1. I will drink milk with any meal – Italian, Mexican, you name it.
  2. I have been playing piano since the age of 6.  The rest of my family is musically inclined as well, and most are in bands (like Spectrum and Moxi) or music programs at school.
  3. I wrote my ASU honors thesis on the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury.
  4. windmillI have an irrational fear of those modern windmills – can’t they just look like the jolly ones in the Netherlands?
  5. My brother, Eric, is the president of his fraternity at Cal State Northridge (Sigma Chi).
  6. I am of the opinion that I have the coolest family (both immediate and extended) in the world.
  7. As I’m writing this my cousin Tom, who lives in Oregon, just IMed me on Facebook to say hi (see #6).
  8. I am a San Diego native.
  9. I moved to Arizona – without ever having visited – for the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
  10. I am both a cat lover and a dog lover.
  11. OrchidMy favorite thing to take pictures of (besides my silly friends) is foliage…usually flowers.
  12. I spent my junior year in college (nine months) studying abroad in Alicante, Spain.
  13. My fingers and toes are double-jointed.
  14. So are my mom’s, and so were her mother’s.
  15. The only kinds of advanced math I can understand with relative ease are geometry and statistics.
  16. I am a stickler for punctuation and correct usage of words like there/they’re/their.
  17. The two sports I participated in through high school were cheerleading and softball.
  18. I am an avid reader.Beth Fran Eric
  19. I have known two of my best friends since second grade.
  20. One of my cousins is fond of saying she’s known me since I was a zygote (see #6).
  21. I am an optimist, but not annoyingly so.
  22. I am a big fan of classic rock.
  23. I loathe plain, raw tomatoes but will eat most anything with tomatoes in it.
  24. I was a food server in two different restaurants from 2000-2008.
  25. The most I’ve ever slept at one time was 16 hours.

abbieAs you know I just got back from my summer vacation – otherwise known as the “Midwest Swing.” A total of 10 days in Minneapolis, Chicago and Indianapolis, visiting family and friends.  So this #followfriday is a tribute to the friends that helped make that trip so amazing.

Minneapolis – a special shout-out of Eva Keiser, Arik Hanson and Matt Kucharski  – my Twin Cities connections and all great communications professionals.  Eva and I had a great lunch at The View overlooking Lake Calhoun.  Unfortunately, Arik was unable to join us but he and I will have the chance to meet again I’m sure.  Matt, well, he had a business trip that took him out of town, but since we are in Counselors Academy together, I know I will see him soon.

followfriday 8-28Chicago – so many people, so little time.  Of course my pal Gini Dietrich.  An awesome public relations practitioner, a fiercely competitive cyclist and dog-mom to Jack Bauer.  And she has a pretty terrific guest room which I happily took advantage of.  Gini coordinated a few get-togethers while I was there so I am happy to say I now know IRL Juli Barcelona (who runs a creative communications company), Nancy Myrland and Nat Slavin, (both legal marketing consultants with some pretty smart things to say), Keith Shay (who in addition to being a smart business guy knows a bunch about food and wine) and Mari Luangrath (who runs a company called Foiled Cupcakes, yummy). My friend Stephanie Krol even stopped by, another great communications professional who splits her time between Illinois and Indiana.

Scott Farrell of Golin Harris played tour guide and lunch companion.  We had a great time touring Millenium Park and celebrating Burger Fest.

followfriday 8-28 no 2And then there is Gini’s team at Arment Dietrich Public Relations who were so warm and welcoming.  They even hosted a special edition of Wine:thirty:  Diane Blazek, Christine Heim, Tom Short, Jennifer Thomas, Tanya Flynn, AngelaLoiacono, Courtney Lawrence, Molli Megasko, and Patti Knight

Indianapolis – well, I can’t say enough about Melanie Green (a very smart legal marketer).  She was a client and then a great friend when she was here in Phoenix and I am so happy to say that our friendship has endured even though she lives so far away. While I was in Indy, had the chance to go to Lindsay Weber’s wedding shower.  She’s on Melanie’s marketing team and is just a delight to be around.  She’s getting married in October.

Great trip, great friends and all worth the follow.

Pink Pony’s Last Ride

August 27, 2009

PonyWhoa pardner.

Another Valley landmark has bitten the dust.

The Pink Pony in Scottsdale has gone out of business.

Located on Scottsdale Road not too far from the Sugar Bowl, the Pink Pony was a gathering place for some of baseball’s most storied characters during their Spring Training stays in the Valley, including Billy Martin and Leo Durocher.

Much like Durant’s on Central Avenue, the Pink Pony was known as an old-school place to be for movers and shakers, a place to see famous people and a place to get a good steak.  Maybe there is crying in baseball.

BethAfter many attempts to get the HMA team together for a length of time long enough for me to present my book report, we finally succeeded!

This month’s selection was the second edition of Thinkertoys, by Michael Michalko.  I came across a recommendation for the book via someone’s review on Twitter, so I was intrigued to get into the meat of the book – a 380-page handbook chock full of creative thinking techniques that can easily be applied to the PR profession.Thinkertoys

The book is divided into three parts:

  1. Linear Thinkertoys, which structure existing information;
  2. Intuitive Thinkertoys, which generate new information using insight, imagination and intuition; and
  3. Group brainstorming activities.

We started out with a creative warm-up activity called “Space Creature,” in which I asked each member of our team to imagine a creature living on another planet with a different atmosphere in a distant solar system.  True to my artsy craftsy self, I provided crayons, markers, colored pencils and – yes – glitter pens so everyone could get as creative as they wanted.  The ideas we came up with were as diverse as our personalities: Scott’s creature we described as a ghost mixed with Cousin Itt; Abbie’s triangle head man; Alison’s Planet Orange-dwelling Suns-loving creature; and my amoeba-like blob.DSC07974

Next, we moved on to a linear Thinkertoy called “Slice and Dice.”  The activity calls for a person or group to state a challenge; analyze the challenge and list as many attributes as possible; and take each attribute one at a time and think of ways to change or improve it.  We brainstormed about reaching out to a certain target audience and came up five new ideas – not bad for our first time!

Overall, I thought the book was a great read, with useful techniques that can be applied to one’s personal and professional life.  Besides, I’ll look for any reason to use a glitter pen!

abbieI just got back from a 10-day summer vacation-what I have been affectionately referring to as my “Midwest swing.” Minneapolis, Chicago and Indianapolis to visit family and friends.

The primary reason for the trip was my mom was celebrating her 50th high school reunion in Minneapolis. But when my grandma passed away in March, it was decided then that the final burial rituals would happen when we were back for the reunion.  As it turned out, the rest of the family needed to be in Minneapolis that weekend, as well, for a wedding.

So plans were made and my thought was if I get to Minneapolis I might as well figure out how to visit friends in Chicago and Indy.

A lot can happen when you’re on vacation, so here are just a few of things that I learned on my summer vacation:

That when you are traveling with more than one person, the first person’s luggage will be out right away and the other’s will inevitably be among the last.

No matter how good your directions are, you should plan for at least two u-turns per outing.

You will likely forget to pack something – but there is always a Walgreens or Target near your hotel.

I love my family and I am so glad I saw them.Midwest Swing 1

It is nice to visit the old neighborhoods.

My mom and I are pretty good traveling companions. 

Text messages on vacation mean that fun plans are being confirmed.

Take a lot of pictures.

I have amazing friends who generously allowed me to crash in the guest rooms and on their couches.

Midwest Swing 2That I still need to check email and voice mail at the office, but have a great team that handles it all when I’m gone.

I will still update my Facebook and Twitter accounts on a regular basis.

It isn’t about what you do on your vacation but about who you are spending time with. 

And finally, as much as I love vacations, it is nice to be home.

HMA - Business Journal 2008For those of you who missed it last week, HMATime is now using its Monday blog post as a chance to help our readers get to know us, our friends and our clients a little better – and, we are using Facebook’s very popular “25 Things You Didn’t Know About…” feature to do it.

So, last week you learned a little about the wild world of Alison Bailin Batz. This week, here are 25 things you didn’t know about HMA’s quarterback – Scott Hanson:

  1. I’m left-handed.
  2. I’ve been married for more than 25 years.
  3. I still collect baseball cards.
  4. I can do a couple of good card tricks.
  5. My dog fetches the newspaper from the end of the driveway each morning.
  6. I have been a substitute teacher.Players' First Hit
  7. I have also worked in a liquor store.
  8. I have had 10 surgeries on my knees and elbow.
  9. I am a founding member of the Public Relations Global Network.
  10. I had a different roommate all four years in college.  Each left school for different reasons.
  11. I used to be able to walk in bare feet on the hot pavement all summer long.
  12. I have no musical talent.
  13. My best friend and I always get haircuts together.
  14. I have never owned a gun.Beth, Scott, Abbie, Deb
  15. I often have a Mountain Dew in the mid-afternoon.
  16. I gambled in Las Vegas before I was 21.
  17. My first car was a ’68 Ford pick-up.
  18. I have ridden a bull, a buffalo and horses.
  19. I couldn’t tie a neck tie until a friend taught me in college.
  20. I have driven an open-wheeled race car on the track at Phoenix International Raceway.
  21. I remember watching Neal Armstrong walk on the moon.
  22. I am the most punctual person I know.
  23. I return all phone calls.
  24. I do not like to eat alone and sometimes skip eating because of it.
  25. There is another Scott Hanson – he works for the NFL Network.

alisonAt last night’s #journchatphx, there was a buzz in the room about how to get clients and the community at large to accept – and engage – in social media. As a panelist, I chimed in that it will happen, but in an old-school way and mentioned that the king of “traditional” entertainment, branding, pitching – Michael Jordan – may be the answer. I then mentioned a recent Mashable article touting how Gatorade was going to use Jordan’s upcoming induction to the Professional Basketball Hall of Fame to make a statement in the social realm.

Sadly, I didn’t have the article handy at that moment – so here it isjordan_gatorade

As you see, Gatorade – who owes their entire brand identity to Jordan – is launching a Jordan nostalgia/greatest hits Facebook App that is already getting major international buzz.

So, fellow #journchat Tweeps – what do you think? Will using the greatest traditional pitchman of all time help the world embrace social media? Will it give us even more ammunition in our on-going conversations about social media to our bosses, clients and colleagues?

Cover_00Welcome to HMATime’s inaugural “25 Things You Didn’t Know About…” column, where, just like the popular Facebook feature, we give you all sorts of random facts about ourselves and our clients. You can expect a new column each week – sometimes from our staffers, sometimes from our clients and sometimes from our friends at the media.



  1. I have been quoted in the USA Today three times – twice about social media and once about vacations.
  2. I can do a really cool ear trick – but overdoing it forced me to get ear hematoma surgery TWICE!Whale Shark
  3. My childhood softball team – the Sand Dollar Sharks – only lost two games in 10 years.
  4. My dad sponsored the team.
  5. The Great White shark, Basking Shark and Whale Shark are my favorite animals.
  6. I’ve been the spokesperson for the Circle K Tempe Music Festival since 2006.
  7. In my spare time, I like to freelance write about tea and wine.
  8. From Rock of Love to Megan Wants a Millionaire, I watch ALL of the dating shows on VH1 religiously.
  9. I write with my left hand but can kick, cut, bat and eat with either hand. Logo 2
  10. I am a proud Notre Dame Fighting Irish fan – my dad and several other family members are alumni – and my family flew out to one game in South Bend every year from 1982 to 2003.
  11. I am related to NASCAR driver Ryan Newman – 4th cousins or something.
  12. I help out with the Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards.
  13. I help plan PRSA media breakfasts and professional development luncheons.
  14. I go to my mom’s house every Thursday night for family dinner with my sister, mom, brother and about 10 of his closest friends.
  15. I have been watching Young & the Restless since I was 10-years-old.
  16. Without my glasses or contacts, I am almost legally blind. So is mytommy_boy1 mom.
  17. While at some batting cages in high school, I laughed at a skinny, blond guy in the cage next to me as he missed ball after ball. It was David Spade. All I could say when he stared me down was, “I love Tommy Boy.” Not my coolest moment.
  18. I am a proud graduate of Horizon High School in 1999 and married a local boy who graduated from Shadow Mountain in 1997.
  19. I won $600 the first time I ever gambled (1998 – bingo at Casino Arizona).
  20. In high school and college, I worked at the Scottsdale Princess, Radisson Mist Spa and Paradise Bakery. goldengirls
  21. I think the Golden Girls is the most consistently funny sitcom of all time. Arrested Development is number two. And, of course, Lost is the best show ever.
  22. My favorite athletes of all time are Charles Barkley, Walter Payton and Joe Montana.
  23. My mom helped me get my job at HMA Public Relations. In 2003, HMA president Scott Hanson’s son played football with my little brother. So, my mom came right up to 974017153108_0_ALBhim and told him to hire me when I graduated college. I’ve been at HMA ever since!
  24. I am obsessed with cruises and will have sailed on Princess, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean ships by the end of 2010.
  25. My sister is my best friend.

This week’s #followfriday is all about something we hope you will all follow on Monday – #journchat live from Phoenix!

HMA’s own Alison Bailin Batz will be joining communications professionals and Arizona media as a panelist at the event, which is meant to improve the relationships between public relations professionals, journalists and bloggers. HMA is also pleased to announce the event will take place at the Virgina C. Piper Conference Center at the Disability Empowerment Center – a client’s fabulous space.

For full details of the event, please click here.

So, be sure you are following all of these great Tweeps by Monday, and we’ll either see you at the event or “see” you online!

And as a side note, our vp/gm Abbie S. Fink will be in Minneapolis on her “Midwest Swing” trip and will be popping in to their live event hosted by Arik Hanson.  While in Minneapolis she will also see Counselors Academy friend Eva Keiser. From there, she’ll head to Chicago to visit with Gini Dietrich and Scott Farrell.  And one of her best pals, Melanie Green, will be driving over from Indy to hang in the big city for a few days as well.

BethI got the chance to attend the PRSASPJ Publicity Summit this past weekend and represent for the HMA crew.  Although it did start a little too early for my personal taste (I really, really value my sleep), I have to say that it was an awesome event.  I got to see some colleagues and meet a few new ones, and the information I gathered from the panels and speed pitching were invaluable.  Some personal highlights:

  • The social media discussion that started our day – we got to talk about important issues with these rapidly evolving new tools, as well as find out how members of the media feel about them.
  • Meeting producers and reporters that I’ve heard about, contacted or seen on Twitter.  Talking with them in person was much less intimidating than it is over the phone.  As it turns out, they’re people too!  And nice ones at that.
  • Being told “no.”  Yeah I said it.  Oftentimes when PR pros pitch a reporter, they don’t get a response, even when they follow up a reasonable amount of time later (not five minutes).  I’ve found that to be a bit challenging, so when one reporter told me, “That story isn’t really going to work for me,” I was almost as happy as if they’d said “yes.”  I don’t mind being told “no” – I do mind continuously following up without a response, so it was nice to be so straightforward.
  • Building confidence to pitch more stories.

Thanks to great planning by the PRSA and SPJ – and participation from the media – I’d say the event was a complete success!