How my PR/Marketing Job Posts on Facebook Almost Launched a New Career

December 31st, 2015

SF:PR - Top Workplace - Wooty SixelSocial media blossom as sources of job openings and career advice

Susan Farb Morris has nearly 4,000 friends on Facebook and she did not get them by sharing pictures of cats. (Joe Robbins Photography)

Back in October, Houston Chronicle business reporter Wooty Sixel called to see if I used social media to seek out new hires. She was writing a story for the newspaper’s “Top Workplaces in Houston” Special Section and was looking for resources who utilize social media for their job postings. I chuckled to myself since I don’t have any employees. However, instead of letting the opportunity go by the wayside, I told her that I use my social media platforms to post jobs and internships in the marketing, communications and special events fields. Once I told her that I often had individuals and organizations — including media outlets — contacting me to see if I would post their job openings, I had her attention. The next thing I know, I’m doing an interview with her.

Wooty’s story came out on a Sunday in the print edition, but was posted a few days earlier online. I waited until Monday to post the article on my Facebook page. To my dismay, the response from my Facebook friends was phenomenal. Not only did dozens upon dozens of people comment to thank me for posting job opps, (and one person who credits me for her job at the University of Houston because she learned about it through my Facebook post), but many congratulated me on the great article. You would have thought I’d won an award I was getting so many kudos.

The fact is, more than 550 people clicked through to the link. Some who read it sent me private messages on Facebook asking for job advice. College graduates and young professionals wanted to have coffee with me. All of a sudden I was the PR Job Fairy!

While I don’t know how many subscribers read the print article in the Sunday edition, I do know from Sixel how successful it was in its online iteration. I ran into her over the Christmas holidays and she was thrilled to report that more than 10,000 readers clicked onto the story’s link. Sixel said that was huge for one of her pieces and felt my social media platform contributed to the story’s success.

I continue to post jobs on my social media platforms, but please know, this is my avocation to try to connect people in their job searches. I remain The PR Fairy.

To read the full story, go to: http://bit.ly/1lfWY9L

Zen Master Launches Newest Book in Contemporary Zen Studies Series September 14 – 17 in Houston

September 3rd, 2014

Master Miao Tsan Living Truth CoverHiResHouston – Sept. 3, 2014 . . . . Zen Master Miao Tsan, Abbot of Vairocana Zen Monastery and international lecturer and author, returns to Houston September 14 – 17 to launch Living Truth: The Path of Light (Bright Sky Press, Sept. 2014), his newest book in a series of contemporary Zen studies. In it, the Venerable Master explains the essential wisdom of Zen as it applies to one’s daily life, including how Truth is the universal principle that underlies the full range of human experiences.

Master Miao Tsan will join such preeminent leaders and educators as Alejandro Chaoul, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Integrative Medicine Program, Department of General Oncology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Deacon Robert Hesse, Ph.D, Co-Founder and President of Contemplative Network, Vice Chairman of the board of directors of The Institute for Spirituality and Health and adjunct professor at University of St. Thomas, Bill Kerley, Ph.D., psychologist and spiritual teacher who utilizes Jungian insights in his work, and Ken Jones, Associate Director of the UH Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship, to engage and lead public dialogues, dharma talks and programs at Rothko Chapel, The Women’s Institute of Houston, University of Texas Medical School at Houston, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and C.T. Bauer College of Business University of Houston (UH), among the Houston-area venues.

“Thoughts, emotions and feelings are simply tools. It is up to us to use them or be used by them. Every single thought can affect our physical body, life and relationships. Therefore we must examine our own lives as our sole creation, and learn to cultivate the right thought to have the right result,” he says.

Master Miao Tsan’s multidisciplinary programs, open to the public, will include signings of Living Truth: The Path of Light. Events are free with RSVPs e-mailed to events@miaotsan.com, unless designated otherwise.

The week will begin Sunday, September 14, 9:30 – 11 a.m. with Master Miao Tsan returning as a guest lecturer on the topic of “Mysticism” at Bill Kerley’s weekly “Ordinary Life” class at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 5501 South Main – Fondren Hall. That afternoon, from 4-6 p.m., in his first-ever program at The Women’s Institute of Houston (WIH), the Master will share the ultimate truth as expressed in Zen Buddhist teachings, bringing peace, harmony and oneness to our lives. He will provide advice on how to incorporate the practice of meditation into daily life. There will be an opportunity for open dialogue and a short guided meditation at WIH, 2202 Avalon Place. Registration fee is $35; go to http://wih.org/lectures/living-truth-the-path-of-light/
Master Miao Tsan will offer two public presentations in the Texas Medical Center facilitated by Alejandro Chaoul. In “Meditation As A Tool to Manage Stress and Remain Compassionate for Healthcare Professionals,” Monday, September 15, Noon – 1 p.m. at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, (6431 Fannin Street, MSB B. 100), he will discuss key takeaways when it comes to meditation and managing stress, as well as techniques to remain compassionate in the ever-shifting healthcare landscape with physicians, nurses, therapists, technicians and hospital support staff, as well as students in the healthcare field. That evening from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., Master Miao Tsan will meet with the Friends of Integrated Medicine (FIM) at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 7435 Fannin Street, Houston, TX 77054, South Campus Research Building 2, Conference Room 5-6, to discuss “Meditation Tips and Practice from a Zen Master.”

Friends of Integrative Medicine works to raise awareness within MD Anderson Cancer Center and the larger Houston community of the important role complementary and integrative medicine can play in cancer prevention and in helping those with cancer live better and longer.

On Tuesday, September 16, 11 a.m. –12:30 p.m., Master Miao Tsan will join Deacon Hesse for “Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit – Can a person be a Zen Christian?,” an interfaith dialogue at University of St. Thomas (UST), Crooker Center, First Floor – Ahern Room, 3909 Graustark. Space is limited; lunch will be provided for those who RSVP to events @miaotsan.com or call 281-589-0810, ext. 8921 by Tuesday, September 2. That Tuesday, September 16 evening at 6 p.m., Master Miao Tsan will lead a Zen Buddhist Dharma Talk and Twilight Meditation” at Rothko Chapel, 1409 Sul Ross Street. A $10 donation to Rothko Chapel is suggested.

UH Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship Associate Director Ken Jones will welcome Master Miao Tsan to discuss ““Mindful Leadership: Practical Methods for Calming and Focusing Your Mind for Successful Leaders” Wednesday, September 17, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the University of Houston, UCBB Building, 4744 Calhoun Road, Student Training Center Room 328 on the 3rd floor. The Master will explore insights into how mindful leadership allows for improved decision-making and adaptability that drives innovation and embraces diversity in the workplace and in the world.

Master Miao Tsan is the author of Just Use This Mind, The Origin Is Pure, Intrinsic Awakened Nature, and Directly Actualize Buddhahood. The founder and abbot of Vairocana Zen Monastery in Garden Grove, California, he possesses profound insight into the essence of Zen and has dedicated himself to its propagation and practice. He conducts meditation courses, Zen-Seven and Zen-Three retreats and teaches at universities and medical centers in China, Taiwan, Mexico and the United States. His goal is to open a universal path of wisdom and light by leading people from every tradition toward an understanding of the Truth that transcends time, race and religion and is without exception.
For additional information go to www.miaotsan.com/events/ or to register for any of the programs, please contact Adrianne Poyet-Smith, (281) 589-0810 x8921 or e-mail events@miaotsan.com.

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(Updated 9/3/14)
Master Miao Tsan Living Truth Calendar of Events/Houston – Sept., 14 – 17, 2014
Events are free with RSVPs e-mailed to events@miaotsan.com, unless designated otherwise.

When: Sunday, September 14, 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Where: St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 5501 South Main, Fondren Hall (2nd Floor – Jones Building

Program: Zen Master Miao Tsan will speak on “Mysticism” to Bill Kerley’s weekly “Ordinary Life” class

When: Sunday, September 14, 4 – 6 p.m.
Where: The Women’s Institute of Houston, 2202 Avalon Place – Houston 77019
Program: “Living Truth: The Path of Light” – Lecture and Guided Meditation by Venerable Master Miao Tsan, who will share the ultimate truth as expressed in Zen Buddhist teachings, bringing peace, harmony and oneness to our lives. He will provide advice on how to incorporate the practice of meditation into daily life Sunday, September 14, 4-6 p.m., 2202 Avalon Place. There will be an opportunity for open dialogue, as well as a short, guided meditation. Registration fee is $35.
Registration: http://wih.org/lectures/living-truth-the-path-of-light/

When: Monday, September 15, Noon – 1 p.m.
Where: University of Texas Medical School at Houston – Texas Medical Center, 6431 Fannin Street, MSB B. 100, Houston, Texas 77030, for additional details, visit www.miaotsan.com/events/
Program: “Meditation As A Tool to Manage Stress and Remain Compassionate for Healthcare Professionals” – Presentation by Venerable Master Miao Tsan, who will share practical applications with those involved in healthcare–physicians, nurses, therapists, technicians, hospital support staff and students –with regard to key takeaways when it comes to meditation and managing stress, as well as techniques to remain compassionate in the ever-shifting healthcare landscape.
Facilitator: Alejandro Chaoul, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the Integrative Medicine Program in the Department of General Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Associate faculty at the McGovern Center for the Humanities and Ethics.

When: Monday, September 15, 6 – 7:30 p.m.
Where: 7435 Fannin Street, Houston, TX 77054, South Campus Research Building 2, Conference Rm. 5-6
Program: “Meditation Tips and Practice from a Zen Master” – Master Miao Tsan will meet with the Friends of Integrated Medicine (FIM) at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, to discuss Meditation and Health. Friends of Integrative Medicine work to raise awareness within MD Anderson Cancer Center and the larger Houston community of the important role complementary and integrative medicine can play in cancer prevention and in helping those with cancer live better and longer.
Facilitator: Alejandro Chaoul, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the Integrative Medicine Program in the Department of General Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Associate faculty at the McGovern Center for the Humanities and Ethics.
Reservations: Suggested donation to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Friends of Integrated Medicine

When: Tuesday, September 16, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Where: University of St. Thomas, Crooker Center, First Floor – Ahern Rm., 3909 Graustark
Program: “Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit – Can a person be a Zen Christian?” an interfaith dialogue with Master Miao Tsan and Deacon Robert Hesse, Ph.D, Co-Founder and President of Contemplative Network, Vice Chairman of the board of directors of The Institute for Spirituality and Health and adjunct professor at University of St. Thomas
Reservations: FREE; lunch provided via RSVP to events@miaotsan.com or call 281-589-0810, ext. 8921.

When: Tuesday, September 16, 6 p.m.
Where: Rothko Chapel, 1409 Sul Ross Street
Program: “Zen Buddhist Dharma Talk and Twilight Meditation” with Venerable Master Miao Tsan
Reservations: www.rothkochapel.org
Suggested $10 donation to Rothko Chapel

When: Wednesday, September 17, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Where: University of Houston, UCBB Building, 4744 Calhoun Road,
Student Training Center Room 328 on the 3rd floor
Program: “Mindful Leadership: Practical Methods for Calming and Focusing Your Mind for Successful Leaders” – UH Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship Associate Director Ken Jones will welcome Venerable Master Miao Tsan to explore insights into how mindful leadership allows for improved decision-making and adaptability that drives innovation and embraces diversity in the work place and in the world

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Want to Be Buried at Sea and Not Make Waves? Distinctive Life Funeral Homes to the Rescue at Houston Boat Show

December 19th, 2013

Editor’s Note: Distinctive Life Funeral Homes will host a distinctive, memory-creating booth (#8608 and 8610) at the 2014 Houston Boat Show Jan. 3-12 at Reliant CenterDistinctive Life Funeral Homes Founder Jeff Friedman displays an urn for scattering a loved one's ashes at sea., exhibiting both disintegrating urns for scattering ashes at sea and nautical urns for keeping “ashore.” Distinctive Life Funeral Director Jeff Friedman is available for interview pre- or at the Houston Boat Show to discuss Houston celebration of life trends and some unique stories from his more than 22 years experience as a funeral director. To secure Houston Boat Show media credentials for interviews with Mr. Friedman, please contact Susan Farb Morris.

Media Contact:
Susan Farb Morris Cell: (713) 805-2608

susan@farbulous.com or
Leah Delagarza, Distinctive Life
Cell: (832) 776-9936

HOUSTON – Dec. 16, 2013 . . . A locally owned and operated cremation and funeral services company is helping spread the word — and more – when it comes to the national trend of choosing cremation over traditional burial when deciding on one’s final resting place. According to Houston-based Funeral Director Jeff Friedman, founder of Distinctive Life Funeral Homes, industry projections are on course for one out of two Americans to seek cremation over traditional burial by 2017.

According to Friedman, a past president of the Houston Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association, approximately 42 percent of Americans opt for cremation today, versus 15 percent 20 years ago

“Baby Boomers are all about celebrating life, leaving a smaller footprint and getting customized service. We totally reflect that in our philosophy and practice – doing a total reversal to today’s more standardized corporation-driven funeral industry,” says Distinctive Life’s Friedman. “We customize farewells and celebrations of life in many different settings, with frequent requests being scattering loved ones’ ashes at sea.”

As a funeral services company that celebrates life and lives well lived, Distinctive Life avails its education and community outreach services in non-traditional venues as well, such as the Houston Boat Show. “Boat lovers are fascinated by the idea of having their ashes scattered at sea, but just hadn’t planned ahead to make that happen,” Friedman said.

At the Houston Boat Show, Distinctive Life will exhibit its large seashell and the circle shaped urns that are used at sea. These urns are filled with the loved one’s cremated remains and sealed by the funeral directors, then given to the family. When placed in the water the urns float for a few minutes before slowly sinking to the bottom of the water where they slowly disintegrate. They float long enough for the family to say their parting words and place flowers in the water.

The artistic glass urn is an example of the variety of urns that are designed more like pieces of art. A small amount of the remains are placed at the bottom and this urn can be displayed anywhere and are understated.

Distinctive Life Funeral Homes Founder Jeff Friedman has applied his knowledge and expertise from over the past 22 years in the funeral business to effectively grow within a changing industry. Today, a majority of families are choosing to celebrate the life of their loved one at either the place of worship, or other meaningful places, other than funeral homes. Distinctive Life’s concept is focused on delivering the highest standards of customer service while maintaining a low overhead, thus saving the families thousands of dollars. Their goal is to acknowledge the life lived; the love shared and allows the loved ones to create a meaningful service at an affordable price.

For further information, contact Distinctive Life at www.distinctivelife.com or call (713) 585-3535.

Katy Taylor Junior Preps “Pierre” the Pig for Katy ISD FFA Livestock Show & Rodeo

February 18th, 2013

Katy/Fulshear, TX — Feb. 18, 2013 . . . For the past five months Katy Taylor high school junior Lauren Jones diligently has caught the 5:40 a.m. bus to the Katy ISD FFA barn on Katy-Hockley Road to tend to her pig, “Pierre.” She dutifully has raised her precious porker from a 5-week, 50-pound piglet, to a strapping 225-pounder to exhibit at the school district’s Livestock Show & Rodeo, one of the only remaining high school Livestock Show & Rodeos in Texas.

Lauren’s months of dedicated work, which also includes Pierre’s daily afternoon walk, feeding, bathing and brushing, will culminate at the livestock show, with the Saturday, February 23, 1 p.m. auction being the “Grand Finale.” The auction will be held at the L.D. Robinson Pavilion, 6301 S. Stadium Lane at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy.

“Lauren is such a well-rounded student academically, athletically – she plays on the JV basketball team – as an FFA member and as a Firethorne Visitor Center Guide. It’s solid students like her who inspire us year after year to

FFA Student Lauren Jones tends to her pig, Pierre, twice a day, which includes feeding, walking, washing and brushing in preparation for the Katy ISD FFA Livestock Show & Rodeo.

FFA Student Lauren Jones tends to her pig, Pierre, twice a day, which includes feeding, walking, washing and brushing in preparation for the Katy ISD FFA Livestock Show & Rodeo.

This isn’t Lauren’s first rodeo; her first pig, George, which she raised her freshman year, earned second place in his class and 6th place overall and sold to the Firethorne Stampede for $2,200, which she has applied to her college fund.
Since 2006, the “Firethorne Stampede” auction team has invested $230,000 in purchasing auction animals, including a Grand Champion Goat, Grand Showman Goat and the Grand Showman Pig, to provide college scholarship funds to Katy ISD FFA students.

Like her older sister, Kathryn, before her, Lauren has funded the purchase and upkeep of Pierre through her job as a Firethorne Visitor Center Guide, working after school, weekends and over the summer. She estimates she invested about $650 to purchase and maintain her pig, i.e. food, shaving, shampoo and brushes.

The 2013 “Firethorne Stampede” participants gearing up for the Katy ISD FFA Livestock Show and Rodeo are: Allen Boone & Humphries, Ashton Woods Homes, BKD LLP, Bluegrass Maintenance, Canady & Canady, Clark Condon Associates, Clearwater Utilities, Inc., Firethorne, First Southwest Co., Freed Advertising, HBC Terracon, Jefferson Development, Lake Management, Park Construction, RHC Investments, Severn Trent Services, Storm Water Solutions, Susan Farb Public Relations, and Tax Tech, Inc.

A 1,400-acre master-planned community, Firethorne offers a resort-style swimming pool, Firethorne Competitive Swim Center with regulation 6-lane, 25-yard-long lap pool, miles of hike/bike trails, a fully equipped Fitness Center with certified trainer on call, lighted tennis courts with tennis teams and clinics, two sports fields and a new Clubhouse at Firethorne is available to residents for entertaining and meetings.

Firethorne blends with the best nature has to offer: 150 acres devoted to parks and recreational amenities, greenbelts, hike and bike trails, parks and playgrounds, discovery-rich wildlife observation area and a natural bird habitat. Strategically located near the crossroads of the I-10 West corridor, the Westpark Tollway and the Grand Parkway, 10 and 15 miles west, respectively, of the Texas Medical Center-West Campus and Houston’s Energy Corridor, it is where the vibrancy of West Houston meets the small-town charm of Katy/Fulshear.

Firethorne Sets All-Time High Sales Record in 2012 with 280 New Home Sales: 55.5% Increase Over 2011 Sales

January 16th, 2013

firethorne_logoKaty/Fulshear – Jan. 16, 2013. . . . Firethorne sold an all-time high of 280 new homes in 2012, recording a whopping 55.5 percent increase in new home sales over 2011 for the Katy/Fulshear master-planned community.

“This is quite a milestone for Firethorne,” said Firethorne General Manager Wayne Meyer. “We’re proud of our steady growth, with home values appreciating.” He credits Firethorne’s success to the continued strength of the Katy/Fulshear/West Houston economy, highlighted by the Energy Corridor and the Texas Medical Center-West, outstanding public schools and the ongoing support from the local Realtor® community. Realtors® have been a cornerstone to Firethorne’s growth, generating more than 79 percent of its new home sales.” The industry norm in a new community such as Firethorne is 60 percent Realtor®-generated home sales.

The Jimmy Franklin Team of RE/MAX Grand Realty and The Joe Rothchild Team of Keller Williams Signature Realty, ranked as Firethorne’s Top Two Producing Realtors, respectively in 2012.

Firethorne’s previous sales record high of 254 new homes was set in 2010, when short-term federal tax credits were in effect for first-time homebuyers.

Project-to-date, Firethorne has sold 1,630 new homes. Its builder team includes such premiere homebuilders as Ashton Woods Homes, M/I Homes, Perry Homes, Highland Homes, Coventry Homes, and Plantation Homes. New home prices range from the high $100s to the mid-$800s.

In terms of growth, energy companies have relocated employees to the Katy area, plus three major Houston hospitals, Texas Children’s Hospital, Memorial Hermann and The Methodist Hospital, have expanded there. Firethorne is located 10 and 15 miles west of the Texas Medical Center-West Campus and Houston’s Energy Corridor, respectively.

Firethorne is also attractive to the Houston relocation market with its location in the top-ranked Katy Independent School District and Lamar Consolidated Independent School District, and availability of lots typically found in the country with all of conveniences of master-designed recreational amenities, such as state-of-the-art technology and nearby shopping, retail, dining, entertainment, schools and medical facilities. The 1,400-acre community features 150 acres devoted to parks and recreational amenities, a 12-acre lake with surrounding greenbelt, resort-style and competitive swim centers, sports fields, hike/bike trails, parks and playgrounds, discovery-rich wildlife observation area and a natural bird habitat. It’s where the vibrancy of West Houston meets the small-town charm of Katy/Fulshear.

To visit Firethorne, take I-10 west and exit Pin Oak to FM 1463, go to www.firethorne.info, or call 281-693-1011.
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