Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tales from the trenches

It's been a rough couple of weeks for me personally, with moving and some adult growing pains. However, work has kept me busy, and it's been good to have a positive distraction.

Over the last few months, I have taken on more and more clients. I just completed my first RFP, which required me to stay late and get some work done. I was rewarded with a few extra days off for my hard work in between Christmas and NYE. I thought that this was very nice of my boss, because he didn't have to do that!

The last few weeks, my primary focus has been to streamline our communications into one weekly email. Email marketing is the non-profit's baby, because we're always pressed for resources. Many of the emails that I subscribe to send me items everyday. I know you're gonna be surprised by this, I simply don't have time to read them all! I do like the SmartBrief format because they are able to download and digest the most important articles on the relevant topics.

Our new communication has seen a lot of success and praise from our existing client base. We are trying to provide them with tips and tricks on how to better market their career center, so I feel like I am actually having an impact.

Its definitely a change of pace and a welcome one from my last place of employment. Wishing you a pleasant Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Downsizing and Decluttering!

Each move that I make I seem to accumulate more and more stuff. But does it all have a purpose or a meaning? Some days I truly wonder. This move marks the 14th in the last nine years. No, you did not read that incorrectly. Over the years, I have lived in any number of combinations of roommates (1, 2, 3, 5). I have to say that I am very excited about the prospect of sharing space with my new roommate.

A few months ago, I lost my beloved dog Spike. Now that he's not around I find myself with a lot of down time and I notice how very empty the house is. Having someone or something to come home to definitely is a good thing and it's a new exciting change that I welcome into my life.

It is only a matter of time before I will have another animal in my home, but I am still going through the greiving process. It's proving more difficult than I ever imagined. With my new gig, I have become a SmartBrief reader. It might be something to check out if you are in the Association space. I find I get a lot of these communications, but I tuck them into a folder and read them when I have spare moments.

My client list at work is growing and so is the requests for additional marketing support from yours truly. I find learning InDesign and other programs to be a challenge that I am up for.

Because I will probably not blog tomorrow, a special and warm thanks to those who have and do continue to serve our country. I thank you for fighting for our freedom each and everyday!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

It's about that time...

To break forth the rhythm and the rhyme! I kid, I kid. I haven't posted for a while for many reasons. Some of them good and others of them sad.

First the sad. I had to put down my beloved dog on labor day weekend. It was quite possibly the most difficult thing I have had to do. This is the first time I am writing and reading these words and not crying. The circumstances are/were awful and I don't wish to discuss them at great length. I have been grieving, to say the least.

Now for the good. I have landed a new job! I am working for a technology company that markets their products and services to non-profits. It's kind of like an ideal fit, if you ask me. I have a number of clients, some of whom I have worked with in the past. The Greater Washington DC area is not that large, and the Association world is even smaller. I am excited to build my network and gain some new skills. Not only am I a strategy woman, I am also dipping my hand into the design world. While I am at this job I am learning InDesign through a community education class.

Happy Fall All!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Things that I have learned from watching Soap Operas

You can fake your own death
I can't tell you how many characters on the ABC Network that have died, only to be resurrected.

You can kidnap babies
This is something that nearly all soaps do. You think it's simple like boy and girl meet, fall in love and then comes baby. However, it's most definitely not that simple. Boy and girl meet, fall in love. Girl and/or boy cheat on one another and then the plot thickens and baby gets kidnapped. Then...

It may be a girl or it may be a boy
Once the baby is kidnapped, they have to hide it in plain sight. As if the mother of a child won't recognize their own kid. I guess it could happen in real life, but it's really hard for me to suspend my disbelief.

You can get married, divorced, remarried, divorced, married to another over and over again
Last week on One Life to Live Vicki and Nora got married again for like the 100th time each, I swear!

Soap operas are very much escapism
In the era of the gloom and doom of the economy, I guess its always nice to watch something that makes you feel as though your life just isn't that bad.

That's it for now. :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Job Search Etiquette

Recently, I have had the pleasure of catching up with my friends with the unemployment status. I have a few friends that have been laid off or their positions were eliminated and we were discussing the Job Search Etiquette. As a job searcher, there are a few things that you want to do to maintain your professionalism and ensure that your own personal brand is not damaged. With the job market being what it is the employers are in a position of power. This position is something that they were not accustomed to until the recession hit us all in a major way. That is the one with the upper hand.

As a non-profit professional, I have had many different roles. One of the audiences that I worked with was the Human Resource professionals at an association for electric cooperatives. I would write content for the conferences based on "Succession Management" which is under the premise that there is going to a be a shortage of talent in the workforce. However, right now the opposite is true, especially in the Greater Washington DC Metro Area. The geographic location will determine where you fall in the unemployment rate, and from what I am hearing in the news it is significantly lower than the national average. On top of this, DC is known for it's over-educated professionals. Yes, it's official, we love to learn.

So the employers are in power and as a result, the job searcher is very frustrated. Why? It's hard to get your resume noticed in the pile of 20 - 400 applicants depending on the position. Nonetheless, is this a direct result of job searchers "spraying and praying" their resumes or employers desire to leave the job open and pool as many candidates.

Let's just say that your application does take notice of your resume and asks you for an interview. This is fantastic news, you're on your way to the road of employment again. This interview can last anywhere from 30 minutes up to a full day. That's right and even after you spend all this time with an employer do you know what the kicker is? They may not even contact you to let you know the status of the position. You are then caught in what I like to call "Job Purgatory." This is someplace between interviews and securing your job. You may even be so motivated or inclined to follow up with the employers yourself, but guess what? The majority of the time they won't even bother to respond to your inquiries. Where is the employer job follow up etiquette gone? And why won't these places let me know whether they would like to hire me? And so I will continue to wait... till Job Purgatory ENDS!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hoping for a job miracle...

Officially, I have been on the job hunt since June 2, 2009. However, I saw the writing on the wall and had applied for some positions prior to that. Once I lost my job, I obviously opened up the floodgates to sending out the resume. It's been a frustrating, humbling, long and involved process.

I have been on 4 in person interviews, and have had 4 phone interviews. What do I have to show for this? A shrinking bank account. I am trying to remain positive about one of my 4 in person interviews as I believe it would be a fantastic opportunity and a great career path. I have a friend who works there, which along with my qualifications is how I landed the interview there. She was on vacation when I went for my interview. We caught up yesterday and I told her I thought it went well but that the hiring manager was going through some more interviews.

I think the hardest and most difficult part about job hunting while unemployed is the waiting game. Unfortunately, the employers have the power. They are the ones who can take their sweet time returning your phone calls, your emails and a lot of them don't even follow up. I mean what happened to human decency? I have sent an email and left a voice mail for an organization that I spent 6 hours of my life with. I will never get those 6 hours back, nor will I probably get this job. It's unfortunate because here's the deal: people are not going to go "off" on you if you tell them that you're not wanting to hire them. The job market is tough and it would be nice to know what it is that you're competing against or why you didn't make the cut.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Calling all Singles!

Over the last few weeks I have been helping a former co worker out with building up her business. Cookology is a recreational cooking school, with its own blog and a great location in the Dulles Town Center mall. Loudoun County is a suburb of Washington, DC. I live in a more urban area of Washington, DC and I find it hard to meet good quality men who I'd like to date. One of the areas that we're trying to get going is Single's Night.

I have put out the feelers to some single's event organizers, some meet-up groups and some of my single friends. In the DC area, there are many singleton's and we all could tell our horror stories. However, what better idea to meet someone than in a class where you both have a common interest. For me, cooking is a social event. You've got great food, good conversation and wine. I love to entertain. I am always looking to learn a different recipe, and I attempt to master it until I deem it "perfection."

If you're looking for single, looking to mingle in the DC metro area, get into touch with me and we'll get some events up and running on the September calendar.

The power of the Mommy Bloggers

During my morning routine of job searching and hanging out around the house, I was watching the Today Show when they did a segment on Mommy Bloggers. These bloggers will review products and offer tips to other Mom's.

Tori Spelling was co-hosting the final hour with Kathie Lee Gifford and she said that she felt that the books that she had read were outdated. The blogs that the Mom's run offer a support system and virtual network for Moms with questions or concerns. Tori went even further to say that she trusts these women's opinions and suggestions because they are Mom's and have done the same. The power of these Mommy bloggers is probably huge. Everyone in marketing knows that referrals are the cheapest and most effective way to continue to grow your business. I think about all my friends who ask for my dentist, who I love. I always give out her name and number and a good number of them go to her. My ENT I found through a bunch of co workers.

At one of my former employer's Sunrise Senior Living we were trying to push our communities that we helped market to use the "Friends & Family" referral program because of the low cost-per-lead. We put together a program where we'd give the resident or their family member $500 for every person they referred to Sunrise that moved into a community. The success of this was hard to measure because the communities used to code the referral source to Site & Signage. They are now not running any print media for the core business. I wonder how well the "Site & Signage" is treating them now?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Beach weekend

Everywhere you go you hear about the deep and dark recession that we're in. I had the ability to get away to the beach this weekend with a few friends. One of my friend's mutal friend's had a place down in Ocean City on 69th street. We headed down late Friday night, and began our fun on Saturday.

The place we grabbed breakfast from had people standing outside of it all morning. Recession? I guess people still have to eat. Then we headed to the beach and it definitely wasn't as crowded as it has been in the past. But there were a good amount of people on the beach, spending money on their sleeping arrangements, food and entertainment.

The Boardwalk was full of people, and there were even lines to get food. Where is the recession? Not on vacation. I was not spending a lot of money while I was down there.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Interview with the Vampire...

Since my position has been eliminated almost a month ago I have been actively interviewing with various industries and organizations. The last few days I have been on a few interviews in the restaurant industry. Now each corporation has the right to be as rigid or as structured as they want to be in the interview process. However, they should not connect the dots and make assumptions about your life and the way in which you think and work.

This one company that I interviewed with today had me thinking that I had issues. The guy was late to the interview, and had to go upstairs to get my application and resume. They have a test that you're supposed to take that requires you to do long division by hand and move the decimal places in places that I haven't gone in years. Then they ask you 10 questions like what would your previous employer say about you, etc. Then they ask you back for a final interview. The final interview was the interview with the vampire. He asked me about my previous work and I told him I was laid off. He then started trying to be my therapist and talk about deeper issues, and even quoted Shakespeare. I was not excited at all by this, and at the end of the interview he told me he was gonna think on it. I was gonna think on it too, about not seeking employment with them anymore.

I can honestly say that it was one of the worse interviews that I have ever been on. I don't know if it was our chemistry or what, but we did not get along nor were we a good fit. I like to think that I interview well, and this has got me thinking about things for sure. Each interview is an opportunity to learn and grow about yourself. I am gonna learn something from this I am sure of it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ever run a meeting?

I have never held the official title of Meeting Planner. However, I have over 7 years experience with non profits who put on small to large shows. I can still remember my first job and my first Annual Meeting at AUSA where I made lots of great friends.

Each year, AUSA hosts their Annual Meeting in Washington DC. The first year that I worked there was the last year we hosted at the Marriott Wardman Park & Omni Shorham hotels. The meeting started at the Marriott 50 years prior to my start date and outgrew that hotel quickly. The existing convention center was too small for a meeting of our size so we did overflow and additional exhibits at the Omni. At my first Annual Meeting there were 40,000 military and industry professionals at the show.

The Annual Meeting's show size requires a lot of the 100 person staff to attend the meeting and stay in the hotel and provide 24/7 support. It means long hours and lots of socializing and entertaining. My department had me check into the hotel the Friday before the show, and I was running exhibitor registration. We used fax forms for the registration and the badge program that we used did not alphabetize the badges. I had to proof, print and alphabetize approximately 8000 badges. As I was preparing to leave for the hotel, I locked my keys in my car, while it was running. I didn't have a spare set, but luckily I did have AAA. They arrived and got me into my car.

As soon as I stepped foot on site at the Marriott, I knew what they had told me was true. I was as prepared as I could be but nothing really does prepare you for the onslaught. We had a lot of good times, and fun stories. My very first boss has become one of my dearest friends and he still works there today. Each October, the meeting is held the weekend of my birthday and I still celebrate it with him downtown while he's at the meeting.

The following year, the new convention center opened up and it changed the way that the meeting was run. We were able to accomodate more exhibitors. I hear from my buddy in the year 2012 they will occupy the entire convention center. The first convention center year, I lost 10 lbs while working the show. The size of the center is huge! I highly recommend it for large and small meetings. AUSA puts on an amazing meeting and in my years of experience since, I haven't seen a show of it calibre.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Early 4th of July Weekend!

As many of you begin to head out to your long weekend vacations, it seems the my work has just begun. I am talking about my family is heading to town. The hurricane arrives around 1 pm tomorrow and I will be seeing them for better or worse till Sunday. Before they head into town I have many things to accomplish!

I will not be having your typical 4th of July BBQ fare this weekend. Why? The extended family is having a wedding in the Dulles area. What does this mean? Lots of drinks, lots of food and plenty of laughs. Did I mention little sleep? Being unemployed does have it's perks, especially when you're a consultant and you can make your own hours.

If you're in Loudoun County this weekend you should definitely check out Cookology. Can you tell I have a new gig and I am trying to suggest it to all those greater DC residents? Why? Because cooking is fun. If you're new to cooking or you just want to improve your skills on the knife, we've got something for you, your family and even your fellow co-workers.

Hope you all eat too much, drink too much and you're merry!

Happy Early 4th of July Peeps!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Kids & Obesity

It's been in the news lately that America is FAT! Even our poor kids are getting a bad rap. How do they get these unhealthy habits you ask? I believe it starts with our relationship with food.

This news story calls our attention to the staggering rates of obesity in children statewide. As a northerner I am not surprised by the southern states leading the charge in obesity. All that comfort food and delicious delights to enjoy. As a young adult I have struggled with my own relationship with food. So you're reading this and you're like what is the point of all of this?

My new gig where I am responsible for generating new business hosts cooking classes for kids. It helps teach them how to prepare their own meals, and can even help them improve their relationship with food. You can sign up your kids for a special one time class or even an intense summer camp. If you're interested in helping your kid fight the fat or learn more about cooking, please visit their website at

The product and the service are great. Culinary masters created the material and execute the program. Drop me a line there at if you would like some more info.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The importance of networking...

Today I got a Facebook message from an old co-worker to phone her sometime today because she could really use my marketing and sales skills. I have never actually worked in sales but I was up for the conversation. When we worked together she had conceived this idea to open a cooking school and was working hard on her business plan. In January, Cookology opened its doors.

It's been up and running successfully and even got some good media coverage within the first few weeks of its open. So she's looking to expand her business some and needs someone to help generate leads and close deals for team building activities. I have always wanted to get into sales and I told her I was totally up for it. It's commission based and so it doesn't pay until I close a deal so the higher the team building event, the better the pay.

Tomorrow I am going to go in and learn more about the store, and start training to be a kid's instructor. While I don't have elementary education experience, I do have swim lesson, and teaching assistant experience. I also feel good about it because I don't have to worry about what will happen when I get a permanent position. It could turn out to be something really lucrative, and I am excited about the prospects. If you know of anyone who is need of a creative, delicious, cost effective team building event. Please contact me and we'll talk numbers.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tales of the Unemployed

This week marks my third week since my position being eliminated. It's been a rocky week, but I have tried to stay busy by applying to jobs, holding phone interviews and seeking some part-time freelance work. I have yet to be successful in landing any freelance or permanent positions so if you know of anyone looking for a Marketing Rockstar please contact me! (that was a subtle and shameless hint).

This weekend I am volunteering to work at a local event that I think everyone should check out! It's called Brew Fest and it's hosts many local and non local breweries. I went to the Fall version of this festival a few years ago and discovered the glory that is Chocolate Cake Donut Beer. I had never really been a dark/stout beer fan but a few sips of this was enough to convert me! So when I received the email asking for volunteers I sent out a message to all my crew. I was successful in recruiting a willing participant. We'll head down there to take tickets. If you're there you should stop by and say hi!

I am incredibly grateful for the support of my friends, colleagues and family. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish who is who. To all my fellow unemployed peeps: We will get a good job! We will!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Free Webinar's and the Interview Scene

The social networking site Linked in has a section for events. I was poking around on the site last week when I noticed one of my former co-workers was attending a webinar on web content management. I signed up as well, and figured it wouldn't hurt to continue to learn more about talking the talk of web content management. It was put on by SiteWorks who began the event announcing that they think the economy is recovering because both they and their clients are hiring. They urged those of us looking for new opportunities to check out their site to explore their open positions. I have to say that the webinar was informative and interesting but really was a large commercial for their services.

If you're looking for work check them out. I wish you the best in your quest to land that great job. My new mantra is: I am going to get a great job! Embrace it!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Freelance Marketer For Hire

Greetings Bloggers:

Thank you for stopping by this blog. This blog will detail the experience of a non-profit and for-profit marketing and communications professional. I have worked across many industries including: Army, Utility, Electronics, and Senior Living.

As a marketer, I have experience in direct marketing, brand management, integrated marketing campaigns, web 2.0 applications, email marketing, print advertisements, direct mail campaigns, paid search, search engine optimization, creating national brands, and event marketing.

If you're in need of a marketer with this type of experience please don't hesitate to contact me. Here's a recreation tip for you: The National Parks are giving away free admission this weekend! Click here to learn more about it.