from pickett&associates … exploring PR, social media and entrepreneurship

What I Did On My Summer Vacation August 16, 2011

Filed under: Random Thoughts — pickettwrites @ 9:16 am

It was recently brought to my attention that I had not posted a new blog in quite a while. Upon further investigation, I was surprised to see that I had not managed to write one blog during the last few months. So, to borrow from one of my favorite school assignments, we’ll call this “What I Did on My Summer Vacation.”

We started out the summer making some new friends, including the Indy 500 Rookie of the Year.

Intern Samantha Foley and JR Hildebrand

And then we had about 150 friends over for an open house at the new office in Carmel.

A very "grand" opening!

I enjoyed some sunny, funny days with my grandsons.

Charlie at the park

At the beach with Vance

We played lots of golf.

Hit 'em long and straight ...

I discovered Florida in July can be exceedingly pleasant with inexpensive golf, plentiful grouper and quiet beaches. (And this summer, it was cooler and less humid than central Indiana.)

Fort DeSoto Beach in July

We made several trips to local farmer’s markets and had some great harvest dinners.

Bounty from the Farmer's Market

I spent a girl’s weekend with my college friends.

Good times, good friends

And I enjoyed the simple joys of summer, like the sweet yellow finches  … and hanging out on the porch at “the lake house.”

Yellow Finch among the BlackEyed Susans

I worked a lot. I laughed a lot. And now, rested and revived a bit, I’m ready for fall, a possible trip east in October, college football and digging into some fairly large projects at work.

So, that’s the update. Stay tuned, I promise it won’t be so long between posts again.


Timing is Everything May 1, 2011

Filed under: Random Thoughts — pickettwrites @ 12:49 pm

There are two questions I receive multiple times each week:

Question 1: How is business?

Chenrezig, bodhisattva of compassion by Kathleen Wedmore

A: Great! Happy clients, new clients, clients in the pipeline; we’re looking at office space and will soon retain an administrator, an assistant and an intern.

Question 2: Don’t you wonder why you didn’t do this sooner?

And that answer is the topic of today’s blog … because “timing is everything.”

I believe my successes to date are certainly not “overnight” in origin. I can track the origins of my clients back 10, 15 even 20 years. Whether it is a referral from someone I worked with in a previous position or a relationship I developed through the local chamber of commerce, these are people with whom I have a shared a common interest or a mutual friend.

When I found myself abruptly downsized from a local PR agency, I began letting my contacts know that I was available for hire through LinkedIn, emails and telephone calls. A referral from a former co-worker (from 1998) got the ball rolling within the first week, and the rest followed.

But none of these projects would have been as successful without the experience of moving from my secure position I had enjoyed for nearly five years at an established public relations firm to a younger, more Internet and social media-focused firm. And even though things didn’t work out there as I had planned, I would not have garnered the awareness or knowledge that has resulted in happy clients and ultimately more referrals. 

Life’s path should not be spent ruminating about the past or anxiously anticipating what the future may bring. Likewise, we can get so caught up in trying to fit into our plans and attain our dreams that we may miss those golden opportunities stretched out before us, ready for the taking.

In yoga class, we learn about being mindful of each moment and rejoicing in the clarity of the stillness that comes in those blissful moments of meditation. It’s a reminder that if we’re just “still,” and approach life with an open heart, good things will come.

So, do I ever wonder “why I didn’t do this sooner?” Not so much … for now is the perfect time.

Happy May 1 to all …


The Fleeting News Cycle March 11, 2011

Filed under: Random Thoughts — pickettwrites @ 4:48 pm

In this nice, comfortable room at the Magnificent Mile DoubleTree, we’ve had MSNBC on since the middle of the night, watching the devastating news from Tokyo. And we know the news is just going to get more tragic and devastating.

It put the fact that my cell phone woke up “DOA” this morning in perspective, I suppose.

And yesterday, as a Muslim member of the House of Representatives openly wept in his opening statements, I asked, “When did THIS start? And why were we 24/7 Charlie Sheen when this was going on?”

In trying to avoid the Charlie Sheen cesspool, I missed the news as well as Eugene Robinson’s editorial about these hearings. But the sad fact is that these days the hard-hitting news isn’t so easy to come by while the sludge sorta’ rises to the top … much like gaseous waste.  

And here’s a question … how is Congresswoman Gabby Giffords? You know, the victim of the tragic shooting in Tucson? Ironically, a story just posted today by our friends over at Politico. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51123.html

Obviously, THAT news is buried by the earthquake today, but the question occurs to me, “How many of us have thought of her since her last condition update in late January?” And what does that say about our willingness to just follow the news cycle and flush everything else?

We are a fickle bunch, the consumer public; we are drawn to “the next big headline” like moths to a flame … and we waste no time in weighing in with our opinions. Angry. Abrasive. Off with their heads … And all that. We don’t need to look far to see it … the war of words and emotions between state legislators provides an angry, too-close-for-comfort illustration.

It makes me tired. More disturbingly, I know I’m not alone when I say, it just makes me turn on something else or turn off the news altogether. And if I, a self-professed nerdy news addict feels this way, what ‘s happening to the majority of the population? As one of my best friends from college – a high-powered, well-paid senior level executive for a major retailer says, “All I read in the Sunday paper is the ads.” And I know SHE is not alone.

Look, like we need to take responsibility for our own health needs and our own retirement plans, we need to take control of our own knowledge. We cannot sit idly by and allow the news networks (helloooo, the major corporations in America  own the networks … have you READ Ayn Rand?) to chart our course of knowledge.

Let us not be observers of our destiny. We must be active participants.


Lest You Wondered … January 6, 2011

Filed under: Random Thoughts — pickettwrites @ 11:11 am

A little review of 2010 from our friends at WordPress.com The stats helper monkeys over there mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 59 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 61 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 7mb. That’s about a picture per week.

The busiest day of the year was July 7th with 89 views. The most popular post that day was An Unexpected Independence Day.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were linkedin.com, facebook.com, twitter.com, touch.facebook.com, and alphainventions.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for yms minesweeper, suzy wilhelm kunesh, lasagna, and macy’s.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


An Unexpected Independence Day July 2010


Machiavelli Lives … in Customer Service and Social Media September 2010


About July 2010
1 comment


The Press Release: Not Dead Yet September 2010


Which Comes First: The Content or the Social Media? September 2010


Happy New Year! (An Update to Independence Day) January 2, 2011

Filed under: Random Thoughts — pickettwrites @ 9:51 pm

Admittedly, I just passed an audible sigh that prompted my significant other to look at the dog and say, “She just made that noise.” Fortunately, Faith Hill is singing his disgust away with her Sunday Night Football intro. (Hey, Faith, seriously, the skirt is too short.)

After taking a few days away from the “Pickett & Associates” treadmill, I spent January 2 reviewing my 2010, trying to get organized for 2011 and doing the monthly billing.

I can safely say that 2010 didn’t remotely go as I had planned, but that’s not such a bad thing. Big picture, through being downsized from a local PR firm where I wasn’t particularly happy, I was forced to quickly bring to fruition dreams that had been brewing in the back of my mind for several years. After being downsized and dismissed on July 2, by July 5 I had righted the ship and decided to launch Pickett & Associates, specializing in strategic public relations, social media management and editorial services.

So, just shy of six months later, I have been able to provide my services to some of Central Indiana’s most respected business and non-profit organizations including Meyer Najem Construction, DuoChart, Encore Sotheby’s International Realty, Aaron Ruben Nelson Mortuary and the Central Indiana Council on Aging. I’ve had a good deal of fun penning the Necklust blog (it’s my evil Chelsea-Lately-inspired twin who writes these) and helped Catholic Radio kick off its fundraising campaign. In addition to continuing these engagements, I’ll be serving as the feature editor for Patron, an online magazine connecting the people, places and programs that are enriching our communities in Central Indiana. And, as recently as last week, I obtained a Pennsylvania-based client who is an author and expert in dementia and memory loss. That was on the same day I was told that I had come in second to one of the city’s largest, most prominent communication’s firms on a “Request for Proposal” for a large chunk of business in the healthcare sector. I couldn’t be upset. Actually, I was flattered. And, to coin an old commercial, “Second always tries harder.”

This morning I made a list of potential clients “in the pipeline” as well as industries I’d like to pursue. I will continue to closely monitor industry trends, including the seemingly hour-by-hour morphing of social media, and integrate those things that make sense for my clients. In 2011, I’ll continue to leverage my strengths developed during the course of 30 years as a reporter, editor and public relations professional … and perhaps expand the strategic content provider portion of Pickett & Associates.

Most importantly, I’m just gonna’ be me. Old Miss Pat … reliable, loyal, a little edgy, sincere and true-to-her-word. And, to start out the year, let’s do the Miss Pat anthem … a favorite from Bonnie Raitt, “I Will Not Be Broken.”

Sing it, Girl. On to 2011!


Friday with Ruth, Dick and Jimmy October 22, 2010

Filed under: Random Thoughts — pickettwrites @ 8:36 am

I swear, there are days when the only actual news I read comes from Ruth Holladay’s blog.

If you don’t know her, Ruth is a “former employee of the Indianapolis Star” … which has become one of those “fastest growing segment” demographics, I’m afraid.   Nevertheless, Ruthie was at the Star when it was owned by the Pulliam family, and Gannett was something far away and unimaginable . Shortly after leaving the Star, Ruth launched a blog called, “Ruth’s Blog: All the news not fit to print.” It’s widely read by folks like yours truly who, at one time, made their living as reporters and editors.

Earlier in the week, her post included the news that the Star was losing three reporters including health reporter Dan Lee who I’ve had the pleasure of working with on several occasions. He will be missed.

But today I learned that one of my “journalism super heroes” – Dick Cady – has recently published his memoir, “Deadline: Indianapolis — The Story Behind the Stories At the Pulliam Press.” (You can go to Amazon and order a copy … I’m hoping for another book signing soon.) According to Ruth, it gives the “inside scoop” on the Star of old, with a spotlight on the 1970s Pulitzer Prize winning investigative articles regarding the Indianapolis Police Department.

Wait, what? Issues with IPD? Yes, it’s true. The last two years of headlines dribbling out improprieties among the now Metropolitan Indianapolis Police Department and causing local ire have had an odd, familiar ring to those of us who remember Cady and his team who spent six months of real investigative digging. Their work resulted in an expose that rocked the city and forced then-Mayor Richard Lugar to clean up the department. For a national overview of the series, click here to read an archived report from Time magazine. It may prompt you to buy the book.

What I can’t help but wonder is this: How would things be playing out in Indianapolis if the Pulliams still owned the Indianapolis Star? Not that they were perfect, but what would happen if reporters were allowed, even encouraged to dig around for an extended period of time?

On behalf of the folks left at the Star who are often maligned, put your feet in their shoes: You try to do your job and six of your coworker’s jobs that have been eliminated with the same accuracy, timeliness and passion of a few decades ago.  Have the “newsroom” turned into the “information center.” And take a couple of weeks of unpaid vacation while you’re at it IF you want to keep that job. So do not blame the lack of in-depth reporting on the reporters or even the local editors. It’s from corporate headquarters located in a D.C. suburb folks, not from 307 Pennsylvania Street (that’s the local address of the Star).

It’s a serious issue. The profession of Journalism in America was grounded in the concept of unbiased, independent reporting; it’s supposed to act as a watchdog of our government. Honestly, its function really wasn’t to make shareholders happy.  And no, “citizen blogs” and comment boards don’t replace this function. Because the kind of investigative journalism that Cady’s team did was an investigation of facts by an objective group of people. And it prompted reasonable discourse. But that’s a topic for another day.

So, a few Friday ramblings from someone who can’t help but identify with Jimmy Buffett’s “Pirate Looks at 40.

Mother, mother ocean, after all the years I’ve found
My occupational hazard being my occupation’s just not around

Aw, hell, let’s just all listen to the whole song. What better way to start the weekend? And well wishes to Ruth who is having a little eye surgery that will keep her off line a few days.


Sharing a Little Pat October 21, 2010

Filed under: Random Thoughts,Social Media — pickettwrites @ 7:51 am

Sometimes I feel like Donald Sutherland in Animal House.

You know the scene:  Sutherland’s professor character is lecturing, the bell rings, and everyone just gets up and leaves.

“I’m serious … this is my JOB!” he says, trying to sum up a bit of authority.

 I felt a little like Donald Sutherland after Tuesday’s Pickettwrites post that received a wonderful response (thanks!) but had little to do with any level of expertise I have been trying to build through my blog and everything to do with a style of writing that people have come to expect. After years of penning columns that often included a glimpse into my life, these little personal accounts continue to rank high.

My challenge, I suppose, is giving you readers who are friends a little bit of “me” while giving business colleagues (to whom my posts are sent via LinkedIn groups, etc) something to talk about … which is the first goal of using social media. Provide your audience with content that starts a conversation; engage, engage, engage and create a little relationship. Your social media objectives drive how that relationship is continued, pursued and deepened.

For some great insight into what every small business should know about social media, follow the link from Debra Murphy to read her column, “5 Things You Need to Know Before Embarking in Social Media.”  

Back to my Donald Sutherland conundrum … what I don’t want to do is ignore my friends … because honestly, you have contributed to any success I’ve been able to attain with Pickett &Associates. From introductions to key decision makers to recommendations of my work, you guys have “had my back” and it’s been amazing.  So, keep reading. I promise to continue dropping in those topics you love … “life with mom,” “crazy, voracious dog,” and “lifestyles of the not so rich” – and hopefully you’ll learn a little public relations, social media and marketing strategy along the way.

Thursday … really? Not sure where the week has gone, but I know I’ve been busy! Today’s no different and includes yoga with the lovely Miss Holly, lunch with WhiteHot Marketing, a visit to Premier Advertising’s Halloween open house (ready for spooky tschotchkes?) and dinner at MudBugs Cajun Café in Carmel … for Jambalaya, alligator and watching Swamp People. Now THAT’s an eclectic day!  Stay tuned to @pickettwrites for updates!