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If you want to be heard, you have to be seen

Scott Jenkins, general manager of the new Atlanta Falcons Stadium, talks about the stadium during a tour on June 11, 2015. The Metro Atlanta Chamber’s Environmental Policy & Sustainability Committee sponsored the tour. The tour included a behind-the-scenes sustainability look at the new stadium, the Georgia Dome, where the Falcons currently play, and the Georgia World Congress Center, one of the nation's largest convention facilities.

Last week ended on a good note. One of the last emails that came in before I turned the computer off Friday afternoon was from a top editor at Atlanta Magazine. Your story pitch would make “a great blog post,” she wrote. “I’d be happy to have it.” The pitch was to write a short story reporting that the Blank Foundation will include an edible garden as part of the new Atlanta Falcons stadium under construction in downtown Atlanta. The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, which bears the name of Home Depot co-founder and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur M. Blank, promotes positive change in peoples’ lives and builds and enhances the communities in which they live, according to the mission statement on the Foundation’s website. The Foundation is partnering on the garden with a second Atlanta Foundation that bears the name of another famous Atlantan. That foundation is the Captain Planet Foundation, which CNN founder Ted Turner started in 1991 to support high-quality, hands-on environmental stewardship projects. Captain Planet projects have enabled more than 1.1 million youth across the United States and around the world to make significant environmental improvements to their schools or communities. Turner’s daughter Laura Turner Seydel now chairs Captain Planet. The edible garden probably wouldn’t interest the general media. One of the three tracks of my business, however, is environment and sustainability. The latter includes urban agriculture writing with an emphasis on school and community gardens, especially as they are used to reduce childhood obesity. Small wonder, then, that I put a big star beside edible gardens in the notes I was scribbling as Scott Jenkins, who was appointed general manager of the new Falcons stadium in February, mentioned the edible garden during a pre-tour presentation. I wouldn’t have known about the edible garden at the new Falcons stadium if I hadn’t attended a behind-the-scenes sustainability tour of the new stadium, Georgia Dome, where the Falcons currently play, and the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC). The Metro Atlanta Chamber’s Environmental Policy & Sustainability Committee sponsored the tour. The experience reinforced my strong beliefs that if you are a small business person seeking to grow your business you have to be active in your industry sector. To me, that means getting away from the computer and attending events you designate as “high quality,” meaning they have the potential to generate business. I hope to sell at least one more story from the GWCC, Georgia Dome, new stadium tour.That pitch will be a story about edible gardens being a trend in the landscaping plans of new professional sports stadiums that are either under construction or planned. That bit of information came from Jenkins, who came to the Falcons from Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners where he was vice president of baseball operations for the last seven and a half years, as we walked from site to site. Please understand, being seen in my industry sectors does not diminish the value I see in social media marketing. That, too, is incredibly important. I am simply saying that in our digital age we should not forget the value of getting away from the keyboard, attending events, and talking to people. There’s a lesson to be learned from establishing relationships and getting people to talk about business issues of mutual importance. There are some things even Google can’t find.

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