I was recently interviewed by ABC Radio Goldfields and again by 6PR Perth – listen to the podcast here – about Halloween, its origins and the differences in the celebrations in the USA and Australia.
From a research perspective, one of the fascinating aspects of the holiday are the commercialisation and secularisation of religious holidays; and the communities of consumption that gather around them.
Halloween is only moderately successful in Australia and has no where near the reach as it does in North America. However, the creative outlet, community and social release of Halloween is expressed slightly differently at the same time, through the Australian obsession with the Melbourne Cup Race.
People dress up, they spoil themselves, they gather and the celebrate. Some might say the Melbourne Cup doesn’t have the religious basis of Halloween – but then those people might never have visited Melbourne, Victoria.
I was pleased to give a presentation at the Australian Institute of Project Management national conference in Sydney last week on the above topic. The theme was “People, Precision, Performance” and the focus of many presentations were the softer skills of management. Communication, support, leadership, influence and stakeholder management. What is becoming more apparent is that while project managers in various industries (construction, tech, business development, finance and so on) have the hard skills to do the job, managing the personalities and communities is a prized capability and one, not every project manager has. As an Institute I work with regularly in my role at ECU, I have found the AIPM staff do have those skills and are reaching out to further develop project managers in these areas regularly. If you’re down under, no matter which aspect of PM you are involved with, they are worth checking out.
I am pleased to be offering this workshop on Wednesday, 27 June in Manilla to a group of trusted and valued ECU Authorised Education Agents. This s the first opportunity to take this talk international, after its debut in the regional centre of Bunbury, Western Australia and then Sydney.
Based on the current research on Word of Mouth Marketing, Authentic Marketing and case studies on some empowering stories, this is a down-to-earth practical look on what managers can do today to stimulate WOM and more importantly, stop expending resources where it just might be wasted.
On Wednesday 18 July, I will be pleased to be presenting on the above topic at AMA Non-Profit Marketing Conference with a colleague, Mr Jeff Volkheimer of Duke Health. Jeff is the Director of Collaborative and Workforce Services. He is the kind of IT guy that works really well with people in my field – or maybe any field. We are collaborating on several research projects, and in the process of doing so mix it up as IT and marketing people tend to do. The idea for this presentation came from our ongoing discourse about the differing cultures of marketing and IT and how now, more than ever, they need to work together.
We have had a great time doing our anecdotal research. Talking to marketing people about IT and IT people about marketing has been fun. Can’t wait to watch the sparks fly at this presentation.
I was recently invited to speak at the National Association for Prospective Student Advisors, Australia Conference. The convenors gave me carte blanche on what I could discuss, so I decided to talk about how recruiting students into Vocational and higher Education was the best job someone could ever have. but just because it is the best job, doesn’t mean it’s easy. Like most jobs requiring emotional labour, it is rewarding, but taxing. My talk was actually about the different types of authenticity, and their effectiveness expressing a value proposition. However the theory was delivered through the lens of my experience as a recruiter. The video was taken on a iPhone, so it isn’t the best quality, but feel free to watch and share.
I am proud to see that a book chapter I have been working on with Dr Jamie Murphy has been published. The chapter was inspired by our annoyance at the lack of technical terminology for the segmentation of fans in consumer communities. What is the difference, for example, between a maven and a geek? And why are they different? As we conducted research into this area I felt the need for the kind of characterisation that is so prevalent in other kinds of customer analyses.
I loved exploring the genesis of different terms and demonstrating examples. Working with Jamie is always an adventure, and I look forward to further collaborations with him. Jamie is a sharp editor and an enthusiast for research and life in general. I have so much gratitude for all the opportunities he has brought to me over the years – so thanks Jamie, for this and so many other things.
As for me personally – for some things I am a geek and for some a maven. Usually I am an evangelist – or hater! I saw myself in so many characters in this chapter which is part of what made it fun to write. I hope those who read it have a good time too.
I recently had the privilege of judging the national Telsta Businesswoman of the Year awards. Doing so allowed me to take a peek into the working and personal lives of some very accomplished women in Australian business. I was inspired, not only by their accomplishments, but by the organisations that gave them the opportunities, support, training, education and chances to excel…and to make mistakes.
The experience made me reflect on two things. First, that inspiring individuals rarely exist in a vacuum. Understanding the give and take of success is very important, especially the higher you soar.
And secondly, that my employer of fourteen years, and my manager (over over ten) are integral to my success. No one person, or organisation, is perfect. And certainly the greatest gift they have given me is recognising that in me. Not every endeavour leads to great results. But every failure, or mediocre result, is a step toward those things that work really well, that delight us, that make a difference to our bottom line, and to our overall mission.
All of the women’s entries I read had challenges, they all had support, and getting where they were was a group effort. I wish them all the best, as well as their organisations, and all of the people in their future whom they will help spur forward toward success.