Sons and Daughters and Sexual Assault

I think it’s because my first daughter has gone off to college. As I was preparing myself and her departure and trying to fit in all the last-minute words of wisdom , I found that the issue of sexual assault on college campuses was a bit of an obsession. We have all become highly aware following the media attention around the discredited Rolling Stone article. But my anxiety was originally triggered by an even older story I read about Erin Cavalier being raped by an acquaintance after she had too much to drink. Her story raised all sorts of issues about responsibility and judgement that get very clouded when alcohol is involved. I shared this story with my daughter as a great example of how easy it is easy to get yourself in a situation where you are vulnerable if you have too much to drink. Erin was asking for help from a friend to get home after a night of partying and she thought she could trust him. My warning to my daughter was to have fun but to stay in control. She should remember she has the right to say “no” at any point but saying “no” only works if the other person is respectful and capable of understanding.

I’m also the mother of a college-age son who spent three years as an RA in freshman dorms. I shared Erin’s story with him as the basis for discussion about the issue of consent. He had been told during RA training workshops on this topic that a person is incapable of consenting after three drinks. Since women don’t wear a tally sign on their forehead, we talked about the responsibility if both parties and how it really comes down to common sense and good judgement. He has told me stories of finding partially dressed, passed-out women in bathroom stalls during his rounds as an RA. I worry about the vulnerable position this puts him in because it again requires that the other person is respectful and capable of understanding what’s going on.

Now, amid all the Bill Cosby accusations, another article caught my attention titled: It should never be too late to tell your story of rape. Abigail Hauslohner’s story was disturbing because she was rendered out of control by something her “good family friend” put in her drink. I was struck because she admitted thinking that this kind of thing didn’t happen to smart, progressive, informed people like her. She was so young when her attack happened and because this was someone she trusted, her first reaction was to question herself. Just like Bill Cosby’s victims did. I empathized because I could  absolutely see myself in a similar situation as this young woman when you are finding the

So now what am I telling my son and daughter?

  1. There are no hard-and-fast ground rules
  2. Girls are inventing products like date rape nail polish because drugs are being used on college campuses to incapacitate women and you should never put your drink down
  3. You may find yourself in situations that are not black-and-white and you should trust your gut. We are all born with a sixth sense and you need to trust it. I couldn’t always articulate why something didn’t feel right but when I doubted myself, I regretted it later.
  4. Watch out for those with a sense of entitlement. This is not just an unappealing quality, but a dangerous one too.
  5. Life is messy. Mistakes will be made. Let’s make sure they are mole hills and not mountains.


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Filed under Motherhood, Personal, Women

HBR Study Says Being Disruptive Gets Women in the Board Room

A colleague shared this article with me and it stopped me in my tracks.  It’s titled: Women Need to Realize Work Isn’t School by Harvard Business Review. It’s a thought-provoking article that anyone who has young daughters should read – and share with their young daughters.  It’s principle of being disruptive and persuasive in order to achieve boardroom status flys in the face of the gender-based paradigms of my generation.

As women in the workplace, we know this stuff.  But it’s really a great shot in the arm when someone articulates, validates and substantiates it.  Take the time to follow the author’s links at the bottom to the 10 Rules for Brilliant Women by Tara Sophia Mohr.  Also excellent!


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Great Article for Working Mom’s . . .

I read Petula Dvorak who writes regularly for the Washington Post.  #1, she cracks me up.  #2, she writes about very real and local things. #3, she is another one of those women who juggles working full-time and raising her kids.  

This week, she wrote a fabulous piece called Free time for working moms? That’s a good one!   In this article, Petula talks about how she tried to get a group of working mothers together to go see the new movie “I Don’t Know How She Does It” so she could capture their opinions.  Her article starts with the humor and irony involved in getting a group of working moms together for such and event.  Then it gets serious about how society needs to solve the problem of managing a family in this modern time where the realities of childcare and adult care put great pressure on women.

A year ago I was invited to the White House as a delegate for the White House Forum on Workforce Flexibility.  This forum was designed to gather business owners together to discuss their experience at hiring top talent while providing flexibility and ensuring productivity.  Since my business lends itself to being virtual, it was easy to talk about ways of providing clear direction and deadlines in exchange for flexibility.  However, some of the companies that were represented were retail-oriented businesses who face greater challenges in coming up with workable solutions.

Workforce flexibility is a big area of interest for Michelle Obama.  The Workforce Flexibility meeting I attended in 2010 announced the formation of the White House Council on Women and Girls.  I admit I’ve been too busy to stay very involved in this group following the kick-off.  Fundraising and activism there the primary roles the Council was looking for us to play following our information exchange session.  Of course both of these things take time that many of us didn’t have.  I worry that the reality of budget cuts might make it difficult to see big gains in this area. 

Petula’s humorous take on this issue revived my interest in the topic.  I was particularly stunned to see her quote a policy advocate in saying that it takes seven or eight different people in the foster care system to replace all the things that a child’s mother typically handles.  Sheesh!

Ladies, I suggest we reach behind and give ourselves a pat on the back.  Then let’s keep a spotlight on this issue by making sure that as business women, employers and care givers, we are also our own best supporters.

Any other ideas we should put on the table?


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The Logo has Been Chosen!

Taaaadaaaa! Check out the logo for 3 Ways Digital.

This process has been exciting and difficult. Choosing a company name was the hardest for me because despite creativity, you are limited to available domains.  There were lots of people shooting me ideas which inspired 3 Ways Digital: Community, Content and Monetization strategies for businesses learning to rely on the Web to grow.

Thanks to everyone for all your patience because I was obsessed with this process for a solid four to six weeks! 

I wanted to give a shout out to 99 Designs and their great online process for helping people through a design project.    Their online marketplace is so well executed.  The process is a bit like an online auction.  You provide a creative brief that entices designers to want to work on your project.  Then a seven-day “contest” is held where designers can submit work while you provide feedback and direction along the way.  At the end of the seven days, you choose a “winner” and the winning designer gets paid. 

I found that you get out what you put into the contest.  Inviting designers to participate, thanking them for their work, encouraging them and giving specific feedback is really critical.  It’s really about managing your designer community.  All the communication between the designer and the “contest holder” are enabled through the 99 Designs tool set.  The crowd sourcing capabilities are really well done too.  I ended up getting over 100 different logo treatments so polling was a must to help me make decisions. 

It helps to have some familiarity with the creative process and working with designers when doing a 99 Designs project.  Garbage in, garbage out.  But for the fearless and savvy, I highly recommend them!

Thanks to everyone!

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Filed under Digital Media, Interesting Companies

Final Stretch on the Logo but Need Help Once Again!

I’ve been silent for a while because I’ve finalized the name for my company and I’ve been working on a logo.  The company name is 3Ways Digital: Communication, Content and Monetization strategies for growing businesses learning to rely on the Web. 

I’d really appreciate your help in voting on the final version at 99Designs .

In case you have trouble, with the link, here’s the URL

Thanks for all your support!

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What’s in a name II?

Now I know why I’m not a branding expert.  This is hard!  Incorporating the word “Digital” into any name limits the choices considerably. Even . . .  and every other number from 1 – 100 has been purchased!  FYI, you can buy Advance Digital for a premium price of $13,000. 

Anyway, upon advice of counsel and due to some issues with GoDaddy processing, my original list needed to be modified.  I’d like to get a second round of votes on a new pool of names.  Please cast your vote!


Filed under Digital Media, Personal

What’s in a name?

As many of you know, I’m launching a digital media marketing firm that helps companies identify and strengthen their digital assets for use in effective online communication.  My company will help design effective distribution programs using an organization’s website, RSS feeds, search engines, online directories and communities, email campaigns, eNewsletters, and social media. 

Please cast your vote for the company name that resonates with you. These names have domains available.

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Perspective on Yesterday’s News

Yesterday was filled with mixed emotions.  The news of Osama bin Laden’s assassination was shocking to everyone. In my family’s case we found ourselves having to explain America’s reaction to our sixteen year old German exchange student who has been visiting for the last month.    This was his second dose of world events seen through the American news media given that Gaddafi’s son and his family had also just been killed by NATO forces .  

Our student came home from school yesterday asking why people were chanting and celebrating.  He was taken aback by the tone of President Obama’s speech which they watched in history class. He was  shocked to see the news footage of the rowdy crowds at Ground Zero and the White House. 

I did my best to help him reconcile how Americans got to where we are now but I didn’t feel I convinced him that we aren’t a vengeful country.  Then this morning, while reading the Washington Post, I came across Petula Dvorak’s article in which she did an eloquent job of capturing the emotions of those we didn’t see on the news yesterday. 

Thanks Petula!  Your article is going home with him tomorrow:-).

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What is NPR Thinking?

The Web was all abuzz yesterday with the story about Andy Carvin and his use of Twitter to “cover” the crisis in the Middle East.  After the reading the story in The Washington Post, I began monitoring Andy’s Tweets and there are a few things that baffle me.  Andy is Tweeting every few minutes.  His content is coming from carefully cultivated sources that range from professional to amateur.  The content isn’t validated or filtered.  He seems to see his role as one of aggregator/facilitator instead of expert.  I like the way he poses questions to his followers and involves them in the story.  He’s got a very loyal following.

I also found it interesting that he’s tweeting as @acarvin.  There’s no overt affiliation with NPR except in Andy’s profile.  Yet NPR is clearly investing a lot in this social media experiment.  Andy is tweeting so frequently, it must be his full-time job.  This leaves me wondering what NPR would gain from this experiment?  Maybe NPR is so forward thinking that they are spearheading the social media correspondent concept without concern for their brand?  But the loyal followers really belongs to Andy, not to NPR.  The followers are interested in the topic of the Middle East, tying Andy’s brand to that topic.  Once the Middle East crisis dies down (if it ever does), can Andy move on to the next topic? Or will his brand become too affiliated with the Middle East crisis?

Am I over thinking this?

I think this is a fabulous case study on what journalism might look like in the years to come.  But it does raise several sticky issues for publishing organizations.  I’m personally fascinated by what Andy is doing and can’t wait to see how his role evolves!

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Digital Media Marketing Strategy and a Missed Opportunity

Nowadays, technology gives us lots of tools to communicate with our constituents.  Tools like email, social media, apps, the Web.  This week I attended a Bisnow Event where the room was full of associations who were looking for guidance on how they should be using digital media tools.  The event was called Digital Advocacy: Strategies for Associations (I couldn’t find anything on the Bisnow website for this event so I had to dig through my email to find this link – oops!).  There was a great lineup of very reputable speakers including Jason Oxman from CEA, Michael Turk from Craft Media Digital (my favorite of the bunch) and Barry Jackson from AARP to name a few.  There were also sponsors for this event including Arent Fox and Navigation Arts.  

When the panel was asked how the organizations around the room should start, they agreed that an articulation of goals was the all important first step.  It may take an expert to ground your goals in reality but nevertheless, defining goals is imperative. This goes a long way toward setting internal expectations, guiding creation of the digital media plan while teeing up measurements for success.

Different ideas were thrown around by the panel about the logical next step.  My experience dictates that the next step is to map out your content assets.  You’ll need to take inventory of ALL the assets available to you in order to execute a great digital media strategy.  After all, you can’t successfully participate in digital media without something important and useful to say.  What companies often don’t realize is that there are several things being documented by different departments within their organization that SHOULD become part of your content asset inventory.  Minor modifications to those assets might be necessary before they are ready for use in digital media, but they should be inventoried and built upon.  Examples might be:

1) Training documents
2) Employee/product/customer photos
3) Email newsletters
4) Events (take a note Bisnow!)
5) Social media commentary
6) PPT presentations
7) Positive email communication with customers
8) Customer feedback
9) Company conference materials
10) Shareholder communications
11) Web site content

Now comes the content mapping.  This step outlines how content can be “repurposed” an integrated into a digital media program.  For example training documents are initially created for training employees, but they can be repurposed as part of a customer education communication (e.g. Tip of the Week).

The final step is to decide upon the most appropriate channel of communication.  Is it email, text message,  Twitter, Facebook, Slideshare, Digg, your website, Search Engine Marketing?  Each channel has strengths and weaknesses and not all of them are appropriate for every business.  Here’s where it will become necessary to refer back to the goals you established in step #1. 

Now back to Bisnow’s opportunity to leverage the event.  Wouldn’t it make sense, given all the effort expended on bringing this event together, to leverage it beyond the moment in a more prominent way?  After all, a successful event took place at a great venue with reputable speakers and recognizable sponsors for the benefit of a roomful of attendees from interesting associations.  The fabulous email invitation that I received convincing me to attend in the first place should have a prominent position on their website with some additional info about attendees.  Sponsors deserve ongoing recognition of their contribution in bringing local companies out for this event.  Potential subscribers to the Bisnow email publications would have more reason to subscribe to Bisnow’s publications.  Event participants (especially those featured) would not only have a reference point for following up with event speakers but also be more likely to share/tweet/link to this event to their network. Include a link to future Bisnow events and you’ve got a viral marketing campaign!


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Filed under Digital Media, Events