UMB Bank is giving away money (to charity that is)

When we talk about banks we don’t usually think of them giving away money. But that’s just what UMB is doing right now. UMB’s “Check-in or Tweet for Charity” campaign is an innovative way they are supporting the community.

UMB is using Foursquare check-ins at UMB banking centers and hash tagged tweets from UMB Twitter followers to help raise funds for their non-profit partners. By checking in at a UMB banking center, or tweeting #UMBgives, they are donating 50 cents to the designated charity (one check-in or tweet per day). You don’t even have to be a customer to participate.

You can check in on Foursquare at UMB banking centers or tweet to benefit three not-for-profit organizations: Big Brothers Big SistersJunior Achievement of Middle America and American Heart Association. Throughout 2012 they will give up to $3,000 for each beneficiary.

I’m proud to say I’m a UMB customer and that they’re doing something so altruistic (not to mention digital…you know I love that!).

The good news for today is:
Here is an easy and FREE way for you to support three important organizations. You know I’m tweeting and checking-in and I hope you’ll join me.

Learn more at http://www.facebook.com/UMBBank, or @UMBBank on Twitter.

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It’s a beautiful day…being here, now

Today’s message is very simple…it really is a beautiful day. It’s Easter and happens to also be my mother’s birthday (happy birthday Mom!).

I’ve recently been reading about mindfulness and being present. We can’t fix the past, we can’t predict the future, but we can appreciate the moment we have, right here, right now.

An enlightening article The Art of Now: Six Steps to Living in the Moment,” tells us that we can reap many benefits from living mindfully. (Psychology Today, Jay Dixit).

“Mindfulness reduces stress, boosts immune functioning, reduces chronic pain, lowers blood pressure, and helps patients cope with cancer. By alleviating stress, spending a few minutes a day actively focusing on living in the moment reduces the risk of heart disease. Mindfulness may even slow the progression of HIV.

Mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic, and more secure. They have higher self-esteem and are more accepting of their own weaknesses. Anchoring awareness in the here and now reduces the kinds of impulsivity and reactivity that underlie depression, binge eating, and attention problems. Mindful people can hear negative feedback without feeling threatened. They fight less with their romantic partners and are more accommodating and less defensive. As a result, mindful couples have more satisfying relationships.”

It’s a perfect 65 degrees out, the sun is shining, and the promise of renewal that spring holds abounds. And I intend to enjoy every moment of it.

The good news for today is that it’s a beautiful day. So go enjoy and celebrate!

Related links:
Psychology Today, 5 Steps to Being Present
It’s a beautiful day (U2 song with lyrics on YouTube)

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School bus driver saves children

Everyday heroes part I

I saw an inspiring story on the news this week about a school bus driver in Indiana who  saved 11 children from a tornado.

Angel Perry stayed calm under immense pressure and didn’t panic though destruction was literally minutes away. She even counted the children as they ran into the school for safety, seconds before the 18-ton bus was picked up and thrown into a nearby building. Seeing the wreckage  shows what the fate of those children would have been, if she hadn’t acted quickly and courageously.

This reminds me of the incident a few years ago when pilot Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger landed a plane in the Hudson River after it struck a flock of Canada geese. Because of his quick action, all 155 passengers and crew survived.

These are just two examples of normal, everyday people who acted heroically. I know there are many more.

The good news for today is that the world is full of heroes like Angel and Sully. Do you know any heroes? Are you one? Please share your story.

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Where’s your happy place?

“You’re happier when your friends are happy (by about 15%), but research shows that you’re also 10% happier when their friends are happy. Even crazier, a friend of a friend of a friend being happy increases your happiness by about 6%. We aim to amplify world happiness by leveraging this network effect.” (Taken from the Happster app page)

Where’s your happy place? Now you can share it, and find new ones.

I just learned about this new app called Happster that has me excited for several reasons:

  1. It’s all about place-marking and sharing ‘happy’ (isn’t it great when happy goes viral?)
  2. The creation of it was amazingly…well…happy
  3. It was occasioned by South by Southwest (a.k.a. SXSW)

This app was created by six people during a mobile ‘hackathon’ called The Startup Bus. It was finished on their way to SXSW. Now, for those of you who don’t know SXSW (really?), this 10-day annual festival in Austin,Texas, is a convergence of music, film, interactive, and education. It celebrates innovation and creativity.

Now, I’m a SXSW fan because I’m all about using technology to communicate and bring people together. Which is why I’m also excited about another recent example of technology in action.

I co-lead a special interest group that focuses on bringing communications and technology together. Tech/SIG, a sub-group of KC/IABC, is a hands-on think-tank of people from various backgrounds and vocations…all connected in some way to communications. This week we launched a redesign of the format and it was a huge success.

People can join in three ways: in-person, via teleconference, and by Google+ Hangout. Which breaks down geographic barriers! At this meeting we had people from four states including California and Costa Rico (see photo  from the Google+ Hangout perspective).

The most exciting part of last week’s meeting, however, is that it was attended by social media superstar Shel Holtz. He wrote about the meeting in his Holtz Communication + Technology.

The topic, led by guest speaker Sara Folkerts, was about Sprint’s Social Ninja program, an award-winning employee social media ambassador program. It’s all about empowering employees to share the good news about their company. (To read about this program, visit the KC/IABC blog that I contribute to.) One of the group’s co-leaders is at SXSW and I’m looking forward to a recap at our next meeting.

So the good news for today is:

  • There is now an app for happy
  • There are people out there dedicated to using technology to bring people together, in a good way.

Until next time, get your happy app on, and let us know where your happy place is.

To learn more visit:

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IABC Kansas City Wins International Chapter of the Year

Since July I have had the honor of serving as a board member of KC/IABC, the local chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators. Last week we received the great news that we won the IABC International Chapter of the Year award. This is a major accomplishment in the communications world.

One of the VPs on our board, Donna Schwartze, also won Chapter Volunteer Leader of the Year. We won six individual awards, as well as Large Chapter of the Year (the International Chapter of the Year is chosen from the small, medium and large chapter winners).

I am so proud to be a part of this group. As the director of social media for this organization that is focused on excellence in communications, I have enjoyed working with very talented and gifted individuals. My only hope is that I can give back as much as I have gained.

Congratulations to KC/IABC, my fellow board members, and all who support this great organization. The good news for today is that there is only one way to go from here for KC/IABC, and that is up!

To learn more about the award and KC/IABC visit:
We’re International Chapter of Year
www.kciabc.com

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The universe is unfolding as it should

Many people I know are going through tough times lately.  They’re experiencing failing health, financial struggles, work issues (or lack of work issues), stress, and overwhelming change.  A theme that cuts through my conversations with friends, family and colleagues is if there will ever be stability again. The questions they keep asking are “why?” and “is there a reason for all of this?”

I don’t have answers, other than I personally believe there is a reason.  There are days when all you can cling to is that there must be a bigger plan that we just don’t know about.  There are other days when it is clear how things are all coming together. 

One of my touchstones that keeps me going through the tough times, and makes me joyous in the good, is the poem Desiderata.  Today’s entry is dedicated to keeping the faith that there is purpose in all that we go through, and there is ultimately peace

The good news for today is that things do work out.

Here are some excerpts from Desiderata that I turn to regularly:

“You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.  And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.  Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him/Her to be.  And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”
Max Ehrmann

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Don’t stop believing

Did you know that Journey’s classic song “Don’t Stop Believing”  just turned 30?  It’s the most covered song in modern history and has sold over one million downloads.

As an optimist, I love the message that no matter what happens, never stop trying to achieve your dreams, and never stop believing in yourself. Even when life throws curves and the outlook is bleak, good things can be around the corner.  The story of the song’s creation itself illustrates this.

Band member Jonathan Cain was the inspiration behind the song.  He was on very rough times and barely scraping by when he joined Journey.  His father kept telling him “don’t stop believing” and that was the start of the song that would make history. 

Another band member’s life was also transformed. When Journey needed to replace retired lead singer Steve Perry, Neil Schon came across a video of Arnel Pineda on YouTube. Pineda was a singer for a Fillipino cover band and was just trying to survive after years of hardship including the death of his mother at age 13, which left him and his family homeless.  Pineda is now with Journey, and sharing his good fortune with others.

So the good news for today, is don’t stop believing….dreams can come true.

Watch the CBS Sunday Morning interview:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/24/sunday/main20082644.shtml

Watch the video about Arnel Pineda’s story:
everymansjourney.com

 

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