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Celebrating International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked TogoRun women in each of our offices to share a few empowering words on who their hero is and why, what International Women’s Day means to them, and how they embody this year’s IWD theme – Be Bold For Change – in their daily lives. Here’s what they said:    

Eboni Wingo, TogoRun New York

My hero is former First Lady Michelle Obama. Over the years, she has been an amazing role model and advocate for a number of issues that I hold near and dear to me, and I can’t forget her impeccable fashion sense; she is the epitome of poise and eloquence!

To me, International Women’s Day means recognizing, celebrating and showing appreciation for the various accomplishments of women throughout the world. The most important thing people can do today to empower women now – and in the future – is to encourage women to pursue their passions, from a young age. If we instill this in girls from an early age, they will never doubt their ability to reach their goals! I champion #BeBoldForChange by constantly pushing myself to stand up for what I believe in.

Diana Haugen, TogoRun Los Angeles

“Be kind to one another” – It’s a simple mantra that Ellen DeGeneres proclaims daily on her TV show, “Ellen.” It’s The Golden Rule in one easy package that we are encouraged to carry with us every day; yet, somedays, we forget that package on our doorstep. But, I find encouragement from Ellen, her words and example. She is a trailblazer in what it means to approach life, work and relationships in a positive way, and she embodies core values that are critical to empowering women: respect, tolerance, generosity, laughter and responsibility.

As a professional and a mom of two young boys, I aspire to #BeBoldForChange by following Ellen’s example and setting my own by prioritizing positivity and respect. I feel it’s important to contribute positive changes every day because over time, they can create a movement that asserts respect for all. We have to remember that people and relationships are everything in business and life.

So, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, a day that calls on us to forge a better working world, I can’t help but think about that package on my doorstep. This day reminds me to open the door to change through positivity and be kind to one another.

Ally Gotsell, TogoRun Boston

I’ve been incredibly lucky to have many positive female role models—SHEroes as I like to call them—to look up to in my life. Female politicians (shout out to Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren), professors (shout out to Professors Mattina and Gallagher), and managers (shout out to Jane, Anu, and TogoRun’s very own Amy Thomas!) have all motivated and influenced me. However, my most important SHEro is my biggest supporter—my mom. She’s a hard-working nurse who has instilled her work ethic in me, encouraging me to follow my dreams and letting nothing, especially my gender, stop me.

To me, International Women’s Day is about celebrating women and advocating for complete and total gender equality. I think the most important thing people can do to empower women is to embrace intersectional feminism—the understanding of how women’s overlapping identities, such as race, class, sexual orientation, ability, ethnicity, and religion, impact the way they experience discrimination and oppression.

I embody #BeBoldforChange by championing for the rights of other women. I’m passionate about reproductive justice—in April I’m leading a team raising money for an organization that helps people in Massachusetts have access to reproductive healthcare. Additionally, on January 21st I stood alongside tens of thousands of other women at the Boston Women’s March because I believe a group of strong and united women have the power to change the world!

Grainne Maguire, TogoRun London

There are many heroes who inspire me, but the most important one for me is my mother. To me, she embodied all the great attributes of heroes – bold, brave and fearless.  Although her life was not without tragedy, she pushed forward regardless, letting her spirit power her resolve. She fought for her education, accomplished many things and inspired those who met her. In her 80s, she left her home of 60 years, moved to a new country and reinvented herself becoming a published poet. For me, International Women’s Day is about harnessing that hero spirit which abides in women – to awaken, enlighten and empower women – building a solidarity of purpose where we help each other build a better future. The key I believe is education, education, education – we can’t achieve what we need to achieve without it.  Let’s work together to unleash our hero spirit and be #boldforchange.

Radhika Puri, TogoRun DC

I have had the honor of having many influential women mold the person I am today. One of these includes my AP Calculus teacher from high school, Becky Lazzeri. In November 2014, Mrs. Lazzeri was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of cancer. At that point, she had run 30 marathons. Through radiation and chemo, she went on to run three marathons after her diagnosis and completing treatment. Once asked what this experience meant to her, she expressed that while she is slower, she is not embarrassed. She thinks it is humbling that as a cancer survivor, she is able to chase normal and do the things she loves. She started a support group called Press On dedicated to athletes diagnosed with cancer. She says, “I wish I could have had someone support me as I ran to chemo or as I became so weak that every run was more of a jog/walk/crawl. Someone to tell me that it was ok to be slow, ok to walk, ok to ‘run’ only a couple of days a week.  Someone to tell me to enjoy a few minutes of wind in my hair (oh yeah, I didn’t have hair). Someone to tell me that trying to run would feel like dragging weights while underwater. Someone to tell me that I could make a comeback. I may be slower, but much more thankful for each step.” She also raises money to advance cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Mrs. Lazzeri inspires me because she is able to stay positive in the face of adversity and come out of incredibly difficult personal struggles stronger than ever.

To me, International Women’s Day is a reminder to be thankful of all the women in your life who have made sacrifices so that you can be where you are today. My grandmother did it for my mother. My mom does it for me. And many times, if you have the chance of getting close to your teachers like Mrs. Lazzeri and my relationship, you learn how their untold stories outside of the classroom can shape and inspire you when you face challenges.

I have always stood up for what I believe is right. While this might seem cliché, I think being bold is not about doing something out of the ordinary. Many times, it’s about assessing what in the daily norms of society actually has a positive effect on your and the collective whole’s growth. I think change comes from viewing/absorbing what the world tells you with a grain of salt, and only engaging and taking in what actually grows your character for the better. Finding the passion to make change comes from first recognizing why something is productive or destructive.

Presidential Candidates’ Views on Healthcare

The Social Media Good, Bad & Ugly in Health Care

twitter

Building an online brand has become so integrated into our society that establishing a social media presence has become the norm across generations. In the U.S. alone, the proportion of adults using social media has increased from 8% to 72% since 2005. The virtual domain has shaped traditional world into a new form, and the health care industry is no exception.  Professionals in relevant health care organizations must recognize the ever-increasing importance of social media because the conversations happening across these channels will continue with or without them.

The Good

As with most industries, social media facilitates faster and simpler information sharing. An online communication platform can assist physicians in listening to experts, researching medical developments, consulting colleagues and networking. For instance, Sermo is a “physician-only” social networking community that demonstrates the opportunities social media creates for the health care industry. Physicians representing 68 specialties in all 50 states gather on this site to network, discuss treatment options and to seek peer advice. The program also provides a rating system by which doctors can rank posts on the site based on perceived credibility.

Social media not only enables conversation amongst health care professionals (HCPs), but also between patients and their HCP. In the U.S., eight in 10 Internet users search for health information online, and 74% of these people use social media to do so. Patients now expect to have 24/7 access to critical health information and social media enables that possibility.

Online platforms can empower education on a global scale amid distance and time constraints. Although controversial, there has been an increase of doctors and surgeons providing updates from the operating room on Twitter. Surgeons can use respective hashtags to essentially live stream a surgery to colleagues halfway across the world and even answer questions in real-time.

tweets from the operating room

The information-on-demand era calls on HCPs to provide information consistently and globally, which can most efficiently be done via social media.

The Bad

While social media offers new opportunities for information sharing, it also allows non-experts to share content just as rapidly as health agencies, if not more so. As a result, health information found on social media lacks quality and reliability. Yet, 90% of respondents aged 18 to 24 said they trust medical information shared on social media networks in a PwC Health Research Institute survey. This points to a concerning correlation between medical information online and widely accepted medical myths.

An online presence also enhances potential breaches in patient privacy. The evolution of social media in health care is driven by a growing demand for transparency. As health care industries increase their presence on these networking sites, it escalates the risk of accidentally releasing sensitive data to the public. Employee guidelines regarding the appropriate use of social media can help resolve the issue of patient privacy; however only 31% of health care organizations have specific social media guidelines in writing.

While the downfalls of social media in health care are abundant, many of the risks can be mitigated with preventive strategies.        

The Ugly

One stark example of social media gone wrong in health care is the viral response to Ebola. While it is important to recognize the seriousness of the Ebola crisis, the online reaction to the first diagnosis of a case in the United States illustrates the ability of social media to perpetuate unwarranted fear and misinformation.

Following the first U.S. diagnosis on September 30, 2014, mentions of the virus on Twitter skyrocketed from about 100 per minute to more than 6,000. Meanwhile consistent streams of posts included inaccurate information that Ebola can be spread through the air, water or food. Opinion leaders also joined the spread of inaccurate information, contributing to the downward spiral of Ebola distress on Twitter. Collectively two tweets from Chris Brown and Donald Trump reached nearly 45,000 people, causing additional turmoil.

As a result of the online panic, Iowa the Department of Public Health was forced to issue a statement dispelling social media rumors. Social media has its benefits when it comes to the health industry, but unless its power is harnessed in a precise and efficient manner, we could have dozens of medical scares, like Ebola, without reasonable cause.

Moving Forward

In response to the shift towards a virtually-networked sphere, health care practitioners are obliged to turn to social media to maintain the flow of information.  A survey of more than 4,000 physicians conducted by the social media site QuantiaMD found that more than 65% of physicians use some form of social media for professional reasons. The social media takeover is inevitable and its best for HCPs to harness these opportunities for better health care and do their best to mitigate the threats.

 

About the author

Melanie is an intern at TogoRun and a senior at American University, studying Public Relations with minors in Psychology and Marketing. Melanie is also the newly elected President of AU’s PRSSA. She has dreams of a professional journey where Public Relations and Health Communications meet with an ultimate career goal in Crisis Communication. Originally from Philadelphia, Melanie recently spent six months in Greece, where she obtained her sailing license. In her spare time, she likes to run and try new food trucks in DC.

Millions of Steps & Counting!

PR Team at TogoRun to get more TogoFit™ during Employee Wellbeing Month in June

For the past year, TogoRun, a leading healthcare communications agency, has been creating a healthy workplace—one employee at a time—via TogoFit, its signature, employee wellness initiative tamiflu price. To mark the 8th Annual Employee Wellbeing Month (EWM) in June, TogoRun, a proud EWM supporter, is encouraging team members to participate in a number of wellness activities throughout the month, culminating in the 2nd Annual TogoFit Games.

TogoFit is a voluntary, socially-integrated initiative that challenges employees to get or stay fit by maximizing their daily steps and active minutes, and tracking their progress via FitBit. Each workday begins with an e-letter focused on positive lifestyle habits, including healthy recipes and exercises, in addition to daily tracking of employees’ steps, distance and active minutes. In recognition of EWM, TogoFit will challenge employees to increase their focus on personal health and fitness through participation in TogoRunning Club Tuesdays, Workout Video Wednesdays and healthy potlucks. At the finish line of EWM will be the TogoFit Games, from June 20-24, a week of short physical activity challenges that will test strength and fitness across TogoRun offices.

To mark the start of EWM, TogoRun is sharing the “TogoFit Five”—five health and wellness tips from five TogoRun employees who consistently rank in the TogoFit top tier:

  1. “Walk when possible. Take a stroll around the office or around the block, and think twice before driving somewhere that is within walking distance.”
    • Amy Thomas, Account Supervisor
  2. “Don’t fear the plank. Planks are a static exercise—meaning the body stays in one position—require no equipment, and can be performed just about anywhere. They’re an excellent, low-impact way to strengthen your core.”
    • Sofia Perry, Administrative Assistant
  3. “Enjoy your exercise. Make sure you like the activity you choose so it doesn’t become a chore.”
    • Jessica Greenman, Senior Account Executive
  4. “Wake up and workout. Check it off your list and enjoy the positive benefits all day long.”
    • Kelly Sousa, Account Supervisor
  5. “Walk with purpose everywhere you go and wear your FitBit to mark your progress. But don’t forget to treat yourself. You deserve it!”
    • Gloria M. Janata, JD, President and Senior Partner

“Health and wellness doesn’t just define our award-winning communications work at TogoRun—it also embodies who we are and how we strive to live each day,” said Gloria M. Janata, JD, president and senior partner. “In reality, every month is Employee Wellbeing Month at TogoRun, but EWM give us an excuse to step it up!”

Learn more about health and wellbeing at TogoRun at www.togorun.com/corporate-wellness, and Employee Wellbeing Month at www.employeewellbeingmonth.com.

 

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Mayor of the people, master of communications: A lesson in PR from former Boston mayor, Thomas M. Menino

When former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino left office in 2013, after serving 20 consecutive years as mayor, his approval rating was reportedly over 82 percent. A Boston Magazine article at the time announced the results of the poll with the headline, “Mayor Menino is More Popular Than Kittens,” citing that only 77 percent of Americans had favorable views on kittens. Even more striking than his popularity, a 2009 Globe poll indicated that over 57 percent of Bostonians had, in fact, met the mayor in person. When applied to the actual population of Boston, that’s over 368,000 people.

Last week, at the age of 71, he passed away visit this site right here. Story after story has been told throughout the Boston papers, and beyond, about the lives he impacted. The city mourns his death because he had an apparent authentic desire to help his constituents – no matter their political party or background or ethnicity. Articles depict the many instances where he showed character, heart and humbleness. Although known for a thick Boston accent and tendency to jumble his words, Menino was a true mayor of the people. He was also a master of communications.

Known fondly as “mumbles Menino,” the former mayor was also famous for malapropisms. Once, in a televised interview, he mistakenly referred to Celtics players Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo as “KJ” and “Hondo”—a slipup that spread through the internet like wildfire. His time in office was filled with many similarly funny anecdotes. Bostonians did not laugh at the mayor, but rather with him, because his authenticity shown through in his frequent public appearances and the actions he took to help his city, despite his sometimes blundered speech, spoke clear.

As healthcare communicators, we are constantly tasked with promoting brand messages across a complex digital landscape. We tweet, blog, post videos and monitor channels to interact with consumers, promote our brands and take note of what is being said. These are all important, crucial methods to help us understand how we are perceived and allow us to best reach our audience. We can learn something even more important from Menino’s tenure in office—how to reach individuals, whether that be a patient or doctor, in a meaningful, lasting capacity.

To Bostonians, the mayor was “one of them.” This impression is especially important for a brand to achieve in healthcare as the solutions offered to patients are ones that they must often trust with their lives. Menino showed he cared about his constituents through genuine interactions. Not only did he build programs that transformed Boston and touched communities, but he attended graduations, funerals and store-openings. Despite, after 20 years in office and a celebrity-like status, Menino remained grounded and local. I think, in healthcare public relations, such a feat is not only important, but ultimately, the main objective.

This fall, at PRWeek’s Good Business, Better Business conference, the sentiment of the top industry communicators was clear: corporate social responsibility is entirely necessary and central to building a lasting brand today. Consumers want to support brands that give back to their communities, care about something more than their profit and contribute to making the world a better place (as cliché as it sounds). CSR initiatives increase a brand’s likability and make consumers feel as if they can invite the brand into their communities, into their homes and, as was true in Menino’s case, even into their hearts.

– See more at: http://unleashedblog.net/#sthash.zJtyNHVK.dpuf

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The Man in the Red Bandanna

As professional communicators, we all know ‘the story is the thing.’ A story breaks down barriers. It builds understanding. It fosters trust and camaraderie. It’s how we share experiences and pass down history from one generation to the next.

The untold story is even more powerful. It challenges our belief system and forces us to think differently. It inspires us to change our behavior and share that inspiration with others.

So, what makes a great story? This question was explored earlier this year at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and The Atlantic captured perspectives from some of the best storytellers out there. In a nutshell, a great story moves us, it is real and authentic, it has conflict and it has a character to which we can relate.

I am reminded of great stories on each and every anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. A day marred by great tragedy and sadness, it is storytelling that helps us cope and honor the memory of the many lives lost. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t recall intimate details from that Tuesday morning in 2001: where we were, who we were with and how we felt. Yet, despite the day’s horrible events, the stories I continually hear are of hope and inspiration. In the days, months and years following the attacks, many previously untold stories emerge that show us no amount of evil can overcome the human spirit.

Of the many stories of heroism that day, one stands out for me: The man in the red bandanna. A dozen people, maybe more, were able to make their way to safety from the 78th floor of the World Trade Center South Tower with help from a young man. It took many months to identify this man, piecing together the accounts of the people whose lives he saved who knew him only by the red bandanna he used to cover his mouth and nose. Fortunately, more than a decade after the tragedy, his story is untold no more.

Inspiring? Check. Authentic? It doesn’t get more real. A captivating character? Got it. This story stirs a strong emotional response every time I read/watch/hear it. This story ensures that I will never forget the horrible events of that day and reminds me how inherently good people are. This story compels me to reflect and think about how I can be better. And most importantly, this story inspires me to put on my red bandanna and write my own untold story that will impact positive change at work and at home.

How are you inspiring and engaging others? What is your untold story?

 

About TogoRun

TogoRun (www.togorun.com) is an award-winning, full-service global health and well-being communications and public affairs agency with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and London. The agency specializes in integrated marketing and communications, branding and positioning, advocacy and government affairs, issues and crisis management, and corporate communications and social responsibility.

 

Analyzing the Success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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We’re proud to be named by PR News as one of the “Top Places to Work in PR 2014”

We’re proud to be named by PR News as one of the “Top Places to Work in PR 2014.” This year’s contest was highly competitive with one of the highest entry years in the history of the award.

While many offices boast about culture, TogoRun’s environment is truly hard to beat. We eagerly jump on the sled each day and celebrate our #TypicallyTogo moments and the amazing people who help us grow intellectually, professionally and personally. We harness the power of teamwork to transform ideas and strategies into campaigns that resonate, motivate and inspire.

TogoRun is a great place to work because we all share a passion for improving the world by advancing health and well-being. And each and every one of us is fueled by confidence that we will succeed. We are deeply dedicated to our craft, take great pride in our work and mean it when we say that we pursue excellence every day.  By living and breathing our core values of commitment, courage, creativity and craftsmanship, we deliver exceptional results to our clients and provide a rewarding, energizing agency experience.

We look forward to the awards luncheon on September 16th that will honor the year’s most outstanding communicators, initiatives and organizations in the public relations industry. See you there!

Behind the Headlines: Tapping into the Non-Traditional

Within minutes of the first reports that a Malaysia Airlines plane had crashed over eastern Ukraine, one media outlet had live coverage up and running. You’re thinking it was CNN, ABC or even FOX, right? Surprisingly, it was not a major news outlet. And, in fact, the outlet rarely covers general news. Who am I talking about? Mashable

Yes, the site that has become synonymous with social media and tech coverage was covering this breaking news story in real time – complete with videos from the scene and carefully sourced information culled from social media and other outlets. Its own social accounts, including its meant-for-breaking-news @MashableLive, were busy pushing out information.

While Mashable still maintains its traditional coverage areas, it’s expanding into general news and experimenting with how stories are presented. Traditional 1,200-word articles are welcome, but if a story can be better told in a series of Vines with captions, then they will go with that. Or if it’s just a video they want to highlight, they’ll do that. Mashable cannot compete with major global news outlets on every story, nor do they want to. Instead, Mashable is focusing on a wide array of topics its audience cares about and is discussing online.

As communications professionals, we need to do the same. Many brands may want to be on the Today Show, or some other hot program of the moment, yet their audience may not be watching those shows. Rather, they may be getting their news from outlets such as Vox, Quartz, Buzzfeed or good-old Facebook. Technology, along with social and digital media, has changed when how and where consumers get the information that is important to them. While traditional media still holds tremendous value, it’s important to think about the non-traditional ways and places to reach your audience and engage with them.

Purple Day: A grassroots communications success

Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of the brain characterized by seizure and tremor episodes. It affects people of all ages – in every country of the world.

Epilepsy is close to the heart at TogoRun. A few of our trailblazers have family members living with epilepsy and see first-hand how the disorder impacts everyday life. Despite affecting approximately 65 million people around the world, there is still much unknown about epilepsy and there is no cure. In fact, one-third of people with epilepsy live with uncontrollable seizures because there is no available treatment that works for them. Those whose seizures are controlled, mainly by medication may still suffer from related conditions, including:

•   ‘Not doing well’ at home, school, work, or with friends;
•   Cognitive or learning problems that require special help or accommodations;
•   Symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other changes in mood or behavior;
•   Problems sleeping;
•   Unexplained injuries, falls or other illnesses; and even
•   Risk of death.

Why Purple Day?

“Purple Day,” an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy, takes place each year on March 26th. This past Wednesday, many of us at TogoRun wore purple to show our support. Purple Day was created in 2008 to help educate others about epilepsy. It was started by a true trailblazer: an eight-year old Canadian girl named Cassidy Megan who was motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy. Cassidy’s goal for Purple Day is to encourage people to talk about epilepsy in an effort to dismiss myths and inform those with seizures that they are not alone. By simply being unafraid to tell her story, she has rallied people from all over the world to proudly talk about epilepsy and call for more work to be done to find a cure.

Purple Day shows that you do not need a huge budget or corporate PR machine to make an impact, but rather demonstrates how effective communications can be born out of passion and a compelling story. Please join us and millions of others in support of increasing awareness about epilepsy.

Epilepsy Facts

  • 65 MILLION: Number of people around the world who have epilepsy.
  • OVER 2 MILLION: Number of people in the United States who have epilepsy.
  • 1 IN 26 people in the United States will develop epilepsy at some point in their lifetime.
  • BETWEEN 4 AND 10 OUT OF 1,000: Number of people on earth who live with active seizures at any one time.
  • 150,000: Number of new cases of epilepsy in the United States each year
  • ONE-THIRD: Number of people with epilepsy who live with uncontrollable seizures because no available treatment works for them.
  • 6 OUT OF 10: Number of people with epilepsy where the cause is unknown.