Welcome to the New & Improved:
“Augusta’s Choice: Tour of Augusta”
The Tour of Augusta for this week consisted of a two special events for us. The first was the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce Social Media Forum. Lets jump right in!
Last month, the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce held a breakfast at the North Augusta Community Center which had Sarah Johnston, Director of Recruiting and Development for Northwestern Mutual, as the primary speaker. After the breakfast there was a forum with four panelists that were available to answer questions about Social Media and it’s affect on society. This meeting was such a hit, that Brian Tucker, President of the North Augusta Chamber decided to hold another session this month. The forum was RSVP only, and featured 3 panelists:
- Chris Harrison, Freelance Designer & founder of Refresh Augusta (A social group of local web designers and programmers working together to promote fresh design strategies for the area) Facebook Twitter Website
- Sarah Johnston, Director of Recruiting and Development for Northwestern Mutual. Facebook Linkedin
- Jeremy Mace, Head Pyromaniac at NewFire Social Media. Facebook Twitter Website
Before the panelists had a chance to begin, Brian Tucker took a moment to display a video posted on Youtube speaking on Social Media and it’s impact on society. You can find a link to the video HERE. The impact of those statistics were perfect for starting the session. All three panelists brought something unique to the table, yet complimented each other. Sarah kicked off the forum with a detailed overview of the Business Social Network Linkedin. The understanding that she has of this particular network, and how she makes it effective in her business networking is very apparent. She went on to speak about the different ways businesses utilize it for recruiting efforts, fact finding, resource mining & more. After a Q & A session from interested attendees, we moved on to the presentation on Twitter.
Responsible for the overview and highlights of Twitter was Chris Harrison. Jumping right into the service, Chris, like Sarah, began with instructing attendees on how to set up a Twitter account. This also allowed for Chris to display the different tools that can be utilized to manage this powerful service. From desktop applications to web interfaces, the massive amounts of control you have over this network is astonishing. A highlight of the system is that its growing use for customer service. The group asked questions of the panelist on how it can be best utilized in the business world. Examples such as Best Buy’s use of @twelpforce, Comcast’s @comcastcares, and even North Augusta Chamber’s @nachamber were referenced as great use of twitter assistance. I think one of the greatest aspects of this segment was there were multiple people in the room (including myself) who were using Twitter while the forum was conducted. This method is called “Live Tweeting” which gave the followers of each individual the ability to “follow along” with the forum even though they were not in attendance. Those that were “tweeting” were: Augusta’s Choice: @augustaschoice, Chris Harrison @cdharrison, Powerserve @powerserve, Lindsay Thetford (Of the Augusta Chronicle) @lindsaythetford, Jeremy Mace @jeremymace, & North Augusta Chamber @NAChamber.
Last but not least, Jeremy Mace from New Fire Social Media (featured last week on the Tour of Augusta) spoke on implementation. The importance of not closing off access to these breakthrough technologies at the work place because of abuse by a handful of employees was stressed by Jeremy. He conveyed that this is the way business interaction is progressing. Social Media is not going away and it is important for business owners to embrace it, not step away from it. He also spoke about management. Ranging from managing two separate profiles, one for business and for personal (known as your “Secret Identity”). If you would like to have a deeper discussion with the many implementation paths you can take, be sure to contact New Fire for a consultation. Unfortunately due to time constraints this section was pretty rapid fire but I’ve included audio from the forum in this post to cover anything that I’ve missed.
There were several great representatives of great businesses in attendance as well. Jeff Partl: Powerserve, Jeff Annis: Advanced Services, Lindsay Thetford: Augusta Chronicle, & Rick Berry: North Augusta Habitat for Humanity just to name a few. We look forward to doing it again and I believe there may be tons more in the works for this group! Stay tuned to hear more. As promised, here’s some audio from the forum:
My last stop for the day, took me to MCG medical center. I had the utmost pleasure of receiving a tour of the Children’s Medical Center with Connie Guinn, Philanthropy Officer at MCG. Forgive me for this segment as there is so much information that I received that this post could be about 3 pages long. It’s difficult to decide where to start with an experience like this. From the minute you step inside the the Children’s Medical Center (referred to as the CMC for the rest of this post), you realize that this is not your typical hospital. The first thing that stood out to me was the architecture. The vibrance of the facility was flooring. Though you were walking through a hospital, there is an air of happiness and calm that you feel based on the decor alone. Connie began by telling me about some of the different departments at the CMC ready to help your child heal in the event that they need to visit them.
The Child Life Specialists at the CMC are amazing. The Specialists are trained in child development and really set the tone for families when they arrive at the CMC. They help orient the child and prep them for care. The delicate way they manage to ease a child into any procedure takes a special skill. Frankly I’ve never been in a hospital that automatically made me feel safe. And I’m not even a patient there. This facility is open 365 days a year, meaning that they also celebrate holidays, birthdays, milestones, & more there. And the Child Life Specialists are right there with them the whole time. The Specialists have a range of techniques that they use throughout a child (and families) duration at the facility. Some include:
- medical play (Which incorporates teddy bears that receive IV’s, simple surgeries, and other “medical care”.)
- psychological preparations
- group and individual interventions
- developmentally appropriate activities
- questions about donations
We moved on to the fifth floor, which has 44 beds and houses a department for oncology & surgery patients. These two were grouped together for infection control purposes. Also on this floor were two activity rooms. This was very impressive as well. Toys & games for all ages of children. And these are “Safe Zones”. No medical procedures happen in these rooms. No shots, no stitches, just fun! While I was touring, one of the patients went to play in the room, to which he was followed by a physician and was promptly challenged to an Air Hockey match. The attention was amazing. And that’s another point that needs made about the CMC is that every employee there, from Doctors to Nurses, Administration to Maintenance. Every person that I encountered in the CMC cares about children and their welfare. Though it is a medical facility, it doesn’t come off clinical. There’s a care factor to what they do and it shows! We moved on to the third floor which has the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) & Surgery Suites. Of course, heaven forbid that your child should need an ICU. But if they do, seriously look no further. When it comes to state of the art systems, beds, & equipment, MCG is the place you want to take your child. The speciality beds available for the PICU have literally every feature you can ever imagine needing for the medical staff, as well as parents visiting. And speaking of the staff, it was moving like a well oiled machine. Everyone knew their function, everyone knew their place. And it just Works (and it works with class).
After touring this floor, which also facilitates a waiting area for families, a lounge to separate the waiting area and family members trying to grab a bite to eat (they seriously thought of EVERYTHING), I was taken back down stairs to finish the tour. While walking to through the first floor, Connie had a moment to continue telling me about one of the main goals of MCG’s CMC. “We’re about choices. When a child comes in with a life threatening illness, it takes a lot of choices out of their hands. We put some choices back in their hands. Giving them the ability to choose simple things such as flavored anesthetic, all the way up to the decor of the CMC”. What I later found out was that there are two boards of decision makers: 1 set of teenagers and 1 set of younger children. Connie went on, “If children are our focus, they need to have a place that they feel comfortable in”. In my opinion, that takes customer satisfaction to another level!
This week brought about some great contacts, and we are glad to share that with all of you. Please use our Tour’s to build your database and personal address book of businesses that you may want to visit. There are so many great things here in the CSRA that more people need to know about. If you would like a visit by Augusta’s Choice to your business, Contact Us HERE. If you are interested in sponsoring one of our Tour’s, email us at email@example.com. And remember, everyone has a choice. And if you’re passionate about your business, Augusta’s Choice may choose you!