For many years, we have recognized National Volunteer Week (this week) by promoting the work of Business Volunteer Unlimited Maryland. BVU creates opportunities for business professionals to engage in meaningful volunteer service throughout Baltimore. The nonprofit’s annual Volunteer Week celebration is always a great event for connecting earnest professionals with the deserving organizations that need their help. But this year, BVU’s celebration will be in June to coincide with its 10th anniversary festivities, so we were left this week to think about… ourselves.
Since Himmelrich PR was founded in 1997, we have been committed to volunteerism and community service. As president Steve Himmelrich said in March in a magazine interview about the firm’s volunteer activities, “We want to share our good fortune with those who might be able to benefit from our interests, talents and eagerness to help.”
This week, we have reflected on our volunteer contributions. Our firm has provided pro bono public relations and strategic planning services to dozens of local nonprofits, including many working in education, the arts, homelessness, and mental illness. Our people have sat on and taken leadership roles with boards, committees and commissions. We have shoveled, painted, glued and hauled in an effort to create cleaner and brighter neighborhoods.
In the past year, and as a team, we planted trees and harvested crops at a nonprofit farm. We collected hundreds of gifts and wrapped presents for the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Individuals in our office picked up trash from streams leading into the Chesapeake Bay, beautified neighborhood parks, assisted military veterans and families during deployment, coordinated programs for trade associations, served meals to homeless men and women at four different facilities, and rebuilt homes destroyed by natural disasters.
We’re proud of what we do—not only for our clients, but also for our neighbors and our community.
April 25, 2013
We don’t think (or like to admit) that we may be typical, but today, in Baltimore, we are. Lots of us are wearing purple in support of the Ravens (although it’s interesting that some of the men chose not to for fear of disrespecting their other favorite teams). What has been more interesting, though, is the debate in the office this morning about “purple.”
We are sticklers for details; we argue about punctuation waaay too much, and selecting just-the-right word for client copy often becomes a long staff meeting about word origin and intimation. So this morning, when Account Coordinator Tony Fazio showed up in his “lucky purple playoff pants,” the debate began.
Those pants are blue. Or purple. Or are they lilac, and is lilac more purple than blue or more blue than purple? We pulled out the Pantone color chart to find the exact color. We made Tony stand in front of the window, and behind a lamp, and in the hallway so we could evaluate the situation in the best possible light. We argued about Tony’s objectivity in being part of the argument. Unfortunately, after heated discussion and a war of color and words, we only came to one conclusion:
January 11, 2013
- 87% of us have already voted.
- Of those who have already voted, 80% voted today at a polling place and 20% completed absentee ballots.
- Of those who have or will vote today:
- 50% voted before work, 35% voted at lunch, and 15% will vote after work.
- The average distance from our homes to our polling places is 1.05 miles.
- The average time we waited in line was 22 minutes.
- 82% of us got a sticker after voting
- 18% of us are bummed we did not get a sticker.
- The average number of judges on our ballots was 6.
- 100% of us voted as we had planned before entering the voting booth.
- 100% of us are proud that we have an opportunity to make our voices heard and our opinions count.
November 6, 2012
We all had to dress up today for a meeting… unusual on a hot Friday towards the end (sadly) of the summer… which got us thinking about what an unusual week this was.
Among the client-related topics we researched, discussed and vigorously debated this week: the art of crafting the perfect sandwich; giant peaches; elves; gun powder explosions; life coach certification; 3D sugar cubes; ice sculptures of client logos; scrapbooking conventions; who is more impressive: a casting director or a set designer; the cost of oak sapplings; bats (both kinds); Gertrude Stein’s mother’s sister; North Platte, Nebraska.
Now, on to the weekend.
August 10, 2012
Standing at the coffee maker, some of us just had an interesting talk—about what we talk about. We work with a pretty unique range of clients, which leads us to explore some interesting and sometimes unusual topics.
We made a quick list of some of what we have discussed in the office this past week: dragonflies; Japanese metal forging; federal legislation about accommodations for people with disabilities; open container laws; squirrel art; loose leaf, fair trade, organic tea; the best donuts in Portland, Oregon; finishing salts; Pinterest copyright issues; supermarket layout strategies; gout; running routes in Fells Point; the population of O’Fallon, Missouri, and monarch butterflies.
Look who’s talking now…Us!
April 13, 2012
More than 650 cool cats jumped, jived and wailed this past Saturday night at the Maryland Science Center’s annual Solstice gala. The festive fete featured fabulous music by the Beantown String Orchestra with American Idol finalist John Stevens, non-stop buffets, swing-era décor (including a gleaming 1941 Packard) and inspiring remarks by Dr. Ben Carson. Some of the greatest praise, though, was for the evening’s signature cocktail – a carefully-crafted concoction resulting from thorough research, intense scientific development and on-going testing in appropriate climatic conditions by the noted mixologists at the Maryland Science Center.
You can try this experiment at home:
3 parts Bulleit Bourbon
1 part sweet vermouth
Grenadine to taste
A few shakes of Angostura bitters
Served over crushed ice and topped with a cherry
June 22, 2010
A presentation yesterday by Visit Baltimore (the city’s newly-renamed convention and visitors bureau) ended with this inspiration and whimsy – Monday morning motivation for hard-working tourism leaders off to fight the battle of reduced institutional budgets and fewer bills in visitors’ wallets.
May 15, 2009
A quick poll of our staff reveals what we’re doing this weekend to celebrate (and take a break from) our labor of (jobs we) love:
- touring upstate New York Wineries
- attending a baby shower (her own!)
- drafting a Fantasy Football team
- dog-sitting a Siberian husky
- demo-ing a kitchen (as in tear-down, not test-out)
- attending a wedding
- driving responsibly
- playing BioShock
- preparing a “Silver Palate” recipe in memory of Sheila Lukens
May 3, 2009
Last week Himmelrich PR got a taste of the new customer service reality. And we like it.
After my Fathead fell off my wall and stuck to itself beyond repair, I tweeted about my plans to call the company for a mutually acceptable resolution. I never got the chance. The next day, @realbigfathead replied to my tweet, asking me which of my many decals was damaged. Within minutes, I received a phone call from Fathead confirming my mailing address and telling me that a new decal was on the way. Free of charge!
Fathead is obviously monitoring Twitter for mentions of its product. The company is even forgoing the usual replacement procedures to satisfy the customer (most returns require you send back the damage decal and put a temporary charge on your credit card). While my intention was not to publicly blast the company, Fathead understands the power that social media allows for thousands of people (some of whom likely share my interests) to hear both good and bad customer experiences. Kudos to Fathead for nipping a complaint in the bud; naturally, I tweeted my satisfaction when my new decal arrived two days later.
Social media gives us the power to spread the word, and a powerful tool for companies to extend the customer service experience. Let’s all use these new tools wisely.
April 28, 2009
Today is truly the first day of the rest of our lives. Oprah is on Twitter. From what we can see, three hours in, Oprah is being enthusiastically welcomed as a member of the family; she is attracting 30-40 new followers every five seconds.
Our morning staff meeting was filled with lots of discussion and some initial questions:
Will this first day of the rest of our lives be the start of a whole new world? (Clichés and redundancy intended - literary license.) Are Oprah’s +100,000 followers now a marketer’s most coveted and aggressively-pursued target list?
What new Twitter-related applications can we expect? Someone somewhere is surely hustling this morning to create a Twitter client that tracks or monitors Oprah’s twittering. See above.
Are we all going to see the Fail Whale much more frequently? How many of Oprah’s followers are new to the game because of her?
Is the “uproar” over ghost-Twitters unjustified? Assuming that Oprah’s “people” are helping her out… why is it ok for any celebrity or CEO to have people writing their commencement addresses and speeches but not their tweets?
April 17, 2009