Monday, September 29, 2014

Best Day Ever report from the Bride

A recap of the wedding of  my son Ben by his incredible bride. It was "the best day ever" (10/27/2012) except for that day when my daughter married on Jekyll Island (9/13/2014). I am overwhelmed with joy over the blessings. Wes Morgan (proud father of the groom mentioned here and bride this year).

From The Bride… Ben and I share a contagious kind of love that surrounds us and makes everyone around feel confident, happy and at ease, so when it came time to plan our wedding the most important thing was to bring together all of our closest friends and family for an unforgettable celebration inspired by a beautiful mashup of the best of both of us. Since we fell in love during our last two years attending the University of Miami, it was an obvious choice to get married close to where it all began. Matheson Hammock provided the perfect backdrop: a lush grassy park with huge photogenic trees for the ceremony, and an old historic coral structure for the reception nestled in an idyllic beach lagoon that overlooks Biscayne Bay with the downtown Miami skyline glistening on the horizon. It’s a setting so naturally gorgeous it hardly needs any decoration, and a venue my very foodie family certainly approved of as well. Both Ben and I are borderline flower children and true creatives at heart, and we wanted to create an environment for our wedding that felt elegant yet down-to-earth and infused with personal touches to make it feel like us. Our very own intimate park to oceanside bohemian fairytale.

To bring the vision to life, we opted against hiring a planner to help save a few bucks and since my career in marketing/PR made me somewhat well-equipped to pull this off. Plus, bridezilla just isn’t my style. The deep greens and lush, organic hues you’d find a tropical garden served as our primary color palette, paired with my very favorite coral peonies (luckily just barely in season!) to add just the perfect pop of color. The florist was among the most important line items in our budget, and my sweet amazing mom who knows everything about nature deserves all the credit for working closely with the incredibly talented Ines Naftali to help create the most gorgeous unkempt arrangements and bouquets that fit beautifully amid the natural, uneven textures of driftwood, burlap, vintage glassware and twinkling candles that I wanted to incorporate into the tablescape design. I’d fallen in love with Ashley and Philip’s work and unique style after stumbling upon their blog a few years back, and after exchanging a few emails, just knew that they were the only photographers who could capture the genuine emotion and essence of our special day in a way that we will treasure for years to come. Everything else we kept whimsical and simple.

Ben personally wrote our entire inter-faith ceremony, and I put my artistic talents to work by designing and creating all of our paper elements by hand — including the cut-out paper heart fan programs, chevron seating cards, craft paper menus and handwritten notes. Inspired by old Miami photographs, the thank-you cards resembled real vintage postcards that displayed various images of 1920s Matheson Hammock Park, which were taken right beside the place where our reception actually took place. Each table was designated by a vintage Miami postcard image, showing different locations around Miami that holds special meaning in our relationship. From our mismatched bridesmaid dresses to the assortment of mini key lime pies in lieu of a formal wedding cake, traditional and matchy-matchy just isn’t our style. Our wedding reflected exactly who Ben and I are as a couple — fun, free-spirited and marvelously complex — in everything from the paper lanterns our closest friends helped us string up earlier that morning, to the Polaroid selfies our guests took instead of signing a guest book, down to the perfectly crisp fall weather and waves of positive energy flowing through atmosphere all evening. It really was the best day ever.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Panel Participation at UMSL

 Pursuing a Marketing Career UMSL Panel Discussion 9-25-2014

My friend Professor Perry Drake convinced me that I might have a nugget or two to offer as part of a panel discussion at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Drake has done an incredible job in connecting the dots between students, faculty, administration and the community. This is just one example. So, on the afternoon of September 25th the Summit Lounge was alive for a panel discussion with some industry executives around the topic: The Reinvention of Marketing. Organized by the Marketing Club the event attracted more than 100 people to the the session which lasted about just about 90 minutes.

The panel included Matt Coble (Fleishman Hillard), Lisa Keller (Purina), Amber Fox (Momentum Worldwide), Dana Biermann (Creative Circle), Carlos Gil (Save-A-Lot), Dan Stubbs (Condé Nast), Christine Brennan (Famous Footwear), Emily McNew (United Way) and myself. Patrick Eberle the UMSL Marketing Club president did an expert job as panel discussion leader/moderator.

The audience heard a variety of insights on what it means to be a marketer in an age of disruption and change. It is clear that college students still have a justifiable fair share of anxiety about landing a dream job after graduation. It is also painfully obvious that the roadmap to a successful career in marketing is an elusive one.  The panel represented marketers, agency personnel, talent acquisition people and human resources specialists. This cross section of expertise, it would seem, might have widely divergent views on the study and practice of Marketing. However, on this early Fall afternoon in St. Louis, the audience is treated to a tremendous amount of FREE advice. I hope, the net take-aways included a reasonable mix of fundamental wisdom, a bit of inspiration and healthy dose of motivation. Of course there was a flurry of tweets during and immediate following the event.

Some highlights that deserve mentioning: 1. Be committed to being a lifelong learner – especially with regard to digital media 2. Get connected on LinkedIn 3. Manage your social media accounts – It is becoming more common for employers to review of your social presence 4. Be true to your brand and follow your passion – the lines are blurring between marketing and other business areas 5. Pursue meaningful experience (e.g. internships, pro-bono, volunteerism) 6. Participate in trade and industry events.7. Sharpen your skills – particularly your ability to write well.

By the way – I did have a few things to offer this conversation but, as is often the case, I may have learned even more in doing so. Note: Kim Wells and Pier Alsup were not able to participate due to schedule conflicts.