Digital Project Management & Communications

Tag: Learning

Studio Italiano!

Italian Beginning Part 1 Certificate

Io parlo italiano!

I’ve thought about taking an Italian class for a while now, and this winter, I finally did!

As a former French major, I’ve always loved learning a second language, and I already had a solid foundation in romance languages. Unfortunately, my level of French is too high for most continuing education courses and not high enough to fit in with fluent speakers, so I’d had to put my formal foreign language education on hold since graduation. Then, my thoughts began to drift toward Italian.

My visit to Il Colosseo in September 2012.

My visit to Il Colosseo in September 2012.

Why Italian? As a language, Italian is similar to French, and it is attached to a beautiful culture and country. It’s also the language of music, so I’d already inadvertently studied Italian vocabulary in piano and clarinet lessons. And, we all know Italian food! Then, when my husband (an Italian history buff) and I decided to visit Florence and Rome a couple years ago, I bought some Italian CDs to teach myself the basics. Although I hardly used my new-found language skills while we were over there, after our trip, I was hooked. So much so that we seriously considered a second trip to Italy this spring (but sadly plans have since changed).

When I saw that Wake Tech was offering a Beginning Italian 1 continuing education course that fit my schedule, I jumped at the chance! At first, I was nervous about being back in a classroom again after many years away, especially for three straight hours each week. However, once that first class session started, I knew I was back in my element. Fortunately, I had a terrific professoressa, and the other students were all in the same boat as me. The course moved at a very quick pace, but we started with the rules of grammar and pronunciation, and then built on it with practical vocabulary. I would highly recommend it!

Next up: Beginning Italian 2. The new semester starts today, and sono pronto!

Digital Marketing for Business Conference Recap

Keynote by Gopi Kallayil of Google

Put a couple hundred of the brightest minds in digital marketing in one room, and… Go!

That was the scene at last week’s Digital Marketing for Business Conference at the Raleigh Convention Center. This inaugural, locally organized conference featured a lineup of mostly local marketing professionals covering topics from social media to content marketing to storytelling. I spent two days alternating between sessions in its two tracks: enterprise and small business.

For me, these were a few of the conference’s highlights (in chronological order):

  • Keynote by Gopi Kallayil of Google (featured in the main post image above): I’m still not sure if I’ll ever embrace Google+ for my own personal use, but Gopi helped me see that it’s more than just a Facebook wannabe. He shed some light onto why it’s worthwhile from a business/brand perspective and where Google hopes to take us in the future. Plus, Gopi works at Google, so he’s clearly fascinating :)
  • How The Pit BBQ Used Social Media to Make Magic Happen: This downtown BBQ restaurant has always had a cult following on Twitter, and now I know why. It was part of a deliberate strategic plan to target locals and turn them into brand evangelists. This was a good case study of small steps one small business took and how they are ultimately paying off.
  • Video for People Who are Terrified of Video: As a former television editor, I didn’t learn much here that I didn’t already know… But, I did get a lot of pre-packaged golden knowledge nuggets that I can easily turn around and present to my coworkers in my ongoing uphill battle to bring video to the Judicial Branch.
  • Slide from Gregory Ng's DMFB Keynote

    This slide from Gregory Ng’s keynote shows that data-driven marketing is where the CMO, CIO, and analyst collide.

  • Keynote by Gregory Ng of Brooks Bell: One of my biggest takeaways from this, other than that Greg loves 80s cartoons, is that as technology evolves, so must businesses. Your chief marketing officer and your chief information officer need to be closer than ever… And don’t forget the importance of your analyst!
  • Content Marketing Art of War and Is Content Marketing the Future?: “Content marketing” is clearly this year’s trendy marketing buzz word. But, these presentations reinforced that content is here to stay. The first presentation took us through some successful case studies, while the second was probably the most interesting panel I’ve seen in a while (panels tend to bore me).
  • Social Media in a Big Brother World: Everything about this presentation spoke to me. Although Quintiles is in a different type of heavily regulated industry than my government employer, we face many of the same obstacles, and it was interesting to hear how they navigated the red tape and managed to plan and execute a successful social media strategy.

It always takes me a while to recover from a good conference. The intense concentration and high energy levels they require are exhausting, the mountains of work waiting for me back in the office are overwhelming, and the list of big ideas to explore and genius advice to implement is pages and pages long. So, with that said, I’m definitely still processing a lot of the big conference takeaways, but I hope to use them for good in the near future! I would definitely recommend this conference for anyone in the digital marketing space.

Internet Summit 12 Notes


Last Wednesday and Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend the Internet Summit 12 conference right here in Raleigh. The conference featured speakers from across the country who are experts in various web-related disciplines, from analytics to content to user experience to social media.

I hope to share more insights from the conference soon, but, for now . . . Here are the rough notes I took during each session I attended. I saw several of my friends and colleagues struggling to keep up with their note-taking, especially during some of the more fast-paced presentations, so I thought I’d share. Enjoy!

A Tale of Two Conferences: WebContent 2011 and Texas JavaScript

WebContent2011 logo

June 20, 2011
Written for Viget Labs’ Four Labs Blog
Original Post

Here at Viget, we all have an annual conference/training allowance, among our other awesome job perks … And, we certainly put it to good use two weeks ago, when four Vigets traveled across the country to learn and make new friends!

For my training, I returned to my hometown of Chicago for WebContent 2011. This year’s theme was “Going Mobile,” and I spent two days soaking up a ton of information on content strategy and the mobile web. From a workshop on Content Strategy 101 to in-depth sessions on the latest mobile trends and their implications for your business, the conference’s offerings gave me plenty of food for thought and a whole new list of ideas for tackling my clients’ content issues. I also got to know a bunch of new faces in the web industry — plus, I got to eat wonderful Chicago pizza for a few days!

Brand and strategy consultant Margot Bloomstein of Appropriate, Inc., speaking at WebContent 2011 -- and using Viget's own SpeakerRate to get feedback on her presentation

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