Griffin Communications Blog

A Change of Direction

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011
Lisa Orloff

Lisa Orloff

A career switch from selling a fashion line under her name to becoming a disaster response expert wasn’t in Lisa Orloff’s long- or short-term plans. 

Before Sept. 11, 2001, Lisa made sweaters. Not knitting a few rows as a hobby in front of the TV at night, but designing, producing, importing and selling a fashion line under the name of Lisa O. 

But Sept. 11 changed all that for her. Today, she is the executive director of the World Cares Center, a New York City organization that began after the World Trade Center disaster. Lisa’s post-9/11 dream, which started as September Space, has provided preparedness, response and resilient recovery services and training to more than 45,000 people in 24 states since it’s humble beginnings at Ground Zero. 

Drastically different from her career in fashion, Lisa’s new vocation emerged because Lisa instinctively went to the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan’s West Side to volunteer in any way she could after 9/11.

9/11 not only brought about a career change for Lisa, but also a sea-change in thinking. “I have a more positive view of people. I look at the potential that they have to do good. I look at people and see how they can make a difference.”

Lisa’s story is just one of many in my book, Life is Too Short: Stories of Transformation and Renewal after 9/11, coming out for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

How have you made a difference in the past 10 years?

Life is Too Short: Stories of Transformation and Renewal after 9/11

Thursday, April 28th, 2011
Chris Conefry

Chris Conefry

 After 9/11, Chris Conefry was tired of the New York City rat race and moved his family to a more laid-back lifestyle in South Carolina.

Making the 2008 move wasn’t easy for the native New Yorker, who had often considered relocating but hesitated to leave family, friends and a good job on Wall Street. “September 11 cemented the deal,” he says.

After 9/11, Chris, an equities trader, had decided that life was too short to not pursue happiness. After losing 17 friends and fleeing Ground Zero in a panic — covered in dust, soot and debris — he was ready to move south. Happiness and safety were more important than climbing the ladder, he learned.

He sold his upscale condo with the skyline view in trendy Hoboken, New Jersey, left his good job downtown, and started anew in a small southern town where the pace of life was, well, not New York’s.

Still trading equities, he now works near the ocean in Beaufort, South Carolina. Chris’s wife, Erika, and son, Cole, have also switched gears to a slower pace of life.

“If there was any correlation between September 11 and moving south, it was learning to make decisions that would make you happy,” he says. “It wasn’t a case of me being afraid of being in New York City because of another 9/11, it was more of a life’s-too-short decision.”

Chris is just one of many folks who decided that life was too short after 9/11, and transformed his life.  Read about him and a dozen others in my new book, Life is Too Short: Stories of Transformation and Renewal After 9/11 available this summer.

Balancing the budget on the backs of the elderly

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

I helped write an op ed piece this week for a nursing home and elder-care client on what will happen to Medicaid/Medicare in the New York State budget.

As the economy, the Middle East and Japan have dominated the news in the past few months, the New York State legislature has been quietly working on a $1 billion reduction plan that could cripple home-care and close nursing homes throughout the state.

In his op ed piece, the CEO of The Lutheran Care Network wrote that lawmakers were taking the easy route and going after the low-hanging fruit –– the elderly — with a disproportionate percentage of reductions. He said that Medicaid/Medicare are always the first programs that legislators try to cut when the going gets tough since the elderly can’t fight back. The state, he said, was trying to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly. Strong statement.

He also said that if the cuts go through as proposed, 30 to 60 nursing homes will close and the home-care industry will basically go out of business because of the living wage bill.

Why should any of us under the age of 80 care? Quite frankly, because we all might need senior services some day, especially as we live longer and healthier. Right now, we might already be a care-giver for a parent or a loved one. I look after my elderly aunt in an assisted living community. God bless her, at almost 97, the day is near when she’s no longer capable of staying there. If nursing homes are closed, what will her options be?

When we need options, what will they be? Especially if staying in our own home with paid help is no longer available. No one wants to go into a nursing home. We all hope that when we’re ready, we’ll peacefully close our eyes one night and not wake up. But that only happens to a very lucky few.

This all makes me think about how we care for our elderly as a country and a culture. And how we all will be cared for someday.

What questions does it raise for you?

Read op ed from Frank Tripodi, President & CEO of The Lutheran Care Network

Only good communications sold here.

Monday, October 4th, 2010

I had a client once who didn’t want to start a blog because he didn’t like the sound of the word “blog.” At the time, blogs were abounding, and it would’ve been a great communications tool for him. But I could never convince him. He simply hated the word “blog,” even though I explained it was short for Web log. Today, bloggers are a dime a dozen. Companies can find bloggers on Internet writing sites who’ll write a blog for as little as 99 cents. Blogging and the Internet have made everyone a writer. Because of this, the art of writing has become somewhat devalued. I believe that good writing is still a gift, and that people value good communications. People know when they’re reading something that’s bad, or being had. The way we use words matters, and good use of words – and how they sound together — can help companies and organizations stand apart in a world of in-your-face marketing. I know you value good writing, or you wouldn’t be checking out my Web site. Only good communications sold here.