Tom Garrity

Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Some #PR insight for my second cousin, James Comey

In Crisis Communication, Life, Messaging, Reputation, Uncategorized on May 19, 2017 at 6:26 pm

 

The second most polarizing figure in America today is the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey.  Yes, at one point, he was number one, no doubt.

Mr. Comey’s grandmother on his mom’s side and my grandmother on my dad’s side are sisters.  I always knew his grandmother as Aunt Irene.  Mary and Irene Broderick grew up in New York and got along tremendously well. Ensuring that future generations were connected was not on their watch, just a casualty of the nuclear family.

Despite the distance, I am proud of the bloodline that connects our lineage. Yes, I had thought about giving him a call at the office; the potential thought of discussing public relation approaches with my second cousin sounded kind of cool. But in lieu of the awkward telephone handoffs of explaining the family relation for a dozen or so times with federal agents, only to leave a message with a very capable civilian, I opted to put a few of my thoughts on this blog.

As a public relations practitioner for the past 24 years, what insight could I possibly someone who has “been there and done that” in the gauntlet of public opinion?

First, I’d give former FBI Director three quick recaps:

  • The New Yorker story and 60 minutes interview resulted in solid media coverage to share who you are as a person. This is key to creating credibility and likeability.
  • The multiple news announcements about the Clinton e-mail server could have been handled better. While I am convinced that in your mind you were doing the right thing, it came across as disjointed and politically motivated.
  • Conducting an overview briefing to discuss the process for the respective Flynn and Trump/Russia investigations would have helped to shape future media coverage and conversations without giving away any of the investigative findings.

Then I’d ask, “ok, what’s next for you?”  And follow some of these questions (which would surely spur other questions):

  1. What does a win look like? Why?
  2. Where do you want to be professionally three years from now?
  3. How do you want the news headlines to read six months from now, or a year (if you care)?
  4. Are there any pressing issues or public activities taking place within the next 48-72 hours? List them and explain how they might impact the responses to any of the first three questions.

Based on his answers, we’d develop message and a strategy. As a result of that conversation, some exclusive one on one media interviews would be proposed unique to print (New York Times), radio (Michael Smerconish) and television (60 minutes).

Last question that I would ask: tell me about Aunt Irene!

Go Purple!

In Life on November 21, 2013 at 3:15 pm

PurpleTiePurple and White is a tradition with any alum and/or friend of Texas Christian University.

While I will summon Horned Frog pride on Friday, there will be a larger cause behind my purple, awareness for Pancreatic Cancer.

Nancy Murphy Bowles is a tireless advocate for raising awareness and funds for research to beat this killer.  Her brother Dino, whom I’ve only met in spirit, was a victim of the cancer.  But his spirit and memory is a survivor, serving as an encouragement to all who hear his story.

Nancy recently shared their story on the One Medal website.

The marathon season she recalls in her story is still fresh in my mind.

There is a lot of truth in the adage “you run 444 miles to train your body for a marathon so your mind can handle 26.2 miles.”  However that season a group of us were training for the 2011 Los Angeles Marathon it was clear the mind, body and soul were getting trained the entire time.

On race day, singer and songwriter Albert Hammond’s one hit wonder never hit closer to home:

Seems it never rains in southern California
Seems I’ve often heard that kind of talk before
It never rains in California, but girl, don’t they warn ya?
It pours, man, it pours

Nancy and I paced each other most of the way as our running mob wound from Dodgers Stadium through downtown, the cultural district, along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and then down Santa Monica Boulevard for the beach.  It was not a beach day.

For the most part we were in eyesight of each other and swapped lead throughout the marathon.  However, I did lose track of her when we hit Rodeo Drive, maybe it was some power shopping?

But in the midst of running in ankle deep water, seeing a bearded surfer dude running in a bathing suit (no shoes) and being cleansed throughout the race in a torrential downpour I never saw Nancy, in her purple tutu, flinch.

That same determination carried through the finish line and is still a major part of who she is today.

So when I wear purple this Friday, I will be quieter about my Frogs and louder about raising awareness as an encouragement to those lives impacted by Pancreatic Cancer.

One Medal

In Life on July 8, 2013 at 9:05 pm

One MedalApril 14, 2013, the day before the Boston Marathon, marked an important date for me.  It was 3 years, 2 months, 14 days and 16 hours earlier (yes think Forrest Gump) that I ran the first two miles for what would be three marathons, three half marathons, one ultra marathon and three 200 mile cross country relays.

My first two-mile training run, through Team in Training, was difficult.  It should have been seeing that I hadn’t run, well, since high school.  Everyone else on that two mile run was running for a reason. They had a friend or loved one battling an illness. I was running; no reason; no purpose, just for me.

That night, cruising Facebook, I saw a high school friend, Pete, was starting his chemo treatment for a blood cancer the next day. Through a brief email exchange on Facebook, I shared my concern and gave Pete my commitment that he was going to be with me in spirit for the training and running of the 2010 San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon.

So, I ran.

Today, Pete is in remission!  Finishing the races and sending him the medals provided him a “boost”. Mission accomplished! His name engraved on the back, my initials next to the time (BTW, that kind of accountability also forced me to get to as many speed training workouts as possible)!

Pete wrote back about the great encouragement the medals provided.

But then I started thinking; Pete is just one person.

Consider these United States facts: In 2009, there were 1,555,143 people suffering from cancer.  Last year, 528,375 people finished a marathon.

What if only a quarter of the runners gave their medal away to someone else? Then 132,093 people will be encouraged.

That’s why I built on a movement fueled by DetermiNation, Team in Training, PCAN, Joints in Motion, Team World Vision, Cycle for Life and many other excellent endurance training programs for charities.  There are also scores of runners, far more talented than me, participating in clubs around Albuquerque and the United States who are running for someone.  All of These groups, including my current running club the Oxy-Gen Morons, have these “One Medal Moments.”

One Medal is all about celebrating the accomplishments of others, providing a sacrifice of time and effort for someone else.

If they choose, athletes can donate their hardware, instead of placing it inside of a dusty shoebox, to provide encouragement to people going through chemo, recovery, remission or through some other reality changing life event.

If you run, why do you run?

My call to action is this: Run for someone, provide encouragement, let your time sacrifice of running, cycling and/or swimming be spent to provide someone, maybe a stranger, peace… if only for a moment.  Then share your One Medal moment on www.onemedal.com.

Run Tom Run!

In Life on November 26, 2012 at 4:30 am

Forrest Gump ran for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days and 16 hours.

As of the writing of this blog, I’ve been running 2 years, 9 months, 26 days and 13 hours.  During that time, I’ve had the opportunity to train for and complete three marathons, three half marathons, two cross-country relays and a handful of fun run 5K and 10K races.  The reason I run has been addressed in previous blogs.

My latest adventure is scheduled to be an Ultra Marathon, in Big Bend National Park on January 20th.

During my training, I’ve had the chance to be schooled by some great coaches who have provided group and personalized training.  The group I have been running with for the past three seasons is call the Oxy “Gen” Morons.  The name is funny because we are all an oxymoron in some form or fashion.  Our chant “Go Mo!”

So you don’t get any ideas.  My times will not qualify me for the Boston Marathon. And, the only way I am getting to the US Olympic Time Trials is if I buy a ticket to watch.  Here are a few of the things I’ve learned from my coaches and Runner’s World calendar provided to me last year:

  • “The healthiest competition occurs when average people win by putting forth above average effort.” – Colin Powell
  • My runs are more productive when I think about possibilities rather than reliving past mistakes.
  • “Fear is probably the thing that limits performance more than anything – the fear of not doing well, of what people will say. You’ve got to acknowledge those fears, then release them” Mark Allen, won six Ironman championships.
  • “Running is the greatest metaphor for life because you get out of it what you put into it.” Oprah Winfrey
  • “Running affords the perfect integration of body and spirit.  It makes for a fullness of life.” – Sister Mario Irvine, the oldest woman to qualify for the US Olympic Marathon Trials (She was54 when she ran a 2:51 at the Trials in 1984)
  • You train your body by running 444 miles so your mind can make it for 26.2 miles
  • “Don’t ever accept anyone else’s preconceived limitations.  If there is something you want to do, there isn’t any reason you can’t do it.” – Any Dodson, broke the 26.2 mile women’s leg amputee record by 24 minutes, 13 seconds
  • You create what you state.  Think positive!
  • “Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence is the key to unlocking our potential.” William Churchill
  • “Sport is not about being wrapped up in a cotton wool… sport, like all of life, is about taking risks.” – Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile in under four minutes.

Three Unique NM Election Storylines

In Life on November 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm

New Mexico’s post election analysis will include a number of pundits laying blame, pointing fingers and claiming success.  Here are three uniquely New Mexico story lines from the 2012 Election.

In Plain Sight v. Breaking Bad

U.S. Marshall Mary Shannon, played by Governor Susana Martinez,  fell short of capturing Walter White, played by Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez.  But the PAC run by her political operative, played by Jay McCleskey, was successful in dislodging two other core senate leaders (Senate Pro Tem Tim Jennings and Senate Majority Whip Mary Jane Garcia).  Did the Governor get a pathway through the Senate for her legislative agenda?  No, the “all in” strategy only agitated an already independent political body, played by the New Mexico Senate.

Paul Lynde v. Jerry McGuire

The effort to raise the minimum wage got a huge boost of support when pro-business groups went for the “Block” to keep the issue off of the ballot.  The issue might have survived if pro-business groups created a “You Complete Me” coalition with the pro-wage groups to identify ways to improve the workforce and working conditions for Albuquerque-area employees.

Judiciary v Scarlet Letter

Approaching 11:59pm on election night it was apparent that the Governor’s coat-tails were more tripping up her judiciary picks than pulling them to victory.  An aggressive advertising campaign that publically aligned the Governor with conservative judges appears to have backfired, providing a scarlet letter, of sorts, giving liberal voters an outlet to vent their angst.

Finally, these views are my own and do not represent opinions of my company or the clients we have the opportunity to represent.

Fair Time!

In Life, Reputation on September 12, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Where can you walk around gnawing on a turkey leg while sampling a side of funnel cake and kettle corn?  The New Mexico State Fair, of course.

Resistance is futile. The last negotiating chip I have with my family is “as long as I don’t have to go in the midway”.

The New Mexico State Fair starts its 12 day run this week.  The event has been besieged in a funding tug of war as legislators debate scrapping or funding the State-owned Albuquerque property.

The ghost of past State Fairs linger.  Specifcally, a hop scotch pattern of scheduling has been the biggest point of confusion, which is reinforced on its website “This year, the Fair is condensed from 13 open days over a 17-day run to 12 open days.” The emphasis was theirs.

Based on the Garrity Perception Survey, mobile users are a great base of support for the New Mexico State Fair.  Just yesterday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reinforced his commitment to own the mobile space.  While the State Fair doesn’t have a mainstream “mobile app” there is a lot of opportunity for communicators to leverage their Facebook presence.

What else can the State Fair do in the social and mobile space?  Establish or piggyback on a #StateFair hashtag, have an Instagramphoto challenge” and provide updates about events via twitter.

Personally, my goal this year is to get a close up picture of a #Snout

A Different December: All Faiths Receiving Home

In Life on December 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Our Different December outreach today features an organization that was founded in 1956 by a group of concerned citizens who saw a need in their community for better care for vulnerable children.

All Faiths Receiving Home provides services to children and their families in a healthy environment which includes education, treatment, advocacy, food, clothing, affordable and safe housing, and supportive and nurturing care givers.

The Garrity Group’s Kristin Salazar identified the need to collect diapers for all sizes of baby and toddler diapers that will benefit guests of All Faith’s Receiving Home.  “All Faith’s Receiving Home is geared toward helping vulnerable children and their families. Upon making my phone call to them in effort to find out what toys they are in need of they notified me that above all else they are in desperate need of diapers. Now while children and families are discussing the hottest Christmas item they want to add to their Christmas list we sometimes forget that there is also a need for the basics; something that is a necessity for babies and toddlers everyday life. This made me put aside the idea of the toy drive and collect the necessities for these children.”

All Faiths Receiving Home is a nonprofit organization that relies on the support and donations of the community to enable it to provide services to its clients. To find out about other ways you can help, please visit http://www.allfaiths.org/

A Different December: Meals on Wheels

In Life on December 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm

While I seem to be doing a lot of travel over the past several months, The Garrity Group’s Different December outreach will focus on an organization that has been on the road for the past 39 years… Meals on Wheels.

Meals on Wheels of Albuquerque provides services that enable those who are unable to prepare their own meals to have a hot, healthy, well balanced meal delivered to their door Monday through Friday.

Meals on Wheels serves anyone of any age who is in need and offers special accommodations for 7 different diet types.  The program not only delivers a nutritional meal, but also a friendly smile at the client’s door.

Lindsey Collier, an assistant account executive with The Garrity Group “choose Meals on Wheels of Albuquerque because they serve a great need in our community by delivering hot healthy meals to people who are unable to prepare meals for themselves. Meals on Wheels prepares a variety of meal types catering to those with different nutritional needs. Their services are not only utilized by the elderly but also by people recovering from surgery who may only require their services for a few weeks.”

Today The Garrity Group will help prepare meals for the Meals on Wheels clients.

You can also help through a donation of $30, that will feed someone for one week, or volunteering your time by helping prepare and package food.

To find out more information on ways to help Meals on Wheels of Albuquerque please visit http://mow-nm.org/how_you_can_help.htm

A Different December: Ronald McDonald House Charities

In Life on December 5, 2011 at 1:34 pm

For the past six months, The Garrity Group team has been brainstorming different organizations to come along side and assist as a part of our inaugural Different December program.

The team identified eight organizations to assist in various ways, a full list can be found on our website in the Different December section.  In addition to our team, we wanted to raise awareness about these nonprofits and provide an opportunity to our clients and other friends of the firm to join us as a part of our outreach.

The first nonprofit we are assisting is a familiar organization, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of New Mexico.  Having served on their board for seven years, last two as chairman, their statewide outreach to families in crisis is one of many reasons we are coming along side to help.

Serving our state since 1982, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of New Mexico’s mission has remained constant: provide temporary affordable lodging and respite services to families with critically ill children.

The 30 rooms house, located adjacent to University Hospital, is a home to families who have seen their lives change in an instant.  In addition, families can also get some rest at University Hospital in the Ronald McDonald Family Room.

Today members of the TGG team will be making and serving dinner.  The menu includes: spaghetti, meatballs, salad, garlic bread and dessert.

How you can help: You can come down and help us prepare the meal (just let us know you are coming).  You can also help financially to support the organization through a contribution for a future meal or help with the current renovation of the House.  Here is the link with more information: www.rmhc-nm.org.

Thanksgiving with a twist…

In Life on November 24, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Spending Thanksgiving this year in Las Vegas, Nevada (being from New Mexico it is necessary to differentiate which Las Vegas).  We had a chance to work with my niece’s church, Calvary Chapel Spring Valley with their BlessFest event.

Blessfest is an outreach to those who are having a difficult time making ends meet or ended up somewhere in life they hadn’t really anticipated.

My job was to work transportation to ensure that guests getting off of the bus made it to the right area.  I, of course, made it a little bit more and turned into a mini welcoming committee.

What a great and encouraging time to welcome people, see them eye to eye and to provide encouragement.  Inside, they had a chance to take a shower, visit a hairdresser, get a manicure, visit a dentist and get a meal… among other things!

Between busses, I had a chance to send some tweets sharing a little bit about who I met and some general observations.

@Tom_Garrity An early morning and lots of volunteers at #blessfest #LasVegas

@Tom_Garrity Working transportation at #blessFest in #lasvegas

@Tom_Garrity Had a nice convo w/a guy named Paul who is at #Blessfest w his 2 kids, out of work for about 8 months.

@Tom_Garrity Paul is a carpenter says he helped to build many of #lasvegas casinos, no more to build for now. He is thankful for health and family

@Tom_Garrity People getting off busses all with different needs some with all of their belongings.

@Tom_Garrity A lot of thankful and a humble people here, another van just arrived #blessfest

@Tom_Garrity Seven people on the last van. A daughter and her father, ppl in 20s 50s and 60s … big bus just arrived

@Tom_Garrity Nearing 1,000 ppl served and it isn’t even 8am in #lasvegas #blessfest http://twitpic.com/7iwldi

@Tom_Garrity Met a guy named Tim from Colorado Springs he has lived in 47 states and is here getting treatment for an illness.

@Tom_Garrity Another person named Russ is an avid USC fan tho he talked more about LSU and Alabama #blessfest

@Tom_Garrity A young mom, about 22 has flipflop and her feet are black from being on the streets

@Tom_Garrity Just high-5’d a grandma and she hits hard! #blessfest

@Tom_Garrity So, who serves these folks the other 364 days? Another van is here…

@Tom_Garrity A nice man named Norman has lived in a lot places but is glad that he is in #LasVegas today. #blessfest

@Tom_Garrity Met a lady named Kathy who is originally from Ohio and has lived in #LasVegas since coming out here to take care of her mom. #blessfest

@Tom_Garrity Kathy has been without a job for a while now and is moved to tears by the thought of free dental care and a good meal.

@Tom_Garrity Another woman named Liza is here with here three kids, another mom just showed up pushing g a twins stroller #blessfest #lasvegas

@Tom_Garrity Another person named John moved to #LasVegas from #LosAngeles 9 years ago and lost everything when you the real estate market crashed.

@Tom_Garrity This is fun, sharing some tips with other volunteers on how to start conversations with strangers! #blessfest

@Tom_Garrity A nice young woman named Cindy is here at #blessfest she calls LasVegas home and is looking forward to free dental exams.

@Tom_Garrity Another person just came out holding some teeth that were just pulled says he is thankful for the pain to be gone #waituntilthenovacainw …

@Tom_Garrity Our time at #Blessfest is done, a great way to start the day with a different perspective.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!