A Chance Meeting with author Walter Mosley

walter mosley photo by keith spiroThe best thing I did the other night was to decide to join Malia Lazu at Emerson’s Paramont theater Emerson Paramont theatre photo by keith spiro for an intimate book reading and signing by Walter Mosley. Future Boston Alliance co-organized the event as well as Mosley’s eleven day “Obsessive Residency”  with ArtsEmerson. I knew Malia as co-founder of Future Boston Alliance but I came to also learn about her long standing friendship with Walter Mosley. Author of over 40 books, he has won awards including a Grammy and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  Easy to see why! We learned first hand that his parents read to him as a kid, that he began drawing incessantly at age twelve – and hasn’t stopped, and that he writes something every day. When asked – he stated “a writer, writes something.” All the time. They write.
Walter had been in residence at Emerson College most of the week and when he talked about Interrogating Whiteness, he had over 200 people in the audience with the discussion spilling out onto social media for days.

I attended the more mundane evening launch of his new book The Graphomaniac’s Primer – A semi surrealist memoir.  The evening was anything but mundane. The editor didn’t like Walter’s choice of front cover, but he loved the back cover and in our fresh off the press, evening before the official release edition of the memoir  – what was the back final page is now also  – the front cover. This is the book that Walter Mosley calls “The literary home shopping network.”

Adrian Walker & Walter Mosley photo by keith spiro

Another interesting part of listening in on this intimate  conversation he was having with Boston Globe Columnist Adrian Walker and us, was watching unfold, the path of enlightenment as he discovered that he was a graphomaniac.

walter mosley photo by keith spiro

a contemplative moment by author Walter Mosley as he realizes he is a graphomaniac.

The revelation came somewhere in the middle of an overgrown letter O but it also might have been during the escape of the letter S from its assigned space while he wrestled to push it back into line.  You really needed to be there to watch the story unfold in a most amazing way.

walter mosley photo by keith spiro
If you weren’t, grab a copy of the book and get someone who was there to read it to you!  Walter said we were the first to see and hold it in our hands, and so far,  I haven’t seen it listed on Amazon or Barnes &  Noble nor on its publishers website. So keep an eye on Black Classic Press and watch for its availability. You can see my autographed copy but I’ll have to read it to you. It’s not available for loan.
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MCLE seminar – Leveraging Social Media

As faculty for the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) program, Building an Online Presence for Small Firm & Solo Practitioners

I presented a session with Jared Correia, Esq. entitled:

Leveraging Social Media for Competitive Advantage
Attendees learned about the power of social media and how to safely deploy it as a tool in developing both a book of business clients as well as ambassadors for their practice. Jared and I both firmly believe that Digital online marketing begins here.

Here are the takeaways:

Ethics

-Be wary of communications with potential clients, especially via the web, particularly with respect to real-time communication methods. Before getting into a more detailed conversation: (1) process the client through an official firm channel, e.g.–website inquiry form with click-through disclaimer; and, (2) run a conflict check. If you decide not to sign a client, send a non-engagement letter.

-Don’t offer false or misleading information, e.g.–

-use ‘we’ or ‘us’, when you are a solo lawyer

-refer to law offices, when you only have one office

-guarantee results

-compare yourself to other lawyers

-omit material facts

 

General Discussion/ Takeaways

-The Value/Importance of Content Marketing/ powerful Word of Mouth tool

-The Value/Importance of Consistency/ be a beacon of consistency

-The Value/Importance of Authenticity on the Social Web/ you are what you publish

-The Value/Importance of Referral Marketing/ create cheerleaders & ambassadors

-The Value/Importance of Statistics in Legal Marketing /would your mother be proud of you?

If you are a member of MCLE, the session was recorded and will be available for viewing for the next twelve months. If you need legal based guidance, you can contact Jared Correia at jared@masslomap.org

If you’d like strategic marketing support, please contact me here.

Play4TheCure Day in Photos Keith Spiro

Play4TheCure New Hampshire

New Hampshire Youth Lacrosse Association Play4TheCure

New Hampshire Youth Lacrosse Association Play4TheCure

 http://keithspirophoto.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Play4TheCure-New-Hampshire/G000084evEwpr_qY/I0000UW80feJIqkk

 

One of the more gratifying assignments has been working with The National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) and their signature fundraising

program #Play4TheCure. New Hampshire with its first in the nation primary was also the first state to sign up as an entire sport league to Play4TheCure. The New Hampshire Youth Lacrosse Association (NHYLA) recently dedicated their Annual #Lacrosse Festival to raising awareness and funds for cancer research. 6000 students, 300 teams two days of lacrosse

United States Senator Kelly Ayotte sent an awesome letter of support to the organizers which was read to the Senior Staff of The New Hampshire Youth Lacrosse Association and members of the teams that were awarded the Best Sportsmanship award.

The Boston & Maine Connection – Running Away from a Cure

This is a transcription of the original article published in The CRYER on June 1, 2015. You can see the original published article here.

The Boston & Maine Connection – Running Away from a Cure?
Shocking news to many of us, but not to the scientific community, is the future outcome of the growing gap of funded research. Recent breakthroughs to slowing terrible diseases are often the result of ten to twenty or more years of research. The breakthroughs we see today, exist because our parents generation invested in pure research. Our government in the 1980’s & 90’s saw to it that the National Institute of Health gave out significant grants for research to the nation’s colleges to insure todays breakthroughs in gene sequencing. The genome has led the way to precision medicine and precision or personal medicine is a hot topic in Boston Biotech these days. Xconomy covers this topic extensively.Noubar Afarian Flagship Ventures I learned these things at the National Press Club in Washington DC last month, where Dr. Fred Alt of Boston Children’s Hospital and a Howard Hughes Medical institute Investigator as well as a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, was being honored for his lifelong work.

Dr. Alt was in Washington DC to receive the prestigious Szent-Gyorgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research from the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR). This prize was named for 1937 Nobel Laureate Albert Szent-Gyorgyi of Vitamin C fame.  United States Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts was the keynote speaker. Both Dr. Alt and Senator Markey shared the theme that was echoed by many of the research scientists there to honor one of their own.  Our current medical breakthroughs are the result of investment in the research, twenty and more years ago, of earlier generations of scientists doing pure science.

These venues allowed for accidental discoveries that led to more focused breakthroughs in treatment of some of humankinds most feared diseases. Today, however, with significant curtailment of federal funding and the introduction of Venture Capitalist investments focused on more precise commercial results means a growing gap between Return on Investment (ROI) focused research and any chance of random discoveries to help the next and much, much smaller generation of researchers.

DSC_8938          I asked Dr. Alt about his biggest concerns for the future and his answer was as direct as it was concerning. With NIH cuts to school research labs we have all but eliminated jobs for Post Doc Researchers in labs. Potential future scientists are driven away from research right out of the starting block.  Without funding, Post Doc researchers can’t afford to stay in the field. No research. No funding. No future discoveries.

The popular campaigns for any specific human cancer of interest (breast, lung, prostrate, etc.) is really Old School when genome breakthroughs in places like Broad Institute in Cambridge Massachusetts are beginning to allow for investigations of the source of, rather than the manifestation of, a person’s disease, the metastasis of which is the real killer. Precision medicine is a new, growing and exciting frontier for health at the intersection of technology and personal, precision medicine.

I have taken an interest in the work of David Bjork and the NFCR. Their rallying cry is the purple ribbon, for all cancers because they know that funding pure research is the best thing we can do to put the next generation into the laboratory. Small grants of as little as $50,000 can provide a one year guarantee of employment for a Post Doc Candidate in a promising path of research. In the past forty years, the NFCR has distributed over $300 Million dollar to researchers all over the United States. New Hampshire, noted for First in the Nation primaries has now added another first with the New Hampshire Youth Lacrosse Association creating Statewide support by one sports league of NFCR’s cornerstone fund raising and awareness vehicle, Play for the Cure.

Play for the Cure NFCR fundraiser  Play for the Cure is in Londonderry NH June 13th  & June 14, 2015. They would love to have your organization step up and support this focus on research program. For more information, check out http://www.nfcr.org/p4tc or call NFCR at 301-654-1250. Robert will most likely answer the phone  and when you call, you’ll see why I call him the Director of First Impressions. Just tell him Keith sent you.

The New Rules of Sales and Service

Welcome anew, Maine Alliance for Arts Education

In a world of tightening budgets, where advocacy is important, the Maine Alliance for Arts Education welcomed their new executive director, Peter Alexander.Maine Arts Education

Peter is right for the job as he is more than just a guitar playing, photography book publishing, business traveler who has done good things. He has a long list of accomplishments and a range of experience that will position him well for the task of keeping the arts central to the discussion of Maine’s educational focus.

To many in this country, the education process is broken. Still based on preparing students for factory jobs that no longer exist, our education process could use some creativity and outside the box thinking that incorporates the social media, real time web based world in which we find ourselves.

I presented at Jeff Pulver’s 140 conference in Boston and I’ve attended the #140 education conferences each year in New York, where Jeff and co-curator Chris Lehmann take a hard look at the state of education now and provided a platform for all stakeholders to explore and share successful programs that are changing the way we engage the energy and creativity of youth in their own learning process.

Art teachers can be among the most influential in extending the boundaries that students encounter. Music teaches teamwork, awareness of others and a basic rule of learning that practice, more than testing, is important and critical to successful outcomes.

In this time of budget cuts, maybe the political leadership needs to take a closer look at the skills that are imparted by Arts Education and incorporate more, not less, of it into the learning curriculum.

By contrast, just look at how many worthless, negative and defamatory ads, flyers, direct mail pieces are showing up in our mailboxes at election time. Didn’t your parents often tell you, “don’t tell me what other people are doing, show me what good things you have done.”  If we could take just a fraction of the  $$$ spent on negative political campaigning and redirect it toward teaching the skills needed for the real-time-web enhanced global marketplace, which very much includes jobs in the Creative Economy, we would see revolutionary change in education. Perhaps that is what is most feared by the old guard.

Here are a couple of additional  photos of the welcome reception for Peter held at Slates restaurant in Hallowell Maine, October 21, 2012.

Maine arts educationMaine Arts Educationarts, education in Maine