Being invited to speak on strategic communications to the Irish Ambassadors from around the world at their annual conference in Dublin was a great honor. And, as a delegate to the Global Irish Forum in Dublin along with CEOs of Irish descent from around the world, having an opportunity to offer widely accepted strategic communications recommendations for Ireland’s way forward toward new prosperity was a unique and rewarding experience.
Here in the U.S., I was bowled over by the inspiring Channing Phillips at the first LUNGevity Foundation’s Breathe Deep Nashville walk. Standing next to race car icon Sterling Marlin, Phillips, a non-smoker suffering from lung cancer, talked about her bike-athons with her oncologist. In fact, she, often bikes to her treatments! She and so many others with lung cancer have reason to hope because of the cutting edge research being funded by LUNGevity Foundation for early detection and targeted therapies.
2011 was a banner year for SDI’s placement of pro bono public service advertisements for our clients in major publications including Time Magazine, Readers Digest, AARP, Scientific American, Cooking Light, Southern Living, Men’s Health and the New York Observer.
At the MLK Jr. Memorial Dedication, I will never forget the poignant backstage reunion of those who shared such historic experiences—broadcast journalist Dan Rather, who covered the civil rights movement; Reverend Dr. Leroy Lowery; Marian Wright Edelman; Representative John Lewis; Reverend Jesse Jackson; Ambassador Andrew Young and Julian Bond.
And as our nation continues to be at war, we valued the opportunity to work with the Department of Defense’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to tell the stories of the ways, large and small, that our nation’s employers support their Guard and Reserve employees and families.
I met the CEO of CEEQIT for the first time, and came away convinced that his new product, Clarvoynt, was like Google on steroids…instantly searching massive corporate and government databases containing petabytes, that’s right, petabytes, of information. That’s like finding the keys to the world of lost information.
I also learned that when you have a procedure that requires anesthesia, you may not be getting anesthesia from an anesthesiologist. Courtesy of client NBCRNA, I now know that 40,000 plus nurse anesthetists provide much of the anesthesia services in the country, and that they have a sense of humor. For example, one often visited list serve for the profession is called old gas passers.
Lisa Miller, Vice President
Lots of magical moments this year from producing the MLK Jr. Memorial Dedication (twice!), to managing the largest conference for women in the military and the last Fannie Mae Homeless Walk.
And what I remember most is each and every colleague who arrived to help the events team at 4 a.m., in 30-degree weather, with a smile on their face and a spring in their step. SDI is a total team!
Kenneth W. Fitzgerald, Vice President
I’m remembering my visit to Walter Reed Medical Center for the last NASCAR event at the facility. I’m continually inspired by the courage and “can do” spirit of the wounded warriors in recovery. I’m also remembering our launch of the SOS Children’s Villages Other Mother campaign, and the stories of the men and women who joyfully mentor and raise children in the absence of a biological mother.
On a personal level, I got to take my daughter to college, for her first year away from home.
SDI helped Giant Food celebrate its 75th anniversary over the course of 2011. Giant began as a family business, and experiencing the reunion of family members, former employees and many people across the region who Giant has helped for more than 75 years was very special. As was the special partnership we initiated between Giant Food and the USO of Metropolitan Washington to support military families across our region that raised nearly 10,000 pounds of food for a new food pantry at Fort Belvoir and $108,000 to support USO-Metro programs!
As DCoE blog editor on SDI’s strategic communications team, I feature posts that share DCoE’s extensive resources, personal stories of service members, veterans and families, and topical news on psychological health and traumatic brain injury concerns. All of our hard work with the blog was recognized in 2011—the blog was the most-visited page on the DCoE website! It’s been a rewarding year serving our military men and women as well as the individuals who support them.
While managing the Joint Women’s Leadership Symposium Conference, I loved seeing a huge room full of military women in uniform coming together to celebrate their great strides in a male-dominated field.
This was a great year for me landing national coverage for so many of our clients, including Foundation Fighting Blindness on the New York Times’ Consults blog, Patient Voices series and Well blog.
Writing for DCoE, I learned of the unique ways our military heroes cope with psychological concerns. It’s also how I came to meet Tuesday, a service dog trained to support his loving owner, a former Army captain with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Together, they travel the country bringing hope to other veterans with PTSD. Presenting their story of challenge, trust, respect, mutual dependence and love between a man and his dog was a true privilege and an unforgettable moment.
The U.S. Army is 236 years old, and yet it has no museum to tell its story. I remember the day SDI joined with the Army Historical Foundation to announce and promote their 2011 Army Commemorative Coins campaign, to raise over $3 million towards the construction of the National Museum of the U.S. Army.
And, as a privilege of working on the SDI team promoting the National Museum of the Marine Corps, I remember touring the Battle of Belleau Wood immersion exhibit—by far—the most visceral experience I have ever had in a museum.
As I am an Iraq veteran, nothing was more satisfying this year than connecting Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) with Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends.” David McGinnis, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, detailed how ESGR resources can benefit Guard and Reserve members who balance their civilian jobs and duties to serve our country.
It was great for me to launch the online DCoE News Room, transitioning from a print format to a more flexible online format. DCoE can now distribute news to more than 9,000 service members, veterans, military families and providers—in real time!
I have a great memory of participating in a brainstorming session with the fabulous co-chairs of the upcoming “An Evening in Monte-Carlo & La Grande Fête,” benefiting the Legacy of Women in the Arts Endowment for the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
I’m remembering being a part of Homes for Our Troops’ 100th and 101st home launches. I met two amputee war heroes, Marine Sgt. Kenny Lyon and Army Sgt. Jude Recendez. Lyon’s home was built in just four days! Recendez decided to surprise his wife with the wedding she always dreamed of on the day they accepted their new home. Both these veterans taught me a lot about humility, acceptance and passion for life.
I remember writing a DCoE blog post with Diana Veseth-Nelson, a military spouse who had coped with her husband’s post-traumatic stress disorder after he returned from a particularly intense experience in Iraq, and how helpful her tips were to other military wives.
Playing a role in helping dedicate the MLK Jr. Memorial was an experience I’ll never forget. As a newer employee, I grew to respect my colleagues as we all helped each other in many different ways. And in one weekend, I had the privilege of being in the presence of the King family, Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, Tommy Hilfiger and so many others!
I’m remembering the overwhelming support for The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s Art for Wounded Warriors, which collects children’s artwork and places it in hospitals and recovery facilities across the country. It received pickup by newspapers large and small from coast to coast, a parent’s magazine blog, Kid Scoop and more.
I’m remembering Maya Angelou read the poem she wrote for the MLK Jr. Memorial Dedication ceremony.
I am proudest of our social media work for DCoE, which led to the center winning back-to-back awards for its social media excellence.
I spent the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the Air Force Memorial, during the final leg of the “Patriots and Heroes Pacific-to-Potomac Relay.” I will never forget the booming noise of more than 70 Patriot Guard Riders coming up the road with the Code of Support … one of those was Susan Davis on the back of Colby Miller’s Harley Davidson! The ceremony at the memorial was powerful and poignant. What a great way to honor this day.