Kindergartener or senior citizen, entrepreneur or employee, hobbyist or professional, everyone has a story to tell. The question for Rusty Foster is: how do you go about telling that story? As one of the 7% of residents that is born and raised in Loudoun County, and founder of BowTie Strategies, Public Relations Firm, Rusty recognizes that Public Relations is not just a Hail Mary Press Release to salvage a potential disaster. In reality, PR is a major branch of every company young or old, big or small, something he sees as a delicate, yet powerful series of relationships–each worthy of deep respect. “I love helping individuals, nonprofits, or companies tell their story, figuring out what challenges [they face], helping them craft their message and then best utilizing that message to spread into the masses.” And for those looking to get their next big break on TV (or any platform for that matter), Rusty cautions against heuristics and many “publicists,” which can cost companies tons of money with no real returns. His advice for entrepreneurs starting out: Research. Research. And then research some more by “never asking too many questions of real people with [actual] experience.” And as for PR: with the increasing over-dependence on technology and its effect on communication skills today, many “publicists” may only have the ability to type 280 characters. But, with nearly eighteen years of experience and a background in fundraising, Rusty hopes to lead by example and impact the surrounding community one friend at a time. You can learn more about BowTie Strategies’ and the services they offer at: www.bowtiestrategies.com
For most people, bankruptcy is often thought of as a financial Armageddon, set to reverse a lifetime of hard work and worse yet, irreversibly scar their reputation for years to come. Ashley Morgan helped us understand that in reality, bankruptcy (and bankruptcy lawyers) are not as bad as people think. She is one of just a handful of bankruptcy and immigration lawyers in NOVA that are bilingual (fluent in both Spanish and English) and has found education to be the real culprit behind crippling fear: “When people come into my office, I think they’re worried about what I’m going to say, but you don’t have to make a decision right away – a lot of my clients make a decision after they go home and sleep on it. Sometimes months later.” She asserts that if you’re scared about anything, the best way to overcome that fear is to get educated on what your options, rights, and possibilities are for your future. “[A lot of people] think lawyers are all sitting back making lots of money; most of us are small business owners just like everyone else. But you don’t go into law, especially bankruptcy, [to become] a millionaire. You go into helping people.” This passion for helping people was no better illustrated in a story Ashley shared with us regarding a complex immigration case: her client was facing deportation despite being instrumental in cooperating with the government against a cartel gang that would kill him if deported. On top of that, he had a criminal conviction, which meant his resources were even more limited. Having almost no options, Ashley taught herself as much asylum law as possible and prepared extensive documents for the court case. In the end, when all the information was presented, the judge granted relief under a specific code section that had never done before and was only possible because [they] had met an exceptionally high standard. Needless to say, this accomplishment is very rare, but in reflecting on this story Ashley remained as humble as ever: “we didn’t realize in the moment [that the case was special] because when we were going through it, it was [just] something that worked.” You can reach Ashley at: afmorganlaw.com.
Making those decisions when it comes to taking care of aging parents are sensitive subjects. Topics that Justin Roberts of Waltonwood Senior Living Community understands on a personal level. When we heard the story of why he entered this industry, we knew his story needed to be told. His Grandmother was living alone at the time that she suffered a stroke. No longer able to care for herself, the only options seemed to be home and a nursing home. It was then that Justin researched other options and found there was a bridge in between the two. That search led him to George Mason University to get his Master’s degree in Health Systems Management, concentrating in Senior Housing. There’s something really welcoming and caring about Justin when you first meet him. It’s probably the 12 years of experience in his field. Why is he so good at it? One, it’s personal. And two, over the years, he’s worked his way through many of the roles he’s managing today. It gives him the understanding of how to run this community. The ultimate goal? To keep people as independent as possible. Get in touch with Justin at www.waltonwood.com
I heard this when Jim Sisley was telling me about the most rewarding part of what he does at Tryst Gallery. He was telling me about an artist that showed her work for the first time. Of the 3 pieces she showed, all 3 sold. This artist didn’t think one would sell, so when she found out every single one had, she cried. Watching him tell the story, it was almost like seeing a Dad beaming with pride. This is what it’s all about for Jim. Giving artists the opportunity to show their creations and connect with consumers. And having artists who might not have been confident enough to put themselves out there. When I asked him, “Why art?” it made sense. “My mother put us in art lessons – a diversion tactic.” That diversion turned into a lifelong love of art that lead him to opening Tryst Gallery in Leesburg. The goal behind the gallery is to showcase local artists in the NOVA and surrounding regions. Check out the latest shows and events at: trystgallery.com
All thanks to your efforts! At the last event we donated $17,100 to an amazing charity. In one hour. We want to give a huge thank you to the three speakers of the nominated charities for telling your story: Sara Knight of The Sweet Julia Grace Foundation, Jennifer Marshall of This Is My Brave, Inc., and Annemarie Landry of Woodbridge HUGS (Help Us Grow Strong). Each had an amazing story that left many of us torn over who to vote for. So torn, in fact, that this was the closest vote of all the events so far! In the end, members voted and Annemarie Landry of HUGS claimed the $17,100 prize for an incredible cause. It was one of the most exciting endings we’ve ever had. Her story touched many. We know that HUGS will continue the good fight to keep homeless people off the ground and give them the support they need. Elvis was in the building that night and we’re sure he was smiling down on HUGS. To hear the story behind Elvis, visit impactclub.com to watch the event video. Special Announcement: ImpactClub® has officially gone national! It’s happening, folks! Visit impactclub.com to join and learn more if you want to become a member of this amazing club. To current members: Thank you for your commitment to our community. It truly is amazing what a group of like-minded Impact Venture Capitalists can do in such a short period of time. Your voice is so much more powerful than your money. And we continue to get stronger one member at a time. Mark your calendars: The next event will be Monday, May 14 from 6:30pm – 7:30pm at Club Eclipse in Gainesville.
Sure, algorithms are cool. Technology is smart, right? Certain tools are out there that may help your investment & financial planning game. But it doesn’t know that your daughter just totaled her car, or that your mother has fallen ill and she needs your help. Zig Zigler once said, “Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.” At a hospital, there’s a nurse and doctor on staff making sure all the machines are working. Being monitored to make sure you’re getting enough oxygen. In the finance world, there are people that actually care about the financial health of their clients. I sat down with Anne McCabe Triana of Curo Private Wealth to learn some key advice for financial planning and investment management (By the way: Curo means to care for in Latin). The top two takeaways from chatting with Anne? #1 – Don’t make quick, emotional decisions when it comes to finances – those choices can cause bigger problems down the road. #2 – Getting financially fit doesn’t have to suck. Just like setting a goal to get in physical shape, putting together a realistic and actionable plan will produce results. Learn more about wealth management & financial planning at curoprivatewealth.com.
Look good, feel good, right? Turns out, there’s more to plastic surgery than being thinner, having a Kim K. booty, or getting bigger boobs. Underneath that physical appearance, there’s always a mental and emotional motivation. Some people have tried for years to work off a belly or stubborn saddle-bags. Even those folks doing Iron Man marathons have love-handles no exercise will get rid of. And those people are in serious good shape. Others have worked extremely hard and that extra skin won’t tighten itself. So, Dr. David Berman of Berman Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Care Center makes sure patients are doing procedures for the right reasons. For example, it was clear that one woman was perfectly fine with her breasts. And yet, still insisted she wanted to up her cup size. As Dr. Berman dug a little deeper, it turns out the woman’s husband was having an affair with his secretary. Oh Damn. Needless to say, she didn’t get new boobs (I sure hope she got a new man, though). Dr. Berman couldn’t perform the procedure knowing that was why. Taking the time to get to know a patient’s motivation is one of Dr. Berman’s superpowers as a plastic surgeon. He also emphasizes that here’s no magic or quick fix in any of the procedures he performs. It’s a partnership that requires hard work from the patient – eating well, exercising, etc. That SmartLipo will only work as hard as you do. Check out services offered and more on Dr. Berman’s story here: bermancosmeticsurgery.com/
For the record, we would never eat an elephant here at Advice-Givers. They’re too majestic and wonderful. But when it comes to junk drawers, a garage clean-out, or helping that borderline-hoarder aunt…an organization project can seem huge. Like the task of eating an elephant. Lisa Geraci-Rigoni, founder of The Organizing Mentors, recommends taking it one area at a time. And that “area” doesn’t mean the whole kitchen. She means 1 drawer. Focus on that one small piece of “the elephant” clutter. Then, answer 2 simple yes or no questions about items: 1) Do you want it? 2) Do you need it? Lisa also warns folks about avoiding the “Someday Syndrome.” That’s where you pick up an item and think, “Someday it might come in handy,” or “My kids might want this someday…” I hate to break it to you but…your kid probably won’t want your childhood rock collection. And that 7th spatula? 6 is enough. The Organizing Mentors organize spaces for people and help folks learn how to organize on their own. For Lisa, the care and time she puts into each project is all worth it when she sees the relief on clients faces. The positive lifestyle changes she also gets to see? Priceless. Learn more about Lisa and her team at theorganizingmentors.com.
Renting office space is easy. Supplying some simple amenities? Easy enough. Now, connecting businesses with other companies? In a way that might result in new insights, ideas, or partnership opportunities? Not so easy. There are a ton of events and mixers all the time after work. Happy Hours & Networking fiestas all around. But who’s doing that during the work day? Zach Wade of MakeOffices is making it his mission to create a community of collaboration. This collision of the minds is key to business growth. It could potentially change the course of a business’ strategy. With a background in real estate, Zach was always working with people and making deals. Now, he’s in a role where he can help others make deals in the halls of Make Offices locations across the country. How? Zach said it best himself, “We create well thought out spaces, strategically designed to create moments to engage with other people.” So, the secret…is in the space. And how that space is put together to drive connections. It isn’t just conference rooms, tables, & a water-cooler. It’s genuine moments of connection in those conference rooms, at those tables, and around the water-cooler. Learn more about how Zach and MakeOffices is doing this at: makeoffices.com
Who knew? That this is the #1 problem solved by correct landscaping. Terri Aufmuth of Cornerstone Landscaping really knows her stuff. Apparently, drainage issues from the land can cause a host of problems for homeowners. Honestly, when landscaping is the topic, the first thing that comes to mind is plants. And making sure those plants don’t kill each other (yes, plants can do that). But your backyard being a threat to your home’s foundation? With the potential for areas of standing water for bugs and bacteria to grow (gross!)? After sitting down with Terri, I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for outdoor spaces. The work and science behind it is fascinating. And very specific. Each factor that goes into creating a beautiful space is intentional. But, not solely for how it looks. The choices made are based around building a healthy urban forest for the future. Again, it’s not just about plants. With over 20 years of experience and a degree in Horticulture, Terri knows what she’s talking about. Her #1 tip for picking a reliable landscaping company? Make sure to understand that landscaping is not regulated. So be sure to check their credentials. Any Joe-Schmo can slap a magnet on his car and pretend he knows what he’s doing. That magnet doesn’t mean you’ll end up with your dream yard. Learn more about all things landscaping at cornerstonelandscape.com