Thursday, November 27, 2008

Starting somewhere.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I am home from Dubai and recovering from jet lag and a 98-hour, 6-day run.

After witnessing the most amazing fireworks display ever (the people from The Guinness Book of World Records were there to take note) and breathing the same air with...

Charlize Theron

Chris Tucker

Robert DeNiro

Janet Jackson,

and more...

I am now back to what I consider normalcy.

Wouldn't you know it, Haiti never left my mind!

And so begins the next wave of our journey. On Monday, I will be picking up the phone and tackling the all-important task of fund raising. We have such a long way to go, but I believe that we can see a miracle happen.

As I look back on the journey thus-far, I am so very thankful that God has seen fit to carry me into so many diverse situations (both personally and professionally) and to see me through to the other side with little more than a renewed sense of purpose.

I have been in some of the world's most amazing places. I have spent time with some of humanity's most celebrated persona. I have been wined and dined. But the fact remains, I am sold... totally committed to Haiti and this cause we are on.

The flash is just flash. What is real are the people that we know and love. What is real is the task we find ourselves assigned to.

Go with us God.
We simply cannot do this without you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Crickets or Cookies?

Part of assembling a really enjoyable experience for our donor base means giving you what you want. In order to do that, I have to ask a few questions every once in a while.

For those who know me well, you know that this isn't some pointless exercise. I do actually listen to advice and certainly try to apply it whenever possible. Naturally, with a specific agenda before us, we cannot always embrace every idea, but I vow to you that we always listen and weigh each suggestion on its own merit.

So then, I have some questions for you... all of you.

The first question is this:


When you give (and I'm assuming you do), what are your deepest, personal expectations? Are you genuinely happy if the gift is received by nothing more than a lonely audience of crickets chirping, or do you expect some sort of token in return (i.e. do you want a "cookie")?

There is no right or wrong answer. No one is looking over your shoulder. Just tell the truth... and be specific [rubs hands together menacingly].

If you're fine with getting no response from a charity, then say so. If you'd like a "thank you" card or some other token of appreciation (or acknowledgment), then that's fine too. Just tell me, cause I wanna know what you think!

The bottom line here is, this thing we are doing is a joint effort. Any great thing requires CO-operation.

So please, leave a comment (even an anonymous one if you feel more comfortable). I genuinely want to know what you think.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Having "THE TALK"

Today, as we sat idling in our driveway, Adrian and I had "THE TALK." For people of faith, specifically those who feel fairly in-touch with the "supposed to" feelings, you will understand me when I say that Adrian and I both feel that change is afoot. I cannot even begin to express how I quantify that. But Adrian and I both know what it means.

The time to move is approaching. This time, it won't be across town or into a different state. This time, it will be to Haiti.

Now the moms and dads shouldn't panic. I'm not talking about next week or anything. But the truth is, it will be sooner than it will be later.

At this time, Adrian and I are asking for the deepest prayers you can offer us. There is SO MUCH to consider. SO MUCH to handle.

During this time, we will be nagging our ex-patriot buddies in Haiti and generating the "to do" list of all "to do" lists.

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath.

We're about to jump.


Hey there readers, I have just decided to try my hand at polling for a while. Certainly, my readership is not staggeringly high at this time... but why not try anyway?

Please feel free to check back weekly for a new poll. If this first one doesn't gather much response, I may try leaving it up for a smidgen longer than one week, just to get the fire burning.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

School collapses.

For those who don't know, a school recently collapsed in Haiti, killing at least 80 children (and probably more). I have been in prayer for these families. This is so tragic.

Please pray for them.

God have mercy.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Partners For Change

INNOVATIVE is a full-service production company based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Many moons ago (more than 10 years now), I was a fresh little intern, scurrying through the halls of INNOVATIVE (then called "Innovative Edit"), trying not to cause any trouble.

Today, INNOVATIVE has blossomed into a company that can both outperform and outclass the competition. With a penchant for pushing what's possible and a rarely-seen commitment to customer satisfaction, these folks are the industry's best kept secret.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Conrad Piccirillo, the President of INNOVATIVE (he likes to be called the Chief Disorganizer) and ask him some pointed questions.

I thought you all might benefit from some of his candid (albeit concise) insight. So with no further ado, I present to you...

Conrad Piccirillo

LUKE: Please describe INNOVATIVE for our readers (in a nutshell).

CONRAD: We are an entertainment and technology company that helps people communicate across all forms of media.


LUKE: After looking at your portfolio, you continue to have an impressive global reach, working with major clients in countries all over the world. How does a once-small, Midwestern company go from servicing the local market to impacting the world?

CONRAD: Respect each other. Respect our clients. Service. Be nice. Help people communicate in the way their audience is used to receiving their information, or better, but no less.


LUKE: What core values does INNOVATIVE cherish that you would credit for your company's success?

CONRAD: Respect I've said. Always move forward with the desire to be welcomed back. Live your life in that thin margin between what's correct and what's right.


LUKE: In the marketplace, INNOVATIVE commands a great deal of respect and stays very busy. That said, your company consistently chooses to stand beside carefully selected charitable causes. Why do you think it is important to stay actively involved in charitable projects, despite the money not being so good?

CONRAD: We get involved with selected charitable causes because we believe in them. All of our charities involve children, except one, Heartland Truly Moving Pictures. Never do work for a charitable cause if you're in it to get 'something'. Be active because you want to give and not get. Our charitable work repays us immediately with that desire to give. I will tell you, every time we help someone, we are repaid for our efforts.


LUKE: Why did you choose to support the work of The Caribbean Institute of Media Technologies and HANDS Across Haiti?

CONRAD: The Institute helps people communicate. I believe that your ability to write and communicate any story, any thought, any idea is directly related to your ability to succeed and make your dreams come true. Young people today communicate with motion pictures. They are the Creation Generation. The Caribbean Institute helps people without advantages tell those stories and reach the world.


LUKE: In charitable causes, how important is it to generate quality promotional materials?

CONRAD: In a world where budgets are tight you have to make me laugh, make me cry, make me wet my pants, you must make me feel something so that I can care and differentiate you from other charities. You can't do that without a concise, well told story. It doesn't have to be slick. It has to be true.


LUKE: What advice would you give to charitable organizations who are considering hiring a professional company like yours?

CONRAD: Know your audience. Come ready to tell your story. Come ready to make us care. Come prepared to have your story changed in a way that will help you reach your audience.


LUKE: Any closing thoughts for our readers?

CONRAD: Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be gone. That is how you'll get attention.


I want to personally thank Conrad for both his willingness to come alongside The Caribbean Institute of Media Technologies and HANDS Across Haiti and his time in granting me this interview.

INNOVATIVE lives up to its name at every possible turn. Not only do they continue to blur the line between the impossible and the possible, they are genuinely good people in the midst of their greatest successes.

If you're in the need for a production company, look no further. INNOVATIVE has everything you could possibly want.