Sep 15

Making a difference in the world is about to get easier

ShareYourselfHave you ever wanted to change something in your community? Build something that helps others? Contribute your skills to a project where you know there will be social good?

Good intentions are awesome, but making those intentions a reality is not easy. Between time constraints, figuring out what to do, and making the right connections, it can be overwhelming.

This is why I’m so excited to be part of a start up team for a new platform called ShareYourself. It’s been conceptualized by my good friend Stu McGowan and Lauren McKenna. I get to be the older lady on the team bringing my wisdom to the awesome talents and energies of the youth helping to build the platform. It’s an awesome opportunity for me to share my skills in helping to create something that I believe can really make a difference.

We’ve got social media to help us be social. What about social media that helps us make a difference in our communities in a meaningful way? A way to share more than an opinion or click a like button but to really, finally be able to use social media to not just do good, but to make a difference…solve a problem…create opportunity!

This platform is being designed to help people create new projects, join up with those who already have a project — the focus is all about people sharing their skills from around the world to make a difference in our global community.

In order to kick it off, Stu is bringing a team of us together so we can build the platform out in a hard core hackathon in October. We’ll be making this happen, fast and furious under the watchful eye of a man who knows what it means to make a difference in a local community (just go back up there and click that link on his name to learn what he’s done for Burlington) but in order to pull it off, Stu and Lauren are asking for some help through a KickStarter Campaign.

They need to raise $15,000 to help pull off the SYS Hackathon — they’ve got over $8,000 raised so far and are more than half way to their goal. The clock, however is ticking, and there’s a little over a week left to raise the rest.

So take a few minutes and watch their video and consider donating to the Kickstarter. There’s some cool incentives…but really, don’t you want to be someone who has helped to get a really meaningful social media platform off the ground so you can join others as they make a difference in our world?

More so than ever we need a platform like this. Take a risk with us and back our KickStarter. Share Yourself!

Aug 15

Advice to the Class of 2019: OWN your Education

It’s that time of year again. It’s back to school! So many of my friends are posting first day of school pictures of their young ones heading on to the bus or off to the classroom. I remember those days but now that my daughter is in college, my “first day of school” is much different.

It really begins with convocation. Here at Champlain College we have convocation on the Friday before classes start. Friday morning is move in day, get settled in a bit, say goodbye to your parents, convocation, and then various and sundry other epic adventures, capped off with academic orientation on Saturday morning. Want details on it all? By all means take a look at the Champlain College Orientation 2015 schedule!

Over the years, I’ve found that listening to the President’s speech and watching as students and families say goodbye has been both heartwarming and nostalgic. Up until last year it was the picture of things to come…and now I remember watching my daughter go through it as well. I enjoy convocation where we have the opportunity to see our incoming first years (this year is the Class of 2019), salute an outstanding citizen and hear words of wisdom from the Lyman Professor. Last year, my colleague and friend Dr. Nancy Kerr even brought props!  You can read her speech on our website.

Dr. Nancy Kerr and Dr. Mike Kelly (holding the typewriter)

This year, however, is going to be a whole new experience for me. You see I’ll now be the one standing up on that stage dropping words of wisdom on the incoming class of 2019. I have been awarded the honor of being the Lyman Professor for this year which comes with it a few nice perks and the privilege of giving a speech at convocation.

As I’m sure you can imagine this is both an honor and actually something that is quite overwhelming. I’ve spent the summer noodling on this and what I wanted to impart upon the incoming class and finally, this weekend as I sat on a rock by my pond, it started to gel.


And here it is. Already Friday. And I’m about to give that speech. According to my daughter it is pretty good…actually she said “That’s going to be amazing”. Here’s hoping so.

For those of you who are unable to attend the convocation in person, here’s what I ended up writing.

Wow. Look at all of you. The Class of 2019!

I just listened to the President’s speech over at Akin Lawn and watched as you headed off in your groups and left your family members. You’ve mostly moved into your dorms if you live on campus, and for those of you living off campus, you’ve probably gotten the lay of the land at this point. Most of you are now, officially, “on your own”. Perhaps for the first time.

How does it feel?

How many of you are excited? … thrilled? … nervous? …. anxious? ….hungry?

Last year at Convocation my colleague and friend Dr. Nancy Kerr encouraged students to take out their cellphones and take a selfie, or a picture of the crowd and document this moment. I’m going to continue that tradition and encourage you all to take a minute and go for it. Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook…just use the hashtag #champ2019. Go ahead. I’ll take my own and wait for you.

Oh and if you want to, go ahead and Meerkat or Periscope this speech, or live Tweet it. I can’t speak for my platform partners up here, but while I’m speaking go right ahead. I’ll trust that you aren’t going to just text random stuff to your friends. Naturally, texting what I have to say is ok, though.

So here we are. Getting ready to embark on a grand adventure together. Each of you filled with a variety of emotions — emotions that I feel too. I’ve watched this process of first years entering Champlain for almost 15 years and I’ve even watched my own daughter go through the process too. As a professor and a parent this time of transition is filled with all sorts of awesome. Really. There’s pride, wonder, nostalgia, worry, and even relief. As I thought about what I’d say today, and all the “advice” I wanted to drop, I realized that everything I had to say could be boiled down into one very distinct and specific message.

This education thing you’re doing? The next four years of your life? It’s yours. Let me say that again. It’s YOURS.  It belongs to you. This is no longer high school where you go through the motions because everyone tells you to. This is college. This is expensive. But no matter who is paying for it, or how you are making this work in your life, remember that this education belongs to you. So own it. If you love what you are doing, then stick to it. If you don’t then switch your major. Don’t let your families, your friends, even your professors have so much influence on you that you don’t pursue your education to its fullest. The next four years are so full of learning that you cannot be passive about it. Face each day with a sense of purpose because you never know what the day will bring and what you will learn from it. Yep. This is YOUR education.

I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many students during my time at Champlain. And I’ve watched all of them come in as first years and over the four years (sometimes five) that they have been here, I have watched every single one grow, change, and become young professionals who were ready to take on the world when they graduated. Trust me when I say to you that the person you are today, sitting here at Convocation, is NOT the person you will be in four years when you graduate from Champlain College.

The emotions you are feeling today are there because you know deep down inside that you are getting ready to embark on an adventure that will expand your mind, change your point of view, increase your knowledge, and make you a different person. I’m here to tell you that it is one of the most awesome experiences you can have. Look forward to it. Be excited and above all be open to all that is coming.

We live in times of great change. Every day we are reading news about challenges our country is facing. We are entering an election cycle and you all will have the opportunity to vote in your first presidential election. You are on a college campus where you can learn about other’s points of view. You can get involved and engage with clubs, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Student Government Association, Sustain Champlain — heck you can learn how to raise bees and sell honey! You can practice civic action and get involved with our Center for Service and Civic Engagement. As a student here you can exercise your voice and if you are unhappy with something this college is doing, you can band together and change it. Here is where you begin to learn that you not only have a voice, but you can use that voice to have a positive impact on those around you.

Every single moment you are at Champlain College is a learning opportunity. A step towards your future you. Think about it. Every single moment. Even right now.

In and out of the classroom you can take steps to your future you. And here are some things that will get you there:

Help each other. Right now, turn to the people around you and smile. A smile is the first step to friendships. Go beyond your dorm and your major. Some of the most powerful and long lasting friendships I’ve seen students make have come from being open to accepting others into their lives.

Take advantage of every opportunity. Be curious and open minded. Take on internships and work-based experiences. Say yes to study abroad. Get involved. Start a club. Challenge your stereotypes. Push your boundaries. Each time you do, you’ll be rewarded.

Use your resources. You’ve by now heard all about our “human touch”. (You just heard it from Pres. Laackman when he talked about Mind, Heart and Body.) Well it’s not just marketing (and I know marketing). Professors and staff actually do care. You aren’t alone here. Really. When you have questions, when you are uncertain, when you don’t know what action to take, even if you don’t know what question to ask…reach out to one of us. We will help you.

Remember that College is HARD. Change is HARD. Learning is HARD. So be kind to yourself. Eat well, get enough sleep. When you are feeling stressed, you are not alone. Your peers are stressed too…whether it is class work, personal life stuff, missing your family and friends, feeling overwhelmed…know that you are not the only person feeling this way and remember what I said earlier about using your resources. Don’t hide. Talk it out. You WILL be ok! 

Do NOT be afraid to FAIL. College is where you learn. When you FAIL remember that it is just your First Attempt In Learning. Entrepreneurs talk time and time again about the amount of failure they had before they succeeded. Now is the time to fail so you can learn and be ready when you enter the professional world. Don’t let failure stop you. EVERYONE fails. You belong here. Take it in stride. Learn from it. Grow.

Finally, relax. Chill Out. Enjoy the experience. Remember that there really is nothing so bad that it cannot be worked out. 

And above all, resolve to






Because you are awesome and you are here at Champlain College where we know you will flourish as you embark on one of the most amazing journeys of your life.

Apr 15

Oh The Places You Will Go. #HireThisGrad

It seems just like yesterday when I wrote the post about students in the Fall 2014 Marketing Capstone class and their Professional Digital Identities. And yet, here we are a few months later and it is time to highlight another crop of outstanding soon to be professionals.

If you follow this blog you know that each semester that I teach Capstone, the students are required to build their online Professional Digital Identities. Essentially they are creating/building/maintaining their online brand. As a marketing professional who will have to utilize online tools to be successful, being able to showcase how they used some of those tools to promote themselves is an important challenge.

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What have these students learned?

  1. How to find their voice. This is not easy, as many of us know. It takes practice and time to figure out the right balance between personality and professionalism.
  2. Which online channels have the biggest reach and impact on SEO. For some students ego searches on their names are easy and spit back all their results, for others (like myself) there is always one or more “alter-egos” that get in the way. Producing content on multiple channels allows students to learn which channels help raise their content faster.
  3. Managing multiple channels is not easy. It takes work. It takes time. It takes dedication.
  4. It takes a village. Linking to one another, sharing each others content, supporting one another, enables students to increase their visibility in positive ways.

I really can’t wait to see the places these students will go…and just maybe you might get lucky enough to hire one of these amazing graduates! In this group we have several who are already employed, others who have amazing travel aspirations, ones who plan to move on to graduate school, and a few others who are actively seeking opportunities. So without further ado, may I introduce you to the Spring 2015 Marketing Capstone Students:

Mikayla Caprio

Mikayla Caprio

Meg Carrington

Meg Carrington

Steven Charnley

Steven Charnley

Melissa Chase

Melissa Chase

Luke Garnet

Luke Garnet

Julia Haass

Julia Haass

Sarah Hebert

Sarah Hebert

Katherine O'Neil Murphy

Katherine O’Neil Murphy

Julia Nittler

Julia Nittler

Casey Reagan

Casey Reagan

Kayleigh Vespa

Kayleigh Vespa

Christian Williams

Christian Williams

Jake Wollman

Jake Wollman

Emily Zelko

Emily Zelko

So check them out and connect with them on LinkedIn. Watch them launch and be ready for the great things these Champlain Graduates will accomplish. And as always don’t miss your opportunity to #HireThisGrad.

Oct 14

Hire This Grad: Fall 2014

unemployed-lol-cat4I love this time of year. It’s the time in my Marketing Capstone class when the seniors have been working on their Professional Digital Identity (PDI) projects enough for the “big reveal”.  We are past midterm and in just a few short weeks (six to be exact) they will be presenting their final PDI to the class and to professionals in the field.

The PDI project is one that we’ve been doing in the Marketing Capstone for some time. The guidelines are pretty straightforward and are based on the fact that to be a marketing professional in a digital age, a student must show that they are more than proficient with social, blogging and analytics tools.

This semester there are nine outstanding seniors, three of which are graduating in December, who are getting ready to transition into the professional world. This is your opportunity as potential employers to get a sneak peak at their awesomeness!

Like what you see? Better reach out to them right away! I’ve got students who have had three – four internships, studied abroad in China, held down full time jobs, managed projects for clients and know social media tools, analytics, event planning, promotions, video, digital marketing, and can communicate clearly, professionally, and confidently.

In other words…you better move quick employers because they are going to take the world by storm!

Time for you to #hirethisgrad

Chrissy Delphia: Event Planner

Chrissy Delphia

 Taylor M. Downs: Community Manager and Dog Lover

Taylor M. Downs

Jenna Giguere: Arts Marketer and Dancer

Jenna Giguere

Mikey Gongwer: Event Promotions, Copywriter, Avid Skier

Mikey Gongwer

Alex Greenberg: Videographer, Storyteller, Skateboarder

Alex Greenberg

Kyle Judd: Digital Marketing, Event Management, Beer Aficionado

Kyle Judd

Jake Keohan: World traveller, International Foosball Champion

Jake Keohan

 Wylie McKenzie: Digital Marketer and Homebrewer

Wylie McKenzie

Isabelle Monticolombi: Fashion Maven and Community Manager

Isabelle Monticolombi


And there you have it. Nine awesome young professionals ready to take on the world. For those of you looking, Taylor, Alex and Isabelle graduate this December. Everyone else graduates in May.

What are you waiting for?


Sep 14

EPIC 2015. Welcome to the Future.

I started teaching Internet Marketing in Y2K. Yep, I’ve been teaching this topic since:

  1. Google was a fledgling little company — they filed for incorporation in 1998.
  2. Before Facebook existed — they launched in 2004, and opened up to more than .edu in 2006.
  3. Before Twitter came on the scene — they started gaining popularity with a launch at SxSW in 2007
  4. Prior to YouTube — which had it’s first video uploaded in 2005
  5. Amazon started selling things other than books — which began in 2000 when they opened their kitchen store

I’ve been around long enough to see many things come and go, and to build curriculum that I believe will help my students to leverage the good side of all of this tech.  I’ve also been around this stuff long enough to see the dark side. To watch, and wonder, and worry about where it all taking us.

Like many people I watched Minority Report which came out in 2002 with fascination and thought…there is our future.


But perhaps most prophetic of all was a little film created in 2004 by Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson as part of a presentation they gave that year as they considered the future of journalism. They released a second version in 2005.

I began showing this video in my classes as soon as it came out. It sparked a great deal of conversation because it was future looking. Students were often skeptical of the concepts raised and didn’t really see the issues with a network that is built to show just those things that are relevant to someone based on their browsing and reading history.  The history of the early start of social networking sites, Google, Amazon, and RSS feeds is fascinating. And then somewhere in there…they move from what they know…to what they envision.

You can watch EPIC2105 here:

And so here we are. 2014.

We have Facebook which serves up maybe 10% of the content an individual is subscribed to. We have retargeting of advertising. We have Twitter which is rumored to be planning an algorithmic timeline approach based on individual interests. We have Amazon which feeds us up recommendations and content based on what we’ve searched for both in Amazon and on the web. Google results are personalized to location and ads are served up to us based on our browsing history. We have multiple “Buzzfeed” type sites that serve up snippets of information that we share to our friend networks, influencing what they see. News items come through our Facebook feed, or on Twitter. Our newspapers are getting smaller, many of us use the Daily Show and Colbert Report to get our news.

We are tracked, data mined, and put into content buckets. We are segmented. We are wearing technology that monitors our every move, and Apple has provided us with an Apple Watch that will make our days more convenient and will make sure our heart still beats.

So you tell me? Are Minority Report and EPIC 2015 just works of fiction or are they prophetic works that envision our world today?

Judge for yourself.  I already know what I think.

Sep 14

Teaching Twitter at #WEOC14

I will be presenting tomorrow at Senator Patrick Leahy’s 18th Annual Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference. My topic is Twitter. I’ll be kicking off the afternoon with a beginners workshop and then ending the day with an advanced workshop.

The challenge, of course, is that there is only one hour for each workshop. However, I think I’ve captured the basics in my presentation decks.

GETTING STARTED WITH TWITTER (1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.)

Learn the basics of Twitter from crafting a strong bio, to navigating the interface, and constructing meaningful content. We’ll debunk myths about followers, learn how to manage the settings and get you ready to start Tweeting like a pro! This workshop is for those who are getting ready to kick off a Twitter profile. Either you’ve never used Twitter before, or you have just started and are not sure what to do next.

I love teaching a “getting started” workshop on this tool. I’ve been Tweeting since 2007 — I can’t believe it’s been over seven years that I’ve been working with this tool.


I get a lot out of introducing people to just how powerful and interesting this tool is.  In this workshop I’ll cover the basics. From what Twitter really is to understanding the interface and how to write your first Tweet. My goal by the end of the hour is to get people interested enough that they will jump in and give it a go!  View my presentation.

TAKING TWITTER TO THE NEXT LEVEL (2:15 p.m – 3:15 p.m.)

Move beyond the basics of Twitter and learn how to curate and leverage favorites and lists. Participate in Tweetchats to promote your brand and build connections. Manage multiple accounts with third party software, and track clickthrough rates. We’ll also cover basic Twitter analytics to measure success. This workshop is for those who have been using Twitter but want to take it further. Ideal for small businesses and individuals alike.

In this more advanced course, we’ll be covering some great features of Twitter. I’ve highlighted ways in which I use Tweetchats, will be talking about some tools that I’ve used to manage Twitter, and the new release of Twitter Analytics — which I’m really having fun exploring. twitterstatsnew


Here’s the presentation for this session.

This is my first year at the Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference and I’m looking forward to talking with the attendees about something that I enjoy so much.

Oh, and this is also a perfect opportunity for me to plug an upcoming version of the Twitter for Dummies series featuring former Champlain College student Brittany Leaning as one of the authors!


Sep 14

Providing Economic Opportunity for Women in Vermont

18th Annual Women's Opportunity Conference I love living in Vermont. Not only is it a beautiful state, we have amazing conferences and opportunities for individuals to learn and grow.  One such opportunity is looming on the horizon and I’m privileged to be one of the workshop presenters.

The 18th Annual Women’s Economic Opportunity Conference kicks off on Saturday, September 20th at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, VT.  This conference, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy is designed to provide women in the state with a way to brush up on their skills, get support for entrepreneurial projects, and help them take their small businesses to the next level.

And it’s FREE.

And there is childcare!

Yes, at a time when conferences are available to people all over the country for big fees — often unattainable by many hard-working Vermonters — Sen. Leahy brings together individuals from all over the state who donate their time to help other Vermonters.  Then, he and his staff make the conference free for anyone and take down one of the biggest barriers for women by providing child care at the site.


Donna Carpenter, President, Burton SnowboardsTake a look at some of the amazing individuals who will be presenting on topics that include Leadership, Financial Management, Entrepreneurship, Social Media and Marketing, and even Cyber Security (for a full list, take a look at the speaker’s bios):

  • Donna Carpenter: President of Burton Snowboards will provide the Keynote
  • Chris Herriman: Economic Development Specialist at SBA
  • Susan Palmer: Leadership Consultant
  • Heidi Krantz: Agricultural Business Advisor for VTSBDC
  • Carmen Tall: Teacher with Mercy Connections
  • Sara Munro: Director of Communication and Strategy at Vermont Design Works
  • Barbara Dozetos: Owner of Above the Fold Marketing
  • Kelly Walsh: Director of Girls’ Programs at Vermont Works for Women

There are many more individuals who are coming together to provide coaching, tips, and information to conference attendees.

I’m looking forward to presenting two workshops on Twitter — two out of the 30+ workshops that are being offered on this day (here’s a list of all the workshop offerings).

Getting Started with Twitter

Learn the basics of Twitter from crafting a strong bio, to navigating the interface, and constructing meaningful content. We’ll debunk myths about followers, learn how to manage the Twitter_logo_bluesettings and get you ready to start Tweeting like a pro! This workshop is for those who are getting ready to kick off a Twitter profile. Either you’ve never used Twitter before, or you have just started and are not sure what to do next.

Taking Twitter to the Next Level

Move beyond the basics of Twitter and learn how to curate and leverage favorites and lists. Participate in Tweetchats to promote your brand and build connections. Manage multiple accounts with third party software, and track clickthrough rates. We’ll also cover basic Twitter analytics to measure success. This workshop is for those who have been using Twitter but want to take it further. Ideal for small businesses and individuals alike.

This conference has been going on for many years, and it is uplifting and pretty cool overall that year after year Vermonters come together to offer up a wide range of workshops and coaching options for one another. The more we can do to encourage and empower women businesses owners, entrepreneurs, and employees in the state, the better off for all of us.

I hope I get a chance to see you on the 20th. Please come up, introduce yourself and say hi!

Sep 14

Developing your Professional Digital Identity

Each semester when I teach my marketing Capstone course, the students engage in a semester long process to build up their personal brand. We call it the PDI or Professional Digital Identity. Throughout the years it has been updated and tweaked a bit, but has primarily stayed focused on helping our graduating seniors show their expertise not just in digital marketing tools, but also in content development, while highlighting their passions and interests.

The results of their work have been outstanding and many students have been able to secure internships and jobs because of what they practiced and learned through this assignment. Just see for yourself and look back over the years on this blog by reading the #ccc410mkt tag.

I’m quite passionate about this particular project and over the years have seen first hand just how important it is for students to complete this work. And yet, at the same time, I see how it is becoming even more important for most individuals to take a hard look at their online identity and make sure it reflects them in a way that will help them professionally.  Don’t believe me? Check out this handy infographic posted at UndercoverRecruiter from Reppler that tells an important HR story:

How Employers Use Social Media to Screen Applicants

So here are five things I think everyone should do to develop their own PDI. Oh, and if you want to see what my students are required to do just take a look at the PDI assignment guidelines.

  1. Google yourself. You might be surprised by what you find.
  2. Assess your current social media content and “professionalize” it. Delete content that could get you overlooked, add content that will spark employer interest. Be sure to maximize the security and privacy settings on tools like Facebook and take control of the content that is posted about you.
  3. Make it easy for people to find you. Pick a username and use it across all your social profiles. Put links to all of your online content sites on all of your online content sites. For example from this blog you can find all of the social accounts I am active on. From my LinkedIn you can find my blog, from my G+ you can find all my accounts as well as my blog.
  4. Pick one or two online tools to create content with — and build quality content about yourself. A blog is a great way to start, but if you don’t feel you have time for that, then use Twitter, or tools like Medium to create smaller, more manageable content, or go visual with Prezi, or Instagram, or Pinterest. Make sure you do put quality effort into LinkedIn.
  5. Build your network. Use LinkedIn, Twitter, and Klout to find people to follow, read, and connect with. Share great content. Try to meet people in person when you can. Participate in Tweetchats that have to do with your chosen field.

It’s not hard to do, but in today’s digital workplace it’s becoming even more vital that you have a Professional Digital Identity that will help you … not hinder you. Want to see how you stack up? Try this handy PDI Rubric I created for my students.

Oh, and as a special BONUS: take a look at Brandyourself.com for a handy way to increase the visibility of several of your online profiles for free. You can also take a look at Reppler to help you as well.