Posts Tagged by harris communications

MIT Convergence Report, Video Now Available Online

Convergence Report ImageAnharris | Harris Communications Group

Updated January 17, 2018

A landmark MIT Convergence report entitled “Convergence: The Future of Human Health”– released on June 23, 2016– and a video of launch proceedings are now available online.

The Convergence report–for which HarrisCom’s Anita Harris served as lead writer– and  related materials may be downloaded from . The launch proceedings,  held  on June 24 at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, are available at .

The  Convergence report, chaired by former MIT President Susan Hochfield, Nobel Laureate Philip Sharp and Koch Institute Director Tyler Jacks, outlines progress and challenges regarding Convergence science since the group’s 2011 report, “Convergence, The Third Revolution.”  The new report defines Convergence as “the merging of approaches and insights from historically distinct disciplines such as engineering, physics, computer science, chemistry, mathematics, and the life sciences” to  transform biomedicine and human health.

It argues  that bringing  Convergence to fruition requires strategic and sustained support from government, industry and academe.

images-1Anharris | Harris Communications Group


The report draws on insights from several dozen expert participants at two workshops, as well as on input from scientists and researchers across academia, industry, and government. Their efforts have produced a wide range of recommendations for advancing convergence research, but the report emphasizes one critical barrier above all: the shortage of federal funding for convergence fields.

“Convergence science has advanced across many fronts, from nanotechnology to regenerative tissue,” says Sharp. “Although the promise has been recognized, the funding allocated for convergence research in biomedical science is small and needs to be expanded. In fact, there is no federal agency with the responsibility to fund convergence in biomedical research.”

National Insitutes of Health

National Institutes of Health

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are the primary source of research funding for biomedical science in the United States. In 2015, only 3 percent of all principal investigators funded by NIH were from departments of engineering, bioengineering, physics, biophysics, or mathematics. Accordingly, the report’s authors call for increasing NIH funding for convergence research to at least 20 percent of the agency’s budget.


–Anita M. Harris, Managing Director, Harris Communications Group

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning public relations and marketing firm specializing in outreach for health, science and technology, worldwide. Located in Kendall Square, Cambridge, we’re on the pulse of some of the most exciting ideas, technologies and companies anywhere. 



Welcome to the Harriscom Blog

Anita Harris photoHi, and welcome to HarrisCom blog–a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA.
We’re an award-winning strategic communications firm specializing in integrated public relations, marketing communications and thought leadership for companies and organizations  in health, science, technology and energy fields.
The Harris Communications Group blog covers traditional and digital communications issues;  events;  cool companies, and  news of our clients.
We hope you’ll join the conversation through guest blogs or comments–and that you’ll subscribe and share our material with anyone you think would like to have it.
Anita Harris, President
Harris Communications Group
Cambridge, MA

Life Science PR: NuGEN launches sample prep kit for NGS analysis of multiple gene changes

Optimized for analysis of SNPs, mutations and copy number changes in 500+ cancer gene targets

Rapidly customizable for discovery, validation and highly-targeted clinical diagnostic testing in a single assay

NuGEN Technologies, of San Carlos, CA, today launched a sample preparation product that allows NGS detection of multiple changes in more than 500 individual genes implicated in cancer.

The reagent kit, based on NuGEN’s Single Primer Enrichment Technology (SPET), is called the Ovation Cancer Panel 2.0 Target Enrichment System. The new kit updates NuGEN’s well-established Ovation Cancer Panel Target Enrichment System both by enriching for an improved and larger selection of cancer-related genes, and by enabling the detection of gene level copy-number variations (CNV) in addition to SNPs, mutations and indels, in a single workflow. It can be used with either fresh or FFPE tissue sections to deliver sensitive and reproducible targeted genomic analysis.

The method can also be rapidly customized to provide target enrichment kits for any gene sets defined by the researcher within a target size range that may include thousands of genes or just a few.

The new product is the latest release in the company’s drive to offer tools for targeted resequencing that provide basic and clinical researchers with a holistic view of the underlying molecular biology of disease.

“We’re excited by this latest product introduction,” said NuGEN CEO Elizabeth Hutt. “The Ovation Cancer Panel 2.0 Target Enrichment System enables a more comprehensive picture of the biology of a particular sample. And by making it possible to analyze mutations, SNPs and gene copy number changes in a single assay, the new system will save researchers time and money and allow more efficient use of samples.”

Typically, to analyze single nucleotide mutations and copy number changes in a sample, researchers have had to employ completely different analysis platforms. NuGEN’s new method allows simultaneous targeted analysis of both types of changes, from a single sample preparation, on a choice of Illumina NGS systems.

According to Robert P. Sebra, Ph.D., Director of Technology Development at the Icahn Institute and Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York: “The underlying cause of cancer involves critical alterations in the genome. These alterations may include point mutations, changes in gene copy number, combinations of these, and other genomic changes. Having a common NGS workflow to simultaneously detect multiple types of variations would be invaluable because it would conserve precious patient samples and offers the ability to reproduce or validate results.”

Hutt added: “For cancer research, combined mutation and CNV analysis is a valuable complement to NuGEN’s recently released Ovation Fusion Panel Target Enrichment System, which also uses SPET to detect both known and unknown gene fusions in all exons of a 500 gene panel.”

About NuGEN

NuGEN Technologies Inc. is a rapidly-growing, privately-held company providing innovative products and systems for the preparation of 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.

About HarrisCom:
The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning PR and digital marketing firm based in Cambridge, MA. 

Life Science PR: 3 Companies Validate NGS Sample Prep Workflow

System integrates PreAnalytiX GmbH and NuGEN Technologies innovations to ensure reliable, reproducible, cost-effective RNA-Sequencing analysis. Corporate study alliance model critical to standardization, bringing genomics to the clinic.

San Carlos, CA and Piscataway, NJ, July 15, 2015— A multi-site study has clinically validated an end-to-end workflow for the collection, storage, transport and preparation of human whole blood samples for RNA-Sequencing (RNA-Seq). The study, initiated in January 2015, integrated products from PreAnalytiX GmbH and NuGEN Technologies, which worked collaboratively with RUCDR Infinite Biologics at Rutgers University to measure the system’s efficacy for transcriptome profiling with clinical samples.

“We have determined that the PreAnalytiX/NuGEN integrated workflow ensures reproducible, accurate and sensitive results in RNA-Seq of whole blood. Importantly, this integrated workflow enables gene expression from total RNA, allowing researchers to study both protein coding and regulatory transcripts from human whole blood,” said Dr. Andrew Brooks, Chief Operating Officer of RUCDR Infinite Biologics, who led the study. Brooks is also an associate professor of Genetics at Rutgers University and directs the Bionomics Research and Technology Center at the Environmental and Occupational Health Science Institute there.  Brooks will outline the study results on Tuesday, July 14 at the  International Leaders in Biobanking Conference, in Toronto.

“This study is critical for clinical researchers because it demonstrates that by using the combined PreAnalytiX and NuGEN workflow, scientists in laboratories around the world can confidently share not only their data but also their samples,” Brooks said.  “And, by joining forces to validate the combination of their proprietary technologies, PreAnalytiX and NuGEN have taken the lead with RUCDR to deliver the standardization needed for broader adoption of genomics in the clinic.”

Brooks explained that total RNA derived from patient blood samples is used for a myriad of clinical genomics applications—such as discovery and analysis of disease-related biomarkers, identification of new therapeutic targets and monitoring disease progression and treatment. But there are factors that present challenges to data integrity when using whole blood. Collection, storage, purification, handling and transport methods may vary. Nucleic acids can degrade during handling and processing, resulting in unreliable results and bias in transcript abundance. Whole blood also contains high levels of uninformative ribosomal RNA and reticulocyte globin RNA, which can reduce sequencing efficiencies and increase costs.  Moreover, variation between sites and operators makes it difficult to standardize results among researchers and laboratories. “If researchers across multiple sites obtain different results, we need to be sure the variations are attributable to changes in the biology and not the technology,” he said.

At the Biobanking Congress, Brooks reported tight correlation in results across three sites in New Jersey with multiple operators, using several nanograms of total RNA from each of 10 subjects. That is, using PreAnalytiX technology for extraction, storage and transportation of samples and NuGEN technology for library formation and depletion of ribosomal RNA and globin prior to whole transcriptome analysis, the study team found high reproducibility of results across sites, operators and equipment. “The combined workflow led to reproducible whole blood collection and storage; reproducible and robust RNA extraction; reproducible and consistent library creation; and tight performance correlations across and within sites,” he said.

“This integrated sample prep workflow will be important for scientists seeking new genetic biomarkers for disease. It will be valuable to pharmaceutical clinical trials for determining if a therapeutic leads to genetic changes in a particular cancer. And it is  important to the future of clinical research because it allows the development of guidelines and standards for scientists who want to share samples, not just data, globally, across sites and experiments,” Brooks said.  “Without such standardization, many results might never advance to the clinic.”

The study used the PreanalytiX  PAXgene Blood RNA System for whole blood collection, storage and RNA extraction and NuGEN’s Insert Dependent Adaptor Cleavage (InDA-C) technology from the NuGEN Ovation Human Blood RNA-Seq System  to prepare strand-specific RNA-Seq libraries and for ribosomal/globin depletion. RUCDR Infinite Biologics oversaw sample collection, processing and data analysis.

About NuGEN

NuGEN Technologies is the leader in providing solutions which make biological samples accessible for genomic analysis, enabling scientists to capture the truest biology achievable, independent of the quantity or quality of the samples. The company has commercialized numerous proprietary DNA and RNA sample preparation products for use in research and diagnostic applications. Founded in 2000, NuGEN Technologies, Inc. is privately held and headquartered in San Carlos, CA. For more information please visit

About RUCDR Infinite Biologics

RUCDR offers a complete and integrated selection of biological sample processing, analysis and biorepository services to government agencies, academic institutions, foundations and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies within the global scientific community. RUCDR provides DNA, RNA and cell lines with clinical data to hundreds of research laboratories for studies on mental health and developmental disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, diabetes and digestive, liver and kidney diseases. RUCDR completed an $11.8 million expansion and renovation of its facilities in May 2013. Read more at

NuGEN and Ovation are registered trademarks of NuGEN Technologies, Inc.. PreAnalytiX and PAXgene are registered trademarks of PreAnalytiX GmbH.

The Harris Communications Group is an award-winning Life Science PR and thought leadership firm based in Cambridge, MA. 


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.

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 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.

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.

Virtual Knowledge Assistant Work Exchanged for Donations to Philippine storm victims

Very pleased to spread the word that Leo von Wendorff, a colleague of ours at the Cambridge Innovation Center whose business is largely based in the Philippines.will, for one month,  donate all proceeds from his virtual knowledge worker business to victims of Super-Typhoon Haiya.



Leo Von Wendorff CEO, VKW Leo Von Wendorff, CEO, VKW


Leo writes:

Dear Friends of VKW-

Cities and Towns were destroyed.

Lives were lost.

Thousands may still be missing.

Together with you

We want to help

Recreate Communities

Let’s rebuild their Lives!


For one month, we are offering our Virtual Private Assistant services in exchange for your donation. 100% of the proceeds will go to the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan via Philippine Red Cross. Let us take on your time-consuming and mundane tasks, knowing that your donation will help rebuild the lives of those affected by this terrible tragedy.


Please submit your project, work order or task request to or (617) 299-1176 by December 7, 2013.


Typical tasks that we can handle for you:

  • Data Entry, such as data entry of all your business cards

  • Appointment settings for your business or personal event

  • Execute your social media and telemarketing campaign

  • Lead mining

  • Internet research


All task and pledges are subject to our review and depending on resources available.

-Your VKW Team
–Anita Harris Leo Von Wendorff CEO, VKW
Anita M. Harris is managing director of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning public relations and marketing firm based at the Cambridge Innovation Center, in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA.  HarrisCom specializes in media relations and content services for clients in health, science, technology, energy and education, worldwide. 


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. 

Next Page »