Our News

Giving DevRel pros something to talk about

In August, Tia presented “Talk tech: communicating your work and why it matters” to the inaugural DevRel Summit comprised of developer relations professionals from Seattle and the west coast.

The event was a hit – scoring a spot on the Twitter trending list! #DevRelSummit
The event was a hit – scoring a spot on the Twitter trending list! #DevRelSummit
After her talk, enthusiastic attendees approached Tia to discuss why they believe helping technical professionals get better at sharing their work is not only important, but critical to their success over the course of their career.

Get the essence of Tia’s talk in her supporting Medium post.

Podcast party: Melissa’s tips & tricks for taking your job virtual

melissamathewsmacslistMelissa recently took part in a Mac’s List Find Your Dream Job podcast hosted by fellow PRSA Counselors Academy member Mac Prichard. She shared advice for anyone looking to make a business case for virtual work, how to make it work with clients, as well as tips for succeeding in the model she’s helped pioneer within our industry. Join the dialogue around virtual work in our LinkedIn Group: Virtual Agency Realities. VAR

Us on Medium: Three things you need to know about telling your startup story

Katherine puts forth some great considerations on Medium today for startups and small businesses on the level of PR agency support that’s right for them. Here’s a tease: “Like anything, you need the right partner. If you’re a scrappy startup with a revolutionary idea, you’re not going to find your match with a huge, traditional agency. If you’re in tech, engineering, science or medicine, you’ll want an agency that operates in those worlds. You need to find your people.”

 

 

All Ya’ll podcast features our own Elizabeth B.

“And I decide in that moment, I’m going to turn around. I’m going to keep walking away from her. Because in this one moment, for Charlotte, I am not going to arrest the intoxication and I’m not going to soothe the terror. I’m going to let her ride out the full arc of both of those emotions so she can be one step closer to the kind of courageous and resilient grown woman that she is trying to become.”

That piece of moving narrative comes from our brilliant Elizabeth Beauvais who took the stage in Louisiana last month for a storytelling podcast about the time she let her eight-year-old daughter run away from home. For 45 minutes. Grab a beer, a burrito, a box of tissues and listen to “The Chipotle Rebellion.”

We’re so proud of you, Elizabeth!

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Another year with Ameena

Ameena_Kids A cause close to the heart of The Mathews Group is Ameena Project, a nonprofit focused on improving the lives of children in extreme poverty. Ameena Project operates Ameena Centre, a preschool in Kiang’ombe, Kenya, creating a sanctuary for learning, wellness and opportunity. Our very own Tia Over serves on Ameena’s board of directors.

In 2015, we sponsored five “graduates” of Ameena Centre preschool into their first year of primary school. Recently, we received a progress report on our “Mathews Five,” and, in all honesty, it was difficult for us to read. Some of our students have lost a parent and experienced extreme malnutrition and associated health problems. But we were encouraged to learn they are performing at “average” to “excellent” levels, and we are honored to be able to offer them another year of primary school sponsorship in 2016.

Two other bright spots of progress: running water was recently introduced to the village and school property, and a fundraising Ameena_Kids_2effort is currently underway to build a playground on the property. We supported the playground project by creating a direct mail piece to encourage donations.

If you are interested in receiving regular updates from the Ameena Project, let us know and we’ll send you the newsletter we create as part of our pro-bono support for Ameena. And if you wish to join us in supporting Ameena Project, you can do so here.

 

Engineering a great thanksgiving

It’s time to pause and give thanks for the many ways that some of our favorite people – American engineers – have contributed to the Thanksgiving holiday. This article is lifted from the November newsletter of our clients over at the National Engineering Forum, which you can read in full here.

As you relax on the couch this Thanksgiving, take a moment to thank broadcast engineers for bringing football and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade your television. The Macy’s parade has been a tradition since 1924, and designing and filling those balloons takes some serious engineering. For football fans, there’s plenty of action, and the chance to ponder engineering’s impact on the sport, including MIT’s helmet research, Oregon State’s artificial intelligence work, and Carnegie Mellon’s research into technology to help referees make better calls (insert your own joke here). Of course Thanksgiving centers around the food, and there’s plenty of engineering at work in the gadgets for prepping and cooking, but according to this, there’s a proper way to engineer your plate to ensure maximum deliciousness. If Tofurky’s on your table, you can thank the folks in Hood River, Oregon, whose food engineering gives vegetarians an animal-free option. For meat eaters, the turkey is the main event, but not all birds are destined for the dinner table. Some get a pass from the president. There’s some debate on who originally engineered the annual presidential pardoning of the turkeys, but no matter how it began, it’s a sure bet, those turkeys are thankful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Team Mathews Spotlight: Introducing Susan Connery!

We recently chatted with our controller, Susan Connery, about what it’s like to manage a virtual agency – well, virtually. It is not by coincidence that things run so smoothly around these parts. What’s our secret? We have a Susan.

Q: Can you share a little about yourself?

My husband and I live in McLean, Va., and have three children. We are thinking about adding a dog, but we haven’t taken the plunge just yet.

Q: When did you join The Mathews Group?

I joined the team very early on, when Melissa was starting her business in 2010. My next-door neighbor at the time saw an ad in a local mom’s group for some part-time operations support. I was still a new mom to a baby, so this seemed like a good way for me to transition slowly back into the workforce.

“I love the water and all activities involving balance. Stand-up paddleboard, skating and water skiing are my favorites,” said Susan. “I guess it sort of goes along with the accountant thing – we love everything to be ‘in balance’.”

Q: Tell me about how your career evolved as a corporate controller?

After graduating from the University of Florida in 1995, I went to work for Arthur Andersen as an auditor in Washington, D.C. Shortly thereafter, I got married and my husband and I moved to New York, where I worked in the treasury department for Revlon. Both positions were great for getting me grounded in the financials of running a business. Next, I went to JPMorgan, where I was a corporate controller for AT&T’s real estate portfolio. This was a valuable opportunity for me and challenged me professionally. When my husband was transferred to D.C. in 2001, I became one of the first remote employees at JPMorgan. I used to work from home two days a week and commute the other three. At the time, working remotely was very challenging. Technology was not as developed, we used VPNs that were painfully slow and clients were less supportive of this model. Today, it is a very common practice but in 2001, I was a bit of a trailblazer.

Q: What are some of the challenges you encounter working for a virtual agency?

I think with a flexible work arrangement time management is critical. Because you are not a full time employee and you are not a full time homemaker, you have to be very careful and keep clear divisions between work and home time. For example, I have established days for laundry, cleaning the house and running errands. I always work ahead and prep meals during the day while children are at school because of after-school demands. When I am working, I am completely committed to maintaining a quiet workspace. I focus on what needs to get done that day and make it my priority. It can be exhausting to put your life in boxes, but I find it’s the only way to stay ahead and allows me to really be present in the evenings and enjoy the simple moments with my family.

Q: What do you love most about the virtual agency model?  

The flexibility in working remotely is so valuable. If a child is home sick from school and needs to go to the doctor, it can be managed pretty easily. The ability to reshuffle your work schedule takes a lot of the pressure off the family. The remote model at The Mathews Group affords me the opportunity to work and be a mom – I don’t always have perfect balance, but I certainly feel fortunate to be part of a great team.   

Q: When you are not working, what kinds of things do you like to do?

I love to travel and to stand-up paddleboard (SUP). I discovered SUP while in Hawaii a few years ago and immediately fell in love. It’s an activity that is totally my speed.

I also really enjoy watching my children play sports, especially basketball and baseball games. It’s great family time for my husband and me, while also supporting the children doing something that they love.

 


 

 

A seriously fun Saturday

It’s a privilege whenever we’re entrusted to work with a group to help them elevate their communication skills. This past weekend Katherine (director of training) and Tia (VP and chief strategy officer) –they’re in the middle of the photo behind the student with the #IAmAnEngineer sign – travelled to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio to do a one-day presentation skills seminar for 54 students in the Lockheed Martin Leadership Institute. As you can imagine, it’s no small task to convince dozens of college students to come to class on Saturday and spend an entire day learning about how to plan and deliver an effective presentation – and practice those skills on the spot. These students blew us away! Getting there early, being great sports and really putting in the work to get the most out of the day, and having a few laughs along the way.