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Social Media Tapped to Fight Pandemic

No one knows how widespread or how severe the swine flu epidemic will be. The Centers for Disease Control isn’t taking any chances. It’s leveraging social media to provide the public with critical, up-to-the-minute information. And it’s working.

This traditional, conservative organization’s use of digital media highlights how these new tools can combat rumors with facts. Check out this AdAge article for insights about the CDC’s crisis-communication efforts. It might just fuel some thoughts about how you, too, can better take advantage of these direct, real-time delivery channels.

Think Green While Turning Red to Black

Every business in America is looking for ways to improve its bottom line, which for too many has meant putting environmental initiatives on the backburner.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Going green can support your efforts to get your financials back in the black. And, at a time when many team members are feeling high levels of stress (will their jobs exist tomorrow?), these activities remind us of the bigger picture and add perspective. Nature has a way of making one’s personal issues feel small.

Taking steps to be more eco-friendly uplifts spirits as well as dollars. Who doesn’t want to make a difference for the better? While each action individually may be small, taken together, they make a real difference.

Need Ideas? Just Remember the 4 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Respect

Here are some things we’ve been doing here at Greteman Group. You know how fast we run, so if we can find time to take these simple actions, you can, too.

Recycling through ProKansas (drop off at site)

  • Plastic
  • Cardboard
  • Newspapers
  • Cans
  • Books and Magazines
  • Toner Cartridges

Recycling through Shred-It

  • Paper


  • No Styrofoam – use ceramic cups, plates and silverware
  • No disposable stirring sticks – real spoons
  • Buy creamer, sugar and coffee in bulk containers.
  • Purchase cans rather than plastic beverage containers.


  • Replace recessed lighting bulbs with 65-watt CFL energy efficient bulbs.


  • Use doublesided photocopying and printing when possible.
  • Place recycle bins near printers to encourage employees and make it easy to recycle paper.


  • Set up computers for automatic sleep, saving money and time.

Unsolicited Mail

  • Ask to be removed from unwanted mailing lists, catalogs and free magazine subscriptions.
  • Encourage team members to reduce junk mail at home by having their names removed through Mail Preference Service.


  • Reuse file folders.
  • Buy materials with recycled content when possible.
  • Adjust thermostats throughout office for day and night temps.
  • Swap unwanted or unused items among team members. After all, one’s junk is another’s treasure.
  • Share laughter as much as possible. It lightens your load, reduces wheelspinning and lubricates friction points – all big energy drains.

Looking for Inspiration?

Plan to take in the sure-to-be-award-winning movie “Earth,” released on Earth Day. Its rare and stunning images will give you new respect for this planet we call home. As an added plus, a tree will be planted for each ticket sold this week.

Inspired by the Masters

As the trees bud, lawns green up and temperatures rise, many of my colleagues are itching to dig in their gardens. I, on the other hand, am ready to hit the links.

I’ve heard it said that the Masters is the official start of spring, not just the true kickoff to the golf season. After attending the legendary event, I couldn’t agree more. In past years, I’ve not been all that excited to brush the cobwebs off my clubs. But something about experiencing golf at its finest changed my view of the game.

It’s a tournament rich in tradition – from the famed Magnolia Lane to the coveted green jacket. There’s a certain mystique in being the only golf tournament played at the same location every year. And what a location. The moment you step on the course, the smell of Georgia pines overwhelms you.

Walking With Giants

After watching Tiger tee off on No. 1, we followed him up to the green. There stood a sea of spectators waiting to catch a glimpse of him in action. I quickly concluded that starring at the back of middle-aged men’s heads was not my idea of a true Masters’ experience. Instead, we walked the course trying our best to soak it all in.

Even with a high-def big screen, you can’t begin to get an appreciation for the topography of the course. The changing elevation. Slope of the fairways. False fronts on the greens. Looking at the pin placement and realizing the precision required to land the ball on an area the size of several pool tables. Not to mention the wind that swirls and shifts between the trees. (Golf Digest recently named Augusta the best course In America.)

My ladies’ night golf group starts up again on Tuesday. While I don’t expect to make history like Kenny Perry or Angel Cabrera, I do plan on enjoying my time on the course a bit more than I have in the past. My colleagues can have their green thumbs. I’ll settle for greens.

Playing and Living Between the Keys

In celebration of jazz appreciation month, I had the privilege of the viewing the U.S. premiere of the documentary “The Jazz Baroness” at the Tallgrass Film Festival.

The film, narrated by actress Helen Mirren, was directed by Hannah Rothschild, great niece of the British heiress Baroness Pannonica Rothschild de Koenigswarter, widely known as Nica.

It charts the tumultuous birth of bebop in the late ‘50s.

In this pre-civil-rights era the mere sight of a white woman with black men was cause for scandal. Yet, Nica was routinely seen in the company of impoverished jazz musicians – Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and other now-immortalized musical geniuses. She even opened her Fifth Avenue apartment to them. Her home was dubbed the Cathouse for the cool two-legged cats who crashed there alongside scores of actual felines. (Polaroids she took and wishes she extracted from these jazz greats became the basis for a posthumous bestseller and photography exhibit.)

The Lost Story

The movie emphasizes the monumental dichotomy of two lives: Monk, the social-pariah son of dirt-poor African American sharecroppers, and Nica, the aristocrat born into Europe’s greatest banking dynasty. Their mutual love for jazz took them from Harlem to hell and back again. It’s been said that many musicians play the white keys, or the black keys, but that Monk played between the keys – the cracks. Nica said, “He could make you see the music inside the music.”

Nica was beloved in jazz circles. This unwavering fan, outspoken advocate and patron gave them money when needed, drove musicians to their gigs (or doctor) in her Bebop Bentley, and even took the rap for marijuana possession to keep Monk from losing his cabaret license. In return these struggling musicians honored her with their affection and songs of dedication.

When Nica died in 1988 she asked to have her ashes strewn in New York “Round Midnight,” in homage to the Monk composition that introduced her to his music. And forever changed her life.

Masterful Event

I was lucky enough spend Friday and Saturday at the Mecca of golf – the Masters. From the moment you walk through the turnstile, you see the zenith of event-planner perfection. Abundant metal detectors and security pass-points, minimizing your time in line to mere seconds. Meticulous landscaping and litter-free grounds. Easily accessible bathrooms. Polite, smiling people everywhere.

You pass through the gift shop where you’re tempted to spend your mortgage payment purchasing logoed sweaters, hats and bar glasses so you can walk away with a little piece of Augusta National. And because they want you to buy souvenirs by the armloads, you can overnight your goodies home. They even pack everything up for you – free of charge. They make it easy for you to be bad.

Once you exit and walk out from the shade of the buildings into the sunshine, you see the huge Masters scoreboard. And know that you’ve made it. You’re entering the ground hallowed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods.

Sweating the Details

Even with hundreds of people going through the concession stand at once, we never waited more than two minutes. Apparently the menu has been the same for years. You pick from six sandwiches that come in Masters-green-sealed plastic bags. Each is $2.50 or less. You select from three kinds of beer, pop, sports drink or water. You’re given two chip choices. Two cookie choices. Ice cream bars or moon pies? They keep things simple and focused on the main event: golf.

Clear, ever-present wayfinding makes it impossible to get lost. And restrooms, well, if you’re a woman, you’ve got it made. The men seemed to outnumber the women 3 to 1. For once in my life, I never stood in line or saw long lines at the women’s restrooms. Attendants kept everything sparkling, items stocked and complaints nonexistent.

Experience of a Lifetime

I may be married to a golf instructor, but I have a newfound appreciation for the sport and for putting on a first-class event. I had to leave before the final day (Sunday, April 12) and so didn’t witness Angel Cabrera’s second sudden-death playoff and win over Kenny Perry. Still, I left feeling like I’d been part of history. The entire Masters’ experience had so much hype behind it that I wondered if it would possibly live up to the legend. It did.

Build Your Personal Brand – Online and Off

I spoke to a college communications class the other day and a student asked, “Do you check out job applicants online?” My answer, “Absolutely. We wouldn’t hire anyone today without first doing a search.” Doing so has revealed everything from undisclosed criminal records and anger-management issues to professional and nonprofit activities that confirmed our initial positive impression. If you’ve done something, it lives on. Documented somewhere on the web.

Have You Googled Yourself Lately?

If you’re wondering how to start better managing – or even creating – your online brand, spend some time with this recent article in the New York Times. It provides some practical, but valuable tips on defining your focus, keeping on top of your activities and building community. Know your strategy – what are you trying to achieve? Are your online actions taking you toward that goal? Just What

Exactly Is Your Brand?

We don’t have to be graduating seniors to take stock of our brands. Maybe you’re wanting a promotion. Readying yourself for a career change. Or just wanting to do a little brand spring-cleaning. You know this stuff. But it doesn’t hurt to be reminded every now and then.

Happy Anniversary To Us

April 1, 1989 – 20 years ago today – we launched Greteman Group. That first decade passed in a business-generating, round-the-clock-designing blur. I think back on the pace we set and wonder how we did it. Dashing around the office, hair aflame, obsessing over big ideas and small details. Our tight group developed a reputation for delivering top-flight creative, on time and on budget.

The next 10 years brought more staff and full-service capabilities. The workload grew with our team and frequent travel kept us all hopping – serving clients from Miami to Montreal, New York to Seattle. An amazing list of companies have trusted us to create their brands. I thank the clients and the team who’ve made this journey such a thrilling, fulfilling flight. Our Altitude Attitude positioning has never felt so right. No foolin.’

What will the next 10 years bring? We’ll let you know.

To keep up with our anniversary happenings, be sure to become a fan on our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.