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social media

Déjà vu

 

deja

If you were offered the opportunity to do something that could change healthcare and save lives, would you?

It’s never an easy decision when you’re already doing something you love, but it was too good of a chance to let it pass me by.

Early this year, I left the American Heart Association to work for an amazing enterprise software company, Sprinklr. Since then, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to advise a handful of Fortune 500 organizations on creating and implementing digital strategies using our software. Plus, I’ve had the privilege of working with an amazing team who never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up on creating the best experience for their brands.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago – I got a note from someone I really respect at AHA about a new role. I wasn’t looking. I love #SprinklrLife. But I said I’d hear them out.

And the rest is history… again.

I’m heading back to the AHA as the Director of Marketing, for the Patient-Powered Research Network for the Institute of Precision Cardiovascular Medicine. It’s a position at the crossroads of innovation, tech, big data and healthcare. And I couldn’t be more thrilled to re-join an organization that is changing the face of healthcare.

It’s bittersweet – I still love Sprinklr and where it’s going. I still think it’s the best in the business and they have the best team on the planet. I will forever be their cheerleader. The best part: I still get to work with them as their client again.

So cheers to new beginnings, big changes and giant leaps. I’ve never been one to take the easy road. I love the excitement of doing something big, and taking on a new challenge. This is that opportunity. I’m looking forward to the future. Who knows where it will take me?

To answer a few questions I’ve already gotten…

So what will you be doing?

I get to lead the marketing for patient-centered research at the cross of big data, innovation and cardiovascular diseases and stroke. In normal fashion, it’s a new position that I get to help craft, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Didn’t you burn your work clothes when you started working from home?

Outside of a handful of my favorite dresses, I definitely slimmed down my wardrobe. Something tells me that yoga pants won’t cut it in this role, so I’m going shopping.

Going back to a past employer? How does that work?

Actually, it’s becoming quite popular. I recently found some research that shows more than 76 percent of employers are looking at past employees for new roles.

A Bittersweet Goodbye to American Heart Association

Saying goodbye is always hard. Even if you’re excited about the future, you are sad about what you’re losing… or sometimes what you should have lost.

Today, I’m saying goodbye to a place I’ve called my work-home for the past five years – the American Heart Association.

When I was in elementary school, I participated in Jump Rope For Heart, a signature fundraising event for the AHA. To make it memorable, I won a purple t-shirt. Here’s the deal – purple was, and still is, my favorite color. So I wore it every chance I could. I probably would have worn it every day if my mom would have let me.

And that’s how I knew the AHA, until I applied five years ago.

It’s a funny story. I was looking to move from PR and into social media, but I didn’t want to work for a nonprofit. So when a friend sent me the job description, I hesitated.

Then, I thought I’d get in some interview experience along my job hunt, so I sent over my resume.

During the interview process, I fell in love with the team… the job… the organization… the mission.

And the rest is history.

The History

My last five years have been spectacular. I’ve gotten to work on a cause I love, in an industry that’s changing quickly, and work with a host of talented people who aren’t afraid to roll their sleeves up and say, “Let’s go.” I got to build a social media program from the ground up, work with influencers and celebrities, grow a passionate and thriving community, win a handful of awards, make a real impact in people’s lives, and advise on digital/social media for a host of initiatives, programs and campaigns for one of the most respected voluntary health organizations in the world.

When I put in my notice, I told my boss, “I’ve achieved everything I’ve set out to do in the beginning.” And now, as much as I love the brand and the people, it’s time for a new adventure.

New Beginnings

In April, I’ll start a new role – as a Senior Success Manager with another brand I love – Sprinklr. It’s a major shift for me – away from the brand side, away from directly managing a social media program, now to working with clients on implementing the best programs they can. As their trusted advisor, I will be there to help their brands be as successful as possible using our tool. The good news is: I intimately know what it takes, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

When I first thought about leaving I knew I needed three things to make a shift: A great culture, a great team and an exciting role. Working with the brand as a client for the past three years, I believe Sprinklr has all three. And I’m honored to join this part of their journey.

So What Does This All Mean?

Based on a few questions I’ve already received, here’s what you may (or may not) want to know…

So, you haven’t decided to be a stay at home mom?

No. If you need details, here you go.

What will you be doing?

Making it rain. No really – I’ll get to work with some pretty fantastic brands on growing their social media programs to scale using Sprinklr’s social media management software.

But Sprinklr doesn’t have an office in Dallas. Are you moving?

Heck no. My husband’s office is getting a makeover. I’m moving out the sports autographs and making way for all my technology… and my “Easy” button that has graced my desk for the last decade. I’ll be working from home and traveling when needed. Thank God for the internet.

Will you travel less?

It’s likely, but I’ll still get to travel to meet with some of my fantastic, new clients.

What about AHA?

They can’t get rid of me that easy. I’m hoping to stick around as a passionate volunteer, now joining the community I helped create. They still have great leaders and a talented team who I know will go on to do great things.

Does this mean I can apply for your role at AHA?

Why yes you can! It isn’t publicly available yet, but check back soon for the link or send me your resume to pass along to the awesome team there.

What will you do with all your work clothes?

While I’m stocking up on yoga pants, I’m probably going to do a little spring cleaning in my closet. I’ll keep some of the stuff I love (I refuse to ditch any of my Elie Tahari dresses). The rest… I don’t know… Burn them? Donate them? Make a quilt? Only time will tell.

Every End Has a New Beginning

I’m excited about the journey ahead of me, and will miss those who have made an impact on my career thus far. I’m taking with me the many memories that we’ve created together. Thank you for your role in my life.

Cheers to new beginnings…

The last supper... or lunch.
The last supper… or lunch.

Brand Socialites Summit, CPR and virtual hugs

The second day was much like the first – incredible. In case you missed the first day, it’s here.

On day two, we were still standing.

IMG_20151016_135952

We kicked off the morning talking about career paths. The big question: Are we all destined to become consultants? For some, maybe. But we are in a wonderful industry that lets us mold our careers.

Also, you should interview once a quarter, even if you aren’t planning to leave. It helps staff weed out the people who are going to jump ship any way, it tests your skills and keeps you aware of what’s out there.

Executive sponsors are the lifeblood of a successful social media program. We are too.

A lot of tools are similar, you have to find one that fits your organization’s needs and culture.

Influencers are fantastic to boost affinity for your brand. Treat them like people, because they are.

Target social ads with your own data, with other people’s data… but always target and test variations of the creative.

Facebook works well for pre- and post-event pushes, but experiment with Twitter, Periscope and Snapchat during.

Considering we’re leading social media for some of the largest brands in the country, there was little tweeting and a lot of connecting. Sometimes it’s great to disconnect, and be present.

For the recorded story of tweets (because like I said, we weren’t much for tweeting):

 

 

 

We decided to have a BS Summit

So I’m in this group… for brands… and social people… and it’s awesome.

About three years ago, the Brand Socialites thought it would be a good idea to plan a summit of the some of the brightest minds in brand social media.

Yes, it took us three years to plan a Brand Socialites Summit. Don’t look at me like that. We’ve been busy.

So finally, we’ve pulled it off (well, the first day anyway). And we gave it the hashtag #BSSummit.

Because, why not?

And here’s what we learned…

In the future of social, don’t be afraid to try to new things and adjust your tactics accordingly. We’ll continue to learn from one another, as we should.

It may also include cat videos.

Create a content strategy which uses social listening and supports your business goals. Never stop asking questions.

Also, Post-it art is awesome.

Photo from demilked.
Photo credit demilked.

If your hair is on fire, don’t stop talking to your consumers. Even if your answer is, “We’re investigating,” at least you are communicating.

No response is a response.

Online customer service is a spectator sport.

When managing a team, pair your junior staff with more seasoned staff – both can learn from one another.

Also, this from Ben:

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 11.16.32 PM

For the full story of tweets:

 

5 things future social media professionals should know

Every year, I have the wonderful privilege of speaking to a group future marketers at my alma mater, the University of North Texas.

Let’s take it back to when I was in college for a second. I was the cheezy kid in the second row (the first row seemed a little too presumptuous) asking all the questions. I was a nerd when it came to classes I was interested in. And the thought of getting to connect with well-networked people who were already in my field, was an idea that I loved.

When I started my career, social media was barely a thing. We had Myspace (I’m not that old), but the rest were yet to come. There definitely weren’t classes in social media.

My career started in public relations, at an agency.

I think agencies can be beneficial if you want to try a lot of things, for a lot of clients. My experience was valuable, but the grind wore me down and I wanted to move to the brand side of things and move to social media… which was a fantastic idea.

On the brand side, you get to dig deep and hone your skills. I was able to step in and build a social media program from scratch – growing it from a community of 38,000 to an audience of 60.4 million. It’s been quite a journey; and I couldn’t have done it without an amazing group of people along the way.

I’ve always been thankful for my mentors, family, former teachers and communications/social media friends who have supported me. I feel like I owe it to them to pass along the knowledge, advice and good vibes I’ve gotten along the way.

Now, it’s my turn on the other side of the desk.

It’s crazy to think that this year, millennials are expected to overtake the majority of the workforce according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. By 2030, the generation who won’t remember the time before dial-up is expected to make up 75 percent of the workforce.

The world has been changing the last decade, and social media has been leading the charge.

The newest graduates are joining the workforce as digital natives. And here’s some of the advice I gave to them:

  1. If you aren’t passionate about it, don’t settle for it. When I think about my career, there are three things I’ve needed to be successful (and it took me a while to figure this out, which is why I’m telling you now): the culture, the team/boss, the job. If you can find the trifecta, you’re set. Remember during interviews you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Find out as much as you can about all three to see if it’s a fit for your personality and work-style.
  2. Learn quickly and fail fast. Sorry to use corporate jargon, but it’s true. You’ll make mistakes. Take ownership. Move on. And don’t make them again. You’ll need to make an impact quickly to be successful. So find out what keeps your boss up at night and solve that problem.
  3. Have a plan. If you look at the most successful people in business, they have a plan of where they want their career to go. Each job you have in your journey should get you closer to that ultimate goal. Keep in mind that sometimes one step back will help you take two forward.
  4. Think about your personal mission. Do you have a personal mission statement? It’ll help you think about where you want to go. I want to squeeze every ounce I can out of life – both personally and professionally. This is what drives me: “Live life to its fullest – with integrity and passion in everything I do.”
  5. The best and brightest around you aren’t your enemies, they are your mentors. Find them and stick by them. They’ll show you the ropes. If you model your work-style after them, you’ll also be successful.

That time we used YouTube to fix the water heater

I should start off by saying hubs and I are not very domesticated.

I’ve tried my hand at Pinterest crafts and have created a handful of Pinterest fails.

Now that we have that out of the way… Shortly after we bought our first house, our water heater stopped working. Several calls to my dad later, we decided we should check the pilot light.

… Where is that?!

So, to YouTube I went. As my husband was crawling into the small space that contained our water heater with a lighter, I grew a bit nervous that he might blow us both up.

I found a video that showed how to fix a water heater pilot light without blowing yourself up. I stood as far away as possible, but close enough he could see my iPad.

Crisis averted. The pilot light lit. We didn’t become homeless. No one lost their eyebrows.

I was reminded of this story today when I read a new report from Think With Google. It says:

Today’s moms want show-not-tell answers in the moment.

And my silly story is a great example of that. If we can’t figure it out, we’ll Google it or look for a YouTube video on how to not blow ourselves up.

The report goes on to discuss how we should build content strategies to win moments that matter. There are moments in the customer journey that can act as a tipping point or a turn off. If you can win those, you have a new customer.

From the report:

Few moms have time to scour a dozen fashion magazines for the latest trends, or test drive a dozen different strollers around the store (while their toddler is crying). Instead, in those I-want-to-know, I-want-to-buy, I-want-to-domicro-moments, they’ll often turn to YouTube. Today’s moms want show-not-tell answers in the moment. And YouTube delivers.

It’s no wonder the most popular channels are those that focus on “how.”

The takeaway: Use your YouTube content strategy to teach moms how to do something in that micro-moment, and you’ll build a stronger following and more passionate consumer.

Let the cultivation begin!

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.

 

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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