Honoring My Ancestors - The Middleton Cooke Origin Story

Once I began to believe in my worth…

Everything fell into place once I began to honestly appreciate all of my gifts and stopped taking them for granted.

As a child, no one believed in me more than my mother and father. And even though I’ve accomplished SO MUCH in my 50+ years, I never had the same level of belief…until now.

Middleton Cooke was created for me but more importantly for my mom and dad.

Light, Peace and Progress to the spirits of Emma Middleton and Bennett Wesley Cooke

To Service!

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They come from out of nowhere…

In my work as a brand consultant, I work with “resources”; printers, graphic designers, film makers, web developers, et al. All independent business owners and freelancers that I trust and whose taste levels are on par with mine. I appreciate their hard work and dedication as they too continue their entrepreneurial pursuits. They are in fact my role models.

The school year has started and business is picking up. What I’ve found, as I work with my vendors, is that we’re starting to think about our client/vendor relationship in different ways. We have begun to start referring our clients to each other with nothing to gain EXCEPT a broadening of our service capabilities.

I’ve always said “Everyone has a Client”. What this means is that as human beings; even outside of being entrepreneurs, we all have people or organizations that we “serve”. I can’t think of one person that doesn’t “work” for someone else. We all live in service of others and my connection to businesses that provide ancillary services for my clients, is something that I cherish. They make me look good!

So here’s to service! May we all enjoy what we do!

Clients that really "get it"

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This week I had two amazing client meetings.  What makes a great meeting for me?  Working with school leaders that totally "get it".

Most principals or school superintendents didn't go to school for marketing.  Their education and career focus for the most part has been or is in education...and rightly so. Marketing and branding isn't their expertise and quite frankly education isn't mine. But that's what makes a relationship like the ones I have with my clients so great; symbiosis!

I've become savvier over the years.  In a needs assessment, I know just the right questions to ask now, and I also know what's not worth lingering on about.  Back in the old days, during my time at Scholastic Inc, I worked to make sure the technology and corporate folks could understand one another.  The internet was still pretty new for most companies and young people like me with a traditional background and technical acumen, became "interpreters". It could be a bit daunting sometimes but for the most part I felt a sense of accomplishment because I knew just how important and instrumental it was for me to help bring the company into the "zeros" (21st century) and beyond.

Now that most of my clients are public schools in underserved areas, this desire to update and elevate school brands, couldn't be stronger.  What helps?  Working with leaders that already see the writing on the wall...or laptop...or smartphone.  They have a ton of catching up to do as an industry, and thought leaders in our public schools are taking the charge in making sure their schools (and scholars) don't fall behind.


My Kind of Impact - Creating Moments


Raise your hand if you’ve ever attended elementary school here in the States. 
That should be almost everyone who reads this post.

Better yet. How many of you have ever been 10 years old? Now I really should have the attention of 100 percent of you (unless one of my 9 year old scholars is reading this and to that I say bravo!! LOL)

So what’s the point? I’m just making sure I’m speaking to folks that can relate to what it feels like to be a kid. 

I remember when I was ten and my music teacher thought I had the potential to be a great singer. Bless his heart. And because he believed in me...ok us, he invited his friend Angela Bofill to come and meet the class...like wow!! I’ll never forget it. I remember it like it was yesterday even though 40 years have passed. I've often embellished this visit in my mind; adding a part where Angela and I sing a duet together of course.  And even though I never became a singer, I’ve always had a larger than life appreciation for music and enormous voices. 

So what was that “moment” for you? A class trip? Career Day? A Broadway show? How did it impact your life and/or influence the work you do now?

I’m sure we all understand the giving back concept. The desire to expose kids to their very own “moment”.  I’m driven by this concept. In fact I’m completely dumbfounded by others who don’t feel as strongly as I do. It may not be fair to feel this way. But it’s honest. 

So how can we give back? Well recently I’ve been stepping up my networking “game”. I’ve sent texts messages and emails and LinkedIn, Facebook and IG DMs to almost everyone I know who could possibly help grant a class or two their chance to experience a “moment”; the chance to meet that hero, or get a peek behind the scenes of their favorite company or profession (This is a thing you know.  Kids are a driving influencer of household purchases BTW.).

I have had great success in keeping the concept of “giving back” alive among my circle. This past school year my nagging produced two unforgettable class trips to Facebook and Twitter (pictures shown)! And it didn’t take much convincing at all because the gentlemen who had the power to make it happen, already had the desire to make it happen. They were just waiting for someone like me to come along who had the ability to find young scholars that could benefit most from the opportunity. 

And man!!!! What a rush!! To see the looks on the kids’ faces!! Absolutely priceless!! To listen to the questions they had for the Facebook panel?? I laughed and at times almost cried. It may sound cliche but I always reflect on events like these super impactful class trips by saying “..if we only made a difference for one kid l’ll be happy”. But honestly I tell myself that to keep my expectations low. I really know in my heart that we reach way more than just one. 

So I’m using this blog post as yet another push to you all; my community of readers, connections and followers to look at your professional world. Ask yourself if it’s an interesting place for a young mind to visit and explore. And hey maybe it’s not but I bet you have a friend or family member that works somewhere great.

And as for my nagging?  Hey it pays off!  Sooo until it doesn't...