Happy New Year

Denver is home to a lot of talent. PR pros, social media gurus, marketing wizards, video and graphic artists… you name it. One of the best things about having a virtual agency l is that I get to team up with all kinds of talented people: contractors, partners, colleagues and other specialists who are good at things I’m not. Those are the people I turn to for ideas and inspiration. And that is what allows me to swiftly tailor (sorry, I couldn’t resist) the team to the needs of each client.

The biggest benefit for me -- and for my clients too-- is that this sort of collaboration tends to stimulate innovation, which is essential to a successful strategic communications program.  It is what motivates us to do what we do. It energizes us, gets our adrenalin going, makes us look forward to going to work each day. It fires us up and if we are lucky, it has the same creative effect on our clients.

So as we close out 2010, I’d like to take this opportunity to officially thank all the people I’ve been innovating and collaborating with this year. Let’s do it again in 2011. Here’s looking at you, kids:

Jeri Pushkin, Dan Christopherson, Melissa Hernandez, Rachel Brand,Erika Gonzalez, Sara Goodwin, Margie McCarthy, Veronica Figoli, Liz Ullman, Ian Atchison, Pete Codella, Jennifer Heinly, Elizabeth Suarez, Heather Evans-Keenan, Jim Hooley, Robin Bond, Zack Littlefield, Steve Gray, Marv Rockford, Steven Shapiro, Laura Love-Aden, Ramona Tooley, Stacey Sepp, Lisa Cutter, Jane Dvorak, Warren Smith, Sydney Ayers, Gina Seamans, Brian Colucci, Roberta Cedillo, Janine Tafoya Manning, Steve Koenigsberg, Robyn Lydick, Brad Friedman, Saul Rosenthal, Wendy Aiello, Jeremy Story, Steve Olsen
Palmer Pekarek, Doug Hock, David Milstead, Caitlin Jenny, Tonya Ewers, Sarah Spaulding, Sarah Ellis.

I hope 2011 is happy, healthy and prosperous for you all.  

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I’m proud of our client.

Suzanne Bragg-Gamble is the executive director of CoverColorado. When we first started talking to Suzanne about developing a communications program for GettingUSCovered, the new health plan for the uninsured that Suzanne administers, she was hesitant. She was uncertain what PR was, how it worked, or even if she needed it.
Despite her skepticism, she decided to trust our judgment. Since then, she’s participated in a press conference with the Governor, conducted multiple media interviews, published a guest opinion column, done presentations at hospitals, agreed to a marketing communications campaign and hosted a webinar for over 100 insurance brokers. She even let us set up a GettingUSCovered Facebook page. You might say that Suzanne is now a PR maven.

Do you have the courage to try something new? To take a leap of faith on something that makes you nervous? To overcome your fear and trust that you’ll be OK if you just dive in?

Regardless of our situation at work or at home, we ought to resolve to enter this New Year determined to try something different. To do something we never attempted, or look at something from another’s perspective. To get out of our comfort zone and accept a new challenge. To throw down the gauntlet to ourselves and boldly go where we never thought we would go before.

Now, that does not mean we need to be reckless or dumb about it. Let’s not make this too complicated or difficult. I’m not saying we should all start jumping out of airplanes. It could be as simple as signing up for some personal training sessions, starting guitar lessons or learning how to dance. For your business, it could be redesigning your website, updating your brand or starting a blog. Maybe you can get serious about reaching out to more diverse communities or allow your staff to handle more of the responsibilities you typically do yourself.

Looking what makes you nervous in the eye is a good test for any business leader. Learning to trust your gut, your team or your PR firm will help you let go of your fear and anxiety. It will help you move forward, not look backward.

I am proud of Suzanne for taking that big leap this year. We should all have such courage in the year ahead.     

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Year in review

Wow. It’s the end of another year. A lot has happened so let’s recap.

The Chilean miners. Amazing story. The BP oil spill. That was depressing. The Mets. Don’t get me started.

Here at Pushkin PR, we’ve had some ups and downs as well. I lost my Mom. I also lost a few clients. On the positive side, I saw thundering herds of wild horses, launched a new website and Facebook page, began new relationships with some clients, and enjoyed my first year in my downtown office.

As each year ends we pause to take stock of what we accomplished and examine where we fell short. We set goals for the year ahead and begin preparing for how to reach them.  At least that’s what we do if we are not too paralyzed with fear to move forward.

For far too long, fear of losing a job, losing a home, going hungry or getting sick has been all too real for all too many Americans. But a lot of people are frozen by fear that is manufactured. Fear of immigrants, fear of airports, fear of deficits, fear of health reform, fear of anyone who looks or sounds or thinks differently than us. It’s emotional, it’s irrational, and it’s driven by cable TV and talk radio.  

It may be comforting to blame our troubles on someone else, but nobody gets anywhere if we are too paralyzed to move. We just get stuck. We stop innovating, we stop creating, we stop making things happen. America used to be a country that could do anything. Instead we are a country that can’t do anything except freak out. 

As we look ahead to 2011, it might be wise to think about what we can do to get unstuck. Personally or professionally, what will it take to let us look forward to a challenge again? To make us risk a leap of faith?  Can we secure an investment, grow our business, take a vacation or take on new employees? Can we initiate that long overdue project, contribute to a worthy cause, or volunteer our time to make a difference in our community?

Some fears are valid and some are phony. It is up to us to distinguish which ones are real. Will we face 2011 with hope or trepidation?  The answer to that question might determine how we feel about things a year from now.

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