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A Hero’s Tale

I’m sharing this essay to honor my friend Linda, as well as showcase my oldest daughter. I had the honor of serving alongside Linda with Talons Out Honor Flight. She was taken from us on May 10, 2017. Ava, a 6th grader, chose Linda as the subject of end-of-year essay. Here is her essay.

A Hero’s Tale by Ava Moyle

Jesus came to serve, not to be served. Linda was a great example of this standard, she went and served her country, church, community, and veterans. Linda was humble, kind, compassionate, a servant to God and leader, but didn’t think she was anyone special. She even continues to serve in death. She was an organ donor and her corneas went to a person in need. She is a hero.

Linda McTague was born on November 22, 1957 and died on May 10, 2017. Her parents were David and Carolyn McTague, and her brother was Mark Baker, who passed away in late 2016. She went to LaMora Park Elementary School, North Western Jr. High School, graduated in 1975 from Battle Creek Central High School, then graduated from Kellogg Community College in 1977 with an Associate of Arts, and also Florida International University in 1979 and 1980 with Bachelor of Arts and master of science degrees.

General McTague represented her country by fighting for freedom. She was the first woman from Michigan to be an Air Force pilot. She was the first woman in the country to command an Air National Guard Fighter Wing. During her military career,  Linda had 6,000 flight hours in military trainer and VIP transport aircraft, commanded at the squadron, group, and wing levels. General McTague retired as the commander of the District of Columbia Air National Guard. She was a graduate of Air War College and CAPSTONE after 28 years of serving as both a pilot and an aircraft maintenance officer. Her military decorations were many, including these top highest decorations: the Legion of Merit (with one Oak Leaf), the Meritorious Service Medal (with 3 Oak Leafs), and the Air Medal.

Linda was a member of Ladies of Harley and was a board member of Talons Out Honor Flight. I had the honor of serving with her through Talons Out. For that brief time, I got to see her leadership skills, her patience, humility and commitment. I noticed she was quiet, but a leader. It was an honor to get to know her, for however brief it was.


My Personal Brand Journey

Today we say goodbye. Goodbye to a man who made a big difference in the world through small kindnesses. He may not have bragged about his work, but he knew that he was making an impact. I don’t think he knew the depth, but we sure hope he knew something. I can tell you that he would have been happy to know that if there was a house he was living in next to this cemetery, he wouldn’t have been buried here. Because he was still living … his favorite joke years ago; now, a chance for us to laugh a little – which would have made him happy.


If you’re living next to this cemetery, you can’t be buried there.

But today we look back over a legacy left behind by a man who followed his faith, who worked hard to provide for his family and who tried every day to make a difference. From his work with veterans to his men’s group at church … from his one-time weekly calls to his aging grandparents to his simple love of his daughters and wife, this man impacted lives so deeply, that his absence may feel like a hole for a long time to come for many. And he never did these things for the credit – he merely wanted to leave the world a better place when he left it. And he did.

To those who knew him, puns were his lifeblood. Though they weren’t the death of him, it was a close call at times. I remember one time he tried to out-pun a stranger on a train, only to nearly be thrown off that train. It would have most certainly been a moving violation, but not a very moving tribute.

So with a flourish and a funny, we say goodbye to Dan Moyle. We’re sure going to miss you dad. (And look, no grammar mistakes!)

This my friends, is how I’d like to leave the world. That’s how I envision my daughters writing my eulogy.


And that, is where my personal brand journey began for me. I thought about how I want to be remembered in the eyes of my daughters.

Who am I? What am I? Well, I love to work with people, helping them along the way.


My Twitter profile – make sure you’re following me for marketing updates…


…veteran stories, Pure Michigan passion…


…motorcycle trips and cat pictures…


…lots of cat pictures…


– my Twitter profile lays it out as: serve, educate, love people. I consider myself a compassionate educator of sorts.


In thinking about nailing down a brand, it all comes back to helping and serving others. What does that look like every day? It’s serving consumers through helpful marketing instead of spammy junk mail.


It’s serving my daughters by teaching them to be strong, intelligent and compassionate humans.


Dad to 2 daughters in a blended family. I’m definitely blessed.

It’s serving my wife by speaking her Love Language … and doing dishes. And leaving her alone to read sometimes.


It’s serving those who came before me and blazed a path through their service – veterans of World War II, the Korea and Vietnam Wars.


It’s serving my community through organizations like Patriot Guard Riders, Habitat for Humanity, March of Dimes or community service at church.


So my hope every day is that when you think of Dan Moyle, you think of servant leadership, helpfulness and compassion. And dad jokes. Always leave them with a smile. Which reminds me – who is bigger. Mr Bigger or his baby?

His baby. Because she’s a Little Bigger.


My Personal Brand Journey

This year at work, I was fortunate enough to enter my second year of leadership training and coaching. With this second year came a new challenge: a personal brand presentation. This was mine. I presented it to my peers and the senior leadership team at AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. Each leader in my peer group faced the same challenge. It was an amazing experience. I thought I’d share it here. Thank you for reading.

Want to get disconnected on LinkedIn? Try to cold-message-spam-sell me.

Some people I know do not connect with others on LinkedIn unless they actually know them. This is to avoid spam and cold-messaging (like cold calling, but via messaging).

I, on the other hand, am open to connecting and making “new friends.” We don’t have to have a previous relationship in order to connect. While this may lead to an occasional spam message or cold-message that means nothing to me, it’s rare.

However, when one of these messages does come in, it’s the quickest way to cut ties with me. Granted, I’m no one special. So that’s probably okay in your world. I’m okay with it, too. But it’s definitely on less person in your network. And yes, I do have hundreds in my network and it’s a relatively active network.

A quick lesson: If you’re thinking about sending me a message, first do your research. For instance, I do not run an agency and do not have clients (see below). If you think I am, or if your product is aimed at those who do, you’re wasting your time.

LinkedIn spam message STOP

Another spam message I received wanted me to use their “platform” to auto post hundreds of ads on CraigsList (I do not use CraigsList at all) and fake Yelp reviews (which I would never do – research me!). So this also resulted in a delete and removal.

LinkedIn spam message

Using new technology like social media in old, ineffective and annoying ways is a waste. Please stop.

An open letter to “kids these days”

An-open-letter-to-kids-these-daysI’ve been hearing a lot lately about “kids these days.” It’s in conversations about how lazy, unmotivated and generally annoying kids are. It’s a Facebook meme of an old photo of an adult spanking a child with the caption “we need more of this and kids wouldn’t be so terrible.” It’s some article about how the younger generation just doesn’t measure up to us older, wiser and generally more awesome folks.

I’d like to apologize to you “kids these days.” My contemporaries and others don’t mean it. We’re not perfect, and we complain sometimes. Maybe we had a young person we know drop out of school and live off their parents for a few years, only to have that young person become an entitled, demanding person who just doesn’t fit our ideal of a contributing citizen. But we really do know that one person does not make a generation.

Maybe we’ve forgotten what it’s like to be young. Not everyone has the focus of knowing what exactly to do in life. Some of us forget what it feels like to have the world at our fingertips, yet have apprehension that we’re not sure that we’re ready for it.

What we sometimes miss is that our perception of reality is molded by a few things, and we forget that truth can be subjective. Where we see a mooch who’s unmotivated, we may not see a young person who’s scared they don’t know what they want to be when they grow up (newsflash – many of us in the work force still don’t). This young person may be living with mom and dad to help take care of an ailing parent or grandparent, and the family is barely getting by.

Or maybe we, as the wiser, more productive generations see young people who don’t listen to authority and completely conform to the way something has been done for 50 years. What we fail to see in that scenario is the innovative young person who’s trying to change the world in some small way, working smarter rather than harder. Innovation moves the world. We sometimes miss that.

To you “kids these days,” please give us old folks a little grace. Sure, there are kids who disobey their parents or who are rude citizens that interrupt conversations or don’t hold open doors for others. But there are also young people who are petitioning their local mayors for things like “Vietnam Veteran Appreciation” events. There are young people putting up lemonade stands to help pay for cancer treatments for a neighbor or little girl a thousand miles away.

Generations always seem to look back at the younger folks behind them and see the negative. What we need to do is look at the opportunities to mentor our younger folks. Not only can we sow the seeds of greatness based on our experience and wisdom, but we can also learn from our young people. It’s a 2-way street.

So to you “kids these days,” cut us some slack. I’m sorry some of us old folks complain about you. I hope you forgive us. I also hope and pray for those of your generation who do fall down. Get back up, listen to your elders and work hard. Or at least work smart. Make a difference in this world. Leave it better than you found it. Love those around you. Maybe you can teach us a few things about that.

image source

Do I Need to be on Every Social Media Channel as a Business?

Do-I-Need-to-be-on-Every-Social-Media-ChannelI had an interesting chat recently with someone about social media. The question was basically, “There are so many different social media channels – do I need to be on all of them (as a business)?”

First let me say this: Social media is a personal choice. There shouldn’t be a requirement, and there really aren’t written rules about them.  However, I’m going get up on my marketing soap box a bit here and tell you what I’ve found in the world of marketing.

If you don’t “do social media,” then don’t.

If it’s not in your make-up to share tidbits about yourself with others, or hear from other people on their days (or see pictures of their kids, cats, dogs or vacations), then by all means avoid Facebook. However, if your job relies on personal connections and relationships, social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest can prove to be nice tools in your arsenal.

You don’t have to be on social media. You also don’t have to have an email address or a telephone. However, if you’re not ready to communicate with people in the manner in which they’re ready to communicate, then you’ll miss out on some of the benefits. Instead of simply avoiding the tool, maybe experiment a little with it, or learn from someone using it already…and see if you can put it to use as well.

Don’t spread yourself too thin.

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Vine, Instagram, Path, Tumblr, Pinterest … you have no shortage of sites to choose from in the social media sphere. So where do you go? All of them? Here’s my advice: find the one that matches your strategy and concentrate on that one first. If you decide to branch out, fine. But don’t spread yourself so thin that you don’t use any of them well.

Each social channel has a different use, audience and purpose. If you’d like to connect with housing market professionals like real estate agents, LinkedIn is a great place to spend some serious time. Be sure to join local groups and weigh in on the conversation. Don’t just sell, sell, sell.

If you’re into sharing personal stories with people and eventually getting around to occasionally mentioning how much you love your job, join Facebook and share what you want to share. You can then mix into the conversation once in awhile something like, “Headed to work on a Monday morning and I don’t hate it. I love helping people buy the right home with the right financing. Life is good!” This keeps it in people’s minds that you A) do mortgages and B) love what you do & your company.

If you have shiny object syndrome and you love to follow multiple conversations all at once, join Twitter. You can follow writers, sports stars, actors, real estate people and average people and spout off about whatever you want to in 140 characters. It’s a fun conversation, but it’s not for everyone.

Pick one and get good at it. Then if you want, branch out and try others. But don’t join all of them and leave your account unattended. The downside to being “on all social media” but not really being there is this: Imagine opening an office for your business, paying money on the lease and making a really great sign … then never showing up. If you’re not taking part in the conversation on that particular social channel, then you’re a ghost. When you’re a ghost, no one can find you. And those who do find you are scared to do business with a ghost.

So the short answer is find one social media channel to get good at and practice your art in. Then branch out some. Remember, each social media platform is generally indexed by Google. So if you want people to find you by name when an agent refers them to you, your name will come in Google associated with the social media channel you’re most active on.

Download the book to find out how to go from the T-V newsroom into inbound marketing

(creative commons photo credit)

6 Best Practices for LinkedIn

I wrote this for an employee newsletter at AmeriFirst Home Mortgage. Our team members use social media to connect with home buyers and real estate agents alike. I thought sharing LinkedIn tips with them would be helpful. 


LinkedIn is a great place to connect with other professionals. Sure, it can be a place to go job hunting. But it’s also one of the best places to talk “industry” with business referral partners, possible employees and peers. It’s like going to business networking event…from the comfort of your home or office.

Since LinkedIn is a more professional atmosphere, it’s helpful to follow some best practices. Not only will this help you maintain a business profile, it will also help to grow your LinkedIn network – a goal of many of us in the referral-business world. Here are a few best practices for the LinkedIn crowd.

Use a professional-looking headshot.

Those of us using Facebook know the importance of using a picture. How many times have you received a friend request and wondered who the person is? That photo avatar helps us know faces. In Facebook, we often use photos from vacations, pictures of kids/pets or maybe a group photo with friends. That works fine for the personal crowd in general.

Think of LinkedIn as an office. We tend to dress in business attire at work. We have certain manners and ways of interacting. We’re sober. Your LinkedIn profile should mirror this. Not only should you include a photo of yourself, but it should look somewhat professional and the person looking at it should be able to recognize you in person. Below are some examples of what not to use as a LinkedIn avatar (from real-life examples I’ve seen).

  • No beach/swimming pool pictures
  • No couple pictures with a significant other
  • No pets/children
  • Make sure the photo is not a long-distance shot

In other words, use a photo of you in front of a fairly boring background like your office with a fichus tree behind you. Take the photo like a medium-close up (head to mid-chest or waist is good). Don’t pose like a police mugshot in front of a white or gray wall.

Write a summary that tells a story

The summary is where you tell a little of your story. Make this a first person narrative so the person reading it doesn’t feel like they’re reading an obituary. It’s up to you, but including a little about yourself personally is a nice addition. For instance, include something about a hobby.

Fill out “experience”

“Experience” is where you give your work history. Don’t be afraid to go way back in your history. You never know when a past experience will speak to a potential connection. For instance, someone I know will more likely hire a person who has experience in the food service industry, specifically as waitstaff. As you fill out your experience section, be sure to list facts like actual duties in the job, accomplishments and successes. Finally, include volunteer jobs and internships. Just because you didn’t get a paycheck, doesn’t mean it wasn’t a real job.

Recommendations – be willing to give them

Recommendations are essentially references. Ask people with whom you’ve worked to write one for you. Ask for specifics, like a success story or hard numbers from a project you completed with or for them. Be sure to also recommend others. Not only does this create a “what goes around, comes around” situation, but your recommendation will live on through their profile. A couple of tips on recommendations:

  • Be honest, not overly flashy
  • Use factual, specific examples
  • Recommend only those people whom you know, and with whom you’ve worked
  • Take time and ask with a personal note, being specific about your request

Join groups – and be active

LinkedIn groups are a great place to make connections. Join a local group, and take the relationship offline with networking events. Be active on group discussions by “liking” and commenting when you can. Just remember, it doesn’t really count when you just say “I like this” or “Good article.” Actually add something to the conversation in a respectful way. Discussions and comments can prove to be a great way to connect with people. Just make sure you’re not spamming the group. Vary the content and sources you’re posting, and spread it out rather than post a bunch of stuff all at once.

When connecting, make it personal


Personalize your connection message.

LinkedIn allows us to connect with people all over the world. Keep it personal. Just because LinkedIn suggests you connect with someone in San Diego, California doesn’t mean you have to connect with them. However, if you think it would be an interesting connection and mutually beneficial, send a personal note on why you want to connect. Don’t send the generic message LinkedIn automatically sends. This means you’ll have to click on the person’s name, visit their profile and send an invitation from there. Expert tips:

  • Make a template for different connections
  • Use their first name as a greeting
  • If you don’t know them personally, explain why you’re connecting

Connecting with others is clearly the point of LinkedIn. Reach out to others in your area that might have something to share with you, and vice versa. Real estate agents, builders, home service professionals (decorating, plumbers, electricians) and other housing market professionals can be great connections.

LinkedIn can be a great place to make business connections, a powerful tool for recruiting, referral business and for learning industry news. Following some basic best practices will help you create a robust profile and a beneficial LinkedIn experience. Connect with me, too!

Download the book to find out how to go from the T-V newsroom into inbound marketing

(creative commons photo credit LinkedIn logo)

Boring Industry Content Can Still Kick Ass

screw sexy be helpful

Photo: @cerconebrown

At the HubSpot “Inbound” conference this year, I spoke to hundreds of marketers in businesses consider BORING. My theme: Screw Sexy. Be Helpful. This session resonated with so many marketers, I was asked to repeat the presentation twice more. Everyone thinks their industry is too boring to take on inbound marketing. It’s time to get beyond the boring, and be helpful to prospects, clients and evangelists.

My goal for this presentation: Teaching marketers about the link between creative, journalistic writing and marketing, and how this type of content can work for a business in a seemingly boring industry in the long term. The focus here is not necessarily on one-off offers that capture lead information, but rather the types of content in blog posts and podcasts that continually towards your inbound marketing strategy by creating a repository of useful information that’s helpful to your target audience.

I plan to write more on this, so keep an eye out. Meanwhile, several people asked for the deck and the presentation. You’ll see below is the Slideshare:

Here is a link to notes from Dia Dalsky on the subject.
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