Permission to Be Human

humanWhich moments in time are forever etched in your mind?  Can you recall exactly where you were, what you were wearing, how you felt, how it changed your life in perhaps some infinitesimal but incredibly impactful way? Here are some of mine: 1. The day Princess Di died (she was buried two decades ago yesterday). I was at a play rehearsal, a pall of gloom over us all. How could such an incredible spirit that touched SO many people all over the world be gone?? I don’t know about you, but I was in love with Princess Di. Made a scrapbook of the Royal Wedding and all. An older, wiser Shonali knows she was not exactly Goldilocks, but look at the power of connection she had. It was almost magical. 2. 9/11. Watching the AM news before heading into work (SF), befuddled that a plane could accidentally crash into the
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Why I’m Grateful to My Grandma on Father’s Day

This is a pic of my dad & me when I was just a young ‘un, circa She’s Still Sucking Her Thumb: Shonali being held by dad as a baby
I’m the eldest in my family, born when my dad was just 23. That boggles my mind. Most people aren’t even “adulting” at 23, but my dad was … well, a dad!
Today isn’t just an opportunity to think about – and thank – my dad, though. Were my grandma (mom’s mom) still alive, it would also be her birthday.
And in a way, it’s thanks to my grandma that my dad became my dad. You see, back in the day, my mom and dad had a bit of a dramatic turn in their courtship. All was said and done w.r.t. their wedding … at least, so they thought. But while visiting with my mom’s parents to discuss the wedding arrangements, my paternal grandma suddenly announced
pic from Shonali's parents' wedding reception
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Why the future of corporate marketing may hang on the personal brand

Guest post by Mark W. Schaefer (@markwschaefer) I hate the term “personal branding.” And yet, personal branding may be the salvation of corporate marketing. Allow me to explain today why both statements are true! For the past few years I’ve been immersed in the world of personal branding as I wrote my new book KNOWN: The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age. I started the process by exploring what the experts thought it meant to build a brand — and what I found was pretty disappointing. I found a lot of hype like:
  • “If you can dream it, you can be it.”
  • “Find your passion, find your life.”
  • “Nothing is more important than hustle.”
In other words, there’s a lot of fluff out there, which is why I had always detested the word “personal branding.” It’s
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This Is What My “I F’d Up” Face Looks Like

Shonali's F'd up faceThis is my “AARGH I F’D UP PLEASE FORGIVE ME” face. Which you would have seen on Facebook on Friday, if you’re a part of my “Social PR Posse” group. Because I’d inadvertently sent an email to some of my peeps that should have gone to some OTHER of my peeps, and I was totally TOTALLY freaking out. Because ZOMG HOW COULD I MAKE THIS MISTAKE???!!! As it turns out: quite easily. Because contrary to my greatest expectations, turns out I’m human. Fortunately for me, many of my peeps reminded me of this. I quote Shonna:
“You are clearly a strong bad-ass accomplished woman. So, you are human? Ok. You’ve made a well deserved name for yourself. Snafu totally accepted!”
(Shonna, I can’t TELL you how kind and awesome you are. xoxoxo) Three days later I’m STILL beating myself up over it, because that’s what I do. But I’m trying
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17 Lessons I’ve Learned in the 17 Years Since I Came to America

Shonali Burke circa 2000Swiping through Facebook this morning, I realized that today marked a unique anniversary for me: 17 years ago today, I landed in the United States for the very first time, knowing that I was stepping into a whole new life. (That’s me in 2000, with the Pacific Ocean – over which I’d flown – behind me.) I reflected on this a couple of years ago, sharing 15 things I’d learned in the (then) 15 years since arriving here. I’m re-sharing them, as they are as relevant today, adding two more as a nod to the two additional years since then. Straight off the boat … or ‘plane My husband likes to say I arrived in the U.S. with nothing more than the clothes on my back and a dream in my heart. There’s some good old “Burke embellishment” (as they say in his family) for you!
I had a little more than that:
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In 2017, Look to the Rainbow

“2016, did the door hit you on the way out?” A lot has been said, and written, and commented on, about what a crap year 2016 was, and how relieved people would be to say “buh-bye” to it (including me). About all that was lost, people who passed away, political events that may or may not have gone in our favor (depending on our point of view)… and so on and so forth. But let’s face it; every year has its share of ups and downs. And when we have some perspective, and are looking back at 2016 decades (or even mere years) from now, we may have a slightly less visceral reaction to it. I do think 2016 was a bit different in the frequency of unusual events we experienced, with outcomes many of us didn’t expect (even those who ended up being pleased with them). But ultimately, the only way we’ll progress is
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A Basset Kind of Holiday

Last week I talked to you about doing something a little more practical than simply coming up with your “three words” et al. Several of you wrote in, telling me what a chord it touched in you. Thank you so much for that. I truly appreciate the time you took to reply. I’m heading out for the holidays, but before I go, I have two gifts for you. The basset kind… Gift #1 If you’re into influencer marketing and want to brush up during the holidays, check out the Academy of Influencer Marketing I created for and with Traackr. The first, introductory course has always been free. Right now, you can ALSO take the second course, which is on the confluence of content + influencer marketing, completely free using the code WINTERSHONALI. So if it is an area of interest for you, I hope you will take this opportunity
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