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June 19, 2015 | cwinters | Tagged , , , , , ,

What does your company’s dress code do for your reputation?

Summer is here – temperatures are rising, and so are the hemlines. As a proud product of Catholic School, I’ve always been a fan of “the uniform” – makes morning decision making easy and you never have to worry about looking appropriate. And the good Sisters at my all girls Catholic school swore that there was a link between our dress and our behavior – we were loud, unruly and “harder to manage.” Which is exactly the point. While some traditional companies, particularly in industries like banking and professional services, still embrace formal dress, the most desirable places to work these days are no longer blue collar or white collar jobs – they are no collar jobs.  Apple. Google. Facebook. And they aren’t just technology companies – Virgin, Quicken Loans, and Starbucks. Companies with a casual dress code are viewed as more innovative, more creative and generally “cooler.” And now, they may also begin to assert that their casual dress code is better for the environment. In a recent post about why he ditched the tie, Richard Branson notes that offices where everyone is suited up in a tie are generally kept cooler during the hottest summer months. Dress codes…

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March 6, 2015 | cwinters | Tagged

International Women’s Day: Lessons in Leadership from the Women of MWW

March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD), a holiday that celebrates the achievements of women worldwide and inspires the next generation of women to make their mark on the world. At MWW, we believe in our #fearless female leadership, who continuously make it happen for our clients on a daily basis. In honor of IWD, we asked them for their secrets to success and what they want the next generation of female PR professionals to know as they develop their careers. Here’s what they had to say: Carreen Winters Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications @carreenwl Remember when doing anything “like a girl” was an insult?  That’s definitely how it was 24 years ago when I started as an entry level coordinator in PR, and particularly so in corporate communications, where men still dominate despite PR being a female-led industry.  But as we see female leaders taking the CEO roles at organizations traditionally dominated by men – manufacturing (GM), technology (Yahoo), and professional services (like our MWW client Deloitte), it seems that this may truly be the year of the woman. I am proud to have been selected by PR News for its inaugural Top Women in PR awards, and it…

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March 5, 2015 | admin | Tagged ,

Bully Be Gone

Admin’s Note: This is a guest post from JP Schuerman, EVP and General Manager of MWW’s Western Region. Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to meet Jane Clementi, the stalwart mother – and now anti-bullying advocate – of Tyler Clementi, the bright-eyed co-ed who was bullied to suicide by his roommate, who deemed it appropriate to broadcast intimate, private moments of Tyler in his dorm room for public spectacle and judgment online. Simply because he was gay. Bullying is not an issue limited to religious, lifestyle or behavioral judgment. Actually, no one is immune – the recent cyberbullying attacks against Curt Schilling’s daughter simply reinforce the fact that any insecure individual armed with social media will attack anyone and anything. The effects are chilling, and quite frankly, revolting. We as a society, as consumers, as corporations, have a responsibility in this rapidly growing and spineless movement. As individuals, institutions and industry, we can make a difference. Every day, we make choices to assuage peers and influencers to buy our products, to believe in our brands – to create a movement around an item. We can do the same, if not more powerfully so, to affect change by leveraging this collective strength to move a society…

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February 11, 2015 | cwinters | Tagged , , ,

Is It Time to Stop Talking About Millennials in the Workplace?

Every day, we are inundated with news articles, infographics and studies about Millennials in the workplace, and the challenges of managing them.  Millennials are lazy, entitled, disloyal…or a contrarian view that Millennials are more career-driven, more qualified and in some way better than any generation entering the workforce. Funny, I’ve heard that narrative about the disenfranchised, difficult and lazy generation once before – it was about Generation X – for whom Wynona Ryder in Reality Bites served as the poster child.  I know because I am (technically) a member of Generation X.  But none of those labels applied to me, or anyone I knew or worked with.  We were all working late every night, for low pay; frustrated that our bosses didn’t understand us; interested in being mentored, and in building careers. It was hard to find a job, we were discouraged that we had expensive educations and couldn’t find a job.   Sound familiar? As careers are stretching longer, the reality is that the multigenerational workforce is here to stay.  Each generation that enters the workforce brings their own life experiences and expectations to the table.  Being an effective multigenerational leader is one of the greatest challenges in business today….

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February 10, 2015 | cwinters | Tagged , , ,

The 5 Things We Can All Learn From a CEO’s First 100 Days

One of the things I enjoy the most about my job is working with CEOs as they embark on a new leadership journey.  A new CEO gets a blank page, a fresh start – and the opportunity to decide what he or she wants to stand for as a leader, and to impact an entire organization, and sometimes an entire industry.  This is a business situation where the power of communications is clear – to define goals, to build consensus, to bring a little bit of inspiration to the world. Much is written about a CEO’s first 100 days, and MWW has its own 100 day protocol for embarking on this journey, and creating the leadership trajectory for the executive and the Company.  But what does a CEO’s approach to the first 100 days teach us about individuals and their careers?  What should everyone do on the first day of a new job?  I was intrigued about advice on this topic coming from Mary Barra, who has spent her entire career at GM, and who reminded me (an MWW lifer) that a new job isn’t just starting at a new company – it is starting a new role or even…

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February 9, 2015 | cwinters | Tagged , , ,

The Connection Between Happiness and Success

MWW recently held an annual leadership retreat – where we came together for two days to collaborate on priorities, define (and re-define) goals for our company and refresh relationships as a team.  We were fortunate to have support from some experts and facilitators who began with a very simple, but bold statement.  Happy people = happy outcomes/results. Perhaps it is the power of suggestion, I’ve started to see this premise popping up everywhere since that day, and it seems to be a dominant theme coming from successful female leaders.  Like Ivanka Trump, who says that having a happy family life is the key to her business success, or Palo Alto Software’s CEO who argues that leaning in isn’t the key to success, happiness is.  The economics of happiness, which first caught my eye a few years ago at Davos, has become a “thing” attracting attention from esteemed organizations like the Brookings Institute, TED and HBR.  Cultivation of happiness as a leadership strategy has fawned books and white papers.  But is it a “girl thing”? Do female leaders have the market cornered on the power of happiness over personal success, and an organization?  Or is it simply more acceptable for a…

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February 6, 2015 | cwinters | Tagged , ,

Has Brian Williams Put the Reputation of News At Risk?

Last night at dinner with some colleagues, the topic of Brian Williams and his Paul Bunyan tale of being shot down in the Iraqi desert came up.  Is he a liar?  An embellisher? Or a victim of some sort of false memory syndrome? No doubt, experts more qualified than me will be filling the airwaves talking about false memory retrieval.  Heck, if you watched any kind of crime drama, you know that humans don’t always recall things in the way that they actually happened, and that memory can be suggestively shaped over time. For me, the bigger issue is the line between news and entertainment.  We’ve seen politicians exaggerate the level of danger they were in when visiting war zones before, but we expect our news anchors to be truthful purveyors of the facts. Was it not dramatic enough to be on the front lines in a combat zone?  Was there encouragement (overt or covert) to make the headline sexier?  In an era where it isn’t enough to just report on a story, and talent is encouraged to become part of the story how can we preserve the integrity of news reporting?  No one would have asked Walter Cronkite to…

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February 4, 2015 | cwinters | Tagged ,

Banned in Boston: Anti-Olympic Talk

I remember early in my career a client told me they were working on a commercial that would get banned in Boston.  He said it gleefully, and I didn’t get it.  And because I was a starry-eyed young pro dazzled by early exposure to a CEO, I simply asked him to explain why he wanted to be banned in Boston.  You see, this company was operating under Chapter 11, cash strapped, and in an era before the Internet, looking for a low cost way to get people excited about their brand.  They didn’t actually have the money for a national TV buy, so they were making a racy ad (which today would not seem racy), attempting to place it in Boston and getting the media to write about the ad. An early lesson in building buzz, when any attention was good attention. Unfortunately, the same may not be true for the latest ban in Boston – the ban on city employees speaking negatively about an Olympic bid.  It’s likely that there is a law firm already blogging about the legal implications of such a broad restriction, but from a communications perspective, banning discussion and debate seems like a questionable move….

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February 3, 2015 | cwinters | Tagged , , ,

Super Bowl Reveals the NFL’s Broader Issue

It was hard to watch the Super Bowl without thinking that the NFL has had a rough year. And while the pre-Super Bowl scandal of  #DeflateGate is certainly not in the realm of serious issues such as domestic violence and child abuse, it is representative of a pervasive problem in the leagues culture—a lack of character. Pre-game pundits wondered if the aura of cheating would haunt the Patriots even if they won.  Would the crowd, commentators or even the officials, have a decidedly pro-Seattle slant in an effort to put that scandal to bed? While we can’t say for certain whether or not the Patriots did cheat, we know that they have been accused of it in the past, and that this football culture where the “rules don’t apply to me” is certainly not unique to New England or the NFL. We see the issues with this culture at every level of the sport. It is instilled at a young age, especially in universities and high schools across the country where teachers boost the grades of a star quarterback, where campus scandals like the University of North Carolina’s “sham classes” that get brushed under the rug. When they get to…

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January 30, 2015 | cwinters | Tagged , , ,

Something Positive for the NFL

If you are a crisis communications enthusiast, the NFL has been a gift that keeps on giving in the past year, with a steady drumbeat of scandals providing ample fodder for commentary.  2014 was not a kind year for the NFL…or should I say, the NFL did its best to skewer itself in 2014? From incidents involving former fan favorites Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson to Commissioner Goodell’s mishandling of each situation, the hits just kept on coming for the league.   In some cases, the bad behavior turned fans off, others like #deflategate became a rallying cry and unifier about the team you love to hate. With each new headline, you could practically hear loyal fans groaning and public opinion plummeting. As we get ready for the Big Game, and the plethora of marketing stunts that accompany it (Puppy Bowl, anyone?), let’s take a break from the hate, and look at how NFL owners and players have been working to rebuild trust, one player at a time (with perhaps a twinge of hope that some of this would “go viral” – which has replaced “be on Oprah” as the single common wish of any client at any agency today). Exhibit…

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