The Universal Language

For the past six months I have had the distinct pleasure of working with Cor Jesu Academy to help launch a capital campaign and to recruit new students. When I started, I didn’t really know what to expect, as my educational and religious background is different than that of this all girls private Catholic high school.  From day one I have felt very welcome at Cor Jesu, and have been taken aback by the friendly but firm, casual yet professional and highly educated staff and the optimistic attitude of the students.

 

At first I thought the beauty of this situation could be attributed to the fact that my stereotypes from high school days of the students and staff that turned out to be anything but true.  Indeed, this was a lesson to myself about not judging other people before you meet them.  But as I thought about this further, I realized there is more…much more…going on here.

 

You see, Cor Jesu is a ministry of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus where adoration, liturgies, theology classes, community prayers and campus ministry are all part of everyday life.  In other words, Cor Jesu is all about serving Jesus and God and helping transform the world to be a better place.  As a deeply spiritual Christian, this is something to which I can relate.

 

I now realize that the staff and students at Cor Jesu speak the same Universal Language that I do, and for that I am most thankful.  I can honestly say that if I was currently raising a high school age daughter, I would send her to Cor Jesu.  This is a real life lesson in the power of faith across spiritual lines, and it is a blessing indeed.

Finally, Validation of Freelancer Hives’ Effectiveness After 20 Years

The February 3, 2014 Wall Street Journal article titled ‘Freelancers Find It Pays To Link Up’ brought long-awaited and much-needed validation to the business model that The Workman Company has been operating for the past 20 years.  The article describes the growing trend of independent marketing practitioners banding together with other solo operators who have complementary skills—and marketing themselves as a one-stop shop for clients in innovative arrangements known as ‘hives.’ Here is the link:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324136204578642353957488308?mod=wsj_share_email

Why might you ask that, after 20 years in business, that I feel the need for validation of my business model?  I will answer this, but first a little background.  The Workman Company started on ten days’ notice after Edelman Public Relations closed their St. Louis office and one of the national accounts that I managed followed me out on my own.  I promised a full service PR agency working out of my house, which led me to retain the services of other solo practitioners in graphic design, video production, photography and website development.  Within the first year I was operating what today is called a hive.

Fast forward twenty years and 40 clients later, and my hive is still pretty much intact, albeit some of the faces have changed.  I also provide PR services to several other hives, so today I operate under two names:  The Workman Company and Workman Communications Group, which is my hive.  What hasn’t changed is the maddening lack of acceptance of this hive concept in the corporate world and among the larger agencies I compete against.  I have been told countless times by prospective clients that they don’t like the hive concept.  Of course they say it in nice ways, such as:

–        “We want to see an office with people working together on our account.”

–        “We prefer a larger agency with more infrastructure.”

–        “Your bench is too short.”

Ironically, these are the very criticisms often leveled against larger agencies and their higher fees.  Virtual offices are in vogue, as are the technologies that keep us well connected.  Corporations know they can outsource marketing functions, which is why there are more solo practitioners today than ever before.  So why the continued resistance to hives?

Perhaps hives should just call themselves agencies without walls.  Because at the end of the day, what matters most are results, great client service and the lasting impression that agencies should not be measured by the size of their payroll.

A TV Talk Show Features Craig Workman and the PR Industry

I recently appeared on the local television public affairs talk show called On the Move to discuss the state of the public relations industry and to look at the Workman Communications Group’s active support for Project COPE. The ways that corporate communications, brand management and media publicity are accomplished have obviously changed forever, but I am a diehard believer that well-thought communications and clear writing — not techno-speak and PR spam — are just as valuable as the medium upon which they are carried to their intended audience. Here is a link to the show…its runs 23 minutes plus commercials. let me know what you think. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0yZ7bYkRxywME9SN19neUFRQ1k/edit

Workman Company Celebrating 20 Years With New Brand, New Service Project

The Workman Company is celebrating its 20th year in the public relations consulting field by upgrading its brand and initiating a pro bono community service project for the nonprofit organization Project COPE. Founded in September 1993 as a public relations agency, The Workman Company has developed a broad network of professional communications partners that have significantly expanded the scale and depth of services offered to its clients. To underscore the importance of this effective client service model, The Workman Company has rebranded itself as Workman Communications Group.

“Workman Communications Group is the name that most accurately describes who we are today,” says Craig Workman, President of Workman Communications Group. “We offer a single comprehensive resource for an extensive range of business consulting and communications services, including internal and organizational communications, management and corporate communications, and external business and marketing communications. Our clients are better understood, accepted, admired and respected by current and prospective customers, and by the public at large.”

To mark this 20-year milestone, the agency is also undertaking a pro bono community service project to organize a new social enterprise for Project COPE, a St. Louis non-profit organization. Project COPE has been providing community re-entry support services and transitional housing to selected ex-offenders for the past 27 years through volunteer team partnerships.

Workman Communications Group is creating a partnership in which Project COPE will provide the entire workforce for a new St. Louis company utilizing a new sustainable technology to recycle used tires. Approximately 25 full time jobs will be created for ex-offenders as part of this partnership, with additional revenues going directly to help Project COPE expand its organization.

“The biggest obstacle to successful community re-entry for ex-offenders is gaining steady employment,” says Adrienne Denson, Executive Director for Project COPE. “This social enterprise will provide jobs for all of our Partners and prepare them financially to eventually live independently.”

“Project COPE helps make our communities safer, strengthens families and save Missouri taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual re-incarceration costs,” Workman added. “This social enterprise is bringing new business and jobs to north St. Louis. This is a win-win for everyone.”

Twenty Years Later The Workman Company Still At It

Workman Group Celebrates 20 Years

The Workman Company will soon begin its 20th consecutive year of providing leading St. Louis-based companies with strategic public relations and leadership communications services. During this amazing journey I have had the distinct privilege of ‘living the dream’ with my own public relations agency and providing clients that I truly care about with indefatigable representation of their best interests. Through word of mouth, client recommendations and participating in the mandatory “cattle call” agency shootouts, I have had the pleasure of serving a steady stream of quality clientele with mutually rewarding outcomes.

The Workman Company started auspiciously enough, when on ten days’ notice my employer (Edelman Public Relations Worldwide) abruptly closed its St. Louis office and let everyone go. With no savings, no office, a word processing machine and the verbal commitment of one prior client to ‘give me a try,’ I made my own commitment to turn this lemon of a situation into lemonade. Within a year I was thriving, thanks to three additional clients who each put their faith and trust in me based on my work with them under previous employers.

Since that first year, more than 80 percent of my client work has been provided on a monthly or annual retainer basis. I believe this is a testament to the caliber of results, creativity and quality services I and my colleagues provide to each and every client. And with more than 40 clients served through the help of numerous staff members and subcontractor colleagues, I am humbled and thankful for everyone involved.

Success begets success, and we are now starting our third decade in business with sustained vigor and a newly sustainable view of business and life.

Business Banchares Profit Up 48 Percent in Q2

Business Bancshares Inc., the holding company for The Business Bank of St. Louis, reported net income of $958,000 for the second quarter ended June 30, up 48 percent from the same quarter of 2011.

“Earnings momentum accelerated during the second quarter, as loan quality continues to improve,” said Larry Kirby, president and CEO of Business Bancshares Inc. and The Business Bank of St. Louis, in a statement. “Our focused efforts to improve asset quality over the past several years are now substantiated by our improved results.”

The company reported total assets as of June 30 of $487 million, down 5 percent from the same quarter last year. Net loans declined $24 million during the same period.

The Business Bank of St. Louis, the primary subsidiary of Business Bancshares Inc., reported net income for the second quarter of $1.1 million, up 23 percent from the same period last year. Nonperforming assets declined to 3.65 percent as of June 30, down from 3.85 percent at June 30, 2011.

Business Bancshares, led by President and CEO Larry Kirby, is a single-bank holding company. The Business Bank of St. Louis was founded in 2002 and has one location, at 8000 Maryland Ave. in Clayton. Business Bancshares Inc. reported net income of $1.6 million in 2011.

S. M. Wilson Donates $30,000 to The Dream Factory

The Dream Factory of St. Louis received a donation of more than $30,000 from S. M. Wilson & Co. through the company’s 6th annual Charity Golf Tournament held recently at Glen Echo Country Club. More than 50 organizations involved in the local construction industry participated in the event and supported S. M. Wilson’s fundraising effort to help children with critical and chronic illnesses to realize their dreams. Since 2007, S. M. Wilson has helped raise more than $200,000 for The Dream Factory of St. Louis.
“Monies raised at the tournament will help grant the dreams of many children battling serious illnesses,” said Bene Messmer, long term volunteer for The Dream Factory of St. Louis. “We are grateful for the continued support of S. M. Wilson for six consecutive years. They have touched the lives of more than 40 children and their families.”
“Providing a dream can improve the quality of life for these children,” said Amy Berg, President of S. M. Wilson. “Over the past six years we have had the privilege of supporting numerous children and their families as they realize their dreams.”
The Dream Factory of Saint Louis was founded in 1983 — one of 38 non-profit Dream Factory chapters around the country. The St. Louis Chapter continues to brighten the lives of children with serious illnesses. The Dream Factory has no paid employees, and expenses are kept low. Approximately 90¢ of each dollar contributed goes directly to granting dreams in the St. Louis metro area. To learn more about the St. Louis Dream Factory, visit www.stldreams.org.
S. M. Wilson is a full-service construction management, design/build and general contracting firm with headquarters in St. Louis and Rollins Construction Company, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of S. M. Wilson, in Indianapolis. S. M. Wilson is one of the largest general construction and construction management firms in the St. Louis area. The company posted $305 million in 2011 revenues, and ranks 212th in Engineering News-Record’s 2011 list of Top 400 commercial contractors nationwide. For more information visit www.smwilson.com.
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Summer Vacation Without Social Media? Nope.

We are now in the height of the traditional summer vacation season, and people are once again bringing the office with them…a new ‘tradition’ for our country. A recent poll of business professionals taking a vacation this summer found that only 2 percent planned to turn off their smartphones and social media altogether.

This begs the question: Are social media part of a long-term shift in how people interact, like the telephone? Or, especially after Facebook’s worrisome I.P.O., do these networks look like a fad that will become less attractive the longer it lasts?

In 1979, the sociologist Eviatar Zerubavel observed that the beeper was intruding on the private lives of doctors, expanding the range of time when it was socially acceptable to reach them. Today, doctors are no longer alone when it comes to being “on call” all the time. Thanks to e-mails and other social media, the notion of being disconnected from the obligations of the office has all but disappeared for most people.

Social media increase connectivity to a point where communicating in anything but online postings seems almost impossible. We have come to measure success by e-mails answered, connections made, posts responded to. We have become transactional and reactive. This is not good for productivity or creativity.

It is also not good for kids. On social media, children don’t learn negotiation skills, how to read a face, how to put themselves in the place of another, or how to apologize; indeed they don’t seem to know the difference between an apology and saying you’re sorry.

In simpler times this situation would be improved through the quality time that parents and children spend together on their summer vacation. We would talk about true feelings, real relationships and civil discourse. But apparently that won’t happen on this year’s vacation…because everyone is too busy staying ‘in touch’ on social media.

NEW ROUTE 66 VISITOR CENTER AND MUSEUM IN LITCHFIELD, ILLINOIS

A new Route 66 museum and visitor center is being created in Litchfield, Illinois to showcase the community’s rich history and highlight the area’s growing number of tourist attractions. The Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center is being constructed at 200 South Old Route 66 on the site of the former ‘Vic’ Suhling Gas For Less and near other iconic Route 66 restaurants and landmarks still in operation. The new facility is designed to reflect the Route 66 era. An official opening date has not been set.
The project is being organized by the museum’s foundation, and funding is being provided entirely through private sources and grants. In addition, Litchfield City Administrator Andy Ritchie, P.E., is currently riding a bicycle on Route 66 from California to Chicago to raise money for the new museum and visitor center.
“Litchfield is a popular destination for travelers exploring Route 66, and this museum and welcome center will further enrich our visitors’ knowledge and perceptions of this area,” said Carol Burke, Tourism Coordinator for the City of Litchfield. “Three miles of the original Mother Road pass through Litchfield, and several iconic restaurants and businesses dating from the 1920s through the 1950s continue to operate here, including the Ariston Café and the Sky View Drive-In. Visitors here can experience the oldest restaurant still operating along Route 66 in Illinois, as well as only continuously operating drive-in movie theater along the historic road in Illinois.”
This year the Route 66 Association of Illinois’ annual motor tour will stop in Litchfield, bringing many Route 66 enthusiasts for lunch at the Wooden Nickel Winery. The Grand Marshall of this year’s tour is Nicholas Adam, co-owner of the Ariston Café. Opened in 1924, the Ariston Café is a member of the Route 66 Hall of Fame.

Where Land and Water Come Into Play
In addition to its Route 66 appeal, Litchfield also offers visitors a diverse mix of recreational experiences, including the 1,400-acre Lake Lou Yaeger for watersports, a historically preserved downtown area with many points of interest, 250+ hotel rooms, a broad range of dining options, nearby golf courses and wineries, antique shopping, camping, picnicking, biking and horseback riding.
Litchfield (pop. 7,000) is conveniently located on Interstate 55 midway between the St. Louis metropolitan area and Springfield, Illinois. Long known as a commercial and industrial crossroads with strong Route 66 history, today Litchfield is a diversified and classic Midwestern community that is proud of its regional influence and growing tourist appeal. Residents, businesses and visitors enjoy a relaxed lifestyle supported by a stable economy, established industrial infrastructure, broad range of retail and cultural amenities, solid educational system, regional healthcare center and a large public lake offering outdoor recreational opportunities and lakefront living.
For more information, visit www.VisitLitchfield.com or call 866-733-5833.

New Route 66 Visitor Center Coming to Litchfield

A new museum and visitor center is being created in Litchfield, Illinois to showcase the community’s rich history and highlight the area’s growing number of tourist attractions. The Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center is being constructed at 200 South Old Route 66 on the site of the former ‘Vic’ Suhling Gas For Less and near other iconic Route 66 restaurants and landmarks still in operation. The new facility is designed to reflect the Route 66 era. An official opening date has not been set.
The project is being organized by the museum’s foundation, and funding is being provided entirely through private sources and grants. In addition, Litchfield City Administrator Andy Ritchie, P.E., is currently riding a bicycle on Route 66 from California to Chicago to raise money for the new museum and visitor center.
“Litchfield is a popular destination for travelers exploring Route 66, and this museum and welcome center will further enrich our visitors’ knowledge and perceptions of this area,” said Carol Burke, Tourism Coordinator for the City of Litchfield. “Three miles of the original Mother Road pass through Litchfield, and several iconic restaurants and businesses dating from the 1920s through the 1950s continue to operate here, including the Ariston Café and the Sky View Drive-In. Visitors here can experience the oldest restaurant still operating along Route 66 in Illinois, as well as only continuously operating drive-in movie theater along the historic road in Illinois.”
This year the Route 66 Association of Illinois’ annual motor tour will stop in Litchfield, bringing many Route 66 enthusiasts for lunch at the Wooden Nickel Winery. The Grand Marshall of this year’s tour is Nicholas Adam, co-owner of the Ariston Café. Opened in 1924, the Ariston Café is a member of the Route 66 Hall of Fame.

Where Land and Water Come Into Play
In addition to its Route 66 appeal, Litchfield also offers visitors a diverse mix of recreational experiences, including the 1,400-acre Lake Lou Yaeger for watersports, a historically preserved downtown area with many points of interest, 250+ hotel rooms, a broad range of dining options, nearby golf courses and wineries, antique shopping, camping, picnicking, biking and horseback riding.
Litchfield (pop. 7,000) is conveniently located on Interstate 55 midway between the St. Louis metropolitan area and Springfield, Illinois. Long known as a commercial and industrial crossroads with strong Route 66 history, today Litchfield is a diversified and classic Midwestern community that is proud of its regional influence and growing tourist appeal. Residents, businesses and visitors enjoy a relaxed lifestyle supported by a stable economy, established industrial infrastructure, broad range of retail and cultural amenities, solid educational system, regional healthcare center and a large public lake offering outdoor recreational opportunities and lakefront living.
For more information, visit www.VisitLitchfield.com or call 866-733-5833.