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Did some yoga, did some good

Thank you to everyone who participated in and/or donated to Yoga Bear’s 1st annual Cleveland Yogapalooza this past weekend.  The event was a great success and I know we appreciated all of the support and look forward to a bigger and better event next year.  I wanted to post a quick overview of the event for those of you who did not attend, and also for those who did but wanted to read my lovely recap:

Cleveland’s 1st Annual Yogapalooza was a success!  Around 30 people joined Yoga Bear at Wade Oval for our day of wellness and yoga and overall the event raised $600 for the organization!  This money will go to help grow the Cleveland Chapter of Yoga Bear as it is still in its beginning stages in the city.  Get excited for more to come from Yoga Bear!

Cleveland Yogapalooza

 The weather was uncharacteristically beautiful for Cleveland and Wade Oval proved to be a wonderful backdrop for the event.  We raffled off eight great prize packages (thank you to everyone who donated!) and also were able to pass out water bottles and samples of granola from Kaia Foods.  Gaiam, Yogapolooza’s national sponsor, provided aluminum water bottles for the first 25 people to register and also gave away 4 yoga mats, some blocks and straps and yoga dvd’s (thank you again for sponsoring the event!).

Cleveland Yogapalooza

The variety of classes were wonderful and enjoyed by all attendees.  Laura Noss started off the day with a Jivamukti-style flow class set to music and even included a song from the late, great Michael Jackson.  Following Laura, was Fabienne Bernard who shared her Healing Yoga class with the participants.  Rounding out the day was Marcia Camino who lead a beautiful Hatha class to end the event.  I can confidently say that everyone enjoyed the variety of classes, the yoga under the trees and the company. 

In terms of coverage, we had a visit from Fox 8 Cleveland, but unfortunately I do not think it turned into any footage.  We did have placement in The Plain Dealer (online and in the Friday Magazine To Do section), The Chagrin Valley Times, and the Cleveland Coffee News.  The event was posted on cleveland.com, callandpost.com, and ohiomag.com.  Keep an eye out for some great pictures taken by Jess and I which will be posted on the Yoga Bear Flickr account soon! 

Namaste

Namaste

Overall I think it was a great first year for the event in Cleveland.  We successfully raised some money for the cause and increased awareness Yoga Bear’s presence in Cleveland with the general public and the Cleveland yoga community! Thank you everyone again and namaste!

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From intern to teacher

As yesterday marked the new Dix & Eaton intern’s first day, it also represented the official end to my spring internship.  As I had been engulfed in the culture and work of the firm for the past 5 months, D&E asked me to return, help train my replacement and impart as much knowledge and insight as I could fit into a 7.5 hour workday.   After finishing my day of training, I left with a slightly hoarse voice and a realization of all I had gained throughout my time at the agency. 

Media Relations  While going over Ken’s first project, follow-up calls to national reporters regarding a book previously sent and the expert source who wrote it, I remembered what it was like that first day and how far I have come in my media relations skills.  As Ken made his first call, starting off with a smaller pub and working right up to the main news outlets on day one, I remembered going through the same experience- the uncertainty and fear one feels when you are asked to jump head first into something completely new and hopefully land on your feet.  I can confidently say I have and now feel great confidence in my ability to not only call the media, ranging from a local paper to an international publication, but also be able to speak with confidence and knowledge, while providing reporters with real, relevant news, foster placements and gather useful feedback.

Research and media list building skills While research is something we all must be familar with in school and in the workplace, is something that many people struggle with as it must be thorough, well-compiled and completed in a timely fashion.  I have always thought of myself as someone with strong research skills- I am naturally inquisitive an therefore enjoy learning all that I can about the world around me- but after going over the different tools and research tasks used and required at D&E, it solidified for me the importance of these tasks and the benefit of being proficient in using and compiling strong research, especially in the public relations world.  PR practitioners are expected to be experts on their clients and have deep understanding of what they are pitching and who they are pitching to.  This requires a strong research background in all aspects of the the pr process and makes daily news clippings and recent coverage reports seem all the more important.

Writing Skills  To be a skilled writer is a one of the greatest assets a person can have.  It is also something that you can work on and improve throughout your entire life, no matter what skill level you currently are.  I consider myself a strong writer, but this internship has helped me improve my abilities and better understand writing for pr and the importance of capturing the attention of your audience and making your writing clear, concise and well-edited.  It is also something I plan to continue to work on everyday as everyone can always use more practice 🙂

Confidence in my abilities and my future in the world of pr  Although not a tangible asset gained from my time at D&E, this may be the most valuable.  D&E was a fantastic opportunity as they truly allowed me to test the waters of the pr world and see if it is a field I am well-suited for and going to thrive in and enjoy.  I can safely say that my time with D&E not only strengthened my desire to pursue a career in public relations, but also has given me the confidence to know that I have the skills and the ability to succeed in this field.  Confidence is something that is hard to gain, especially when beginning one’s journey into the working world at such a challenging time, but I feel confident in my place right now; I am ready for the world of pr and can’t wait to jump head first into my next endeavor.

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Cleveland, are you ready for some yoga?

Yoga Bear's YogapaloozaGet ready Cleveland, Yogapalooza is coming your way!  I do not think I have mentioned this yet on my blog, but I recently got involved with the non-profit Yoga Bear (link).   I have joined the organization as a volunteer event coordinator for YB’s annual event, Yogapalooza.   Yoga Bear is just getting started in Cleveland and what better way to gain visibility and spread the word about our cause than through a great event!

Planning for the Cleveland Yogapalooza is still underway, but here are the basics of the organization, the event and where I am at in the planning of the Cleveland event…

Yoga Bear – Yoga Bear is a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing cancer survivors with more opportunities for wellness and healing through the practice of yoga.  Currently operating in 23 states, YB helps connect cancer patients and survivors with yoga studios and also creates a community to join and connect with.  One the aspects of the organization that I find especially great is its utilization of social media.  The Yoga Bear site is a social network where you join, make a profile and can invite friends, participate in discussions and blog.  Yoga Bear is also present on Twitter, You Tube and Facebook.  Although many non-profits participate in social media, I have yet to find one where social media plays as large of a role as with Yoga Bear.  I think this utilization of social media tools is a great benefit to the growth and awareness of the organization and its cause and I am sure YB will become a role model for non-profit social media in the near future.

Yogapalooza Last year marked the first year of this event in San Francisco.  It was a great success and this year the event has expanded to six cities; San Francisco, Atlanta, Austin, Cleveland, New York City and Washington D.C. Although each city’s event is tailored to that city, all events have the same goal: to raise money for Yoga Bear’s cause and promote healthy living and the benefits of the practice of yoga. Also all events are scheduled for June 27th making one united, nation-wide day of yoga!

Cleveland Yogapalooza Here are the details on the Cleveland event as it stands currently. The event will be taking place on June 27 at Wade Oval in University Heights. Wade Oval is a beautiful park located right in between four of Cleveland’s best cultural landmarks: The Botanical Gardens, CWRU’s Gehry building, The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Natural History Museum. We hope for a beautiful sunny day (fingers crossed!) but tents will be set up in the case of rain.

By the end of this week my hope is to have our teachers and local sponsor set.  Meetings and phone calls are currently taking place and I hope to have some great additional news by Saturday to share! That being said if you are or know a great teacher in the greater Cleveland area please let me know! Feel free to comment to this blog or reach me directly at erika@yogabear.org.

I am so happy to be a part of this organization and cause. The benefits received through the practice of yoga are endless and it is wonderful that Yoga Bear has created a community of people who believe in the healing and restorative powers of the practice and support the fight against cancer.

Stay posted for additional news on the Cleveland event and I look forward to a great day of yoga on June 27!

This blog post is part of Zemanta’s “Blogging For a Cause” campaign to raise awareness and funds for worthy causes that bloggers care about.

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VisualCV, the Social Media Release of Job Hunting?

Thanks to a recommendation from my friend Brian, I listened to an NPR story a few weeks ago about interactive resumes and their benefit in today’s job hunt.  Since listening to that story I have begun to build my own interactive resume through VisualCV, which although still a work in progress, will soon debut on my blog but of course. 

VisualCV is an Internet resume that allows you to include more interactive features than a standard resume allows.  Aside from the usual list of past jobs and relevant skills, VisualCV allows you to include work samples, references, images and craft your own personalized url to send to prospective employers.  After beginning to build my own VisualCV, I had a realization- the progress and advancement VisualCV represents for resume-building is the same as what social media releases (SMR) mean to the practice of sending news releases in the public relations world. 

I first experienced social media releases when Dix & Eaton utilized them for one of our clients CPI.  The difference between traditional releases and SMR is amazing.  SMR allow for additional interactive sidebars of related information and videos, direct linkage back to the company’s website, RSS capabilities and the ability to distribute the release via the world of social media (i.e. Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc).  Although the traditional release is still relevant and sufficient for many companies, SMRs show the way the public relations world is evolving and the true power of the new social media movement.

I strongly believe that we are currently experiencing a great shift in our world and our use of technology.  Social media, although starting small, has grown into a force making a huge impact on our society including  the worlds of public relations and job hunting.  I am still learning to navigate this world, but everything I have tried and seen has amazed and inspired me.  Social media releases are a great new tool helping pr professionals publicize news in a way that the public will listen, and interactice resumes I believe will soon become a dominant tool in the job hunt.  Social media is continuing to grow and is here to stay so I say jump on and enjoy the ride.

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Weekend Adventure: Hessler Street Fair

Cleveland Scene.com

Cleveland Scene.com

Although I have lived in Cleveland my entire life, this weekend marked my first visit to a local festival celebrating its 40 year anniversary, the Hessler Street Fair (website).  

The Hessler Street Fair started as an annual block party and in 1969 began its path to the street festival it is today.  Back then, University Circle Inc. wanted to bulldoze Hessler Road to build student dorms and parking lots, and thanks to the money raised by the street festivals the streets became Cleveland Landmarks and were saved from demolition. 

The fair today is a wonderful mixture of arts, crafts, music and food and attracts more than 10,000 visitors a year.  I, as a first time visitor, was greatly impressed by the offerings of the fair.

Hessler Road and Hessler Court (there is interestingly enough no actual Hessler Street) are the two roads which host the fair.  They are lined with a number of quaint, historic houses and end in a courtyard of apartments where local bands set up and played throughout the weekend.  I had the pleasure of listening to the JiMiller Band (website), who’s mix of jazz, bluegrass and blues was a perfect backdrop to the relaxed, free-spirited feeling of the festival. 

I did not get the opportunity to sample any of the food (as Emily and I had a craving for Tommy’s, a great Cleveland Heights food establishment), but we did stop by the craft stands, purchasing some fabric-covered hair clips and picking up flyers for a gallery opening of a local printmaking artist that I plan to visit in June.

My favorite part of the festival may have been the children’s section, Harmony Park.  A make shift drum circle was set up there where adults and kids alike joined together to make “music” and embrace the festivals musical roots.  

The festival, its visitors and the street’s welcoming feel made this a great first festival of the summer season.  If staying in Cleveland I would love to someday live on Hessler Road and partake in the planning of this yearly celebration of one of Cleveland’s great hidden neighborhoods.  Even when moving on and away from my hometown, I plan to make the Hessler Street Fair an event I revisit in the years to come.

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Happy Earth Day! Blog I’m Loving: The People Speak

Now I am a long-time fan of the UN Dispatch (link), the United Nation’s main blog covering the organization and it’s work, but I recently stumbled across another UN blog that I found inspirational, The People Speak- TPS (link).  In the spirit of Earth Day I thought it was a perfect blog to share as a new post.

The People Speak is a blog community for young people interested in global issues and making a difference in our world.  It offers a place for the youth of the world to post their ideas, form connections with other change-focused individuals and begin shaping the world from a very young age.  The site offers a number of applications for users to become involved in and truly gives the youth of our world a say in what is going on around us. 

Current activities on the site include Global Debates, Climate Crews, Youth Leadership Summit and Youth Climate Pledge.  One past activity that I believe shows the strength and potential of this site is a posted YouTube video where TPS community members were able to ask Ted Turner questions.  Now that is having a real influence. 

I may be just out of the age group that would classify me as a youth, but this site is one I plan to re-visit soon and re-visit often.  The youth can change the world and TPS highlights this fact.  Plus, I am pretty excited to learn how to host a UN-themed trivia night as well 🙂

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‘Hyperlocal’ websites, the news outlets of the future?

At work today the head of our MR department shared a very interesting New York Times article with us – “‘Hyperlocal’ Web Sites Deliver News Without Newspapers” link.  This article describes a new wave of Web-start up companies that are creating a whole new idea of the news as we know it.

Now what is a ‘hyperlocal’ site you may ask?  Well don’t worry I asked myself the very same thing.  ‘Hyperlocal’ news sites are website that allow users to choose their location and read the news happening right in their area.  The news is often links to articles and blogs as well as local data that would be of interest to dwellers in that specific area.  Most of these sites do not have their own journalists, but rather gather their information from other sources- definitely not your average news site.

Now I deeply love newspapers and hate to see the demise of print news, but these websites might be onto something.  We have already seen the immense growth of social media and the legitimacy of blogs and tweets as sources of news, so why not sites customized to your specific region?  Now I do not think all news as we know it is gone and lost forever but especially for local news, this might just work.

Currently most of the sites are only offered to the top U.S. cities.  Now as I reside in Cleveland, there is not information currently available (surprising I know), but I did play around on EveryBlock stealing a friend’s Chicago address to use for my trial run and I was very impressed by what I saw.  When using Wrigleyville as my location I learned of a dead goat found hanging on the Wrigley Harry Carey statue, 2 real estate listings, 1 theft, some business reviews and new business licenses, all from toda- April 13.  There was also an archive of previous days news, in case you missed your local fix over Easter weekend.

Although not the international, in-depth news we all love and enjoy from traditional news sources, these new ‘hyperlocal’ sites provide customized, up-to-the-minute news that meets our need for knowing what is going on right now.   Although still in the very beginnings of growth, I predict these sites will soon become forces to be reckoned with.

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