Practicing gratitude came later to me in life. Not that I was raised to be ungrateful. I wasn’t. I was a fussy eater as a child — something I clearly outgrew. If I didn’t want to finish all the food on my plate at dinner — which was pretty much all the time, I was reminded that there were starving children in the world and I should be thankful that I wasn’t. In other words, eat up. It was that generation’s way of teaching gratitude.

Add that to being Greek where it was ingrained in you that if you expressed…


I can’t remember what last Mother’s Day was like. There is nothing in my journal about it. I know the lockdown was starting to wear on us all, especially so on my mother.

She watched too much television, never missing the countless interruptions reporting the death toll from Covid and advice on what to do to stay safe. Every day she would rant about how terrible things were in our country, how awful Trump was, and how bad she felt for us — especially the young people she would say. No matter how much older I got, my mother still…


Every time I teach a class on social media, I begin by fessing up to my love/hate relationship with the platforms. My favorite to pick on is Facebook.

I had one student a few years ago who politely listened to my rants until halfway through the semester when she informed me her husband worked at Facebook and while she understood my viewpoint, since the company was putting food on the table at home, she had a more favorable impression than I did. She and her husband were intent on changing my mind and went so far as to invite me…


When I made my list of intentions for 2021 I decided to include being kind to me. Not that I was being unkind to myself in 2020 but 2020 was …well …. it was 2020.

Between the pandemic, watching my mother decline and then passing in October, and having a toxic administration in Washington that was pretending to be in charge, I saw being kind to myself as running to CVS at three o’clock in the afternoon for a bag of Lindt Chocolate Truffles to take the edge off and making sure the house was stocked with chardonnay and vodka…


I have never been one to wish my life away.

The older I get the less I want to do so. I want to savor each moment, to be present, and to live it fully. But when it comes to this year — to 2020 — all bets are off.

I want it done. Over. Finito. I want the door on this year shut with a resounding thud.

Don’t get me wrong. I know there are things to be grateful for.

Even in my lowest moments this year, in the darkness of the last week of my mother’s life, I was reminded of the people who were there to support me and get me through — friends and family who called and texted…


When I launched my podcast in August I had a goal of a fresh episode every Friday and a newsletter to accompany it on Sunday. I even recorded a few in advance so I wouldn’t feel too much pressure on myself to get this thing rolling.

But as it has been known to — life gets in the way

On September 24 my brother texted me in the morning to tell me he was worried about Mom and was going to head down to check on her before he went to work. I didn’t expect a phone call when he arrived. I expected a text. I didn’t expect to hear the anguish in…


There are days that you never forget. Days in your life that when you let yourself think about them, the memory is more clear and vivid that what you did in the last hour. Every detail floods your mind and the experience takes over your body as if you are living it all over. The day In a year that has been marked by disruption, even the
Even though it is something you never want to relive.
And before you know it there are tears running down your face.

Kennedy was shot is like that for me. The day my…


In 2011 I went to Blogworld’s New Media Expo at the Javits Center. One of the breakout sessions I sat in on was about podcasting — how easy it was for anyone to start one and how this was the next great wave in media. I left that session so enthused! I had started my career in radio advertising and had long been enamored with the power of audio. I was going to start a podcast of my own! I took a course, bought a Blue Yeti microphone, and tried to teach myself, Garage Band. …


I’ve advocated a digital-first approach to personal branding for a long time. Getting your brand right online first forces you to articulate who you are, what you do, why you do it, and where you want to go. You can’t wing it online, in the same manner, you can wing it on a chance meeting with someone you meet in an elevator — back in the time when you might actually share an elevator with a stranger and have a conversation without a mask on. But now as we linger in this pandemic longer than any of us anticipated, a…


I remember when leaving my apartment and walking the three blocks it takes to get to the PATH train was routine. It required no thought, only muscle memory to slide my metro card through the turnstile and descend the giant escalator to the platform where I would wait for the next train. But not today. Today was the first time in over 100 days I would travel under the Hudson to my beloved Manhattan.

Joanne Tombrakos

Storyteller • Digital-First Marketing Strategist • NYU Prof • Writer • Podcaster • Personal Brand Advisor https://joannetombrakos.com

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