All-“American” Play at Broward Center Brings Back Memories and Creates New Ones

IDIOT 06 5x7A great song can transport you back to where you were and who you were when you first loved it.

It will be a surreal, rock ‘n roll moment to sit in the Broward Center of the Performing Arts (a Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District cultural partner) this week, look around and see how many people are remembering where they were, when rock band Green Day’s melodies fill the room.

I anticipate that the March 25–April 6 run of “American Idiot,” a two-time Tony Award®-winning hit musical, at the Broward Center will be fantastic for just that reason. In 1998, when the songs were on the airwaves, I was at University of Miami, a college student, figuring out that PR was my calling. Sixteen years seems like a long time until you start looking back. Then you realize how fast it all flies (and how much you’re starting to sound like your parents now. Eek!).


The Broward Center is making the most of this stroll down memory lane with a special event promotion. Those who purchase a ticket to “American Idiot” can present their ticket stub at America’s Backyard or Stache – two of Downtown Fort Lauderdale’s most popular hot spots – after the show. There, they will have their cover charge waived, and receive a free drink (choice of wine, beer or cocktail) – an added value of at least $20. Package participants must be 21 years of age or older to redeem the offer.

When I go see “American Idiot,” I plan to dress up, rock out, and enjoy the evening with friends – just like it’s 1998 – because, sometimes, creating new memories is way more fun than recalling old ones. Let’s face it: Our hairstyles, clothes and cars have gotten much better!

How to Make Friends and Influence People – in PR

PR“Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got …”

Remember the theme song from the sitcom, “Cheers”? OK, we may be dating ourselves, but that opening line sums up what it takes to succeed in any industry, including PR. Despite our best efforts as professionals, there remains the perception that PR is a career that only requires a winning smile, a great wardrobe and an ability to throw a great party.

While having those characteristics won’t hurt, in today’s competitive working world, PR and marketing professionals have to possess the same business acumen, strategic planning ability, team-building skills and financial wherewithal as their engineering, business, operations and IT counterparts – and then some.

If you want to make friends and influence people in PR, the team at Durée & Company suggests you also have the following:

Skill # 1: Soft Skills

Are you the kind of person who likes to talk to others, lead teams and change minds with grace? At Durée & Company, we spend a good part of our day listening and presenting, re-working ideas, selling concepts and managing expectations. It’s an art and a skill to get others to buy into your vision, while feeling like they were part of the process.

Skill #2: Charming Personality

The team at Durée & Company works daily to make the people we work with feel special, important and unique because, well, they are. Whether it’s an editor on deadline or a client with a new product, we are charming. To do this, we are stylish (so as not to distract them with our crazy fashions); we are attentive (their needs trump all others); and we are considerate (what’s priority to them is priority to us). Rather than say “no,” we compromise. Rather than get snippy, we take a coffee break. We also smile a lot, so that early reference to having a great smile is no joke. An unhappy PR person is sort of strange, don’t you think?

Skill #3: Organization

The epitome of a successful PR person is his or her ability to keep it all straight. One team member at Durée & Company handles no less than 10 projects in one day. The morning may begin with pitching a story idea, following up on the logistics of a grand opening, meeting a news crew and joining an organizational meeting for lunch. In the afternoon, coordinating a new pitch, a client phone conference, prepping for a presentation and drafting a news release may be on the schedule. Sound crazy? Yep. So be organized or stay home.

Skill #4: Computer Skills

You need to know how to type. There is no way to get around this. Our team sends emails, writes press releases and blog posts, proposals, advisories, letters to the editor, web copy, media advisories, white papers, award nominations, and more. Knowing your way around Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, and Microsoft Word are required. It can’t hurt to brush up on programs such as InCopy, Quark, Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, and Web creation programs, as you might be called upon to design the thing you just wrote.

Skill #5: Communication Skills

Place yourself in these scenarios and imagine your success:

  • A client is ill and can’t make the TV appearance. They ask to you fill in because you know the information as well as they do. You’re on camera in 5-4-3-2-1.
  • A new client wants to be sold on your idea for their new company PR campaign in person. Twelve of her top advisors are sitting on the presentation. Go.
  • A news reporter for a national magazine is on deadline and needs a quote for a story about your client. Start talking.

If any of that gave you the sweats, you might want to consider a different career.

At Durée & Company, this is our crazy, spontaneous, yet well-planned, non-stop, communicative world. We make friends and influence people in new and creative ways. Joining our ranks takes everything you’ve got, believe it or not.

Get Ready to Get Your Walk On May 4

WLM-Madd-Dash-LogosThere is absolutely no better place for a 5K run/walk than South Florida. We’ve been to enough to know that they are exhilarating, and that most support a good cause.

On March 5, we got a taste of that excitement at the Ultimate Software kickoff party for the WALK Like MADD & MADD Dash Fort Lauderdale 5K, coming up on May 4. That evening, we enjoyed food, mocktails by LaCroix Water, a silent auction and a raffle, plus lots of connecting and networking, as teams prepped for the big event.

This year, MADD Broward & Palm Beach has a goal to raise more money than ever to increase awareness of drunk driving. With less than two months to go, leading the charge is Event Chair Heather Geronemus, whose father’s life was taken by a drunk driver in 2009. Heather’s team has raised the most money to date, but she hopes everyone involved will beat or match her lead, so no one ever has to endure what her family did with the needless loss of its beloved family member.

It’s hard to believe an issue so serious and sobering can be tied to events that are so full of life. Running/walking a 5K in South Florida means watching the sky turn brilliant shades of pink and blue, as you share the experience with team members and friends. It means exercising early in the morning, so you can celebrate the rest of the day reveling in your accomplishment. And it means making your community a bit safer, more neighborly and more responsible for everyone.

Join us! There’s still time to register, raise money and start training …

What: WALK Like MADD & MADD Dash Fort Lauderdale 5K

When: May 4, 2014; 7:30 a.m.

Where: Huizenga Park, 32 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. The race will take place along Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk.

Visit or