Don’t Delay, Phase One Today

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We could all stand to be reminded that when we are looking into the mouth of a large task don’t panic. In my case, I stall. If you’re like me you might find other, smaller, more tangible tasks to prioritize before your large amorphous project. But this is the moment when I try to remind myself to break these large tasks into bite-size phases.

Don’t Delay, Phase One Today

Coaches Chrissy Lomax and Jerry Hogan

Coaches Chrissy Lomax and Jerry Hogan

You may have heard it as one step at a time, one foot in front of the other or day by day. Even my speed walking coach nags, “How many miles are we doing today?” and we reply “One” (though we’re training for 13.1)! Starting a tired Sunday morning thinking you’re going to walk 13 miles is dreadful. But, in this case, grab your short term glasses and tackle it mile by mile.

With a large project, you can start with an outline or break the task up into phases. Lists are a great way to feel like you have start and end points throughout and are accomplishing things. Try to notice when you start to procrastinate and think about how you might break up that big feat into little feet.

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Stunning Creative Mercedes-Benz “Left Brain Right Brain” Ads

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It’s very rare that something as common as advertising affects us on an aesthetic and emotional level. For me it’s usually the new car ads that I find even more underwhelming- the shiny sports car, and either an empty curved road or a gorgeous woman holding a martini. This category tends to be literal to a fault. The advertising team behind these brilliant examples is Shalmor Avnon Amichay/Y&R Interactive Tel Aviv (Chief Creative Director: Gideon Amichay). There are three, double page spreads, that show that Mercedes-Benz is willing to take risks and that, at their core, they are innovators. From the colors, to the original artwork to the copy- the ads deliver a sense of the brand that is evolving, luxurious, intelligent, artistic, scientific and a leader.



“I am the left brain. I am a scientist. A mathematician. I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate. Linear. Analytical. Strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am.”



“I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feat. I am movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.”



Thank you to MB and Y&R Israel for breaking boundaries and using stunning visuals, unique concepts, and flawless execution to speak to us in an inspiring and intelligent way. I would be proud to hang these on my walls at the office or at home. These would be perfect over my bed since it perfectly defines my husband (who sleeps left and is left brained) and myself (right and right). Now, where can I find extremely high-res files!

I could bet that it’s not the same creative genius behind the agency’s own blog design. I hope it’s because they lock their A team in a room and only let them work on client projects.

Y&R Israel Blog 4/22/2013

Y&R Israel Blog 4/22/2013

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SEO Isn’t Easy- Oh Wait…

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SEO is a very valuable discipline in Internet Marketing, helping customers find your site, and only costs you the resources you put to work on it. Most marketers agree that SEO is a discipline that takes constant attention and staying current with technical issues that change daily.

Nope, SEO isn’t getting easier, but at least managing your personal brand online is becoming more accessible to the non-technical. If you’ve ever Googled yourself and seen a mix of your info, other people’s info and really random things, fixing this is now mapped out for you at You don’t have to know much about SEO to improve the ranking of your name in search results- just a lot of clicking, cutting/pasting, and some writing.

Marketers know that SEO is worth it’s weight in gold- actually in sweat. The more effort you put into it, the more it will reward you with higher standings in the results and, following that, quality traffic to your pages. The team at has created a free, step-by-step process for associating your name with pages that have positive information about you. You help the tool link to the important sites, press releases, accounts you manage- and you tell it which ones are not you (even though you may share the same name).

How helps is by linking all of your social media accounts and 3 important content links to your profile page. Rich with keywords from your Bio, links to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn profiles, BY is serving up a delicious plate of quality information about you on a search-engine friendly page. Taking it a step further, they walk you through ways to ‘boost’ the ranking of your social media profiles with tips like adding a picture, adding a link, or using your whole name in your profile.

If you’re a social media lover and you have digg, delicious, tumblr, blogger, wordpress (etc) accounts, you will be able to connect those as well.

It takes anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks for the search engine spiders to come out and crawl your pages again and populate the data into the results pages but has a tracking system in place to prove that their tools work. I can’t wait to see what happens with mine!

Here’s my BrandYourself profile:

Suzanne Appel

(This review is my personal opinion. I don’t know the folks at, nor have they given me anything to induce my review. FYI)

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Imagistic Grantastic Awards 2012

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Imagistic, an innovator in technology and marketing services, is taking holiday giving to a new high. The company, located in Westlake Village, CA, has expertise in business technology strategy, technology forensics, RFP/RFQ/RFI consultation, internet and custom software development, content strategy, project management, design, and information architecture. They have designed and built some fantastic projects for, CarsDirect and Network for Good.

Until last year, they did like most agencies do and sent holiday gifts to clients to thank them for their business. Being on the client side I have received these gifts too and love it when I get something really creative and useful. From reading my blog you my might foresee that I love the idea of giving to charity in lieu of tangible presents. And that’s exactly what Imagistic has done.

Imagistic has created a grant worth $20k in consulting services and will award the prize by selecting from the best applications. I’m honored to be a judge for 2012 and to help to select the project that will contribute the most impact toward bettering our planet.

From the Imagistic website: Grantastic from Imagistic

We would bang our heads trying to think of cool and innovative holiday presents to send to our clients and partners. We’d done it all – Mugs, Red Staplers, Canvas Bags, Feel Good Bundles (tea, incense and organic goodies) – you name it, we’d sent it.

So last year we decided that we were finally going to do something different. Rather than sending a cool tsotchke (one that will most likely end up in a landfill), we decided it was time to give away something with value – something that gives and keeps giving. We realized the idea was right in front of us. Why not give “ourselves” away?

So we decided to offer a grant of our services to one company or organization that doing something to better our planet. Isn’t that fantastic? We think so – in fact. we think it’s Grantastic!

I’m so impressed with the generosity of this agency and their clients who share this value and forgo their luxurious gifts in order to contribute to the winning cause. Applications have been submitted and are ready for the 2012 judging. By the end of March the winning project will be awarded $20k in technology and business services, the results of which will benefit the world for years to come.

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Happiness at Work – Who’s Responsible?

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It’s human nature to want to be part of something important and to feel relevant and uniquely needed. After years in our careers those desires get sanded down a bit and replaced by confidence, armour and some healthy reality.

In an economy like this, where we have an employers market, there’s less focus on retaining employees, career development, team building, and succession planning… though we’ve seen reports that employee happiness contributes ROI. Well, except for the Digital space.

I ran across this shining example of a new company who is committed to its mission and has created an environment that cannot help but attract committed, high-achieving, positive people., Palo Alto, CA

Sure, they have job descriptions to describe the skills they are looking for, but they also have illustrated clearly WHO they are looking for:

You’re passionate about what you do: Being passionate about everything we do – from coding to creative design to building our physician community – ensures we’re always at our best.

You have a change-the-world-attitude: Everyone likes to talk about changing the world, but we’ve got the special kind of excitement, capability, and dedication to make it happen.

You want to build a great company with us: It’s a lot more exciting to be the one who shapes and builds a truly great company where people love to work than to just hear people talk about how they did it later.

You are adventurous: It’s about the journey, and not just the destination. It’s important to take risks with a fearless spirit, and to embrace successes and failures in the spirit of learning.

And let’s not forget the silly pictures of everyone in casual attire with dogs and babies in the office. In the Bay Area where the market is reversed, where it’s a employees market, and talent jumps from place to place, it’s a completely different paradigm. This company is about the people, about helping people and about passion. But if they have constant role changes, managers who don’t gain consensus, or excessive stress this passion isn’t a guarantee for a happy staff.

It doesn’t come down to money. Research shows that sales, productivity, and accuracy increase when the team is happy. Where is the real stumbling block?

  • Companies still think it costs too much money to make employees happy?
  • They don’t feel responsible for employees happiness?
  • It’s too much effort to implement or measure?
  • They don’t know HOW to make employees happy?
  • Companies think employees should find ways to be happy

I believe it’s the last two. What creates happy employees is not free food or holiday bonuses. Employee engagement is not tangible and takes really understanding the culture you have created and how that culture changes from year to year. The company can only create the environment, the flavor is added by the staff.

Ultimately, in life and in work, we are all responsible for making the most of our lives and work, for our happiness, continued training and succession planning. When you rely on yourself, you make it happen. Discover what you need at work to make you happy. You be the difference.

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President’s Day 2012: Who’s Your Fav?

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Someone asked me who my favorite President is. It didn’t take me long to answer. I love JFK because of all he did for Civil Rights. JFK believed in his core that the freedom our forefathers imagined should include equality for all citizens, even ones that our forefathers didn’t give rights to. JFK knew that this was his challenge to face and that it was critical that he succeed. He made great gains in registering African American voters, appointing African American’s to leadership positions, desegregating the schools and public places and eliminating discrimination in housing. He did this regardless of the anger, strong-arming and danger that accompanied this mission.

During Kennedy’s Inaugural address on January 20, 1961, he said, “All this will not be finished in the first hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first thousand days, nor in the lifetime of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.”

He wasn’t about the first 100 days and picking low hanging fruit to prove delivery on campaign promises. He wasn’t about posturing.

I started thinking about the similarities between what JFK and Obama faced in their terms. Why was JFK so successful and Obama, not so much? Is it the whole bi-partisan problem?

- JFK helped us stay out of nuclear war with Soviets
- Advanced anti-discrimination laws
- Helped recover from stock market crash of 1962 & drastic unemployment rates

So what’s your opinion on who did it better and why?

Read a poem I wrote about JFK from college!

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Remembering Howard Goldberg, Qantas

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When I think of Howard I think of him more as a friend or family. But he was also my previous boss at Qantas Airways and my mentor. While I was trying to connect with my feelings over his recent passing I started sifting through old files. I ran across a document I wrote nominating Howard for an eXcel Award- a Qantas internal recognition award. I don’t think Howard ever knew I submitted this for him. Politically, I knew it was a long shot so I just didn’t mention it.

Here is that letter circa 2005:

I have had the opportunity to work with many powerful and entrepreneurial managers before and thrive well working with visionaries. But above all other Presidents, Vice Presidents, and CEOs I have followed, Howard Goldberg manages with the most important leadership characteristics.

Customer and Company Loyal: Howard runs the sales and marketing department with the mission of improving our relationships with our partners and customers. He finds ways to reduce strain and barriers that would otherwise hinder our partners’ success. Every contract and project created or overseen by him assures that the company’s best interest is first and foremost. Howard leads by example and it is very easy to see his loyalty to Qantas and his genuine love of his staff, the product and the potential for growth in N. America.

Challenges the staff: Howard doesn’t have to create superficial expectations and milestones for his staff. In his own way of showing his motivation and eagerness to succeed, Howard challenges his employees to achieve increased results and improve our region’s earning potential. He leads through encouragement when he focuses more on what we are doing right than on what we are doing wrong. Consequently, we are all motivated to keep improving and optimize our methods for the good of the company. Personally, Howard takes the time to meet with me and discuss my strengths and foster my career.

Chief Fireman: In the course of every project, problems arise. Howard has a unique ability to not only listen but to also advise the best ways to solve problems. No matter how busy he can get, he always makes time for face-to-face meetings to help us straighten out our business issues. It takes a lot of energy to juggle all the projects and personalities in Sales and Marketing but Howard has proven incredibly adept at being a chief fireman and leading us to find ways to prevent future outbreaks.

Respects Me: Howard lets me do my job the way I know it needs to be done. If I find myself in conflict with a colleague, vendor or policy, I can always ask Howard for advice. No one likes to be micro-managed. By allowing me the latitude to do my job and set my own course, he is actually gaining productivity from me. I feel more invested in my position and work to achieve my personal best with goals that are set very high. The best bosses manage by being very clear about what’s important and what are critical success components of a job or project.

Howard encourages us to stretch and take risks. Taking risks is essential to the field of online marketing. There is nothing ‘tried and true’ for this new and evolving form of marketing. It is only by trying new strategies and media partners that we can test and measure for future success. Great leaders encourage employees to make mistakes (small ones). Even more important, they treat those mistakes as learning opportunities.

Howard recognizes our strengths and thinks of his employees as individuals. He is very supportive and effective at nudging me toward the goals I have set for myself. He praises my work when I am heading in the right direction and is available with helpful advice when I go off the path. He celebrates my success, which makes me more motivated to exceed previous performance.

Has a sense of humor: One of Howard’s most endearing qualities is that, a long time ago, he learned that having a sense of humor is an important survival skill. It is with this optimistic and funny outlook that he guides us through budget cuts and swings in bureaucracy and helps his team weather many situations.

Shares information: In a company that receives directives from head office, it would be easy to feel lost or disconnected from the company’s mission. Howard makes it a priority to continuously communicate pertinent information and elicit our responses and feedback.

Howard comes to work everyday with a refreshing outlook and genuine goal to help Qantas grow revenue and create lasting relationships. He always tries to make customers happy and present Qantas in the most favorable light. It is with great enthusiasm and pride that he leads his team.

Howard has the unwavering respect and admiration of his staff because he has earned it. It does not take 5 years working with him to see that he is a man of his word. Truly most of us hold Howard in such high regard that we follow his decisions and advice and are eager to make his team a success. He is a model boss and a major contributor to the success of Qantas North America. He is an amazing, caring boss who I personally and professionally respect and recommend for an eXcel award.

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Building On Your Strengths

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My eyes have been opened. (Dramatic, huh?) I have always believed that I was an introspective person, old enough to know who I am and young enough to know who I want to be. The difference between last week (above) and this week is that I can put my finger exactly on my top 5 strengths.

If you haven’t taken the Strengths Finder 2.0 online test, stop reading this, go to Amazon, purchase the book (which has a unique code allowing you to take the online test). My Marketing department did this as an exercise and over 90% of the team agreed the results were shockingly accurate. What an experiment too! We had many core strengths in common- achievers, analytics, ideation, futuristic- but we also had some interesting outliers like woo, fairness and consistent.

The premise of strength-based research is that success can only be achieved by improving and operating from our strengths. To that end, we cannot become accomplished by trying to improve our weaknesses. It’s a common behavior to say, I’m horrible at xxx, so I’m going to take classes to fix it. The book argues that you can only become competent this way, but not excel. Managers who only focus on weaknesses, like parents, are only creating more problems. By focusing on our strengths we become happier, more engaged and our creativity shines.

See what you think. Open your eyes.

Book description from Amazon:Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? Chances are, you don’t. All too often, our natural talents go untapped. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.

To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced the first version of its online assessment, StrengthsFinder, in 2001 which ignited a global conversation and helped millions to discover their top five talents.

In its latest national bestseller, StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular assessment, language of 34 themes, and much more (see below for details). While you can read this book in one sitting, you’ll use it as a reference for decades.

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Kickstarter is Brilliant: Leebre

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I wanted to highlight some of the great companies blooming at Kickstarter:, independent online publishing needs $407 to get their project launched: is a nonprofit that supplies book lovers with free alternative novels and short stories, and provides authors an independent way to find audiences and support the causes that they love.

From the Founder, Michael Bethencourt:

We need your help to get Leebre off the ground. Check out the Leebre Kickstarter page for more information on Leebre, and a video that showcases a few of Leebre’s coolest features.We only have 4 days left to reach our Kickstarter goal. We’ve almost reached our goal, but we also don’t have much time left, so these last 4 days are crucial to the project. Please keep on spreading the word!
We’re counting on you guys. The most important aspect in getting a
community project off the ground is, well, the community. The most
important aspect of getting the word out is simply building a
community of readers and writers, so it’ll be an active website even
during the initial beta.

Twitter: @LeebreTeam
Project blog:

Second, the Leebre Beta. Do you want an exact date? I’d give you one,
but there’s a chance I’d be wrong. Instead, I’ll answer: very soon! If
the Kickstarter is successful, the private beta will launch in
February, as promised, and you’ll get to play around with the first
version of the site within a month.

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The One for One Movement

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I’ve started a discussion group on LinkedIn around a topic near to my passions- The early One for One movement. I believe we owe the birth of this idea to TOMS shoes but since then I’ve seen several other companies rise to the occasion in all different categories.

Come on over to the LinkedIn group and share your thoughts!

One for One Philanthropy

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