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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.


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 Appear as Guest Presenter at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s SE Region Innovation Exchange

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Leah D. Gordon has been invited to share her knowledge of how small businesses are using social media at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s Southeast Region Innovation Exchange on Thursday, October 6.

The innovation exchange brings together the region’s top 50 producers for two days at the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, North Carolina to share their skills in financial advising.

“A discussion on social media and small business is appropriate for a meeting focused on innovation,” says Gordon “I applaud Morgan Stanley Smith Barney’s desire to learn about how their clients are promoting themselves in a tough economy.”

Studies show that 70% percent of small businesses promote themselves on Facebook.

Gordon advises clients on how to use social media to increase their web presence and build customer relationships.

You can follow Leah D. Gordon on Twitter (@simpleelovlee) or visit for social media and small business news.

Leah D. Gordon Selected as Social Media Summit Panelist, October 22, 2011

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Leah D. Gordon is a public relations consultant and knowledge management specialist, who provides training in communication strategy, image development, building and managing online communities of practice.

I am honored to have been selected as a panelist for the 3rd All Women’s Social Media Summit to be held at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh, North Carolina on October 22nd, 2011.

I will appear along side women who have demonstrated expertise in various aspects of navigating social media to build business and strengthen relationships.

Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@simpleelovlee) for updates and live tweets from the conference. I am looking forward to connect and engaging with women invested in making their mark in the social media landscape!

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

June 24, 2011 at 5:49 pm

workshop: what’s the big deal? saturday, august 28, 10am

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what’s the big deal? why is everyone so consumed with facebook and twitter? are your friends, colleagues and children using social media? have people told you you need it for your business?

in “what’s the big deal?” i will introduce you to popular social media sites and show you what people are discovering and why they are online. you be the judge as to whether or not you want to integrate social media into your business practice and budget.

in this one hour workshop, i provide:

  • an overview of popular social media sites
  • networking opportunities via the social web
  • turning friends and followers into customers and clients

who: this workshop is for business owners, professionals responsible for communication and marketing at a mid-sized firms, thought and opinion leaders interested in building a brand located in the triangle (raleigh, durham, chapel hill).

when: saturday, august 28, 2010

cost: $30 per person.

how to register: fill out this form

where: durham technical community college, White building, Room #24
campus map

about leah d. gordon

leah d. gordon has worked diligently in public relations and communication roles since 2003. as a student of her craft, she develops, implements and supports communication and pr strategies.

she has formed and maintained relationships between organizations and their communities – both interpersonally and via the web. through these relationships, organizations have learned they have much to learn from their audiences.

as a graduate of the university of oregon’s school of journalism with a concentration in public relations, leah is the public information officer for an international public health project at the university of north carolina at chapel hill and consults small and mid-sized businesses and firms on integrating social media into their public relations, marketing and communication plans.

public relations is not advertising

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“oh, yeah. public relations. that’s like advertising right?”


the big distinction between advertising and public relations is paid ad space and free publicity. when advertising, you will always pay for ad space in a paper, a commercial on tv, a banner ad on a website, and so on. public relations will get you an article in the paper, an interview with a reporter, positive mention in front of a large audience and more – all at no cost.

another strong distinction between public relations and advertising is the level of creative control. since you are paying for the ad, you control what goes in it, how long it runs for and where it goes. on the other hand, when a press release is sent to the media, you have no control over how the media presents the your information, whether they decide to cover your information and for how long. this is why having a good strategist and relationship building is so important.

you want your message to be positive… you want it to be viral… you want it to have a long shelf life.

a public relations strategist will advise you on how best to engage with your publics, while being shed in the most positive light.

what yields the higher return?

the beauty of public relations is free publicity.

david michaelson, president of echo research and his research partner don stacks, a public relations professor at the university of miami found there is “no simple answer” when exploring the difference in the results from advertising and pr.

if you are just getting started, focus your energy in public relations. get to know your audience and allow your audience to get to know you! public engagement is a constant. there should be no end date nor  time constraints. simply be part of an ongoing conversation and interject your expertise to further the dialogue.

the social web is reshaping public relations as we now know it. i will discuss the inter-connectivity of the two in a later post in the ‘public relations defined‘ series.

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

April 20, 2010 at 8:30 am

public relations defined

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you may heard the term “bad pr” when a celebrity perceived as perfect does the unthinkable, or when a major auto maker suddenly has a slue of recalls and is blamed for nearly 20 deaths nation-wide. but what does that mean?

“good pr” creates a positive persona, or perception of a person or a brand, or a person as a brand. pr strives to ensure a brand is shed in the most positive light possible.

the public relations society of america (prsa) defines public relations as: public relations helps and organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.

the role of a public relations person or team manages communication between the public and the organization. public relations has many functions to accomplish this communication including:

  • media relations
  • community relations
  • consumer relations
  • industry relations
  • governmental relations
  • political campaign management
  • interest-group representation
  • conflict mediation
  • employee relations
  • investor relations

public relations specialists must understand the attitudes and concerns of community, consumer, employee, and public interest groups to establish and maintain cooperative relationships between them and representatives from print and broadcast journalism. the bureau of labor statistics provides an overview of pr specialists in its 2010-11 occupational handbook.

public relations vs marketing

the line between marketing and pr is often blurred. in my opinion the distinction lies between the relation to profit and people.

marketing promotes the transfer of goods and services from the producer and provider to the consumer. public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.
marketing‘s immediate goal is sales. public relations‘ immediate goal is mutual understanding or positioning of the organization with its publics.
marketing‘s implicit goal is profit. public relations‘ implicit goal is positive perceptions and predispositions.
marketing‘s measure of success is the number of sales and/or the revenue it generates. public relations‘ measure of success is expressed public opinion or other evidence of public suppor
northern kentucky university

what  does pr have to do with me?

a strong, positive relationship with your public can yield positive benefits for your business. through public relations, you can build trust among your audience, and turn them into customers, or supporters of your cause if you are a non-profit. if you are building a personal brand, relationships will encourage people to tell others about you.

public relations will allow you to control the story of your business. you want to control what people know about the business and how the business is perceived.

in my public relations series, i will cover functions of public relations and how it will help you build your business and your brand. more to come.

Written by Leah Denise Wyatt

April 13, 2010 at 5:57 pm