Saturday, December 31, 2011

Short Course on Corporate Survival

Lesson #1: Time is more valuable than money. The currency of time is getting more and more scarce and thereby more and more valuable. Listen for the clues to time being stolen away from you. “Can I have just a few moments of your time?” and the sneakier and more insidious “I’ll get back to you” and the impossible “ASAP.” There is no such thing as a“few minutes of your time,” How ‘bout scheduling a specific time? ASAP doesn’t mean anything. Use time wisely.

Lesson #2: You’ll spend most of your time making things happen. Come to grips with that reality. Have a well thought out plan sure. But your job is much more about “Just doing it.” If you come into a new job, especially if you fill a position that may have been vacant a while, you’re going to have to execute even before you get a comfortable handle on the big picture.

Lesson #3: Seek out expertise and network. It will pay off. Schmoozing works, sort of. You will always be more trusting of people you know. Networking allows you to get to know people and what they do. It will always be better to know someone than to blindly call someone out of the Yellow Pages in a panic. Best-selling business author Harvey MacKay says “Dig your well before you are thirsty.” I concur.

Lesson #4: You gotta listen first. A salesman called me once offering a service I couldn’t refuse (he thought). “I can cut your customer service costs by 25%” this guy promised me over the phone. How in the world did this guy come up with this as his lead? That pitch turned me off. The audacity of that presumptive sell really burned me up. Wrong message That company needs to find a way to listen first.

Lesson #5: Seek advice. It’s a really good idea. This isn’t the same as networking. But networking is sometimes the gateway to getting the best advice. Businesses is relying on fewer people to do more things you need to have an outside board of advisors you trust Seek help - even on less perplexing problems. Insight and support is good even if it confirms a direction in which you are already headed is the right one.

Lesson #6: Try to look at things differently. A research specialist I met a few years ago described in mathematical terms the lifetime value of a customer. A simple concept really. Armed with a gem like that, you might be able to influence your corporate culture and your brand. That’s something!

Lesson #7: Good ideas can come from anywhere. You have to rely on ideas coming from inside and outside your organization. Next time you have a chance to talk to a customer, ask them about their experience with your company at retail, on the phone, on your website. Use the data you gather to make strategic adjustments that are true to your strategy.

Lesson #8: Be yourself. Simple enough right? Your company doesn’t clones with only one point of view. It’s the differences that make challenges possible and innovation more probable. Lesson #9: Learn something new every day. I believe you can. I really do. It may not always be directly relevant to what you are doing right now. Something new you learn today may become very handy tomorrow, next week or next year.

Lesson #10: Details can kill you. Little things are big things. Make sure they are covered. An example: Proof read your copy one more time. How boring and mundane. Remembere, even an expert skier can break his leg on the bunny hill. Why? Because he/she takes their expertise for granted they are expert and cannot come to harm. Pay attention. Do Great work! Be proud of what you do.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Remembering Andrew

My uncle Andrew died this past Spring (March 2011). He was a teacher, a painter and a great man. Here are just a few highlights of the long list of fond memories I have of my uncle.

I only took one class with Andrew while at the University of Miami. It was a painting class. He was very encouraging and a little bit inspirational. He gave me a B. I never questioned it. I thought it fair enough. But my Mom wanted to know why Andrew gave her son a B in painting. Andrew explained that I was unable to recognize a painting by Raoul Dufy. Andrew did suggest that the students in his class should be familiar with a short list of important artists. To this day, when I see a Dufy on a visit to an art museum I smile and think of Andrew. (Usually I’m not sure it is a Dufy, until I read the museum placard.)

South Truro and Two Fine Horses – Two pieces of Andrew’s art hang proudly in my home. South Truro is a sort of abstract/expressionist painting, a landscape from his time in the New England area. Two Fine Horses is black India ink drawing on paper of two horses in a trailer. (That picture hung in the Andrew Morgan kitchen in Miami. When I told Andrew how I admired the simple lines of that composition – he gave it to me.) Both works feature a vintage Andrew signature from 1955 (The year I was born).

Go Hurricanes – I became the beneficiary of that extra ticket when Dahlia decided to give her’s up. Andrew loved the Canes and I loved driving to the Orange Bowl with him. Andrew loved sharing the games with my parents too. Doing the Macarena in the warm sun and watching Ray Lewis reek havock on the offense. It doesn’t get much better than that. I was with Andrew the day the Orange Bowl home winning streak ended against Washington. I am so glad I got that additional time with Andrew and my parents in 1994-95. It was before Miami joined the ACC and before the demolition of the Orange Bowl.

Mowing the Lawn in Miami – I had the pleasure of mowing the lawn from time to time for Andrew and Dahlia. Florida landscaping is never easy. Mangoes, Oranges, palm fronds and more. I loved every second of it though.

Yearbook – I was associate editor of the Ibis Yearbook my senior year. One of my favorite pages in that 1977-78 edition features three dynamic shots of Andrew in action. The student photographer was able to capture the essence of Andrew’s dramatic gestures. On film it is almost as if he could vanish with a wave of his hand. And so he has. (page 116 University of Miami Ibis yearbook - photo above)

Bragging about my uncle – “You know my uncle was President of the Kansas City Art Institute for ten years before the University of Miami offered him an opportunity to head the art department in beautiful Coral Gables, Florida in the early 1970’s.” I’m glad he accepted that opportunity, because by the time Richard Nixon resigned from office over the Watergate cover up, I was checking into Mahoney Hall with my brother Greg at the University of Miami. (I can almost hear Joe Cocker blasting out of our 8-track player now, “She came in through the bathroom window, protected by a silver spoon….”) I ended up at the “U” because of Andrew as much as any other reason. That is a decision I will never regret! (It’s very cold in Syracuse, you know.)

Raoul Dufy (3 June 1877 – 23 March 1953) was a French Fauvist painter. He developed a colorful, decorative style that became fashionable for designs of ceramics and textiles, as well as decorative schemes for public buildings. He is noted for scenes of open-air social events. He was also a draftsman, printmaker, book illustrator, a theatrical set-dresser, a designer of furniture, and a planner of public spaces.

Miami Hurricanes - Between 1985 and 1994, Miami won an astounding 58 straight games at home, breaking the record for the longest home winning streak previously held by Alabama, which won 57 straight at home between 1963 and 1982.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Go with what you’ve got.

Take a tip from Hoyt Wilhelm

Hoyt Wilhelm is one of my heroes. He played for nine Major League Baseball teams: his clubs included the New York Giants (1952-56), Baltimore Orioles (1958-62), Chicago White Sox (1963-68), and spells with the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, California Angels, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wilhelm was best known for his knuckleball, which enabled him to have great longevity; occasionally as a starting pitcher, but mainly as a specialist relief man. Hoyt was an extremely durable and effective relief pitcher. Hoyt Wilhelm once said: "I don't even try to fool anybody. I just throw the knuckleball 85 to 90 percent of the time. You don't need variations, because the damn ball jumps around so crazily, it's like having a hundred pitches."

Hoyt was a special player with an incredible specialty. Hoyt’s ability to throw a knuckleball made him one of the all time great relief pitchers. He went with what he had and enjoyed a wonderful career in the process. In my book though, Hoyt was one of those rare people in this world who are destined for greatness.

Consider some of his lifetime highlights:

Before he even got a chance to play professional baseball he earned a Purple Heart, having been injured in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII.

He hit a home run in his first at bat as a major leaguer in 1952.

He was named an All Star in his second season in the majors.

In 1954, he became a World Series Champion with the New York Giants.

In 1958 he pitched a no-hitter against the New York Yankees (who went on to win the World Series).

He pitched his last game just 16 days short of his fiftieth birthday in July of 1972.

He was named into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

Sadly, the world lost Hoyt Wilhelm in 2002 at the age of 90. Hoyt had what heroes always have. They believe in themselves and in their own unique ability.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Welcome to the Shoe

OSU vs. UM
September 11, 2010

So I find myself with a bottle of Heineken and a $15 Rocky Patel cigar on Varney’s lawn tossing bags filled with corn kernels into a hole placed on an inclined plane just under 12 paces away. This tailgate activity is in anticipation of the meeting between The Ohio State University Buckeyes and the University of Miami Hurricanes. Ohio State is ranked number 2 and Miami is ranked number 12 prior to this early season contest. The football game isn’t until 3:30 p.m. but we are already in pre-game ritual mode at 10:30 a.m. (I know right away, it’s good to pace yourself. There will be more beers at the Thirsty Scholar and the Varsity Bar before the game.)

JV is an awesome host and he has worked his Columbus network so my boy Ben and I can sit front row center at the 50 freakin’ yard line. It’s dreamlike and remarkable. We are both Hurricanes, Ben being of a more recent vintage. The good fortune is too good to be true. I know Ben and I are both secretly worried that the ‘Canes might embarrass us in the Shoe, in front of 105,000+ fans, mostly in scarlet, grey and white but this is something to experience even if you have no stake the game.

It’s great to have Ben along. He gets a glimpse of my nephew’s success, bravado and good humor. Jim and Susan Varney are all smiles around their little girl, Colleen. She’s 17 months old and an absolute sweetheart. Don’t try to double cross her by offering a cookie without delivering the goods, though. She’s still a baby, but such an angel. Jim and Susan manage the compound on Sharon Hill with grace and ease. Still JV is determined to “get off the grid” and sell the house and eventually get some property with some acreage.

JV (Jim Varney) is his own man. He’s enjoying a good bit of success after years of building his roofing business. He is a bootstrap entrepreneur who proudly accepts his responsibility as a good corporate citizen. Universal Energy is not a complicated business model but it is one that requires full attention to details and relentless pursuit of insurance money of which his customers have claims after storm damage or deterioration over time. Your home needs to be right. You need to be whole. You need Universal Energy to make sure the job is done right. Universal Energy signs are popping up all over the state of O-H!….I-O! and you can’t fault JV for a little pride in his own alma mater.

Team spirit and school pride are both good things. But Miami has a reputation for gangsta swagger and Ohio State is the college experience on steroids. This isn’t a quaint college town and this ain’t just any given Saturday. These boys came to play. And the alumni, the town and the atmosphere is charged. This is NOT a neutral site. There are only smatterings of green and orange and white gear, Ben is sporting the shades and do-rag with a jersey and green pants that scream “I am a Hurricane” and I’m wearing a Miami baseball jersey. Both brave apparel choices as we enter enemy territory.

Jim warned us that Ohio State fans can be assholes, especially on game day when the pride is pumped up with each cold beer. They walk a fine line between gracious and vicious. You can see emotions run high. How you interpret trash talk and how you respond can easily ignite an explosion. It’s all in good fun. But it’s also wise to respect the away turf. Thousands of people milling around house parties, parking lots, bars and local taverns are getting ready for the big show at the Shoe. Not everyone is a ticket holder. This is a celebration and the game is on national television.

This is an event in Columbus, Ohio that you simply cannot ignore. If you are bold enough to be sporting Hurricane Gear you will most certainly be greeted with passing comments that fall into three categories:

1. Pity – “Oh, I’m so sorry. We hope you enjoy the day.”

2. Contempt – “You suck. You are going down.”

3. Sportsmanship – “Good luck and Fuck you.”

The outcome of the game is somewhat predictable. The Columbus Dispatch sports page put it this way: As classics go, this was no January night in Tempe, circa 2003. But who wants to live in the past anyway? Ohio State validated its No. 2 ranking with a big-game victory that was earned equally by its offence and defense. Now, about those special teams…

A perfect segue for media to feed on itself. God knows they need to sell newspapers and provide chatter for talk radio. Why not start the discussion with how we might improve the Buckeyes? Any expanded conversations about the Hurricanes play will be used only as a basis for given props to the Buckeyes. Example: Star of the Game - Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor. He passed for 223 yards and a TD and, most important, committed no turnovers. In the duel between him and Jacory Harris – and considering Harris was intercepted four times – the nod goes to Pryor.

You see they aren’t trying to dis the Hurricanes. They only wish to seek an illustration, albeit painful maybe, of how dominant they are as Buckeyes. Fine. But when the Hurricanes get home they can head to South Beach. The Buckeyes will have to drive a good distance away from Columbus to escape the smell of beer, the roar of self righteous fans and the sounds of wet-vacs in barroom restrooms.

Ohio remains among the hardest hit states for an ongoing economic downturn. Ohio State is a source of hope, optimism and a vision for the future. The Buckeyes, like the Hurricanes are part of a team that represents so much more. I’m happy for the Buckeyes and I was glad to witness their success, even though it was at the expense of My Hurricanes. The cool thing is, a handful of these players will be pulling down some major coin as professionals playing for the NFL on Sunday soon enough. Jim and Susan – I can’t thank you enough. Thanks for having us. I know Ben and I had a great time!

Wes Morgan is founder and Principal of Morgan Studio/East. Recent projects have included a new product (The Inferno by Harris), a food color ingredient campaign around a key industry trade show(ROHA) and a brand assignment for integrating the trademarks and logo treatments for RehabCare and Triumph. In September, Wes will start as Director of Marketing and Communication for Crossland Construction Company, a top100 contractor according to Engineering News Record. Contact:

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Year of Loss and Renewal

2011 will be a hard year to forget. I found myself living in Joplin, a city torn apart by a devastating Tornado. 161 people died and thousands of my neighbors lost their homes. I lost my job. My mother died. My uncle Andrew died. My cousin Vince died too. (He was my age.) If I wanted to dwell on these and other highlights of a miserable year I could certainly get mighty depressed. But, ironically almost the opposite occurs. In spite of the sadness and loss there is remarkable renewal and fond memories that inspire me.

The natural catastrophe that hit Joplin spared me and the job loss heightened my awareness of the amazing spirit and drive of the people around me who, in spite of dismal circumstances, were showing me (and the rest of the world) what it means to have faith. Good people were picking up pieces of rubble and debris and slowly, but surely, rebuilding their lives.

Death is a natural part of life. When my mom died my sadness was quickly overwhelmed by the memories of who she was and how many people she enriched during her time on this earth. She was a part of hundreds of community theater projects as an actor and director. Through her, I started to observe the dramatic in everyday existence. Similarly my uncle, a teacher and fine artist, inspired me to see. Andrew knew than his talent began with the ability to recognize the beauty in things. He offered compositions that were full of expression and color. My cousin Vince was always searching. He left us too soon. While he never lived up to his aspirations, his time was up. The world lost a witty and charming soul. Vince, perhaps most of all, reminds me that life it too short and too precious to waste even a moment of it.

Still, the Cardinals won the World Series. I got to see the Thanksgiving Day parade in New York with my wife, Lynn and terrific grown up children, Lindsey and Ben. Theater and Fine Art live on. People are helping people and even the uncertainty of tough times open up an infinite number of possibilities. Renew. Rebuild. Aspire. It’s a wonderful life!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Two Flat Tires

A huge part of my outlook on life is the general belief that things will work out. You have to have faith, especially when you encounter adversity. You might consider a flat tire a relatively minor setback, but for me it is one of the most frustrating things that can happen to a person. In the last two weeks I have been driving a lot. Twice inside of two weeks, I found myself with a flat tire. Both times the situation seemed hopeless. Both times, with the help and kindness of strangers, my outlook went from dread to an overwhelming faith in humanity. In both cases I could not thank my rescuers enough.

Flat Tire #1 – I was in St. Louis to attend a business conference. Anxious to start the day, I left my hotel with plenty of time for a visit to a coffee shop and drive downtown. My heart sank when I discovered my front right tire was flat… flat… flat. Almost like a guardian angel, a young black guy helped me wrestle with the spare tire. He asked for nothing in return. I must have looked pretty helpless. As the dawn started to break, I was able to find an open tire retailer. The problem was solved and I was still on time. I felt lucky. I felt fortunate. I was so happy to have the assistance of a perfect stranger. He said he was barber from St. Charles but to me he was an angel and a blessing.

Flat Tire #2 – Less than two weeks, later I set out on another routine morning. This time I needed to complete some business in Joplin, where I live. A few blocks from my house, I ran over a spike or a nail. Flat tire again! I pulled into a grocery store parking lot. It felt hopeless. I must have looked pathetic in my business suit as I struggled with the jack and my efforts to loosen the lug nuts. It was raining. Almost like a divine intervention, a woman appeared. She used her cell phone to recruit her husband to help me loosen those lugs and change that tire. Blessed again!

A flat tire is not the end of the world. But if you are me, on a typical morning, fixing a tire is the last thing you are prepared for in the darkness of pre-dawn or during a rainy downpour. Good Samaritans took the aggravation out of those two flat tires. I will remember both of these acts of kindness and am determined to return the deeds with a couple of my own when I see someone in a jam. I am so happy there are such generous and loving people in the world. I want to be like them.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Be a Fearless Leader

It takes money to make money. All kinds of people make the world go around. No man is an island. Okay, but when the global economy is in such turmoil it's hard for companies and people who run them to recognize that the way out is to reach out. FDR said the only fear is fear itself. That may very well be true today.

I live in a town where a great many talented and creative people have been displaced. Many struggle with the challenge of reinventing themselves. At the core of their being is the basic belief people have in the ability for these people to think outside the box and be creative. Looking at opportunities and seeing things in a way that shows the glass is half full. The world needs leaders who are optimistic. There needs to be faith shown in individuals, in mission, in achievable goals again. When it's every man for himself the problems of the world are simply too large to be conquered. Organize the troops and take charge. Go. Fight. Win.

If you are a leader of a business, small or large, you have a greater responsibility than protecting yourself. You became a leader and you've seen success because people believe in you. Are you squandering that trust? Was it deserved? Luck is usually not just serendipity. You made your breaks and now you are on top. Don't hide. Your business, your community, your family, your friends and the world at large need your vision now more than ever.

Take a calculated risk. Start an initiative. Generate some energy. Be enthusiastic. Be smart but take action. This is a great time to make a difference.

Houser faces Gatewood in local Debate

The election for state representative in Southeast Kansas in November of 2010 was a battle to be sure. The candidates agreed to meet in a public forum to participate in an open debate at the invitation of the local newspaper. It started off like any other debate. The moderator began the proceedings with some announcements that helped settle the crowd. The room in the Community Building was full. (Volunteers had to pull out more folding chairs.) The order of speakers was decided by a coin toss, but that really didn’t matter.

Doug Gatewood started and showed his polish at the top of the show. “First of all I would like to thank the Columbus Advocate and the Chamber of Commerce for hosting this debate….”

Mike Houser stumbled a little early on but by the second and third questions he let his own personality and charm shine through.

Houser knows himself well enough to know he can’t be someone he isn’t. He doesn’t have a lot of public speaking experience. Nevertheless, the audience senses his sincerity in this bid to serve the people of the district. He was emphatic that the county and the rural parts of the state of Kansas need to stop being subjected to increasing taxes, find ways to attract new business and help small businesses grow. Gatewood responded to the issues raised and offered insights from his many years of public service.

Both candidates performed well. In fact, the publisher the newspaper said she thought the contest was a “dead heat.” The moderator of the debate seemed to agree. We saw two genuine candidates. One was a more a polished politician, but both made their points. Both were gentlemen.

This debate in a small rural community in Southeast Kansas was a joy to behold. Not because I cared about the outcome so much as I was proud that this kind of open exchange of ideas is a part of our system in this country. It is the democratic process in action. It doesn’t matter what political party you belong to – you have to love the fact that a healthy airing of issues is at the central core of how our country elects officials in our government.

It might not have been the great Lincoln-Douglas debate, but it was a little bit of history just the same. The incumbent won by a narrow margin. Time marches on. God Bless America.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Just say no!

More people are doing more with less, time is crunched and you just don’t want get stuck in a sales pitch. So you make excuses or delay the inevitable with a white lie or a stall tactic.

“Let’s talk about this after the first quarter when we will have a better handle on our business plan.”

“Can’t talk now because I am heading to the airport and out of town for a business meeting.”

“You should really contact Jim in purchasing. I know he’ll be interested in what you have to say.”

Be careful though, your blocking moves may work too well. Don’t forget great ideas can come from anywhere – even a sales call. But it does make sense to speak plainly and honestly.

My friend Dan is in business development at a successful advertising firm. He’s been doing this for a long time. Persistence and determination are his stock in trade. Overcoming objections and trying to understand wants and needs is what he does. He believes in his product and he believes he represent potential value for his prospects. He is fearless and relentless. But I think people might be surprised how he reacts when a person just says NO.

“Rejection is tough to take but you have to remember that a definitive negative answer has a positive impact too. Closure is good. You can move on,” explains Dan, “You have an opportunity to better target your prospects and avoid being too much of a pest. I wish more people would just say no. It is helpful to understand the reason and those stated will help you plan a strategy moving forward. There is nothing wrong or rude about a polite response like: No thank you. We are just not interested. We are happy with our existing resources. An answer like that doesn’t hurt my feelings. In fact I’m happy to know that I have done all I can do at that point in time.”

Just say No. And you’ll waste less time: yours and the hapless sales guys that keep calling. But listen too before you shut someone down. Every once in a while a sales guy really does have an incredible offer and perfect timing. (It might be Dan.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

It's all about me.

Saying goodbye as the curtain closes.
Mary Francis Lawton Morgan (February 26, 1922- May 31, 2011)

My mom died this past May and suddenly it dawns on me what made her so great. She had this uncanny way of making you feel special. Case in point: I was one of six children – number three in order of birth – but she insisted in calling me the “oldest of the four.” Maybe it was to ignore my older siblings. I don’t think so. Maybe it was to deprive me of the middle child syndrome. Probably not.

My brother is 11 years older. So, for a long time, he was an only child. My sister is three years older and the only girl. My brother Greg was declared the “navigator” on family vacations and relished the opportunity to monitor the maps and travel directions. He was “Greg the Great” on his birthday cakes from Hough Bakeries every year. Dan was always “so sensitive.” Rob is the youngest and both parents pronounced him “the Best” which, no doubt gave him the ability to be his own person. Each of us had a niche that helped us define ourselves. Each, in our own way, a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Mom was larger than life. She loved the theater. She performed in countless community productions. She directed plays too. She and dad made annual trips to New York City that included Broadway Shows, of which she kept a collection of Playbill programs. She studied and read plays. She completed a Master’s Degree in Dramatic Arts at Case Western Reserve University in her early forties. She was talented. She could turn on the star-power at business functions with important clients, at parties, at social events, at presentations, in large rooms, in small rooms or one-on-one. She had skills she was able to use in juggling six children in a way that made each feel unique and special.

The drama of growing up, as you might imagine, with mom directing the activity, is one that includes countless sub-plots. After all, life isn’t easy – even if you are fortunate enough to live with the Morgan family at 15106 Edgewater Drive. As we reflect on our experiences and memories of mom we each have our own take on what it all means.

The Irish Catholic in mom would have been smiling when we came together in Southlake, Texas to celebrate her life. May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be ever at your back. May the good Lord bless and keep you in the hallow of his hand. It was a competition, as family members took turns sharing stories often not waiting for a lull in the cacophony of overlapping dialogue, tears and laughter. (After all, we naturally want to cast ourselves in the lead role of this production.)

We compete for airtime because we want to perform and entertain. Indeed, we are all talented in projecting lines and expressing ourselves. The stories are all familiar and retold with the usual flaws due to our own brand revisionist history. Mom always said “I will do anything for you kids, as long as you remember.” We will mom. (Even though, with time, we may modify a detail in the script or staging.) We are all grown up now, but when we are together we cannot forget that we were all once just children. The sadness only comes when we realize we must go on without you mom.

If the job of a parent is to raise children to be self-confident and assured we have it in abundance. Dad is 93, and still has the ability to laugh at things. Mom was that woman behind the great man. Dad served in WWII. He started a business and ran it successfully for the better part of four decades. All the while, mom is ready for each grand entrance at the Cleveland Yachting Club, the family road trip to the Football Hall of Fame in Canton (Ohio) or at a parent-teacher conference. Someone’s got to feed these kids too. She is not much of a cook, but the dinner theater makes up for it. So it’s Hamburger-Helper, Sloppy Joes, Pizza, Tuna Casserole or mom’s famous chicken soup. There’s always enough somehow. Take your time eating and chew your food. If you are good you might just get a chocolate cupcake for desert.

The outpouring of sympathy from friends of the family on social media (notably facebook postings) starts to give a picture of just what a magnificent performance her life was. “Your mom was a great lady.” “Your mom helped my mother deal with the death of my father and gave her courage to go on.” “I always loved your mom.” “I remember having so much fun when I was at your house growing up.”

As I look around the room at my siblings, I see they all have self-confidence. They all have that extra talent it takes to be a successful person. Whatever you do: Photographer, Commercial Real Estate Advisor, Retailer, Tennis Instructor, Corporate Communications Specialist or Company President, you will need that. If you are lucky, someone will catch you early in your development and say. “Oh honey, you always know just what to do. Just make sure you remember to enunciate, pronounce your words and project.” It’s all about me. Thanks mom.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Plan. Design. Execute.

Having served as global communications director for a publicly-traded manufacturer of welding and cutting equipment, Thermadyne (NASDAQ:THMD) from 2006 through 2009. And heading up marketing communications for three large successful privately-held firms (HBE, Clayco and Crossland) between 1998 and 2011. And having also advised countless other businesses – large and small about strategic marketing and branding I decided to "hang out a shingle" and offer my expertise on a consulting and/or contract basis.

I have learned a lot from being involved in marketing efforts of a broad range of consumer and business-to-business products and services. I spent the early part of career inside advertising firms contributing to new product development, consumer, professional and trade communications for a variety brands including Heineken, Matchbox Toys, Pepsi-Cola, SkyBox Trading Cards, The United States Marine Corps, GameTek Computer Game Software, Campbell Soup Foodservice, Rich-SeaPak and FarmRich Frozen Foods.

Morgan Studio/East (MS/E) was founded in Q1 of 2010 on the premise that it takes an objective outside agent to inspire a well thought-out marketing communications plan with a full understanding of what it will take to execute that plan. The motto of MS/E "Make Good Brands Better and New Brands Known" kind of serves as the battle cry. Let's talk about how you can build a smart, sustainable program for your business.

I am a Hurricane with an MBA from the University of Miami, FL (Marketing Concentration) and a BA from Miami as well(Double Major - Graphic Design and Creative Writing). I am happy to help you stir things up a bit and be an agent of change for the better.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blue Bird of Happiness

And so remember this, life is no abyss,
Somewhere there's a bluebird of happiness.

The bluebird of happiness has a history that goes back maybe thousands of years. Cultures around the world hold on to the myths and beliefs about the bluebird. It is a symbol of cheerfulness, happiness, prosperity, good health and the renewal of springtime.

If retail sales are any indication, perhaps the most popular bluebird of happiness in this country was created by Leo Ward at Terra Studios located near Fayetteville, Arkansas. Introduced in 1982, this Arkansas Bluebird of Happiness is made of blown glass with black copper oxide added to create its blue color. This Bluebird of Happiness is a registered trademark and is sold at thousands of hospital, airport and specialty gift shops nationwide. This little glass bird has fueled the creativity of many artists in northwest Arkansas. But larger still is the impact of the goodwill it has generated. Over nine million of these bluebirds have been sold!

Leo Ward has since retired but the bluebird business lives on and is managed by his son John. You can’t help thinking the little bluebird has come to mean so much to so many through simple acts of a thoughtful, albeit modest, gifts and accompanying wishes for happiness. After all, it’s not the gift but the thought that counts. Still the gift, as is rests on a desk or window sill or bookcase catches the light and reflects its blue color and maybe triggers happy thoughts of loved ones. Isn’t that a big reason to be happy?

The bluebird reminds us that Spring is coming too, and with it comes longer days, blossoming flowers and the special smell of optimism. Sure, things could be 'easier' but why not use this time of renewal as an opportunity to be in the pursuit of happiness. This Spring, take the time to find the joy in the ordinary. In other words, seek to find happiness.

Mark Twain once defined an optimist as a person who travels on nothing from nowhere to happiness. If that’s true, maybe a little thing like a glass bluebird is just the thing to bring a smile, a whole new outlook and hope for the future. Here’s wishing you much happiness!