You gotta read: Leave Your Mark (Aliza Licht)

I wanna jump up and down and hug and high-five and chest-bump Aliza Licht and take her out for all the cocktails in the world.  Why?

She's written a MAGNIFICENT book about building a career, making your mark, and playing the long game.  The PR world has long needed a book like this, and the lessons within are applicable to any career, really.

Buy it; you won't regret it.
Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It in Your Career. Rock Social Media.

Highlights include:

On being mentored and mentoring others

Why parents need to step the hell off

Work, work work, and then work some more

Do more than what is asked of you

Be an open, authentic communicator


I've bought this book as gifts for young women and men graduating high school and college this year, as well as a few 20somethings just getting started in their careers.  Honestly, I have a few 30- and 40something friends who need this book, too.  Perhaps Amazon will have to make a few anonymous deliveries.   :)

When PR Week Uses Your Tweets for a Story

Here's a little lesson that everything you write on Twitter is public, even if you think it's just a conversation between two friends.  

My social media content is an extension of me, and I am generally not a jerk or a hair-trigger troll.  I am unabashedly myself on Twitter, so I don't ever have to stay up late at night worrying about a Tweet or other social media post.  If I think something could be misinterpreted or taken out of context, I don't Tweet it.  It's that simple.

The week of the May 2015 Amtrak derailment, my friend and fellow PR pro Erin Hennessy and I were "talking" on Twitter about how disappointed we were in Amtrak's handling of the crisis, particularly on social media.  PR Week magazine did a round up of how top PR pros were talking about the crisis on social media, and our back and forth made the cut:

PR Week: Crisis communicators skewer Amtrak's crash response on Twitter

Erin and I (and countless others) wondered how a passenger transportation company's PR team didn't have canned statements and social content at the ready to customize and communicate almost instantly given any kind of accident, crisis, or catastrophe.  Even in client organizations I think are at low risk for crisis, we still do a crisis plan.  It's just good practice.

How Amtrak fumbled so badly, I'll never understand.  I want to believe their PR team is strong and talented, and were beating their heads against the wall because they couldn't get approval on statements or strategy.  Still, PR pros shouldn't have to wait that long for others to give a green light.  PR pros need to and must be among the decision-making team during a crisis (and every other aspect of the business).

The key to having strong crisis comms is for the PR team to have solid relationships with the lawyers and C-suite at all times, always always always.  There has to be trust and open, proactive planning and communications. PR pros need to befriend the legal team ... bring lunch to the ops staff ... take the IT guys and gals out for drinks ... maintain open dialogue with media ... because building up the trust bank before a crisis happens means you have ready reserves when the fit hits the shan, as they say.  It's rare, but when it happens it's magic, and crises are handled exponentially better than when those relationships don't exist.

Clearly, that wasn't the case at Amtrak.  And, like I wrote in my Tweet -- I'd love to work with them on crisis planning, more open and trustworthy communication, identifying key decision makers, and rapid readiness.  Many times, there's not a lot to say, or few details to provide.  Still, silence (or a tone-deaf Tweet) is never the answer. 

I'm not old enough to join AARP, but they still want my advice!

Hey. We all make mistakes.  Personally, professionally, somewhere in between.  We're human.  

In my awesomely fun and very busy PR career, I've made some professional (and personal) blunders along the way.  Thankfully, with the help of amazing mentors and work colleagues, I learned very early on that you can't run, you can't hide.  You have to step up, address what you did or what happened, do what you can to fix it or find a solution for next time, and move on and let your next great bit of work adjust your mojo.

Kara Baskin of AARP's "Life Reimagined" reached out to me for some advice on how to reverse a big misstep.  The article is here:
AARP Life Reimagined: How To Reverse a Big Misstep

In the piece, I talk about:
- the importance of friends and colleagues
- how to inoculate yourself against rivals and enemies
- why you can't burn bridges or be a jerk
- acknowledging difficult conversations but having them anyway
- why gossip has GOT to go

Have you ever made a big mistake?  Screwed something up?  Got yelled at?  Pissed off a co-worker or boss? 

How did you handle it?