Michelle Obama – This is for my Girls

I can’t lie – I will miss Michelle Obama as FLOTUS. She’s super-smart, funny, beautiful, a great mom, a fashonista and so much more. I feel like crying when I think about her leaving the White House.

She further demonstrated her fabulousness during SXSW this week. Flotus delivered a keynote address where she, Missy Elliott and songwriter Diane Warren spoke about the, “Let Girls Learn initiative,” which seeks to break barriers to education for girls and is part of the #62MillionGirls global campaign.

“It’s just a sign of what a group of women can do together. We can change the world, we can have an impact on these girls and they don’t know we’re doing it,” Obama said of the initiative.

FLOTUS also detailed how men can contribute towards ensuring that women have a brighter future. “In this country today, women still makes 70 cents on every dollar a man makes… I hope we’re all raising young men who are coming to these positions of power with a different level of sensitivity and understanding and – as I said, I can’t say it more – empathy to create inclusion and that’s how we start to fix this problem.”

Obama also suggested another way in which men can ensure that there is more diversity, both racially and gender-wise, in “their seat at the table where they have access to power.”

Here’s my ode to her SXSW visit. Did I say how much I will miss her? *weeps*

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Um, one of the best selfies ever.

 

Conference Bliss: Misty Copeland

This Halloween was like no other – that’s because I spent it at the ballet. I had the pleasure of seeing Misty Copeland, American Ballet Theater’s first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the company’s 75-year history, perform at Lincoln Center.

She was exquisite. As I watched her glide through the air, I was deeply moved. Mainly because I am well-aware of all that she had to endure to get to where she is now. I saw the documentary film, A Ballerina’s Tale, a few weeks ago. Her story is one marked with rejection, set-backs and let downs. However, it is crowned with accomplishments.

Copeland recently sat down with the film’s director, Nelson George and Gayle King to discuss her journey. Take a look and be inspired:

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Conference Bliss – My Wrap-Up of NAMIC 2015.

Sadly, the month of October is almost over. I am a bit relieved though, as it’s always one of the busiest and I feel like I am running around in circles for most of it. October marks marketing conference high season and it isn’t unusual for me to attend several of them at once. I don’t mind it in the end – I get to catch up with colleagues, make new friends and learn about what’s next in the digital marketing world. One of the best gatherings that I covered this month was the 2015 Annual NAMIC Conference.

Founded in 1980, the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) is the premier organization that educates, advocates and empowers for multi-ethnic diversity in the communications industry. The organization is at the forefront in driving towards ethnic diversity in the communications industry.

I truly had a blast at the conference. Check out my post on the organzation’s website to read about the highlights.

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Spike Lee discusses his film, “Chiraq.”

CONFERENCE BLISS: Ta-Nehisi Coates

I am a huge fan of writer, Ta-Nehisi Coates. These are important times and his focus on issues of race, inequality and injustice via his works are right on time. Additionally, I am so glad to see that his ideas are widely being received. I am not sure that would have been the case just a few years ago.

I was annoyed that I missed Coates at the Schomburg Center here in NY last week. But pleased when I found out the entire discussion was available online. Grab a glass of wine, sit back, click the pic below and take notes:

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Oh, and if you want to read what Coates reads (don’t we all), go here.

What I’m Doing Tomorrow.

I am super excited to kick off my weekend by giving back.

Tomorrow, I’m leading a workshop focused on social and digital media at the 2015 Careers in Media Day which is being presented by New York Women in Communications Foundation. This event will be attended by 9th-12th grade teen girls who are interested in exploring or pursuing careers in communications, media and technology.  The keynote speaker will be Emmy Award-winning TV journalist for ABC News and an anchor of Nightline, Juju Chang

If you know a teen girl who could benefit from this experience, sign them up – registration is still open! For more details go here. 

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Conference Bliss: Social Good Summit 2015 – My Top Vid Picks

The Social Good Summit, a two-day conference examining the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world, was held on Sunday and yesterday. Described as, “a dynamic community of global leaders and grassroots activists to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our time,” I learned so much in such a short amount of time and was deeply inspired. The theme, #2030NOW, challenges us all to consider, “What type of world do I want to live in by the year 2030?” The consideration at the core of each chat was how technology can be used to make the world a better place. Here are some of my favorite i-views from the convening:

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Finish Strong.

It’s hard to believe – 2014 will soon be over. This year has demonstrated tremendous lessons, both personal and professional. Here are my top five:
1. Great leaders make the difference. When the wrong people are in position, it can be damn near impossible to get things done. Being a capable leader doesn’t simply rest on your credential or a title. I’m means articulating a vision and trusting your team to execute. It means leading by example and never stooping to the lows of office politics. It means openly, genuinely and frequently recognizing the accomplishments of your team and not magnifying their failures. Dear friends, not all are built to be leaders.
2. Social customer care is everything. I’ve always been obsessed with social customer care before I even knew what that meant. ‎Three years ago I tweeted at Anthropologie and I remember, clear as day, they responded, located the item I was looking for and sent me a coupon within a matter of hours. To this day, I tell that story – they have set the standard for me. I cannot tell you (I’d be too ashamed to) the amount of money I’ve spend with them since then. Yes, I love the uniqueness of their merchandise. But more an that, I’m a fan of the brand and how they handled that incident. This year, as I encountered Pret a Manger, USPS and everyone in between, I carefully watched their moves when it came to customer response. Strong customer response via social matters to the bottom line.
3. You can’t control everything. This year ‎almost everything that I thought I could control slipped right out of my hands. I won’t go into too much detail but we have all heard the saying, “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” That’s the absolute truth. At the top of the year, I became aware of the Sand Mandala. It is is a Tibetan Buddhist tradition involving the creation and destruction of mandalas made from colored sand. A sand mandala is ritualistically destroyed once it has been completed and its accompanying ceremonies and viewing are finished to symbolize the Buddhist doctrinal belief in the transitory nature of material life. . It amazed me that these individuals would spend so much time creating something so ornate and then destroy it.  It’s great to focus on a goal but not to be so tied into the process of how you ‎get to the finish line. finish-line-900
4. Take a risk and if you fail, take another. This year, I continued to try out new ways to engage my organization’s social audiences. The previous year, our Facebook and Twitter Chats had been successful. I decided to explore the possibility of using livestream video to bring our annual plan meeting to various stakeholders. Weeks of planning went into the ‘how’ as it was the first time the organization would attempt this type of broadcast. There was hurdle after hurdle: we didn’t have the proper equipment, the internet speed at the venue was shaky. Even two minutes after we went to air there was a glitch – Youtube shut us down as it was picking up the ambient house music and that was in violation if copyright regulations. My team quickly worked on a resolution and it was fixed just as the Chair and CEO stepped to the podium. Had we given up at any point, if we were not relentless about achieving the goal at any cost, we would have failed.
5. You belong. I’ve been attending conference after conference for a solid month. I wanted to gain knowledge in my area of expertise, showcase my skill-set as well as meet leaders in my industry. There was a VP of a worldwide company who was set to panel at one of the events I attended who I was anxious to connect with. I checked his name on the program, determined to speak with him at some point. At the end of day two, I had my opportunity: there he was, packing up his bag and standing alone. Yet, I felt my legs carry my body right past him and out of the door. “Wait, what are you doing?!” I literally said aloud. I walked back to him, stuck out my hand and introduced myself. Long story short, he gave me his direct line and email address. Had I allowed fear to grip me, I would have walked right out of the venue and been cursing myself on the ride home.
In the next 30 days, my focus will be on mindfully observing and influencing the above areas. I’m a strong believer in pushing hard the last leg of the race. Usually, I crank up my Jay Z and I go numb as I run to last mile. Nothing else matters. I’ll let you know how I do.

Conference Bliss: Incite Summit – East

You know that you are in conference overdrive when you are at the same venue for a different event sitting in the very same seat within a time-frame that spans less than seven days.

A few days ago, I returned to the Wyndham New Yorker. This time I was there for Incite Summit East. Here’s what the organizers said ahead of the event: Incite Summit: East will bring together experienced marketers and communicators from major brands to discuss questions and speak on topics submitted by an audience of industry professionals. The agenda has been tailored for relevance through continuous research with marketing professionals. And we’ll continue to gather the input of marketers and communicators up until the last minute of the summit. This year’s speaker lineup features 18 CMOs and over forty name-brands. You’ll also get to hear from SVPs and VPs from beloved brands such as Jaguar Land Rover, Siemens, Diageo, MetLife, Conde Nast, Triumph, Activision, Ricoh, Fresh Direct, Universal Music, PBS, Aflac, Wyndham Hotel Group, Citi, Saks Fifth Avenue, MTV, The Weather Channel and many more.

They were spot on. I could further explain but it’s all in the tweets. Enjoy:

Conference Bliss – Engage

My conference adventures continue. This go-round, I want to talk about Engage.

Held about two weeks ago and focused on, “The Science of Social,”at Engage NYC leading social marketers from top global brands shared how they built insight-driven social strategies to optimize their social content, care and advertising. Innovators in social provided insights on how they push the boundaries of what’s possible. Also shared were the latest insights and product news from the conference host, Socialbakers. engage4

This was my second year attending and although the weather sucked, I had to make my way to the Skylight Modern venue in Chelsea to learn about what metrics to use to optimize my social marketing, the numbers behind the best social campaigns and, most important to me, the science behind how social care affects brands’ engagement.

Global brands Lenovo and TUI detailed how they have transformed their organizations by creating a shared understanding of social performance around common goals, metrics, and KPIs. Turkish Airlines’ explained the #WidenYourWorld campaign. Additionally, PSG expressed how they used insights to target a global community of fans and followers and turn them into more than fans.

Here were some key take-aways:

  • Know who you are as a brand and listen to those who follow you.
  • Engaging isn’t just likes and shares; it’s how you build stories with your customers’ help.
  • One of the pillars of social care planning and execution is the social hub. It’s a place, a team, a frame of mind, a content news room to follow up on customer inquiries, campaigns and events. It also can serve as a a co-working training room.
  • Customers that are engaged via social customer care will spend 40 percent more dollars.
  • When creating your proactive campaign, you should include thematic, target-specific content.
  • Exclusive content gets people engaged.
  • If you serve your customers well, you will get rewarded.

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Learn more about Social Bakers here.