The Sky’s the Limit…

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Every client has a story to tell, a goal to reach. We believe every public relations story and marketing goal should be approached with a “sky’s the limit” style.

That positive inspiration carries over to the Hendricks Communications’ blog, below. Offering inspiring tips, news and reflections on writing, marketing, social media and much more, join us in the conversations below!

Women Run the World?

By Karen HendricksNYC Women's Half Marathon 1

It was one of the most inspirational events I’ve ever experienced—the More/Shape Women’s Half-Marathon through New York City’s Central Park on April 17, 2016.

The sheer size of the event was overwhelming—nearly 10,000 women circling Central Park twice to equal 13.1 miles. I started the race in the middle of the pack, and it took me nearly 10 minutes, walking shoulder-to-shoulder with other women, just to reach the starting line. It’s billed as one of the largest all-female half-marathons in the country.

NYC Women's Half Marathon 7

Photo Credit: The More/Shape Women’s Half-Marathon

But the most significant takeaway: the camaraderie, the empowerment, the overwhelming vibe of “girl power.”

Nearly 10,000 women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities, set out to accomplish a goal—to run the challenging half-marathon course on that day. I talked to women from Florida, Tennessee, Michigan, as well as New Yorkers who welcomed us all. Some had never run a half-marathon before; some had run this specific race many times before. For me, it was my second half-marathon and I see many more in my future—personally I love the challenge of that distance. A love of running brought us all together.

As a female small business owner and entrepreneur, I feel very blessed to “do what I love and love what I do.” I’m also blessed to refer business, and have business referred back to me, by many other women-led businesses. It’s an empowering network of support, not only because it involves other women, but because we often work alone for large periods of time as small business owners. This camaraderie and circle of support is very similar to what I felt in Central Park.

Many of the runners were mothers like myself—I was so honored and thankful to have my college-age daughter supporting me and cheering me on! There were hundreds if not thousands of supportive family members—husbands, sisters, brothers, children of all ages, as well as friends—cheering on the runners, holding encouraging or funny signs that made us smile, and adding to the excitement of the event.

For that one brief moment in time, on a beautiful sunny morning in New York, the ugly realities of our daily lives as women melted away. There was no “good old boys’ network.” Race, age, and appearance didn’t matter. There were no cliques, walls, or glass ceilings.

When we tackled the hills on that course, they were simply hills and we ran them together. We cheered for each other, we cursed “the Harlem Hill” together, we shared a warm feeling of solidarity together as women. In real life, we struggle up the hills that society often puts in our way.

Google defines “the old boy network” as “an informal system of support and friendship through which men use their positions of influence to help others who went to the same school or college as they did or who share a similar social background.” How many of us have come up against the old boy network in our careers and/or our personal lives? (Disclaimer: Thankfully, not all men are like this!)

I have personally experienced the good old boy network taking care of its own, through various work situations over the years, and even through my daughter’s soccer team when rules of conduct were twisted by the board–primarily men–to uphold violations by her male coach and a team dad. Sometimes we feel as though we don’t have a voice or justice. But these situations bring others’ “true colors” to light. The old boy network–one example of the walls built against women.

Sometimes the walls are constructed by other women—we encounter stereotypes and hate-shaming because we stay home with our children, or because we don’t stay home with our children and re-enter the work force. There are “insider” and “outsider” labels placed upon us, people who are “natives” or “transplants” to a region. Women can form cliques like nobody’s business. Jealousies get in the way—I have seen women form jealousy over other women’s beauty, possessions, even their children’s accomplishments or talents. Rather than being happy for each other, celebrating life’s moments together, jealousy often rears its ugly head instead. These situations often define who our “true friends” are. All of these walls, labels, and jealousies–it’s all a form of hate.

Consider these facts:

Only 2% of women around the world would describe themselves as beautiful, according to the global study,The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report, reported by Dove.

In 1979, women working full time earned 62 percent of what men earned; in 2014, women’s earnings were 83 percent of men’s. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2015.)

A woman-owned business employs, on average, just one person in addition to the owner; women-owned businesses have average annual revenues of just under $155,000, far less than the $400,000 figure of the typical privately held business. Women seeking first-year financing to get their companies off the ground receive about 80% less capital than men. (2013 Women-Owned Business Report, published by American Express OPEN, cited in Forbes, June 2013)

In my home state of Pennsylvania, only 18 percent of state lawmakers are female. In 2015, Pennsylvania had only one statewide elected executive who is a woman and did not have any female U.S. Congress members. In the state Legislature, nine out of 50 senators were women and 37 out of 203 house members were women. Because of the low percentage, Pennsylvania ranks as 40th in the nation. (New Pittsburgh Courier, April 17, 2016)

Women reached the peak of their labor force participation in 1999, with a rate of 60.0 percent. Since then, labor force participation among women has declined, to 57.0 percent in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2015.

In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner. That’s an average of three women every day. Of all the women murdered in the U.S., about one-third were killed by an intimate partner. (According to statistics compiled by the National Organization for Women)

According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which includes crimes that were not reported to the police, 232,960 women in the U.S. were raped or sexually assaulted in 2006. That’s more than 600 women every day. (According to the National Organization for Women)

Still there are bright spots:

Between 1997 and 2013, the number of women-owned businesses increased by 59 percent – 1½ times the rate of U.S. businesses overall. What’s more, over the past 16 years, employment by companies owned by female entrepreneurs was up by 10% and their revenues grew by 63%. Both of those increases exceed those of all but the largest, publicly traded firms. (Forbes, June 2013)

Today, more than 8.6 million U.S. businesses are owned by women. They generate more than $1.3 trillion in revenues and employ nearly 7.8 million people. (Forbes, June 2013)

Over time, women have increasingly attained higher levels of education: among women ages 25 to 64 who are in the labor force, the proportion with a college degree more than tripled from 1970 to 2014, increasing from 11.2 percent to 40.0 percent. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2015)

 

I am an eternal optimist, a believer in what is good and right always prevails. The hashtag set up by race organizers was #womenruntheworld. Yes, for one beautiful morning in New York City, we literally ran the world, our steps in harmony encircling Central Park. As wives and mothers, we run the world and impact the next generation. As female leaders, business owners, and entrepreneurs, we set goals not unlike our half-marathon marks—regarding pace and duration. Let’s keep empowering and respecting each other, lifting each other up rather than tearing each other down, as we keep striving (and striding) for change.

Many thanks to the following females colleagues who encouraged me to write this blog, this week: Robin, Kaycee, Wendy, Lisa, and Elle. I deeply appreciate your support! XO

Photos that capture the spirit of the day: Click on any photo to open a slide show:

 

 

Footnotes from Fidler & Co

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Photography by Donovan Roberts Witmer

Go behind-the-scenes with me, to one of Central PA’s most talked-about restaurants, Fidler & Co. Craft Kitchen. Located off the beaten path in Biglerville, Adams County, it’s the perfect destination for a day trip combined with a visit to nearby apple orchards, farm markets, or the Gettysburg Battlefield.

SQSApr16-issue-cover-fd8091dcIt was in the dead of winter, mid-January, that I was treated to a tour, tastings, and interview with Chef Josh Fidler. Talented photographer extraordinaire Donovan Roberts Witmer joined me, and our tasty restaurant review appears in the April 2016 issue of Susquehanna Style.

Click here to read “Sense of Taste: Old School Hospitality and New Age Flavors at Fidler & Co.” 

Enjoy these behind-the-scenes photos, including a fun look at all that goes into a culinary photo shoot. Plus, learn why there’s a lot of “Dirty Dancing” goin’ on in Fidlers’ kitchen. Click on any photo to open a slide show!

 

Hit the Ground Running

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Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it’s all about.  -PattiSue Plumer, U.S. Olympian

I can’t imagine my life without running being a part of it. It truly helps me strike a healthy balance in life–between mind, body and spirit. Running is inspirational and challenging–at the same time!–as evidenced in the quote above.

My creativity levels–needed for my marketing, PR and freelance writing clients–receive a boost from running. I find that when my mind is allowed to “run free,” ideas are often sparked. Experts agree* that running triggers a multitude of positive benefits, touching on mind, body and spirit:

  • improves your health in many areas including increased lung function
  • boosts your immune system
  • alleviates stress
  • prevents or reduces the risk or many diseases, including cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, heart attack and stroke
  • helps you maintain a consistent weight
  • clears the mind
  • elevates mood, wards off depression
  • sparks creativity and ideas
  • increases energy levels
  • builds confidence and self-esteem
  • adds years to your life

So when Susquehanna Style magazine asked me to write a feature story explaining how to find the best running shoes, I jumped at the chance to learn more about one of my favorite obsessions. I was thrilled to pick up lots of tips from the experts–and I even put them into practice, as I purchased new running shoes recently.

One of the most helpful tips for me: Switching between at least two pair of running shoes means your feet experience slightly different fits, which leads to your body working your muscles in slightly different ways. Ultimately, this habit can help prevent injury.

So… here is my latest article: Hit the Ground Running is published in the February 2016 issue of Susquehanna Style. Hope you find the tips helpful as well!

Out on the roads, there is fitness and self-discovery and the persons we were destined to be.  -George Sheehan

*Information cited by:

The Heart of the Holidays

The Heart of the Holidays

By Karen Hendricks

Our hometowns hold a special place in our hearts–especially during the holiday season. Historic Gettysburg, PA was my hometown for 22+ years and honestly, I think it’s the most charming, picturesque downtown I’ve ever experienced in my travels during Christmastime.

IMG_2392So, it was my absolute pleasure to write The Heart of the Holidays: There are No Better Sights and Sounds than on Lincoln Square at Christmastime for Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, the cover story for the Nov/Dec 2015 issue.

I find that freelance writing is not a job, but a joy, when my passions merge with an assignment!

Enjoy reading about my favorite place on earth for Christmas… click here for the full article. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016!

Plus… Enjoy a few photos I snapped, behind-the-scenes, as I was covering the story: (Click anywhere to open a slide show.)

 

Brewing Big Business

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By Karen Hendricks

If you’re a small business owner like me, you’re in the majority. What?

That’s right, the nation’s 28 million small businesses account for 54% of all sales in the U.S. And, small businesses provide 55% of all American jobs, according to the US Small Business Administration.

It’s a great time to celebrate the collective power and the sheer vitality small businesses bring to our marketplaces, through Small Business Saturday, this Saturday, November 28, 2015.

Small Business Saturday, and its growing support, has a correlation to a freelance magazine article I recently wrote:

Here in Pennsylvania, there’s a movement of small, fiercely-independent businesses that collectively are brewing big business–the craft beer industry.

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Craft beer—the art of combining water, malt, yeast, and hops in traditional style with an innovative twist—is a trend growing by leaps and bounds. While working with hops may be a hip market, hundreds of small, independent craft beer makers are tapping into the craft beer boom across Pennsylvania. In 2014, more than four million barrels of craft beer were produced in Pennsylvania, ranking it first in the nation in terms of production, according to the Brewers Association.

Click here to read “Brewing Big Business: Central PA is Blowing the Lid off the Craft Beer Industry,” published in the Sept/Oct issue of Celebrate Gettysburg magazine.

More Info: The Stats on PA’s Suds

  • PA has 136 craft breweries, ranking it 7th in the nation (2014)
  • In 2013, PA had 108 craft brewers; in 2011, there were 88.
  • Production (2014): 4 million + barrels of craft beer annually (ranks 1st)
  • Economic impact (2012): $1,964.3 million (ranks 4th)
  • Nationwide, there were 3,464 breweries by the end of 2014, representing an 18% increase in production within the industry in 2014.

All statistics are courtesy the Brewers Association.

 

A Breath of Fresh Air

Whether you’re interviewing people professionally, talking with clients during a business meeting, or simply making casual conversation with people… isn’t it amazing how certain people stand out thanks to their passion?

It’s that kind of passion, zest for life, and energy devoted to a cause or goal that helps us–especially journalists, marketers, public relations professionals–hone in on a message that tells their story.

Some of the most giving, caring people I had the privilege to meet recently, volunteer for an organization called The Fresh Air Fund. The children who benefit from this organization were A JOY to meet and interview as well. My heart is full, changed, inspired, after researching and writing this story… I hope yours is as well:

Click here to read A Breath of Fresh Air, published in the July/August issue of Celebrate Gettysburg magazineA Breath of Fresh Air

Fresh Air Fund: By the Numbers

  • More than 1.8 million children from the five boroughs of New York City have enjoyed free summer experience since the nonprofit program was founded in 1877.
  • Every summer more than 4,000 Fresh Air Fund children are hosted by 300 regional areas called “Friendly Towns.”
  • Friendly Towns have been established in Canada and 13 states from Maine to Virginia—within a reasonable drive to New York City.
  • 65 percent of all children are re-invited to stay with their host families, year after year
  • More than 3,000 children attend five Fresh Air Fund camps in Fishkill, New York every summer.
  • It costs the Fresh Air Fund $917 to send each child to his or her volunteer host family. Heidecker says bus transportation accounts for the majority of the cost.
  • Fresh Air Fund children are recommended through 90 community agencies in New York City.
  • More than 75% of the Fresh Air Fund’s donations come from individuals.

Beginnings of The Fresh Air Fund

An independent nonprofit organization, The Fresh Air Fund was founded in 1877 with one simple mission—“to allow children living in low-income communities to get away from hot, noisy city streets and enjoy free summer experiences in the country.”

At that time, “New York City was overflowing with children living in crowded tenements. Many of these youngsters were hit by a tuberculosis epidemic, and ‘fresh air’ was considered a cure for respiratory ailments,” according to the organization’s website.

The first Fresh Air visits were coordinated by the Reverend Willard Parsons, a minister in rural Sherman, Pennsylvania, located in the northeast corner of the state. He asked his congregation members to provide country vacations to the city’s neediest children.

“The Fresh Air Fund’s tradition of caring provides children with a much-needed respite from the inner-city streets. The simplicity of our program is its strength. Looking back to 1877, we can reflect on how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same. The Fund began with a small group of youngsters heading for the country and went on to benefit more than 1.8 million needy children,” as stated on FreshAir.org.

How to become a Fresh Air host family in south central PA

Contact Kathleen Heidecker at kheidecker@hotmail.com or Laura Geesaman at lakesidefun@embarqmail.com. There is an application and interview process for potential host families, as well as background and reference checks made by Fresh Air Fund staff based in New York.

Fresh Air Fund children visit the Adams County area every summer during two weeks—one in July and one in August; families may choose which week works best with their schedule.

“There are no restrictions on who can host,” says Heidecker. “There are traditional families, single people without children, older people who are grandparents, etc…. We have a very diverse group that hosts (here in south central Pennsylvania) including an 89-year old grandfather who hosted a 13-year old boy in 2014—they had a great time with the man’s grandson, learning how to camp, grill and fish together.”

Heidecker says there are two standout qualities required of all host families. “They need to have a good sense of humor as well as flexibility.”

Their personal stories

Kathleen Heidecker, Friendly Town Chair for Gettysburg, says she and husband Steven always talked about hosting Fresh Air Fund children when they retired. The military family was stationed in West Point for a number of years, and due to the proximity of New York City, they learned about the program by reading frequent articles in The New York Times—one of the original sponsors of The Fresh Air Fund dating back to the late 1800s. “We retired from the army in 2007, moved to Gettysburg, and have hosted Nianah since 2008.”

Laura Geesaman of Gettysburg says, for her, the roots of the program go back to a seed planted within her childhood.  “I grew up outside of New York City, and I remember seeing the advertising about The Fresh Air Fund as a kid.” It wasn’t until she was living in Gettysburg, raising her own family, that she was reminded of the program. “I was reading the newspaper and saw something about The Fresh Air Fund needing local hosts, and I realized how much we could share (with a child) simply through living at Lake Heritage. We’re supposed to share our blessings.” The family hosted their first child, Jailyne, in 2006, and Geesaman became Gettysburg’s Friendly Town Chair after two years. She has served as Fresh Air Fund Representative for the South Central Pennsylvania Committee since 2013. Geesaman coordinates outings at Lake Heritage during South Central Pennsylvania’s two annual host weeks, inviting all host families and Fresh Air children to enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking, boating and picnicking together.

 

Caretakers for a Century

CaretakersGettysburg is a town forever etched in history–“the most famous small town in America”–and our hallowed battlefields draw millions of visitors ever year. The absolute best way to experience the battlefields, according to many in the tourism industry, is with a Licensed Battlefield Guide. This year, 2015, marks the 100th anniversary of this very elite group of men and women who literally keep history alive, recounting the many interwoven stories that collectively tell the story of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Cel Gburg mag May-June 2015It was my great honor to meet and interview several Licensed Battlefield Guides to find out more about their special calling, becoming “Caretakers for a Century.” This article is published in Celebrate Gettysburg magazine, May/June 2015.

To explore more angles to this story…

  • About 560 people have become licensed battlefield guides since 1915. Joining their elite ranks requires dedication in many ways. The first step is… Click here for How to Become a Licensed Battlefield Guide, published on the Celebrate Gettysburg blog.
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Licensed Battlefield Guide Tom Vossler leads a tour group. (Photo credit: Casey Martin)

SchroyerDiary inside July 1863

Looking inside Michael Schroyer’s diary (Photo courtesy Sue Boardman)

Behind the Cover: It was my honor to celebrate the current issue's release with Joe  Mieczkowski, President of the Gettysburg Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, who was an instrumental source for this cover story!

Behind the Cover: It was my honor to celebrate the current issue’s release with Joe Mieczkowski, President of the Gettysburg Association of Licensed Battlefield Guides, who was an instrumental source for this cover story!