The “Mom” Stigma: When Running a Business and a Family is Viewed as a Weakness by Morgan Obidowski

Image Source: BMG Today

Image Source: BMG Today

In 2007, Huffington Post’s Blog explored the “Mommy Stigma” and its place in the business world. Fast-forward nearly a decade later and we’re breaking down what still is, and isn’t according to the original post. Things haven’t changed that much – but why?

The scenario: A woman (who we find out also happens to be a mother) quits her job to launch her own company and become a full-time entrepreneur.

Enter a male supporter: “I always thought you’d make a great entrepreneur. I can’t wait to hear what you’re starting.”

She says: “I’m launching a new online community and resource for professional moms, called Work It, Mom!”

He says: “Oh…I never thought you’d do some mommy thing.”

We won’t lie. We’re guilty of stigmatizing the word “Mom” ourselves.

In researching speaking opportunities for a client with a female CEO who happens to be a mother of five (a stellar example of work-life balance that she confidently speaks to) our firm encountered the Marketing2Moms Conference. For an established client, “Marketing2Moms” isn’t necessarily something you’re jumping to present; no matter how many children the CEO may have or her experience speaking as a mother in the business world. To be honest, the “2” didn’t help either.

After digging a little deeper we were pleasantly surprised (yes, surprised) to realize the conference fell into the confines agreed upon between our client and ourselves AND a number of impressive female business leaders were set to speak this year alone. Despite the fact that our firm counts three mothers among our ranks, our initial instincts told us “no.” 

Let’s be real: there would never be a Marketing2Dads conference. Society needs to point out that you’re also a mom which is in turn viewed as a sign of weakness. If you’re NOT a mom then people wonder why. That overarching stigma is tough, we know.

So, there you have it. We’ve all done it. When (if ever) will “Mom” become a norm in the business world? We don’t foresee ourselves ever asking that same question for Dad. 

FSPR Personal Brand by Morgan Obidowski

Personal and professional branding has always been a thing, right?

From the time we learn to talk we begin to build upon what makes us, us. A solid foundation is the key to settling on your own personal brand and that all comes full circle in the workplace as we strive to define ourselves, our company or both. Enter Food Shelter and how we got to where we’re going (so far).

We’ve aligned the story of our own personal brand with 7 things Forbes deems necessary to build an awesome personal brand. Here’s the list and how we’re weaving our way through it:

1. Start thinking of yourself as a brand – Co-founders Joanne and Lorraine met two decades ago when both were at a New York City-based boutique firm. Both understood the nature of their clients, how best to counsel them and achieve positive results.

2. Audit your online presence – The thought of Googling yourself is nothing short of daunting but we’ve heard it multiple times and multiple ways: it’s a must.

3. Secure a personal website – Aaand you’re on it! launched 10 years ago to aid in our messaging and updates with us. 

4. Find ways to produce value – Content creation in line with the FSPR brand is definitely an ongoing venture. This blog post (we hope) is a pretty strong start. Keep an eye out for more.

5. Be purposeful in what you share – We realize that what we put out there whether it be via social media, our work, or our words adds up. That culmination is important to us and we only strive for quality. BUT at the end of the day, we’re all human. 

6. Associate with other strong brands – No brainer. We wouldn’t be where we are right now without our awesome clients, connections, friends and families (also brands, right?). We like to think we’re a pretty well-rounded bunch.

7. Reinvent – We’re constantly working to expand our knowledge and find what works best for our clients and our team. Are we a PR jack-of-all-trades firm? We just might be…Stay tuned.

If you like where our brand’s going (and we hope you do) give us a follow on our social media: If anything, you’ll be up-to-date with what we’re eating and drinking. Trust us – it’s good.

A Case Study in Class and Business Savvy: Victory Brewing Company Keeps Golden Monkey Flowing to Consumers Indefinitely by Jonathan Hudson

The buzzwords of the burgeoning 2016 craft brewing industry mid-market are “unite”, “complement” and “evolve”.

It’s no secret the industry has dramatically changed over the course of our client’s, Victory Brewing Company, 20-year history. Much like in life, the middle is getting squeezed.

Never one to follow, Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet set a 2016 trend by thoughtfully, and very strategically, creating a new way of operating a successful craft brewery. One in which they continue to make their great beer, employ the people who make the products and the culture so special and grow their beloved brand. In exchange, they get to collaborate, share ideas and move confidently and boldly into the future with like-minded craft brewers and industry folks with the same goals. (Namely, Phin and Sara DeMink of Southern Tier Brewing Company and John Coleman of Artisanal Brewing Ventures).

Personally, we like the idea of embracing change, fueling growth and collaborating with others.

As Victory celebrates their 20th anniversary and marches confidently into the next two decades we at FS raise our pint glasses in celebration and admiration. To Victory! Clearly you’ve been doing things right for the past 20 years and we look forward to what’s next.


Can’t We All Just Get Along? Better Understanding the Journo/PR Exec Bitchfest by Morgan Obidowski

From accusations of smug journalists, to the assertion both parties should meet in the middle, to the ever popular bad pitch round up, the hack vs. flack argument while not new, is currently hot. Yes, there is no shortage of less than stellar PR professionals who need to embrace a better understanding of the English language. To counter that thought, for every crappy spinster there’s a vast supply of equally lazy writers who don’t fact check or do their job well. The unfortunate or fortunate (dependent on the spin) reality is PR people need journalists and journalists need PR people. Imagine a world without communicative, resourceful middle persons who respect a deadline to arrange quotes, calls and interviews with a much needed CEO or source.   

Believe it or not, there’s a lot of consideration, and respect of journalists in most PR firms and vice versa.  Bit of obvious intel: things fall apart in execution, not giving enough guidance to junior staff or when people with no training or basic talent, write stuff. Note to press: it’s a tricky skill to learn – how to sincerely approach press with a valid idea, yet not waste time with the added pressure of pleasing a supervisor who in turn wants to please a client who or may not be fully versed in the nuance of the end result. 

On the other hand, there are writers who under perform, rest on laurels and are responsible for a multitude of sins: laziness, sloppy writing, idea stealing from ‘those people’ outwardly lambasted and loathed on social media outlets. Those with inside knowledge can see when large stories with seemingly endless sources, which on the surface look fair and impartial, are handled through a single call to a PR firm.

Bottom line: younger PR peeps need to be more considerate, do their research and slow down to write correct, cohesive sentences. Seasoned PR peeps need to stop and teach the youngins how to do it better, faster and strategically and not just throw them into the deep end and hope for the best. Writers need to understand the value of good PR and not color us all with the same sweeping brush stroke. 

One final end note: one never knows who will end where or who will need whom in the battle of co-existence, so be considerate, kind and well, less bitchy. 

Successful Events = Stronger Media Relationships, Positive Brand Building and Happy Clients by Morgan Obidowski

Ever felt disconnected in a world where gigantic data-mined media lists (which are often not relevant at best or blatantly wrong at worst no matter what software is used thank you very much) texts and online mails reign supreme? The simple truth is, despite communicating ideas, needs and information being pivotal in our jobs, shaking someone’s actual hand or seeing an actual face has become as rare as finding a farm fresh ripe tomato in the Northeast in December.

While the media landscape evolves and changes, we must to but we should not abandon everything. Enter the refreshing, yet crucial, media event. Not only does it assist with bridging what has become a modern day technological gap between client, PR agency and the media it provides an opportunity to get multiple points across in more than 140 character or (gasp) face to face maybe even over a beer, cup of coffee or glass of wine.

A few weeks ago, Victory Brewing Company (an already stellar and well-recognized local and national brand) casually gathered a group media for opening of Victory at Magnolia in Kennett. The event was a success not because just free booze and food was around – that’s a commodity for food and beer writers and trust us, it takes way more than that. 

More than 20 media were in attendance. Yes, we got coverage for the opening, but we could have done that with an alert and a photo. For us, it provided a few hours of breaking bread and getting to know important, key media in a less frenzied way. It will make us better resources (media happy), waste less time overall for us by building relationships as opposed to sending blanketed blind releases we will have to follow up with to the wrong outlet anyway (we are happy) which, in turn means we will have more time to provide even better service to our client (client happy). 

See how all this comes full circle?  It may sound trite or obvious, but events done well and in moderation, work in spades for all involved. Recently wrapped up a great one? Pat yourself on the back and share it with us, we’d love to hear about it.

Q&A with's Tim Reardon by Morgan Obidowski’s Tim Reardon chats with FS about experiences with PR peeps, how he keeps up with the many things to do in Philly, and what events he’s looking forward to most at Philly Beer Week 2015! 

Q: Describe a typical day

A: Scan through my mails, drink about 2 cups of coffee and eat tons of fruit. After that, I’ll plan what the day will consist of (blog posting wise). The down side, there’s never, ever a slow day in the office, the up side its great being able to inform local Philadelphians and visitors what to check out.

Q:  Interactions with PR professionals – awesome or annoying?

A: I have very positive experiences with PR professionals (so far). I met many a friend through working with them, as well as experiencing some really great events I wouldn’t of been able to check out if it wasn’t for them so they play a crucial role in filtering me information. 

Q:  Since you write about a variety of events, what’s the secret to staying in the loop?

A: Connections. You can never have enough. Building relationships with people in the media is always a plus. I’ve been here for a year and three months and in that short time cultivated many invaluable friendships. I’ve also met many great people who have proven to be important resources through constantly networking and going to events.

Q: How many events do you attend a week?

A: It ranges and it’s random. Most weeks, one or two. Some weeks there’s a ton, and other weeks can be quiet.  

Q: What’s most challenging about the job?

A: Keeping up with every mail in my inbox is number one on the list. Also, making sure everything is covered so the reader in the end can l enjoy in my posts or learn something new. Sometimes I miss an event, but I’ll usually add it right away.  

Q: What pitches capture your attention or any insight on how to stand out?

A: Anything timely item that has to do with what I write about and is pertinent, will always be considered. I really do go through all every single mail and read every pitch sent.  

Q: How many mails do you receive from us?

A: Again, random but at least 10. It really depends on what’s going on. Since a lot of my events focus on beer and food, I’ll get slammed with mails during holidays including Thanksgiving or more recently Philly Beer Week. 

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to PR professionals looking to forge a relationship or work with you, what would it be?

A: Short and to the point - all the details in the mail are a major plus. Who, what, where, when, why, and if there’s a picture attached – even better, but please send photo credit- takes one more things off my plate.  

Q:  Last question, are there any 2015 Philadelphia Beer Week events that stand out this year?

A: This is the best time of the year!  As always, Opening Tap is one not to miss.  I’m looking forward to the Deschutes pop-up beer garden in Headhouse Square - they make some amazing brews. There really isn’t one bad event to go to though, just plan out the week, play it by beer and have a great time. Cheers! 

Navigating The Media: Traditional Influencers vs. Non-Traditional Influencers by Morgan Obidowski

Picture from: Lighthouse Insight

Influencers have a new meaning for the PR industry. While it’s hardly a new idea, PR pros are placing a greater emphasis on influencers in the digital age.

In our industry, we are always seeking out influential people to advocate on behalf of our clients, and due to today’s consumption of media, influencers have evolved. Today, PR pros can expect to find themselves in a constant mix of traditional and non-traditional influencers.  

Since the landscape of influencers is growing, Food Shelter wants to help you navigate how to best work with and what you need to know about current influencers:

Despite the similarities of traditional media and social media influencers, its important to recognize the differences between the two to help make decisions on who makes the most sense for your client.  

· Anyone can be an influencer today. If you want to write about a topic, you just do it. The great thing about having access to so many different digital age influencers is it allows you to grow relationships with the best people for their specific markets and industries.

· Information is less centralized then it used to be. Due to the spread of content across the Internet, PR professionals have to dig deeper to find contacts. Luckily, there are powerful tools to make it easier to spot influencers on the web.

· Not all influencers have a journalistic background. Digital age influencers won’t always understand the traditional interactions shared between the PR professional and the media. 

Traditional influencers and digital age influencers are pretty similar, and here’s why:

· We still need to find their niche – finding and following an influential blogger’s beat is just as important as a finding the beat of a journalist in the New York Times.

· They are opinion leaders and trendsetters. Influencers are the people who are always up to date on what’s current and are deemed as a credible and reliable source of information.

· Traditional influencers such as journalists and digital age influencers have the ability to reach mass amounts of people, and hold a great deal of power on how your client can be perceived.  

At the end of the day finding the right influencers in the digital age takes the same diligence and practice as traditional media, yet working with digital age influencers calls for PR professionals to be ready to enter new territory.



Q&A with Founder Tristan Chan by Morgan Obidowski

Food Shelter PR reached out to Tristan Chan, founder of to discuss how he started a national online beer community, his passion for the craft beer industry, and his experiences with PR pros.

Q: What pushed you to launch

A:  I moved to Colorado in the fall of 2009 to serve an AmeriCorps term with the Boys and Girls Clubs in Fort Collins after graduating with a Journalism degree from Miami University. On an AmeriCorps salary (less than minimum wage) all that we could really afford was to camp out at the New Belgium Brewery tap room for free tasters every Friday and Saturday. It was here that I developed my passion for craft beer and fell in love with the collaborative nature of the industry. Two years later, when I realized how much I missed writing I reached out to my fellow Journalism friends and asked if they wanted to start a cool project highlight great stories about craft beer

Q: Do you remember what your first post was about?

A: As an homage to New Belgium Brewing, my first post was a beer showcase of Blue Paddle Pilsner, a super easy to drink, approachable lager that was a bit of a gateway beer. I felt it appropriate to showcase a beer that captures the essence of porch drinking as well as our mission of not being overly pretentious about beer.

Q:  The site has become an influential part of the beer community pulling in writers from across the country to what do you contribute the growth of

A: I believe we’ve been able to grow as quickly as we have because we’ve always focused on great storytelling and our policy on promoting craft beer with positivity. The industry has really embraced our positive outlook and we believe our role is to showcase the great things happening in craft, and we’ll allow other sites to write about the negatives. We’ve also always tried to think outside the box and make craft beer relatable, which is why we did our Fantasy Brewer Draft for GABF and themed six packs each week.

Q: What do you love most about craft beer and the craft beer culture?

A: I love the collaborative nature of the industry as well as the creativity. I love that brewers can call up supposedly “competitors” and ask to borrow hops or grain and their “competitors” gladly lend a hand. I also love that craft beer continues to push our understanding of what beer is and tastes like. They’ve dug up old styles and recipes long forgotten, introduced insane tastes through adjuncts and wild yeasts.

Q: What are some of the challenges you face writing about this specific industry?

A: When it gets to brewery on brewery trademark disputes, that’s when we always have to tread carefully. In the end, both parties are often just hurting themselves.

Q: Do the writers at prefer to come up with site's content for the site or are they open to pitches from PR professionals?

A: It’s a mix of both, we generally like to create our own content but we do rely on PR professionals to keep us up to date on major releases, big brewery news, events, etc. And we love sharing that kind of news to the public. However we generally prefer not to rehash press releases verbatim, but rather follow up with breweries to get more out of the story.

Q: How would you describe your experiences with PR professionals, have these interactions been mostly positive or negative?

A: Very positive, on the whole, in the beginning it was because of PR professionals that we were able to cover events that we probably didn't have any business attending. But that kind of stuff has allowed us to learn and grown in a really short time.

Q: From the blogger's perspective, what advice would you give to the PR firms looking to work with

A: I think it’s important to build a profile and understand the demographic of the blog you’re working with. We often have PR firms who represent Asian macro beers trying to relate their beers to St. Patrick’s Day or restaurant groups trying to push liquor releases at their clubs. None of those are our key demographic and we automatically delete those emails.

 Q: What’s the best beer you’ve tried recently?

A: Funky Buddha’s Maple Bacon Coffee Porter… it’ll change your life.