A Fearless Footprint on the Future

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Here at The Fearey Group, employees are encouraged to take an active role in the community by engaging and partnering with various organizations they are passionate about. I for one am very keen on initiatives surrounding youth education and mentoring. Therefore, this past month, my fellow colleague, Heather Fernandez (whom also shares in this passion), and I had the opportunity to volunteer with CHOICES Education Group, a not-for-profit mentoring network based in Seattle.

We first learned about CHOICES through Aaron Blank (CEO) – whom had been introduced to the organization’s founder through a community event. Excited to learn more and get involved, Heather and I attended a couple online trainings and then eventually co-led our own seminar for local youth here in Seattle.

So what exactly does CHOICES do? Well, CHOICES is an interactive, decision-making workshop that empowers teens to achieve academic success in pursuit of their career and life aspirations. Developed much like a guest mentoring seminar, presenters from all professional backgrounds are paired with 7th and 8th grade class rooms all over the greater Seattle area. From there presenters lead sessions focused around real-world exercises on academic self-discipline, time and money management and goal setting.

In two 50-minute sessions, Heather and I took a class of 8th grade students at Catharine Blaine School in Magnolia through a series of scenarios, decision making exercises and participatory models that sparked their thinking and encouraged inspiration for who they want to become later in life.

The goal of the seminars was to help teens envision the true impact of their early life decisions as well as help teens discover how they can take charge of their lives. The mission of CHOICES Education Group is to empower students with vital tools that will increase their career and life opportunities.

Heather and I had such a wonderful experience volunteering with CHOICES and are looking forward to participating in the program again next year. If you’re interested in volunteering, you can find more information at www.choices.org/getinvolved.htm.

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TFG’s Herb Garden

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Our Chief Administrative Officer at The Fearey Group, Chris Nettles, has a green thumb, and she’s sharing the benefits with our whole office! Chris recently planted an herb garden in our (currently) sunny office in downtown Seattle and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

Complete with Thyme, Sweet Basil, Sage, Cilantro, Oregano, Rosemary, Thai Basil and Tarragon, our team is always armed with the perfect herb for any dish. In fact, just last night, our newest team member, Amy Snow Landa, cooked up bruschetta! We’ve included the recipe and a photo of the decadent meal below.

 Amy’s Bruschetta:

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Amy says bruschetta is a great choice for a summer meal because it’s easy to make, satisfying to eat, and a terrific way to use fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden or farmers market.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 medium Roma tomatoes – or the equivalent in cherry tomatoes – diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Crusty Italian bread, cut into ½-inch-thick slices (probably 4 to 6 slices, depending on the size of the bread)

Instructions:

In a large bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar into the olive oil.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. 

Taste to see if you want to add more of anything, and set aside.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly brush each side of the bread slices with olive oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Put baking sheet in oven for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip the bread slices and put back in oven for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove and place on a plate.

Top the bread with the tomato mixture.

Tear basil into small pieces and sprinkle on top.

Note: You can also add a bit of grated Parmesan to the tomato mixture, if you like.

Bon appétit!

 

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!

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Spring Clean-Eating at The Fearey Group

By Bailey Evans, Production Assistant

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That’s me practicing yoga in Big Fork, Montana

This month at The Fearey Group we felt the need to kick-off spring cleaning, or spring clean eating in our case, and a nutrition and fitness competition seemed like just the ticket! In the spirit of teambuilding through wellness, we challenged our team to a month of making healthier life choices. We created an ‘Accountability Calendar’ (it lives on our office fridge) which allows for each team member (should they choose to participate) to track exercise habits and nutritional improvements being made each day. We also take turns sending around daily doses of encouragement though e-mail including smart swap options and nutritional tidbits.

Not only does The Fearey Group love a good health kick, but we also like instilling the values of our health and wellness clients into our own company culture. We truly value creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We practice our best Fearless Thinking when we take care of ourselves and make healthy choices.

Below we have included a couple of simple swaps and sneaky exercises to incorporate into your wellness journey!

Nutritional Swaps for Success

-Swap whole wheat for white starches (i.e. pasta, rice, bread)

-Choose fruit instead of candy when that sweet tooth strikes

-Reach for fiber-filled popcorn instead of chips for a crunchy snack (and skip the kettlecorn!)

-Pick an Americano over a latte (or go with the low-fat version of your favorite drink)

-Make oatmeal instead of cereal, spice it up with some fresh or frozen berries

-Try turkey bacon at breakfast

-When dining out, share your meal or box up half for later

-Swap “good fat” for “bad fat” (Good fat = Extra Virgin Olive Oil, avocados, walnuts.  Bad fat = fries, bacon, cheese)

-Eat dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate\

-Try your sandwich with a little more mustard and a little less mayo

-Put cinnamon in your coffee instead of sugar. Not only is it yummy, it stabilizes blood sugar levels

Sneaky Exercise for Office Excellence

-Take the stairs instead of the elevator

-If you commute, get on/off the bus a couple blocks away from your normal stop

-Get up and stretch every half hour to hour

-Walk to lunch

– Stand-up during conference calls

-Walk to your colleagues offices instead of using the intercom or IM

-Use an exercise ball in lieu of a chair at your desk

Media Monday: Danielle Anthony-Goodwin, My Ballard

Each Monday, we’re giving readers a chance to get to know the media a little better.

With a little flair.

Our goal is to give readers some insight into the work and work style of area journalists, and get to know a little bit about the person behind the byline. Start your week off with an online networking opportunity through our Media Monday blog post.

This Week: Danielle Anthony-Goodwin, My Ballard

ImageMeet My Ballard editor Danielle Anthony-Goodwin. She is full of energy, absolutely loves Ballard and (the best part) is: she is from Australia.

Q: Tell us about yourself…

A: I grew up in Sydney, Australia. My mom is Australian and my dad is American (he is from LA). I went to college in Bathurst and majored in theater and communications. My first job was working in a traveling theater company. We traveled to high schools and elementary schools and presented on real issues (like bullying) that impact kids. I came back to Sydney and worked for Rock Eisteddfod. I was a production and communications assistant; I also hosted some shows which was really fun. I was working in the Harry Potter Exhibition after that (I love Harry Potter!!).  From there, I got my high school teaching degree in drama and taught at a Catholic boys’ school.

Q: How did you end up here at My Ballard?

A: I have family in the Pacific Northwest. During college, I worked at Camp Four Winds in Orcas Island. I came back after my teaching job. At the end of the summer, a few of us counselors decided to move to Seattle and I ended up in Ballard. One of my friends Meghan was the previous editor of My Ballard blog. I helped cover for her while she was away on a trip to Kenya and then ended up joining full time.

Q: What is your favorite thing about reporting?

A: I love the sense of community and general sense of care people have for one another. People genuinely write in spreading the word about something the community needs to know. It’s not promotional.

And I love meeting people here. It is such a diverse community, and everyone is very accepting and welcoming.

Q: What is the craziest story you’ve written?

A: This man ran nude down at the Ballard Locks at the start of winter. Oh and Keira Knightley was filming at Olympic Manor. She and her husband were on Ballard Ave. having coffee and I spotted them. Of course I didn’t have my camera.

Q: Do you have a favorite place or activity to unwind?

A: I love going to the gym for Zumba (Olympic Athletic Club has the best instructor!). Performing is another thing, but I haven’t done as much of that here. I love working with kids. I have a little sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I am also trying to learn the guitar.

Q: Where do you find most of your stories? Give me a snap shot/day in the life.

A: A lot of community members write in. Also, just walking around. Living here is the most important part. You feel connected.

We’re lucky because the community is so supportive. There is rarely a day when there isn’t something going on.

Q: What should a PR person know about bringing story ideas to the Ballard blog? 

A: Bring as much information as you have! My Ballard is less formal. We just want to engage with the community.

Q: Ballard is booming, any new hot spots we should know about? 

A:

  • Bauhaus coffee
  • Billy Beach sushi is really good
  • I like Kangaroo and Kiwi for obvious reasons, and I bartend there
  • Percy’s and Grog bar are also really good
  • Golden City Chinese is delicious
  • Now all we need is dim sum!

Be sure to follow @myballard on Twitter for around-the-clock news and updates on the Ballard neighborhood.

Read Media Monday blogs from around the Public Relations Global Network:

HMA Public Relations, Phoenix, AZ

Landis Communications, San Francisco, CA

The 42nd Annual Economic Forecast Conference: We’ve Still Got Work to Do

By, Erin Fowler

As the newest member of The Fearey Group’s Real Estate/Built Environment team, I had the privilege of attending the 42nd Annual Economic Forecast Conference hosted by the Economic Development Council of Seattle and King County. What a treat.  The room was full of brilliant real estate professionals and incredible panelists that spoke insightfully about both the past and future of real estate in the Puget Sound region.  Here are a few insights from the speakers:

King County Executive Dow Constantine’s top three initiatives include: investing in our assets, supporting the supply chain (transportation was a big topic throughout the day), and investing in our people – schools, immigration

Ken Goldstein, U.S. Economy and Forecast Economist/The Conference Board: “2014 will be better than 2013 AND it will be better (marginally) than 2015 and 2016.”

Michael Dueker, Chief Economist at Russell Investments, believed that 2013 was a “year of validation” for what happened the previous year.  He linked it to airplane acceleration.  Stocks went up 30 percent and growth hovered at 2.0 percent.  He predicts the GDP to be at 4.8 percent.

Dick Conway, Economist & Founder at The Puget Sound Economic Forecaster, is the E.F. Hutton guy – everyone quiets to hear what he has to say.  His message –  the Puget Sound region is performing well, but we should be doing BETTER. And, like always,  Boeing has been the key to our economic recovery.

He also shared some interesting statistics about housing permits and housing prices in the Puget Sound Region:

Housing Permits

Average Home Price Increases

– In 2012, we saw a 51 percent increase (YOY)- In 2013, we saw a 2.4 percent increase

– In 2014, the projection is a 13.6 percent   increase

– In 2015, the projection is a 12.2 percent   increase

– 2012 – 3.5 percent- 2013 – 10.6 percent

– 2014 – 7.9 percent projected

– 2015 – 4.7 percent projected

Chris Mefford, President & Founder of Community Attributes, noted that real estate is about people and how they are changing.  We have more non-white and low income people in our region and we need to keep that in mind as we build it.

Dave Sabey, President of Sabey Corporation, said big permit hurdles and higher permit costs are not helping affordable housing, not to mention taxes.  In our region, the tax on a multi-million dollar project could be, well, over a million dollars.  And where is that all going?  Well, it is definitely not going towards education or transportation like we would hope.

Greg Johnson, President of Wright Runstad & Company touted the Spring District as a really big part of the region’s new economy.  A transportation-oriented, walkable space in Bellevue finally becomes the latest innovation among spaces the region MUST have.

There were several other educational and insightful speakers featured at the conference. A quick recap:

  • To rise to the top, we must compete and win in the areas of transportation, education and increased exports.
  • We can’t keep doing what we’re doing.  We have to focus and improve in the areas of healthcare, energy (solar and wind), and technology.
  • The $15/hour minimum wage proposal – no one really knows if it will help or hurt, but without a doubt, there will be ramifications. 
  • Transportation – let’s get with the program and continue to invest. 
  • Inflation and access to capital – enough said.
  • And again over and over and over…. Thank you BOEING!

Fearless Thinkers: One Local Representative’s Subtle Yet Effective Marketing Approach during this Year’s Holiday Season

This year we bring to you a new series on our blog, “Fearless Thinkers”. Each month (and sometimes more frequently!) we will share out a public relations, marketing or social campaign that caught our eye. Happy reading and Happy New Year!

On the first day of Christmas, Express Employment Professionals gave The Fearey Group a pear, and the gifts continued for 12 days in perfect harmony with the famous holiday tune.

Each year companies and organizations worldwide look for creative and unique ways to break through the holiday noise and resonate with consumers. This season, Express Employment Professionals had the right idea.

The company, which specializes helping people find jobs and matching companies with the right employees, chose 10 organizations in the Seattle area, including The Fearey Group, to deliver 12 gifts for 12 days. Not only did a member of Express Employment hand deliver the gifts each day, but they also provided an explanation of the gift and how it mapped back to the company’s values and services. Company Owner, Michael Lee, said of the campaign, “The song is culturally relevant to most people whether they celebrate Christmas or not. And who doesn’t like getting presents regardless of what you believe? The strategy has been to give something of value to our prospects… a fun experience, before we even talk about our staffing services at Express.”

This creative campaign gave Express Employment Professionals a reason to personally interact with 10 companies, each day, for 12 days. That is no easy feat! We commend their inventive and successful effort to resonate with their customers during the buzzing holiday season.

We’ve included Express Employment Professional’s 12 Days of Christmas tags below as well as photos of our favorite gifts. Enjoy and follow @Expressjobs4you on Twitter for job postings and more!

On the 1st Day of Christmas, Express gave to me: A Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Make a note, you and Express are a great “pear.”

On the 2nd Day of Christmas, Express gave to me: Two Turtle Doves.

Express brings fresh staffing solutions “two” you.

On the 3rd Day of Christmas, Express gave to me: Three French Horns.

Let Express scrub away your staffing issues.

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On the 4th Day of Christmas, Express gave to me: Four Calling Birds.

Calling Express to clean up your staffing Woes.

On the 5th Day of Christmas, Express gave to me: Five Golden Rings.

At Express, our service it worth its weight in gold.

On the 6th Day of Christmas, Express gave to me: Six Geese a Laying.

Calling Express for your staffing needs is an EGGcellent idea.

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On the 7th Day of Christmas, Express gave to me: Seven Swans a Swimming.

Express can help clean up your HR challenges.

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On the 8th Day of Christmas, Express gave to me: Eight Maids a Milking.

Express provides staffing solutions that are “maid” to order.

On the 9th Day of Christmas, Express gave to me: Nine Ladies Dancing.

Express can help you dance through your ever-changing business needs.

On the 10th Day of Christmas, Express gave to me: Ten Lords a Leaping.

Express will exceed your expectations leaps and bounds.

On the 11th Day of Christmas, Express gave to me: Eleven Pipers Piping.

Experience sweet success with Express.

On the 12th Day of Christmas, Express gave to me: Twelve Drummers Drumming.

Express won’t miss a beat when it comes to providing the best staffing solutions.