Tag Archives: Social Media

World Economic Forum Associate Director and Obama Campaign New Media Team Member Rahaf Harfoush

20 Sep

Lunch with Mary 043

Date of lunch:
Monday, September 20, 2010

The company:
Rahaf Harfoush, after living in Geneva, has just moved to Paris (jealous) and works for the World Economic Forum as the Associate Director of the Technology Pioneers Programme. She is also a sought after new media and technology speaker with engagements all over the world from Egypt to Uruguay to Toronto. In 2008, she was part of the new media team working on the Barack Obama campaign in Chicago. She has published a book about the experience called “Yes We Did: An Insider’s Look at How Social Media Built the Obama Brand”. She is currently in Toronto for 10 days for several speaking engagements and interviews and I was very happy to get some time on her very busy calendar.

The food:
We ate at Kit Kat on King West. I was a bit disappointed in that I made a reservation and was then given one of the worst tables in the restaurant. What’s the point of a reservation? We were, however, able to move in the end. Rahaf had the warm scallop salad (which looked delish) and I had the agnolotti daily special – it was FULL of cheese and amazing but I assume extremely unhealthy. We both had diet Cokes and Rahaf had a tea. Total bill was $40 with tax.

The lunch lesson:
I feel a bit silly writing this but having lunch with Rahaf kind of felt like a life-changing moment. I spoke with Rahaf about the amazing things she has already accomplished at a young age, like having a successful book published and working on Obama’s campaign. She just explained that she is like a dowsing stick. When an opportunity arises or she is looking into doing something, she wants to be so excited about it that she is shaking like a dowsing stick that has found water. And if she feels that way about a job or opportunity, she will find a way to do it. I have never met someone who so fully lives by this rule. She searches out inspiring work and makes it happen. Now this book I keep talking about – it’s time to make it happen.

The lunch:
Rahaf explained to me that while working on the research and writing team for Don Tapscott’s book “Grown Up Digital”, she interviewed Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook and coordinator of online organizing for Obama’s campaign. After speaking with him, she knew she needed to get on the ground and be part of this amazing movement. She called Chris and he told her to get down to Chicago asap. So Rahaf put her current work contracts on hold, found roommates on Craigslist and moved herself to Chicago.

I love Chicago and had the pleasure of being there just a few weeks before Obama’s inauguration in January 2009 and the city was buzzing. I can only imagine what it would have been like to be in the campaign war room and part of the groundbreaking social media campaign as excitement was continuing to grow.

Rahaf’s current work at the World Economic Forum is really fascinating. The Technology Pioneers Programme identifies companies from around the world that are involved in the design and development of new technologies, typically in the start-up phase. Once identified as a Technology Pioneer, these companies become part of the World Economic Forum’s network and benefit from this integration. 2011 Pioneers include foursquare and Scribd.

Rahaf has now gotten her work schedule down to about 70% of her time so she can commit herself to writing her second book, which she is co-authoring with Len Brody tentatively titled Misfits: How We’ve Outgrown the Way We Live and What to Do About It”.

 As I mentioned above, Rahaf also commits a good deal of her time to speaking engagements and through this she has had an amazing opportunity to travel all over the world, and sometimes add a few days here and there to be a tourist, such as an extended trip to Portugal earlier this year and another trip to Uruguay and one to Columbia coming up. For someone who admitted to me that she doesn’t like to fly, she certainly is racking up a lot of air miles.

I was truly inspired after my lunch with Rahaf. She is so positive and driven and genuinely excited about the work she is doing and the future of her career. It’s really amazing to see and something I hope that everyone can accomplish in their lives. I hope to be able to speak with Rahaf again and see how she’s doing on her current and new projects and perhaps try to get some of her incredible optimism, drive and perseverance to rub off on me.

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Social Media Superstar Meghan Warby

19 Feb

Lunch with Mary 010

Date of lunch:
Monday, February 16th, 2009 (aka Family Day)

The company:
Meghan Warby and I work at the same company but very rarely ever actually work together. At work and also outside of work, Meghan is known as a social media genius (my words, not hers, but it’s true) and knows all the ins and outs of blogging and web 2.0. She even mentioned our lunch in her blog – I’m famous, my 17 year old dream is coming true! I thought a conversation with Meghan would help me to make my blog better and maybe even get some more people to read it. 

The food:
We ate at Sneaky Dee’s – I know, I know, all class. But neither Meghan nor I are ashamed to admit that yummy, cheap food is hard to turn down. I had the Eggs Benedict and Meghan had Black Bean Soup with nacho chips and a side of guacamole. We both drank water. Both of us have eaten these meals before and they tasted delicious as always – and we left VERY full. Total bill was $17 with tax.

The lunch lesson: 
My lunch lesson from Meghan is the creation of this section for every post!

The lunch:
I knew this lunch would be different than the others in that what I hope to learn from Meghan is not going to happen in just one lunch. I hope to continue to get tips from her about blogging and social media in general.

So a couple of Meghan’s suggestions that I will now do moving forward is adding tags to my posts to help with searching and also adding the “Lunch Lesson” section (as seen above) to each post where I will list the best/most significant/my favorite thing I learned.

Also Meghan gave me the links to some of her favorite blogs and I have been checking them out. I have even added some links to the bottom right side of my page so others can check them out too. As this is a learning process, I hope to continue to check out these sites and others, and make my blog the best it can be!

As Meghan continues to give me tips and advice, I will update this page with the changes. Meghan is my blog captain! I hope she doesn’t mind.

Oh and of course, being that it was a statutory holiday here in Ontario, we also took this opportunity and gabbed a lot about other stuff – girly gossipy stuff, which was sort of beyond the scope of this blog – but was definitely fun. And Meghan, being the awesome girl that she is, stuck a can of PC Spicy Black Bean soup in my mailbox at work on Tuesday, saying I shouldn’t have paid for lunch. Hilarious – what a gem!