Business Wire Gives Back: San Francisco Tech Staffers Volunteer at Alameda County Food Bank

July 29, 2011

by Ann Bennett-Beals, Senior Software Engineer

As part of the Business Wire 50th Anniversary Give Back program, a group of Business Wire software developers and testers from the San Francisco office ventured out to Oakland, California for a memorable volunteer effort at the Alameda County Food Bank on the last Friday in June.

BW SF tech staffers (L-R): Sreelatha Chandra, Gilbert Vahanian, Ann Bennett-Beals & Judith Zeichner

We were all revved up to sort and package fresh produce for thousands of low income and hungry residents at the new volunteer center.  It was a huge warehouse filled with thousands of pounds of food that needed to be prepared for delivery to more than 275 food pantries, churches and agencies around the bay area.  The food bank distributes enough food for 300,000 meals each week and serves one in six residents of which 43% are children and teens (source: www.accfb.org).

The crew went to work bagging more than 2,500 pounds of carrots during the morning shift and 1,500 pounds of onions during the afternoon shift.  By the end of the day we had our fill of physical work but we enjoyed giving back to the community thanks to Business Wire’s generous gift of sharing. 

Volunteers for this wonderful event were Sr. Software Engineers Ann Bennett-Beals & Gilbert Vahanian,  Quality Assurance Manager Judith Zeichner, News System Developers Anastassia Sytnik & Sreelatha Chandra,  HQ Developers Almon Tang & Mariam Rajabi and Web Support Specialist Sahn Vong. Thanks, team!

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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.

Find out more about the Alameda County Community Food Bank.


Business Wire Gives Back: Teaching Piano to Share Love for the Arts

June 23, 2011

by Amy Yen, Marketing Specialist, Business Wire Los Angeles

Marketing Specialist Amy Yen teaches piano to Lourdes Mack for CoachArt

For the past 18 months, I’ve been volunteering with CoachArt, a Los Angeles based organization that improves the quality of life for children and adolescents with chronic and life-threatening illnesses by providing free, personal lessons in the arts and athletics. CoachArt students are matched with a volunteer coach and receive private lessons one hour a week for ten weeks at a time. Lessons can include art, cooking, dance, music and athletics, depending on the student’s interests.

I’ve taught computer graphics and art in the past, but for our 50th Anniversary BW Gives Back program, I’m teaching piano to eight-year-old Lourdes Mack from Culver City. It’s been a challenge since I haven’t played piano in years. In fact, my parents sold our piano when I left for college. CoachArt is loaning Lourdes a keyboard for the duration of the sessions, and I’ve been using a piano app on my iPad to prep for our lessons.

So far, we’ve been learning a mixture of classics like “Ode to Joy” and Disney favorites like “Someday My Prince Will Come.” It’s been a joy teaching Lourdes, whose positive attitude is an inspiration. I was lucky to have seven years of piano lessons growing up and am happy to share a little of what I learned, especially with a student as deserving and eager as Lourdes.

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.

Read more about CoachArt and check out Lourdes’s blog.


Business Wire Gives Back: BW Staff Goes Back to School to Help Students Find Success

March 24, 2011

Business Wire’s 50th Anniversary celebration this year features the BW Gives Back volunteer program, which affords employees the opportunity to “go to work” in their communities for the educational or charitable organizations that mean the most to them.

Laura Sturaitis addresses the Job Search Boot Camp at St. Thomas University, Miami, FL

Executive Vice President Laura Sturaitis spent last Thursday sharing her time and expertise with job seekers among the students, alumnae and members of the general public at her alma mater St. Thomas University in Miami, FL.  Sturaitis served as a panelist at St. Thomas’s Job Search Boot Camp.  Her presentation, “Developing and Managing Your Professional Online Brand,” sparked a lively discussion.

Business Wire Executive Vice President Laura Sturaitis

Many Business Wire staff, including Laura, regularly speak to college PR and Communications students as guest lecturers on a variety of industry topics from Writing for the Web to What is the Wire?  These talks help students prepare for and excel in our quickly changing industry.

“I try to impart the fact that it’s necessary to apply their wizardry using new technologies and social media to the old-school communication skills they are learning in class – good writing and grammar, identifying and building audiences through meaningful professional relationships and networking, determining the right channels for their well-crafted message and the ability to evaluate the results of their efforts in order to make adjustments,” says Sturaitis. “We always have a lot to talk about and share in class.”

Raschanda Hall, Business Wire’s Chicago-based Global Media Relations Manager, is another staff member who regularly takes her experience and skills back to school. She recently spent the afternoon with a class of Chicago State students.

Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager

Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager

“I love the opportunity to talk to college students studying my craft, ” says Hall.  “Getting just a glimpse of what life is like in the working world of public relations is something these kids can’t get from books….When I’m asked to talk to a local college class about PR, I jump at the chance. I end up getting as much out of it as the students because I’m inspired by the next generation.”

With a company wide goal of 5,000 hours of community service in honor of its 50th Anniversary, Business Wire supports employees’ efforts to volunteer by providing up to 10 hours of paid time off in 2011.


Business Wire Gives Back for 50th Anniversary

February 15, 2011

In the grand tradition of our founder, Lorry Lokey, & of course, Warren Buffett, chairman of our parent company Berkshire Hathaway, this year, Business Wire is giving back to celebrate our 50th anniversary.

We are setting a goal of 5,000 hours of community service for our 500+ employees in 2011. Each employee will given up to 12 hours of paid time off to volunteer at the nonprofit of their choice, with the goal that together, we can give back at least 5,000 hours to the communities in all 32 markets where we have local bureaus. In addition, Business Wire will continue to match charitable gifts to nonprofit organizations, as it has done for more than 10 years.

We are proud to be following in the footsteps of Warren Buffett, who is a founder of The Giving Pledge, along with Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Founded in 2010, The Giving Pledge encourages wealthy individuals worldwide to give the majority of their fortunes back to society. Our founder, Lorry Lokey, is also part of The Giving Pledge, and has already demonstrated a tradition of giving, particularly to education.

All of us here at Business Wire hope to uphold their example as we celebrate our 50 years of service to the communications industry this year. Be sure to check back here and at our Facebook page for updates throughout the year on our progress toward 5,000 hours given back!


Business Wire Founder Lorry Lokey Rises to the Billionaire Challenge

August 10, 2010

Lorry Lokey, who founded Business Wire in 1962, has always been a believer in the virtues of charity and philanthropy. Over the years, he’s given hundreds of millions of dollars, primarily to secondary and postsecondary educational institutions, and he’s frequently appeared in the Chronicle of Philanthropy as both an interview subject and one of America’s Top Donors.

So it’s no surprise that Lorry has risen to the challenge — the Billionaire Challenge, posed by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to America’s richest people, to give half of their wealth to good causes. Lorry is one of the 38 people (so far) on the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans to make such a commitment.

Lorry recently appeared on CNN’s “American Morning” to discuss his signing on to the pledge, and his thoughts about philanthropy and giving. Watch the interview here or read a transcript here.


Pennies From Omaha

April 28, 2010

It’s nearly that time again:  The 2010 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting is this coming Saturday, May 1.  I will be attending this year’s meeting, along with nine other Business Wire people including our CEO, Cathy Baron Tamraz.  And once more, Business Wire is providing a fun item for other attendees to pick up and help support a good cause.

This year, visitors to Omaha can visit Business Wire and spend a dollar to smash a penny! Our specially designed penny press will allow you to create a souvenir penny with any of four fun designs, including images of Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.  Each souvenir penny, which will include a commemorative folder, will cost $1.  All proceeds will once again benefit CASA of Douglas County, Neb. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is a charitable organization that provides a voice for abused and neglected children within the court system.

So come to our booth and spend $1, $2 or even $4 to smash four pennies and support a great cause.  While you’re there, say hello to our staff and find out more about how Business Wire continues to lead the industry in making the humble press release a crucial communications tool.

Read the entire press release on these fun souvenirs here.  I’ll also be tweeting from the event under Business Wire’s handle; you can follow at http://twitter.com/BusinessWire.  I, and everyone here at Business Wire, look forward to seeing you there!


Round Up Your Exclusive BH Souvenir Posters for Charity

April 22, 2009

Following up on last year’s successful effort, Business Wire is again offering an exclusive commemorative item at this year’s Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder’s Meeting, being held May 2nd, 2009 in Omaha, Neb.

bhbwgraphic421This year, we’ll be offering a set of three limited-edition posters, titled “Legends of the Wired Wired West,” featuring photos of Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger and Business Wire President and CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz.  The set will sell for $5, and will be available to conference attendees by stopping at the Business Wire booth.

All proceeds will once again benefit CASA of Douglas County, Neb.  CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is a charitable organization that provides a voice for abused and neglected children within the court system. So if you’re in casa-logoOmaha at the Shareholders Meeting, please stop by the Business Wire booth and make a $5 donation for this worthy cause. If you’d like to donate to CASA directly, contact them online.

For a full-size look at all three of the posters in the set, take a look below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »


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