SAMURAI RIDES: CELEBRATING 6 YEARS OF NOMADNESS W/ THE 2017 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER HYBRID [NMDN CONFERENCE]

SAMURAI RIDES: CELEBRATING 6 YEARS OF NOMADNESS W/ THE 2017 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER HYBRID [NMDN CONFERENCE]

THE 2017 TOYOTA HIGHLANDER HYBRID
#DriveToyota #LetsGoPlaces

With summer officially wrapped up and fall now underway it’s that time to kick off another season of Samurai Rides.  This go-around was extra special because this almost felt like reuniting with a family friend. The 2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum Edition is an amazing hybrid SUV that reintroduced me to a family staple. Both my parents and my brother drive Toyotas, Camrys and Avalon’s respectively. So getting a chance to try this latest ride was almost like getting back on the old bike you had. You never really forget how to do it.

As big as the Highlander is it runs incredibly smooth and truthfully speaking, it was a pleasure to be able to spend some time in this vehicle for such a special occasion.  The Nomadness Travel Tribe was kicking off its anniversary weekend with its 3rd annual NMDN Alternative Travel Conference and its 6th Anniversary party in New York City. It’s the biggest weekend of the year for Nomadness so I was glad to have Toyota holding me down.

I remember a time when folks had negative connotations with Hybrids. They all thought they were tiny unattractive toys geared for kids. Jump forward in time and you get a beauty like the Highlander that sits at the top of most experts ratings for overall midsize SUV performance. Consider a quiet ride that can seat 7-8 passengers, delivers 300+ horsepower, excellent mileage and a solid list of standard safety features and you have the makings of a top quality vehicle.   The Highlander is a nice looking SUV without too many over the top bells and whistles. I’m a fan of the grill display that fans out from center to the base of the front.The understated exterior is a real set up for the gorgeous level of interior design you get inside the Highlander. The dark peanut butter leather trimmed with black looked super clean throughout the ride. On top of the great looks, the Highlander is one of the efficiently designed cars I’ve ever seen and it really via the power of simplicity. There is a shelf built into the front dash that runs from center to the end of the dashboard. Once you set your phone to its Bluetooth hands-free setting this is the perfect space to place it. This shelf frees up the center console and drink spaces for more fitting items.

Toyoata Highlander Interior 1.0

On the technological side, you have no shortage of charging ports as Toyota has spread out 5 USB ports so everyone can keep their batteries in good condition.  Your main ride operations display on a 6.1-inch touchscreen. You can also use voice recognition and Siri integration.  You’ll be protected by Toyota’s Safety Sense, which features a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. You can also add a Blu-ray entertainment system, a 360-degree camera, and Driver Easy Speak

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You can also add a Blu-ray entertainment system, a 360-degree camera, and Driver Easy Speak to send your speech through the cars speaker system when the folks in the back seats want to act like they don’t hear you.

You really couldn’t ask for more. As I secured my son in his car seat we took our familiar ride from PA to NY, the level of comfort made a 3-hour trek through rush hour traffic quiet enjoyable.

My eventful weekend started with an intimate gathering at the NYC main office of AirBNB, who have supported as sponsors of NMDN the past 2 years. Seeing the familiar faces and catching up with my fellow Tribe members made a for a great evening.

The next morning I made my way down the Westside Highway to the Centre for Social Innovation, the site of this years NMDN Alt Travel Conference. This years conference tackled a number of important travel issues tied into the current national social and political climate. Panels on Traveling with Disabilities, Self Care and Traveling under Trump were standing room only. All of this climaxed with a 1 on 1 Fireside chat with Nomadness Founder Evita Robinson.

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As a massive surprise to the audience, she premiered for debut TED Talk which is already one of the most viewed talks in the history of the TED Residency program.

After the business of #NMDN2017 was concluded, the Tribe would dance and party the night away celebrating 6 years of groundbreaking travel advancement at Madame X. Top that off with Brunch in Harlem Sunday afternoon and you have an action-packed weekend. My Highlander transportation made the movement back and forth through the boroughs and suburbs of New York City a piece of cake.

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It’s known that I love rides with room. The midsize SUVs have been good to me. Many people market these as family vehicles and technically they fit that need perfectly but don’t be locked into seeing the Highlander as just a pretty soccer mom car. I would scoop this up in a heartbeat for everything from my daily city errands business trip or family travel. I’d highly recommend this ride from Toyota to anyone in the market for something new. Swing by Toyota’s site and check out more on the Highlander Hybrid!

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The Center of Insecurity – Chasing the Dream

The Center of Insecurity – Chasing the Dream

Lawrence Insecure

Insecure has done a great job of highlighting so many of the dynamics between men and women trying to find a common ground in relationships, dating and just overall social interaction. One of the things that I’ve noticed while not really picking sides between the star characters Lawrence and Issa, is that Lawrence’s journey is one that surprisingly I connect to. I say that not in terms of the struggles that he’s having in his relationship with his now former partner but the background elements of him trying to live the life that he wants and that he has been working towards.

The backdrop of this character throughout these 2 completed seasons has been one of unfulfilled potential. We meet this character dealing with unemployment, clearly having a high level of intelligence as he pitches this new potential mobile app but not being able to get enough traction to get things off the ground. In the meantime, his struggles are wearing thin on his partner and on various levels we get a number of hints that perhaps their sex life among other things is not what it should be. These factors lead to overall growing tension between the two of them.

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I can wholeheartedly relate to the experience that Lawrence has been going through on the personal side regarding his professional advancements or at least his attempts to do so. More people than you know are dealing with an economy and a business world that has been in flux for probably the last 7-plus years now. There are more people with high education and higher work experience all vying for the same jobs. As a black man I already knowing what that job hunting process entails and how much higher you have to aim above the crowd, it’s stressful.

It takes a lot to get up and put on that professional face, hold it together throughout the course of the day and then come home and function when you’re not contributing your fair amount to the household situation. So we follow Lawrence as he goes from unemployment to finally bite the bullet and taking a Best Buy opportunity that was presented to him. It’s an ego check as it falls far below his intelligence and experience, but you do what you have to do to provide for your situation.

I connect with this so deeply, I know from personal experience how that feels to have to sit down and look at what you’ve done in the past, what you’ve accomplished, what you know than sit down and have to take a role that realistically you probably could have retained with no more than a high school degree. Again you do what you have to do to bring in that paper regardless of how much your ego takes a hit for it. Let’s just look things over a bit. In the midst of trying to get your paper right, you now find yourself out of your relationship not established in terms of having your own place so you know what happens next? You holla at your homie and you’re dealing with that air mattress struggle. Again I’ve never been in a situation where I separated from someone and ended up in that way but the air mattress struggle is real I’ve been there and when you find yourself in certain spaces of transition and you’re essentially starting from scratch. Building life from the bottom up is a very humbling position to find yourself in.

So as we watch Lawrence deal with these various levels of change some people may see it as him being the butt of a joke, however, your personal experiences will relate to the perspective that you’re going to bring to the situation and for me without touching the way he interacts with Issa, I get the stress, strain and the conflict that he is dealing with internally.

Interestingly enough the story of Insecure seems to present a situation where it isn’t until Lawrence is away from his supportive partner that he starts to make traction in his life professionally. He gets the new job, he gets the place and it makes you wonder was there something within the relationship holding him back

When shows like this hit the scene it is natural for people to start picking sides. The internet is full of Team Issa and Team Lawrence fanatics. People who just like me, connect to these characters in some personal form or fashion and are riding out hoping to see the best for that particular individual as the show progresses. As I said, I’m not on either of these individuals teams because I feel a lot of the decisions they are making in regards to each other and their former relationship have been incredibly destructive and hurtful to themselves.  

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I had this conversation with a friend recently; they are both being incredibly messy single people. But at least on one level of existence, I get where Lawrence is coming from I get the idea of wanting to be something aiming to be something falling short and having constant reminders around you of your shortcomings. I know what it’s like to be a certain age be in a certain place look around you and see others advancing others prospering and you still struggling to get to a place that you know you should be at. It’s not cool to admit the things that I’m talking about but this isn’t something new I’ve been very transparent with my life for years now. But as Insecure continues to grow in popularity I think the show presents real opportunity, to be honest about the lies that we live. As women open up and claim spaces in our society that they have been due for the longest. I think as men we need to start feeling enough comfort to open up about the difficulties that we have we are expected to be stone cold emotionless and just proceed with life like nothing ever affects us and that’s not true that’s not honest and it’s not healthy.

If anything the true level of insecurity comes in our inability, to be honest with ourselves and others that sometimes we’re just not happy with our lives. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s better to acknowledge your feelings and address them than bottle them up and have them possibly explode in the wrong direction or towards the wrong person.

While we await the next chapter of life between Lawrence and Issa in season 3, I do hope that the level of conversation that this show has sparked doesn’t die down. There are so many areas we need to address with other. We need each other more than ever and the first step to that position comes through understands open communication. We’re all insecure about something so why not share and heal together?

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SAMURAI RIDES: NOMADNESS SUMMER BBQ W/ THE 2017 HYUNDAI TUCSON

SAMURAI RIDES: NOMADNESS SUMMER BBQ W/ THE 2017 HYUNDAI TUCSON [NIGHT EDITION]

Hyundai Tucson 2017

Every summer there is an event that I can’t wait to attend. From humble begins on Riis Beach in NY the annual Nomadness BBQ has grown like no ever event thrown by my community. This year the festivities were hosted in the City of Brotherly Love. After 3 years in Atlanta, this return to the North East resulted in our largest crowd ever. Fortunately, moving around Philadelphia would be handled in style as I would be rolling through in the special Night Edition Hyundai Tucson. Since my first time with this crossover SUV I’ve had enjoyable experiences. This combination of loading space, power, and agile handling is great when dealing with the roads out here. Pot holes and construction require a steady eye on the road and quick reflexes, but the Tuscon and I ate those up with ease.

It’s funny just how well I’ve taken to crossover SUVs after 12 years in a full sized Ford Truck. Tucson is one of my favorites with the right balance of SUV toughness and compact agility. Not to say that it handles light on the road, but it definitely doesn’t feel heavy on the road.

Let me hit you all a few of the stats and numbers behind this beauty.

As an overview of the Compact crossover/SUV field, Car and Driver ranked the Eco Tucson 5 out of the Top 10 in the field. Pop the hood of the Night edition and you find  A 175-hp 1.6-liter turbo four, seven-speed automatic with all-wheel drive. In addition to that, the Night Edition adds on 19-inch matte-black Rays wheels, a black-tinted panoramic sunroof, and gloss-black mirrors. Aluminum pedals and a leather steering wheel lace the interior adding to the dark styling on this ride. Color options are limited to white, black, blue and gray. All of the darker shades of course. Hyundai is now it

Hyundai is now in their 2nd year of the Tucson and it looks like things are only getting better. The ideal SUV experience for me is a vehicle that handles my day to day needs without making me feel like I’m driving a tank. The enjoyment features and smooth driving should balance the space and cargo carrying aspects. The Tucson does this really well.

OK @hyundaiusa let’s work this trunk space. 👀 #drivehyundai #cars #rides #hyundaituscon #samurairides

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Even when packed to the roof with drinks for the annual BBQ the Tucson rode excellently while my music played loud, crisp and clear.

Hyundai Inside

The Night edition was supposed to be a limited quantity release so don’t waste time if you’re planning on picking this beauty. It definitely passes the test with me.  More info is available over on the Hyundai USA site too.

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SAMURAI RIDES: FAST PACED SUMMER FUN WITH THE 2017 MAXDA MX-5 MIATA!!!

SAMURAI RIDES: FAST PACED SUMMER FUN WITH THE 2017 MAXDA MX-5 MIATA!!!

Copy of Mazda MX 5

There are few times during the year when I get extra excited for a review ride opportunity. To be perfectly honest with you this particular samurai ride has been in the making sense much earlier in the year. And it almost didn’t happen but I’m glad to say that I got my time to try out Mazda’s incredibly fun sports car the MX-5 Miata. The Mazda MX-5 Miata 2017 edition was an incredible ride and I can’t wait to tell you some of the things that I enjoyed about it. I’m sure when it’s all said and done someone in the mood for a little fun on the road will definitely want to take a look at this vehicle. Once again I was back on the 95 from the city of brotherly love back to Gotham and this summer experience was definitely a highlight of the year.

What’s on deck for today? #summer2017 #mazdamx5 #drivemazda

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Last time I was in the MX-5 it was an early look at the 2016 Miata and that model was a soft top. It had basically the same size.

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The roof came down with a simple flip up on the latch via your own hand and you can go from topless to fully covered without any issue. This time around I had the hardtop version of the MX-5. The big difference in handling here is that going from fully covered to drop top operation simply requires you to engage the power switch. Hold down the switch and the car does the rest as long as you are stationary or at least under 6 miles per hour in motion the vehicle either pulls up or pulls back the hardtop and you’re ready to go.

As I’m sure most of you can tell this ride is not made for excess baggage. There is a modest trunk in the back if you’ve got some moving around to do for the day. If you have a simple travel bag, a carry-on luggage type of bag then you’re good. Outside of that, you’re not going to be moving tons of cargo in this vehicle. And honestly why would you want to? This is definitely a ride meant for you, maybe a partner and a very, very light load. At 6’4 I say that I probably am tapping on the limits of space that this ride is really designed for.

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With that being said I was able to drive with no levels of discomfort. I was able to reach and handle all buttons and knobs. All Miata functions and accessories could be operated without any trouble despite my size. So if I was able to do that, the standard size person should have no trouble utilizing in everything that the MX- 5 has to offer.

MX Inside

On the road handling is incredible. This lightweight speedster really picks up speed in no time and I’ll be perfectly honest, you have to watch that speed when you get on the open road because you cam find yourself hitting 100 miles per hour very easily. We don’t want people messing up there driving record while enjoying this fun sized vehicle. We also know that Mazda takes incredible pride in its craftsmanship and the design of its rides inside and out. You won’t be let down by the combination of luxury and racing design that is fully on display with the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Mazda has continued to put out some of the most beautiful rides on the market and they haven’t it missed a beat with this one either. Dive into the galleries for some gorgeous shots of the MX-5. This is truly a feel good ride. If you’re in the market for something fun, fast and built for special company, then you’ll absolutely love the 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata. #DriveMazda

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Milestone Summer – Family Ties

Milestone Summer – Family Ties

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Already this summer may go down as one of the most eventful periods in my life. It started out with me celebrating the first birthday of my son Max. Not to be outdone, the following weekend I saw my brother become a husband. Witnessing the marriage of my little brother, as his best man, in front of our family was probably one of the most emotional moments of my life. So between that and the one-year celebration of my son, it’s been quite a summer thus far. With that said there’s been a lot of reflection a lot of introspective days just thinking about where I am where my family has come from and where we’re going. Knowing everything that emotionally struck me when I found out I was about to be a father to where I am today has been quite a path traveled.

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Max Turns 1!!!!

With that said there’s been a lot of reflection, a lot of introspective days just thinking about where I am where my family has come from and where we’re going. Knowing everything that emotionally struck me when I found out I was going to be a father to be where I am today is a major step. In conjunction with that seeing where my brother is at has made me so happy and so proud of everything that he has accomplished.

Interestingly enough, the announcement to my parents that I would be expecting a child and the announcement from my brother that his girlfriend had accepted his proposal all happened within the same November week back in 2015. So to have the wedding and Max’s birthday fall within a week of each other was kind of interesting and pretty cool. I say that now as I think back to the same younger brother who I used to play video games with, play ninja tag and get into fights with, to now seeing him as a grown man and myself now as a father is just a testament to the power of family.

#BestMan #BigBrother #MagicalMountainWedding2017

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I have always said that nothing matters more to me and nothing is more important than family. It is a foundation that not only holds me together in some of my weaker moments but is the foundation that I plan on building and raising my son upon. It’s something that I’m still trying to capture in words right now, where I am where the time has gone and yet almost feeling like we are all at a point of new beginnings. I’m in the early stages of life within Parenthood and now my brother is embarking on the journey of marriage. It really is a brand new world. I look forward to what it will mean for him and I look forward to the life that I’m going to craft out for myself and my son.

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SAMURAI RIDES: CELEBRATING LOVE AND FAMILY WITH THE 2017 MAZDA CX-5

SAMURAI RIDES: CELEBRATING LOVE AND FAMILY WITH THE 2017 MAZDA CX-5

Mazda cx 5

This has been quite an eventful summer. The last edition of Samurai Rides featured me celebrating the 1-year birthday of my son. This time around I had the honor of celebrating my brother’s wedding as Best Man.  With so many major events taking place across so many states, I need to have faith in the transportation I use for myself and my family. Fortunately, I was riding in 2017 Mazda CX-5 and let me tell you it took care of me, my son, my parent’s, anyone that needed to move around the event space for that wedding weekend. Mazda had us covered.

The last time I was driving a Mazda CX-5 I was in Atlanta preparing the final details for the Nomadness Summer barbecue so I know just what type of work this vehicle can put in. Fortunately, this time around I didn’t have as much stuff to carry and pick up. There was no food or alcohol runs,  just a few guests and some luggage bags for the festivities. More so than anything I needed to make sure that the ride was comfortable for my son. This was his 1st time him going to upstate New York and I wanted to make sure it was a comfy ride for him going up and back. He slept for most of the time so I take that as his stamp of approval. Up front in the driver’s seat Sirius XM and my USB port kept the tunes steady.

Mazda does a great job of combining convenience, control, and power with race car like design that still has this luxurious touch to its interior. Mazda is well-known for its stellar designing, especially its well-stitched leather interiors.

The weather that weekend was a little unsettled including more rain then I personally would have liked to see at a wedding but we worked around it. I will say that as always Mazda handled perfectly on the road despite the conditions of rain and wind. Nothing was able to mess up a ride. There was more than enough space in the ride and in the trunk. I would say that if you’re really looking for maximum space you probably want to look at the CX 9  but if you’re someone who is pretty modest with the loads that you’re going to be carrying then you’ll do great with the 5.

On the detailed side the Mazda’s crossover SUV currently ranks near the top of the SUV pack via U.S News and World Report. All this power and style will run you about $25K which is an amazing price. Mazda has been knocking it out the park with their recent redesigns. They have figured out how to pack so much into an affordable package and it’s a win/win for the people.

Hop over to Mazda.com for more info for this top on the line Crossover and stay tuned, the next edition of Samurai Rides will be a fun one, trust me.

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SAMURAI RIDES: INTRODUCING THE GENESIS G90 – SUMMERTIME EXCELLENCE

SAMURAI RIDES: INTRODUCING THE GENESIS G90 – SUMMERTIME EXCELLENCE

GENESIS G90 - P2

Samurai Rides is fun. At the heart of this work is the fun of hitting the roads of the U.S in the newest rides. Giving my honest views on the experience to help others make their car buying decisions is something I’ve really come to enjoy. This recent experience is one I’ve had circled on the calendar for a while. The new Genesis G90 brings luxury and power to the forefront. I LOVED this ride. I was fortunate enough to review the initial Genesis while it was still under Hyundai.  Now as its own line, Genesis is reintroducing itself. Let’s take a look at its top model the Genesis G90.

Ugly outside but its a beautiful ride in here. #SamuraiRides #DriveGenesis #GenesisG90

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It was a special time while I experienced the Genesis G90, my son Max was celebrating his 1st birthday so there was a lot of running around to get things in order, but at least my little man was moving about in style. As soon as you enter the Genesis G90 you get the feeling of comfort and space.  Its roomy interior is laced with gorgeous Nappa leather and trimmed with a smooth wood finish. You’ll get all the features you could ask for from your multi-positioned seat adjustments, heated seats, seat memory for both the driver and passengers.

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My key driver needs were more than taken care of with Bluetooth connection for my hands-free phone capabilities, multiple USB ports for my on the road audio pleasure and SiriusXM to keep me tuned into the NBA playoffs.  Funny enough, when I wanted late night silence the sound dampening detail of the Genesis interior made for incredibly peaceful rides.

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From a handling perspective, the Genesis G90 feels and moves a lot lighter than it actually is. With all that power it was great on gas too. Speaking on the road elements of this ride, the safety detail is top-notch.  Many vehicles have Lane Detection tech to alert you when you’re swerving. The Genesis G90 actually has a subtle yet effective LKA, Lane Keep Assist feature that adjusts speed and aids you in pulling back in the lane if you swerve too deep. In addition to that, you get Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, and Driver Alert features. The Genesis G90 is constantly reading the world around you and providing various levels of adjusted reactionary actions to make your travels as safe as possible.

I really had a hard time returning this car. The idea of redefining luxury from such an unexpected source really makes the Genesis stand out. There isn’t a thing you could ask for that the Genesis G90 doesn’t provide.  You can hop over to Genesis dot com to really dive into the bits and bolts of this amazing ride.

Traveling in Style

It’s early for the Genesis and I really look forward to what this new brand has in store for the future as it stakes its claim within the Luxury auto market.

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New Podcast Launch – Who’s Listening EP.00

New Podcast Launch – Who’s Listening EP.00 & EP.01

WhosListening00

Funny how life goes in circles. Years ago I was a pretty solid fixture in the internet radio/podcasting/online streaming space. I co-hosted a Toronto-based online show. I made regular appearances on a number of pretty popular online shows and even on my personal blog I was doing a video blogs very heavy.

Now, to have stepped away from that and then see you that same media blow up with a current surge of podcast activity I won’t lie it’s bittersweet. I think I have a habit of being too far ahead of the curve and several times I’m so far ahead that I missed out on the chance to monetize what it is I’ve already been doing.

With that being said, Facebook over the past week just rolled out a very interesting feature. They announced this back at the tail end of last year and now it’s finally hitting. They announce the audio only feature within Facebook live so if you’re not someone who is camera ready at the moment but has a lot to say, has a voice that needs to be heard or a voice that the people want to hear this is the perfect thing. Obviously, you would do your recordings for the benefit of a live audience at the same time your material is saved which you can direct people back to or share across social media.

This past week I introduced “Who’s Listening”.  Episode 00, the pilot episode. This is me stepping back into the podcast world with this first episode. I spoke about the Yankee captain Derek Jeter having his number retired along with a few Yankee memories. I touched on the NBA playoffs as well. In addition, there was social media talk about virtual reality and “Smart” tech like voice recognition.   The main topic of the show was the  “black women are trash black men or trash” t-shirt fiasco that hit the internet last week. I definitely gave some opinions on that so without further ado drop down and take a listen to the pilot episode of  Who’s Listening.

 

**UPDATED – LISTEN TO THE FIRST OFFICIAL EPISODE 01 HERE**

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My Day Speaking at Kamit Prep Institute in Brooklyn

My Day Speaking at Kamit Prep Institute in BrooklynKamit Preparatory Institute Career

One of the best things you can do in life is to aid the upbringing of the next generation. From education to social interaction, it truly is our greatest duty to put the youth in a position to do things bigger and better than we ever did.  To that end, I recently was invited to speak to the students of Kamit Preparatory Institute in Brooklyn for their first annual Career Day. KPI is split into 2 internal schools housing K through grade 6 in the lower school and grade 7 to 12 in the Upper.  This enabled me to address student across the entire spectrum of the system. It was an amazing opportunity that I really look forward to doing again.  KPICareerDay8

I gave 4 different presentations that day sharing my work as a Social Media Manager. The engagement was high across the broad. The youngest students seemed more curious about me personally than professionally which was amusing. As the age and grade level increased the questions picked up in details and scope.

The oldest students were very intrigued about the business I am in both on the digital/social media side as well as the travel side with my direct work with Nomadness. To that end, I was the one that was surprised to find out just how many of these students had passports. Not only do they have passports but they were very active having traveled to Asia, Europe, Africa and many other places across the globe.  You could tell that there were a number of future tribe members in my presence.

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The key thing with speaking to groups of any size, age or demographic is making a connection. With the overall focus of the day being about Careers, I made it a point to let these young minds know, not to stress. Do not feel that you are expected to know what you want to do with your life right now. Especially for those preparing for college that was a vital point I needed them to understand. At times I think we lay out these expectations for our kids and try to give them a foolproof plan to success. It’s well intended and for earlier generations, it did make sense. Today the world is in flux. It’s ripe with opportunities that venture way outside of the box and we need to make sure our kids feel the support to explore these options.

I look forward to checking up on the students of KPI and hearing great things about them in the future. When my time was done, I quietly made my way toward the exit. Suddenly I was mobbed with hugs from a half-dozen 1 st graders. It was the perfect end to my day. As I watched the kids run off, I couldn’t help but think of my son. Max is turning 1-year-old and time will fly and have him in school before I know it……and I will be there. Let’s be there for our kids now and forever.

Kamit Prep Institute

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NYC Hosts Word of Mouth Marketing Summit – [WOMMA 2017]

NYC Hosts Word of Mouth Marketing Summit – [WOMMA 2017]

womma logo

The New York Times building played host the annual WOMMA Summit this past week. The summit featured speakers from a number of major brands like MGM Grand, Tito’s Vodka, BuzzFeed, Wendy’s and many more.

WOMMA which stands for word-of-mouth-marketing presented two days of panel discussions, informative sessions that dove into various aspects of Social Media communication, content creation and the overall effect of digital activity on society. Many brands spoke about how they craft their respective voices along with the teams and systems that go into creating the content that the consumers see on a daily basis.

The online comedic wit of the Wendy’s brand was center stage for that chat courtesy of their V.P of Media, Ads & Social Brandon Rhoten.

Univision EVP Jessica Rodriguez opened up the Summit speaking on ownership of responsibility within her digital teams and the effects of “influencers”.

They also had a number of sessions that spoke not so much to a specific business purpose but how Society as a whole interacts with social media. As social continues to grow and evolve around us it’s playing a greater role in and having increased influence on day to day life. Topics such as prejudice, discrimination, fake news and more were touched on via author Emanuel Rosen

In addition to that WOMMA also addressed the issues of influencers in a few respective sessions. Kevin Knight of Experticity broke down what actually makes an influencer on various levels of scale, what their responsibilities are and how do they best express and deliver on the message of a respective brand.

It’s very informative to get a look into what larger mainstream businesses are doing and thinking in regards to social media. Learning what their methods are that result in the content that they create and what are the do’s and don’ts are that they apply to their own digital spaces. These things are important to be aware of as many of these brands set the trends that up-and-coming businesses and entrepreneurs tend to follow. Not to mention we see on a daily basis many mainstream bands continue to get social wrong and put themselves in positions where not just are they acting in error but then they are put on full display for the world to see just how out-of-touch they are. Truthfully speaking in today’s climate with social media as established as it is you should know the ramifications of the things you do in our business. Nothing is secret and customer service is now a spectator sport. How you treat your customers is no longer lost within phone calls and snail mail complaint letters.

Nicole Portwood of Tito’s Vodka says it best. “We focus on being as human as much as possible vs. being so product-driven.”

This sentiment does well in summing up the overall tone of the WOMMA Summit. Word of Mouth Marketing essentially is a reminder that no matter how far social media advances it is the social aspect, the direct person to person element that carries the greatest value for businesses to succeed. WOMMA isn’t stopping with the summit either. There are a number of events upcoming via WOMMA to continue the conversation of how our communication is evolving and impacting our business.

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