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, 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.

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 Gives Back: Taking to the Saddle to Help Kids Build Character and Confidence in Denver

July 26, 2011

As a child, Thomas Shelley of Business Wire Denver dreamed of riding horses.  But it wasn’t until his mid 30s that Shelley had the opportunity to seriously get in the saddle.

Responding to a classified ad for horseback riding lessons, Shelley took his first lesson at age 36.  “Even though learning new skills from my lesson horse, Shaahin, was a big challenge, I came to realize how our small steps of progress each week began transferring to  other parts of my life,” says Shelley. “My self-confidence soared.”

Centaur Rising Founder Kristaan Cooper and Thomas Shelley with Horse

Thomas Shelley with Centaur Rising Founder Kristaan Cooper and equine friend Wally

Now through the Business Wire Gives Back 2011 program, Shelley is volunteering on Tuesdays at Centaur Rising, a non-profit organization that emphasizes youth development through the teaching of classical horsemanship.

Shelley’s primary responsibility at Business Wire is to develop, maintain and expand our media relations database.  He’s been tapping those same  organizational and communication skills doing “strategic networking” for Centaur Rising. His volunteer efforts include reaching out to Denver area schools, nonprofit and community organizations to explore the possibilities of working together on youth programs.

Shelley’s goal is to help ensure that young people have a chance to experience the confidence and character boost that comes from mastering the horse and rider partnership. 

“Kids shouldn’t have to wait ’til their adult years to start horsemanship training,” he says.

Founded in 2005 by Kristaan Cooper in the Rocky Mountain foothills of Pine, Colorado,Centaur Rising, seeks to restore our connection with Nature through the teaching of classical horsemanship.

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!


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