Monday, December 8, 2008

Back from the Beach

I'm a little late in getting this posted, but I've had a busy week!

Here are a few pictures from Gulf Shores, AL. I saw some really...say, interesting sights on the way down. This one for example, says "Go to Church...or the DEVIL with get you!" The south in the nutshell.

Each morning I took a nice walk on the beach and enjoyed the ocean view from our balcony. Since it was the off-season, I think we were the only ones in the entire condo complex. It was a relaxing and refreshing vacation!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Destination: Gulf Shores, AL

Before dawn on Saturday morning, I will be leaving the wind and flurries to migrate south for the week.

I'm taking a 12 hour road trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama to soak up some sunshine and warmth.

While there, I plan to eat fresh seafood for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don't know where they serve seafood for breakfast, but I intend to find it.

I'll post the pictures when I return!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Brahms: Ein Deutsches Requiem

On Friday and Saturday, the May Festival Chorus performed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. We sang Brahms' German Requiem, which is a brilliant seven-movement requiem.

The performance received lofty reviews in the Enquirer, and I must say that I really enjoyed being under the baton of Paavo Jarki (conductor of the CSO). He is an impressive leader with rare musicality. Truly an honor to work with such outstanding musicians!

Monday, October 20, 2008

"People die to ride in our cars."

Alright, maybe it's a lame joke. But in the business of death, you've got to have a sense of humor. One of my favorite clients to work with is Eagle Coach Company--a hearse & limo company based in Amelia, OH. Most of their business is in the hearse (professional vehicle) industry, which is a unique twist to the auto industry.

To make a hearse, they take a perfectly good Cadillac and cut it in half. From there, the car goes through 20+ stations where it is extended, re-assembled, painted, customized, etc. Their cars are absolutely top-notch, and the funeral directors who drive them have nothing but high praise for Eagle's personal service & quality.

Interesting fact: In high school, I tossed around the idea of going to mortuary school after graduation. My lifelong best friend's father was a funeral director, so I had become accustomed to the industry. I always admired his professionalism and the way he seemed to comfort a family in their time of grief. He is truly an outstanding director in every way.

Even in college, the possibility of this career crossed my mind a few times. I just think it's such an admirable profession. Last week I went back to my hometown to sing for a friend's wedding and I ran into my friend's father, the funeral director. We got on the subject of hearses, and I found myself pitching Eagle Coach to him. Hopefully he'll consider joining funeral directors all over the world (yes, world) in being a loyal driver of and Eagle.

Last week, Eagle Coach Company was present at the National Funeral Directors Association (NFDA) convention in Orlando. At the convention, they revealed their 2009 features as well as their brand new website, created by EMG. Check it out at . It's a site we're all proud of (especially Angela, who was the magician behind it)!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Singing in the May Festival Chorus

Several weeks ago, I auditioned for the Cincinnati May Festival Chorus at the urging of my family and former vocal coaches. I got the callback, so I'm officially a new member of the choir!

We are performing with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra throughout the season, with the first performance being Mahler's Symphony #2 on October 17 & 18. We will also be performing with the CSO with repertoire including Holst, Brahms German Requiem & others.

This is, in a nutshell, my dream gig. I have a degree in vocal music but I've never wanted to turn it into a job. With the May Festival Chorus--the oldest chorus in the Western Hemisphere with a nationally acclaimed director--I can perform challenging music with professional musicians but not rely on it to pay the rent.

After several rehearsals with the group, I can see why they are held in such high esteem. Every member seems to be fluent in the major operatic languages, able to sight-sing difficult music at the drop of a hat, and blends beautifully. I am so excited to be a part of this group! As performances approach I'll keep you updated and see if I can post some audio samples from our performances.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

And as an afterthought to the previous post...

I watched CNN today, and saw that much of the Sarah Palin conversation centered around this: As a mother of 5, can she handle the duties of Vice President?

Hold the phone. Wait. Really? Has anyone ever said, "Gee, Obama has 2 young girls. Do you think he can really handle the duties of President with two children to raise?" Of course not.

This is the most sexist argument I've heard in a long time. And no one seems to even blink. Are we seriously that far behind? It's perfectly normal for a father to run for office with young kids, but when a mother enters the race, suddenly it's a hot topic issue.

I'm honestly astonished that no one seems to notice the utter sexism and double-standard of this argument. Her children are a non-issue. She should not have to defend her viability as a mother because she wants to serve her country.

Think, America.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Political Bone to Pick

I am not a political "hothead". I believe in everyone from the extreme liberals to the extreme conservatives having the right to believe what they want (though I agree with neither). I honestly don't care how you vote -- just vote.

That being said, I am somewhat bewildered by McCain's VP pick. Does anyone else find this baffling? Sarah Palin did good things while she was in Alaska, but something just doesn't seem right.

For starters, she's only 44. She has very little experience. Isn't McCain's entire campaign based around dismissing political newbies (i.e. Obama)? Doesn't this make his entire argument moot? As a town mayor and governor for 2 years, Sarah Palin doesn't exactly fit the lifetime-of-experience mold.

It was an obvious attempt to appeal to the Hillary swing voters, who might be more inclined to vote where there is a woman on the ticket. I have to ask the question: If Sarah Palin was a man, would he be anywhere near the presidential ticket?

Second, there was an article in the NY Times about McCain vetting Ms. Palin only one day before the VP nomination. He knew so little about her, and according to the article the McCain camp barely made the effort to check her out before throwing her name on the ticket. For someone who touts judgement, McCain did not seem to do his homework.

I hate to bring up this argument (it's too speculative), but at 72, McCain's health comes into question. He really does seem to be in great health. But things happen, and any presidential candidate--72 or not--could be a mere heartbeat away from passing on. The VP needs to be just as strong as the President.

Palin is already under suspicion for "abusing her power" to fire an ex-relative. And for hiring lobbyists. These could very well prove to be false, but the last thing the McCain camp needs is a VP who turns out to be not-so squeaky clean.

I'm interested to see how this one plays out.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Paying for SEO: The Scam Revealed

I met with an executive last week who runs a very established business here in Cincinnati. As we talked about website opportunities and online marketing, he mentioned that he was paying for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). While SEO is important, it is not something you should be paying for. It should be built-in with your website--no extras needed. Companies who charge for SEO are literally running a scam. Our web designer Angela Deniston is an expert on the subject, and her comments are below.

** SEO is a tool that makes you more visible on the internet. For example, when you type in a search term on Google, the better your website's SEO, the higher up on the list your name appears. This way people don't have to dig to find you--you're right on top.

Top things every business should know about SEO
In a world of constantly evolving technology, it’s easy to trust any “expert” who comes along claiming to know the ins and outs of unfamiliar acronyms. Web guru Angela Deniston breaks down the SEO process and defines what every savvy business owner should know when dealing with SEO providers and web designers. Please find below a sampling of SEO basics best practice advice for a CEO looking to avoid con artists.

How important is SEO to doing business today?
Extremely. There is a lot of competition out there -- you could have the best looking website in your industry, but it doesn’t matter if no one knows it exists. The “if you build it they will come” mindset is a huge misconception among the less internet savvy. A good website is supplemented by good PR and high SEO results.

How much should an SEO campaign cost? Any guidelines?
Nothing. It should be inclusive to building the site, and completed as the designer constructs the site. There are a lot of scammers out there charging thousands of dollars to implement something that takes little to no time to do. It should only cost how long it takes you to implement -- especially if you’re on an hourly rate. Whether your site is 2 pages or 200, if it is constructed properly and implemented as you go, it should not cost any more than your time.

How can a CEO avoid getting ripped off if they decide to go outside the company to get this service done?
Ask the right questions and for proof of their results. If you’re paying an SEO service, ask for some type of report – evidence of bumping their client’s sites up. And don’t believe it is anybody’s “intellectual property”. You can find this information for free all over the internet. A few other selling phrases to watch out for:

- “We’ll submit you to thousands of search engines.” There are less than five the general population actually uses. And if built right, you don’t even need to ‘submit.’
- “We’ll optimize your meta-tags.” As search engines evolve, less and less rely on meta-tags.
- “We’ll do fresh content.” Unless they are your advertising or PR agency, they wouldn’t know what to update! Usually they’ll just overuse keywords and place irrelevant articles.
- “It’s only $10,000 a year.” You can build and continuously update an entire website for $8,000. What could they possibly be doing for $10,000 a year--or more?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Our New Client: Maile Build, Remodel & Design

Introducing Rich Maile, owner of Maile Build, Remodel & Design.

He's the mastermind behind projects like these:

And we're excited to be working with him! They are truly an extraordinary business. Check out more of Maile's work at

Eisen Continues to Grow with Third-Generation Company
Maile Build, Remodel & Design teams up with Greater Cincinnati PR Firm

Newport, KY – August 18, 2008 – Greater Cincinnati integrated public relations and marketing firm Eisen Management Group has been named agency of record (AOR) for the northern Kentucky-based Maile Build, Remodel & Design. The company is working with EMG to develop and implement a new communications program designed to showcase Maile’s expertise, quality and reputation.

According to EMG president Rodger Roeser, one of the main aspects of the campaign is to tell the story of Maile, a third generation family business.

“The level of talent and expertise on the Maile staff is incredible. Rich Maile (owner of Maile Build, Remodel & Design) told us that nearly 100% of their customers recommend them to friends. That’s an unbelievable reputation,” says Roeser. “After seeing how their company works, I understand why they get such high praise. Yes, their projects are breathtaking in every sense of the word. But it’s their effort to create lasting relationships—and even friendships—with the families they serve that leaves an even deeper impression.”

Owner Rich Maile saw that his company had serious assets to share and asked EMG to help spread the word. “They have the tools to get the Maile name out there,” Maile says. “By letting them handle our PR and marketing work, I have more time to focus on our clients and jobs. It lets me do what I love and boosts business as well. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of our combined efforts.”

Roeser expects the agency to implement general operations and brand alignment, local publicity, and literature development for Maile.

About Maile Build, Remodel & Design
Maile Build, Remodel & Design has been in business since 1960, when Ed Maile started his own business after 30 years of building experience. In 1972 Ed turned the business over to his son Dick, and Rich took over in 1992. Maile was named in Remodeling Magazine’s national “Big 50”—the top 50 remodeling firms in the country. Their promise to create an enjoyable remodeling experience and produce work of the highest quality has made them a leader in the industry.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Julia Child is...a spy?!

I awoke this morning to the best news I've heard in months. CNN told me that Julia Child, the fiesty TV chef who always seemed just a little too eager to use alcohol in her recipes ("one for the pot, one for the cook!"), was a WWII spy. This is what I've been waiting for!

As a child, I remember sitting on my grandma's floor watching Julia Child flail her knives and cleavers all over the kitchen, hooting and hollering throughout. She was the epitome of a "cool" grandma. She would start kitchen fires and extinguish them like it was no big deal. She drank straight from the bottle. And apparently, she was also a spy.

She served in an international spy ring operated by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during WWII. The CIA was reluctant to release this information, but I am oh-so glad they did. It made my week.

Here's to you, Ms. Julia! Bon appetit!

Monday, August 4, 2008

University of Dayton Ranks Among the Nation's "Happiest Students"

The Princeton Review's 2009 edition listed the University of Dayton as one of the nation's best institutions for undergraduate education with some of the happiest students in the nation. UD ranked 7th in the country in "Happiest Students" and retained its ranking as 11th in "Everybody Plays Intramural Sports."

I would agree. From the moment I stepped onto campus for a visit, I was welcomed. Everyone I passed smiled and said hello, a few stopping my parents and I to encourage me to choose UD. I was not expecting that, and when I arrived as an undergrad I was met with all the same excitement and friendliness.

If you've ever been to campus, you know that porches are symbolic of UD. Everyone sits out on their porch in one huge student neighborhood where everyone is welcome to party or hang out. Complete strangers help each other all the time, and everyone greets one another. On any given day, you could walk up to a house in the "ghetto" (the student neighborhood) and have a handshake and a Milwaukee's Best Light in your hand before you reach the front door. If you think I'm exaggerating, I challenge you to try it. You'll see why UD is filled with happy students!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Why I'm Not An Engineer

Let's face it--we've all been frustrated at work. I came across this picture in an e-mail circulating among my engineer friends, who now work for Honda, GE and the like. Aside from reinforcing my decision not to take up a career in engineering, this picture proves my theory that difficult math is equivalent to death by hanging.

Ok, ok, so maybe it's not that bad. The job does have it's perks. You know, in little achievements like space travel and nuclear technology.

My admiration and appreciation goes out to you mathmatically-minded people who keep the innovation wheel turning. I may never create the next high-performance industrial material, but hey, we all have a role to play here. And should you need to market the world's greatest breakthrough, you know my number.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Public Speaking for the Masses

Hello all! Welcome to my blog. EMG recently launched a program called "Voice" which provides speaker's training, presentation experience, and general media training to executives who want to represent their companies well in the spotlight. Below is a quick article I typed up in response to a reporter's questions, but I thought it would be beneficial to share with everyone. More about me personally next time...enjoy!

How can executives successfully play to very large crowds?
When a speaker is talking to several thousand people, how does he/she alter a speech to suit the audience?
How do speech messages change when the crowd is large?
How do speakers modify gestures, speech patterns, etc.?
How about dealing with technical issues?”

I was a keynote speaker for two years through the Miss Ohio Scholarship Program, and I have spoken to audiences ranging from a handful of eager listeners to crowds of several thousand. The differences are vast. In a small venue, it’s important to sound casual, confident, and conversational. Having direct dialogue with listeners is crucial, and eye contact is imperative. The game changes when several thousand eyes are focused on you; you’re no longer in direct dialogue with the audience, though you want them to feel as though they are. Let’s be honest, you’re not going to be fielding questions from random members of a 5,000 person audience. To make up for the lack of verbal 2-way communication, it’s important to ask questions (though they may be rhetorical) to keep the audience involved. For example, instead of simply stating, “It is our responsibility to change this situation,” a good public speaker would ask, “It is our responsibility to change this situation, is it not?” and wait for a murmur of agreement from the audience.

Body language must be altered when speaking to a large crowd. The small flicker of a wrist or a pointing finger will be moot, and the speaker must use large, dramatic body movements. This is not to say that they should be a flailing lunatic on stage, but you should use these gestures occasionally at strategic moments. When trying to emphasize a main point, drive it home with a strong arm motion. Walking around the stage is often a good tool to keep interest, so long as it is done in moderation and doesn’t seem like aimless wandering.

The actual words of the speech must be altered to suit a larger audience, as well. Short sentences are better for larger crowds. Longer pauses are more effective. The use of powerful verbs and strong statements is amplified in the presence of several thousand people. They can sense each other’s excitement, which triggers the memory to recall that feeling long after the speech is over. The manner of speech is also important in delivering to large audiences. Projecting the voice, enunciating up to 5x more than you would in normal speech (which will come across as “normal” to the audience after reverberation has taken its toll), and using more exaggerated inflection (the rising and falling of pitch) all lend to a professional-sounding speech.

Every speech coach will tell you that the message must, must be tailored to your specific audience. No intelligent speaker would deliver the same canned speech to a group of teenagers as he would to an AARP meeting. Their interests are not the same, their maturity levels do not intersect, and their life experiences are dramatically different. So what to do when your audience is large and diverse? Keep it general. But not too general. Finding a balance between focusing your point and appealing to the masses is difficult. No speaker wants to sacrifice the quality of his speech for the sake of pleasing everyone, but it is important not to ignore important segments of the audience. Answer: do your research. Overall, who will be attending this speech? Men? Women? Seniors? Parents? Try to narrow it down so you have an idea of who you are speaking to. Then write the speech as it comes naturally. As I mentioned above, shorter sentences are better for big audiences. Complicated explanations can get lost in a large venue, so it’s best to keep things as simple as possible. Leave the complex details behind these main points for a smaller group, so that you can take audience feedback and clarify as needed.

Lastly, I’ll address the wonders and woes of technology. No matter how advanced a system may seem, things can go wrong. It’s important to have a backup plan for major malfunctions, such as a microphone failure or PowerPoint error. I traveled with a backup cordless microphone and small amp, just to be safe. Being unprepared reflects poorly on the speaker, despite the fact that they are clearly not at fault. In situations where a speaker is using computer technology such as PowerPoint or another presentation software, I recommend bringing backup disks of the presentation, a backup laptop, and if all else fails, a paper—yes, paper—version of the slides. Even printing a few main points on large posterboard is better than nothing. In venues like an arena or a ballpark, I recommend prayer. But don’t be too quick to race to the nearest church—you’re in the very capable hands of behind-the-scenes technical professionals who are trained to respond to problems. So breathe easy. And rally the masses :-)