Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Meet Mark Coppens, Sarasota Florida Realtor

Mark Coppens is a real estate agent based in Sarasota, Florida who specializes in helping people buy and sell coastal properties. He and Jamie Murdick are known as The SRQ Duo, and they offer all-inclusive residential real estate services to those interested in buying, leasing, or selling in the Sarasota area.

1. How did you first become interested in a career in real estate?

After college I spent some time in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer. Among others, the Army afforded me an opportunity to get an MBA, which introduced me to the world of marketing and advertising. I fell in love with negotiating deals and launching sales campaigns around the world. After serving my nation, I became very successful in closing transactions for several Fortune 500 companies at the executive level. During that time, I had bought and sold many personal properties, and for the most part, was extremely disappointed with real estate agents. Let's face it--most agents are lazy. It's true. There's a reason why real estate agents are respected less than lawyers and car salesmen, according to surveys. Generally, agents will do the minimal amount of effort in order to get a sale or close a deal. They say that 10% of licensed agents close 90% of all transactions. So I saw an opportunity. I'm an outgoing type "A" personality, with an education in marketing & advertising, and proven track record of negotiating successful high dollar / high stress contracts. If I could take my unique background, add the advantage of looks and charm, and put in 110% effort--I could really crush it. Plus, I love design and homes. I really do. I'm an HGTV addict.

2. You are half of your agent team, The SRQ Duo. Would you tell us about your other half?

My partner and fiancĂ© Jamie Murdick is an Emmy® Award winning graduate of the Walter E. Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. Jamie brings our team expertise on modern multimedia combined with years of experience in advertising, marketing, and sales. Like me, Jamie worked in corporate America and has led successful campaigns globally. She is a connoisseur of elegance, style, and sophistication--which lend to her success in luxury real estate, and complements my design skills. She distracts you with her stunning looks while expertly negotiating for her clients with cunning determination. When you choose The SRQ Duo as your agents, you will get the services of us both, each having strengths in differing yet complementary areas. Jamie and I are engaged to be married next April, in 2017, at the Ca D'Zan Mansion on the grounds of the Ringling Museum in Sarasota.

3. What are some of the qualities that draw people to the Sarasota area?

Sarasota (airport code SRQ) is one of the most desired year-round resort communities in the world. A perfect blend of world-renowned beaches, arts and entertainment, championship golf, award-winning dining, and beautiful weather; Sarasota Real Estate is comparable to destinations like Scottsdale, Palm Springs, and Miami all in one. Properties are in high demand, with the neighborhoods of Longboat Key, Lido Key, Siesta Key, Downtown, West of Trail, and Bird Key among some of the most desirable in the nation.

Situated on the sparkling blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota's beauty was noted by John Ringling, of the famed Ringling Circus. Mr. Ringling brought cultural influences and visitors from around the world, and in doing so, left his permanent mark on the composition of the city.  

With professional theatres, ballet, opera, and an orchestra, the city boasts more refined entertainment choices than most large-scale metropolitan areas. Boutique shopping downtown, in Saint Armand's Circle, and on Siesta Key provides unique finds for the most avid of consumers.

The area boasts some of the nation's best golf courses, with challenging options at a range of prices. If you're into other sports, SRQ is within an hour of professional soccer, hockey, football, and baseball--with two spring training facilities within a fifteen-minute drive. The marina and beach complexes provide ample watersports, fishing, and boating opportunities, with international yachting on par with our neighbors on the east coast of the state. The weather favors outdoor activities year-round. From running and biking the Legacy Trail, to crew at the world-class rowing complex at Benderson Park, Sarasota offers numerous choices for even the bravest of adventurers. We love Sarasota!

4. In keeping your agency team smaller and more tightly focused than many others, what unique benefits do you offer your clients?

Our brokerage, Merrick Damon Real Estate, is a top rated boutique real estate agency in the southeastern United States. Because we're agents with a regional boutique firm, we can focus on a select number of clients, offering personalized full-service that is responsive and focused. Quite simply, we out-hustle the large and slow nationwide firms and deliver superior results. Unlike bigger firms, you will not have to deal with field agents, assistants, transaction coordinators, closing agents or other parties in between. The SRQ Duo will be your sole point of contact throughout the entire process to help you buy or sell homes in Sarasota, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Lido Key, Bird Key, Lakewood Ranch and West of Trail.

5. What else would you like our readers to know about your agency and the services you provide?

Jamie and I met in Abu Dhabi, and had our first dinner in London and our first date in Dubai. We literally travel the world in order to connect with buyers and investors of our clients' properties. From Hong Kong to Paris, and Ottawa to Rio De Janeiro, The SRQ Duo goes above and beyond to sell our listed properties.

We also represent buyers and annual renters. We will meet with you in person, or over the phone for long distance clients, and do an in-depth analysis of your wants and needs. Based on your detailed criteria, we will canvas multiple sources of listed and unlisted properties to narrow your search down to a manageable number of homes. These homes will be presented to you for consideration and potential showing. We understand that your time is very valuable, and will only show properties that you want to see. Once you have found the new home and lifestyle that you've dreamed of, we will begin the difficult task of negotiating the best price.  

Jamie and I take pride in our work and in getting our clients the best deal--as a buyer or seller. We are extremely responsive, pay great attention to details, and understand that buying or selling a home, particularly a luxury home, should be a low-stress, enjoyable occasion. We treat our clients with great respect & care, and pledge that our service will be the best real estate experience you've ever had.

If you're thinking of buying or selling a home or condo in the Sarasota or Lakewood Ranch areas on Florida, please contact Jamie & Mark "The SRQ Duo":

Jamie & Mark Coppens
The SRQ Duo | Merrick Damon Real Estate
Phone: (941) 444-0436

Thanks, Mark!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Meet Brenda Kay Winters, Author

Brenda Kay Winters is an author who was born in Vernon, Texas. She has published her books on Nook, Kobo, and Amazon. So far, she has written over 175 books. Brenda currently lives in Austin, Texas and has one daughter, Emilie Mignon, who is also a author; Emilie wrote Just Another Red Riding Hood Story.

Check out Brenda's recent book on Springtime Landscaping and Gardening, and learn more about her and her work by visiting her Amazon author page.

1. Have you always been interested in writing?

I had exceptional teachers in my English and language arts classes all of my life. They made learning and writing fun. My first experience with writing was in an English class in junior high school and my teacher was helpful. He had us look up many words and write out the whole definitions, and I wrote a paper on the Lindbergh kidnapping case. I have not always been interested in writing, and I became a nurse at age 19, married, and had one daughter. I did not have the time to write.

2. When did you start publishing your books through online venues like Amazon, Kobo, and Nook?

The first books I published were with Blurb in 2012 just after my parents died to ease the pain. Then my brother, William Winters, died in 2014 of colon cancer, and I started writing books almost daily in 2015. It keeps me busy.

3. What will readers learn in your latest book, Springtime Landscaping and Gardening?

In my latest book, Springtime Landscaping and Gardening, my readers will learn how to improve their homes and enjoy flowers, and maybe even start a business.

I just finished a Romance Erotica novel that is over 700 pages long called Lust and Seduction in Texas; it is available on Nook and another one like it on Create Space will be out in a few days.

4. What is your process like when it comes to researching, writing, and finally publishing your books?

My process is to ask friends and family what they would like to read, and I go from there. I write on my computer and take notes. I keep a pad and pen next to my laptop and try to write about subjects I know about.

5. Were you surprised when your daughter started publishing as well? What advice have you given her--and what advice might you give other authors who want to follow your example of writing and publishing?

I was happy and surprised that my daughter Emiele Mignon (her pen name) has starting writing and publishing books on Amazon, too. She is a naturally gifted writer and author.

My advice to anyone about writing is to do it every day and write about things you know about, and take classes if you are able to in order to improve your writings.

Thanks, Brenda!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Meet Samantha Higgins: Las Vegas SEO Blogger Outreach

Samantha Higgins is in charge of blogger outreach for Las Vegas SEO. She has created content strategies for casinos, surgeons, lawyers, and now the new clients under her guidance.

1. Your primary role for Las Vegas SEO is blogger outreach. What is that?

Well, here is the perfect example, ha. Blogger outreach is simply reaching out to people on a human level, connecting with them, and exchanging engaging, interesting content their readership would enjoy consuming for brand exposure and a chance to say, this is us…this is who we are. It's a win win for both the blog and website owner (their readership gets a new perspective), and for the client brand seeking to showcase their expertise and value to the community.

2. Do clients see the value in blogging or content marketing?

Luckily I don't focus on sales, but I tend to always hear feedback that the client was expecting boring results as they had experienced in the past through other article marketing or press releases. Once they start to see the time and quality and effort into their brand message and unique proposition, it really transforms their thought process from a necessary evil to--can we do more of this?

3. Forming relationships and reaching out to bloggers can be time consuming. Is this expensive?

Again, content outreach isn't for every business as it can certainly get expensive relative other inferior forms of advertising online. Some choose to do it themselves, but writing content, reaching out to contacts, and forming connections over social media is a full time job. We have systems in place, and my rolodex is insanely large and responsive because they know the quality of work I bring and willingness to help cross promote.

4. What are typical results from a large-scale monthly campaign?

We typically deal with three months to gauge the success of a campaign. Often we see Google love to see all the new content, and client's rankings begin to increase dramatically, and it makes sense. If you are a company, wiling to educate and inform potential clients of your expertise in your industry, Google and the search engines see this, and want to rank you higher. It's a sophisticated system which often gets complicated, but at the core it's about relevancy and popularity. Our outreach ensures both facets of digital marketing are addressed.

5. How is this better than competing Internet marketing agencies in Las Vegas Nevada?

The owners have been doing this for over ten years, and I've personally been writing and reaching out to press contacts for the last six years. It's just a really rock solid group of people that actually enjoy what they do, which can never be overstated. Client results are really the focus and it starts with a proper promotional strategy rooted in compelling content, which I'm happy to supply, coupled with massive outreach to website owners in Las Vegas as well as contacts worldwide based on your exact target market. To inquire about blogger outreach with Samantha contact:

Las Vegas SEO
321 N. Minnesota St
Las Vegas, NV 89107
(702) 518-0485

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Meet Marissa Letendre, Recruitment Consultant

With a relentless dedication to bring out the best in her clients, Marissa has established herself as a well-respected resume writer and recruitment consultant. She has been recognized for providing an affordable, personalized, and quality service to her clients and delivering expertise on both sides of the spectrum--giving her resume and recruitment clients a distinct advantage.

Learn more about Marissa's services by visiting her website and her RecruitLoop profile.

1. How did you originally become interested in working as a recruiter?

When I was in my early 20s, I was a Call Center Supervisor, but the company didn't have a recruiting team, and retention was awful. I've always been someone who liked to find solutions, so without experience, I took the initiative to learn. I absolutely loved it and was able to reduce turnover by 62%. From there, I assumed all recruiting and HR activities.

2. What are some benefits to employers of working with you rather than working with a traditional staffing agency?

By hiring me at RecruitLoop, employers will save a significant amount of money and time while having a more transparent experience and receiving the best candidates. I work hourly rather than for a fixed percentage of the first year salary, so it saves employers thousands of dollars. They don't have to chase their recruiter or wonder where they are in the process. I only take on one project at a time to dedicate myself 100% to that client and ensure the best results and timely completion.

3. When you take on a recruiting project, what are some factors you consider to make sure you're finding a candidate who is the best possible fit for a position?

I always consider two major factors: qualifications and cultural fit. It's important to find someone who not only meets the requirements of the position, but will fit well with the company's culture to prevent high turnover. I am highly experienced with advanced sourcing techniques to identify the best talent for the role and engage even the most passive candidates by effectively representing and selling the client's brand and opportunity.

4. How do you keep your costs more affordable than those of large agencies?

I complete every process myself and RecruitLoop provides an excellent platform which provides recruiters with excellent resources. Larger recruiting agencies have employees to pay, overhead, etc., and by working with me, employers aren't paying for that as well--they're only paying an affordable hourly rate for my time and expertise. I also have other resources including LinkedIn Recruiter, but my clients don't pay for that--I do.

5. What are some tips you might suggest for people who want to make themselves more attractive to recruiters and more easy to find and contact online?

I always recommend making your resume and LinkedIn profile consistent. Consistency is key. Also, it's good to put your email address in the contact section of your LinkedIn profile to make it easier for employers to reach you. They should have a complete LinkedIn profile, including their education. Something I see a lot is candidates that have a degree, but only include their major. They're missing out on a lot of opportunities as many recruiters won't bother to reach out to see if they have one.

Thanks, Marissa!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Meet Cathy Berger, Development Director for Queens Chamber of Commerce

Since March of 2014, Cathy Berger has been the Development Director for the Queens Chamber of Commerce. She has worked to encourage new businesses to join the Chamber and to help make sure that existing Chamber members are making the most of their memberships. She describes her position in part as working to advance the visibility of each member through the connections this prominent affiliation has developed over the last 100+ years.

Cathy also shares her expertise in business and networking through her Queens Today blog at

1. How did you first become involved with the Queens Chamber of Commerce?

One October morning back in 2013, I decided to visit a Queens Chamber of Commerce / HBA networking event. At that time as a business owner, I was instantly impressed with the people in attendance. They were true professionals, dead serious about getting to meet new people. Right on the spot I joined my company to the Chamber.

2. What do you like most about your job with the Chamber?

I love that NO day is the same, because I am always speaking to different types of businesses. I work in a wonderful environment--my coworkers are terrific. They encourage me to excel, which is very important to me. I believe that if you are genuinely supported by your team, this goes a long way to going above and beyond at work, no matter what position you hold.

3. How do you personally define effective networking?

Just attending an event and chit-chatting there is not sufficient to network. Your objective is to emerge from networking with one (or more) goals than when you went in. If there isn't a good fit between your goals of being there and the person you are talking to, don't change the topic from business to the weather, sports, the food, etc. Move on. It's lovely to meet new people, but if you are looking to connect with certain people and their needs, seek them out.

4. What are some of your tips for business people looking to make more connections in their community?

To make a definitive mark in your community, give thought to when you last felt your heart truly soar. If for example, seeing a young child achieve his/her goal gives you goosebumps, then point part of your business or career path toward helping the young students (or schools) in some way. Your true passion will easily translate to wonderful community benefits. Enlist help from your team to gain maximum support.

5. What projects are you looking forward to over the next months?

I just started a blog, and through it, I hope to connect to more companies. When I do, I can guide their business development by facilitating referrals to them, as well as sharing stellar networking techniques.

I have been getting great feedback from readers, and it is becoming a community of knowledge. I hope to continue growing it!!

Thanks, Cathy!