So much can be said for simplicity. Some of the best summer days are the ones where you wake up, head to the beach, and spend all day laughing and lounging under the sun without computers, toys, or artificial entertainment. The same can be said for our trip away: although it hasn’t been exactly simple (traveling from Calgary –> Toronto –> Ottawa –> Austin for an awards gala and two different conferences!), the most meaningful moments have been stripped from all fanfare and drama and have been, in their essence, simple. (To catch up on the last few posts from our time away, check out a few of these updates.)
That being said, the Omni Hotel in downtown Austin is anything but simple:
Chocolate-covered strawberries upon arrival!
I did what any self-respecter, tired traveler would do upon arrival in the room:
Let me assure you – it was glorious.
So what was simple about our first night? Some needs: we were hungry and tired. So we grabbed some grub downstairs and hit the hay, wanting to be ready for a full upcoming day.
The next morning began simply: with a workout in the gym. Twelve minutes of 3 simple moves back to back + 3 minutes of simple core work and 200 simple kettlebell swings later, Mikey and I were tired, happy, and ready for breakfast!I’m always on the lookout for accommodations with healthy food options, and with breakfast being my favorite meal of the day, I was thrilled with the simple but nutritious foods available. There were steel cut oats, lots of fresh fruit, fage yogurt, strong coffee, my favorite nut butters, and many delicious hot options (french toast, waffles, and omelettes). Especially after a hard workout, I love a tasty, simple breakfast to fill me up and get me going.
At breakfast we sat with our friends, Pat and Lee Taylor, and Pat and Mikey left to chat about their Plenary Session the next day. With our film, Wrong Way to Hope, as the featured film, their focus was “The Emergence of Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer in Film.”
But first, there were breakout sessions to attend! Mikey and I wanted to engage in every moment possible and soak up all the offered information, and the first session we chose was called “How to Speak to the Media” by Jen Mills, Emily Peterson, and Amy Berry. It was jam-packed with information about public relations, including very practical “how to” moments with the opportunity to reflect on your own company/work and really highlighted the elbow work that has to go into solid PRC for a company – it’s labor intensive, requires hard work, and thrives best off of building into relationships with the media around you. This was extremely helpful for Mikey with his new job at the Tom Baker Cancer Center in Calgary as well as for me personally as I begin to re-establish my job as a mobile personal trainer.
The second session we attended and loved was entitled, “R2iSMASH: Tapping the Social Web to Reach Potential Members and Donors.” This session, run by Brock Yetso, Craig Lustig, Chris Chodnicki, and Samantha DeVita, was also full of relevant information because in the new field of young adult cancer, learning how to engage with and utilize social media goes a long way. Those affected directly (young adult survivors) are plugged into sites such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, and knowing not only how to work those sites but also how to engage in and build a community using those sites is extremely beneficial. Some key points to share that benefit everyone using social media:
1.) Get your house in order. In other words, perform a social media “audit” on yourself or your company in order to know how much of an influencer you are and whether or not you are truly engaging with your followers. (Helpful tools include Google Analytics, Hootsuite for Twitter, Facebook Insights, Klout, YouTube Insights, and Radian 6.)
2.) Publish audience-centered content that’s relevant. If the information isn’t applicable, then it doesn’t really matter! We all want to be spreading news as advocates, but we have to make sure what we’re spreading is information that those in the community want to hear. And lastly,
3.) Engage members and build relationships with influencers and brand advocates. Although the workshop was set up with a company’s social impact in mind, the information can certainly be brought to a personal level too as most of us today are using many, if not all, of the social media platforms out there. Those relationships must be maintained throughout the year and grown so they can take off on their own, member to member.
I was also reminded that it’s important to use each resource to its fullest advantage. For example, Twitter might be a great place to repost fast-acting, timely news targeted toward your demographic, while Facebook might work better for people posting photos and engaging with community events through your page. I learned a lot from the speakers of both sessions and left with tools for how to engage in the different communities I’m a part of. Again, it’s a very simple, consistent message that was “preached” today: relationships count. Building and maintaining relationships is what’s most important! The researchers must have empathy along with the knowledge and data; speakers must know not only their facts but how to communicate their lessons learned; the social networking sites are only as good as those who use them to affect change in others. It’s that simple!
Today was an equally full day with thoughtful sessions, including Mikey and Pat’s session with Andrew Jenks from MTV’s show, “World of Jenks.” The all spoke simply and effectively and let their films speak for themselves.
A full crowd; Facts vs. Wisdom; Andrew, Mikey & Pat
Simple. Effective. Focused on what matters most. I’m off to get ready for a fun social event out at a downtown restaurant, Maria Maria, and look forward to continuing to connect with others in this lively, passionate community. I’ll be back with some simple workouts and (hopefully) some simple shots of a fun night out!
Tell me, what is an aspect of your life that, although simple, contributes to a your life with great impact? For me it’s a simple, solo run on a trail, seeing the Golden Gate Bridge again after time away from home, and hearing other people’s stories. All simple but powerful parts of my life.
Live well & be well, friends!