Archive for the 'Networking' Category

SHIFTers Show Their Wonder Women Status at #WWBos

Last Thursday, I attended the Wonder Women of Boston event with some wonderful SHIFT ladies; Jena Rossi, Kim Diesel, Kristina Scuoteguazza and Liz Segran. Taking place at the Back Bay Social Club, the event brought together Boston women of all ages, in an array of industries.  It was a great turnout, and event attendees were able to mingle and network with other impressive women from around the area.

Main topic/purpose of event:

The purpose of this event was to meet amazing business women from the Boston area and make connections within various industries and fields.

One key takeaway:

Women in Boston are impressive. Every woman we spoke to was ambitious, successful and driven. There are some truly amazing people and organizations in Boston, and who knows, they might even be looking for PR support some day.

One turnoff:

Lack of food! This event started at 6:00p.m. and the few appetizers that were served were devoured almost immediately by us hungry working women.

Audience makeup:

Women of all ages were in attendance at this event – from students, to young professionals, to well-established business women.

Location (bar, restaurant etc):

Back Bay Social Club is a restaurant located on Boylston Street in Boston. The event took place in its lower level function room.

Follow ups/contacts:

The SHIFT team met several interesting women at the event last night and looks forward to connecting with them again soon. Maybe even scope out a few future SHIFT interns from the collection of students that were in attendance!

Would you attend this event again?

Yes, we would attend this event again.

Hashtag of event:



The Great Poke Off: Use Your Networks to Help, Not Just to Complain

By @Trochman

Working at an Agency provides you the ability to work with a number of great brands and experiment with social media tools in a variety of ways in order to help them reach their target audience.  Sometimes this gives you an awe inspiring look at creativity and human interaction. Sometimes it gives you a sad look at how nasty people can be to one another, or witness how a simple communication tool can be warped into a funnel for complaints.

However, what touched me recently was not the act of a large company or marketing team but the creativity of two friends looking to make a small difference in their own personal networks. This weekend I was given another affirmation to the true power of social media.  How with a simple act, people can engage with their networks – not for fame or attention – but to help one another.

As I was scrolling through Facebook I came across a competition between my cousin Dan Andersen and his friend John Clinton. The two were participating in a poke-a-thon on Facebook. The concept had been John’s brainchild the year before and I vaguely remembered them participating… but this year was different.  This year there was clearly an emphasis by both men to take a playful competition and use it to make a difference.

Here is what caught my eye, a new timeline cover and invitation via status update:

Friends, Countrymen, People Who I haven’t talk to since high school or EVER: It’s that solitary time of year when I call you to action for charity, but wait, I don’t want your money! All I want is that long-lost Facebook function that (hardly) anyone ever uses anymore….the poke. Last year, we raised $234 for This American Life and $158 for Heifer International. This year I hope to accomplish the following:

1) Raise more $$ for This American Life
2) Beat John Clinton again

Here’s how it works – every time one of you pokes me (on FB), I give $1 to This American Life (up to a later specified amount)…plus I get to brag about it to John in the Internet locker room.

If you’ve never poked anyone before, you are probably not alone AND good ol’ Mark Zuckerburg has been moving stuff around lately – FB timeline has actually hidden the poke option in the drop-down widget menu just below the right-hand corner of my cover photo.

So please, take 2 seconds out of your FB surfing and poke-a-bro. I promise to return the favor when this is all over. Thanks!

Here is John’s timeline graphic:

As the competition picked up steam and both men started receiving pokes, The Chicago Booth Follies was also added to the mix for donations. (Their graduate school’s annual variety show –which they had learned its funding was dramatically slashed this year.)

This challenge was issued in late March with a deadline of 4/8/12. (Ok so he can get mad at me for taking this long to notice…) Through humorous Facebook updates, offers to give gifts and challenging Meme shots (see Harry Potter here); Dan and John both received pokes from friends, family, coworkers – and the networks of each group.  Some of my friends here at SHIFT have even found themselves poking these gents.

At the time of the competition’s close at midnight on 4/8/12, Dan had received 274 pokes and John received 205.  This means $479 was donated to This American Life and $479 to Booth Follies.

This is the true power of social media. People from various backgrounds staying connected, communicating about goals and helping each other.  This isn’t a complaint campaign to change some trivial policy or product feature, it isn’t the RT of some celebrity – it is just two friends looking to raise money for an organization they feel passionately about.

Can you imagine if we all just stopped every now and again and thought along these lines?  I know I tend to use my own social media tools for sarcastic thoughts and movie quotes.  I think the problem is we all imagine that in order to make a difference we need to think of the next million dollar charitable campaign. No. You don’t. Even the smallest donation can make a difference to someone so long as it is to an organization, group or movement you believe in.

Consider yourself poked.  Now what are you going to do with it….

SXSW: What I Learned Navigating Through Nerd-topia

By @rockegan

Every March for the past 20 years, movie buffs, music connoisseurs and tech nerds have taken over Austin, Texas. To some, the 20,000 extra people swarming the streets would be overwhelming. If you look past the lines, crowds and lack of sleep, however, you begin to realize that you are in a world where being called a “geek” or “nerd” is cool and everybody surrounding speaks the same language as you, and that language is Tech. What you experience for that week is nothing that you have ever experienced before or will ever experience again.

South By Southwest (SXSW) is focused on developing and expanding on innovative ideas for new products and services and because the main focus is technology, no two years are the same. With the rapidity at which the tech world advances, the things that were important this year may be considered archaic by next March.

According to the conference website, “SXSW’s original goal was to create an event that would act as a tool for creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, to bring together people from a wide area to meet and share ideas.”

Walking through the trade show in the Austin Convention Center, I stopped at booth after booth and asked for a quick pitch of whatever the company was marketing. Although I was somewhat overwhelmed, a lot of the things that people presented to me blew my mind. I kept finding myself thinking, “Oh my gosh, Client X would love this!” or “This would be totally great for Client Y’s next launch party.”

As I pushed my way through the crowds, waited in endless lines for free food (like’s bacon truck where I tried pickles wrapped in bacon) and did my best to meet all the people around me at any given time I realized something. Even though just about every single booth had some sort of swag, the companies that did the best with regards to being noticed were those that really knew how to reach their demographics. Sure, they may have handed out a sticker or a pin (or five), but what really caught my attention was when a representative from the company would ask me a question and alter their sales pitch to cater to my specific interests/needs.

Even though I flew back to San Francisco with a severe lack of sleep, three new canvas bags for my groceries, a foldable water bottle for my purse and about 23 branded t-shirts (why do they even make SXSW shirts to sell? If you just walk into the Convention Center you get a lifetime’s supply for free!), some of the companies I remember most (even just two days out) are the ones that I walked away from with only a business card and a handshake.

Check out the slide show to see some of the pictures I snapped while making my way through the streets of Austin:

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Who needs Clooney when you have Conway? SHIFT Attends the Crunchies

By, Brittany Votto (@brittanyvotto)

When Brad and George start making the rounds on your TV and it’s not because Spike is running a 14 hour marathon of the “Ocean’s Eleven” saga, then you can be confident that it’s here. Awards Season. I knew it the second I saw a svelte Jonah Hill on Matt Lauer’s couch.

Though I could expand on why I think it’s ludicrous that, in the company of Hollywood royalty Glenn Close and Meryl Streep, Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy is an Oscar nominee for her ability to portray flatulence in a bridal suite, I digress. We’re here to chat about Awards Season in Silicon Valley. Where angel investor Ron Conway is our George Clooney. Twitter and Square co-founder Jack Dorsey is our Brad Pitt. And MC Hammer is the opening act’s dad. Really.

Last week, Katherine Walters (@kayjeedoubleyou), Madeline Willman (@MadelineWillman) and I (@brittanyvotto) had the honor of attending the Crunchies – a tech awards program hosted by media rivals TechCrunch, GigaOM and VentureBeat at San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall. As noted in the closing remarks from each blog’s editor-in-chief, Erick Schonfeld, Om Malik and Matt Marshall (respectively), the editors and reporters usually racing each other to the embargoed finish line filed their stories by iPhone put their deadlines aside to celebrate the greatest minds in tech.

Host Harris Wittels of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” channeled Ricky Gervais and kicked off the night with a few #humblebrags from folks like Google VP Marissa Mayer and Huffington Post president and editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington. He took a few moments to elicit snickers from the crowd by jabbing Google+ squarely in the jaw, only to watch the social network win the Crunchie for Best Social Application about seven minutes after his clever jests.

During that seven minutes, our very own Mayor Ed Lee took to the podium to emphasize his support of the Bay Area tech community, mentioning his re-election campaign only a handful of times.

Over the next hour or so, 20 Crunchies were handed out to the best of the best, with a particularly stimulating acceptance speech from Founder of the Year Jack Dorsey, where he urged the crowd to always reach for that “founding moment.” The inspiration continued with a heartfelt dedication to former TechCrunch CEO Heather Harde, in which her colleagues described her as smart, patient, humble, thoughtful – “the un-Mike,” referring to Michael Arrington, the infamous founder of TechCrunch who recently left the blog to begin CrunchFund.

With a level of class worthy of her tribute, Heather took to the stand in support of Mike, first reminding the mass audience that Mike was the start of TechCrunch and then sharing his perspective: “Startups are like pirates, and we should celebrate them like rock stars.”

I think all in attendance would agree that at the 2011 Crunchies, everyone was a rock star for a night.

One last thing – I’d definitely be remiss if I didn’t direct you to the riveting commentary by The Daily Dot’s founding executive editor Owen Thomas on the night’s fashion. After all, there was a red carpet, and like any awards show, the Crunchies needed its Joan Rivers.

Networking – The Question Is Who Knows You?

By Katie Boucher (@kteb)

When I attended my first networking event, I won’t lie, I was scared to death. I didn’t know what to say, I had no idea who to talk to and ended up sitting in the corner eating pasta salad and drinking a Sprite. Even though I was scared, I attended another event and thank goodness I did because it was the event that helped me land my first job (thanks to @PubClubofNE ). Since then, I have always believed in the power of networking. It’s not who you know, but who knows you.

For PR pros, networking events are a way to spread the word about clients, meet journalists to build relationships, and tell everyone what a great company you work for (seriously @SHIFTComm is the best). Attending networking events is also a great way to build your own brand recognition. At SHIFT we are strongly encouraged to attend networking events as it helps not only each of us individual, but SHIFT as a whole.

Over the countless events SHIFTers have attended, we have all developed a style of networking that works for us individually. Working the room may not be everyone’s forte, so I thought SHIFT could provide some tips and tricks on how to leave a networking event feeling good about it. I think the over arching piece of advice would be that the more you network, the better you get at it and the more opportunities arise. You never know who you might meet.

Catherine Allen, Vice President, @catherineallen – “Networking is like a game – maybe that’s from playing too many @GSN_Digital games (shameless client plug).  Begin with the end in mind:  What are you hoping to get out of the event? New ways of thinking from the keynote? New recruits for your company? New relationships with prospective partners and clients? If I go in with the game mentality, it makes it easier to jump right in and make the most of a networking event. Oh, and one more piece of advice: Eat before you arrive, because it is really hard to network with crudité in your teeth.”

Zach Servideo, Account Manager, @zachservideo – “Be fearless… the person you are staring at is here for the same reason.”

Daniella Klopocki, Senior Account Executive, @bellatweetz – ““Each week, I send an email to three people I’ve met at a past event or someone from my past that I should stay in contact with (professor, former colleagues, former clients etc.), just to check in with them. We typically send someone a note when we need something, so sending a note just to say hi, can go a long way.”

Amanda Guisbond, Senior Account Executive, @agbond – “Don’t forget to follow-up. After the initial meet and greet and business card exchange, be thoughtful and strategic about following up with a few folks. Look for something in common or shoot them a note to say you enjoyed meeting with them and hearing about their work. Cards can get lost and a nice email is a great way to a) stand out and b) stay connected. If you’re using LinkedIn for this purpose, make sure to include a nice note along with your connection request.”

Kate Binette, Senior Account Executive, @katebinette – “Live tweet if the event has a panel – people start to recognize you and talk to you and it makes it easier to chat afterwards.”

Denise Bertrand, Account Coordinator, @DMBertrand – “Before I came to SHIFT I was the Communications Specialist at the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce on Cape Cod. A good place to network as a business owner or employee of a company looking to meet new people in the community is by getting involved with your local chamber of commerce. Chamber’s have their own networking events for members every month and can help you get involved by introducing you to many other professional organizations and associations.”

We hope these tips and tricks help and if you see a SHIFTer at an event, say hi, we don’t bite! For more networking tips and tricks, recently wrote an article, “How to Network Well: It’s Not All About You”.

What’s your tip? Add it in the comments section below.

Is This the Beginning of the End for CES?

By Katie Tully (@K_Tully)

The first CES was held in New York City in 1967 as a spin-off from the Chicago Music Show, which until then had served as the main event for exhibiting consumer electronics. Today, CES is one of the world’s most famous trade shows, featuring the top names in tech and innovation, even drawing in A-list celebrities.

So the question is: How did CES go from 17,500 attendees and 100 exhibitors to more than 153,000 attendees and 3,100 exhibitors?

The first thing to note is that CES has always managed to draw in the newest, fastest and most innovative technology; starting with the VCR in 1970, the camcorder in 1981, the XBOX in 2001 and the hottest tablets in 2011. This has been the key for CES’s outstanding growth – launching the top products that consumers are dying to get their hands on. The reality is that consumer electronics have become an integral part of our daily lives, ultimately providing some of the most interesting, exciting and compelling news.

When all this excitement is boiled down to one show every winter in Las Vegas, it’s almost unbelievable that celebrities haven’t always been on the top of the attendee list. Let’s be honest – just being in Vegas in January is enough to make you drop everything for a week, right?

So somewhere between compact discs and satellite radio, the attention expanded from tech experts and columnist to everyday people and famous names.  And when you have Justin Timberlake endorsing MySpace and Snooki live tweeting from the conference hall about her bedazzled line of headphones, it’s pretty difficult to avoid getting sucked in.

As we look ahead to CES in the future, many of us can’t help but wonder if it will turn into another SXSW where no stone is left unturned and the real focus of the show disappears in all the noise. Is CES becoming too big for its own good?

Maybe Apple’s refusal to attend has been the right move all along.

Brews and Books to Support Children’s Literacy

By Danielle Coe (@danibird)

As we gear up for the holidays, SHIFT’s San Francisco office is excited to host the first ever Brews and Books fundraiser mixer this Thursday, Dec. 1. Joined by clients, friends and local reporters, we’ll spend the evening tasting delicious beers from San Francisco locals Rogue Ales, all for a good cause.

As PR professionals at SHIFT, our everyday revolves around reading as we stay up to date with news in pubs like Mashable, GigaOM, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, not to mention the overwhelming role writing plays in our job as communicators with both clients and media; so spreading the value of reading is a cause close to all of us. We are proud to support Garfield Elementary School in San Francisco by partnering with First Book, a nonprofit organization that has provided more than 85 million new books to children in low-income communities throughout the U.S. and Canada. On Thursday, in addition to sampling beers we’ll be asking for donations to help us reach our goal of $1000 to support Garfield.

Once we’ve reached our goal, First Book will work with Garfield to pick out books from the organization’s online Marketplace. The books are on average $2.50 each, meaning that our contribution will go a long way to help replenish Garfield’s collection.

Looking for something to do on Thursday? Stop by and join us! Visit to RSVP. And if you can’t make it but are still in the spirit of giving, please visit our First Book fund page and help us reach our goal!

Want to learn more about First Book and Garfield Elementary?

A recognized leader in social enterprise, First Book has pioneered groundbreaking channels to provide new books and educational resources at deeply reduced prices — and for free — to schools and programs serving children in need. Since 1992, First Book has provided more than 85 million books to children from low-income families. First Book provide teachers and program administrators with greater purchasing power and access to high-quality books that otherwise would not be available to them.

Garfield Elementary School is a culturally diverse public school, serving kindergarten through fifth grade students in the Telegraph Hill area of North Beach in San Francisco. Garfield supports a rigorous academic curriculum offering general education, Chinese bilingual and Asperger’s Syndrome specific programming for local children. SHIFT is excited to support Garfield this holiday season and to help contribute to a year of improvement and success in the classroom! Go Mighty Dragons!