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Archive for December, 2015

Marissa Mayer’s Maternity Message

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Executive actions impact employees in ways that they don’t always realize. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer recently gave birth to twins and chose to take limited time away from her position because she felt her absence was unnecessary. Mayer’s decision to not take a traditional leave sends a message to other women (and men) that the dedicated time off for the birth and early life of your child is not that important.

Mayer felt her highly demanding role required her swift return and believed it would send a message about her dedication to her work. Unfortunately, this is not the message that was received by the majority. Instead, many viewed her outlook as if you want to retain respect as a fierce business woman, you cannot let a little thing like childbirth slow you down. Instead of sending the message that childbirth is something that should allow for time for recovery and celebration, she chose to discount this special time and set a standard for women to return to work without taking proper time for self-care and recovery.

Gina Crosley-Corcoran’s observation after the birth of Mayer’s first child in 2012 suggested the CEO was already setting an unhealthy standard for employees: “While Mayer can’t legally require her FMLA-qualified employees to return to work before their 12-week unpaid maternity leave expires, executive leadership sets the tone for what is considered acceptable in an organization. Mayer’s own post-pregnancy choices made it clear that it was perfectly reasonable to expect a new mother to return to a highly demanding role before her stitches even heal. If the most powerful person in the company doesn’t feel comfortable pausing for a rest after the birth of a child, how are less powerful “Yahooligans” viewed if they choose to take the full 12 weeks they’re entitled to?”

Not all leaders dissuade their employees from taking advantage of parental leave benefits. PayPal recently expanded its parental leave program, offering expectant mothers and fathers up to eight weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child. Additionally, PayPal now offers up to eight weeks of paid family care leave for employees in need of time to care for a seriously ill spouse, child or parent.

Company leaders do influence employee attitudes and actions. Instead of creating an intolerant environment within a company that sets unhealthy standards, leaders need to respect employees and set a positive example to be followed.


Ann Keeling says:

Professional job standards are high, there is no doubt. And with technology gains, the speed of business and expectations for professionals is higher than ever. Executives need to have an awareness that their actions do send messages and create an impact, positive or negative, on a company culture and on individual employees.

Cops and robbers, oh my!

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Stadtpolizei Zurich  - 1-2

Police and perpetrators alike benefit from the beauty of their surroundings.

Shot by Jon Keeling.

Holiday Spirit on Social Media

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the busiest shopping time of the year. Retailers and brands are competing for consumer’s attention, so during this shopping season, it is vital for brands to properly communicate key messages. Social media as a key channel provides brands and retailers the opportunity to connect directly with customers through online engagement.

According to Research Industry Voices, 28 percent of consumers will follow certain retailers/brands on social media to keep an eye out for sales, promotional codes and deals. Additionally, 22 percent will follow retailers/brands on social media to find out about the most popular gift ideas. This is precisely why leveraging online channels like mobile marketing to the fullest extent, is crucial during the holidays.

Many brands are using unique approaches via social media to increase sales during the holiday season. Social media campaigns included in the mix this holiday season include contests, holiday cards and social giving. One specific company that has embraced digital assets for its holiday campaign is Target. Target combined Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram for its 2015 holiday campaign, increasing its social budget by 30 percent compared to last year. Christmas-themed geofilters are available to all Snapchat users during the month of December, allowing them to overlay a different branded graphic on top of their photos each day until after Christmas. E-commerce ads through Facebook allow users to shop for different Target products directly from their personal Facebook accounts. Lastly, Target is running Instagram takeover ads using the app’s self-proclaimed high-impact ad unit Marquee.

The efforts brands put forth online should be mimicked in-store as well. The growth of online shopping does not replace the in-store shopping experience. Brands still need to invest dollars on in-store with well-trained and enthusiastic employees and processes to keep shoppers happy and ensure the custome in-store experience is as seamless as their digital experience. With the holiday season in full swing, companies must review their online and mobile presence, be in full launch mode with holiday campaigns highlighting special deals and promotions and ensure all content is authentic and conveys the holiday spirit.


Ann Keeling says:

Moreso than ever, online shopping is a strategy for consumers who don’t have the time or energy to deal with the mall. However, there is still a significant contingency of people who relish the mall experience, so all channels remain important to the overall shopping experience. And it’s a matter of ensuring that the brick and mortar experience is reflected in the online experience and vice-versa, which needs time, attention and nurturing.

What would he say now?

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Strawberry Fields NYC - 1-2


Shot by Jon Keeling.

Zuckerberg Shares His Wealth

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

The same young billionaire that created the sharing social networking platform Facebook has decided to share more than a status update. Facebook’s co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, along with his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, pledged to donate 99 percent of Zuckerberg’s company shares over their lifetime. This promise comes after the birth of their daughter in late November. Zuckerberg’s shares in Facebook are estimated to be worth $ 45 billion. This extreme generosity supports their goal of advancing human potential and promoting equality.

In an open letter to their newborn girl, Maxima, Chan and Zuckerberg share their plans for The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative: “Today your mother and I are committing to spend our lives doing our small part to help solve these challenges. I will continue to serve as Facebook’s CEO for many, many years to come, but these issues are too important to wait until you or we are older to begin this work. By starting at a young age, we hope to see compounding benefits throughout our lives.” The initiative creates partnerships and programs focused on solving these challenges in a changing world. Initially, the main focus of these partnerships and programs will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities.

Not only is the couple gaining significant media attention after the release of their open letter to their newborn daughter, but they are also highlighting the efforts on a Facebook page specifically for the initiative. With over 48,000 page fans, the page lists the various partnerships they have formed and donations made since 2009. Additionally, the announcement by letter has been shared more than 187,000 times on Facebook with the majority supporters.

In the past decade, Zuckerberg and Chan have donated more than $1.6 billion to education and charitable causes. Some of the contributions have included a $100 million gift to the Newark Public School System, a $25 million donation to the CDC to stop the spread of Ebola and a $120 million commitment to education in the Bay Area.

Unfortunately, some agree the generous move was still not enough to counter the user privacy violations and other negative perceptions held by various Facebook users. Although this was not the goal of Zuckerberg’s initiative, this announcement is life affirming and will be life-changing for millions around the world. Chan and Zuckerberg can truly make a difference with this scope of work and strong commitment to ensuring their wealth is going toward efforts to accomplish these initiatives.


Ann Keeling says:

Some say Zuckerberg is the next Bill Gates. To some degree he is. Imagine if Bill had started his high level of charitable giving long before he did – that’s exactly what Zuckerberg and Chan are doing. They truly will change the world with their strategy, resources and money over the next several decades.