5 Tips for Innovation

Whether you work in an office or from home, it can be challenging to create an environment for yourself that allows for innovation and creativity. Here are 5 tips to help you increase both innovation and creativity while maintaining productivity.


In today’s fast-paced environment, it can be easy to schedule every moment of your day. There is much to be done and too little time to accomplish everything.

The problem arises when you don’t allow for down time. When you schedule out every moment of your day, you don’t allow for anything extra or new. You’re so busy running from task to task to task that you end up stuck in a rut, which is not conducive to innovation or new ideas. You may be surprised how leaving space for new experiences and inspiration can increase your productivity.

Which brings me to my second tip…


Talk to a friend. Go for a run or walk. Take a yoga class. Play a game of Words With Friends. Color using an adult coloring book. Follow Einstein’s advice: take a nap.

You may find it helpful to schedule breaks into your day. The Pomodoro Technique recommends working for 25 minutes and then taking a break. Try it out. See what works for you.

The point is to shift your thinking. Your brain will continue working on the project or problem in the background. So take a break and come back to the problem with a new perspective and focus.


Whenever possible, surround yourself with things that make you happy. Decorate with pictures of friends and family or souvenirs from a trip. Use pops of color. A personalized space will help you feel more comfortable and may spur creativity.
Hubspot wrote a great article earlier this spring about personalizing your workspace to improve productivity.


Along the same lines, you’ll want to eliminate clutter as much as possible. It’s hard to work when laundry, toys, or other household clutter distracts you. If you’re in an office, piles of paperwork, books, and other clutter can be equally distracting. You don’t have to complete Kon Mari your space if you’re not ready for that, but go ahead and at least straighten up your environment.


Sometimes you need to change locations to refresh or give new perspective. Move to a different room in your house. Go to a coffee shop. Go work in the conference room instead of your office. A change in physical environment is often enough to prompt more creativity and focus.

On a personal note, this one may be my favorite tip. While I work from home, I frequently end up at a coffee shop or at a friend’s house. Sometimes even a move from my “office” to my living room is enough to help me focus and get new ideas.

If you’re interested in more habits of original thinkers, check out this Ted Talk by Adam Grant.

What other tips would you add to this list?


A version of this post originally ran on the Weaving Influence site on April 26, 2016.

Content is Key

word cloudOne of the first things I tell my clients when they ask about thought leadership and online presence is that they need to have consistent content.

What have I not had on this site?

Consistent content.

I’ve been so caught up in making sure everyone else had content on their blogs and social media channels that I’ve been guilty of letting my own channels slide. At the end of the day I needed a break from WordPress, Buffer, Tweetdeck, and the other incredibly helpful tools we use to share content and I didn’t want to think about my own accounts.

I was a lot like many of my clients. “Too busy.”

Today seems like as good of a day as any to change that. My friend Tara Fox believes change is a choice. So I am choosing to make the time and mental space to share what I have learned and what I am learning.

I hope you’ll join me.

Observations From a NASCAR Rookie

This past weekend, I traveled to Kansas City to run my first official marathon. I did run the Cowtown Marathon on my own on the W&OD trail, but I had yet to complete an actual race. More on the race itself in another post. I was blessed to spend the weekend with amazing incredible friends. They were phenomenal cheerleaders. We laughed. We cried. We made s’mores.

And we went to NASCAR.

Kansas City Speedway

I’m told that the Kanas City Speedway is kind of a big thing. There were some big names in NASCAR there. At least according to Facebook and people who actually know about NASCAR.

I know nothing about NASCAR. I’ve heard of Danica Patrick. That’s really about all I know. I didn’t even understand what the pace car did until I googled “NASCAR for Dummies.”
Here are my observations:

1.  It’s loud. SO LOUD. Like really loud.

2. It’s boring. There are only so many times you can watch a car drive in a circle.  (This may be a reflection of my own short attention span). For me it was far less than the 269 laps in a NASCAR race.

3. It’s amazing how many people still have mullets. Seriously. We lost count.

4. The men there need to be slightly more subtle. You know I can see you, right? But I did wear boots so I suppose it’s my own fault.

5. Tailgaiting at NASCAR is huge. It’s like it’s own competition. Someone brought their own port-a-potty setup. The guy in the cropped t-shirt was pretty hot too. I wish I had a picture – of either.

6. NASCAR would be the perfect setting for a zombie attack. Walking Dead people – you should totally consider that.

7. I had THE BEST burrito I’ve had in years. Of course, I did just run a marathon so I may have just been hungry. If you’re ever at the Kansas City Speedway, go to the Sombrero food truck. Their margaritas are pretty good too.

8. Did I mention it was loud? And boring? And you can’t actually talk to the people you’re with because it’s so loud? Really loud.

But Mark Paul Gosselaar was the Grand Marshall, so that was pretty cool. I’ve always wanted to be in the same half-mile as Zack from Saved By the Bell. Totally worth it.

All in all, I’m glad we went. I can now say I’ve been to NASCAR. But don’t count on my ever going again.

Best friends ever

One Chapter Closes and Another Chapter Opens

Capstone 2015
Georgetown University PRCC Summer 2015 Capstone Class Celebration


Drumroll please….


{insert wild round of applause}





Weaving Influence

With the closing of that chapter of my life, I am moving into the next chapter. I have accepted a position with Weaving Influence as a Social Media Project Lead.  Weaving Influence partners with authors & thought leaders to grow their online influence and promote their books – perfect for me, my skill set, and my background! I am incredibly honored and excited to be starting with WI.



I am also expanding my own consulting services. I offer consulting on social media, events, branding, marketing, and crisis communications. If you know anyone who might need my help, contact me!




Where I’ve been…

Cowtown Half MarathonIt has been too long, faithful readers….

Where have I been? I’m glad you asked… Well, after being snowed out and forced to run a half-marathon instead of a full marathon at Cowtown, I decided to run the marathon on my own. Not my best time, but I did officially run 26.2 miles on the W&OD trail.

And then I hurt my back. Nice, huh?

Thankfully, it only took a 6 weeks of chiropractor appointments, some restorative yoga, walking, and rest to get back into shape.

Nationals PresentationI finished the spring semester at Georgetown. It was a great semester. I got to take pictures of a triathlon and visit several museums for one class. I pitched a integrated marketing campaign to the Washington Nationals. I wrote a crisis communications plan for my church. All in all, not a bad semester.


I did some communications and social media consulting with McLean Bible Church’s KIDStuff on their outreach event held in early May. It’s great to see so many kids growing up and using their talents onstage and behind the scenes.

Now I’m finishing up my final semester with a capstone project writing a communications plan for the Smithsonian Institute’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. It’s challenging and I’m enjoying the process.

Look! Kansas City Marathon
Look! Kansas City Marathon


I’m training for a half marathon in Tennessee in September and a marathon in Kansas City with some friends in October. I’ll be sure to visit the chiropractor before these races to make sure not to end up with another lower back inflammation.

I’m continuing to dream and plan with Kathryn. So many ideas…

So what’s been going on with you?

Why I Race…

Cowtown Marathon Entry


A friend and I were discussing why we race. When you think about it, running for 4 or 5 hours (or the hundreds of miles in the weeks leading up to the race) is a huge undertaking. It’s not always pleasant either. I think every runner has his own reason for running, but here is mine.

I spent years letting my job control my life and constantly being told I couldn’t do things. I had considered running a 10K, half marathon, etc. but didn’t because I was worried I might not finish it. After all, I’d had many dreams and ideas that never came to anything.

Three years ago I began trying new things… First yoga. Then I tried a half marathon and finished in under 2 hours. I ran a 10K with Brooke​ and Laretha​ last year one month after dealing with mono for a month. I finished in under 54 minutes. I went back to school full time at Georgetown, earned a 4.0 GPA last semester, and will graduate in August.

This weekend I am running my first marathon, and while I have a time in mind that I would like to achieve, the real achievement is in completing training and in running with my friends Tara​, Katie​, and Megan. I have 2 more half marathons lined up for this summer and some shorter races. I hope to have a full time job lined up in the near future.

People have asked how I stay motivated. Honestly, community has been the biggest factor. There have been days when I did not want to run, but I knew that Tara was going to run so I tied my sneakers and headed out for the trail. There are many people who don’t even realize how much they have inspired me by going after their own goals. And, to be honest, I’m a words of affirmation person, so getting cheers and encouragement from my friends along the way has helped a lot. I could not have done this on my own.

Why do I run? To prove to myself that I can.

I hope I can inspire others to try – whatever the goal may be. Seriously, if I can do it, you can do it.

A glimpse into the mind of a runner

Me getting ready for my run last week (23 degrees F). I ended up ditching the scarf and one of the layers.
Me getting ready for my run last week (23 degrees F). I ended up ditching the scarf and one of the layers.

A few months ago I mentioned that I am training for my first marathon. In keeping with tradition, the race is not in the Washington, DC metro area. This one is in Texas. Because why make it easier and sleep in your own bed the night before the race?

Thankfully, I have a strong support system in the friends I will be running with. Tara is a personal trainer and triathlete so she has been invaluable any time I needed advice on training or nutrition. Jody is also a triathlete/ironman, so he has been a great resource as well. Megan, Katie, Allison, and Angela are all running various races that weekend as well and they are always there for me when I need encouragement. My extended support system who will be cheering us on from Kansas City and NYC, Dale, Laretha, and Brooke, are all incredible sources of support. I’m not exaggerating at all when I say I couldn’t do this without them.

Saturdays are my “long run” days. I thought I’d give you a look into what goes through my mind on Saturday mornings.

“Have I seriously lost my mind? I’m going to run 18 miles today? That’s 3 hours. 3 HOURS! WHAT??

At least it’s 35 degrees out. Last week it was 23 degrees. Oh, and no ice on the trails today! Do I want to run to Reston or around Arlington/DC today? The fact that I just said “run to Reston” is ridiculous. I rarely drive to Reston.

What should I eat for breakfast? The whole carb loading thing is confusing. There is way too much information on the internet. Is fruit a good carb to have before a run? That day that I didn’t have enough carbs was rough. Wait, do I want carbs after my run? I probably shouldn’t think about that yet. 

Okay, eggs and toast. That should work, right? Water. I need lots of water before and during the run. If I run to Reston, I can stop in the community center to refill my water bottle and don’t need to carry as much. Let’s do that. 

Coffee? Coffee is good before a run, right? 18 miles is a LONG run, I don’t want to feel gross the whole way. Was yoga yesterday a good idea? Amy really worked us. But I don’t feel sore, so I should be all right. 

Why am I doing this again? Because it’s good for me. Because I committed to the girls. And I paid money. This is fun, right? Right??” 

I heard someone say “I don’t enjoy running, I enjoy being a runner.” I agree with that. While I do enjoy short runs, I don’t love 18 mile runs. I haven’t even thought about 26.2 miles yet. Yet most of the time, I enjoy the feeling after completing a run. I love the feeling after completing a race, even if I thought I was going to die during the race. I’m still working on pacing my races.

And now, I should go get ready for my run.

Question: How do you psych yourself up for something that seems overwhelming?

Quick update : My personal trainer recommended I eat more for breakfast since I’m running so far. So I’m eating more. There are some benefits to running so far. haha. 


Nonprofits and Social Media: Using Facebook

This post and accompanying webinar were designed for my “Cause Consulting” class at Georgetown University.

Social MediaThere is no question about it, social media is a force to be reckoned with. In the words of Eric Qualman, author of Socialnomics, “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media. The choice is how well we do it.” He estimates that the usage of social media has now overtaken pornography as the number one activity online.  If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest country in the world, behind China and India. The Pew Research Center estimates that as of January 2014, 74 % of all adults use social media.

What does that mean for nonprofits? Social media can be an incredible tool for nonprofits to connect with supporters, potential volunteers, and potential clients when leveraged correctly. It is also very easy to get lost in the chaos of social media if you’re not careful.  Aaron Keller in an article in Entrepreneur magazine calls poorly managed social media “a bombardment of billions of tiny cannons.” This webinar will help you to wisely navigate Facebook and social media in order to create awareness of your brand and to cultivate community with your key audiences.

The objectives of this webinar are to give nonprofits an overview of social media, to provide an introduction to content and communication strategy, and to give a focused look at how to optimize Facebook as a nonprofit. Some of the topics covered are:

  1. Identify 6 major social media networks and hundreds of smaller niche sites. Each site has a slightly different purpose and focus. It is more important to choose one site and develop a good content strategy than to be on every site.
  2. To be effective on social media, you have to build your brand online through great content.

– Know your audience.

– Know yourself.

– Remember that social media is a conversation.

– Social media relies on community and collaboration.

  1. Facebook is the largest social network and offers a great platform for nonprofits.

– Create engaging status updates and posts.

– Maintain an editorial calendar so that your campaigns aren’t overlooked or forgotten.

– Use Facebook Page Insights or other analytics to see what is working.

– Create a vanity URL for your Facebook page.

– Remember that your profile photo represents your brand.

– Facebook limits the reach of Facebook business posts, but by optimizing your posts, you increase the reach of each post.

– Reach is not always the best indicator of effectiveness.

If you want people to know about your organization, your organization has to go where the people are. These days, the people are on social media, especially Facebook. If you’d like to learn more about how to maximize the effectiveness of your organization on Facebook, check out the complete webinar at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syd9_AoXtlg.

Getting noticed on social media in December

It’s only November 28th and I’m already sick of the ads on my twitter feed.

I realize that it’s also Black Friday, so everyone is advertising a “deal”. And we still have Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday.

I also realize that I control what’s on my newsfeed so I could mute or unfollow anyone who was irritating me.

Or I could just avoid social media, but we all know that’s not going to happen.

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who is already overwhelmed. At this time of year, everyone is yelling to get our attention. It’s a highly competitive season for retailers. For many nonprofits, over 30% of annual giving comes in during December. December can, quite literally, make or break their annual budget. For many small businesses, the situation is the same. December represents their busiest time of year.

So how is a small business or nonprofit to make the most of social media during December without irritating it’s followers?

1. Be creative!

There are only so many times we can hear “check out this great deal!” or “10% off everything”! Be creative. Don’t keep posting the exact same status or tweet. The meaning can be the same, but find new ways to express the same idea.

2. Explain the why.

Everyone is offering a deal this time of year. Why should I give to you or buy from you? What makes you unique? These days we can shop at or give to thousands of different organizations without even leaving our homes. There are tons of different organizations that do essentially the same thing. Why should we pick you?

3. Share your story.

You cannot overvalue the importance of story. People give to people, not organizations. If you can touch our emotions, you can get our support. So tell the story of someone whose life you affected.

4. Be interactive!

Social media is a relationships, not a megaphone. So ask a question. Give an interesting statistic or fact. Engage us. Don’t just yell at us.


Cowtown here I come!

I can’t believe I haven’t shared this yet…

Last November I ran my first half-marathon. You can read more about that here.

In March 2015 I will be running my first marathon.

Yes, I have lost my mind.

Blame my friends. Peer pressure. But at least I won’t be running it by myself. I’ll be running the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth, TX. So far training is going well. I ran 8 miles last Saturday. I’m still not running 26 miles in a whole week, but I’ll get there.

I’ll be updating from time to time on how training is going. If anyone has any recommendations, feel free to let me know!