Top 5 reasons to join Rotary

Yesterday, I had the honor of speaking to a group of college students about professional networking. As part of that presentation, I highly recommended joining Rotary or Rotaract (for students).

Here are my top five reasons to join Rotary:

  1. Increased knowledge of the community and current issues. The majority of Rotary clubs have a guest speaker each week. The topics vary widely, so you get a wide variety of information. We all have busy lives and there are topics I either don’t have the time or wouldn’t even think to research, but Rotary gives me a chance to hear from experts on those topics.
  2. Professional networking.  Rotary allows you to develop meaningful relationships will fellow community leaders. The weekly lunches give you the opportunity to really find out who your fellow Rotarians are. I once had a President I worked for who commented on the strength of my community connections and inquired how I’d gotten them.  “They are all in Rotary with me,” I responded.
  3. Make the world a better place. Whether it is holding a roadside cleanup, building a playground, or donating together to fund a much-needed well in an impoverished country, Rotary offers a structured and safe way to make a difference.  You know your money and time is going to a great cause and it’s so rewarding to see the results. I’ve worked on community service projects, interviewed students for scholarships, and reviewed and voted-on grants submissions. Each has been rewarding in its own way.
  4. International programs. There are a wide variety of opportunities to learn more about different parts of the world. You can travel and do community service work, be a host family for an exchange student, or be a short-term (usually one week) host for a young professional in the Group Study Exchange program. I’ve done the latter and it was an incredible experience. I met some amazing young professionals from Rome that I am now grateful to call my friends. And, I had the chance to visit them in Rome, Italy.
  5. Share your passions. I don’t just working in marketing, I live and breathe it. I’m also a teacher at heart, so I truly enjoy sharing my marketing knowledge with others. Rotary has given me a way to present to my fellow Rotarians in my own club and other clubs.  In 2011, I gave a presentation to my local Rotary club titled, “Effective marketing using the broken windows theory.” Approximately 70 people showed that day at lunch and a fellow Rotarian taped my presentation for me and I posted it on YouTube. From the people in the room referring me and the YouTube link, I’ve been able to give that same presentation to more Rotary clubs, at a national marketing conference, at an Air National Guard leadership conference, to many individual businesses and organizations, and to two chambers of commerce as their keynote speaker. I would have never had the opportunity to do any of those talks had it not been for Rotary.

So, now that I’ve convinced you that Rotary is definitely something you need to be a part of, research a local club and get involved! Technically, you have to be invited, but I guarantee you, if you show up, someone will step forward and “invite” you on the spot. For those of you in Rotary, what things would you add to this list? How has Rotary enriched your life and your community?

Effective marketing talks went well, thank you to all my supporters

Last week, I presented an Effective Marketing talk, which includes references to the Broken Windows Theory, to the Tomball Rotary Club and the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce. Both talks went very well and, because of those, I’ve received several requests to come and do additional speaking on marketing.

I would like to thank everyone who came to these talks (approximately 320 of you!), promoted them ahead of time by publishing them in their newspapers and websites, promoted them via social media, sent good vibes and prayers, came up before to wish me luck, came up after to tell me how much they enjoyed it, sent cards and emails of congratulations, and helped in some other way (took photos, set-up technology for me,  put-out my materials, etc.).

I’ve also received several emails from business owners and marketing managers telling me how they’ve incorporated the things I spoke about into their organizations and the results they’ve seen from doing so. These emails inspire me and I’m grateful for those who send them.

Thank you again!

– Nicole

Nicole Finkbeiner speaking at the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.
Nicole Finkbeiner speaking at the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.
Nicole Finkbeiner speaking at the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.
Nicole Finkbeiner speaking at the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.
Nicole Finkbeiner speaking at the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.
Nicole Finkbeiner speaking at the Greater Tomball Area Chamber of Commerce.

A PR lesson from watching our political candidates: Think twice about people in the background

This morning, the front page of the Battle Creek Enquirer showed a picture of Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, during a campaign stop in Albion, Michigan. The photo of Romney included several people standing behind him and one of those people, standing to his right, was a guy who was busy checking his phone. There are probably good reasons that he might have been looking at his phone and we all know a camera only catches an instance, but it still looks bad. The guy is cropped out of the photo on the online version of the story, but the other people who aren’t cropped out of the photo aren’t much better. They don’t look happy to be there at all.

The photo reminded me of a similar incident in 2010 when President Barack Obama was speaking at Kalamazoo Central High School’s commencement ceremony and there was a student that fell asleep behind him.

Having people stationed behind the candidates communicates a lot for them and usually it’s positive. It shows that they are with the people they are wanting to represent, it shows that they are out meeting people, it shows that people are supporting them, and it gives the ambiance of a large crowd in a single camera shot. But, the two instances should also sever as a PR lesson and precaution to communications professionals on the risks of asking people to stand with or behind someone giving a speech. It may or may deliver the effect that we are looking for.