Relish the Past

Thursday, December 13th, 2012 at 12:18 PM | Category: Business, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Social Media 1 comment

High school graduationMy daughter and I went to her elementary school — where her little brother was a third grader — for the senior reception. Every year, the elementary schools hold senior receptions inviting all the graduating seniors to visit old friends and connect with their former teachers. Even the parents reconnected. I hadn’t seen some since middle school or longer. Elementary school requires more in-school volunteers than any other school. It gave parents a place to meet and socialize.

Digging deep for memories

One teacher admitted who saw her students using rulers as swords on the first day of second grade admitted she thought they would be a difficult class. It turned out to be a  great class. A little lesson in first impressions and how they can be wrong, but also how they can destroy any chances of making a second impression. (The teacher was stuck with those kids. A hiring manager can pass up on a candidate who wasn’t energetic in the interview.)

It was lovely reconnecting with some of the parents that I wished we had stayed in touch. These parents had one thing in common — they weren’t big email or Facebook users. To be fair, I’m not big on making phone calls.

And other parents, I just couldn’t remember their names. Alas, no name tags for the parents. Only the students had name tags, or else we’d all be saying, “Who’s that?” I should’ve showed up with a name tag that said, “Shelby’s Mom. St. Edwards.” (Can you guess the question most often asked at the reunion?)

Connections and business

This shows the value of email marketing and social media for business. It keeps your name out there. It keeps you networking. It keeps your company in everyone’s mind. You may not see financial or traffic ROI. But isn’t it worth helping people remember your name? Eventually, someone will need you or take the next step in the sales process by subscribing to your email newsletter, downloading a white paper or signing up for a free webinar.

It’s also good for your personal brand. One of my clients first hired me to do copy for his product. We stayed in touch and he hired me again when he went to work for a different company. Another client brought me in to do content for his startup. A few years later, he joined another startup and again, brought me on board. It wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t stayed in touch.

My daughter may have graduated from high school, but that’s not the end of her connections with her classmates. Some she may never see again. Some she may see at the high school reunions. And some she may find resources through them and them through her.

Leaving a company is like graduation. You may leave the institute, but your connections stay with you.

How do you stay connected with past and current clients? Prospects?

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New Beginnings in 2008

Monday, August 25th, 2008 at 8:45 AM | Category: Leftovers, Meryl's Notes Blog 4 comments

Youngest Evans is on the inside looking outOne hour ago, I walked my youngest of three and his older brother to the school bus. They headed for their first day in kindergarten and fourth grade. While one kid went off to his first day of elementary school, the oldest headed to high school for volleyball practice and starting her first day of high school.

I sit here enjoying the silence not knowing what to do with myself though plenty of work waits for me. It’ll take a few days to return to the swing of things and follow a regular schedule. I can’t help but recall the the birth of my youngest and my excitement about the first day of third grade (I don’t know why I remember that particular year) that I took out my newest dress and shoes the night before.

Birth. Infant. Toddler. Pre-K. Man, I graduated high school 20 years ago this year! And here I am the mother of a freshman. I can’t be old enough for this can I? Where did the time go?

Despite new beginnings, I don’t feel different. Things just come and you go with the flow. But that’s not how it goes when I start working on the first assignment for a new client. That makes my stomach flip as I want to please the client. Be the more work I do for a client, the easier it becomes.

Evans boys walk to busThe 2008 Olympics end. I miss not having the TV on waiting for me to catch the next game, race, or performance. My sons took an interest in the games, which was nice as we all rooted for USA, of course. I remember watching the 1984 Olympics from a Texas A&M dorm while attending basketball camp. Hated to see them end last night with the final blow out, but all good things…

Joanna Young has a new beginning of her own. She moved to a new home and had to take a long break from blogging (10 days). We’re glad to have her back in our community and hope she enjoys her new home.

Any new beginnings in your life? How do they make you feel? How do you deal with them?

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Links: 2008-08-22

Friday, August 22nd, 2008 at 7:02 AM | Category: Business, Language, Links, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech, Writing 1 comment

And for fun because we’re allowed…

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How To Study

Thursday, June 21st, 2007 at 9:14 AM | Category: Business, Life Tips, Links, Meryl's Notes Blog No comments

I believe in education for a lifetime, not just stop after college. I plan to take classes when time allows and eventually go to grad school — online preferably since lectures were rough on me (this is why). Of course, education doesn’t stop with formal classes. Reading books, researching a topic, and visiting related Web sites all contribute to learning. How To Study captures most of the strategies I’ve heard about.

Although, listening to music while studying perplexes me. I find when I listen to music and try to follow the lyrics, it distracts me from work. But perhaps to those with hearing, listening to songs is second nature where they can multitask.

Mindmapping makes a great learning tool. I’ve noticed that schools today focus more on mindmapping than when I attended school. My daughter’s 7th grade science class used a mindmapping tool. I haven’t relied much on this method and that’s probably due to the lack of learning and practicing the process.

Many resources — Web-based and downloadable software — make it easier to create flash cards. In my day, we used index cards or cut paper as flash cards. I’ve seen handheld-based applications for creating flash cards, so you can take them with you.

What studying tools and methods work for you?

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School Technology for Parents

Thursday, October 5th, 2006 at 7:51 AM | Category: Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech No comments

My independent school district is big on technology and added several new services this year. Kids hate it. Parents love it and sometimes hate it.


We’ve been able to add money to our kids’ lunch accounts for a few years now, but they switched services to one that charges a small fee and allows us to pay for other things. PayPams offers more features including the ability to see what our kids buy for lunch. This is an excellent example of outsourcing. It would cost the district more money to expand its application than to outsource the service to a business that offers more features.

Last year, a kid stole money out of my daughter’s lunch account and we had to call the cafeteria manager to get a list of things bought. There it was. Hard evidence. An order on a day she was absent. Previously, kids only needed three digits to pay for their lunches. That’s changed to six digits. Plus, if a kid “forgot” his code — he could look it up in the list and see other codes.

Grades and Absences

This is the part kids despise and parents love, but sometimes hate. Not long after school started, we saw our daughter got a low grade and asked her about it. She couldn’t believe we knew about it and we told her about the new grade viewing application. Of course, she wasn’t happy that we can ask her about any out of ordinary grades.

But the drawback is that we panic more often than before. A couple of times, she had a low grade — when it came time for report cards, she got a good grade. Knowing how she’s doing helps us help her. She’s fiercely independent and usually doesn’t like to ask for help. She can also see what tests and quizzes are coming up (if the teacher enters it ahead of time).

Report cards don’t come out for over a week after the reporting period ends. We don’t have to anxiously wait for it and there are no surprises. Parents can also set up the system to notify them when a grade for a class falls below a number of their choice. The application also sends emails with grades based on the parents’ preferences.

One time I discovered she had an unexcused absence by signing on to the grade viewer. It was my fault and I corrected it right away. No waiting for the report card with the unexcused absence marked.


All levels of the PTA have great resources online. Guides for officers, logos for use in newsletters and web sites, rules for contests and much more. I manage the web sites for two school PTAs and one council PTA.

I manage the Reflections contest for one school. The form and rules are posted on the school’s PTA web site — so no killing trees by leaving forms at school where the middle schoolers often take for doodling purposes. I left forms at school in the office plus I made small postcards with the web address and spread them throughout the school.


I can see how other school volleyball teams are doing. I knew about the web site, but thought there was no information on volleyball because the pages were blank. The coach confirmed that this was the place to go for scores. I didn’t dig deep enough (the site isn’t well designed — even Paul thought the same thing).

The site shows scores for all middle school and high school sports. The scores, however, depend on the coaches entering the information.

School District Information

Our local district sends an email newsletter and schools can create their own distribution lists for sending emails. My child’s middle school emails every Friday with the upcoming week’s events along with any news and announcements.

Volunteers must register every new school year because the district runs criminal checks. Volunteers could commit a crime any time between school years. Our district’s web site allows us to register online every year. We have to do one thing offline — have a form notarized for the school.

The district’s web site also provides a web page for each school so we can get email addresses, contact names and phone numbers, and links to the school’s official web page. We also access grades, absences, and meal accounts from the web site.

Our newsletter editor and volunteer hardly has to set foot outside her home to get the newsletter approved and copied. She emails a PDF version for approval and then emails it to the printer for printing and delivery.

School Cam

My youngest attends preschool and we can view his classroom as well as a couple of central rooms like the gym and playground. Parents can only access the room their children are in and not others. I love checking on him and watch him interact with other kids. Kids tend to behave differently around parents, so it’s great seeing how he is with other kids.

What technology have you seen schools use to help parents and children?

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