Category Archives: Professional Involvement

Celebrate the Season with PR and Marketing Holiday Parties

16407127_sReady to network? Register now for these holiday events. You’ll meet some interesting people.  Here are some sure bets…

Wednesday, December 4

The One Party

RoseBar, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.  Tonight is the local PR/Advertising industry’s biggest holiday bash, The One Party.  The multi-sponsored party (Capitol Communicator, DC Ad Club, PRSA-NCC, AMADC, etc.) typically draws about 200 people.

Tips: It’s loud and the drink lines are long, and no one ever dances, but it’s the ad community’s event to see and be seen, and admission includes two drinks and appetizer.  A mix of ages and backgrounds, this event skews to 20s and 30s and the advertising/creative set.  Almost everyone behaves.  Bring cards, but this one’s mostly for the photo-ops.  Register for the event ($55/60).

Tuesday, December 10

Holiday Network-and-Lunch

Clyde’s – Chevy Chase, 12 Noon – 1:30 p.m. Fletcher Prince organizes this small group business networking event. The conversation is casual and everyone pays their own way ($15 to $20).

Tips: Dress is business casual. Expect to meet a diverse group of six to twelve business owners and PR professionals, as well as yours truly.

PRSA-NCC Holiday Party

Carmine’s, 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Join the National Capital Chapter of the PRSA for holiday networking, drinks and Italian hors d’oeuvres in Washington, DC.

Tips: Network with a suited and mature crowd of about 50 PR professionals who know each other well.  There are chapter volunteer award announcements.  Better for chapter insiders. Bring a toy for Toys for Tots.  Register today.

Tuesday, December 17

WWPR Holiday Party

Tonic Restaurant, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Join Washington Women in Public Relations for their Holiday Party in Washington, DC  The specialty of this Foggy Bottom restaurant is comfort food, including tots with a variety of sauces. All guests will leave with a party favor from WWPR and an early release of the 2014 schedule of events. Raffle proceeds benefit WWPR’s pro bono client, FLOW–Financial Literacy Organization for Women and Girls.

Tips: Both men and women attend these events, but the majority are fashionably attired, well-heeled female PR pros in their 20s and 30s, as well as a few seasoned pros with great connections.  A mannerly bunch, and a friendly crowd to newbies.

WWPR Washington PR Woman of the Year Recap

FP_WWPR_adEvery year, Washington Women in Public Relations seems to top their previous Washington PR Woman of the Year awards event, and this year was no exception.

Yesterday, about 300 guests gathered at the W Hotel in downtown Washington, DC to fete three outstanding honorees and hear “Scandal” inspiration, crisis PR expert Judy Smith deliver the keynote.

I was lucky to be guest of gold sponsor PRofessional Solutions, LLC, a Fletcher Prince client. I also lucked out by winning seasons 1-5 of Mad Men on DVD at the raffle.

Fletcher Prince supported the event by purchasing a full page ad in the event program.

736198_10151481236312706_650512391_o2013 Honoree Pam Jenkins, president of the public affairs firm, Powell Tate, was named Washington PR Woman of the Year.  She spoke movingly about her career and balancing the needs of her family, and recommended involving children in a mother’s work life.  She also emphasized how important it was to leave work behind and foster other interests.

Judy Smith, President of Smith & Company, has written a new book about managing the impact of crises on one’s personal brand.  She has worked for clients ranging from Paula Deen to Monica Lewinsky to the family of Chandra Levy, among many other newsmakers.  Ms. Smith said she was guided by three principles in her professional life: power, persistence, and preparation. She fielded some questions from the guests in attendance and provided general advice on PR challenges.




Are you a fearless communicator?

IMG_1500Today, at Social Media Week DC, the Case Foundation presented a session, “It’s Time to Be Fearless in Social Media.”  The moderator, Michael Smith, did a fantastic job of presenting examples of fearless organizations, innovators, and creative talents.

He posed a question to the attendees.  He asked something along the lines of  “Who here is fearless in their communications?”

My hand shot up.  It was a lonely hand, maybe the only one in the room.  I looked around, abashed.  Could it be that other people did not think of themselves as fearless communicators?  Am I overly cocky to think of myself that way?

Maybe a lot more hands would have gone up if the question were phrased like this: “Who here feels the fear but does it anyway?”

I’m not saying I am braver than these people.  I am scared of plenty of things.  But the truth is, people who know me well and describe me on LinkedIn say I am a fearless communicator, also passionate and creative.  It doesn’t mean I am the best communicator there is.  That is just how I was described, and I own it.  It wasn’t an idea I formed about myself.  But it was a realization I came to accept about myself after reading those testimonials.  And I know why people perceive me that way.  I have been challenged by life, again and again, and have had to become resilient, just to survive.  I’ve had failures, and I’ve come back from them.  With that resilience, over time, I have become more comfortable with risk than some, and I have a perspective that would not occur to everyone.  Because not everyone has had my tough luck!  But more about that later…

The Case Foundation is launching a three-year “Be Fearless” campaign to motivate nonprofit organizations working for social causes to take more risks and tackle bigger challenges, for bigger payoffs.

The 5 Things It Takes To Be Fearless

The Foundation identified five principles associated with fearless and inspirational innovators and game-changers, like President Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, Gandhi, and other public figures…

  1. They make big bets and make history.  Fearless people set big goals. They have big dreams.
  2. They experiment early and often.  Fearless people are not afraid to be first.
  3. They make failure matter.  They learn from their failures, and wear them as badges of honor.
  4. They reach beyond their bubble.  Fearless people develop partnerships with new and diverse groups and people to accomplish their goals.  They don’t stay with the comfortable same set.
  5. They let urgency conquer fear.  Fearless people are decisive, are not hesitant, and don’t overthink every move.  They have a sense of urgency about their causes and want to be a part of the solution, now.

Why Aren’t More People Fearless?

I thought about the possible reasons why most of the attendees did not consider themselves fearless, and even why the panelists, who were demonstrably able communicators, seemed unable to summon professional experiences that involved compelling risks, big dreams, spectacular fails, out-of-the box partnerships, and the kind of urgency associated with  must-act-now causes.  They had interesting stories, and communications best practices to share, they just weren’t “fearless” stories, at least by the Case Foundation criteria.

As I mentioned, fearlessness — it’s not really the absence of fear, although that is technically what it means!  It wouldn’t be mature not to feel some fear.  Fear is a good thing, in some situations.   Fearlessness in this context, I think, is synonymous with courage.  Courage involves being aware of the risks and feeling the fear, but not being ruled by it to the point where you do not take a needed action.  It means taking all that into account.  Having no fear is just denying risks, which is reckless and foolhardy.  Fearlessness, or courage, is responsible.

Can You Make Yourself Fearless?

I pondered that fearlessness, in the way I think they are trying to promote it as a desirable attribute in communicators and organizations, is a quality that can be cultivated, just like creativity.  I talked about how to enhance your creativity during my blogging session on Tuesday, and how that improved creativity will carry over into your professional work.  And during this “Fearless” session today, several ideas occurred to me that might help a communicator flex and build their “fearlessness” muscles.  Each everyday act of fearlessness emboldens you.  I believe it can carry over into your work.  Here are a few examples…

Cultivate generosity to yourself and to others.  When you make sure your needs are met, you will have energy to give to others.  You are creating a foundation of stability in yourself that allows you to reach out and give your best, when called to do so.  Generosity is a strong and even brave act, when it is properly motivated and executed.  Sometimes you can be fearless on behalf of someone else, more than yourself.  For example, I find it easier (but still difficult) to advocate for my child in school, than to advocate for myself, sometimes.  But becoming his strong and persistent advocate has, over time, made me a stronger advocate for myself than I was before he was born. Not all fearless people are generous people, but all  generous people are fearless people.

When an opportunity to do good comes across your path, do good.  You don’t let a lost child cry in Target without staying with them until his or her mom shows up.  You don’t let a homeless person look for the dinner in a trash can if you have some way of feeding him or her.  You don’t look the other way when you see a lost dog.  You talk to a very old person in the grocery store line.  This won’t happen to you with every poor soul you see that needs help.  But you know it when it happens — that little prickle you get that says, it’s your time now: you can do something about this.  Usually, it’s small, short-term, and almost always anonymous, right?  Hold the elevator.  Pick up a piece of litter.  Smile at someone.  Pitch in and help the committee.  Help put away chairs after the meeting.  Give blood.  Leave a crazy big tip for someone who is working really hard.  If you walk away from a situation you come across and you think, I wonder if I should have stopped and… STOP. And turn around, run back, and do whatever you were just called to do.  That is your soul talking to you.  Your soul is what enables you to be fearless, so don’t ignore it too frequently.  Being a good person isn’t someone who thinks good thoughts.  It’s someone who does good deeds.

Be your own biggest fan.  Most of us, self included, are too hard on ourselves. Overly self-critical.  So, it’s not a bad thing to be conscientious and to want to do better.  But, do you keep track of the times people say you’re great?  When I was at the Red Cross, I kept a binder that contained every thank you letter, thank you email, and compliment I received.  I called it my Kudos binder.  I kept another binder with examples of my best work.  Right on my desk.  NO ONE thought this was egotistical.  It was helpful during performance evaluations and my exit interview.  HR loved it.  If you don’t know your own value, how can you expect other people to know it and appreciate it?   So, chronicle your wins, and review them as much as you want.  It’s proof positive that you can do whatever you set your mind to, which helps make you fearless.

Cheer on others.  You can do this, if you can be your biggest fan, you know how to help others do their best.  You can let it be about them, because you are strong in yourself.

When you think you can’t do it, remember the times when you overcame obstacles.  I have this thing I say to myself: is this harder than waiting tables at the 3rd Street Diner or Joe’s Inn?  Those were tough jobs.  Almost nothing I have done is more physically demanding or exhausting than waiting tables when I was working my way through college — except, parenting of course.  Nothing tops parenting for sheer exhaustion.  If you can handle serving at the 3rd Street Diner, though, there’s not a whole lot life can dish out that you can’t tackle.  What’s your 3rd Street Diner?

Be strong in your character, even when it doesn’t matter.  For example, I teach my son not to cross against the light.  And I don’t cross against the light, even if I’m not with him.  Even if I’m the only one on the curb.  I think about how my actions impact others, even in small ways.  I know jay walking makes it hard on drivers.  So, I can deal with standing on the sidewalk a few more seconds until the walk light comes on, even when all the other pedestrian Washingtonians are venturing into traffic 🙂  Even when my boyfriend crosses without me.  I stick to my guns.  Think it doesn’t matter?  It does, really.  The small stuff matters.  Erode away too many small things and then it get easier to cheat on the big stuff.  Obeying your principles and rules, not just when someone is looking, is a character-builder.  And when you have a strong character, it’s easier to be fearless.

Honor your word, especially to those younger, weaker, or more vulnerable than you.  When I make my son a promise, I stick to it.  Sometimes, it becomes inconvenient.  Sometimes, maybe it doesn’t seem that important.  Well, it is.  That is my problem, not his.  Have I been tempted to make excuses and get out of it?  Yes, but I don’t.  If I want to raise a child with good character, he has to see that when I say something, I mean it, and when I promise something, I will do it, to the best of my ability.  Children understand actions better than words.  We all do.  When you know you are a person who stands by your word, you learn to trust yourself enough to be fearless when it counts.

Be fiercely beautiful.  Beyonce created this persona for herself called Sasha Fierce, a strong woman to be reckoned with.  I think about that sometimes.  I am not the most confident person in the world.  Sometimes, I feel VERY shy.  At those times, I sometimes self-talk to myself.  As I walk into a room, I say “Work it, own it!”  That is from the movie, Pretty Woman.  Remember that?  Kit is encouraging Vivian as she approaches her next john. It’s kind of a silly thing to make me feel braver, but it works.

So, allow yourself to be as beautiful, and by that, I don’t mean, a model.  I mean inside, and creative, and as fierce as you dare.  Wear a red dress instead of a little black dress.  Smile, big.  Give yourself flowers. Sparkle when you walk into a room.  Light it up like a Christmas tree.  Appreciate how magic you are, just because of all the completely ordinary but divine things you can do.  When you realize, just by being human, that you are pretty darn special, then you can be fearless and open to all kinds of possibilities.  But girl, you got to own it.

Let the waiter decide.  You know, it takes courage to give up control, and be in the moment, and just accept what life gives you and see the good in it.  So, the next time you go to a restaurant, just order the special, whatever it is, no substitutions.  Or let the waiter or your date or your child decide what you eat, or where you go on vacation for a week. Let the interns handle the project.  Give the hair stylist carte blanche.  And no arguments, amendments, or  complaints!  Just give up control and enjoy what you are given, as much as you can, in the moment that presents itself, even if you are given knowledge about something you now know you don’t like.  You’ll come to appreciate even this small act of resilience.

Tell the truth, even if it makes you uncomfortable, sometimes. As a communicator, it’s our mandate to say when the emperor is wearing no clothes.  It’s not our mandate to make our clients feel good about themselves.  We can do that after we accomplish our objectives.  I do try to be tactful, most of the time, but if I have to be blunt because a client is not moving forward, and I know it is in his or her best interests, I will be.  I told a client once that her website looked like a yard sale, and she needed to focus her resources on improving it.  It is better if they hear it from me than lose another contract or sale because of something that can be fixed, like a messy website.  I am not honest with them because it is in MY best interests; I have LOST clients this way.  But I know they don’t pay me to tell them what they want to hear, or already know, and the ones who stick with me are the ones I work my heart out for.

Embrace your uniqueness.  Stop trying to be everybody’s friend, stop trying to please everyone, stop trying to be one-size-fits-all.  You can’t.  Laser focus on your goals and what you can make happen.

Connect with different kinds of people.  Don’t just work with, network with, learn from, or be friends with people who are your same age, color, ethnicity, religion, professional level, educational background, or economic background.  That’s a very human tendency — to flock with birds of your own feather.   If all the people you know are just like you, you may be playing it too safe.  Too safe and fearless do not go together.

Have the courage of your convictions.  Own your informed opinions.  But you can only do this in good faith if you are also prepared to give credit where credit is due, and humbly accept and admit being wrong time to time, because no one is right all the time.  It’s a relief, sometimes, to be wrong.  And being able to say sorry and be forgiven with grace is a real gift.

Effort, effort, effort.  Fearlessness is not just about attitude.  It’s about seeing it through, to completion, and if that means digging ditches, you dig ditches.  Don’t phone it in.  If you’re presenting to people, wear your interview clothes.  Show them how much you respect them and their time by putting your best foot forward.  Make killer Powerpoint slides and handouts.  Ask for help when you need it.  When you do whatever it takes, and you succeed or make progress, you know you are a person who accomplishes things you set out to do, and does self-concept ever make you fearless!

Stop trying to be perfect. Forgive yourself for being imperfect.  The one main thing that stops people I coach from blogging or taking on other communications projects, other than lack of time, is perfectionism.  You can aim for excellence as long as you keep working toward your goals, but perfectionism tends to get in the way of results. Procrastination and perfectionism are linked.  And if you don’t take actions, you can’t be fearless.

Learn to laugh at yourself.  You know how you do that?  You try and do things that make you feel foolish, and you don’t give up when you feel your cheeks turning red and hot.  It’s hard and you feel silly when you first learn how to speak French, learn how to belly dance, or get up and sing Karaoke in a crowded bar (a whole song…by yourself…without drinking alcohol!). You’re always trying to improve right? But the dichotomy is you also have to cultivate some self-acceptance to get there.

I remember when Rollerblades first came out and I really wanted to learn how to roller blade.  I took a class and I was, by a wide margin, the worst and most uncoordinated student in the class.  But you can see the success in your failures.  For example, I got really good at falling over, in my protective gear (I wore more protective gear than anyone else).  Falling well is important.  It keeps you from having a serious injury. By the end of the class, I was given the dubious award of “most-improved” which was a nice way of saying, you’re still the worst but you have come a LONG way.  And you know, with practice, I got really good at rollerblading!  I could do it for miles and miles.  But I could do it because I could laugh at myself when I fell down, and I could really appreciate my “most improved” award.  It made me fearless on the W&OD Trail, later!  Of course, that physical confidence I obtained carried over into other areas of my life.

When you can take things on with that kind of spirit, when you learn that failure is just a step, and sometimes a fun step, to becoming a better person, and that you don’t necessarily have to be the best or greatest at every single thing you take on, in order to enjoy it and benefit from it, then failure loses some of its power to make you afraid.

What do you do to cultivate your personal fearlessness?  Has it carried over into your professional work?

Help us make plans for 2013! Your feedback wanted

Hello friends and followers of Fletcher Prince!

Well, it’s a snow day in the Washington, DC area.  Or, technically, a snow-sleet-freezing rain day.  If you’re like me, you’re staying OFF the roads and inside your toasty warm home!

I’m sure you have lots of fun holiday presents to play with, but if you find you have a moment between today and New Year’s, can you help me out?  That would be great. Put on your thinking cap!

You see, this is an intense period of planning for me.  My son is with his dad until Friday and I have a lot of time to think about the upcoming year.  I really want this blog and all the Fletcher Prince-y things we do in 2013 to be interesting, useful, and fun for you.

So, can you give me some feedback?  You can leave a comment below, or email me:  You can Tweet @FletcherPrince or feel free to call me to chat anytime this week, day or evening (571) 269-7559.

Here’s specifically what I need advice on, but feel free to chime in with whatever interests you!

Looking for Social Media Week DC presentation topics

social media week dc 2013Our Social Media Week DC proposal is due next week.  It’s going to be hard to top our free, standing-room-only event last year, when we presented three social media prsentations and featured guest speakers from the U.S. Army and the World Bank, among others. So what should we do in February this year?

I’ve been batting around a few ideas, but I’m not 100% sold on any of them.  One of is to address the problem of centralizing communications — particularly social media communications — in larger companies, government agencies, and organizations.  You know, how to manage social media and branding when your organization has 30-40 Facebook Pages and YouTube Channels, across several departments.

I’m also personally interested in how to balance risk identification and mitigation and an open approach to social media, particularly in these larger firms and agencies.  It does seem like the larger the organization, the more tricky the execution is.  I don’t think anyone has landed on the perfect solution, but in this blog, I’ve tried to explore some of the pitfalls and best practices.

I’ve also thought about getting away from the presentation format, and doing a blog or video clinic or workshop.

Of course, these events are more fun when there are more participants.  So if you would like to participate in a Fletcher Prince Social Media Week event in mid-February, or you have ideas for a great social media presentation, workshop or event,  let me know!

ISO guests and topic ideas for Conversations in Public Relations

Conversations in Public Relations logoI would love to hear your ideas for interesting topics and guests in the Washington, DC area for our YouTube video interview series, Conversations in Public Relations.

Suggest a topic or expert on any aspect of public relations, marketing, advertising, social media, design, communications — you name it.  I need ideas for 6-12 videos for 2013.

If you’re interested in participating as a guest on the show, now is a great time to contact me so we can set it up.  It’s free to participate, and it only takes about an hour/hour and a half of your time.

Needed: restaurant suggestions for monthly Network-and-Lunch events

April Network and Lunch, DavidAs you may know, in 2012 we organized monthly Network-and-Lunch events all over the DC area.  Last year, we met at Clyde’s, RT’s, Silver Diner, Jaleo, Teaism, as well as other places.  It’s free to register and you only pay for your own lunch and chip in for the tip.

I’ve planned some of the lunches, but I need help with the rest.  Is there a restaurant near where you work that you would like to suggest?  And will you join us?  I have posted the list of Network-and-Lunch dates on our Eventbrite profile page.

Anybody need a speaker for 2013? I’m available!

I’ve been presenting on social media, email marketing, video, and blogging since I started Fletcher Prince in 2007, from large conferences such as Digital East and the Government Video Expo, to smaller group presentations for WWPR, RHED Pixel, and George Mason University, among others.  Please invite me to speak at your company, class, or for your conference or group this year.

Wanted: leads and projects!

You know, if I’m going to do all these fun and free things, I’d better get some work in for 2013!  I’d be very grateful to you for any leads on PR/advertising/social media/graphic design/video projects in 2013.  David and I subcontract, and work on a fixed fee basis for most of our work.  We also provide hourly consulting and training.   Let’s work together in 2013!


For your calendar — upcoming PR and business networking holiday events

Tuesday, December 4

IPRA Holiday Luncheon

Maggiano’s, Tysons Galleria, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Network with independent public relations practitioners in the DC area over chicken parmigiana and ravioli at the annual IPRA holiday luncheon.

Tips: This event typically draws around 40-50 independents in their 40s to 60s who have known each other for several years, and attend the lunch annually, as well as a few sponsors and the occasional newcomer.  Men wear dark suits and Christmas ties, ladies wear festive suits, or holiday sweaters.  A collection is taken for charity, so bring a checkbook.  Good networking and terrific food, and almost no one checks their Blackberry at the table (refreshing).  Register for the event ($35/$45).

WWPR Chocolate Holiday Party

Co Co. Sala Lounge and Chocolate Boutique, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.  Join Washington Women in Public Relations for their Chocolate Holiday party in Washington, DC, featuring drinks, appetizers, and chocolate!

Tips: Both men and women attend these events, but they’re usually attended primarily by fashionably attired, well-heeled female PR pros in their 20s and 30s, as well as a few seasoned pros with great connections.  A mannerly bunch, and a friendly crowd to newbies.  Register for the event ($12/$25).

Wednesday, December 5

The One Party

Current, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.  Tonight is the local PR/Advertising industry’s biggest holiday bash, The One Party.  The multi-sponsored party typically draws about 200 people.

Tips: It’s loud and the drink lines are long, and no one ever dances, but it’s the event to see and be seen, and admission includes two drinks and sushi.  A mix of ages and backgrounds, this event skews  to the young and hip advertising/creative set.  Almost everyone behaves.  Bring cards, but this one’s mostly for the photo-ops.  Register for the event ($45/$55).

Monday, December 10

PRSA-NCC Holiday Party

Carmine’s, 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Join the National Capital Chapter of the PRSA for holiday networking, drinks and Italian hors d’oeuvres in Washington, DC.

Tips: Expect to network with a suited and mature crowd of about 50 PR professionals who know each other well.  There are typically chapter award giveaways, as well.  Better for chapter insiders.  Register for the event ($40/$55).

Wednesday, December 12

AWC-DC Holiday Tea

Willard Intercontinental, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Indulge in a Holiday Tea, including vanilla cranberry scones, tea sandwiches, and petits fours, in the Peacock Room with AWC-DC (Association for Women in Communications, DC Chapter) PRofessional Solutions, LLC CEO Kate Perrin will be the keynote speaker.

Tips: A powerhouse of influential and classy women at all stages in their careers in the most refined setting in Washington.  Dress to impress, and mute your mobile at this one.  Register for the event ($45/$55).

Washington Network Group Holiday Networking Reception

Lima Restaurant and Lounge, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.  Cash bar and complimentary appetizers.  Register for the event ($15/$30).

Wednesday, December 19

Social Media Club DC Holiday Happy Hour

Cause-The Philanthropub, 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.  $10.  Millenial group.  Information and registration.

Check out these other business-related holiday events in the Washington, DC area

Saturday, December 1

Ad2DC Holiday Pub Crawl and Ugly Sweater Contest

Various locations, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. Free; buy your own.  Millenial group.  More information and registration.

Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce 30th Anniversary Celebration

Sheraton Reston Hotel, 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. $175.  More information and registration.

Tuesday, December 4

Arlington Chamber of Commerce Holiday on Tap

World of Beer, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. $20.   Information and registration.

Loudoun Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Networking Social

O’Malley’s Pub/Holiday Inn, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. $15   Information and registration.

What’s Next DC Holiday Meetup

Public Bar in DC, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. $15.  Information and registration.

Wednesday, December 5

Washington DC Chamber of Commerce Holiday Business Networking Reception

Hay-Adams Hotel, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. ($40/$65).  More information and registration.

Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce Holiday Reception

Hilton McLean/Tyson’s Corner, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. ($50/$100).  More information and registration.

Tech the Halls Holiday Party (Multiple tech organization sponsors)

Opera Ultra Lounge in DC, 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.  $25.  More information and registration.

Thursday, December 6

Prince William Chamber of Commerce Silent Night and Holiday Auction

Old Town Manassas Candy Factory, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.  More information and registration.

Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce Holiday Mixer

Community Business Partnership, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.  Free.  More information and registration.

National Association of Women Business Owners, Greater DC Chapter, Holiday Party

Tysons Corner Marriott, 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. $75/$90.  More information and registration.

Alliance for Women in Media, National Capital Area Affiliate, Holiday Affair

NAB Broadcasters Hall of Fame in DC, 6 p.m. $20  More information and registration.

RefreshDC Holiday Happy Hour

Bread and Brew, Free.  7 p.m.  More information and registration.

Friday, December 7

TIVA-DC Holiday Party

Wisconsin Place Community Recreation Center, 7 pm – 10 pm, $25.  More information and registration.

Tuesday, December 11

George Mason University Business Roundtable Holiday Happy Hour

Pomodoro in Vienna, 5:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. Free.  More information and registration.

Thursday, December 13

Greater Merrifield Business Association Holiday Luncheon and Auction

Courtyard by Marriott/Dunn Loring, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. $25. More information and registration.

SMPS DC Holiday Party (Society for Marketing Professionals, DC Chapter)

Bistro Bis at the Hotel George in DC, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 pm.  $75/$95.  More information and registration.

Women in Technology Holiday Party

Gannett Building, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. ($45/$65) More information and registration.

Saturday, December 15

Online News Association Holiday Party

Solly’s in DC.  7 p.m. $5.  More information and registration.

Tuesday, December 18

Capital Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce VA Holiday Event

Sheraton Pentagon City, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.  Free.  More information and registration.

For more holiday events in the Washington, DC area, refer to my holiday event listing on my other blog, Cool Yule.

WWPR PR Woman of the Year Recap

Last week’s Washington Women in Public Relations annual event, the Washington PR Woman of the Year luncheon, was an outstanding and well-organized success, with the largest ever attendance yet, and a line-up of inspirational speakers.  I was very pleased to be included as a guest of my clients, Melanie Jordan and Kate Perrin of PRofessional Solutions, LLC.

Following a lunch of salad, chicken, pasta, and German chocolate cake, the keynote speaker addressed the audience.

Charlotte Beers had words of wisdom to share with the audience of WWPR members and communicators.  The author of I’d Rather Be In Charge has had an illustrious career in advertising, including a position as the CEO of Ogilvy.  She also served as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Bush administration.

She didn’t pull any punches in relating some of the challenges she faced at the top.   Ms. Beers told stories about accomplishments, but also of sexual discrimination and harassment, including being attacked by a client. She stressed how important it was to make alliances with other women in male-dominated workplaces, and to refuse to allow people to diminish ideas and contributions.

She encouraged the audience to make the effort to understand themselves so they could take advantage of their strengths and compensate for their shortcomings.  “Know what you are made of, so when you are challenged, you know about the traits.”  These qualities, she explained, reveal why you are “great at one job and lousy at another.”

She also cautioned against putting too much stock in what others say about you.  “You can be way too influenced by what other people tell you about yourself.”

Ms. Beers expounded on what she called the qualities of an “artful communicator.”  Artful communication, she said, involves clarity, memorability, and persuasiveness.  “Think in terms of not what you want to say but the response you want to evoke.”

To be persuasive, Ms. Beers said you have to show that you have “skin in the game.”  The message you want to convey is that “I’m committed and I’m not turning back.”

Ms. Beers was an inspirational and entertaining speaker and was a tremendous addition to the event this year.

Following Ms. Beers’ presentation was a short speech by Heathere Evans-Keenan, last year’s Washington PR Woman of the Year.  The independent public relations practitioner talked about how winning the award increased her confidence in professional contexts.  She then announced the winner from the three honoree finalists.

A clearly elated Stephanie Fu accepted the award and gave a short speech.   Principal of the local PR firm SLF Strategies, the new Washington PR Woman of the Year asked the audience to consider two things: their inspiration and their aspiration.

She then presented a tribute to her parents — her inspiration — who were in attendance.  Ms. Fu has a pedigree of success — her mother was a medical researcher who helped identify the dangers of lead poisoning and advocated for its removal from household products.  Her father was one of the genius engineers behind GPS technology.

Her story of aspiration was quite touching.  She told the story of how her young daughter was told to draw a picture in school of someone she looked up to.  The daughter drew a picture of her mother that was full of symbols about Ms. Fu’s best qualities.  Ms. Fu said this is the image of the person she now aspires to be.

In 2008, I served as co-chair of the Washington PR Woman of the Year Award, so I know first-hand how difficult it can be to plan this high-profile event, even with a corps of dedicated volunteers.  But, each year, the event gets better and better, as does the organization.   And this year, the event was brilliant.

If you work in public relations in the Washington, DC area, whether you are a man or a woman, it’s a smart move to become involved with Washington Women in Public Relations.

WWPR PR Woman of the Year nominations due at the end of August

Who inspires you in the field of public relations?  Now is the time to recognize her contributions!  Nominate your favorite public relations professional for WWPR’s Washington PR Woman of the Year Award.

For the 23rd year, Washington Women in Public Relations will honor an outstanding  professional as Washington PR Woman of the Year, this year on November 15 , 2012 at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington, DC.

The professional organization is now accepting nominations for this prestigious honor.  Last year, Fletcher Prince client Heathere Evans Keenan won the award.

There are many ways to support the event, including sponsorship packages.  In 2010, we donated a video production package and makeup kit for the raffle.  In 2008, I served as co-chair for the Mayflower Hotel awards event, and Fletcher Prince provided pro bono graphic design services and signed on as a Gold-level sponsor to support the event.

To be eligible for consideration as Washington PR Woman of the Year, nominees should live in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and have ten or more years of public relations work experience, with at least three of those years employed in the Washington, DC area.

The nomination requires submission of a resume; three examples of career accomplishments; a 500-word nominating essay;  description of memberships, certificates, and professional affiliations; list of awards received; and a description of community service and activities.

Nomination packets and instructions are available online at and are due no later than midnight, August 31, 2012.

Thoughts on mentoring in public relations

I was flattered to be asked to participate in a research study for the University of Maryland on mentoring public relations professionals.  Mentoring is a rewarding aspect of my work experience.  Our interview raised some interesting thoughts, and I would love to hear about your experiences with mentoring.

What Constitutes a Mentoring Relationship? Read the rest of this entry

Mark your calendars for these August events, DC communicators!

Think nothing happens in DC in August?  Think again!  There are plenty of educational and networking events coming up this month for communicators, and people interested in learning more about PR, marketing, and social media!

Click each event for registration information.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 6 pm – 8 pm  “Second Annual PR Community Mini-Golf Tournament”

Sponsored by: PR Community (and you know who)

Where: Jefferson Falls Miniature Golf Course, 7900 Lee Highway, Falls Church, VA

Fees:  Self-pay ($6/game). Call (571) 269-7559 if you want a $5 Red Hot & Blue BBQ platter (Pork BBQ sandwich, cole slaw, red-skinned potato salad, pickle and sweet or unsweet iced tea)

Wednesday, August 3, 12 Noon – 2 pm  “Executive Communicators Summer Idea Swap – Discovering Solutions to Your Biggest Challenges”

Sponsored by: Washington Women in Public Relations

Where: Hager Sharp, 1030 15th St., Suite 600E, Washington, DC

Fees: Free for WWPR and PRSA members; $15 for non-members. Bring a bag lunch.

Tuesday, August 9, 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.  “Top Tech Trends PR Professionals Need to Consider” 

Sponsored by: Public Relations Society of America, National Capital Chapter

Where: Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center, 901 K Street NW, 11th floor, Washington, DC

Fees: $35 for PRSA and WWPR members; $55 for non-members; $10 for students and retirees

Tuesday, August 9, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.  “After Hours Mixer”

Sponsored by: DC Ad Club

Where:  Jackie’s Restaurant, 8081 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD

Fees: Free. Buy your own drinks.

Wednesday, August 10th, 8 a.m. – 10 a.m  “Monitoring and Analytics” (breakfast and presentation)

Sponsored by: The Association for Women in Communications-DC Chapter and Burson-Marsteller Digital

Where:  1110 Vermont Avenue N.W., 12th floor, Washington, DC

Fees: $25 for members of AWC, WWPR, BPR and CPC; $35 for

Thursday, August 25, 12 Noon – 2 p.m.  Brown Bag Seminar: Presentation by Tammy Gordon, Social Media strategist for AARP

Sponsored by: Washington Women in Public Relations

Where: TBD

Fees: Free for WWPR and PRSA members; $15 for non-members.  Bring a lunch.

Look for me at WWPR’s Emerging Leaders Awards, July 26

Mary Fletcher Jones

Have you ever heard the expression “Good things happen in threes?”

Well, I’m not superstitious, but three good things did happen to me recently.  First of all, after a long blog hiatus, I’m feeling better and blogging again, which feels wonderful.  Secondly, I was asked to join the ADDYs committee.  And now, I’ve been invited by my PRofessional Solutions client to attend WWPR’s Emerging Leaders Awards on July 26.

I am so pleased and flattered to be invited by Kate Perrin and Melanie Jordan of  PRofessional Solutions. They have not only been a wonderful client to work with, but they have also provided me with two very interesting public relations assignments in the past two years.

And talk about inspiring: Kate has supported WWPR since its inception, not to mention her support of and work with PRSA-NCC, AWC-DC, and IABC-DC and now serves on the Dress for Success board.  If you have temporary public relations staffing needs, or are seeking a temporary or permanent public relations position, you should talk to Kate and Melanie.  They are the best!

Thanks very much for the invitation, Kate and Melanie!  I look forward to seeing you Tuesday, July 26.  If you see me there, please say hello.  And if you have not yet registered for this event, visit Washington Women in Public Relations online.

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