Category : Uncategorized

Home/Archive by Category Uncategorized (Page 2)

Irish America on Capitol Hill

Steve Lenox, President, Lenox Consulting, was proud to speak at a Congressional briefing on Irish America – following is a review he prepared on the event:

 

imageJust hours before President Trump delivered his first address to a joint session of Congress, efforts were underway on Capitol Hill to raise awareness of issues important to the Global Irish community across the US. Billed as a Congressional briefing, the event, was hosted by the Council for American Ireland Relations (CAIR), a non-profit, non-partisan organization, launched to educate US lawmakers, and insure that the voice of Irish America is not lost in the legislative and policymaking process.

Following a warm Irish welcome by Congressman Brendan Boyle, Michael Carroll, Chairman, thanked the nearly twenty legisaltive staff and other guests for attending, reminding them that the mission of CAIR is to “be a resource to your office, not just in the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, but throughout the year.”

While panelists Denis Staunton, London Editor, The Irish Times; Brian O’Dwyer, Chairman, Emerald Isle Immigration Center; and Steve Lenox, President, Irish Network USA offered their insights on issues such as the potential political and economic impact of Brexit, immigration reform, and the continuing growth of business links between the US and Ireland, the attendance of other notable leaders such as Stella O’Leary, President, Irish American Democrats; Claire Rumpsa, Director of Leadership Programs, Washington Ireland Program; and Terry Riley, President, AOH Herbert-Cady Division, was a strong reminder of the depth of leadership that currently exists within the Irish American community.

Acknowledging the attendance of Representative Joe Crowley, Chairman, House Democratic Caucus, and Representative Kathleen Rice, and thanking them for their leadership, O’Dwyer stated that “the Irish have always held a special place on Capitol Hill, and at all levels of government throughout our nation’s history.” Sharing his extensive knowledge on efforts towards immigration reform, including in his role as Founder of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, O’Dwyer continued “the unpredictability of the Trump Adminstration makes it more critical than ever that we look out for the rights of the Irish that have made their homes in communities across the nation.” O’Dwyer estimated that the number of undocumented Irish living in the US to be close to 100,000.

Steve Lenox, President, Irish Network USA, reminded those in attendance that “with nearly 40 million people in the US claiming Irish heritage, the reality is that every member of Congress has at least a piece of this key demographic in their district.” As a dual citizen , and dual resident of the US and Ireland, Lenox shared his unique experiences raising his children between the two countries, as well as traveling throughout the US speaking to Irish communities and concluded that “for many St. Patrick’s Day is about much more than soda bread and green beer, and through CAIR we want to make sure your Members are prepared to answer the questions that are truly indicative of the unique relationship between Ireland and the United States.”

“This was an important, timely briefing as Congress debates immigration and many other issues of concern for Irish Americans,” stated Michael Maitland, Chief of Staff, Office of Representative Donald Norcross. “Especially now, the United States can only benefit from embracing our Irish American neighbors and strengthening ties with our Irish cousins.”

Continue Reading

Lessons from a Jersey Diner

DinerAnyone who has turned to the writings of leaders they admire, seeking to replicate their success, has surely come across advice to get a jump start on the work week. While I have also sought such pearls of wisdom, and started countless weeks by sitting down on a Sunday evening putting my goals and objectives for the coming days on paper, I must say that spending time at a Jersey City diner, at an hour when sleep should be foremost on my mind, preparing to help bring attention to a client event that begins at 11:00 p.m., is a new one for me!

It’s also a reminder of the commitment and dedication of the law enforcement community, and the incredible role JCPDthey play in keeping us all safe. While most of us are tucked away safely in our beds, the men and women I will be visiting tonight spend their overnights patrolling the neighborhoods they protect, putting themselves in harm’s way, abiding by an oath they took to protect and serve countless citizens who too often have little appreciation for their efforts. These under appreciated efforts are replicated by their counterparts in law enforcement across the country, as well as other community heroes staffing firehouses, and keeping emergency rooms at the ready, prepared to respond to the direst of incidents. It is indeed an honor and a privilege to count so many of these men and women as friends and clients.

Sitting here at this hour, I marvel at the multi-cultural array of the individuals taking up the booths around me. I see a richness of diversity on the faces of my fellow diners, and overhear various conversations with a wonderful variety of accents. As many of us continue to be disturbed by efforts coming from the White House to make criminals of those who have come here to build better lives, and have, at the same time made our communities stronger, tonight’s experience is a glimpse into the reality that immigration has always been a cornerstone of the United States, and our willingness to welcome others from far away lands, offering them the opportunity to make their dreams a reality, is what has made America great.

BookerFinally, as I see the waitstaff switch over from one shift to the next, I think about the chapter I read earlier today in Senator Cory Booker’s “United” in which he shared the story of Natasha, a young waitress, and her story of struggle to provide for her family within the confines of a low-wage job. Despite the challenges she faced, her fierce determination to support her children, while at the same time showing a tremendous understanding of the role she played as a counselor to those she brought heaping plates of food to, has further inspired Senator Booker’s already impressive commitment to public service. “The High Cost of Cheap Labor” as he skillfully articulated in the aptly titled chapter, is not only an issue that he has taken on in Washington, but one we can all work to improve by heeding his urging for us all to love more, to recognize that we rise and fall together, and to understand that our successes as a nation, and our successes as individuals, are inextricably linked.

Tonight’s time at the VIP Diner has certainly prepared me for the new week.

Continue Reading

Community

communityAs I racked up the miles last week, switching between planes, trains and automobiles, flying across the Atlantic, driving the length of the Garden State Parkway, and riding the rails to Baltimore, I found “community” to be a recurring theme through many of the conversations and events that filled my schedule.

Still recovering from my attendance at the Cork Chamber of Commerce’s Awards Dinner, I spent much of the first two days of the week considering the tremendous accomplishments of the business “community” in the other place I call home. From large multinationals like Apple and Dell, to startups like OrthoXel and VConnecta both already charting great paths to success; the upcoming introduction of transatlantic flights and efforts to improve roads infrastructure; and the opening of Republic of Work, an innovative workspace designed to usher in the “future of work” through collaboration and cross pollination of ideas; there is no doubting that the best days are ahead for Ireland’s second largest city. The idea of “community” also extends to efforts through Connecting Cork to engage the Global Irish, those that have made lives all across the around the world, but still consider Cork to be their home.

Fresh off my regular flight from Shannon to Newark, and perhaps a bit blurry-eyed, I found myself at a diner discussing changes to the “community” my friends and clients of the Jersey City Police Benevolence Association (JCPOBA) have witnessed through the decades. Over tuna melts, omelets, and other delicacies only found in New Jersey diners, I was regaled with stories of a past where the block you called home was all that really mattered, for everything you needed was within a stone’s throw. In many ways the neighborhood you grew up in determined where you were going, and your worldview rarely extended much beyond the reach of your local church. Now, as leaders in the law enforcement “community”, they, like their colleagues on the job with them, move deftly from neighborhood to neighborhood, holding deep appreciation for the past they knew, with an unyielding commitment to make the future one of safety for all they have taken an oath to protect.

Traveling on to Atlantic City for the NJFMBA’s annual education conference, I was immediately enveloped in another tight knit “community”, again, one not defined by geographical boundaries, but by profession. Similar to their brothers in blue, firefighters face inherent risk on the job, heading towards dangerous situations every day that most are running from, likely on their worst days. The agenda, full of lessons on leadership, trainings mitigating the effects of long-term exposures to harmful toxins, and reminders of the supports that exist for to manage the stresses of the job, was another eye opening reminder that for so many, the flames they fight are only a small part of the hazards they face. As the discussions continued, whether from behind a podium or around a table enjoying a meal together, the reliance they place on their “community” for support was very apparent.

Finally, closing the week with a quick trip to Baltimore to attend the Democratic National Committee’s Future Forum, the calls from various candidates to build the Party from the “community” level were nearly deafening. With candidates for Chair coming from a variety of backgrounds, the eventual winner will be tasked with rebuilding a massive organization that at its core is tasked with championing values and electing candidates so diverse and, at times, divergent, that success, for all but the most skilled of diplomats, negotiators and leaders, can be fairly characterized as impossible! The Democratic Party indeed casts a wide net, and bringing “communities” together will be the key to success if the disastrous elections of 2016 are to be avenged.

A quick online search for the definition of “community” shows its meanings to be as wide-ranging as the experiences I had in the past days, and indeed navigating the various events, personalities, discussions and challenges I was confronted with made it another week in which I was thankful to have the opportunity to provide my services to such a diverse array of clients!

Continue Reading

Easy as ABC

rolexDespite its lackluster performance at the box office, Glengarry GlenRoss’ now legendary “always be closing” speech by Alec Baldwin introduced many to a sales philosophy rooted in the idea of getting the deal done, no matter the cost beyond that which can easily be measured in dollars and cents. Creating the opportunity to flaunt your nearly seven figure salary was as easy, Baldwin’s overly aggressive character surmised, as “ABC.”

As the years passed and opportunities to build connections through online platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook were born, a new paradigm emerged that can be summarized as “always be networking.”

With the new year now in full swing, and under the gun to make changes that will make 2017 an even better one than 2016, I am more determined than ever to forgo both of these, and stick instead with another tried and true strategy that is also as easy as “ABC”, “always be connecting.”

Throughout my career I have found that opportunities to make the most of relationships, from a professional standpoint, have only been as good as my ability to truly “connect” with colleagues, clients or contacts. Does this mean I’ve liked everyone I’ve ever worked with, or more importantly that they’ve like me? While I’m not inviting comments on this question I know that the answer to this is a resounding “no”!

So what does it mean to “connect”? At the most basic level, as a co-worker or supervisor, you don’t “connect” with someone by eating the obligatory piece of birthday cake or joining in the office Super Bowl pool out of necessity but instead out of desire. Likewise, as a service provider, vendor or consultant, you don’t “connect” with a client by helping their kids with their school assignments, sharing meals with them, or attending their family gatherings (all things I’ve done), because you feel that you have to, but rather because you truly want to.

In the seven years since starting Lenox Consulting I have truly enjoyed getting to know our clients, ranging from first responders to lawyers, startup founders to property developers, making for a diverse range of personalities that has ensured no day of reporting to work is dull! Once again 2016 proved that some of our most productive time is spent not writing press releases or pitching an event to reporters, doing social media updates or preparing talking points, but rather just spending it with clients, listening.

Connecting with someone doesn’t mean telling them what you think they want to hear, or what you want to tell them, but rather engaging in meaningful dialogue to develop the best possible response. As communications professionals, we take Stephen Covey’s lesson that “most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to respond” seriously, and use this as a framework for how we approach our client’s needs and conversations with them.

Recognizing that in this age of modern technology a client’s message can be deployed, misinterpreted, revised and redeployed almost simultaneously; Lenox Consulting continues to place great importance on personal interactions and relationships, deftly combining the principles and capabilities of social media with the ability to open doors for face-to-face contact.

Continue Reading

Making America Green Again

thWith fountains going green, the unmistakable sound of feet stomping on marble floors in traditional rhythm, and tables full of Emerald Isle sourced bread, cheese, seafood, and yes, whiskey, for a few hours each year the White House is transformed into the greatest celebration of Irish culture to be found anywhere the Global Irish have trod.

 

While the delivery of a bowl of shamrocks and the inherent goofiness of such a stereotypical event may seem to be lacking any true meaning, the value of the annual invitation by the White House to the Irish government is not one to be taken lightly.

IMG_7452Calls for Taoiseach Enda Kenny to break tradition and reject President Trump’s overture are wrong-headed. His acceptance in no way signals an adherence to, or support of, the misguided policies Trump espoused on the campaign trail, or, more alarmingly has already pursued in the early days of his Administration. Instead, it is the opportunity, unavailable to any other world leader, to articulate the values of his nation in the most followed arena of world politics year in and year out.

This past weekend’s enactment of a Muslim ban, and the continuing assault Trump’s White House is likely to inflict on immigrants all across the United States, is a matter of great policy importance to the Irish government. Instead of speaking about the issue from 3,000 miles away, Taoiseach Kenny will have an opportunity to lend his voice to the estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish that call the United States home. Given the chance, he certainly owes it to them to make a face-to-face appeal to President Trump for fairness in dealing with the reality that most have settled here for decades, been contributing members to our communities, and made homes for themselves and their families within our borders.

President Trump’s strong calls for tax reform, and the dubious arguments some have made regarding Ireland’s role as a tax haven must also be confronted head on. The reality is that the economic relationship that exists between the United States and Ireland is a great two way street. According to the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, while 150,000 people are employed by US firms in Ireland, Irish companies employ 120,000 workers in 2600 locations, in all 50 states across the US. In the wake of the recent Apple court ruling and in anticipation of the impact of Brexit, making a strong case for Ireland as a strategic location for US companies to continue growing globally is critical.

Ireland and the US have long enjoyed a special relationship, and this annual date on the calendar is part of that. As efforts continue to engage the 40 million strong members of the Global Irish community across the United States, and while Ireland’s success at harnessing goodwill from its Diaspora globally plays hugely into the small island’s ability to punch above its weight both from a business perspective and culturally, Taoiseach Kenny’s ability to connect face-to-face with President Trump has the ability to make a huge impact on the Administration’s global outlook.

Continue Reading