Ready4Air (Travel) | People Power: The Philippine Revolution–An Outsider’s View Of The Insiders’ Experience

Ding, Elsie, and Natalie Diaz at

February 28, 2015 | Posted in Lifestyle Lineup (Food,Fashion,Travel,Books) | By

 

Marian and the Diaz family wait for news of the revolution.

Marian and the Diaz family wait for news of the revolution.
Photo courtesy of Marian Rivman

By Marian Rivman

February 25 was the 29th anniversary of the People Power Revolution in the Philippines.

In 1967, the Peace Corps posted me to Davao City on the island of Mindanao, in the southern end of the Philippines. Even then, the Diazes–my adopted Filipino family–were not Ferdinand Marcos fans. Antonio (Ding) Diaz, a businessman whose family had been early pioneers of Davao, was one of the early organizers of the Marcos opposition in Davao. He circulated Cory Aquino’s nominating petitions at a time when it was dangerous to do so.

At Ding’s request, I went back to Davao City to visit the Diaz family. I arrived after the election just as the military rebels occupied Camps Aguinaldo and Crame. Ding was in Manila to meet me. He picked me up at the airport having spent the night guarding the camps in response to Cardinal Sin’s call for citizens to place themselves between the rebels and the Marcos forces. Ding was elated at the swelling throngs of civilians he had witnessed arriving in response to the Cardinal’s directive. “This is it,” he kept repeating. “Marcos is finished. ‘People Power’ will win.”

I didn’t realize it at the time, but our flight from Manila to Davao was one of the last to leave the capital city. Hours later, the airport would be closed in the gathering storm as Marcos sought to crush the opposition, and military leaders refused to obey his orders.

The international news networks and wire services kept the rest of the world informed as events broke in Manila, but in Davao City, we had almost no way of knowing what was happening. Was Marcos resisting? Was the army staying with him? Would there be civil war? Would Filipinos be dying in the streets?

While my friends in New York watched detailed news reports of up to the minute events in Manila, I sat in the Diaz house listening to the cackling radio, waiting to learn what was happening. The television stations were broadcasting Dallas, game shows, and music videos a la MTV.

We waited, we called friends, and we prayed. Mostly, we ate. Over the last 20 years, life under Marcos had taken a severe toll on everybody, including the Diaz family, but there was no shortage of food to put on the family table. So we sat, and talked, and waited, and cooked, and ate.

All of Davao City listened to the radio. We all were tuned to DXFM, the only Davao radio station that was reporting political events; the others were playing rock and roll. For hours on end, we waited for some important word. While we waited and listened, we ate. And when news reports did come in–either over the radio or via telephone calls with friends in Manila–well, that was cause for celebration and even more eating.

I’d never realized that revolutions can be so fattening.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Travel) | Decades Later, Hong Kong Is Like New York On Steroids

I will always remember the pervasive hunger for information. On the plane from Manila to Davao, every passenger was devouring newspapers. They were government “crony” papers printing the official line, but they were all that was available on the flight.

Ding always wore a yellow Cory Aquino T-Shirt and drove what could be called a “Corymobile.” Wherever we stopped, people who thought he would have the latest news–and not just the latest Marcos propaganda–mobbed him.

The family met us at the Davao airport — and drove us straight to a Cory Aquino rally. Ten thousand people were gathered there to cheer their president on. The rally had officially been cancelled when Aquino had changed her schedule, but these people didn’t care. They wanted to show support for their champion.

This was my first real taste of People Power. “Look at everyone in yellow,” Ding’s wife Elsie instructed me gleefully. “Yesterday, we had a seminar for 900 district directors for Cory’s civil disobedience program. Mr. Marcos better start packing. We don’t want him anymore and we mean it. Tell that to your Mr. Reagan.”

After 24 hours traveling, all I really wanted was a shower. “Don’t worry,” said Ding. “We’ll talk about that when we get home.” Little did I know that the Diaz family had their own personal crisis. The water pipes had broken the day before I arrived. Broken pipes meant that there was no running water, and no shower for this weary traveller.

In Davao, we would be isolated from breaking events. In nine days in the Philippines, I never once saw Cory Aquino on television. In the United States, you saw her inauguration. We didn’t. You heard her speeches and press conferences. We didn’t.

Even without news, Ding and his family knew what would be happening. “Marcos will leave,” Ding reassured me. “His time is over.”

“Don’t worry,” Elsie Diaz would endlessly repeat, as much to convince herself as to reassure me. “No one will be killed. Filipinos will not shoot Filipinos.” But she didn’t want her family to go outside. We stayed in the house, listened to the radio, talked about life, politics, and our twenty-year friendship and ate.

On Monday, the Diaz family received a call from their niece in Ohio. She was calling to tell us that the US state department had issued a traveler’s advisory against going to the Philippines. The family jokingly puts me under protective custody. Nothing is going to happen to this American.

It’s hard to separate the news from the rumors. On Monday, we received incorrect information that Marcos had fled. Then we heard that Cory Aquino will be sworn in as president. “You see, we told you,” the Diazes beamed. “It’s People Power.”

Monday night. The TV broadcasted a Marcos news conference to dispel the rumors of flight. But no one was even willing to believe their eyes. “Those are actors imitating Marcos,” says Ding. “Marcos has fled.” One of the TV reporters asked the president what time it is, in an effort to convince the audience that this is really Marcos, and that the broadcast is live. While we watch the proceedings, we eat.

Tuesday. The schools are closed because of the state of emergency. We read newspapers and we ate some more. We watched the inauguration of Marcos on television. My family gossiped about Imelda’s triple chins and her love affair with George Hamilton. We heard nothing about Aquino. We go to the Davao Insular Hotel to meet friends, talk about politics,   and eat.

Tuesday night. We heard that the rebels had taken Channel 4 television, the government station. We don’t receive that channel in Davao, but the family cheers. This is a good sign. I go to bed, and a half-hour later, there’s a knock on my door. “Come upstairs and listen to the radio with us,” said Elsie. “American helicopters are coming for Marcos. He is leaving. It is over.” I ran upstairs. The radio didn’t report where Marcos was going. What’s important is that the deposed president, the hated Imelda, and his dreaded General Ver are leaving. It is 10:00 p.m. when we learn that the helicopters have left Malacanang Palace for nearby Clarke Field.

As the radio announcement is heard, a siren went off at the Davao Light and Power Company. Windows opened all over Davao City and people called to each other, laughing and crying. The whole town is yelling and banging on pots and pans.

We all get dressed, except for Mitzi. She can’t find her long pants. She doesn’t have anything to wear.

The car is decorated with Aquino posters, stickers, and yellow streamers. Ding has his bullhorn. There are cars coming from everywhere, blowing horns, filled with shouting, exuberant people. Tens of thousands of people, a hundred thousand people pouring into the streets to sing and dance and laugh and cry in the victory of People Power. Exhausted, we finally return home–to eat.

Ding, Elsie, and Natalie Diaz at

Ding, Elsie, and Natalie Diaz at Malacanang Palace
Photo courtesy of Marian Rivman

Wednesday. A celebration mass was held at Magsaysay Park. There was a march to the town square. Elsie said it’s the longest walk she’s taken in the 20 years since Marcos came to power.

Filipinos don’t show emotion in public. They are a proud people who may smile and frown easily, but keep deep feelings personal and inside. As more than 300,000 people joined in Aquino’s theme song, I turned to Ding. There were tears running down his face as he holds J.B., his 11-year-old son close to him. Unconstrained, and for the first time in 20 years, unashamed. A proud man’s public tears and public love–love for his family and love for his country and love for his people.

That love is radiating all around me as a human sea of yellow lift their voices in thanksgiving, aware that this is the shining hour of the Filipino people. I feel incredibly privileged to be sharing this moment. I silently thank John Kennedy for having created the Peace Corps all those years ago.

I’m running all over trying to take pictures, climbing buildings to reach good photographic vantage points. My private bodyguard and guide is 27-year-old Anthony Diaz. He was only seven when I was here as a Peace Corps volunteer. I was 21 then. Now, I’m too old and out of shape for this kind of exercise. When we’re done, we all get together and go to the ice cream store, part of a monopoly owned by a Marcos crony. With the liberation came an end to the boycott. We ate ice cream not by the cone but by the gallon. Victory tastes sweet.

Thursday. Is that all there is to a revolution? Cory is president. The schools are open again. The adults go to the beach. That night, Ding leaves for Manila to meet with some Japanese businessmen. They are eager to re-establish their connections in the Philippines. The kids and I play Trivial Pursuit. “Marcos-si,” they yell. Cheating. The questions are too American. The nervous eating is over. Now we can get down to serious banquets.

One of Ding’s friends has made a vow that when Cory becomes president, he will kill a cow. We plan the victory banquet for Saturday night. The “cow” turns out to be two steers and seven piglets, and masses of ube, pancit, and sweet coconut–enough food for the 700 guests who come to the party. And also finally off the Marcos crony boycott list, San Miguel beer. It flows by the case.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | Guess What? When It’s A Press Trip, It’s Work!

Sunday. My last day in Davao is very relaxed. The children are studying. Anthony is doing his best to fix the pipes (we haven’t had water all this time), and Elsie is cooking. Planning my farewell dinner, we all go to the central market. It’s a new experience for the kids, who have not been allowed to go there for fear of terrorist attacks. Now that Cory is president, there is a new optimism. Anything is possible. People Power won back their streets, their market, their city, their self-respect.

Monday. Elsie and I fly to Manila where we meet Ding and the oldest Diaz daughter, Natalie, a dentist. Together we go to Malacanang Palace. Natalie has never seen it. For all of her life, it has been closed, cordoned off to the public with barbed wire. Elsie wants to see Imelda’s giant bathtub with the mirrored ceiling, and retrieve Marcos’ medals so I can bring them to him as I pass through Hawaii on my way home.

Elsie’s mother, brother, and sister join us in Manila. They have come from their hometown of San Pablo, an hour drive away, to spend some time with me before I have to leave. It is a warm and loving reunion. We share one final victory feast. There is a great sense of relief that the revolution is over. There is lots of talk about the faith that sustained them during these hard times. And finally, there is talk about the future. For 20 years, no one has wanted to think about the future. Now, it is all that people want to talk about.

Filipinos had won their liberation. And I had gained ten pounds.

Marian Rivman is a New York-based public relations and communications consultant. Her clients have included UN agencies, Fortune 500 companies, international nonprofits, bold-faced names, and the recreational scuba diving industry. She is known for her unbounded energy, directness, and skill at translating complex issues into comprehensible messages for an array of audiences. Marian is particularly interested in the power of nonverbal communication. In addition to her independent consulting work, Marian is affiliated with New Solutions.

####
Coming up: Ready4Air (TV) My Life In Television with Clare Hickey
Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Culinary Cues) | Going Vegan Is A Joy With A Farm-To-Table Menu

Bessan Chila

February 27, 2015 | Posted in Culinary Cues | By

Bessan Chila

Bessan Chila, made with chickpea flour
Photo credit: Marian Rivman

 

By Marian Rivman

For several months, I wanted to treat myself to a spa vacation.

After more than a decade of caregiving for my mother, I needed to reset my mind, body, and spirit to prepare myself for the next chapter of my life. When I recently made a spur-of-the-moment decision to take a trip to the Philippines–the country where I did my Peace Corps service decades ago–I had the brilliant idea of going to a spa while I was there.

After an extensive Google search, I decided that The Farm at San Benito, located just a 90-minute drive from Manila, was the place for me. It was physically beautiful, offered an unbelievably extensive choice of spa and wellness treatments, and there were daily workout activities that included yoga, water aerobics, cross training, and power walks. It sounded like my idea of heaven. My only trepidation was that The Farm was totally vegan, and 85 percent of the food on the menu at their Alive restaurant was served raw.

It’s not that I’m a raging carnivore, but my normal diet includes chicken, fish, eggs, and dairy in addition to fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts. Going totally vegan for a week was going to be a challenge. I was envisioning food choices that would be bland and boring.

After my first day at The Farm, I realized my concern was totally unfounded. Actually, one of the high points of my stay at The Farm was the food, which was consistently healthy, nutritious, and absolutely delicious. Each dish was pleasing to both the palate and the eye.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Culinary Cues) | Neither Sleet Nor Snow Stops A Day Of Good Eats

From clockwise, top right:

From clockwise, top right: mixed organic salad, cassava flour pancakes with coconut sugar syrup, stuffed young coconut with hoisin sauce, fruit salad with homemade coconut milk yogurt, scrambled tofu and roasted potatoes, green smoothie
All photos courtesy of Marian Rivman

Lucrecia Buking, the head chef who has been with The Farm since it opened, is a culinary queen. With help from visiting chefs and her talented kitchen staff, she has created world-class recipes. My favorites included: Bessan Chila (made with chickpea flour) with Cilantro and Tamarind Chutney; Mixed Organic Salad with Tomato, Mango, Cucumber, and Nut Cheese; Vermicelli with stir Fried Vegetables; and Rice Flour Pancakes with Coconut Sugar Syrup. The homemade granola served at breakfast each morning is swoon-worthy. It’s a mixture of hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, shredded green apples, desiccated coconut, bananas, coconut sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sea salt that is put in a dehydrator overnight.

The farm-to-table organic menu at the spa is not a trend; it’s a way of life. There’s an extensive garden right next to the restaurant where all the greens for salads and herbs for dressings, teas, and sauces are grown. There’s an organic coconut plantation and a small processing plant on the property. There’s also a coffee plantation and fruit groves. In addition, The Farm’s horticulturist is working with local farmers to teach them how to grow organic vegetables, which the spa then buys.

The kitchen is spotlessly clean and well-equipped. I took two cooking classes while I was there and learned how they work their magic. There is a high-speed blender that’s used for salad dressings, sauces, and delectable smoothies. There is a juicer that presses a seemingly endless variety of creative combinations of drinks for those guests who are on a carefully monitored detox program. Most importantly, absolutely nothing leaves the kitchen unless it has been carefully plated. Food and beverages arrive at the table looking like works of art.

Going vegan at The Farm was not a challenge at all. It was a joy.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Culinary Cues) | What Is A Far Breton From Brittany, France?

Marian Rivman is a New York-based public relations and communications consultant. Her clients have included UN agencies, Fortune 500 companies, international nonprofits, bold-faced names, and the recreational scuba diving industry. She is known for her unbounded energy, directness, and skill at translating complex issues into comprehensible messages for an array of audiences. Marian is particularly interested in the power of nonverbal communication. In addition to her independent consulting work, Marian is affiliated with New Solutions.

####
Coming up: Ready4Air (Social) Learn how to create a podcast
Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Travel) | Decades Later, Hong Kong Is Like New York On Steroids

Photo credit: Marian Rivman

February 18, 2015 | Posted in Lifestyle Lineup (Food,Fashion,Travel,Books) | By

Photo credit: Marian Rivman

The Chungking Mansions survived all the changes in Hong Kong. Rooms now cost $40 a night.
Photo credit: Marian Rivman

By Marian Rivman

I just spent a few days in Hong Kong. My first trip there was in 1968. It was a stop on my itinerary when I was returning back to the US after having spent two years in the Philippines as a Peace Corps volunteer. At that time, colorful sampans zigzagged across Victoria Harbour, the Star Ferry was the only means of public transportation to get from the island of Hong Kong to Kowloon, and there was nary a skyscraper to be seen on the horizon.

The Hong Kong I encountered was much like the city that was the backdrop of the movie Love is a Many-Splendored Thing, which I had seen multiple times. My days were spent wandering the streets and exploring the open-air markets. Like many Western travelers on a budget, I stayed at the Chungking Mansions on Nathan Road in Kowloon. Each floor housed a different hotel. The cost of a double room was $3.00.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | Designer Vicente Wolf Finding Inspiration In Travel

Photo credit: Marian Rivman

The Hong Kong skyline
Photo credit: Marian Rivman

Over the decades, I’ve returned to Hong Kong a couple of times; my last visit was in 1998. With each visit, I was taken with the changes in the city. This time around, the changes blew my mind. There was not a sampan in sight, the Star Ferry is mostly for tourists, and massive skyscrapers are everywhere. Hong Kong has become an ultramodern, sophisticated, world-class city.

What was most striking was the pace of the city. As a native New Yorker, I pride myself on my big-city credentials. In Hong Kong, I felt like a hick from the boondocks. People race-walk down the streets and escalators move so fast you have to jump on and off. The Hong Kong metro system is clean, efficient, reliable, and easy to navigate. There’s cell service at every station, on every train, and virtually every passenger is busy on a phone or tablet. There’s a mall above every station.

Related Post: Ready4Air (TV) | Arise On Screen In Cannes: Taking The Show On The Road

Shops in a Hong Kong children's designer mall

Shops in a Hong Kong children’s designer mall
Photo credit: Marian Rivman

Shopping is a national pastime and luxury brands are an obsession. Gucci, Prada, Dior, Rolex, Fendi, Patek Philippe, Bottega Veneta and countless other high-end label shops can be found in the malls. There’s a section of a mall near the Kowloon Star Ferry terminal devoted to designer shops for children. There are still outdoor markets, but the action is at the malls.

On a Saturday afternoon, I went to both the Hong Kong Art Museum and the History Museum. There were a handful of people in each. That same day, I passed by the Apple store and was almost trampled by the crowd. One of the salespeople told me it was like that every day and that 85% of the customers are from mainland China.

Hong Kong is New York on steroids.

Marian Rivman is a New York-based public relations and communications consultant. Her clients have included UN agencies, Fortune 500 companies, international nonprofits, bold-faced names, and the recreational scuba diving industry. She is known for her unbounded energy, directness, and skill at translating complex issues into comprehensible messages for an array of audiences. Marian is particularly interested in the power of nonverbal communication. In addition to her independent consulting work, Marian is affiliated with New Solutions.

####
Coming up: Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) What do you do when the payment is due and the client won’t pay?
Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) |#TBT A Birthday Reflection: The Choices We Make…

Marian Rivman

February 5, 2015 | Posted in Lifestyle Lineup (Food,Fashion,Travel,Books) | By

The Irish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C. April 2012.
Photo courtesy Marian Rivman

By Marian Rivman

The choices we make as young adults can profoundly affect the rest of our lives. The seminal seed of the woman I grew to be was planted during an assembly program my senior year at the Bronx High School of Science. A Science graduate who was joining one of the first Peace Corps groups came to talk to us. Peace Corps service resonated with both my desire to make a difference in the world and to have a life far beyond the Bronx. I would have signed on right then and there, but you needed a college degree. I made a solemn commitment to myself that I would join the Peace Corps as soon as I graduated from college.

Graduation day at Hunter College, June 1966
Photo courtesy Marian Rivman

My father made it crystal clear that if I wanted a college education, I better get accepted to one of the City University of New York (CUNY) schools because they were tuition-free. Hunter College in the Bronx was my choice. I lived at home and walked to classes. To appease my parents, I was an education major (“You can always fall back on it.”). I did a second major in anthropology to prepare myself for the globetrotting life I planned to live. After graduating from Hunter, I spent the summer of 1966 in a Peace Corps training program in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My training group flew to the Philippines on September 12, 1966, my 21st birthday. I took it as a sign.

The Philippines was definitely not the Bronx, but my assignment was also not the tropical paradise I had envisioned. My first year, I lived in a dusty, dangerous inland town on the island of Mindanao.

Tacurong, an inland town on the island of Mindanao
Photo courtesy Marian Rivman

There was no running water. Sometimes there was electricity from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Telegraphs were the most advanced communication technology available. Pigs and chickens walked through my bedroom at will. The rats were the size of cats. Sewage ran in ditches along the side of the road. Women never went out unaccompanied. Men played mah-jongg with their guns on the table, and the heat and humidity rivaled hell.

When the municipal judge was shot to death on Easter Sunday while taking Holy Communion (My family read the story in The New York Times and went CRAZY.), the Peace Corps finally granted my request to be transferred to Davao City. I had done a summer project for Bayanihang Manggagawa (Brotherhood of Workers), a local nonprofit, and they wanted me back. I helped to create the first comprehensive telephone book for the city of Davao, which they sold to raise money.

The Bayaniyang Mangagawa office in Davoa City
Photo courtesy Marian Rivman

Bayanihang helped indigent Filipinos–who had been forced to leave land they had farmed as squatters–to adjust to city life and find a way to earn enough money to feed and house their families. A Maryknoll priest and a missionary couple from the United Church of Christ were the founders. Some of the most prominent businessmen in the city were on the board. They all thought it fitting for a Jewish Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) to join their ecumenical effort.

Décor in my Davao apartment included a life-size wooden carabao and farmers’ hats from local villages
Photo courtesy Marian Rivman

My year in Davao City was an extraordinary personal and professional experience. I found an apartment in the heart of downtown. While a woman could be on the streets unaccompanied, it was strictly taboo to live alone. I was to live with another PCV. For a myriad of reasons, roommates passed through at the rate Murphy Brown went through secretaries. No matter. I was incredibly happy and fulfilled.

Forget VitaCoco or Zico. This is the way to drink coconut water.
Photo courtesy Marian Rivman

Compared to my first assignment, Davao was heaven. Work was great. I designed training programs and spearheaded a study of Philippine handicrafts that would be suitable for cottage industries. Between my Bayanihang colleagues and the dozens of PCVs assigned as teachers at schools in and around the city, I had a busy social life. I spent holidays and vacations exploring the Philippines. Be there no mistake, most of the country is the tropical paradise of my fantasies. In addition, Filipinos are warm, welcoming people. I have been back several times in the last four decades.

By June 1968, the end of my tour of duty, Bayanihang was a highly-respected and effective organization. A half-dozen PCVs were going to spend the summer working on initiatives I had helped develop. The plaque I received at my farewell party still hangs in my apartment.

The plaque I received when I left the Philippines that hangs in my New York City apartment. Photo courtesy Marian Rivman

I took the long way home–Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Greece. It was mind-boggling. Serving in the Peace Corps and traveling so extensively at such a young age has informed my worldview my entire life.

Since it’s creation in 1961, 200,000 Americans have served in 139 countries. I am proud to have been one of them. Once I am no longer responsible for the care of my 95-year-old invalid mother, there’s a good possibility that I’ll sign up for another tour of duty.

For more information about the Peace Corps, go to http://www.peacecorps.gov/

####

Happy Birthday, Marian!

Would you join the Peace Corps or encourage your kids to join the Peace Corps???

 

Marian Rivman is a New York-based public relations and communications consultant. Her clients have included UN agencies, Fortune 500 companies, international nonprofits, bold-faced names, and the recreational scuba diving industry. She is known for her unbounded energy, directness, and skill at translating complex issues into comprehensible messages for an array of audiences. Marian is particularly interested in the power of non-verbal communication. In addition to her independent consulting work, Marian is affiliated with New Solutions.

Coming up: Ready4Air (Lifestyle Lineup) Marian writes about her upcoming travels to the Philippines and Hong Kong.
Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates, she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

Read More...

#TBT Ready4Air (Brands and Bloggers) | The Power Of A Handshake

Photo Courtesy of Sophie Feels Better

January 22, 2015 | Posted in Pros Talk TV And Social Media | By

 

By Marian Rivman

How someone shakes my hand tells me a lot about that person. Are they friendly or standoffish, dependent or independent, focused or scattered?

In my more than three decades as a public relations and communications consultant, I have shaken more than my fair share of hands. Thanks to my eclectic client roster, the hands I was shaking belonged to an amazingly diverse cross-section of people including diplomats, corporate executives, community leaders, and celebrities.

The momentary act of shaking someone’s hand is an incomparable communications tool. A handshake is much more than Wikipedia’s definition: “A short ritual in which two people grasp one of each other’s like hands, in most cases accompanied by a brief up and down movement of the grasped hands.” Despite its brevity, a handshake is an extremely effective way to have a memorable one-on-one connection with another person.

When did this widely accepted and expected cultural convention start? There is no definitive answer since the beginning of the handshake predates written history. However, historians agree that whenever and wherever it started, handshakes were a “man thing.” If two men met and displayed empty right hands, they could assume one would not be attacked by the other.

Since I consider myself something of a handshake aficionado, I take full advantage of the opportunity the gesture offers. It’s an incredible source of personal data. In that moment when two people’s hands are touching and they are directing their focus and energy on each other, a dozen blogs and 1,000 tweets’ worth of information are being transmitted.

People’s handshakes can be divided into three categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here is a breakdown of what each one says about you.

The Good (This handshake labels you a “player” in the business game)

A good handshaker is focused. Full attention is paid to the person whose hand is to be shaken. Eye contact is made. The right hand is extended perpendicular to the ground, fingers are open–especially the thumb and pointer. In the days of the dagger, the open hand signified that you were approaching in peace and did not have a weapon up your sleeve. Today, it means the same thing, only figuratively. A person who shakes with an open hand is someone who can be trusted. How many shakes? Two and then stop. While it’s acceptable to hold someone’s hand after completing the shakes, a good handshaker knows when to let go. Pay attention to people with good handshakes. These are the “players” you want to do business with.

The Bad (This handshake could get you sidelined in the business game)

There are a variety of bad handshakers. There’s the knuckle-crusher who squeezes your hand so hard it hurts. That unnecessary display of strength lets me know that that’s someone who needs to be in charge and could be overbearing. The pumper shakes your hand enough times to make you think they are hoping to hit water. That kind of over-enthusiasm can be exhausting. Then there’s the dead fish shaker who basically deposits his/her hand in yours and lets you do all the shaking. You have to wonder if that person will carry their weight if you work together. Last, but not least, there are those people who proffer dirty or sweaty hands for you to shake. There’s no excuse for that. Carry a hand sanitizer so you’re always handshake ready. If you have a sweaty palm problem, carry a handkerchief. Bad handshakers can often end up sidelined.

The Ugly (This handshake will get you benched in the business game)

The most egregious and, unfortunately, all-too-common handshaking mistake people make is to unconsciously shake someone’s hand without any eye contact or modicum of attention. They are too busy looking around for someone more important or interesting to meet. It’s rude and unpleasant. These are people I avoid; they’re indefinitely benched.

Do you have a good handshake? It’s a skill well worth developing. It’s an effective way to make a good impression and to let the world know you’re a “player.” There’s a reason politicians spend hundreds of hours shaking thousands of hands.

 

Marian Rivman is a New York-based public relations and communications consultant. Her clients have included UN agencies, Fortune 500 companies, international non-profits, bold-faced names and the recreational scuba diving industry. She is known for her unbounded energy, directness, and skill at translating complex issues into comprehensible messages for an array of audiences. Marian is particularly interested in the power of non-verbal communication. In addition to her independent consulting work, Marian is affiliated with New Solutions .

 

 

 

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

Emmy-nominated network television producer Deborah Mitchell is a veteran of ABC and CBS News, a member of the Producers Guild of America, and a board member of the James Beard Broadcast and Media Awards Committee. Through Deborah Mitchell Media Associates she will create your online personality with a customized website, book you on the right television show, manage your social media profiles, and connect you with the best and brightest digital influencers. Deborah is a weekly contributor for Entrepreneur.com and author of So You Want To Be On TV. You can follow Deborah @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

Read More...

#Repost | Ready4Air |A Birthday Reflection: The Choices We Make…..

MRCoconut-300x297

September 25, 2014 | Posted in TV Production | By

The Irish Ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., April 2012.
Photo credit: Marian Rivman

By Marian Rivman

The choices we make as young adults can profoundly affect the rest of our lives. The seminal seed of the woman I grew to be was planted during an assembly in my senior year at the Bronx High School of Science. A Science graduate who was joining one of the first Peace Corps groups came to talk to us. Peace Corps service resonated with both my desire to make a difference in the world and to have a life far beyond the Bronx. I would have signed on right then and there, but you needed a college degree. I made a solemn commitment to myself that I would join the Peace Corps as soon as I graduated from college.

Graduation day at Hunter College, June 1966.
Photo credit: Marian Rivman

My father made it crystal clear that if I wanted a college education, I better get accepted by one of the City University of New York (CUNY) schools because they were tuition-free. Hunter College in the Bronx was my choice. I lived at home and walked to classes. To appease my parents, I was an education major (“You can always fall back on it.”). I did a second major in anthropology to prepare myself for the globetrotting life I planned to live. After graduating from Hunter, I spent the summer of 1966 in a Peace Corps training program in Cambridge, Massachusetts. My training group flew to the Philippines on September 12, 1966, my 21st birthday. I took it as a sign.

The Philippines was definitely not the Bronx, but my assignment was also not the tropical paradise I had envisioned. My first year, I lived in a dusty, dangerous inland town on the island of Mindanao.

Related post: Ready4Air | Coping On The Job As A News Journalist

Tacurong, an inland town on the island of Mindanao.
Photo credit: Marian Rivman

There was no running water. Sometimes there was electricity from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Telegraphs were the most advanced communication technology available. Pigs and chickens walked through my bedroom at will. The rats were the size of cats. Sewage ran in ditches along the side of the road. Women never went out unaccompanied. Men played mah-jong with their guns on the table and the heat and humidity rivaled hell.

When the municipal judge was shot to death on Easter Sunday while taking Holy Communion—my family read the story in the New York Times and went crazy—the Peace Corps finally granted my request to be transferred to Davao City. I had done a summer project for Bayanihang Manggagawa (Brotherhood of Workers), a local non-profit, and they wanted me back. I helped to create the first comprehensive telephone book for the city of Davao, which they sold to raise money.

The Bayaniyang Mangagawa office in Davoa City.
Photo credit: Marian Rivman

Bayanihang helped indigent Filipinos—who had been forced to leave land they had farmed as squatters—adjust to city life and find a way to earn enough money to feed and house their families. A Maryknoll priest and a missionary couple from the United Church of Christ were the founders. Some of the most prominent businessmen in the city were on the board. They all thought it fitting for a Jewish Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) to join their ecumenical effort.

Décor in my Davao apartment included a life-size wooden caribou and farmers’ hats from local villages.
Photo credit: Marian Rivman

My year in Davao City was an extraordinary personal and professional experience. I found an apartment in the heart of downtown. While a woman could be on the streets unaccompanied, it was strictly taboo to live alone. I was to live with another PCV. For a myriad of reasons, roommates passed through at the rate Murphy Brown went through secretaries. No matter. I was incredibly happy and fulfilled.

Related Post: Ready4Air (Social) |It’s Personal and Business: The Human Side of Social Networking

Forget VitaCoco or Zico. This is the way to drink coconut water.
Photo courtesy Marian Rivman

Compared to my first assignment, Davao was heaven. Work was great. I designed training programs and spearheaded a study of Philippine handicrafts that would be suitable for cottage industries. Between my Bayanihang colleagues and the dozens of PCVs assigned as teachers at schools in and around the city, I had a busy social life. I spent holidays and vacations exploring the Philippines. Be there no mistake, most of the country is the tropical paradise of my fantasies. In addition, Filipinos are warm, welcoming people. I have been back several times in the last four decades.

By June 1968, the end of my tour of duty, Bayanihang was a highly respected and effective organization. A half a dozen PCVs were going to spend the summer working on initiatives I had helped to develop. The plaque I received at my farewell party still hangs in my apartment.

The plaque I received when I left the Philippines that hangs in my New York City apartment. Photo credit: Marian Rivman 

I took the long way home traveling to Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, and Greece. It was mind-boggling. Serving in the Peace Corps and traveling so extensively at such a young age has informed my worldview my entire life.

Since it’s creation in 1961, 200,000 Americans have served in 139 countries. I am proud to have been one of them. Once I am no longer responsible for the care of my 95-year-old invalid mother, there’s a good possibility that I’ll sign up for another tour of duty.

For more information about the Peace Corps go to http://www.peacecorps.gov/

####

###
Stay Tuned!

 

Marian Rivman is a New York based public relations and communications consultant. Her clients have included UN agencies, Fortune 500 companies, international non-profits, bold-faced names and the recreational scuba diving industry. She is known for her unbounded energy, directness and skill at translating complex issues into comprehensible messages for an array of audiences. Marian is particularly interested in the power of non-verbal communication. In addition to her independent consulting work, Marian is affiliated with New Solutions .

 

 

 

Deborah J. Mitchell

Deborah Mitchell Media Associates – Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell Graphic – Design: Nay Ayache

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee. Deborah is Executive Producer of Arise On Screen a global and socially interactive movie review show. If you are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell @SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com, or email Nay Ayache on naydmma@gmail.com.  

Read More...

Ready4Air | Want To Get Noticed? (3) Professional Tips To Put Bloggers Front And Center

2013 SheStreams Conference, NYC.
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

December 11, 2013 | Posted in Brands and Bloggers Connect, Social TV | By

 

2013 SheStreams Conference Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

2013 SheStreams Conference
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

As we wrap up the year and begin planning for 2014, I’ve decided to revisit a few important tips that, I believe, will take every blogger to the next level. Over the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interview a few experts who have graciously shared their insight and valuable information with Ready4Air.

Today hear from three of those professionals who will help you ramp up your new year.

2013 SheStreams Conference, NYC Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

2013 SheStreams Conference, NYC
Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

First, we will address making a great first impression at your next blogger conference.

Marian Rivman,  a New York based public relations and communications consultant, authored a great post on getting your conference curb appeal together titled: “Do You Have Conference Curb Appeal.” Rivman reminds us that we are all judged by the first impression. She says it only takes  30 seconds for someone to sum you up.  So Rivman outlined (3) ways to make that first impression a great one.

Read about the three tips in the post below.

Related Post: Do You Have Conference Curb Appeal?

Next, as a former news producer, I know first hand the power of the press pass. The pass gives you  unprecedented access to the story, event and people.  And yes, they are hard to come by. My previous post on how bloggers  can get press passes was very well received.

For those of you not familiar with the press pass, it’s a credential that allows practicing journalists, usually affiliated with a specific news agency or organization, special privileges and immediate access to behind the scenes.

Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Bloggers Can Get A Press Pass

For bloggers, the Event Specific Press Pass or “Press Badge” is probably the best to secure.  Press passes are available for trade shows, community gatherings, sporting events, award shows, professional conferences, or major events of any type.   The benefits of these passes are determined by the agency issuing them.

If you are interested in getting a “press badge” you should apply in advance. Be prepared to provide samples of your work , media stats and your niche.  If you write for a publication or organization, ask them to write a letter for you, on their letterhead, with information about your assignment. When all your data clears, you may receive a press pass.  If you don’t get cleared, there is always the option of buying a press pass.

Yes, buy one.  I  found an article recently, written by Katherine Johnson, that outlined several companies that offer writers and bloggers, with the right credentials,  a chance to purchase a press pass.   To read more about the agencies issuing the press pass read the post below.

Related Post:  So You Want To Be On TV: Now Bloggers Can Get A Press Pass (VIDEO)

Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Finally, (5)  tips on creating a blogger bio that captures the “real” you.

Media specialist, Sheila Jamison authored the post “Five Tips For Creating A Blogger Bio That “Gets” You”  where she helps  bloggers create a bio that answers the question: “Why should anyone listen to you, Blogger?”

A media specialist, a copywriter and a hair gel enthusiast Sheila Jamison has a diverse background in public relations working at such companies such as: AOL Patch, The College Board, Turner Broadcasting, Revlon, Columbia Pictures and Ogilvy & Mather.

She states, “As you seek to engage, inform, entertain or instruct a community of users, your blog should present a point of view that stakes out your unique online identity, piques user curiosity and fosters productive bonds. Whether visitors agree or disagree, like or dislike, your content or viewpoints, a dynamic representation of who you are will keep them coming back.”

Related Post: Five Tips For Creating A Blogger Bio That “Gets” You

Happy Blogging!

####

Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

Photo Credit: Debbie Mitchell

TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA).  She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee.  If you are interested in “ Book Case TV” or are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.comIf all else fails, her resourceful assistant, Sang, will find her.

Read More...