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Embarking On A New Journey

February 17, 2010

When I was a kid I was the little girl that would rave “my daddy this” and “my daddy that.” Oh how beautiful for a young black girl to have her father prominently in her life; to be able to boast in such a way.  Fast forward many years later to the present and I can still say “my daddy.”

This past week, Sam Roberts, Syracuse native and MY dad, registered his formal campaign fundraising committee for the 119th New York State Assembly District seat.  If he leads a victorious campaign, he will be the first African-American Assemblyperson to represent Central New York.  The district includes DeWitt, Onondaga, Salina, and Syracuse’s east and south sides.

Since I can remember, he has always found a way to be of public service.  While working as a Journeyman Tool and Die Maker with General Motors Corporation, he was that hard-working man who came home from third shift, changed out of his blues, and went out to see how he could help someone else.  Over the years, that desire for lending a hand cultivated into much more.  He not only served as an Onondaga County Legislator for ten years, but he also worked diligently, volunteering his time for other elected officials.  From the Democratic campaigns of Honorable Rosemary Pooler (former Congressional candidate), Senator Nancy Lorraine Hoffman, and Assemblywoman Joan Christensen, to those of President Bill Clinton and former Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, he stayed committed to his philosophy of being of good service.

Never losing sight of his dream to help institute laws at a higher level for the betterment of his constituencies and community, I proudly introduce to you the Committee to Elect Sam Roberts.  Now that the campaign is official, you will soon see the implementation of a well thought out communication plan, his Facebook fan page will keep you informed, and with your assistance Sam Roberts will be the next Assemblyman for the 119th New York State Assembly District.

For more coverage, you can view an article written by John Mariani of The Post-Standard,  “Former County Legislator Sam Roberts to seek Joan Christensen’s Assembly seat.”

Also, please feel free to contact me if you want to be a volunteer  for the Committee to Elect Sam Roberts or if you would like to be included on communications about the campaign and events.  If you can’t already tell, I’m saying it loud…that’s my daddy, he’s embarking on a new journey, and I’m proud.

(photo: Sam Roberts and daughter in Morningside Park by D. Bey)


The Changing Media Environment Affects Role Of Professional Communicators

February 10, 2010

A wise man (better known as Fraser P. Seitel and Brad Pitt to some) says that as professional communicators we need to know about everything from Dr. Phil to Dr. Dre. That also includes knowing how to reach our key constituent publics around the world with traditional media, social media, and whatever media is to come. (source: The Practice of Public Relations, Eleventh Edition)

So reading the newspapers, trade journals, and on line publications, as well as writing well, telling the truth, and exhibiting transparency — helps us to stay on top of our game and achieve peak performance. Whether we have a subscription to The New York Times that gets delivered to our door, or we check the Wall Street Journal on our laptop when we wake each morning, the key is that we read what’s going on, analyze how we would handle it if the people and businesses involved needed our help, and always be aware of what’s going on in the world.

But what’s different?  Social media has added an entirely different dimension to our profession.  Instead of the usual day of perusing the papers, we must add Twitter, Facebook, and our RSS feeds to that list.  When we compose a press release and look to distribute it to the media, we also have to keep in mind how the editors will best read our information.  No longer are we living in the days where we devise a release and fax it to our destinations.  It’s all about electronic and web space.  As Shel Holtz stated, although the press release is still important, our efforts to earn coverage need to grow with the more complex news space.

Such growth can be a challenge.  It takes desire and interest to learn new mediums.  The learning curve may exist at first, but with anything else, once we utilize the tools, the challenge can then lead to an opportunity. 

Personally, as a New York University student in the Master’s program of Public Relations and Corporate Communication, I feel like my opportunities are endless.  If I understand the new media environment and link that with the communication skills and connections I already possess, I’m sure that there are opportunities right in front of me that I can’t even see.  There are doors to be opened, steps to be taken.  So as long as I am willing to evolve, I will always keep up with the evolution of this ever-changing industry.

They’re Just Like You And Me

February 3, 2010

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a consulting project in the day and going to class in the evening.  My schedule is very rigid and each day without fail I have come home griping about how tired, cold, and hungry I am… yet today I have no complaints.

I have to attribute that to my drive home from Cooper Square.  In the bitter cold, less than ten minutes from my home, I passed a woman and her son holding a sign that I couldn’t read due to the hastily falling snow.  However, I did notice that they appeared to be homeless and in need.  With no change on me, I mouthed “sorry”, looked in my rearview mirror, and felt helpless as I continued to ride.

But now that I’m indoors with warm Victoria Secret flannel pajamas on, I can’t help but to think about how it’s freezing outside and that there are homeless people right in my community who have no shelter.

Days like this, I have to pause and give special thanks for being blessed to have a home of my own, ample heat, a wide selection of food, and clothing.  It’s also a time to stand still long enough to figure out how I can be of service to someone else in need.  How can I do the right thing?

After some deep thought, I have decided to trade my topic for the day — social media tools — for something a bit more compelling.  With web research, I learned that there are over 1.3 million homeless and street kids in the United States.  That’s 27% of the homeless population in America; and with the rise of unemployment that number may good and well increase.  The heartwarming fact is that there are organizations focused on eradicating this issue.

Covenant House New Jersey is a local non-profit that has provided services to homeless youth for over 20 years.  3,490 New Jersey youth are served with help every year.

Another organization committed to improving the lives of homeless kids throughout America is Stand Up for Kids.

So, tomorrow my day will go a little differently.  I’m giving Covenant House a call in the morning to see how I can get involved.  If you live in the area, maybe you can, too.  Or if you don’t have the time to give, Stand Up for Kids utilizes social media to accept donations.  It’s easy to contribute $5 by texting “STANDUP” to 85944.

Let’s not only be thankful for what we have, but instead take it a step further and help make a difference.  Will you join me in taking a stand?

From Social Networking to Now

January 26, 2010

Within the last few years, my experience with social media has grown. Whether I’m participating in on-line conversations, reviewing products, reposting links, instant messaging, listening to music, sharing what I’m thinking, promoting my novel, or watching videos, engaging in social media has become a part of my daily routine. (

However, I can still recall the days when the only bit I was aware of beyond sending email and surfing the Web, was social networking on MySpace.  That was back in 2006, while working in the Executive Office of Sean “Diddy” Combs.  Between keeping in the know for my job and trying to stay in touch with my then-nine year old sister, it was very necessary for me to stay well connected.  So I created an account, uploaded my picture, selected a background, made an ever-changing playlist, and continued to tailor my page as new developments happened in my life.  There was not a day that passed without me checking my page to see if anyone had sent a message, requested me as a friend, or left a comment.  Before I knew it, I had hundreds of friends, some that I had only met virtually.  As time passed, I slowly deviated from MySpace and migrated to Facebook.

The discovery of Facebook has allowed me to connect with people I know beyond the entertainment industry.  It’s more professional and is a great way to keep in contact with college mates, school friends, and other people in my “network.”  It was on Facebook where I began to have more in depth conversations by chatting, sending messages to friends’ inboxes or communicating from wall-to-wall.  Once comfortable with that medium, I found myself on other sites giving commentary and feeling confident about having my own opinion.

Since becoming a part of the social media space, I’ve learned to contribute my ideas about things I purchase, listen to, view, and taste, whether I like the experience or am displeased.  Sites I frequent include Yelp, Imeem, Pandora, YouTube, and Wikipedia.  These sites also allow me to seek out information from others.

So now that I’m at NYU enrolled in the Social Media: Objectives, Strategies, Tactics course, I plan to expand my use of social media by learning the inner workings and best practices to help achieve business goals.  It’s one thing to utilize social media for personal purposes, but to have the ability to use my voice and knowledge of the subject to attain organizational objectives will instill a greater confidence and skill.