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She asked and of course I answered.

The “she” is my dear friend Gini Dietrich and the “ask” was whether or not I’d like to contribute to a book she was working on titled Dear CEO: Letters to the C-Suite. She wanted to hear what we might tell the CEO about our expectations and advice for the next couple years. How could I say no? What follows is what I had to say. There are 31 other super-smart people that also contributed and for $40 you can get an e-copy and see what they have to say, too.

But for the next two days, Gini says I can give away some copies to our loyal fans. So here’s what I’m asking you to do (and I know you can’t say no to me right?). Either here in the comments or on our Facebook page, tell us what you’d like to hear back from the CEO about his/her vision for the future. Everyone who submits will be eligible to win a copy of the book. Don’t be shy; we really want to hear what you have to say. Let us know by close of business Friday and we’ll get back to you next week.

Here’s my #DearCEO contribution…

Dear CEO,

Wow, what a couple of years it‘s been! I don‘t know about you, but I am excited about the possibilities an economic recovery brings. Yes, I know, they still say ―flat is the new up, but I‘m encouraged by some of the conversations I‘ve had with people across all industries, many of whom are starting to see an uptick in their business. Albeit a slow one, there is definitely some positive movement.

I‘d like to offer some recommendations for you during the next 18 months – I‘m sure you‘re getting lots of advice from other trusted advisors, so I appreciate you taking the time to consider these:

1. Please continue to allocate dollars to marketing your business. I know that is one of the first places to consider cutting when looking at your budget. But now, more than ever, you need to stay top-of-mind with your customers and consumers. There are some pretty great tools at our disposal now to reach people; we just need the time and resources to put them into place.

2. On the flipside – continue to be mindful of all your expenditures and watch out for unnecessary debt. We want you to continue to be a vibrant company.

3. Stay engaged with your team. As a CEO, I‘m sure the tendency is to batten down the hatches and keep things close to the chest. But you just never know what interesting and creative ideas are lurking amongst the team. Ask for their opinion, advice, and recommendations. They know you won‘t be able to implement everything, but I can guarantee they‘ll be happy you asked. And be sure to say thank you. Email is ok, but nothing beats a personal note or a quick visit to their office.

4. And speaking of your team – I know raises and bonuses are a little difficult to come by, but quality-of-life-bonuses go a long way. Maybe you can start a corporate wellness program or take everyone to a baseball game – these acts of kindness are always appreciated.

And my final words of advice… Celebrate successes. With the two-year recession and counting, we've had enough bad news. Celebrate the good!

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio


  1. I LOVE this! I want to flip it around though, and have numbers three and four be number one and number two.

    And Abbie, I definitely can’t say no to you, but I also can never resist bending the rules…just a little. So I’d like to phrase my Dear CEO question as,

    “Dear CEO, did the recession teach you about doing business that you will carry with you into the future?”

    You see, I think a lesson is only a lesson if it’s a) unforgettable and b) changes our behavior. My fear is that the lessons we learned in 2009 and 2010 may already be fading in our quest to “feel good again.”

    Thanks, as always, for the excellent food for thought!

  2. Agree Mimi, if we don’t learn from our mistakes, we’ll continue down the same path.

  3. Whoa Mimi! That’s some good stuff. It certainly makes me sit back and think about the lessons I’ve learned and what I’m taking forward. I’m pretty pleased to say it’s “a lot” and they are unforgettable. Heck! I changed my entire business model to be flexible in up and down times. Now watch…we won’t have another recession in my business lifetime. 🙂

  4. Excellent advise Abbie. There is so much to be learned by the people that actually work the business. In the 70’s I worked for a company that had an idea pool and anyone who submitted an idea that was implemented would get a bonus.

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