Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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Answering the Question: What Do I Do?

hands-typingSince leaving my old job in May, I now frequently get asked what kind of work I do. So, I figured I’d take the time to spell it out here.

The gist is that I am a writer and consultant (mostly marketing and communications) for nonprofits, social justice organizations and social enterprises. I also do a little magazine writing, and hope to expand that soon. Now and again, I do other odds and ends upon request or for friends, but writing and consulting is really the core.

I particularly love partnering with small organizations. I’ve found that many of the people who run and are employed at those organizations do so because they have a heart for the work, but may not be strongly suited for the strategy when it comes to communications and marketing. This is where I come in. I have always loved helping small businesses grow, and being in on the ground floor to build them up. So, when I apply my skills to their needs, I can help them get their message out in a bigger and better way. And in working with those three types of businesses (nonprofits, social justice organizations and social enterprises), I am ensuring a greater success for the types of companies that I want to support personally and see thrive.

Here are a few examples of the work I’ve done so far, and an introduction to some of my fantastic clients:

  • Atlanta Dream Center: They protect and support the area’s most vulnerable populations, including the homeless, at-risk children and women who have been trafficked or prostituted. Among other things, I wrote many of the communications pieces for their annual benefit dinner, such as the website, save the date, invitation, newsletter announcement, press release and sponsor package. I also created a marketing plan that they can use to more effectively organize the event moving forward, and provides a comprehensive strategy for the who’s, why’s and how’s of the annual dinner. Additionally, I consulted on all aspects of the dinner, and was able to give marketing and communications insight they didn’t have before. All of this resulted in their most profitable fundraiser to date—by far! I have been a volunteer with them for the past three years, so I was beyond excited to see them surpass their goals, and for a new audience to become aware of their amazing work.
  • Habitat for Humanity: Ok, so you’ve probably heard their name before. They provide safe, affordable homes to individuals and families around the world. Habitat is a solution to the global housing crisis, and while I’ve always had great respect for the organization, it’s in overdrive now that I’ve learned so much more about them. We both celebrate the big 4-0 this year, so I’ve been rewriting some of their web pages as they prepare for a new digital online presence. And I’ve been able to work with a friend from college, so that’s been fun too.
  • Connect Faith: I started writing for this magazine several years ago when I was at Orange because the focus is Christian event planners, and I fit that mold at the time. So, it’s been a place where I could use the knowledge from that job to help educate and inspire others in that field. I also attend a lot of Christian conferences, as you already know if you’ve read this blog much at all, so I could share the things I was learning with a larger audience. They are a great publication, and it’s been fun working with them. I hope to also be able to write for some of their other magazines soon. And, as I mentioned above, I hope to write for other publications as well before too long, particularly in the areas of social justice and travel.
  • Be the Bridge: This budding organization utilizes resources and conversations to further racial reconciliation. They believe that the Church must become a bigger answer to this issue, and are equipping people to host racially diverse small groups that create open lines of communication.  We should not be having the “race conversation” as only white people or only black people, but as friends and Christians. My friend, Latasha, started this organization because she was willing to have the awkward, but necessary conversations, and build bridges that foster healing. It’s important and timely work. They just held their launch parties here in Atlanta a few weeks ago, so I assisted in strategy and communications, and also did live Tweeting, Instagram and Facebook during the two inaugural events.
  • Dr. Bombay’s and The Learning Tea: This darling little tea shop in Atlanta’s Candler Park neighborhood funds “life scholarships” for girls in India. With these funds, girls can go to college, have a safe place to live, and have all their basic needs provided for. And her chai tea is my absolute favorite! I was introduced to Katrell, the owner, in 2012, and we’ve been friends ever since. I even traveled with her to India in July 2015 to meet the girls! I provide ongoing communications and marketing consulting services for both organizations, as well as for her book, Tiger Heart.
  • Naeem Fazal: My friend, Kitti, collaborated with Naeem on his first book, Ex-Muslim. It’s really fascinating and funny and heart-warming, so check it out. She was unable to collaborate on his second book, so she recommended me. We’re just getting started on the book proposal, so we have a long way to go. But it’s been fun getting to know him. This project falls into more of the odds and ends category, but my friends who know I’m working on this ask me about it a lot. I guess books are just more interesting. 🙂
  • TrueNorth: I just started working with them, and I’m really excited about the work that they do! My friend, Anne, started this organization just a couple of years ago after working with women who had been trafficked and prostituted. She decided that she wanted to work more “upstream” to focus on more of the source and start of the issues, rather than toward the end when women had already been abused. I think that is a terrific strategy. So, she is creating resources and providing information to combat our sex-saturated culture. Porn is a huge issue now, which probably isn’t hard for you to understand. But did you know that kids as young as eight are now seeing pornographic images, and most porn is consumed while individuals are at work? Anne wants to get to the root of that issue, and also help remove some of the shame associated with these behaviors so that individuals, children and families can get the help and freedom they so desperately need, and can only be found in Jesus. She currently speaks about the issues, and is working on a book and Bible study, and will also soon be expanding into events. So, I’m assisting in the writing, strategy and execution of their year-end giving campaign. I can’t wait to see her work and presence in the community grow!

Hopefully now you have a better understanding of what I’m doing now that I’m a full-time entrepreneur. It’s been so fun to partner with these causes that I believe in, and to do different kinds of work that furthers good things in the world.

If you know of anyone that I can help in these ways, please reach out! (Website coming soon!)

PS: Don’t I have some amazing friends? I’m so proud of them, and blessed to be a part of their work.


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Catalyst Labs Notes & Quotes

catalyst-labs-tag-and-bookOnce again, I attended the annual Catalyst Conference two weeks ago here in Atlanta. My favorite day of the conference is Labs. It’s the day where you get to choose who you want to hear, and tailor the topics more to your interest. I was able to sit in on some great ones this year! Check it out…

Reggie Joiner, founder of Orange

  • When you establish a habit of showing up for others, it may change you more than it does them.
  • You may need to change the way you think about influence. It’s not necessarily success, power, authority, etc.
  • Influence has to be earned.
    • You have to keep showing up.
    • Don’t pass judgement. Press pause.
    • Empathy amplifies the truth. It doesn’t change it.
    • Pause to imagine or pause to interact.
  • When you open the door to Jesus, you ope the door to wherever He takes you.

IF:Gathering Lab 1 (Jo Saxon, Vivian Mabuni, Jennie Allen, Tasha Morrison)

  • Jesus sets our example for racial reconciliation.
  • People of other colors are not our tokens. They need to become friends.
  • John 17, we must be a credible witness – Tasha
  • Creating new laws and amendments are not the same thing as dismantling the system. – Tasha
  • It’s ok for you to listen to someone else’s pain, and not know what to say. But please listen. – Jo
  • It’s ok for you to hear someone else’s pain and not know what to say. But we need to listen. – Jo
  • The Church has been the taillights when it comes to racial reconciliation, when it should be the headlights. Aren’t we the ones who have HOPE through Jesus? – Tasha
  • If you are someone with a platform, maybe you should use it to pass the mic to someone else with more knowledge on this issue. I have a black son, but I do not know what it is to be black. – Jennie Allen
  • Always start with prayer. – Tasha
  • Get to know People of Color as people first. Change happens when we find commonality and develop real relationships. – Tasha
  • Diversify your life in small ways first. – Tasha
  • Reconciliation will cost you. It could be pride or comfort, or even your politics. It’s hard work. – Tasha
  • I can support the police while speaking up for justice. – Tasha
  • Get off social media, turn off the TV, and get some real-life People of Color friends! Don’t try to understand our culture from a media perspective. It’s often wrong. – Tasha

IF:Gathering Lab 2 (Jenni Allen, Lindsay Nobles, Tasha Morrison, Rebekah Lyons, Esther Havens, Liz Curtis Higgs)

  • Romans 12:4-6 Message, Christ’s body and its many parts
  • In each of our life stages, we feel at some point that we are drowning.
  • Guilt and shame are entirely different. Shame is not of God. Guilt needs to get our attention. And guilt is the only time a good, Christian girl can say, “Go to hell!” – Liz 😉
  • Many times we are so overwhelmed in our world, we stay confined there. When in fact, we should get perspective and distraction from other people’s world. We forget that we are all living someone else’s dream. Be grateful for where you are, and run with it. – Esther
  • Look up “Simply Christian” by NT Wright (permanence, proximity and presence)
  • We all need 3:00 a.m. friends. Be the one to lead with vulnerability. – Rebekah
  • Be brave in saying what you need.
  • Your vulnerability is one of the greatest gift you have to give. – Rebekah

IF:Gathering Lab 3 (Lindsay Nobles, Esther Havens, Tasha Morrison, Vivian Mabuni, Jennie Allen, Jo Saxon, Liz Curtis Higgs and Rebekah Lyons)

  • Don’t put the pressure on others to come to you. Go to them. If you are white, put yourself in a place locally where you are in the minority. Sit in it for a while. – Tasha
  • Joshua had to be told to be ‘strong and courageous.’ We all feel inadequate in the beginning of big dreams. – Jennie
  • We don’t have to be afraid of what God tells us to do because He has bigger and better plans ahead anyway. We just have to start down the path. – Liz
  • It’s better to proactively get counseling for a year than to wait and need it for 10. – Jo
  • Your platform is not a place to do your therapy. Go first as a good example, but do it in a good and responsible way. – Liz
  • What are the visuals that people see in your church? For example, are all your missions pictures of white people saving the poor, black people? What does this communicate to your children? – Jo
  • If you have a multi-ethnic or diverse church, it doesn’t mean that you’ve arrived. The issue of racial reconciliation isn’t a box to be checked. It’s an ongoing conversation. – Tasha
  • Your church needs to be a safe place for kids of all ethnicities. If it’s not, the children of color will take impressions, feelings, memories, comments and even micro aggressions into adulthood. I know I have, and so have my friends. The Church should be a place where all feel welcome and wanted. That is what the gospel is all about. – Tasha


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Yellow Conference Notes & Quotes

IMG_1555.JPGLast week I had the privilege of attending the Yellow Conference in Los Angeles for the first time. If you aren’t familiar with it, the event is for creative and entrepreneurial women who want to do good things in the world. This is only the third year of the event, and there were about 500 of us present. It was a lot of fun, a great time for learning, an opportunity to make new friends…and perhaps even land a few new clients.

You can see their photos here, and read their event recap.

And below you’ll find many of my highlights. I hope to be there next year, and see you there too!

Jess Eckstrom, Headbands of Hope

  • Because I know I can ___, next I’m going to . . .
  • Achieving a dream isn’t a finish line. It’s crossing a border into a new territory.
  • Gamble on a possibility of “yes” rather than buckle into the safety of “no.”
  • The fear of failure versus the feeling of regret.
  • Passion must outweigh your fears to move forward.
  • Just because something is not your job doesn’t mean it can’t be your responsibility. Inspire a solution.
  • It’s not about what we do when we dream. it’s about what we do when we wake up.
  • Every expert was once a beginner.
  • A bucket list is a dream so vivid that it inspires action.
  • Life’s most defining moment is when you discover what you want and what you do about it.

CJ Casciotta, Creative Director in Nashville

  • Hosts “Like a Movement” podcast
  • Movements are started by weird people with audacity.
  • 1. Find the weird. 2. Write the story. 3. Gather the weirdos. 4. Hack the normals.
  • Movements are “me too” machines.
  • Weird ideas explode when they case to be the authors and start becoming the readers.

Kirsten Dickerson, founder of Raven + Lily

  • Live SLOW, and thoughtful.
  • Check out her mini house tour outside of Austin!
  • S – Simplify
  • L – Live in the moment. We all still have to avoid the tyranny of the moment. Don’t check email for a while after waking up. Leave space in your life to respond to the needs of others.
  • O – get Outside.
  • W – be Willing to ask the who, what and where of everyday choices.

Jedediah Jenkins, travel writer

  • Your dream for your life is the thing you were meant to do.
  • Your goal is a version of your dream, but not the big thing.
  • What do you want to spend 10,000 hours doing so you can be the best at it? (Gladwell’s Outliers principle)

Elle Luna, #ChooseMust

  • The crossroads of should and must.
  • Make less art. Become art.
  • “Should” comes with a lot of expectations. Should is from the outside in.
  • “Must” is the truth of who you area.
  • “Should” is a “must” in training.
  • The first thing a prisoner needs to understand is that they are in prison. 🙂
  • Fill your canvas. Choose your story.
  • TED Talk – job vs career vs calling
  • Find your “must.”

Krysta Masciale (krysta @ bigdealbranding.com)

  • You can kick butt from a gentle place!
  • There is nothing more powerful than a brand who owns it.
  • When were you last functioning in your sweet spot?
  • Don’t choose to be a replica. Choose to be yourself.
  • Intersection of values and talents, and where the market exists = that’s where each of us needs to be.
  • No one buys the knock-off without wishing they could afford the real thing.
  • Identify your top five values. The people with those same values will find you.
  • Is the thing you want for the world also the same thing you want for yourself?

Tim Harris, Tim’s Place

  • Live an awesome life.
  • 1. Love people.
  • 2. Work hard.
  • 3. Believe in yourself.
  • 4. Believe in others.
  • 5. Think happy and show it.
  • 6. Use your super powers.
  • 7. Don’t complain about the darkness. Be the light.

Alexis Jones, I Am That Girl

  • Passion is the audacity to get back up.
  • Insecurity will destroy you.
  • When were we as women convinced that we were competing against each other?
  • Surround yourself with people who are crazy enough to believe in and share your dream.
  • Con you sit in discomfort? Comfort will drain creativity.
  • Connect your dots. What got you to this place?
  • It’s your job to teach people how to treat you. You are the only common denominator in your relationships.

Julia Woods, Beautiful Outcome

  • You have to learn to value yourself first.
  • Your impact is valued by those closest to you. Impact those closest to you first, then go bigger.
  • You need to make the biz side of your biz your friend, not your enemy.
  • Friends are fun. Find time for them. You understand each other. You need each other.
  • Find time: education. Weekly investment. Set aside dedicated time.
  • Understand each other. Love without judgement. Scarcity/abundance principle.
  • Social media is the running conversation around your brand.
  • Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
  • Understand each other. Be a generous listener. What do you need? What does it need?
  • If you can’t do what you do profitably in 40 hours per week, it’s not a practical business. But you can also give it a year or so to get there.
  • Make sure you have an accurate representation of what goes into creating and delivering your service. Cost of sales includes what it would cost you to replace you.
  • Taking care of each other’s needs:
    • How do I know what to charge per client?
      • Desired salary x 2.5 = gross sales
      • Desired hours worked / average time per job = job production
      • Job production /  sales = average number of jobs needed
      • Dived “desired hours” by 1/3 due to 1/3 admin and 1/3 marketing
      • Include 11 months instead of 12 for vacation/holidays
    • How do I price per product?
      • Total cost x 4 = price needed

Wilkinson Mazzeo Law

  • Work with a lot of creatives, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, startups, causes etc.
  • Offer one free hour of legal advice for women business owners.
  • Based in San Diego, but work all over.
  • Why have a Creative Services Agreement?
    • Professionalism, clarity, guidance, ownership and exit
    • If you have clients under a previous CSA and then revise it, you must use language that the old one is void with new CSA.
  • Copyright 101
    • Necessary for copyright protection:
      • Fixed in a tangible medium (written, recorded, etc)
      • Original (originated with the author)
      • Minimal creativity (low threshold)
    • Automatically applies:
      • No registration necessary, unless you want to bring a lawsuit.
      • Takes 6-8 months to obtain.
  • Trademark 101
    • Rights are created through first use, not registration.
    • Must act as a “source identifier” for your goods/services.
    • For registration:
      • Must be distinctive.
      • Must be likely to cause consumer confusion.
      • TM for unregistered and circle R for registered.
  • Ownership
    • Work for hire (They own it.)
    • License (They use but you own.)
  • Exit
    • Includes what happens if you reach an impasse with your client and can no longer work together.
      • Kill fee or 30 days, etc. Includes options for both sides.
      • Also include right/option to use for other things.
  • CSA should include
    • Payment
    • Timeline(s)
    • Point of contact
    • Rounds of revisions (usually two, then fee)
    • Ownership of work product
    • Satisfaction clause
    • Indemnity
    • Expense reimbursement
    • Severability and non-waiver
    • Termination
  • Resources on their website

Meg Long, KnowYourMoneyHoney.com

  • Why money stuff matters:
    • You won’t know when to celebrate win.
    • You’ll be paralyzed by decisions.
    • You won’t know how to solve business problems.
    • You’ll have a scarcity mindset.
    • Your creativity suffers.
    • You’ll default to anxiety.
  • Managing your money is part of good self-care.
  • Deep down, money is really about identity.
  • Money is inherently tied to emotion.
  • Find a friend you can be real about money with.

Lindsey Witmer Collins, Create Your Compass

  • Track your cash.
  • Track your time.
  • Track your agreements.
    • Do what you say you’re going to do.
  • Honor yourself.
    • Listen to your body.
    • Trust yourself.
    • Listen to your body.
  • Honor your process.
    • Be cool with the ups and downs.
  • Be someone with a solutions mindset.
    • Be helpful.
    • Opportunity for learning and leadership
  • Get community.
    • Invest in it.


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I’m Headed to The Yellow Conference

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 8.38.45 PM

I’m excited to be heading to The Yellow Conference this week! It’s my first time at this event, which is dedicated to creative and entrepreneurial women. And as an added bonus, it takes place in my self-adopted second home of Southern California. Should be an awesome event!

Follow along with me:
Instagram

Twitter

I’ll have notes and quotes for you next week!


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Plywood Presents: Notes and Quotes

FullSizeRender 11This is a conference I look forward to every year. It’s fun, I’m able to see old friends, and it’s locally-focused. The last item is what makes it truly unique. The people who speak are not only inspiring, but most often, they’re doing something remarkable in the Atlanta area. So, while I love hearing big names from big companies, Plywood is really awesome because I can also usually say that the speaker or company is just miles away from me. It gives me plenty of chills and warm fuzzies.

Jeff Shinabarger, Plywood founder:

  • Sit with people that don’t sound like you.
  • Learn from people that you want to sound like.
  • Share with people that engage your advice.
  • Everyone has something to give. Everyone has something to learn.

Gregory Ellison, Fearless Dialogues:

  • Sometimes things have to break down to have a break through.
  • “The longest journey we have in life is from our heads to our hearts.” – a lady he knew growing up
  • “I don’t know how to change the world, but I can change the three feet around me.” – his Aunt Dottie

Hank Fortner, Adopt Together:

  • World Adoption Day
  • People who need love don’t care how old you are.
  • 19 million orphans in the world, 500K in US foster care, 25% of kids who age out of the system are homeless, 80% in jail, 30% are pregnant, 80% end up in prostitution and 56% wind up unemployed. The system is seriously failing these kids.
  • Family is the answer to almost everything.
  • Lots of organizations are doing great things, but they are all working piece-meal instead of in concert.
  • Barriers to adoption are finances, information and community.
  • Adopt Together allows micro financing for adoptions.
  • Lessons learned:
    • Always throw a party.
    • Never give up space.
    • Always remember the details.
    • Never get stuck in the details.
    • Always solve a problem.
    • Never burn a bridge.
    • Always tell your story.
    • Never lose your story.
    • Always give.
    • Never forget extrinsics.
    • Always make money.
    • Always say thank you!

Ron Clark, founder of the Ron Clark Academy:

  • Met everyone of his neighbors and invited them to be a part of the work in this run-down, dangerous neighborhood. It took four months.
  • Passion. Innovation. Creativity.
  • When you bring good energy to a place, negativity leaves.
  • Your team determines your success.
  • Spend 15 minutes on an idea. Decide if it should continue, and then leave it or pour your heart into it.
  • Live like it’s your life!
  • Treat fairly, not equally.
  • Put your energy into the people that actually make a difference, not the negative slackers.

Brian Pape, founder of MiiR:

  • Buy consumer products, then decide where we want the money to be sent. We get follow-up info about the progress of the projects.

Andrea Sreshta, Luminade:

  • Add water to the vessel as the battery. Remove water for the light to go out. Great for disasters and places with little/no light.

Curious Katheryn, 10-year-old entrepreneur:

Patrick, Nisolo shoes:

  • Artisan shoes, ethically-made
  • Focus on work culture. A good culture attracts the right people.
  • They own their supply chain.
  • Check out the book “Essentialism”

Tripp Crosby, producer, comedian, sketch artist:

  • It’s easy to take yourself too seriously.
  • When you’re obsessed with expanding, you risk enjoying the process. And when you’re not enjoying the process, you risk the opportunity to expand.
  • What’s the thing you should be enjoying but you’re not?

Brent Trapp, Booster:

  • Lead with outrageous care.
  • Notice the good things.
  • Obsessive commitment to investing in people.
  • Act like a friend.
  • Live with ridiculous joy.
  • Outrageous care breeds outrageous loyalty.
  • How will you treat your people?

Ruthie Lindsey, speaker/stylist:

  • Love people well.
  • You can live a beautiful life despite your pain and circumstance.
  • Choose joy.
  • There is always hope.
  • When we are open and honest, it forces others to do the same.
  • When we live in our pain, it’s all we can see. We need to find the joy so we can live there instead.
  • Pain can make us better and more whole.

Chris Marlowe, Help One Now:

  • Doing good can be simple and easy. Love first.
  • Find your fight.
    • Find something(s) that you can really dig deep with. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Help where you can.
    • Stick around for the transformation.
  • Go far. Go the distance. Give your life.
  • Go forward. Innovate. Care. Solve.
  • Doing good can be simple and significant.
  • Do good. Do good well. Do good together.

John Lewis, activist and US Representative:

  • We must care for the spark of divine in ourselves.
  • Love may be a slow process, but it’s always worth it.
  • There is power in peace.
  • There is a price to be paid for the work of peace. You must decide if you’re willing to pay it.
  • Without music, the Civil Rights movement would’ve been like a bird without wings. We’d often sing to each other across our cells, both men and women, because we were separated by both gender and race.
  • When you see injustice, make a little noise. Don’t stay silent.
  • “Just love the hell out of everybody.” – MLK
  • Get into good trouble.

Safia Minney, People Tree clothing:

  • Check out her “True Cost” documentary about slavery in the process of making clothes.

Travis Mason, Public Policy and Government Relations at Google X:

  • Macro behaviors are derived from micro moments.
  • Reverse assumptions.
  • Combine domains.
  • Invite the novice.
  • Its the difference that makes the difference.

Kim Biddle, Saving Innocence project:

  • LA County  rescues from child sex trafficking.
  • Average age for trafficking victims is 12-14.
  • 100K children are trafficked per year in the US.
  • We are connected, and deeply affect one another.
  • We are all human. Empathy begins at that place.
  • Impact is relational.
  • Choose to love.
  • Know your season. Run the race. Rest when needed.
  • Keep yourself seen. Cultivate community. Get professional mentors. Find spiritual mentors. Redesign your failures.