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Gini Dietrich

#FollowFriday: Frank Strong

By: Gini Dietrich | June 8, 2012 | 
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I am writing this just a couple of hours before I actually meet Frank Strong in person, but I already know I’ll like him as much (if not more) than I do online.

Frank and I met on Twitter several years ago. He’s the director of PR for Vocus and PRWeb, so it makes sense that we know one another. But the reasons we’ve become friend outnumber professional ones.

Last year, Frank was deployed for the second time, and he arrived back home safely earlier this year.

In a blog post at the end of March, he describes how technology has allowed the men and women serving our country the opportunity to see their families every day via Skype (read it; it’ll make you tear up a little bit).

But what I find most interesting is his description of his service and what’s going on in the Middle East:

I’m a Guardsman, a part-time Soldier, recalled to active duty and spent the last year deployed.  This was my second deployment; my first tour to Iraq ended in 2007.

My first deployment was for war; this deployment was for peace and ironically, the latter has left me with a far more cynical, perhaps isolationist, view of Middle East:  We give and give and give; they hate and hate and hate.  The more we give, the more they hate us for it. War gave me compassion, while “peacekeeping” has chipped away at my empathy and hardened my soul; it’s made me, to my own astonishment, bitter.

I can only imagine what it’s like to fight for a country, go to another country to try to give it the same peace and freedom we have, and have your hand bitten. Because of that, Frank is more than another PR professional. He’s changing the world in a way only a few of us ever know.

You can find Frank on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Google+, on the Vocus blog, and writing on his own blog, The Sword and the Script.

P.S. Something that often goes unspoken is the commitment organizations make when someone who works for them is deployed. Vocus not only saved Frank’s job for him, they welcomed him back with open arms.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communications firm. She is the lead blogger here at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. She is the co-author of Marketing in the Round and co-host of Inside PR. Her second book, Spin Sucks, is available now.

68 comments
JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

Finally getting around to reading this. Big ups to you @Frank_Strong, a classy and thoughtful dude if ever there was one. Good to see that a year + onwards and the nice things Gini had to say are all still happening plus a whole lot more. 

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

@AdamSinger Thanks bro, means a lot coming from you. You've taught me a lot! @ginidietrich

kmueller62
kmueller62

@Steveology @ginidietrich don't let her bully you. It's bound to be Friday somewhere in the world.

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

You know the irony of this timing?  Just yesterday, I got a linked in message from "Mike."  Mike, or Ahmad as his birth name, was one of many interpreters I had on payroll in Iraq.  Really fine people.

 

I put each and every one of them in for citizenship before I left Iraq in 2007.  All were accepted into the preliminary screening.  I *thought* all had declined.  At least, that's what the email messages from DoS told me. 

 

Seems Mike has popped up in DC - I just got a message from him on LinkedIn - he holds a green card now and hopes to get citizenship this year.  I'm going to buy him dinner very soon. 

 

For all the service American armed forces personnel do, these local nationals, serving as interpreters, they really risk their lives to serve. And we couldn't do our jobs without them.

 

Mike is in the States now -- I can't wait to see him -- and if I can share his story at a future time without risking his life or the lives of his family back in Iraq, I'll do just that. 

NateStPierre
NateStPierre

Welcome back, man, and thanks for all you guys do. My brother just deployed again too - miss that guy. Glad you and Gini get to meet! 

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

@AnneDGallaher Thanks Anne, means a lot coming from you!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@Partyaficionado He ROCKS! @Frank_Strong

ValerieSimon
ValerieSimon

 @ginidietrich Hope you and @Frank_Strong had a great time today! Have such respect for Frank and have no doubt that you are right... "He’s changing the world in a way only a few of us ever know." Thanks for giving us a glimpse Gini. And thank you Frank. As so many others have said, I deeply appreciate your service to our country and our industry.

blah2voila
blah2voila

@ginidietrich DANG! I thought it was going to be somebody with pink hair. I'm feeling so unloved today.

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

Yep - I met Frank on one of Danny's blogs - not sure which. Great thinker. I missed his post you reference - WOW. Thanks for sharing.

MikeSchaffer
MikeSchaffer

Great call! Frank is awesome. And you'll love him in person even more. Can I join in??? :--)

Latest blog post: Hava Blows a Kiss

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

@JoeCardillo  Wow, Joe, that's out of the blue!  You checking up on me?  Thanks for the kind words. I'm inclined to believe it's not nice things but rather a straight forward nature.  I don't mince words, thought I strive to invoke diplomacy (an area where I can still use some work).  Still, I've found the number of people that respect an honest, if not a simply nice, word vastly outnumber those that dislike it.  With me...what you see is what you get. Thanks for the comment.

Steveology
Steveology

@ginidietrich It won't happen again. ..cough, butthead...

Steveology
Steveology

@ginidietrich Sorry I didn't tweet your post as promptly as you think I should have.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

 @Frank_Strong thank you for serving! I think the carpetbagging our military contractors did hurt the troops efforts. When they announced we were building this immense symbol of America in Iraq as our embassy I felt that was undermining our troops. So I think the selfless effort of people like you/our troops was undermined by our government and the money machine. And everyone who stayed home did nothing to stop it. Shame on us because it wasn't our lives at stake. So my apologies.

 

Your story here is great Frank about your interpreter. As for Vocus you bought me my favorite pair of Volcom shorts 2 summers ago. I took a tour of the system in exchange for a gift card. And to this day I recommend your platform...not because of the shorts but because I feel it is the best out there. And I like Peter Shankman so there ya go.

 

Hey @ginidietrich did I do enough butt kissing can I do my normal fake bio now?

AnneDGallaher
AnneDGallaher

@Frank_Strong I loved all the comments on @ginidietrich's blog about you! @Vocus is blessed to have you and so is the US! Proud of you!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@blah2voila Oh you'll get yours, darlin! You're smoking hot today.

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

 @richescorner Best thing that ever happened to me -- when I was coming home on leave from Iraq so long ago -- I passed through Atlanta.  We were on that little tram that shuttles passengers between terminals and I could see this lady watching me.  We were the last ones off at the last stop, and she made a bee-line for me, gave me a hug and said "thank you for your service."  I didn't even have a chance to respond and she was gone. First time it ever happened.  Today, I see this a lot and strive to emulate it:  when I travel for business and am  dressed casually, I'll walk up to anyone I see in uniform, shake their hand, say thanks and walk away.  Best "pay it forward" idea ever. 

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

@Frank_Strong @JoeCardillo True, but it's rarer than it should be these days, unfortunately. 

I actually was reading Martin's post from today about Klout and that made me think of your interview with Ian Lipner and his quote about trust scaling.....and also the consistency thing, we measure each action, thought, and word against our thousands and perhaps millions of other impressions. In that context it sure helps to be straightforward, assuming you want people to trust you.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@Steveology The only one you have to tweet on a particular day is when the day is mentioned in the title. Blockhead.

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

 @HowieSPM  I struggle with the contractor piece Howie.  On one hand, lot of those guys caused a lot of BIG problems for us; I have had more than one shouting match with a contractor.  Many times, I did their job for them. 

 

I saw on more than one occasion, these guys taking unnecessary risks, ditty-bopping downtown in light-skinned vehicles without body armor like they were special forces.  They were not.  And they didn't have the experience to merit such risk, which to me, meant, crap, we're going to have to go rescue those dumb-asses. Man, the memories are coming back...

 

On the other hand, some of them have wound up in precarious situations. I remember watching one of the first AQ videos on YouTube.  A young telecoms guy, a boy really, -- he couldn't have been but 20 -- lost his head in a gross fashion.  I didn't sleep for many days.  It disturbed me in ways words cannot describe.  

 

Several years later, one of my buddies, a really good friend that has given so much more than I have,  was first on site, after one of our drones ended his killer's life.  I slept well that night. 

 

@ginidietrich 

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

@AnneDGallaher Thanks Anne. One word: humbling. @ginidietrich

blah2voila
blah2voila

@ginidietrich backatcha babe! muah! xoxox

Steveology
Steveology

@ginidietrich Every month, Baby!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@Steveology I'm a calendar girl!?! What month did I get?

Steveology
Steveology

@ginidietrich Whatever, miss I am a calender girl.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

 @Frank_Strong  @ginidietrich I actually don't view the contractors on the ground as the issue (well your point on them doing dumb things is bad) but upper management. I am sure many just saw the great pay and took it.

 

I have a finance/sales background. With cost plus contracts I can see them allowing a power plant to be blown up after repairing just so they can repair them again and bill the government. I am sure if the troops did the repairs the incentive would be to not have to do them again. As the sales guy I can see me calling my boss and saying 'Dude raise my forecast for this quarter by 10%. Don;t ask why. Just do it and read the paper on Tuesday'

 

I just think their use inflated the costs.

AnneDGallaher
AnneDGallaher

@HowellMarketing Texas? Sweet! Wave hello to @ ericfletcher

markwschaefer
markwschaefer

Seriously. @AnneDGallaher @ginidietrich Need a tweetup with you, @Frank_Strong @HowellMarketing @markwschaefer #badasspanel

HowellMarketing
HowellMarketing

Sister, I'm headed to TEXAS in am. West bound & ready! Loaded up & truckin. @AnneDGallaher

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

@AnneDGallaher THAT would be awesome!! @Frank_Strong @HowellMarketing @markwschaefer

AnneDGallaher
AnneDGallaher

@ginidietrich Need a tweetup with you, @Frank_Strong @HowellMarketing @markwschaefer #badasspanel

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

@AnneDGallaher Well, then, -- attention -- and -- present arms -- to your Dad!

AnneDGallaher
AnneDGallaher

@Frank_Strong Deep respect for you. My father was a WWII vet! I love @Vocus too!

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  1. [...] Check him out on Twitter @Frank_Strong, LinkedIn, Sword and the Script Blog, Google+ and his Spin Sucks FF Profile. Share this:FacebookTwitterGoogle +1DiggStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. [...]

  2. [...] tireless in her effort to engage people who engage her. I met her the same day she posted this #FridayFollow on Spin Sucks.  It’s part of a series she posts every Friday and is indicative of the polish on [...]