Better Understanding of What It Means to Not Be Okay

Paolina Milana, Author & Founder of MadnessToMagic.com

My husband broke his ribs in a motorcycle accident. I was grateful his injuries weren’t even more serious. When he was released from the hospital, he wasn’t sent home swaddled in bubble wrap. He didn’t have a single scratch on him. No stitches. No cast. No visible black and blue marks. From the outside, he looked perfectly fine. But inside, every breath he took and every movement he made caused him excruciating pain. 

“How are you feeling?” I would ask. 

“I’m okay,” he’d respond. 

He wasn’t.

That’s how I’ve come to think about mental illness. But unlike a physical condition like a broken bone we can point to, knowing the source of our pain and trusting that it will mend, a mental or emotional illness isn’t as easy to diagnose, treat, and come to terms with (if it’s our own) or deal with (if it’s a challenge that someone else in our lives is navigating).

Think of how many times we’re asked in passing – by the grocery store clerk we encounter when shopping or a colleague we work with during a ZOOM call — “How are you today?” only to respond, “Okay!” – even when we may be feeling anything but.

Why is it so hard to be okay with not being okay? Why do we find it difficult to share being anything less than perfect? And what can we do about it?

Mental illness awareness week is an opportunity to better understand “not being okay.” While we won’t cover everything related to it in this short article, we can touch on a few key points, starting with the definition of mental illness. Often, the words mental illness and mental health are used interchangeably, but they aren’t the same.

Mental health is similar to physical health in that for both we are mindful of and taking actions to help ensure all-around wellness. Physically, that might mean eating well and exercising daily. Mentally, that refers to our thoughts and feelings and emotions, and making sure we’re able to overcome challenges and to deal with whatever life throws our way. For both physical and mental health, there are varying degrees: Think Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps versus the landlubber/couch potato (like in me), or consider happy-go-lucky Winnie the Pooh versus glass-half-empty Eeyore.  

Mental illness is also similar to a physical illness in that for both some disorder is impacting how we are able to function. Physically, that might mean we’ve been diagnosed with something like cancer – abnormal cells are dividing uncontrollably within us and have the power to destroy normal body tissue. Mentally, an illness refers to some disorder that is impacting our thoughts, feelings, behaviors and interactions with ourselves and with others – these include depression, anxiety, PTSD, schizophrenia or eating disorders. 

People who have a mental illness more often than not keep it hidden. Unlike telling others that you have (for example) cancer, which while difficult is accepted by society, telling people you have (for example) bipolar disorder is still shrouded in shame and brings with it a certain stigma. The fear of being labeled with a mental illness stops people from seeking help.

This week in October, we can take steps to help change that. Taking it upon ourselves to become more aware of mental illnesses as health conditions that are of no fault of the people who have them, but rather, are medical conditions that are treatable is a simple start to understanding what it means to not be okay – and to help ourselves and others realize that it is okay. 

Suffering in silence is never the answer. If we, ourselves, aren’t feeling okay, reaching out to trusted friends or family members and/or talking to your doctor or connecting with a reputable therapist, even tapping into online counselors from sites like @talkspacetherapy or @BetterHelp – just to name two – are ways to get the help needed.

Likewise, if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we all are in this together. So if you’re seeing someone else struggling, make it a point this week to reach out and to offer a helping hand. Sometimes, just knowing that somebody else sees us and cares is enough to think ourselves worthy of sharing whatever ails us and getting the help that’s available and that we deserve.

If you want a glimpse into what living with a mental illness is really like, this 30-minute episode “Take Me As I Am, Whoever I Am” from the Netflix series Modern Love is a powerful example of a bipolar woman, played by Anne Hathaway, struggling to navigate her career and relationships. For more information on understanding mental illness, tap into the top helpline resources as listed by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Remember, whether it’s you or someone you know, it IS okay not to be okay. And you are not alone.  





Trust on Trial: How Communicators Succeed in a World No Longer Trusted

Free Virtual Event: October 29 @ 7 – 8:30 pm ET

 

About

Establishing and maintaining trust. This is the core of the communications professionals’ work – and  something we all do. Yet, on an almost daily basis, we see the eroding trust in nearly all of our  institutions (governmental, religious, educational, and more). Who do we believe, who do we  trust? How do we maintain security while building trust? How do we have confidence in the  character, strength, or truth of someone or something? These questions are vital to us and  something to consider as we move forward.  

Join us as former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe leads a lively panel discussion among experts in  communication, news, political science, and security. The event is co-sponsored by the Schar School  of Policy and Government, CommPRO, and the Museum of Public Relations.  

Click here to register for this event. 

Introduction

Mark J. Rozell, Dean 
Schar School of Policy and Government 

Mark J. Rozell is the author of nine books and editor of twenty books on various topics in U.S. government and politics including the presidency, religion and politics, media and politics, and interest groups in elections. 

 

 

Panelists

Andrew McCabe
Former Acting Deputy Director, FBI
Schar School Distinguished Visiting Professor

Former deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe will join the faculty of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University beginning August 24.

McCabe, who serves as an intelligence analyst for CNN, will hold the title of Distinguished Visiting Professor. He will teach courses in national security and related topics beginning with the spring semester. Until then he will be a special guest lecturer in the Schar School.

“I am honored to join the Schar School team of scholars and professionals who are dedicated to inspiring the next generation of government and policy professionals,” McCabe said in a statement. “It is a wonderful opportunity to share my experience and perspectives on law enforcement and national security with students interested in serving their country and their communities.”

Mark J. Rozell, dean of the Schar School, said McCabe’s addition to the faculty strengthens a Master’s in International Security program that already boasts such leading experienced professionals such as former CIA and National Security Agency director Michael V. Hayden, former CIA acting director Michael Morell, former White House Situation Room senior director Larry Pfeiffer, and former vice chair of the National Intelligence Council Ellen Laipson.

“We are thrilled to have Andrew McCabe join the Schar School to help educate our students who will become the next generation of leaders in the fields of intelligence, security, and public policy,” Rozell said.

McCabe appeared in an October panel discussion, “Intelligence and the U.S. Presidential Election,” hosted by the Schar School’s Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security, featuring former CIA director John O. Brennan, former acting director of the CIA John E. McLaughlin, the Schar School’s Morell, and moderated by CBS News’ Margaret Brennan. 

 

Alice Stewart
CNN Political Commentator, Resident Fellow at Harvard University, Kennedy Institute of Politics

Alice Stewart is a CNN Political Commentator, Communications Consultant, veteran Senior Communications Advisor on numerous presidential campaigns and an Emmy Award winning journalist.

Stewart is a contributor on National Public Radio and serves on the faculty at the Leadership Institute where she conducts media training for political leaders in the United States and abroad.

Stewart worked as Communications Director for the presidential campaigns of Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Rick Santorum and Congressman Michele Bachmann.  She also served as a surrogate for the Republican National Committee.

Stewart has worked on communications strategy for Concerned Women for America, Republican National Senatorial Committee, Republican National Congressional Committee and Rick Scott for Florida Governor.  Stewart also served as Deputy Secretary of State for the State of Arkansas.

In her previous news life, Stewart worked as an Anchor/Reporter in Little Rock, Arkansas and Savannah, Georgia, and an associate producer in Atlanta, Georgia. Stewart also hosted a political talk radio show, “The Alice Stewart Show,” which featured national and local political leaders.  The goal of the show was to engage in a civil discussion on political issues and agree to disagree in a respectful manner.

Stewart’s Fall 2019 study group topic was entitled: From the Reagan Rule to Trump Tweets: Was 2016 Incivility an Aberration or Precedent-setting? It included a look back at the election process, press and data, with a glimpse to the future of Populism, Socialism, and Trumpism.

 

Michael Zeldin
CNN Legal Contributor

Michael Zeldin has served as a TV legal analyst since 1996, covering the OJ Simpson murder trial, Whitewater/Lewinsky investigation, Clinton impeachment proceedings, Gore v. Bush court challenges, and the Mueller Special Counsel investigation.

During his tenure in the U.S. Department of Justice, he held various senior positions, including:  Deputy Chief, Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section; Chief, Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Offices; and Special Counsel for Money Laundering Matters to Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Robert Mueller.

Mr. Zeldin served as the Deputy Independent/Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files during the 1992 presidential campaign.

Mr. Zeldin also served as the Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, where he investigated the events surrounding the holding of the American hostages in Iran during the Carter presidency.

He 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.

He is an internationally recognized expert on money laundering, terrorist financing and economic sanctions.

 

Michael K. Fauntroy, Ph.D.
Howard University

Michael K. Fauntroy is associate professor of political science in the political science department at Howard University, where he teaches courses in African American politics, interest groups, the presidency, and political parties. He joined the faculty at Howard in 2013 after 11 years on the faculty of the School of Public Policy at George Mason University. Prior to joining the faculty at GMU, he was an analyst in American national government at the Congressional Research Service (CRS). At CRS, he provided research and consultations for members and committees of Congress. From 1993 to 1996, he was a civil rights analyst at the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, where he conducted research on civil rights issues such as voting rights and fair housing.

Fauntroy’s second book, Republicans and the Black Vote, analyzes the historical relationship between African Americans and the GOP. It was a 2007 Foreword magazine book of the year finalist. He is also the author of Home Rule or House Rule? Congress and the Erosion of Local Governance in the District of Columbia. A third book, More Than Just Partisanship: Conservatism and Black Voter Suppression is forthcoming

Fauntroy is a continuing media presence commenting and analyzing national issues. He has been heard or seen on national radio and television networks such as ABC (World News Tonight), CBS (Evening News and The Early Show), CNN (American Morning), MSNBC (Hardball), Fox News (Hannity and Colmes), NBC (Nightly News and Today), PBS (The NewsHour and Tavis Smiley), CBC Radio – Canada, CTV-Toronto, Comcast (Your Morning), National Public Radio (Tell Me More, Talk of the Nation, and News and Notes), Public Radio International (The Tavis Smiley Show), Radio One, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Pacifica Radio, and XM Satellite Radio. He has been published in numerous news outlets and quoted in print publications such as The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, USA Today, Politico, Newsday, Black Enterprise, The Washington Times, the New York Daily News, BET.com, and the Boston Globe. He is currently serves as a political analyst for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio. Professor Fauntroy earned a B.A. degree in political science from Hampton University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from Howard University.

 

Richard Levick, Esq.
Chairman & CEO, LEVICK

(Moderator)

Richard Levick, Esq., is chairman & CEO of LEVICK, representing countries and companies in the highest-stakes global communications matters: the Venezuelan crisis; Qatar; the Chinese trade war; the Gulf oil spill; Guantanamo Bay, the Catholic Church, and many others.

Mr. Levick was honored multiple times on the prestigious list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the Boardroom” and has been named to multiple professional Halls of Fame for lifetime achievement.

He is the co-author of four books and is a regular commentator on television and in print. Mr. Levick speaks all over the world—at West Point, The Army War College, and teaches at Fordham Law School.

 

Jennifer Victor
Associate Professor of Political Science at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government

Jennifer Nicoll Victor is Associate Professor of Political Science at George Mason University’s Schar School Policy and Government.

Professor Victor studies the U.S. Congress, legislative organization and behavior, social network methods, political parties, campaign finance, organized interest groups, and lobbying. She is the co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Political Networks (2017). She is the co-author (with Nils Ringe) of Bridging the Information Gap: Legislative Member Organizations in the United States and the European Union (U. Michigan Press 2013). Professor Victor has published research in the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, American Politics Research, Party Politics, Interest Groups & Advocacy, P.S.: Political Science and Politics, and elsewhere. In 2019 she was awarded George Mason University’s Teaching Excellence Award.

Professor Victor is a co-founding contributor to the political science blog “Mischiefs of Faction,” and is a contributing writer for GEN by Medium. Her public scholarship has also appeared in The New York Times, The Conversation, OUP Blog, and LSE US Politics blog. Professor Victor serves on the Board of Directors of the non-profit, non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, is the past president of the National Capital Area Political Science Association, and past Chair of the APSA organized section on Political Networks. In 2005 she served as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow in the office of Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND). From 2003-2012 she was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Pittsburgh. She joined the faculty at George Mason University in 2012. Professor Victor holds a B.A. in Political Science from University of California, San Diego (Magna Cum Laude, 1997), and an M.A. (1999) and Ph.D. (2003) in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis.

REGISTER




Seriously! Are We There Yet?! – Stay Calm & Journey On

Free Virtual Event,  October 6, 2020 @ 2 pm ET  (90-minutes)

About

With October designated as Emotional Wellness Month and World Mental Health Day being observed on October 10, we invite you to JOIN US for a free virtual event “Stay Calm & Journey On” taking place on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 2 pm EST. Come take a breather from “adulting” when surrounded by madness, as communications veteran, mental health advocate, and published author Paolina Milana, joined by graphic artist and illustrator Whitney Horton, shares her latest book, “Seriously! Are We There Yet?!” This conversation is for the millions of us who may be struggling with this thing we call life, especially during these challenging times. It includes “story-time” with a sharing of the inspirational rhyming romp written for we “grown-ups” living in the real world, faking it, sometimes making it, and more often than not failing and wondering WTF…?; How did we end up here?; Where do we go now?; and, How much longer ’til we ‘arrive’? 

This 90-minute program (that includes Q & A) will speak to communications professionals who tend to always put on that brave face and positive messaging. We invite everyone to “come as they are” to get a mental health boost no matter where they are finding themselves emotionally. Mental health tips, tools, and resources will be shared during and following the event with educational and motivational content coinciding with other related events throughout the month of October.

Speakers

Paolina Milana

Published author, speaker, podcaster, content producer, and Founder of Madness To Magic, Paolina Milana’s mission is to share stories that celebrate the triumph of the human spirit and the power that lies within each of us to bring about change for the better. Her professional background includes telling other people’s stories, both as a journalist and as a PR and digital media/marketing executive. She currently serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in foster care and as an empowerment and writing coach who uses storytelling to help people re-imagine their lives, write their next chapters, and become the heroes of their own journeys. Paolina’s first book, The S Word (She Writes Press, May 2015), earned the National Indie Excellence Award. Seriously! Are We THERE Yet?! (October 2020) is the first in her “children’s book for adults” series, and Miracle on Mall Drive (November 2020) is her first fiction novel. Her free podcast, I’m with Crazy: A Love Story is on iTunes at https://apple.co/399ToaG. A proud first-generation Sicilian, Paolina is married and lives on the edge of the Angeles National Forest in Southern California. She welcomes contacting her at powerlina@madnesstomagic.com.

Whitney Horton 

The illustrations in Seriously! Are We There Yet?! are the work of Whitney Horton whose prior projects include How Are You Feeling? and A Day without Oils by Joe Bell, and Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth and Babies by Stephanie Fritz. Whitney is a freelance graphics designer and illustrator who has done work for brands nationwide. Connect with her @HortonDesigns or visit WhitneyHortonDesigns.com.

Reserve Your Free Spot

 

 




Why Presidents Should Always Remember What Their Mothers’ Told Them. How President Trump’s Illness Will Affect The Election

(And Important Lessons For PR Practitioners)

(Author’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of political articles for CommPRO.biz that I’ll be writing leading up to Election Day. FYI – My first public relations job was with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In politics, the hackneyed expression, “history repeats” is true. This column highlights how presidents do not learn from their predecessors that one unthoughtful comment can come back to haunt them.)

Arthur Solomon

When I was a little boy, if I was caught telling a lie or using foul language (which, of course, I never would do), my mother would wash out my mouth with soap. It taught me to think before I spoke. (Not being a soap fanatic, she used both Palmolive and Ivory, whichever was on sale.)

Too bad some of our presidents didn’t have the same experience. If they did, President Trump might have been cured of using foul language and not telling more than 20,000 lies during his presidency. Many have come back to haunt him, the most recent being his repeated fabrications that the coronavirus is under control. 

The ridiculousness of Trump’s false statements about the coronavirus, even as deaths from Covid-19 are increasing, might have taught him a lesson that I’ve always told clients with PR crises: Tell the truth. It will eventually come out. In the president’s case, now that Mr. and Ms. Trump have been infected by the virus he doesn’t have to tell the truth about it. It is self evident.

Trump has made so many untruthful remarks about the coronavirus pandemic that it’s difficult to highlight one.  But here are three:

  • It’s a Democratic hoax, and,
  • It only affects blue sates because of Democratic mismanagement, and
  • We have it totally under control.

It wouldn’t surprise me to have him say, “Melania and I are doing the right thing by quarantining ourselves. Joe Biden is helping spread the virus by denying that he has it. And you know what? If he says that his supporters will believe it.

But Trump is not the only president to have uttered comments that have come back to haunt him.

5 Communications Lessons from Trump's VictoryHere are some famous remarks by presidents that would have been better unsaid;

  • President Obama, talking about Islamic extremists, called ISIS and other groups the “JV team.” The fight against Islamic extremists has been going on since 2001.
  • President Nixon told a group of newspaper editors that he is “not a crook.” He resigned on August 8, 1974.
  • President Ford committed a major blunder in a debate with Jimmy Carter, insisting that “there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.” It emerged as a major presidential campaign issue, which many analysts say contributed to his defeat by Carter. 
  • In his 1988 campaign for the presidency, President George H.W. Bush said,” Read my lips: no new taxes.”  During his first year in office he raised taxes; many analysts said that remark helped Clinton defeat Bush four years later.
  • President Clinton demonstrated his proficiency in double talk by saying ‘It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the—if he—if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement. … Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true.”

But perhaps the biggest lie ever told by a president occurred in August 2016, when President Trump said, “I will never lie to you.”

Of course, not all lies are equal. Some are quickly forgotten and forgiven by voters. Others have played a part in defeating the re-election effort of a president.

The big question is, Will President Trump’s lies about the coronavirus and his illness affect the election? My opinion? It will. 

Here’s Why:

  • With less than a month to go before Election Day, it will take him off the campaign trail.
  • It will prevent him from engaging with supporters in super-expensive “meet the president” events needed to raise money for a last minute advertising blitz.
  • Whatever the president’s spokespersons say about his health will be taken with a grain of salt. 
  • Even if he recovers s quickly, his illness will be reported on for the remainder of the campaign, reinforcing comments by health scientists that the president’s dismissal of the pandemic was deliberately low-balled.
  • Whatever comments he makes about the coronavirus for the remainder of the campaign will be taken at even less face value than before.
  • While the president’s illness might not result in a tremendous number of voters switching form Trump to Biden, it certainly will gain the former vice-president some new voters. 
  • What ever hope the president had of changing the media coverage of the coronavirus to a topic more favorable to him has now magically disappeared, like the virus would, as he said.

(PR Lesson: The handling of the president’s illness has violated a basic tenet of a PR crisis: Don’t let bad news drip out. Get it out ASAP. The White House communications staff’s first mistake was not announcing that Hope Hicks had the virus. That news was made public by a Bloomberg News reporter. Then throughout Friday, when it was revealed that the president had the virus, news trickled out every few hours, without a medical staffer holding a comprehensive press briefing about his condition. The lack of transparency led to speculation by the media that the president’s condition might be worse than revealed, especially after it was announced that he was given an experimental drug treatment. The important thing for PR people to remember is that the less information made public during a PR crisis, the more speculation by the media that bad news is being held back.)

Throughout the coverage of the president’s illness, the fact that he and his closest White House advisors worked in close quarters without wearing a mask was always mentioned, followed by medical scientists saying how important social distancing and mask wearing is.

Ever since Joe Biden won the Democratic nomination, President Trump has been mocking him for wearing a mask, as he did during the debate last week. To appropriate from George and Ira Gershwin’s 1937 song “They All Laughed,” written for the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie “Shall We Dance.” “Ho. Ho, Ho, Who has the last laugh now.”

As I write this on October 3, more than 7-million American have been infected with Covid-19, and we are fast approaching that 210,000 of those have died.

While I disagree with President Trump’s political philosophy, I never wished him or anyone to have ill health. But it must not be forgotten that just because he has been stricken with the disease that his constant disregarding the advice of leading medical scientists, his dissemination of false information about Covid-19, his encouragement of his followers to “liberate” states, his holding political rallies, despite scientists saying that they could be virus-spreaders, and his valuing the economy and stock market above the health of Americans makes the president an accomplice to the deaths of Americans.

In its October 3-4 edition, on page A5, the Wall Street Journal headlined a story, “Covid Moves to Campaign Center.” The article quoted Alex Conant, a Republican consultant and veteran of the Bush White House, saying that Biden “didn’t do anything wrong and shouldn’t act like he did. This is a mistake some candidates make after tragedy occurs to the opposition.”

If I was advising Biden, I would suggest that from today until Election Day that he keeps on explaining the policy differences between him and Trump on many issues, especially highlighting the coronavirus and health care issues.

And he should do so without pulling any punches. Because if President Trump recovers in time for him to campaign before Election Day, he certainly will resume his aggressive attacks on Biden, his family and his untrue description of the Democratic Party as a socialist one or worse.  

When I was hired by a political PR firm, which was my first job in PR, the owner told me that I will be lied to and mislead by people I come in contact with. “All people lie,” he said. “Especially politicians.” Since then I have always double checked information provided to me by a client for accuracy before disseminating it and refused to issue false information to the media.

Facts that were made public today indicate that Trump has not only lied about the coronavirus but might be the spreader of the disease.

(PR Lesson and Health Advice: Being skeptical about client claims and checking for accuracy should be the norm for our business. Unfortunately, it isn’t. Misleading information and outright lies are too often disseminated by PR people. That’s why so many reporters distrust information from PR people. Act like a reporter and check the facts for yourself when President Trump makes comments about the status of the coronavirus, (or anything else.) Doing so might keep you healthy, unlike the president and so many of his cohorts.)


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.




A Crisis Manager’s PR Advice to President Trump

 

Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group

Mr. President, soon as you’re out of danger and feeling up to it, I offer you this crisis management advice as I have helped the CEO’s of some of America’s largest corporations to deal with crises effectively, turning scalding water into bubbling cool springs.  

And I’m sorry to say yours is a doozy!  

Meanwhile, there must be as much transparency about your condition and your progress or lack thereof in your battle with your COVID-19 infection.  The White House doctor must give accurate reports and straight facts and be totally honest and forthcoming about your condition, about such things as whether you’ve been on oxygen, how high is your fever, etc. 

When there is clarity on your condition and you’re feeling stronger, I would recommend that you hold a White House briefing ASAP and address the media virtually from your quarantine.

Tell the media how you and Melania are feeling and how you expect to recover quickly and resume campaigning harder than ever because . . .. “we can’t put jobs and our economy in quarantine and lockdown as Joe Biden would do.” 

Also tell the media that henceforth you’ll be even more vigilant in wearing your mask and recommending others do the same.

“Let this not interfere with our economy’s steady rebound,” you tell them.   “In fact, let what happened to me and Melania encourage more people to stay safe.”   

Also I would thank Joe Biden . . . “for wishing me a ‘speedy recovery,’ but don’t think for a minute, Joe, that this is going to make it any easier for you as I intend to come out of this quarantine more vigorous and determined as ever to defeat you.

“America’s industry, its workers and our economy need me for a second term for soon this virus will have seen its day with so many vaccines now on the march to the front line.  

Stay strong, Mr. President.  May you recover soon and God bless America.  




How Important Are Political Statements By Entertainers? (Not Much According To Recent Presidential Elections)

(And a Couple Of Important PR Lessons)

(Author’s Note: This is the fourth in a series of political articles for CommPro.biz that I’ll be writing leading up to Election Day. Some opinions expressed are from current occurrences; others from my first public relations job, with a political firm, where I worked on local, statewide and presidential campaigns. In politics, the hackneyed expression, “history repeats” is true. Much of what I experienced in those long-ago days are happening as you are reading this.)

Arthur Solomon

It was only a matter of time. You knew it would happen. And as certain as President Trump will lie it did: A show biz personality publicly backing a presidential candidate. 

While he had previously received print coverage and appeared on other TV programs regarding his politics, the first TV interview of this campaign with a performer that I saw was on December 14, 2019, when I was watching television while peddling away on a stationary bicycle in the gym, in the pre-coronavirus era. It was Ana Cabrera’s CNN interview with “Killer Mike” Render, the   rapper, actor and activist, who strongly supported Bernie Sanders. 

What amazed me was that it wasn’t the usual: 30 second to a minute sound bites that pass for interviews on TV but an in-depth discussion with a personality who probably isn’t even known by the largest segment of the population that votes – mid age to elderly, and probably couldn’t care what a rapper thinks about politics. (Sanders was already the most popular candidate of young voters who also are most appreciative of rappers. In my opinion, the number of older voters that switched allegiance to Sanders, from Biden, Klobucher, Bloomberg, Warren, et al because of what a rapper says can be counted on the fingers of your hands. But that’s what cable TV considers important: Having enough content to fill its time slots.)

Then on January 13, the New York Times reported the first entertainer to come out in support of Michael Bloomberg. It was Judith Sheindlin, better known to TV audiences as Judge Judy, whose nationally syndicated show is more popular than Oprah.

And why not? Like actors, politicians also read from scripts, known as talking points and stump speeches. Many actors and politicians also share other attributes – rudeness, super egos, exaggeration and the ability to tell a lie while smiling. (As a person who has worked with both, I can attest to that.) Maybe their erratic behavior is because most live in a world in which they have little say. The actors are controlled by playwrights, directors and producers; politicians by their political higher-ups. 

But do people really care what entertainers think? In the past their endorsements didn’t help. Because so many other factors go into a voter’s decision we’ll never know if celebrity endorsements mean anything, even if the candidates that they support are elected. One thing we do know, it certainly provides an easy way for entertainers to gain major print and prime time publicity.

Recent history shows that the public likes the entertainers’ shows more than the candidates they support. Great performances by supporters of John Kerry, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton couldn’t propel them to victory.

(“Political surrogates have always played a role in presidential elections, by lending campaigns credibility, enthusiasm and star power. Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Chance the Rapper held a concert in Cleveland for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The actor Jon Voight and the singer Kid Rock campaigned with Mitt Romney in 2012. Oprah Winfrey stumped for Barack Obama in 2007,” reported a January 29 New York Times story.) Of course, as anyone who follows politics knows, there were many other-like endorsers by entertainers.

Often relegated to “off Broadway” status in venues like Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina are actors who endorse Democratic candidates during the primary season, hoping that they and their candidate will take their performances to the stages of a nominating convention, before taking the show on a national tour. Of course, the coronavirus ended that scenario.

Instead, the show biz stars first prime time appearances of the current election occurred during the Democratic virtual convention, when TV stars Eva Longoria, Tracee Ellis Ross, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Kerry Washington had more air time than all speakers except the major ones.

But let’s not forget some of the actors who before the Iowa caucuses endorsed candidates: Danny Glover and Ariana Grande for Sen. Sanders and Cardi B, who interviewed Sanders in a video; Martin Sheen and Ashley Judd for Sen. Warren; Mandy Moore for Mayor Pete and Dave Chappelle for Mr. Yang. Biden won endorsements from two celebrity sports figures, soccer star Megan Rapinoe and Michelle Kwan, the Olympics figure skater.

Also, actors Cynthia Nixon and Kevin Costner braved the snow and cold of New Hampshire – Nixon was there for Sen. Sanders and Costner for Mayor Pete. 

And shortly before Super Tuesday, when the former NYC Mayor Bloomberg opened a field office in Massachusetts, Michael Douglas campaigned for him, saying one of the last things his father, Kirk, said before dying was, “Mike can get it done.”

A new element to performers endorsing presidential candidates was necessitated because of the coronavirus pandemic – virtual fund raisers. Some virtual Biden fund-raisers have featured show biz head liners. One event featured Billy Porter, Melissa Etheridge, Kristin Chenoweth, and tennis great Billie Jean King. Another one had Ken Burns as a host. Perhaps the most unique one was on September 13, when “The Princess Bride” cast, led by director Rob Reiner, reunited for a virtual script reading and fundraiser for the Wisconsin Democratic Party. Jimmy Buffett, David Crosby, Sheryl Crow, Joe Walsh and Rufus Wainwright also headlined a virtual fund raiser for Biden, as did Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Hudson, Jay Leno, Andra Day and John Legend. 

Vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris attracted a bevy of well-known show biz folk to the Democratic campaign.  They include Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Sterling K. Brown, Kate Hudson, Sarah Paulson and Jon Cryer. 

On September 21, the 51,000-plus members Actor’s Equity Association, for only the second time in its more than 100 year history, gave support to a presidential candidate by endorsing Biden. Among the reasons given were Trump’s proposals to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and that “Vice President Biden understands that the arts are a critical driver of healthy and strong local economies in cities and towns across the country.”

President Trump also has supporters in the arts community. Some are Clint Eastwood, Kid Rock, Stacey Dash, Roseanne Barr, Jon Voight, Stephen Baldwin, Kristy Alley, Scott Baio, Dennis and Randy Quaid, James Wood, Mary Hart, Rick Harrison and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

But the overwhelming number of marquee names support Biden, including George Clooney, Robert De Nero Robert Redford, Madonna, James Taylor, Ben Affleck, Dustin Hoffman, Neil Young, Cher, Mark Hamill, Jon Stewart, Larry David, Jason Alexander, Marc Cuban, Howard Stern, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Eva Longoria, Leonardo Di Caprio, Justin Timberlake Mariska Hargitay and Drew Carey.

Of course actors, like everyone else, have the right to express their opinions. But does their celebrity status mean their opinions are more valid than anyone else’s? Not in my opinion. 

History Lesson: Entertainers endorsing politicians date back to 1920, when Al Jolson and Mary Pickford supported Warren Harding at the behest of an ad agency. Occasionally, other entertainers came out in support of candidates after that. But if you’re tired of listening to actors explain why they support a candidate, blame television and  Ronald Reagan, a journeyman actor, who vaulted from being spokesman for the 1950‘s TV General Electric Theater, to becoming G.E.’s corporate spokesperson to the presidency in 1981. What separated Reagan from the current actor-activists was that instead of just talking he decided to put his beliefs’ into action, and the Hollywood-political connection was cemented. For good or for bad? You decide. 

The Democratic presidential primaries concluded on August 11, with Connecticut voters declaring their preferences, even though Joe Biden had the nomination locked up for months. Once the former veep was uncatchable, many actors supporting other candidates went the way of the No-Nothing Party.

But voters who like to read about show biz personalities supporting presidential candidates should not despair. As the 2020 election draws closer, expect additional big name entertainers to campaign for candidates they support. (You can bet on it.)

By all means tune in if virtual concerts are televised. You probably will have to suffer through boring speeches and commercials but the entertainment might be free, unlike the expensive ticket prices at their paid pre-coronavirus performances which were out of reach of so 

many people. (A page one story in the December 27, 2019, Wall Street Journal reported that “Concert-Ticket Prices Rose 55% in a Decade.”) Enjoy the performances, because you might not like the election night results. (Show biz folks named in this article are not the only entertainers who have endorsed candidates. And if you consider sports part of the entertainment business, which I do, there are dozens of other entertainment endorsers. But beware of endorsements by retired or current football players. Hard hits to the head might not have them thinking coherently.)

The ineffectiveness of show business luminaries campaigning for candidates should provide a valuable lesson to be remembered by people in our business: Using a highly-recognized individual as a publicity spokesperson for a brand does not guarantee meaningful publicity (i.e. stories containing client talking points) will be included in media coverage. But it sure will help the celebrity’s bank account.

And to all the young people in our business and those wannabes, consider volunteering for a political campaign. If you do so, you will learn more about the realistic PR world of dealing with media and different publics than you ever got from your expensive communications’ schools tuitions.

Every facet of public relations is used during a campaign, some good, and some ugly. But the lessons learned will be many. Teething on politics will also prepare young PR people to be skeptical, about promises made to them by agency supervisors. My advice to them is that they should always keep in mind Niccolò Machiavelli’s quote from “The Prince.” – “The promise given was a necessity of the past: the word broken is a necessity of the present,” and that might be the lesson that will benefit you the most. That quote might have been written with agency brass and politicians in mind.


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 and artsolomon4pr (at) optimum.net.




5WPR Reveals Christmas Shopping Has Already Begun

 

Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR

Believe it or not, nearly half the American population has already begun shopping for Christmas, according to a recent survey conducted by OnePoll for the financial company Affirm. The poll of 2,000 consumers revealed that 47% admitted to having already started their holiday shopping. Another recent poll by SWNS Digital found that 47% said they shopped early out of boredom.

Why so early?

Many respondents (41%) revealed that they redirected funds they had originally intended to use for holiday travel, but that was before the pandemic was declared. 15% confessed to having started their shopping in August, while another 17% said they still intend to travel during the holidays.

An advantage to early holiday shopping is that shipping should be faster than during the holiday season. At this time of the year, it’s likely that the selection of products will be wider and more available.

Good news for merchants

The good news for merchants ready to market to these consumers is that 75% revealed that they plan to use the money they would have spent on travel to buy even more holiday gifts. And it should come as no surprise that almost half (48%) said they expect to holiday shop online.

In case they see something on sale, 70% said they would be more likely to buy it sooner than later, rather than wait for what used to be the traditional Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Whether or not there’s a fear of supply chain availability as we’ve seen in some products, 38% said they would even make a large purchase and finance it if necessary, if it was something that caught their attention.

Where’s the extra money going?

OnePoll discovered that apparel looks like the big winner. 27% of those polled said they expect to buy more clothing and accessories this year than they did in 2019. 25% added that they plan to purchase more electronics.

Concerns

As promising as the sales outlook appears, some yellow flags were also thrown in during the survey. 48% of the respondents said they were concerned about going over budget and into debit on their holiday spending. And though nearly 50% said they were interested in paying off their holiday purchases over time, they also expressed a concern over hidden fees. 43% said hidden fees were the biggest blows to their budgets, even though 80% hope to pay off their holiday shopping bills before December 25th.

Suggestions

CMOs who have products that appeal to holiday shoppers should craft and launch a marketing campaign online sooner than later, to capitalize on the early interest already demonstrated by consumers. Earlier surveys showed increases in other home-related purchases during the pandemic and may likely continue. They included arts and crafts, cooking and baking-related appliances, games and entertainment, fitness equipment, and home improvement tools.

Brands with 2020-related merchandise or older inventory may see this as a good opportunity to move this merchandise as part of their early holiday marketing. Giving consumers an opportunity to double-down with a coupon or two for extra savings will help entice and excite them as well.

Transparency is extremely important, and brands that extend credit need to be especially sensitive and clear to survey responses over hidden charges and special fees. Those working with banks or credit card companies should encourage their financial partners to do the same.


Ronn Torossian - Pot for PetsAbout the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5wpr, a leading PR agency.




A Conversation with John Dean on His Newest Best-Seller, “Authoritarian Nightmare: Trump and His Followers”

Free Virtual Event On-Demand

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About

Join CNN’s Michael Zeldin as he interviews John Dean on his recent psychological investigation into the psyche and personality of Donald J. Trump.  Dean, who is best known for his treatise on Richard M. Nixon–another president presumed to have authoritarian tendencies– now drills deep inside the mind of the current president to understand the deep-seated roots of his dictatorial dreams and how close we are to facing an “authoritarian nightmare” if he’s elected again. Trump’s reign in a second term will make Watergate look like child’s play. And of all the many ominous portrayals of Trump this election season, Dean’s book sounds the loudest warning against granting him a second term.

Suspecting the answer lay in understanding Trump’s base constituency, Dean has partnered with Bob Altemeyer, a professor of psychology whose expertise is the study of authoritarianism, to see why Trump’s base is so faithful to him, no matter what he does. Why do evangelical Christians support him, for example, despite his well-documented sexual predations? Why do so many working class Americans support him, despite the way he works against their interests? Why do facts and logic not change their minds?

This is the first book to take a deep dive into the psychology of Trump’s base: How do Trump’s communications campaigns continue to appeal to them, while taking actions so contrary to their economic, health and religious interests.  Why do his followers believe the flagrant lies about his record, despite so much proof to the contrary?  How do they continue to have faith in a man whose irrational words continue to contradict reality and who to this day warns them: “What you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.”

Purchase “Authoritarian Nightmare: Trump and His Followers”

Speakers

John W. Dean

John Dean served as Counsel to the President of the United States from July 1970 to April 1973. Before becoming White House counsel at age thirty-one, he was the chief minority counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives, an associate director of a law reform commission, and an associate deputy attorney general at the US Department of Justice. His undergraduate studies were at Colgate University and the College of Wooster, with majors in English Literature and Political Science; then a graduate fellowship at American University to study government and the presidency before entering Georgetown University Law Center, where he received his JD with honors in 1965.

John recounted his days at the Nixon White House and Watergate in two books: Blind Ambition (1976) and Lost Honor (1982). After retiring from a business career as a private investment banker doing middle-market mergers and acquisitions, he returned to full-time writing and lecturing, including as a columnist for FindLaw’s Writ (from 2000 to 2010) and Justia’s Verdict (since 2010), and is currently working on his twelfth book about Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump’s election has resulted in renewed interest in (and sales of) John’s earlier New York Times best-sellers: Conservatives Without Conscience (2006), which explained the authoritarian direction of the conservative movement that resulted in Trump’s election a decade before it happened, and Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches (2008), which addresses the consequences of GOP control of government. His most recent bestseller, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It is being developed by Amazon Studios into a feature film entitled “Watergate.”

John Dean held the Barry M. Goldwater Chair of American Institutions at Arizona State University (2015-16), and for the past decade and a half he has been a visiting scholar and lecturer at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications. John has been teaching a long-running continuing legal education (CLE) program series which examines the impact of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct on select historic events from Watergate with surprising results, along with the lasting impact of Watergate on the legal profession – The Watergate CLE. Since 2017 he has been a political/legal commentator for CNN, and currently is working on his twelfth book

 

Michael Zeldin

Michael Zeldin has served as a TV legal analyst since 1996, covering the OJ Simpson murder trial, Whitewater/Lewinsky investigation, Clinton impeachment proceedings, Gore v. Bush court challenges, and the Mueller Special Counsel investigation.

During his tenure in the U.S. Department of Justice, he held various senior positions, including:  Deputy Chief, Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section; Chief, Money Laundering and Asset Forfeiture Offices; and Special Counsel for Money Laundering Matters to Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Robert Mueller.

Mr. Zeldin served as the Deputy Independent/Independent Counsel, investigating allegations of tampering with candidate Bill Clinton’s passport files during the 1992 presidential campaign.

Mr. Zeldin also served as the Deputy Chief Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives, Foreign Affairs Committee, October Surprise Task Force, where he investigated the events surrounding the holding of the American hostages in Iran during the Carter presidency.

He 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.

He is an internationally recognized expert on money laundering, terrorist financing and economic sanctions.

 

 

 




Are We Living in a Fairy Tale? Time to Close the Book.

Leslie Grossman, Faculty Director, Executive Women’s Leadership, The George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership

It’s been said by countless experts, that contrary to what many may believe, fairy tales are not good for kids.  Nor are they good for adults.  Fairy tales are stories that originally were not based on truth. Or were they? Today, many believe that we are living in a fairytale which has become our reality.  In addition, to the skewed stories we have been told by the leader of our country for the last 4 years, we are now being told by President Trump, repeatedly both directly and indirectly, that our election process is fraudulent. No matter what your political party, you should be concerned about voter fraud, foreign intervention and voter suppression. However, it is his most recent comments which are causing a flashing yellow light.

In response to a question, the president complained about mail-in ballots and said: “Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful…”. He paused and then added,” there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation.  “Get rid of the ballots.”  What does he mean? “With no ballots to be counted, and mail-in ballots to be excluded, we are left with a form of government America did not sign up for  – a monarchy or autocracy. Citizens, especially those who are not happy with the leadership at the top,  are growing increasingly alarmed as Mr. Trump repeatedly questions the integrity of the vote and suggests that he might not accept the results if he loses.

Many of us are having nightmares night and day from a threat to the peaceful transfer of power.  Which brings me back to two disturbing fairy tales – The Emperor’s New Clothes and the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Both kept me up at night when I was a child, and now they come too close to today’s situation to allow me a good night’s sleep.   

In The Emperor’s New Clothes, the emperor is tricked into believing that only true believers can see his fine suit created by swindlers pretending to be weavers, who deliver a suit of ‘nothing’. Even the emperor’s cabinet go along with this falsehood, not wanting to disagree with what the emperor sees. The emperor parades down the street totally naked with all the townspeople afraid to say the truth.  Finally, a young child blurts out the truth. At the end of the tale everyone admits that they all have been tricked.

George Cappannelli, author and global consultant, compared Trump to the story of The Emperor’s New Clothes in January, 2017, the  month Trump was inaugurated.  Cappannelli wrote, The Emperor’s New Clothes  “…warns us of the dangers of vanity and duplicity and exposes the frailties of even so-called reasonable people when swindlers appear and play upon our pain and confusion by convincing us that we are in danger of losing something we think we are entitled to or we become afraid that we might be judged by others to be stupid or poorly informed.  As a result, we often do just want the swindlers want.  We deny reality and turn away from what is in plain sight.”

In the Pied Piper of Hamlin, one version has the Pied Piper leading the rats which were infesting the city into the river to drown. After ridding the city of rats, he entices the children to follow him with his beautiful music, leading them to the river to drown as well. According to Gini Graham Scott, business author and consultant,  in a blog post appearing in the Huffington Post on March, 2016, “Trump’s followers are a little like these children who hear the pipes playing and follow blindly, mesmerized by the sound of the music because the piper plays so well. So where is the townsperson that will take away the piper’s pipes so no one else will follow” and drown?

Will the villagers speak up and stop the Pied Piper? Will the villagers see that the wannabe ‘emperor’ believes anyone that flatters him and listens to no one who is truly wise.  

The time has come to end the fairy tale leadership of our country and go for leaders with experience, empathy, focus, transparency, intelligence and a willingness to listen and collaborate to save our world.  Speak up. Protect the Vote.  Protect American democracy. 


About the Author: Leslie Grossman’s personal vision is a world where there is gender equity at the highest leadership roles of all organizations. As an executive leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker and workshop leader, Leslie devotes all her work to achieving this purpose.  Leslie created and leads the Executive Women’s Leadership Program as Faculty Director and Senior Fellow at The George Washington University Center for Excellence in Public Leadership. 




What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?Art Stevens, Managing Partner, The Stevens Group, APR, Fellow PRSA

Here’s a somewhat familiar story. The names here have been changed to prevent awkwardness.

Rhett Butler Public Relations, a New York consumer product PR agency earning about $3 million in net fee revenues, was acquired by the Millard Fillmore Group headquartered in San Francisco. Fillmore is an agency on the rise and nets $30 million with a core client group in most niches except for consumer products.

The Fillmore Group decided to go the acquisition route. Its vision was to establish a foothold in New York, where it wasn’t currently represented, and to get into the consumer product category to extend its service bandwidth. It identified the Butler firm as an opportunity to accomplish both goals.

Through a facilitator like me (in fact, it may have been me) the principals of the two firms met a number of times before both parties felt that the situation was right.

Terms were drawn up, negotiations ensued and an agreement was reached. Butler was going to be the New York platform for Fillmore and both parties were ecstatic. The synergies were apparent, the culture was compatible and the chemistry between the principals was excellent. The acquiring firm submitted legal documents, lawyers played their role in dotting the Is and crossing the Ts and the deal was done. Employees of both organizations were briefed on the exciting future this transaction would play in their lives. Announcements were sent to clients and subsequently the media.

Brand presence

All elements of the deal were included in the signed documents — except one. And that was what the name of the acquired firm would be. It was never discussed if Butler would continue to be called Rhett Butler Public Relations, or Butler/Fillmore or simply Fillmore.

For some reason, the name of the acquired firm wasn’t even raised in the initial or final discussions. All other components of the deal were: the earn-out, the role of the acquired firm’s principals and the reporting structure. The subject of the name was left hanging and needed to be addressed.

The Butler firm remained in the office space it had been in for the previous 10 years. Fillmore’s CEO picked up the phone to call his counterpart at Butler once the deal was about two weeks done.

“Hi, Rhett. I hope all is going well,” said Fillmore. “Are your employees and clients as psyched about your joining our organization as we are?”

“Yes, indeed, Millard,” said Butler. “Everyone is on board. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”

“I’m so glad to hear that, Rhett. Now that the deal is done, I think it’s time to cover the next subject in our evolution. Since the Fillmore brand is so well known, I think we should now brand your firm as Fillmore. I’d like to see your name changed by the end of the month.”

There was a long pause. Finally, Butler said, “But, Millard, the Butler brand is also well known. We’ve established a strong presence in the consumer product category, and if we abandoned our name it could cost us business.”

“Nonsense,” said Fillmore. “If your brand is changed to Fillmore you’ll get more business, not less.”

And the conversation ended without any decision having been made. But Fillmore continued to insist and Butler had no choice. In 30 days, the name of the decades-old Butler firm was changed to Fillmore. And the Butler firm suffered as a result.

If you were to have a private and confidential conversation with Rhett Butler about this turn of events, here’s what he would say:

“We were in effect forced to change our name. It hadn’t occurred to me that this would be part of the deal. Once acquired, I no longer had a vote. Our employees were very disheartened to learn that the Butler name was gone. And our clients began to look more closely at possible conflicts of interest with those of the parent company.”

“And for some reason our usual over-the-transom prospects began to shrink. They thought that once the Butler name was no longer on our letterhead that we had gone out of business. It was a disaster. If I had to do it over again, I would never agree to abandon a brand name that was well known in the marketplace.”

Combined names

If you’re contemplating selling your firm, then you should insist on your name being carried forward at least through the end of the earn-out period. If your firm earns well under $1 million in net fee income and you have fewer than ten clients, a name change may not be that vital. But if your firm has at least $2 million in net fee income, has a dozen clients or more and a staff of 20, then the name of the firm is just as important an asset as how much cash you have in the bank. The ideal situation would be to pair your name with the buyer’s. The combined name could do more for your ongoing reputation as the name of your firm before the transaction.

Most buyers wouldn’t agree to have its acquisitions retain their own names unless the buyers are huge holding companies. It’s one thing for a Ketchum or FleishmanHillard to keep their names as wholly owned units of Omnicom. But it’s not likely that a PR agency the size of Rhett Butler PR would hang on to its original name. The more common likelihood is that its name would be combined with the buyer: Butler/Fillmore.

The most important thing to remember is that the subject of what an acquired agency should be named is no less important than such other fundamentals as purchase price, earn-out criteria, degree of autonomy and synergy. Your ongoing net fee revenues could depend on it.


As originally published on PRSA Public Relations Tactics.




5WPR CEO On What Marketers Should Know About Younger Generations

Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR 

Vangar generations are the people that were born between the 1990s and the 2000s, and these are the first generation of people who are considered to be digitally native. These are the people who are constantly connected through various devices, and this is what makes them easily accessible to marketers.

However, this is precisely what makes them very digitally savvy, and it means that they have very clear expectations of social media platforms and their uses. This is why marketers should craft specific marketing strategies that can target what’s important to these generations and resonate with them regarding their personal values. 

When it comes to marketing to the younger generations, marketers usually only have a few seconds to convince the consumers that whatever it is that they are promoting is worth their time. Fortunately, when convinced, they are able to focus long enough to complete very detailed research on any topic that interests them. 

Email 

Most of the time, marketers think people only care about social media platforms, which means they tend to focus all of their marketing efforts on those platforms. However, according to recent studies, the younger generations are actually very active email users. According to research, these younger generations check their email several times per day, which shows that the younger generations continue to see email as an important and valid communication method. 

Social Media Platforms 

Additionally, these younger generations don’t have one preferred platform, and instead, they are far more likely to use multiple social media platforms across multiple devices. However, they aren’t consuming and posting the same type of content on each platform; for example, on Instagram, they tend to show their ideal selves, while on Snapchat, they share their real-life moments. They tend to get the news from Twitter and mostly use Facebook too to connect with older family members. 

Connections 

The one thing that the younger generations crave is an authentic connection with the brands that they want to purchase products or services from. Most of the time, these consumers are looking for brands that tend to appear human. In fact, when the younger generations have a connection with the company, they aren’t just going to convert into consumers, but they actually become brand advocates. Most of these young people are very brand conscious and then stick to the brands they like for a long time. 

All of this information means that the young generations are looking for connections both through email and on social media platforms. This is why brands should create a kind of cult following with the potential consumers, as they are going to like everything about the company itself, along with all of the products and the people working there. This can be done through personalized content, allowing the public a glimpse into the daily life at the company, and using artificial intelligence to anticipate the needs of these buyers.


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




Is It Safe Here?

Deanna Brown

What inhibits the learning and evolution of a team? Safety. Throughout 2020, our collective safety has been upended in myriad ways, and it’s extremely evident in how teams are functioning with each other and overall in an organization. The events of this year have caused a new human to emerge; often vulnerable, uncertain, fatigued and insecure at levels not experienced collectively before. Anxiety is substantially increased when massive change is happening in our organizations and communities. When we are required to make decisions and take actions without much knowledge, if any, living with the uncertain outcome is a huge stressor for all. Will everything work out? We just can’t be sure. 

So, what holds people back from speaking out, challenging ideas, offering suggestions, developing trust and vulnerability? As humans, we’re hesitant to engage in behaviors that may threaten others’ perceptions of us that cause judgments, criticisms and alter our public image. We risk being seen as incompetent and disruptive or negative. And when this also connects to the “hierarchal” ladder, the risk becomes even greater for speaking up, yet this is a huge strategic advantage for an organization. Those that have teams with high comfort levels of safety are more innovative and resilient while enhancing the culture of learning, acceptance, trust and engagement. 

As a senior leader or manager of a team at any level, creating the environment where your team members feel safe enough to ask hard questions, poke holes in processes or projects, ask for help and share vulnerability is key. How do you know you have that type of climate in the workspace? According to Amy Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School and author of ‘The Fearless Organization’, there are clear signs you’re on or off track. In psychologically safe environments:

  1. “People believe that if they make a mistake, others will not penalize or think less of them for it.”
  2. “People will not resent them or penalize them for asking for information, help or feedback.”
  3. There is an existence of strong interpersonal relationships with high levels of trust

If someone on a team makes a mistake, is it held against them? Can they bring up tough issues? Is there a willingness to take risks? Do team members undermine others? Does anyone feel it’s unsafe to be different? 

If your team tends to have unwritten rules saying “don’t speak up if the boss is there”, “don’t criticize ideas he has”, “this project is way too risky, but I’m the only person that seems to think so”, or “anyone that speaks up in those meetings is ultimately judged and gets labeled as a troublemaker and not a good ‘team player,’” then those are big, red flags. 

In assessing your team or organization overall, the behavior of the leader is crucial. Consider these 3 key attributes:

  1. Accessibility: Does your team truly feel comfortable approaching you directly without the red tape of scheduling? Can they quickly catch you without feeling like they’re “taking your valuable time”, “being a pest” or “asking something they should already know about”?
  2. Fallibility: Do you have a tolerance for failure and mistakes in the company, including your own? Do you solicit feedback and ask for input while acknowledging you don’t have all the answers, or may be missing something critical? 
  3. Power: Do those in lower-level positions feel empowered to speak up with confidence and clarity? Do you effectively help minimize the tendency of domineering or higher-level positions to overshadow conversations, project ideas or directions teams move?

While there are numerous components to assessing and facilitating a psychologically safe climate, not to mention a concerted effort to dive deeply beyond the above factors, what can a leader expect as an outcome to all of the change work? It’s profound. 

Amy Edmonson demonstrated through her research that creating conditions of psychologically safe environments causes:

  1. A foundation of effective learning which motivates a team’s collective learning process
  2. Setting and reaching goals
  3. Comfort in experimentation and discussion of results, creating further innovation—the create, launch, assess and adjust process that is the hallmark of the best organizations.
  4. Implementation of ideas and projects with minimal delays and chaos
  5. Sharing of knowledge throughout the organization
  6. Increased accountability where team members own their ideas, mistakes and comments

Putting together the blueprint to bring all of this into existence is not complicated. You’ll run into a few bricks and dips most certainly, yet the long-term health and sustainability of your team will reap in untold ways. 

Begin by setting the stage. What are the expectations for failure and mistakes? How will uncertainty be tackled? What does interdependence look like? Next, invite engagement. Be vulnerable and humble. Ask your team questions on this. Where do they see gaps? Be an active listener. Then respond in a productive manner. Find unique and consistent ways to express appreciation. Encourage and demonstrate candor. 

While there are multiple arenas to work through in creating a holistically healthy organization, creating a psychologically safe climate is key and lays a foundation for many other efforts.

In the end, you’ll find a team that is happier at work, more motivated, committed to each other and the company goals, all while thriving in the “new normalcy” we’re moving into through this transformative time. 


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. 

 




What’s Still Ahead for PR Professionals in 2020?

Valerie Christopherson, CEO and Founder of Global Results Communications

While 2020 started with blurred vision as to what was to come, agency PR professionals focused on a new decade, new ways of communicating and providing strategies to meet their clients’ needs in an ever-changing digitally transforming world. Within the first quarter, the world was hit with a global pandemic, one in which every business has been affected in one way or the other. For PR agencies, the task converted from new year/new goals to that of crisis and planning for the unplanned on a global scale.

Agencies were tasked to maintain factually accurate information, especially those in the healthcare sector, while those of us in the tech industry were tasked with providing counsel as how to get the word out about that technologies available for healthcare, schooling, remote working, public safety and more.  Now that we’re nearly 8 months into the pandemic, we are seeing things become less of a crisis and more of an “if” what if this happens, what if that happens, what if both happen and what if neither happen? We’re living in a world of real-time, minute-by-minute and day-by-day happenings and/or changes. In some cases our clients are open, then shut, then open again. It’s our responsibility to ensure that communications, internal and external, remain factual. By removing the “what if” from the equation, we can communicate better and in turn provide better counsel. That doesn’t mean we don’t plan for the what if, in fact, planning is more important than ever.

So, what’s ahead for PR professionals for the remainder of 2020? Everything we thought 2020 would be: video, tech tools heightened, storytelling and branding merging, etc. Only now, it’s accelerated. What we predicted in Dec of 2019 happened, only happened in a quarter’s time frame with many curves along the way. We entered into the New Year noting that the use of video would be more prevalent than ever. Now, with Zoom-type meetings, the use of video has become part of the new norm. We also noted in the New Year that content would see an uptick. Now, we’d argue content is essential. Finally, we stated that the New Year would bring about new challenges and opportunities. And, now, we’ve proven that the challenges are the opportunities.

Communications professionals are transforming and adapting more than ever to the emerging world of tech across all industries. Technology has become the connected tissue keeping not only North America but the world together. And, communications has kept the world informed in a time frame where information is more than essential but rather critical. So what’s really ahead for communications professionals as we navigate through the remainder of the year? Uncertainty. What we’ve all learned is that uncertainty is what we can plan for, what we can communicate about and what we need to incorporate into our PR programs. Uncertainty is not always a crisis and shouldn’t be viewed as such, but it should be part of the strategy when looking into the future, noting that the future could be as quick as a day or even a moment in time.


About the Author: Valerie Christopherson is founder and CEO of Global Results Communications (GRC), an award-winning public relations firm trusted by both entrepreneurs on the cusp of new discoveries and multi-billion-dollar enterprises breaking new ground. Renowned for her expertise in high tech, she is the driving force behind GRC’s targeted communications strategies that dramatically enhance client market presence and performance on a global scale. Prior to founding GRC in 2005, Valerie held key positions at QUALCOMM, Porter Novelli Convergence Group and other niche agencies in the mobile, telecom and technology sectors. Over a span of 20 years, she provided unparalleled counsel and campaign management resulting in successful public relations and social media programs for Fortune 500 companies, major trade associations and start-ups.

A current board member of Golden Rule Charity, Valerie has been involved with various nonprofit organizations including Make a Wish Foundation and Mobile Giving Foundation among others. An industry thought leader, she is frequently called upon to speak at regional and national events including PR News conferences, regional PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) conferences and Comm Week at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF).

A graduate of CSUF, Valerie holds a bachelor’s degree in both English and communications with a public relations emphasis. She also completed a social media certification program at University of California, Irvine.




The Evolving PR & Marketing Partnership

Learn how PR can improve its position through tech adoption, data analysis and ROI measurement—all by working in unison with marketing teams.

Created in partnership with PRWeek, The Evolving PR and Marketing Partnership: Benefits of Self-Reflection challenged PR pros in the U.S. and Europe to compare themselves to their marketing counterparts by taking an honest look in the mirror.

In this e-book, you’ll learn: 

  • Where the PR/marketing partnership stands now
  • What PR can learn and adopt from marketing
  • Which metrics matter, including those with which PR has long struggled

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Why Your SEO is Missing the Mark (And How You Can Fix It)

Why Small Businesses Need SEOCommPRO Editorial Staff

If you operate any sort of website, then you will be fully aware of just how important it is that your website is found on the first page of Google. Unless people are going to be able to find your site when searching Google, you won’t be attracting many visitors.

The purpose for most websites, besides hobby or fan sites, is to make money. Whether the website is one for your business or service, or for an affiliate site that you have developed, without any visitors, you are going to struggle to earn anything from it.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is the process in which a website is optimized to rank better in the search engines for the desired keywords and search phrases. 

Each website is different and therefore the type of SEO that is applied to it will depend on a number of factors. The first thing to do is to examine the website and make sure that the content is unique, with proper headings and subheadings in place. The next is to take a look to see what, if any, websites are already linking back to the website, and then prepare an SEO strategy based on these audits.

The Two Types of SEO

Though SEO can be performed through a variety of methods, there are two distinct types of SEO that everything will fall under. These are on-page and off-page SEO. If you are curious as to what is SEO, have a look below, where we will take a closer look.

On-Page SEO

As the name suggests, this is SEO that is performed on the pages of a website. On-page refers to everything related to the website. Content, images, page speed, meta titles and descriptions are just some of the factors that are looked at when performing on-page SEO.

The first thing an SEO expert would do before starting SEO on a project would be to perform an audit of the website. They will look at various elements of the site such as the keywords each page is targeting, whether there is sufficient content on the pages, what titles and heading are being used and how quickly the page loads.

Once a thorough audit has been carried out, then the SEO expert can start working on various on-page aspects of the website. The on-page SEO side of things is something that is carried out once, whereas off-page SEO is an ongoing proves.

Important elements for on-page SEO

There are a number of important factors when it comes to on-page SEO. First and foremost is the content on your website. In many cases, a website will have very poorly written or ineffective content. Some websites may only have a couple of pages of content while their competitors may have dozens. Good, well written and unique content is vital to every website.

Another important element of on-page SEO is your site speed. Google has recently started placing a lot of emphasis on the importance of page speed. Simply put, if your website is slow, it will give your visitors a poor experience, so Google will rank fast websites ahead of yours. There are a number of things that you can do to improve your page speed, but some of these are very technical, so you might need to employ the help of an SEO professional to fix any such problems.

Off-Page SEO

This is the side of SEO that relates to everything apart from the website, hence the off-page name. This includes everything from backlinks, keyword research, social media and much more.

The most important factor in SEO are the backlinks to your website. Google has made a lot of effort to try and diminish the importance of backlinks, but they are still the more important ranking signal.

A backlink is simply a link back to your own website from another. Not all backlinks are equal, and some are a lot more powerful than others. In fact, if you have the wrong type of backlinks to your site, you could actually be causing your website a lot of problems.

As with on-page SEO, the SEO expert will undertake a backlink audit to determine who is currently linking back to your website. Once this has been performed, they will then start looking at the backlink profiles of some of your competitors in order to get a better idea of the type of backlinks your site is going to need.

Getting Good Backlinks

You will want your website to have backlinks from powerful authority websites, rather than from spammy single page websites that have no value whatsoever, or from link farms that simply link out to thousands of completely unrelated websites.

There are a couple of methods that SEOs will use to create quality backlinks to your website. These include outreach, where various websites are contacted on your behalf with a request to include a link back to your site. In such instances, the SEO has identified relevant content on other websites, and is then contacting them to see if they would be willing to include your website as a resource link.

The other more popular method is guest posts. This is when you purchase a guest post on another website, which will include a backlink to your site. There are a number of guest post services online who have connections with hundreds of authority websites that allow guesposts. You’ll simply make a one-off payment for a lifelong backlink from those sites.

Some final thoughts

SEO isn’t a science, but it is a rather complex entity with many moving parts. There are so many different aspects of SEO that at times, you might be overwhelmed with what you have to do. 

Though SEO has a basic process which needs to be followed, not all websites are going to need the exact same things applied to them. It really depends on the specific website. Some sites may have excellent content and great on-page but simply lack quality backlinks. Others may have total garbage as content on their sites, that it is simply not worth performing any off-page SEO until the on-page has been corrected.

If your time is limited, then the best option would be to speak to an SEO agency. They will be able to offer you a breakdown of what your website needs, and how they can help. Remember that without proper SEO you might have a beautiful looking website, but no one is going to be able to find it. SEO is the fuel that keeps your website running and visible to potential visitors.




Chainstack Simplifies Blockchain Deployments for Enterprises

CommPRO Editorial Staff

Chainstack announced the addition of DAML, an open-source smart contract language created by Digital Asset, to its multi-protocol partner ecosystem that spans a comprehensive range of consortium and distributed ledger technology (DLT) protocols, including Bitcoin, Corda, Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, MultiChain and Quorum. The partnership helps enterprises and developers build and deploy DAML applications and networks across multiple projects with hybrid configurations quickly and cost-effectively, through the Chainstack platform.

DAML is a state-of-the-art framework for building connected applications that span data silos and trust boundaries, changing how businesses collaborate across industries. DAML allows developers to focus entirely on the application logic without worrying about the underlying technology – blockchain, cloud, or database technologies. While systems integrators are typically used to facilitate the process, there are additional options for smaller sized enterprises and individual developers.

The partnership between Chainstack and Digital Asset is designed to further democratize go-to-market strategies and options for all innovators, regardless of size and existing infrastructure. With Chainstack’s intuitive console and turnkey deployment feature, the integration of DAML on Chainstack platform will allow enterprises and developers to embed blockchain applications and networks speedily with existing legacy systems.

The first phasewill see DAML being made available on Chainstack for Cordaas an early access feature, with other protocols and platforms to be added over time, includingCorda Enterprise and Hyperledger Fabric.

“We are excited that Chainstack has integrated DAML into its offering,” said Chris Clason, Director, Strategic Alliances at Digital Asset. “Developers can now build DAML applications on a very innovative and intuitive platform that supports multiple blockchain networks. Chainstack’s platform agnostic approach is a great fit for DAML-built applications that can be written once and deployed anywhere.”

The announcement is yet another step towards developing a robust ecosystem of partners that will add specialized best-in-class offerings to Chainstack’s advanced engineering platform.

“Both Chainstack and Digital Asset are bringing together the most active communities of developers worldwide in the quest for close industry collaborations, innovation and democratization of technology,” said Eugene Aseev, CTO of Chainstack. “We are excited by the potential of this collaboration and share the common vision of simplifying blockchain deployments for faster business outcomes.”

Source: Blockchain Wire




Do You Know Your $DigitalName? You Will Soon.

CommPRO Editorial Staff

In 2019, consumers checked their digital wallet apps over one trillion times, according to research. And the numbers are, you guessed it, increasing.

Because so much of the banking and finance industries is now centralized in digital wallets, the natural transition to blockchain technology will be a smooth one.

For many new users diving into the blockchain and cryptocurrency world, it can be difficult to navigate how to easily transfer and receive money from digital eWallets. Because of these complicated steps, which often prompt the fear of wrong inputs and losing transaction value, this greatly suppresses the power of what blockchain technology can do for the better.

Digital Names simplifies the process of transactions by minimizing human error. It helps with the remembering, data entry, and overall everyday usage of digital wallets for cryptocurrency payments/receipts through one’s Digital Wallet. Digital Names is built on Total Network Service’s (TNS) global decentralized network. TNS Blockchain is an active W3C community project.

Digital Names is fundamentally reinventing the way we make digital financial transactions. Developed by the “Godfather of FinTech,” Thomas Carter, and internet database network guru, Frank Corsi, Digital Names has created a digital payment method that enables users to make their own “digital name” comparable to having a personal “dot com” address. This allows users to simply make transactions across 235 blockchains using a single ID, their digital name, saving significant time and tedious mental energy. As many are familiar with using payment platforms like Zelle, PayPal, Venmo, and more, Digital Names offers users the ability to utilize a single ID to send and receive money for transactions, retail, cryptocurrency, and much more.

The technology is woven into the deep security backing behind large blockchain networks. As Corsi developed high-level domain protocols during his previous career, he’s spearheaded Digital Names’ platform to offer world-class digital finance security and protection.

As a blockchain-based Internet looms closely in the future, Digital Names is perfectly poised to thrive in the “new normal.” George Gilder, the mind who predicted the “dot com” boom, states, “Blockchain is the future… it will usher in a world beyond Google.”

Source: Blockchain Wire




Generate Leads with Social Media

Your Social Media Posts-5 Things Recruiters Look For

Jill Kurtz, Owner, Kurtz Digital Strategy

Social media can help you connect with your customers. This makes social media a powerful lead generation tool for businesses.

There are two main ways that you can draw people into your sales funnel.

Content Marketing

Great content attracts new followers and helps you to engage with connections. To get people into your sales funnel, focus on content that people will value so much they are willing to give you their contact information.

Consider:

  • White papers
  • Ebooks
  • Reports
  • Webinars
  • Email newsletters

People access the content by giving you their name, email address, etc. They get the information, you get a lead.

Use social media to get ideas for valuable content. What are people talking about? What questions are commonly asked?

Also use social media to promote your content. When a connection shares your post, you may just have another lead!

Campaigns and Contests

Everyone loves a freebie or a chance to win a prize. This is a great way to motivate them to give you their information.

  • Random drawing: In exchange for their contact information, entrants get a chance to win a prize.
  • Sign up forms: Let people sign up to get first notice of promotions, sales and specials.
  • Contests: Invite people to create and post photos, videos and other content around a theme.



Your Competitive Advantage is You

 

Wendy Glavin, Founder & CEO, Wendy Glavin Agency

In 2016, I decided to launch a full-service agency. Many of my business colleagues and friends in the marketing communications industry warned of too much competition, the need to focus on a niche because they said, you can’t help everyone. 

But competition was and is not my concern because I compete with myself.

I’m lucky to have had my dad as a mentor. I adopted this mindset of competing with myself when I was young. Some 20-years ago, when my father had stage 4 melanoma (and has since passed), he suggested my three young sons question him about life while I created a video of him.

What’s always stuck in my mind was one of my son’s questions, “How do you know when you’ve done your best?” My father said, “At the end of the day, only you know if you’ve given 100 percent. No one else can decide for you.” 

You may be reading this thinking; I know who I am but how does that change my situation?

People Hire for You, Not What You Do

In this environment people are fearful, afraid to speak up, feel their voices don’t matter, are afraid of taking risks, and are worried about all the negative impacts of the pandemic.

Since we can only control our emotions and reactions, rediscover yourself. Previously, I’ve shared the importance of looking back throughout your background, experiences, interests, hobbies, strengths and relationships to identify common patterns and transferable skills.

After reflecting on my 30-year career, I realized I had written all my life and had always worked on technology accounts. When I combined the two, I became a technology columnist.

Beyond my career, I thought about all the things I used to love to do, travel and live in France, ski, swim, bike, play the piano, dance, sing, read and spend time with my three boys. Since a piano is too large, I just ordered a keyboard, so we can enjoy our love of music and play again.

Research suggests that our current perceptions are shaped by what’s happened to us in the past. If you draw on your life experiences, you’ll have more to share with others, connect in a more personal way and open yourself up to new opportunities.

I’ve always loved Carla Harris, Vice Chairman and Managing Director at Morgan Stanley presentation in 2014, called, “How To Own Your Power Presentation: Take the Lead.”

In it, Carla shares that she graduated from Harvard undergrad and Harvard Business School and thought that “success was based on how smart you are and how hard you work.” Instead, she discovered that success is not a meritocracy. Instead, it’s based on how you’re perceived.

Do You Know How You’re Perceived?

Most of us know what our friends, family and colleagues think of us. But, do you know how you’re viewed online, during Zoom calls with new acquaintances, on social and digital media, and with business prospects and clients?

To a large degree, if you trust your confidantes, you have some idea. But, if you’re unwilling to listen to constructive advice, you’re missing out. For years, my now ex-husband told me I talk too much. Since he’s a linear thinker, I ignored it. But, after hearing this from other people, I’ve modified my behavior and am a better listener.

Instead of trying to promote your product or service, tell people the story of you and why you do what you do. For example, I often work with young tech founders who are passionate about their new ideas. However, people buy from people. If you’re not bringing your whole selves into the work you do or your business, you’re less likely to succeed.

For example, I met one young woman at a blockchain pitch fest in late 2019. Since she was born in China, she had an accent, and was shy too. As an outsider, I said, the fact that you grew up in a different country is an advantage because she had a global perspective. She never thought about herself in this way. After she practiced her pitch with me, she felt more confident and was accepted into Columbia’s Accelerator program.

Another 25+ year old founder with whom I worked, launched a business at eight years old, is fluent in six languages, has several postgraduate degrees and is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, among other significant accomplishments. Instead of promoting his startup and product, we discussed injecting his personal accomplishments into his brand story. After doing so, he impressed VC’s and his age was no longer a factor.

Do You Take Your Accomplishments for Granted?

Many high achievers are perfectionists, workaholics, don’t want to ask for help because they want to do it themselves and don’t own their value. But, you’re more than your title, your position, your role and the work you do. 

Often, it takes an outsider like a business coach, a mentor, a therapist, a professor or others to help you uncover all that you are. After launching my agency in August of 2016, I was in a taxi that crashed with a Mack truck. Prior to the accident, I had two knee replacements but tore my MCL. I wore a full right-leg brace for several months and was bedridden.

Since I was used to attending in-person events to meet people, I didn’t know how I could work. I reached out to several industry leaders for help. Deirdre Breakenridge came to the rescue with a lot of ideas about what I could do. Since that time, she’s been my mentor, advisor and now, a dear friend.

Looking back, had I not reached out for help, I would have gotten depressed. With weekly “homework” assignments, I always had a lot to do while trying to heal. Unfortunately, in 2018, I had an MCL replacement on my knee replacement and was laid-up again. Deirdre, among others, helped me to keep moving forward while being bedridden.

Daily, I discover new things about myself by accepting constructive feedback, ensuring that my communications are two-way and accepting compliments instead of brushing them off.

Decode Your Value is a process of looking inward and being open to other’s impressions of us. When my boys were young, I was their mirror, reflecting back on their achievements and frustrations.

We can only know how we’re perceived by allowing others to feel comfortable giving honest feedback. Whether negative or positive, you’ll learn more about yourself.

If you want to learn more about a process to discover your value, I’d love to hear from you.


Wendy Glavin - Everyone is Not a Journalist – Think Before You Hit PrintAbout the Author: Wendy Glavin is Founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin, a NYC full-service agency. Wendy is a 30-year veteran of corporate, agency, consulting and small business ownership. She specializes in B2B2C marketing communications, executive writing, PR and social media advisory. Her website is: https://wendyglavin.com/. Contact her at: wendy@wendyglavin.com




Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams and his Foundation Team Up with UPS

CommPRO Editorial Staff

On September 27, Medal of Honor recipient Woody Williams was in Frankfort, KY for the dedication of the 67th Gold Star Families Memorial Monument which will be placed on Kentucky State Capitol Grounds. This dedication will be a special part of the observance of Gold Star Mothers and Families Day.

(PRNewsfoto/Woody Williams Foundation)

This Monument is part of a national effort started by Williams and his foundation to honor, recognize, and serve Gold Star Families and the legacy their Loved Ones who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the U.S. Military. Though 96-year-old Williams‘ energy and commitment to this mission is quite extraordinary, he is quick to point out, This is not about me, it is about them!”. Them being Gold Star Families and their Loved Ones.

Teaming Up with UPS:
The success of the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument initiative has been largely driven by countless volunteers, organizations, individuals, and companies. One company in particular who has been deeply committed to the mission of serving our Nation’s Gold Star Families is UPS.

“There are few things that we can do alone. It is only through the assistance of others that we are able to accomplish our mission. UPS is helping us serve our Gold Star Families,” explained founder, Woody Williams.

To date, UPS has supported the Woody Williams Foundation by transporting 13 Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments to communities across the country. In doing so, UPS is doing more than simply moving some granite, they are sharing in a mission of service that will benefit so many.

The death of a loved one serving in the military affects his or her entire family. Its very important that the familys sacrifice is remembered, and UPS is honored to both help fund the monument at Kentuckys state capitol, and provide the transportation for it,” UPS Airlines President Brendan Canavan said.