By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

Nature is NurtureSo many of us have turned to nature to escape and to diminish the many negative emotions stemming from the current state of the country and the isolation we’re experiencing. We’re rediscovering parks and hiking with friends at a safe distance. Our back yards have become our sanctuaries where we enjoy time with family and friends. Even removing your shoes and standing on the grass can reinvigorate your connection to the earth.

Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.

My Octopus Teacher is my new favorite nature film on Netflix. The filmmaker forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest learning about nature as the animal shares the mysteries of her world.

“What she taught me was to feel that you’re part of this place, not a visitor”
Craig Foster

Nature is NurtureFoster, meeting the octopus every day for 250 days, learns about healing, caring and growing in a world filled with solace and newness. The eight armed animal touched his soul in a way nobody else did, he felt for her deeply as if it was someone he had to take care of.

We watch the octopus grow from a little animal till the day she gives birth, turns white, and dies. There is something so heart touching about this documentary that you feel some amount of the pain Foster did watching her every day. She has to dodge pajama sharks and other predators constantly. As she fights to survive in this wilderness, you grow so proud of her wit and skills – realizing how smart she is.

The documentary finds its core, in its earnestness – an affection that is beyond the boundaries of science and sea. A bond where their pain feels like a personal loss. At no point do you lose the ground reality where you feel that this is scripted – it all feels genuine and heartfelt.

Indeed, nature is a friend everyone seeks!


It's Okay to not be Okay Right NowBy Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

Data indicates that anxiety and depression, among other mental health problems, have surged to historic levels in recent months. Generally, our culture values positivity, and I’ve always been a very positive person. “It’s an attractive behavior in people that makes them seem more well adapted and more popular with their peers, so there are a lot of reasons people want to seem or be positive.”

But lately I’m telling myself it’s okay not to be okay.

A friend posted a sweet birthday message for me: “Happy Birthday to a woman who appears to be the essence of resiliency.” I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a little tired of being so resilient.

We all have so many negative emotions stemming from the current state of the country and the isolation we are experiencing. Denying or minimizing those feelings can be harmful with the dire situations we are dealing with: illness, homelessness, food insecurity, unemployment or racial injustice.

It is a privilege for us to “look on the bright side” when so many are suffering.

It is important for people to recognize how they are feeling and remove any expectations or goals that they should feel better than they do.

Disasters — personal, national, international — are horrible of course, but they also have value. They give you perspective amid all the chaos and pain.

Reading Before Sleep

My cousin Cam recommended Edmund Wilson to relax. Wilson was a problematic person and an absurdly prolific writer. He found reading before sleep calmed his mind. Europe Without Baedeker, is an account of his visits to Europe shortly after the devastation of World War Two. On one trip Wilson visited a former professor of his.

“One day I remarked that the immediate future seemed to me extremely depressing, and he vigorously took me up, declaring that he thought it looked hopeful.

When I asked him how he could possibly think so, he replied: ‘People’s complacency shaken.’ A lot of ground had been cleared, he felt; we knew what elements we had to deal with and we should have to come to grips with our problems. A constructive age might well ensue.”

This perfectly reflects how many of us are feeling at the end of 2020 – the sadness and struggle, mixed with hope and resilience.

Michele Stillwell

By Michele Stillwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD

In case you didn’t know this, MEDiAHEAD is a Woman Owned Business. Yes, 100%. Our fearless leader is Kat McDaniel-Ditch.

There are several steps to take to get certified as a minority owned business. If you’re looking into doing this type of structure at your business, I recommend doing the research first. It’s an extremely daunting task! It ends up being well worth it, but it does take a considerable amount of time to earn this designation.

We are certified in Missouri, Kansas, the City of Kansas City and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). There are several advantages of being a minority-owned business. One advantage is that many organizations want to do business with minority-owned businesses and prefer to do so.

Making Companies Stronger

MEDiAHEAD is a Minority Owned BusinessBusiness leaders are aware that supporting minority-owned businesses isn’t just good for public relations, it can also make their companies stronger. Adding more diversity to a company’s supplier base allows a business to better survive an economic downturn, deal with labor strikes or shortages and bring new products to market more quickly.

When you are a minority owned business, you can participate in special government programs, including government contracting opportunities. Federal government agencies are mandated to reward a substantial number of contracts to certified minority-owned businesses. Anywhere from five to twenty-five percent of the money spent on contracts for certain projects must go to minority-owned businesses.

Large companies benefit from working with minority-owned businesses and some have set goals around expanding their partnerships with them. Also, many corporations have a supplier diversity program in place. For most companies, the commitment to minority and women-owned business purchasing is goal-focuses and measured. The pressure for more supplier diversity initially was created by affirmative action; however, most companies now see many benefits when working with smaller, minority owned businesses. Small businesses, women, and minorities make up their customer base. Government contractors understand the importance of supplier diversity for winning contracts.

Supplier Diversity

Most large corporations have sizable staff, large budgets, and large dollar amounts devoted to supplier diversity. For example, roughly 97% of the Fortune 500 companies set percentages or dollar goals on supplier diversity. In those Fortune 500 companies, the staff to support supplier diversity is growing as well, with an average of two to three individuals assigned to this function. As budgets have increased, so have the requirements for personnel, programs, advertising, marketing, training, conferences and seminars.

Secondary programs, such as mentor-protégé and training, are growing as more companies seek to help minority suppliers gain more training and access to contracts.

Purchasing-based association advocates are also gaining clout. The Minority Supplier Development Council, the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), and Women Business Development Council, the National Association of Women Business Owners’ Women Business Owners Corporation, the Minority Business Round Table and the Latin American Management Association are gaining influence with corporations.

As more money is spent with suppliers, pressure will increase as interest groups send report cards to corporate CEO’s diversity councils, and Boards. The government and media pay attention to supplier diversity programs, and awards and recognition in this area are on the rise. They actually have a checklist; they have to report on.

Supplier Diversity Program Checklist:

  • Total dollars per year
  • Dollars spent last year
  • Percentage of total procurement
  • Executive Support
  • CEO
  • Executive Diversity Council
  • Board of Directors
  • Structure and Staffing
  • Provide staff leadership
  • Provide structural support
  • Communicate goals and results
  • Publish goals and results
  • Use internal and external publications as well as the Internet
  • Highlight some of their suppliers
  • Ensure accountability for meeting or exceeding the Supplier Diversity Goals
  • Measure results
  • Award performance
  • Penalize deficiencies and goals not reached
  • Link to performance evaluations
  • Provide periodic reports
  • Encourage Special Programs
  • Matchmaking
  • Mentoring

Best-practice companies should always evaluate vendors to find the ones with the most experience, knowledge, and capability needed to provide products and services that reflect the diversity of their company. A huge factor of these efforts involves nurturing relationships with typically underutilized businesses and working to incorporate these companies into their network of vendors whenever possible.

Growing a diverse supplier base only makes sense. We see increasingly diverse markets that companies serve in this global age. Companies that combine outstanding supplier diversity initiatives and outcomes with other best-in-class diversity and inclusion programs will maintain a competitive advantage, win new business, support local businesses, retain customers, and reinforce their brands.

Support Minority Owned Businesses!

MEDiAHEAD supports diversity in the workplace. What is diversity? It means that a company employs a wide range of diverse individuals. People with different characteristics. Diversity in the workplace includes individuals of varying gender, age, religion, race, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, languages, education and other attributes.

Some of the benefits of diversity:

  • Variety of different perspectives
  • Increased creativity
  • Higher innovation
  • Faster problem solving
  • Better decision making
  • Higher employee engagement
  • Reduced employee turnover
  • Better company reputation
  • Improved hiring results

Please take a moment to learn more about our story and our team. We would enjoy working with you on your next project!

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

Does the idea of mingling at a party send cold fingers of dread creeping up your spine? Or the thought of giving a presentation in front of a room full of people make you feel physically sick? If so, then you’re not alone.

People laugh when I tell them I was that shy person growing up.

Overcoming shyness at a young ageMy mother always said people who knew me when I was young would be astounded that I am in sales. I could barely speak to people until I was a Junior in High School. I was that kid who worked in the library because I took my solace in books. The thought of speaking to more than one person, or a group made my hands sweat and it was almost an out of body experience for me.

Over time, I was able to overcome my shyness… because I had to. I had a mentor who pushed me to open my own graphic design company at 24 and I was forced to call on clients and look for new business. When you’re faced with starvation or talking to people, you will choose survival every time. And later, when I was in print sales, it was the same thing – sell or be fired.

When I used to attend events in person (looking forward to when we can all do that together again), I always look for the shy person in the room. They are the one standing in the corner, looking stricken or fidgeting with their phone. Boy, do I know that feeling. It brings back a lot of memories.

I always walk over to that person and introduce myself because I know how they feel.

Talking to a shy person at an event can be difficult.

Help the shy guy join the group!Approach them with a smile and ask them a question about themselves to break the ice and get the conversation flowing. You may have to carry on the conversation in the beginning until they feel more comfortable. Choose topics you know they can contribute to – this ensures that they have something to talk about. Ask where they are from. What company do they work for? What do they like to do outside of work? Why did they come to the event in the first place?

Shy folks tend to dislike small talk, so ask them questions that will help you get to know them better. Use their name throughout the conversation to establish comfort and closeness. And, MOST OF ALL, do not comment about how shy or quiet they are.

The result? Wonderful friendships and business relationships.

I can’t begin to talk about all the wonderful friendships and business acquaintances that I’ve made in Kansas City by approaching shy people at meetings and events.

One young man, who I reached out to and introduced to others at a breakfast, ended up being one of the editors for the newspaper. He ended up writing many stories about us. Another is a current client, who was hiding in the kitchen during an event.

Tulsa Remote LogoI was chatting with my daughter last night about Tulsa Remote, an organization that she has been accepted into. She told me there was a man from San Francisco, who works in the Artificial Intelligence industry, and he was literally shaking in the corner at the inaugural event. She went over and introduced herself and then brought him into the group. By the end of the night, a new friendship had begun.

There are some simple life lessons in this story:

There’s always someone struggling at an event or meeting… please include them.

Be kind. And teach your children to be kind.

Reach out… because everyone needs a little help once in a while, especially now.

Michele StillwellBy Michele Stillwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD

Oh My GOSH. I’m not sure if you have experienced shipping problems recently, but we sure have.

We needed to do something fast. We saw COVID-19 hitting and knew that the industry was going to suffer. Kat had a great idea to sell branded hand sanitizer, face masks and COVID-19 safety kits. Great idea, right? Have you ever tried to get plastic 2-ounce, 6-ounce, or any ounce bottles during a Pandemic? I can tell you… it’s literally impossible!

We finally found a vendor who could get us 20,000 of the 2-ounce bottles with lids. Happy day for us! But it was going to take 4-6 weeks to get them. In the meantime, we had a supplier for some small amounts of bottles here and there, coming in from anywhere we could get them, to fulfill our orders.

MEDiAHEAD Branded COVID-19 Hand Sanitizer Bottles

So back to the 20,000 and tracking every day….

Where are the bottles?

They got held up in you guessed it… US Customs! Meanwhile, orders are coming in and we are really needing to get these bottles. I’m tracking the shipment every day, still sitting in customs. We’re getting nervous waiting on the big order of 20,000 bottles to come in.  I could tell they were finally moving.  The truck was in transit, thank the Lord above!

We received our bottles about 8 weeks after we placed the order. When the boxes came in, Kat, Bill and I rushed to the loading dock and started opening the boxes to look at all the bottles. YAY!!! But where are the lids? Oh no… did they forget to send the lids for crying out loud?

MEDiAHEAD Branded COVID-19 Hand Sanitizer BottlesWe were frantic at this point. The very last box was still on the dock and guess what, it was filled with nothing but the missing lids. WHEW!

So, we have lots of hand sanitizer and lots of 2-ounce bottles. If you are needing some for your office we can even get your logo placed on the bottles. Go to for more information and you can place an order here!

We hope that you and your family enjoy a safe and happy 4th of July this year!

MEDiAHEAD will be closed on Friday, July 3rd to start the celebration early!

Happy 4th of July

Michele StillwellBy Michele Stillwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD

Why do women always say they’re sorry? It seems like we apologize for everything, even when we didn’t do anything wrong. It’s the weirdest thing, and I am so guilty of it. So, I made a deal with myself. I am going to do my best to STOP saying it.

Why? Because I usually haven’t done anything wrong and it’s ridiculous how many times I’ve caught myself saying it. Once it was on my radar, I started realizing just how often I apologize unnecessarily.

University of Waterloo, Canada study found that women tend to apologize more often because they have a lower threshold than men for what they consider offensive.

I found this awesome poem, and really wanted to share it with you.

Stop apologizing.

You don’t have to say sorry for how you laugh, how you dress, how you speak. You don’t have to be sorry for being yourself. Do it fearlessly. It’s time to accept, this is you and you have to spend the rest of your life with you. So, start loving your sarcasm, your awkwardness, your weirdness, your unique sense of humor, your everything. It will make your life so much easier to simply be yourself.

– Author Unknown

I'm Sorry! (Women may apologize too often.)Practice Self-Awareness

Realizing that you are apologizing all the time is the first step. A good way to figure out if this is an issue is to keep track of how many times throughout your day you apologize. Over the next few days, write down each time you say the word, “sorry.” You might be surprised how many times you apologize without even realizing it.

Change Your Vocabulary

Do you have a project at work that is weeks overdue? Apologizing for missing a deadline is reasonable. But there are plenty of situations where using the words “I’m sorry” aren’t necessary.

  • “Sorry, could you send me that report?” could be changed to, “Please send me that report.”
  • “Sorry, I won’t be able to make it on Wednesday.” could be, “I wish I could make it on Wednesday. Keep me on the list for next time!”
  • “Sorry, could you repeat that?” might be, “Excuse me, could you repeat that?”

As you become more self-aware, replace the word “sorry” with more appropriate words and phrases. You may be surprised how much confidence this gives you once you figure it out. Good luck!

Rob GarzaBy Rob Garza, Digital Print Consultant at MEDiAHEAD

What interesting new challenges we’re facing. For me, meeting current clients and prospective clients virtually is challenging. And that will likely continue. But I’ve learned from past experiences that I like new challenges. No, I won’t be training for an Ironman or bodybuilding event… but the time at home is an opportunity to improve our lives. I’m going to dust off my drawing tablet (from a previous life in design) and try some new recipes in the kitchen with my daughter.

Like many, I’ve been working from home for the past couple of months. I’ve had to find new ways to help others, not only in business but for my friends and family who are all in the same boat. The quote I mentioned in my last blog was “We’re all in this together”. This applies not only to work, but family and others you’re close to.

Hollis Renewal Center in Kansas City, Kansas

Recently, I was at the Hollis Renewal Center. It’s a quiet place I like to go to unplug. I stay at one of their cabins with limited phone service and no TVs. You’re surrounded by wildlife, hiking trails and nature. I took my daughter, her fiancé and other loved ones. Though we are family, we’re also a health care provider, an HVAC essential worker, an educator and a student. One doesn’t always think about that when getting together with family. But this year was different. Conversations focused on how they’re coping with each day, how they see new patients, new protocols to follow, and new restrictions when you have to enter a house or place of business.

At Home

Kids are learning through workbooks and online meetings with their teachers as well as social media platforms. (You still have to make sure they’re being taught and prepared for next year.) High schoolers still have homework and if they’re still in a scholarship program, they’re required to meet and keep up with their goals. Adults have to stay on top of our game for work as well as staying healthy by avoiding too many snack trips to the refrigerator. It’s a stressful time added to what everyone already had on their plates before COVID-19.

New Normal

Our new normal is to stay in touch with clients, prospects and family through social media, emailing, texting or with phone calls instead of meeting at their office, having coffee or lunch. This is hard for me personally because I like meeting people, going to new places, and trying new restaurants. I know this will all pass in time, but things will probably be different moving forward.

Men’s Group

Rob's Men's GroupAnother thing helping me through these interesting times is my men’s group. On Sunday mornings, I meet with my church men’s group via Zoom. We usually start off sharing how the week went, give family updates, and talk about new things we’re doing. Even though it’s a video conference, it’s nice. It’s personable and we really get to know each other better. From there, we discuss a spiritual awareness topic the meeting leader sends out a few days prior. We discuss the topic and challenges it has in our daily lives. How each person interprets the topic can be pretty interesting at times. From there, we veer off course to talk about sports and how golf games are coming along. I look forward to seeing everyone and listening to their perspectives.

Patience is a virtue.

Those words are so true. I have friends and family who say that I have patience for a lot of things, but this certainly has tested my limits. I do meditate and find calm when I can… more so than I used to. I’m staying active, though I really would like to get back to the gym and the friends that I see there.

I’m not comfortable with some of the personal changes I’ve noticed during this time at home. My affectionate personality is diminished, which I’m not happy about. Washing my hands for no apparent reason is also becoming bothersome even though I know it’s necessary.

We all have challenges during this time. It’s a great time to set some goals. Tackle that project you’ve been meaning to get done. Start learning a new skill or dive into a new hobby you’ve always wanted to pursue. Make sure it’s something different and not too easy. Make it part of your routine. Most importantly finish it because life happens and you can’t stop it but you can control it.

Michele StillwellBy Michele Stillwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD

Research suggests that on an average, companies across the globe feel that 26% of their address data is inaccurate. This contributes to enormous loss. In fact, bad data costs the average business 15% to 25% of revenue and in the US economy over $3 trillion annually.

There are two things that really irritate me when looking through the mail. At home, it’s getting mail addressed to my previously married name. I mean come on, that was 16 years ago. When I get something that has that name on it, guess what? It immediately goes to the trash!

Then, when I go through the mail at work, what really irks me is getting mail for people who have not been with the MEDiAHEAD for more than 20 years. And it happens regularly. I’m consistently thinking, “Where do these lists live, and why is no one looking at them? Why has no one updated them for 20 years?”

Data cleansing is so important.

Clean up your data!Improving your data quality increases overall productivity. After your data is cleansed, the outdated information is removed, and you have good, clean information to move forward. Today, nearly 67% of businesses rely on CRM data for growth of their bottom line. However, an amazing 94% of B2B businesses suspect inaccuracy in their databases.

So how do you manage this?

What is the value of marketing analytics these days? It’s so high apparently, that companies plan to increase budgets for marketing analytics over the next three years by 198% according to a recent CMO survey. Marketing analytics offers a treasure trove of customer information and performance insight to overall business success. Which is why you would think that managing marketing data with tools like a CRM database and other analytics systems would be a more agile and rigorous process than it actually is.

Since 70% of marketing leaders expect to make the majority of their decisions using data for everything from building, personalizing and executing the next campaign to targeting, reaching and forming deeper customer segments – there should be a way to overcome the data cleaning roadblock. There are data cleansing tools/software applications that will help to clean and correct lists and databases by identifying incorrect, inaccurate, irrelevant data and clean your data accordingly.

Here are some best practices when it comes to creating data cleansing processes:

  • Standardize Your Processes
  • Validate Accuracy
  • Scrub for Duplicate Data
  • Use it to Analyze – for business intelligence and analytics
  • Communicate with the Team – Keep it clean
  • Get Your ROI from your Data

Big DataWhen managing your data, keeping on top of it consistently and accurately are two underlying jobs you have to deal with every day. The steps above should help make it easier to create your daily protocol. Once you’ve completed your data cleansing project, you can move forward using that data for deep, operational insight now that your data is accurate and reliable.

Large corporations invest so much into advanced information systems that collect, store and analyze their data. Collecting data isn’t the goal… it’s the means to the end. The real opportunity is the customer intimacy. How well can you get to know your customer? How will you leverage this knowledge to improve their experience and satisfaction?

Quality over Quantity

There must be some method to the madness, right? To be of service to an organization, data must be more than just prolific; it needs to be useful. It should provide strategic insight and support data-driven decisions. And the quality of the data is crucial. You should be able to measure everything from the number of views to the number of clicks. This helps your sales team as well as providing customer success stories.

Clean data is of utmost importance. Without it, leadership can’t make strategic decisions. Dirty data inevitably leads to dissatisfied customers, and that’s a dangerous slope to start down.

Keep your data clean!

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD

This simple sentence is a philosophy that came from Patrick Mahomes when asked how he remained so calm during the Super Bowl. It’s the ability to make emotions work for you, instead of against you.

We all need this time to decide how we are going to pivot and re-focus our goals, both in business and at home.

Stepping Up

It warms my heart to see so many companies giving their time and expecting nothing in return.

I’ve done Zooms with Novella Brandhouse on marketing, Grant Gooding with PROOF Positioning on narrowing your focus and the Women Who Mean Business on pivoting and refocusing on what small businesses can do to survive.

MEDiAHEAD is continuing to print and distribute adult and child coloring books to non-profits here in KC.

Little girl with a MEDiAHEAD coloring book

We also have a new fun COVID19 comic book that Scott Emmons wrote and produced with eleven local artists that contributed illustrations.

Coloring Book 11 Artists

We’ve continued to print 3D N95 masks for KU nurses and now a funky little thing that you can use to open the door for a fun giveaway.

Special thanks to Rieger Distillery

The hometown hero is Andy Rieger, owner of J Rieger Distillery. Four weeks ago, when they lost nearly all of their normal revenue streams overnight, their team rallied to quickly pivot their entire business to hand sanitizer in 36 hours. They had the first bottle of sanitizer to the public on March 19. Because of the hand sanitizer, 65 hard working members of their team have remained employed full time. In just over three weeks they have produced and distributed 200,000 individual bottles of hand sanitizer… that’s 72,000 gallons! They have also given/donated 20,000 liters of hand sanitizer to hospitals and first responders.

Rieger's Hand Sanitizer

We are pivoting this week to bottling Rieger’s Remedy with a co-branded logo for our customers, available in 1 and 2oz. We are also supplying our portal clients “back to work kits” with masks, protective eye-wear, gloves and hand sanitizer.

It’s very stressful at work, but I’m having the most fun being cooped up with John and Amy.

Cheese Board during COVID19

We’ve planted a huge garden, played games, puzzles and fun trivia with The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. We have spent so much time in the backyard, which we never did before. Cocktails at 6pm with cheese from The French Market on our deck has become our daily ritual.


From my friend Becky Blades – “in the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”

Becky Blades' Artwork


Stay safe and healthy!