FYI Blog

Avalon Dispatch: Together, we create!


Dear friends,

Happy Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day! To mark the occasion yesterday, President Biden established a Gender Policy Council within the White House and named Jennifer Klein and Julissa Reynoso co-chairs. I am particularly excited to hear that their vision is LGBTQ+ inclusive and will “advance equity for Black, Indigenous and Latina women and girls of color.” Congratulations to these two women as they take on the enormous task of leading gender equity government-wide.

In other news, Happy Avalon Anniversary to me! For those who don’t know, I started as an assistant program manager in March 1994 for Herzog Swayze, the company that was Avalon’s predecessor before Avalon’s founding in 1997. I’ve been lucky enough to hold nearly every client services position at Avalon and to develop professionally as Avalon grew. I’m forever grateful to have had the experiences I’ve had here, especially working with our fantastic clients! And I am so proud of the company that we are today.

Avalon has been in a creative state of mind recently. For the past few months, we have been convening a Thinking Creatively film club to discuss curated documentaries with a creativity and leadership coach. Our most recent movie was Art and Copy, a film about the creative process behind famous ad campaigns. Did you know that Apple’s “1984” ad almost didn’t run because the company’s marketers didn’t understand the concept? Ultimately Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak offered to pay for it out of pocket! This led to an engaging conversation at Avalon around the similarities and differences between for-profit and nonprofit creative, and between splashy TV ads and direct marketing channels.


We also held a virtual staff gathering with our DEI consultant to discuss Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful TED talk, “The Danger of a Single Story.” We explored the power of stories to define our understanding of others—and the importance of expanding the kinds of stories we’re exposed to. The internet can help with this, of course, but we have to watch out for algorithms that reinforce a single narrative. You can read more about these sessions and how we are continuing to flex our creative muscles internally in our recent blog post here.

In addition, we’ve been talking fonts. Both this fascinating article about Helvetica and the hilarious SNL Papyrus skit have been making the rounds. You know you are a direct marketing nerd when these keep you up late at night reading and watching. Up next: waxing poetic about paper.

Yesterday I led the Creative session for DMAW’s 2021 DM101 week. You may have missed me, but it’s not too late to catch Avalon at this event! VP Barb Perell will teach Digital Marketing on Friday. I love DM101 because I get to meet so many of our field’s newest marketers. It is designed for marketers with less than five years of experience and those who want a refresher on best practices.

In other news, Avalon is constantly refining its remote work processes, in particular how we leverage technologies. A year into social distancing, it is more important than ever that we dial this in just right – making the most of what tech like Zoom has to offer without letting it burn us out. This article has some great suggestions for reducing Zoom fatigue, and on the email front HBR has helpful recommendations for mastering message and tone.

Finally, in case you haven’t seen this all over social media, there is a lot of buzz about the upcoming Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience. The 20,000 square foot light and sound spectacular will feature two-story projections of the artist’s most compelling works. It is socially distant and will be in the DC area through summer. It looks awesome!

Take care,