OA Welcomes Fall Interns

 

The popular internship program at O’Neill and Associates helps students gain first-hand experience in working on federal and state governmental issues as well as in all facets of modern public relations. September brings a new class of interns. This fall, we are proud to welcome undergraduate and graduate students from Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Suffolk University and Tufts University.

Throughout the semester, these students work closely with specially paired mentors to learn more about the work done for clients in public relations, government relations, community relations, federal relations and marketing. Over the course of the semester interns become immersed in public affairs issues and build relationships that will help guide them as they embark on their future careers.

O’Neill and Associates Interns Volunteer at the Greater Boston Food Bank

On July 13th, our OA interns traveled to the Greater Boston Food Bank to spend the afternoon sorting food to be distributed across the region. Working in conjunction with other volunteers, the group helped sort 8,500 pounds of food, which will assist approximately 7,000 individuals.

One in ten members of our community is at risk of hunger. Hunger is experienced not only by those in poverty, but also by our working and middle class neighbors–in Eastern Massachusetts, 47% of those at risk do not qualify for government food assistance in the state (SNAP).

Since 1974, the Greater Boston Food Bank has been supporting individuals and families by supplying food pantries, soup kitchens, meal programs, senior centers and more with healthy food. Their work could not be done without the help of volunteers on a daily basis, who assist with many facets of the organization.

Our interns started their day with an orientation session led by a GBFB staff member, where they learned about the daily operations of the Boston warehouse, and the people the food bank serves.

After receiving a lesson on how to carefully inspect the quality of food donations, the team got to work sorting through hundreds of non-perishable goods and toiletries. The GBFB places great importance on the condition of donated goods, and the interns were eager to help with the tedious task of checking containers for openings and monitoring expiration dates.

Working together we assembled boxes of food and toiletries that were then sealed and ready for distribution. The food and toiletries will help stock 500 food pantries, soup kitchen, schools, and shelters in Eastern Massachusetts.

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CEO’s Corner: May 2017

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On May 24, the top students of the senior class at Cristo Rey Boston High School revealed their college choices in an annual public celebration of their accomplisments. Cristo Rey is a Catholic high school in Boston exclusively dedicated to educating under-resourced students. I’ve been Board Chair for more than 20 years and my association with the school and its students runs deep. Before the school joined the Cristo Rey Network of Catholic schools in 2004, it was known as North Cambridge Catholic High School, my alma mater. Through an approach combining rigorous academics with a work-study requirement, Cristo Rey successfully prepares students for college and careers. For the last seven years, all of Cristo Rey Boston’s graduates have been accepted to four-year colleges. There is nothing like witnessing the moment when these students first announce their college choice to their school community. It’s their American dream coming to life.

It’s a similar scene every May on many campuses across the country as commencement speakers praise students’ accomplishments and encourage them to find success in the world. Yet the world they enter today is very uncertain. College-bound graduates, like those at Cristo Rey, must navigate a future where President Trump seeks to reduce and even abolish many programs designed to help afford a college education.

The president’s proposed budget would eliminate federally subsidized loans and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, initiatives that are often the difference between low-income students attending college or not. The President’s budget proposes to  end the public-service loan forgiveness program which was created to support students interested in contributing to society by pursuing careers as teachers, nonprofit professionals or social workers by forgiving debt on loans after 10 years in good standing. The president’s budget would cut by 50 percent federal education spending on work-study programs, end the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, reduce spending to the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and slash funding of innovative international academic programs like the Fulbright Scholar program by nearly 50 percent.

Proposals that target those who need government support the most are throughout the budget. Medicaid is cut by $800 billion, and there are major reductions to federal disability insurance. Anti-poverty and nutrition programs are targeted – like food stamps, which was needed by about 15 percent of the US population during the recession that began in 2008. As a final insult to working people, the Trump budget seeks to lower taxes for the wealthy, promising that their economic benefits will eventually extend to other income strata.

Fortunately, our government is based on a system of checks and balances. Each and every one of the president’s budget proposals will be scrutinized by Congress, as Senators and Representatives hear directly from constituents about the real human impact of these programs. Already, some members of the Republican majority have expressed hesitation over these proposals, and the disorganized approach to goverenance at the White House continues to create more reservation. But these proposals’ effects are already evident in state houses nationwide as legislatures struggle to budget for the fiscal implications and uncertainties coming from Washington.

When I look at the faces of Cristo Rey Boston’s graduating seniors, I see optimism for the future and a passion for excellence. They’ve worked hard for this moment, overcoming many obstacles most of us never will experience. They have succeeded, in part, because everyone on the staff and faculty is fully vested in their success.

Being vested in one another as a nation is what we now need more than ever from Washington.

 

Total Wine & More Opened Its Fourth Massachusetts Store in Danvers

Total Wine & More opened its fourth Massachusetts store in Danvers on Wednesday, April 26th. The evening preview party gave guests and members of the community the opportunity to meet the store team while enjoying beer and wine tastings along with hors d’oeuvres and live music. Total Wine & More prides itself on being a member of each store community. With each store opening, TWM partners with a local charitable organization and donates 10% of its opening weekend wine sales to the organization. In Danvers, TWM has partnered with Northeast ARC. The preview party is not only a welcome to guests but a “thank you” to the community. State Representative Ted Speliotis, Robert Bradford, President of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce, JoAnn Simon of Northeast ARC and Total Wine & More co-founder Robert Trone together with representatives of the regional and local TWM team were all in attendance.

O’Neill and Associates’ Clients on the Move at the 2017 Boston Marathon

Marissa finish lineO’Neill and Associates is proud to recognize its clients and teams that ran the 2017 Boston Marathon: the Arredondo Family Foundation, HomeStart, National Braille Press, Project Hope, and St. Francis House.

HomeStart had a team of two, including our client Jennifer Sciamanna of RCN, and raised more than $20,000. Project Hope’s team of ten runners raised over $100,000; St. Francis House’s five runners raised over $63,000; and the Arredondo Family Foundation’s seven runners raised over $37,000.

National Braille Press raised over $20,000 with a team of two, including our own account executive Marissa Sullivan (shown in photo).

OA: Are there special reasons for your interest in supporting National Braille Press through the Boston Marathon?

MS: I have been working with National Braille Press for almost two years and am amazed by everything they do to promote the importance of braille literacy. Organizations like National Braille Press enabled my great grandmother, who lived more than 40 years of her life blind, to be on her own and navigate through each day. It is an honor to fundraise and run for National Braille Press.

OA: What was it like crossing the finish line?

MS: It’s hard to put into words that feeling when you turn left onto Boylston Street and finally have the finish line in sight. I remember thousands of onlookers screaming my name as I got closer to the finish line.  The best moment was probably that moment when I was just steps away from the finish line and I saw and heard my family screaming my name and vigorously waving their hands. I gave them a big wave and finished the last steps of those grueling 26.2 miles.

OA: You were able to raise over $10,000; how do you hope those funds help National Braille Press?

MS: I hope the funds I raised continue to help National Braille Press support a lifetime of opportunity for blind children and adults through braille, and provide access to information that empowers them to actively engage in work, family and community their surrounding community.

 

Business LifeCycle Video Series on MurphyKing.com

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So, you want to be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg? Chances are one in a million (or more) that you will be successful and create that new business model that will change the world.  According to the latest U.S. Census data, 452,835 businesses were born in 2014, well below the 500,000+ that were born every year from the late 1970’s to mid 2000s. The good news, according to the Labor Department’s 2015 numbers, is that startup (defined as being in business 1 year or less) births (240,000) are significantly outpacing deaths (206,000).

For all those thinking of establishing a new business, there are some fundamentals that you need to know.  Attorneys at the Boston-based boutique law firm of Murphy & King decided to share their knowledge of building a business, from startup to sell off, through a series of new videos they produced, available on their website www.murphyking.com. Additionally, Murphy & King attorneys will be featured on video segments and podcasts moderated by Radioentrepreneurs.com providing more in-depth information on specific business issues. Business LifeCycle video episodes debut every other Tuesday, www.Radioentrepreneurs.com segments run every other Thursday.

The “Business LifeCycle” series reviews various issues businesses face including starting a business, dealing with complex challenges while running a business, and selling or closing a business. The series highlights the firm’s attorneys’ expertise in assisting their clients in “unraveling complexity” for seemingly impossible and complicated cases in a straightforward manner.

Harold B. Murphy, co-founder, shareholder and attorney at Murphy & King said that the Business LifeCycle video series provides practical information for anyone interested in starting a business, growing a business, or exiting a business. “Our attorneys are the best in the business at unraveling complex situations and creating opportunities for our clients to be successful. We felt it was important to share our expertise,” said Murphy.

Murphy & King continues to be at the technological forefront of mid-sized law firms with its new “Business LifeCycle” series, following the launch of the first video series in September 2016.

Murphy & King’s Executive Director Bob Perry said it was imperative to the firm to continue to provide fresh video content and new information that will be of interest to the legal and business communities, and others interested in what it takes to start a business.

 “The response to the videos has been very positive as viewers get to know our attorneys and their expertise on a more personal level. We have a very high standard of delivering the best service to our clients and that standard also extends to the content we produce on our website and share on our social media,” said Perry.

Murphy & King worked with media consultant Greg Stone to produce the videos.  Greg said that professional services firms are increasingly looking for innovative ways to connect to their audiences, and video is one method that works.

“Pictures take words into a new direction, and moving pictures augment the impact farther.  A well-produced video can showcase your brains, charm, charisma or experience,” said Stone.

Radioentrepreneurs.com is another online platform that delivers high quality content targeted to the business community.  Jonathan Freedman, host of the Murphy & King business-related podcasts, says that attorneys have a great opportunity to get their message out there through the podcasts and video segments that are produced by Radioentrepreneurs.com

“Radio Entrepreneurs provides a platform for business people and business advisors to share their experience, knowledge and tell their stories with a worldwide business audience.  The attorneys at Murphy & King have utilized the Radio Entrepreneurs network to showcase how they distill and solve complex business issues on behalf of their clients.  In a short segment, the attorneys at Murphy & King have been able to differentiate their offerings and broaden exposure for their unique capabilities.  Radio Entrepreneurs distributes content across numerous social media platforms, gaining extensive exposure for guests,” said Freedman.

Law firms, just like other businesses, know that they need to have a professional presence online.  Murphy & King has taken that to another level by producing high quality content and videos with practical information that people can use in their latest video series “Business LifeCycle.” Look for more innovative marketing initiatives from Murphy & King in the future.

Welcome Shakeir Gregory

gregory-shakeir-2O’Neill and Associates welcomes Shakeir Gregory as Senior Account Executive in our public relations and communications practice. Shakeir will lead digital advocacy and social media strategies for our clients. In addition, he will provide multi-channel online community management services and will be responsible for shaping the technical and strategic components of digital marketing campaigns. Shakeir will work closely with client teams to develop and implement comprehensive social media campaigns to raise profiles, build awareness on issues, and activate target audiences and further clients’ public relations and advocacy goals.

Most recently, Shakeir was the digital director for Great School Massachusetts where he planned, developed, and executed an all-inclusive social media engagement strategy. Shakeir developed crucial skills as the principal content developer and communicator across all of the organization’s online platforms which we believe will add tremendous value for servicing our clients in the always-on digital era.

Shakeir holds a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in communications from Northeastern University where he was president of the Northeastern University College Democrats. To learn more about Shakeir visit Our Team page.

Welcome Chris Tracy!

img_6120This month O’Neill and Associates welcomes Chris Tracy to our community relations practice. As Senior Director, Chris will provide real estate development clients with valuable counsel on a variety of issues including community outreach, municipal relations, permitting, zoning, regulatory advocacy, and licensing. He has extensive experience working with communities and developers in the City of Boston and surrounding cities and towns. Chris knows how to identify key community stakeholders while also helping clients streamline the at-times arduous approval process by cutting through red tape and bureaucracy

Chris previously served as a senior project manager for the Boston Planning and Development Authority (BPDA), formerly known as the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), where he managed internal and external vetting processes for large-scale real estate commercial and residential development project throughout the City of Boston. His experience working across multi-agency issues concerning proposed developments and his collaboration with agencies to alleviate project concerns position him as an expert for our community relations and government affairs practice.

Chris earned his master’s in public administration from Northeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts in history from Boston College. To learn more about Chris visit Our Team page.