Posts Tagged 'networking'

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:



Never Underestimate the Power of Networking

By Berenise Solorio



“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”

This is especially true in the field of public relations. Simply put, networking truly is invaluable. Just how important is networking for us PR folk? I asked director at large for the SF Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) and diversity chair for the New Pros section, Carolina Madrid and here’s what she had to say.

1.       What value have you seen through networking (specifically in PR)?

PR is all about networking. Whether it’s for your own professional development or on behalf of your company or client, connecting with people on personal levels paves the path for work relationships that flourish in a way that’s critical to the PR industry.

2.       Have you found that networking has helped with recruitment to bring in top talent?

Of course. I have never personally worked in recruitment but have seen talent acquisition – especially for more senior positions – happen through organic conversations more often than I’ve seen it happen through cover letters and resumes. During a networking conversation, you are your own resume and cover letter and nothing conveys your professional competence better than yourself.

3.       Were you introduced to new job opportunities through networking?

Absolutely – it’s how I got my current job! To trace the opportunity to its original root, it was college friends from PRSSA that helped secure the position I now hold. Had I not networked at PRSSA events, I wouldn’t know them today nor had their recommendation for my post. Similarly, I have also helped friends land internships or jobs through strong endorsements or encouraging them to attend events where “so and so” would be present.

4.       What would you say are the top 3 benefits to networking?

1) The opportunity to expand and enhance your own professional rolodex;

2) The opportunity to practice your public speaking and people skills; and

3) The opportunity to make long-lasting friendships – you’re naturally inclined to befriend those with similar interests.

5.       How does social media play into networking these days? (Positive/negative?)

Social media will never take the place of connecting with someone face-to-face, but it will – and already has – transformed our ability to identify whom we should be connecting with and build deeper connections. For example, would you have known that a conference-goer in Florida lived in the same city as you had you not checked out their Twitter profile? Social media allows you to define and refine who you want to network with. It also provides an easy way to stay in touch with those connections that matter most (e.g. LinkedIn!)

6.       What advice would you give someone who is just starting a career in PR?

I have only had about four years of PR experience, but already I’ve noticed three core areas that have been invaluable to my success thus far:

Focus on how you can help others: It will always – hands down – get you farther than focusing on how you can benefit from them.

Read, read, read: Read the news, read books, read the back of your shampoo bottle. This will not only keep you abreast of current affairs but improve your writing, which is critical in our field.

Don’t be so afraid of failure: You learn most from mistakes and sticky situations that you’re forced to maneuver out of, so embrace that awkward feeling when you mess up and know that when it’s over, you’ve added one more lesson to your portfolio.

7.       Is there anything else you’d like to share about networking and its importance in our field?

Networking shouldn’t be looked at as something that is done specifically at a professional mixer or conference. You should always be networking and that’s not to say that you should always be selling yourself but rather always trying to establish genuine, kind, friendly relationships with others – even if it’s at a gas station! You never know when you’ll come a valuable connection. And lastly, networking should be fun!

More about Carolina Madrid

Carolina is a PR professional working in corporate practice. She has been involved with PRSA since January 2011, after graduating from college and jumping into the San Francisco PR scene. She was previously involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) at Arizona State University, where she attended two national PRSSA conferences and held the Treasurer position. She became involved with both the student and professional organizations because she recognized the value of being part of an organization devoted to furthering her own profession as well as the industry as a whole. She is now director at large for the San Francisco PRSA chapter as well as the diversity chair for the new professionals section of SF PRSA.

You can follow her on Twitter at: @CarolinaMadrid

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….

Social Media Week New York

Last week New York City’s streets were filled with social savvy SHIFTers jetting from one panel to another for New York’s Social Media Week.  Below SHIFT’s own Reshma Fernandes (@reshma) shares a few insights into one of the panels she attended:

Can We Tweet Yet? Social Media in Financial Services – hosted by Actiance on 12/15 (Joanna Belbey) @belbey

Key takeaways

  • Social media deployment is a lot more successful when all the internal stakeholders from HR to legal to security departments are at the table at the beginning of the decision making process
  • The Regulators treat social media the same way as any other client communication so record keeping is of paramount importance
  • Put together a social media policy – every employee that represents your brand should undergo training on social media do’s and don’ts since finance is heavily regulated



SHIFT and Media Bistro: The Conversation Continues

Media Bistro is the go-to source for jobs and recruiting for media professionals in journalism, on-line content, book publishing, TV, radio, PR, graphic design, photography, and advertising.

Media Bistro also throws kick-ass networking events.

August’s Media Bistro “Cocktails in Boston” event at Middlesex Lounge in Central Square (Cambridge, MA) was no different. It was filled with all sorts of media industry pros — PR veterans (young and old), social media junkies, novelists, freelance writers, journalists, photojournalists, creative designers, etc. The best way to summarize this event is to provide a quick rundown of just a few of the relationships I established there…

Melissa Pocek, “The Ring Leader” (@MelissaPocek) — Melissa Pocek hosted the event. Event attendees were clearly a dynamic mix of long-time Media Bistro members, first-time attendees and, of course, “friends of Melissa.” Melissa is a regular contributor to Boston media. Her journalism has covered national issues, local events, and professional profiles. For those unfamiliar with Melissa’s work, she’s a freelance writer focusing on topics ranging from health/wellness and fashion/lifestyle to budget/cheap living and food/wine. Learn more about Melissa by visiting her website — Melissa Pocek: A Collection of Writings.

Matthew Sandel, “The Novelist” — I had to throw this guy in here. He’s one of those mysterious novelists you’d only find at a Media Bistro event. He has been working on a comic novel for 5+ years and readily admits to suffering from what we all can relate to — frequent writer’s block. Cool take away from this conversation came when we were discussing climate change, renewables, etc. and Matthew informed me that President Reagan decided to remove the solar panels that President Carter had installed. Looking up the incident today, apparently Regan’s “people” thought that solar was a forward-thinking joke. Surprised I haven’t read more about this given the renewed focus on solar in recent years (or perhaps the documentation is out there and I’m just the jerk who didn’t take notice until now). For a full history lesson on the matter, check out The Forgotten History Blog. One last note on Matthew: he didn’t have a business card and promised to email me — at which point he made me promise I’d email him back (apparently he had his networking heart broken in the past). I’m happy to report we have since exchanges emails and plan to grab coffee next month. Matthew, if you’re listening, I hope this experience has restored your faith in Boston’s networking subculture that I so love… 🙂

Manya Chylinski, “The Freelancer” — Manya is the president and founder of Alley424 Communications. She is an experienced corporate communications writer focusing on a variety of topics including high tech, higher education and financial services, among others. If your clients are looking to hire a freelancer, Manya is a great option. For more information on her work, including her portfolio, visit On a side note, Manya and I are a photogenic pair as you can see in the picture accompanying this blog post (courtesy of @lauraimkamp, who we’ll get to later on).

Manya “The Freelancer” with Zach "The Conversation"

Georgy Cohen, “The Other Freelancer” — (@radiofreegeorgy) – A Somerville resident like myself, Georgy is an accomplished freelancer. She also serves as the manager of web content and strategy at Tufts University. Georgy is also the founder of Meet Content, a startup focused on helping higher education institutions create and sustain web content that engages and retains audiences. Check out Georgy’s personal website.

“The Emerson Grads” — Toward the end of the event, I met a charming group of Emerson College graduates who all have been working with great success in the journalism field since graduating in 2010. Finding myself caught up in this college reunion of sorts was my good fortune as these young women invited me in to their engaging conversation about digital media, the evolving online media landscape and the growing backlash against the overwhelmingly transparent nature of social sharing. The latter is not intended to suggest transparency is a bad thing, but more an acknowledgment that there is an increasing need for closed, privately-controlled online social communities. Here’s a quick rundown of my new Emerson alum friends:

  • @lauraimkamp – This girl does it all: photographer, writer, freelance multimedia journalist. In fact, she was the official photographer for this week’s event. The photo accompanying this blog post is courtesy of Laura. For a better understanding of all that this girl brings to the table, check out her personal website.
  • @kalannigan – Like myself, Katie is a true Somerville die-hard. She formerly wrote for the Somerville Patch and is currently an editorial secretary at’s Frontline. Check out her blog.
  • @MeenaGanesan – Another jack-of-all-trades in the media world, Meena is a weekend web producer at WHDH-TV.
  • @Nicolette_O – An impressive multimedia journalist, Nicolette is an insurance reporter at The Standard in Boston, which is New England’s leading weekly insurance publication.
  • @kailanikm – Kailani, an all-purpose journalist, was hired by the Boston Globe to help anchor the new editorial staff at Check out her personal website.

Let that last bullet serve as a reminder to everyone that this fall the Boston Globe will be divided into two parts, the free and the subscriber-focused In fact, for a better understanding of the reasoning behind the split, check out the recent Nieman Journalism Lab blog post — “Boston Globe creates a Twitter board for the newsroom.”

Last, I would like to give a shout out to a couple long-time industry friends I ran into at the event — social media branding guru @JeffCutler and my former Schwartz Communications colleague @ctanowitz. If you’re not familiar with Jeff, check out his website: Also, check out all the cool things Chuck is working on at his PR and social media shop — Fresh Ground.

So many more friends (new and old) to call out, but I’ll save that for my next networking event recap. Thanks for allowing me to steal the Slice stage for a bit. Have a wonderful day!

All the best,

Zach “The Conversation” Servideo (@ZachServideo)

It’s all about who you know.

By Molly B. Koch

Now there’s a true statement.  When it comes to networking, SHIFT has hit the ground running in 2011.  Our account staff across the country have been attending interesting networking and professional development events.  Here in Boston, these meet-ups range from CMO Breakfast Club Series (including presentations from innovative companies like Zip Car, Aetna and Jet Blue) to the BostInnovation 2.0 Launch Party held at Ned Devine’s.  Whether it’s a Mobile Monday meet-up or a night at Red Sky with the Boston Celtic’s media Guru, Peter Stringer, SHIFT is there to mingle and network.  The company supports this activity too by reimbursing attendance fees –just another perk of being a SHIFTer.

As exciting as these meet-ups may be, it’s really all about what you take away from an event.  I’ve had the privilege to attend a variety of events and have come to some conclusions as to what makes attending these meet & greets worth-their-while for me as an employee of SHIFT.  Firstly, (before I even set-foot in an event) I do my homework.  I research the types of industries and people who plan on attending the event.  Secondly, I determine what relative experience SHIFT has in the fields of individuals/companies attending.  It’s equally important for me to not only generate excitement at an event about SHIFT, but to find common ground with an individual as to how we can help each other – the goal of networking.  You wouldn’t take a test without studying beforehand; to me, the same rules apply for attending an event so I can enjoy myself and make meaningful connections.

Once mentally-prepared for an event it’s all about your delivery and execution – your ability to connect with others and your ability to represent your company.  Here is my check list for any event:

  • Professional attire – I don’t care if it’s a smelly dive bar or the Microsoft NERD center, dress to impress.  My grandfather always said “better overdressed than underdressed.”
  • Handshake & eye contact – ‘nough said.
  • Confidence is key! There really isn’t anything more intimidating than walking into a room full of strangers all engaged in conversation and being completely and totally alone.  (I’ve been there).  Take a moment to separate yourself from, well, yourself.  Imagine your personal brand and how you can represent your company.  Bottom line – if you don’t think of it as awkward – it won’t be awkward.
  • Basic manners – If you are walking into the middle of a conversation, a simple “I’m so sorry for interrupting, but I just wanted to quickly introduce myself…” is enough to break the ice and jump into a conversation.
  • Fake it until you make it – Smile and act like you’re having a good time (even if you’re feeling uncomfortable at first)…nobody wants to talk to Debbie Downer sitting in the corner.
  • Keep your objectives in mind – You’re there to network, not to chow-down on the finger food.  Exchange business cards, generate buzz and be sure to follow-up.

These six networking tips work for me.  What works best for you?

There’s PR in Everything

By Jany Xu

[Originally posted on]

Instead of going out on Saturday night, I opted to join a discuss group called the Club of Rome. It’s a forum that meets every once in a while (we haven’t set the pace yet), and everyone brings food, drinks and ideas.

The topic for this weekend was “Is it okay to intervene and disregard a nation’s sovereignty in order to help its citizens during a national disaster or political situation, i.e. genocide?” We used the [not so] recent Burmese cyclone, and the Junta’s rejection to foreign aid as the premise. Should the U.S. have simply crossed into Burmese air space/waters to delivers supplies? What could the U.N. have done?

There’s so much to be said, and I won’t give a complete synopsis of points debated. But about an hour in, I suggested whether or not to accept aid had everything to do with messaging.

The Junta were skeptical of U.S. intentions, since we took our sweet time offering aid during the Sri Lanka tsumani. In another example, China gladly took aid from other nations during the earthquake. The forum speculated that they probably could have handled matters themselves but wanted to seem open and welcoming, especially with the Olympics looming. Similar situation with the U.S. and Katrina. India offered aid but was rejected by the U.S. Forgive me for not fact checking. Did the U.S. say no because it didn’t make logistical sense to send Indian aid workers, who didn’t know the infrastructure of U.S. relief, OR was it because the U.S. simply had too much pride? “We’re the leading country in the world. Why would we possibly need help?”

Intentions masked in layers of political secrecy leave other nations to speculate, often wrongly, about why country A chose action B. The G77 (made up of over 120 developing nations) are completely distrusting of the G8 (eight of the leading OECDs) for this reason.


I think they could take a page from social media and the strives that companies like Cisco, Johnson & Johnson and many others are taking to promote trust and relationship-building. If countries were able to sit at the table and find the mutually beneficial solutions, there wouldn’t be a need for veils of secrecy and empty U.N. sanctions. No one can guarantee the actions of other parties, but there’s no point in creating a prisoner’s dilemma.

What if the U.S. simply said, “Hey, we just want to help the people in your country. Yes, we’re interested in building a relationship because we’re interested in trade (oil) and becoming closer allies (since you’re getting too chummy with China). BUT… this is a crisis. Could we put aside the politics, so that your people can get the relief they need? We’ll offer to drop supplies in unmarked crates. Hell, we’ll even stamp the official Junta seal if you want”?

What if we simply drop the U.N. sanctions and threats from the U.S. military bully and just communicated? Sure, it might not work the first time or even the fifth, but the effort would generate mutual understanding and maybe even *gasp* respect.

Call me idealistic, but transparency and communication could do a world of good. Literally.