December 28, 2010

End of an Era

Posted in Personally..., Uncategorized at 2:23 pm by R

When I launched this blog in 2008, things were beginning to change…quickly.

From where I sat then at a PR agency I thought, “Wow, the paradigms are about to shift. Someone should document this!” And so, I did.

In the roughly two-and-a-half years since the first post to Cut Me Some Flack, pretty much everything has changed…and that’s not much of an exaggeration either. I blogged about what was emerging, how it was changing  jobs and responsibilities, entire industries and the complexities of delivering a message to a new medium.

And in that time my life changed. In many ways I grew up. Graduated from the first chapter of my career in Communications and seized an awesome opportunity in a new role. I no longer work on what I lovingly refer to as “the dark side” in a PR agency. Nope, now my whole work world is social media. What was once a tag in a blog is now a job title for me!

So since all this has come to pass it seems like the right time to write the final post for  Cut Me Some Flack.

Thank you for reading and commenting and sharing. I’m sure I’ll need a new outlet to document my observations on social media soon. Stay tuned.

Until then…God Bless & Happy Posting!

November 3, 2008

My Motherboard, Myself

Posted in Personally... at 9:48 pm by R

My MacBook went down last week. I cried. In the Apple store. In my car. At home. To my husband. To my dad. To my boss. I.Had.A.Melt.Down.

With out my beloved laptop, I had time to think about how much I depend on my beloved laptop.

Technology, immediate access to what’s going on and the comfort of knowing a large percentage of my personal life is on this 13×8 contraption…and then poof. It’s gone.

But a funny thing happened during my displacement to a PC (gross). The familiarity of my email, the media sites I visit every day were still there, like favorite neighborhood haunts. I realized, it’s not about the computer itself, it’s about the places it takes me to. So much of my life is on the Web. Communication, gossip, finances, news – national, international and local – frivolity, videos, this list goes on, they’re all there for me on the Web.

Even as our lives become more mobile and web-based and universally accessible…

Back up your computer.

I don’t care how much of my life I can get to from any computer in the world, there’s no place like my own MacBook.

~R

September 22, 2008

CELEBRATE Good Times COME ON!

Posted in Our News, Personally... tagged at 12:55 pm by R

Allow me to introduce the lovely Mrs. Nicole Gummow! My friend and fellow blogger tied the knot with her college sweetheart Grant at (where else?) Gonzaga University September 20, 2008 with a big old bash at the beautiful Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Wash.

Here’s a few photos courtesy of our friend Courtney Siegel:

(L to R: Moi and the beautiful bride)

(Me and hubby working the dance floor.)

(Mr & Mrs. Gummow!)

It was a beautiful wedding and a great time was had by all. My sweet friend is so happy and I’ve never seen a bride actually physically have to try to stop smiling. It was precious. Don’t expect to see any posts from Nicole for at least a couple weeks as she’s on her fabulous honeymoon. After that, I’m sure she’ll be a regular!

Cheers!

~Robyn

September 5, 2008

Politics + Co-Workers(or clients) + Watercooler = Debacle

Posted in In the news, Personally..., Political Punditry tagged at 10:37 pm by R

It’s the touchy season that arrives every four years, the presidential election. People are talking politics everywhere, in meetings, at the coffee shop, over dinner and, of course, in the office.

But how to handle all of those inevitable political discussions appropriately? Do you engage in the conversation at all? If you do, how much do you reveal about your political self and beliefs?

I believe those conversations are important to have. Sometimes the best political pundit, is your book keeper or IT person. Every voters’ opinions have value and insight…but only if you allow them too.

I have two simple rules for weathering the next 60-some days:

  1. Respect Everyone’s Opinion – McCain supporter*, Obama supporter*, Paul supporter*, whatever the party line or candidate, do your best to respect and be open to the opinions your fellow Americans have.
  2. Listen Before Speaking – Don’t stir the pot with some snide Donkey or Elephant joke. Make sure you know the tone of the conversation before piping up with your position. You could just end up with an earful and some awkwardness if you’re not careful.

Basically, just be respectful and know when to zip it.

Other tips for navigating the political mind field:

  • If your client is a raging Right Wing Nut, don’t diss Alaska
  • If your colleague is The Angry Left, don’t diss community organizers
  • If your boss is a McCain supporter, don’t blare Wyclef’s “Yes We Can” in your office
  • If your regular barista is an Obama supporter, don’t hum Big & Rich’s “Rasin’ McCain” or else…

Your personal political positions send a message about who you are as a person. Be strategic about the messages you send in the workplace by being professional and deliberately respectful.

Nod your head in thoughtful contemplation as a client says, “McCain is the only way this country can run.” Even if you’re thinking, “Press bashing, senile, warmonger.”

Smile considerately when your colleague says, “Obama is the great hope for our country.” Even if you want to respond with, “Marxist, no experience, media-made celebutante!”

No matter how hard the moment is, remember you can immediately go rant to your Right Wing Nut/The Angry Left friends after exiting the conversation.

Your personal (professional) PR  is far more important than expressing views in a political tantrum. Plus, you may have to live it down November 5…

~Robyn

*For purposes of political fairness, candidates were listed alphabetically, all future party references were assigned in order of the original candidate’s alphabetical placement in the first reference.

August 17, 2008

PTMSD

Posted in Current Events, Media, Personally... at 1:06 pm by R

There’s so much news these days and so little of it is good. Even with the uplifting news about the Olympics, disturbing news of unrest in places like Russia, Georgia and Pakistan steal the top headlines. The onslaught of such headlines is giving me PTMSD (Present Traumatic Media Stress Disorder).

I’m a confessed news and political junkie and I  just can’t help myself. I have to read the stories. I want to understand. But it’s stressing me out. So much access to information has given us insight into all the goings-on of the world…all of them.

There’s first hand reports about the terror of the Georgian refugees as they fled Russian troops. There’s tenuous reports about the fragile peace between Russia and Georgia and details of strained political relations between major international players. There’s just not a lot to smile about. But there’s plenty to be freaked out about…which is my point.

I seriously, seriously am developing a break out over the nervous energy which ensues as I digest all of the breaking news headlines.

Is it the state of the world or all the information we have about what’s going on that’s making me so anxiety ridden?

Do we have too much access to information? Is it corroding our society by making us stressed out and increasingly negative?

I’d love to insert a dissertation on peace, acceptance and global unification here, but I’m still hammering out some of the finer details (more to come), but as for the media, I have a solution: fluff stories.

I think it’s time we bring back the fluff piece in a big way. Feel-good feature stories that remind us of what is good in the world and in our communities. Frankly, we NEED this kind of media. We need happy. Because if I see one more ominous headline about Vladimr Putin…Well, I’m not sure I have enough salicylic acid to deal with the break out that will occur.

And let’s face it, there’s not a chance I’m not going to be exposed to news (although I managed to avoid a lot of it when I only watched the Disney Channel on vacation) — it’ll be on my Web home page, I’ll have to thumb the paper for client articles, I’m gonna pause on CNN on my way to Bravo — there’s no avoiding it.

And if there’s no avoiding it, can we please work together to make it joyful! USA Today, NYT and Washington Post, I beseech you, please include one genuinely happy story on your front page (preferably above the fold). Your readers need it. Our leaders need it.

An ounce of goodness goes a long way. We can work together to remind one another of the good in the world and inspire everyone that news touches to increase the happy through the media.

Only we can prevent Present Traumatic Media Stress Disorder (PTMSD).

~Robyn

August 14, 2008

My Athenas

Posted in Personally... at 8:08 pm by R

I didn’t take the opportunity in my previous post to state something rather important — people who are Athenas to me.

First, who the heck is Athena?

Athena is a Greek goddess, the third daughter of Zeus. She represents strategic warfare and heroic endeavor. Often Athena is represented with a helmet, breastplate and an owl – for wisdom of course.

Now, for me, the people who are Athena’s in my life aren’t necessarily war strategists, but they are heroes. Maybe I should count them down.

3. My Contributors – Shannon, Nicole and Allison. These gals make me want to be better at what I do everyday. They do the coolest things and are straight up masters at their craft, in addition to the fact that they are really wonderful friends.

2. Ashley Marie Oleson – No, no. Not the twin. She’s my best friend since the age of three. She’s the Port Authority of Erie event planner and is a really remarkable marketer and always an inspiration. Homegirl ran 13.1 miles by my side last year during the San Francisco Nike Women’s marathon. She’s got so much strength and endurance that goes beyond hitting the pavement. Those qualities are in her character and her heart and I just adore the hell out of her.

1. Mom – Arguably the most dedicated Cut Me Some Flack reader, the college English professor regularly sends me grammar corrections (I write in AP Style momma! 🙂  ) and her thoughts on topics I’ve covered — in my blog, in emails, phone calls, etc. She’s a Vietnam Era Veteran,  a great professor who loves her students and the books & words she forces them to read, an animal rights activist, a good wife, a good mom, a compassionate leader, a total Athena.

~Robyn

It was an honor to be nominated.

Posted in A walk on the "dark side", Personally... tagged at 9:10 am by R

Awards are an important part of building a career, reputation and a public relations tactic that brings recognition to a person and a company.

I had the honor of being nominated for the Athena Young Professional award given by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. This year’s class of nominees is the first for the Young Professional category in Phoenix, which specifically recognizes the work and community commitment of women ages 21-35.

The Chamber hosted a beautiful reception at Sanctuary, which is one of THE nicest resorts in Phoenix, Arizona, the Left Coast, etc. There was incredible company and great networking with women whose work I respect, admire and aspire to.

Some of the company included my client! (That should tell you about the caliber of people I work with.) Susie Timm, Scottsdale Community Bank President of UMB Bank Arizona n.a. — a fellow nominee — myself and my cute-as-button hubby are pictured below.

(Photo courtesy of Kenn Tomasch, GPCC)

The accomplishments of all the nominees were really profound. There were CEOs, founders, top attorneys, even WNBA stand outs who couldn’t be there because they are in Beijing! Impressive.

The finalists announced last night are people who have made enormous contributions to the community, to their companies and to female professionals everywhere.

One of the things that Katie Pushor, the president of the Chamber, said in her address to the crowd was that, while only one Athena is named each year, everyone has an Athena in their lives. All of us have someone we look up to and are inspired by to excel in our respective careers.

As for me, there were three prominent communicators present last night whose work I know well and I respect very much: Carrie Martz, Denise Resnik and Cheryl Walsh. Two are past Athena’s and the latter is a finalist this year.

There’s much to be excited about in this field and many accomplished women to look up to. It was an honor to be nominated…

~Robyn

August 11, 2008

Back to the Grindstone

Posted in Personally..., Uncategorized tagged at 4:49 pm by R

There’s something about coming back from a great vacation that feels like the New Year. You’re re-charged, energized to affect change and resolved to do more, be better for yourself, others, clients, THE WORLD!

And then you get into the office and the internet isn’t working and discover things basically in shambles with an in box so full of emails it’s bursting at the digital seams.

For me the biggest thing in dealing with all of this madness is just the change in attitude. We often forget that rest is an intricate part of excelling at work, handling a jam-packed schedule and percolating great ideas. Sometimes you have to step away from your professional life to realize that you are in fact burnt out. And acknowledging the problem is the first step…Then you have to actually do something about it. WALK AWAY!

For me, stepping away is difficult. Even when I want to, that nagging little voice in my head says in it’s seductive whisper, “Check your Blackberry email.” And lo, there is something I must respond to.

But after about 72 hours away, the urge begins to subside, that little voice gets more distant. Then that magical moment happens, I realize that I feel relaxed, untethered to my responsibilities and light (although with all the shrimp enchiladas, chips and guacamole and cheeseburgers that’s not literal) . My mother-in-law is right when she says you have to get in the groove to be on vacation.

And once you’re in the groove a beautiful thing happens — inner professional peace/I forgot I have a job.

Now, my first day back all harried with incidents like the freaking internet not working and a mass pile-up of email, I still find that I have a stamina, tollerance and revived sense of purpose that was seriously flagging before my summer vacation.

The point my friends is simply this: it’s not more work that’s better, it’s good work that’s better. Good work is most often produced by rested, balanced individuals. Today, I am one of those lucky individuals…talk to me next Monday and it might be a different story. 🙂

Long story longer, the European’s have it right with their six weeks of vacation. Who knows how much more we might get done and what great ideas might be produced if we had some more down time.

July 10, 2008

PR Flight or Fight Response

Posted in Personally..., Projects, Uncategorized at 7:35 pm by R

I mulled over my day, the press conference and all that went into it. It was about 4:45 and as I analyzed my interactions, all the details, what sound bites I thought the TV stations would play…then I realized I hadn’t gone to the bathroom all day!

Too much info, I know. But the fact that I had ignored my bladder since 7:00 a.m., gave me pause. Am I suffering from PR flight or fight response? Oh yes.

Flight or fight is generally defined as the body’s physiological reaction to extreme stress, which, in part, shuts down the hunger, digestion, elimination responses.

Of the PR people I know, this PR version of Flight or Fight isn’t a rare phenomenon. When we are in urgent media situations like press conferences, live shot scenarios, high-pressure deadlines, the flight or fight symptoms start to kick in. Suddenly, hunger and other, uhhhh, bodily functions seem to disappear until the deadline dissipates or the event ends.

Did I mention that the only thing I ate between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 2 p.m. was a (dangerously delicious) Fairytale Brownie? The food thing got away from me too. And I made a baaaad choice, but it was oh, so good!

My advice is this:

  • Schedule in a bathroom break (no, I’m not kidding)
  • Eat breakfast no matter what the day’s schedule is
  • HYDRATE!
  • Carry some kind of meal replacement bar

You have to be running properly and be well-fueled to ensure that your event, media or otherwise, is running properly.

Don’t let PR Flight or Fight get the best of you, manage your needs the way you’d manage everything else in a PR event of any kind — with consideration for what’s best and fastidious attention to detail.

~Robyn

PR Milestone

Posted in In the news, Media, Personally... at 4:32 pm by R

I had a major professional milestone today…my first press conference. It’s like the Sweet 16 of PR (as in you’re old enough and wise enough with the media to get them all in one place and wrangle). I feel practically giddy now that it’s over and I can classify this one under “resounding success.”

The press conference was for a sports team. We announced the establishment of the newest American Basketball Association expansion team, the Phoenix Fury. We had lots of TV cameras, plenty of print reporters and a healthy-sized crowd to watch as we introduced the CEO Xavier Mitchell, GM Bob Newman and the Dir. of Ops Joe Bryant (Kobe’s dad, who is as sweet as he is tall – and the man’s very tall.)

In addition to everything going 80% smoothly (which is 100% in the PR world) I made a few new friends. It’s always so much fun to build a little camaraderie among reporters, camera-persons and media.

If you’ll allow me to touch upon a common theme — PR and journalism, two sides of the same team. It takes all of us to make great news. Thanks for letting me contribute to your great work.

As exciting as the day has been with it’s flurry of activity and much satisfaction in a job well done, I’m glad it’s over…my anxiety waiting for this press conference to arrive and managing all the details to make it come off (almost) flawlessly, has taken a toll. Regrettably, I had less than flawless skin today…good thing I’m behind the cameras not on them. 🙂

Someone get me some glycolic acid STAT!

~Robyn

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