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The Master of Science in Information and Knowledge Strategy Journey Begins

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I accepted a new challenge that starts tomorrow. I begin my studies to become a Master of Science in Information and Knowledge Strategy at Columbia University. I am participating in this program to deepen my understanding of the role knowledge plays in organizations, and how to embrace it as an asset that positively impacts organizations’ top line. I expect all that I learn from the IKnS program to serve as a catalyst that enables me to achieve goals that are most important to me.

Below, please find my statement of academic purpose I submitted as part of my application to Columbia University’s Master of Science in Information and Knowledge Strategy program.

I aspire to become an international business leader and entrepreneur who utilizes existing knowledge to develop economic, health and education systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Learning from the pioneering cadre of faculty, students and advisors in the Master of Science in Information and Knowledge Strategy program at Columbia University will help me advance my career. I am confident that the program’s design will bridge my professional experience to my professional goals.

The well-rounded coursework offered by the program will build on my unique experience working in knowledge management for an international development project. It will improve my expertise as a knowledge strategist to build systems to meet objectives in the private and public sectors.

I have identified project management as an area I am particularly interested in growing under the Information and Knowledge Strategy program. I recently managed exciting and complex projects that could have been executed more efficiently with knowledge from the Information and Knowledge Strategy program. I implemented a storytelling project in Ghana, Tanzania and Ethiopia, established knowledge management processes in Kenya, and designed and led a knowledge management workshop for the Government of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS Strategic Knowledge Management team.

These projects strengthened my desire to consult and apply deeper meaning to information I have collected and shared thus far. This program will provide me with theoretical structure that supports strategic information and knowledge practices for organizations.

If admitted, I am presented with opportunity to learn from the collective expertise of the program’s faculty and students. This will help me build skills, such as project management, that complement business leaders’ knowledge strategy needs. The Information and Knowledge Strategy program’s comprehensive coverage of business management will force me to think strategically and systematically, and in turn, build successful businesses that leverage knowledge. Learning from my cohort and people who are successful at what I want to do is vital to my ability to lead in business across multiple sectors.

The program’s authority on knowledge networks is attractive to me. I have a strong interest in building a network I can learn from and contribute to as I continue my professional journey. If admitted, I intend to build relationships with my cohort and improve networks to which I belong. I currently co-lead the Health Information Publication Network (HIPNet), a 600-member community of global health communicators. I can share my experience from HIPNet and strengthen the network as a resource for its members.
I have a particular interest in agencies that support communication work in Sub-Saharan Africa. I would like to improve my understanding of how communication projects for development are designed and resourced. I am assured the Information and Knowledge Strategy program can expose me to economic, health and education development in Sub-Saharan Africa by presenting research, coursework and capstone projects that cover knowledge operations in development banks and foundations. The program’s connections with industry leaders who have worked globally will strengthen my network and ability to develop my career.

I expect the Information and Knowledge Strategy program will sharpen my ability to author practical knowledge and establish myself as a thought-leader. In the spirit of documenting and sharing lessons learned, I co-authored “Knowledge Management for Data Use and Decision Making in International Public Health.” The rigorous process of writing this paper exposed me to co-authorship, literature review, and publication. The reciprocal benefits of publishing the paper led to speaking engagements, a stronger professional network, and improved professional speaking skills.

I am fortunate to have worked with content management systems, Intranet development, Web site design, and web conferencing software to connect people to knowledge. While I find operating these technologies intuitive, I can greatly benefit from specialized instruction in information architecture. The Information and Knowledge Strategy program will provide me with greater insight on how to select appropriate platforms for global knowledge networks, know when customization is necessary, and ensure users are able to retrieve the information and knowledge they need to perform.

By completing the Master of Science in Information and Knowledge Strategy program at Columbia University, I will have learned from the rich diversity of faculty and students, positioned myself to advance the role of communication in development, and contribute to the betterment of multiple fields so that Sub-Saharan Africa may improve business communication and use knowledge to do so.

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The established presence: How to maintain it, grow it and show it!

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notes from GHKC Knowledge Share Fair

notes from GHKC Knowledge Share Fair

Today, I attended the Global Health Knowledge Collaborative Knowledge Management Share Fair. I was asked to facilitate three 15-minute small group discussions during a 60-minute afternoon concurrent session on “Measuring more than ‘likes’ and ‘follows’: Maximizing the potential of social media. Each facilitator developed their own sub-topic.  The topic I chose was titled: “The established presence: How to maintain it, grow it and show it.”

I chose this topic of discussion in response to my observation of progress individuals, organizations and projects working in global public health have made on online communication in the past five years.

In this discussion, I described one’s web presence to online real estate. The manner in which one uses websites and social media accounts can determine the size of their footprint.

What are the characteristics of an established web presence?

This is the first question I asked the discussion groups. Participants among the three 15-minute discussions agreed  consistency in the following areas are characteristics of an established web presence:

  • Credible and reliable information
  • Subject-matter search terms are associated with individuals/organization/project in search engine results
  • Presentation of information
  • Website visitor patterns
  • Vision, mission and purpose

How do you maintain an established presence? 

This question consumed the majority of the discussion during all three periods. Among the three discussions, participants agreed:

  • Refer to a communication strategy, which is essential
  • Engage with and among users, which is key
  • Foster reciprocity among community members using dynamic online communication
  • Use solicited feedback from users to inform future online communication process

Due to the lively discussion, I was unable to ask follow up questions on how and why individuals/organizations/projects grow their established presence and what data is used to show establishment.

Do you have thoughts on this? If so, please share. We can continue the discussion here.

Thank you to all participants who visited my table and thank you to co-facilitators @rickimac @socialbttrfly @jzoltner and thank you to @rebecca_shore for bringing us together!

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

April 16, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Time

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Yes, I am the inescapable, the irresistible,
The unnegotiable, the unchallenged
I am time

I scroll in measurements, control the elements,
I hold the evidence, I tell the story
I am time

I know no prejudice, I bare no sentiments
For wealth or settlement, I move forward
I am time

You can’t recover me, conceal or smuggle me,
Retreat or run from me, crawl up or under me,
You can’t do much for me besides serve
Me well and have good dividends returned to you
Or attempt to kill me off and have me murder you
Many have wasted me but now they are facing me,
Treated me unfaithfully and now endure me painfully
Plaintively, I wait to see what history will shape to be,
Who’s hearts will never die inside the sake of me
Angel’s scribe the page for me,
Keep a full account of all the names for me
And make a special mark for Hurricane who patiently

Excerpt from “Time” by Yasiin Bey also known as Mos Def from the Hurricane Soundtrack

These are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs. It provides prospective on how humans can or cannot use time – which can so easily escape us.

Building your brand’s online presence takes time. How much time you spend is completely up to you. The time you spend investing in your online persona is evident as every post is time stamped. Visible time stamps weigh into the public’s perception of how much you invest in engaging online.

Time is a valuable commodity you invest in building your online presence. Let me advise you on how best to use your time to build your brand and engage with your target audience online.

Thoughts?

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

December 5, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Your trade secrets? I don’t think so.

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This post serves to present a case for buying locally and offers a buy beware:

I just had a tail-spin conversation with a company by the name of Egumbull. I am representing Mr. Collins, a 18-year small business owner of an auto shop in Durham, North Carolina. He is located on one of the most heaviest traffic intersections in they city. After  explaining to Mr. Collins that I show small businesses how to improve their SEO using Google products that are free to them and how to make their branding more consistent, he asked me to Google the phrase “auto repair.” He did  not show up.

Mr. Collins, a well read, slow spoken man from Orange County, North Carolina describes himself as a “country boy.” Tonight he told me, “I know I’m country, they just don’t know that.” As Mr. Collins said “they” he pointed to the phone’s receiver.

Mr. Collins owns Collins Exxon, is a busy mechanic, 48, and trying to understand social media.

After slowing down, and listening to Mr. Collins, I was able to understand that Mr. Collins paid for a service to boost his SEO and needed his contract to know why his business name wasn’t showing up in Google. He had agreed to pay $155.00 for 12-months and needed some answers. Mr. Collins also needed way to see monthly progress.

In exchange for changing the air-filters on my car, I agreed to sit in on a call with Mr. Collins, representing him as his communications person, with the Californian company he is paying to improve his SEO. The work he performed, at what I was quoted equates to my regular small business rate. Not a bad barter.

The California “dudes,” not understanding his slow, country-boy, southern accent, rushed Mr. Collins as he tried to explain himself. I patiently waited while Mr. Collins explained his problem in every detail to the impatient customer service reps. After they bounced him around, I offered to handle the call. I explained to the reps Mr. Collins did not have a copy of his contract and would like to understand what he is paying for.

After the reps picked up on my online communication and social media savvy, they grew suspicious. I simply went through the routine of asking questions. Questions facilitate conversation.

Egumbull, already accused of scamming businesses according to Ripoff Report, accused me of wanting their trade secrets. I don’t think so. I know I have a model that works. I am very confident in it.

After what I went through tonight, Egumbull, you helped confirm my model works. You didn’t take time to listen, nor to communicate. Furthermore, I witnessed you treat Mr. Collins, your customer, very poorly. You hung up on him multiple times, bounced him around and made snide remarks. The “customer service” was simply deplorable.

To SEO companies: work with small businesses in regions where you understand the language and vernacular of the people. You aren’t helping small businesses succeed by not understanding their communication needs, you’re hurting them — in the pocket.

Egumball Ripped off a Durham business owner

To small businesses: do not hire “SEO consultants” who are not from your region, nor take the time to listen to your true business needs. Make sure the company you choose will communicate in your language in real time. If you communicate best with a consultant at a coffee shop, in your hair shop, or in your auto repair shop, hire them. Hire a consultant that will listen to what you want to accomplish with your business.

Choose a consultant that will help you realize your dreams. Hire consultants that will educate you in social media, teach you how to use it, how their children use it, how their customers use it and then, how networking helps bring people into your store. Do not trust consultants that will just say “they’ll increase your SEO and get you topped ranked in Google, here’s a pen, sign this contract.” Lastly, choose consultants with a positive reputation and track record. All my business is based on referrals.

I believe in small business, and I believe in free Google products for small businesses. I believe in communication and I believe in the beauty of words.

I don’t need your trade secrets.

I grew up on the West Coast (from Portland, Oregon) and spent many summers in Orange County, California.

After spending six years in North Carolina, I am continuously learning how to COMMUNICATE with people in the southeast. This is a must for me because I am choosing to grow my business here. To add, I made a choice to Marry Durham.

I am very invested in the local economy — I am choosing to grow a consultancy that helps elevate small businesses by telling their stories and their rich histories in the best electronic communication format that will reach the customers they serve.

Today, I sat in Mr. Collins shop to get an understanding of his client base. I watched a video he took and uploaded to YouTube of people playing the blues and making fun of Elvis in his auto shop. What other auto shop have you been to where you can sit and listen to blues live?

Your can see videos of Mr. Collins’ church services and a basketball team he coaches. This is a small business owner and a community member that can benefit most from a someone who truly understands the community and small business owners’ needs.

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

December 22, 2011 at 12:23 am

All Women’s Social Media Summit to Air on Saturday, Nov. 12

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Here is a taste of the rich dialogue had at the All Women’s Social Media Summit on October 22. This video clip is made even sweeter with a sampling of the social media expertise I contributed to the panel! That’s right, watch me in this clip!

The All Women’s Social Media Summit will air on Saturday, November 12 in Durham, Chapel Hill and Carrboro, channels 18 in Durham, 8 in Chapel Hill and 4 in Carrboro. This is a must-see for small businesses expanding their communication efforts online.

The All Women’s Social Media Summit is the ONLY summit of in the nation to feature an all women’s panel of social media experts!

Four Easy Ways to Improve Your Search Results

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If you are an advisor or public speaker of any kind, your business service and reputation may be closely associated with your name. If you’re like me, all of my new business comes from referrals, and in many cases, my name has been Googled prior to my first conversation with clients.

If your name is Googled, does the website you use for your business appear at the top of search results? If not, follow these 3 steps to quickly improve your Google search results.

Before you begin, you will need to create a Google account to access the free products available for small business.

1. Submit your website to Google.

Add your URL to Google so that it finds and indexes your site. Think of a series of keywords that describe your business services to use when submitting your URL. Use words people will most likely use in Google to find your business. You can also add your name here also.

For example, if you are a financial advisor in Atlanta, Georgia, use searchable terms such as: “wealth management” “Atlanta” “Georgia” “personal finances” “financial expert” “financial advisor”

2. Create a free business listing in Google Maps.

Go to Google Places to create a business listing in Google Maps. Users will be able to go to your place page to find your location, directions to your business, hours of operation and reviews. Keep in mind, many users have Google Maps on their smartphone device. In many cases, Google Maps has a navigation feature that uses GPS to provide users with turn-by-turn driving, walking, and transit directions.

3. Promote your website everywhere.

What good is a website that no one knows about? Creating a site that no one knows about is a common communication pitfall business owners make. Your URL should appear in the signature of your email, on your business card, in your Twitter bio, on your LinkedIn profile… everywhere!

The more people visit your site, the higher it will be placed in Google search engine results.

4. Don’t forget the other search engines.

You can submit your URL to Bing and Yahoo in just a few clicks. As in #1 of this post, you will need to identify keywords that describe your business and will be used in the search engine by users.

Leah D. Gordon to Deliver Guest Presentation at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney SE Region Womens’ Symposium

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Leah D. Gordon has been invited to present at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s SE Region Womens’ Symposium today at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Gordon’s guest presentation follows the wealth management firm’s recent announcement allowing its financial advisors to use LinkedIn and Twitter for business practices.

“This is an exciting time for women in business,” says Gordon, “social media is a powerful communication tool we can use promote businesses.”

Gordon’s talk will cover examples of how financial advisors’ clients are using social media and ways they can use LinkedIn and Twitter to raise online profiles, follow up on referrals and make an impact on their bottom line.

Follow Leah D. Gordon on Twitter @simpleelovlee to learn tips on using social media for business.


Leah D. Gordon is owner of Branding the Link, a boutique strategy consulting firm focused on building online brands.

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

September 30, 2011 at 12:32 pm