Author: Anharris

Life Science PR: NuGEN on fusion detection

Pleased that  HarrisCom  life science PR client, NuGEN Technologies, has published an article in the journal PLOS ONE on a technology that allows scientists to use targeted next generation sequencing to screen for fusion events–gene abnormalities related to certain cancers.  They believe their new method  could help accelerate cancer research and development of treatments and diagnostic tests.   Here’s the press release: 

San Carlos, June   Scientists at NuGEN Technologies, Inc. have simultaneously surveyed RNA of more than 400 targeted genes in a single assay,  using next generation sequencing (NGS) to  detect fusions known to be key drivers of tumor growth in several cancer types. The scientists, who employed an innovative method of targeted sequence library preparation, also discovered low-frequency fusions that had not previously been reported.

The new method, which allows the simultaneous interrogation of multiple, specific genes for RNA sequencing, significantly simplifies fusion detection when compared with standard RNA sequencing approaches.

Based on NuGEN’s Single Primer Enrichment Technology (SPET), the method  “can greatly enhance scientists’ ability to understand the underlying oncogenic impact of a variety of genomic disruptions,” according to Elizabeth Hutt, the NuGEN CEO. “Applications based on this exciting new technology promise to speed up cancer research and lead to more effective diagnoses and treatments.”

As described in the June 1, 2015 issue of the peer-reviewed journal PLOS One, the scientists used the new method to prepare cancerous and normal tissue samples for targeted RNA sequencing.  The goal was to detect the presence of genes that had joined together or “fused”—resulting in disruption of regulatory mechanisms.  Through NGS, the scientists were able to identify multiple known and previously unreported fusions from fresh-frozen and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue.
By targeting specific RNAs for sequencing, the scientists report, they were able to reduce the number of sequencing reads and increase the sensitivity of gene fusion detection, when compared with standard RNA-Seq methods.

“Traditional methods require a much larger number of sequencing reads in order to detect fusion events in a background of some 20,000 transcripts,” said Douglas Amorese, NuGEN Vice President of Research and Development. “Other focused methods cannot survey the entire repertoire of previously recognized fusions; they are limited to detection of small numbers of potential events.”

Additionally, the scientists write in PLOS, “The SPET-based assay is easy to use, has low RNA input requirements and can be used with RNA from formalin fixed, paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissue, which is important for clinically relevant samples. “ The assay is fully customizable to target any gene or set of genes in any genome.”

The new technology is one in a suite of sample preparation products NuGEN continues to develop in light of new scientific understanding about the shared molecular mechanisms underlying cancers originating in different tissues, according to Amorese.  While a tumor might appear to originate in a specific organ, the molecular mechanism or change involved may also play a role in cancers originating elsewhere.  (For example, certain breast and ovarian cancers exhibit similar genetic disruptions). This means that therapeutics effective in treating one type of tumor may also be useful in treating other tumors exhibiting similar molecular changes.

“Our technology allows researchers to better understand the cellular pathways that are disrupted,” Amorese said.

NuGEN’s new technology, offered in easy-to-use reagent kits, will initially be employed by researchers and clinical oncologists seeking to group tumors by genomic signature. “Such classifications will make it possible to develop and target therapies more effectively,” Amorese said.

The new, SPET-based technology will also be used by laboratories developing diagnostic tests and by pharmaceutical companies to develop, test and predict the efficacy of specific therapeutics for individual cancer patients. All of the above will   contribute to the realization of precision medicine, Hutt said.

Amorese likened the new SPET method to “a microscope with greater power to detect fusions than has ever before been available.” Now, he said, “you can look for potential fusion events among hundreds of genes known to be associated with tumors just as easily as you can look at a single gene.  Tests that narrowly focus on small subsets of potential fusions can be misleading and fail to take advantage of the power of next gen sequencing.  Those tests are just scratching the surface as it relates to understanding what is happening in the cell.  ” Amorese said.

The complete article, “An Efficient Method for identifying gene fusions by targeted RNA sequencing from fresh frozen and FFPE samples,”  is by  Jonathan A. Scolnick, Michelle Dimon, I-Ching Wang, Stephanie C. Huelga, and Douglas A. Amorese, all of NuGEN Technologies. The article will be available free of charge at 2 pm July 1, 2015 at . For an advance copy, please contact Anita Harris, anita.m.harris at


NuGEN Technologies Inc. is a rapidly-growing, privately-held company that provides  innovative products and systems used to prepare biologic samples for targeted genomic analysis.  Founded in 2000 and based in San Carlos, CA, NuGEN has long been at the cutting edge of genomic technology, with accurate, cost-effective reagent kits for even the most challenging sample types.  NuGEN products are used in more than 1000 leading life science institutes and in diagnostic and pharmaceutical  companies in 40 countries.

HarrisCom’s Harris & Pirozzolo speak on book publishing for business

amhimage-FBAnharris | Harris Communications Group
Harris Communication Group  Managing Director Anita M. Harris and colleague Dick Pirozzolo told independent PR  practitioners how  book publishing for business can enhance your reputation and your clients’ –yesterday at the Weston Public Library.
As  published authors and PR professionals,  the pair discussed how books enhance professional prestige and thought leadership, underscore expertise, establish authority, create numerous spin-off media opportunities and generate passive income.
Topics included:
– How to get a publisher to buy your book
– Self-publishing in the internet age
– The value of e-books
– What every winning book proposal must include
– Crowdfunding, pricing your book, and other money matters
– How to market your book
Dick Pirozzolo is the author of three books on homebuilding and two corporate biographies. Anita Harris is the author of Broken Patterns,  and Ithaca Diaries, two nonfiction works that have established her as a forward-looking social and business culture authority.

–Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is the managing director of the Harris Communications Group,  an award-winning public relations firm specializing in integrated strategic communication, content marketing and thought leadership for clients in healthcare, life sciences, technology, energy and education,  worldwide.  Contact us!

HarrisCom’s Harris and Pirozollo to speak on book publishing for business Oct. 30, 2014

amhimage-FBAnharris | Harris Communications Group
Harris Communication Group  Managing Director Anita M. Harris and team member Dick Pirozzolo will speak  on book publishing for business at the Weston Public Library at 12N on Thursday, October  30, 2015.
As  published authors and PR professionals,  the pair will discuss how books enhance professional prestige, underscore expertise, establish authority, create numerous spin-off media opportunities and generate passive income.
Topics will include:
– How to get a publisher to buy your book
– Self-publishing in the internet age
– The value of e-books
– What every winning book proposal MUST include today
– Crowdfunding, pricing your book, and other money matters
– How to market your book
Dick Pirozzolo is the author of three books on homebuilding and two corporate biographies. Anita Harris is the author of Broken Patterns,  and Ithaca Diaries, two nonfiction works that have established her as a forward-looking social and business culture authority.This event is free to members of  the  Boston’s Independent Practitioners Network (IPN) of the Public Relations Society of America– and $10 for guests.
Please bring your own lunch. Register.

–Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is the managing director of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning PR and marketing firm based in Cambridge, MA.


“NanoRoad Show” Highlights Czech Technology Prowess

On Wednesday, October 8,  I was pleased to attend a “nano road show” highlighting tiny technologies and expansive R&D capabilities of the Czech Republic came to Boston.

Sponsored by “CzechInvest,” the  Czech Republic’s investment and business development agency, and by the Consulate General of the Czech Republic, the “road show” featured six companies and research institutions with expertise in nanotechnology–a branch of engineering focused on the design and manufacture of extremely small devices built at the molecular level of matter.

Anharris | Harris Communications Group
Radek HasaAnharris | Harris Communications Group
Anharris | Harris Communications Group

At a reception held at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Boston, I had the opportunity to speak with Jan Slunsky, the CEO of a company called Nano Iron–which  produces tiny iron particles used to treat ground water contaminated by chlorinated hydrocarbons from industrial waste. “Our nano particles are “very reactive” and may clear an area of pollutants in months-to-years—unlike other ‘in-situ’ reagents that can take 10-to-20 years to reduce contaminants,” Slunsky said, “And because Nano Iron particles are composed of a naturally occurring mineral, they do not add toxicity when Nanoironinjected into a substrate.”  Other remediating processes may involve the costly transport of polluted water to distant filtration plants, he added. Nano Iron currently partners with environmental consultants and remediation companies in the Czech Republic, France, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Nano Iron recently launched a pilot project in South Carolina.

  • Another presenting company was Advanced Materials-JTJ, which  introduced its own industrial process of manufacturingofphotocatalytic multifunctional paints for air purification. The company has also patented large-scale technology toproduceTiO2nanoparticles withhigh efficiency. Advanced MaterialsJTJ works  with several universities and international companies on variety of R&D and commercial projects. With  technologies are in material science,photocatalysis and energy accumulation,  ADvancedMaterials-JTJ participates in EC grant consortia onphotocatalytic water decontamination.Nanord show 1I also met Martin Navratil, chairman of the board of SYNPO, a commercially-oriented, privately held R&D center which arose in 1992 from a government-owned research center. Today, SYNPO offers new technologies and products such as coatings adhesives, composites and binders based on applied polymer science.   It focuses on contract research and development, manufacturing, process development, and nanostructured polymers and polymers from renewable raw materials. It also provides specialized analytic services, helps client companies scale up production, and trains students. SYNPO’s clients range from small Czech and European companies to some of the world’s largest multinational chemical companies, including DuPont, in the US, Navratil said.

Featured educational and research and development institutions included:

After the meeting, Abi Barrow, director of the Boston-based Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center, said: “Nanotechnology is changing the world. It will change the way everything operates, because of the new materials people are now developing. The Czech’s have exhibited some ‘very interesting’ technology and research skills in the nanotech arena. And New England, with its own great nanotech base, has real interest in finding cost-effective ways to contract out research development and testing.”map czech

Agt the event, I learned that, t in the 1930´s Czechoslovakia was ranked among 10 most developed countries in the world and that Czech scientists were instrumental in developing contact lenses and anti-HIV drugs.

Jan Fried, director of East Coast operations for CzechInvest tokd me that today,  “the Czech Republic offers the best conditions in Central and Eastern Europe  for international partnership, with US firms major investors in Czech companies.”  Additionally, CzechInvest has sponsored   “CzechAccelerator”  for the past three years. One such program, was based in Silicon Valley; the other at the Cambridge Innovation Center, in Kendall Square.

–Anita M. Harris

Anita M. Harris is Managing Director of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning marketing and public relations firm based in Cambridge, MA.

This post was adapted from a sponsored post originally written for  New Cambridge Observer.

Energy Sage joins with local Chambers of Commerce on solar energy for members

Our Cambridge Innovation Center colleagues at  EnergySage, Inc., have launched a partnership with Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, a national network of local chambers of commerce,   to help local Chambers and their member businesses install solar energy systems.

top-10-citiesAnharris | Harris Communications Group

According to the July 30, 2014 release:

Under the partnership, businesses that are members of a local chamber can use an innovative and user-friendly online solar marketplace at no cost. Users receive quick and easy options for putting solar on their commercial or residential buildings.

The Metro South Chamber of Commerce in Massachusetts is the first local chamber to take advantage of the new partnership. “Lowering costs, saving time, and creating local jobs is a winning combination that strengthens business and increases profits,” said Christopher Cooney, president and CEO of the Metro South Chamber. “The EnergySage process makes it easy for our chamber members to receive multiple quotes, learn about tax credits, and gauge potential long-term gains.”

 “The EnergySage process makes it easy for our chamber members to receive multiple quotes, learn about tax credits, and gauge potential long-term gains.”

Through the partnership, chamber members will have access to robust solar options, an instant estimate of the costs, savings, and financial options and the ability to include local companies in the price comparisons. Chamber businesses that create a free account on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace will receive quotes from multiple pre-screened and high-quality solar installers, easing the process of shopping for the right solar system. EnergySage will make a donation – ranging from $250 for residential systems to up to $5,000 for large commercial systems – to the local chamber of commerce whose members go solar through the EnergySage Marketplace.

“EnergySage is excited about this national partnership with Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy,” said John Gingrich, Head of Corporate Development for EnergySage. “We understand that solar can be complex for business owners and this partnership offers a great opportunity to help these decision-makers choose solar with ease.”

Diane Doucette, Executive Director of Chambers for Innovation & Clean Energy, called the partnership a “win-win” for local chambers and their member companies. “Chambers are always on the lookout for valuable no-cost services for member companies,” Doucette said. “Our EnergySage partnership offers the added benefit of providing chambers with additional revenue for helping their member companies go solar.”


Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE) is a national network of local chambers of commerce that recognize the economic development opportunity of clean energy. CICE works with local chambers to offer programs that help them and their member companies successfully navigate and prosper in the clean energy space. Through their clean energy information hub, CICE provides easy access to clean energy information, incentives, best practices, and an opportunity for local chambers to connect with clean energy experts throughout the country.


The EnergySage Solar Marketplace, a comprehensive national consumer destination site for solar photovoltaics (PV) systems. The EnergySage Marketplace transforms the complex Solar PV shopping process into a simple online comparison-shopping experience, by enabling consumers to compare quotes from multiple pre-screened installers in an apples-to-apples format across all financing options. The unique, innovative platform provides unprecedented levels of simplicity, choice and transparency, all at no cost to consumers.

The EnergySage platform helps to reduce prices and make solar PV systems more accessible to a larger portion of the population. Its goal is to drive exponential increases in market adoption of solar. EnergySage’s benefits extend to providers such as manufacturers, installers, financiers and other professionals involved in the solar PV sales process as well, through increased consumer awareness, knowledge and demand for their services. By creating efficiencies in both the buying and selling processes, EnergySage slashes the time and effort required by consumers and installers, significantly reducing customer acquisition costs, boosting consumer confidence, and ultimately accelerating mass-market solar adoption.

EnergySage has received two prestigious SunShot Awards from the Department of Energy to develop and commercialize the Solar Marketplace.

–Anita M. Harris
The Harris Communications Group is an award winning PR and marketing firm with clients in health care, life sciences, technology and energy, worldwide. 


HarrisCom Advisors To Address Data Mining Meetup June 18, 2014


The Boston Data Mining Meetup will feature Mark Kon and Eric Morris, both of whom are advisors to the Harris Communications Group.  The talks , to begin at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, June 18, will explore the application of both neural networks and machine learning in the financial markets–followed by networking and refreshments.   For  location or more information–please sign up on line or email

    Professor Mark Kon of Boston University will present: “Some background on machine learning and its uses in financial prediction”Machine learning is still a growing field in both its theoretical aspects and its applications.  It is being applied to such areas as robotics, self-driving cars, and  computational biology/drug discovery.   Its origins lie in artificial neural network theory, which beg

[media-credit standalone=0 id=1 align="alignleft" width="114"]Mark Kon[/media-credit]

Mark Kon

an an evolution in the 90s toward the broader field of machine learning.  The area is based on some simple principles which I will discuss. The first is the  universality of feature vectors, i.e., the possibility of encoding all objects into strings of numbers.  The second is the “geometrization” of learning, i.e., the translation of learning problems into geometrical location tasks, and the third is the so-called kernel trick.  I will explain the basic ideas and give examples of applications in financial and other areas.

  • About the presenter:  

    Mark Kon is a professor of Mathematics and Statistics at Boston University, and is also a faculty member in the Neuroscience and Bioinformatics programs.   His areas of research  have included neural networks, machine learning, computational biology, and quantum computation.   He studied mathematics, physics, and psychology at Cornell, and mathematics at MIT.

    Entrepreneur Eric Morris presents “Introduction to Neural Networks in Financial Market Analysis”

    Neural networks for machine learning have a rich history and recent resurgence in applied problems across a wide range of fields, especially where it is challenging to write rule-based programs. In this talk we will briefly explore the biological foundation of neural networks and why the human brain can be a highly advantageous paradigm from which to construct analytic hypotheses. After an introduction to biological neural networks, we will explore the application of these characteristics to artificial neural networks and their components. Finally, we will use what we have learned to demonstrate a practical application of applying neural networks to financial data to generate a predictive hypothesis.

    About the presenter:

    Eric Morris is consulting out of the Cambridge Innovation Center and working on several projects in the finance and technology space. He recently left the French firm Capgemini where he was a consultant on strategy and technology to Fortune 500 clients. Eric graduated with honors from Cornell University where he earned a double major studying Biology (concentrating in biotechnology and business) and Applied Economics and Management in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences School and Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management respectively.

    –Anita M. Harris

    Anita Harris is managing director of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning marketing and PR firm based in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA.  She, in fact, suggested both speakers to Meetup Organizer Sheamus McGovern.

HarrisCom’s Anita Harris to speak on Independent publishing May 14

Anita M. Harris, Managing Director of the Harris Communications Group, will speak on a panel entitled  “BOOK PUBLISHING ON YOUR OWN” on Wednesday, May 14, 2014, in the Lincoln Public Library.  3 Bedford Road, Lincoln, MA.

Authors Susan Coppock, Anita Harris and Rick Wiggin of the Write Stuff will describe their experiences in publishing and marketing their books, which will be available for purchase. Light refreshments will be served.

About the authors
Susan Coppock is the author of Fly Away Home: A Coming of Age Memoir, which describes her unusual childhood and adolescence as the daughter of disengaged parents, continuing through early adulthood until her mother’s death. Susan used a turnkey service from Book Baby to create and distribute her book in electronic form. At 25,000 words, the book is too long for a magazine but too short to interest traditional publishers, an example of how technology has opened up a new market for works of intermediate length called e-singles in industry parlance.

Anita Harris is the author of Broken Patterns: Professional Women and the Quest for a New Feminine Identity, a book first published by Wayne University Press, about the changing role of women in society over time. The original book was out of print, so Anita purchased back the rights, updated the book and published the new edition in both e-book and paperback formats through Cambridge Common Press, her own publishing imprint.

Rick Wiggin is the author of Embattled Farmers: Campaigns and Profiles of Revolutionary Soldiers from Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1775-1783, a history of the revolutionary war focusing on the military service of Lincoln residents during the conflict, including profiles of the 256 documented combatants. The Lincoln Historical Society published Rick’s book in hardback and paperback; it is not available in e-book format.

Directions and parking:



HarrisCom Co-Sponsors April 8 Home Energy Monitoring & Privacy Event

Screenshot 2014-03-22 09.10.07Anharris | Harris Communications Group
We’re pleased to co-sponsor  the 360 Chestnut  and BTW [Behind the Walls Magazine ] event

What:  Panel presentation: impact of home energy monitoring devices on privacy
When:  April 8th, 2014
Where: Cambridge Innovation Center, 1 Broadway,Cambridge, MA Havana 5th Floor
With:  Deborah Hurley, Jim Bride, Joseph Kolchisnky, Jason Hanna, and Daniel Hullah. Moderated by Alexandra Hall & Harold Simansky

Google’s recent acquisition of “smart thermostat maker NEST” was met with excitement in the home energy world—Google is finally recognizing the importance of energy efficiency. But now that the excitement has died down, people are realizing that Google will be in their homes more intimately than ever before. What does this mean for Americans’ already compromised privacy?

On April 8th at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square, 360Chestnut, Inc., and BTW: Behind the Walls magazine will host a panel discussion titled, “Does Your House Know Too Much About You?” Featuring experts on the home energy industry and “green” home improvement, the panel will address the looming issue of “smart” home monitoring devices: with sales expected to increase by 300% by 2020, are we giving up too much of privacy when embracing them?

The panel will include Deborah Hurley, a fellow at Harvard University’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science; Jim Bride, Founder and CEO of Energy Tariff Experts, LLC; Joseph Kolchinsky, Founder and Managing Director of OneVision Resources; Jason Hanna, Founder and CEO of Embue and Daniel Hullah, Partner and COO of Rockport Capital.  The moderators will be Harold Simansky, Founder and CEO of 360Chestnut Inc, and publisher of BTW: Behind The Walls and Alexandra Hall, Executive Producer of 360 Chestnut Inc, and Editor-in-Chief of BTW: Behind the Walls and COUPBoston will be the moderator.

The Panel:

Deborah Hurley is is a Fellow of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) at Harvard University and directed the Harvard University Information Infrastructure Project. At the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in Paris, France, she was responsible for drafting, negotiation and adoption of the OECD Guidelines for the Security of Information Systems. Prior to joining the OECD, she practiced computer and intellectual property law in the United States. Hurley is Chair, Board of Directors, Electronic Privacy Information Center. She carried out a Fulbright study in Korea and is the author of Pole Star: Human Rights in the Information Society, and other publications. Hurley received the Namur Award of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) in recognition of outstanding contributions, with international impact, to awareness of social implications of information technology.

Joseph (Joey) Kolchinsky is the founder and Managing Director of OneVision Resources, a company that merges his curiosity with technology and passion for simplicity. The firm is redefining excellent service for the modern family, providing comprehensive and stress-free support to members across a growing range of needs including personal technology, smart home design, and health management. Joey lives in Boston with his wife Jennifer and daughter Penelope.

Jim Bride has over a decade of experience in the energy and environmental industries. He launched Energy Tariff Experts, LLC to address an unmet need in the marketplace for accurate utility rate and energy cost information to enable more informed energy investment decisions. Prior to Energy Tariff Experts, Jim spent over four years at EnerNOC, a pioneering Smart Grid firm.

Jason Hanna is the CEO & Founder of Embue; a Boston-based company developing connected heating & cooling controls for residential and small commercial application. Jason is also the Founder & Board Chairman of Greentown Labs, a Boston-area incubator for clean energy and hardware companies, now home to over 40 emerging start-ups. Jason previously worked in high technology and was responsible for building an organization that automated over $1B of transactions for EMC Corporation.

Daniel Hullah is a Partner and COO of RockPort Capital a multi-stage venture capital firm that invests in the areas of alternative and traditional energy, mobility, and sustainability.  Daniel is an active member of the screening and diligence team and has worked on multiple transactions in several key cleantech sectors most notably solar energy and green buildings.  One such company is EcoFacto, a leader in home energy management, providing user-friendly active management of residential and small commercial thermostats using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model.

Harold Simansky (moderator)  is the founder of 360Chestnut.  Before 360Chestnut he was involved in the creation of Green Guild of MA, LLC, a full-service energy audit and home weatherization company that has helped over 1,000 Massachusetts home owners make their homes more energy efficient.  Earlier, Harold was the developer of one of the first green, LEED-certified residential buildings in the Boston-area.  Harold also has experience in the world of finance and as a consultant with Bain & Company. He is a graduate of the MIT Sloan School of Management and Brandeis University.

Alexandra Hall (moderator) has more than ten years’ experience as a critic, lifestyle writer and editor of lifestyle topics in Boston and beyond. Alex has covered fashion, travel, entertainment, food, beauty, books, and the arts. She is currently editor-in-chief if COUP Boston, the city’s only luxury digital lifestyle magazine, and a freelance writer for publications including: Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Appétit, Town & Country, and Elle Decor.

360Chestnut is a multi-platform media company that helps consumers make their homes more sustainable, healthy and energy efficient.  This free-to-the-consumer service provides engaging experiences, expert information and personalized access to the 5000+ rebates that pay homeowners to be more energy efficient, as well as a connection to those who can do the work.  360Chestnut also published BTW: Behind the Walls magazine in partnership with the Wall Street Journal.

BTW: Behind the Walls is a quarterly magazine focused on healthy, sustainable and beautiful homes.  It is created in partnership with the Wall Street Journal and is distributed to more than 50,000 Wall Street Journal subscribers in MA, NH and VT.

COUPBoston is a multi-platform online magazine dedicated to all things innovative and forward thinking in Boston’s lifestyle community.


–Anita M. Harris, Managing Director,  Harris Communications Group, an award-winning PR and marketing firm based in Cambridge, MA that  advised 360 Chestnut on outreach for this event. Anita  is also the author of Broken Patterns, Professional Women and the Quest for a New Feminine Identity and the  publisher of New Cambridge Observer.

Anita Harris on PBS: Ban Sandberg Ban Bossy Campaign?

[media-credit standalone=0 name="Mark Hoffman" align="alignleft" width="300"]Anita Harris, author and communications expert[/media-credit]

Harris Communications Group President and Broken Pattenrns Author Lincoln, MA Library

On Friday, March 21,  Anita M. Harris, author  and Harris Communications Group Managing Director questioned the efficacy of the Sheryl Sandberg Ban Bossy campaign on “To the Contrary,” of national public television.  A taped interview with Harris introduced a discussion of  the campaign–which aims to expunge the term “bossy” from the vocabulary so as to encourage girls to seek leadership positions.

In the interview, Harris reiterated her concerns, first voiced  at  New Cambridge Observer and Broken Patterns Book that  the campaign erroneously equates  bossy–“fond of telling others what to do; domineering” –with good leadership. She also suggested the campaign might diminish confidence in some women and encourage bullying in  others.

To the Contrary,  which airs nationally, is an all-female news analysis series. The segment is available on the Web  at;-ban-bossy;-congresswomen-and-leadership. 

The program also covered the Obamacare Birth control mandate. Guests included:  Former Congresswomen Blanche Lincoln, Carol Moseley Braun, Connie Morella, Barbara Kennelly and Mary Bono. Panelists were Amy Siskind, The New Agenda; Kay Coles James, *resident, Gloucester Institute; Avis Jones DeWeever, NPR host, and Rina Shah, Republican strategist.

The  Harris Communications Group, is  an award-winning PR and Marketing firm based at the Cambridge Innovation Center, in Kendall Square, Cambridge. Anita Harris, HarrisCom’s Managing Director, is the author of Broken Patterns, Professional Women and the Quest for a New Feminine Identity.  Broken Patterns is available at,, and at the Harvard Bookstore, in Harvard Square.

Harris Communications Group’ Anita Harris questions Sheryl Sandberg Ban Bossy campaign

News from the Harris Communications Group March 25, 2014

[media-credit standalone=0 id=1 align="alignleft" width="300"]Harris Communications Group President and Broken  Pattenrns Author  Speaking at Lincoln, MA Library[/media-credit]

Harris Communications Group President and Broken Pattenrns Author Speaking at Lincoln, MA Library

Cambridge, MA – Harris Communications Group’s Anita Harris, author of Broken Patterns, Professional Women and the Quest for a New Feminine Identity, supports Sheryl Sandberg’s campaign to encourage girls to become leaders. But she questions whether the Sandberg “ban bossy” campaign will promote good leadership. The campaign suggests that rather than call forceful girls  “bossy,”  we should view them as future leaders. “But, identifying bossy individuals as leaders misses the mark—and may the diminish confidence of other girls, ”  Harris says.  “The Oxford Dictionaries define bossy as ‘fond of giving people orders, domineering.’ However, a good leader brings out the best in others and encourages them to excel in reaching common goals.” Rather than use the term “leader” to describe girls or boys who tell others what to do, Harris suggests considering them candidates for leadership training. “Some kids are bossy in the worst sense – pushy, cocky, tyrannical, draconian, oppressive, dictatorial or anti-democratic.  And there can be a fine line between bossy and bully, regardless of gender.” Harris is also concerned that the Sandberg campaign’s emphasis on corporate and political leadership for females could diminish the confidence of girls who are not inclined to head companies, run for office, or become highly visible “bigwigs.” “We need to recognize and respect that there are many ways and realms in which to lead – not just in business and government, but in sports, the arts, education, nonprofits,” Harris says.” Women can lead at all levels, in any job, community, school, and in their own families. We should encourage girls to be authentic, to follow their own paths, and to assume leadership in ways that will positively impact their own lives and the people around them.” Anita M. Harris is the author of Broken Patterns, Professional Women and the Quest for a New Feminine Identity  (2nd edition, February, 2014).   A former  journalist, Harris covered “women’s issues” for Newsday and MacNeil/Lehrer (now the NewsHour) of PBS. She is now managing director  of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning PR and marketing firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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