Inaugurating the President

Welcome back everyone!

What a fabulous time!
Laura and I got back Wednesday night from Washington and the entire Inauguration truly was an experience of a lifetime.

Waiting for the Inaugural
We arrived at the security gatepoint at 7:45 a.m. at 7th and D. Two hours later we got onto Pennsylvania Avenue. Somehow it was colder than Ottawa! How could that be? The limo parade of SUVs came by with President Bush and President-elect Obama on their way from coffee at the White House to Pennsylvania Avenue. A nice hors d'oeuvre before the main course.

Rather than joining the long line trying to get into the Newseum (where we had our tickets), we waited until it cleared, and went right in. So we ended up experiencing most of the Inaugural speech from Pennsylvania Avenue as well as on the huge screen in the warmth and comfort of the Newseum. 

Our Volunteer Experience
We left at 2:30 and after a quick bite with friends arrived at our designated volunteer site - just across from the Washington Convention Center. Still not sure what we were going to be specifically assigned to, Laura and I, along with two other volunteers were told to go the VIP check-in at the 7th and M Street entrance.
Laura & I wait for the ceremony [top]  Staffing the VIP check-in....

 So not thinking much about it one way or the other, we arrive to discover that our role was to 'meet and greet' and check the credentials of all the Senators, Congressmen, Mayors and celebrities coming to one of the six official Presidential Balls taking place in the Convention Center that night.

So Laura and I met the VIPs on the way in. The Secret Service were with us and away we went for the next eight hours. The first celebrity in was Sheryl Crow, and then in short order, came Queen Latifah (who was hilarious and a lot of fun); Sting, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ray Romano and Mariah Carey. Jamie Foxx (who was fascinated that Laura had "come all the way from Canada?!"). Oprah (who on the way out went up to Laura and ran her fingers through her fur collar saying, "I just gotta feel this!"). Denzel Washington (who spotted my (baked) potato chip bag and asked if he could have a few. I said, "take the whole bag" and that set off a fun exchange and a photo op. A very nice guy for sure!

Governor David Paterson was totally warm and engaging. If he's blind, you could fool me! He makes up for his loss of sight with incredible interpersonal skills, charming everyone.
I could go on, but you get the gist of how the evening went. The Obama family came by in three busloads and they couldn't have been nicer. [Although the Prez came in by a special entrance.]

No 'Celebrity Attitudes'
What really impressed us, though, was that there was no 'celebrity attitude' to deal with. The folks who paid the money for their tickets were all in a great mood and were not putting on airs of any kind. They were just celebrating a moment in history that they did not believe would happen only a few short years ago.

We were honored to be a small part of it. Here are a few more photos from our experience at the 2009 Inaugural.

Laura with Leonardo [top] Denzel drops by for some potato chips.

The Morning After the Night Before
The next morning CBC Radio interviewed Laura and me about our experience, exploring the theme of 'could such an inaugural event happen in Canada?' If you would like to hear it, click on here, select 'Play Part One' and the item starts at 4:28: Barry and Laura on CBC Radio's 'The Current'
The President and the Media
The President is clearly on his honeymoon with the press, but if you watch this clip of the President dropping into the White House press room on Thursday, you will see that he wants them to play by his rules. Check out how he bristles when a reporter 'breaks the rules' and dares to ask him a question about a serious issue. It won't always be this easy Mr. President.

And now for something completely different... introducing our new website!!!!
At last....our new website is up and running. Yes we will be filling in some areas as we go...but we are saying goodbye to our old website....www.ceo.tv. The main reason we did it was because people didn't automatically link in their minds the website url to us [and why should they?], so we decided to match our website with our company name....Duh..... 

Hey it's 'change you can believe in' [to coin a phrase]. However, for those of you who have not copied our new website address into your contact list [and we sincerely hope you do] the old site will remain 'pointed' to McLoughlin Media for the next number of months. So we hope we don't lose any of you! I will also be incorporating this blog into that site shortly as well. 

Check us out now at http://www.mcloughlinmedia.com
ENTER OUR CONTEST - if you go to the new website and email me [comment on  the new website, just say hi, or cruise our seminar offerings] at barry@mcloughlinmedia.com , you will be eligible to win a 2009 edition of my Encountering the Media pocket tips book in a random draw. [10 winners will be chosen]

Until next time...keep those emails, or snail mail coming in! [1875 I Street NW, Suite 500 Washington DC 20006-5425 or 200-130 Albert St. Ottawa ON Canada K1P 5G4]


US Airways' Miracle on the Hudson

Hi there!
Well on the theme of 'miracles never cease' it was truly wonderful to see the heroic actions of the US Airways pilot who averted a disaster and turned it into such a wonderfully positive story. What to make then of the CEO of US Airways, Doug Parker's remarks shortly after, in which there wasn't an ounce of human feeling emanating from him?


Click the upper left corner window for Mr. Parker's comments.

It's important to note that when such an event occurs, it's essential to speak to the feelings and actions of those involved as well as the sheer terror felt by them and their families. This should not be written by a lawyer. This was an extraordinary event by the pilot and crew; the passengers emerged from a truly terrifying situation and he needed to respond to that.

He can still recover some ground in the next few days, and from the look of it has already started to realize the deficit in human connection that he created, but it's an important lesson to learn about leadership. 'Show human feelings; connect with people. It won't hurt. But it will help to heal.'

Again, congratulations to the pilot Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III, in particular and to the cool professionalism of the US Airways crew. To the passengers and the rescuers, you are heroes too!

See you after the Inauguration.



Volunteering on the Inauguration

Welcome back!
It's a fresh new year in a time of massive change - filled almost at the same time, with anxiety and optimism. Anxiety over the economy and international events - such as the carnage in Gaza and, before that, the bombings in Mumbai. Optimism, however, is in the air over the inauguration of the 44th President who promises change and hope.

Laura and I just spent the weekend in Washington. In a perfect metaphor, the "limo" driver who picked us up is moonlighting from his daytime job as....a real estate agent!! I absolutely had to admire his sense of hard work and dedication to overcoming the current real estate meltdown.

Volunteering for the Inauguration

Over 60,000 people had applied to be volunteers on the Inaugural events, and between 12,000 to 15,000 were selected, including yours truly. So this past weekend, they already put Laura and me to work as well as put us through an orientation session. However, as one of the rules of the Inaugural Committee is not to blog on the specifics of the experience, I will refrain from saying anything about it. I'm certainly looking forward to the Inauguration.

When I mentioned to some people that I was going to be a volunteer, their reaction was interesting. They automatically assumed that I must have been "Obama'd". Actually no. While I admire his accomplishment and his campaign, along with his message of hope, I am really going to experience a truly historic moment in history. I mean, will we ever see something as seismic in change that his election represents? It says a lot about the American people and their willingness and capacity to change.

Marine One Sighting

As we drove by the White House, Marine One, the Presidential helicopter, was returning to the White House with President George W. Bush returning home from the aircraft carrier christening ceremony in honor of his father, Bush 41, in Norfolk VA. As it was his last trip as President on board, it lent a certain touch of melancholy to the sight.

Mr. Burris Goes to Washington

Speaking of the capacity to change, how about that 180 degree turnaround on the seating of Roland Burris as the new U.S. Senator from Illinois? Only a day after the sad spectacle of Mr. Burris being turned away at the door to the Senate, the back-pedaling by Senate Democrats hit record speed. It was a classic PR move that framed the debate as an effort to keep what would have been the only African-American out of the Senate. Ouch!!!

Well that wacko Jago seems to be more clever than we gave him credit for. Who would have thought that any appointee of his would have been given any credibility? Wonders never cease in the political world - especially in Illinois. By the way, Gov. Blagojevich's hair still remains unindicted! After that latest pathetic 'news conference' with the carefully orchestrated line-up of the disabled, the people of color, the poor and the dispossessed behind him, he expressed 'no surprise' at the House impeachment vote. Turns out they always wanted him out because of all the good he has done for the disadvantaged of Illinois. Who knew?!
[By the way he has ruined Tennyson for me for life!]

"Come my friends, 'tis not too late to seek......a new Governor."

Until next time.... all the best for a great 2009!