Now THAT Was a Great Idea! x2

July 12, 2010 by

I like a lot of things about being in the PR biz.

But when I stop and think about what I like BEST – I’d have to say I love seeing our good ideas take shape.

Whether the idea is something that I, personally, cooked up, or an idea hatched by one of our intrepid HKA team members, I love the satisfaction of seeing it come to life.

The week before the 4th of July was a perfect example of crazy deadlines, sky-high expectations, and what seemed like insurmountable challenges that popped up along the way – yet ultimately an incredibly satisfying week of work.

Twice in one week our ideas came to fruition:

The first idea sprung to life in a plaza courtyard in San Juan Capistrano, where O’Connor Mortuary presented its Heart & Soul Awards to three very worthy recipients in an intimate, joyous ceremony.

Heart & Soul Award Recipients - L-R, Steve Concialdi, James Pribram, Sharon Davis, Neil O'Connor

Heart & Soul Awards Ceremony

At first blush, it’s true, the idea of getting an award from a mortuary is a bit unsettling. But those who know O’Connor recognize that, perhaps paradoxically, it focuses on celebrating the living. The Heart & Soul Awards are the perfect manifestation of the O’Connor philosophy, now led by 4th generation CEO Neil O’Connor. The recipients — a firefighter, a nurse and an eco-warrior – were commended for the self-less roles they play in life. As Neil says, NOW is the time to recognize these people. And so he did.

Each month will see a new winner – if you have suggestions, send ‘em in!

The second idea was a bit more complicated, involving three clients: Haskell & White LLP, F&M Bank and OC Affiliate of Komen for the Cure. Whew! This one was too complicated to explain in detail in a blog post (and the previous post by Allison did such a good job!) so I’ll just point out the 40-foot-long PINK RV (owned by H&W managing partner Wayne Pinnell, who is a Komen Pink Tie Guy) decorated with larger-than-life faces of smiling breast cancer survivors; the famous Huntington Beach 4th of July Parade featuring breast cancer survivors walking and waving to the cheering crowd; a new pink checking account from F&M Bank with a $125 donation to Komen for each account opened for mammograms for under-served women in OC.

Busy July 3 at HB F&M Bank parking lot (that's Big Pink in the background!)

Breast cancer survivors from Komen for the Cure, OC Affiliate, at July 4th parade with F&M Bank

Wayne and Karen with "Big Pink" on Parade Day!

Along the way, we learned how to wrap a huge RV, secure a parade route spot at the 11th hour and organize an entry in the parade. I repeat, whew!

This past week was tame by comparison. Can’t wait to see what’s next!


HKA & Clients Go Pink for the 4th of July

July 7, 2010 by

After a relaxing three-day weekend, I returned to the office and had the chance to see all the great photos Hilary and Robyn took during the Huntington Beach Fourth of July Parade. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of my amazing colleagues, HKA managed to bring three of our clients, Farmers & Merchants Bank, the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Haskell & White, together for this great event.

The highlights:

Farmers & Merchants Bank kicked off its Pink Checking program and new partnership with Komen OC on Independence Day Weekend.

Pink Tie Guy, Wayne Pinnell of Haskell & White, pinked out his RV in support of this year’s Race for the Cure. You can follow @ThePinkRV on Twitter, and be sure to keep an eye out as it will be making appearances throughout Orange County leading up to the race on September 26!

Breast cancer survivors marched alongside F&M at the parade to raise awareness for Komen’s mission to help end breast cancer forever.

Despite all of the individual and collective moments of panic that led up to the day (and a hectic Friday when absolutely everything seemed to be going wrong!), a few last-minute miracles helped the weekend become an amazing success. I spent my Fourth of July in bed, home sick with a cold thanks to the June gloom weather we’ve been experiencing, but I loved being able to catch up on what I missed at the parade by clicking through the photos and taking in all the pink shots (my favorite color). If you missed out on the parade as well, head on over to the HKA, Farmers & Merchants or Komen OC Facebook pages and check out one of the albums from this weekend.

The Art of PR: PROTOS 2010

June 29, 2010 by

I was filled with anxiety when I parted with my first PROTOS entry on Friday, April 23.  Even though I had worked on it for weeks, gone through it countless times and had it reviewed by my incredible colleagues at HKA, I still wasn’t ready to let go.  It was difficult for all of us to know that we wouldn’t get to see the evaluation of our efforts for a tedious nine weeks.

And so we waited.

But the time flew, and before we knew it OCPRSA’s 35th Annual PROTOS Awards Ceremony was upon us at the beautiful Surf and Sand Hotel in Laguna Beach.  Guest Emcee and Eyewitness News Reporter Ric Romero lead us through the event with humor and insight.  We had finally eased into the evening, forgetting the nerves the event evoked, when we heard a slew of names being read.  My stomach didn’t have the chance to turn itself in knots before I heard my name being called, followed by Inez’s name and Robyn’s.  Excitement and relief washed over me as HKA claimed three awards for our small agency.

Inez and Mari captured a first-place PROTOS in the Media Relations category for their work with The Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure; Robyn and Linda won a first-place PROTOS in the Community Relations category for Farmers & Merchants Bank; and I was lucky enough to bring home an Award of Excellence in the Media Relations category on behalf of Anika and myself for our Torelli Realty campaign.

Linda D., LaDonna, Nicole, Robyn, Inez and Mari celebrate HKA's success at PROTOS 2010

While I’m thrilled to have my name on one of these shiny and prestigious awards, there is no way it would’ve been possible without such a fantastic team supporting me.  It was a rough road for all of us, but we managed to fill it with laughter and fun along the way, thanks to a stress-relieving dance party and the infamous blessing of the PROTOS.

Preparing for the blessing

Emily displaying a traditional PROTOS blessing headdress and Mari practicing her award winning smile

I’m so grateful to have had the encouragement of my incredible colleagues at the event – Mari, Inez, Robyn and LaDonna – and honored to have been there representing the amazing women who could not be present, but have had such a huge impact on my career: Hilary, Emily and Anika.  Congratulations to the entire HKA staff and all of the winners at the 2010 PROTOS Awards!

Caught in the Middle

June 22, 2010 by

No, I am not a middle child but I often feel like it as I am caught between the Baby Boomer and millennial generations here at HKA. As part of the MTV generation best known as Generation-X, my perceptions, work ethic and social media acumen are often quite different from my counterparts.  Sandwiched between 80 million baby boomers and 78 million millennials, Generation X — roughly defined as anyone born between 1965 and 1980 — has just 46 million members. The letter “X” was meant to signify the generation’s random, ambiguous, contradictory ways. While Baby Boomers revel in the peace/love renaissance of the 60’s, the twenty-something’s love celebrities, technology and brand names. The generalizations of these generations are endless…it’s the revelations as one of the only Gen-Xers in the office that resonates with me. More to come on this so stay tuned!

Browsing the Dungeon

June 15, 2010 by

Have you ever gone to a library or a bookstore just to browse? This is one of my absolute favorite things to do, next to “browsing” Costco during sampling hours.

To be honest, I could probably spend as much time in a good library looking at the aged and disfigured classics and freshly unwrapped reference encyclopedias as I do watching People’s Court and updating my profile on Facebook.

I used to work at the library at my University. For the most part it was…quiet…but the very best part was re-shelving books. In our library we had three floors; there was the Library of Congress upstairs, where the newest and most cared for books were stored in an easy to navigate system. The middle floor housed reference, newspapers, journals, and a stunning display of computers.

And finally, my favorite floor, the bottom floor.

The bottom floor we liked to call the “Dungeon.” It was darker than the rest of the library since it was lit almost entirely by unnatural light that had a tendency to flicker. The bookshelves were over packed and stretched almost to the ceiling. And the smell. The smell was what I imagine a monastery in Scotland would have smelled like in the 14th century.

The books in the bottom floor held so much mystery, it would take me almost twice as long to put each of them in their place as I would get distracted by a book title or wonder why such-and-such book was so worn. They were cataloged using the Dewey Decimal system and unless you were a librarian or you had studied “Library Sciences” (yes, you can actually earn a degree Library Sciences), then it could become frustrating to navigate the seemingly illogical numbering system.

Many students would pass up great classic novels that were printed a century ago because they did not want to explore the Dungeon. Most students never even ventured to the bottom floor unless they were forced to use one of the study rooms because of overcapacity.

I loved these times where I could slow down and all I had to think about was what letter came next in the alphabet. It was incredibly rewarding also when I would come across a gnarled classic that would go perfectly with a picnic under a tree at the park.

The Dungeon is the foundational reason I read classic novels and poetry and I am forever grateful for the time I was forced to take to slow down, quiet my life and discover something new.

Has there been a time when you have been forced to slow down and notice significant things?