsors to question the costs of being “a proud sponsor” of an Olympics and other mega sporting events.

The coronavirus Pandemic provides sports marketers an opportunity to consider if advertising on none mega- sporting events are more productive than counting eyeballs.

There were many important new marketing lessons brand managers might have learned had the Tokyo Olympics been played as scheduled. But, maybe, the cancellation of the Olympics provided the following realities for sponsors to ponder:

  • Sponsors can survive without spending millions of dollars on mega sports events. But sports cannot survive without sponsors.
  • Perhaps its time to test spending sports sponsorship money elsewhere and see if doing so affects sales.
  • Client entertainment? There certainly are other ways to entertain a client.
  • We know that the cancelation of sports events are most important to people whose livelihood depends on them, but how do consumers whose livelihood does not depend on sports businesses feel about the cancellations? And, 
  • The world did not stop because of the cancellation of the Olympics and other sporting events.

(On a personal basis, everyone I know was looking forward to the start of the baseball, basketball and football seasons. Not so much the hockey season or “Tokyo 2020.” But since the coronvirus made playing impossible, I’ve had back and forth’s with some people saying things like, “Can you believe it. It’s July 4 and the Mets are still undefeated,” or “You can’t blame the Knicks for not making the playoffs this year.” That might be a problem for the leagues and its sponsors as people realize that there are many things more important to them than who wins the World Series or Super Bowl.)

Once the coronavirus epidemic subsides it probably will not change the IOC’s and other sports entitles’ future actions. But it might convince some people that despite the hype, on the “Importance Chart,” to many people sports are not that important. 

Thus far the National Football League is the only major sports business that has not curtailed its regular 2020 schedule, although some players have spoken out questioning the necessity of pre-season exhibition games and at this writing negotiations between the players and the league are on-going. Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League, which said that all its games will be played in Canada because of the virus outbreak in the U.S., have shortened their seasons. Some pro baseball and basketball players have opted to stay at home instead of playing during the epidemic. Some hockey players have voiced concern about playing. College football seasons have drastically been changed because of the virus. 

What’s undeniable is that Americans were able to survive the coronavirus without sports of any kind. Many couldn’t without medical attention and machines that help them breathe.

Karl Marx, not a sports fan to my knowledge, said, “… Religion is the opium of the people.” Many sports reporters claim that sports helped New York City recover after 9/11. Bach, president of the IOC, said, talking about the resumption of the games in 2021, even thought it will still be called “Tokyo 2020”, “…These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of the tunnel.”

In my opinion they’re all wrong. Sports are nothing more than a temporary diversion from the travails of everyday life, the same as going to the movies, theater or a concert. As such it plays an important part of life, but not that important. 

One of the headlines of this column posed an important question: Will The Coronavirus Change The Way People Think About Sports? 

Disregard all the hype from the sports moguls and people who depend on the business of sports for their livelihood. There is only one correct answer to the question: Time will tell. But we do know that the coronavirus Pandemic hasn’t resulted in demonstrations demanding “liberate our sports teams.” In fact, there has been very little said about the absence of sports. The subject is on the back burners of news coverage, very rarely mentioned, as truly important subjects like the spread of the coronavirus, and racial protest rallies dominate the news coverage.

What the coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 shows is that people can survive without sports, because in the final analysis it’s just another entertainment vehicle. It always has been and rational people, who do not depend on sports for a living, should view it as such. Because the history of sports shows that the moguls that run it only care about the bottom line, not about you. 

Another question: Will the sponsors of mega-sports events, many of whom have publicly supported the racial protest movements, (which skeptics might say was merely a marketing ploy) agree with protesters who believe that the money a city spends on hosting an Olympics can be better used to finance projects that help all of its citizens. My advice to you is that regardless of the odds you are given, don’t spend your last dollar betting that the answer will be “yes.” If you do, you might find yourself without lunch money.

History, and reality, proves that it is not the great athletic performances that really matters to sponsors, host cities, TV networks and the IOC. It is the bottom line. (And the same is true with owners and sponsors of all professional sports teams.) Whether it’s called “Tokyo 2020” or “Tokyo 2021,” for sponsors, the host city, TV networks and the IOC the winner and losers will not be decided on the athletic fields, but by the money in the bank. 

A great sportswriter, Grantland Rice, once wrote, “It’s not that you won or lost, it’s how you played the game.” For the sports business, making money is more important than how the games are played.  If you don’t believe me, wait until another franchise packs its propaganda and moves to a more lucrative city. Or continues to raise tickets prices to the point where going to a game is prohibitive for many fanatics, as it already is for many. 

Chances are you won’t have to wait too long for one of the above scenarios to occur. Because in sports, history always repeats. And money always talks. The most recent example being the NFL’s Washington Redskins decision to change its name after sponsors threatened to call it quits, if they didn’t.

The cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic provides a valuable lesson for PR people when planning programs. As Winston Churchill said, ” “It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.” When crafting a publicity program it should contain elements that are likely to achieve a fast hit. Everything else in the program is secondary


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.




What’s Adtech and Why Should PR Agencies Care?

 

Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR

New technologies often draw scrutiny from an array of analysts. Adtech is no exception. While adtech has been around for several years, only recently did it catch the attention of tech-savvy firms. With big data being a prerequisite in establishing highly competitive marketing campaigns, adtech platforms have become an important component in today’s marketing space. 

As more brands join social media, PR agencies are prompted to investigate innovative approaches to help their clients have a wider reach while maintaining a high ROI. Fueled by studies showing that close to 74% of marketers prefer agencies that are adtech savvy and the benefits that abound for adtech PR agencies, more marketing agencies are adopting adtech.

What’s Adtech

Adtech refers to software and tools that marketing agencies use to enhance their targeting, delivery, and analysis of advertising activities. Designed to help advertisers increase returns on their marketing budgets, adtech helps marketing agencies to deliver the right content to a target audience at the right time. These methods reduce wasteful ad-spend. 

Supported by big data platforms, adtech techniques permit PR agencies to place ads effectively, thus reaching the most-appropriate audience. Benefits of highly targeted ad placements include reducing time and effort wastage and enables targeting of users at critical moments. 

To maximize benefits accruing from adtech, ad agencies should integrate big data to facilitate the production of high-impact and highly-profitable placements. 

How can adtech companies and PR agencies coexist? 

To thrive, adtech companies and PR agencies need to forge long-term relationships. These relationships will help maximize the mutual benefits associated with the collaboration between adtech companies and PR agencies. To maximize the benefits, the marketers should:

#1. Communicate regularly

Regular communication between adtech companies and PR agencies is essential. Thanks to the rapid production of new technologies and the integration between tech, content and data, both parties should consult on a regular basis. These associations will help publicize adtech platforms, while allowing PR agencies to deliver high-impact and highly-profitable placements.

#2. Manage expectations

With agencies and adtech pros seeking quick turnarounds for their projects, there is a need for PR agencies to manage these expectations. Particularly, communication agencies should highlight the implications of rushed work on the quality of communication strategies. 

To avoid mediocre communication approaches, PR pros should manage communication processes between adtech and communication agencies. This ensures successful campaigns.

#3. Customize content 

With adtech allowing tracking of clients on different platforms, communication agencies should customize marketing content on different platforms, despite targeting the same audience. Given that monotony in content annoys potential clients and lowers their interest, PR agencies should avoid repurposing content across all channels. 

Specifically, agencies need to customize content for different social media channels. With today’s clients being bombarded with loads of information via ads and news, there is a need to adopt a unique approach that limits content monotony and its effects. 

Working hand-in-hand with adtech companies, PR agencies can deliver exceptional marketing that incorporates key statistics.


About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading adtech PR agency.




Leading Teams Through Adversity

Linda D. Henman, Ph.D., The Decision Catalyst ™

Most theorists agree that leaders need to be concerned with a team’s content, process, and output. B.W. Tuckman suggested teams mature in a predictable four stage process: forming, storming, norming, and performing. Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard suggested leaders consider the maturity of the group before deciding which of the four leadership styles they should use: telling, selling, participating, or delegating.

Forming

During the forming stage we try to determine if and how we will fit in with this team. At this point team members depend on the leader to coach and direct them, and they rely on authority to help them both build relationships and approach the task. Telling the members what to do is advisable since they are cautious and tentative. The group also requires clear definitions for roles, responsibilities, goals, and authority. Often telling takes the form of training in job skills and communication competency

Storming

The second stage of team development frequently involves the members becoming disillusioned with the task and one another. Unproductive behavior, arguing, defensiveness, and competition can be expected.  Selling team members on the idea of solving their problems is in order. Allowing team members to find their own answers and encouraging them to work out interpersonal differences will allow them to develop their personal roles within the group and may ultimately enhance cohesion. Working through the difficulties of the first two stages of development will help the team begin to develop the trust they will need to realize their goals. 

Norming

The norming stage involves getting organized, and the leader participating in this process will help the team’s progression.  The team’s confidence and competence grew during the norming stage, so this becomes a time to share data and to explore solutions. The controversies that were settled during the storming stage help this stage run more smoothly. By now members have begun to establish systematic approaches to decisions, and the ground rules for acceptable behavior have become more apparent.  The leader can become one of the team members rather than its supervisor or referee.  

Performing

A high-performance team is now possible. Because of the synergy that the team has developed, openness, trust, cooperation, and maturity characterize the team that is now ready to exhibit high flexibility and maximum use of energy.  Energy is high because the team utilizes of each member’s strengths, and competitiveness does not hamper participation. The team no longer needs the leader for direction, so delegating is more in order since leadership is now a shared function of the effective team.  Members feel motivated and focused, so the leader can relax and let the group function autonomously.

Conclusion

There is a saying:  “Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is.  Treat a person as if he were what he could be and should be, and he will become what he could be and should be.”  This notion of a self-fulfilling prophecy or Pygmalion effect has a message for team leaders. Under the direction of a competent leader, a successful team will evolve.  Anticipating each stage of development and allowing the team to evolve in predictable ways will increase the chances that the group will become what it should be.  


About the Author: For more than 35 years, senior leaders have relied on Linda Henman, PhD, to help them make tough calls. Known as The Decision Catalyst™, Linda advises senior leaders and boards of directors when they face essential decisions about strategy, succession planning, business growth, and mergers and acquisitions. Some of her major clients include Tyson Foods, Emerson Electric, Kraft Foods, Boeing Aircraft, Estee Lauder, and Merrill Lynch. Through thousands of hours of consulting with hundreds of corporate clients, Linda has seen what others haven’t seen, helped clients remove obstructions and influenced decision-makers to move from merely good to brilliant.

   

 




Creative Leaders Challenge U.S. Agency Leaders to Advance Racial Equity with Act in Solidarity Pledge

Agency Leaders Unite to End Racial Disparity in PR and Marketing Industry 

CommPRO Editorial Staff 

Leaders of Media Frenzy Global and Obviouslee Marketing recently announced they are releasing a pledge to hold agency leaders nationwide accountable for their lack of contribution to diversity and inclusion. As part of the commitment to eradicate racism and positively impact opportunities for black industry professionals, Media Frenzy Global and Obviouslee Marketing are challenging all agency leaders to publicly voice their support by joining the Act in Solidarity pledge. 

The pledge, created by agency leaders, Katie Kern, Partner at Media Frenzy Global and Lee Deas, Founder & Visionary of Obviouslee, aims to create a meaningful impact across the marketing industry. An industry that, for years, has struggled with diversity, equity and inclusion. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the ethnic makeup of the PR industry in the U.S. is 89.8% white, 8.0% African American, .4% Asian American and 1.4% Hispanic American.  

“As leaders, we must use our platform to speak up,” says Katie Kern. “As an agency, we are aligning our corporate values with the voices of our employees to create loyalty, foster meaningful connections and provide opportunities for everyone to succeed. Every agency can do better across the board; we need to take this opportunity and look inward to truly make a difference,” adds Kern. 

To create a positive impact and provide ample opportunities for the industry’s black and brown professionals, agency leaders are committing to contribute in five key areas: 

Provide Intentional and Thoughtful Education. As agency professionals, we will continue to educate ourselves through conversations with Black team members, the Black community, Black industry leaders and written work. What we know is that we don’t have all of the answers yet. We will make mistakes along the way, but we will show up to learn. We know change is required. Starting today, we will not just educate our company, but the wider community and the industry.⁣ 

Take Accountability. Agency leaders will commit to hiring more black people to fill positions within their board, senior and executive-level team. This will continue until there is increased diversity among agency staff. 

Intentionally Represent All Races. Whitewashing is rampant in the agency world. Moving forward, the marketing of clients and personal representation must include black people in the marketing materials produced and our agency recruiting efforts and hiring processes.  

Revise Code of Conduct. Everyone is accountable. Within 30 days, the goal is to overhaul the company-wide code of conduct, implementing that every agency employee is responsible for any racist and discriminatory actions.  

Reassess Company Values. We will examine our core values. Diversity, inclusion and equity, if it is not already, will be added to our core values.⁣ 

“It is important to not just stand in solidarity, but to act in solidarity. There is a lot of work to be done in our company and in our industry and we are encouraged to see how many other marketers want to also be a part of this change,” says Lee Deas, Principal of Obviouslee Marketing. 

Take action today and sign the pledge here. All signatures will be featured on Act in Solidarity’s social media channels, @actinsolidarity

 For more information, please contact Tawanda Carlton, Media Frenzy Global, tawanda@mediafrenzyglobal.com, (910) 358-7224.




Body Language & Leadership Presence

Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.

Lately, unsurprisingly, I have had increased interest in how to use body language when on a Zoom meeting. Here’s a link to an article from TechRepublic quoting me on the topic. And if you want a broader body language perspective, take a look at my LinkedInLearning course: Body Language for Leaders.

Virtually or in person, people evaluate your leadership presence not only by what you say, but how you sound when you say it (people’s brains register your vocal prosody before they evaluate the words you speak) and how your nonverbal signals support or weaken your verbal message.

Many leaders are non-verbally illiterate – completely out of touch with the effect their body language has on others and unaware of the clear nonverbal signals being sent by clients and colleagues in every business encounter. The human brain is hard-wired to read and respond to these signals, although some leaders don’t know that the process is taking place and are unequipped, therefore, to use it to their advantage.

That’s changing.  Today, body language coaching is my most requested service.

Body language savvy is becoming a key part of a leader’s personal brand. Powerful people sit, stand, walk and gesture in ways that exude confidence, competence and status. The most effective leaders also send nonverbal signals of warmth and empathy – especially when nurturing collaborative environments, acknowledging people’s emotions in a Covid reality, and managing change.

I’ve been awed by the impact that body language has on leadership presence. I’ve seen first-hand how nonverbal signals can literally make or break a leader’s ability to be perceived as the talented, confident, compassionate leader he or she authentically is.

Please send me your questions, comments, success stories and lessons learned. I’d love to hear from you and to help you position yourself for the next job, project, or promotion.

An offer from my publisher: My new book, STAND OUT: How to Build Your Leadership Presence, will be released in September. For a 20% discount, along with free shipping to the UK and US, go to www.koganpage.com and enter the code: KOGANPAGE20. (Note: The code will not work on Amazon.)




New Research Based on U.S. Payroll Data Reveals Magnitude of the Impact of COVID-19 on the Labor Market

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Insights derived from ADP’s anonymized and aggregated payroll data enabled economists and academia to model the effects of COVID-19 on the labor market. At the State of the Labor Market Summit 2020, hosted virtually by ADP Research Institute (ADPRI) on June 25, top economists and scholars came together to discuss a range of impacts to better understand the severity of the crisis on the labor market including the effectiveness of the first response of programs, the productivity and viability of businesses and the dynamics of the lockdown policies. The Labor Market Summit’s annual forum, now in its fourth year, gathers distinguished experts in the field of labor economics to discuss the state of the U.S. labor market and research findings derived from ADP’s unique data sets. To close the Summit, economists from ADP Research Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Moody’s Analytics and the University of Chicago participated in an engaging panel discussion, moderated by CNBC anchor, Sara Eisen.

“The speed and magnitude of the deterioration of the labor market, especially during the early weeks of the pandemic, were unprecedented, and from a research perspective there is so much to uncover,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “When we first launched this event, we wanted to establish a premier forum to share labor market trends based on ADP’s anonymized and de-identified data. Since then numerous studies were conducted, including the most recent resulting paper that uncovered the evolution of the U.S. labor market during the beginning of the pandemic.”

“We understand the value of sharing our unique labor market data assets for the public good and therefore collaborate with key policy makers and labor economists on various papers based on ADP’s data,” said Matthew Levin, chief strategy officer of ADP. “Through our work with these scholars and this forum, we continue to discover reliable and economic indicators and unearth crucial findings that bring greater awareness to the economy at large.”

The State of the Labor Market Summit 2020
Now in its fourth year, the Summit was held virtually and included scholars who shared findings related to the impact of COVID-19 on labor markets. Specifically, research from ADP Research Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Chicago and others discussed at the Summit included:

  • A paper titled, “U.S. Labor Market during the beginning of the Pandemic Recession” that used ADP’s weekly, anonymized administrative payroll data to uncover the evolution of the U.S. labor market during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that employment losses have been concentrated disproportionately among lower wage workers.
  • An assessment of how the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) impacted the probability that workers remained employed with their pre-COVID-19 employers during and after the pandemic, as well as the probability that those employers remained solvent and operational during and after the pandemic.
  • An evaluation of employment and income effects of expansions in overtime coverage for salaried workers by analyzing state and federal changes using detailed, anonymized administrative payroll data. The study found that companies responded by bunching workers’ earnings at the new exemption threshold.
  • The impact of lockdown policies and how mandated business closures and shifts in consumer demand could potentially affect the composition of jobs and the productive capacity of the U.S.

Highlights from the State of the Labor Market Panel Discussion
During the State of the U.S. Labor Market panel discussion moderated by anchor of CNBC’s “Closing Bell” Sara Eisen, panelists shared their perspectives on how globalization may be impacted by the pandemic, and how trade, immigration and foreign investment that were already threatened could continue to experience risk with the lack of travel, impacted industries and unemployment.

Despite the challenging labor market, the panel highlighted bright spots, including the effectiveness of additional incentives made available to help elevate the economic impact of COVID-19. The panel discussion also touched on how poverty fell during the pandemic, that the PPP caused a rebound in employment in smaller firms and how credit problems, mortgage defaults and credit card delinquencies were also more muted than feared.

For additional information on ADP Research Institute, and to view a recording of the panel discussion on The State of the U.S. Labor Market, visit here.




If Not You, Who? How to Crack the Code of Employee Disengagement

Jill Christensen

Employee Engagement is all the rage.  Why?  Let’s start with the fact that per Gallup, only 34 percent of U.S. workers are engaged.  This means the vast majority of employees are sleepwalking though their day, giving companies little discretionary effort. 

Engagement occurs when workers trust leaders and feel an emotional connection to your company – the same way they did their first day on the job.  And the payoff is enormous.  Companies in the top tier of employee engagement outperform their peers by 147 percent in earnings per share.  Additionally, engaged workers provide better customer service, stay longer, make fewer mistakes, are more creative and productive, and are great brand ambassadors. 

What should an employee engagement strategy include?  To engage or re-engage employees, develop a list of action items that your managers (not Human Resources – HR) execute on consistently, which fulfill employee’s basic human needs. 

Culture is defined as how we do things here.  So in order to change your culture, your managers need to do things here differently tomorrow than they are doing here today.  And, we know where managers need to focus, as these areas are proven to impact engagement:

  • The Right Person in Every Chair:  Employees want to work for a company whose values align with their individual values, as it causes them to feel more emotionally connected.  Therefore, hire for a values match as well as a job skills match.  In addition, if you have toxic employees, develop or remove them from your organization.  Why?  Because toxic employees spread negativity and incompetence, impacting the people around them. 
  • Goal Alignment:  Employees want to know that what they do every day has meaning and adds value, so ensure that every person’s goals are aligned with the CEO’s goals.  Why?  When an employee’s goals are aligned with the CEO’s goals, he/she can see that the work they are doing is making a difference.  They are adding value, and positively impacting the company’s future and success.
  • Two-Way Communication Culture:  Employees want their voice to be heard, so build a two-way communication culture where people can express their ideas, opinions, feelings, hopes, dreams and wishes. Why?  When an employee thinks their voice matters, they feel validated and important.  In addition, if you have the right person in every chair, you have smart people working for you.  These people are closest to the customer and have amazing insights about what’s working, what’s not, and what could be improved.  Tap into it.
  • Recognition:  Employees want to feel acknowledged and appreciated for a job well done, so create a recognition program based on thanking people for their great work.  Why?  When you give an employee a company-branded water bottle, you’ve done nothing to let them know specifically what they did that is recognition-worthy.  Put away the bottle and replace it with the words, “Thank you for…”.  These words will inspire employees to give you discretionary effort.

As you embark on a journey to improve employee engagement, remember that it is just that – a journey.  Employee engagement is not a program or an initiative led by HR – it is a strategy.  Successful employee engagement strategies are championed by senior leaders, executed on by managers, and results are measured via an Employee Engagement Survey.  Make the shift today and you can begin realizing benefits tomorrow.  


About the Author: Jill Christensen is an employee engagement expert, best-selling author, and international keynote speaker. A Top 101 Global Employee Engagement Influencer, Jill authored the best-selling book, If Not You, Who?, and holds a Six Sigma Green Belt. Jill can be reached at +1.303.999.9224 or jill@jillchristensenintl.com or http://www.jillchristensenintl.com.




Three Key Takeaways from the COVID-19 Reset Webinar Series 

Simon Erskine Locke, Founder & CEO of CommunicationsMatchTM 

Over the last three months, renowned Columbia and Harvard professors, industry-leading marketers, and behavioral experts have shared insights into impact and opportunities for leaders at all levels in all functions interested in the integration of strategy, marketing, and communications around COVID-19. 

In the most recent webinar, our distinguished panelists Michael R. Solomon, marketing expert, consultant, author and professor and Leslie Zane, President and Founder of Triggers® Growth Strategy, provided a behavioral framework for understanding the drivers of consumer decision-making and shared perspective on ways in which companies, marketers, and communicators can leverage these changes to grow their businesses. Stephan Wiedner, CEO and Co-Founder of Noomii, added perspective on steps business leaders need to take to help organizations realize these opportunities. Read the summary/watch the replay here.   

The webinars, organized by the Marketing IMPACT Council™ in partnership with CommunicationsMatch™, and supported by CommPRO.biz, The Financial Communications Society, and Capitol Communicator, provide three critical takeaways for communicators:  

1) What Clients Value is Different

What clients value has changed during the pandemic. Professors Noel Capon (Columbia Business School) and Amy C. Edmondson (Harvard Business School), and Founder & CRO of Researchscape, Jeffrey Henning, offered insights into the ways in which companies need to think about the greatest value they provide in the new landscape. A value-based approach to meeting clients’ changing needs should be the foundation of reset discussions. (Click here to read the summary/watch the replay of the first webinar.) 

2) The Business You are in has Changed

Changes in consumer behavior and the acceleration of existing trends by 3-5 years, are not only changing companies, but also the role of leaders, marketers and communicators who now need to be in the transformation business according to Marketer of the Year, Arun Sinha, and Time magazine Marketing Innovator, Rishad Tobaccowala. Companies and agencies that have been able to refocus messaging and business models will be able to not only survive but thrive. (Click here to read the summary/watch the replay of the second webinar.) 

3) Behavioral Change is an Opportunity

Generally resistant to change, consumer behaviors have become unfrozen noted Solomon and Zane in the most recent webinar, and changes are expected to stick. The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation taking place and created new opportunities for both new brands and old favorites. The keys to unlocking these opportunities are an understanding of, and the ability to tap into, underlying drivers of behavior and the need to create “psychologically safe workplaces” that encourage speaking up and innovation. (Click here to read the summary/watch the replay of the third webinar.)                 

The conversations John Greco, Chairman of the Marketing IMPACT Council™, and I have had with our panelists have underscored the importance of resetting strategy, messaging and communications for what Rishad Tobaccowala described as the “new strange.”

They reinforce the key Marketing IMPACT Council™ ideas around the critical importance of aligning organizations across functions and levels, and the value of CommunicationsMatch™’s tools that enable companies to virtually find and engage communicators and marketing resources needed to at a minimum to survive and ideally thrive in the years to come. 


 ABOUT

The idea of value is at the heart of the Marketing IMPACT Council™. Our VALUE Equation™ is an acronym and a mnemonic for VISION, ALIGNMENT, LEADERSHIP, UNDERSTANDING, and EXECUTION across functions. These five drivers must be continuously optimized and integrated to create, grow, and maintain the maximum value for all stakeholders and apply to both for-profit and nonprofit entities. We provide members tools and access to resources to unlock value – such as this webinar series – that help council members address the question, if you only had one more dollar, how would you invest it to create the GREATEST SUSTAINABLE IMPACT on the VALUE of your entity and brand.

Learn more and join at mktgimpactcouncil.com.

CommunicationsMatch™ offers search tools and services to help companies find, shortlist, and hire agencies, consultants, and freelancers, and help agencies and professionals generate new business leads. During the coronavirus pandemic, CommunicationsMatch has leveraged its resources to help connect struggling not-for-profits and companies with Communications Volunteers willing to give their time to help others at no cost or discounted services. Through its partnership with the Marketing IMPACT Council™, it is offering communicators access to a unique low-cost telehealth services program from MDLIVEFind out more here.




Listen and Act, for Marketing and Racial Reconciliation

Will Young IV, Business Administration Major, Marketing Minor, ​and Member of the Men’s Basketball Team at Messiah College  

As a Christian, to consider marketing’s role in racial reconciliation means understanding reconciliation from a biblical perspective.  Four times in his letters to the early Church, the apostle Paul used the Greek word katallage, which means to exchange one thing for another.  That definition of reconciliation reminds me of my first marketing class in which we discussed the discipline being about “mutually valuable exchange,” powered by two important activities: listening and doing.

Business transactions often culminate with the exchange of need-satisfying products, but they begin with more basic exchanges of time, questions, answers, and ideas.  Driving the process is one critical activity—listening: offering one’s ears along with a genuine desire to understand.

Just as listening sustains good marketing, listening is the first step toward racial reconciliation.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese peace activist once said, “In order to reconcile, you have to possess the art of deep listening.” Following the tragic murder of George Floyd, the world, specifically the black community, was outraged. The reason was not necessarily that we were shocked it had happened because, quite frankly, there has been a plethora of deaths of unarmed black men and women throughout the years, many a result of police brutality. The uproar, protests and rioting were infused with so much force and rage because for years we had been trying to call attention not just to police brutality but to other racial injustices, but we were never really heard.  Very few would listen.

The nation’s collective failure to listen to the voices of those crying out about racism has allowed many senseless events, like the killing of Floyd, to happen time and time again.  Martin Luther King Jr. predicted what happens when injustice meets apathy when he said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”  While I in no way support rioting or looting, it is important to note that such actions typically don’t happen when people feel like they’re being heard—when others are listening.

No competent marketers ignore the needs of their consumers.  No country should ignore the needs of its citizens, particularly those crying out about racial injustices.  Both fail to create mutual value.  Businesses have a unique opportunity to hear the voices of the black community and others crying out for change by having open and honest conversations with their employees, customers, and other stakeholders.  Large and small companies are in prime positions to break down the racial barriers they once avoided by genuinely listening.

As important as listening is to marketing and racial reconciliation, it only gets you in the room.  Action is what allows you to stay there.

People say, “be the change you want to see,” but actually being the change involves effort and often uncomfortableness.  If marketers want to play a role in racial reconciliation, they need to move beyond words and model what racial reconciliation looks like.

Ben & Jerry’s is a good example of such action.  The company’s website displays a staff composed of many different races, from African-American, to White, to Asian, to American Indian. The firm shows the world that despite our nation’s racial and political divisions, people of all races, cultures, and ethnicities can work together to achieve a common goal. Ben & Jerry’s is not just speaking about the change that should occur.  It is clear the company is intentional in hiring so it can be the change.

The firm also has introduced an ice cream flavor called “Pecan Resist,” centered on exchanging narratives of exclusiveness for inclusivity, equality, and justice for people of color.  In many ways, this product represents the gold standard of what marketing should do to be the change.

Businesses wondering about the role they can play in racial reconciliation should recognize that people have largely done their part.  Movements like Black Lives Matter have expressed anger and voiced concerns, upholding their role of the exchange.  They’re now looking for something in return for their voice, which, again, first means others who will listen.  Businesses should lead by example in lending an ear, but not stopping there.

After listening, organizations and individuals must go a step beyond and act on what they’ve learned, which is strengthened by understanding the history of racism, having uncomfortable workplace conversations, and donating to movements that advocate for racial equality and shared justice.  Simply stated:  They must do something.  Don’t leave the exchange relationship one-sided; make it mutually-beneficial, thereby encouraging racial reconciliation and creating priceless value for generations to come.

No two companies are the same.  Likewise, every business that chooses to listen and act will play a different yet important role on the road to racial reconciliation.  All such actions, however, must uphold common values: fairness, honesty, and respect. Whatever their specific role, companies that facilitate mutually beneficial exchange leading to racial reconciliation create a life-giving legacy of “Mindful Marketing.”


About the Author: Will Young IV is a business administration major, marketing minor, ​and member of the men’s basketball team at Messiah College.  He often offers his time to counsel and mentor young people.