Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Future of Federal Web Page Design?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched It's currently in beta and it allows a visitor to choose from eight customized dashboards to accommodate their specific interests and/or needs of different industries (e.g. consumer, media, etc.). Or users can create their own personal dashboard using a combination of 22 different agency widgets that correspond to a publication or agency activity.

I love this for a lot of reasons. When the White House announced that it was freezing the issue of new .GOV URL's for three months and putting the existing federal agencies domain list under review, there was internal rumblings from federal contractors and government workers that a streamlining of government Web sites could lead to the cancellation of key program micro sites or even designated government URLs to highlight specific programs. This lead to fear that promoting and highlighting key services to taxpayers on owned government digital channels would become a gatekeeping nightmare and that programs would be unable to provide information demonstrating the effectiveness of their promotion strategy as related to program performance.

What I like about is that it seemingly resolves the issue of providing relevant information to multiple stakeholders by allowing visitors to the site to determine what content is most relevant to them. I also think this approach will hopefully address the concern of what content is presented on a federal agency's home page, avoiding any editorial squabbles over which programs to highlight.

I like that the site has the ability for a user to sign in and save customized dashboard experiences using existing social media and online accounts such as Facebook, AOL, Google, OpenID, Twitter and Yahoo. I hope this trend of personalization of government services continues.

What do you think of Is it a step in the right direction?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Strategic Agility & Learning Agility

As we close 2011, I am struck once again by the profound evolution of our industry. As I reflect on this year professionally and set goals for 2012, I am reminded of the advice given to me by Sheri Leonardo, one of the best human resource professionals I have ever worked with. She said the two hardest things to cultivate in an employee are strategic agility and learning agility.

Strategic agility comes with experience and knowledge over time. It's recognizing opportunities/threats and then swiftly taking action as appropriate to modify and optimize initiatives to maximize performance and achieve stated goals. We all (hopefully) acquire this ability as our careers develop and change over time.

Learning agility is the ability to continually develop and refine one's skills in a profession throughout your career and apply that knowledge to new situations. It's using transferable skills to grow your own understanding to solve new challenges. It requires ongoing learning and consumption of information. It's more than "staying current." It's actively seeking new challenges and knowledge to address issues and achieve goals.

Sheri's words echo in my head as we move into 2012. While I know some organizations make great investments in ongoing training and development for employees, it is important to recognize that continued professional and personal development is not "up to companies," but up to the individual.

What are some of the skills you want to develop in 2012? Are there good resources you would recommend to fellow professional communicators looking to expand their knowledge and learn something new?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WPP Acquires The Glover Park Group

Congratulations to my fellow colleagues.

To my Ogilvy Group family and the larger WPP network - happy to be back in the fold.

Link to the Politico story:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Résumé Tips

As I've written about before, I meet with a lot of students either looking to learn more about the communications industry or they are young professionals seeking information on how to get to the next level in their career (the transition from AE to SAE for example). While I am not a recruitment expert, I can attest that this is the good advice that I have received (and followed) over the years that may help you stand out during your job search in the public relations/communications field.

Cover letters are for telling more about you. Résumés only provide a snapshot of who you are as a candidate. Your cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself and expand upon relevant skills and outcomes listed in your résumé. Most importantly, it’s the opportunity to talk about why you are a fit for this current position and why you want the job. Be as specific as possible and keep the length to one page.

Highlight key information upfront. I cannot tell you how many résumés I’ve seen where contact information and other key pieces of information are buried or in font so small you need a magnifying glass to see it once it’s printed. Highlight key information upfront to include your contact information, education, digital skills, relevant awards, professional societies, online portfolio, etc. It makes it much easier for recruiters and those who will interview you to learn something about you ahead of your interview.

The difference between a more entry-level person's résumé and a mid-level/senior level person's résumé is that the latter talks about results. I have seen so many AEs with résumés that essentially list their qualifications in terms of tasks (e.g. "Conduct daily media monitoring and compile media report") without explaining the use or how it informs the client's larger strategy (e.g. "Conduct daily media monitoring and compile media report to share with larger team for campaign optimization and client's market awareness.") Same goes for "Pitch bloggers and print media for trade show events." How about: "Pitch bloggers and print media for major client technology trade show leading to 25 confirmed media interviews which resulted in a 35 percent increase in coverage of client than the previous year." See what I mean? It makes a big difference.

Have additional résumé tips? Would love to hear what has worked well for you.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Commitment to Service MLK 25 Challenge

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday. The Corporation for National & Community Service is launching the MLK 25 Challenge, an initiative to encourage all Americans to honor Dr. King's work and legacy by pledging to conduct at least 25 actions during 2011 to make a difference to others and strengthen our communities.

You can find ideas on how you can make a difference in your community on or go to to search for volunteer opportunities as well as post your project and share your story of service.

Honor Dr.King by making today a day of service and continuing to serve. No matter how small or large the deed, he is smiling upon us all, realizing we are one step closer to his dream. #MLK25.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Professionals of Tomorrow: Why You Should Make Time for Students Interested in Communications

An article in last week's PRWeek (subscription required) caught my attention. In essence, the piece highlights how some public relations/communication students are having trouble connecting with and learning from veterans in the industry.

Last year, I was contacted by 22 students seeking advice and information about what it is like to work in communications today. The majority of them found me through alumni association career networks or LinkedIn. More than half were undergraduates and studying disciplines such as communications, computer science, public relations, political communications, political science or journalism. I responded to all 22 and met with 18 of them in person. During all of these meetings, students asked for insight into how professional communications has changed and wanted my opinion regarding what types of skills would make them more marketable in an extremely competitive hiring environment. I enjoyed meeting with each and every one of the students and several of them have kept in touch with me.

That's why I was surprised by the PRWeek piece.

When I first started out in communications, I was blessed that several senior level communicators served as my official and unofficial mentors. I have reached out to other communicators at all professional levels over the years and have shared and received amazing insight and advice.

The number one reason I make time for students interested in public relations/communications is you never know what you'll learn. More importantly, the students are the professionals of tomorrow. They could be your future employees, future clients, or future boss. Engage with them now to impart your knowledge and learn as much from them as possible. You'll be very glad you did. Trust me.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!
I haven't blogged in quite some time and as 2010 ended, I realized how much I missed writing about our industry. As the public relations industry continues to change and communication disciplines become more integrated, I am going to make more of a conscious effort in 2011 to blog more often and focus on topics that mean a great deal to me. This includes focusing on client service, metrics and digital engagement.
I hope you are having a great start to this new year. May 2011 be a fantastic year for us all.