You Get What You Give

Monroe Harding Yoga Opportunity Passport Wed Feb 14, 2018.png

Last week I spoke to a great group of kids at Monroe Harding’s “Youth Connections,” which serves youth who are abused, abandoned, neglected and even homeless. 

I was there to invite them to attend free, weekly yoga classes that’d offer an hour of reprieve from their daily fight-or-flight level stress.

Kids who are in and out of foster care are good kids stuck in bad circumstances. Their worlds are inconsistent and they’ve been let down by just about everyone. They want to make something of themselves — they just need someone to meet them halfway.

I’m not a therapist. I’m a branding guru who found peace in yoga and got certified to teach it.

How can YOU help? 

Review your resources. Mine was yoga. What's yours?

Maybe you cut hair? Can you offer a free haircut to a kid who otherwise couldn’t afford one?

If you run a business, would you hire a foster kid or offer an internship?

Can you make time to play basketball or help with homework? 

These kids need minimum resources: a home, medical care, and the opportunity to work and go to school — but they also need to know someone is in their corner. And guess what — YOU can be their light. 

Will you join me in meeting a kid halfway? 

Just visit Project Meet Me Halfway for more details on now to dive in or to ask specific questions about opportunities in your area, and for a look inside the mind of a foster kid, please read “Walk To Beautiful,” by Jimmy Wayne.

type-a? no way!


I've been told all my life I'm "Type-A," but that's simply not true. Sure, I'm goal oriented, competitive, and a leader who loves charging the hill for worthy causes and for my clients, but, the real me — the "me" in my natural habitat — is a colorful and creative, free spirit. 

There's a faucet of melodies, pictures, and story ideas pouring into my mind and heart ... all ... the... time. (I even keep a notebook by my bed because writing things down helps me sleep.)

Don't get me wrong — I’m grateful I learned the art of "gettin' it done," but if I let the go-getter in me be "on" all the time, I'll burn out.

I used to feel guilty about stopping to breathe, sleep in, or even take a lunch break. I quickly realized that running so hard without stopping to rest wasn't just bad for me — it was taking my eyes off the goals I'd been aiming for.

I learned from one of my mentors, Joe Galante, to take time to evaluate how a plan is working so money, time and other important resources are used wisely.

This is critical in business and in life. 

After my first case of corporate burnout, I decided to make a life change. I "cleared the decks" and started saying "no" to everything I didn't need to do. I bought a day planner and scheduled time for self care, whether it was praying or a long walk or sleeping in on Saturdays.  I literally scheduled time for rest and quiet.

This is also when I started my yoga practice. The hour on my mat reminds me that, while the world matters, so do I.

Epiphany anyone?

Yep ... that thought process changed everything.

In the same timeframe, I started journaling. Like yoga, it helped me focus. I saw patterns I needed to break and areas I needed to shore up. I was also able to balance my “left and right brained-ness."  These two practices reminded me that I’m not a robot, but a colorful and creative free-spirit.

Some say that yoga — the union of movement and breath — is like a dance. That said, if I can't get to my mat or only have a few minutes because "life happens” — I dance!

Sometimes in the kitchen with Jimmy softly singing one of his beautiful melodies in my ear, or in the rain all by myself, or maybe it's a full-on rave set to whatever goofy song is in my head at the time.

Whatever your groove, the important thing is to step out of the routine and step into the moment. Breathe it in. Protect that three minutes and just BE. 

Today I danced — and you can too.  Make time for yourself. Schedule it in. Even if it's just three minutes, you'll reap the benefits of being present. 

#TakeCareOfYou #FromTheMatUp #MandukaYoga

"Shine" was written and recorded by Jimmy Wayne

get your mind out of the gutter and get your head between your legs

Jackie Marushka

How to Replace Stress and Anxiety with
Peace, Clarity, Strength and Balance

Yoga changed my life.

With my first practice eight years ago, I learned there was a safe space to clear my mind for 60 or 90 minutes. This discipline quickly became a way of Life.

My red yoga mat became my “prayer closet” and my “war room” —  a non-judgmental space for quiet time with God. This space taught me compassion for myself — a new concept for me, a competitive, Type-A overachiever.

Yoga — which translates to “union” or “to yoke” — is a series of physical poses linked to your breath.

So, yoga is simply a moving meditation.

It’s become a multi- million dollar fitness movement, complete with apparel, props, and brands, but at the end of the day, it’s about serenity and balance — mind, body and spirit. 

Everyone meditates differently — for me, praying while I inhale and exhale, is where I find peace. A Peace that transcends location. 

The Peace cultivated on my mat is with me in traffic, when I face the nastiest of people spewing anger, and leads me to continue serving those who do not have a voice or a choice.

Yoga also taught me to surrender — which isn’t a weakness by any means, but a strength.

Surrender asks us to be strong enough to engage each moment with integrity while being soft enough to flow with the current of life. It taught me patience and to let things go.

Guess what — I’m a MUCH happier person.

For my Christian Friends, fear not — depending on the yoga class you choose to attend, there will be no creepy chants or “mystery words” you’ll be “tricked” into saying as part of the class routine.

There is one phrase you’ll hear — “Namaste.” This simply means, “the light in me sees and honors the Light in you.”  It’s about respect and kindness. Nothing wrong with that, right?

If you’re unsure about yoga — why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose, and only peace, flexibility, strength and joy to gain.

-Most studios rent mats and customize classes to meet anyone’s physical goals and will modify to anyone’s body type or injuries. 
-You don’t have to be in shape or flexible to begin. The instructor will help modify poses so you honor YOUR body.
-NOBODY will be looking at you. Practitioners are there to better themselves, so let it go. Trust me on this. Unless you are teaching, no one will be looking at you.
-YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE. Every size, shape race, creed, socioeconomic status and age — male or female.
-For those who think yoga is “sissified” or not challenging, I invite you to try it just once. 


Please post them below or shoot an email to I’m happy to make recommendations on yoga styles, classes, studios AND what to expect and how to prepare for your first class.

Namaste, friends!

A reminder that giving is the blessing.

A reminder that giving is the blessing.

I have no idea who took this picture, but THANK YOU! In one moment it captures the blessings of an entire week. I’ll never forget how it felt to wash the tiny feet of children orphaned by Haiti’s earthquake and its aftermath. 

The feet of these children were covered in scars, cuts and callouses. Also, many of the kids’ arches had fallen because they hadn’t worn shoes in over a year.  (The earthquake that killed more than a quarter of a million people, struck Jan. 8, 2010.)

As a group of us washed, dried and fitted each child for new, clean socks and a new pair of shoes, we talked to, or sang to, each sweet child. 

Every one of these little ones approached with caution but I had a breakthrough when, by accident, I tickled the bottom of a little girl’s foot and she erupted in high-pitched giggles. 

Her laughter was so infectious that it caused the kids and adults around us to laugh as well.

That was Day 1 of a week-long trip that offered everything from sadness to joy, and opened my heart and eyes to the beauty of Haiti and it’s resilient people.  Thank you again, Christine Maddela, for encouragThese kids and this country changed my world.

How To Have a Peaceful Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving eve,some folks may be dreading tomorrow’s potential conversations over culture, politics, etc ... 

If that’s you, here’s what I suggest:

1. Step away for a minute and think about 3 things you’re grateful for and then decide to take the high road. (Yes, I’m asking a lot, but REALLY — what do you have to lose?)

2. Go after the canned cranberry sauce — you know the one ... it’ll be sitting all alone, quietly quivering on its humble little serving dish, it’s embossed can-lines doing the wave. 

3. Sit at the kid’s table with your shameless helping of gelatinous-berried goodness. 

4. Have a conversation with the 3-year-olds at your table with food in your teeth. Make faces and silly chomping noises as you eat, and appreciate the sensible ones in the room (that would be the kids) as they laugh out loud. 

5. Breathe!

Remember — you can change the room with your positive energy and a little levity goes a long way.

Wishing you all a VERY Happy — and Peaceful — Gratitude Thursday. 

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James‬ ‭3:17‬ 

#BeAPeacemaker #Thanksgiving #GratitudeThursday #LoveInLoveOut #ThinkGoodSayGoodDoGood #GoodNews 


I was part of the inaugural teacher training class at Epic Yoga Center. Today I was given the opportunity to speak to this year‘s teacher training class about Seva, the practice of selfless giving. 

When I went through training in 2012, my Seva project involved creating a yoga program at Rocketown Teen Club in downtown Nashville. (Rocketown is a music venue, coffee-shop and skate park that is dedicated to serving at-risk youth in the area.)

It was a success as it served kids, staff, parents and even grandparents on a weekly basis. (Also, from that year forward, Rocketown became the home of the Music City Yoga Festival.)

At that time, I didn’t realize the needs of kids in foster care. After meeting Jimmy in 2015, I learned about the struggles of these beautiful kids, and more specifically the needs of girls still struggling through a broken system and those who have aged out into homelessness — or worse.

Fast forward to late 2016 when I approached Monroe Harding about offering Yoga to the at-risk girls they served through one of their programs called Youth Connections.

I was able to commit to a monthly class but starting next month — with the help of Epic Yoga, and a sponsor I’ll tell you about soon — we’ll not only be able to bring Yoga to the girls, but the Youth Connections staff and Foster Moms who work tirelessly to serve them.

These individuals will have an weekly opportunity to practice Yoga with a certified teacher. 

Yoga reduces stress, increases flexibility, strength and muscle tone in its practitioners, but it is also proven to help girls who have experience childhood trauma. 

Here’s a recent article by the Washington Post outlining some of the research. 

Hats off to Leanne Woehlke (founder and owner of Epic Yoga Center) and her selfless teaching staff for their offer of teacher-support in this beautiful endeavor. 

Thank you Tara, Leah, Sarah, and Pamela at Monroe Harding and Youth Connections for helping us give these amazing young ladies a sense of peace, healing, and the tools to deal with the stresses of their fight-or-flight lives.

Thank you especially to Jimmy for opening my eyes to the needs of these vulnerable and valuable children and for inspiring me daily in every way.

Red Carpets: What to consider the next time you tune in

While the world seems to be celebrating the CMA show, I want to point to some often forgotten people — the ones who work hard for an hourly wage to feed their kids. The people who make sure the red carpet is vacuumed before any artist steps foot onto it. The people who have zero ego while picking up trash tossed by some new male duo wearing bedazzled jackets someone told them looked good. The ticket takers who aren’t given eye contact or a “thank you.” The humble woman who is raising her grandchildren on three part-time jobs ... the people in these roles rarely ever get acknowledged for their hard work.

As you watch the all the coverage this Awards Season, please think of these folks you’ll never, ever see. Pray that they get to their cars safely after the event, that they are treated with respect and they make enough to keep their heat and lights on and their children fed.

Love and Light. 

PS: The people I personally work with are respectful and kind. They over-tip and open doors for everyone, no matter what that person’s role. (And yes — I’ve declined work and resigned jobs after seeing how a company leader or an artist treats their teams, family or the person picking up trash at a venue. Integrity and respect matter.)

"Measure Twice. Cut Once." Miguel Martinez

When I speak to colleges, businesses or leadership organizations about PR strategy, I reference my grandfather's wisdom. As an entrepreneur, he never wasted resources. He used to say, "careful preparation leads to great execution so always measure twice, cut once."

On a daily basis, my team is approached by businesses who've had bad experiences with PR. After a bit of inquiry, we usually find these businesses engaged in PR services without having first established clear, measurable goals. Their results reflect that lack of vision. While I hate hearing these campaign horror stories, I’m glad to help these businesses cultivate and refine their profiles, messaging, and goals.

So, getting back to my grandfather and how his wisdom relates to my daily business. We take "measure twice" to mean: do your homework. Every PR professional should know what makes a client unique.

The publicist should mine for angles, draft powerful, thought-provoking narratives and research the very best journalists and outlets to help share those specific narratives.
The second half of my grandfather's quote is, "cut once."

If you have a great story that runs before or after your campaign's impact window, then you've failed to maximize a great opportunity. Sometimes you only get one shot to make a pitch so think about timing when you're asking for placement.

Here's an example of a well-timed article that clearly articulates our client’s brand.
Kim Kelly of Vice/Noisey (follow her if you don't already) wrote an outstanding article on Angaleena Presley's new 'Wrangled' album. Kim really "gets" great artistry so we knew she would appreciate Angaleena's music, lyrics, production style and the album's powerful social commentary.

We offered Kim an exclusive song to stream — a shareable bonus for her readers — and a presale link to the album giving readers a chance to transact immediately.

The result was a story that accurately reflects the artist’s brand, image, and message, with immediate, measurable results we pulled by tracking social media traffic and impressive digital streaming and sales spikes.

Here’s a link to the article:

For more PR tips, or to find out about our PR and Marketing services, contact Jackie Marushka at