Congratulations Molly Center

MollyCongratulations to EYPN’s Molly Center for winning the Marguerite Henry Award for Communication/Technology at the 33rd Annual YWCA Elgin Leader Luncheon on Thursday, May 12. Molly is the third EYPN member to win the award (Krisilee Murphy, 2012 and Kari Christensen, 2015).

Here is the complete nomination narrative for Molly submitted by EYPN:

In 70 words or less provide important accomplishments that support your nominee being chosen as the 2016 award recipient in their category.

As Multimedia Specialist for the City of Elgin, Molly Center manages and has significantly developed the reach of the city’s extensive social media communications presence, which encompasses 50 different social accounts across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and LinkedIn. She also manages content for the city’s website (www.cityofelgin.org) and leads the creation of the city’s visual marketing, branding and messaging graphics for city events, initiatives and communications.

List the significant achievements of the nominee in the named category.

As the manager of the City of Elgin’s social media communications, Molly has a key role in both crafting and delivering a variety of important news from myriad city departments across multiple traditional and non-traditional communication platforms to this diverse municipality of over 110,000 people. She strategically orchestrates a comprehensive communications schedule for 27 different city Facebook accounts, 14 Twitter accounts and multiple e-mail lists. Under her leadership, the number of daily news postings, engaged followers and overall reach of these social accounts has nearly doubled! She also manages content for the city’s website thru their Salesforce database and contributes content to the city’s quarterly Neighbor newsletter and monthly Special Events eblast.

As part of the Elgin Area Chamber’s Enhancing Elgin committee, Molly helped organize a group of Elgin marketing and social media professionals in an effort to more effectively leverage all of the communications resources of the Elgin community. The #Elgin365 Committee, which includes participants from Gail Borden Library, the Elgin Area Chamber, Elgin Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Downtown Neighborhood Association and other Elgin groups, meets monthly to discuss ways to collaboratively share positive stories about Elgin, as well as, determine ways to strategically tie Elgin to local and national trending topics on social media. (For example, researching and sharing stories about important women in Elgin’s history for National Women’s History Month.) By integrating and cross promoting the group’s new #Elgin365 hashtag amongst these and other area communications outlets’ online postings, it is the hope of the committee to saturate Elgin’s social media landscape with all the good news Elgin has to offer and thus positively impact the narrative about our great community.

She has also been heavily involved in the rollout of the newest version of the city’s Elgin 311 app, including writing content for the Elgin Today section and analyzing and researching the Twitter presences of local businesses and restaurants for potential integration into a new “Business” section for the app – thus making the app more valuable not only to residents and visitors as a source for local information but to business owners and employees as a driver of economic development.

Molly also has completely revamped the city’s visual marketing and messaging by developing more streamlined, uniform and professional looking branding for print collateral, advertising, logos and online postings. In a way, Molly enjoys the unique role of shaping both the image and voice for the City of Elgin. Not bad for a young professional.

List past or present positions of leadership or responsibility.

Molly currently serves as the Staff Liaison to the City of Elgin’s Sustainability Commission where she runs monthly commission meetings, takes meeting minutes and provides vital communication between city staff and the commission as well as grant and sponsorship applicants. She also manages the commission’s Facebook page where she authors and promotes weekly “Waste Wednesday” tips which describe a variety of sustainable practices for residents, from recycling yard waste to proper disposal of household batteries. Under her leadership, the Sustainability Commission’s Facebook page has grown to nearly 700 likes with marked levels of social media engagement from the community.

She began her tenure with the City of Elgin as a Naturalist for Hawthorn Hills Nature Center, where she organized volunteer clean-up efforts and other events.

Describe qualities of leadership demonstrated by the nominee.

Molly’s leadership is demonstrated by her actions and her work ethic. Quite simply, she leads by doing. Shouldering the responsibility of being the “traffic cop” for getting out nearly all of the City of Elgin’s online communications is not something easily accomplished. It takes tremendous drive, diligence and patience to interface and follow-up with the major city departments on providing relevant and accurate content for their areas on a weekly basis. It then takes a great deal of time management savvy to develop said content and appropriate visual messaging for multiple social platforms in a timely and compliant fashion, and it takes supreme organization skills and a thorough understanding of the social media “tricks of the trade” to then strategically schedule all of those postings. It is these traits as well as her thoughtful listening skills, abundant creativity and willingness to go above and beyond in every facet of her work that make her an outstanding leader and an ideal candidate for this award.

Describe how this person has demonstrated a commitment to excellence.

Though already well-versed in social media communications, Molly felt it was important to further increase her skills through continuing education. Thus in February 2015, she worked with members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association, Elgin Area Chamber and Elgin Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, to secure funds for a group of local social media professionals to attend a Social Media Boot Camp produced by nationally acclaimed Ragan Communications. The two-day virtual training session provided the group a well-rounded education on newer social media and marketing trends. This continual search to broaden her knowledge base and experience makes Molly an invaluable resource to the city and demonstrates her commitment to excellence.

Explain how the nominee made an outstanding or innovative contribution in the category.

The City of Elgin recently launched a new website and communications initiative called “Investing in Elgin” (www.cityofelgin.org/construction) to keep Elgin residents informed on capital improvement projects, such as road construction, street resurfacing or sewer repairs. Molly was the lead on developing this new website for the city, which details timelines and costs for each project and integrates a social component to the initiative that pushes site content about each project to residents thru a weekly e-mail blast as well as Twitter, Facebook and the city’s Elgin 311 app for mobile devices. This new proactive, multi-channel approach to engagement with the community helps solidify Elgin as a trend-setting, innovative municipality.

To help reach a broader audience and better disseminate topics discussed by City Council, Molly also live tweets council meetings on Twitter, which serves to expand civic interest from the community on the inner-workings of their local government.

List any achievement which has made improvements in the specific profession, business, or service.

As recently as three years ago, the City of Elgin’s communications footprint was significantly less visible and their online branding identity was disjointed at best. Over the last two years, Molly has worked hard to increase the city’s reach to its citizens thru a diligent, more strategic approach to social media postings including a larger focus on content. By adding or updating over 30 new Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for city of Elgin committees, special events and other municipal branches and nearly quadrupling its social media reach, the city can now more effectively target its communications to a specific audience. Couple that with a more unified, cohesive messaging and advertising brand developed by Molly, the City of Elgin now has a robust, well-oiled communications machine to better engage with a much larger segment of the Elgin community, thanks in large part to the efforts and leadership exemplified by Molly Center.

YWCA Elgin Leader Luncheon Nominees Announced

YWCAElginThe YWCA Elgin announced the nominees for the thirty-second annual Leader Luncheon Awards and EYPN’s very own Kari Christensen was among them.

Kari was nominated for the Marguerite Henry Award for Communication/Technology for her volunteer service to many Elgin area organizations as well as her dedication to promoting the Elgin community thru thoughtful and thorough social media and marketing practices. Kari owns and operates Trillium Link LLC, a consulting company that provides writing services, creative assistance and social media services to particularly budget conscious organizations such as nonprofits and small businesses.

For a complete list of the 2015 Leader Luncheon nominees, click here!

The 2015 YWCA Elgin Leader Luncheon will be held on Thursday, May 7 at The Seville in Streamwood beginning at 11am. The event is attended by hundreds of community leaders, businesses, not for profit representatives and volunteers to acknowledge and honor women from Elgin and surrounding communities who have made significant contributions to the Arts, Business & Professions, Communications/Technology, Education, Public Service, Social Service, Volunteer/Community Service and Racial Justice.

Let’s all support Kari at this prestigious community event. Reservations for this year’s Leader Luncheon can be made online at YWCAElgin.org/LL2015 or call the YWCA Elgin at 847-742-7930.

February 2015 Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 6:00pmcropped-eypn1.jpg
The Village Squire
480 Randall Road, South Elgin, IL 60177

Board Members Present: Krisilee Murphy, Marissa Garza, Jason Pawlowski, and Christina Pearson

Members Present: Justin Budd, Kari Christensen, Elaina McCalmont, Amber Phillips, Cass Skoflanc, and Emily Tyler

Introductions
Krisilee Murphy, Board President, facilitated the meeting and welcomed the group.

Recap of Membership Drive
We had 28 people sign up during the event on January 29, but since then more people have reached out to Krisilee wanting to discuss the membership.

2015 Dues Program
Anyone who didn’t receive their t-shirt, should get them by March 18 at the professional development session or the March meeting. If you have not signed-up yet then here is the link. http://elginyoungprofessionals.com/become-a-member/

EYPN Volunteer Event
EYPN is scheduled to volunteer at Food For Greater Elgin on Thursday, February 26 from 5:30-7:30. Currently 9 members have signed up but they can take up to 12. Justin Budd and Emily Tyler stated they possibly could volunteer as well. We will plan to do one to two more throughout the year.

Professional Development Session: Financial Planning and Investments
On March 18th we will be having our first professional development session of 2015. The presentation will begin at 6:30 at Judson University’s in the Eagle Lounge inside Lindner Tower, 1151 N. State Street in Elgin. Keith Rauschenberger will provide a brief overview of financial and retirement planning followed by an introduction to investment management and portfolio development. This session will not be super technical but rather presented in a way that everyone can understand. Professional Development is a member benefit so we will continue these in 2015! More information on this session: http://elginyoungprofessionals.com/2015/02/09/financial-planning-and-investment/

Elgin Image Award
EYPN has been nominated for an Elgin Image Award.  The award ceremony is on March 19 at The Centre of Elgin. Cocktails are from 6-7:00 and the ceremony begins at 7:00. A free dinner is also included. We would like to get as many EYPN members to attend as possible. We will be getting there early to save a table or two so please let us know if you are coming by March 11th. Email Krisilee Murphy to save your seat, kmurphy@northernfoxrivervalley.com.

Social Event: Night Out with the Symphony
The Elgin Symphony Orchestra is doing a special event for EYPN members. ESO is providing EYPN with 30 “tweet seat” tickets to their season finale concert on Saturday, May 2 at 7:30 for only $20. Included in this package is a Solo wine tasting beginning at 6:30. This is an EYPN member only exclusive opportunity, but of course you are welcome to bring a guest. We will have more information regarding the concert and how you can purchase your ticket in the next couple weeks.

Mentor Program

Anyone who wanted to sign up for a mentor but didn’t have an opportunity to sign-up at the January 29 event, please let Becky Hardekopf know. We will be rolling this program out in March. Becky’s email, bhardekopf@girlscoutsni.org.

Volunteer Opportunities in the Community

  1. 2015 Women’s Big Ten Basketball Tournament (March 3-8): They are looking for volunteers to help out at the Sears Center in Hoffman Estates during this event. It’s open to all ages. Here is the link to register. https://2015bigtenwomenbbtourvol.my-trs.com/
  1. YWCA’s Cinderella’s Closet (March 21): They are looking for volunteers to help on the Tuesdays before the event from 5-8PM to organize the dresses and help set up. They are also looking for fairy godmothers for the day of the event to help the girls pick out their dresses. Here is the link to register to volunteer. http://www.ywcaelgin.org/site/c.8qLOK6MCLeI0F/b.8346225/k.63E2/Volunteer_Application/apps/ka/ct/contactus.asp?c=8qLOK6MCLeI0F&b=8346225&en=5oJzGIOjE4KIKSMmG3KFJOPwFfKHKXPvH8LKL0NELsG
  1. City of Elgin’s Fox Trot (May 23): The city is looking for volunteers to help the week of, the day before and the day of the race. There are a lot of different volunteer opportunities at this event. If you are interested please reach out to Amanda Moody with the City of Elgin, moody_a@cityofelgin.org.

Announcements

  • Girl Scout cookies are now on sale. The booth sales begin February 27 and go through March 26.
  • The Annual Hablamos Española Expo is on March 7 from 10:00AM-3:00PM at The Centre of Elgin. The Expo will feature entertainment from various cultural, dance and performing arts groups, a Hispanic art showcase, a sampling of food from area restaurants and local vendors.
  • The YWCA of Elgin, I Heart Prom Expo will take place on Friday, March 13 from 6-9:00PM at Elgin High School. The expo will feature a Prom fashion show, interactive safety exhibits, safety tips in a fun and informative way. Also available will be Prom-related vendors such as limo services, hair salons, florists, and dress shops.
  • Razors Edge is having a makeover contest. People are asked to submit a video about their worst hair disaster/experience.
  • The Human Race 5k in McHenry County will take place on April 26. If you are interested in participating Little Angels asks that you select their agency to benefit from your registration.
  • The Elgin Area Convention & Visitors Bureau has a new website.

An idea was brought up that when an EYPN member is at an event or are doing something in the community we should use the hashtag #IAMEYPN so we can show people what we do.

Meeting adjourn at 6:40PM

Congratulations EYPN Leader Luncheon Nominees

EYPN YWCA Elgin

EYPN members: (Left to right) Katie Michel, Stacy Michel, Ann Leider, Becky Hardekopf, Krisilee Murphy, Laura Valdez, Kari Christensen, Jason Pawlowski

The YWCA Elgin Leader Luncheon Awards annually recognize the best and brightest women in Elgin who have demonstrated a commitment to excellence in leadership. This year’s extensive list of Leader Luncheon award nominees proudly boasted three Elgin Young Professionals Network members:

Becky Hardekopf – Business Category

Ann Leider – Education Category

Kari Christensen – Communications/Technology Category

Please join us in congratulating these three amazing women and all of this year’s deserving award winners and nominees. Thank you for all that you do for the Elgin community.