Not-so-lazy summer days

July isn’t over, but it’s already been a wonderful month. As if Independence Day and long, warm evenings weren’t enough, I’ve been busy with some awesome stuff.

I just got back from a wonderful weekend in Seattle. I was there to present at CU Conferences on social media crisis management for credit unions. It was my first conference presentation that didn’t have to do with being Muslim or being  a woman, and I enjoyed every minute of it. It was wonderful to meet credit union board members from all around the country and talk about how social media can help their credit union marketing and customer service. Thanks to everyone who grabbed some snapshots of my presentation!

 

Another exciting first for me is living out my fantasies of fashion blogging for Money Side of Life. I wrote about how to build a professional wardrobe without losing your entire paycheck, and had so much fun trotting out my Le Tigre and Blue Steel looks. Below is one of the looks; head over to Money Side of Life to see more looks and discuss my frugal wardrobe tips.

How to look professional without spending a lot of money

Photo by Jens Odegaard for Money Side of Life.

 

These two firsts were exciting because I’m turning 31 this month. I absolutely loved turning 30; it’s been a great year. I’m excited to see what firsts 31 will bring (hoping they’ll all be good ones).

Weighing in on the workplace for millennials

Happy July, friendlies! I wanted to share an article with you that I contributed to. 

I talked with Myriam DiGiovanni of the Credit Union Times about workplaces and millennial employees:

“A big misconception for most companies is that you’ve got young people at the bottom of the totem pole and older people at the top,” Fakhraie said. “That doesn’t mirror the reality at brass: Everyone’s making decisions at all levels and leadership positions aren’t just for boomers.”

Check out the entire article, which also profiles a marketing agency and a credit union, at the Credit Union Times website! 

Amplifyd helps lobby for the little guy [UPDATED]

I just learned about a start-up that brings lobbying to the masses. It’s called Amplifyd, and it allows you to purchase a phone call in support of an issue you care about. For $5, someone will call your elected official and lobby on your behalf. The founders put it this way:

“As more and more corporations are spending millions of dollars lobbying our elected officials, Amplifyd is providing the first technology-driven solution that gives people the power to voice their political opinions and have more influence over government, without having to march, protest, cold call or quit their day job.”

This really got my attention. Most of us want to make a difference, but we don’t know how to go about it other than a Facebook like (which doesn’t do squat). What I like about Amplifyd is that I can purchase an actual phone call for a cause I care about. In addition to that, 60% of that $5 goes to the non-profit that made the phone call on my behalf, supporting those actively working on what’s important to me. Plus, I don’t ever have to make the call myself, which really appeals to the lazy part of me that would rather watch Netflix or scroll through Instagram.

I’ll be honest: my activism has slid into slacktivism after I left MMW. So I decided to give Amplifyd a try. I purchased two calls (one for net neutrality and one for expanded background checks for all gun sales). Amplifyd explains what happens after I buy a phone call:

  • Someone will call and lobby your representative on your behalf
  • The majority of your money is given to the charity that made the phone call on your behalf
  • After the call is made, you’ll receive a recording of the conversation

You can make phone calls for a campaign, too. Every campaign lists available positions, which could get you some extra cash on the side.

So far, the most annoying thing is that I had to reenter my credit card number for two different campaigns. But It’s pretty cool that $5 will go toward a cause I care about and get me a recording of the phone call made for that cause. Currently, my calls are listed as “In progress,” so I’ll update the post when I receive the recordings.

I think we’ll see a lot more of Amplifyd; I can already think about a few causes that I’d like to buy calls for. Have you tried it? What do you think?

UPDATE (July 2, 2014): I received an email saying that a call had been made for one of my campaign. It included a link to listen to the phone call itself, which redirected me to the Amplifyd login page. Once I logged in, I could hear the recorded call, see when it was made, and leave feedback. I received another email on July 3 for the other call.

Other than the callers fumbling around with pronunciation of my name (something I can’t totally blame them for), I have two major thoughts. First, you only have a week to review the call after it’s made. While I understand that feedback should be given immediately, I hope this doesn’t mean that the link will expire and the phone call won’t be able to be replayed.

The second thought is how much of your information you’re giving to these callers. While I know that I ordered the call to a local representative, there was something a little creepy hearing a stranger leave my name, city, and email address on the rep’s answering machine. This is the same information that I’d give out myself if I were to call, but now someone else is doing it. I don’t want to assume the worst of Amplifyd callers (because I’m sure they’re just trying to make some money like the rest of us), but that is something to be aware of if you’re concerned with your privacy.

 

I’m in the May/June issue of ISNA’s magazine

Muslim Women Changing the Narrative

Islamic Horizons is the official magazine of the Islamic Society of North America, and it’s full of stories by and for American Muslims.

Sabina Khan-Ibarra, the creator of Muslimah Montage, interviewed me, along with author Jennifer Zobair and Zahra Billoo, the Executive Director for the CAIR San Francisco Bay Area, for the newest issue. The article is all about ways that we’ve created avenues for ourselves to discuss issues important to Muslim women.

It’s a pretty great article, so check it out if you have time (the article starts on page 36)!

Have you updated your Twitter profile?

Have you updated your Twitter profile?

I updated my Twitter profile a few weeks ago. Have you done the same?

I know everyone’s grumbling about it looking like Facebook, but I kind of like it. I especially liked the pinned tweets feature, which is really handy for keeping something important at the top of your mind (or profile).

In case you’re wondering, the profile dimensions are 1500×500 pixels. If you already have a profile picture, Twitter will automatically resize it to fit within these dimensions. Whether it still looks good is another story.

It’s almost April already?!

March has really flown by quickly, friends. It’s been an incredibly busy and wonderful month, though!

Things have been buzzing at brass Media. We’ve worked hard this month to put out important information about content marketing for financial services. I co-wrote a white paper on the basics, and put out blogs about valuable content and consistent brand presence.

This month also saw my debut as a voice-over artist! Not a serious career path consideration, but I did a voice-over for brass Media’s newest video about brand monitoring online. Check it out!

Another exciting opportunity came to represent brass Media in judging the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council’s 2014 Diamond Awards, given out to credit unions for outstanding marketing. And CUNA was lovely enough to give out awards to those of us who judged, which was a really nice treat.

Finally, March brings Norooz, the new year! It’s 1393 according to the Persian calendar, and this year I decided to try my hand at Persian cooking! I made zereshk polow, a delicious chicken and rice dish with barberries. I also tried a canned ghormeh sabzi, which turned out better than I expected it to. And, of course, the best part: tahdig!

I hope this new year (or new season) brings you all a wonderful, happy new beginning!

A new year and a new look

There’s something about getting back to work after time off in November and December that makes January a really long slog. It doesn’t help that the month is usually five weeks long, either.

But I’ve been keeping plenty busy. We’re preparing for a busy year ahead at brass Media, and I’ve been writing up a storm. I helped my coworker Kayla with a piece for CU Insight about how to vet a new social media platform and wrote a piece for Credit Union Times on which social media platforms younger demographics are migrating to and how to market to them there:

You’re going to need to rethink your social strategy when it comes to teens or young adults. The truth is, they’re not going to be as engaged on Facebook as their parents or older peers. If you want to reach them, you’ll need to go where they are.

We’re also gearing up for more webinars at brass. Kayla and I will be hosting one in February on how to monitor your brand online, with helpful tips on RSS feeds, Twitter searches, and Google Alerts.

I’ve been as busy on Instagram as ever, writing a piece about what not to do on Instagram. I also kicked off the month with a theme week, highlighting religious buildings I’ve had the privilege to visit during my travels. I’m planning to continue my theme weeks in 2014, so be sure to follow me on IG if you haven’t already!

You’ll also notice that I’ve revamped my website. I decided to greet the new year with a new (digital) look, and so I’ve chosen a different theme that still captures my love of minimalism. You’ll also notice my colorful new social media icons! They’re from the very talented Mohammed al Yousfi, and I downloaded them here. With a little help from WordPress, I set them up myself.

What do you think?