Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Hester’


The Most Influential People In My Life

Once again, another year has come and gone, and as I celebrated my 28th birthday yesterday, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the various friends and family that have helped to shape me into who I am today.  The obvious credit would go to my parents, my sister Jenny, and my loving wife Lauren, but it’s rare that those who aren’t family are recognized for their contributions to a person’s life.

Therefore, I dedicate this post to the individuals that have influenced me the most in my life* — to this point in my epic journey (and in no particular order).

  • Chief David Smith, USN (Ret.)

    I first met Chief Smith my freshman year at Cary Senior High School.  He was my Assistant Naval Science Instructor (ANSI) while I was enrolled in the Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Program (NJROTC).  When I think back to a point in my life when I was mature enough to listen to the advice and wisdom of my elders, Chief Smith is always where my memories take me.  While most students viewed Chief Smith as just another teacher with silly stories that always started with “while off the coast of Scotland…,” I always understood the meaning and lessons underneath the silly stories.  His guidance and wisdom kept me from taking a drastically different path in my life, and I owe much of my success to his teachings, both inside and outside of the classroom.  Chief Smith will forever be my “Chief,” and he now resides in the Philippines with his beautiful wife Judy.  To this day, he still finds time to call every few months to catch up with me.

  • Colonel Thomas P. Finnerty, USMC (Ret.)

    Colonel Finnerty was considered by many, to be our second father, as we viewed our Unit as a second family.  We were eager young minds, and he was our fearless Naval Science Instructor (NSI) that commanded respect and results, without ever having to ever ask for it.  For myself personally, Colonel Finnerty taught me the importance of always striving to be better than I was.  He also showed me the value of second chances.  There were several instances during my high school career that warranted severe recourse, but Colonel Finnerty chose to teach me the valuable lesson of stepping up to the plate, and righting my mistakes through hard work and learning from my mistakes.  I learned how to “square myself away” and to take pride in my choices, and responsibility for my failures.  Colonel Finnerty is still the NSI for the NJROTC Program at Cary High School, and remains a honored and respect individual by all of his alumni.

  • Christina L. Frydach

    My freshman year in high school taught me the value of ambition and relentless persistence.  Christina was a senior at a rival school, but commuted to our school for a single class, our NJROTC Naval Science Class. While the details of my freshman year are a bit hazy, I do remember that she was a highlight of that year.  More than anything else, I was intrigued by her mannerisms, intelligence, and uncanny ability to spark heated debates that would result in hours of though provoking conversation.  I correlate my ability to write and speak well, to her influence upon me when I was young.  We continued our friendship well into her freshman year at NCSU (my sophomore year at CHS), but have unfortunately lost contact with her…

  • Angela Plessinger

    Angela was my first true love, and the catalyst that revealed my first real lessons in relationships, both the positive and negative.  In retrospect, I value her ability to be so caring and forgiving, as I was not the person I wished I was.  We both spent our fair share of time upset at one another, but I bare the guilt of being the cause of her frustrations, more than she deserved.  While I didn’t realize it then, as I look back to those days now, I realize that she taught me to listen, love, and care for all the people in my life without prejudice.  She always saw the good in people, myself included, where others only saw the worst.  The way I view the people in my life, is the same way she viewed the world and the people around her — with trust, compassion, love, and respect.  We still chat from time to time, and I always find myself running into her every few months or so.  She’ll always be one of my most cherished friendships.

  • Herbert Battle

    Few people know about the unique “moonlighting” activities of my youth, but during my junior and senior years, I worked with the North Carolina Department of Crime Control, Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement (A.L.E.).  My job was to assist in the enforcement of NC Tobacco and Alcohol Compliance Laws.  Our mission took me to every corner of North Carolina, and exposed me to various cultures and individuals of all aspects of life.  “Herb” was the Lead Agent that I worked with, and during those two years, I learned and experienced things that ended up becoming a large part of who I am today.  I learned the value of a hard days work, and the satisfaction of helping the community to be a better place.  I also witnessed first hand the devastation a few bad decisions could make in people’s lives, as we issued citations throughout NC.  Herb is still in law enforcement, and I run into him several times a year during my travels.  I owe my work ethic and respect for public safety professionals to the teachings and experiences shared with him.

  • Kimberly McCormick

    It’s no surprise to my closest friends that I have always tended to gravitate toward highly intelligent individuals.  Therefore, it seems natural that I struck a close friendship with Kimberly.  Besides the fact that she has more degrees than she knows what to do with, it’s her gentle smile, listening ear, and thought-provoking conversation that has influenced my life since I first met her.  She helped to light a fire within myself to strive toward personal and career goals that I had been putting off for years.  Her confidence, experiences, and unique view on life fueled my passion to better myself even further than I had achieved to that point.

  • Ryan P. Allis (@RyanAllis)

    Ryan Allis has made a huge impact on various aspects my life.  Most notably, the passion and satisfaction of helping our local communities.  Ryan is known for his business expertise, but also for his social entrepreneurship.  He is passionate about helping those in need, especially those in developing countries.  He has dedicated substantial amounts of time and resources to finding ways to always incorporate the community in all of his efforts.  Working so closely with such an inspiring individual has instilled these same passions within myself.  I have assisted several non-profits with various projects, increased my volunteer hours outside of work, and have made myself readily available to any charitable organization needing assistance.  The experiences and satisfaction I’ve gained from Ryan’s inspiration, will forever be ingrained into who I am as a person, and I attribute much of this to Ryan Allis.

  • Chuck Hester (@ChuckHester)

    Chuck is an expert public relations expert, and more importantly, a great mentor.  He took me under his wing, and taught me everything I know today about public relations, media relations, business networking, and how to manage a combination of such channels into a well defined and organized campaign.  Chuck is probably best known for organizing and hosting the bi-monthly Linkedin LIVE Raleigh events in the Triangle area, and it was through Chuck that I gained the insight and knowledge to leverage business networking and connections for various projects and personal branding.  Because of Chuck Hester and iContact, I’ve had the opportunity to grow personally and professionally, and have had the honor of speaking at dozens of local and national conferences, seminars, and workshops.

  • Wayne Sutton (@WayneSutton)

    Like many individuals and organizations in the Triangle, and worldwide, Wayne Sutton has been instrumental as a role model and social media industry colleague.  Together we organized several events and organizations devoted to promoting what was once a new emerging trend — social media.  I owe much of my success and professional development in the field to Wayne’s guidance and friendship.

  • Taylor Barr (@TaylorBarr)

    While I’ve been in “social media” as a Community Manager since the days of 9600bps dial-up and Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), it wasn’t until I met Taylor Barr in 2008, that I was coaxed into becoming comfortable with streaming video, especially video blogging.  While it’s still a new concept to me, I value his expertise and advice on all things social and multimedia.  Taylor and I ran the iNews Video Project at iContact for a year, and together, we were able to create memorable and humorous videos.  Assisting him with the Ford Fiesta Challenge helped to further ignite the video production “fire” within me, and has been the reason for my transition from photography to video production over the last two years.

  • Julie Frye Sanders (@iAmJulie)

    Funny, Loyal, Dedicated, Intelligent and Spontaneous are just five of hundreds of reasons why Julie is on this list.  As the Brand Manager at iContact, I have had the honor of working with one of the most talented and well educated professionals in the industry.  Her knowledge of print, radio, and online marketing  channels is second to none, and her extensive resume speaks for itself.  She is always open to feedback, and provides great advice on everything I’ve ever asked of her.  She is well respected not only in the company, but in the industry as well, and working with Julie has helped to further my own personal aspirations, as well as career goals beyond those I ever expected.

*It’s important to note that just because you may not have been mentioned in this post, that you are not forgotten, nor unimportant in my life.  Each of these individuals served as a critical guide at various crossroads throughout my life, and my path was directly affected by their influences.

In my 28 years, these are the individuals that have made the greatest impact in my life so far.  I owe my success, my career, and everything else that makes me who I am today, to these individuals.  Without their friendship, support, and trust in me, I would be in a much different place than I am today.  While some individuals see fit to place sports stars or celebrities on a pedestal of honor, I have chosen these real life examples of excellence, to be honored on my pedestal.

Thank you all for all of your contributions in my life, and I wish you all the same success, love and respect, that you have shown to me!


James C. Wong


Julie’s Internet Cafe is Open for Business!

It’s official! @iAmJulie‘s Internet Cafe is open for business!
is her 1st client! Remember to feed the pig!

Apparently, one of the switches in our office decided to leave our department, and only our department, with no internet for about 30 minutes today. Yet somehow, Julie Frye Sanders was still able to barely pickup the wireless. This of course, made it necessary for each of us to take turns on her computer, while she developed an impromptu internet cafe business out of her cubicle area.

While her internet cafe business was short-lived, it did however leave us with long-lasting photos of the shenanigans. :)


Executive’s Exchange: Social Media & Your Business

Local Techwire’s Executive Exchange. @ChuckHester of @iContact,
speaking on Social Media & Your Business.


iContact and PRWeb Present Online Marketing Seminar

Live Event Designed to Help Businesses Build Strong Customer Relationships

Durham, NC (Vocus/PRWEB ) April 2, 2010 — iContact and PRWeb are joining forces to present a live, in-person seminar: “Growing Your Business with Online News Releases and Email Marketing.”

This event will teach small business owners how to take a holistic approach to online marketing.

To be held on Tuesday, April 13 in Las Vegas, Nevada, the seminar will show participants how to build strong relationships with their customers and drive new customer traffic to their web sites.

Chuck Hester, Communications Director at iContact and James Wong, Communications Manager, along with Harry Brooks, President of Search First Internet Marketing, will conduct the seminar and workshop.

“This event will teach small business owners how to take a holistic approach to online marketing,” said Sophie Shiatis, Vice President of ECommerce. “Methodic, sustainable campaigns rooted in the fundamentals that this event will teach, will help small business owners improve online visibility, drive website traffic and ultimately increase sales.”

Highlights of the Seminar Include:

  • How to use email marketing and online news releases to get the best results;
  • How online news releases can help you achieve high rankings in search engines;
  • How you can use your promotions to drive new traffic to your site while building relationships with your existing customers;
  • How to create engaging content for prospects, customers, even search engines;
  • How to conduct keyword research to find relevant news search terms that your target audience is likely to use;
  • The best practices used in writing effective online releases that drive results, guaranteed!

Details and registration information can be found at: Cost of registration is $119 and includes lunch.

About iContact
With more than 62,000 customers, iContact provides email marketing for SMBs and non-profits. iContact allows for easy creation of email newsletters, surveys, and autoresponders. Market leaders like Bank of America, Ford, Intuit, Vonage, Symantec, International Paper, LG Electronics, ReMax, United Colors of Benetton, and Centex Homes, use iContact to build stronger relationships with their customers and prospects at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing methods.

iContact, designed for the SMB market is available at; iContactPlus, a suite of custom and managed services designed for mid-sized organizations, is available at

For media inquiries, contact Chuck Hester, APR, Communications Director, Chuck(at)iContact(dot)com or (919) 459-1451.

Visit us on Twitter @iContactCorp, iContact Linkedin Group, and our Facebook Fan Page.