Giving Back

I grew up in a boarding school off the Natchez Trace – mile marker 181. At a young age of 10, I ventured off to the small Mississippi boarding school, where I would remain for the next seven years.

Having no idea what to expect or even how to handle living without my family at such a young age, I learned to embrace my fate. I learned how to ride horses – something I did almost every weekend. I eventually joined the cheerleading squad, and have the fondest memories of cheering every Friday night on the football field.

The hardest part – I lived with 16 other girls in a large boarding house called the Griffin Home. I was one of the youngest girls in the dorm my first year and was kind of lost. It was not until my second year that I met my new dorm parents – Lee and Dee Baker – the family that would change my life.

The Bakers cared for me and treated me as one of their own. They took me under their wing and taught me the important things a little girl should know. They instilled values in me and the tradition of family. I was lucky to have them.

Caring for one another adds value to life. That is why I started working with The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington. There are so many children right here in our DC community facing challenges that need your support.

You can impact a child’s future by donating or volunteering. So make a donation and volunteer. The programs implemented at the Club are incredible and effective.

Support the Boys & Girls Club today!

Summer Adventure to Iceland

In three weeks I will graduate from Georgetown University with my Masters in Public Relations and Communications. To reward my hard work, I decided to buy a ticket to Iceland.

Iceland is unlike any place in the world I have ever visited, mainly because it’s a volcanic island in the North Atlantic Ocean east of Greenland and immediately south of the Arctic Circle.  My adventure will begin August 12th, so I have been researching the country; it’s culture and heritage. I am so intrigued by all that I learn, down to their beliefs and traditions.  In addition, I am part Swedish, and many of the settlers in Iceland are of Swedish decent.

Iceland offers a wealth of outdoor activities. The simplest of these are the unlimited hiking opportunities all around the country – from afternoon walks along the coastline to a two-week trek in the wilderness. I’ve learned that the country’s best hiking spots can be found in the remote areas of Landmannalaugar, Látrabjarg and Hornstrandir, or in the Reykjanes peninsula between the airport and Reykjavík. There’s also horse-riding in the interior and swimming in the geothermal pools. For something a little different, you can play a round of midnight sun golf at the Arctic Open held in Akureyri. There’s also whale watching, which is definitely something I want to do. I’m game for all!

Not to mention, most of the big festivals in Iceland are taking place during my stay. Needless to say, I am beside myself about this new adventure. Life is too short; I want to take advantage of everything while I have the chance.

Look forward to some blog entries about the adventures in Iceland!

The Ultimate ‘Purramour’

Just when you think you’ve heard it all…

Boing Boing reports:

39-year old Uwe Mitzscherlich, a postman from Possendorf, Germany, married his cat Cecilia when he found out she was dying. They had lived together for 10 years. His reason: “Cecilia is such a trusting creature. We cuddle all the time and she has always slept in my bed.”

The man liked it so much that he put a ring on it.  My heart goes out to all of Uwe’s ex girlfriends, who will now be seeking therapy.

The 2012 Presidential Campaign Will Break All Fundraising Records (Week 11)

In a sense, campaign outcomes are often determined by its ability to manage chaos. Think about it – there are crises, shifts, changes – many of which are unpredictable. Many of these changes call for reformulation of fundamental concepts.

Obama and his campaign understood the fundamental management concepts like control and autonomy. As I analyze the Obama Presidential campaign, it was one of the most organized and innovative that I’ve ever seen. Obama thought outside of the box, which in my humble opinion kept him on the offense – and essentially ahead of the game.

Obama’s campaign strategy was successful and one that has become a model for other campaigns. The organization and community building – through his model focused on “The Three Ms”: message, money, and mobilization – ushered Obama into the White House.

Hiring not only online organizers, but technology genius’ like Chris Hughes, co-founder with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.com, was a chess move no political campaign could trump. Checkmate.

Looking ahead to 2012, no one can possibly predict a winner. However, I can confidently predict two outcomes: (1) the 2012 Presidential election will break all fundraising records, and (2) the Hispanic population in the U.S. will play a key role in determining the next President of the United States.

In every campaign cycle, I’ve seen fundraising progressions. Essentially, campaigns mimic what works. Even now, we see Republicans mimicking fundamentals that were successful  in the Obama Campaign. 

Projections by the U.S. Census Bureau show that in 2010, Hispanics will make up 15.5 percent of the total population. Nonetheless, I predict the 2010 Census will show a percentage slightly higher than 15.5 percent.  

Another important factor to consider is technology innovation. Just look at how things have changed due to the iPhone. What will SMS marketing look like in 2012? Will there be an app for 2012 Presidential candidates? Or will we see something new?  

There are lots of questions and lots of theories, but time will be the telling factor.

The Environmentalism Movement (Response Blog 3)

On Sunday I attended the Earth Day initiative or climate rally on the National Mall. Even though I was backstage most of the day, the energy in the crowd was incredible.  The performances by John Legend, Joss Stone and Sting were by far my favorite. Their passion for the cause was admirable and infectious.

Throughout the initiative, speakers urged the audience to contact legislators, encouraging them to pass “THE climate legislation.” This puzzled me because currently there is no climate legislation on deck for passage in the House.

If I had to infer, I suspect the speakers were referring to the controversial cap and trade legislation, which narrowly passed the House earlier this year. However, did the audience even understand what the speaker was referring to as the various artists mentioned the undefined climate legislation?

Nonetheless, responding to the event and the overall rise of the environmentalism movement, I will relate this to Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, and share my philosophies on a comprehensive energy plan.

The environmentalism movement is a great example of Malcolm Gladwell’s theory in The Tipping Point. As defined, his theory states that when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, it tips and spreads like wildfire.  The three rules of The Tipping Point include the Law of the Few, the Stickiness Factor and the Power of Content. Specifically, these rules helped me understand the going green phenomenon and the precisely targeted push for a cause.

Weighing in on the issue, I believe this country does need to pass a comprehensive energy bill. Energy independence is one of the greatest goals we can achieve as a nation. 

Using our resources here at home, in the short term we need to use American innovation to accelerate technology that burns coal more cleanly because it is an abundant energy source in our country. 

Certainly, our path to energy independence should not stop with conventional fuels. Over the long run, I believe we need to develop and implement new alternative energy sources and technologies. We can incentivize the development of wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy.  Moreover, we can use agricultural products and hydro technologies to turn our natural resources into energy producers. In addition, we must increase the amount of nuclear power because it is reliable and emission-free and work to dispose of spent fuel rods either through a central disposal site or by reprocessing.

The bottom line: our nation needs a common-sense, comprehensive energy plan that moves us to sustained energy independence. Rather than inflicting a penalty tax on companies through the cap and trade legislation, we should create a tax credit that incentivizes companies to use innovation to reduce emissions.

All Access Pass to Information (Week 10)

War is one of the biggest challenges facing societies. Nonetheless, war is a seemingly inescapable and integral aspect of human culture, not particularly linked to any single type of political organization or society.

However inescapable, fundamentally war is a grave practice – one that I wish did not exist in societies.  In the age of digital media, information about wars is more accessible, including YouTube videos and blogs about real-life war experiences.

I support transparency, and believe it is important to hold organizations and governments accountable, especially when it comes to war. With access to more information on the Web, more stories will be heard and it will bring awareness to cruel acts of terror, similar to the horror happening with the Darfur Conflict.  

Having access to this information can also act as an education tool. For example, HBO recently release a series called The Pacific. The Pacific focuses on the United States Marine Corps’ actions in the Pacific Theater of Operations within the wider Pacific War. However hard to see the dramatization of war, this series has helped me understand a little bit more about what our nation’s heroes experienced – battle after battle.

Exploring blogs about wars online, I stumbled upon an actual website called Blogs of War. The New York Times also has a blog called At War: Notes from the Front Line.

While seeking footage on the battlefield, all I had to do was search for it on YouTube. It’s just that easy to access anything you want on the Internet, not excluding real-life war footage.

To view rare Iraq war coverage on CNN, please watch the following video:

However controversial, I support an all access pass to information about the history of war and current wars on the Internet as long as the information is within the bounds protecting our national security. Finding that balance is the major challenge.

Massive Multiplayer Online Games (Week 6)

Massive multiplayer online games (MMO) are a huge business today.  As an avid participant of online gaming, I stick to what many would categorize as traditional. I like the card games – some are interactive and some are not. Let’s put this all into perspective – I’m a product of the generation that had Nintendo and Atari.  However, MMOs prove that technology certainly has advanced tremendously over the years…

When I explored nontraditional MMOs like the game being used by the U.S. Army to recruit (as well as train new soldiers), I was shocked and somewhat affected by the innovation.  I had no idea this website existed, and was impressed with its advanced capabilities. Is this website successful in obtaining new recruits? I would have to look at the statistics; however, I would guess that it is an overall success.

When exploring sites such as Second Life and World of Warcraft – two of the most popular and well known MMOs, I was stunned. Millions of people are playing these games each and every day.

First of all, how do people have time to play all these games? I don’t even have time for my “first life” let alone joining a community game called the “Second Life”.

Nonetheless, Second Life is not just a game anymore. It is even used as a platform for education by many institutions, such as colleges, universities, libraries and government entities. New educational institutions have also emerged that operate exclusively within Second Life.

It is amazing the culture and community gaming has created online. These games are capturing the attention of millions of people every day, giving businesses and marketers new ways to promote products within the gaming communities, such as Second Life.  

Second Life and Virtual Worlds are the future of the Internet. Despite downbeat reports in Wired magazine and elsewhere, more than a dozen marketing agencies are still developing virtual ad campaigns for major real-world clients, often returning impressive results. If anything, researching these online gaming sites and the new marketing opportunities supports Metcalfe’s law – the more users there are in these communities, the more value they posses.

To learn more about Second Life, check out the following YouTube video: