Category Archives: Events

Roam If You Want To

I’m gearing up for six weeks of travel with some family time sprinkled in. I won’t be in my apartment for more than a few days at a time. And I cannot wait.

When I started my job, I knew there would be some travel associated with the role. But I never dreamed it would afford me the opportunity to see so many new places. From when we were kids, my parents encouraged us to try new things and see new places. Luckily, thanks to a rigorous travel schedule, I’ve been to places I’ve never been before like Phoenix, Catalina Island and Chicago.

San Diego

Soaking up the sun in San Diego

I’m about experiences: I’d much rather buy concert tickets than a new outfit. I love to learn, to immerse myself in something different than the every day. Since I’ve graduated college, I’ve vowed to spend money on experiences, especially on new adventures. That’s why I love traveling for work: I get to tack on some personal travel like weekends in San Diego and Charleston.

It’s not just about travel. I try to make the most of living in Philadelphia, a city rich with opportunities to learn and stay curious. Thanks to friends and websites like Eventbrite, I’ve found mini conferences about female empowerment and panel discussions focused on resilience. Each had unique speakers with diverse backgrounds as well as free swag! In fact, the panel discussion on resilience was found through an Eventbrite email. You can find a conference or have your own get together by using Eventbrite’s super cool tool.

Sometimes, spending time with my mom in Florida or grabbing sushi with a girlfriend is the right experience. It doesn’t have to be a grandiose trip to be memorable. Some of the highlights of this year (so far) include nights out dancing with my best friends and singing in the car with my sister.

How you spend your money is entirely up to you. I’d advocate for saving some of your budget for experiences. The new pair of shoes will look phenomenal but memories made with people you love (you included!) will last forever.

Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail

Regardless of your profession, planning is mandatory for success. From surgeons to PR professionals, failing to plan will promise to give you a wealth of headaches.

I experienced one of these such headaches last week when it was 4 p.m. on a Friday and we didn’t have space for an event that was less than two weeks away. Backup plans and analyzing risk should be part of your routine when planning out schedules, events and pretty much anything else. Here are my tips when preparing for a presentation, meeting or whatever your need might be.

  • Write down any and all things that could go wrong. When I was an account executive at PRowl Public Relations, anytime we had an event, we listed out everything that could go wrong and what we would do if it did. This ensured that each member of the team was prepared to handle any unexpected challenges.
  • Have communications ready in case all of things that could go wrong actually do. Sometimes things happen in an instance and you need to fire off communications to target audiences immediately. Having these already drafted and patiently waiting in a Word document will save you the time.
  • Do your homework. If you’re presenting at a meeting, know the target audience and what questions they might ask. Also, do not read off a piece of paper, it’s not professional.  If you’re planning an event, know all the venue and hotel options in case your preferred venue cancels.
  • Hold a debrief after the meeting or event concludes. If you presented at a meeting, ask the audience for feedback and evaluate yourself too. Post event debriefs are pretty much essential so the team can evaluate its success and see what they could improve upon in the future.

Regardless of your profession, planning needs to be ingrained into your brain to guarantee success. As part of this, you should be organized, keep a calendar and communicate clearly. My friend and mentor, Jason Mollica, provides more planning tips here on his video blog.

What tips do you have when it comes to planning? How has it impacted your profession? Please share your ideas!

 

Fifty Fabulous Life Lessons

Over this past weekend, we celebrated my mom’s 50th birthday with a grandiose surprise party, complete with red carpet and paparazzi. We danced all night long and properly celebrated a woman who has lived every minute of her fifty years.

pic60I could be biased since she is my mom, but I haven’t encountered anyone who’s lived life to the fullest like her. She makes every moment count and learns something from every experience. In my 23 years on this earth, she’s only imparted a fraction of that wisdom on me. Here are my favorite “mom-isms” I’ve gotten from her!

1) You can never have too many people who love you.

2) You have to create your own definition of success.

3) Some days you’re the bat, some days you’re the ball.

4) For every pot, there is a cover, but some people are cookie sheets.

5) Heaven Must Have Sent You is by far the best disco song of all time.

6) You can only control your reaction to a situation, not anyone else’s.

7) I am your mother first then your friend.

8) Lead never follow (not never, but you know, don’t follow the crowd).

9) Everyone is different.

10) Hard work does pay off in the long run.

11) Work hard, play hard.

12) Don’t apologize for being successful.

13) Sundays are for pasta and football.

14) Being rich doesn’t necessarily equate to having money.

15) Parenting is by far the hardest job in the world.

16) Sleep is never overrated.

17) The strike zone is armpit to knee. Don’t swing at anything else.

18) Pick and choice your battles.

19) Take your vitamins.

20) Your girlfriends, like those no-matter-what, I-have-your-back best friends, are the true loves of your life.

21) College was meant to teach you how to think, not for you to learn every last thing in a textbook.

22) There is power in prayer.

23) Your father loves you, don’t ever forget that.

24) Life is short, buy the shoes.

25) Celebrate your birthday all month long. pic107

26) A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

27) You should do your own version of the opening ceremonies every Olympic Games.

28) Sometimes you should do it yourself and others you should write the check.

29) There is such a thing as a power outfit, down to the underwear.

30) Find your own voice.

31) Manicures and pedicures are worth the money. Also, don’t go to work with chipped nails.

32) You’ve earned that vacation, take it.

33) Sometimes your friends will need a hug and sometimes they’ll need space. Know the difference.

34) Always have a “go-bag”

35) If it’s a priority, find a way to get it done.

36) Men are only a part of life, not all of it.

37) Don’t spend money you don’t have.

38) Pay it forward anyway you know how.

39) Laughter really, really, really is the best medicine.

40) The delicate setting on the washer and dryer is cheaper than the dry cleaners.

41) Lease your cars.

42) You can’t write a recipe for meatballs: you’ll know they’re right based on the texture and smell.

43) Turn the radio up if a good song comes on. Who cares if it’s 6 a.m.?

44) Wherever you are, I’ll be there too. Mom ranks as #1.

45) Learn as many ways as possible to get from a place to your home. Back roads save lives.

46) Smile even if you have no idea what’s going on.

47) If the music is good, you better be dancing.mombd

48) Go to the doctor and the dentist regularly.

49) A mother’s love is unconditional even when you do something stupid.

50) It’s all about the journey.

I’m so lucky to have my mom as my role model and friend. No one compares to her!

Keep Calm & Cherry On

Last night in a brutally cold, downtown Manhattan, I attend “The Temple Idea – The Making of a Movement” that discussed Temple University’s Temple Made and Cherry On marketing campaigns. The panel discussion featured Director of Marketing Angela Polec as well as my former Strategic Communication (StratComm) professor Gregg Feistman and the PRowl Public Relations firm director Kaitlyn Sutton. As both a StratComm and PRowl alumnus, I was very excited to hear about these viral marketing campaigns.

In the fall of 2012, the Temple Made campaign was launched with a kick-off event at the university. The

Just the basic details were given for the Temple Made launch event

Just the basic details were given for the Temple Made launch event

only details given were the date and time of the event. From there, Temple Made commercials had spots during the Temple versus Notre Dame football game and billboards were displayed through the region. This was Temple’s first centralized marketing campaign that gave a voice to the pride that already existed with current students and alumni. When anyone saw a Temple Made commercial, they immediately saw what the Temple type is. Temple Made is a mindset, a different breed of people who hustle harder and are self-made. Through this campaign, it became easier for anyone to see that the Temple Made type was different.

cherry onThe next step was to create a marketing campaign that was like special handshake for Temple insiders. The Cherry On campaign was born through the collaboration between PRowl Public Relations and the office of Strategic Marketing and Communication. It started by telling Temple students to wear their cherry every Friday. The phrase “Cherry On” developed from those Fridays when athletic prep rallies were held to support different teams. The campaign was organic, for the students, from the students. PRowl worked with Temple Student Government to create the Cherry On video that recently launched. My favorite part of the video: “This is not a fashion statement, it is family.” That one phrase created such an emotional connection to Temple for me. The Cherry On hashtag trended on Twitter during several athletic events, admissions has seen a rise in applicants and website traffic has increased.

So now what? After two successful marketing campaigns that reached prospective students, current students and alumni, how is Temple going to continue this momentum? The panelists explained that a lot of research needs to be conducted including benchmarking success, engaging other audiences, focus groups and surveys.  As a PRowl alumnus, I wish I would have heard about Cherry On from them rather than at a football game this past Homecoming. There is an entire alumni network out there, who can help spread this campaign. While I understand Cherry On was targeted at students, it’s now time to engage alumni and other audiences.

Last night’s event was the first step in engaging alumni to continue this Cherry On momentum. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing how the campaigns started, grew and what the plan is for the future. The campaigns were brilliant and exploded on social media. Both the Temple Made and Cherry On hashtags are seen everywhere including fliers, billboards and online. More than anything, it created a community and mindset that resonates with all of us who are Temple Made. Since we are Temple Made, we can Cherry On through any situation. It is a connection, an experience, a bond we have for life.

Are you Temple Made? Did you know about these marketing campaigns? Check out the video below then share your thoughts with me!

Foodie Loving on Catalina Island

All of the yummy foods featured on our tour.

All of the yummy foods featured on our tour.

Long time, no write! But I promise I was off doing something phenomenal that I am dying to share with you. Last week, after working an event in California, I spent the weekend relaxing and touring Catalina Island. When we ventured to the island early Saturday morning, we had no idea what was in store for us until we stumbled upon the Catalina Food Tours. I am so grateful we did!

Catalina Food Tours runs all over the island for three hours while participants sample different dishes from six local restaurants. The food was amazing but the atmosphere was even better. For a smaller tourist destination with a limited target audience, Catalina Food Tours knows how to serve its population and build its brand. I believe their keys to success included the following:

  • They instantly built credibility by having a local run the tour. Our knowledgeable and hysterical guide Jordan has lived on the island for some time and has eaten at all of the restaurants on the tour. He was passionate about sharing his wisdom on Catalina and its culture. Because of that, you knew he was giving you the best.
  • Every stop on the tour was intentional and had meaning. While we did stop at each restaurant, we also stopped at different spots on the island that had historical significance. We didn’t just walk around but rather learned about Catalina’s rich history. The conscious decision to plan out each step of the tour made it easy to follow and allowed us to learn so much more than the best places to eat on the island. By learning more, it made me personally want to return to Catalina and explore the island further.
  • For a small island with limited access to technology, the tour’s use of social media was great.
    Beautiful Catalina

    Beautiful Catalina

    They gave participants a brochure with foodie fun facts as well as all their social media information. Jordan also was actively posting while on the tour. They update regularly and happily repost or retweet their followers. The beauty of Catalina coupled with its rich history makes it easy to want to follow and learn more.

While each of these ideas is simple, I found them to be executed flawlessly by Catalina Food Tours. For a small island off the coast of California, they really know how to build their reputation and attract people to their tours. I had an amazing time on the tour and hope to return one day soon!

Media Mania

I  am not a media relations girl. To me, it’s the hardest part of public relations and an area I didn’t master while in college. Truthfully, I don’t think any novice is in love with media relations. Practice really does make perfect with this aspect of PR.

WWA Volunteers!

WWA Volunteers!

Luckily for me, I was able to practice these skills this past weekend while volunteering at the Wawa Welcome America Festival in Philadelphia. I’ve worked media areas before but hadn’t in a while so I very much appreciated the opportunity to brush up on these skills

After my experience, here are a few things I learned when working with the media.

  • Prep work saves lives: I was not directly involved in the pitching efforts for the festival. However, their PR team clearly was prepared, with releases printed and available for media at all events.  I could only assume their efforts paid off since there was an abundance and variety of media present. There was also a list of approved freelancers and outlets, a vital document that all media areas should have.
  • Put yourself in their shoes: Test out shots from various locations at your event beforehand. Is there anything in the way? Can reporters move from one area to another easily?
  • ID please: Not just anyone is allowed in the media area. It’s essential that only media with credentials come into the designated area to check in. Typically, big events give out their own specific credentials or press passes at this time. Folks who belong at said events are usually very willing to show you their media identification. It’s the ones who have no clue what you’re talking about or reference a celebrity that should concern you.
  • Playing security: You might have to help photographers and camera people get their desired shot. Be ready to hold things, block off areas and gently remove unwanted objects or people from shots
  • Under pressure: Do not cave! Random people will want to come into the media area. Others will be unapproved media who will beg to get in. Don’t let the pressure get to you. Be politely militant.

I had an awesome time volunteering with the Wawa Welcome America Festival last weekend. It was the perfect refresher I needed for working with the media. Have you worked media areas? Any tips to add to my list?

Motivation Mondays: Knowing Your Limits

This holiday weekend, I headed down to Philadelphia for the Wawa Welcome America Festival. This week-long extravaganza offers free events to people in and around the city. I was super excited to spend my 4th of July weekend celebrating and helping my friend (who works on the festival) put on successful events throughout the week.

A group of us who attended Temple together rolled up our sleeves to help our friend this weekend. It’s safe to say everyone involved is exhausted and is struggling at work today. However, I also think each of us learned a lot this weekend about working large-scale events and balancing our newly found careers with our personal lives.

I’ve talked about work-life balance before because I’ve experienced the struggle firsthand. This weekend, I watched one of my best friends go through the same struggle, without any balance at all. You saw how passionate she was about succeeding, about having successful event after successful event. I also saw what went on afterwards: an exhausted 23 year-old who didn’t know what day of the week it was. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

It’s true, at times, we must drop everything and put our job first. I can sympathize as I too have worked long hours on little sleep to make sure my events were successful. Anyone who has their career as a top priority knows this feeling. As young professionals just starting out, most of us feel like we have to prove ourselves. The majority of us are still at our first job, trying to show our supervisors, co-workers, parents and friends that we are more than capable. But, at a certain point, we have to know our limits.

As young professionals, we find it hard to say no because it shows weaknesses; it shows we can’t handle it all. Here’s a hint everyone: not a single person can handle everything all the time. We must learn to advocate for ourselves and tell our supervisors or co-workers or even family members when we’ve hit our breaking point. If we don’t share with those around us what is going on internally, then how could they know we’re hit our max?

The next time you have too much on your plate, make sure to speak up and ask for help. Everyone has their personally defined limits that should be shared with others. Also, make sure you aren’t trying to control others and set their limits for them. I am so proud of my friend and all she accomplished this weekend and am so glad I was there to experience it with her.

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