For the Love of Learning: Our Favorite Industry Books, 02.14.2014

Our relationship to plenty of things can seem fickle. There’s always a hot new social network, restaurant or other distraction to occupy our time. The world of industry books operates in much the same way. Each year, there’s a new “must have” book offering the streamline your life and revolutionize your career. In that overwhelming and ever-changing chaos, there are some industry books that we think have stood the test of time.
Happiness is a good book.

Happiness is a good book.

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Doing Good: Our Global Village Thinks Globally, Acts Everywhere, 12.19.2013

We kicked off our featured nonprofit series with the worthy (and wordy, in a great way) Writers in Schools. If you missed it, be sure to check out their work and maybe even find yourself in an upcoming workshop. This month-and in celebration of the season of giving-we'll take you around the world with a Houston-area nonprofit that is thinking globally and acting everywhere. When I met Roxanne Paiva on the first day of our Leadership Houston Class XXXI retreat, I knew she was going to be a new entry on my "People I Think Hung the Moon" list. This teeny ball of energy actually does the things that we all think about but rarely bring into life. While traveling in Southeast Asia a few years ago, Roxanne was deeply affected by the pervasive poverty and vowed to do something to change that landscape. Many of my fellow travelers-myself included-have had that exact same thought, but we come home...post our photos to Facebook, maybe...get busy with daily life...and push those thoughts out the door. But not, Roxanne. She quickly rallied friends and family to raise a whole heap of money to help support a woman she met during her travels. Several years later, this act of kindness in action has grown into one of my favorite nonprofits, Our Global Village.

Our Global Village founder Roxanne Paiva with a refugee artisan

Our Global Village founder Roxanne Paiva with a refugee artisan
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“To the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”, 12.12.2013

Glossophobia (n): The fear of public speaking. The word glossophobia comes from the Greek γλῶσσα glōssa, meaning tongue, and φόβος phobos, fear or dread.

Jerry tells it like it is.

OK, so Seinfeld may have been exaggerating a bit when it comes to preferring the casket to the podium. However, about 75 percent of people suffer from glossophobia, and many more of us have dealt with its symptoms without knowing the proper term for “stage fright.” Luckily for us, both our president and vice president are seasoned presentation coaches. If the prospect of giving a presentation or speech makes you weak in the knees, check out these helpful tips from our pros to ease your nerves. read more »

No Exclamations Week: A 20K Writing Challenge, 08.09.2013

We should start out by clarifying something—we don’t have a problem with exclamation marks. We actually like them. A lot. Our favorite punctuation mark (you know you work with writing nerds when there are discussions around these sorts of things) is helpful for expressing sincere, genuine and enthusiastic emotions. (Have you ever tried to wish a friend a happy birthday on Facebook without one? It’s difficult, and comes off more than a little stilted and weird). However, we noticed that exclamation marks were creeping into communications they had no business being in, especially work correspondence. We love our clients and the work we do for them, but that doesn’t mean that every request has to be acknowledged with, “Fantastic! We’ll get right on it! Have a great day!” Exclamation marks had become a crutch to escape deliberate, conscious thought about what and why we were writing. So, we gave them up. For one week, we tracked our usage of exclamation marks in emails, texts, tweets, Facebook posts and all other forms of communication. Here are some of our takeaways from a “long and non-enthusiastic week.”
The Wall of Shame

The Wall of Shame

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Tips for Keeping Your Reporter Happy, 02.14.2013

Pitch Me Like any long-term relationship, keeping the flame alive between reporters and PR pros takes work, but you’ve probably already read a thousand articles about all of the things that land our industry colleagues in the doghouse. So, this Valentine’s Day we’re doing something different. We’re bringing back that loving feeling between hack and flack. In lieu of flowers and chocolates, and from the bottom of our hearts, we gift you with tips from local journalists Courtney Zavala, Joel Luks and Sabrina Miskelly on pitching your way into their hearts. read more »

Behind the Music: 20K Group, 08.24.2012

A couple of weeks ago, NPR ran a story about a project by the Guardian's Eric Clarke to map "Six Songs of Me" playlists for as many people as possible. Clarke, a musicologist at Oxford, is studying why music plays a central role in cultures across the world and how personal music preferences define us. Music is certainly an important supporting character in our lives at 20K Group, so we thought we'd let you get to know our team a bit better by letting you sneak a peek into our "Six Songs of Me." We'd love to hear the soundtrack of your lives in the comments section, too! read more »

The Online Rep Rap, 08.12.2012

Managing online reputation was the topic du jour at the August 2012 Houston Interactive Marketing Association's luncheon. Joining me on the panel were James Hering of Click Here, Inc. and Seliece Womble of the Houston Golf Association. Tweet-by-tweet commentary captures the big takeaways below. read more »

Business and the Do-Gooder Complex, 11.28.2011

This blog is more than a little delayed, but the information is still at the front of our minds. Two months ago, Chris Valdez of the web design and marketing agency Primer Grey invited me to speak with him at SchipulCon, a conference on community, technology and creativity. Our topic guidelines were broadly defined, so we went with where our passion lie. Like many members of Gen X and Gen Y, we’ve made it a key tenet of our professional goals to marry business with do-gooding.

Photo by Joey Garcia

To some, do-gooding can seem self-indulgent or naïve, but 61% of 13- to 25-year-olds feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world. That means that 61% of your current and future workforce is likely to want a career that contributes to the common good and helps to fulfill their need to make the world a better place. From a human resources perspective alone, that statistic should be enough to make you stand up and take notice. Still not convinced? Here are five reasons why we think you should care about integrating social good into your business plan and culture: read more »

The 20K Family, 10.02.2011

20K Group is ultimately about family. And it's not because the president of the firm is my mother. Of course, that is also true, but the company was founded many years before I ever came aboard. Debbie created a rarity...a company that is founded on the belief that the employees and clients are all part of a interlocked system. Some of our clients are our best friends--before and after we work with them. And employees, past and present, are as welcome at the office as they are at Thanksgiving. It a special culture that makes us happy to go to work every day.   And what spurred me to blog about this? Andrea was brought on early in 20K's history, and she was Debbie's right-hand woman for many, many years and my mentor when I joined the firm. She moved to Seattle to pursue a lifelong dream in 2010, and we were heartbroken but supportive. Today, we made plans to meet for lunch during a visit to Houston but needed to make it early in order to make a conference call. The immediate response was to ask her to if she wanted to take the call at our offices. Her response was that it would be great to work from 20K but that she didn't want to impose. My response was that 20K would always be her home and any open desk could be hers. It was a simple response...we love Andrea. But it made me think it was deeper...it's the culture of our company. We get attached to our employees and to our clients. Like it or not, they're stuck with us for life. I think that's special and rather beautiful, if I may so myself.