Carla Gerardu-Low

Engagement, marketing, and other musings

The Art of Building Community: Describe It — October 28, 2015

The Art of Building Community: Describe It

The Art of Building Community

“The Art of Building Community” is a series of posts exploring the process of rebuilding a neighborhood association known as Redwood Heights Neighborhood Association (RHNA).

In the previous post of this series, I mentioned that SCORE provides a plethora of resources for small businesses, which can easily be adapted for associations. The first section of the SCORE executive summary describes the company or business, and should address the following items:

  • When was the company formed?
  • Describe the venture’s purpose
  • Choose whether to develop a new product, or service, or combination

Sometimes it is hard to think of all-volunteer organizations as businesses; however, if you don’t, things can get away from you. To be successful, an association needs to have a clearly defined purpose. Continue reading

The Art of Building Community: Getting Started — September 14, 2015

The Art of Building Community: Getting Started

The Art of Building Community

“The Art of Building Community” is a series of posts exploring the process of rebuilding a neighborhood association known as Redwood Heights Neighborhood Association.

Well, now I have gone and done it, they made me a Co-President! It’s that take-charge, figure-it-out, get-it-done character flaw trait of mine. Okay, I say that, but honestly, I love volunteering, especially for school or community organizations. It gives me a sense of belonging. I started volunteering at a young age. Back then, the Red Cross was my volunteer organization of choice, where I met some wonderful people that I am blessed to still be friends with today.

Recently, I came across an article on the Psychology Today website, titled 5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer that made me happy about my decision to join the Association board. If you are hesitating about volunteering for something, think about this: Continue reading

Finally…A Home for My Family Tree — August 27, 2015

Finally…A Home for My Family Tree

Have you ever ended up getting pulled into a hobby very much by accident? Perhaps you were Internet surfing, and wham, you found something that surprised, yet intrigued you. Well, that is what happened to me! About fifteen years ago, I stumbled upon a genealogy site with information about my family going back to the 1600s, and today, I still find it fascinating. I don’t have much time to work on it, but every once in a while I get a burst of energy to update it. Yesterday was one of those days.

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The challenge with long-term, pick it up/put it down projects, like genealogy, is technology passes you by while you are busy doing other things. It seems like every time I start working on it, a significant amount of time is spent updating and relearning the apps. The good news is that the technology continues to get better and better. My computer, phone, and tablet now work together (finally), so I can make changes at any time, on any device. Yay!

With that said, I now have a home for my Family Tree web project. Take a peek and let me know what you think – Gerardu-Low Family Tree.

6 Words Story Challenge: Passion — August 23, 2015
A 6 word challenge — August 19, 2015
The Art of Building Community: Introduction — August 12, 2015

The Art of Building Community: Introduction

The Art of Building Community


What is neighborhood? Generally, the term means a “community of people who live close together.” Seems simple enough, but it really means more than that. It is the people you run into on a regular basis – at the grocery store, school, church, recreation center, and more. The longer you live in an area, the more likely your closest friends live nearby. It becomes home.

But…what if things change? Then what?

This post is the first in a series exploring “The Art of Building Community”, or in marketing terms, building engagement. I will explore the process of rebuilding a neighborhood association known as Redwood Heights Neighborhood Association, in Oakland, California. Continue reading

One Billion Dollars…What will I do? — July 26, 2015

One Billion Dollars…What will I do?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “You’re a Winner!.”

You’ve just won $1 billion dollars in the local lottery. You do not have to pay tax on your winnings. How will you spend the money?

You are a winner
Occasionally, on Fridays, my co-workers and I would wander down to the 7-11 to buy lottery tickets for the weekend lotteries. I don’t think it was that we really believed we would win, but rather it was the shared dream of winning big, or perhaps, it was simply the joy of leaving the office for a little stroll. Nonetheless, winning would be amazingly cool!

First, $1 billion dollars is more money than I need; however, if I won it, I would have to think long and hard about how to spend it. Actually, it would be more about managing it, as outright spending it would be irresponsible, considering how much good the money could do if managed correctly.

Practically speaking, I would pay off any debts for my immediate family, Continue reading

6 Hours, No Tech, Now What? — July 20, 2015

6 Hours, No Tech, Now What?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Terminal Time.”

Oh, a life without e-devices! As much as I love my gadgets, there are times when I long to be disconnected. Okay, so I say that, but will I actually turn them off of my own volition? I am guessing not. Which make this scenario intriguing. Will six hours be enough time for me to remember the joy of a life disconnected? I doubt it, but the experience may serve as a little reminder.

What? No Internet?What would I do? First, panic! Okay, okay, assuming there is not a dismal outcome as a result of my lack of connectivity, then hands down, top of the list…I would people-watch! It requires finding the perfect, or as perfect as possible given it is the airport, viewing spot – restaurant, bar, or cozy corner. Airports are like a cornucopia full of people of all shapes, sizes, and colors. The entertainment and educational value is immense. You may see a variety of fashions (good, bad, and downright questionable), ethnicities, ages (those on their first airplane ride to those on their last), socio-economic backgrounds, and more. I like to imagine their stories – where do they live, where are they going, who is related to who, what awaits them when they arrive, etc.

The art of real-time people-watching competes with technology. We forget to look up. Perhaps, people-watching should be considered exercise for the right-side of the brain. This is what I could tell my technology-steeped-tweenager; however, I’m not sure she would agree! Ah, well, then off to the bookstore we go, and hopefully, there is something of interest for her there. I have my fingers crossed it is something with some intellectual value. A mother can only hope!

This post is part of series of posts in the Blogging 101 course at WordPress Blogging University.

Day 9: Just looking for a little support! —

Day 9: Just looking for a little support!

The last several days of the Blogging 101 course involved non-post activities, such as personalizing my site, and searching and commenting on other blogs. As a follow-up to those activities, today’s assignment is to write a post that builds on one of the comments I left. The post I chose has little to do with the topics I plan to discuss in my blog; however, as a mother, it moved me. It is titled, “Your arguments against breastfeeding in public. They are invalid”.

“And so, because I am a complete masochist, I have trawled the grimy depths of the comments section for the most ill-informed, grotesque and idiotic arguments against breastfeeding in public.” Mummy Spits The Dummy

Using humor and some well thought-out logic, the blogger addressed seven of the oh-so-misguided arguments.

It also captured my attention as a woman in the workplace.  Continue reading

Day 4: Identify Your Audience — July 12, 2015

Day 4: Identify Your Audience

Target Your Customer
No, I did not skip Day 3! The assignment for Day 3 was to find and connect with other bloggers. This was a new experience for me, as I did not realize that the blogosphere is yet another social media network. Lesson learned, and I am looking forward to connecting with many more people going forward. It also made me aware of how many bloggers are out there, which is why the Day 4 lesson is so important.

One of the first things marketers do is define their goal(s) for whatever product or service they sell. Perhaps they want to sell a million units of their new Super Sudsy Soap, or originate 100 mortgage loans a month. Either way, they must know what they are striving to accomplish. A personal blog is no different; however, bloggers’ goals are to “sell” their thoughts and opinions. With the goals established, both businesses and bloggers then need to decide who is the ultimate customer/reader, i.e. the target audience.

…Bloggers’ goals are to “sell” their thoughts and opinions

With this framework in mind, my personal goals for Think Out Loud is to Continue reading