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!

Aug 10

To Tweet or Not to Tweet: A Presentation to the VHRA

I’ll be facilitating a workshop tomorrow (Monday, August 16th) to the Vermont Human Resources Association.  The focus of the day is “Leveraging Social Media to Maximize Success in HR, Recruitment and Career Development” and it promises to be seriously kick@ss!

The lineup for the day is impressive and I am honored to be in the company of individuals such as Jennifer McClure of Unbridled Talent (@CincyRecruiter), Rich Nadworny of Digalicious (@rnadworny), Gahlord Dewald of Thoughtfaucet (@gahlord), Jennifer Graham of Competitive Computing (@jenniferggraham), Bibi Mukherjee of Curve Trends Marketing (@wookiesam), and Lisa Wood of Performance Web Soultions (@lisawood). There are others on tap as well, including former students @coreygrenier (now with Brandthropology) and @nicholemagoon (now with MyWebGrocer). The day will also feature @pmgnicole, @katmaund, @cresmer and @annzuccardy as well as Brandy Rudolph of Enterprise Services, Jeff Nolan of Dinse, Knapp and McAndrew and Kerin Stackpole of Bergeron, Paradis and Fitzpatrick.  Like I said, a great line up!

My workshop is about Twitter.  And while the title gives the impression that we’ll talk about the pros and cons of Twitter (which we will I’m sure), my emphasis will be on using Twitter in HR. It’s probably no secret that I believe that Twitter is a great tool that allows you to connect and engage with others — when used right. I’ll talk about what Twitter is, how I see Twitter and HR being a perfect pairing and how the HR professional/department can get started Tweeting.

So here is what my one hour session will cover as this is the post that I will send participants to for resources and information (it will be a paperless session on my part, and also a powerpoint free presentation too!). Just me, a room, a whiteboard, markers and an internet connection — and maybe some people.

  1. Introduction: Who am I to tell you to Tweet?

  2. Sort out levels of Twitter Use

    1. Tweetless – what’s twitter?,
    2. Grasshopper – I have tweeted about breakfast,
    3. Novice – I know the difference between an @ and #,
    4. Apprentice – I tweet and it updates my facebook status,
    5. Specialist – I tweet, I use third party aps, I have participated in a Tweetchat,
    6. Ninja – I use hashtags as throwing stars, tweet on the go, have live-tweeted a conference and maybe got a job interview or job because of it and I know what peeps are saying about me.

  3. Quick Vocabulary lesson

    1. “@” = Twitter name convention: @name
    2. “#” = Hashtag which indicates a specific keyword that others can search on: #vhra or #btv or #campchamp or #hrhappyhour
    3. “RT” = Retweet: when your original tweet is passed on to others either with or without comment. The more retweets the better!
    4. “DM” = Direct Message a private message between you and someone else
    5. “@name” = a message to that person and all the people who follow BOTH of you
    6. “TweetChat” = a chat session that is scheduled weekly or monthly using a specific hashtag. Participants respond to questions from the moderator in a free-for-all session that is archived online via http://www.wthashtag.com

  4. Twitter and HR: A perfect pairing

    1. External:
      1. Follow keywords having to do with the company = Listen
      2. Announce job openings = Recruit
      3. Vet applicants = Due Diligence
      4. Team with PR to share the “Good News” of the company = Brand Building

    2. Internal:
      1. Check employee sentiment = Morale
      2. Monitor/Share company news = Internal Communication and Recruitment
        1. Announce new initiatives/trainings/workshops = Internal Communication
        2. Announce benefit information = Internal and External Communication
        3. Share internal job listings = Internal Recruitment
      3. Avoid problem employees = Listen, Monitor and Watch

    3. Personal:
      1. Follow professionals in the HR field = Keep current, learn
      2. Participate in Tweet Chats = Network
      3. Ask questions = Finding answers

  5. Getting started on the road to HR Tweeting

    1. Appoint your Twitter “team”

    2. In consultation with Marketing and PR, set up an official company HR account that lists who the team is

    3. Brand the account with your Company branding (logo, colors, contact info

    4. Create a hashtag list (#jobopenings, #companynews etc.)

    5. Decide on the keywords YOU will follow and pay attention to (including the company name)

    6. Select a third party application to utilize to help you “listen” “follow” and monitor your HR Account
      1. Hootsuite
      2. Tweetdeck
      3. Peoplebrowsr

    7. Set up an account with Topify (http://topify.com/) which will help you in following people who follow you.

    8. Follow key HR individuals and influencers in your geographic region:
      1. TweepML and search on “HR” to find a great list of people to follow
      2. Twellowhood and look for businesses and key individuals in your geographic area to follow.

    9. Set measureable goals for success:
      1. X% new recruits through Twitter
      2. # of chats participated in that yielded new networking, exposure or learning opportunities
      3. X% of tweets are retweeted
      4. # of clicks on job postings

    10. Use Tools to help you monitor your goals
      1. Twitalyzer helps you to see your overall growth and influence as well as a host of cool metrics (which may or may not be important to you)
      2. Bit.ly is a URL shortner which will allow you to track clicks and mentions of your links (note if you use HootSuite, it comes with ow.ly)
      3. Have your web analytics team provided reports each  month on how much traffic is coming to the company website due to your efforts on Twitter

    11. Start tweeting! Remember to respond to others and join in conversations.
      1. Participate in #hrhappyhour or #u30pro (use TweetGrid or TweetChat to help you with the chat)
      2. Respond to questions
      3. Ask question
      4. Engage
      5. Have fun!
  6. Some things NOT TO DO:
    1. Do NOT set up an automatic follow-back. Vet EACH follower using Topify. Autofollows mean you will end up following spammers and pornbots which probably don’t fit your brand
    2. Do NOT set up an automatic DM for each follower. DMs are for when you know one another and need to have a quick private conversation — do not abuse it.
    3. Do NOT link your Facebook to your Twitter. Facebook allows for more than 140 characters which (normally) doesn’t work in Twitter.  Also you need different messages for different audiences.
    4. Do NOT measure your success by number of followers: that is a FALSE metric
  7. Resources:
    1. HRHappyHour: http://www.hrhappyhour.net/blog/
    2. Steve Boese: Professor and creator of HRHappyHour: @steveboese and http://steveboese.squarespace.com/
    3. Unbridled Talent: http://unbridledtalent.com/blog/
    4. Jennifer McClure: President of Unbridled Talent (and our Keynote speaker!) @CincyRecruiter
    5. Mashable Twitter Handbook: http://mashable.com/guidebook/twitter/

And there you have it — a whirlwind presentation with lots of links and guidelines.  Feel free to pass this on — I think it works for more than HR. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome and if I missed a great resource, please add it using the comments so others can benefit.

May 10

Women, Businesses and Winging It

Women Business Owners Network

I’m privileged to once again be invited to speak at the Annual May Conference for the New England Women Business Owners Network.  I’ve been asked to showcase “Who is doing the web right”. I’ve given it a lot of thought and have decided that this year I’m going to do things a big different.

In the past I’ve pulled up the presentation and walked attendees through a group of WBON Members who are doing some great things on the web using a variety of tools.  Frankly folks, I’ve played it safe.  I’ve prepped, used the PowerPoint with screen shots and laid each item out clearly.  Then, I’ve opened up the floor to Q&A. Admittedly, in the past, it’s been unclear if we would have internet connectivity so I’ve felt I should go in ready regardless.

Perhaps I’m taking advice from one of my students, Carolyn, who has pushed us all to “Get Risky” this semester but I’ve decided to NOT go in with a prepared “Presentation”.

Instead I’m going to “Wing It”.

Ok, well maybe not really wing it.

More like “intentionally be unstructured”.  I’ve pulled out three WBON members (Kim Dubrul, Laura Aridgides and Meredith Martin Davis) and completed a quick assessment which I’ll lead with and then…well…it will be up to the audience. I’m going to turn this into a full blown, on-the-spot critique/recommendations session.


Because while many businesses are making the right moves, the online tools and options keep changing so fast that we can always improve.

I’ll let you know how it goes after tomorrow is completed.

Cross your fingers for me that we have internet connectivity at the hotel — because if we don’t, I’m not sure what I’ll do for that hour!