Spring Cleaning – Skip the Elevator!

As spring continues to bloom, our firm is gearing up for a little cleaning – both inside and out. Fortunately, I’ve got the nutrition thing pretty nailed – sprouted grains, chia seeds and green kale smoothies, no HFCS, dyes or processed foods, etc. But when it comes to working out, that’s where I struggle. With two small kiddos, a family and a full-time job to manage, getting to the gym is much too far and between. With Bailey’s post last month providing inspiration, I thought I would take my workout one small step at a time – literally. I have started forgoing the elevator for the staircase. All in all I’m walking roughly 110 steps 1-3 times a day. Evidently, that’s about .17 calories a step, and more importantly, a great workout for my heart.

After all, a little change can go a long way.

About Laura Ray 

Laura Original copy

Proud mom. Senior Vice President . @DiPSeattle board member. Outdoor & underwater enthusiast. Design junkie. Lover of local food, wine and travel. Believer in all things green.



Bold Moves Inspire, Motivate and Change the World!

By, Aaron Blank

At The Fearey Group, we live and breathe our motto, which is thinking fearlessly while coming up with bold ideas. We always challenge ourselves to think outside the box in ways no others do (or at least we tell ourselves this!). So, of course, I would say yes, when asked to speak about my Bold Moves in 2013 at the annual Counselors Academy PRSA conference in Key West. Goal: inspire fearless thinking, invoke boldness and demonstrate how boldness wins as agency leaders.

2013 was the boldest year of my life.

The local Puget Sound Business Journal said I took over a PR firm from “the godmother of Seattle’s public-relations industry…where she presided over an about-face in gender dominance and a legacy of community involvement.”  Bold? In my world, not bold enough.

In April, my family and I adopted Ermias from Woliso, Ethiopia. When we traveled to this third world, we didn’t really know what was in store for us but we didn’t care. Ermias was our family. His first month at home in Seattle was spent at Seattle Children’s battling a few nasty infections.  Several weeks later, we learned that Ermias had Epidermolysis Bullosa, a very rare genetic connective tissue disorder that is known as the worst disease you’ve never heard of.  Bold? Not bold enough in our world.

In November, we partnered with Children’s Hopechest to find 150 of the most neediest children in Ermias’s birth town and started a new care point site. The goal is to find people in our social networks to fund these children’s childhood from now until they are 18. In exchange, they will get food, shelter, clothing and security in a place where that simply is not available. Bold.  Yes, but we are not done!

Life is full of unknowns. Boldness only advances the ball.

In my talk, I will tell these stories while providing real world examples on why being bold sets you apart from those around us.

Running a public relations firm is a tricky thing.  The first several years are considered to be the years when you’re learning how to ride a bike, or learning how to type. Garrity PR agency owner Tom Garrity said it best: it is like you are in a “hunt and peck” mode and then you transform it into its own unique form. CAPRSA is a place for PR firm owners and agency leaders to share, inspire and motivate each other. Tom, along with many agency leaders from around the world will be there to share their bold moves. Join in on the conversation. It is worth the time, energy and resources!


10 Things Small Business Can Do to Improve Social Presence Today

Today our President and CEO, Aaron Blank, spoke at the Sammamish Chamber of Commerce to a group of city leaders and small to midsize business owners. He specifically discussed how to build and leverage social from a business perspective and provided 10 ways small businesses can improve social presence today. Check out his tips below!

  1. Know Where Your Customers Are – What networks are your customers most likely to be on? Spend your time on the social networks they are most often on. This increases your engagement while keeping your time put in low.
  2. Find Your Voice – Does your brand have a voice that you portray on your website or in person? Keep that voice consistent on your social media channels.
  3. Take the time! – Set aside 30 minutes at the beginning or end of your day to review social media posts since your last review time. Take the time to respond to customers that interact with you, two-way communication is important!
  4. Use LinkedIn to Build Your Business– LinkedIn is not just a job searching tool, it’s your digital Rolodex and a new business cultivation tool. Send a personalized note to everyone you meet in a professional setting to connect and grow your network.
  5. Show off Your Expertise on LinkedIn– As your network starts to grow, post interesting articles, comment on posts from others or just like other posts at least ONCE a day. This keeps your name at the top of your connections feed and shows you know your business environment.
  6. Curate and Share Content More Easily – Buffer is a relatively new tool that can make posting regularly on all of your social networks easier. You link everything to your Buffer account and add a button to your web browser. When you find a page or article you want to share you press the Buffer button. Then at regularly scheduled intervals throughout the day Buffer sends out your messages. Other tools to consider: Hootsuite and TweetDeck
  7. Help Your Google Search – Set up a Google+ page for your business and claim the name from Google. This way when people search for your business it’s your actual website that comes up. This also helps your search rank in comparison to similar businesses listed on Google who do not have a business page.
  8. Don’t Just Post About You – Social media is just that, social. Don’t just post about your latest project, promote good things going on in your community or the success of other businesses around you.
  9. Focused on Your Personal Page? Don’t Be Afraid to Show Personality – If you are using a personal social media page to promote your business, don’t be afraid to show some of your personality. If you are all business all the time, people won’t find it compelling. Show some of your personal side and interests, your customers will love to learn more about you.
  10. Follow Others In Your Community – Again, don’t just follow your customers or friends, follow others in the community and interact with them. Supporting them makes it much more likely they will support you!


Social Media Lunch: Organically Grown Relationships and All-Natural Partnerships Make for a Healthy Networking Diet

Social media and the suite of tools, platforms and apps that make up this digital highway have transformed the way people meet and interact. Twitter alone has opened a plethora of doors for professional networking, B2B marketing and interpersonal relationship building. Today millions of people are connecting via social media long before they ever meet in person – that is if they ever meet at all!

Lot's of tweeting going on!
Tweet Tweet!

My professional network is largely made up of people I met via social media. These relationships were further cemented when we met in person. Never underestimate the power of a face-to-face interaction! It truly helps to build trust in one another and add a layer of emotion and compassion that might not exist through a purely digital relationship.

This is why The Fearey Group started SMLunch a few years back. It was started as a way to take relationships offline and into the real-world. SMLunch rotates monthly among local businesses, showcasing a variety of brands and the social media community behind them. Each lunch follows an informal program filled with ample amounts of networking, short presentations by host businesses, plenty of cool giveaways and the opportunity to showcase your brand, service or mission to a group of engaged and connected individuals in the community. Attendees range in industry – from artists to writers and executives to entrepreneurs, from real estate agents to social media community managers and those in the non-profit sector. At the end of the day, the point is to take these relationships we’re building online and meet in person – to further inspire collaboration, inspiration and support.

Great way to meet new people in the social media scene.
Great way to meet new people in the social media scene.

Our next lunch will take place on May 22nd at the Porch.com offices where attendees will learn more about Seattle’s hottest startup. Tickets are now available at Brown Paper tickets.

Be sure to check out SMLunch on Facebook and follow @TheFearyGroup and #SMLunch for additional details.

We hope you’ll SMLunch with us soon!


What’s the buzz about? Here’s what fans of SMLunch are saying!

“SMLunch is such a wonderful way to bring those in the social media world together once a month to actively engage with one another in person. Not only are you able to spread the word about your company, but it helps solidify relationships with your existing online connections and network with those across such a broad spectrum of brands- all over lunch!” – Annie Hong, Social Media and Public Relations Manager, Anthony’s Restaurants

“#SMLunch connects those from the digital world into the “real world” with food, networking and education. This fast-paced event has become a must-attend event for the Seattle social. #SMLunch has helped me to develop relationships with influencers and companies in the area that I never knew I’d need to know!” – Ann Peavey, Chief Concierge, Visit Seattle

“SMLunch is a great, intimate way to meet and network with other professionals in a casual setting. As an attendee and host of an SMLunch, I can truly say it’s been a really valuable experience and great opportunity to showcase our company and create new business connections.” – Kara Drinkard, marketing manager, glassybaby

“I started attending SMLunch to network and meet local people in the social media and marketing community. While I did do just that, what I really came away with was a number of new friendships that have enriched my life and a group of friends that constantly teach me new things” – Howie Cohen, General Merchandise Buyer, Bartell Drugs


Heather Fernandez


Heather Fernandez is an Account Supervisor with The Fearey Group and chief event organizer for SMLunch. She’s also a Mother, PR dynamo, Reader, Fashionably-challenged, Seattleite via SoCal, lives to laugh, lover of the sea & a fan of great beer #GoHawks

Saying Thank You in the Social Age – Tweet a Coffee

Social media has opened up an endless amount of new ways to connect with people from all over the world. If you look at my Twitter feed you will see world travelers to hockey fans and public relations pros to dog lovers. The connections you can build with these simple tools are astounding and new innovations are growing on a daily basis.

One of my favorite social media innovations is Starbucks’ “Tweet a Coffee” feature. It has been around since October of 2013 and it sends a $5 Starbucks gift card to the recipient of your choice. It’s a great way to send a little love along, but it has so many uses just beyond simply sending a coffee to someone you care about.

The system works by tweeting “@TweetaCoffee to @Username” you can even send a short message along, if you like. I have my latest example below to Meredith, one of the AWESOME members of The Fearey Group team.


After you send the tweet the @TweetaCoffee account will ask you to confirm that you have a Starbucks account and confirm a payment method. Once that is complete the recipient will receive a tweet that their Starbucks gift card is ready for pick up. From there they can go online and download the $5 gift code.

I love using this feature and do it on a regular basis. I send them to friends and family to say thank you, to online friends who might need a pick-me-up or just as a way to say “hey how are things going.” If you are trying to figure out how to start a networking relationship with someone you follow online, why not tweet them a coffee and ask if they want to meet up? If they say yes, you’ve already “bought” their coffee for them. Or it’s an even better way to follow up with someone you might have met at an event to try and keep in touch.

Social innovations that allow us to bridge the gap to directly take advantage of a service and spread the love to our family, friends and acquaintances is one of the next innovations companies should consider. Now get out there and tweet your way to your next coffee meeting.  


About Chris Guizlo 

ChrisG Twitter Photo


Coffee Lover, Travel Addict, Political junkie, Former Washingtonian Turned Seattleite, Twice an #AmericanU Grad and @ChrisGuizlo on Twitter  rad.

Guest Post: PRSA Counselors Academy Preview – How You Can Develop Marketing Solutions to Drive New Business Opportunities

Today’s guest post comes from Pam Golden, President, GLA Communications and Bret Werner, Managing Director, Catalyst Public Relations, an IMG Consulting Company. Pam interviewed Bret to get a sneak peak of his presentation to the PRSA 2014 Counselors Academy Conference. The conference is from May 4-6, 2014 in Key West, Fla.  

Virtually every agency faces the same internal struggle.  We excel at doing great work for our clients, helping them achieve their communications goals.  But, when it comes to achieving our own goals we tend to fall down on the job.   You know what I am talking about.  We’ll focus on the agency when we have time, but clients come first.  And, more often than not, creating a new business strategy falls to the bottom of the to-do list.

The time has come to make your agency the number one client.  And, there is no one better to tell us how to achieve this than Bret Werner, Managing Director, Catalyst Public Relations, an IMG Consulting Company.  At the upcoming Counselors Academy Spring Conference, Bret will discuss “How You Can Develop Marketing Solutions to Drive New Business Opportunities.” 

 Bret will discuss why every agency needs a differentiator that sets it apart from the competition.  He will share how creating a marketing piece that showcases your expertise and insights, that works for you throughout the year and that resonates with prospective clients is the key to success.  And trust me, he knows what he is talking about.  The Catalyst Fan Engagement Study is the industry standard and Bret will share how his agency comes together to create this study and how it has helped them attract top tier new clients.

 I met Bret at last year’s Counselors conference in Austin and can promise you that you will come away inspired to create new marketing solutions for your agency. 

 A veteran attendee at Counselors Academy, Bret Werner joined Catalyst as Managing Partner in 2006 and is spearheading the agency’s dynamic growth as a leader in strategic media relations. Prior to joining Catalyst, Werner spent 15 years at Taylor, formerly Alan Taylor Communications, becoming one of the youngest Vice Presidents in the company’s history. Werner has created marketing communications efforts to help distinguish consumer brands in a variety of industry categories, from sports and nutrition, to online and packaged goods.


Pam Golden, President, GLA Communications

Pam founded GLA Communications in 1986 during the first wave of the home technology boom. Since then, her expertise has helped fuel many of the most successful communications campaigns in the field. With Pam’s help, home satellite TV became the most quickly adopted consumer electronics product in industry history. Just a few years later she helped launch the technology that would become the new market champion—the DVD.

In addition to managing the agency, Pam provides high-level strategic and tactical counsel to GLA’s clients, bringing the benefit of more than 20 years of experience in creating and executing campaigns that work. Her extensive network of key media relationships, keen understanding of the inner-workings of the media, and affinity for strategic communications in the technology sectors have brought consistent, winning results for clients in national broadcast, online, cable, and print media outlets.

Twitter: @PamPR


Bret Werner, Managing Director, Catalyst Public Relations, an IMG Consulting Company 

Bret joined Catalyst as Managing Partner in 2006, and is spearheading the agency’s dynamic growth with global brands that include SUBWAY Restaurants, Under Armour and vitaminwater. During his tenure the agency has experienced revenue growth every year while maintaining client and staff retention at 90+% on an annual basis.

Prior to joining Catalyst, Bret spent 15 years at Taylor, becoming one of the youngest Vice Presidents in the company’s history. Bret has created a variety of marketing communications efforts to help distinguish consumer brands in a variety of industry categories, online, sports, health and packaged goods.

He helped develop consumer strategies for brands such as Subway, Microsoft’s Xbox and ESPN.com.

His work on behalf of MasterCard’s global sports sponsorships has taken him around the world, from the European Football Championships in England to the African Cup of Nations in South Africa where he played an essential role in the development of global activation communication platforms.

Twitter: @bret_werner