Advice for an 18-Year Old

Our beloved daughter, Branwen, turns 18 this week.  While I’ve written about my wife and our son a few times on the blog (something Branwen never fails to note), I have rarely written about her, and even then only in the most oblique terms… because she’s my little girl and my instinct is to protect her from all harms, real or imagined.

But she’s turning 18.  She’s not a little kid anymore.  Heck, as of this week she could enlist in the Armed Forces and be shipped to the front lines. I’m pretty sure she’ll be shipping off to college instead, but still. She’ll be absent from our daily lives, all too soon.

There are certain snippets of advice you can give ANY 18–year old woman: Don’t fall into credit card debt. Save for a rainy day. Treat your trust like a gift. Make friends worth keeping. Have fun – but not too much fun. Don’t drink and drive. Pursue your passions (but don’t forget to pay the rent). But such advice feels tone deaf, too.  It doesn’t meet the need of providing specific advice to someone you’ve known and loved since they were tiny.

BranwenBranwen is a miracle. She’s the girl you wish your kid would befriend; the kind of girl you want your son to marry. She’s funny, beautiful, smart and daring but also practical and charitable. She is, blessedly, a lot like her mother.

She’s the girl who spends her vacations bunked on the outskirts of a Costa Rican landfill, to help build furniture for a people who subsist on trash to survive.

She’s the only girl in her community service troupe to skip the bus ride and instead hikes the arduous Andean mountain trail leading to Peru’s Machu Picchu landmark.

She’s the only person in the raft to dive into the Class III rapids, to splash in a natural waterfall: just one more item scratched off the bucket list.

She’s the one person out of 100–odd tourists who will notice a wet, scraggly kitten huddled dangerously close to the tires of the tour bus; rescue the kitty; and badger the guide relentlessly until he promises to not only rescue but adopt the mewling, pathetic creature.

She’s the designated driver who doesn’t judge the rest of the kids puking in the backseat; not because she doesn’t like to party but simply because she doesn’t dig the taste or the after-effects of alcohol. (At least, for now.)

She’s the girl who curses her impossibly thick, wavy hair; nicknames it The Beast. Who isn’t a sucker for a girl who can nickname her hair?

She isn’t perfect. She can be volatile. She often underestimates her abilities and beauty. But she is alive.  The toddler girl who leapt into the snow in her bare feet – our “Spicy Muffin” then and now – is more fit for, and open to, Life itself, than anyone I could name.  She amazes her mom and me more often than she imagines.

Branwen is a veteran collector of experiences, an accomplished maker of friends.

What kind of advice do you give such a woman?

Branwen: Don’t fall into credit card debt. Save for a rainy day. Treat your trust like a gift. Make friends worth keeping. Have fun – but not too much fun. Don’t drink and drive. Pursue your passions (but don’t forget to pay the rent). And other than that, my sweet girl?  Keep doing what you’re doing.

We love you.  Happy birthday.

Posted on: January 25, 2013 at 7:30 am By Todd Defren

Can public relations impact SEO?

You bet it can.

SEO and PR - YouTube

Learn the 3 different ways earned media and public relations can boost your search marketing efforts in this video from SHIFT Communications.

Posted on: January 15, 2013 at 8:09 am By cpenn

Upcoming Webinar: Build and Convert Audience with Chris Brogan and Christopher Penn

Chris Brogan & Penn #pcb6

  • Are you struggling to find new audiences?
  • Are your audiences not giving you the business you need?

Join New York Times Bestselling Author and Human Business Works CEO Chris Brogan and SHIFT VP of Marketing Technology Christopher Penn on Thursday, January 17th, at 3 PM ET/12 PM PT for a one hour conversation about how to build and convert new audiences. We’ll look at social media, email marketing, earned media, public relations, and much more, take your questions, and share what’s working for us.

Topics will include:

  • What audience building tactics work on the different networks, and how they differ from each other
  • Effective tips and tactics for converting the attention you get into tangible business assets
  • How to grow a powerful and successful email list
  • Hard vs. soft selling and how to sell with value
  • Measuring what’s working and what’s not

Register now for free.

Posted on: January 14, 2013 at 7:20 am By cpenn

Looking for a quick PR hit?


Looking for a quick PR hit? Look again. Quick PR hits are largely “urban legends”, at least in the world of PR. Why? It comes down to trust. Learn more on the SHIFT Communications blog about why.

Looking for more from Todd? Read this blog post to find out where he is.

Posted on: January 8, 2013 at 9:21 am By cpenn

What’s Up with PR-Squared?

Regular readers (god bless ‘em) might have noticed some wonkiness with the blog lately.  I haven’t been writing all the posts, for one, and more importantly, any of the good content increasingly requires you to head over to the new, official, sweet-as-honey SHIFT Blog on our agency website.

A few things going on.

Number One: Chris Penn. He’s smart and indefatigably prolific. (Example: “Three Reasons B2B Companies Ought to be on Google+”) … And he sometimes deigns to cross-post here at PR-Squared. The more of that cross-posting he does, the better off we’ll all be, trust me. 

Number Two: as Chris is nominally in charge of our website, SEO and blogging efforts, he wants to guide you all to our website.  That’s not an awful thing, as the OTHER blog posts there (originals by Chris, as well as by numerous other SHIFT staffers) tend to be pretty flaming awesome, whether you’re a marketer, a PR student, or any variety of ninja.

Number Three: this CEO gig has me headed in more varied directions, more often, and the idea of blogging 1–3 times per week, like the good ol’ days, is enough to make your humble blogger’s head spin.

Last but not least, the majority of “thought leadership” points I want to expend in 2013 are pointed towards the convergence dynamic discussed late last year. I’m not one to beat a dead horse (or try not to be that sort).  I know you don’t want 27 posts on the same theme.  But the “convergence concepts” are what I spend the most time on, either convincing clients to give it a whirl or talking about current executions of Converged Media strategies with our agency account teams – activities which tend to be internally-focused.

So: don’t unsubscribe or anything, just know that the better long-term bet is to start checking in on the SHIFT Blog much more often: that’s where the Good Stuff will be posted, more often than not.  When I personally have something cool or important to say, it will still be posted here!  (Oh, and P.S. I expect to have something VERY COOL and VERY IMPORTANT to talk about soon!)

Thanks for your ongoing support!

Posted on: January 7, 2013 at 12:51 pm By Todd Defren

Show some social media love would ya?

RSS logo Subscribe by Email

RSS logo RSS Feed


PostRank Topblogs 2009 - #3 in PR

View Todd 

Defren's profile on LinkedIn