How to get into college or land an internship without an expensive admissions scheme

That’s the advice and strategy I received before I headed into a local community college in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to take my ACT.

My father said those words to me as he dropped me off.

I know my dad – this was not his normal supportive dad advice.

I am sure I was having a typical 16-year-old snotty teen girl day. Quite sure I was also running late.

The point is, I was not coddled.

I walked in scared to death.

My parents didn’t have the money to bribe proctors — and I’m 100% sure they wouldn’t have even if they had the cash.

I didn’t get a car as a 16-year old birthday present.

They didn’t sell my Girl Scout cookies for me so I could be the state winner.

They wanted us to be self-sufficient. To earn what we got.

I took the ACT once.

It wasn’t my sister’s perfect score, but it was enough to get me into the schools I applied to in 1993.

Even back then, it was a helluva competition.

It’s obviously worse now… and I have no idea what it will be like when my daughter goes to college in 18 years.

The news this week about the college admissions scheme is alarming – but definitely not shocking.

When it first broke, I shared the headline on Twitter but gave the moms in the center of the story the benefit of the doubt. I thought, maybe they didn’t know? Maybe Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin paid this guy — and said, get my child in — and that was that.

How to get into college or land an internship without an expensive admissions scheme


I thought they possibly didn’t know the tactics taken by William Singer, the head of the college preparatory business and founder of the charity who is identified now as “cooperating witness 1.”

Hours later, as more information was released, we learned from the New York Times that Huffman and William H. Macy knew this college prep coach would “arrange for their daughter’s SAT proctor to secretly correct her wrong answers and boost her score.” And that, “Huffman and her spouse agreed to the plan.”

Earlier this year, in an interview with Macy in Parade Magazine, he said, “we’re in the thick of college application time, which is so stressful.”

That, I can relate to. Not the bribing part.

Parents track me down on LinkedIn sometimes to help their teenaged and 20-something children get into prized college internships and med schools.

We are very proud to have a 100% track record in college and internship interview success.

We don’t bribe these schools. My company helps these students interview better. The students put in the work — and together, we formulate better answers to their questions, help them gain more confidence in their interviewing, show them which parts of their stories to tell and which parts are superfluous.

This is the kind of consulting from which your student can really benefit.

How do they benefit from having all the doors opened for them?

How will they learn to open their own doors someday?

We started by advising and preparing executives for media interviews and public speaking, but it grew in the past years to include young adults. Internships are getting more and more competitive. So are medical schools. Some of the highest-ranked institutions in the U.S. News Best Medical Schools rankings accept less than 4 percent of applicants.

Storytelling is key to interviewing for colleges and internships. Your ability to communicate sets you apart and helps you standout from others competing for the same spots.

From a student’s confidence, verbal delivery and body language to their social media presence, we work on the whole picture. Parents are very appreciate of the social media advice we give to their sons and daughters. Parents know how important it is — but breaking news… sometimes, kids don’t listen to their parents.

Many first interviews for college internships are now conducted on Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts. We show students how to interview virtually and how to make the best impression. We teach how to frame their shot, what to wear, where to look and how to light themselves so they look the best possible.

We don’t do the work for these students — but we help them find their strengths, poise and confidence to help them present and interview better.

That’s the best way we know how to help a student land the college they dream of — or the internship that will start their career in the strongest way possible.

Pregnancy, Fertility, and 5 things I changed to pull off my biggest production

I have produced thousands of hours of TV news. I have willed chopper signals to appear (aggravating directors), created brand new news shows in cities I didn’t know, worked days straight without sleep to get the job done…

Never in my life have I wanted to produce something more, and have been more disappointed — over and over.

This story would be incomplete if I skipped to the end and only told you the good news.

I spent years reading other women’s good news and feeling broken. I don’t want to do the same to any woman who may read this. Leaving the bad news out doesn’t tell the complete story.

In the past 2.5 years I have:

  • Powered through five rounds of IVF (my husband had cancer, so this was our only route possible)
  • Lost a child at 8.5 weeks pregnant
  • Lost twin girls at 17-weeks pregnant
  • Gone through eight procedures with anesthesia (something I had never done before turning 40)
  • Shot myself up almost every night with several drugs (hiding it on planes, in restaurant bathrooms, while traveling for clients)
  • Been told by one doctor that my eggs were too old (when they were fine, thank you very much)
  • Changed my entire diet, in addition to everything we use in our house and on our bodies

All to produce a human being in the end.

And we’ve done it.

With the help of incredible doctors and nurses….

Ted and I could not be happier (oh, and still a little scared) to broadcast that we are expecting a baby girl in April 2019.

I have never worked this hard for anything. And I’m the girl who took 32 credits each semester of senior year in college to graduate on time in 4 years. I guess having a baby in my 40s was to be expected…

If you’re going through something baby related, I’d like to share what we did to turn around our luck a little. Please know, you are not alone. Here’s what we changed and maneuvered around in the past 2.5 years.

Don’t take “no” for an answer

When I started dating my now husband, the conversation of children came up, as it does. Ted told me the story of his cancer. Before they saved his life, they saved 10 vials of sperm in case he wanted to create life someday. That was the first time during this process I didn’t take “no” for an answer. No chance of having a baby naturally? No problem. We’ll get this done. I thought, no big deal… lots of people do IVF with amazing success rates. (See below where I talk about not trusting the media.)

Flying to work with a client… and getting a shot of my new profile.

Becoming immersed in the fertility world of Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF), I had to keep reminding myself, it’s a business. Each doctor has numbers to hit. The advice you’re given may be to help make sure their fertility clinic success rates do not suffer. This is important. You may get a “no” and it could be inaccurate for your specific case.

Boxes and boxes of drugs… all to produce eggs for retrieval

Ted and I were married when I was 39 and a few months later, we tried our first IUI. I was 40. I got pregnant each time the doctors helped me. Whether it was an IUI or egg transfer with IVF, I was pregnant. Oh, except for the one time I had an embryo transfer and hours later (when I was supposed to be on bed rest) our entire basement flooded with 14 inches of rain water because the people who renovated our home left a big clog in the sewer going out… there was that, but that definitely doesn’t count against my fertility. That was the builder and the realtor’s lack of divulging information. Back to my fertility. I had no issues getting pregnant.

In 2017, I became pregnant with very rare mono/mono twin girls. This was IVF #2. They split late, and shared a placenta and sac. They were so closely entwined together. I was afraid each day carrying them. The doctors told us we had a 50/50 chance of delivery and if one passed, the other could not survive. There are many risks including them being tied up in an umbilical cord. We lost them at 17 weeks. Two months after they died, we went back to our doctor to ask him for next steps.

Without any hesitation, he said, “egg donor.” I was 41 and devastated. I asked him what he saw with my eggs that made him think that this was my fault. He only responded that in women at my age, the best case of delivering a healthy baby would be with an egg donor. I left feeling defeated and ANGRY. I was getting pregnant. Was it too many fertility drugs that made my embryo split so late? Was it not getting off the drugs fast enough? Was it just bad luck? Whatever it was… I had no real proof (neither did he) that my embryos were at fault. He didn’t want to keep trying with this 41-year old’s eggs. I was hurting his numbers.

We ditched that doc and went with another fertility clinic in Chicago that had higher CDC rates for live births (the number you want to compare). The service and compassion was night and day different at Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago. Dr. Sherbahn didn’t take hundreds of patients at a time. There were never long waits in the waiting room for all the early morning blood draws. The doctor was very scientific and to the point — which we loved — and gave us the news I was hoping for: it is definitely more difficult to conceive over 40, and even more after 42, but he saw nothing wrong with my eggs or our sperm.

Do not take “no” for an answer.

Let yourself be vulnerable

We’re all different, so this might not be your style. I couldn’t keep my secrets inside. They were eating away at me. I felt alone and broken. I felt less than a woman not being able to go all the way to delivery. I was getting puffy because of the shots and couldn’t workout to make myself feel better. The doctors will tell you to stop the intense workouts after a transfer, and I found out later that the intense workouts were probably working against me during the weeks of shots. I didn’t want to see my friends because I couldn’t drink (and that was no fun), plus, I felt like they just wouldn’t understand. And, the hormones… don’t get me started. Just ask my husband.

So after the first loss and as I hitched my future to IVF, I started to tell people. I opened up. This did two incredible things for me: it increased my circle of friends dramatically instead of closing me off — and I learned a tremendous amount from these women. A tremendous amount.

Resting after an egg transfer.

I was so open, it probably scared some people. But, I couldn’t stop what I had started. I was feeling less alone and broken as I heard other women’s stories. All that talking (that I’m so naturally good at) attracted more women to me who had experienced similar things… and who could offer me guidance. If I hadn’t shared, I would not have heard from a friend about this other doctor with the great CDC live birth rates. I would not have known that it could take much longer than I expected. I would not have known that there were women I knew and had worked with who had gone as far as 10 IVF rounds to produce a baby. That gave me the drive to keep going and honestly, the competitor in me was NOT going to give up before I went as far as her. If she could do it – I felt that I could do it. If I hadn’t starting talking about what I was going through, I would not have reached out to a woman online who I saw had the same very rare twins as mine — and who outlined to me the major changes she made to give birth. I also wouldn’t have met the owner of a fertility clinic who talked me through how all the work stress and very intense workouts I’m used to could hurt a woman’s egg production and pregnancy. Fight or flight? The way I had learned to live in the TV news business for the past 20 years? NOT good for egg production. Actually, I had really screwed up my thyroid because of all those overnight hours working in news and because of my lack of relaxation and coping mechanisms. I also wouldn’t have known how the chemicals I was putting all over my body and cleaning my house with could also change my outcomes.

Sharing isn’t always easy.  I am a media coach and public speaking trainer. A few of my clients knew when I was pregnant with the twins. It was so uncomfortably noticeable that I was pregnant – and early on. Because the twins were mono/mono, the doctors were already charting out a very early delivery and bedrest. Plus, I was in my second trimester when I lost them, so I had started to tell a few professional clients. Seeing the disappointment in their eyes left me uneasy. I was coaching someone with a professional sports team here in Chicago at the time, and even his wife knew. I felt like I had let them down too. They were excited for me… they loved their kids and knew having a child would bring so much new love into my life. Even through that weirdness — I am glad people knew.

Talking to a therapist, being as vulnerable as possible with her, and not holding anything back was also incredibly helpful. I was training a nationally-known psychotherapist, author and speaker at the time that I lost my twins. Joyce Marter is an incredible expert on the subjects of psychology, career, wellness and relationships. I was helping her craft her message for a national speech she was giving. After one of our sessions, I turned the tables and mentioned what was going on in my personal life. I asked her for a referral. I told her I thought it was time for me to talk to someone about my losses and how to cope. She sent me to a wonderful therapist in Chicago where I learned visualization techniques that at first, I thought would never help, but then I used during all the hardest times and I still use them. She also helped me with something I had been doing for years, and thought was helping. I compartmentalized. I had a Plan B and C at all times. I was protecting myself from not feeling the pain and it wasn’t helping me. For example, when I lost our twins, I started doing research on adoption while we went forward with our next IVF round. I wanted to protect myself by knowing I had a backup plan. I wanted to know I was going to be okay, even if I wasn’t able to give birth. She told me that I needed to deal with the pain from the losses — and inject all my energy into the idea of giving birth if I was going to go on with IVF. She told me that researching adoption wasn’t allowing me to be all in on this one major goal. The Plan B could be hurting me. I needed to visualize the hour that I’d give birth. I needed to see all the people in the room and visualize holding my baby. I needed to give all my energy to that one moment so I could see it to fruition. This was very powerful. I realized that I had all the time in the world to discuss, research and apply for adoption later. For now, I needed to be all in on ONE goal. I could not protect myself with another backup plan. I had to jump with both feet and my entire heart. So I did. This was hard at first. But I let myself be open and vulnerable. I made myself visualize my own goal. I allowed myself to dream.

Have faith

And I prayed. A lot. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed this much, and I went to Catholic high school for a year and a Catholic university.

My father once asked me a question after a bad breakup in my 30s. I dodged a bullet there… but at the time, I was devastated knowing I had to leave the relationship. I was a mess for months. One day, my Dad turned to me and asked very point blank: “Do you still believe in God?” I was surprised at the question, and answered, “yes.” I do not remember if he responded, but that question kept coming back to me when I felt lost. When there were no answers. I just kept repeating to myself, “Do you still believe in God?”

I know that prayer alone is not the answer. I believe in science and the power of doctors and nurses. I believe that God created these healthcare experts so we can experience better health and even have a baby. The Catholic Church opposes IVF and teaches that what I’m doing is wrong, but the bible tells us God wanted us to go forth and multiply. So who should we believe?

There were times that I actually started to believe I was receiving signs that I shouldn’t continue trying to have a baby.

When our house had the freak flood hours after an embryo transfer. Ted was out of town on a work trip. I was alone. I was supposed to be laying flat on the couch. Undisturbed. Resting. Waiting for this embryo to do it’s thing. Instead, I was wading through the water saving my yearbooks and other possessions. Then the fire department came because the water caused an electrical problem that smelled like fire. I thought, “is this a sign to stop?” But I quickly straightened my head out and remembered what my Dad asked years before: “Do you still believe in God?” I stopped feeling sorry for myself and had faith that everything would work out. I also have faith that the builders who lied to us and who knew about the sewer blockage when they sold us our house will someday realize that removing the blockage a year prior would have been the right thing to do.

I was so angry when we lost our twins. I spent weeks sad and then more time being angry at every pregnant woman I saw. I also hated seeing kids. I felt robbed and empty. Miscarriage will tear you apart, tear you open and make you feel like you’re broken. It’s heartbreaking on levels I had never experienced. You are not alone. Do not judge yourself and your level of grief. Do not judge yourself if you cry for three weeks, or not at all. I lost it when I least expected it. An airport bathroom, weeks in bed at night, in the car, at restaurants. It was all healthy. Embarrassing, but healthy. Many couples become closer than ever before. I’ve heard that from friends and experienced it myself. I also realized a much deeper desire for a child after miscarrying. I was not going to give up. No way.

I had to keep the faith.

Our last Christmas as a family of three.

We had to do a few rounds of IVF in 2018 before our July embryo transfer. It was probably my age. Pregnancy loss dramatically increases over 40. The pregnancy loss rate after 40 is 33% and after 42 is 45%. This is why many couples opt to do further testing on their embryos. PGS testing helps eliminate most of the chance of miscarriage. We did preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) on all of our IVF rounds except our last one which resulted in our current pregnancy. There is a lot of evidence that PGS is not as accurate as previously thought. If you’re over 40, your doctor will push for PGS. I pushed back only once. It was this last IVF round, IVF #5. I was too afraid that we were throwing out good embryos after reading dozens of studies about how other countries were banning it. I pushed back this one time because I had an overwhelming feeling that I should not test the embryos. You see, once you test them, and they come back abnormal — the doctor will not transfer them. I am not going to define the feeling I had that morning… I will just say that you have to follow your gut and your faith in whatever higher power you believe in.

Do not trust everything you hear, see and read

I built a career around media as a TV producer and now a media coach and public speaking trainer. But, as you know, you cannot trust

everything that’s broadcast, or written.

There are two stories we’re told that I believe are cruel.

One, the publicization of celebrities in their 40s who have babies and the information that is missing from those stories. Like egg donors, or IVF, or the fact that they froze their eggs ten or twenty years prior. Don’t stop at the headline. Read the “how they got pregnant” part in the longer versions of the digital stories if you can find them. Sometimes they do not tell the reporter that part of the story. Sometimes the reporter doesn’t know to ask. Going through this myself has made me better educated. Experiences make better writers. Better reporters. I now know more about these issues — and it makes me a better person knowing the struggles some women have. Don’t leave out the struggle from the story. It’s mean. Think about the audience reading it. Leaving out these important pieces of the story hurts women seeing the stories or reading them at home. They feel less than and their boyfriends feel like they have more time to conceive “because everyone’s having babies now in their 40s.” It’s a terrible disservice.

The second story we’re seeing more and more of lately is that of major corporations covering the egg freezing for women so “they’re not on a timetable.” How do you know if your eggs will fertilize when you match them up with sperm in your 40s? You’re creating this false guarantee. Women will work like crazy thinking they have insurance waiting for them for when they’re ready. I get it. It’s brilliant on the part of companies like Google, Apple and Facebook — but are we giving women all the information? Do they know this is not a guarantee?

Do your research

Your best friend who just relaxed on vacation, and finally got pregnant… she’s not you. We all have different workings going on in there. Talk to doctors. Don’t trust what you read online. Not everyone tells their complete story. Only the fun parts.

As I mentioned above, we did preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) on all of our IVF rounds except our last one which resulted in our current pregnancy. There is a lot of evidence that PGS is not as accurate as once thought. Several countries now ban it. Read about this before you make a decision. I personally believe many embryos that were normal but that came back abnormal were thrown out. I do not blame the doctors because this is the best testing they have as of now. We can do better. More research will be done and future women will be better served.

Research your products. I had no idea that what I was using on my face, body, in my hair, and all over our house could be hurting my fertility. I couldn’t believe how many cancer-causing agents, allergens, immunotoxins, and endocrine disruptors we’re lurking in my deodorant, nail polish, shampoo, and toothpaste. Google it. There are studies that show parabens in products reduce sperm quality. There are also countless studies like this one from the University of California, Davis on the chemicals found in household products like cleaners, wipes and mouthwash. It says: “everyday household products contain these chemicals, which at a certain concentration have been shown to disrupt fertility in mice and which we have found in cells disrupts the oestrogen-signalling process so important for human fertility.” I OVERHAULED our house, my makeup bag… everything.

I spent 20 years in newsrooms – moving from city to city. Working really hard for other people.

I got the Emmys, Associated Press awards… and other stuff. I had tickets to anything I wanted.  That was my normal. Now I’m living a life that’s more colorful. It’s rich in real relationships. I have quality of life. Self care. Taking time for myself. Learning to breathe. Cultivating female relationships. Less chit chat at cocktail hours and more power powwows. Lifting others up. And I’m nicer to myself. A helluva lot nicer to myself.

For years, my mom asked me to get acupuncture… massage… and not count big workouts as self care.

Acupuncture twice a week during all my IVF procedures. Now, I go once a week.

But it wasn’t until i tried to have a baby… to grow something inside me, did I listen.

I saw no other choice.

After a ton of research, I changed it all.

Here’s my growing list:

  1. Cleaned out each and every cleaning chemical out of our house. Here’s what I use now. Completely non-toxic.
  2. Made sleep an absolute priority. No negotiations there anymore.
  3. Acupuncture. There is all kinds of research on acupuncture (and massage) and fertility. See my friends at Pulling Down the Moon for help. Not in the Chicago area? They have webinars and all kinds of online support. I went twice a week during IVF rounds and leading up to them. My body responded to IVF the best when I was going to acupuncture for a few months before the round started. It was like a light switch. I go once a week now during the pregnancy. My migraines are GONE and when my friends complain of pain and inflammation during pregnancy — I have no pain or inflammation. My acupuncturists will work on points to make my labor easier when we’re closer to my due date.
  4. Supplements. Listen to your doctor and never skip. Let me know if you’d like the list of what I take each day. Something I drink each and every morning has been a Godsend. Many women say it helps get the milk flowing faster after childbirth too.
  5. Changed all my makeup out to a non-toxic brand I absolutely love.
  6. No soy. Check your supplements. Check everything. They sneak soy into things you wouldn’t expect, like fish oil supplements.
  7. Eggs (not chicken eggs, but YOUR eggs) love the paleo diet. Ya’ll know how bad sugar is for you, right?

These past 2.5 years of heartbreak, procedures, shots, huge doses of hormones and a new understanding of how I can build a healthier life for myself has helped shape me as a woman and leader more than any job or experience in my life. This experience brought me so much closer to my own gender. I have a new understanding of the burdens some women carry while they keep a smile on or act stronger than they really are at work. Or feel like they have to be tougher or more competitive. It’s been frustrating (because we didn’t always receive the results we wanted) — but it’s also been a GIFT that I never knew I wanted or needed. I guess that’s the impetus of the story… and I’m finally putting it in words.

How to Look Better Under Stage Lights or on Camera

Many of my clients had a successful career, but are now looking for help with their public speaking careers.

Some are looking for opportunities to get on live TV to talk about their companies or their story.

Do you know how to prepare so you look your best?

I’m going to show you how you can look better on TV or on stage. The lights really alter our appearance.

I always suggest that my clients hire a makeup artist — but if you have to do it yourself, here are a few things you can do to make yourself look better under all those lights.

If you’re going to present on stage soon, here are three things to ask before you show up.



Kathryn Janicek | Media Coach, Producer, Public Speaking Trainer
Kathryn Janicek is a three-time Emmy Award-winning television producer with 20 years of experience working in newsrooms across the country. Kathryn coached talent, producers, and writers before switching her focus on helping entrepreneurs and corporate executives. Now, based in her home city of Chicago, she is a much sought-after media coach and public speaking trainer who will help you produce the best YOU. Click HERE now to book a complimentary consultation with Kathryn.

3 Things to Ask Before you Show up to a Public Speaking Gig

Many of my clients had a successful career, but are now looking for help with their public speaking careers.
They’re an expert – and have a story to tell.

Do you know how to prepare so you hit your presentations out of the park?

These are three things to ask before you show up to a public speaking gig.

Before you really ever present.

Let’s produce the best you!

Try them and let me know how it worked out.

Eight Reasons to Hire a Former Television Producer

So a television producer has applied for a job with your company.

Should you give them a chance?

After all, what does TV producing have to do with running your business?

A lot, actually.

Producers can be ideal candidates. Not just for jobs in public relations or marketing, but also nearly any position that requires teamwork, multi-tasking, and communications.

In my opinion, there are a ton of reasons to hire a former television producer — but here are eight great reasons why a former television producer would be a great hire for your team.

1. Producers are team builders and leaders.

A producer is not a good job for people who like to fly solo. They are constantly collaborating and learning how their different team members think and work. They know how to leverage these traits to create a more effective whole.

Producers are also experienced leaders. They have to give directions and constructive criticism to anchors, reporters, writers, producers, videographers, on-air guests (like musicians, performers, executives, politicians) and other team members. They also know how to stay open to others’ ideas and feedback, and can delegate appropriately.

2. Producers are excellent communicators.

At the core, producers are in the business of storytelling. You don’t get there without good communication skills. They know how to convey ideas in compelling and persuasive ways.

Friction and disagreements can happen between even the best teammates. This makes producers experienced in conflict management, too.

3. Big-picture thinking is a must.

Many jobs require meticulous attention to detail, but television producers also have to know how to see the big picture.

Business managers have to understand the long-term effects of their decisions. They have to know how the different parts of their company fit together. Likewise, producers have to understand how the different parts of a TV show fit together to deliver a compelling, informative, and entertaining television program.

4. Multi-tasking is a way of life.

Both business leaders and producers need to juggle numerous responsibilities. They have to know how to switch effortlessly from one task to the next.

Producers have many different responsibilities in their jobs. They have to think creatively and pitch new ideas. They have to problem-solve and stick to a budget.

Their ability to wear many hats makes them valuable for any office.

5. Producers will get you connected.

Producing is a social job, so producers learn to develop excellent networking skills. With so much collaboration, they can understand which people work best with each other, and who to call on when needed.

If a producer doesn’t know how to do something, you can be sure they’ll know how to find someone who does.

6. Producers are problem-solving pros.

You can’t make a television show without something going wrong at some point.

Just like corporate managers, television producers have learned how to identify problems, and also how to find or develop creative solutions, sometimes on short notice. As an executive producer and producer — I ALWAYS had a plan b, plan c, and plan d. You never know when a story won’t get filed on time or when a reporter won’t make it to the location on time… I had backup plans for my backup plans.

7. Producers can also be master marketers.

Television producers have great communication and networking skills, which makes a great marketing combination.

They are used to “reading” people and negotiating with them. Their media training means they can tell a story and craft an effective message that gets the desired results.

8. Time management is a necessity.

Any manager has to recognize how long different tasks and projects will take, and plan accordingly. So do television producers.

Producers are used to working with deadlines. They know how to hustle to get their projects done on time.


If you value any of these skills, former producers can be an ideal addition to your company. If you’re thinking about hiring a former producer, give their application a closer look. They might be exactly what you’re looking for.

As a former executive producer, I produce the best you on video, online, and on stage.

Schedule a free consultation here for media and public speaking coaching.


Kathryn Janicek | Media Coach, Producer, Public Speaking Trainer
Kathryn Janicek is a three-time Emmy Award-winning television producer with 20 years of experience working in newsrooms across the country. Kathryn coached talent, producers, and writers before switching her focus on helping entrepreneurs and corporate executives. Now, based in her home city of Chicago, she is a much sought-after media coach and public speaking trainer who will help you produce the best YOU. Click HERE now to book a complimentary 30-minute consultation with Kathryn.

How to Survive Facebook’s Algorithm Changes

Are your posts taking a hit from the recent Facebook algorithm changes? You’re not alone! It’s all the buzz right now on social media as we all try to adjust our strategies. With so many myths circulating the internet, I turned to my own Marketing Director for guidance. Here is a guest blog post from mConnexions Principal Strategist and Owner, Julie Holton.

In just the two weeks following Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement, we’ve seen a significant decrease in the organic reach of posts from business pages. As Facebook’s news feed changes continue to be phased in over the next few months, we expect that impact to grow.

“As we roll this out,” Zuckerberg wrote on January 11th, “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

The critical word here is meaningful interactions between people. At its very core, the social platform has always intended to be just that… social. The only way for Facebook to remain relevant is for its content to be meaningful to its users. In a 12-month span where negative headlines rocked Facebook’s image — from allegations of Russia’s interference with the U.S. election, to concerns over fake news — the social media company has been pushed to make major changes. At the core of these changes: user experience and content.

What does “meaningful interaction” mean for businesses on Facebook?

Comments, comments, and more comments… Plus a few likes, some shares and bam, you have meaningful interaction.

“Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution,” wrote Zuckerberg. “Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

DO: create posts with quality content that encourages interaction.
DON’T: use “engagement-bait” traps.

Not only are bait traps slimy and spammy, which means users don’t like them, they will also work against you in Facebook’s algorithm. “Using ‘engagement-bait’ to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed,” says Facebook.

Examples of Engagement Bait from Facebook

Instead, use your posts to initiate conversation. Ask questions, encourage sharing, and even prompt followers to share photos or their own self-promotion within your posts.

What Powers the Facebook Algorithm?

The Facebook Algorithm controls what you see on your news feed. If you use Facebook marketing, it’s crucial to know the basics about the algorithm and how it affects your posts.

To start, you need to understand the algorithm and what it does.

Facebook’s algorithm uses many factors to control what your target audience sees, and when.. The goal is to make sure that users see the content that Facebook thinks they want to see. Here are some of those factors:

  • Posts from friends and family come first, because that’s the main objective of the news feed: to connect people.
  • People like their feed to entertain and inform them with things like news and videos, so those come next.
  • Facebook makes it a priority to post genuine stories versus spam-like ones or anything misleading.
  • Based on your actions and feedback, Facebook aims to deliver stories that you want to see most. Additionally, Facebook is constantly using those actions and feedback to constantly improve and change the algorithm. For instance, the more you interact with an individual or business’s posts, the more that individual or business will show in your own news feed.

So what’s new to the Facebook algorithm?

The newest change focuses on friends, family and groups. As a business, unless you have a group page for your followers, this immediately takes you out of the top tier for landing in news feeds. This means that you will need to engage in more meaningful interactions to land yourself in the news feed.

DO: Here are some examples of posts and activities that the new algorithm loves:
  • Posts that have lots of Likes, comments and shares, especially in a short amount of time.
  • Posts that talk about trending topics, or in other words, are timely.
  • Media-based posts with photos, status updates and videos – especially videos with lots of views.
  • Posts from pages that people often interact with.
  • Posts from pages with complete, clean and reputable profiles.
  • Posts with links to other pages or sources.
DON’T: Here are some things you shouldn’t do based off the new algorithm:
  • Posts with spam links.
  • Status updates with only text and no other user-friendly content like videos, photos or links to stories or other pages.
  • Posts that specifically ask for follows and shares. For instance, posting “Like this post if you like cats, share this post if you like dogs” will result in having your posts pushed down in the news feed.
  • Repeated posts and content that has already circulated its way around Facebook.
  • Clickbait – content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular webpage.

Tapping Into the Power of Influencers

If you rely on Facebook to build your business, your best answer with these changes may be looking for an Influencer. Connecting with Influencers who have a strong and growing audience that are deeply connected with is pretty much a jackpot for most marketers. The best way to utilize an Influencer’s audience is to understand your business objective, educate yourself on the factors that influence your target audience, and find an influencer that blends your brand and/or product within their own. This engages their dedicated followers, hence introducing and connecting them to your content.

Quick Tip: Use your referral network, employees, and other close connections to act as influencers. While it would be helpful to have a celebrity share your posts, chances are you aren’t looking to spend what it would cost to purchase that influence. Instead, connect with other businesses and networks. When they share your content, they will help extend your reach to their audience. Be sure to return the love — not only will you help expand their reach, but your followers will appreciate the curated content. Just make sure that all shared content is relevant to your audience.

Tackling the Changes Strategically

The latest change shouldn’t majorly change your posting strategy. Stick to posting strong content that is relevant and engaging for your audience. By engaging with your followers, you are more likely to end up in people’s news feeds. This is a great way to connect with your audience and be transparent through your social media accounts.

And brace yourself for more changes! We firmly believe in having a fluid strategy, especially when it comes to social media marketing. The best way to tackle these Facebook algorithm changes is to prepare for more of them — and on more platforms. You should constantly evaluate what’s working or not working with your audience, and always be ready to respond to change, whether it is changes in your market, your industry, or on the platforms you use to connect to your audience.

Julie Holton | mConnexions | Digital Marketing Agency

Julie Holton is the Principal Strategist and Owner of mConnexions, a full-service marketing and communications agency with a focus on developing digital marketing solutions for clients. Relationships are the key to building business. mConnexions works to build those connections, one marketing lead at a time. Connect with Julie on LinkedIn and learn more about mConnexions at

How to avoid the mistake the White House made this week

I send out an email almost daily that goes to clients, former clients and future clients.

On Sunday, I sent a media tip that many would say is obvious.

Kind of a “no duh.”

I even called it “unsexy.”

But au contraire, my friend…

How to avoid the mistake the White House make this week

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that tickets to President Donald J. Trump’s first State of the Union address originally said State of the “Uniom.”

The tickets issued to lawmakers’ spouses and guests contained the typo. The tickets were printed by the Office of the Sergeant at Arms and Doorkeeper. They had to be reissued.

“It was corrected immediately, and our office is redistributing the tickets,” a spokesman for the sergeant at arms told Agence France-Presse.

One news outlet reported that the State of the Union tickets actually had two typos: In addition to “Uniom,” they referred to the “Visitor’s Gallery.” It’s actually the Visitors’ Gallery.

This isn’t the first time. Not long after President Trump was sworn into office in January of last year, the White House misspelled British Prime Minister Theresa May’s name—three times. THREE times. Her name is “Theresa” May, but they spelled it “Teresa” May. “Teresa” (with no h) May, happens to be a model and porn actress.

The original version of Trump’s presidential inauguration poster also featured a typo. The message over his photo read “No dream is too big, no challenge is to great,” with the second “o” missing from the second “too.”

Then there was the time the White House issued a statement before Trump’s trip to Israel, saying that he hoped the visit would “promote the possibility of lasting peach,” instead of “peace.” Yes, we all love the fuzzy fruit… but, come on.

And the White House Snapchat account referred to Betsy DeVos as the “Secretary of Educatuon.” Awesome.

Of course, Mr. Trump himself has had his own share of typos like the famous “covfefe.”

It happens.

It’s not uncommon.

And, it’s totally unacceptable.

Before you read my blogs, someone else does.

Actually… he hears them.

I read them to my husband before I hit “publish.”
If he’s not around, I read them aloud a few times.

Sometimes he helps me nail down a point.
Most times he just listens and says “great!”
I love that.

Here are two really unsexy media tips that may be the most important things you do:
  1. Have someone else read everything you write before it’s sent out.
  2. Always read your work out loud before you send it.

I’m talking about social media posts, blogs, big emails to your staff (you never know what might be forwarded to the media), speeches, quotes you’re giving to a magazine or newspaper… you get the point.

Here’s why I do it:
You’re way too important for me not to have another set of eyes on these emails.
I’m not perfect.

Here’s why you should do it:
Every bit of information that’s sent out or posted is a reflection of you and your company.
You’re not perfect.

Every bit of information that’s sent out or posted is a reflection of you and your company.

You’re not perfect.

In our beautiful imperfections… we miss stuff.

Our brain sometimes moves so quickly – we actually will “see” the right word that should be there… even though there is a misspelling or the wrong word there entirely.

When we read our work aloud — we catch more errors.

When you have someone else quickly do a once-over… it’s even better.

Told you it’s not very sexy.

But I guarantee – you’ll be more effective in sharing your story.



Kathryn Janicek | Media Coach, Producer, Public Speaking Trainer
Kathryn Janicek is a three-time Emmy Award-winning television producer with 20 years of experience working in newsrooms across the country. Kathryn coached talent, producers, and writers before switching her focus on helping entrepreneurs and corporate executives. Now, based in her home city of Chicago, she is a much sought-after media coach and public speaking trainer who will help you produce the best YOU. Click HERE now to book a complimentary 30-minute consultation with Kathryn.

How to get on TV (or anywhere else in the media)

So you have a story to tell and you think the news should tell it?

You want to help more people by getting on a major platform like television?

You saw a guy you went to college with, you two have the same amount of experience… yet HE ALWAYS gets interviewed when the news is looking for someone in your industry?

Want “the news” to talk about YOUR company and give it a big boost in sales?

I hear it all the time.

“Why doesn’t the news call me? I have the best (fill in the blank).”

Here’s the BIG SECRET:

If you want it, you have to go get it.

The majority of the time, they’re not hunting down people to interview.

YOU have to make the call, email, text….

So, how do you do that?

Media training.

Media training teaches you:

  • How to create a story that is marketable to the media
  • How to dig up the marketable, sellable and pitchable story that’s inside of you or your company
  • How to present that story to the media
  • Who you need to talk to… who the major players are that make the decisions on what story to run, where to run it (and which to delete)
  • What to say when you get the booking
  • What to wear on TV, in a magazine shoot, for a newspaper shoot, or on radio (seriously… ask me why)
  • The best haircut/style for your face on TV
  • How to do your makeup for TV so you look alive but don’t look too made-up (and not like yourself)
  • How to carry yourself physically during the interview
  • Verbal delivery skills
  • How to answer a question when you don’t want to answer a question
  • How to answer a question when you can’t answer a question (proprietary information, part of an active investigation… or you just don’t know the answer)
  • How to frame your message during the interview
  • How to get the interviewer focused on the message that you want to focus on
  • Where the story will show up
  • How long to wait for the story to show up
  • How to get your website link on air, in an article or mentioned on the radio
  • How to share the story later to take advantage of the media hit and gain more followers (or make more sales)


Media training gives you the skills to develop a strong, clear message that sticks with your audience. It positions you to deliver it effectively and impactfully. Media training is also the best way to develop strong skills when it comes to interacting with the media, making sure your message isn’t lost or misinterpreted through nerves.

Media trainers work with individuals and teams of people.

I am a professional media trainer with 20+ years of experience in TV. (I have a bunch of Emmy Awards too.)

I coach on how to use appropriate body language, strong message building, and how to navigate those uncomfortable questions. The training experience arms you with what you need to effectively and confidently engage with the media.

Not convinced you need it? Here’s a little more …

It puts you in control of your interviews

You’ve seen or heard it before: an interview that is a complete flop. The person being interviewed forgets his or her key points, forgets important information, or flat out stumbles the whole way through.

The journalist may be the one asking you the questions, but in reality, you are in control of the interview. A media trainer works with you on composure and focusing on key messages so you can create the outcome you want in the interview. When your responses are clear and delivered well, you are able to subtly but strongly steer the interview the direction you want.

It teaches you to navigate the hard questions

Even if you are in control of your interview, you are still going to be faced with the hard questions. These questions may put you on the spot and be difficult to answer. With media training, you’re armed with skills to answer these tough questions. Your media trainer will practice these tough questions to prep you and craft answers that help you stay in control of the interview. This helps you feel confident going into an interview that may have particularly tough questions, even if they come at you unexpectedly.

It polishes your personal delivery

When you speak on television, the audience is watching your body language and facial expressions. People pick up on these things and they pay close attention to them. Media training teaches you how to use your words, tone, and body language to deliver your message in a powerful and effective way.

In addition to delivery, media training can help with interviewing anxiety. For those who are terrified by interviews, especially live radio and/or television ones, developing interview skills and confidence can be the most beneficial part of the media training experience. You’ll face every interview head-on without worrying about getting stuck.

Media training helps you even if you have NO desire to be in the media. Because of the training, my clients are better on stage, during job interviews, and presenting in front of small groups at work.


Kathryn Janicek | Media Coach, Producer, Public Speaking Trainer
Kathryn Janicek is a three-time Emmy Award-winning television producer with 20 years of experience working in newsrooms across the country. Kathryn coached talent, producers, and writers before switching her focus on helping entrepreneurs and corporate executives. Now, based in her home city of Chicago, she is a much sought-after media coach and public speaking trainer who will help you produce the best YOU. Click HERE now to book a complimentary 30-minute consultation with Kathryn.

When you need to change the delivery of your message to reach your audience

This is the story of a woman who instantly had to change how she presented to her audience. She made this massive change at the last minute, so they could absorb the information she was giving them.

Sure, your experience is not hers – but we can learn from what she did. We are all sending information out to audiences in order to make them act.

Are you delivering that message in a way that will inspire them to do what you’re asking of them?

Besides my work as a media coach and public speaking trainer, I am a national television producer. I have the honor of interviewing people and telling their stories.

I didn’t know Jane Elliott’s story before I started researching her.

I’m thankful I know her now.

Jane was a school teacher and is now 84-years old.

And, she’s not done teaching.

Click here to watch her story. I produced the piece, so you don’t hear my voice. You hear the reporter’s (Jessica Gomez’s) voice.

Prefer to read a summary? Here you go:

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr’s death. The civil rights leader was shot and killed while standing on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. His murder set off days of rioting in cities across America.

Many lives were impacted, including the one of an elementary school teacher hundreds of miles away from Memphis.

Jane Elliott was a teacher in Riceville, Iowa. She used that moment to teach her third-grade students about discrimination by letting them experience it. Her method was dubbed the “brown eyed – blue eyed exercise.”

It didn’t come without controversy.

She was going to teach something entirely different that day – but changed her lesson plans when she heard Rev. King was killed.

She knew her all-white class would struggle with understanding why so many people were upset about the death of this one man. In order to demonstrate, she told her students they would walk in the shoes of a person of color in the U.S. for a day.

She picked out a group of people “on the basis of a physical characteristic over which they had absolutely no control and assigned negative traits to them because of that physical characteristic and that physical characteristic alone.”

“Within seven minutes I had created a superior brown-eyed group who were convinced of their own superiority,” Jane said. “I watched blue-eyed children who were good learners become unable to compete academically. I couldn’t believe it!”

She switched the room the next day, making the blue-eyed children superior.

Jane’s exercise made national news. She was even on the Johnny Carson show.

Jane didn’t stop teaching. She didn’t give up… even when parents started calling the school demanding her stop teaching the “brown-eyed blue-eyed” exercise.

Jane was disowned by her own mother because of the negative attention.

Her kids were beaten by the other kids in school.

Her parents lost their business.

Her husband was told to “get his wife in line.”

She never stopped.

After teaching, she went on to become a sought-after national diversity educator and activist.

Kathryn Janicek | Media Coach, Producer, Public Speaking Trainer
Kathryn Janicek is a three-time Emmy Award-winning television producer with 20 years of experience working in newsrooms across the country. Kathryn coached talent, producers, and writers before switching her focus on helping entrepreneurs and corporate executives. Now, based in her home city of Chicago, she is a much sought-after media coach and public speaking trainer who will help you produce the best YOU. Click HERE now to book a complimentary 30-minute consultation with Kathryn.

If you’d like to learn more about Jane Elliott, here are links to more stories about her:

Lessons from The Crown: When You Shouldn’t Listen to People Around You

You must do anything you can to find out how you look and sound to your audience. NOT how people around you say you look and sound. Here is an example as shown in The Crown on Netflix.

I’ve been watching The Crown.
Have you seen any of the series? It’s on Netflix and follows Queen Elizabeth’s rise and rule.

In season 2, episode 5, Queen Elizabeth is criticized by a lord who’s the editor of a newspaper. He points out that her recent speech was tone-deaf.

The monarchy was stuck in the past.

The speech was not written by the queen, but by a bunch of old men who were not in touch with their audience.

Eventually, the queen reluctantly listens to the lord’s feedback.
It’s painful for her. She’s not used to this kind of help.

In the end, his notes made it easier for her to guide the monarchy in relating more to its audience (the people).

It was difficult for her to sit there and listen to the criticism, but she did.

She had to swallow her pride and for a moment, not take the counsel of the people surrounding her.

This is difficult for many leaders. But it’s key to building a business.

You must do anything you can to find out how you look and sound to your audience.
NOT how people around you say you look and sound.

It’s critical to take that information and see if you can alter your presence and image to reach more people, and keep your current audience.

In the Queen’s case, the advice originated from criticism written in newspaper articles.

She could have prevented that in the first place by listening to more forward-thinking advisors.

Sometimes your staff — the people you trust the most — are too afraid to tell you what you need to hear.

It’s not that they don’t care. It’s hard to tell your boss they’re boring, not transparent enough, has an outdated look, doesn’t do a great job on stage… and whatever else you should be hearing.

Many times, it takes an outside voice to break through and convince you of the tweaks that will help you become a more effective leader.

I would have loved to have been there to help guide Elizabeth II. Of course, I’m honored to help all my clients. Here’s a little more on why public speaking is the most important skill you need.


Kathryn Janicek | Media Coach, Producer, Public Speaking Trainer
Kathryn Janicek is a three-time Emmy Award-winning television producer with 20 years of experience working in newsrooms across the country. Kathryn coached talent, producers, and writers before switching her focus on helping entrepreneurs and corporate executives. Now, based in her home city of Chicago, she is a much sought-after media coach and public speaking trainer who will help you produce the best YOU. Click HERE now to book a complimentary 30-minute consultation with Kathryn!