Jan 26 2011

Joanne Taylor of Boise Shares Glimpses of Vegas, Behind-the-Scenes Photos

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Before moving to Boise and eventually starting Joanne Taylor PR, I worked in Vegas (and Reno) promoting big-name entertainment, special events, world-class restaurants, and, of course, gaming. I recently came across some old photos from those years and wanted to share a few of them. I posted more on my Facebook page, including a few from my dad’s stash.  Click here, if you’d like to take a look.

It’s funny how callous you become to the whole Vegas thing when being part of it is your job–like the night I stood ringside, at the ropes, next to a Sports Illustrated photographer during the much-anticipated Chavez vs. De La Hoya fight. Great night, and a fierce  fight, but it was mostly work, and I thought of it as such. The three weeks prep time beforehand wiped me out and at 11 p.m., when VIPs and stars broke into full party mode, I went home.

I never asked anyone to take my photo at events or with stars because I was too busy stressing out about everything coming off right. But sometimes, it just happened. Someone would walk up and snap a photo and give it to me later or, in Wayne Gretzky’s case, “their people” would send it to me in the mail (The Gretzky picture was taken after a news conference I organized for the Kings and Rangers at the Hilton). I never asked for autographs, either. My dad taught me not to ask for them. “They’re just people,” he’d say, “most of them with more problems than the rest of us. And, besides, they’re working. Don’t bother them.”

Once, not that long ago, my dad was conducting for Tony Bennett. He asked me if I wanted to tag along, as he often did when I lived there or was in town for a visit. We talked to Tony backstage before the curtain for about 10 minutes. He and my dad were the same age and had become friends over the years they played together. They were reminiscing about the “old days,” laughing, and even talking about their ailments–like older people do. I didn’t think of this as a big deal but I did enjoy the moment. Not because I was talking to a star, but because I was in on this bit of their history, and shared love for music and life. I didn’t need a photo or an autograph; the scene is indelibly etched in my mind.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these few bits and pieces of a time long gone by, and oftentimes missed…

Joanne Taylor of Boise and Jonathan Frakes

This photo was taken of me and Jonathan Frakes at the "after party" of one of the largest and most elaborate events I've seen. It was the groundbreaking for "Star Trek The Experience" at the Las Vegas Hilton. We worked with Paramount to plan and pull it off. The event and party budget was $1 million!

The champ after a training workout in Reno. Foreman is a great guy. Always smiling. Always time for the fans. I ended up sitting at the ring on a milk crate, next to his doctor, during this fight (Foreman vs. Ellis, 1991)


Jan 12 2011

Boise-based Joanne Taylor PR to specialize in grant writing

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Boise-based Joanne Taylor PR has added grant writing to its list of services.  This is the result of much heartache over the loss of state funding for public schools and libraries, and tough times for non-profits that serve underprivileged youths and their families across the US.

It took a friend of 30+ years to fire me up and get me to do something to try to help. She writes grants for the Washoe County School District in Reno, and it’s not unusual for her to bring in $6-8 million in one month for the district. In September of 2010, she raked in $27 million. The day I found that out is the day I asked her to be my mentor. She agreed and has been teaching me the tricks of the trade for the past three months. Certainly it’s going to take me a lot longer than that to get it down, but I’ve made a start. The first step is most important, right?

I’m currently working on my 6th formal grant. It’s interesting, and somewhat surprising, how closely the grant proposal process aligns with PR planning. You start with research in order to grasp an understanding of  the situational landscape. Then you define your mission, state your goals, outline your strategies, and determine how to evaluate success. The proposal is the pitch. It’s much longer, of course, but our knack for keeping it brief and to the point makes us a rare commodity among grant writers, and makes our proposals stand out.

Once I tackle private grants, I’m going to turn my attention toward federal grants. This is where the real fun begins….