Business Wire Gives Back: Texas Butterfly Fan Uses Social Media as Monarch Butterfly Ambassador

October 17, 2011

I’m lucky that my job as Vice President of New Media for Business Wire has allowed me to apply the useful skills  learned in my professional life to a passion for butterflies.   For the past several years I’ve blogged about butterflies at www.texasbutterflyranch.com, provided updates on the Monarch butterfly migration as

Tagged Monarch Butterfly, September 2011

Tagged Monarch Butterfly, September 2011

@butterflybeat on Twitter, and used my Powerpoint prowess to share the daily miracle of metamorphosis with children, gardeners, seniors and others.  I’ve also raised caterpillars (butterflies-to-be) in my kitchen and brought them to work when they’re about to “go chrysalis” on me, much to my colleagues’ amusement.

Recently I had another amazing opportunity to spread the butterfly gospel, thanks to Business Wire’s generous BW Gives Back program.  Organizers of the Amazing Butterflies Exhibit at the San Antonio Botanical Garden (SABOT) invited me to lead a butterfly hunt, demonstrate how to tag a Monarch butterfly, and share the beloved insects’ remarkable migration story.

SABOT’s educational exhibit, which runs through January 8, leads participants through a garden maze in which they can simulate life as a caterpillar, then a butterfly, gaining insight about the life cycle along the way.

About 30 nature lovers attended the talk, admiring Monarch eggs and caterpillars collected along the Llano River in the Texas Hill Country.  Prior, we netted a Monarch butterfly in SABOT’s lovely butterfly garden and finished up the presentation with a tagging demonstration.

Monika Maeckle at San Antonio Botanical Gardens

At the San Antonio Botanical Garden: Let's go tag some Monarch Butterflies! --photo by Mary Fisher

For those unaware, Monarch butterflies make an amazing migratory journey from  Michoacan, Mexico each year, starting in April and flying north to Canada.  Over the course of multiple generations, the resilient creatures traverse the eastern United States to Canada in the Spring, their great great grandchildren returning in the Fall to their ancestral winter roosts in Mexico.  April and October are primetime for Monarch butterfly fans in Texas, which is the “funnel” for all Monarch traffic, north and southbound.

Metamorphosis, mediamorphisis–when you think about it, the two have much in common: constant change, endless fascination, reflections of ourselves.    Thanks to Business Wire for allowing me the opportunity to marry the two passions that most consume my time at work and after hours.


NYSE Opening Bell with Warren Buffett: A Day in the Life of SVP of Marketing Tom Becktold

October 10, 2011

Here’s a glimpse into one of the best days I’ve experienced in my 23 years at Business Wire. This is a recap of my experiences planning and participating in the Business Wire 50th Anniversary NYSE Opening Bell events on Friday, September 30.  (Learn more about Tom Becktold)

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We had planned for months – event details, contests, timing, logistics, media interview scheduling.  When the most famous investor in the world accompanies you to the NYSE Opening Bell under the gaze of media, employees and clients to honor the 50th anniversary of your company, you want to get it right.

It was an incredibly exciting day as dozens of our staff were on hand as Warren Buffett joined Business Wire on our big day.

The NYSE hosted a breakfast for the Bellpodium guests in their historic board room, which has played host to heads of state and business leaders for the past century – impressive to say the least.  Joining us were executives from Barclays Bank, including Berkshire Hathaway market maker Jimmy Maguire, who’s been on the trading floor for more than four decades.  NYSE CEO Duncan Niederauer welcomed us and presented Business Wire with a framed proclamation honoring our 50thCathy Baron Tamraz and Warren Buffett each made remarks, with Warren pulling out a copy of the letter Cathy sent to him that started the process of Business Wire being purchased by Berkshire Hathaway in 2006.

To the Bellpodium we headed at 9:20 am, where we saw BW colleagues and traders cheering us on.  It was a tremendous honor to be among the group on the podium representing the amazing Business Wire team around the globe. Duncanput us all at ease by demonstrating some entertaining clapping styles.

We then headed to the trading floor, which was a frenzy of activity.  Traders wanting Warren Buffett’s autograph or to shake his hand – really everyone there was in awe of him, and he couldn’t have been more gracious.  A trip to the Barclay’s trading desk, and then to a photo op for wire service and news photographers quickly followed, along with a video interview by the NYSE, conducted by their senior media relations manager (and former BW colleague!) Annmarie Gioia.

From there, we split into teams.  Most BW folks headed up to the Board Room or luncheon along with many of our trade press for interviews that have or will be appearing soon.  I stayed with Cathy,Warren and a couple NYSE reps on the floor as we did four live and one taped interview in about an hour – Fox Business, CNBC, Bloomberg, Nightly Business Report and CNN.  Cathy did a fantastic job summarizing our anniversary and fielding questions along side Buffett (see links to coverage below).

Our luncheon then took center stage, with more than 225 in attendance, including BW staff, Berkshire colleagues, executives at our top clients and agencies, executives and reporters from our trade media and major media – Fortune, CNBC, industry influencers like Jeff Morgan, head of NIRI, among others.

The luncheon opened with remarks by Cathy where she introduced our College Video Contest winner, Jenna Marie James.  Jenna has become quite the celebrity as a result of winning our contest to come to NY to meet Warren Buffett.  She’s been interviewed by newspapers and radio stations in her home state of Indiana (she’s a senior at Ball State University), and did a live interview with the CBS Early Show on the morning of the event.  She’s pretty amazing and her videos are great fun to watch.

We then played our 50th Anniversary Video, produced for the event, featuring interviews with BW execs, and followed with a toast by Gregg Castano.

After lunch, Cathy did an interview with Warren Buffett and then opened the floor to questions from the audience.  The subjects covered were timely and Buffett’s comments were informative and in his disarming style.  He touched on the European debt crisis and his thoughts on the Euro surviving (they need a more unified monetary policy or need to break up) to the “Buffett tax” (he jokingly said he always wanted a tax named after him) to our economy (watch housing starts – we need to the number of households, which will take time, to absorb the available housing; when we have a million new housing starts a year, the economy will be back).

The luncheon wrapped at about 2:30 with Buffett signing autographs and posing for pictures with our clients.  The feedback, tweets and blog posts we’ve received indicate that Friday was a resounding success!

Happy 50th Business Wire!

Television Coverage Highlights

CNBC Squawk on the Street (CNBC link)

CNN Newsroom (CNN link)

Fox Business News (Fox Biz link)

Bloomberg In the Loop (Bloomberg link)

PBS Nightly Business Report (PBS link)

CBS The Early Show (CBS link) interview with our College Video Contest Winner Jenna Marie James, also covered on local television stations, including ABC-Channel 8/Omaha, CBS-Channel 5/San Francisco, CBS-Channel 8/Indianapolis.

Trade Coverage Highlights

IR Magazine/Inside Investor Relations

http://www.insideinvestorrelations.com/articles/ir-tv/18503/warren-buffett-and-business-wire/

Warren Buffett and Business Wire bring cheer to Wall Street

Happy 50th anniversary, Business Wire

PR Newser

http://www.mediabistro.com/prnewser/warren-buffett-business-wire-celebrate-50-years-at-the-nyse_b28023

Warren Buffett, Business Wire Celebrate 50 Years at the NYSE

PR Week

http://www.prweekus.com/buffetts-communications-advice-keep-it-simple/article/213288/

CommPro.biz

http://blog.commpro.biz/irthereforeiam/?p=1094

Great Partners: Warren Buffett Helps Celebrate Business Wire’s 50th Anniversary at NYSE

PRSA Tactics and NIRI IR Update are planning pieces for their print editions.

Feintuch Communications (client/guest, Henry Feintuch)

http://prniblets.blogspot.com/2011/10/my-lunch-with-warren-buffett-and.html


Business Wire Boston Celebrates 50 Years, Hosts Publisher of The Boston Globe

October 7, 2011

by Rachel Gould, Senior Client Services Representative,
Business Wire Boston

Boston-area clients and friends of Business Wire, including members of the media, gathered at the Boston Harbor Hotel on Oct. 4 to celebrate our landmark anniversary.  The event featured a keynote address from Christopher Mayer, Publisher of The Boston Globe, and a champagne toast to commemorate the occasion.

Mayer discussed the recent launch of BostonGlobe.com as a separate entity from Boston.com, including the new paywall for content and better understanding the diverse interests of their online readers.

Through research, Mayer’s team discovered that more than 50 percent of the people accessing Boston.com were not aware they were reading The Boston Globe.  He explained that while the Globe has an expansive online audience, the readership is fragmented and has forced the organization to adapt and focus on how they are connecting with readers.

The Boston Globe has the traditional role of producing quality journalism, but Mayer said in today’s media environment, success is just as much about being a facilitator of content and connecting advertisers to readers.

For a more detailed overview, check out this blog post by Bill McLaughlin, EVP of Lois Paul & Partners, who interviewed Christopher Mayer after his talk.

Check out some great pictures from the event:

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Happy Birthday Business Wire: Looking Back, Forward…it’s STILL All About Relationships

October 5, 2011

by Mike Maguire, National Editorial Supervisor

The big day has come and gone.  Business Wire is 50 years old and we celebrated in grand style  with company executives led by Chairman and CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange with Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway – our parent company.

Business Wire rings the opening bell at the NYSE September 30, 2011

Business Wire rings the opening bell at the NYSE September 30, 2011 (Photo by Ben Hider/NYSE Euronext)

As 9:30 last Friday quickly approached, and our team took the podium, I couldn’t help but think back over the past two decades that I have been a part of Business Wire. We’ve come a long way and to be part of a day that brought Business Wire VIPs in from across the country together with our clients and other distinguished people is a day I won’t soon forget.

After the Opening Bell, media conducted interviews of Tamraz and Buffett, including Andrew Sorkin of CNBC, Liz Claman of Fox Business News and Susie Gharib of PBS Nightly Business Report.   At 11 am, a luncheon took place with more than 200 attendees, including our College Contest winner Jenna Marie James from Ball State University.

A viewing of our 50th Anniversary Video was on tap next, followed by Business Wire President Gregg Castano leading a congratulatory toast. During a Q & A with Tamraz, Buffett and the audience,  Buffett opined on the current state of the economy, taxing the wealthy, doing business in China, President Obama as a CEO, and investor relations.

In anticipation of the day, I had coordinated the receipt of proclamations from the mayors in 17 cities of offices where we conduct business. The proclamation from New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg read in part:

`Throughout our history, New York City has been proud to be an engine for economic growth worldwide. Even during these challenging times, more and more companies are locating or expanding here, including firms focused on international business and financial reporting. Of course, in a former life, I was one such small business owner, and I am proud to say New York’s future looks brighter than ever thanks to its status as a leader in the financial news industry. That is why we are honored to join Business Wire in celebrating its 50th Anniversary.’

Those words, along with a blog post from long time client Gene Marbach from Makovsky and Co. about the relationships between clients and companies sum up the significance of 50 years in business:  it is truly golden!

To see more birthday photos, check out our 50th birthday scrapbook on Facebook.


Woo-hoo! Happy 50th Birthday to Us! Business Wire Celebrates at the NYSE

September 30, 2011

This Sunday, we celebrate our 50th Anniversary as the global leader in press release distribution & regulatory disclosure. And rest assured: we still know how to party.

Today, we ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange with Warren Buffett, Chairman of our parent company, Berkshire Hathaway, and Cathy Baron Tamraz, Business Wire CEO.

The event caps a year of looking back on a wonderful first 50 years, and forward to the future of communications.   And the celebration’s not over yet…we still have local 50th Anniversary events in several cities in October. We hope you can join us!

For the past half century, we’ve been proud to serve thousands of public relations and investor relations professionals with the communications tools and platforms that tell your story in the most compelling way possible. From all of us here at Business Wire, thank you for making the last 50 years special.

Watch video of us ringing the bell & a great interview with our CEO Cathy & Warren Buffett.

Here are some pictures from our big day at the NYSE:

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Business Wire’s College Video Contest Winner Jenna Marie James Gears Up to Meet Mr. Buffett

September 27, 2011

We’re just days away until Business Wire heads to New York city to ring the opening bell with Warren Buffett, chairman & CEO of Business Wire’s parent company, Berkshire Hathaway, at the New York Stock Exchange.   Meeting Mr. Buffett along with Business Wire’s chairman and CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz is our college video contest winner  21-year-old Jenna Marie James, a senior majoring in telecommunications at Ball State University.  Students were asked to answer the question “What is the future of public relations and communications?” and Jenna was chosen based on creativity, originality and appropriateness to theme.  Read press release here.

We asked Jenna how she was feeling about winning the contest and she shared, ” This is all still so surreal to me. I got a golden ticket! I feel like Charlie in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory except Willy Wonka is Warren Buffett and the Chocolate Factory is The Stock Market Luncheon. I’m just trying to soak it all in and get everything ready in order to head to New York.”

Check out Jenna’s video below and learn how this superstar is training to meet one of the most influential people in the world:

To see Jenna’s winning video along with all our top ten finalists, visit facebook.com/businesswire.


Business Wire Gives Back: BW Staff Helps Grow Miracle Gardens on Chicago’s South Side

September 16, 2011
 
by Abbie Sullivan, Client Services Representative
 
Eight Business Wire Chicago employees volunteered recently to help create an edible landscape  located at the Gary Comer Youth Center (GCYC) in the Grand Crossing neighborhood on Chicago’s south side.   The effort was made on behalf of the Make Miracles Grow Youth Garden and was associated with Business Wire 50th Anniversary Give Back program.
 
Chicago office members Matt Blouin, Global Media Relations Manager Raschanda Hall, Editors Christina Jahnke, Colin MacLaughlin and Arunas Statkus, Senior Editor Yvonne Moy, Regional Manager Elaine Stiles, and CSR Abbie Sullivan spent time turning dirt, planting apple trees, harvesting cucumbers and tomatoes and completing gardening chores like mulching, watering and fertilizing.
 
 

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The gardening investment will pay off in fresh fruits and vegetables for the neighborhood, which is considered one of the city’s “Food Deserts.”  Grand Crossing’s 2,500 residents must travel .81 mile to buy fresh produce from a small grocer, yet only .32 mile to a fast food outlet. Located within the community and adjacent to GCYC, the Make Miracles Grow Foundation is working in partnership with GCYC to redevelop two acres of a vacant former industrial property into an urban farm.
 
The Make Miracles Grow Foundation is dedicated to urban agriculture and youth education on Chicago’s south side. The Make Miracles Grow Youth Garden will serve as a model for sustainable urban farming methods, youth career and education development, economic development and job and food security improvement for the community. The foundation and garden provide residents in the community with a sustainable, green economy that is youth-led and maintained. The youth garden also teaches local sustainability through growing food, culinary arts and community outreach.
 
Find out more about the Gary Comer Youth Center.

In honor of its 50th Anniversary, Business Wire is giving back by providing each of its 500+ employees up to 12 hours of paid time off in 2011 to volunteer with the nonprofit of their choice. Read more about what BW employees are doing to give back.

 
 

Business Wire’s 50th Anniversary College Contest Highlight: Zan Zhang

September 7, 2011

We knew there was a reason to open up Business Wire college video contest to Canada and one of our top ten finalists is proof it was the right decision.  Zan Zhang, a junior working towards his Bachelor of Commerce at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada may just win the grand prize with the winner to meet Warren Buffett, chairman & CEO of Business Wire’s parent company, Berkshire Hathaway, at Business Wire’s NYSE Opening Bell luncheon on September 30th, 2011. View Zan’s video here (9th one).

When asked why Zan wanted to meet Mr. Buffett, he answered “I want to meet Mr. Buffett because he is someone that has helped shape my life, just as Benjamin Graham influenced his. Currently, the principles of Graham’s value investing are fading into the past, with few advocates leading its future. I hope to continue spreading financial literacy and investing discipline to emerging markets around the world, and Mr. Buffett can definitely help me progress along the correct path.”

Zan Zhang is the previous President & CEO (2009-11 of Investors of Tomorrow, Canada’s largest charity devoted to spreading financial literacy amongst youth, as well as the Queen’s University Investment Counsel, which invests a real-money portfolio of approximately $600,000 in equity markets. In the fall semester, he will be going on an academic exchange as part of his program to Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. 

When Zan isn’t investing or learning about investing, he is playing the piano.  Zan was a music instructor and has also won awards for classical piano at the ARCT-Performance level. You can even listen to him play on his video.

Show your support to all the top video finalists on our Facebook page and let our executive judging committee including Business Wire’s chairman and CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz and President Gregg Castano your favorites by commenting and “liking” them. You can also show your support on Twitter using hashtag #BWZAN.


Business Wire’s 50th Anniversary College Contest Highlight: Eric Tawney

September 6, 2011

What kind of kid starts a “Stock Market Club” in high school? Eric Tawney, a Finance and Economics student from Oakland University does. With such a young excitement for investing, it is no wonder that Eric is a huge fan of Warren Buffett, chairman & CEO of Business Wire’s parent company, Berkshire Hathaway. Eric discovered Business Wire college video contest when he was searching for a way to write a letter to Mr. Buffett because he wanted to share with him the impact he had on Eric’s decision to study finance and economics. With the chance to meet Mr. Buffett in person, Eric entered our contest and is now one of the top ten finalists with the winner to receive a trip to Business Wire’s NYSE Opening Bell luncheon on September 30th, 2011. View Eric’s video here (1st one).

 
When asked why Eric wanted to meet Mr. Buffett, he answered “Mr. Buffett’s message for people to identify their passion and pursue it has resounded inside of me. I want the chance to speak with him about his life’s path; his successes and his failures and thank him for guiding me to pursue a career that I am absolutely passionate about. I would show Mr. Buffett that he has touched individual lives by speaking with him on how he played an integral part in my development growing up and how his life story became an inspiration for me to pursue investment management.”

Eric is current President of the Society for Applied Investing and Financial Education and also President of the Economic Students Association. In addition, he is a business scholar within Oakland’s School of Business Administration. In his free time, Eric volunteers his time tutoring and advising students on career planning and this past summer volunteered as a summer finance instructor at a Detroit intercity youth community center. Next up for Eric is getting his Masters in Public Policy or International Affairs.

Show your support to all the top video finalists on our Facebook page and let our executive judging committee including Business Wire’s chairman and CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz and President Gregg Castano your favorites by commenting and “liking” them. You can also show your support on Twitter using hashtag #BWERIC.


Business Wire’s 50th Anniversary College Contest Highlight: Stephen Roegge

September 1, 2011

One google search on “How to meet Warren Buffett” was the beginning for our next finalist who is now one of the top ten finalists in Business Wire college video contest.  Stephen Roegge, a sophomore studying Business Administration at Georgia Tech, has always been a fan of Mr. Buffett and is even more so after he finished reading The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.  The winner of the contest will meet Warren Buffett, chairman & CEO of Business Wire’s parent company, Berkshire Hathaway, at Business Wire’s NYSE Opening Bell luncheon on September 30th, 2011. View Stephen’s video here (8th one).

When asked why Stephen wanted to meet Mr. Buffett, he answered “I want to meet Mr. Buffett because he is one of the smartest people in the world. He is seriously my #1 role model and getting to meet him would make me the happiest college student in the world.”

Stephen was born and raised in Alpharetta, Georgia and has a real love for Atlanta sports.  His favorite team is the Atlanta Hawks, but he is also a huge fan of the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta Braves.

Stephen is still unsure what his future holds, but he knows it will involve business and investing as these are his main interests.  He hopes to have a job in the future that allows him to work hard and also allows him to make the world better.  Stephen feels Mr. Buffett is a great example of both and consider Mr. Buffett a major inspiration.

Show your support to all the top video finalists on our Facebook page and let our executive judging committee including Business Wire’s chairman and CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz and President Gregg Castano your favorites by commenting and “liking” them. You can also show your support on Twitter using hashtag #BWSTEPHEN.


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