Posts Tagged by Boston

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.

Dec. 4 benefit to honor tech education visionary Seymour Papert, in Cambridge

 Our friend and colleague Mark Guay Esq. invites all to attend:
Small Solutions, Big Ideas (SSBI) and One Planet Education Network (OPEN):
 Learning to Change the World© &
Honoring the Legacy of Seymour Papert
December 4, 2013
6 – 9 PM
Cambridge Innovation Center 5th Floor
1 Broadway Street, Cambridge, MA
A panel discussion, demos, celebration, and fundraiser at the Cambridge Innovation Center December 4th 6-9 PM 5th floor, featuring leading education experts and technology and education: innovators Brian Silverman, Artemis Papert, Gary Stager, Mitch Resnick, Walter Bender, Cynthia Solomon and others.
They’ll share their experiences and insights about the latest developments in educational games and other related technology-based learning programs.
 The panel discussion will be followed by nibbles, networking and demos of the latest learning software and games by the Small Solutions, Big Ideas and One Planet Education Network.  (Scroll down to view program)
The event will also honor constructivism pioneer and MIT Professor Seymour Papert for his contributions to education, including his promotion of technology use in classrooms.
The program will benefit OPEN,  a leading provider of online multiplayer adventure learning games that engage and inspire kids to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. OPEN’s mission is to transform teaching and learning by combining the power of 3D virtual video games with educationally rich storylines that challenge children and inspire a 24×7 passion for learning.

Small Solutions ( and OPEN   (

Panel Topics & Presenters

Legacy of Seymour Papert
Speakers: Cynthiia, Solomon: Brian Silverman, Artemis Papert, Gary Stager.
Presentation of a Tribute to Seymour Papert to Alan and Artemis Papert
Learning to Change to World
Claudia Urrea and Walter Bender, OLPC movement, its impact and lessons
The Changing World of Learning
Evolving Learning : Gary Stager, Mitch Resnick and Meredith Hamilton
The Role of GamesandOnline Communities
George Newman, Danny Fain and Johnny Ronelus (One Planet Education Network) and Sandra Thaxter (Small Solutions Big Ideas)
Demos & Break Out Meetings Small Solutions Education Program in Kenya: Sandra Thaxter and Alan Papert
One Planet Education Network Game Demos: George Newman, Danny Fain and Johnny Ronelus
BumpBump Books:  Meredith Hamilton


 Anita Harris, Managing Director
The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and marketing firm specializing in media relations, content marketing for clients in health, science, biotechnology, technology, education and energy. Based at the Cambridge Innovation Center in Cambridge, MA, we’re on the pulse of some of the most exciting products, ideas and services anywhere. 

Harris Communications Group is PR sponsor for Biotech Tuesday Startup Competition

[media-credit standalone=0 id=1 align="alignright" width="300"]Judges from Lab Central, Novartis and EMD Serono at Biotech Tuesday Awards [/media-credit]

Judges from Lab Central, Novartis and EMD Serno at Biotech Tuesday Awards

We were pleased to serve as PR sponsor for Biotech Tuesday’s first-ever life science innovation competition and event–held Tueday, Nov. 19, at the District Hall in Boston’s Seaport area

At the event,  Boston area  startups Cocoon Biotech, Riparian Pharmaceuticals, Cellanyx Diagnostics, and DavosPharma  were awarded $22K in funds and in-kind services to three Boston area life science companies.

The winners were chosen by Executives from EMD Serono, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research and LabCentral  from among pitches delivered by  five finalists.  The five were selected from an initial field of thirteen online entries based, in part, on online feedback from BiotechTuesday members. The three winners were all therapeutics and diagnostics startups proposing solutions to challenging medical problems.

Cocoon Biotech, Inc., led by CEO and founder Ailis Tweed-Kent, a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital won the $5000 EMD Serono Innovation Award.  Cocoon Biotech is developing a silk-based gel for injection into the joint to provide long lasting joint support and lubrication in patients with osteoarthritis.  EMD Serono is the biopharmaceutical subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a global pharmaceutical and chemical group.

Riparian Pharmaceuticals, led by Will Adam, Chief Scientific Officer and President, won both the $10,000 in-kind Novartis Innovation Award and the $3000 in-kind Pharmatek Innovation Award. Riparian Pharmaceuticals is focused on therapeutics that induce an anti-inflammatory response in cells to address diseases such as atherosclerosis.  Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Inc. discovers and develops new and innovative medicines. Pharmatek Laboratories, Inc. is a premier pharmaceutical chemistry development and manufacturing organization supporting the pharmaceutical & biotechnology industries.

2013-11-19_19-09-56_272 Foreground Carlos Martinez-Vela, Executive Director, Venture Cafe Foundation
Background: Seth Taylor, cofounder, Biotech Tuesday

Anharris | Harris Communications GroupAnharris | Harris Communications GroupCellanyx Diagnostics, led by Co-Founder and CEO Ashok Chander, won the $4000 in-kind LabCentral Innovation Award.  Cellanyx is developing a prostate cancer diagnostic based on culturing tumor biopsy cells that promises to be much more accurate than current diagnostics.  LabCentral provides fully functional lab space, permits, waste handling, plus all reasonably common lab equipment for bioresearch.

In addition to awarding startups, the event also acknowledged the contribution of life science products and services in enabling cutting edge research for new therapeutics.  DavosPharma won the Most Innovative Product or Service Award in recognition of its Anthem-GenTox product. This product offers scientists a high throughput genotoxicity assay based on human cells with greatly improved accuracy over conventional methods.

Full disclosure: Biotech Tuesday co-founder Seth Taylor serves on our advisory board.

–Anita Harris
Anita Harris is president of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning PR firm specializing in strategy, content, media relations for clients in health, science, technology and energy. 


Boston’s District Hall Celebrates Grand Opening

DHALL_w_logo_and_tag_linePleased  to have attended the celebration for the opening of  District Hall–the beautiful new event center  for innovators located in Boston’s snazzy Seaport District–just across from the Institute for Contemporary Art.  Managed by the Venture Cafe Foundation–a sister organization  of the Cambridge Innovation Center (C)C)  where I work– District Hall has a large event space, conference and class rooms, a restaurant and a view of the Harbor. What I like best is its scale–it’s not a skyscraper,  is not overwhelming like the nearby convention center or the CIC in Kendall Square. It’s just a simple, welcoming  space with white board, galore.

As described on  its Web site as:

“It’s the first building of its kind in the world….

” …A dedicated civic space where the innovation community can gather and exchange ideas. Inside you’ll find open workspace, classrooms, assembly space, flexible use ‘pods’, and writable surfaces everywhere!  Also stop by for coffee and food at Brew and Gather.”

“…The result of a collaborative public-private partnership. When Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced his vision for the Innovation District, he called for a gathering space for innovators to get together and share ideas. The building was then privately funded and built by Boston Global Investors, as the first project in their twenty-three acre masterplan for Seaport Square. Operations and programming are run by the Venture Café Foundation, a not-for-profit sister organization to the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC). ”

Its  hospitality partners are Gather and Brew, both operated by The Briar Group. The building and the restaurant were designed by Hacin + Associates.

Without the generous support of John HancockIdeaPaint and Philips Color Kinetics, District Hall would not be the unique space it is today.”

District Hall
75 Northern AvenueBoston, MA.  02210


—Anita M.Harris, Managing Director
Harris Communications Group

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and market development firm.  Based in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, we provide a media relations, marketing communications, writing, crisis communications, content, marketing and social media services for companies in health, science, technology and energy. 

Dick Pirozzolo on “Next Level PR”

Dick Pirozzolo

Richard Branson, Jack Welch and Mark Zuckerberg are among the savvy CEOs who get better and more powerful press coverage.

It’s because they use Next Level PR principles that rely on these factors to generate news: controversy, humor story, consistency and simplicity  – the same principles you can use to promote and grow your company.

For details log onto my latest artricle on Next Level PR strategies in First America Startup or read excerpts below.

If Your Company Wants to Make Big News Use ‘Next Level PR’

Controversy – A colleague just told me that medical PR was tough now because of all the controversy over The Affordable Care Act.

What! Now is the time to jump in with two feet and take full advantage of the controversy over the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare to generate news for those who want to become leaders.

More than anything, journalists love controversy. We recently got a cover story in The PCB Magazine on how manufacturers of printed circuit boards for medical devices and an automated medication monitoring system will benefit from the Affordable Care Act with supporting comments by the nation’s leading medical ethicist Dr. Zeke Emanuel.

Funny –

There are times when funny will get you a lot more positive exposure than deadpan. Think New Jersey Governor Chris Christie eating a donut in front of David Letterman or Michelle Obama getting her groove with Jimmy Fallon.
Washington Post humorist and syndicated columnist Gene Weingarten once interviewed our client Hilla Ovil-Brenner, founder of WhiteSmoke, a turbo-charged spellchecker.

Weingarten quipped that Ovil-Brenner probably didn’t like it when people learned to spell because it would hurt her business.
She quipped back, “If I sold plus-size fashions, that would not mean I want women to be fat, it means I want them to feel good, look good and be successful in their lives. Just like WhiteSmoke helps people….”

The interview was hilarious and got picked up by newspapers nationwide. Product sales soared.

Story – 

Too often organizations forget that their CEO is a real-life character whose heart, skills, challenges, obstacles and conflicts make for far more interesting reading than canned quotes about how, “Delighted we are to announce Jean as the new VP engineering at Techno Pants Corp.”

Stop sanitizing CEOs. Let them be human, let them talk about how they resolve conflicts with the board of directors, investors or the government and their personal and business relationships. Make them come alive. We love knowing about Ben and Jerry, Jobs and Wosniak, Bill and Melinda and Richard Branson because we see them as real people.

Quick, who knows the CEO of Dell or American Airlines?

Consistency – 

While representing institutional investment managers, a journalist once mused, “How come 75% of all money managers are in the top quartile when it comes to their performance news releases?” That’s because the poor performers hide in the weeds when their numbers are down and emerge only when their numbers are up.

Want to win the respect of journalists, build credibility and generate positive press over the long haul? Be accessible when the news is bad. Get it out, get it over with and move on. When it’s time to deliver good news, you will be far more credible and will have a bond of trust with the editors and reporters that results in positive press.

Simplicity – 

Keep it simple. How many times do we use jargon like OEM, Forex or Q4 without thinking that the journalist who makes the first cut on our news release might be new to manufacturing or finance to say nothing of the reader. Journalism critics note that The Wall Street Journal, whose readers are supposed to be mostly business types, explains every term that is likely to be unfamiliar to the layperson.

Kim Wallace of the market research firm Wallace & Washburn in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and author of “Why People Don’t Buy Things,” puts it this way. “Liken new concepts to what we already know. Let’s say you want to reach customers who had never seen snow tires before and wanted to explain their benefit. If you say, ‘They are like snowshoes for your car,’ everyone will get it instantly.

Consider these news-making tactics when it comes to creating the kind of awareness that establishes your company as an influential leader and building greater awareness and brand equity.

That’s Next Level PR!

Dick Pirozzolo is Managing Director of Pirozzolo Company Public Relations in Boston, founded in 1980, and a Media Bistro Teacher. His firm figured prominently in promoting startup companies that have become publicly held or been acquired by major public corporations. He lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts and Nantucket.

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and market development firm specializing in PR, marketing, content and thought leadership for clients in healthcare,  science,  biotech, technoilogy and energy. Located in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, we’re on the pulse of some of the most exciting ideas, products and technologies, anywhere.

With Google Panda…for SEO & content marketing, what’s a small company to do?

panda Free digital
In some ways, I’m pleased with the new (ish) google algorithm for SEO–tho no one is quite sure  exactly what it is.

I’m told it enhances the need for “real” content and makes it much more difficult to game the system because it  filters out spammy black hat stuff, repetitive key words and nonsense content aimed at getting sites to the top of the first page of Google search.

But after  listening to recent Cision Webinar on content marketing I feel daunted.    For search engine optimization (SEO) not only do say you need to post 3 blogs a day, Cision says,  but also you must focus on a single keyword, making it extremely clear to search spiders that you only do one thing.

But what about someone like me—a creative person who is not a twenty-something with just a single product or skill?

Or  my company, HarrisCom, for example–if you’ll pardon the self-serving plug?

We offer a variety of communication services–and there’s not a single word to describe them all.  In years past, “PR” might have filled the bill–but, now, PR means many things to many people. And it now includes aspects of advertising, social media, thought leadership, integrated marketing,  promotions, media relations, training, writing, editing, press release–and we also now offer clinical relations, digital media outreach.   Plus, we do all of the above for clients in healthcare, life science, biotech, energy…You get the picture.

Not to mention the time it takes to post three  non-BS blogs a day.

I ask you–and  Google–  and SEO experts–given the restraints/constraints/requirements of  the PANDA algorithm, what’s a multitalented person–or a small company– to do?


Comments/responses/answers welcome!

Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is managing director of the Harris Communications Group: An award-winning public relations and market development firm specializing in media relations, thought leadership, content marketing, etc. etc. etc. for companies and organizations in healthcare, biomedical science, technology and energy, worldwide. 

Content Marketing for the Chronically Disorganized



Sorry it’s taken almost a month to get to this. but…at  the  October  SEO meetup in Cambridge,    Scott Jangro  co-founder of online content arketing platform  Shareist,  addressed the problem of keeping up with your blogs and social media outreach. 

Janro told a group of approximately 50 that he spends about half an  hour a day–first thing in the morning–reading, setting up and sharing content–and working on what he called the occasional “epic blog.”

Read read read
Any social media program should start with reading, Janro said.   Your reading should include  rss feeds, other bloggers, thought leaders, companies,  communities, reddit;  digg–to get ideas to share and develop an audience.    New apps and  platforms such as  Pockt, indyspaper, eventle,  readbility, decodingm, pinard and shars funnel content from elsewhere to share….not to  mention Facebook Linked-in, Twitter,  and  Google +. Schedule in advance using a platform like HootSuite –so that you can automatically post 2-3-4 items a day.

Give give give give–in four out of five posts, Janro said. Then promote yourself in the fifth.

Post post post. A bit daunting…well….MORE than a bit daunting:   Janro  says write two or  three posts a week…and get them to  Facebook, Twitter and other social outlets three-to-five times a day.

Epic posts:  Post a long, carefully crafted blog once a week to once a month.  Otherwise, post mostly “curated” contentgarnered from your massive reading effort.

Weekly newsletter Send a newsletter recapping all of the above once a week.   (Speaking for myself,  please don’t:  I do NOT want to hear from anyone that often (I just deleted 8000 emails from just one of my email accounts). Quarterly is plenty, as far as I’m concerned. )

Tuesday is the best day to send a newsletter because people will have recovered from Monday overload.

As a former journalist, I’m concerned about regurgitating so much garbage.   And, as  a person who likes to think of herself as creative and original, I’m not that crazy about being a conduit for everyone else’s marketing junk.  But Janro  says people actually want to see this stuff and  enjoy contribute to the churn.

Janro gave an excellent presentation and I’m happy to share his points….(here’s a link to his slides SlideShare.) but  I can’t imagine how he does all of the above in a half hour a day.

,And–despite all the whiing above, it would be great if you’d  share this post. 

–Anita Harris, Managing Director, Harris Communications Group
HarrisCom is an award-winning PR and market development firm specializing in media relations, content marketing and social media for companies and organizations in health, science and technology, worldwide.

Social Media, Scientists and…Sales?

Was privileged to attend Hubspot’s recent Inbound Conference in Boston…One  highlight was a presentation by Sonya Pelia,       Director of Social Media at ThermoFisher Scientific,  on  “Selling to Scientists, the Most Skeptical Audience in the World.”

I’m not a scientist–but, before the talk,  I  was skeptical–finding it hard to imagine  the scientists I’ve worked with tweeting and friending one another about new products.  But, after learning that two years into its social media program,  Thermo Fisher, which offers a variety of scientific instruments and tests,  now gets 30 percent of its qualified sales leads  from social media links  to its Website and that Pelia herself  now has more than 90 thousand twitter followers @chromsolutions,  I’m reconsidering.

How does she Pelia do  it?  She posts five 400-word  blog posts a week at  . Each post includes 2-3 links to the ThermoFisher Web site and is summarized, with links,  on twitter, Facebook,  You-tube , Pinterest, Linked-in and various bookmarking sites.  Some of the posts are original; many repurpose news garnered from other sites.  Within two years, the blog had 3200 subscribers.  The majority of useful leads come from Linked-in,  Pelia said.

But other sites are, evidently, tremendously appealing to scientists and others interested in scientific fields. According to Pelia,  a Facebook page  called  “The earth story”  has half a million “likes.”  Another,   with the delightful title   ” I f-ing love science” has 8 million.

I still believe that social media efforts  strategies should depend on whom you want to reach and why–  but these numbers are impressive.  Clearly,  for anyone seeking to reach scientists, social media is not to be ignored.

Anita Harris, Managing Director, Harris Communications Group
HarrisCom is a PR and market development agency providing media relations, content, and social media services to companies and organizations in health, science, technology and energy, worldwide. 


Reimbursement, Regulatory Expert Edward Berger Joins HarrisCom Advisory Board

I’m more than happy to announce that Ed Berger, CEO at Larchmont Strategic Advisors,  has joined the Harris Communications Group Advisory Board.

Ed has worked for nearly 30 years in healthcare , medical technology and  life science fields.  His expertise encompasses biomedical regulatory and reimbursement policy as well as corporate communications.

He  brings a wealth of experience  and insight to our group and to our clients.

As a member of the senior management teams of Fresenius Medical Care, Thermo Cardiosystems and ABIOMED, Dr. Berger exercised responsibility for strategically sensitive communications with government agencies, news media and investors and served as principal corporate spokesperson through numerous crises and other high visibility events.

Through his consultancy, Larchmont Strategic Advisors, he helps life sciences companies create and implement integrated strategies to address the obstacles and opportunities they face in their efforts to secure public and private insurer coverage and optimal reimbursement for new or evolving technologies.

Focusing on issues that arise at the intersection of public policy, corporate strategy development, and internal and external advocacy, Dr. Berger helps clients to deal effectively with the strategic challenges posed by the rapidly evolving healthcare regulatory and policy environment.  His clients have included companies in fields such as mechanical circulatory support, cardiology, orthopedics, neural monitoring and neuromodulation, gastrointestinal surgery, pulmonary medicine, nuclear medicine, diagnostic imaging, clinical laboratory testing, and personalized medicine.

Dr. Berger is a member of Mass Medical Angels, a mentor in Boston University’s IGNITE program, and Past President of the Medical Development Group, a 400 member professional association of individuals professionally committed to the medical device and related life sciences business sectors.

He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Harvard College, and earned his Ph.D. in Political Science at Boston University, where he was later Assistant Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Urban Affairs and Planning program.

–Anita M. Harris

Anita Harris is the founder and 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 and energy, worldwide.  Based in Kendall Square, Cambridge, HarrisCom  on the pulse of some of the most innovative ideas, technologies and products,  anywhere. 



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