Tag Archives: fort myers

Life in Public Relations: A Recipe for Kindness

 

Restaurant
Gloria’s La Trattoria Cafe Napoli, Fort Myers

 

 

 

 

GloriaSignage

 

 

 

 

 

Good at Heart

This is part I of a story about one woman’s kindness and one young girl’s dream. With all that is going on in the world, it is uplifting and inspiring to know that Anne Frank was right when she wrote, “despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” I hope that I can share with you the same feel good moment I experienced today.

AMIkids Southwest Florida

AMIkids-Southwest-Florida - with tag

A little background first: Like many of us in the public relations profession, at PKE we are concerned about our community and love getting immersed in the causes we care about. At our firm, we work with several Southwest Florida non-profit organizations, but our heart is with children and education, specifically AMIkids Southwest Florida, an alternative school for at-risk kids between 14 and 18 years old.

One visit to this day school and you cannot help but be impressed by the staff’s commitment to getting these kids back on the right track and back into their regular high schools. Through rigorous academics, mental health therapy and behavioral treatment, this program addresses the problems of kids who often have unbearable home lives filled with violence, drugs and abuse. They start out with such a disadvantage that there is little surprise when they get into trouble and make the wrong decisions.

A rough start

A few months ago, we planned a Ladies Tea to create more awareness about AMIkids Southwest Florida. One of the students, 15-year old Naomi, was brave enough to share her story with the guests. She not only told of her hardships, first the incarceration of her parents and then their deaths, being split up from her sibling and sent to live with an elderly aunt who became a substitute “grandma,” she also shared one of her dreams – to become a chef and to own her own restaurant.

Her talk was so direct and heartfelt that everyone was silent for a moment after she was finished – we were amazed at all this child had been through and yet here she was, tasting her first scones, trying a variety of teas and sharing her future plans. What could be more wonderful and serendipitous than one of the guests being a local chef/restaurant owner? Even better, the guest was Gloria Cabral, owner of La Trattoria Café Napoli, a warm-hearted, friendly, community-minded person who was as taken with Naomi’s story as the rest of us. So much so that without hesitation, she offered her time and attention to mentor Naomi – to have her come to the restaurant to see what the life of a chef is all about. In essence, the offer to ignite Naomi’s dream and help her take the first step to making it become real.

Portrait of Gloria that hangs in her restaurant
Portrait of Gloria that hangs in her restaurant

A new beginning

Today was Naomi’s first visit to Gloria’s Trattoria Café Napoli. Accompanied by AMIkids executive director Windye McNeal, restaurant manager Tino gave Naomi a front and back of the house tour, briefed her on the menu and wine list, and gave her tips from “Safe Staff,” a publication on safety in the workplace from the Florida Restaurant Association. Her next lesson will be with Gloria in the kitchen to learn more about the role of a sous chef and the importance of quality cuisine. The best part? Gloria has designated May 14 as “Tapas Night with Naomi,” an AMIkids SWFL fundraiser where Naomi will participate as sous chef for the evening and help prepare dinner for 55 guests.

Tino's training session with Naomi
Tino’s training session with Naomi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naomi is slightly nervous about being in the spotlight, but when I asked her how she felt about all this, she said, “I am really excited about this adventure. This is a dream I will always remember.”

One woman, one girl and one extraordinary act of kindness – the perfect ingredients for a second chance.

 

 

Delicious lunch at Gloria's La Trattoria Napoli
Delicious lunch at Gloria’s La Trattoria Napoli

Part II coming soon: In the Kitchen with Gloria & Naomi

PR Reflections: Learn with ardor

Abigail Adams said, “Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”

Even more than 200 years later, her words resonate – especially in today’s world where messages and impressions continuously surge around us but  may never be absorbed nor applied.  From a public relations point of view, real learning takes place when we internalize and process information and then use it to enhance organizations’ relationships and reputations among their publics. There are five specific actions we can easily incorporate into our daily PR lives to ensure that we “learn with ardor”:

Read!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That means as much as you can of every genre. For me, the single most important way to learn is to read: newspapers, blogs, lifestyle magazines,  industry journals and novels.  Yes, novels!  (See Anne Kreamer’s Jan. 2012 blog post). You never know where the next creative idea will come from – often a single word or powerful image can open the door to a new way of thinking (if you let it!)

Listen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you ever watch the TV show, “House”?  Just when it seems that all is lost and there will be no diagnosis for the mystery illness, Dr. House grasps on to a nugget of conversation that lights up his synapses and solves the problem — lives are saved! While your results might not be as extraordinary, you can still learn a tremendous amount by truly listening to others around you.  This is your opportunity to garner knowledge from other people’s experiences and expertise, and use it to help yourself and others.

Observe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step away from your desk and look at the world around you.  I just read a NYT article about the lost art of conversation — sad but true.  So often our heads are down, our eyes focused on our little screens, that we can miss both the simplicity of a friendly conversation and the huge, amazing things happening right in front of us. Look around and take it all in – you’ll get more out of life and have more to talk about!

Ask!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even if you’ve taken the time to listen, and lifted your head to observe, there may be still more to learn. Develop your sense of curiosity, that urge to know more, and take it to a higher level.  Ask the questions that come to mind, or look for further details online, or even walk through the doors of a library.  Take ancestry.com, for example – you can learn a great deal about your family history by visiting the website.  Even better is when the featured celebrity on “Who Do You Think You Are”  actually visit a library. That’s when they dig deeper into real documentation, perusing the archived records that bring their pasts alive and make them meaningful.

Connect!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to Abigail Adams quote, connecting is the key to attending to your learning with diligence.  All those precious morsels you’ve gathered by reading, listening and observing will just float freely through your imagination if you don’t find a way to corral them and use them purposefully.  The best way we can use our information in the field of public relations is to apply our new knowledge to help someone else.  Have you read about a technology advancement that you can pass on to one of your clients to make their business run more smoothly?  Or did you hear someone discussing an upcoming seminar that would help a business associate further his/her career? Perhaps you’ve just met the perfect collaborator for your next venture — and your next learning opportunity.

What have you learned  lately that you would like to share?  We would love to hear about it here!

Looking forward to your comments.

 

Happy learning!

Phyllis

 

 

 

 

Building a Strong Foundation

As a PR professional and writer who also happens to be training for the NYC Marathon, I am compelled to find the metaphors in my enthusiastic pursuit of personal and professional development.  And while running 15 or 16 miles at a stretch, what else is there to think about but the similarities in my parallel lives of working and training? Continue reading Building a Strong Foundation

Lunch, Lunges & Long Runs

It has been an inspiring week, both at work and in marathon training — two areas of life that are somehow intertwined.  Is it the more rigorous training that is fueling more energy and focus at work?  Or is the self-discipline and organization practiced at work making training more productive?  Maybe a little of both… Continue reading Lunch, Lunges & Long Runs

When is Personal Training like an Effective PR Plan?

Today is Day 1 of my personal training program at Fitness Together Fort Myers and so far, I see many parallels between their personalized, one-on-one attention and an effective public relations plan that focuses on achieving client’s goals and objectives.

Continue reading When is Personal Training like an Effective PR Plan?