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Tech Mom

Kids’ TV shows that should make a comeback

I realize that TV has become a bit taboo when it comes to kids, but let’s be honest. It would be nice to take a shower once in a while; and a TV show is an easy way to buy yourself some rare and treasured time alone. By alone, I mean alone for five minutes… followed by a series of “Mom, I need more milk…” “Mom, I hungry…” “Mom, my show’s over, can you start a new one?”

 

My kids engrossed in an episode of Mister Rogers

A photo posted by @krisleighh

Well, you get my point.

When I was a kid, TV was better than it is today. I was captivated for hours – that is, minus the period of time when I only watched commercials (it actually makes sense why I went into communications now). The shows I watched then, I carry with me today. I’ve found myself telling my kids about them, and have even dug up a few, in all their 80s glory, to share the experience with them.

I recently introduced my son to Doogie Howser when he wanted to be a doctor for “character day” at school. I loved the nostalgia, but think it was lost on him.

Here are a few shows I think should make a comeback:

1. Fraggle Rock

This is one of my husband’s favorite shows as a kid. Jim Henson brought us the muppets, and kept going when he created Fraggle Rock. The songs… the crazy, furry characters… the drama. Similarly to Sesame Street, the show dealt with difficult issues in a fun way.

But have no fear – I heard this one is coming back in movie-form. We have Joseph Gordon-Levitt to thank for this one. Maybe they’ll tackle what happens when mom’s caffeine has run out.

2. Reading Rainbow

This one was kind of re-booted a few years ago through in an app; and then in 2014, a Kickstarter campaign raised funds to make the app available on the web and streaming devices. Who doesn’t remember LeVar Burton? While I was really confused why he could see on Reading Rainbow, but wore crazy glasses on Star Trek, he was a great story-teller.

Everyone poops. This is important stuff people!

 

4. Punky Brewster

I had a purple vest just like Punky’s. She was spunky, to the point and super cute. Weren’t all 80s girls like this? At least we tried to be.

When it makes a comeback, they should totally cast Elsie Fisher, voice of Agnes in Despicable Me.

5. DuckTales

My mom taught piano while I was growing up. And for years, she taught at my grandmother’s house in a nearby town. So after school, I watched plenty of DuckTales. I’m pretty sure there was nothing to gain from watching this, but it was definitely entertaining – and for that reason alone, it should make a comeback.

6. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

This one is hands-down, my all-time favorite. My kids watch the originals and love them. Although, I once had to explain 8MM film, and immediately felt old. Fail.

I realize they’ve tried to re-boot it with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, but it’s not the same. I miss his calmness, his clever sweaters and the old wive’s tale that Mister Rogers’ used to kill people with his bare hands.

Nonetheless, he was still awesome.

Which childhood re-boot would you like to see?

A Lesson in Leadership: Things I learned from a great leader

When you leave an organization, what will people say? Will they gossip about your failures, or will they mourn your loss?

If it’s the latter, you are probably a great leader. I’ve had the wonderful privilege of working for one. When he left, we definitely mourned. Over the last few years, my mentor managed crises, supported staff and inspired his team to do things we would have never imagined. I’ve watched closely, and have tried to implement those characteristics into my management style. He always made it look easy, but I know he made a conscious decision to care for his team every day.

Here are a few things I learned along the way:

1. Family first.

This one is easier to tell your team to do than to do yourself. Work is important, and if you love your job, it’s easy to do. But it’s a job. And it can’t take care of you when you’re old. At the end of the day, family matters more – every time. Turn off and tune in.

2. Learn how to tell a great story.

Stories can engage your imagination. One of my favorite talks from my mentor was about his vision for the future. Every time he gave the presentation he would read the audience and tailor it for them – speeding up sections if they were losing interest, or going more in-depth if the audience was engaged. And today, we still talk about it.

Another great example of fantastic storytelling are TED talks. They explain often complicated subjects in a very energizing and memorable way. This is one of my favorites:


3. Sometimes you just need to listen.

At the beginning of every update, my mentor always asked about the kids, my husband or what was going on in life. He also remembered what I told him. It was a simple gesture, but one that I will always carry on.

4. Be authentic and transparent.

He didn’t beat around the bush. You always knew what was on his mind. And for that reason, I always trusted him to be honest. I still do.

5. Be loyal to build loyalty.

A good leader fights for his or her staff. I often have crazy ideas – I’m all for “failing fast” or finding success and learning from both. I always think about one that went all the way to our board. He fought for me all the way up. I saw him do that for my colleagues day-after-day. And because he had our back, we’ll always have his.

6. Be visible.

He would always say to be visible. Practice what you preach. Show your team what you want to see in them. If you can’t live to your standards, they’ll never buy in.

7. Stay calm.

We’re in communications. We deal with crises. When we’ve been in the trenches and urgency is pressing in, he has always been calm and resolute. Even if I would be under a lot of stress, he would calmly help me think through a solution.

8. Take risks.

I came to the organization when social media and digital was still a new thing to the organization. My role wasn’t in his background, so I would often ask him to take a risk and trust me. While I “failed fast” a few times, we certainly nailed it a lot. And we’re better because of it. I taught him a thing or two. And he taught me it’s OK to trust and leap.

9. Show kindness, even when people don’t deserve it.

I watched this one in awe. Sometimes people make stupid mistakes that can be costly to their career or their personal lives. My mentor had a fantastic way of addressing an issue; but made it a quiet, teachable moment for people. As I work through my career, I often take a step back and think how he would address it. I always see better results.

10. Be hands on, but hands off.

He would bring coffee, stuff bags for media drops or pick up trash. Not once did he complain. But he gave us the space to do our thing and produce results. So, we did. By being willing to get the job done, he earned the respect and loyalty of everyone who worked with him.

 

Social Media 4 Nonprofits: The Recap

Holy cow! A social media conference in my own backyard: Dallas!

Here’s the deal: To Dallasites, we love our city. We rag on the weather, the sixty-thousand-dollar-millionaires and trophy wives, but deep down we think we’re awesome.

Because we are.

And here’s why:

  1. Dallas is the home to the first two seasons of Halt & Catch Fire – also the tech boom of the 80s.
  2. You may see Erykah Badu… naked… walking down the street. Because that’s normal.
  3. Two airports and lots of flights in case you need to get out of town quickly.
  4. You’ve heard everything is bigger in Texas? What is a 200 sq. ft. rental in San Francisco, is a 4,000 sq. ft. mortgage in Dallas.
  5. One (compound) word: Tex-Mex.

So when something about tech happens in my hometown, I must be involved.

Social Media 4 Nonprofits hosted a conference today. About Social Media. For Nonprofits.

Let it sink in for a moment.

Even better – an old friend and mentor, Anita Foster from the American Red Cross – Dallas was there to speak about turning over the keys to volunteers.

Despite the fact that I felt like I was recovering from tuberculosis and sneaked out a little early (after people starting reaching for hand sanitizer around me), it was a good day.

Apparently, this is what I look like when I speak.

me

But here’s the full recap:

 

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat: A recap of the PR News Big 4 Conference

I had the privilege of speaking at the PR News Big 4 Conference this week in San Francisco.

First, San Francisco is not a bad city to have a social media conference. There’s plenty of amazing food and wine. Because wine. Plus, I was singing this song the entire flight here (and yes, it was the Benny Benassi remix version):

In the tech mecca, fresh ideas are abundant and it’s an excellent place to channel my inner geek.

I’ve included the full Storify recap, but here were the major takeaways, along with a few of my personal thoughts:

Let’s be real. SEO can be a pain, but it’s the way to get your messages seen by the masses. You Google. So do reporters. So do every day people. So fix your SEO.  

I’ve preached this one for years. Just don’t.

It’s your baby. Don’t kill your baby by suffocating it or abandoning it.

 Fail fast, but know enough to measure it so you’ll know if it worked or really failed. You should have the freedom to try new things. Social media is ever evolving. If it works, great! If not, that’s fine too. Just know how to tell the difference.

Your employees are your greatest asset. Teach them, then trust them.

Listen. Engage. Act. Acting is the most difficult part. It’s also the most rewarding.

And then of course, this selfie happened.

The day my Fitbit died

I’ve had my Fitbit for about a year now. At first, I refused to challenge friends. After all, getting active should not be about competition. It should be about staying healthy and active, and living the new American dream… That lasted a few minutes.

Then, the challenges began.

First, it was innocent. Let’s compare steps!

Then, it became all out smack-talking – which included a little bit of not updating the tracker until everyone else went to sleep. Then, time zones became another issue (I tend to go to bed early, so my steps are done early too).

But when I was in Chicago, my Fitbit band broke… the week before SXSW. For those of you not familiar: SXSW is a interactive, film and music festival in Austin, Texas every spring. Around 30,000 people come from across the world to partake in the sessions, networking, concerts and parties. Since there are typically not that many people in Austin – I think ever – you walk. And I mean tens-of-thousands of steps each day.

So, the week before SXSW, I sent a frantic tweet to Fitbit to ask about getting a replacement band. They kindly replied and replaced it. But it arrived after I had made the trek down south for the weekend.

All those steps, lost.

I learned a valuable lesson that week: If your Fitbit isn’t working, the steps never happened.

 

I mention this because now it’s really broke. #nohope

The one that comes first

Eeeks! My first blog post. This is one of those moments that I may regret when Timehop comes around every year… but for now, I’m so stinkin’ excited to meet you!

Here’s the deal:

Let’s get this out of the way now. I’m one of those moms who popped out two beautiful kids and kept working any way. They call me a “Stay-at-work mom.” It’s perfect for our family – just like other families where mom or dad decide to stay home. Don’t give me the side-eye.

I should be featured on Pinterest fails. Luckily, they haven’t found my mishaps… yet. If you don’t tell, I’ll share them with you.

I have the wonderful privilege of working in tech for a nonprofit and meeting people every single day who inspire me. I cry regularly at work because of it. Our brand team uses it as a litmus test for good content.

I also get to travel for work and/or leisure. I’ll take both. When I was breastfeeding, I pumped in dozens of airport bathrooms and on planes. Mom problems. Anyway, I’ve always had a case of wanderlust.

And with that comes a craving for culture, food and wine. I’ve even hit up a couple Plum packets with a glass of wine for dinner in the past. Like I said, no side-eye. You know you’ve done it too.

My good sense of fashion usually comes from my husband who worked in high-end retail for a number of years and is my personal stylist. I’ll take a Gucci bag and pair of Jimmy Choos any day! Of course, good finds can be found at Target too.

I have a group of mom friends who are just as crazy as I am, and one of the only reasons I’m not in therapy. My husband – or as he prefers to be called, Super Dad – is the other reason.

Many of my conversations start out with, “So I have a funny story.” This one is the same.

So, here we are. Let’s be friends. I’ll toast you wherever you are.

Cheers!

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