Just as the cobbler’s children have no shoes, the writer’s blog has no posts. Until now.

I re-started my consultancy in marketing and communications about 18 months ago and with a lot of help, I am getting steady work. Of course, there could always be more!

At the same time, I am writing a memoir about resiliency and that’s been the hardest job I’ve had in my life.

In true Foley fashion, I chose to do the impossible — write a book and start a business — at the same time. I had hoped some self-examination in the memoir would cure me of that.

I can’t help myself because I am having so much fun challenging myself with something totally new after more than 30 years in corporate.

Just this week I joined the Madison Area Business Consultants and you can see my profile there. I also was accepted in the Rainmakers, an informal referral-sharing group of local business owners with lots of contacts.

Donna Beestman, my good friend and mentor, kept me moving the past six months during the feast and famine of consulting. She sponsored me for the Downtown Rotary, which is a weekly lunch commitment and a great way to get back into the community leadership flow.

My wonderful friends at Rippe Keane Marketing helped put together this resurrection of my old website. Katie Hill, an amazing talent, made Foley Ink look as good as it wants to be.

Many people ask, “Just what are you doing?” Having been working at high level marketing and communication for the past seven years, it’s hard for me to winnow that large broad skill set. I can do just about anything anyone asks for. But in the interest of marketing myself, I pulled together some thoughts for you.

After more than a month of proposing and re-proposing services for a Madison-area emerging technology company, I had a long sit down with the president to help the genius software whiz understand why marketing is important for his business on the cusp of greatness. If he wants to get off the cusp, he needs to tell the right people about his products. He kept saying, “But what do you do?” Finally after an hour one day, he nodded, got up and told his small band of creators, “Ellen’s going to teach us how to talk.”

I suppose that’s how it looks to a person who sends you emails with > or < signs and + or = symbols.

One of my biggest jobs for that company was to get everyone to talk with one voice. I got them started and hope to go back in the coming months. Like so many small- to medium-sized companies that I like to work with, the software company needs my laundry list of services:

  • Strategic alignment advising
  • Strategies to increase sales for start-up and small- and medium-sized companies
  • Lead generation
  • Branding for any size company
  • Social media strategies and riveting content
  • Email marketing
  • Media and reputation management
  • Public relations planning (press releases, trade publications, etc.)
  • Rewriting, writing web pages to enhance the user experience, SEO
  • Analytics and reporting
  • White paper, thought leadership strategy and writing
  • Speechwriting, biographies, company histories, annual reports


When pitching my services these days, I offer examples of my recent work:

  • Marketing planning at a health analytics company for six months
  • Social media strategy for a national consumer sales company yielding a 200 percent increase in social engagement over three months
  • Reputation management for a community figure who did NOT want his name in the media
  • Media relations for a health care services company with a complicated legal challenge
  • Successful media placement and engagement of a company ESOP announcement to employees and the community
  • Statewide media coverage of a construction company’s major leadership change
  • Speaker at a national women’s health care leader forum in San Diego
  • Succinct company-friendly layoff news releases
  • Six-month rebranding of Reach Dane, a nationally regarded Head Start agency, formerly known as Dane County Parent Council (Pro-Bono)

I am still distilling all of this and welcome your suggestions.

Today is a feast day. I’ve been sitting at my desk since 7 a.m. and it’s now 8:45 p.m. I wish I could complain but it’s great to be back in the creative class and live by my wits.