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Public Meetings Next Week: Durham-Orange Light Rail Project

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TTA_Postcard_6_5x11_2013_FINAL_Page_1Today, I received email notification about a series of public meetings on the proposed light rail project from Durham County to Orange County. Had I not been scheduled for meetings in Mexico City next week, I would definitely be in attendance.

I encourage everyone passionate about mass transit, traffic congestion, air quality, jobs, gentrification, small business, and public affairs to attend! A recent survey conducted by Rockefeller Foundation found investments in mass transit are key to economic growth and job creation.

I am in full support of SMART economic growth in the area. From my experience working on Portland, Oregon’s Yellow Line, a vision and a plan, combined with  a strong community affairs team that incorporates public art and supports local business are key to gaining public buy-in. After all, the public is the transit systems greatest stakeholder.

Public Information Meetings about the Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit

Nov. 12, 4:30 – 7:00 PM     Durham Armory, 220 Foster Street, Durham

Nov. 13, 4:30 – 7:00 PM     Eno Unified Unitarian Fellowship, 4907 Garrett Road, Durham

Nov. 14, 4:30 – 7:00 PM     The William and Ida Friday Center, 100 Friday Center Drive, Chapel Hill

Here’s a question for you: If light rail is approved and plans to build are underway, is the Triangle’s workforce ready for implementation?


Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

November 7, 2013 at 2:10 am

Protected: Shot in the Heart of Durham

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Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

August 31, 2012 at 3:48 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

Durham’s Twitterista

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A picture is worth a thousand words and this one describes thousands of tweets about Durham, North Carolina. Because I often share my thoughts and observations about Durham in 140 characters or less, I just had to post this photo of me posing with Major Bull in the CCB plaza by @nkanagat.

Durham's Twitterista

Leah D. Gordon is Durham's "Twitterista"

You can follow my musings about Durham on FoursquareTwitter and Panoramio. I use the #DurhamNC hashtag.

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

May 22, 2011 at 3:50 pm