What It Means to #CrushIt

This year, I made a huge professional leap from independent consultant to corporate executive.  I made a personal leap as well and got engaged to the love of my life, Chris McCaffrey.  There are very few words or phrases that can encompass what’s next, but in the words of my dear friend Gary Vaynerchuk, there’s only one thing left to do — crush it.

I’m writing this post in celebration of Gary’s new book, Crush It, which came out the other week and the many plans I have on the horizon.  The title says it all: “NOW is the time to cash in on your passion,” and that’s exactly what we all should do.

book-header-transCrushing It At Work – Passion is Everything?????

Over the past four months, I’ve been busy integrating myself into Porter Novelli and building out a winning team.  With the help of John Havens, Karen Hartline, and Alexa Scordato, I’m confident that we have what it takes to master this rapidly changing world of social media and PR.  Why?   Because we’re passionate about what we do and take pride in everything we touch.

In the coming months, we’ll be training the agency on social media best practices, rolling out our newly revised corporate social media guidelines, producing quality content on various web properties, and continuing to support our clients with scalable and successful social media programs.

There’s no shortage of work to be done, but we’re thankful to be in a position where we can honestly say we get paid to do what we love.

Crushing it At Home – Roll with It6824_1258050212973_1281163024_30752990_5382223_n

It’s only fitting that the message “Roll With It” is caked into Gary’s book.  It’s important to keep in mind that even if you’re an intense, passionate, and hard-working person, you also need to strive for balance.  When the going gets tough, the tough roll with it!

This is probably the best summary of my relationship with Chris and one of the things I really value most in having him as my partner for life.  He balances me out and makes me feel like no matter what, we can handle any challenge so long as we have each other.

We’ve only been engaged a month (Chris proposed on October 4th), but I’m ready to cash in on the wedding excitement early!  We’re looking at dates for the end of next summer, we have a venue picked out, and you can be sure that in true Internet Geek Girl fashion, there will be technology and a website involved!


I get asked the question, “How did you get to where you are today?”  and honestly, many of the answers are in Gary’s book.  It’s worth reading the 133 pages, but if you want an abbreviated take of my version, here it is:  Love what you do, surround yourself with loving people, and stay true to yourself.   That’s what it means to #crushit in my book.

SXSW Flashback with Jon Roskill of Microsoft

It’s only September, but SXSW planning is well under way! In celebration of panel picking season, I thought I’d share a video each day from SXSW ’09. To kick things off, here’s a video of me speaking with Jon Roskill, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft.

Jon was nice enough to stop by the Blogger lounge to talk about Microsoft’s growing presence at SXSW and their community outreach efforts.


SXSW Panel Picker Mania – Thumbs Up!

Vote for my PanelPicker Idea!

It’s been entirely too long since I’ve posted on here. My apologies. It’s been 2 very busy months taking on my new role at Porter Novelli.  I’ve been making an exciting transition to “big agency” life and also working on building up a team of social media rock stars (more on that soon). With the foundation laid, I can now turn back to InternetGeekGirl! I miss her.

It’s that time of year again… SXSW Panel Picking Mania!  I’m sure you’ve seen the tweets, FB status updates, and posts asking the community to participate in this important process.  My friends and I at Porter Novelli submitted four panels this year (several PN clients submitted as well), and we’d really love to get some community support for our submissions!

There’s a lot here, but enjoy!

SXSW Panel Picker Voting Process

For four years, SXSW has been using the Panel Picker as a guide for how to program the Interactive portion of the festival. The Panel Picker for SXSWi 2010 opened on August 17th and closes on September 4th. Porter Novelli submitted four panels this year (several PN clients who submitted as well), and we’re looking to get some community support from our friends and network!

Panel Picker voting counts for 30% and heavily influences the SXSW staff and advisory boards decisions. We’d love for you to sign up for a SXSW account and vote for the PN and client panels – and get your friends to as well!

Here are some short descriptions of each of the PN panels below along with a direct link where you can go to vote (But first, you’ll need to sign up for an account by going to http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/users/register and filling out the form. After that you can go to http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/index/interactive to look at all the panels).

Voting is easy – just click on the thumbs up button and you’ve voted for the panel! Likewise, if you are looking through the 2,000+ panel submissions and find one you don’t like – click the thumbs down button. It’s that simple.
Panel Picker voting will close at the end of the day on Friday, September 4th, and the first batch of programming and confirmed speakers for Interactive, Film and Music will be revealed in October.

Porter Novelli Panels:

Title: App-paloza – New Ecosystems of App Developers


With the rise of new technology platforms, whether mobile or more traditional, we are seeing a new generation of application developers and application platforms rise to prominence. With new systems continually be developed, what does the next generation of applications hold? What will be the next big application platform?

Title: Future of News: CNN is so Yesterday


Twitter in Iran, Michael Jackson’s death broken on TMZ…what ever happened to CNN? Traditional media outlets are facing more criticism than ever from the online community. Will they adapt? What does the future hold?

Title: Bloggers, Navy Seals on Frontlines in Healthcare


If “the medium is the message” (and it is), then the message from the health care blogosphere is, stop bloviating! To blog is to put up or shut up. And nowhere is this more needed or refreshing than in the realm of health care. “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

Title: Big Brands Win by Collaborating With Startups / Communities


How can big brands leverage the expertise of startups and their niche communities? Breakthrough results can happen when two very different two types of companies collaborate: think CNN and Facebook Connect; Walmart and Icanhascheeseburger or Hewlett-Packard with Eclectic Method and Photojojo. Is there a new business model emerging?

Porter Novelli Client Panels:


Title: Social Media ROI on $1 A Day?


Companies need to prove the ROI of social media, no question about it. What works best for which companies? The Goliath’s of the world who are offering ready to use online reporting tools, or the David’s who, with hard work and minor development skills, have created custom made reporting/analytics tools?


Title: The Real Housewives of Social Media


You’ve heard the buzz around how nonprofit organizations and corporations are using social media for social good. Now hear from the “real housewives of social media” who are driving successful online campaigns, as well as others who are helping lead the social media revolution.


Title: Creating Killer Innovations for the Future PC


Innovation is a key catalyst for economic success and recovery, yet some find it elusive. At HP, Phil McKinney sees daily examples of the breadth of human ingenuity to solve social, economic, political and even technical challenges. McKinney is passionate about tapping human ingenuity to deliver great results and is regularly sought out to guide teams to unleash their own creative potential. McKinney will share new developments now underway in his own R&D organization, including what your notebook may look like years from now, why natural interfaces like touch and gestures will be the key to a new generation of computer users, and how to tap into the promise of the cloud. In addition, McKinney will share the “how” of unleashing your own personal creativity. Attendees leaving his presentation will discover a renewed level of confidence in their own ability to create the next killer innovation and win in the emerging creative economy.


Title: Navigating Cloud Application Development Challenges


What are the rules of the road when it comes to coding in the cloud? Why do applications fail and how to make sure your application is tuned for success. This panel will discuss the pitfalls and best practices for using open APIs to develop apps for the cloud.

Title: OMG, My Customer has a Megaphone


Companies used to get away with treating customers like livestock with no repercussions, but now customers have a megaphone: the social web, and they’re not afraid to use it. Hear from Rackspace and other customer-centric companies as they share real case studies and tips about how to embrace Customer Service 2.0.

Title: Building and Creating New Business Models in the Cloud


New models for product development and marketing using social media tools and techniques which truly engage users, partners and developers are emerging. Join Lew Moorman and Robert Scoble from Rackspace who will discuss Building43, a new online community breaking down barriers to new ideas for business, and changing the world.

Title: My Workplace is Better Than Yours – Creating Workplace Pride


Zappos, Southwest Airlines, and Rackspace have all become known for building amazing workplace cultures. Their employees are highly engaged and love coming to work every day. What are their secrets? Come listen to some of the best in the business talk about how they built an awesome place to work.

Title: Stop Whining and Put IT In the Cloud


It’s hard to make the case for an SMB to manage it’s own servers today. It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming, and it doesn’t add much value to your business. Cloud computing, regardless of definition, is a no-brainer for any SMB. Hear from cloud computing experts on what’s best for your SMB.

Title: Customer Support for Cloud Computing? Yes, No, Maybe So?


Some say support in the Cloud is not needed. Others say it absolutely is. This panel will bring together leading Cloud providers, some that provide support – like Rackspace – and some that don’t – like AWS, and long-time cloud customers to battle it out.

Title: Managing a Crisis in a Hyper-Communicative World


Today, crisis can spread like a disease, mutating and growing as it goes, and wreaking havoc on your reputation, customer base and sales pipeline. How can you take back control, not only for the benefit of your organization, but to best guide your customers and investors through the situation?

Title: Can you run a “Serverless” Business?


With today’s robust on demand computing infrastructure, is it reality for an organization of any size to run a completely Serverless” business. Yes it is! With cloud computing gaining credibility, SaaS reaching maturity, all combined with traditional hosting services, businesses can now truly run a “serverless” business with confidence.

Title: Using Hadoop to Manage a Ton of Data


Hadoop is being used by some of the biggest tech companies in the world, like Google, Yahoo, Amazon, and Rackspace. If you have lots of data — whether it’s gigabytes or petabytes — Hadoop could be the perfect solution. Learn how you too can take advantage of Hadoop.

Title: Startup 2.0: Let Your Company Fund It!


Got a great idea? The economic downturn has turned off the VC spigots. What to do? Get your current company to share your dream and profit from your big idea! Join Rackspace intrapreneurs, Jonathan Bryce and Todd Morey, to discuss how to work on your dream while at work.

Title: How To Pick the Right Cloud Infrastructure For Your Business


Cloud computing or on-demand computing is rapidly gaining credibility due to its increased ease of use, higher security and energy and cost savings. Panelists will discuss what start-ups and SMBs need to know about cloud hosting, how to make the switch and why their future will be “serverless”.



If you made it down this far, wow…. you deserve a cookie!  Thanks so much for reading and hope to see you down in Austin come March for some good BBQ, panels, and parties!

In a NY State of Mind in CALI – Internet Week NY #iwny video

On the road in Cali. Wanted to get this out there. Here’s my cute recap of a few cool shots from @iwny. I really dig Animoto. Big thanks again to @pepsico for sponsoring this fun event.

My New Gig (announced via Twitter 1st)

pn_announcementBack in January when I wrote Re-design 2009, I never imagined that my redesign would include an executive position with a leading global public relations firm. In fact, I didn’t even realize that over the last few years I had become a “PR person.”  I just wanted more flexibility in my project choices and changed my business model accordingly. Today, I’m very proud to announce that I have become the EVP and Global Director of Digital Strategy and Social Media for Porter Novelli.

As someone that has been in online marketing for 15 years, I view the changes going on in the marketplace through a holistic lens. I don’t see these shifts as merely “social media phenomena.” I think about digital broadly, understanding all aspects of the evolution we’ve been experiencing for two decades now. Back in the 90’s I participated in the “e-commerce revolution” and worked for companies like Barnes & Noble.com to figure out how online consumer sales would change the world of retail. Guess what – it did! Media, publishing and communications are now experiencing these same cataclysmic shifts. My latest career choice is a symbol of this change and I’m excited to continue to push the envelope of this industry – now as part of the Porter Novelli team.

This was truly a kismet kind of situation (yes that is meant to be geek double entendre). Serving on a panel for @pepsico, I got to meet Marian Salzman and was blown away by her brilliance and spirit. For those who wonder why I’d want to give up working for myself in a very entrepreneurial way, I’ll quote my dear friend  Tara Hunt in her recent post describing her decision to leave San Francisco, “because it is time.”

Yes, large companies bring security and money. Honestly though, talented and experienced independents that know how to execute (and sell) do very well in this business.  I could have easily continued working for myself and had a very lush life.  This choice is about the opportunity and the team.  I’m ready to take on bigger challenges and play in a global pond. I am excited to work with an array of blue-chip clients and be backed by an organization with resources and a commitment to transforming their business through digital marketing. I am also excited to spend more time writing and thinking about trends in this business (when you work for yourself you spend a lot of time on sales and operations and the writing gets put by the wayside).

The Porter Novelli family stole my heart with their passion and smarts. The Executive Team (shout out to Gary, Anthony, Marian, Julie, Michael, Lisa R.) and Brad McCormick (who I will work with hand-in-glove) are total rock stars. Aaron DeLucia and the team in Austin are amazing (and I cannot wait to go visit them soon and have some BBQ and start plotting SXSW 2010). Together, we will cross-pollinate our ideas and experience and innovate in a way that differentiates us from the pack.

Stephanie Agresta Consulting, InternetGeekGirl, Affiliate-Karma and my other burgeoning ventures (TechSet and UltimateRaceDay), will continue in some form and fashion. I’d like to think of myself now as “Powered by Porter Novelli.”

You can find the “official press release” on the site.  As my good friend Jeremiah Owyang pointed out: “It screams so “PR;” I do hope you have a heart felt social way of telling the story too.”

Well I do.  My story is much deeper and more complicated than everything I can put in this post, but it’s a start. I look forward to seeing many of you in the coming months as I head out on the road to meet PN staffers. As I told Jeremiah – I don’t believe in throwing out the baby with the bath water. There is still a place for a collection of words and quotes and background information. How it gets delivered and to who is evolving. But ultimately, there are many ways to tell a story.

I want to give a shout out to the many people who I consult when I think about my life choices.  @chrismccaffrey, my family and non-industry friends make up the foundation of life. Plus my colleagues that I rely on for guidance and support and laughter:  Brian Solis, Tara Hunt, Chris Brogan, Howard Greenstein, Rick Calvert, Cindy L’Esperance, Hugh MacLeod, Steve Rosenbaum and so many more I can’t fit them in here. THANK YOU ALL!!