Nun-sense

The Punching Nun Group Blog

Musings from 75 years of combined marketing (and life) expertise. After all, marketing is life, right?

Blog Hero: King with Sword: Social Media, a Double-Edged Sword

Social Media and The Business of Healthcare. A Double-Edged Sword.

Perhaps. Social media as a channel has been around for 40+ years. Consumer brands embraced social first, as a way to communicate with consumers and expand reach. When advertising on social media began, those same brands started pouring millions of dollars into filling newsfeeds with ads. The business of healthcare was and is a little slower to adopt social media, and rightfully so. From privacy concerns to patient sentiment to public perception, it seemed at the beginning, a little like dipping your toe in a cool pool. Waiting for other healthcare organizations to take the risk and figure out which

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Blog Hero: 911 and the United 93 heroes

Uniquely American: 911 and the Heroes of United Flight 93

“Are you guys ready? Ok, let’s roll!” Todd Beamer from Flint, MI Tom Burnett from Bloomington, MN Mark Bingham from Los Gatos, CA Jeremy Glick from Saddle River, NJ They led the revolt on United 93, saving countless lives. Even facing their own deaths, they demanded to be in control of their own destiny. They remained uniquely American till the very end. American. What does it mean? At its core, America is and remains a crazy, raucous experiment in freedom and self-governance. In the moments that count, we come together. In all other moments, we argue, fight, and state our

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Blog Hero: Fake News and the Death of Journalism

The Death of Journalism

Dearly Departed, We are gathered here today to say farewell to journalism—journalism degrees, journalism as a career, any respect for the news in general. Dead, dead, dead. I’m just a month shy of 54. When I was in college circa 1983 to 1987, Journalism was still a thing. In fact, I married a journalist (the 2nd time). A real journalist. He was an anchorman on the coast of Mississippi in the early 1980’s. Read Southern “Anchor Man.” And yes, he had the moustache and the whole nine. He told me that he was trained with the same rigor as Walter

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Blog Hero: City of Zombies

City of Zombies

I’ve had the opportunity to visit the West Coast twice in the past few months. Typically, travel is business related but these were both pleasure trips, a rare experience for the members of the convent. Although the visits were enjoyable while we ate and laughed our way through San Francisco and Seattle, it was tough not to notice the amount of homeless wandering and living on the streets. In San Francisco I was with my daughter and had to leave her for a few minutes to find the entrance for a comedy festival. Although she was surrounded by a group

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Blog Hero: Something Sweet: Serious Pie & Biscuit

Something Sweet In Seattle

After a week in the Pacific Northwest visiting Vancouver and Seattle (the city British Columbians say is “just like here but 2 hours south”) I can say without bias that the brands I’ve experienced are some of best work I’ve been witness to in some time. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been working in healthcare too long (aka the bar is very low) or I just slowed down enough to notice something that was NOT directly client-related. We visited a great little pizza place called Serious Pie near the waterfront in Seattle. I had about 30 minutes to wait, sip my

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Blog Hero: Econ 101

Econ 101

Just about 32 years ago I graduated from Saint Vincent College (SVC) in Latrobe, PA. I’d transferred from William & Mary—much to my father’s chagrin. What neither my dad nor I realized at the time was that I would receive a very valuable gift in Latrobe—a Bachelor of Science in Economics with a heap of mathematics and statistics background to boot. Now, don’t get me wrong; I can’t even help my children with their high school math homework. But what I did gain was an understanding of how business, government and the world works. Oddly enough, someone who built a

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Blog Hero: Zamperini (running)

Survival & Forgiveness, Life Lessons from Louis Zamperini

Louis Zamperini having reached his 97th year went to heaven on July 2, 2014, after living what can only be described as a miraculous, amazing, extraordinary life. For those who have not read the book about his life Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (2010) by Laura Hillenbrand, I highly recommend this well-written story that I’m pleased to say is being made into an epic movie as I type. Actress and movie director Angelina Jolie has taken on the auspicious task of producing what must be a Herculean effort to encapsulate perhaps the most amazing

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Blog Hero: Economics of Immigration

Risk and Reward, the Economics of Immigration

In 2018 controversy and rage around immigration—illegal and otherwise—seemed to dominate the news cycle. As I took off over the Atlantic today, leaving behind the coastline and eastern border of the United States, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own family’s story. In 1910 my great grandfather Onorato Cecconi left a small village north of Florence, Italy, called San Quirico, in search of the American dream. He was a younger son in a large family of flour millers who for several hundred years had milled chestnut flour on the gentle slopes between Florence and Bologna. Neither rich nor poor,

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Blog Hero: It's a Wonderful Life

It Really Is a Wonderful Life …

At this time of year in the Cecconi family, one of our favorite ways to celebrate Christmas and the end of another year is to watch Frank Capra’s 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life. Along with A Christmas Carol, Holiday Inn and White Christmas, these movies exemplify the best of the holiday season no matter how many years pass from their original premiers. My father, Peter, is from Indiana, Pennsylvania, the same town where Jimmy Stewart was born and raised. Jimmy’s father owned a hardware store that also offered art supplies, thus making my father a customer from an early

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Blog Hero: Vision Without Execution

Vision Without Execution is Hallucination

Factors to Close the Execution Gap Thomas Edison’s quote, uttered more than 100 years ago, rings true across organizations of all sizes in the year 2013. In fact, in a wobbly economy where entrepreneurial activity is on the rise, execution is even more critical for success and survival. There was a time when strategic planning was a leader’s primary focus and concern. That is no longer the case, strategic planning is important, but as a sole focus of leadership it’s a luxury.  In the start-up realm the analogy would be a founder fixated on creating the perfect business plan but

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Blog Hero: Project YOU

Project YOU

A new client joined the ranks of PNG this month and as I typically do—when I see something really interesting that I know they’ll relate to—I send them a link. A post caught my eye this morning; a presentation on SlideShare by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha called Start-up of You. Any PPT that kicks-off with the requisite cave man analogy morphing into European basketball is certain to catch my eye. The ol’ “differentiate or die” story is really coming home to roost for many of us in our mid-life. For thousands of the sandwich generation reinvention of ourselves is

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Blog Hero: Ersilia Conjoli Cecconi

Prohibition & Entrepreneurialism

This is Ersilia Conjoli Cecconi. In this picture (circa 1900) she was 22. I believe it to be her wedding photo. Ersilia is my great grandmother, and my hero. In fact, I made Ersilia my confirmation name (for all you Catholics you can appreciate the grief I took for not picking a Saints name—the Nuns were not happy). I did it anyway–because I wanted to honor the strength of this woman.  I didn’t realize how prophetic that would be and how much I’d need to find that kind of strength myself in the not too distant future. Up until two

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Blog Hero: Hope for 2013

Hope for 2013

As we near the end of 2012, a difficult twelve months for many Americans both personally and professionally, a Forbes article by Kevin Kruse caught my eye this morning Schwarzkopf. With the passing of General Norman Schwarzkopf (Stormin’ Norman to those of use who remember his leadership during Desert Storm) I can’t help but be amazed that more than 20 years have gone. Desert Storm will always mark an important season for me, a year living on my own and launching my career, the return of my children’s father after a 12 month deployment with the USMC and the birth

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Blog Hero: New Spin on Marketing: Simon Sinek at TED

A New Spin on Marketing: The Art of Communicating from the Inside Out

A sharp friend introduced me to this May 4, 2010 TEDx Presentation by Simon Sinek, a sharp/tragically hip leadership guru who has a unique spin on the art of marketing. On his web site he starts his own bio with “Simon Sinek is an optimist.” I like that, and I believe it (The Nun is certainly an optimist). So, I’m following his blog. I think that’s what he means when he talks about the fact that we are drawn to things we care about or things we relate to emotionally. Per a recent tweet: “When people are financially invested, they

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Blog Hero: Nun Surfing: On Taking Chances

On Taking Chances

On nearly my 48th birthday I did something a little crazy—I jumped out of a plane at 14,000 feet, yep more than 2 ½ miles straight up and then—straight down at 120 miles an hour. I’d wanted to do that for 25 years but money, time, guilt over having small kids, fear, (life) got in the way. Coincidently, I’d just read an interesting piece put together by a Pastor about taking chances. The Readers Digest version: you’re going to fall if you try surfing, in fact you expect that you’ll fall, but the ride is worth the risk. That dove

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Blog Hero: Eric Jackson's: 89 Business Clichés

89 Business Clichés that will Get an MBA Promoted And Make Them Totally Useless or “Bid-ness’isms”

Eric Johnson’s hilarious summary of the top 89 Business Cliches made me laugh out loud—more than a few times. What really stood out (as I created the mental check list of the ones I’m embarrassed to say I’ve used in the past, ok, just a few days ago) are the number of sports, finance, military and Home Depot-type references. What does this tell you? Women did not create this stuff, but at times we help to perpetuate it. During my seven years with Ford Motor Company I continually watched young, male MBAs (I was one of the few females in

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Blog Hero: Elizabeth McMillan: Your Story Is Your Brand

Your Story Is Your Brand

I wish I’d written that but Liz Ryan, Career Commentator (Huffington Post) beat me to it. In an economy where so many are looking for new positions or reinventing themselves, it’s always a good time to really think about how you want to present yourself in the new economy. When you sell a product the goal is differentiation. When you sell your personal brand the objective is the same. As Liz points out, using lame, beat business jargon is not the way to go. There are far too many people out there who are saying the same thing. A friend

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Blog Hero: The Godfather: Leadership Lessons

Leadership Lessons from “The Godfather”

Seriously, how could I refuse?  In an April 2, 2012 article in Fast Company by Lydia Dishman, some sage advice is shared with executives in growth organizations on the merits of leadership Mafia style. 1.     Build a Powerful Community Whether it’s your friendly funeral home director or doing a favor for a new LinkedIn connection, it is true that helping your peers will benefit your business in the long run.  We are all short on time but one good turn deserves another and builds a “goodwill” account that can come in handy when facing your next financing, looking for a

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Blog Hero: Seth Godin: Extraordinary Software Development Manager

The Extraordinary Software Development Manager

Seth Godin’s post for March 12, 2012 “Extraordinary Software Development Managers” Rings true (as most things Seth Godin says).  He compares software development to building a skyscraper (versus throwing a party). In this brave new world (compared to the 1990’s) so many product concepts are built on a software platform. SaaS solutions and the recurring revenue they generate, are the rage, and the preferred business model in a digital world. Godin’s comments mirror my own experience having worked with a variety of software-based companies over the past decade—some did well, some not so well. The basis of success for the

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Blog Hero: James T. Kirk

Leadership Lessons from James T. Kirk

Come on, we all thought he was hot—those high-heel black boots and the way he was always able to get the blue skin girl with the mini-skirt and 1960’s hairdo!  Apparently James T. Kirk offered more than fashion advice as pointed out by Alex Knapp’s March 5, 2012 article in Forbes Magazine regarding Capt. Kirk’s leadership prowess James T. Kirk. Never Stop Learning—We are never too old to pick up something new or change the way we approach a situation. Have Advisors with Different World Views—maybe not a Vulcan but certainly someone with different skills or perspective. A sure sign

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Blog Hero: Social Media: "What He Said"

Social Media; “What He Said”

In his blog, Seth Godin writes about the Trap of Social Media Noise. Truth be told, most of what Seth says is so dead-on, I looked this one up just to see if he agreed with what I wanted to say. Fortunately, he does. These days, most of my new clients begin our relationship wanting to know what I think about social media. Most times I feel compelled to ask, “What do you want that to achieve with social media in terms of your total marketing strategy?” The blank stare speaks volumes. Don’t get me wrong; there is a place

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Blog Hero: Entrepreneurs Say

Sh*t Entrepreneurs Say

Jeff Haden has captured some hilarious truth in a recent article in “Inc” focused on things that entrepreneurs says Sh*t Entrepreneurs Say. After years of working in start-ups as an employee and a consultant I have to admit he’s nailed it. With Steven Jobs passing the business world seems pretty caught up in finding a new model for figuring out the path to the Holy Grail. Perhaps it’s age, but I have to tell you what our folks hammered into our undeveloped brains is better advice than most of what I heard in graduate school or certainly more useful than

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Blog Hero: Next Gen Corporate Marketing

The Next Generation of Corporate Marketing

Increasingly, companies recognize their future is only as promising as their ability to turn strategy into action. Unique among strategic consulting firms, we bring a purpose-driven perspective transitioning a CEO’s vision into an action plan. The Punching Nun Group provides support to start-ups and mid-sized businesses for a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time executive to market your company. Our clients benefit from the human capital of our entire executive team.

Read More »
Blog Hero: CEO's Marketing Right-Hand

The CEO’s Marketing Right Hand

Think of Us as Your Marketing Director The CEO should be the #1 marketing visionary for the company. Our job is to capture, articulate and implement that vision to support growth and expansion. The Punching Nun’s job is to translate your value proposition into an insightful, actionable and measurable strategic marketing plan that delivers results. We provide a client-centered perspective along with the skills and experience to turn your plan into the kind of action that drives sales.

Read More »
Blog Hero: Clarity / Relevance

Distinctive Clarity and Relevance

Distinctive Clarity and RelevanceFor Your Company A company gains enormous advantage when it knows explicitly where it is going and how it will get there… The Punching Nun Group incorporates your financial, product and sales/marketing strategy into a comprehensive, succinct plan to support fund raising, internal communication and external presentation of your organization’s goals and objectives.

Read More »
Blog Hero: Now Do What I Say

The Punching Nun Blog

We’re a Team Damn It…Now Do What I say! Valuable information I never heard in graduate school but learned on the job(s) <wife, mother and executive>. After 21 years on the job (ok, on many jobs) I’ve learned a few things. At just 24 I left graduate school on fire to have an office of my very own, a hard-won reward for years of diligent study (but zero practical experience). With a great deal of real life under my belt I finally feel the need to share (or vent—those two concepts are very closely aligned). I come from funny people

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Blog Hero: King with Sword: Social Media, a Double-Edged Sword

Social Media and The Business of Healthcare. A Double-Edged Sword.

Perhaps. Social media as a channel has been around for 40+ years. Consumer brands embraced social first, as a way to communicate with consumers and expand reach. When advertising on social media began, those same brands started pouring millions of dollars into filling newsfeeds with ads. The business of healthcare was and is a little

Read More »
Blog Hero: 911 and the United 93 heroes

Uniquely American: 911 and the Heroes of United Flight 93

“Are you guys ready? Ok, let’s roll!” Todd Beamer from Flint, MI Tom Burnett from Bloomington, MN Mark Bingham from Los Gatos, CA Jeremy Glick from Saddle River, NJ They led the revolt on United 93, saving countless lives. Even facing their own deaths, they demanded to be in control of their own destiny. They

Read More »
Blog Hero: Fake News and the Death of Journalism

The Death of Journalism

Dearly Departed, We are gathered here today to say farewell to journalism—journalism degrees, journalism as a career, any respect for the news in general. Dead, dead, dead. I’m just a month shy of 54. When I was in college circa 1983 to 1987, Journalism was still a thing. In fact, I married a journalist (the

Read More »
Blog Hero: City of Zombies

City of Zombies

I’ve had the opportunity to visit the West Coast twice in the past few months. Typically, travel is business related but these were both pleasure trips, a rare experience for the members of the convent. Although the visits were enjoyable while we ate and laughed our way through San Francisco and Seattle, it was tough

Read More »
Blog Hero: Something Sweet: Serious Pie & Biscuit

Something Sweet In Seattle

After a week in the Pacific Northwest visiting Vancouver and Seattle (the city British Columbians say is “just like here but 2 hours south”) I can say without bias that the brands I’ve experienced are some of best work I’ve been witness to in some time. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been working in healthcare too

Read More »
Blog Hero: Econ 101

Econ 101

Just about 32 years ago I graduated from Saint Vincent College (SVC) in Latrobe, PA. I’d transferred from William & Mary—much to my father’s chagrin. What neither my dad nor I realized at the time was that I would receive a very valuable gift in Latrobe—a Bachelor of Science in Economics with a heap of

Read More »
Blog Hero: Zamperini (running)

Survival & Forgiveness, Life Lessons from Louis Zamperini

Louis Zamperini having reached his 97th year went to heaven on July 2, 2014, after living what can only be described as a miraculous, amazing, extraordinary life. For those who have not read the book about his life Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption (2010) by Laura Hillenbrand, I highly

Read More »
Blog Hero: Economics of Immigration

Risk and Reward, the Economics of Immigration

In 2018 controversy and rage around immigration—illegal and otherwise—seemed to dominate the news cycle. As I took off over the Atlantic today, leaving behind the coastline and eastern border of the United States, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own family’s story. In 1910 my great grandfather Onorato Cecconi left a small village north

Read More »
Blog Hero: It's a Wonderful Life

It Really Is a Wonderful Life …

At this time of year in the Cecconi family, one of our favorite ways to celebrate Christmas and the end of another year is to watch Frank Capra’s 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life. Along with A Christmas Carol, Holiday Inn and White Christmas, these movies exemplify the best of the holiday season no matter

Read More »
Blog Hero: Vision Without Execution

Vision Without Execution is Hallucination

Factors to Close the Execution Gap Thomas Edison’s quote, uttered more than 100 years ago, rings true across organizations of all sizes in the year 2013. In fact, in a wobbly economy where entrepreneurial activity is on the rise, execution is even more critical for success and survival. There was a time when strategic planning

Read More »
Blog Hero: Project YOU

Project YOU

A new client joined the ranks of PNG this month and as I typically do—when I see something really interesting that I know they’ll relate to—I send them a link. A post caught my eye this morning; a presentation on SlideShare by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha called Start-up of You. Any PPT that kicks-off

Read More »
Blog Hero: Ersilia Conjoli Cecconi

Prohibition & Entrepreneurialism

This is Ersilia Conjoli Cecconi. In this picture (circa 1900) she was 22. I believe it to be her wedding photo. Ersilia is my great grandmother, and my hero. In fact, I made Ersilia my confirmation name (for all you Catholics you can appreciate the grief I took for not picking a Saints name—the Nuns

Read More »
Blog Hero: Hope for 2013

Hope for 2013

As we near the end of 2012, a difficult twelve months for many Americans both personally and professionally, a Forbes article by Kevin Kruse caught my eye this morning Schwarzkopf. With the passing of General Norman Schwarzkopf (Stormin’ Norman to those of use who remember his leadership during Desert Storm) I can’t help but be

Read More »
Blog Hero: Nun Surfing: On Taking Chances

On Taking Chances

On nearly my 48th birthday I did something a little crazy—I jumped out of a plane at 14,000 feet, yep more than 2 ½ miles straight up and then—straight down at 120 miles an hour. I’d wanted to do that for 25 years but money, time, guilt over having small kids, fear, (life) got in

Read More »
Blog Hero: Elizabeth McMillan: Your Story Is Your Brand

Your Story Is Your Brand

I wish I’d written that but Liz Ryan, Career Commentator (Huffington Post) beat me to it. In an economy where so many are looking for new positions or reinventing themselves, it’s always a good time to really think about how you want to present yourself in the new economy. When you sell a product the

Read More »
Blog Hero: The Godfather: Leadership Lessons

Leadership Lessons from “The Godfather”

Seriously, how could I refuse?  In an April 2, 2012 article in Fast Company by Lydia Dishman, some sage advice is shared with executives in growth organizations on the merits of leadership Mafia style. 1.     Build a Powerful Community Whether it’s your friendly funeral home director or doing a favor for a new LinkedIn connection,

Read More »
Blog Hero: Seth Godin: Extraordinary Software Development Manager

The Extraordinary Software Development Manager

Seth Godin’s post for March 12, 2012 “Extraordinary Software Development Managers” Rings true (as most things Seth Godin says).  He compares software development to building a skyscraper (versus throwing a party). In this brave new world (compared to the 1990’s) so many product concepts are built on a software platform. SaaS solutions and the recurring

Read More »
Blog Hero: James T. Kirk

Leadership Lessons from James T. Kirk

Come on, we all thought he was hot—those high-heel black boots and the way he was always able to get the blue skin girl with the mini-skirt and 1960’s hairdo!  Apparently James T. Kirk offered more than fashion advice as pointed out by Alex Knapp’s March 5, 2012 article in Forbes Magazine regarding Capt. Kirk’s

Read More »
Blog Hero: Social Media: "What He Said"

Social Media; “What He Said”

In his blog, Seth Godin writes about the Trap of Social Media Noise. Truth be told, most of what Seth says is so dead-on, I looked this one up just to see if he agreed with what I wanted to say. Fortunately, he does. These days, most of my new clients begin our relationship wanting

Read More »
Blog Hero: Entrepreneurs Say

Sh*t Entrepreneurs Say

Jeff Haden has captured some hilarious truth in a recent article in “Inc” focused on things that entrepreneurs says Sh*t Entrepreneurs Say. After years of working in start-ups as an employee and a consultant I have to admit he’s nailed it. With Steven Jobs passing the business world seems pretty caught up in finding a

Read More »
Blog Hero: Next Gen Corporate Marketing

The Next Generation of Corporate Marketing

Increasingly, companies recognize their future is only as promising as their ability to turn strategy into action. Unique among strategic consulting firms, we bring a purpose-driven perspective transitioning a CEO’s vision into an action plan. The Punching Nun Group provides support to start-ups and mid-sized businesses for a fraction of the cost of hiring a

Read More »
Blog Hero: CEO's Marketing Right-Hand

The CEO’s Marketing Right Hand

Think of Us as Your Marketing Director The CEO should be the #1 marketing visionary for the company. Our job is to capture, articulate and implement that vision to support growth and expansion. The Punching Nun’s job is to translate your value proposition into an insightful, actionable and measurable strategic marketing plan that delivers results.

Read More »
Blog Hero: Clarity / Relevance

Distinctive Clarity and Relevance

Distinctive Clarity and RelevanceFor Your Company A company gains enormous advantage when it knows explicitly where it is going and how it will get there… The Punching Nun Group incorporates your financial, product and sales/marketing strategy into a comprehensive, succinct plan to support fund raising, internal communication and external presentation of your organization’s goals and

Read More »
Blog Hero: Now Do What I Say

The Punching Nun Blog

We’re a Team Damn It…Now Do What I say! Valuable information I never heard in graduate school but learned on the job(s) <wife, mother and executive>. After 21 years on the job (ok, on many jobs) I’ve learned a few things. At just 24 I left graduate school on fire to have an office of

Read More »