Millennials fundraise with cotton candy, cupcakes, and jugglers

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The fifth annual American Cancer Society gala is expected to raise more than $100,000 for cancer research, which would bring total fundraising for the event near $1 million.

Jessica Levco

Want to sip on a cotton candy martini for a great cause?

If you’re a Chicagoan, check out the American Cancer Society’s fourth annual “Skyline Soiree: Wish Big” on July 27 at River East Art Center.

The fundraiser is run by the American Cancer Society’s associate board of ambassadors. Since 2008, this young leadership board of 50 people has raised more than $850,000 for cancer research through this signature event.

Working together, the group decides on a venue, production schedule, food options, ticket sales, promotion, marketing, and sponsorships. It’s expected that more than 500 people will attend. The target audience for this event is young professionals, ages 20 to 40.

Each year, there’s a different theme for the soiree. This year, it’s “retro birthdays,” paying homage to The America Cancer Society’s theme, “Official Sponsor of Birthdays.”

“The event will remind people of their childhood, only it will be for adults,” says Amy Kramer, distinguished events specialist for the American Cancer Society. “We’ll have cotton candy martinis, cupcakes and birthday games.”

Previous themes have been “the 1920s” and “circus games.” For a look at the 2010 event, clickhere.

The event will include a cocktail reception, entertainment, juggling acts, a silent auction, raffle and a celebrity appearance by “Bachelorette” winner, Ed Swiderski.

“It’s a cool event—it’s very celebratory and very casual,” Kramer says.

The board doesn’t do any type of traditional or direct mail to market the event. Instead, it relies on its email blast,TwitterFacebookwebsite and its media partner, The Sun Times to get the word out.

The silent auction is paperless, too. Powered by a mobile bidding company, guests will bid on auction packages by texting or calling in their bids.

The goal is to raise $100,000 from the event, but Kramer is confident the event will surpass that number.

The board tweets two or three times a day about the event. Here are some:

Our wish is for @kathythemix to join us at the ACS #SkylineSoiree:WishBig on 7/27. Will she grant our wish? http://tiny.cc/17b8ew

We are thrilled to announce that Final Say: a @maggiespeaks band will be performing at #SkylineSoiree on July 27th! http://tiny.cc/fsc8ew

We are thrilled to announce that @eswiderski will be joining us at #SkylineSoiree on July 27th!http://tiny.cc/17b8ew

“We don’t want to waste our donor dollars on direct mail,” Kramer says, adding that social media “is a great way to reach out to people.”

To attend the event, click here.

Is your hospital or health organization having a special fundraiser? Tell us about it! Email Jessica Levco at jessical@ragan.com.

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Do you suffer from ‘office ADHD?’

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Jessica Levco

Like most journalists, my inbox is loaded with press releases.

Like most journalists, I tend to delete each one.

But this subject line caught my eye: “Do you have Adult ADHD? 20 Tell-Tale Signs—Interview/Byline Opp”

Immediately, my mind started racing: OMG (my inner voice now texts me), what if I have adult ADHD? I get distracted a lot! Hold on. I should be writing webinar copy right now. Oh, shoot—I need to tweet an article from our health care website. I wonder when the FDA is going to release its social media guidelines. I really need to come up with something clever to say when people ask me my opinion about health care reform. Have I called Mom today?

Anyway, the press release listed 20 symptoms of a person with ADHD. I’m pretty sure most Raganites (including me) identify with at least half of these traits. For example:

  • Organizationally challenged
  • Difficulty being subtle
  • Hyper-focused to the point of losing track of time
  • Easily bored
  • Naturally rebellious
  • Addictive personality
  • High energy
  • Highly creative
  • Good problem solver, innovator, inventor
  • When interested love to learn, share and teach new things

I’m not stopping there. Because I consider myself “highly creative,” I’ve come up with a list of 10 symptoms that could mean you have “office ADHD.” And yes, I just made that malady up—screw you, medical community; I can’t help it if I’m “naturally rebellious.”

1. You haven’t deleted an email since 2002. You have no Outlook folders. Who cares? You’ve got better things to do—but you can’t remember any of them.

2. There’s an alarm on your phone to remind you to eat lunch. You can’t help it if you’re more consumed with your work than a ham and Swiss on—hey, look, someone RT’d my blog link!

3. If your boss asks, “How high can you jump?” you say, “I don’t like to jump. I’d rather do tai-chi.”

4. When someone asks you what you did over the weekend, you scream, “It’s none of your goddamn business!” and promptly throw coffee in their face. “Just another Monday,” you mutter, as you scurry to the break room for a refill.

5. When you talk about your love of social media, it sounds like you’re talking about your significant other. You dream in Instagrams.

6. Your co-workers think you have a severe bladder issue because you go to the restroom so much. You don’t. You just can’t sit in one spot for more than 12 minutes.

7. When someone approaches your cube, you can’t listen. You’re too busy blogging, pinning, and tweeting to deal with someone IRL.

8. You’ve decided you’re going to hold a contest to send an employee to the moon. You send out this email, complete with a PowerPoint and logistical information to your team at 2 a.m. (Note: A version of this story happened at Ragan.)

9. All your best ideas come to you when you’re not at your desk. For example, one of your most successful company events is referred to internally as, “The Toilet Bowl Summit.” (Note: Again, referencing another true-life Ragan story.)

10. It’s really hard for you to finish writing lists, so No. 10 tends to be kinda lame.

Do you have any symptoms you’d like to add? 

This article originally ran on Ragan.

5 ways millennials need math post-college

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Caitlin Mooney

Andy Cohen said it best in his new book, Most Talkative: “my brain has a tendency to go blank when I see an Excel spreadsheet.”

I’ll never forget the horrified look on my math teacher’s face when I jumped up and down in his classroom after he told me I got a 66 on the Math B NYS Regents exam. To him, that was a terrible grade. But to me, I was done. I passed. I earned my advanced regents diploma. Check.

It’s not that I can’t do math. It’s just that I have no interest in it. Numbers don’t speak to me like words do. My senior year of high school I opted to forgo all free periods and lunch because my guidance counselor insisted I take pre calc, but I wasn’t willing to give up journalism, creative writing, contemporary lit, or advertising and design.

Needless to say, I am an excellent example of the stereotype that your brain is either wired for math and sciences, or language and arts. I only had to take one math class to fulfill my bachelor’s degree and upon graduation I thought I’d never have to solve math problems again.

If the foreshadowing in this post isn’t obvious enough, I’ll come out and say it now: as a communications professional, I have not escaped the grips of math.

In entry-level positions, especially at small agencies, you’re somewhat of a glorified intern in the sense that you’re expected to be a doer of all things, a jack of all trades. As a result, you end up learning the ins and outs of the agency and a sampling of everyone’s job (i.e. invaluable experience). While you may be done with the Pythagorean Theorem and graphing calculators, here are five ways math may creep into your life again:

1.  Grad school

If you decide to go to grad school, chances are you’ll have to take the GRE. It’s like taking the SAT all over again except you can’t use a calculator on the math section (at least you couldn’t in 2009). I actually had to reteach myself how to do long division.

2.  Accounting

It’s important to review client budgets and estimates to keep the agency on track for all projects and campaigns. I’ve also learned how to complete payables and general ledgers.

3.  Media buying

Remember that fun equation GRP = reach x frequency? Learn to love it. Also learn how to solve for the CPM, CPP, CPC, CTR, and analyze all of those numbers in an excel spreadsheet. (Are your eyes glazed over yet?)

4.  Living on a budget

If you’re in an entry level position in the communications field, chances are you’ll be living on a budget. To keep yourself organized, you may want to create a spreadsheet to help you solve for x in x = paycheck – (rent + groceries + student loans + car payment + health insurance + happy hour).

5.  Timesheets

OK, so this isn’t too tough, but it’s an adjustment to think about your day numerically and keep track of what you’re doing down to the .25 of an hour.

Do you fit into this stereotype too? What advice do you have for new grads?

Follow Caitlin Mooney on Twitter @caitlinmooney.

Why Cosmo is scarier than Muammar Qaddafi

By Jessica Levco

Confession: I’m pretty lousy at writing headlines.

So, in an effort to improve my skills, our CEO suggested I get a subscription to Cosmopolitan and write a story about what I learned.

At first, I didn’t know if I could handle it.

Me?! Read Cosmo? My mother would be outraged!

I grew up sheltered with city magazines, news magazines, gardening magazines, and my Dad’s Sports Illustrated.

Cosmo in Levco household was banned—along with MTV, Dawson’s Creek, and getting your ears pierced before you turned 18.

But now that I’m adult, I can do whatever I want. That means I can eat Cool Ranch Doritos for breakfast, tattoo my body with dragons and watch marathon re-runs of “16 and Pregnant.” I’ve earned it.

A subscription to Cosmo would be my first step toward adulthood. When the first issue came to my mailbox, I jumped up and down with excitement. Now, I could finally un-lock all the world’s mysteries about men and makeup in just one sitting.

Well, 140 pages later—I was scared. Shitless.

Cosmo told me that everything I was doing with my life was wrong. I wasn’t wearing the right clothes. I wasn’t bringing out my “inner sexy beast.” I wasn’t even washing my face correctly.

The magazine does a brilliant job of preying on the inner-fears of a millennial woman’s 13-year-old self: Do I look fat in these jeans? Why is my hair always so frizzy? I can’t believe she wore that! Why can’t I look like her? Why doesn’t he like me? How can I get him to like me more? I should buy new lip gloss!

Don’t even get me started on the tips and tricks.

So, ladies, why do we keep reading this trash? Aren’t we old enough to know better? And if you do know better, please tell us—what do you enjoy reading?

And no, just for the record, I really don’t think Cosmo is more threatening than M. Qaddafi. I just thought it would be a good headline.

At least Cosmo taught me something.

Finding a millennial mentor—through blogging and tweeting

Recently, @RaganMafia asked our friends at #millennialmafia if they’d like to submit a guest blog post for us.

We heard back from Anna Holcombe, a Chicago blogger who is looking for a job in public relations and social media.

She wrote a post about how the Levi’s millennial-based ad campaign caught her eye. The campaign is driven by research that says millennial women prioritize their independence, instead of following the traditional routes of pursuing a career, marriage and/or motherhood.

Yet, at the same time, millennial women need mentors to help guide them through the choices they face.

When Anna finished her blog post about the campaign, she tweeted it to Gaby Dolceamore, the new blogger for the Levi’s campaign.

Guess what happened next?

Well, not only did Gaby share the post with her audience, but also introduced Anna to two millennial women mentors at Edelman in Chicago. 

How cool is that?

You can read Anna’s blog here.

PS: Would you like to blog for the Mafia? Let us know!

Networking 101: 5 tips for millennials

By Jessica Levco

Networking can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before. But don’t fear—the Millennial Mafia is here to help!

Recently, Ragan Communications and The Playground Theatre joined together for a night of networking, improv and booze. We thought we’d share a few tips from what we learned.

Don’t mingle with other millennials. Save your conversations about Rebecca Black and your iPad 2 for a Friday night with your old college buddies. Now is the time to branch out of your generational comfort zone and talk to people who’ve been in the biz longer than you have. Hey, you might just learn something.

Have a drink, but don’t turn into a Lindsay Lohan. It’s perfectly acceptable to introduce yourself to people with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand. But save your hard-core drinking for the after-after party. Nobody likes a sloppy networker.

Start a conversation. Avoid this opening line: “Hi, my name is so-and-so and I work for ABC company and do XYZ.” That’s a rookie move. Allow the conversation to develop naturally. For starters, why not ask, “How did you hear about tonight’s event?”

Know what you do. When someone asks you what you do, be prepared. Say at least two to three sentences about your job responsibilities. Give the listener the highlights—nobody really likes talking about work, anyway.

Follow up. Assuming you followed rule No. 2, you should be sober enough to compose a quick email or a DM to the people you met. Everybody likes to be remembered.

Ragan and The Playground will be teaming up again for another night like this in the near future. We hope you’ll join us—and remember, bring your business card.

PS: Have you seen Episode 2 from the Millennial Mafia? In this one, we teach Boomer Bill an Internet safety lesson. Some describe it as “homo-erotic.” We describe it as “funny.”