Social Media and the Summer Vacation

Social media continues to change the way we live our lives and, according to the Wall Street Journal, how we communicate when we’re on vacation. A recent story by Elizabeth Holmes shared the challenge that people who have a strong social media presence have when taking a summer vacation: Stay connected and tweeting to keep your followers happy but face the pressure to remain “on-message,” even when you are officially off the clock.

If you’re a super user — or just super into the social media scene — here are some tips if you want to unplug on your time off:

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NEWS WE CAN USE: Killer Heels & Killer Instinct are Not Mutually Exclusive

Can’t women in tech have killer heels and a killer instinct?

How much does what you wear in the workplace make a statement about your skills and accomplishments? It depends: While it doesn’t seem to have affected Mark Zuckerberg’s success (we doubt Facebook’s stock price has dropped as a result of his refusal to wear anything but hoodies and sandals), at the same time, when you’re a tech entrepreneur trying to attract funding, partners and press, paying attention to your appearance and wardrobe can contribute to an image of success.

In Be Your Own Best Publicist, we talk about dressing the part  and how what you wear can pose a hindrance -at worst, a barrier to entry. It’s like that old saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.”

And, for many women in Silicon Valley, cultivating a personal style has at least earned them and their startups some good publicity, as evidenced by this recent New York Times Style section story on a new crop of women in the tech space who unabashedly dress up in designer clothes.

In the article, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, 42, a former Google executive who now runs a video shopping site called Joyus, said: “Earlier in my career, if I had to choose between a skirt and being taken seriously, I would have chosen being taken seriously. But now I’m at a point in my career in the valley where I’m judged by what I’ve done.”

Considering that the tech world is typically on the cutting edge of what’s new and modern, it sounds a bit archaic to us that a woman who walks into a meeting with venture capitalists wearing a designer skirt wouldn’t be taken seriously. If it was a hot pink mini skirt, perhaps, but dressing professionally and having a signature style should make a positive impression on others and show that you’re polished, smart and can run circles around those male tech geeks in t-shirts and jeans — even if you’re wearing five-inch Louboutins.

How do you think clothing impacts perception of your abilities?  Tell us here, on Facebook or on Twitter.


Serena’s Olympic Victory Celebration: Learning from The Dance that Became a Distraction


Serena busts a move (

Likely it was simply a moment of unbridled joy — as she told Access Hollywood, “A good moment for her”–  but Serena Williams’ golden accomplishment became tarnished when she spontaneously broke into a  “C-Walk” victory dance — moves tied to gang life in her home state of California.

Of course, the various pundits and people around the blogoshere rushed to weigh in:

It was embarrassing.”

It was just a dance (and the criticism smacked of racism).”

It was inappropriate.”

It was cool.”

No matter what the meaning or intention, the result of the action was the same: It inadvertently shifted the focus from her incredible achievement to a less than stellar image.

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Tips from the Trenches: One-on-One with Jonah Disend, Founder and CEO of Redscout

“Now more than ever, employers are looking for uniqueness over degrees and pedigree. If you don’t offer something different than everyone else, you won’t get noticed.” – Jonah Disend 

In Be Your Own Best Publicist, we share tips and advice from friends, colleagues and key experts in PR and beyond. One person who has great wisdom on how to brand yourself is Jonah Disend, the founder and CEO of Redscout, a brand development shop that has helped companies realize their potential in every category from fashion to fast food.

We caught up with him recently to get his insights about standing out in a good way at work including the importance of finding a mentor to help guide your career.

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Meet Yourself Half-Way: Why a Mid-Year Check-in Can Spell Success in All Areas of Your Life

August is here!  Aside from ungodly heat, spiked lemonade and the omnipresent Summer Olympics, what this time of year truly has in store is the opportunity to do a check-in with yourself.

In sports, the split is the intermediate times during a race that gives athletes an understanding of how they are performing, allowing them to adjust their pace accordingly.  In screenwriting, figuring out the midpoint is the key to determining where the story goes, what it means — and how to make it a success. And, in business, smart companies examine goals and performance at the half-way point to ensure that they will hit the marks set earlier in the year.

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“Auto-Pilot Is Not An Option” and Other Lessons We Learned At Wharton (Part II)

The Financial Times recently reported that women make up 37 percent of those who attend a full-time MBA programs in the US, an increase from 33 percent five years ago and 30 percent a decade ago.

We met a few of those women on January 20th, when we spent the 1-year anniversary of the publication of our book, Be Your Own Best Publicist: How to Use PR Techniques to Get Noticed, Hired and Rewarded at Work, at the Wharton Women Business Conference in Pennsylvania.

Several accomplished women (including Jessica) were there to share their wisdom and insights with the 200-plus attendees from the college and graduate program. On the day’s docket were  Cindy DiPietrantonio, COO of The Jones GroupTracy Travis, CFO of Ralph Lauren CorporationJessica Steel, EVP of business development for Pandora Media Inc.; Alex Witt, NBC correspondent and MSNBC anchor; and Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, executive vice president and artistic director of OPI Products Inc. Keynote speaker Uta Werner, corporate vice president and chief strategy officer of Xerox Corporation, rounded out the speaker list.

There were so many great nuggets of advice, we knew that we had to break it into two different blog posts. Part I was posted last week. Now, without further ado, is the second half:

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“Listen To Your Mother” and Other Lessons We Learned at Wharton (Part I)

Jessica Kleiman and Pandora's Jessica Steel with Wharton students

While neither of us has gone to business school (not yet, anyway), we did just spend the one-year anniversary of the publication of our book, Be Your Own Best Publicist: How to Use PR Techniques to Get Noticed, Hired and Rewarded at Work, at the Wharton Women Business Conference in Pennsylvania.

What an event! Jessica was honored to have been invited to participate in one of the day’s panels about “lead-her-ship” (WWBC’s phrase, not ours…) for her role as VP, public relations at Hearst Magazines, along with two very accomplished female executives — Cindy DiPietrantonio, COO of The Jones Group, and Tracy Travis, CFO of Ralph Lauren Corporation. The other panel featured Jessica Steel, EVP of business development for Pandora Media Inc.; Alex Witt, NBC correspondent and MSNBC anchor; and Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, executive vice president and artistic director of OPI Products Inc. The luncheon was keynoted by Uta Werner, corporate vice president and chief strategy officer of Xerox Corporation.

We were blown away by the amazing women we met there — attendees and speakers alike.  And, as with any event that brings together such powerhouses, we walked away with great insights and information which we’ve broken into two different blog posts.  For starters, here are some key take-aways: [Read more…]

Happy 1st Birthday to “Be Your Own Best Publicist”!

Happy birthday to us — our book, we mean!  Today marks the one year anniversary of the publication of Be Your Own Best Publicist: How to Use PR Techniques to Get Noticed, Hired and Rewarded at Work.

First – a big thank you for all of the support you’ve given to us since the book hit shelves (and websites) 12 months ago. We are beyond thrilled at the attention our book has received.  And even happier that its publication has allowed us to build a platform to share career and PR advice through media interviews, workshops and speaking engagements around the country. The trend continues this week: We’ll be celebrating on January 20th by participating in the Wharton Women Business Conference in Philadelphia. (We’ll report back about all the great information shared there – stay tuned!)




In honor of this happy occasion, we thought we’d take a look back at a few of our favorite media highlights and speaking engagements from the past year:

  • In other exciting news, Meryl recently started her own communications/events company, Allen/Cooper Enterprises (and launched Site/109, an events and pop-up exhibitions space on New York’s Lower East Side), and Jessica was nominated as 2011 “Publicist of the Year” by PR News.   

Now, as we enter into our sophomore year as published authors and as Be Your Own Best Publicist goes into its second printing  (yay!), we want to thank you again for your continued support, particularly those of you who have either bought copies or encouraged others to do so.  (Of course, if you haven’t, it’s not too late – the book is available on, on Kindle and Nook and in bookstores nationwide.)

We hope you will keep up on our various press coverage, speaking engagements and news here, as well as on our Facebook fan page and Twitter feed (@bestpublicist).  If you haven’t check us out on’s Work in Progress section or BusinessInsider’s War Room section, please do!

Until next time, we wish you all a fabulous new year filled with much success. Here’s to being your own best publicist in 2012!






How to Make Sure Your Job Search is More Treat Than Trick

Halloween is a holiday that has as many advocates as it has opponents.  But whether this year finds you donning a costume or simply reminiscing about those October 31sts of your youth, there are key professional lessons to learn from the age old All Hallows Eve:

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News We Can Use: Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. RIP Steve Jobs.

Last night came the news that the world had lost an extraordinary visionary, Steve Jobs.  The man responsible for everything from the iPad/iPod/iPhone to Buzz Lightyear  has moved from infinity to the beyond.

No doubt the tributes will be far and wide – highlighting his entrepreneurial prowess and his unparalleled creativity; his philanthropic drive and attention to detail; his strong spirit and unique support of burgeoning talent. There’s already so much on the books about his leadership, impact and innovation.

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