“The Care and Feeding of Your Network” Event – Il Fornaio on 2-29-12

IABC-LA Members participated in an engaging, interactive presentation entitled “The Care and Feeding of Your Network” at Il Fornaio in Manhattan Beach on 2-29-12.  Are you an introvert or an extrovert when making connections at specific events?  When you hear the phrase “networking event” do you dismiss the whole concept as too much smiling-and-business-card-exchange work? Are you one of the 99% of people who are full of …. (rhymes with “it”!) when it comes to follow-through according to author and expert connector Peter Shankman?

Presenters and L.A. Chapter Board Members Cheryl Farrell, Chris Cabrera, Paula Cassin and Christie Ly presented valuable statistics, and tips on much deeper networking practices, with interactive exercises on ice breakers, elevator pitches, connecting, and the importance of follow-up! The evening allowed extrovert and introvert members to practice and engage with each other going beyond status-quo networking while getting to know one another’s expertise and even passions.  Lots of buzz in the warm and toasty Il Fornaio room as new conversations and new connections were being made.

Cheryl Farrell of Cheryl Farrell Communications presented tips for panic-free interactions with “strangers”.  Cheryl cited Myers-Briggs research on introverts vs. extroverts behavior as being misunderstood.  Myers-Briggs states what types of people, activities and events gives you energy determines introvert and extrovert status.  Many of us may be a blend depending on activities.  Cheryl discussed how we may test ice breakers in safe places, be well read with conversational topics and reframe initial introductions with less “me focus” and more outward focus in an “exchange of attention.”

Chris Cabrera engaged members on the subject of elevator pitches.  Elevator pitches need to be crisp and to the point, compelling with an attention-grabbing phrase and spoken with confidence.  We congratulated new member Betty Henry who tried her elevator pitch out for the first time in front of the group, and Charlotte Lassos who bravely demonstrated her elevator pitch.  The elevator pitch concept sounds easier than it looks, even for professional communicators, yet is an essential component of deeper networking.

Paula Cassin discussed connecting vs. standard business-card-exchange networking.  Truly connecting involves not only connecting to a new contact, yet also who you may be able to connect that person to who may need a specific resource.  By removing the expectation that a new contact must do something for you immediately if you do something for them right now allows for a longer-term payoff and certainly a more authentic connection.  During one interactive exercise, Paula asked us to write down 1) our passion, 2) something we are looking for right now, and 3) our expertise…and then engage and connect to others in the room looking for intersecting interests and needs, professionally and personally.

And finally, Christie Ly discussed the importance of follow-through, which according to author and expert networker, Peter Shankman, is a serious faux-pas for most networking people in his article “Why Most People Are Full of S…, and How Not to Be One of Them.” We all want to be thought of as “the nice guy” yet follow-through is where the other 1% lives.  Follow-through takes work yet can be a huge pay-off. Christie discussed how important it is to help others make connections if you mentioned a contact or resource.  To support the follow-through ideal, IABC-LA member Anna Lefter told of her early work experience with PR pro Carl Terzian, who wrote handwritten notes after initial introductions and kept a journal on contacts so he could remember children’s names, interests, and other professional and personal facts.

We were delighted to welcome new chapter members Deborah Hudson of Zurich Insurance and Betty Henry, while seeing participants Chris Keough of Belkin, Anna Lefter, Charlotte Lassos, Anne Giblin, Allison Mullin, Kerry Bonner, and former chapter president Jamie Lipson who was a terrific sport in revealing her favorite guilty-pleasure t.v. show “The Bachelor”!

Big thanks to presenters Cheryl Farrell, host and presenter Chris Cabrera, Paula Cassin and Christie Ly with event assistance from the awesome Cimone Farrell.  We also appreciated the roaring fireplace and the calamari hors d’oeuvres.  Great connections were made by all!

Murder Mystery Holiday Luncheon 2010

 

IABC-LA’s annual holiday teas have been truly lovely and held in beautiful tearooms over the last few years…however, there was a chalk mark drawn around the still body of the tea concept this year in favor of something entirely newand unique: A Holiday Murder Mystery Luncheon! 

How well does a Murder Mystery go with the holidays? Only ZorroClaus, a wisecracking “LAPD detective” and crime-solving IABC members them-elves could participate in such twists and turns at The Porterhouse Bistro in Beverly Hills on December 11, 2010.  And yes, the demise of some “victims” was brought on by our own members (see video attached).  Who was involved and why?  Besides inspired event coordination by Myra Jolivet (who brought up the idea originally), with assistance by Christie Ly and Christopher Cabrera, a secret source supplied information about some chapter members to the host of the interactive Murder Mystery to create intrigue, heavy laughs, red herrings and fun.

The L.A. Chapter maintained its commitment and passion to communications as bodies fell from being “shot”, “stabbed” or “poisoned.”  Chapter member Bill Spaniel donned his baseball caps in Sherlock Holmes style and used his delightful wit as one of the crime-solvers. Bill also reminded us of the upcoming judging opportunities for The Gold Quill Awards.  Rebecca Mikkelsen and chapter President, Paula Cassin, reiterated how much we learn from the entries in participating as a Gold Quill Judge…with terrific networking opportunities professionally and personally. (Rebecca and I have become wonderful friends since pairing up as Gold Quill judging partners last January.  I later joined Rebecca’s social media team for the chapter this year.)  Rebecca and Stephen Cassin also participated kindly as our mystery host threw questions at us about what we know about these two possible suspects. 

We enjoyed our four-course luncheon of gourmet food and wine while catching up with members. Later, Julie Fornaro, our new website’s mastermind, read from a suspiciously-dropped business card “Hits-R-Us” while a wisecracking “LAPD detective” threaded the mounting clues throughout the interactive plot… including a Santa hat with a sword poked through a note from “ZorroClaus.”  Otherwise hard-working Chapter President Paula Cassin revealed herself as “ZorroClaus” …and Keeping Up with the Kardashians..well, sort of…having much fun distributing “stolen” cash and presents.  Kerry Bonner sported her bright and cheery red jacket during the event’s pre-luncheon cocktails…only to “wear a knife” and create some great laughs during her “death scene.” Bill Spaniel, David Schmidt, Gail Herring, Chris Cabrera and Stephen Cassin were terrific sports against the detective’s banter. Chapter crime-solvers also included Mauria McPoland, Marsha Webster, Louvenia Austin, Elodie Khavarani , Susan Delgadillo and Pamela Corante-Hansen…all suspects until proven innocent. Cheryl Farrell had some serious explaining to do…which led to some hilarious communications and “battle scene” antics between the detective and Cheryl.  

Congrats to Ariela Iringan and Briana Sharp who were the closest in figuring out the details, motives and storyline when everyone paired up to solve the crimes.  Our host proclaimed the rest of us as not-yet-detective-ready in our “pathetic” attempts to solve the motives behind the secrets.  We enjoy solving communications issues…or bad puns like “Nobody Does It Deader.”

Chris Cabrera of Southern California Edison and Paula Cassin, presented a $500 donation check to our chapter’s guest, Gina Quesenberry, Librarian at the El Monte Library in support of the El Monte Library’s programs that reach children, teens and adults.  We were delighted to have Gina take part in our mystery while being a gracious and good-humored recipient toward our chapter’s commitment to supporting our communities.  Chris Cabrera also stated that Southern California Edison is making a donation of 85 books to enhance the library’s materials towards further support.

Warm thanks to Myra Jolivet, Christie Ly, and Chris Cabrera for putting their distinct and creative fingerprints all over this memorable event.  Acting nods to Paula, Kerry and Cheryl…for hilarious comedic “drama” and our thanks again to The Porterhouse Bistro actors and staff who put some holiday crackle into our tongue-in-cheek event.

September 1, 2010: IABC-LA, PRSA-LA and HPRA Presents “Marketing to the New America: Gaining a Share of the Trillion-Dollar Multicultural Economy”

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On September 1, 2010, IABC- L.A Chapter teamed up with PRSA-LA and HPRA for a powerful evening to discuss the new multicultural “general market” with expert industry panelists on the research, client and agency sides.  This event was held at the upscale Twist Restaurant & Bar at the Hollywood Renaissance Hotel.  David Ono, ABC7 Eyewitness News Anchor, moderated this exceptional evening to hear from the industry’s most knowledgeable multicultural experts.  Sponsorship of the event included Nakatomi & Associates and Farmers Insurance.

After drinks and hors d’oeuvres, Ono’s opening remarks on diversity began with the ABC7 News station.  ABC7 was the first news broadcast to fully embrace and create diversity by hiring multicultural news anchors and reporters after the Walter Cronkite years.  It was very important to ABC7 Eyewitness News to create a viewership that felt represented.

Panelist David Morse, President & CEO, New American Dimensions, compared the record number of immigrants at the turn of the 20th century to the current influx today.  In the early 1900’s, U.S. labor demands brought southern and eastern Europe  immigrants, as well as Chinese who helped build the transcontinental railroad. Today, a record number of Hispanics and Asians are creating a revolutionary nation of immigrants all over again.  There are now 50 million Hispanics compared to 2.2 million in the 1970’s.  “No one knows where we’re going,” says Morse. 

Meanwhile, the African American and LGBT (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender) population are also changing buying power in the U.S.  Morse’s statistics also stated that African Americans have been viewed through the lens of history the last 100 years as either being ignored or represented as gross stereotypes. 
 • Barack Obama’s election has been part of the new American revolution.
 • There are now 17 million in the LGBT market segment.
 
Kimberley R. Thompson, Senior Project Manager, Global Diversity, Starbucks, stated Starbucks aims to be the most inclusive, equitable and diverse company through its partners, customers, communities and suppliers.
 • Kimberley presented a Starbucks marketing example of a blended Frappacino beverage, most popular among African Americans. 
 • Starbucks analyzes customer food attitudes and behavior, partners with companies that hold the same views on diversity to create integrated marketing solutions.
 • “Listening to their voice!” is a huge part of Starbucks’ and Kimberley’s action plan.
 
Panelist Luis Sahagun, Director, Media & Public Relations – North America, Farmers Insurance Group stated the Hispanic market is growing faster than the overall U.S. general market! Sahagun stated most companies today are not doing nearly enough to keep up with Hispanic market.
 
 • Hispanics put their trust in Spanish-language commentators who have smaller, more concentrated audiences, rather than general market social and political commentators such as on CNN.
 • Farmers Insurance sponsored a Jorge Campos and Mexican soccer tour.  Instead of utilizing expensive general market strategies, Farmers invested in Spanish-language advertising.  Results produced a much higher return at a fraction of the budget.

Sponsor and panelist, Joni Byun, Senior Vice President, Nakatomi & Associates, presented pithy statistics and research of the emerging Asian American market from decades ago.  Asians now have $600 billion in buying power!  Asian Americans focus on education, family and health.
 
 • Some of the highest and lowest statistics criss-cross in hot-button issues like teen pregnancy in the multi-segment Asian American population.
 •  Cultural differences produce a laugh: “tobacco-free environment” translated to some Asian Americans as free cigarettes! 
 • Asian American culture has influenced the trendy general market: Think “Kogi” food truck!
 • Asian Americans are gaining more roles of substance in the entertainment field.
 •  Multicultural research has taught U.S. companies like Chase Bank, Farmers Insurance and Southern California Edison to use the word “qualified” when marketing to lower-income Asian American families who would rather not be referred to as “poor” or “lower-income.”

Finally, Stephan Roth, Principal, OutThink Partners, presented statistics and information on the LGBT market.  The LGBT market is currently a $750 billion market growing to $845 billion by 2011.

 • There is lots of LGBT  income with predominantly double-income and no kids.
 • LGBT market is a great “influencer” market: first to adopt new technology, read and write blogs, involved creatively in business such as design, PR and advertising.
 • Brand loyalty: tremendous brand loyalty…however can backfire if bad press against an LGBT issue.
 • LGBT market travels more which allows more sponsorships and partnerships.
 • Trends/insights in the LGBT market show more mainstream integration: marriage rights as well as having babies.  Optimism is also a big trend among this population segment. 

Corporate America and communications pros have been shaken up in how we must collectively embrace multicultural marketing, PR and advertising.  We received information on multicultural trends that have reached way beyond a temporary phase, now a new American reality: a trillion-dollar multicultural economy reality. As communications and PR professionals, it is our responsibility to actively listen to the multicultural voices. 

June 16th: 2010 IABC-LA Annual Banquet: “Putting Communications at the Center – A Way to Frame the Future of Media, Public Relations and the World”

On June 16, 2010, at IABC-L.A.’s Annual Banquet 2010, the chapter presented “Putting Communications at the Center – A Way to Frame the Future of Media, Public Relations and the World” at the trendy venue of First & Hope Downtown Supper Club.

After cocktails, a Downtown family-style dinner and some lively networking, the chapter welcomed and was challenged by esteemed keynote speaker, Ernest J. Wilson III, Dean, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, to “figure out or fail” in the ever-changing new media environment.  Dean Wilson relayed a quote “The new rules environment has created both a blessing and a curse of the nearly unmanageable deluge of information essential to the communications function.”  The Dean also encouraged “weird experience and weird stuff” works to our advantage to figure it out (!)

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Collectively and individually, the L.A. Chapter has the brain power, determination, and the talent to figure it out.  As a new resident of Los Angeles over the last three years, The Dean spoke of “just listening” in his first year in The City of Angels resulting in four big issues facing communicators:

• The gap between C-level execs and the communication function of an organization.  Executive staffs don’t understand media, while communications professionals don’t always understand a CEO’s big-picture strategy.   He notes communicators get comfortable knowing what works, then a profound communication change comes along like the internet…then social media…then what’s coming by 2013. Dean Wilson has heard the same story from communicators whether it’s the White House, entertainment, manufacturing, oil companies…it’s a multi-industry-wide issue.

• “Who does what?”  This second big challenge issue is the reconfiguration of communications functions in the midst of new media.  Corporate communications, PR, Marketing, Strategic Communications all used to have clearly defined roles.  Yet a vast realignment of these departments and roles has shifted due to the new rules environment of new media and technology.

• With the expansion of dense communications through tweets, blogs, etc. beyond the traditional methods of communications and PR, the walls are falling away between these two functions.  The most trusted information now comes from employees, not the PR department of a company.  Who is managing the content?  Dean Wilson spoke of his faculty meeting which was reported in the L.A. Observer the next day.

• Finally, the “blessing and curse” and unmanageability of vast information increases the importance of metrics.  By measuring and evaluating messages, there are strong implications for organizational design, who gets promoted, and even on whole industries. Dean Wilson emphasized we’re only 10%-15% along in this social media revolution journey.

We appreciated Dean Wilson’s quest to thrive through “SAKE!”
• Skills
• Attitudes – we must embrace and adapt to change
• Knowledge – of technology, sociology, and globalization
• Experience – “We can’t afford to have identical people.”  Talk to innovative people who are doing weird stuff, weird experiences in new media and elsewhere.  The grid and demographics is constantly changing.
 
The quite accessible (and humorous) Dean took questions as the L.A. Chapter stood fortified and ready to take on his proposed issues.
 
Christie Ly, IABC-LA President, ’09-’10, presented the “State of the Chapter” thanking this past year’s board members and welcoming incoming President 2010-1011, Paula Cassin.  Paula presented Christie with a sincere “thank you” gift commemorating Christie’s dedicated service this past year, especially while the chapter faced strong challenges during a tough economy.  Paula also introduced new board members and their roles, as well as plans to update the website to become more social media-connected with the communications community.

A pregnant and glowing Jamie Lipson, past chapter president ’08-’09, presented the “John F. Cartwright – Sunshine Award” to a pregnant and glowing Jessica Schlotter, Chair, Membership ’09-’10!  The award is presented to a dedicated member of IABC for “infectious humor, kindness to others, enthusiasm and, above all, dedication and service to the Los Angeles chapter.”

Chris Cabrera, past chapter president, and Communications Project Manager, Corporate Communications, Southern California Edison, hosted Dean Wilson and chapter members at an “after-party” at the Downtown’s elegant-cool bar.

The event not only celebrated the success of the chapter this past year, yet also provided an extremely informative networking opportunity for all attendees.

The event was kindly sponsored by Toyota, VMS, and Cut Through Communications.