You need not do Great Things but the little things you are doing in your sphere of influence can be done with great conviction, great wisdom, great beauty and great love.
Current & Coming Attractions
WillFlow.Co ~ Aspiring Young Writer. Simply put, we tell your story. We do the research and create original content, tailor-made for your audiences. Every bit as important as written information is the face-to-face spoken word. Nothing beats a smile and a handshake. In whatever venue — brown bag lunch, catered celebration, workshop, class and presentation — we create and present the content that tells your story.
Centresa.Org ~ Allegorical Tale, Mythical Village. Centresa is a new kind of grassroots, progressive university, where first you learn, then teach what you’ve learned, and then act on what you’ve learned and taught to build a better community. Centresa is a place where “what if?” and “why not?” live and thrive.
As our mission statement says:
Learn Something | Create Something | Teach Something | Change Something
Little Monuments in Grace Park. We can neither hold to the Confederate memorials on Monument Avenue any more than we can let go of the century old bronze statues that define “The City of Monuments”. It is the classic “horns of a dilemma” to which we hold — neither alternative provides any satisfaction as you and the bull whose horns you’re holding charge down the avenue.
Chief Cook & Bottle Washer, Good Idea Cafe (GIC). “No coffee, no croissants. We serve up your good ideas.” Our mission was to deliver website design, marketing and branding, and a social media presence to nonprofit organizations and small, local businesses. Each project was unique and therefore individually crafted. Northstar Academy is an excellent example. We spent days observing classes, talking with parents, students and teachers to really understand each story so we would do it justice when we retold it online. These days, the media is social but as always, it’s the message that informs, persuades and sells. How you tell your story. Why your story matters. And please, don’t forget GIC’s closing tagline: “It’s not a good idea until someone hears about it.”
Volunteer, SCORE workshops for small businesses. Presented “web and social media” as part of monthly SCORE workshops for new and prospective business owners. The day consisted of 45-minute blocks: attorney, accountant, insurance, marketing, web and so on. It made for an interesting challenge from a “public speaker” point of view. Limited presentation time with an ever-increasing volume of content as technology and techniques changed. Audience tech savvy and marketing know-how ranged from zero to ten. Out-maneuvering the guy who wants to take you down the rabbit hole of some esoteric issue. Making sure everyone really understands the difference between [this] [that] and aren’t simply “group nodding.” Keeping the person who’s falling behind up to speed (without calling attention to them!). Very satisfying when everything comes together and folks walk away with new ideas for their new businesses.
Volunteer, Campaign Precinct Manager. (Hail to the Redskins!) Here in the Republican bastion of RVA, enjoyed walking around neighborhoods on crisp, fall Saturday mornings, knocking on doors, and giving my “Obama for President” pitch. Early on, I learned to wear my Washington Redskins hat. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, it often gave me a few minutes of “getting to know you” sports conversation before I eased into election politics (as it might have here). By chance one morning, crisscrossing the neighborhood with Mormon walkers. They politely declined our brochure. We politely accepted theirs. Sitting on the front steps with an elderly gentleman who’d never voted in his life, he said he was looking forward to “voting for that nice, young Mr. Obama.” I helped him complete the registration form — signed, sealed, delivered. Proud to have helped a first time voter.
Writer and Publicist, Billy Wadd. Known for the large “wadds” of $100 bills he always carried, the west side boss of the Devil’s Diciples [sic] in Detroit, Wadd testified against his nephew in the brutal murders of a family in Livonia, Michigan. In motorcycle clubs, cooperation with authorities, even to bring child-killers to justice, is seen as being a “snitch” – as having betrayed your colors. The reluctant hero who was forced to leave Detroit, the man who did the right thing at the cost of his marriage and those “wadds” of $100 bills, we wrote his story in “You Know Who I Am”. Though our marketing efforts, Wadd appeared on WDIV-TV Detroit on the 10th anniversary of the murders; as a guest on a nationally syndicated radio show discussing the Virginia Tech murders; and was featured on an episode of The History Channel’s “Gangland” series. (see Gangland Devils Diciples, DDMC Detroit, Michigan Full Documentary for the Billy Wadd story)
First Web Guy, University of Richmond. Loved working with my staff and students using, at the time, brand new internet technology. One of those “black and white television, invent and discover it as you go along” moments in 20th century communications. Pre-CSS, pre-wysiwyg-editors, everything hand-coded. My typical workshop opening line was: “On the day the telegraph was invented, the Pony Express tried to buy faster horses. They didn’t realize that the world had changed.” Did a lot of great work at UR including creating a “student/prospective student portal,” building a “content management system,” as well as creating, building and managing the University’s initial Web Development office (overcoming a good amount of academic politics and inertia). Presented workshops and lectures on campus, online, and on several occasions at the national educational conference, EduCause. (see “Content Management System” and “Student Portal Website” for examples of work done at UR)
Church President, First Unitarian Universalist Church of Richmond. Social Responsibility Council, member of the Board, then Church prez. Did some really good, gratifying work at First UU. Wrote and delivered several sermons. Expanded the church’s programs; increased the budget thanks to successful back-to-back pledge campaigns. Learned about church polity and congregational leadership. As church president, raised the profile and increased resources for our social responsibility programs. Work included service at the Daily Planet homeless shelter, river cleanup with our youth groups, CARITAS week, and sponsoring lectures and debates on social issues. I said then and I’ll say again: “I see most of my religion in other people’s faces.”
Best Recommendation Ever. When I asked my dinner companions where they’d like to dine, Meredith, 8, and Allison, 4, screeched in an ear-piercing chorus: “Chuck E. Cheese!!!!” Years ago, I had no earthly idea what a Chuck E. Cheese might be … but how bad could even a smiley-face pepperoni pizza be? The moment Chuck E.’s door blasted open, I knew I had a choice — become a very tall 4 / 8 year old or go bat crap crazy in short order. I ran, I jumped. I whooped and hollered, played stiff-armed monster, laughed and made faces spontaneously recalled from childhood. At one point, I might have stuck out my tongue at some little brat. As we left Craaazz E.’s, Meredith looked up at me, ear-to-ear grin, and proclaimed: “Bill, I’ll bet you’re the only grownup that really LIKES Chuck E. Cheese!” Best. Recommendation. Ever.
Volunteer, Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Working with Jeff Painter, CBF volunteer coordinator, and a great bunch of environmentalists, provided opportunities for volunteers to get hands-on involvement in tree plantings, stream cleanups, and canoe trips for middle schoolers. I remember the girl at our “what did you learn” session at the end of the day. She ran through all the great, important, critical, must be protected, environmentally-essential aspects of the pungent wetland marshes we’d spent the afternoon exploring. Finally she came to the truth of the matter: “I don’t care what anyone says! This place is disgusting!” To cheers, laughter and applause. Great memories of our learning retreats to a little island in the Chesapeake Bay near Tanger. Drinking beer with fishermen from nearby “dry” islands. Midnight skinny-dipping on the shore by the bonfire. I was a younger, thinner man.
Student Newspaper Editor, Loudoun Valley High School. Challenged my high school’s social and political conscience with all of the ardor and single-mindedness of a 17 year old fledgling hippie in The 60’s. Hard-hitting editorial subjects included abolishing the dress code, doing away with hall passes, and ending the war in Viet Nam. The “Loudoun Valley Viking” won several high school press awards. In those days of rolling warm glue on the back of “camera-ready copy” and aligning (or misaligning) copy on a pale-blue-ink page layout guide, we put out a new edition on time every 2 weeks throughout the school year (a real accomplishment for a bunch of high school kids). Almost every issue, we’d have to “explain ourselves” to Principal Atwell because some parent had raised Cain over an article or more likely, my editorial. Still makes me grin.
First Affirmative, Debate Club, Loudoun Valley High School. Tom Scott, English teacher, debate coach and great guy. Special kudos to my friends and colleagues Stephen, Rachel (née Thomas) and David. In our senior year, our affirmative and negative debate teams won 1st and 2nd place, respectively, at the Virginia State Debate Championship. Learned critical thinking, public speaking, and the value of rhetoric in making your case. The crucial importance of including just the right amount of bullshit in any cogent argument. I also learned the tactical advantage of arguing in favor of a resolution with which you personally disagree. There are few surprise weaknesses when you’ve already picked your own argument to pieces.
Sales Manager, Moorcones Movie Theater. My first job, at the ripe old age of 15, was selling popcorn, Cokes and candy bars at THE theater in beautiful, small town Purcellville, Virginia. One show a night, seven nights a week. My salary, a dollar an hour; one hour weeknights, weekends until closing. My first boss, Mrs. Moorcones was great to me but an ever-present threat to my fellow teens. Her flashlight caught many a young couple literally in a bad light; doing this or that, hands here or there. I saw all the greats of ’68 … “Planet of the Apes” “Rosemary’s Baby” “2001: A Space Odyssey” “Yellow Submarine” “The Graduate” “I Love You, Alice B. Toklas” … standing in the back of the theater, hoping no one headed to the candy counter during the show. And so, my very first business lesson: always provide the best on-demand, as-needed customer service. Otherwise, enjoy the movie.
Thus began my career. Thus began my journey here.