Writing for Orange Appeal Magazine

Sometimes, my posts offer incredible insights into my life (like this one, right after we lost Janee). Other times, I offer tips on some of my favorite tools (like my post about HARO, HighriseHQ and Mint).  But today, as I’m traveling to Las Vegas, I simply wanted to share my most recent published work in Orange Appeal magazine’s “Women to Watch” section.

Orange Appeal January Cover

See my piece on Flora Maria Garcia, executive director of United Arts of Central Florida, here.

See my piece on Barbara Hartley, executive director of Orlando’s Downtown Arts District, here.

Chosen to write these two pieces because of my connections with the Orlando arts community, it was a pleasure to work with both Barbara and Flora Maria.  Writing is something I absolutely love to do, so connecting my two passions was a great opportunity to learn from two incredibly influential women.

Follow me on Twitter: @marashorr and @theleoneco

Follow The Leone Company on Facebook here.


From time to time, I come across software that I love so much I just have to pass on, like YouSendIt, MailChimp, PDFtoWord, Mint and more.  Right now, that software is HighRise HQ.

I’ve signed up and adore the task management system.  As The Leone Company grows, I need to make sure my “To Do” list stays in check and, after looking from system to system, this one does the trick.  It allows me to sort by client or project, by deadline, sends me notification if I’ve passed said deadline (gasp!), has an app to keep me in check on the go, and far, far more options.  There are even features to attach notes to contacts.  Score!

Check it out here, and let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Do you have a software or productivity tip?  I’d love to hear it!

(But on your “To Do” list? No matter your candidate of choice, make sure to vote today!)

8 Things I Learned from Growing Bolder’s Marc Middleton

When Maria Diestro, Online Services and Communications Manager for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida (and fabulous former co-worker) let me know about the Central Florida Bloggers’ Conference, I couldn’t have been more excited to attend. 

Coming away with pages and pages of notes, here are just a few things I learned from the morning’s keynote speaker, Growing Bolder‘s Marc Middleton:


  1. Always look for leverage and leverage what you have. Leverage your friends, but give more than you ask.  I recently sat down for a “just to catch up” lunch with friend Kristin Weissman, who created Studio K this past year.  (We met when her former company was a sponsor of an event in which I was, well, in charge of seeking sponsors.)  She’s insanely invigorating and a breath of fresh air, because she’s not only incredibly successful, but she’s not afraid to tell you where she’s looking for help.  The best part?  I was able to help her, because I just so happened to know players she’s looking to reach.  I didn’t want anything in return, and it just turned out that way.  But now, she’s asked point blank, HOW CAN I HELP YOU?  How incredibly cool is that?
  2. Learn to do everything yourself.  As a small business owner, I serve as the mail collector, the accounting department, the IT department, the new business department, the creative department and the waste management department.  I’m now the web producer, the cleaning staff… you get the drift.  I’m learning that there’s a whole lot you can learn through Google.
  3. Provided it’s a thoughtful leap of faith, the more leaps you take, the less scared you’ll be.  The universe will catch you.  It’s true.  I left my steady job with a few prospects.  Those prospects turned into contracts, and the networking time (and hard work) is paying off.  So is the leap of faith that it would all work out.
  4. Don’t spend a dollar you don’t have to (which ties in to…) Repurpose, and simplify whenever possible. I use both sides of a sheet of paper.  I asked around (read: raided my mother’s house) to decorate the office.  I have built my site on WordPress and use Mint for budgeting right now.  I’ve found out about these things from talking with others.
  5. Have a mission statement, and a clear and understandable elevator speech.  The Leone Company’s tagline: Marketing.  Fundraising.  Community Relations.  Life.
  6. Nimble wins.  Your competitors can’t turn on a dime, but you can.  Use that!  A true advantage to being a small company here.
  7. When you decide to do something, you defeat the option not to.  Like, say, leaving your steady job, and going out on your own, perhaps?  Or taking on that new client that’s far more impressive than you ever thought you could land?  Yup, like that.
  8. Your product is hope.  For my clients, it’s hope for new dollars, stronger messaging, new partnerships … or just a little more time for their families while I do their work.

FREE Budget Software: Mint.com

I’m all about New Year’s resolutions. (And yes, I know I’m mentioning this in July.)

This year, one of mine was to give my personal budget a closer look. After all, I’ve been helping other organizations raise money to pay their bills and stay on budget for years, right?  After creating Excel sheet after Excel sheet, I came across Mint.com, Quicken’s FREE online budget software which tracks and categorizes all of my expenses AUTOMATICALLY by linking directly to my bank, credit card, even mortgage accounts, tracking all spending, deposits and balances instantly.  Huge for the girl on the go.  And of course, they have a free smart phone app.

Every expense.  Standard and custom categories.  I was in budget heaven.  (Ask my friend Lyndsay, who held her wedding on a Wednesday and washes her newborn’s own cloth diapers.  There really is such a thing!)

So imagine my delight when, after starting The Leone Company, I know that I’m able to track all spending for the company, categorize, track, and budget.  AUTOMATICALLY.  Allowing me more time in the day for my clients.

I’m in love, and want to shout it from the rooftops.  Because that’s free too.