When You Show Up in Communications, The Benefit is a Meaningful Connection

Photo Credit: Wooden Earth Limited, https://www.woodenearth.com, IG: @woodenearthltd

I have had more conversations in the last six weeks than I’ve had in the previous six months. On the phone, over text, in Zoom rooms and Google Hangouts, on Skype and WhatsApp, and casually from a safe distance of six feet with shop owners, grocery workers, friends, and strangers. I find the depth of these conversations fulfilling both on an intellectual level and an emotional one. And as someone who lives alone, they have become my life force.

When New York City ordered its residents to shelter-in-place, I complied seven weeks ago. Joining the ranks of neighbors at Key Food and Whole Foods, I stocked my pantry shelves with staples and snacks and every conceivable variation of dried goods available. I tested my internet connection to ensure that it was working. I consciously subscribed to streaming media apps, filling my library queue with books to do in my ‘downtime’ after work assignments.

In that first week, it was business as usual. I had “working from home” down pat, and after testing out a few video conferencing tools and their featured options, I felt confident that I would make it for the long haul. And then reality set in. Pre-pandemic, I was a doer, a tourist in my city, a 3-4x a week yogi, I was a subway warrior and road tripper, a budding hiker. I was an avid host entertaining folks with meals and libations and visiting my tribe, who mostly live out of state in California, Connecticut, Italy, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island. Today, like so many others, I am a stay-at-home cat mama, cooking for a party of one, struggling to get on the mat, strolling through the 500 square feet of my living space, and feeling the quarantine fifteen hard.

Tech and discipline aside, I was most concerned about being isolated from my community. I knew that making natural, genuine connections would take more effort, but it was necessary to maintain sanity and perspective. And so I dug in. Through my work with The Brooklyn Soloists, we’ve built a strong community of local entrepreneurs and small business owners, many of whom have become friends. At our first-ever Virtual Town Hall chapter meetings in March and April, twenty-five members joined the call to connect and support one another, a number that mirrors our in-person meetings.

At that moment, I discovered people were starting to show up. Not only at our group meetings but everywhere. Folks with whom I had lost touch reached out, inspiring me to do the same. Friends and family members previously hesitant about video conferencing took the initiative and set them up. Casual acquaintances checked in on Facebook and LinkedIn. My phone was buzzing and ringing off the hook with recognizable numbers (anyone else noticed the lack of robocalls recently?). Even my (snail) mailbox got some love, as cards–the best practice of physical distancing IMHO–accompanied the bills and direct marketing. 

As a communications advocate, this phenomenon brings me more joy than I can articulate. Over the last few years, I had developed cynicism for anyone that casually threw around the word “busy” as an excuse for not being able to connect. However, I believe that we live in a time where communication has never been more accessible. The real unspoken reason folks were disconnecting had more to do with a selfish prioritization of that time. This situation has provided me with a bit of hindsight that maybe it was the exhaustion of the life we were living that played with our perception of time. I’m hopeful that we are all beginning to realize that an overscheduled calendar or a night of binge-watching The Stranger Things is less critical than, say, a casual dinner or, in today’s world, the virtual version of that dinner, with friends or family.

The change has already started. Maybe it’s because we no longer have to commute between meetings, or that we have a better handle on our schedule, or that folks are craving human connection as a respite from a very busy (aka homeschooling centered) family life. Whatever the reason, gratitude for the content-rich conversations with friends, family, and colleagues becomes the norm as we adapt to this new strange world.

I appreciate that you are lowering your guard to let people in, that you are engaging in honest, meaningful conversations about life, health, work, and yes, how to make a sourdough starter


About that sourdough starter, if you need 1:1 guidance through the process check out this course offered by Brooklyn Soloist, Laura Scheck, Teaching Table: Sourdough Bread Baking for Beginners – starting in May 2020. Hope to see you there!

Photo Credit: Wooden Earth Limited, https://www.woodenearth.com, IG: @woodenearthltd


WeWork Debuts All Male Revue, uhm, Board of Directors

Earlier this week it was reported that The We Company, the parent of WeWork, will be going public with an all-male board of directors. I find that troubling, and you should, too.

In their Global Impact Report for 2019, WeWork proclaims that #Women are leading the movement to make an impact on the world: “In the U.S., 44% of senior roles (executives, sr. managers, managers, and sole proprietors) at WeWork member companies are held by women, more than 2x the national average of 21%.”

The same company invested $32M in a funding round for The Wing, a women-only community, and co-working space. And there are several articles toting WeWork’s handful of women working in management positions.

Talking about the impact of women in business is not enough. When a company appoints a diverse Board of Directors, one that equally represented by gender it sends a message to its constituents. It promotes inclusion and acceptance.

Actions speak louder than words.

Selecting qualified women to serve on corporate boards is hardly a challenge, but it is a CHOICE. One that more companies should own up to making.

Living Your Truth: How to Be Brave

Losing your job can be scary, but it can also be the kick in the ass you need to start living your truth. It certainly offered me a newfound perspective.

By the end of a nearly decade-long tenure at AOL, I had amassed almost 20 years of work experience in media and technology. Mind you I wasn’t entirely surprised by the pink slip, it was AOL, after all. But when I think about all the time I spent in those hallowed halls, it’s accompanied by the sad realization that although I can remember the color of the Ploum couch in our marketing huddle, whole chunks of my life are a complete blur.

    • Truth: The last few years leading up to losing my job had been a personal nightmare.
    • Truth: I had no idea what I wanted to do next.
    • Truth: I desperately needed a reset.

Conscientiously taking a break from your career has the potential to reveal the possibilities and unexpected pathways life has to offer. It takes a moment to decide if you can carve out the time without suffering too much financial hardship, and once you do, the only thing you need is enough bravery for a leap of faith.

The faith I had in myself revealed a courageous heart, one strong enough to book a 2-month solo adventure through Southeast Asia. The plan was to discover new and unfamiliar places, specifically Siem Reap, Cambodia; Vietnam; Bali & Java, Indonesia, while reacquainting myself, well, with myself.

It takes a boatload of chutzpah to travel on your own, and, even more, to willingly spend time alone with your thoughts and feelings, absent of everyday distractions and social obligations. My time abroad helped to uncover my childhood dreams and aspirations, to remember who I wanted to be, and to recognize the person I had become.

Every day was a journey and some days were harder than others but it was all possible once I learned these valuable lessons:

    • Look for the beauty in every day. Every Balinese day begins with offerings for the gods in exchange for protection or prosperity. It’s hard to miss the colorful trays on the sidewalks outside storefronts and hotels, temples and waterfalls filled with saffron and jasmine petals, coconut and banana leaves, incense, rice, and sweets.
    • Take things in stride. On every trip, like every project or job, something is bound to go awry. Enchanted by the idea of overnight train travel, I booked a tour in Vietnam on The Reunification Line. Most cars felt like a prison cell block with metal cots, frigid temperatures, and an occasional roach sighting — a far cry from the superliner. Unpleasantries are temporary, an inevitable part of the travel experience that ought not to affect the overall journey.
    • Practice gratitude. Be positive; be thankful. Cambodians are years behind their contemporaries, after suffering unrest and genocide at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime well into the 20th century. Every person I met exhibited poise and respect, warmly welcoming me to their homeland, sharing their stories and circle of friends. Some of my most precious memories were from consciously receiving their kindness with grace.
    • Take the time to listen. Every morning during my yoga retreat I woke to monks chanting in the distance, the wind rustling through bamboo trees. There is a lesson in every moment if you are brave enough to listen carefully: to yourself, to the people around you, to the sounds of nature, even to the silence.
    • Be present in every moment. I spent countless hours exploring the ancient temples and ruins of Angkor Wat, marveling at its architectural magnificence. That first sunrise, I could feel the souls of every being that had come before me as I walked through its passages. When traveling, or working for yourself, as I would find out later, you can experience life at your own pace.

Everything everyone says about time is true, it waits for no one — something we lose sight of in the busy-ness of our lives. Between school, career, and family we acclimate to the life we’re living and sometimes forget to nurture our dreams. Don’t you think it’s about time you rediscover yours?

Photo Credit: Pixabay

The beginning of a powerful narrative

In 2016, after almost a decade of supporting advertising sales communications at AOL, I set off on a new adventure. It started with a two-month sojourn through Southeast Asia and ended with starting my own company, Modern Vintage Ink LLC. Two years later, and I am excited to share that I have fulfilled a lifetime dream of writing for a living.

I had no idea back then that I would have the gumption to go out on my own. I never considered myself suitable for freelancing or supporting a side hustle. Since striking out on my own I have learned that solopreneurship is about much more than exerting aggressive behavior, it’s also about channeling your enterprising skillset. It is about having a passion for what you do and finding ways to use your talent, creative or otherwise to help others with what they cannot.

In my work as a corporate ghostwriter, I work with individuals and small businesses on crafting their thought leadership narrative. Narrative messaging takes many shapes from blogs and articles to advertising and promotional copy, lead generation campaigns, speeches, and in some cases, wedding vows.

The path I have taken these last 18 months has been deeply enriching. I have learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses, areas where I excel and those that require additional support. I have learned that being a generalist affords me the space to activate my curiosity on a variety of topics from robotics to meditation to economic development.

As my business grows, I am enjoying the freedom to pursue projects and clients who are purposeful in their messaging. The one thing I enjoy most about working on my own is relishing in the finished project. Although not always published under my name, I walk away from each assignment feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment for helping my clients articulate and channel their voice.

You never know where your clients may manifest, so I have found that managing and maintaining solid relationships within your network is critical. I believe that if your values and intention align with those who need your help, anything is possible.

For those in need of a ghostwriter, you can review a portfolio of my work here: http://www.andreapreziotti.com.

Email: modernvintageinkllc@gmail.com

What I Learned from Listening to the Program

I occasionally volunteer with an events company that coins themselves as an agent of change. Their core work is in producing live events for organizations that impact change related to women’s rights, political advocacy, social justice, and the arts.

Last night my assignment was at check-in and registration at the Impact & Insights Awards for the Garrison Institute, a retreat center nestled in the hills of Hudson Valley.  Once guests seated for dinner, I had the opportunity to attend the evening as a spectator.

The presentation was a thoughtful and intentional conversation about mindfulness and compassion. The event opened with a 10-minute meditation led by Sharon Salzberg, a well-known practitioner and at each interval of the meal, a celebrated lineup of guests interacted with the attendees. There was a performance from Lisa Fischer, a renowned jazz musician.

Lisa Fischer, @urbanzen @garrisoninstitute – 11/29/17

Followed by a panel discussion with award honorees Eileen Fisher, Rev. angel Kyodo Williams, and Edward Burtynsky on the state of the world and how to bring mindfulness into the conversation, and of course a live auction to raise funds for the Institute.

As a general rule, I don’t carry my cell phone with me as I fulfill my volunteer assignment. I try to be present at this moment, mindful of the space and time.  And although I wish I could share intimate details from the program, there is only one moment that made the most profound impression on my mind, and my heart.

When asked about the state of the world and what one could do on an individual level, Reverend Williams shared:

We should be enriched by resistance not undone by it. 

Creative Leap of Faith

It’s becoming harder to find a place free of distraction to collect my thoughts. And yet it is here: 30,000 feet above sea level, flying through the cloud sphere, toward my latest travel destination. The cabin is quiet and subdued, a blue glow lights the aisle. There’s a welcome peacefulness in the dark making it the perfect space to think. (My Bose noise canceling headphones also help.)

After months of planning, Burning Man is finally here.  I’m filled with excitement to push myself beyond my comfort zones, to immerse myself in the week-long creative centrifuge that is Burning Man. The potentiality of the experience has been equally daunting and overwhelming, especially when you consider the magnanimous effort that is required by each person in attendance. It is not merely a camping trip but an architectural feat: building an amalgamation of homesteads and creating a city that exists in its entirety only to be razed ten days later. Many metaphors come to mind, a reverse creation story is the most prominent. It certainly gives pause to how we live in the ‘default world‘–the moniker Burners refer to the world as we know it while they are on the playa.

In preparation for my time in the desert, I’ve found myself leaning into my yoga practice to contemplate the purposeful intention of this journey. And it’s almost too much, the thinking, so much so that I felt compelled to book an acupuncture session with Dr. Wu. I first met him in 2015 when his treatments eliminated the mind-crushing migraines that plagued most of my adult life. I can’t tell if he actually remembers me by face or name, but we’ve built a rapport nonetheless. An intuitive, he takes the time at the close of each session to remind me how strong I am, how strong I could be if only I could think less and live more. It’s been a recurring lesson this year: learning to love, let go and live in the present moment.

When I think back to my younger, shyer self, I don’t think she would have ever imagined that we could be this brave and adventurous. And so I set an intention to take this creative leap of faith for her, and for me.



The New 4-Letter Word

(1) there’s
(1) a
(2) new four-letter
(3) word in town,
(5) one you should be wary
(8) about adding to your daily vocabulary. you most
(13) likely use it more often than you realize, it is sneaky that way.
(21) and although it’s not as disruptive as say a like or an Uhm, it can cause irreparable damage to your life.
(34) it’s the kind of word, if not used carefully, that can wreak havoc over your existence. its overuse creates disdain in others. its utterance makes you more susceptible to bad habits and ill decisions.
(34) you may find yourself being pulled in all sorts of directions, not all of them familiar or comfortable. sometimes the path will be lonely, and you may find yourself completely unrecognizable at the end.
(21) and what of that person who emerges from the fog after a battle of sheer wits and exhaustion for leading life
(13) without regard for other people’s boundaries, for claiming time as their own?
(8) time belongs to us all, does it not?
(5) Would you consider being honest,
(3) with yourself about
(2) how busy
(1) you
(1) aren’t.

Note: This poem is written in a Fibonacci sequence, logical math and Nature’s numbering system.

Trends in Exploring Music Tourism

Live music tourism in the UK alone is worth $4.6 billion dollars. When you factor in the US and other countries with musical interests, that number evolves into a $2.1 trillion-dollar revenue opportunity. An under maximized opportunity at that, given the opinion of the guest speakers, interviewed at NYTF’s Exploring Music Tourism panel.

Moderated by Mita Carriman, Founder of #Globewanders a global dance music and events firm, NYTF panelists included:

  • Fiona Bloom, Founder of TheBloomEffect.com, an international music marketing agency
  • Geko Jones, Latin Music tastemaker, producer and DJ of Que Bajo Latin music events
  • Justa Lujwangana, Founder of Curious on Tanzania, an experiential travel company
  • Malik Abdul-Rahmaan, Ethnomusicologist, and music producer of “Field Research,” a music series exploring beat sampling from travel destinations, and
  • Jesse Serwer, Editor in Chief of Large-up, a Caribbean music website.

Voices chimed in a discussion-style jam session on everything from understanding a destination’s culture to determining development opportunities to conceptually generating revenue while maintaining authenticity to the music. To kick it off the panelists were asked how they define music tourism, and they unanimously agreed that it is “so much more than a festival.”

Fiona Bloom, Geko Jones, Justa Lujwangana, Jesse Serwer, and Malik Abdul-Rahmaan, Exploring Music Tourism @NYTravFest @Prez13

The session was lively and informative filled with valuable insights and opinion, including:

Rock, steady. Many countries are limited in their idea of money-making genres and focus on mainstream Rock and Pop traditions. It takes patience and dedication to bring them around to realize the full revenue potential that can be generated by extending their musical tastes to include the urban sounds of Hip-Hop, R&B, and Reggae. The key is nurturing authentic relationships with country contacts–cultural attaches and consulates; when they find someone they trust who understands the landscape, the possibilities are limitless.

“The one language that is universal for everyone is music.”
Malik Abdul-Rahmaan

One love. Music is the one constant that emotionally tethers us to each other, cerebrally and culturally.  A traveler’s journey begins with the desire to immerse in the local country flavor, to be authentically present where the music comes alive. The travel experience should mirror that idea.

Coming to America. A member of the audience associated with the Czech Center shared her frustrations with the increased mobility challenges bringing artists to the US under the current administration. Visiting artists must obtain a visa, regardless of their origin country. This process can take up to (6) months and can cost as much as $5K per person. In most cases, the time and cost are unmanageable. If an artist, and even more so for academics, has traveled to one of the 7 banned countries and attempts to enter the US, you are automatically turned away at the border. Any and all social media is actively monitored if there is a statement and/or comment made that can be misinterpreted it has the potential to jeopardize an artist’s opportunity to enter the US.

For your personal discovery, the panelists also shared music recommendations:

  • Angelique Kidjo (Cameroon): Listen
  • Geko Jones (Colombia): Listen
  • Ram (Haiti): Listen
  • Chronixx (Jamaica): Listen
  • Dance Hall Riddims (Jamaica): Listen
  • Field of Research (Malaysia): Listen
  • Diamond Platnumz featuring Ne-Yo (Tanzania): Listen
  • Koku Gonza (Tanzania): Listen
  • The Zombies (UK): Listen
  • Sister Nancy (US): Listen
  • Tune-In Radio Platform for Discovery: Listen

This post originally published to Medium on 4/22/17.

NY TravFest: The People You Meet

Sunday’s NY Travel Fest sessions were held at Hostelling International New York, a premier hostel, and one of the largest in the Americas. The landmark building located on the Upper West Side is equidistant from Central Park and the East River has a colorful history. In all the travels I’ve taken none of them have included accommodations in a hostel. HI New York layout and design blew me away, it is one part recreation center, one part dormitory, and for families traveling together, there’s a penthouse apartment for optimal privacy.

Today I attended sessions on Travel as a Personal Journey, Visual Storytelling, and Volunteer Tourism. The lunch banquet featured a selection of rice and beans, salad and barbecue chicken served outside on the patio. It was a warm and day — the perfect temperature to revel in a Taiko Drum Performance and Workshop by NY Taiko Aiko Kai sponsored by the City of Tokyo Tourism, and a dance performance from Curious on Tanzania.

I met Blaire Masseroni, a fellow Italian, and traveler. Originally from Hanover, PA, home of the famous Snyder pretzels, Blaire combines her love of fitness with travel. Her specialty is teaching women how to harness their own strength, both physical and emotional while traveling abroad.

While enjoying the sake tasting provided by Explore Tokyo, I met Jeorgina Williams, publisher of NerdDNA, an online resource that provides fundamental tools for efficient sustainable living. Jeorgina spends half the year working, and the other half traveling the world. She explains that by implementing sustainable living and conscious spending she’s able to bank enough money to pay for her travels. Her personal mantra explains it all: collect memories, not things.

Juania Owens, one of NYTF’s speakers was also enjoying the sake tasting joined by her friend Brian, a math teacher from Long Island. As founder of Amazing Perspective, a storytelling platform that examines the ideas and experiences using positive psychology, Juania was on hand to present a session on curated storytelling.

At the Visual Storytelling session, I met Matthew Schechter from NYC & Co. Tourism Group. Matt recently moved back to the East Coast from San Diego where he managed sales for the San Diego Tourism Authority. I also chatted with Michael Fox, executive producer for The Beach, a video production company, on the value of creating thought leadership content.

Sierra Brown is an account executive for DCI, the leading experts in marketing places. Sierra previously worked with the Queens Economic Development Corporation and we talked shop about local tourism, and how to create compelling content for niche audiences.

At the close of the day, I had the pleasure of meeting the wizard behind the NYTF curtain Roni Weiss, and his publicist partner in crime Natasha Linton, thanking them for the thoughtful curation of the weekend activities. Roni and his team produce the New York Travel Festival which brings together tech-savvy, immersive travelers of all stripes: industry, consumers, and media.

every day is a journey

Can you imagine traveling for a living? Or at least writing/shooting pictures for a living while traveling (or vice versa)? It’s something I’ve heard other people succeed at doing but haven’t tried it myself.

A colleague recommended I check out the New York Travel Festival this weekend. It’s an event designed for travel industry professionals and those aspiring to work in the travel sector. The two-day conference includes presentations, workshops, cultural performances, and networking events. I plan to include posts about the event here.

I have been in stealth mode the last few months putting to use all the skills I’ve learned over the years to help myself launch my own business. Folks warned me that it would be exciting and scary, exhilarating and at times, daunting. And although it has been (and continues to be), a challenge unlike anything I’ve done before, I’m enjoying learning more about myself each day, even more so now that I am accountable to myself as client and manager.


These life-changing moments are also liberating, freeing myself from the expectations of others and allowing me to be, well, me.