FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch 08.01.2023

In this week’s @AvalonFYI dispatch, you will find a major client victory 🙌 , the science behind virtual team-building, marketing lessons from Barbie, the Women’s World Cup, and more. Read it here:

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Dear friends,

Greetings from London! Though I’ll be home before you read this, I’m writing from the Victoria & Albert Museum, which boasts the first museum cafe. Henry Cole, founding director of the South Kensington Museum (the original name of the V&A), believed it was important to meet visitors’ needs with food and drink so they could fully enjoy the cultural experience without the distraction of hunger. I agree and am enjoying my latte and scone in this gorgeous setting!

The ceiling and chandeliers at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

I’m here for meetings with the American Air Museum in Britain (AAMB), as well as their fantastic annual dinner and air show. I am also catching up with my son Luca, who has been studying in London this summer. So far, it has been an incredible trip. Thank you, AAMB, for hosting such a productive and impressive gathering!

Allison and Luca in an airplane hangar at the American Air Museum in Britain.

Closer to home, President Biden designated a new unit of the National Park Service: the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument. The monument will incorporate three sites: Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Chicago, the Tallahatchie County Courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi, and the Graball Landing on the banks of the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi. The National Parks Conservation Association and its partners, including members of the Till family, have advocated for this monument for years:

The stories of Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley are critical to revealing more of the full story of the modern civil rights movement. This park site not only conveys the story of a boy’s murder, but also of his mother’s heartbreak and subsequent determination to ensure the world knew what racism in America had done to her son…Not all these stories are easy to hear. But, these are the stories that need to be protected and told for all to learn.

On a leadership note, a pilot study by the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative suggests a scientifically validated technique for virtual teams to build connection. Called “fast friends,” the exercise randomly pairs participants for 30 – 45 minutes of conversation. Rather than small or shop talk, however, the pairs discuss 36 prepared questions, presented in 3 rounds that become increasingly personal. Early findings suggest the exercise fosters openness, trust, community, and inclusion. It also has the impact of reducing some conflict. The Avalon Analytics team often uses a “rose, thorn, bud” prompt to open meetings, which is a short but similar version of this exercise. Way to go!

In other news, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, Barbie is everywhere. I particularly enjoyed Smithsonian Magazine’s cultural history of the iconic “loved and loathed” toy. In addition, the National Air and Space Museum documented Barbie’s career as an astronaut. And, marketing VP Barb Perell shared analysis of the movie’s social media strategy—specifically, the Barbie Selfie Generator that became a viral meme. It’s a great reminder that engaged audiences become powerful allies when they see themselves as part of your story.

I’m also enjoying following the Women’s World Cup. If you aren’t a sports fan, check out this article on why the Women’s World Cup is about more than soccer. Here’s a big reason to support these athletes: women’s soccer is a critical arena for equal pay and for global awareness of this important issue. The full schedule and results are here—and don’t miss this ad with a twist by French telecom company Orange, featuring the French team. It’s incredible.

Finally, I hope to see you at Bridge Conference this week. Avalon will be there and we look forward to connecting in person with many clients, partners, and industry friends. Be sure to say hello when you spot us and have a great conference!


Take care,


Allison signature gray

Allison Porter headshot

Allison Porter, President
Avalon Consulting Group
202-429-6080 ext. 102