I recently had the pleasure of speaking at a charity event hosted by the National Women’s In Network to raise funds for the Westchester Women’s Resource Center. It was a spectacular evening in Chappaqua, New York, where women of all different backgrounds met to network and share information. There were approximately 70 people in attendance. The venue, The Kittle House Inn (accommodating guests including Bill and Hillary Clinton) was the perfect choice; a fine restaurant in an elegant setting.
I was one of three speakers that night. The first speaker, Laura Spadafino, principal, Search Engine Academy, NY Metro, talked about the do’s and don’ts of website marketing and the best practices for driving traffic to your website (including Search Engine Optimization and Google AdWords). Laura primed the group for my discussion on PR 2.0, peer to peer communication and how to help others in web communities by offering meaningful information. I got some great feedback from the audience…everything from, “I learned so much about what PR really is and how to use social media tools to engage,” to “That went right over my head.” The latter comment tells me I have a lot more educating to do on the subject.
Overall it was a memorable night, but for me, the night became a night that I will never forget when the third speaker, Ann Ellsworth, executive director, Putnam/N. Westchester Women’s Resource Center spoke to the group. Ann discussed her background and role with the organization and gave us a glimpse into the traumatic life of women and children who are abused and in desperate need of help. Suddenly, driving traffic to websites and PR 2.0 seemed insignificant. Ann’s talk was truly powerful and reminded me that there are so people in need of our help, more than we can even imagine.
I love my career and how I spend time participating in web communities. I like to think that I help people every day by answering questions and providing helpful information. But, I don’t ever want to lose sight of the fact that there are people who need help (and they don’t have access to Web communities and the Internet). I hope that we can all take a moment to help each other, both online and in person too.