Posts Taged public-relations-portland

A Day in the Life of a PR Practitioner

Christy flying at iFLY Portland

One of our clients, iFLY, Oregon’s only Indoor Skydiving operation, opened a few weeks ago, and I had the opportunity to fly in the tunnel this past Friday for the first time. As a PR practitioner I was nervous at first but the experience was life changing. I’ve been pitching the grand opening for weeks, and now I have the perspective of a first time flier. They now have a strong testimonial from a PR practitionar that can be used across their social channels.

Why are these first-hand experiences worth their weight in gold?

Testimonials are the difference between a sale and a bounce, according to Business 2 Community.

  • If the customer can visualize the experience, the pitch is more compelling – which is why I posted the above pic to all my social channels and tagged iFLY in all the appropriate hashtags.
  • Videos take all the speculation out of the equation and tell the story in just a few seconds.
  • Testimonials need the right tone, the thoughts should be genuine and not canned- let the person write the testimonial themselves.

Testimonials humanize a brand, so remember the importance these have when you’re selling a new concept or product offering. It could make all the difference.

From One Working Mother to Another

working mother

A frustrating truth

Today a powerful column appeared on It was written by Katharine Zaleski, a former journalistic powerhouse who held top roles at The Huffington Post and The Washington Post in her mid-20s.  She is open and honest about how she viewed and treated women who were mothers during that time. Honestly recalling how she killed a potential partnership with an online editor because of the number of kid photos the lady had up in her office; also confessing her agreement to fire a woman “before she got pregnant”; sharing that she regularly scheduled meetings at 4:30pm, dismissing the fact that working mothers may need to be leaving to get their kids from daycare; and admitting to looking down on mothers who couldn’t join happy hour functions because of family commitments.  Wow.

Today this same woman is a working mother – with a very different perspective. After having her daughter she resigned from her role in journalism and founded her own business, PowerToFly, a technology company geared at helping mothers find work they can do virtually from home. She readily admits that “mothers are the people you need on your team” and is proud to share that the editor she dissed because of the children photos is now the executive editor at PowerToFly. IMG_4672

Since the column first appeared earlier today the social media world lit up with comments and shares, most overwhelmingly positive toward Katharine for admitting her previous short-comings and furthering the conversation on this controversial topic.

Life as a working mother

What it means to be a working mother is hard to describe. Just because we are mothers does not mean we have lost our will, or ability, or drive to work hard. And just because we want to work does not mean we don’t care about our children. Every mother is different and what feels right in her gut is something that only she can determine. For me, I am proud to be a mother who works. That is what feels right to me. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without sacrifice or challenge. Sometimes it takes a village to coordinate client meetings, make sports practices and still get dinner on the table. But at the end of the day when the kids are asleep and I sit down with a glass of wine, my soul feels fulfilled in a way that it wouldn’t should kids and work not co-exist.

I am continually inspired by the group of working women at A.wordsmith, and I am proud of the model we have in place. A model that has brought out some of the most talented professionals I know, who also happen to be amazing moms. Thank you to Katharine Zaleski for your honestly and candor about being a working mother and for pushing open the door for women just a bit wider.


Drew Carney Goes Viral

Portland, Oregon sign

For those of us in Portland, Drew Carney is a bit of a TV superstar. You might get ready in the morning while watching his antics, or catch him emceeing the annual Kells Smoker at the St. Patrick’s Day Irish Festival; however this week he cemented his place in national, viral infamy.  To try to explain what happened would likely ruin some of its impact, so it’s best to just let the clip speak for itself.  GO USA! GO DREW!


A Beautiful Project, Indeed

Lately I have become captivated by the amazing A Beautiful Body Project by photographer Jade Beall.  I am not too proud to admit that my stomach does not resemble itself from nine years ago, before I’d birthed a 10 pound (no, that is not a joke or exaggeration) baby – and then three years later her 8 1/2 pound sister.  The skin is stretched and wrinkled and my belly button is more of an outie now than an innie.  There have been times when I’ve hated that new stomach and contemplated how to get it flatter and firmer, whether that meant shaking through a plank hold or researching plastic surgery.

A Beautiful Body Project is so well done, and it really gets to the core of what matters – loving yourself and those around you.  Jade’s book The Bodies of Mothers which she did as part of the project has the ability to make you appreciate – or at the very least, happily accept – those stretches and wrinkles and what they represent as a mom.  The story behind the project is inspiring and the results of her Kickstarter and subsequent PR campaign speak for themselves.  Jade is single-handedly breaking down insecurities and building self-confidence in women…one stretch mark at a time. @ABeautBodyProj

ABBP Cover

Inc. magazine recognizes Voodoo Doughnut as one of “Most Audacious Companies”


Great piece in Inc. on Voodoo Doughnut about how the company has earned its spot in history through outrageous doughnuts, word-of-mouth marketing, quirky weddings, and a record label. Love to see Portland businesses making national news!

Welcome Kailee!

Welcome Kailee Pence to the A.wordsmith team! Kailee joins as our spring intern and we’re so excited to have her. There’s much about her to like, starting with her love of country music, good Chinese food and visits to both the beach and mountain. Here are 5 more things you might not know about her unless you asked:

  • As a senior in college, I lived 3 months abroad in Paderno del Grappa, Italy
  • I’ve been a dancer since I was 10, dancing as a Junior Blazer Dancer and a member of the University of Oregon dance team
  • I love to bake! Especially during the holidays I am constantly in the kitchen
  • My favorite music to listen to is country and I rarely listen to anything else
  • I would spend all my time at the beach if I could. I love to be near the ocean eating seafood!

An Olympic-Sized Celebration


Aren’t the Olympics great? I mean, after all they are an institution – not just in our country but around the world. A coming together. A celebration of camaraderie, commitment and, of course, sports. I’m sure we can all remember some of our favorite Olympic moments. Whether it was Flo Jo and her amazing nails, or Kerri Strug landing that vault one-footed, or the famous Battle of the Brians in 1988 when Brian Boitano and Brian Orser both skated for the gold – to the same military-themed long programs. I get chills just remembering it!

For the past several weeks I’ve been wishing that I was more excited about the 2014 Winter Games. I don’t know why but this Olympiad just seemed to lack some of the pizzazz of previous Games. Perhaps it’s the looming threat of terrorism or the political tensions that exist between the U.S. and Russia. Since we’ve had plenty of days to be at home watching TV while the snow falls outside, I have encouraged my kids to spend some time watching the Olympics, wanting them to not miss out on this special celebration that only happens once every four (or two) years. There have already been some heartwarming – and heart-stopping – moments. And even some for the PR record books (I’m looking at you, Ashley Wagner). With just a few days, here are

My top 5 things about the Games so far:

  1. Bob Costas’ pink eye. It makes me cringe just looking at him. Ouch.
  2. Ashley Wagner’s look of disgust at her less-than-stellar scores in the team competition. Move over McKayla.
  3. Russia’s 15-year-old figure skating extraordinaire, Julia Lipnitskaia. Amazing.
  4. The new slopestyle event in snowboarding. Badass.
  5. The story about American ice dancers’ Meryl Davis and Charlie White’s moms who brought them together when they hadn’t even cracked double-digits and haven’t missed a competition since. Commitment pays off.

Battle of the memes


Why Everyone is Talking About Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman's post-game interview

You may care little about football or you may have watched last night’s game with bated breath. Either way, there’s a pretty good chance that by now you’ve seen or heard reference to Richard Sherman’s post-game interview. See it here. It’s intense.

The media reaction has been split between condemnation for his unsportsman-like conduct and dismissal as typical exuberance in the tail of a significant win. What has also followed were media responses that implicated race, some subtly and some not so subtly (I’ve seen a few online comments that make me feel pretty disappointed in society).

Interestingly, Sherman has a communications degree from Stanford, which points to a higher level of PR awareness: He looked straight into the camera and avoided inappropriate language, even while he hollered like a WWF wrestler.  Sherman himself has outlined a response in his column where he says, “To those who would call me a thug or worse because I show passion on a football field—don’t judge a person’s character by what they do between the lines. Judge a man by what he does off the field, what he does for his community, what he does for his family.”

So, what do you think? Does Richard Sherman’s post-game interview deserve to be lambasted for his aggressive speech? Or is this just part of the football mythology that embraces showboating, touchdown dances and crushing people whenever possible? Tommy Tomlinson, sportswriter, has some thoughts over on Forbes if you’re interested.


Happy Word Nerd Day!

Today is National Word Nerd Day (although some feel strongly that it was yesterday…who are we to judge?).  We are celebrating with our friends (and clients) at the American Copy Editors Society (ACES).  Check out the great guest articles by ACES Board member Karen Martwick in PRNewser and  Now go unleash your inner word nerd!




A Christmas (and PR) Miracle

WestJet made Christmas dreams come true

Oh Wow. Incredible idea. Brilliant PR move. WestJet shared a full serving of Christmas joy and happiness to customers, and the results will make any heart grow three sizes. Take the 5 minutes to watch this Christmas (and PR) miracle – it will inspire you to believe that miracles really do happen. Happy Holidays!