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May 19th, 2016

The Chicago Tech Industry Came Together for Chicago State of Innovation

chicago state of innovation

Yesterday I had the chance to attend Chicago State of Innovation, an afternoon of panels and presentations talking about the state of the Chicago tech industry with a focus on founders, venture capitalists and more behind-the-scenes players. The sessions were informative and illuminating and left me with a few takeaways about the industry:

People Are Doing It Themselves: There’s a strong trend of people who feel a need, don’t see a solution that’s currently available and decide to just take matters into their own hands. That was exemplified by Michael Slaby, founder of Timshel, a company devoted to social-impact efforts. Throughout the day, though, one speaker after another kept talking about how the opportunities they wanted to take simply weren’t available to them. Or that the kinds of things they wanted to do weren’t offered by anyone else and so went and created it themselves.

Chicago Is a Power Player: It’s hard to ignore the elephants in the room that are San Francisco/Bay Area and New York. But Chicago is a tech industry force to be reckoned with. Not only does it have an active community of founders and funders for just about anything you might be wanting to do but it has the talent to support those ideas. Yes, Chicago might be losing population, but that doesn’t mean smart, creative people aren’t still here. In fact one speaker said that Chicago loses to the coasts 3-4 people after the age of 20 for every one it gains but then the reverse is true after age 27 as people return to Chicago.

Diversity Is a Priority: There was a lot of talk about diversifying not only the workforce but also the pipeline of founders and funders. That’s of huge importance not just to the current marketplace but also to the future as a more diverse set of companies now brings in a more diverse pool of talent who are mentored to become the next generation of founders and so on down the line. One venture capitalist said nine out of 10 founders in her portfolio were women, which is a fantastic statistic opening up all sorts of potential and just one example of what people were talking about.

Commitment to Creativity: The day actually opened with Kickstarter cofounder Charles Adler – an example of the “left Chicago then came back to make an impact here” trend – talking about the importance of creativity. His points included mentions of how the workplace has a tendency to industrialize not only productivity but also people and how important it is to break out of that. To counter that he’s launching Lost Arts, a space in the West Loop dedicated to bringing together a diverse group of people to come in, discover or refine a creative skill and then work with others to make it even better. That focus on getting people out and bringing them together has a lot of potential to not only surface big ideas but also provides an important outlet for those whose day jobs may not be conducive to their creative skills.

Many of these themes were repeated in the lobby conversations I had with folks during the breaks. These people were committed to making things happen in Chicago and making them happen now. The energy from the attendees as they milled around, asked questions and got to know each other. It showed me that far from being an also-ran compared to the coasts, Chicago has a thriving, active and powerful tech community all its own that can run neck-and-neck with other markets.

Have questions about how Voce can help you break out from the crowd? We have a growing Chicago office that’s ready to help you out. Give us a call or drop us a line.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Technology

May 18th, 2016

Voce Voices: A Balancing Act

Much in life is like a balancing act, it’ll take plenty of practice to get it just right, most specifically the balance between work and personal time. When people start a new job, straight out of college, the work environment can seem overwhelming so those new employees make more of an effort to deliver quality work and sometimes let their personal lives slide. It’s only when you’ve been working on that balance for a while do you start to get the hang of it, as Client Executive Ariel Rothbard will show us this week in Voce Voices!

Filed in Voce People, Voce Voices

May 17th, 2016

What I Wished I Knew After College: Voce Nation Part 1

May is graduation season. As Chris Thilk so eloquently described it last week, that means another flock of graduates who “wrestled away from the safety and comfort of college life and expelled into the vast nothingness that’s known colloquially as ‘the real world’”.

We can all remember those days, when the bright-eyed enthusiasm about what the future may hold found a way to mix with the realities of questionable job prospects and looming bills to yield that weird feeling of, “well, I guess I’m an adult now.”

We can all probably also think about any number of nuggets of wisdom that that we wished we knew at that time of uncertainty, confusion and excitement. In fact, that’s exactly what we asked a group of Vocians. Here’s what they had to say:

Clint Gordy, Associate Client Executive

clint gordy

I wish I knew the importance of a good night’s sleep. In college, we are taught that all-nighters for studying and inconsistent sleep cycles are the norm. However, we are not taught that our bodies needs about 7-8 hours of sleep to function efficiently the next day. When I came into the workforce, I thought a 5 hour sleep cycle  would be enough to consistently get me through an 8 hour workday, and lets just say I learned very quickly that’s not sustainable. Remember: we spend an average of about a third of our lives sleeping, so it’s important to treat that time right so the other two thirds of our lives are to the fullest!

Elysia Nazareth, Supervisor

elysia nazareth

“What I wish I knew most after (and really during and before) college is that you can’t please everyone – and that’s OK. As hard as you might try, not everyone’s going to like you. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s true not only in social settings, but also in academic and professional arenas. Having spent countless hours wracking my brain, wondering ‘why?’ and dwelling on the basic principles of right, wrong and what’s ‘fair,’ I can honestly say that investing that time back into doing work that you’re proud of is much more gratifying. Shortly after I had that realization, I opened up a fortune cookie to find the quote below. Now, a solid 80 percent of the time, fortune cookies offer pretty terrible advice like, ‘A change of careers could be good for you.’ But this is one piece of advice I took to heart.”

Andie Rodriguez, Senior Client Executive

andie rodriguez

While I only graduated from college three years ago, I still feel like I wish I new a lot of things before joining the workforce. One of the hardest parts about starting a job immediately after graduating is that for a while, you will be youngest person in the office. I wish I knew that despite the fact I was barely the legal drinking age, I was empowered to own projects, communicate directly with my clients, and provide important counsel. It turned out, in the “real world,” age is just a number! Don’t ever feel like you’re too young to accomplish something.

Molly Wade, Supervisor

molly wade 0216

I wish I had known that I could be grateful for the opportunities I was getting at work while also taking ownership of my career path. Fresh out of school, I was thrilled that anyone would give me a job, not to mention a job where I had opportunities to own projects completely independently. I wanted to be appropriately grateful for the trust my boss put in me so early in my career. But being a young person in business, not to mention a young woman in business, I was terrified to speak up for myself. I waited way too long to ask for a promotion and to talk openly about what I did and did not want to do moving forward. I wish I had known you can do both – appreciate the chances you’re given while also taking the reigns of your career from Day One.

About the Author
Andy is responsible for developing and implementing social media and digital publishing programs for Voce clients.

Filed in Voce People

May 13th, 2016

Voce Client Coverage: 5/13/16

Every week the Voce team works tirelessly to secure important coverage for clients. Below is just an example of the results of this week’s work and you can see more on Flipboard.


eWeek, Mobility in the Enterprise: Past, Present and Future

To highlight the rapidly progressing workforce mobility market, eWEEK interviewed Rajiv Taori, vice president of product management for the mobile platforms group at Citrix, to gain insight on the evolution of enterprise mobility. This slideshow looks at where it all began, where we are now and where we’re heading.

coupa softwareCoupa Software

NBC Bay Area, Tech Layoffs Doubled in First Four Months of Year

NBC Bay Area included Coupa Software CEO Rob Bernshteyn’s comments in a segment on job layoffs in the tech sector. The story highlighted Coupa Software as a tech company that helps other companies save money during the downturn.

Armor, BlueCat, Citrix, E8, Palo Alto Networks, WhiteHat Security

CSO Online, Where to cut corners when the security budget gets tight

Security experts share tips for how organizations can stay secure when security budgets are low.

micro focusMicro Focus

InfoWorld, 4 big plans to fix internet security

Geoff Webb explains what’s needed to fix internet security.

whitehat security twitterWhiteHat Security

TechBeacon, Why you need to rethink app sec in the age of BYOD

Craig Hinkley’s contributed article on the need for application security appears in TechBeacon.

Armor, Citrix, Palo Alto Networks, WhiteHat Security

Dark Reading, Happy Blame Someone Else Day

Security experts explain barriers to achieving accountability in security.

Want to find out more about Voce and what it can do for you? Visit our Services page, then meet the Staff that makes all this magic happen. Finally, contact us today to learn more about Voce’s capabilities and operations.

Filed in Voce Clients

May 12th, 2016

Insights from Sprout Social Webinar

A couple weeks ago I had the chance to take part in a webinar hosted by Sprout Social. Below are the best insights I collected from the event.

About the Author
Randy Ksar is VP of Digital at Voce Communications. You can follow him at @djksar on Twitter.

Filed in Social Networks, Voce People

May 9th, 2016

What I Wished I Knew After College: Chris Thilk

It’s that time of year again, when a fresh group of young adults will be wrestled from the safety and comfort of college life and expelled out into the vast nothingness that’s known colloquially as “the real world.” It’s scary for anyone and recent research shows that for the group of young people known as Millennials it’s even worse, as they’re rightfully pessimistic about their job prospects.

One of the most common experiences post-college is finding out that all those classes and courses didn’t completely prepare you for what a job was going to entail. That’s been something we’ve talked to Vocians about in our ongoing Voce Voices series and it’s what we’re going to cover here over the course of May as we talk to people within and without of Voce about what it was they wish they’d known before they were shuffled off campus and into the workforce.

So what was my story? I’m glad you asked.


The front page of the internet in 1997.

My usual line when someone asks about my college experience I respond with something along the lines of “Nothing I do now existed when I was in school.” That’s true to a certain extent. I finished college in 1998, before blogs were a thing, much less social networks like Twitter and Facebook. When I wanted to watch the first teaser for Star Wars: Episode I it was via dial-up and played as an embedded Quicktime file that I’m still waiting to finish loading. Web publishing, unless you were Dave Weiner, was still the sole purview of major media companies and the first online retailers.

But the principles of communication were the same: Say what you need to say in as efficient and compelling manner as you possibly can. Everything I’ve done since then in terms of content strategy, online marketing and social media has been built on that. So while I wish I’d known what the future of the internet was going to hold and been able to anticipate the needs of content creation and distribution, I’ve been able to pull on the basics of what I learned to inform how I approach all that.

That’s my perspective. Watch out for more from around the Voce Nation as May goes on and leave a comment below with your thoughts.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Voce People

May 6th, 2016

Voce Client Coverage: 5/6/16

Every week the Voce team works tirelessly to secure important coverage for clients. Below is just an example of the results of this week’s work and you can see more on Flipboard.

workday logoWorkday

Fortune, What To Do When You Don’t Have a Career Plan

Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Insider community featured a contributed article from Leighanne Levensaler where she answers the question, “how important is it to know where you want to be in five years?”

ZDNet, #CXOTALK: Workday CEO explains his top priorities

Michael Krigsman writes about why Aneel and Dave Duffield started the company, how Workday prioritizes customer feedback and the CIO role in today’s changing environment.

sandisk logoSanDisk

AnandTech, The SanDisk X400 1TB SSD Review

Billy Tallis reviews the SanDisk X400 SSD – providing in-depth details on the high quality and speedy performance of the drive.


Yahoo! Tech, The 11 Best Tech Gifts for Mother’s Day 2016

Tile is featured in a roundup of gifts for Mother’s Day, an important sales day for the brand.

whitehat security twitterWhiteHat Security

CSO Online, Retailers must upgrade authentication, encryption and pen testing

Ryan O’Leary, VP at WhiteHat Security explains new security requirements in the payment industry.


CNN Money, These skills will get you a job

LinkedIn Economic Graph skills data is used as a reference in this story about desirable skill sets in the US economy.

micro focusMicro Focus

CIO.com, 10 tips to help CIOs reduce stress

Geoff Webb, VP at Micro Focus shares tips to help CIOs manage stress.


TechCrunch, Jaguar partners with Tile to make sure drivers never leave without their wallets

Tile’s new partnership with Jaguar Land Rover is featured, including an interview with CEO and co-founder Mike Farley.

Palo Alto Networks / BLUECAT (among others)

CIO, 10 tips to help CIOs reduce stress

Palo Alto Networks

SC Magazine, Researchers ID ‘Infy,’ Iranian malware family under the radar for a decade

Want to find out more about Voce and what it can do for you? Visit our Services page, then meet the Staff that makes all this magic happen. Finally, contact us today to learn more about Voce’s capabilities and operations.

Filed in Voce Clients

May 3rd, 2016

Voce Voices: Public Relations Haberdashery

There are quite a few parts to play in public relations, each with their own headwear. At Voce we wear all of them, often switching multiple times a day, like mid-act costume changes.

Brittany Dixon, Senior Client Executive, shares her thoughts on what she wish she knew when starting out, and gives us a look at a week in her roles on the NetApp and HGST teams in this week’s Voce Voices.

Filed in Voce People, Voce Voices

May 2nd, 2016

How Do Vocians Keep up with their News? Part 2

Last week, we published the first in a two-part series highlighting tips, tricks, hacks and best practices from across Voce for keeping up with our news. Today, it’s time for Part 2.

After all, we’re in the business of communications, meaning it’s imperative for every single one of us to keep our fingers on the pulse of what’s happening. That means what’s happening in our industry, what’s changing in our client’s worlds, what key journalists are interested in and what broader business trends are coming that we can get our clients in front of.

But just how to do that is something we’ve each answered in our own way. Which makes it that much more interesting to get a sneak peek into how various Vocians have approached that question.

Below is the second batch of responses and tricks from folks across Voce, illustrating just how they’ve each gone about the task of keeping up with the news.

Stephanie Cohen, Senior Client Executive

Most of the time I keep up on news using Twitter. I like that it’s real time and constantly moving. I follow relevant technology and business news outlets and scan my feed once or twice a day (usually on my commute or lunch break). I also pay attention to the daily news digest that the Voce Security Practice puts together and sends around twice a day in order to stay up to date on security-specific news that may be relevant to my clients.

voce news twitter

Clint Gordy, Associate Client Executive

I do a morning report for a client each day, so I subscribe to dozens of newsletters. Fast Company, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal – you name it, and it’s routed to a specific folder on my email. Not only does this allow me see all breaking news in a cohesive location, but also helps identify emerging trends within the technology sector that I can present to clients.

voce news email

Randy Ksar, Vice President

I have four key ways I keep up with my news: (1) Flipboard – I follow tons of tech influencers and have connected all of my social feeds. This is usually my first app I open unless I’m binge watching some superhero or comedy flick on Netflix. (2) Anchor.fm: New app I started using about 2 months ago. AP is publishing there as well as tech influencers. Surprisingly my regular news (US and Global) on Anchor comes from the USC Journalism school. (3) Blab.im: I tune into to a few video podcasts: Social Chef, Social Media Examiner and Marketing Live. All have awesome digital and social media news that matters to me and my clients. (4) Product Hunt: For the latest products that companies are using and for interesting podcasts that I would never have found on iTunes, ProductHunt is the one stop shop. They have a great mobile app and even better Live AMA’s with leading technology editors and entrepreneurs.

voce news anchor

Ariel Rothbard, Client Executive

I’ve found that Twitter is a great source of real-time news — I follow several of the top business and tech outlets, as well as key journalists and influencers who are almost constantly sharing updates. I also stay up to date on new happenings by subscribing to daily e-newsletters such as Fortune’s Data Sheet and TechCrunch’s Top Stories of the Day. I’ll usually skim these for the top headlines and then click the links to read full articles for those that are most relevant to my client work.

voce news twitter 2

About the Author
Andy is responsible for developing and implementing social media and digital publishing programs for Voce clients.

Filed in Media, Voce People

April 29th, 2016

Influencer Marketing at WOMMA’s TALK Influencer Event

I had a chance to attend the TALK Influence event held by WOMMA at Google Chicago this morning. Here’s a Storify collection of the big takeaways from the speaker presentations and panels.

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 2.12.07 PM

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Voce People

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