Monthly Archives: April 2011

paper airplanes for mr. ben folds


On Thursday, April 14th, on of my favorite musicians came to The National theater in Richmond to perform. I purchased our tickets the hour they went on sale (determined not to wait and find out they were sold out, a mistake I have made before). This would be the third time that I saw Ben Folds in concert, and though extremely excited, it didn’t hit me until this particular show why I love and admire his style, music, and personality (or at least stage presence) so much.

My husband and I arrived at the theater after a very long day at work – we were both “too worn out to be excited.” We got in line, showed our IDs, got our wrist bands, tickets scanned, and finally stepped through the front doors. Upon entering, there was a large make-shift poster – just white with black marker – that read something like, “Ben is taking YOUR requests tonight, grab a sheet of paper, write down your request, and fold your sheet into a paper airplane – we’ll tell you what to do next…”

Side note: Two days before, I heard from an old college friend that the show was actually going to turn into a bit of a reunion. When my husband and I climbed the stairs to the balcony – we were welcomed by a large group of friends I hadn’t seen since our wedding in October. I can’t explain it – but I almost felt a bit entranced. After several tough weeks – here I was, with my awesome husband (holy crap – I’ve been married for 7 months!?), an old group of friends who happened to be in town, in this historic theater that just makes you feel a bit special, about to see this musician and artist that I felt so fortunate to be able to see!

SO – back to the airplanes and the point of inspiration for this post. Recently, Ben Folds released a new album – Lonely Avenue. A good one for sure, but I was worried that his tour this time around was strictly to promote the news songs. Much to my delight, after the opening act (an interesting personality for the “hit” show “The Sing Off”) the announcer came over the sound system and said, “Get your airplanes ready folks! 3,2,1 throooow.”

Photo by @jennharrington

Photo by @jennharrington

At that point, Ben Folds jogged on stage – dodging the planes, smiling, and waving. He immediately picked up the first in his reach and began playing the request! After a few songs, the talent of memory and skill made my jaw hit the floor. He played each song with such passion and commitment. If he messed up, he laughed it off, said oops in a charming and carefree style, and kept going. That’s it – that right there – I am sure he didn’t start off that way (or if he did, props to him). What I took away from this concert, that I wasn’t expecting to, was that he was able to pull off such an amazing show because he was so confident in his ability and relaxed about the fact that if he made mistakes he would recover. Despite bad chords, forgotten lyrics, and loud fans everything rolled along as if it were meant to be!

Photo by @jennharrington

Photo by @jennharrington

So what have we learned here? One, Ben Folds is still and will always be in my eyes AMAZINGLY talented. It’s just unreal! Two, a healthy balance of confidence mixed with humility can take you extremely far – it’s so important to not hold yourself back before you even start – imagine if Ben had said “Oh no, I’ll never be able to play that piano!” – just for example. And three, treasure moments that can teach you more about your self and those around you than you expected them to be able to. Don’t let the luxuries that have now become the norm be taken for granted – learn from them, remember them, and pass on your new knowledge.

As always, thanks for reading. And Mr. Ben Folds – thanks for sharing your fun, quirky, astounding talents with the River City!

“Singing” off,*

Sara

*Just a note, if you’ve never seen “The Sing Off” – this misspelling was an intentional play on the title.

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March of Dimes | March for Babies


As many of you may have seen in my quick description – I am, in fact, a very proud new Auntie of my adorable twin nephews named Alex and Evan.

These sweet babies have endured quite a journey already!
sweet babies

My strong and inspiring big sister is fundraising for the March of Dimes, March for Babies. Any donation you are willing to share is greatly appreciated!

Thanks so much!

Sara

new marbles for my readers


After a busy weekend – (aren’t they all!) – I just checked in to do some research on new topics and trends that should spark an interest for my post pipeline.

In the meantime – what better way to find out what you all are interested in learning and reading about than simply asking!!

So, with that in mind – are there any topics or trends you’d like to learn more about through our growing collection of marbles here? Don’t be shy – share away!

Have a wonderful week everyone! The next planned post should be a recap of the SkillPath Seminar Social Media Marketing Conference being held in Richmond tomorrow. Here’s hoping its a good one!

Thanks for reading!

local young professionals rally in richmond


Last Thursday, March 31st, I attended my very first HYPE Richmond event – the first annual 804UM (“4 – UM, Forum – get it?!)
HYPE 804UM iamge

As a marketer who is always craving more information and insight from fellow professionals in our city – I must share that I was extremely impressed by the speakers, the sponsors and partners, the welcoming volunteers, and the overall energy of the event.

PINKK imageHeld at the Omni in downtown Richmond, attendees entered the beautiful and well suited venue to be met by friendly volunteers at the registration table. Upon checking in, there were several local organizations set up at various exhibit tables – Susan G. Komen for the Cure with P.I.N.K.K., the Richmond VMFA, and SCAN just to name a few examples – at which young professionals were encouraged to visit, network, and learn more about opportunities for volunteering with each organization.

After a welcome and kick-off that set the energetic tone for the day, reminding professionals young and old about the capability of their impact on our city, the first order of business was to choose a breakout session to attend. Based on my field of work and goal of professional development, I chose to attend “Building a Brand” presented by the Vice President and Group Planning Director for The Martin Agency, Katherine Wintsch. For what could be perceived as an intimidating title to young professionals, Katherine was welcoming, forward thinking, and realistic to future trends throughout her presentation. A few key highlights that I took from this breakout:

– When you think of your brand, What is your story? What do you stand for? It must be something greater than just what you are selling.
– We are living in a Digital World (haha, you could put that to the tune of “Material Girl” by Madonna if you wanted to be corny and fun!) BUT IT’S SO TRUE! – “We are living in a DIGITAL WORLD!”
– This new world is changing relationships, business models, response time, instant gratification expectations
– In 2012, 71% of Americans will have mobile phones – most of them will be Smartphones!
– Providing utility is KEY!
– We can no longer out spend or out shout, we must out smart

*Reminder here, none of these are direct quotes, just personal takeaways from the session. I believe the intention is for HYPE to post presentations at some point, and I will share link when they are posted if requested.

After a quick sugar break, all attendees returned to the main meeting room to brace themselves for the energetic and enthusiastic keynote speaker ahead. Andy Stefanovich refused to let our minds rest and zone. He began his keynote by literally jumping up and down, speaking emphatically, getting us to cheer and encouraging us to express “BRILLIANT” when an idea was shared that sparked our minds.

Look At More imageLearn more about Andy and his firm Prophet and about many of his insights and philosophies in his new book, Look at More .

#BRILLIANT

One more quick networking and coffee break and we were ready for the final speaker of the day – another breakout session that we had to choose. I attended “Entrepreneurship: Building One of the Best Small Companies in America” presented by a local RVA CEO & President, Shawn Boyer of Snagajob.com. He shared openly the BIG questions you must ask yourself before embarking on your own business, the decisions made for his own endeavors he was proud of, and those he learned a great deal from through trial and error. The recurring theme throughout his presentation, you ask? Choose the right PEOPLE and establish a CULTURE that fosters them.

As a fitting conclusion to an encouraging and forward thinking day, Tom Silvestri, the President & Publisher of the Richmond Times-Dispatch held a quick recap forum, asking all attendees to express what they enjoyed, what could be improved upon, and most importantly – what they were going to take from the FILLED day and do with it? For themselves, their firms, and their community.

After attending such an event, I can honestly say that it makes me proud to be a young professional in a city full of plenty but somewhat still un-realized potential. The important thing to do from here is to keep the momentum going and spread the positive mindset throughout the city, to young and old, natives and newly moved. It’s up to us as young professionals to stay informed, stay motivated, stay connected, and see where all of this hard work and enthusiasm will lead us!

As always, thanks for reading!

just a little excited!


For those of you who have been following all of these crazy marbles, I am extremely grateful and excited to say that one of my marketing marbles resulted in some fun news from the Virginia Chapter of the Society of Marketing Professional Services this week. SMPS National was kind enough to publish the Member Spotlight below on our recent Rising Star Award presentation and other educational successes for the chapter. I am so proud to be a part of this chapter and organization and so thankful for the fellow marketers I have met along the way.

SMPS Member Spotlight

News: This March, I proudly accepted the 2011 Rising Star Award from SMPS Virginia! For the past year, I have thoroughly enjoyed helping to lead SMPS Virginia’s educational efforts as a regional Brownbag Coordinator for the Richmond, VA, area. Also, as support to our communications efforts and social media initiatives, I manage our organizational Facebook page and Twitter profile.

Fun Fact: @SMPSVA was recently listed in ZweigWhite’s AEC Press List as a “Must-Follow AEC Twitter Account”!

# of years in the A/E/C industry: 3

How has SMPS helped you in your career? This year would not have been the same had I not become a member of SMPS VA. In addition to my membership, my involvement with the board and my role on supporting committees have sparked a new love of volunteering for an organization that strives to educate and inspire marketing professionals in the A/E/C industry. The professionals I have had the opportunity to meet and work with and the events I have attended have been invaluable. They have provided me the insight to bring forward-thinking ideas to my firm.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: As a social media manager for KSA Interiors and SMPS Virginia, I find tools such as Digsby and Hootsuite extremely valuable! Check them out!

If you write for your firm, or are involved in trending research, and have not already subscribed to Copyblogger, do so! This site keeps trending topics and copywriting tips coming!

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. I have always wanted to write a series of children’s books. To travel the nation reading fun stories to hopeful and happy faces would be incredible! I also enjoy sharing articles about writing, marketing, events, and other fun things through my blog, “A Jar Full of Marbles.”

What I did at work yesterday: Began by planning our approach options for several upcoming business development meetings and conferences, scheduled calls for targeted client and strategic teaming introductions, monitored and updated posts for KSA Interiors’ and SMPS Virginia’s social media sites, released KSA’s latest email marketing blast linked to our company blog “What Inspires You?” and prepared for a day of mentoring and training with our current marketing intern.

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