Sunday, December 9, 2018


Lawyer shares advice with women on breaking glass ceiling

Posted by Elena del Valle on December 6, 2018

Smashing Glass & Kicking Ass

Smashing Glass & Kicking Ass

Photo: Smith Publicity, Linda Jane Smith

According to her bio, Linda Jane Smith has found much success as a lawyer; and she has defended Exxon in an Alaska environmental lawsuit among other high profile cases. She believes she knows the path to the top and wants to share it with women. She dedicated time during one year to gathering her thoughts in Smashing Glass & Kicking Ass: Lessons from the Meanest Woman Alive ($19.97), a 245-page softcover book published this year.

It seems she believes those women who have not risen through the ranks the way she has are attempting to advance the wrong way because they are competing according to the rules of the male playbook; if they try harder, stop underestimating themselves and apologizing and start playing by a new set of rules they might become successful like her.

When asked by email via her publicist what inspired her to write the book she replied, “I am outraged that talented, fantastic women are still not making it to the top.Despite decades of superficial change in the ranks of business, today’s women are stalled in their quest to advance their careers. Across every level of work, in every industry, women still struggle to earn the same level of pay, to receive equal access to opportunity and promotion, and to do the work they were hired to do without fear of harassment or the discrimination of pervasive gender bias.”

Regarding the target audience for her book she said, “Despite graduating from college and professional schools and entering the workforce in equal numbers with men, females fail to make the same progress in their jobs as their male counterparts do, and that phenomenon repeats itself throughout the leadership pipeline. The number of women shrinks by about half at the middle-management level and dwindles to a fragment when it comes to promotion to the C-suite.

I thought my target audience would be college or grad school women in their mid-20s. 'Here’s everything you need to know to succeed as a woman in business.' But women tell me it takes a few years before they feel the brunt of gender discrimination. These women, in their late- twenties, early thirties and older, are looking to take their careers to the next level and are stuck, getting pushed out, settling for positions for which they are overqualified, or burning out along the way.”

When asked what makes her the Meanest Woman Alive she replied, “I am one of the top women litigators in the United States. Corporate Board Member Magazine did a profile on me in 2001 and entitled it 'The Meanest Woman Alive.' Clients love it. When I’m representing them on gigantic cases with billions of dollars and their company are at stake, they love to say they are represented by the Meanest Woman Alive and my law firm.
I view myself as a gladiator for my client—I protect them and defend them. And I am professional and fun to deal with. It’s only when they are attacked or someone lies or misrepresents the facts or the law, that I become mean. If anyone messes with my clients and doesn’t have integrity, I will go after them hammer and tong.”

How will she measure the success of her book? “Based on the number of women I inspire to unleash their unique feminine advantages. My Facebook website has a half million Followers whose comments uplift me as do women’s responses to the 11 tv shows, 25 plus podcast and innumerable articles and blogs I have written,” she said.

Smashing Glass & Kicking Ass

Click to buy Smashing Glass & Kicking Ass

Reaching Multicultural Audiences

Posted by Elena del Valle on November 28, 2018

The New Content Omnivore Paradigm™

By Adriana Waterston
Senior vice president
Insights & Strategy, Horowitz Research

Adriana Waterston, senior vice president, Insights & Strategy, Horowitz Research

Adriana Waterston, senior vice president, Insights & Strategy, Horowitz Research

Photo: Horowitz Research

To succeed in today’s complicated media ecosystem, companies must make it a strategic imperative to cater to the needs of Hispanic and multicultural consumers and audiences.

Historically, these audiences have been the hungriest for content. These are larger households run by relatively younger heads of household that are more likely to include more children than their White, non-Hispanic counterparts. They are often multigenerational and multilingual. To keep up with their varied content needs, they are willing to use all the platforms, screens, and services at their disposal.* Click to read the entire article: Reaching Multicultural Audiences

Podcast with Shelley Callahan, director, Development Children Incorporated, on why donating to nonprofits is good for business

Posted by Elena del Valle on November 13, 2018

Shelley Callahan, director, Development, Children Incorporated

Shelley Callahan, director, Development, Children Incorporated

Photo: James Callahan

A podcast interview with Shelley Callahan, director, Development, Children Incorporated is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing and Public Relations, During the podcast, she discusses why donating to nonprofits is good for business with Elena del Valle, host of the podcast.

Shelley started her career in the non-profit sector in 2006 when she co-founded Books on Wheels, to provide free books to children in low-income neighborhoods across the United States. She expanded her work in the humanitarian sector by working with international aid organizations. Her work  took her to Colombia to dig wells, Haiti to manage medical teams, and Nepal and Uganda to provide clean water solutions to indigenous populations living in poverty. Through her work with Children Incorporated, Shelley has helped thousands of impoverished children in Asian countries such India as Sri Lanka as well as in Africa, Latin America, and United States.

To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Shelley Callahan” and click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home from the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the November 2018 section of the podcast archive.


With video – Appalachian Mountains sisters behind uplifting music documentary

Posted by Elena del Valle on November 7, 2018


Fiddlin' poster

Video: Fiddlin Films, Fort Lauderdale Int'l Film Festival (FLiFF)

Photos: Fiddlin Films

Sisters Julie Simone and Vicki Vlasic, natives of the Appalachian Mountains, returned home to film during the 80th Anniversary of the World’s Oldest and Largest Fiddler’s Convention, the first filmmakers permitted to do so in the history of the event. The result is Fiddlin', an uplifting showcase of old time and bluegrass music and some of its musicians. The 96-minute film required two and a half years to make. It will premier in Florida at 6 p.m. November 14, 2018 at Savor Cinema Lauderdale as part of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. Scroll down to watch a trailer.

“We wanted to shine a positive light on the true beauty of this area with it’s traditions, culture, music and authentic people,” said Simone, director, Fiddlin', in an email about the making of the documentary. “Because we were a small crew, we threw cameras at our nieces and nephews, my mom cooked for everyone and my dad set up camp for us. This was a passion project and we all came together to make Fiddlin' happen.”

They filmed with a budget below $500,000 in Galax, Virginia and other small towns in Southwest Virginia as well as in the Nashville, Tennessee area. Funding sources included a Kickstarter campaign, a grant from the Rogovy Foundation, donations from friends and family and the sisters.

"We recruited our family to help work on the project as well as hiring a DP and Audio Recordist from North Carolina," said Vlasic, producer of the film, by email. "Our kids were holding booms, lights, carrying equipment and filming on additional cameras. Our parents cooked for the entire crew. Julie and I have worn many hats as we navigated the process of getting our film made.

Julie and I grew up in this Appalachian region and spent our summers attending the Old Fiddler’s Convention in the neighboring town of Galax. After living in major cities for many years, Julie realized that this cultural event that we had always taken for granted was worthy of sharing with a larger audience. We had also started noticing that in recent years, there had been an enormous change in the demographics of the festival-young kids were now playing the traditional music in droves. In our youth, the musicians were only older people. Even more inspiring was seeing that the young people were jamming and hanging out with their elders and carried instruments instead of smartphones." 

From Fidding Ivy Phillips Annabelle Watts

Musicians Ivy Phillips and Annabelle Watts

When asked to describe the music Vlasic said, "Old Time music was the music played in these mountains when the first settlers came from England, Ireland, Wales and Germany and began playing with the African slaves who introduced the banjo to our country. The combination of their music became known as Old Time music. In 1947, Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys (so named as they came from the state of Kentucky) began to take breaks on individual instruments and to improvise and try to outdo the player before them. This was the birth of Bluegrass Music. Monroe’s brother started using picks on his fingers to play the banjo which also differentiated the sound from Old Time. Many consider Bluegrass to be a 'fancier' style of music with some licks borrowed from blues and jazz music. Bluegrass later evolved into rock and roll when Elvis Presley recorded Bill Monroe’s 'Blue Moon of Kentucky' as his first record. Country music was also born out of much of this Mountain music." 

Simone grew up on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Prior to making the independent film she enrolled in a gorilla style film making class where she wrote, directed and acted in multiple short films. After motherhood and divorce, she turned her attention to the camera. On a trip to Cannes, Julie directed, filmed, and appeared as herself in Cannes Without a Plan, a comedic reality and television pilot about divorce and being a single mom.

Fiddlin' had its world premiere in March 2018 at San Louis Obispo, California, where it won the Audience Award. It has won multiple awards to date.  The Florida screening will be the final one this year. Next year, the producers expect to participate in more screenings and announce a release date.

With video – documentary shines light on perils of shark extinction

Posted by Elena del Valle on October 31, 2018

Sharkwater Extinction poster

Sharkwater Extinction poster - click to enlarge

Video, photo: Courtesy of the Fort Lauderdale Int'l Film Festival (FLiFF)

Filmmaker Rob Stewart shines a light on the killing of sharks across borders in his third, and final, film Sharkwater Extinction. According to the film, worldwide between 100 and 150 million sharks, including endangered species and babies, are slaughtered for their flesh and fins every year, although only about half of them are reported. The Florida premier of the film will be at the Fort Lauderdale Int'l Film Festival (FLiFF) at 8 p.m. Saturday, November 17, 2018 at Bailey Hall, 3501 Davie Road, Davie, Florida (on the Broward College campus). Scroll down to watch a trailer.

In the documentary Stewart and other shark advocates travel to the often violent underworld of the pirate fishing trade in Florida and California as well as West Africa, Spain, Panama, Costa Rica and France. While in Florida they purchase various products at a grocery store and take them to Florida International University for testing. The scientists discover shark DNA in a number of them, including food, health and beauty products, fertilizer and pet food. In addition to beautiful underwater filmography with sharks the film features interviews with shark advocates, experts and locals as well as shaky undercover video.

In his first film, Sharkwater, Stewart brought attention to shark finning for use in shark fin soup. According to promotional materials, his multi award-winning film changed laws and public policy worldwide, and launched hundreds of conservation groups; more than 90 countries have banned shark finning or the trade of shark products.

Despite that unscrupulous fishermen fish sharks and equally unscrupulous buyers purchase them to make soups and much more so that, according to Stewart, they are still being fished to extinction. Stewart perished in a diving accident in the Florida Keys in January 2017 during the making of Sharkwater Extinction.

Along Orlando North scenic trail

Posted by Elena del Valle on October 25, 2018

First of occasional travel notes

A section of the Seminole-Wekiva Trail, a 14-mile rail trail in Seminole County, Florida (click on the photo to enlarge)

Photos: Seminole County Parks & Recreation

One of the discoveries I most enjoyed during a recent trip to Lake Mary, Florida was the Seminole-Wekiva Trail, a 14-mile rail trail, which includes Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Lake Mary and Sanford in the central part of the Sunshine State. It runs alongside the abandoned tracks  of Florida’s old Orange Beltway Railway, at one time the longest railroad in the country.  Although I don't recall seeing the tracks I noticed a small metal sign with the name of the trail.

It couldn't have been more convenient as it passed by the front of my hotel (Westin Lake Mary Orlando North), curving through busy suburban streets, past water features and at times weaving beneath shady tall trees dressed with Spanish moss. My favorite part, I didn't see the entire trail, was the canopied section that traversed a nearby residential area, offering views into the grassy backyards of some of the homes.

Seminole-Wekiva Trail

The Seminole-Wekiva Trail is part of the Florida National Scenic Trail.

The Seminole-Wekiva Trail is part of the Florida National Scenic Trail, a federally designated, non-motorized, recreation trail that spans approximately 1,300 miles across some of the state landscapes. According to the trail website, the trail end points are: Markham Road near CR 46A (Wekiva River Protection Area) (Longwood) and FL 436 near Laurel St. (Altamonte Springs). I wish we had a similar trail in my neighborhood.

Along its paved path I saw many locals walking their dogs, riding their bicycles (sometimes a bit aggressively), walking and jogging. In the greenest sections, where it was cool and shady, I heard birds calling and nature sounds. Exploring the trail was one of the most pleasant activities during my brief visit to Orlando North.