Face Of Fox 43: Sirece Dugard and Blue Gypsy Bluesfest

I'm really excited to have Fox 43 involved with the Blue Gypsy Bluesfest. They are our newest media sponsor and they are going all out. We have the brand new Face of Fox Sirece Dugard coming out to the event, doing some giveaways and having some fun with us. And she's going to be announcing the event on the Hampton Roads Show as well. Here's an interview with her about her new job and her inspirations.

Since our blues festival is all about charitable giving back to two great charities, Habitat for Humanity South Hampton Roads and the Nachel' Blues Network it was great to find out more about Sirece and the charities she's interested in, as well as some fun stuff about music and BBQ.

What inspired you to become the face of Fox?
I graduated from the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications with a degree in Broadcast Journalism & Communications and a minor in Theatre. The Face of Fox position is all I could ever imagine in my dream job! I knew I never wanted to just report the news, but I wanted to inform people of everything in a very entertaining way and this job gives you the freedom to do just that. I am able to be myself on camera and allow my personality to shine!

Tell people what your job description is as the face of Fox?
As the Face of Fox you can find me at a lot of the events/concerts in the Hampton Roads area where I conduct live interviews, collect video coverage, sign interviews, and encourage the rest of the community to get off their couches and come out to meet me and enjoy the events! I also appear regularly on the Hampton Roads Show and I get to sometimes travel & interview celebrities!! I also record a lot of commercials and promos and you will soon see my face posted in some of our malls. I am truly and literally the FACE of the FOX43 TV Station.

I know you’ve just started, do you have a favorite part about your new job yet?
The most exciting parts about my new career are the flexibilities and opportunities provided to be creative! I get to use my own unique ideas and air them on television and on the internet. I get to suggest a lot of the events I attend and I get to meet and interview some really cool people of prominence! This creates awesome networking for myself and the station, while providing great opportunity for my future.

What are you looking forward the most to in your new position?
I am looking forward to learning, expanding my skills, and taking advantage of the awesome opportunities that will come my way. I am also looking forward to being a positive influence in this community and finding ways to give back.

What were you doing before becoming the face of Fox?
Before I became the Face of Fox, I was a sales agent at Ferguson Enterprises Inc. It is a very commendable company and we were all like a big family in the department in which I worked. They all supported me tremendously throughout the entire course of the competition. They were sad to let me go, but they were elated about my accomplishment!

What kinds of community organizations and groups are near and dear to you and why?
Any type of community organizations that focuses on the betterment and support of our youth today are those that are very dear to me. I have always had a heart for the youth. It seems like each generation becomes exposed to too much too soon and it has affected them in negatives ways tremendously. I desire so much to be an influence to young people; encouraging them to get a good education and pursue their dreams. I admire organizations that take the time to reach out to them. Places that provide facilities and resources for our youth to grow in safe, well-educated environments that open their eyes to the opportunities they have to succeed are places that breed miracles. Our youth must realize that they do not have to succumb to the negative things life brings their way, and they need US to show them the way.

What would you like people to know most about you?
I am a very honest and down-to-earth person. You can talk to me about almost anything and I do not cast judgment on people. I have a very bubbly personality that is mixed with a huge sense of humor which attracts all kinds of people. I love to be personable and engaging and most of all…I LOVE TO ENTERTAIN. I am an aspiring singer and actress and I have a lot of Love in me to go around! lol

What is your favorite BBQ item?
OH MY GOSH... EVERYTHING! LOL! I must say …I love my BBQ Ribs! It’s all about the taste of the sauce and its thickness and the tenderness of the meat! I love BBQ RIBS!

Do you have a favorite blues band if so what?
I actually don’t have a particular favorite blue’s band. My father is actually a drummer and he plays A LOT of blue’s and jazz, so I have heard so many different songs all my life. I just love them all!

What is your favorite charity and why?
My favorite Charity is any College/Children Funding (UNCF,UNICEF), because it takes away excuses from any kid for not going to college. It provides them with a reason to go no matter what situation they come from.
What are you looking forward to most at the Blue Gypsy Bluesfest?
I am certainly looking forward to the great music! I have grown up around blues and jazz so its always lovely to experience the music outside of my home from some of the hottest bands out here. I also look forward to the BBQ!!!!! :)))

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Gaining Momentum: Positive Energy Creates Positive Results

I'm a true believer that positive energy creates positive thoughts, positive thoughts lead to positive ideas, positive ideas produce positive actions and positive actions garner positive results.

That's the operating principal behind Blue Gypsy Bluesfest and my efforts put for this charity event taking place on September 25th at Hunt Club Farm in Virginia Beach to benefit Habitat for Humanity and the Nachel' Blues Network. I've been making calls, sending email and talking about this event to anyone and everyone who would listen and now we have the involvement of many amazing people, businesses and organizations.

And people are talking about it! A friend emailed me the other day and said they heard me mentioned in an interview on the radio last week with Bobby "BlackHat" Walters, one of the musicians performing at the festival was talking about it on the radio!

Blue Gypsy Bluesfest is actually starting to get mentioned on the TV on Fox 43 and on the Radio.

Jim Hicks, Partner and Manager of The Roofing Company and the Remodeling Company is talking about it on his show Hampton Roads Home Pros. This is just one more great story about positive energy mixed with a little social media.

Jim and I had a gazillion friends in common on facebook so when I saw a friend requested from him I said nice to meet you, looks like we have some great friends in common. I'd never have bumped into Jim in the grocery store yet he cracked me up when ever I read his posts on fb and I could tell he had a great mix of humor and integrity in what he does and who he is. When the opportunity to meet him in person came up I made sure to take advantage of it and I wasn't disappointed.

There are so many great people I meet every day through social media and while you can't meet everyone on person, when you meet a person that exudes positive energy it's a good idea to try to get to know them in real time as well as in the Cyber world.

So far, the Cyber world has been instrumental in connecting me with so many of the great people who are involved with this event. I'm thankful for all the friends, networking buddies, and social media folks who are helping out with making this event a reality! Check them out!

Blue Gypsy Bluesfest Sponsors

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From The Archives: A little Inspiration "Remember to Say I Can"

Youtube is crowded with entertaining mindless videos of cats caught on ceiling fans, manatees bumping into aquarium glass, and giant slides that will land you in a kiddie pool of water...but every once in a while you come across a gem that brings tears to your eyes and teaches you real life lessons. This is why social media can have such an amazing impact on our lives.

I used to teach kids team building, leadership development, self-esteem building, goal setting and so much more, all in the guise of summer camp. I had the good fortune to work for an amazing program called ActionQuest. This teen summer program was a 3 week program filled with fun and sun in the Caribbean aboard 50' yachts while scuba diving every day...what more could you ask for?

ActionQuest sounds like a luxury retreat for kids on the outside, but in reality it is an amazing growth experience. Not just for the students, but for the staff members as well. Sometimes I learned as much from the teens as they did from me. I'm sure on day one, many really had no idea what they were in for... Oh they thought it was all about sunbathing, scuba diving and sailing. Along with the cool stuff came all the responsibilities to keep a boat moving. Cleaning and maintaining the boat, cooking meals, trimming sails, checking engine oil, plotting the course, studying for the exams, and so much more made up their daily routines. It's not just a vacation, but a total life experience. Some of these kids had never cooked macaroni and cheese nor cleaned their own toilet before, let alone sailed a boat or dived in the ocean.

So much to learn...so little time. Many came back year after year because they fell in love with the program and it took them outside the every day. Now many of those teens I once worked with have gone on to do amazing things. Some are marine scientists, environmentalists, some travel the world, and climb mountains. One student I had several summers in a row, who was dealing with anger issues, turned his frustrations toward restoring an old sailboat. He pushed his limits toward growth and change and graduated with honors, aspirations and will be going on to a graduate degree working in African nations. It just blows me away when I see many of my "kids' " (Not so much kids any more) status updates on Facebook.

I hope in some small way I took part in that ripple effect that moved them along their journey.

I loved seeing the light bulbs click on. I loved seeing those ah ha moments. I loved seeing them stretch their imagination and discover that boundaries are limitless. If you can dream it you can do it. These were always my mantras on programs like ActionQuest because these were the precepts I lived by alone on the travel road.

When I stopped living a life filled with adventure and working in jobs that motivated kids, I began to get caught up in the everyday. It was easy to forget the lessons I taught. It was easy to slip into a life that accepted limitations. This can happen without thought when you live by rote repetition -- wake-up, make breakfast, go to work, come home, sit on the couch...do it all over again--dreams are easily lost.

It's so easy to find yourself saying, "I can't do this..." "I can't do that..." "I wish I had done..." It becomes easier to feel trapped in a job, or a situation and not be able to see your way out. I know I'm lucky to have experienced what it is like to live my dreams. Thus, it's not a far stretch to recapture that desire. (but it still can be a stretch when mesmerized by the everyday)

When you begin to forget that the limits are as far out as your dreams can reach, when you begin to see the confines of your life contain you, you might be lucky enough to come across a gem like this on youtube. Then you can thank social media for connection you back to the things that really matter...at least that's what I did.

Seeing 2 short minutes can re-align your perspective.

For all those people who say they "can't..." For anyone who has ever had a bad day and let it continue for a year or more. For anyone who has ever quit before reaching their goal. For anyone who is afraid to try new things...you can't miss this short clip.

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Frequently Asked FB Question: How Do You Tag Someone in a Status Update

This is a very remedial blog post for novice facebook users who would like more dynamic interaction with their friends, networking buddies, and old high school friends.

Many people are aware of how you hot link a person in a status update, but since I've had 3 people in the last week ask me how I do it, I decided (In the interest of being on vacation and still wanting to put up a post) that I'd post a quick hot link lesson.

There are many great reasons to use this tagging feature on facebook.

Many people have a lot of updates in their stream and as much as you'd like to believe we are all hanging on every word, it's a good idea if you are going to talk about someone in your status to tag them in the post so they will know about it. Facebook let's you know you've been tagged in a post and then you can respond, laugh or start plotting on your advisory depending on the type of update.

On fan pages this is a great way to draw interest and interaction as well. But you can only tag people in posts, both on fan pages and personal pages whom you are friends with. So if you do want to talk about someone, make em your friend.

When you are typing in your status update simply type the @ symbol. Do not space after it (much like you'd type a twitter handle) and begin typing a name. If you know several Janes, you start to type Jane and you will see a list of your friends with those letters in their name pop up below the status update.

You then select the proper name from the list and a hot link is created in blue. This will than notify your friend that they are tagged in your post.

However facebook has not yet become advanced enough to allow you to do the same thing when commenting on status updates. Hopefully they will see the use of this in the future and comply.

Until then you now have another tool to make your conversations more dynamic on facebook.

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It Takes A Village: To Put Together A Fundraiser

It Takes a Village. I'm putting together a local charity fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity and Natchel Blues Network and it really does take a whole village to put together the event. While I'm planning this "alone" I'm not really alone in the world of Social Media.

Now I know many people think Social Media is the miracle fix for just about everything. You're throwing an event? Put it out on Social Media and people will come! Right? Well, it depends on exactly how you use Social Media.

If you think putting up a fan page and creating an event on facebook will lead to getting volunteers, donors and sponsors you probably aren't quite looking at the big picture. If you think just tweeting out, hey you want to be a sponsor or a volunteer for my event will have people rushing to your door with resounding yes's, well then you are a little naive.

Don't get me wrong, Social Media has been one of the strongest tools I've used to get the word out about the Blue Gypsy Bluesfest and to get Sponsors. I've combed my Social Media contacts to see who has businesses, values and desires that fit with my festival. I've looked for individuals, businesses and groups who may find value in participating. I've then reached out to those people to see if they want to get involved.

It starts with a great idea, I think a lot of people are caught up in the festivities. My enthusiasm and commitment are contagious and every day at least one more person is getting involved with the event at some level . The elements of great music, great food, great fun all provided by local people for local charities are all great catalysts to getting people excited. It's a great way to bring community together and enjoy. It's almost like a good old fashioned block party.

Many of my interactions may start with people through social media, but in order to make an event like this a success you have to be able to take it to the next step, the follow up the actual over the phone and in person interactions that solidify those contacts and create a great combination of people and businesses who have come together to make this event a reality. And the other amazing thing is with each person I talk with I am given 2 or 3 more leads of people who the event may resonate with. If only I could clone myself to make enough phone calls and send enough emails in a day.

But I am thankful for all my friends, my Social Media buddies, and the businesses getting involved with this event to make it a success.

The next few posts I'll talk more in depth about some of those great people.

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From the Archives: 5 Twitter Duh's and No Brainers....

Since it's a hectic month of planning for the Blue Gypsy Bluesfest and I'm sure there's lots that I can tell you about that and it's connection with social media moving it forward, right now....I'm pulling some oldies but goodies from the archives.

Here are just a few things to think about as you get up to speed with your twitter account.

1) If you have multiple twitter accounts (And I mean like 3,4 or more) Don't send the SAME update from all of them....especially if you are using hashtags then there is a long stream of the same update and to be honest you aren't helping yourself, you're looking like spam.

2) Don't use the bird...if you are ready to set up a twitter account, you MUST have a picture, logo, or jpeg of interest on your computer. Even if that is temporary it's better than the birdie! (And if you are one of those above who have multiple accounts and they are ALL birdies...oh how spammy you look! Fastest way to get unfollowed (or never followed in my book)

3) Take a moment to create a bio. Don't make people guess at who you are, if you are truly on twitter to interact and create a community and interact with people then tell them a bit about who you are. twitter doesn't give you room for a book, how hard is it to come up with a couple of lines to sum yourself up so we can see if we want to follow you!

4) If you have a website, a blog, a facebook fan page or any type of contact where people can find out a bit more about who you are and what you do...then put that link in there! It's only going to grow your business, your online presence, and your brand when you link it to your twitter profile, so why wouldn't you take a moment to do it?

5) Take a second to put up a background it's not hard and there are a lot of third party tools out there to help you create a background even twitter itself will at least allow you to customize a bit. Here's a great Mashable post from Ben Parr on HOW TO: Create Custom Twitter Backgrounds.

While each and every one of these five thoughts should illicit a "Duh" from most people, the number of people out there who don't do these 5 things is astounding. When setting up a twitter account ask yourself a few questions. Why are you on twitter? What's your purpose? Why wouldn't these be quick easy ways to increase your impact and grow within the twitter community?

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