Making a Difference – The Summer of Social Good

I had the privilege to attend the Social Good Conference in New York City sponsored by social media leader  About 150 people gathered at the 92nd street YMCA to listen to some of top names in social media talk about the intersection of ‘social’ and ‘good’.  Highlights included:

Oxfam talked about their partnership with rock bands like Coldplay. The band allows a representative from Oxfam to embed with them while they are on tour. They teach Coldplay fans about their cause. just returned from their international conference on “inspiring and empowering people with cancer” at their Global Cancer Summit. They hand selected 500 delegates from 60 countries to come together in Dublin to share their experience, strength and hope in the fight against cancer.

Beth Kanter, one of my favorite bloggers, talked about her work in helping Cambodians emerge from poverty and her passion for training. Her take away was, “small actions online and offline add up.”

The highlight of the day for me came from a talk by a young man named Drew Olanoff (@drew- twitter).  He created a movement called “Blame Drew’s Cancer” (#blamedrewscancer – twitter).  He is fighting cancer and realized he was blaming everything wrong in his life on his cancer so he thought, why not let everyone blame my cancer for everything that’s wrong?  For inspiration, follow Drew on twitter.

I can’t even describe how Drew inspired me with who he is. I keep trying to write it down for you so you’d know,  but nothing is adequate. So I’ll leave you with this picture of Drew and the hope that you will, in whatever way you can, do good in the world. Thank you Mashable, Zappos and MailChimp.

Please tell me how you are helping to make the world a better place.

(Note: the closing was a marriage proposal between 2 Mashable staff, she said yes!)

Drew Olanoff

The Power of a Handwritten Note

When was the last time you received a hand written thank you note? I just received one from the students of a class I was teaching. It meant a lot to me and I still have it in my kitchen.  This is one way can we humanize an increasingly digital world.  In a previous post, I mentioned a story about a young woman who, on her first day of work, noticed her handwritten note on the desk of her new boss.

Justin R. Levy, a social media marketer recently sent a handwritten card to all the sponsors of a recent conference. Then he sent notes to all his clients and several other people who had helped his company in the past few months. He feels one of the keys to this is to making each note personal.

President Obama reads 10 letters a day from US citizens and personally hand writes 15 responses a week.

Chris Brogan, co-author of a new book, Trust Agents, wrote this in his most recent newsletter. “In a recent blog post of mine, Simple Touchpoints of Loyalty, more than a dozen of the comments that I got back pointed out that paper note cards sent through the mail are a huge way to show that you care. I picked some up and started sending cards at once, and the results were immediate. I can’t recommend this enough for you to use as a personal touch point to your clients, colleagues, online friends and more.” He suggests blank note cards that can be personalize with a picture or something that would be of interest to your contact.

I recently this read about a story from a former Dell employee. “My first assignment at Dell marketing was to write (of all things) an anniversary card celebrating a Dell customer’s first year as part of the ‘family’.  This left such an impression on him that, to this day, he still practices the art of the hand written thank you.

So far, I have written 2 notes (my handwriting is so terrible, I hope they can read it); one to someone I’ve known a long time who is helping me make new contacts and the other to someone who has helped me with this blog. Please share your stories about personalizing your connections. We will all benefit.“what-was-i-thinking-when-i-put-that-on-my-resume”/thank-you

Lost in Job Search Land? The New ‘Career Navigator’ Program Will Help You Find Your Way

Something new is cooking in Rochester to help people looking for work. It’s the Career Navigator program currently being offered by Rochester Works and is sponsored by the United Way, Finger Lakes Wired and others. Our own Career Sherpa, Hannah Morgan is one of the driving forces behind this project.

This 5 day training program (the pilot version of the program is free to attendees through Jan. 2010) is designed to teach transferability of skills, provide tools/resources to promote proactive job search methods and maximize the power of group learning and support. Classes will be held weekly at various locations around the area. I spoke to Hannah about the program:

How did the idea of Career Navigator get started?
“In the economic downturn, we saw so many talented people losing their jobs. Through no fault of their own, they found themselves out of work; many for the first time in their careers. We also noticed that people were slow to learn about the strategies that would help them get back to work. Things have changed significantly in the last couple of years and job seekers need to learn entirely new strategies.”

Where are the programs held?
“Rochester Works looked to partner with various organizations who would donate space to host the program. We will be holding the program at Pathstone, High Tech of Rochester, the United Way and other locations.”

What else can you tell us about the program?
“We will be holding weekly sessions nearly every week between the beginning of September and the end of January. We hope to serve more people and help them be more prepared for the job search process.”

What are the benefits of attending the program?
a) It is intensive – all the information is delivered cohesively
b) Participant-centered learning allow attendees to more easily put principles into practice
c) We help each participant understand what they want to do and then we delve into resume creation
d) We assess people’s skill s and marry them to positive employment trends to help them be redeployed whenever possible.”

To learn more about the program contact Hannah Morgan:
To register for a session in September go to:

Simply Irresistible – Show Them How Great You Really Are

I’m always surprised when I ask a person who’s been working professionally for 15+ years if they have a bio and they say, “No, I’ve never needed one” or “I’m not sure what I’d use it for.”

Stable employment can breed complacency.

If there is a silver lining to our current unemployment situation it is that many people now know they need to continually network proactively. An essential tool for networking is a bio. Whether you are providing background information about yourself for a committee position at your church or a board at a non profit; a bio makes it easy for people to get a good glimpse into who you are and what your experience has been.

A bio is different from a resume in that it is a narrative. The goal is tell a story about yourself that helps the reader understand where you’ve worked, what interests you and what is special about you. It only needs to be 4-5 well written paragraphs.

When someone asks to meet me for networking and they send me a resume, I assume they want to ask me for a job. But when they send me a bio, I learn interesting information about the person and I can build a conversation around things I read. I have more information about how I might be able to help.

I happen to be a published author (poetry and non-fiction.) My publications are not related to my work experience but I can highlight this work in my bio. It helps me to let people know my various skills and interests in a short, readable format. I can also highlight the foreign languages I speak or the charities I’m involved in. These help me be human and memorable.

Make sure you have several trusted people read your bio. Writing a concise and compelling story is not easy. Everyone has a story. Be sure yours is less blah, blah and more hmm, that’s interesting.

What is it that makes you unique?