Monthly Archives: September 2011

Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce presentation


I had the dubious pleasure of providing a great group of individuals with tips and techniques on leveraging their network and building their online brand today.  I would like to thank Ashley Folladori, Senior Manager, Workforce Development, JAXUSA Partnership, a Division of JAX Chamber, for the invitation to present.

We focused on LinkedIn and maximizing the offerings primarily, but also discussed blogging and a few other social media options and processes.  I was so pleased to read the feedback surveys when I returned home today.   To all the participants at the meeting, thank you!  For some of you it was our first meeting, for others our second or third.  I received the sweetest compliment from two previous attendees.  They both said it was better the second time around because due to our first meeting, they had exposure to LinkedIn.  I couldn’t be happier!

I have personal messages to a few of you:

Toi – Thank you!  I am going to hold you to your feedback and check your LinkedIn profile in a week to see how you’re doing. 🙂

Michael – Thank you for the kind words about my presentation skills.  As I hope you can tell, I am passionate about what I do.  If there is anyway I can be a resource for you, don’t hesitate to ask!

Bernadette – You are so sweet!  Thank you for saying that my energy is a driver for the audience to take action.  That is exactly the hope when I participate with groups like this.  Success!

Milly – Thank you for the kind words!  I’m glad you felt the presentation was engaging 🙂

Dylan (my new LinkedIn connection) – I appreciate your feedback.  There is definitely certain etiquette when reaching out to 2nd and 3rd level connections!  I’m glad it made sense!

Ann – Thank you!  I agree that the end of the day is a tough time to keep people’s attention and I so appreciate you felt that with my energy and enthusiasm I was able to do that!

Dan – Thank you for sitting through it again and letting me know you got more out of it this time!

To the anonymous participant who wrote: “This presentation was by far more valuable than (_____).  It was appropriate, timely and too short.  I could have listened to and learned from Tamara for another hour.”  Wow – thank you from the bottom of my heart.  If I can answer any questions or be a resource for you in the future let me know.

To everyone else who provided feedback, I send my sincere gratitude.  You truly help me improve my message and stay relevant so that I can (hopefully) help people like you!  I also hope that all the participants take one or two pointers and implement them – if they do, they will see a whole new world of networking and personal branding opportunities.

Many of the participants were seasoned professionals with solid tenure prior to economic driven job loss.  I’ve been there and certainly understand the challenges.  For those participants who may be reading this; I’m sending good vibes to each of you, the best of wishes for great opportunities to come your way, and an energetic boost to help you enhance your online presence.  I can’t wait to read your blogs and be a resource for you whenever I can!

As you may know by now, I am a firm believer that what you think about, you bring about… keep participating in workshops, asking questions, and reaching out to others!  Good things are coming your way 🙂

I’ll be waiting for invitations from all of you to connect on LinkedIn (don’t forget the personal note)!

What I’ve learned about facebook –


Actually, it’s what I’ve learned without facebook.  A week and 2 days ago I signed off of facebook with no warning or notes to my “friends” or family.  I decided to do so because I realized that with the plethora of friends I have on facebook, how many are really friends?  If I disappeared for a month would anyone notice?  Would my phone ring or my email traffic increase?  Would someone show up at my door to see if I was okay?

A week and 2 days later and the answer is no.  I’ve decided that I don’t want to rely on facebook to hear and share important news.  The catapult you ask?

  • I learned that my (half) sister’s father passed away through a facebook post last week.  I saw a simple post that said, “Rest in peace daddy, I love you”.  How about a phone call?  Maybe a text message?
  • I had an “event” planned through facebook and had several RSVP’s.  I purchased food and drink enough to accommodate the group, gave up my season opener ticket to the Jacksonville Jaguars, not to mention the time and energy I put into the multiple communications and reminders, setting the house up and the hostess’s time. Never mind the dozens that couldn’t take 5 seconds to RSVP at all, but those who DID RSVP didn’t show up. No kidding – not one.    Thanks “friends”, thanks facebook.

My point is;  I don’t want my relationships, my events, my family communications, etc. to be dictated by a faceless, impersonal piece of technology.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not boycotting facebook.  I’m just taking a break, a trial separation.

Here’s the kicker — all but one of my family members (aside from my children), live out of state.  I’ve seen my mother and grandmother once in the last few years – in 2009.  I last saw my brother and his 8 kids in 2005.  So needless to say, I’ve relied on facebook to communicate and stay in touch with family.  I’ve connected (through facebook) with cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces and more that I haven’t seen or spoken to in years.  I love facebook and the connections it allows you to have, but not when it’s the only connection you have.

I’d like to believe that if anyone misses my status updates, updates on my kids, new pictures, or important information, they will call me.  I would also like to believe that if there was something important going on that I should know about that my phone would ring.  Is this too much to ask?

What are we doing on facebook anyway?  Looking at the profiles from our high school friends that we never talk to (guilty)?  Looking at ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends and seeing who they are with and what they are up to?  Creeping on our kids (guilty)?  Posting only our most flattering pictures so that we can paint a picture of how great we look (guilty)?  Seeing where people are “checking-in” and who they are with (guilty)?  What about when your significant other “friends” an unknown member of the opposite sex?  “Who is this person and why have I never heard of them before if they are such a great friend??”  Sound familiar?  How about, “Since when are you and Ashley friends??  You were just talking smack about her!” to which the response is likely, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” (**insert evil laugh here**)

Yes, though it may be short lived and though it’s a tough habit to break, I’m staying away for a little while.  If you’re reading this and you’ve missed me, you know my number.  If you don’t know my number….well, you know the rest.

Am I the only one?


I have borderline smothered my kids because, according to them, I am overprotective to a fault.  So what?

Lately I’ve been observing people more than usual.  I’ve got to tell you, I am really disheartened by the lack of respect, lack of courtesy, lack of common sense, and lack of judgement people show these days.  Especially (but not only) kids!  It is truly appalling to me that kids today are so selfish, so unaware, so uncaring.  If I had a dime for every movie I’ve had to sit through in a theater with obnoxious, heckling teenagers, I could buy a new car!  Seriously – between the random yells and dramatically loud laughs to the open cell phones during the movie, I could just scream.  Is it just me?  How about those teenage drivers?  Parents – PLEASE tell your kids not to text and drive and please teach them about courtesy.

When my kids were young and got their first cell phones, we had discussions about phone etiquette.  “Kids, when you talk on a cell phone, sometimes you are speaking louder than you think.  You should always be aware of your volume and remember, no one else cares about your conversation, so keep it private.  Also, it’s rude to have loud discussions in certain environments, like in a restaurant, for example.  When you’re in a movie theater be sure to keep your phone on silent and put away.  When you open it to text, the screen light is very bright and is distracting to the people behind you.  They paid just as much for their ticket as you did and should be able to enjoy the movie without distraction.”   Yes, I really had this conversation with my kids.

Then we have the adults.  This is probably more frustrating to me because I have expectations that adults should be more courteous.  Silly me, I know.  To the lady shoppers who feels compelled to stop in the center of the aisle, knowing full well there is someone directly behind you, PLEASE PULL OVER AND PARK IT.  Even worse is when I say “Excuse me”, in the sweetest tone possible, only to be glared at  as if I were the one being inconsiderate.  Let’s not forget the family or group of friends who decide to walk shoulder to shoulder through the mall, taking up the entire width of the hall.  Oh yea, and of course they are walking at a snail’s pace.  God forbid I say “Excuse me”, in the sweetest tone possible, and try to squeeze between them.  I actually had someone shout, “RUDE” when I did this recently.  I’m sorry, but when did saying “Excuse me” become rude??

Not to say that I’m perfect, I’m not.  I’m a heck of lot more courteous then most people I see, and that’s the truth!

My kids aren’t perfect either.  But when I look at them and their behaviors compared to others their age (and older!), I am impressed with myself.  They can call it overprotective all day but in reality, I raised them well.  I gave them rules.  I gave them guidance.  I gave them consequences for bad decisions.  Even in a broken home I gave them structure.  I sat with them each and every night before bed and had conversations, told them stories and prayed with them.

I’m also very close to my kids.  I know, some people believe that you shouldn’t be “friends” with your kids because you will lose authority with them.  To those people I say “bull”.  I like my kids.  I genuinely like who they are.  I like their personalities, humor, compassion, honesty…just to name a few.   They are not those kids you will see in public and be disgusted by.  They are well-behaved, respectful, courteous.  I’ve always told them to behave as if I were watching, make me proud even though I can’t see you.  I can’t tell you how many times parents of their friends would comment on their behavior after having them over.  One parent actually said, “My daughter was jumping on her bed and asked your daughter to jump with her.  Your daughter would not do it.  I walked in the room and told her it was fine and that she wouldn’t be in any trouble for it and she said, ‘My rules for behavior at home are the same when I’m at someone else’s house’.”  That makes a mother proud.  Don’t get the wrong impression though, my kids aren’t stuffy, no fun, prissy, can do no wrong kids.  They have made bad decisions and choices in their young lives but I’ve been there through them all.

So here’s my plea to all the parents out there.  Smother your kids a little bit.  I know who my kid’s friends are, I’m on their facebook pages, I let them be their own persons but I continually give them guidance.  At 18 and 15 my kids aren’t babies anymore, but does my 18 year old daughter go out all night and have no rules because she’s an “adult” now?  No.  She goes out with her friends and is sometimes not home until 2:00am.   BUT – I get a text when she gets to wherever she went, I get a “checking in” text a couple hours into the night, I get a text if they stop to grab food, and I get a text when she’s home safely.  Her and her friends are always excited to tell me about the events of the evening the next morning.  I hear about the drama, who hooked up with who, what everyone wore, etc.  I know where she is and who is with.  Yes – I smother her.

That being said I can tell you that my daughter adores me.  She looks up to me, she respects me, oh…and guess what else.  She likes me.  She’s the girl who goes to a friend’s house to spend the night and calls me to say, “Mom, would it be okay if I had a beer with my friends?  We aren’t going anywhere and I’ll be responsible.”  If I say no, she doesn’t.  No begging, no attitude.  Just a simple, “Yes ma’am”.   If I say yes, I know that she will be responsible.  She could be off in another state in college and going to all kinds of parties, getting hammered like a lot of her friends have been doing for years, but she’s not.  So if she is responsible enough to call me before engaging, I can say yes once in a while.  The response I get from her after saying yes is, “Thank you, I’ll be responsible and will check in with you in a couple of hours.”  I don’t condone drinking under age and I’m sure some of you think that’s just bad parenting.  You can think that, it’s okay.  Your kids are doing it too, just not telling you.

My son is a different story.  He’s not as social as his sister, so I don’t smother him as much (he would disagree with that statement).  He goes to school, comes home and plays his video games and once in a while will have a friend over or go off with one.  He has just a handful of friends he socializes with so it’s easy for me to know what he’s doing.  Every blue moon he goes to the mall with friends.  I say the same thing to him every time.  He usually rolls his eyes and says, “I know mom.”, but I say it anyway.  “Cyrus, behave.  Be respectful of the other people at the mall and do not act like a hooligan.  You’re a good kid so behave that way.  Have fun without being obnoxious.”   Does he behave every time?  I’d like to believe he does.

The moral of the story and the two points I’m trying to make are this.  First – I wish parents would parent.  I wish that we could all teach our children about respect and courtesy.  My children have never said, “I hate you” to me – not even as toddlers.  They tell me they love me every time they hang up the phone, anytime they leave the house, and every night before they go to bed.   I still “tuck them in”, so to speak.  I go into their rooms, talk for a few minutes, do prayers, and kiss them goodnight.   They are respectful and don’t talk back.  When I ask them to do something, they don’t hesitate to do it.  They hug me and watch movies with me, they tell me about their day and cry on my shoulder when they’ve needed to.  I parent – that’s what I do.

Secondly and finally, I wish we would all just stop, take a look around and make sure that whatever it is we are doing, wherever we are, that we are aware of the people around us.  I wish we think about our actions, the faces we make, the tone of our voice.  I wish we would get the hell off our high horses, become just a little bit humble, lose the entitlement attitude and stop judging.  Let’s go out of our way to be nice, be respectful, be courteous.  Who’s in?

I hope I’m not the only one.