Friday, April 3, 2015

MicroTheater Miami Promoting Live, Local Theater & Improv


MicroTheater Miami is a hidden gem in South Florida, promoting live, local theater in Miami in both English and Spanish. This fun, new entertainment in Miami is sponsored by a Knight Foundation grant in Spanish and English, and during the month of April it will also be brought to the public in part by O Miami Poetry Festival, during poetry month. 
This is all held at the Centro Cultural de Espana, which has been sharing this form of theater in Miami for three years strong now. This form of microtheater, or microteatro in Spanish, is very popular in Spain, and I have been told has even be shared in caves in some cities across Spain. 
The Miami version of microtheater has seven cargo containers turned into makeshift mini theaters--a tight, yet intimate space that is perfect for these "shorts" of 15 minutes or less. Each show is $5 and you can watch as many or as little as you'd like. The plays are held throughout the night, as each company reproduces their show six times every evening. The genres range from comedy to drama and mystery.

I'm particularly excited that during April, MicroTheater Miami has decided to create its first ever Dynamic Night of Theater alongside the English Prime-Time. The new Dynamic Night, includes six unscripted, improvised plays which will run every Wednesday, starring many of the best local improvisers. The regular English Prime Time is on Thursdays in April, and both run from 8pm to 11pm. Spanish Prime-Time runs Friday and Saturday from 8pm-11pm, and Sundays from 7pm-10pm. 

The improvised containers during April will include many of my improviser friends throughout South Florida, which is a real treat for lovers of improv. The containers include:
  • Comedy School Dropouts' "Mono: The Show of Fate", which is one long scene about a cult made up on the spot, featuring improviser Jonathan Cabrera
  • Mike Nato's Meatball Container, which will feature one scene in the trippy #MethTub, a-la Breaking Bad 
  • "To Sterling With Love", 1950's twilight zone inspired scenes presented by Kristy Weber's improv company Miamah Comedy
  • "One Night In Prison", which brings musings from two inmates from inside a prison cell, directed by IO teacher Jeff Quintana
  • "Scribble-Knot", where a quirky, scribbled dry-erase board set forms a backdrop to the play,   directed by Impromedy's Ozzie Quintana
  • South Florida Improv Showcase featuring several high-energy short games such as pick-a-line and interrogation, compiled by one of South Florida's best improvisers Carlos Rivera, founder of AllTheComedy.com

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Super Bowl Ads are #OnAMission with Cause Marketing

According to Variety.com, Super Bowl 2015 viewership was the highest it's ever been, with just over 114 million viewers throughout the game. No doubt a large number of viewers actually were into the tight-scoring game that was a nail biter on both sides the entire game.

But for the rest of us, it was all about the commercials. Many people had their own personal favorites, but what was most surprising was that there were a few standout causes that were reflected, both from a PSA and a corporate brand.

The NFL's ad agency produced the PSA from NoMore.org, that brings you into a domestic violence 911 call, where a dispatcher discovers the caller is placing a make-believe pizza delivery order as a cover up for a real emergency call. Putting yourself in the shoes of this woman is chilling enough to give anyone goosebumps. Here's the PSA now:



Perhaps the most shocking cause-related ad was by Nationwide, which shows a little boy who states he will never grow up to live a myriad of situations such as riding a bike or getting married because he drowned in his bath tub. This ad received a lot of negative feedback from social media as too dark and depressing. Yet according to Nationwide: "Preventable injuries around the home are the leading cause of childhood deaths in America. Most people don't know that. Nationwide ran an ad during the Super Bowl that started a fierce conversation. The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance."



And overall there was an increase in "feel good" ads around dads being good dads, such as this Nissan commercial set to Cats in the Cradle. My personal favorite commercial was the heartwarming #BestBuds by Budweiser, which is no surprise considering my love for puppies!

What was your favorite Super Bowl 2015 commercial? Share in the comments section below.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

How to Turn Resolutions Into Goals You Can Achieve

    (From left, Marbeth Dunn, Erika Firenczi, Jolie Glassman, Joanne Burgess, Alexandra Figueredo)
(From left, Marbeth Dunn, Erika Firenczi, Jolie Glassman, Joanne Burgess, Alexandra Figueredo)
Most people start of the year motivated by ambitious resolutions, whether it's starting a new fitness routine, a new business venture or some other big dream. Oftentimes, their goals fizzle away within weeks.

January’s signature meeting of the Greater Miami Holistic Chamber of Commerce tackled this topic of turning those resolutions into real, achievable goals all year round. A distinguished panel of success experts shed light on this subject and shared their best tips and strategies to achieve those goals once and for all:

- Joanne Burgess, certified life coach, master NLP practitioner and founder of Flight of Minds, overcame several challenges to get to where she is today, including moving from another country (England) and growing up with dyslexia. She believes the most important part of achieving success is to focus. “What you focus on, you create,” she said. To that end, she suggests limiting distractions as well as negative people in one’s life. Also, language is very powerful and she advises being aware of the words you’re using and focusing on.

- Jolie Glassman, founder of South Beach Boxing, a local gym that earns over $1 million in revenue per year, doesn’t believe in excuses. She shares her three keys to success. First, be totally immersed in one’s goal, making it an obsession and living within purpose. Second, make education a priority, constantly learning and growing by making time for personal and professional development. Third, play up on one’s strengths, motivating rather than discouraging oneself.

- Erika Ferenczi is a business and wealth mindset mentor and founder of Profits for Freedom and the Unstoppable Female. Growing up in a divorced household and then facing a diminishing marriage as an adult, she quickly realized she needed to do whatever it takes to become financially independent. “It’s not about the money, but what the money allows you to do when you get it. It is all about freedom and choice,” she said. She suggests three ways to achieving one’s goals. First, reach the point of “enough is enough” and attach success either to a lot of pleasure, or to a lot of pain if not achieved. Next, become aware of secret thoughts in one’s head and be honest about those. Lastly, set yourself up for success, asking yourself what steps are you actually taking, are you being the person that achieves success and are you making your life your legacy?

- Marbeth Dunn, The Joy To Abundance Strategist and creator of Spiritual Wealth Activation System, overcame abandonment and abuse as a child that carried over into her adult life to now help others overcome their own challenges. “In our challenges there are so many blessings. These roadblocks are our teachers,” she said. When she finally realized her thoughts have power, everything shifted for her. No matter how much you plan for success, if your thoughts are creating resistance, you won’t effectively manifest your desires. When the voices or “committees” in our head get crazy, she recommends stepping back, being present and not judging oneself for these thoughts. One can release resistance by first becoming aware of it and then allowing oneself to intensify those feelings until they begin to dissipate. It may help to seek counsel from a coach, hypnotist, EFT practitioner, therapist or another practitioner trained in helping release baggage and saboteurs.

In conclusion, in order to create sustainable, lasting success in any area of one’s life, we must get clear and focus on what we desire, have a can-do, no-excuses attitude that takes action, ignore the negative self talk, people and distractions, and clear the subconscious mindset blocks that may sabotage our success. So what’s your big goal for the year?

Alexandra Figueredo is president of Greater Miami Holistic Chamber of Commerce and founder of Mission Based Branding Institute, a full-service communications agency and training platform dedicated to helping mission-driven individuals and businesses. Contact her at alexandra@missionbasedbranding.com or 305-209-5886.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 is International BRA Day, which stands for Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day. Appropriately falling within Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this day promotes education, awareness and access to post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. In South Florida, the Physician’s Institute of Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Memorial Cancer Institute are helping to support and raise awareness for breast cancer and breast reconstruction with BRA Day 2014, a cocktail fundraising event at the Historic Needham Estate in Fort Lauderdale.

Prior BRA Day events hosted by Physician’s Institute have featured celebrity guests, and this year’s event is no different. Dan Marino, who is highly involved in serving the local South Florida community, is the guest of honor and will be speaking. In addition to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, guests can purchase raffle tickets to win sports memorabilia, luxury items from Chanel Boutique in Bal Harbour, and other items.

Funds raised at the event will benefit The Roslyn L. Weiser Memorial Foundation, a breast reconstruction awareness foundation. The foundation provides emotional and financial support to women who have endured and survived breast cancer treatment. It raises funds for the Memorial Cancer Institute, Pink Angels of Memorial Foundation and the Breast Reconstruction Awareness Fund of the Plastic Surgery Foundation.

BRADay 2013 with Dr. Jonathan Weiser, Brooke Baker, Alexia Acheverria and Dr. Craig Uecker (Photo Credit: PhysiciansInstitute.info)
BRA Day 2013 with Dr. Jonathan Weiser, Brooke Baker, Alexia Acheverria and Dr. Craig Uecker (Photo Credit: PhysiciansInstitute.info)

Roslyn L. Weiser, late mother of Physician’s Institute founder Dr. Jonathan Weiser, was a two-time breast cancer survivor. Roslyn underwent her first mastectomy at age 45 and a second at age 57, leaving her with deformities she tried to hide the rest of her life. Breast reconstruction had not yet evolved and no adequate procedures were available. Victims of breast cancer not only had to endure a mastectomy, but also its debilitating cosmetic effects. Dr. Weiser remembers his mother’s discomfort and sense of shame.

Now a board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Weiser experiences the miracles of plastic surgery first-hand. “I get to live that feeling every day, knowing that I can help women like my mother feel whole again,” said Dr. Weiser.

The Roslyn L. Weiser Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization. that provides financial support to women in need of breast reconstruction. All proceeds donated to the
Foundation benefit patients who are eligible for breast reconstruction, but are unable to secure financial support and patients who need chemotherapy, radiation, hormonal therapy, lymphedema therapy, physical therapy, prosthetic bras, wigs, and other forms of treatment or recovery services. The Foundation also assists in financing emotional support for those affected by breast-related issues. Online donations are accepted here.

(Photo Credit: Historic Needham Estate)
(Photo Credit: Historic Needham Estate)


WHEN: October, 15, 2014 from  6:30 – 9 p.m.

WHERE:
Historic Needham Estate
828 SE 4th St.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301
Ph. 800-689-2359

TICKETS: $125 per person for general admission to the cocktail reception. Sponsorship packages are also available. Click here to purchase tickets and sponsorship packages

Friday, August 15, 2014

Age is all relative when it comes to fulfilling your dreams


Age is really all relative.

This week alone, I happened to be asked my age numerous times in both business and outside of business. Do I look that young? Certainly it’s a compliment, and yes, genes do play a part, and yes I also take care of herself physically and use products that I feel are keeping me younger in the long run. And I guess that I happen to have a lot of energy when dealing with people and so appear “young,” or at least younger.

Yet, I recently had an interesting experience with a gentleman who I'm doing mission coaching with. He's 20 years my senior, and this gentleman was feeling unfulfilled in his life and work. He was lost and couldn’t find his purpose and had no dreams. Although 20 years his junior, I had exactly experienced most of the same issues and challenges this gentleman had AND more importantly, had already learned how to overcome them and turn them into opportunities.

Have you ever said any of the following: 

I’m too young to …..
I’m too old to……
I’m not educated enough for…..
I’m not smart enough to……

Those are just excuses your mind makes up as a form of self sabotage. They are just that—excuses. When you realize that you are the only one in your own way of your dreams and goals, and you are able to help others in your business no matter what, the shift will happen in your life and business.

When you have a burning desire to do something, NOTHING can get in your way. There are kids from middle class families creating million dollar companies that combat human trafficking, and there are people fired from their jobs at middle age that create companies they're passionate about.

Remember this the next time you make up an excuse for why you can’t serve others. 

Interested in discovering your mission or taking it to the next level? Sign up for one of Alexandra’s coaching programs or join her next “PlayShop“. Find out more by contacting Alexandra at Alexandra@MissionBasedBranding.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Follow-Up Game: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly


We've all heard the term, "the fortune is in the follow-up." Especially in the services industry, it's important to keep a consistent dialog with your prospects and customers. 

So I was following up with several people I had met in the last week to schedule follow-up calls and I had two similar experiences with contrasting responses. Both people I spoke with were client-facing professionals that were currently meeting with clients when they answered my phone call. These were the scenarios/responses:

Scenario 1  

Me: “Hi [Health Practitioner], how are you? I’m Alexandra I met you last week at XYZ event.”
Her: “Oh hi, how are you?” (in a near whisper)
Me: “Great, thank you. I wanted to follow up to schedule a time for us to chat, but I noticed you are whispering. Is this an okay time to speak?”
Her: “Actually, I’m standing in front of a patient. It would be better if you called me after 3pm”
Me: “Okay no problem, have a great day and I’ll speak to you then”
Her: “Okay thank you, bye”

My Observations: As a healthcare practitioner, this lady wants to make sure that people feel well. She also wanted to acknowledge whoever was calling her (me). She politely told me she was standing in front of a patient and implied that it was not the best time to speak; however, at no point was she rude about that. Notice that I was very intuitive in picking up that she may not be available because she was whispering, so I was also mindful of the other person's environment and respectful of their time--a good strategy when you are calling people you have not yet established a relationship with.

Scenario 2:

Me: “Hi [Concierge Professional], how are you? I’m Alexandra, I met you last week at XYZ event.”
Her: “Uh hi. I’m with a client right now. I’ll call you back at another time.”(speaking quickly and rushing off the phone)
Me: “Oh, okay b…..”
Her: (hangs up phone)

My Observations: Interestingly this person is a concierge business owner that also focuses on making people feel good. Yet, she did not acknowledge who I was, rushed me off the phone, and did not try to set up a specific follow-up time to speak. If the client was so important that this lady couldn't take 30 seconds to have a normal conversation with me, then she should never have answered the phone at all. Frankly, she was rude. Plus we had been emailing back and forth about scheduling a call, so it’s not as if I was a cold-caller or a pushy marketer. She made me feel completely unimportant, and in the services industry this is a big NO-NO! How does she know that I wasn’t referring her business or that I was interested in becoming a client myself? Well, she definitely lost my business AND lost any potential referrals because the way she spoke to me was not acceptable. I’d be mortified if she ever spoke like that to someone I referred to her—so needless to say I won’t be taking any chances.

The ultimate lesson here is that client-facing professionals should always treat the person they meet or speak to like a potential client or a referrer of potential business, even if there is an unsolicited call or if you’re in the middle of a client meeting or an “important” call. Even better, treat them like a $100,000 client or $100,000 referrer of business, because you just don’t know. 

Your customer is KING...or QUEEN! Imagine how many more clients you'd get if you treated everyone you spoke to like royalty?!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Lesson on What Not to Do...if You Have a Mission

Have you ever heard the saying you learn more from your mistakes? Boy that always used to annoy me when I would get 1 wrong on a spelling test... yet I always remembered how to spell "miscellaneous" from that day forward. 

Using this same concept, I often share my experiences and case studies of how an event or marketing campaign could have gone better, looking back. 

About a year ago, I was asked to work on a marketing campaign for a client that involved a Point of Purchase promotion strategy at a large retailer at several locations all over town. A POP strategy was developed and thousands of dollars worth of promotional materials were created. Essentially it entailed a coupon upon purchase of the product and a contest where about 1/4 of the purchases won movie tickets. There were a lot more logistics involved...I'll spare the details because you'd be bored. 

What was in place was a very one-dimensional campaign. Everything seemed pretty straight forward until I was asked to work on creating some buzz and PR for the campaign. Unfortunately, the one-sided strategy had already been set before I came into the equation and we had a week and limited budget/resources. 

As a mission-based brander, I ask the lead agency if we can tie in a social responsibility aspect, such as donating free movie tickets to underpriveleged kids and having a night out to the movies. No, that was going to cost more money, not going to happen. Okay, scratch that idea. 

How about a free community event, with music and food and other fun activities for the public to participate in? Well, we were sort of doing some of that, just not really that big in any one location.  

A couple more ideas, knocked down. Plus their social media channels had little engagement, so there was no substantial way to engage the community of followers in such a short period of time with limited resources given to me. By the time I got involved, it was too late to create a multi-platform or multi-dimensional strategy. 

So there was no cool event, no social responsibility, essentially no compelling news angle or "story," and there were two corporate brands involved. For media outlets, this scenario spells: A.D.V.E.R.T.I.S.I.N.G. $$...the life blood of media outlets.

No wonder the campaign received little media coverage, and every publication asked me to fork up money. What we did get was based on my relationships and begging! Even though most of it was out of my control, I feel partially responsible for the campaign not being as successful as it could have been.

The point is with so much clutter these days it's more difficult for your message to be heard, so you have to be more creative in how you position your brand and marketing strategies. 

Had I been brought in sooner as a brand strategist, I would have created something much larger by co-branding a social responsibility strategy, adding an event in the mix and integrating a multi-platform social media strategy. Truth is, for just a couple thousand dollars more, the exposure and PR coverage would have been exponentially greater. 

The beauty of these experiences is learning from them and applying your learnings to your next experience. This is why I'm so passionate about helping brands early on to create a strong mission, both within their core competency and with a social/community aspect. It really does determine the success or not of your brand.

So, what's your mission?


I'm On A Mission and want to hear from you... what would you have done differently in this scenario? 

Alexandra Figueredo is founder of Mission Based Branding Institute a full-service integrated marketing communications company that helps mission-driven businesses and brands to create exposure and awareness for their mission and story. Alexandra has helped businesses create Corporate Social Responsibility programs, as well as helped entrepreneurs and small businesses launch their brands. She can be found on Twitter at @OnAMissionAlex, and MBBI can be found at its new handle @MissionBranding.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Trump and Els are On A Mission!

It's that time of year again here in Miami...the WGC Cadillac Championship at the all new Doral Resort & Spa owned by the Trump Hotels magnate. This week I've been educating myself on golf, the PGA and the WGC (let's face it, I was pretty clueless about golf other than Tiger and Mickelson) and attended with my friends at SocialBuzzTV to help cover the tournament.  

 My top Mission this week: to find brands that have a strong mission!  


At the first press conference we attended, pro golfer Ernie Els and Donald Trump announced the Trump involvement and sponsorship of Els for Autism, a charity geared toward autism education and awareness. 

Photo Credit: SocialBuzzTV
Autism affects an astounding one in 86 children in the U.S., including Ernie Els' son--the motivation for his foundation. His mission is to help bring awareness and educate the public on the signs of autism in kids

Els is partnering with the PGA to create golf challenge events to raise funds for the charity. The charity has already raised over $4 million in the last few years and plans have already begun to build a community center for autism education as well as a public sports complex in Jupiter, FL. 

The charity provides education pamphlets informing the public of the signs of autism, and allows supporters to wear a cute little blue pin in support of the charity. 

Photo Credit: A. Figueredo
Several Trump golf resorts will host golf challenge events throughout the year. With Trump's support, the next golf challenge in the Doral Resort & Spa (soon to be Trump Doral), will be held April 29, 2013. For a listing of play dates, click here. Participate and play, or donate online.



 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Clear Out the Clutter to See Clearly

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Landmark Forum, a personal development seminar geared at helping you get out of your own way. Wow, what an experience it was!  

Through that process, I broke through the "clutter" of issues and circumstances that were inconsequential in my life and business, and gained a greater focus and clarity for my business and most importantly my Mission.  

This is what happens when you clear the clutter...you see more clearly. You have less in the way and can focus better. 

By default, this has allowed me to better assist my clients clarify their mission! 
It has always been my passion to make a difference and make my mission that of helping others make a difference. I'm soon to launch the Mission Based Branding Institute, which has been a beautiful marriage of my background and passion for life.

With that, I hope to help others see clearly what their Mission is, and help create messaging and marketing to bring awareness to that Mission so near to their hearts. 
 
So, what's your Mission?

*Stayed tuned, we've got lots more to come and fun surprises in store in the coming month as we prepare for the launch of MBBI!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Are You Living Your Mission?


“How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?” ~Vincent van Gogh

Why am I here on this planet? What is my gift to the world? What is my mission?


You are blessed with a You-nique purpose, or a MISSION. This is your overall life goal or vocation, what you are meant to do on this planet. It may also be called your “calling” in life, your “contribution” or “gift” to others, or your “legacy” once you are gone. Viktor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning, discusses a specific vocation or mission in your life for you to fulfill and implement; therefore, your life is unique and cannot be replaced or repeated.


Recently I spent a few hours with needy kids working with art projects, allowing them to express themselves with art. For a couple of hours, these kids forget about the hardships in life and enjoy the moment, despite their limitations. I reassessed why I do what I do, and reaffirmed part of my Mission to inspire and empower others to do what they are passionate about to help make a difference in the lives of others.


Here are just a few examples that my clients have given as their Mission:

• To create art for others to appreciate
• To entertain and make others happy
• To inspire and motivate others
• To educate and train others
• To make a difference in your community

• To create a product or service that others need

You may already know your Mission and are working toward it, especially if you’ve been established in your craft or industry for some time. But it you haven’t yet discovered your calling, self-reflection may help you realize and determine if there is a larger purpose or legacy that you may not have considered before.

One excellent approach from Steven Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, is to begin with the end in mind by envisioning your own funeral and what you would like to accomplish before you pass away. It was due to this introspection a few years ago, combined with “divine inspiration,” that I realized my life’s mission. This discovery was the impetus for resigning from my corporate job, starting my own business, and creating a charitable organization. This inner search also inspired me to reassess all my goals in life.


Remember that we are all connected on this planet and as such have a greater contribution beyond our own selves. Start with what you love and are passionate about, and it’s sure to guide you to a greater, You-nique Purpose or legacy. That’s what makes life worth living!
 

“Art to me is a humanitarian act and I believe that there is a responsibility that art should somehow be able to effect mankind, to make the world a better place.” ~Jeff Koons

This article is derived from Ch. 1 on Discovering Your Unique Purpose from my success program Sculpt Your Life From Sketch to Masterpiece(TM), with many practical ways to discover your Mission. This e-book program presents 12 crucial strategies for success, starting with your inner purpose, and designed to motivate you to set and reach your goals, overcome obstacles and ultimately lead your Masterpiece life!