Company Culture: The Right Fit

Me Smile 2

My first post on the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) New Pros blog was published yesterday. It’s all about company culture and the importance of finding the right fit during the job search.

The topic came to me after a friend recently shared a horror story about her current workplace. Her experience made me realize how we young professionals so often focus on getting hired by a company when it’s equally important to discern if we’re the right fit for that workplace.

My parents always told my siblings and I to not only love what you do every day, but to love who you’re working for and the people you’re working with as well. During my short time in the real world, I’ve come to see just how right they were.

If you’d like to read the post, which you obviously should, check it out at prnewpros.prsa.org.

Advertisements

The Ever-Inspiring Dr. King

MLK Quote 2014

Yes, I may be guilty of playing the race card more than most folks I know, but don’t let that fool you. I couldn’t be more proud of my African-American heritage, a fact that is cause for pause and reflection on days like this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

Above is one of my favorite quotes from Dr. King. It’s one that not only helps inspire me to remain motivated, but to maintain perspective on life’s greater purposes as well. Enjoy the day, everyone.

The Indy 627

Indy 627

My road trip to Indy this past week involved 627 miles of driving and what seemed like nearly that number of songs on SiriusXM. Since I Shazam like a fiend in Herta (my Jetta), I figured I’d use the app to tag as many tunes as I could during my drive, which included crossing the entire state of West Virginia (pictured above), so I could then create a Spotify playlist when I returned to Richmond.

Being the generous guy that I am, I thought I’d also share “The Indy 627” playlist here. Fair warning: It includes everything from Tom Jones to Taylor Swift.

My Take on TIME’s Person of the Year

Miley

TIME magazine unveiled Pope Francis as its Person of the Year today. No disagreement here, as the guy who’s been dubbed the “People’s Pope” has in nine month’s time made great strides in his attempt to lead one of the world’s largest (and in recent years most fractured) institutions. His intensely humble demeanor and messages of acceptance, unity and social justice have certainly resonated with Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

The runner-up for TIME’s honor was Edward Snowden, the computer contractor who fled to Moscow amidst charges of espionage after he leaked classified documents to shed light on the NSA’s extensive surveillance programs, which has created an international conversation about privacy as it relates to national defense and the prevention of terrorism. Whether you see him as a hero or a traitor, he’s certainly a tenable runner-up to Pope Francis.

As a big fan of TIME’s Person of the Year issue, every year I find myself mulling over the other individuals who must have come up – even if only jokingly – in the selection committee’s discussion. All ten finalists (below) are of course deserving of being deemed finalists, but I thought I’d also note a few other newsmakers who’ve crossed my mind over the course of the day.

TIME’s 2013 Person of the Year Finalists
Bashar Assad (President of Syria)
Jeff Bezos (Amazon Founder)
Ted Cruz (U.S. Senator to Texas)
Miley Cyrus (singer/actress and twerking extraordinaire)
Pope Francis (Leader of the Catholic Church)
Barack Obama (U.S. President)
Hassan Rouhani (President of Iran)
Kathleen Sebelius (U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services)
Edward Snowden (N.S.A. Leaker)
Edith Windsor (Gay rights activist)

My 2013 POY Honorable Mentions
Amanda Bynes (recovering celebrity train wreck)
Chris Christie (Governor of New Jersey)
Jason Collins (first openly gay athlete in the four major American team sports)
John F. Kennedy (35th U.S. President)
Nelson Mandela (South African anti-apartheid activist turned president)
Marissa Mayer (President and CEO of Yahoo!)
Mohamed Morsi (Egypt’s ousted fifth president)
Prince George (William and Kate’s son and third in line to the throne)
Dennis Rodman (NBA Hall of Famer and friend to North Korea’s Kim Jong-un)
Manti Te’o (current San Diego Charger who had the ultimate fake girlfriend at ND)
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (indicted Boston Marathon bomber)
Kerry Washington (actress Olivia Pope on ABC’s Scandal)
George Zimmerman (cleared of murdering Trayvon Martin)

Photo credit: Spin Magazine

Nine-Year-Olds Got Nothing on These Nine Mascots

I taught nine-year-olds for two years coming out of grad school, and believe me, those kids had nothing on the nine mascots that took part in our recent CAA Basketball Mascot Tour in Baltimore.

The purpose of the tour was to help promote the CAA Men’s Basketball Championship’s move to Baltimore in 2014. I was tasked with manning the conference’s social media efforts during the tour alongside several members of a local public relations team helping lead the day’s events.

Needless to say, given the efforts (and antics) of our nine so-called furry friends, I think we got the word out.

The tour began at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, site of our CAA Basketball Media Day. Several mascots arrived earlier than the others, so while we waited, the mascots wasted little time finding their form, greeting (i.e. scaring the hell out of) guests as they got off elevators, getting spanked by security and even taking some time to check in folks at the front desk.

Elevator

Check In

Before heading out to our first stop, we corralled our cast of characters for a photo. The expression “herding cats” certainly applied here. They are a good-looking bunch, though, right?

CAA_0052

Waiting outside for us was Baltimore Trolley, which so graciously carted the group around for the day. There was plenty of room for the gang, including James Madison’s Duke Dog, who if it weren’t for his lack of opposable thumbs could probably start for JMU given that he’s a good 6’6″.

Mascots Trolley

Our first stop was the Under Armour Brand House, where the mascots did everything from play a little hoops to fold some of the apparel. There was also some fooling around with the checkout scanner gun. Oh, and this happened on the counter…

Doc Checkout

It was then off to Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office. While we waited for the mayor to return from some important business, the mascots rested up and took in a little TV.

TV Mascots

We were then led into an immaculate chamber featuring artwork and furniture that had to be well over 100 years old. The mascots took full (and I do mean full) advantage of the space, with each taking a turn behind the podium, including Sammy, who’s got the whole politician thing down.

Sammy Podium

Mayor Rawlings-Blake arrived to quite a sight. After taking in the fur-filled scene and a little one-on-one time with the league’s lone female mascot, Hofstra’s Kate the Lioness (who had just finished dolling herself up in the 19th-century mirror), it was time for what was the day’s premier photo opp.

mayor

Following a quick return trip to the hotel to greet the media and their head coaches, the mascots joined us at Phillip’s Seafood in the heart of the Inner Harbor. A full spread had been set out for us, and it didn’t take long for the mascots to begin cracking crabs and making a complete mess. Even William & Mary’s Griffin was at a loss at the spectacle.

Griffin

At least Kate was there to help clean everyone up.

Duke Dog Kate

With everyone now stuffed full of seafood, we headed to Federal Hill. Along the way, Drexel’s Mario the Magnificent stumbled upon some long-lost family members.

mario dragons

We also discovered that Towson’s Doc the Tiger has some mad skills on the drums. We thought he was just cattin’ around when he first sat down, so this was a pleasant surprise to all of us and the other Inner Harbor visitors who gathered around for the impromptu show.

Doc Drums

A beautiful view of the city awaited us atop Federal Hill, making the hike up the several flights of stairs very worthwhile.

Federal Hill

It was important that we all stayed hydrated after that climb, as Northeastern’s Paws the Husky took to heart.

Paws Fountain

The next stop on the tour was a highly anticipated one – M&T Bank Stadium, where the reigning Super Bowl Champion Ravens’ mascot, Poe, joined us for a shot in the stands. Love or hate the Ravens, they boast one of football’s cleverest mascots.

ravens

We followed up our trip to the stadium with a visit to the Orioles’ historic Camden Yards, which combines classic ballpark beauty and an updated modern feel to create a great stadium aesthetic. Enough about architecture, though, as we were joined by The Bird, who led our nine mascots onto the dugout for this sweet shot.

camden

A few of us got left behind (not because we were perfecting our dugout dances), so the mascots enjoyed some extra time at Baltimore’s Sports Legends Museum.

museum

The four of us stragglers quickly caught up with the group and we then set off for Baltimore Arena, home of the 2014 CAA Men’s Basketball Championship. The league hopes to see plenty of fans in these lines come March.

arena

Our last stop on the tour was the National Aquarium, where the mascots made friends with one of the dolphins.

Dolphin

Sammy made a friend on the way out as well. Yeah, this is pretty adorable.

Sammy Girl

All in all, it was a highly entertaining and ultimately successful day spent with our nine crazy mascots, thanks to a lot of teamwork…

Teamwork

and a lot of fun.

Scared Lady

Joey Feminella: Going for the Win

Sure, many NCAA programs adopt kids onto their teams. But few can boast such a powerful and enduring bond like the one my coworker Alex and I had the opportunity to witness firsthand at Stony Brook University this past weekend. Check out the story of 14-year-old cancer survivor Joey and Seawolves Football, which turned out to be one of the more compelling pieces that we’ve produced this fall.

You May Want to Grab a Kleenex

This fall a couple of my coworkers and I are traveling to each of our league’s 11 schools as part of our CAA Football On Campus initiative, which I liken to a small-scale version of ESPN’s College Gameday. One element of our initiative is producing a human interest series that we call Going Deep in which we feature the unique and often untold stories of a student-athlete (or coach) at each of our schools, which range from the University of Richmond right here in RVA to the University of Maine in Orono, which is in fact not on the Arctic Circle like most people would have me believe.

As I’ve told a number friends and fam, telling these stories is probably the most meaningful work that I’ve done to date in this profession. Given that we’re so accustomed to hearing about athletes’ performances on the field – or their wrongdoings away from it – talking with these student-athletes and sharing their manifold stories has been a true pleasure and makes every bit of the grind so worthwhile. We’ve also worked with Comcast to feature these videos during halftime of our television broadcasts, which helps promulgate the stories and what we’re doing to tell them each week.

We’ve visited five campuses thus far and have another six to go through the end of November. I wanted to share the five Going Deep features that my exceptionally talented coworker Alex Souza and I have produced thus far. They’re released along with our other On Campus content (you know I’m all about those campus tours) every Tuesday morning on CAA Football’s official Every Day Is Saturday blog. I’ll continue posting the videos here on the blog as well.

Disclaimer: Not only will you hear my voice in a couple of them (holla), but you may want to grab a Kleenex, especially for this first one…