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posted by Apprentices Jul 31,2013 @ 09:54AM

America's New Frontier: Made In Detroit

What kind of people forge full-speed ahead into treacherous territory with little but a dream and no guarantee for success?

Americans have been doing it for centuries, and I’m sure the parents of those early pioneers thought their children had lost their ever-loving minds. But what kind of country would we be without these fearless lunatics? Their undying optimism laid the foundations for some of our greatest cities: Chicago, St. Louis, and San Francisco – to name a few.

Then there’s Detroit. It’s almost impossible to miss the ubiquitous coverage of the city’s demise. But squeezed between the contentious debate over the city’s bankruptcy and the photo essays detailing infrastructural decay, the story of a new American pioneer is slowly unfolding.

They are the native Detroiters who stand their ground, seeking innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities to strengthen their community. And then there are the newcomers – many young people – who come for the cheap rent and stay with the hopes of playing a part in the city’s rebirth. Some of these people have even left behind sensible upbringings and beautiful suburban lawns. I’m sure their parents are horrified.

It’s a story equal parts inspiration and terror. You can participate in the next great chapter of American history, but if you get hurt in the process, it might be hours before an ambulance arrives. I can’t help but be excited when I hear about the folks who brave it anyway.

Amidst the ruins, a new generation of lunatics is dreaming. They see their destiny inextricably linked to the city they call home. New ideas and businesses are emerging. There are tech startups, ad agencies, super cool small businesses, and local eateries. There are also household names completely reinventing themselves.

True, Detroit has a long, long way to go, and the journey will be perilous. There is no guarantee the risk will even pay off. But like so many pioneers who came before them, the people who invest in this city, both literally and figuratively, share a common perspective.

Detroit isn’t a wasteland to give up on. It is a new frontier worth conquering.

(Oh, and for the naysayers out there, things could be worse. I have two words for you: Dust. Bowl. )

posted by Julie Turner Jul 29,2013 @ 06:52AM

Monday mornings.

Monday mornings we have a traffic meeting. It’s actually a great way to start the week. Sometimes it’s the kick in the pants you need to get moving on an impossibly busy workweek. Every now and again we enjoy a genius prank (see Exhibit A above). Ryon doodles. Cathy Instagrams. There’s usually at least one retweetable moment.


Today as I looked around the table I noticed something else about this crew of coworkers. As usual, the seats were full and the talk was everyday: weekend fun, old deadlines, new deadlines, upcoming projects. For the first time today I saw the other something that’s part of our Monday morning ritual.


Even on a Monday morning while the first pot of coffee is brewing, no problem is too complex. We are not derailed by surprises. It’s not a matter of if it’ll all get done; it’s when. How lucky am I to work among so many talented, fearless professionals?

My good fortune is never more clear than on Monday morning.


posted by Cathy Monetti Jul 23,2013 @ 11:28AM

5 Simple Lessons in Effective Communication

My husband and I were tooling around Ocracoke Island last summer when we came upon this sign. It caused such a shift in my brain I've remember it since.

The sign could have said: Children At Play Or End State Maintenance Or even Nobody's In A Hurry Here, Pal.

But none—not even the Ocracoke attitude version— would have gotten my attention as immediately. Why?

The sign offers five lessons in effective communication, all well demonstrated:

1. Get to the point.

2. Say just what you mean.

3. Use words real people use.

4. Be truthful.

5. Fight for simple.

So often, we marketers are guilty of over-complication and (worse) ambiguity. We would do well to remind each other clever is never the goal. Communication is.

posted by Keely Saye Jul 12,2013 @ 11:21AM

[SURVEY] Social Media for Business Training Program

The Inbound Marketing Division at Riggs Partners is currently developing a training program based on growing demand for social media and inbound marketing for businesses and nonprofits. If you are a business or nonprofit marketer interested in a training program such as this, please take a few minutes to answer these eight (8) questions. Your feedback will help us develop a curriculum better targeted to your needs and interests.



Social Media Marketing


posted by Kevin Smith Jul 08,2013 @ 11:48AM

City Year: 20 years of volunteerism in Columbia

I so enjoyed Dr. Walter Edgar’s recent interview with SC native Mary-Louise Ramsdale. While attending law school in Boston, Ramsdale attended Serve-a-thon by City Year, a new domestic Peace Corps that began in 1992. Inspired, she proposed that Columbia be the second city to host the new program. City Year Columbia celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. As a whole, City Year has grown to include 24 US cities as well as programs in London and Johannesburg.

Through City Year, young people volunteer a year of service upon graduating high school or college. They work in classrooms to assist teachers in bringing students at risk of dropping out up to grade level. What a meaningful step to take before beginning college or career.

In that spirit, we congratulate City Year and its volunteers past and present. We are proud to have served City Year in its tenth year through CreateAThon, and pleased to have former City Year volunteer, Jenni Brennison, among our ranks.

posted by Teresa Coles Jul 02,2013 @ 09:58AM

Service Unites: A New Perspective

Points of Light Conference

I recently had the opportunity to attend the Points of Light Foundation’s Conference on Volunteering and Service in Washington, DC. I knew it was a big conference with a big agenda and big-time speakers. (It took me DAYS to figure out what I would attend and when).

What I didn’t expect was the huge impact it would have on me, and on my perspective of what it means to serve.

I came to DC with the mindset of making connections on behalf on CreateAthon, spreading the message of our pro bono marketing program to anyone who was kind enough to listen. I knew I would meet people from nonprofit organizations and CSR minded companies who were great supporters of employees’ community service efforts.

The conference’s theme of Service Unites was clearly demonstrated as an agent for bringing people from various political, racial, religious, age and geographic boundaries together. But when I walked into the opening session and found myself in a sea of 5,000 people dedicated to service in one form or another, I was quickly overtaken by the real essence of this gathering.


For three days, I walked in and out of inspiring conversations, thoughtful roundtable discussions and brainstorming exercises. Whether those conversations centered on the work of nonprofits, corporate social responsibility efforts, or national service programs, everything came to rest on the possibilities that exist when we look past our personal perspectives and through the broader lens of humanity.

It was a powerful reminder to me that CreateAthon is really about expressing our humanity. By sharing the talents we’ve been given as creative professionals, we can grow as human beings while making an impact on the lives of people in our local communities. Given the momentum behind CreateAthon, we now know our work can have an impact around the globe (more to come on that).

Chris Jarvis of Realized Worth put it best during what can only be described as a three-minute homily at the end of a luncheon. “All of the work we’ve been talking about,” he said, “all boils down to creating better people.”

My thanks to Points of Light for an amazing experience and for their leadership in making better people of us all.

I encourage you check out the conference highlights and to learn more about these and many other incredible service initiatives that are happening across America. There’s a place for your gifts, here.




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