Category Archives: Marketing


A significant part of my work has involved writing profiles that establish thought leadership and brand value.  Three samples, of a student, an alumna, and a faculty member at Saybrook University, are below.

Keima Sheriff:  Organizational Systems PhD student

KeimaSheriff“There are things I need to make happen in my education,” says Keima Sheriff.

Keima owns her own consulting firm, and it has a mission: to teach businesses how to thrive by making their employees a priority.

It can be done, she says: it’s all about balance.

“A lot of the time consultants go in and try to fix an organization while ignoring its human parts,” she says. “So consultants will go in and create all kinds of systems and tools to deal with absenteeism or reduced productivity without ever noticing that the business is, say, primarily female and the women are also parents or caregivers who are struggling to create balance. We try to find what balance looks like for the individual and the organization and create a workable relationship between employees’ personal and professional lives. I’m trying to grow businesses while growing individuals.”

It’s a balance Keima has to deal with in her own life as a mother who’s devoted to both her career and her son. She needed a PhD to grow her own business: how could she add graduate school to the mix while staying personally balanced?

Continue reading Profiles

Appeal Letters That Connect Non-Profits to Their Communities

As the former chair of the board of the San Francisco Institute of Possibility (SFIO), I know just how hard it is for non-profits to simultaneously connect with their communities in meaningful ways and ask for money.

Finding just the right voice with which to present the right information is key.   No two successful non-profits will have the same voice.

Here’s a successful letter I wrote for the SFIOP’s end of year appeal, incorporating its quirky, off-beat, sensibility.

Continue reading Appeal Letters That Connect Non-Profits to Their Communities

White Papers – Research, Writing, and Lead Generation

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 5.50.00 PMMarketing isn’t just about getting eyeballs any longer:  getting your logo out there is cheap.  Getting attention is priceless.

Can you convince your target market that you have something to say?  The moment they think you’re relevant to their lives is the moment they click, follow, and connect.

White papers can be a key component of any comprehensive marketing strategy, and I’ve written them from start-to-finish, research to publication.

Two samples below:

White Paper – How do I Start a Second Career
White Paper – What Can I Do With A Degree in Psychology

Press Releases That Work

journalist hat and typewriterAs a journalist, I’ve been constantly amazed at how bad most marketing professionals are at writing press releases.  It’s as though their work is designed to be deleted after a quick, bored, glance.

As a marketing professional, I’ve written press releases for everything from start-ups to universities to non-profits – and I’ve used my long experience in journalism to make sure I get it right.  Here are three recent press releases, each on a very different subject, that got noticed –  on TV,  on radio, and online.

(Note that I’ve included only the text here, not the full letterhead layout and boilerplate, etc.)

Press Release – Cyberhero League
Press Release – Association of Black Psychologists
Press Release – Combatting Terrorism Starts in School

Establishing thought leadership

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 4.45.48 PMOur Organizational System program was doing cutting edge work in systems design for cutting edge business and non-profits, but the word wasn’t getting out.

Our strategy was to first appoint a recognized leader whose research was highly compatible with our approaches to serve as a university Scholar-Practitioner in Residence.  Chip Conley, a best selling author on business practices and a successful hotelier (now brand ambassador for AirBnB) was a natural fit, and he agreed to serve in no small part because our research and expertise was so inspiring to him.

With a recognized face for the program, we then created a series of quickly digestible stories demonstrating the kind of results our alumni, faculty, and students were having in the area of Organizational Systems design.  Combining Chip’s celebrity with these stories proved a powerful combination, whether as a piece of print collateral, a series of blog posts, or an email newsletter – the content was designed to work in any medium.

A copy of the print collateral piece (in two sections) is below.

Changing Business Culture (front and back)
Changing Business Culture (Interior)

Saybrook University Viewbook

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 4.38.33 PMResearch showed that the first key decision point for prospective students was the question of the University itself:  more than the virtues of any given program or even the job prospect outcomes, likely potential students wanted to know if this was this an institution they wanted to be connected with.

This viewbook was designed to give prospective students a top-of-the-funnel, high-level overview of Saybrook University.  The object was to generate excitement about connecting further with the community – making it clear that this is a place where amazing people are doing important work that aligns with your passion.


Program booklets

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 4.33.12 PMUsed in conjunction with the University Viewbook and other materials, these program booklets highlighted each of the three degree programs that Saybrook offered at the time:  each had its own dual-color palate to both set it apart from the other programs and to serve as a contrast from the full-color university level materials.

Getting prospective students interested in a program area was the second point in the funnel.

Psychology booklet
Organizational Systems booklet
Human Science booklet

Annual Reports – on a budget

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 5.34.53 PMYour stakeholders aren’t just another market segment – they’re people who have investments either of money, time, or prestige, in your company, and they tend to respond best to a sense of both gravitas and frugality.  The trick is to impress without looking like you’re marketing to them.

This can be done much less expensively than most people thing.

Below is a sample annual report, done very much on-the-cheap and on short notice – but that led to a vote of confidence from the relevant board.

It’s divided into covers and interior.

Saybrook University Annual Report (Covers)
Saybrook University Annual Report (Interior)