Friday, October 21, 2016

Wray Ward did it right for App State advertising students

Everyone in the Appalachian State Advertising Club was excited to be forming a new relationship with Wray Ward Creative Marketing Communications. We had a great report from one of our students; Maidenly Pham had completed a copywriting internship at the agency this summer and glowed when she spoke of the experience. The field trip was scheduled and we departed from our mountain home in Boone to the larger Charlotte metro market.

Rusty Williams, Wray Ward Studio Director, was our gracious host. He offered the agency walk around, gave an overview presentation, then was patient and kind as our students drilled down with questions. Based on Rusty's approachable nature, students engaged well, and came away with a newfound passion for the advertising industry.

University education is necessary for most to launch an advertising career. But the real world, example driven narrative our students received today is mandatory if one wants to comprehend the fast paced, competitive marketplace. We discussed being interactive in meetings; the power of collaboration; how to "sweat" the details when sending applications; the need to be assertive; and the need to engage others without being told to do so.

A sincere thanks also goes out to Jennifer Appleby, who does it all as President, Chief Creative Officer and Owner at Wray Ward. She told our students that you might not always know the path, but exceptional opportunities are just ahead.

It's asking a lot of professionals to interrupt their busy schedules, to coach and encourage emerging/future leaders in the advertising industry. I would like to folks at Wray Ward to know our time together today proved to be exceptional. It was a portal for students to view the future, to dream more deeply, and to face the internal fears that exist. Thanks to #wrayward for being partners who care.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Faculty in Residence is a humbling experience

By academic educator standards, I live a rather odd existence.

Instead of exiting from campus at the end of the workday, I walk deeper into the student community.

I am a Faculty in Residence at Appalachian State University. I have been living in and among students for seven years. My home is a small apartment, embedded within a residence hall on campus.

As FIR, I have a responsibility to integrate with student activities and guide students to explore learning outcomes that are part of our residential housing curriculum. We strive to assist in how students process daily challenges, work among diverse communities, and craft their futures.

It is an awesome process to be part of. To in some way offer perspective that adds value to the journey.

For example, consider last evening's event. I promoted a service project where students crafted birthday cards for Hospitality House, our city's transition organization for the homeless. Over 15 students attended, to put their thoughts and best intentions into the cards. Through our efforts, residents at Hospitality House will have a special moment on their special day.

Next week, I will be working with our Active Living residence life community on another service project. I am a co-founder of Active Living, which has become the university's #1 demand RLC. I am proud to be associated with this group. We explore the mental, physical and emotional aspects of the active lifestyle.

Our service event will require a servant's heart. We will be cleaning a smoking area, picking up butts and grooming the surrounding landscape. When there is a need to serve, these students step forward.

FIR offers insights each day. My paradigms can be adapted. Seeing our society through the lens of emerging young leaders is not always comfortable, but necessary. On quite a few occasions, the students teach the teacher.

My role continues to grow and morph. We are never standing still in serving the student body through university housing. My identity as FIR is cherished and I am grateful for these opportunities.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Amazon self-publishing is #PoweredByIndie

You might call it my hobby, or possibly my portal to self-expression.

Or, my dreams for what might become a new audience, customers who find value in what I choose to share.

That's the magic of Amazon self-publishing. Having gone the route of trying to find a publisher in the past, Amazon presents a freedom that motivates me to write.

When I'm done with a book, it's going to press. There are no "maybe's" or "it's a long shot."

Log into Kindle (digital version) and CreateSpace (on demand paperback), upload your manuscript and cover, and within hours your product is available to a worldwide audience. I take pride in the fact I am self-taught in every aspect of indie publishing. When I wasn't quite talented enough to create a custom designed Adobe wrap around cover, I learned to use a function in Amazon's create cover tool, where I can upload PDF front and back covers designed in Microsoft Publisher. I might be old school, but learning and finding solutions is part of the excitement.

Amazon is celebrating all authors who have the courage to proceed. The event is called #PoweredByIndie, a shout-out to all of us who have embraced the independent author lifestyle.

If you'd like to check out my personal author page, click to There's also an Amazon landing page for aspiring authors, check that out at

Amazon self-publishing is the platform that will unleash the visions and dreams you hold deep inside. Just start typing.

Friday, July 22, 2016

First fiction in 40 years: How haters played a role

There was an interesting turn of events over the past year or so. My "Most Efficient Running Technique" video was doing well, now with over 550,000 views. It's interesting that I have over 1200 "likes" but also 541 haters (at the time of this post).

It's the haters who engage me most. Who attempt to shout me down. To call be derogatory names. The theme among remarks reflected that I was not fast enough to be called a runner. That my technique won't work for fast runners. That since I am not fast, I do not have credibility.

I wrote response comments to most every hater and tried to reason? Can't we validate all runners, anyone what strives to make it to the finish line? Can't endurance sport be inclusive of everyone?

That got me thinking.

About endurance sport, about how endurance sport athletes hold a hierarchy. For those in the front of the pack, then other participants who are perceived as "less" than themselves.

It was also a time when I was thinking about how to author a companion book to "Mind Over Diet."

And how to attempt my first fiction writing in over 40 years.

And how to address a topic that is prevalent in endurance sport. Food addiction and compulsive eating related to performance.

That's when I created my main character, Liliana. Trim, fit, appealing. And one who manipulates others.

Liliana was on top of her game, but then Food came into her life. She wanted to break away. But she could not.

This was not the love affair she had intended. It was not a healthy relationship. She traded her affection for Food, the satiating appeal, but then, the dark remorse that followed.

Call it steamy romance, call it a horror story. But, it is redemptive.  Liliana finds another course.

It's a self publishing project, for Amazon:

The day may never come when haters are no more. But as long as there is life, we can love and encourage others. And that is what I intend to do.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

How to find peace within the storm

I went our walking earlier today. Put on my snow shoes and attempted to trudge across campus. I needed an hour run on the rec center indoor track and then Black Cat (Mex restaurant) for a Burrito.

Got about 2/3 of the way. That's when the wind ripped my nice rain cover off my backpack and carried it far into the distance. Something inside of me gave up and I turned back for the apartment.

I got back indoor and proceeded to knock the snow out of every part of my apparel. I was coated in white, my snow shoes were packed in ice, and that wasn't nice (a small rhyme there).

While I was doing a few meaningless things, my mind started to whirl. I'm master competitor. I have braved the worst in weather conditions. Hey Mark Carroll, are you out there? Remember the year we were at peak elevation at the Rattlesnake Trail 50K in West Virginia and that bad boy storm moved in? Lightning strikes and we hid out in those caves? Or John Barney, how about the time we did that winter storm Huff 50K in Indiana? Our feet were digging post holes as we smashed through the snow.

Those stories are just the start. We did many crazy events, but we never let the conditions dictate the outcome. The key to it all is to embrace Mother Nature, not fight the majesty of her power.

So, I started putting back on all the clothes I had stripped off. Some of it was still damp, but I didn't care. I bundled back up, set the headphones over my balaclava, popped the hood up, and marched back out the door.

This time, I leaned into the fury of the wind. I let it hold my weight and acknowledged the raw power. I let it come into and through me. I said "yes you are, here I am. I wish to become part of you. I'm not here to reject your prowess. You own the day, please allow me to pass through the portal you have created."

I let my muscles hang loose and I took easy, short steps. My feet slipped and the wind drove into me but in that moment, I became part of what nature had created. I was in the middle, accepted by the turmoil around me.

Many times, individuals will tell you they "braved the storm." But, I'll suggest we can't journey into the midst of a storm as brave; instead, we must be humble.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Strength training with the Total Gym

It's a snow day in the North Carolina Mountains. Looking at 12" to 18" of the white stuff in the next couple of days. So what's a prof to do? Thought I'd self-produce a video on my latest strength and fitness routine and share it as part of my "Most Efficient" series.

I'm sold on the Total Gym. This simple piece of equipment makes it easy to get a great upper body strength workout in 15 minutes. This has resonated for me, a better fit than all the exercise stations at the gym. Four major positions with 11 motions. Get 'er done and get the results.

Hope you like the video. I have added extra content on how to control the slant board...that can be a problem with those who have balance problems. It's my goal to encourage everyone to make positive changes and enjoy the health and fitness lifestyle.

I'm one month into my new plan for 2016 and it's going well. I'm starting to get that bright inner light and when I'm at my best, I can be my best when I help and support others.

Well, I better go. There's a pair of snow shoes under the guest bed that need a little workout...

Monday, January 18, 2016

"Most Efficient Weight Loss Technique" video now live on YouTube

What's the plan for 2016? Were you a bit like me, backsliding on the boundaries of good eating? Funneling the fat foods into your gullet over the holidays?

One thing's for certain, there's most always a path back to greatness.

I've done the fat to fit several times, but on those occasions, I had a huge exercise base. Most weeks it was 50 miles running and 200 miles cycling.  But in normal reality, that's not sustainable.

This time around, the focus is on eating first, exercise second. I wanted to support my new plan with a video, so I created another installment in my "Most Efficient" series. If you haven't yet seen my "Most Efficient Running Technique" video, maybe give it a try. The video is to be used in conjunction with "Mind Over Diet" that I published on Amazon in paperback and digital versions.

I won't lie, I probably have as many haters as those who likes that video, but here's the premise of my Most Efficient platform: It's most efficient when you can sustain the plan and activity. Many of us can crash off the weight, but when our healthy patterns break down, we add back the pounds.

There's no fast fix, but there are intelligent choices.

Think about how you can frame your choices as we forge into the new year. It's possible to modify and build a plan that works for you. I'm not here to hold your hand, but rather to show you how to engage your own road map to success.

Let's get serious, have fun and develop our fit and fabulous bodies in 2016!