Giving Thanks in Freeport, California

The Gitchel family gathered Thanksgiving day on the Sacramento River in Freeport, CA to give thanks and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Brother-link reunion.

The local CBS affiliate, Channel 13 interviewed us to ask what we have experienced and what we’ve learned. We invite you to use the link below to watch the broadcast.

Brothers Celebrate 20 Years Since Thanksgiving Reunion That Brought Them Together After 26 Years

Schedule Update

I’m on assignment in Florida through the end of the year. I’ll be presenting in Jacksonville on Jan 10th. and in San Diego Feb 7th.

What I’m most excited about is the San Diego premier of Why I Hate Chicken Pot Pie this spring. I’ve been invited by Executive Women International to present the true story of a resilient 5th grader, home alone for three weeks and the caring adults who made a difference in his life. This will be the first time I’ve presented this story in the city were it happened.

Bright Shiny Objects

The Importance of Invitations

Yesterday I published a LinkedIn post on the The Art of the Online Invitation. It focused on how I go about sending LinkedIn invitations. Today I’d like to share why both giving and receiving the right invitation is so important to your business.

I received an invitation to connect this morning from Joe Burton. We had both worked individually with one of the top automotive groups in St. Petersburg, FL. Two years ago Joe and I had discussed working together. The result was not a no, just more of a not yet.

Of course I said yes to his invitation. Joe stands head and shoulders above everyone else in his field, and not just literally. That’s why Joe’s invitation is so important. His decision was measured, well thought out  and timed perfectly. It happened when Joe was ready.

I attended a holiday party recently. Almost everything was beautiful, except for the desert table. One of the guests had chosen to bake something special, placed it on the table, then surrounded it with business cards. I wasn’t sure about the protocol, so I grabbed the gooy chocolate treat, popped it into my mouth and picked up a card.

Too late I realized my mistake. I couldn’t clean the card, couldn’t put it in my pocket, so I had to throw it away. I’ll remember the treat, the individual, and the incident for a very long time.

Twenty years ago I received an email invitation with the subject line: “Looking For My Lost Brother”. On Thanksgiving morning, me, my big brother Lee and CBS will gather together to celebration the anniversary of that first reunion.

I am thankful for each invitation I receive, and respectful in the way I extend an invitation. Here are some thoughts on why invitations are important:

When you extend an invitation, It allows the individual to choose to accept. Prospects respect your understanding that in today’s marketplace, they make the decision to engage. You simply provide the opportunity.

Crashing the party may work, but often something gets broken in the process. Don’t let yourself get in a situation where they need to call a wrecker to haul away that fragile bit of trust you drove off the cliff.



The Brother-link Story, Twenty Years After

Yesterday CBS News called my big brother Lee about an email he sent 20 years ago. They want to be there on Thanksgiving day when we celebrate the 20th anniversary of our reunion.

It all started with his email. The subject line read, “Looking for my lost brother”. On Thanksgiving day 1994, I rolled up on his house in Sacramento to a group of his neighbors, a CBS camera crew, and my big brother Lee and his wife Dorothy.

That first reunion was aired coast to coast. This time we hope to share it with all of you via the Internet. Who knows, you might see us in your TV while eating desert.

Tim, Jerry, Lee, Thanksgiving 1968
Tim, Jerry, Lee, Thanksgiving 1968

The Internet gives us the ability to connect across the miles and all the years. Making it happen takes more that ability, it takes responsibility.

My gift for your Thanksgiving is simple. Do you have someone in your life whom you are thankful for because they were born and that they live in this world? Send them an email, give them a call, even just a text message.

My wish for you is that this Thanksgiving, the holidays and all of the days of your life be Just Another Day In Paradise. I hope you’re the one who receives that call.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Making Sense of Mobile Marketing

Social Trending, Moving beyond Trendy

Nels Jesen, San Diego Business Journal’s (SDBJ) Insider what very excited. You could almost hear the pride in his voice in his report, And Now For The Top Story: Us*. While recounted the success of SDBJ’s “Woman Who Mean Business” event, he remarked, “But it took a few of us by surprise that afternoon when the San Diego Business Journal was the No. 1 local trending account on twitter.”

He congratulated staffers Shannon Taylor and Leslie Fulton on, “their social media prowess“. Nels wrapped it up with, “We never really thought of it, but I guess we are cool and trendy over here at the SDBJ.” I agree that the team as well as the co-emcee Susan Taylor did a great job of promoting the event, the SDBJ and San Diego as a place where women mean business, but I’m not surprised.

The Internet was made for women. The majority of my clients are successful women business owners. When they speak about the Internet they use words like tool instead of weapon, collaboration instead of competition, conversation instead of confrontation.

No Longer Cool or Trendy, Just Effective

Using social networking to connect your digital dots has gone beyond being cool or trendy. Now it’s effective, essential and easy. Here are some tips you can use to get your social networking game on:

Pre-event Promotion – use images from a prior event to build the buzz, as well as ticket sales. Engage your loyal fans by having them post “Why you should not miss this event!” profile updates.

Capture the Excitement – Use mobile tools to capture memories of these special moments during your event.

Break the Fourth Wall – Extend the celebration and the learning beyond the place and time of your event. Carry what you learned out into your community. The best way to grow your membership and effectiveness is to present images and accounts of HSP (Happy Smiling People).

Social networking is no longer a novelty, or a marketing strategy out on the fringe. Whether in-person or online, social networking has taken center stage in business owners efforts to get discovered.

What trend are you going to start today?


*Editors Note: SDBJ’s paywall prevents me from linking directly to the article. If you’re a subscriber, log into and search for the title.


Making Eugenes Technology Work

This is How I Make Your Technology Work

Eugene Kim was so focused on the content of his presentation to the Exceptional Entrepreneurs at 57 Degrees on Wednesday that he didn’t get an opportunity to setup his presentation. I rarely work with hardware these days (the last time I set the computer on fire).

As with all great technological innovations, I had help with this one. Tom Paulus used the same trick during CodeDay San Diego.

5 Reasons Why “Like” is so Lame

It’s real easy to see an online post, smile as you read it, then click Like button. In fact, it’s too easy. The Like button was created to make a digital connection, a way for visitors to give permission to connect with the poster. It has little to do with actually liking the piece or the person.

Clicking Like is so insincere it has become insignificant. It’s gone from social to anti-social. Here are 5 tips to create a real connection, engage your community and shine a light on what you love, not merely like:

Shift From Like to Comment – A sincere complement includes why you like a quote, a statement, an idea. Click the Comment button to express exactly what you like.

Create Value – The Internet works best not when ideas are shared, but when others add value.

Tell Your Truth – Global revolutions are often started with nothing more than a color. Imagine what you could do with an idea.

Share, the Most Sincere Form of Appreciation – Months ago as a guest blogger, the host tweeted my statement, “Use your voice to create value instead of noise”. It gets retweeted weekly. I’m always surprised, pleased and grateful.

Act of Virtual Respect – My prediction of the hottest technology trend for 2015 is listening instead of shouting. When you post a comment, share a post or retweet you demonstrate that you were listening, really listening.

 “Use your voice to create value instead of noise”
 – Jerry Gitchel


CodeDay San Diego Crowd

What I Learned at CodeDay San Diego

Yes, learned. There was a whole lot of learning going on this past weekend at the CodeDay San Diego event held at the Ansir Innovation Center. In the words of Tom Paulus, Regional Manager and Lead Evangelist for CodeDay San Diego, “CodeDay is an inspiring event for students, many build skills and all leave with higher confidence.

I was invited to serve as a judge for this event and arrived with the confidence of age and experience, “I’m the adult, not only will this be fun, it should be easy.” Fun? Yes. Easy? Not even close.

I arrived to a scene I imagined opening a can of worms might look like. The student participants ranged from 7th graders to college age. They were everywhere, talking about everything to everyone.

Future Women CodersThere were all-male, all-female and co-ed teams each assembled randomly. The focus was on skills and trust, not gender.

“I’m here with my sister” said one. When asked, “Where is your sister?” she pointed to a lumpy sleeping bag under a worktable. They had been working on projects all night and had achieved great things. Games were imagined, designed, built and successfully launched. By 7th graders. The same effort and result was true for the App developers, cloud-based start ups and all the other projects.

Best Overall team of Dreamers and DevelopersA cloud-based SaaS start up to foster idea collaboration was inspired by a team of dreamers and developers because “We really didn’t have an idea of what to work on.” They successfully launched their app that connects dreamers and developers to move projects forward. They won the Best Overall award.

Technology Throwback

It was quarter century throwback for me. Ric French, Jeff McBride, Judy Shulman and I attended Windows 1st birthday in Atlanta with Bill Gates. All of us and all of the students had experienced the same wonder, curiosity, problem solving, sleep deprivation, exhilaration and most importantly, courage.

To suspend disbelief, to leap into the unknown is the privilege of the young. What I learned this weekend is that it is alive and well here in San Diego.

Are You Ready to Learn?

Tom and Jerry
Tom Paulus Regional Manager and Lead Evangelist for CodeDay San Diego with Jerry Gitchel really old judge.

I find that whenever I serve in the role of teacher, mentor, coach or judge, I’m often the one who learns the most. As a seasoned professional, no matter what your field of endeavor, I encourage you to seek out opportunities in your community like CodeDay. Yes it was fun and it wasn’t easy to pick winners from the entries. That’s because those who have the courage to leap are all winners.

Thanks for the lesson Tom.

Sunrise in St. Petersburg

Why I Hate Chicken Pot Pie

Over a half-century ago, on the first Friday in November, I came home from school to an empty house. It was quiet and dark, but I wasn’t afraid, I was relieved. For quite some time both angry words and fists had been swung around. At least this was different.

The note in the kitchen explained everything:

“Honey, I can’t take any more, I’m leaving, but I left you something to eat in the freezer”
– Mom

The freezer contained, wall to wall, top to bottom, Swanson Chicken Pot Pie. My pot pie adventure lasted through Thanksgiving.

Why I Hate Chicken Pot Pie has been performed in public all of three times, unlike Making Your Technology Work, my flagship presentation. Why I Hate Chicken Pot Pie was first presented under duress, but not where it happened, here in San Diego.

Jerry's Angels
Lydia Ramsey, Kathy Pashkow, Linda Harvey, Jackie Dorst, John Hollis, Jeff McBride, My Florida Angels

Why now? Last week, during the 2014 Florida Gathering of my best clients, they made me promise I would tell this story. It was Lydia Ramsey who tricked me into presenting it the first time. She booked it as a fundraiser, completed all the details, then gave me a call to say it was a done deal. Once again, Lydia is the instigator.

This is a story about the heros in our midst. The caring adults who stepped up and made sure I didn’t fall through the cracks and the resiliency of a 5th grader. My ask today is simply this:

Organization – If you know of a San Diego group whose members would do more than say “Nice story” after attending this presentation, please share my request and ask them to contact me. I’m looking for a group who would go out into their community and carry on the legacy of the caring adults from my past.

Non-Profit – If you know of a San Diego group who could leverage the power of this message to help those they serve, please ask them to contact me.

People – My heroes, the teacher, the police officers, the parole officer and the foster parent are all gone. I didn’t get to thank them. If I did, certainly not enough. Their legacy lives on in the work of a new generation of unsung heroes. If you know of a group I should thank, and sing their praises, please contact me.

Direct number: 858-220-0499

I send this out to the universe. I’m not afraid, I am relieved. Thanks Lydia, and all my angels.

Learn more about this presentation >


Torry Pines, California

5 Tips for Perfect Online Portraits

Publishing online portraits have gotten out of hand. I’ve seen images of dogs, cats and cars. Even when they post a human image, it’s often so far away that recognizing who it is becomes a long shot. I love the shot of Torrey Pines, but it doesn’t say much about my business.

I can’t imagine a business professional bringing their dog to a networking event, shoving them in my face, then expecting me to do business with them.

Marilyn Salero Crop 070What I want to see is someone as gorgeous as Marilyn Salerno. Here are 5 tips for publishing effective online portraits:

Dress for Success – Pretend you are getting ready for a live networking event. You attention to detail should be reflected in the published portrait.

Get Close, Really Close - Unless your networking strategy includes shouting at people from across the room, get closer. Imagine walking up to a prospect, holding up your camera and snapping a photo. That’s how close you should be.

Ruthless Cropping – I care about you, not that mountain in the background from your last vacation. Although your head shot may seem huge during editing, the very first image I’m going to discover is a thumbnail. Use your mobile device to visit your favorite networking site. Find your thumbnail image. If you can’t see it clearly, how can your prospects?

Be Professional – Discovery is the beginning of the Path of Engagement. Soon after prospects discover you online, they are going to meet you in person. Be congruent, both on and off line.

Have Big Fun – Just before you snap a photo, imagine you are standing in front of you next perfect customer. Yes, that’s the smile we all want to see!

Inspiration from Marilyn

Marilyn Salerno of, Plastic Surgery of the Mind shared her new professional portraits by Robert O’Neill 

Plastic Surgery of the Mind

Isn’t she gorgeous? At first this seems much to big, but it’s perfectly cropped. Compare this 300 pixel image with the 70 pixel thumbnail above. Combine Robert’s art and tight editing and the thumbnail makes the perfect first impression.

Jerry's Angels

Florida Gathering – Jerry’s Angels

From prior years I knew the 2014 Florida Gathering would be special. I had no idea how special.

With a bit of artful, last minute misdirection by Kathy Pashkow ’12, I arrived at the conference area just in time. As I walked through the door I was greeted by a sea of halos above the attendees heads. Linda Harvey ’99, quite simple said, “We are Jerry’s Angels”.

“WOW!” was all I could say.

I believe the success of Make Technology Work is the result of the success of my clients.  This special group includes best selling authors, world travelers, coaches, warriors and a sea captain. The year following their names denotes when the joined the Make Technology Work family. The average is 15 years. The highest is 24 and the most recent is 2 years.

The first order of business is to set the date for the following year. If you are in North Florida on November 7, 2015, please accept my invitation to “Save the Date”.

As always I shared future trends. I’m always amazed how much I learn while teaching.  I learned how even a small kindness is appreciated and remembered. I learned just how smart my brain trust really is, and what they can accomplish when they are inspired.

This new era includes something new, old and different:

  • Jackie Dorst ’13, crafted our new mission, “Adapting Technology to the Human Need”.
  • Lydia Ramsey ’01, reminded me of my gift of making technology understandable because, “I’ve read the manual, so you don’t have to.”
  • Kathy Pashkow ’11, developing a client focus that makes them capable of any challenge.
  • Linda Harvey ’99,  the ability to be both agile and giving
  • Jackie Dorst ’13,  deliver a technology “Kick in the Butt”.
  • John Hollis ’14, the creativity to deliver simple, elegant design that brings clarity to communication.
  • Jeff McBride ’90, to let clients shine bright no matter who tries to dim their light.

Expect more to come from this day of discovery. A new era has begun.