I love it when something good happens at the start of the week, and that was certainly the case yesterday. A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to have Girlstart come on board as a Luminaria client. I’ve worked with Girlstart on and off for more than a decade now, back when founder Rachel Muir launched the non-profit organization with $500, a credit card, a rented house in Austin’s West Campus neighborhood, and a dream to help girls embrace and embark on math and science careers.
Since then, lots has happened — math and science education awareness for girls has grown, it’s expanded into the STEM acronym (for science, technology, engineering, and math), what we can do with computers has gotten a lot more incredible, and Girlstart’s reached thousands of girls in Central Texas and beyond.
Now, under the guidance of ED Tamara Hudgins, Deputy Director Julie Shannan, Program Director Katelyn Wamsted, and a terrific staff, Girlstart’s had its first official visit from a Congressman — namely, Rep. Michael McCaul, whose wife is a marine biologist, and who has a key voice (thanks to his various committee memberships) in shaping the funding and education for STEM careers in the U.S.
Here’s the News 8 Austin coverage of Congressman McCaul’s visit yesterday. It was great to be able to help this amazing client get such a momentous occasion covered by Austin media.
I ask that question slightly tongue-in-cheek, of course, even after oohing and aahing over Gizmodo’s recent unveil of the fourth-generation iPhone. But I also ask it with some degree of amazement for the age we live in, not to mention the ingenuity of software engineers. Thanks to an app I downloaded while at my son’s soccer game, I’ve now got a WordPress application allowing me to blog from my phone.
How I work on my iPhone is a little different than how I work on my laptop. My laptop is my office, so oftentimes, I think about the totality of what I do in running a firm. There’s Word and Excel and Tweet Deck, but there’s also Quick Books and MyTime and iCal.
On my iPhone, I tend toward more economical e-mail responses and directed searches. I also think about tasks I can do while caught in three or five minute waits. Sometimes, that’s enough for one simple blog post that stays focused and lets your readers in on one direct piece of info.
I’m still holding out, by the way, for an app that will clean my house.
Back from another blogging hiatus — I’ve been maintaining client blogs and handling a number of projects lately, including my second year of PR for First Night Austin. It was a challenging year for the organization, but seeing Austin artists engaging with Austin audiences to close out one year and welcome in the next makes it worthwhile. I was fortunate to be part of a hard-working team, and became even more of a fan of Austin Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez for stepping up as the event’s Honorary Chair. And this year, we got to work with the Long Center on a First Night-style New Year’s party, which was a great addition and a fun opportunity to stretch some event planning muscles.
Just a heads up to those who know me strictly on their computers — I’m grabbing a badge and joining the fray at SXSW Interactive this year. In a time of tight budgets and recession-related concerns, SXSW still remains a great place to learn and engage in the sort of IRL networking needed to keep ideas coming and energy high. So, for those of you making the trek to Austin, whether you’re across town or across the country, let me know you’re coming. I know where the best cup of coffee in town can be found, and I can hook you up with a fantastic breakfast taco no matter where in Austin you’re staying.
Hello, everyone. It’s been a crazy couple of months around here. Those of you following me on Twitter and Facebook know that I’ve been keeping relatively active in Social Media land, but clearly not here on the blog.
Part of it has to do a whole lot of busy, which is what I like to be. Some great new clients have boarded — including the National Trauma Institute, dedicated to the funding and development of research addressing trauma injury in the United States, and Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop, the best dessert bakeshop in Austin, largely responsible for the completely awesome Cupcake Renaissance we’re experiencing in Austin. Also, my longtime client, the National Hispanic Institute, celebrates 30 years of developing Latino leadership this year with a full slate of summer programs.
Part of it also has to do with deciding what to do with the blog’s direction. Blogs are especially fascinating to me when you’re able to witness them evolving. Initially, I’d intended for this blog to be observations about PR and the media as a PR practitioner. I still think that’s valuable — but I want to make sure it’s rooted more in my day-to-day and week-to-week than the esoteric. Plenty of PR blogs address questions like “Is the press release still valuable?” (A: Yes, as a backgrounder to support the direct contact you’re making with a media person), but not enough answer tougher, of-the-moment questions like “What do I do about that client who owes me $2,000?”
So my intention is this — soon, every Friday (and whenever else the mood strikes me), once I’m through what is turning out to be a very busy summer, you’ll see insights about what I learned or what was reinforced for me during the week.
This week, it was about working beyond the 9-to-5 work day window. I’ll do that for my clients. There’s a point at which I want to unplug from the work day, of course, but sometimes, 9-to-5 isn’t enough to contain everything that’s happening.
This week, I had an author through on a leg of his book tour, and one bookstore called after his reading Tuesday night with questions about whether he’d left behind too many books. It was worth it to hear the event coordinator declare her and her co-workers “groupies” (their choice of words!) based on the reading. This morning, I met that client outside my office before 8 a.m. with promo materials for a future date before he drove nine hours to another tour stop. President Obama gave a speech in Cairo of great import to another client, and did so at 5 in the morning our time. Last night, I interviewed several members of an organization I work for to prep for an article I’m writing for the group’s publication — and the only time we could all get together was 7 at night. It’s part of doing PR in 2009, and I’m fine with that, though I suspect that I owe my kids a trip to the zoo to make up for it.