Missing in Action

If you had been previously following my blog, you may have noticed that I was missing in action for the past few months. A lot has happened in my life and I’m thrilled to be back. I stopped blogging in late spring as I was wrapping up the semester in my social media class at the University of North Texas. What I didn’t mention before was that I was pregnant the entire time. With a mid-summer due date approaching, I had a million things to do to prepare. I was balancing school, an internship, a restaurant job, a jewelry designing job and a political campaign for a friend and blogging took a back seat to sleep.

During the semester, a long-time friend of mine informed me that he would be running for his first political office – a seat in the Texas House of Representatives. Since he had no money and I had no political experience, we decided this could be a mutually beneficial experiment and I agreed to be his campaign communications manager. We started out by cleaning up his Facebook and Twitter pages, a tedious task that required us (actually me) to review every post, every picture and every friend since he joined Facebook.

Then we focused on creating a Facebook page, a website and a blog for his campaign. Now he sends out weekly email blasts, the occasional text message blast and sometimes (when I twist his arm) we post a blog about important issues that come up. While he was initially told that he stood a slim-to-none chance of winning as a Democrat, the odds have evened out and it looks like he really has a chance. His list of endorsements from prominent groups and other candidates is growing by the week. This will be an exciting race in Texas!

In June I completed a 10-month internship with the American Heart Association’s Dallas Division. It was a wonderful experience that allowed me to broaden and enhance my PR and social media skills by writing press releases and media alerts, pitch to the local media, develop a comprehensive media list for the DFW market.

I was also able to help out with some of the AHA’s most prominent events such as the Dallas Heart Walk, the Go Red for Women luncheons and the Cotes du Coeur wine auction and gala. In addition to all of that, I managed and doubled the following of our Twitter account @AHA_Dallas primarily through active engagement and the creation of a Paper.li account. I also learned how to create tabs and pages within the company Facebook page through a program called ShortStack. If you haven’t heard of it and need help creating content on your page such as a fundraising tab, then you must check it out!

One of my favorite projects was working with the state office to create a Pinterest page for the Go Red for Women platform. The AHA allowed me to work with them and use this as my class project to gauge whether Pinterest was a useful platform for the AHA’s mission and how it should best be utilized. In the end, we agreed that for an organization as large as the AHA, some social media platforms like Pinterest should only be managed through our national center rather that within each affiliate office.

My final event with the AHA was the Dallas Go Red for Women luncheon at the Hilton Anatole. This was the second time I got to meet and hang out with basketball legend and hall of famer Nancy Lieberman, who is one of the most interesting and hilarious women I’ve ever met.

With my due date looming, I decided not to take any classes over the summer so once my time with the AHA was up, I spent a good portion of my free time creating jewelry for my friend’s boutique business, Dee Dee Style. Designing and creating jewelry is a relaxing hobby that teaches me to be stay focused, solve problems and pay attention to the tiniest details. We created some pretty amazing pieces if I do say so myself. I worked for her and waited tables right up until two days before my scheduled induction date.

My perfect, beautiful baby boy was born in July on Friday the 13th via Cesarean after my induction went nowhere. My recovery was much easier than I had anticipated and I even returned to work at Bread Winners Cafe as a hostess just three weeks after my delivery. Now I am a full-time grad student at UNT where I am majoring in strategic communications and focusing on public relations.

I am also working as a teaching assistant for two of our best PR professors where I am grading their blogs and major writing assignments. I learned through my experience as a high school teacher that the quickest way to learn something was to try and teach it to others.

While the PR basics haven’t changed much, many of the tactics have. Grading the work of undergraduate students is a great review of what is new and is sharpening my own writing skills and knowledge of AP Style at the same time. Luckily, my professors understand that I am a new mommy so they don’t make me hold office hours and allow me to grade everything from home. This is great because it allows me to manage my own time and spend as much time as I can with my little boy. It is difficult, but it is what I have to do if I want my man to be proud of me and provide him with the role model and opportunities he needs to be a success. Nothing in life worth having is ever easy so I know this will definitely be worth it in the end.

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