Milwaukee’s racial divide garners national coverage; why employers are missing out

Milwaukee’s racial divide is generations old. Milwaukee’s employers are missing out on a valuable brain trust that is withering on the vine. It’s nonsensical that racial policies stand in the way of employers harnessing valuable human capital to maximize company potential…and let’s face it, revenue.

So, what are we going to do about it? First of all, we need to honestly confront the practices of fear that led us here. I was interviewed by the New York Times reporter who wrote the attached article. The article includes my now deceased uncle, a college educated African-American man, Zeddie Quitman Hyler who was the first black to build a home in suburban Wauwatosa in the 1950s.

Follow this link:

Read on and resolve to become part of the solution. Milwaukee can continue to make national headlines for ill or can use hope as a foundation for action. Wouldn’t we rather gain headlines as a community of prosperity for all of our citizens? We would all be richer for it.

I’m an author. Why should I become a presenter?


As authors, we are solitary workers. We’re comfortable enclosed in our favorite room researching and unleashing our imagination through our computer keys, all in hopes that our books will find its readers. The fact is, we’re in the book business: to entertain and inform our readers. This workshop is designed to teach authors the essentials of public speaking, including overcoming your fears, injecting fun, and leaving the audience wanting more. Overcoming the introvert in all of us is essential to effective marketing of our books to reach the largest audience and to maximizing profit.

Join my “Presentation Skills for Authors” workshop held for Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) members and interested members to be on Wednesday, September 7 from 9:30-11:30a.m. at Wauwatosa Public Library’s Firefly Room

Read more below and reserve your spot for this FREE SE Area presentation—email Rochelle Groskreutz at

Hope to see you there!

Presenter biography:

Lora Hyler is a former journalist. She’s worked for NPR affiliate, WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio and ABC affiliate, WISN.

She has held corporate communications manager positions at Journal Communications and We Energies, and has owned her public relations and marketing company, Hyler Communications since 2001.

Her clients have included: Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, Johnson Controls, Quad Graphics, Time Inc., Sendik’s, Marquette University, and the University of Wisconsin.

She’s been a SCBWI member since 2015. She’s written several screenplays, which she shopped around Hollywood. She’s also authored one children’s novel, is working on the second in the series, and is outlining an adult non-fiction career book based on her work with Harvard Business School.

Lora is currently seeking a publisher for her middle grade novel, starring a young African-American superhero who loves science and spy gadgets. A lover of quiet writing in exotic locales, she’s headed to Martha’s Vineyard for her second two-week writer’s residency in October. In May 2017, she will enjoy a writer’s residency at Camac Centre d’Art in Marnay sur Seine, near Paris.



Cooperative model benefits everyone

Outpost Board Members 2016With national cooperative month just a couple of months away, it’s a good time to reflect upon the history of cooperatives dating back to the 18th century.

I’m the proud board member of Outpost Natural Foods Cooperative in Milwaukee, WI.

Did you know African Americans, people of color, and low-income people have benefited from the cooperative model? The voluminous book, Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice by Jessica Gordon Nembhard is a nationwide comprehensive study of African American cooperatives.

The first documented African American cooperative dates back to 1780 when the African Mutual Aid Society was established in Rhode Island by the African Methodist Church. And of course, cooperatives take all forms. The Lexington Savings Bank was incorporated in Baltimore in 1895 with $10,000 raised by black leaders. Co-op City, a housing complex in Bronx, N.Y. was a cooperative effort between many races.

What is the cooperative model?

In our current national climate of polarized political discussions, economic inequality and cultural and ethnic mistrust, we can look toward the cooperative model as a means of bringing diverse people with like-minded interests together. A food cooperative is owned by the people who use its services, and benefits owners, shoppers, farmers, other vendors, and workers. A cooperative also supports the community in which it resides via non-profit organizations and sustainable practices.

The cooperative model is alive and well. I recently attended the national CCMA conference in Amherst, Mass. and learned from the African-American leaders of a co-operative opening next month in East Greensboro, NC. The new Renaissance Community Co-op is the latest example of a cooperative formed through the grass roots organizing and determination of people living in an area a larger grocer deserted years earlier. They decided it was unacceptable to drive several miles to access fresh food or to get an onion to complete a meal.

Support your local cooperatives

Cooperatives exist in the real world. Outpost’s stores are surrounded by a myriad of supermarkets presenting unprecedented shopping opportunities. Perhaps moreso than any time in our 45 year history, Outpost needs the support of owners and shoppers, and all who support and benefit from the cooperative model.

Our latest store, Wellness Commons, located at 1617 W. North Ave. is bringing our legacy of healthy food choices and products to Lindsay Heights.

We’re striving for an environment in which you can walk into any of our stores and feel welcome, and shop with like-minded owners and shoppers who vote with their dollars for healthy food choices, wellness products and a viable economy and community.

We value relationships based on trust, reciprocity and transparency in our product selection and interactions with you. We invite you to engage with us. Do you have questions about product selection? Has Outpost’s support of various community organizations through such programs as Milk Money, Community Partners and the Co-Op Community Fund led you to get more involved in organizations that support causes you care about?

Consider attending a board meeting. We meet monthly and invite you to see a sound co-operative in action. Our next meetings are August 27th and September 26th. We begin at 6 p.m. All meetings are held at the Bay View store location.

Visit our website regularly to find out about store specials, events and partner programs.

We welcome your comments.

Six reasons why Marvel’s plan to boost diversity in superhero movies is notable

At Comic Con 2016 held last week in San Diego, Ca., Marvel thrilled comic fans and lovers of true representation of all people in entertainment. Black Panther (scheduled for a February 2018 release) will feature a black superhero played by Chadwick Boseman. Supporting cast members include Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia and Danai Gurira as Okoye, head of the female warriors of the Dora Milaje.

1)    Yes, little black boys and girls, little brown boys and girls, little white boys and girls will see folks on the big screen and say, “That looks like me…or my friend…”

2)    Lack of diversity in children’s books created a watershed moment a couple of years ago and created awareness among publishers, agents, authors and readers. Fast forward to today, there’s been a blossoming of children’s books available in bookstores and libraries featuring diverse characters, and many more in the works.

3)    I’m a children’s book writer and soon to be published author. My first book features a 12-year-old African-American superhero, science lover and spy gadgetry geek and his multi-cultural band of friends. Readers of all hues and ages from 8-98 are welcome to read about Mighty Marty Hayes. And, Hollywood, you’re welcome to join in.

4)    Hollywood loves repeats. We can look forward to more movie casts that look like multi-cultural America once Hollywood realizes movie-goers simply want great stories.

5)    Product spin-offs will extend the brand beyond moviegoers. Trust me. You’ll soon watch commercials, be able to purchase Black Panther merchandise at your local big box store and order a kids meal with a side of bendable superhero action figure.

6)    Kids of all ages and hues will go to their local library to seek out more superhero stories, and stories about any subject that interests them. A kid in a library is a wonderful thing. Thanks, Marvel.


It’s the Social Media Age whether you like it or not. Embrace it. Pokémon Go is optional.

Pokemon go     I’ve found myself in a hyper state all week and it’s only Thursday.  My week began with a low key Sunday after my husband and I hosted out of town guests at our home.  Lunching at the popular east side Milwaukee restaurant Café Hollander, my husband remarked about teens who appeared to be playing Pokemon Go.  I quickly went from not having a clue about the popularity of this new smartphone game, to learning that the zombie-like appearance of youth walking around totally distracted and peering intently at their device is the latest trend taking the world by storm.  Even the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles felt the need to get in on the act with highway signs advising “Drive now, Catch Pokemon later.”

On Monday, I found myself advising a millennial to maximize LinkedIn to aid in her job search.  Connecting, following companies and reading through the various searchable job opportunities is a must-do for any serious job seeker. Relying on word-of-mouth and paper classified ads will only lengthen your job search.

Next up on Tuesday, I met with a group of writers at Collectivo in Bay View.  Every topic was peppered with searches for information via websites, Facebook, email and the like.  (With our reliance on our workhorse computers, I wonder what our memories will be like as we age).  I chuckled as I read an email from a woman I just met, who was still sitting directly across the table from me.  Although we had just met, we quickly bonded and discussed the possibility of working on an anthology together.  

Tuesday night found me attending the first day of my new French for Travelers class taught by the spectacular Ramona Washington at the University of Wisconsin-School of Continuing Education.  I’m preparing for my May 2017 Writer’s Residency at Camac Centre d’Art in Marnay Sur Seine, north of Paris.  Already, I feel like a laggard since I haven’t yet connected with anyone in France on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. 

On Wednesday, I met with a group of writers from my Milwaukee area Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) group.  We brainstormed and strategized over possible workshops and seminars to move our members forward in their individual publication quests.  I cringed a bit at a comment that social media is less important in attracting a traditional publisher than simply finding someone who loves your writing.  Hello?  Find me an agent or publisher who doesn’t daily utilize social media in their work and I’ll identify someone whose business is soon ending.  Their competition certainly uses social media each day.  Writers and budding authors should too.

Wednesday night, it was on to Central Standard Distillery for the Local First Milwaukee membership annual networking picnic.  Yes, I imbibed in the craft cocktail specially concocted for the event, but hey, this was business!  As I met business owners and exchanged cards, I made mental notes to check out their websites and their social media sites to get a better picture of their business savvy.  I also vowed to raise my own game and attend the social media strategy workshop I previously registered for at Northwoods.  I was there this morning at 8:30 a.m. sharp.   Rachel Carter did an amazing job.  This was a splendid workshop for the novice and savvy social media provocateur.  Check them out if you feel lost wading through the social media forest.  Many of their initial sessions are free.

A few workshop takeaways enforcing what I already know:

        Social media should be a strategy designed to increase brand exposure

        Thought leadership is king

        Schedule regular time (note to self) to maximize reach. Consider a scheduling tool like Hoot Suite.

New findings:

        Buzzsumo is one tool to consider for finding where content resides.  Just enter a search term.  Good way to spy on the competition.

        Facebook for Business may soon include a ‘buy button.’  E-Commerce on steroids.

        Facebook advertising is maximized by using the ‘ad manager’ rather than ‘boost’ feature

In brief, for the rest of the week, I have a lot of work to do.  Editing and blogging about a fiction project, and sending the manuscript to an influential LinkedIn buddy for feedback.  I’ll check whether another connection who I haven’t seen in person for years landed a board position I recommended her for based on following her career online.  I’ll chat tomorrow with a new author on… social media strategies.

               Thanks again to Northwoods for keeping us abreast of importance of using social media to maximize business opportunities.  With attendees of diverse businesses and industries, and on the career ladder, these sessions are also great for networking.  Excuse me, I have to work on my website, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts.


Yes, let’s mark the passing of a rock star, one of our greats…and let’s celebrate the creatives who thrive among us


I recently sat in an audience of more than 100 people on the East side of Milwaukee surrounded by books, gazing at a rock star. Much respect to Prince, a genius-level songwriter, musician and entertainer lauded the world over and gone much too soon. This audience made up of folks of all colors, ages and backgrounds had chosen to come inside on a sunny 60 degree day and sit on hard metal seats at a local gem of a bookstore, Boswell’s on Downer Ave. The rock star they had come to see and listen to his poetic musings was a poet, educator, and New York Times bestselling author of 21 books, including the Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newberry Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children. This rock star is Kwame Alexander.

It’s fitting to call him a rock star. Accompanied by a suave guitarist in shoulder-length locks, he began to recite the poetry of his latest children books, with the enraptured children in the audience finishing his sentences. When is the last time an author was able to achieve this feat? Hey, what’s going on here?

Kwame Alexander filled in the blanks. His parents had insisted that books become an integral part of his childhood. They read to him until he was old enough to read. Starting around the age of 10, they insisted that he read adult books. Alexander recalled Manchild in the Promised Land by Claude Brown and The Greatest by Muhammad Ali as two of his favorites. It seemed that his parents had a plan: if he came across a word he didn’t understand, off he was sent to the dictionary to look it up.

Alexander was spared the fate of many kids whose love of books falters in the period between elementary school and adulthood. “The bridge is poetry, said Alexander. “Make it digestible and palatable through poetry. I believe poetry can change the world. Make sure your kids are prepared for excellence.”

“You can make someone feel something they didn’t feel before. I believe you can get kids excited. I wanted to make words cool.” Budding authors leaned in as Alexander mentioned he wrote five hours a day before the Newberry, and now writes on planes between speaking engagements and business meetings.

This cool rock star is a nerd in disguise. His face lit up as he recited lines from his own Crossover and Booked novels. So it was no surprise when he responded to a question about his current favorite authors and books he would recommend. He flipped to Booked and proceeded to whip through 30 different titles embedded within his latest book—all recommended reads for children and children at heart in the audience. With a grin, he noted that one of his character’s has to use a dictionary.

One kid commented that his latest books each have a sports theme. “Sports, family, relationships and     love are all connected,” said Alexander.

Shortly after, Alexander was off to prepare for his Monday appearance before 700 Milwaukee Public School kids; seven schools were sending kids. Yes!  I’m convinced Alexander will receive an even greater rock star reception as his poetic lines reverberate around a large auditorium. Our kids need more poets and authors and their enthusiastic, live readings making words come alive, dance and jump with joy.

Reading is the foundation of every career that exists. Where kids take their word acumen and swagger gained from confidence in reading, writing and individual expression is truly limitless. The world can’t have enough creatives. Whether it’s poets, other authors, songwriters who grow up to impact the world as the next Prince, next librarian, next corporate communications leader, next teacher, or next CEO…you get the picture. It all starts with mastering the written word.

So, I want to thank my own parents for their purchase of the set of encyclopedias from the traveling salesman as he walked through our neighborhood. I still remember my dad summoning me to the front porch to read for the nice man. I may have been all of eight years old, but even then I knew that my grasp of the written word was not only a source of pride for my parents but the foundation of something that may just serve me for the rest of my life. And it was, and it has. Funny how this corporate communicator and public relations company owner is now returning to her childhood roots,  and once again, writing novels for children. Maybe, I too, want to be a rock star when I grow up.

Kwame Alexander’s interview with Mitch Teich of Milwaukee Public Radio, WUWM conducted just prior to his Milwaukee appearance will provide a taste of Alexander’s magic.

Calling all Women: You need to improve your financial future

HBS 2016.1

Lessons learned from the Harvard Business School Dynamic Women in Business Conference


By the end of her keynote address, Jamie McCourt, yes, that Jamie McCourt had a roomful of converts singing her praises. The occasion was the Friday night dinner held for presenters and speakers at the 25th annual Harvard Business School Dynamic Women in Business Conference. As a presenter on the E-Commerce panel on Saturday, I was invited to co-mingle with some of the most brilliant minds I’ve encountered, combined with a sisterhood visibly on display.

Seldom in my 30-year career, have I heard a woman stand behind a podium and unabashedly share such personal insights into her life. It was in hopes that the women in the room would heed her advice and chart a financial future they could pass onto future generations.

McCourt is a Los Angeles-based entrepreneur, venture capitalist and philanthropist. She holds degrees in French and Law, and an MBA from MIT Sloane School of Management. She was co-owner, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers until her husband of 40 years fired her. A nasty divorce followed. All that they had built together, including turning around a failing team, was in question.

In 2001, it was widely reported the McCourts reached a settlement. Jamie would receive $130 million and renounce any claims to the professional baseball team. This was considered the most costly divorce in California history. Fast forward three months later and Frank McCourt’s sale of the Dodgers for a record $2 Billion—that’s not a typo-Billion with a “B.” According to Wikipedia, Jamie claimed she was defrauded and sought $700 million. The judge denied her motion, leaving her with the original $130 million settlement.

So, you now understand why her steady, but steely voice was so effective on this night imploring  women to protect their personal and professional finances. Despite her professional prowess, she lamented that she had left financial responsibility to her husband. It took divorce court sessions to learn of companies she never knew existed in her joint portfolio.

“Money is power and control,” Jamie McCourt advised. The lack of money is unhealthy, and leads to powerlessness and subservience. Every woman in the room took quick mental stock of her own financial situation. What do I know of my shared finances with my husband or partner? If I am single, am I making the right moves? Am I on a first name basis with my financial representative, my tax advisor, and my investor? Do I have access to all my accounts?

McCourt referenced the historical tendencies of women to allow men to control their money whether it be their husbands or hired professionals. She advised taking an active interest in your own money. McCourt seems to be making it her mission to school women in lessons she learned in a courtroom, as if it would balance out the swallowed betrayal by a man she invested decades of her life in and had, in fact, pinned her very own livelihood on. Yet, the woman who stood before us was victorious and clear-eyed. Sure, we can attribute it to the $130 million that she walked away with and is now investing, including in her own California vineyard.

Following her talk, a young woman quietly asked, “What advice do you have for someone like me who is nearly engaged. How do I start the conversation about getting involved in our finances?” “Tell him you want to introduce him to your financial and tax professionals, because women have a right to take control of what is rightfully theirs,” advised McCourt.

As the room burst into spontaneous applause and McCourt left the podium, my table of seasoned women leaned in and continued the conversation with the younger women, who eagerly listened in.

Thanks 2015! What I’m grateful for

New Year resolutions are somewhat passe.’  Not New Year goals.

As 2016 sets in, I’m reflecting on 2015 successes. On the personal front, I’m grateful for my husband of 24 years, our college student son, friends and extended family.

On the professional front, I salute those who helped me achieve my 2015 milestones. I appreciate your referrals, networking and your business. These achievements allow me to build on my 2016 plans. Thank you.

Hyler Communications 2015 Highlights:


Ace Business Machines. Handled publicity, resulting in national and international press for this 2nd generation family-owned West Allis business celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Selma movie fund-raising effort for Milwaukee students. Initiated publicity for this project, which gained partners Marcus Theaters and Greater Milwaukee Foundation, raising just under $50,000 to send Milwaukee students to see this internationally acclaimed movie featuring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., demonstrating the power of commitment and non-violence.


Northwestern Mutual. I had the pleasure of working with a terrific team led by Karen Rondinelli, handling communications for enhancements to a series of life insurance products.


Harvard Business School Dynamic Women in Business Conference. Facilitated E-Commerce workshop at this exemplary annual conference, and hosted lunch table on public relations.

Cardinal Stritch African-American Leadership Program. Featured speaker on topic of Personal Branding for Career Success. AALP, led by Jeanette Mitchell, guides employees of major companies, non-profit organizations and educational institutions throughout Greater Milwaukee.


International Careers Forum. Speaker at forum designed to help students consider the value of working for international companies on their career journey.

Outpost Natural Food Cooperative. Elected to the board of Outpost, a $50 million annual revenue food cooperative based in Milwaukee, WI with national recognition for its 45 years of success. The nine-member board meets monthly. I’ll serve a 3-year term.


We Energies. Personal Branding presentation to 150 employees undergoing transition with the company’s acquisition of Integrys.


Noepe Center for Literary Arts Writers’ Residency on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Two week stay resulted in major progress on my middle grade novel. I completed the novel, hired a professional editor, and am now doing another revision before seeking an agent/publisher.


Joined SCBWI-Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators. Gained new appreciation for creative writers and lllustrators. I delighted in the faces of children enjoying the Sheboygan Children’s Book Festival. I followed that with meeting authors at the SE WI Book Festival held each year at UW-Waukesha.


Writing. Writing. Writing. Planning. Planning. Planning.

It’s time to repeat the Harvard Business School Dynamic Women in Business Conference

As 2015 comes to an end, I’m reflecting on the WSA 2015 Dynamic Women in Business conference held in February on the Harvard Business School campus. In the aftermath of one of the largest snowfalls in recorded history, women braved mountains of snow to network, further their careers, and share strategies to better the planet.

Here’s an excerpt from the recap of the 2015 conference on the Association (WSA) website.

I was facilitator for the E-Commerce workshop, one of several listed in the article as standing room only. Let’s repeat this! The 2016 conference will be held February 20th.



800+ TWEETS.








HBS was the epicenter of women in business with the WSA’s 2015 Dynamic Women in Business Conference. The theme ‘Going Beyond’ permeated the conference as the panelists and moderators shared their visions of the future and gave advice for aspiring women.

Sallie Krawcheck, keynote Speaker, one of the most senior women on Wall Street and owner of the Elevate Network, attributes success to resilience; ‘Resilience is the real secret to success. And the secret to resilience is gratitude’.

The second time Krawcheck was fired on the front page of the WSJ she had a choice: (1) Hide, ‘Honey, do you think anyone saw the WSJ today?’, or (2) Be proud, “Dad! Did you see the WSJ today? I’ve made it!” Krawchek chose option 2 and hasn’t looked back. Krawchek also advised the audience to ‘Say yes. Particularly if it’s uncomfortable for you, raise your hand’ ‘Say yes to the promotion. Say yes to the overseas assignment. Say yes to the board position.’’

And in a promising sign of bucking the trend given the recent press about gender issues in tech – for example, Ellen Pao’s lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins, ‘that’ Newsweek cover on What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women – the tech, ecommerce, and entrepreneurship panels were standing room only.

Women are networking. Women are determined to erase decades of inequity in the workforce based on gender bias. It’s time.


Are business soft skills your weakness? Bolster them. Your career depends on it

Business writing skills.  Effective communication. Negotiation 101. Team dynamics. These are all crucial ‘soft skills’ that make or break careers. Arguably, effective business writing is the most critical soft skill to master.

Our careers begin with a strong foundation of technical skills that presumably strengthen over time. Yet, it’s the business soft skills that go hand-in-hand in determining whether we truly become a player. And arguably, effective business writing skills are the most important. That’s because people who write well see the benefits in their work: achieving their goals, enlisting support, gaining sales, earning promotions.

Indeed, in his Harvard Business Review book, HBR Guide to Better Business Writing, Bryan A. Garner breaks it down this way: “You may think you shouldn’t fuss about your writing-that good enough is good enough. But that mind-set is costly. Supervisors, colleagues, employees, clients, partners, and anyone else you communicate with will form an opinion of you from your writing. If it’s artless and sloppy they may assume your thinking is the same.”

Let’s break it down to the basics

Letters, Emails, PowerPoint presentations, reports, case studies, speeches, newsletters and social media posts are meant to inform, persuade and sell a product, service or idea. If the written communication is bogged down with jargon, convoluted language, it’s at cross purposes to your goal. Furthermore, you’ll lose the reader in the opening paragraphs. Good luck at that point building understanding, alliances, winning over or retaining a customer.

Here’s the harsh reality of the matter: poor business writing results in a loss of time, money and influence.

How to strengthen your writing skills

So, at this point you may be prepared to concede that your business writing skills are less than optimal. How do you improve? Practice. Practice. Practice. It all begins with preparation. Before striking a key, organize your thoughts.

  1. Determine your audience. If your audience consists of junior and senior employees, internal and external audiences, you may need targeted communications for each.
  2. Determine the goal. Are you trying to increase sales, retain employees in the face of great industry competition, introduce a new product line or policy?
  3. Summarize upfront. If there is a call to action-state it and follow with supporting information.
  4. Determine the best format to use. Your audience is busy and overloaded with communication. Email in boxes are overflowing. Will a brochure, meeting, PowerPoint presentation receive more attention?
  5. Use the power of visuals. People absorb information at different levels. Consider whether graphs and charts will help tell your story.
  6. Pay attention to the small stuff. It matters. Check grammatical errors, factual errors, and jargon that some audience members won’t understand.
  7.  Link to additional information for those who need a greater depth of understanding based on their roles and interests.

These are just a few tips to get started on the road to more effective business writing skills. If Hyler Communications can be of service through a more in-depth workshop presentation, don’t hesitate to contact us at, or 414-520-0019.