My Causerie

"All great change in America begins at the dinner table." ~ Ronald Reagan

Retirement: Same Book, Different Chapter! July 19, 2017

Filed under: My Causerie — mycauserie @ 11:59 am

Photo Credit: aronbaker2 Flickr via Compfight cc

What’s a six-letter word that means to withdraw from action; to withdraw from one’s position or occupation? Well, the latter is true, but I certainly won’t be withdrawing from action!

Since my daughter has finally made it Facebook official, I can also make my

Jonah, Jace, Josie and Baby J!

announcement official: I’m retiring from SIUE to accept a new position: full-time Grandma to my four grandchildren! You read that right…four grandchildren! Baby J is due to arrive Dec. 8. So as I said, I am certainly not withdrawing from action. On the contrary, I will be quite busy!

As much as I look forward to spending more time with these four adorable redheads (I’m guessing No. 4 will have red hair too), I will miss the interaction with you, my students, aka my other 2,000+ kids!

Many of you probably heard me say, “I was a mom long before I was ever a teacher!” That was always evident in my teaching philosophy. As a parent, two minutes past curfew suffered the same consequences for my daughters as 30 minutes past curfew. As one of my students, you knew that two minutes past an assignment deadline suffered the same consequences as 30 minutes past that deadline.

I always believed there were lessons to be learned that did not come from a textbook, but they were just as important. I never felt like I was doing you any favors by not teaching those lessons. They weren’t always easy for me to enforce or easy for you to accept, but I was confident that if you did in fact learn them, it would make you more successful in your careers.

But neither parenting nor teaching is just about lessons learned or rule enforcement. My teaching philosophy in and out of the classroom was to nurture your desire to grow as young professionals by modeling the value of commitment, high ethical standards, compassion toward others and a personal desire to always go “above and beyond” in all you were tasked to do. I made an effort to communicate that message at the beginning of every class. The work expected of you was no more than I expected of myself. If you were willing to put in the effort, you knew I would be right there in the trenches with you…and in the trenches we were…especially in those writing classes!

While in those trenches, I had the opportunity to have some powerful conversations with some of you. I laughed with you, cried with you…oh yes, and argued with you! It’s the life of a parent–whether it is with two or 2,000! I likened my role in and outside the classroom as that of the “parent” at the dinner table. I was not there to do all the talking. On the contrary, I was there to facilitate discussion from all members of the “family.”

And family is what many of you have become to me. I am thankful for Facebook as it will allow me to stay connected with you. I can continue to celebrate your successes and offer encouragement if you are facing adversity. So please know, my support does not end with my retirement. Once a parent, always a parent; once a teacher, always a teacher. I just view this as the ultimate “empty nest!”

I’ve enjoyed the past 15 years at SIUE as both a student and faculty member in the Applied Communication Studies Department. The friendships I have formed with colleagues and students have had a tremendous impact on my life, and I hope they will continue to be a part of my life going forward.

Now, as always…pull up a chair and let’s talk!


You Scream, I Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream! July 13, 2017

Filed under: ACS 213 — mycauserie @ 7:00 am

Photo Credit: vwcampin Flickr via Compfight cc

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never needed an actual reason to eat ice cream! When it comes to an all-time favorite summertime treat, ice cream is at the top of my list. OK, let’s be honest; I’ve ate it as a meal on several occasions! It’s dairy, which makes it a food group, right? So, finding out that July 16 is National Ice Cream Day just gives me one more excuse to enjoy a scoop…or two!

However, since we are talking about public relations campaigns this week in class, I thought it would be interesting to see just how many brands take advantage of this, or other “national holidays” to build relationships with their audiences.

I did a quick search and found several brands participating in National Ice Cream Day. PetsMart is even giving out dog-friendly ice cream samples! There are plenty of listings of participating ice cream shops, so no matter where you live, you can probably score some free ice cream deals this weekend!

Using these quirky national holidays/observances as a part of a strategic communications plan is nothing new. In 2015, Tostitos had some fun with National Chip and Dip Day! Over the years, brands have put together some creative campaigns for everything from “National Smile Day” to “Ask a Stupid Question Day” and everything in between! Without peeking, what are some organizations that you think could use National Smile Day or Ask a Stupid Question Day as a part of their public relations initiatives? If you were a part of the planning team, what creative ideas would you incorporate into the campaign?

Creativity has always been one of the selling points of the public relations industry. One way to nurture your creativity is by reading more. By the way, reading more will also strengthen your writing, which is another important skill for public relations professionals. Blogging is just one fun way to strengthen both your creativity and your writing…and yes, it’s also a required assignment!

Photo Credit: Cubmundo Flickr via Compfight cc

However, taking breaks is important too. So, when you are ready for a break from reading, writing and other homework tasks, visit your favorite ice cream shop and celebrate National Ice Cream Day with some free ice cream!

In the meantime, pull up a chair and let’s talk.


PR Fireworks: Did you see any duds? July 6, 2017

Filed under: ACS 213 — mycauserie @ 7:00 am

Did you enjoy some backyard fireworks as part of your Independence Day celebration? We enjoyed a few with our kids and grandkids last night. Unfortunately, we had a couple of duds similar to this one…even our 4-year-old grandson was not impressed!

The same can be said of some brands who try to ignite their own fireworks with holiday campaigns. Several brands have hopped on the red, white and blue bandwagon successfully. Google joined the ranks this year with a doodle commemorating our country’s state parks. My husband and I took advantage of Lowe’s “Go Fourth” promotions along with their extra discount offered to all veterans!

Unfortunately, some brands’ attempts to show their patriotic spirit end up being duds like the chicken above. Last year, Budweiser’s  patriotic cans were a failed effort to attract millennials, and a more grievous blunder was made by American Apparel in 2014.

Blue Fountain Media shared a few tips with its post, “How to Integrate Holidays Into Your Social Strategy: Fourth of July Edition,” as did Sendible Insights in its post, “10 Ideas for Your Independence Day Campaign.” Bloggers also get into a patriotic spirit with themed posts. All offer great advice to brands that want to connect with their audiences while celebrating our country’s birthday!

What about you? Did you see any PR fireworks this year? Were any of them duds? Share your 4th of July highlights in the comments below.

Pull up a chair and let’s talk.


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