Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tweet Tweet Tweet

Twitter took a foodie turn in the Mad River Valley last night at the Round Barn Farm's Great Vermont Locavore Tweet-up. Created by Chef Charlie Menard of the Round Barn Farm's local and organic catering company, Cooking From the Heart, the event brought together Vermont foodies, localvore supporters and participants, and Vermont twitterers. Promoted mostly by the Round Barn Farm on Twitter -, the event was well attended with the perfect mix of the above!

Seven Days also whisked it into this week's issue and you can check out more on the event in the article.

I'd like to take a few moments to recognize some of the great folks I met and caught up with last night and instead of linking to their websites, I will direct you to their Twitter pages!

I had a fantastic time chatting with Jeff Connor, owner of the Grunberg Haus, a delightful inn located in Waterbury and also the author of one of my favorite Vermont Blogs - Vermont Travel Notes!

It was great to catch up with my old neighbors from the Bobbin Sew Bar & Craft Lounge and awesome to see how well they are doing and living out their passions and mission!

I loved meeting MariaLisa Calta in person - one of Vermont's very best food writers and also the PR gal for Circus Smirkus - one of Vermont's best entertainment concepts ever! - (no Twitter yet, but I am sure it won't be long!)

It was inspiring chatting with Brian Swichkow, an energetic, driven, and talented young Vermont entrepreneur - watch this guy!

Meeting neighbor and Seven Days' creative culinary writer, Suzanne Podhaizer, was a treat - she is so innovative with covering Vermont food related stories and integrates excellent social media practices!

I am very much looking forward the story Candace Page from the Burlington Free Press is working on - she's creatively incorporating 140 characters into it and can't wait to check it out!

As always I enjoy running into Amy Kirschner, the amazing mastermind behind Vermont Sustainable Exchange, and really enjoyed being able to spend some time together!

It was great chatting briefly with Vermont Edition's Jane Lindholm - one of my most favorite segments of VPR; after maybe the jazz I enjoy at night and did so as I headed home from the Tweet-up.

And of course always running into PR pals - wish we could all spend more time together - colleagues are not part of running your own business!
Claudia RenchyMorton of KSV -
Andrea Learned (women marketing guru) -
Sandy Yusen of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters -
Nicole Fenton of City Market -

Oh, and my Twitter is

Kudos Chef Charlie and the Round Barn Farm! This event was great proof of how social media connects people on a real, personal level - yay!

Monday, May 18, 2009

VT Business Conference Report

It may be a Monday, but I feel as if I am in the midst of Vermont Conference Week. Friday wrapped up the start with the Women Business Owner's Network (WBON) Conference at the Hilton in Burlington. As outlined in the below post, the New World of PR was the overall topic and the speakers were great! I was especially impressed with the Seven Days speech by Pamela Polston and Paula Routly. And, no, I am not just saying that because I am a PR person. I was inspired by their tenacity and boldness (which as the owners/publishers/editors of Seven Days I am fully aware, but was inspired to hear it live) and was also completely amused by the way they told the story. And when it comes down to it folks - traditional PR, new age PR, tech PR - it's all about how you tell the story. Be real and make it relevant. Pamela and Paula did this for the large group of women business owners who gathered for this well run conference.

I think my workshops went well and enjoyed helping business owners try to figure out all this new media slop so it's actually a bit tasty. I will say the Hilton needs to get with the program and stop trying to be so obvious about trying to make a buck and offer wireless to all as a part of their conference package. Is it really worth annoying several presenters so you can charge ten bucks per wireless session? Couldn't you just include wireless for all at a conference with a password in the fee structure? Are you really that ignorant to customer feedback? Maybe you need to Twitter.

So moving on now that it's the middle of Vermont Conference Week - this Wednesday and Thursday is the long anticipated Vermont Business EXPO brought to us by the new media savvy Vermont Business Magazine and my new favorite networking vehicle - the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. Every day I learn more reasons as to why Vermont businesses should be a member and do believe my Vermont public relations business will be joining in the near future. And speaking of savvy, check out the EXPO's You Tube feature!

If you haven't made plans to attend this year's EXPO, you should seriously re-consider your marketing goals and make sure there is a measurable reason why you are not attending. (Even if you don't have a booth, you can still attend - otherwise why would there be booths?)

Hope to see lots of folks there - I will be there for the day Wednesday!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Building Blocks For Literacy

I had the utmost privilege to work with the fine folks at the Stern Center for Language and Learning in Williston, Vermont last year to help with PR trainings for the launch of BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY®, a research-proven program for parents and early care/education providers to help prepare children for literacy success.

The experience of working in a training capacity was great and the Stern Center in general is an amazing organization committed to helping individuals identify their learning strengths as well as their needs and to finding solutions that allow everyone to learn. But I must say, the most rewarding part of my work with the Stern Center was truly learning about BUILDING BLOCKS FOR LITERACY®. This program really is what it is all about as far as putting an end to the lack of literacy that afflicts this country. And instead of people just blaming the fact that both parents have to work to support families in today's world, BUILDING BLOCKS directly attacks the root of the problem without placing any sort of blame. It trains those who teach the young children - preschool teachers, parents, and other committed adults to easily encourage the practice of the specific skills which held children learn to read.

From the press release distributed nationwide when the program launched a few weeks ago: This free on-line 12-hour course provides adults with a toolbox of enjoyable activities to build a solid foundation for children to succeed at reading once they enter school. Studies have shown that this kind of preparation can help decrease the number of children at-risk for reading failure.

And studies for real - the Stern Center is by far one of the most respected and well researched institutions dealing with literacy and while the official research specific to BUILDING BLOCKS began back in 1997, it truly began when charismatic Dr. Blanche Podhajski founded the Stern Center in 1983.

Kudos and hats off to all involved and if you're reading this and have a preschool age child or know people who do - do everyone a favor and send them this link -!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The New World of Public Relations

It is a whole new world out there and the dino days of old school PR are either done or need to be completely integrated into the existing landscape of social media, grassroots networking, word of mouth marketing, and viral communicating. As Peter Shankman referred to and we all know - old white dudes don't run the show anymore.

Interested in learning more? If you are a woman business owner, aspiring business owner, or marketing professional, I HIGHLY suggest signing up and attending the Women Business Owner's Network spring seminar - The New Rules of Online Marketing & Public Relations.

I first joined the WBON two years ago, a few years after I started my Vermont public relations business and the first event I attended was the spring seminar. I left that seminar and started a website, met with a banker, registered with the state as an official business, found a bookkeeper and began preparing for my own accounting process, and started three blogs. Now I am in my third year of business and I credit so much of what I have learned to my experiences with the WBON. When I chat with other aspiring women business owners, the first piece of advice I give them is to join and learn from this fantastic organization.

The spring seminar is being held next Friday, May 15th at the Hilton in Burlington, Vermont. Presentations and workshops will be presented by the following:

Paula Routly & Pamela Polston - Seven Days

Pat Heffernan - Marketing Partners

April Cornell - April Cornell Holdings and

Elaine Young - Champlain College and

Marion Dane Abrams - Madmotion, LLC

Teresa Langston - Net-Spin, Inc.

Cathy Resmer - Seven Days and

and myself - Rachel Carter PR

I am honored to be among such a stellar cast of marketing and PR professionals and media experts and am excited for the wealth of information that will be flowing through the seminar. Don't miss out - this is a GREAT chance to propel your business forward and gain concrete next steps as to how you can more effectively manage your marketing in sync with how the world really works.

More info is at - see you next week!