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June 18, 2019

Wait A Second…I Can Volunteer and Get Healthy?

Reston-Oktoberfest_2011_279Oktoberfest Reston is right around the corner and the staff at Myers Public Relations is counting down the days to warm pretzels and a funky polka beat. This annual beer and food festival, hosted by Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, is a prime opportunity to connect the Northern Virginia community and celebrate traditional German culture, as well as talented dancers, musicians and food vendors.

It’s also a fun chance to volunteer and reap some surprising benefits. Not only do volunteers experience pride and satisfaction knowing that their contributions have made a project successful, but it’s actually good for your health! A study by Johns Hopkins University found that individuals who volunteer regularly have higher brain functioning than those that do not. Volunteering exposes people to new activities and experiences, which gets those synapses firing – but a happy brain isn’t the only benefit.

Other medical studies have discovered that people who volunteer their time to causes they support have lowered blood pressure, lowered mortality rates and increased positive thinking. The key to this, of course, is doing something that you enjoy, which is why we’re dusting off our beer steins and rolling up our volunteer sleeves for this Oktoberfest.

Festivals are a great way to celebrate the diverse community that makes Northern Virginia a cultural hub, but they also connect people, improve education and reinforce camaraderie. Reston’s annual celebration of music, local food and craft beer is no different. So do your body good and make some new friends this October. Say “Prost” to volunteering!

Best Wishes to Billie!

1017385_10202531777402271_1041362148_nWe want to wish Billie all the best as she moves with her husband and two sons back to Oklahoma. We hope you make so many memories with the grandparents, aunts and uncles you’ll be close to. We will miss you terribly, but you have forever left your mark on Myers PR! Here are a few memories from friends who will miss you:

 

Group photo of Myers PR TeamMarion Myers: I must be one of the luckiest (or the smartest) business owners around. We have been able to build a team of first class, talented employees who complement each other’s skills and work together like a well-oiled machine. We are also very lucky that the people who come to work at Myers PR tend to stay a long, long time. We have been extremely fortunate to have had Billie for nearly 10 years – amazing!

While I wish her and her family all the best that life can offer- in a quieter place, at a slower pace – I will miss her. I will miss her crazy energy, her ability to argue both sides of an issue (simultaneously), her happy voice that can carry to the rafters, and her stubborn adherence to “doing the right thing”.  She inspired the rest of the team with her enthusiasm. She was patient and thorough in her mentorship of newer members of the team. She grew professionally and matured personally so much in those years….. I am very proud that she chose to spend that time with us.

Good luck Billie!

IceSkating March 2011 MyersPRDavid Cavalieri : My goodness, it has been an absolute joy working alongside Billie! From the day I was hired, she has been an amazing mentor and helped me to grow in so many ways. We shared plenty of jokes (which I will surely miss!) but, we were a team hand-in-hand. Because of Billie, I have grown tremendously! It’s difficult to see her go, but I wish her, her husband, and her two boys the absolute best back in Oklahoma. Enjoy your family — you only get to live it once! 🙂 I just ask her to remember that her arm won’t be helpful with holding the mattress down on the car roof and if she’s ever in a race to know that it’s all the same oat bag!

With all the hugs in the world – David Cavalieri

Arja Sahramaa:  Oklahoma City, the winds of change are blowing your way! Billie is a whirlwind of energy and accomplishment, with the most logical mind I’ve ever experienced. She has more patience when teaching a task than anyone else I’ve ever known. She can phrase even the most awkward message in a way that the recipient becomes a new friend. Her prowess with Excel is legendary (just remembered we never got to the series of next-level tutorials). Even with all these skills and more, the absolute best thing about Billie is her heart. She sees, she listens, and she cares. She is selfless and loyal, a true friend, and one I hope I will have for the rest of my life.

Thank you for everything you are, dear Billie; bon voyage! Until we meet again.

Birthday Hat Women June15 2010Carol Nahorniak: More than 9 years ago, I had the pleasure of Billie coming into my life. The following may read more like a recommendation letter, but the point is, Billie’s lovable and admirable strengths have made her so wonderful to work with. Her intense sense of responsibility, attention to detail, accuracy, and drive are woven into her character. I’ll always have her in mind as I work – especially when it comes to the Oxford comma. And this: :). Her perfectionism and style in development of the Reston Home Tour book is a highlight of our work together – she stepped right up to volunteer her skills for that project, and went beyond expectations. She’s so remarkable in so many ways, and I’m already missing her – she’s certainly got a piece of my heart.

CarolLizBillie BofR 4 28 11Jordan Garegnani:  Cheers to you Billie! I’m happy you’re finding the space you want in life and I hope you make the BEST memories with your family. I also hope you discover all those hobbies that are trapped inside you 🙂  Thank you for all the help, guidance and general positive feelings you’ve given during my 2 years at MPR.  Thank you for always looking after people’s needs even if they didn’t’ know they had them.  You are one of the kindest, level-headed people I know and you had me at yoga. Namaste.

Brandy: While it’s so hard to say goodbye I’m so happy that Billie has found a new pace of life and able to see more of her family in her home town. Billie was not only a fantastic source of information in the office but also gave wonderful life advice which I will treasure. I’ll miss you Billie!

image002Liz Bush: Oh my dear Billie! What can I say? I am going to miss the pants off you! There is a reason that no one wants to let you go (both personally and professionally) and the answer is that you are simply, wonderfully, you. There are so many words…so I’ll save the masses the time – here’s a random sample just for you:

Flip flops – only ever flip flops!

The beach

Getting to the beach (half the fun!)

Bloody Mary’s – don’t forget the Zing Zang

WTF? (diaper)

Patio Sangria

Taylor the Latte Boy

Scarves…so many more to come 😀

“I was told I can’t take anything else”

10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years

“why are you INSIDE?”

CHEESE

Whose car are we taking? (nevermind, dumb question)

“If you have to ask if you can post something…”

Crazy

Crazy (different meaning)

Crazy (another different meaning)

They will forget what you said, they will never forget how you made them feel.

Hugs  🙂

Clydes MPR staff atStPats

5 Reasons A Pet-friendly Office is the Best Kind of Office

Written by Jordan Garegnani, MPR Project Manager and Online Community Manager

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Note the puppy barricade made of weighted trashcans…

I write what I know. And right now, my 1 ½ year old Frenchie, Eva, is next to me trying to figure a way out of my office cube.

While dogs in the workplace are becoming more common, I am extremely appreciative that the Myers PR office is flexible enough to accommodate me and what we have lovingly termed the “bat pig” or “gremlin.” So without further ado, here’s why my office is the best kind of office.

Health Benefits

5acc3012540d82395466d90062c8d56bYou see a sweet little furry thing coming at you and your body can’t help but be happy about it. (some more than others – also known as being “Dog Crazy”) You get a burst of endorphin, lowered blood pressure, raised levels of oxytocin (creating feelings of happiness and trust) and more. Now think about how all those things could be beneficial to you on a particularly stressful day. Also, when you see your little fur nugget being so relaxed, you tend to be relaxed.

Makes you Move
You know how you’re not supposed to sit all day? Yea, well, your dog doesn’t want to sit all day either, so now you have a very good excuse to take a few nice walks. Plus it’s a good time to see if anyone wants to go with you – bonus: bonding time with the coworkers!

Less Stress
IMG_2288With an hour commute at the end of my day, getting out of the office in time to free Eva from her crate is something that stresses me out. Getting stuck in the office late isn’t really an option. But if she’s with me, then I know she’s safe, happy and has had plenty of love and attention.

It Socializes Your Pup
While your dog should be fairly well-behaved before you bring it into a professional environment, bringing your dog into different social situations teaches them to be flexible and adapt easily. The world outside their house/crate won’t seem so scary to them and they’ll act out less in public.

Good Distractions
IMG_2289In a creative marketplace like a PR company, distractions can be helpful to the creative process – for example, coming up with this blog post! Plus other things I guess – but you should try it out for yourself if you can. There’s nothing like sitting at a conference table snuggling your pup while brainstorming marketing ideas

Now I understand, not all people are dog people – so be sure to be thoughtful of those coworkers and those who may be allergic!

 

Lastly – big shout out to David Cavalieri, our Graphic Designer and UX Manager on his 3rd anniversary at Myers PR. Congrats!!

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Professional Positioning – Part 2 of 2

Last week we talked about a subject near and dear to the PR heart – professional positioning. Remember to review your affiliations, participate, volunteer, and pursue a leadership role. Here are four more ways to position yourself for professional success:

  1. Go after awards – Many organizations offer awards for service to the group or to the community. Some organizations offer business excellence awards. Some recognize their top volunteers. Determine if you have the time and talent necessary to pursue one of these awards and go after it. It may take several years to position yourself or your business to be recognized, but well worth the commitment.
  2. Speak up – Seek out opportunities to speak. Nobody (at least most of us) craves public speaking, but it’s like exercise. The more you do the better you are at it. Speaking, leading seminars, and/or joining a panel of experts, will allow you to showcase your knowledge and raise your visibility as an expert in your field.
  3. Give – Not everyone has the time to volunteer, the personality for public speaking, or the required ramp up time to seek out and win awards. If you or your company can afford the investment, donate to or sponsor an activity for your organization. Most organizations rely on the generosity of their members to keep the doors open and continue their work. Before you write a check, be sure that your organization properly recognizes donors and sponsor with visibility on their website, newsletter, and/or appropriate signage.
  4. Don’t be afraid to walk away – Again – review your affiliations. Ask yourself – Can I effectively “work” this organization? Is this organization working for me? If either answer is “no”, withdraw. There are myriad opportunities to get involved in something you enjoy, something that is meaningful to you and something that ultimately meets your needs. Don’t be afraid to withdraw and try something new.

Professional Positioning – Part 1 of 2

Enough about new technologies…. How about some good old fashioned professional positioning?

ARE YOU POSITIONED FOR SUCCESS?

  1. Review your affiliations – What organizations, clubs or groups are you a member of? Are you an involved member? It doesn’t do any good to just belong if you aren’t active in the organization. You need to work your memberships so they will work for you. This can be done effectively in a number of ways:
  2. Participate – Attend events, join a committee, and get to know people who may need your services now or be able to refer you down the line. People are naturally more apt to refer someone they have spent time with and know. Never underestimate the power of a personal referral.
  3. Volunteer – Choose a committee or task that you would enjoy spending some time doing. This will allow you get to know other members better and allow you to showcase your skills. Think writing the newsletter vs. stuffing envelopes.
  4. Pursue a leadership role – Most organizations have levels of leadership – committee chairs, board of directors, etc. Talk with someone already in a leadership role and ask, what is the best way to advance within this organization. Leadership brings respect and visibility.

Next week we’ll talk about four more ways to position yourself for professional success. Stay tuned!

 

Google Plus for Business – Not ready for Prime Time (yet!)

Google + is a promising new addition to the Social Media toolbox. Why? It’s directly tied into the most widely-used search engine on the planet. Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook.

In comparison to Facebook, Google+ will list employees and management as well as fans. It will also be possible to add more than one location via Google Maps and Places. This has huge potential for businesses, but we’ll have to wait a bit to try it out. At the moment, Google features for business pages are still in development.

Google is encouraging businesses to WAIT until they roll out their business section of Google + later this year. They are actually shutting down business accounts that are masquerading as personal profiles. They’re focusing on optimizing the consumer experience first – which really makes good sense. It will be exciting to watch this all unfold!

Here is an interesting article detailing the future possibilities of your Google+ business profile: http://www.reelseo.com/google-plus-for-business/

Other good business tools to consider are LinkedIn and the LinkedIn Company Page. We’ll take a look at these next.

How Does Google+ work

The Google+ network is designed around a system of segregated social groups (called Circles) and lets users share information with specific groups within their network, rather than sharing with all their social connections as typically seen on Facebook. Circles make it easy to categorize your colleagues, your family (primary or extended, your choice) in another, and a separate circle for your “social” friends. You can segregate the information your share by circle. For example, I am happy to share my vacation photos with my family, but I really don’t need the world at large to know that I am not at home. This may also come as a relief to young job searches who would prefer not to have their weekend activities viewed by the person they are about to sit down and interview with. You can set up as many or as varied circles as you like. While facebook has recently heightened their privacy settings, allowing users to set up their own friend categories, the google+ interface for circles makes it much easier to share the right information with the right people.

Here’s a helpful article on how to navigate Google+.

Next up – Business and Google +

 

 

Google+

As a marketer, I am always on the lookout for the “next best thing” in communication technology. Recently, I was delighted to discover Google’s new social media platform Google+. According to Google, Google+ is currently in a “limited field trial”, meaning only a small number of people can access it and, by invitation only. As of their second day (July 13, 2011), the “limited field trial” quota had already been reached, with eBay sales for invitations being offered for up to $5 each! If you didn’t get on board for the first offering, you can sign up to get an email when Google+ is ready for everyone at https://plus.google.com/welcome though there is no clear timeline on when that may be.

Next up – How Does Google+ work?