Ready Readers

Geile/Leon Marketing Communications

Ready Readers

We live in such a privileged society, yet 1 out of every 4 American children will grow up without learning to read.

Children today are literally “the future of our country” so this statistic is upsetting to say the least. It’s so important that early on in their lives they are exposed to skills like reading — it is the foundation of education. And without education, their potential is significantly lessened. Unfortunately, not all families have the means to provide this foundation for their children.

Organizations like Ready Readers in Saint Louis, MO are changing this.

Ready Readers is an official 501(c)3 organization whose mission is “to inspire preschool-age children from low-income communities to become readers by reading aloud to them, increasing their exposure to quality books, and providing literacy-related experiences.”

Pat Simons founded Ready Readers in 1997 after seeing her husband’s (a pediatrician) growing concern over the number of young children he treated that did not read, hadn’t been read to or had never even seen a book! She realized that there wasn’t a program in the St. Louis area that was dedicated to literacy/reading for preschool-age children.

She made it her mission to prepare and excite young kids to read! What started as a small group of people collecting and reading books eventually grew into what Ready Readers is today.

Ready Readers relies on 570 volunteers to read aloud to over 8,700 children in low-income classrooms throughout the Metro area for 30 minutes a week. The volunteer is assigned to the same classroom every week so that they can begin growing a special relationship with the children—one that makes the kids excited about reading. All of the children receive 7 high-quality books throughout the year to keep—this grows their own library and encourages reading for enjoyment at home!

Ready Readers is always in need of volunteers! If interested, fill out an application and someone will contact you to set up a time and place where you can begin your weekly reading session. A small amount of your time each week greatly impacts these children’s lives.

Besides volunteers, Ready Readers also greatly appreciates donations of new or gently used preschool-age children’s books—these are used to grow classroom libraries and given to the children to keep. Learn more on how you can donate or even host a drive here.

And of course, monetary donations are always welcome—just $60 provides the program to one child for one year!

Ready Readers depends on the generosity of the Saint Louis community alone to continue to inspire young childrens’ minds through reading—please consider supporting this wonderful organization.

To support Ready Readers and our #GLSTL25 effort, I am going to be collecting 250 books to donate.


Geile/Leon Marketing Communications


As part of Geile/Leon’s #GLSTL25 campaign, we’ve been highlighting and offering support to various non-profits in St. Louis that make a difference in our community. But there’s one organization that’s been doing just that since 2009.

ready+willing (a 501(c)3 public charity itself) was established by Sarah Waters and Kendra Gilligan as an organization for advertising, marketing and public relations professionals to help other non-profits in the area by providing pro bono marketing and advertising services. Assistance is made possible by assembling teams of industry professionals to participate in mentorship and collaboration opportunities. As they plan, concept and produce communications pieces for organizations in need, these individuals get the chance to work closely with people and projects from all over the St. Louis area.

Our mission is to enrich, provide, impact, promote and empower St. Louis. Enrichment happens throughout our team projects program where we provide a forum for St. Louis advertising and marketing professionals to be connected to one another while we produce compelling marketing, advertising and public relations solutions to help other local area charities tell their story. Through telling their stories, we aim to impact the St. Louis community in a positive way, promote the city that we love so much and empower the people of St. Louis to collaborate as a community for the advancement of the community.
-Kendra Gilligan

Whether it’s through creative talent (written and visual), account services, production skills or leadership, ready+willing is always looking for new members and volunteers who would like to donate their time and skills to our community. With their continued growth, there is currently a strong need to hire a part time executive director, sponsors for their project process events, and volunteers for the board of director and committee positions.

If you’d like to contribute to ready+willing’s cause, you can contact Sarah Waters at [email protected] or 314-482-6438. To make a monetary donation or learn more about their list of needs, please visit

In my effort to support #GLSTL25, I’ll be committing at least 25 hours to the development of a more robust website, which will include more features and networking options for members on the site.

USO of Missouri

Randy Micheletti
VP, Director of Brand Strategy

USO of Missouri

As a proud veteran of the United States Navy, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for the men and women of the United States military that dedicate their lives to serving their country. It’s something many people don’t think a lot about – but the one’s that do will truly have their lives changed forever. And, I also find myself supporting agencies/businesses that appreciate all that’s being done by our military personnel and their families. That’s why I’m thrilled with the work that’s being done by the USO of Missouri.

The USO, or United Service Organization of Missouri is a private, non-profit organization, whose mission is to support the troops by providing morale, welfare and recreation-type services to our military personnel and their families. It was founded nationally in 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and during WWII, was best known as a place for coffee and donuts or relaxing at a dance. Today the USO is a multi-program, full-service agency, responding to the morale, welfare and recreational needs of the military community.

In Missouri, we’re honored to have several USO locations supporting our troops and families. There are currently 2 locations at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, one mobile USO that travels throughout Missouri and Illinois and in mid-2006, a USO was opened at the Ft. Leonard Wood location. Since 1981, over 5 million brave young men and women travel through their facilities. Whether it’s a young Sailor en route to boot camp or an Army Colonel heading overseas to protect our freedom, with the help of volunteers, these facilities provide a place to unwind from the everyday stresses of being in the military.

A full spectrum of services is offered to military personnel and their dependents and is FREE. Things like recliners for relaxing or reading, beverages and snacks, a large media room with TV and BluRay player, Wi-Fi, a gaming area and even a fully equipped nursery/playroom.

More than 700 dedicated volunteers work to keep the doors open and serve those who are serving us. And, as you can imagine, they’re always looking for help. So I ask you to please honor your military men and women and just give them a few hours of your time to show your appreciation for everything they do. Check out the “volunteer info” for additional information and to volunteer your time.

As I set out on my #GLSTL25 effort I will be committing at least 25 hours of service at the Lambert-St. Louis Airport USO and I can’t wait to get started. It’s the least I can do.

Creating Effective Healthcare Messaging

Dave Geile
Creative Director Managing Partner

Creating Effective Healthcare Messaging

There are lots of small details that can’t be missed in healthcare. We’re so busy focusing on things like finding MBI numbers for patients on sites like and making sure appointments are being properly conducted that we forget that communicating with patients is an extremely important part of healthcare.

We recently discovered the number one reason a patient considers when choosing an acute care facility is, “My insurance is accepted there.” Yeah. Surprised me, too. Didn’t see that one coming. In fact, it was a staggering 96.3% of consumers who stated its importance. Do you hear any facilities highlighting this in their healthcare messaging? Me neither.

These additional reasons make a little more sense.

  • 93.6% said, “They specialize in what I have.”
  • 90.3% said, “They deliver amazing results.”
  • 90.2% said, “Patient safety is a priority.”
  • 89.5% said, “They use the newest treatments and breakthrough medicine.”

The priority of patient safety was reassuring and also quite relevant in recent news. Despite the national decline in patient infections and preventable injuries during a hospital stay, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports over 750 hospitals in the US are at risk of Medicare sanctions – that’s a quarter of our nation’s hospitals.You can read more about that here.

I would strongly consider the findings indicated above – or at least some integrating some combination of these messages into your overall strategy. But the study shows a total of 16 attributes that consumers say are important to them, so it may be worth taking a look at the entire study.

But whatever works best for your effective healthcare messaging, I would suggest wrapping it all up in one more effective ingredient: empathy. Let them know you are human. Let them know you understand them and the human condition. Let them know you feel what they feel. People don’t just want healthcare, they want people who care. This is best exemplified in the work being done by the Cleveland Clinic. You will notice their short film says nothing about the top five points we just talked about.

As a matter of fact, it doesn’t say anything at all. But it gets the message across. This is powerful, and it is very effective healthcare marketing. In the end, it is all people want: someone who understands.

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Hope for Young Adults with Cancer

Meg Strange
Senior Account Executive

Hope for Young Adults with Cancer

When one of my closest friends was diagnosed with Stage III cancer on her 26th birthday, I was shocked (to say the least). Cancer at 26?!  My immediate reaction: “But she’s too young.” But that’s the thing about cancer: it has no age limit. Cancer doesn’t care how old you are, it doesn’t care if it’s your birthday, it doesn’t care if you have no money, it doesn’t care that you have your whole life ahead of you…cancer is pretty evil like that. Of the 12.7 million people who are diagnosed and victimized by cancer each year, 72,000 of those are young adults.

Hope for Young Adults with Cancer (H4YAWC) is a non-profit organization, headquartered in St. Louis, that is dedicated to the support and assistance of young adults, ages 18-40, who are living with cancer. Believe it or not, H4YAWC is one of less than 100 organizations in the United States that work specifically to support young adults, and just one of three nationwide that provides financial support to individuals while they are in treatment.

The mission of Hope for Young Adults with Cancer is to connect with young adults in the fight to provide direct financial support along with a social network and outlet for those battling, surviving and living with cancer.

H4YAWC’s main focus is their Giving Hope Fund that gives young adults currently battling cancer, as well as those who have been in remission for up to 5 years after their treatment, the opportunity to help pay for the necessities of everyday life. These items range anywhere from gas cards and grocery store gift cards, to cell phone and credit card bills, to daycare or mortgage payments, and, of course, to any and all forms of medical bills. Applications for the Giving Hope Fund are accepted and reviewed twice a year and funds are distributed to applicants based on availability.

Although providing financial support is a main mission of this organization, H4YAWC is also extremely dedicated to the moral support of young adults who are currently battling or have battled cancer. As social isolation is a primary concern in young adults with cancer, the organization hosts a number of social events throughout the St. Louis area. These events bring together patients, survivors, caregivers, family, and friends to socialize, have fun, and take their minds off of the burdens that come along with battling cancer. Happy hours, movie screenings, fitness programs, and more are offered throughout the year for patients and survivors to connect with people their age and regain a sense of normalcy in their lives.

Like most non-profit organizations working tirelessly to achieve their mission, Hope for Young Adults with Cancer needs help to help others! H4YAWC encourages anyone and everyone in the community to become an ambassador for the organization in any way they can—donate money to the Give Hope fund, volunteer at one of their social events, host a food drive for them—the opportunities are many, and more help means more support for the young adults they serve.

I will be celebrating G/L STL 25 by joining the H4YAWC #Run4Hope team at the 2014 St. Louis Half Marathon in November and fundraising $250 for the organization.

Anyone who lives with or has lived with cancer will tell you—having a support system makes all the difference. Thanks to the efforts of great organizations like Hope for Young Adults with Cancer, those who fall victim to this sickness can be confident that they have a strong support system backing them and helping them through their seemingly insurmountable fight. This is why I choose to help H4YAWC.  To find out how you can get involved with and help H4YAWC, visit their website or contact them at [email protected].

Increasing Patient Volume Requires Thinking Like a Patient

Tim Leon
President/Brand Strategist

Increasing Patient Volume Requires Thinking Like a Patient

In this increasingly crazy world of healthcare marketing, it’s easy for healthcare marketers to lose focus on their role in helping increase patient volume. In a recent whitepaper G/L published A Special Report to Healthcare Marketers: Success awaits Those Whose Patient Care Includes Understanding the Cares of Patients, patients respond best to marketing campaigns that elicit confidence and hope in their care and future health. So if healthcare providers want increased volume, they have to appeal to what patients want most from their healthcare experience.

Building patients confidence in your facility can be accomplished by highlighting expertise. That may include clinical expertise of the staff, specialties offered, latest technology/procedures and how well the physicians and nurses communicate with the patients, providing them guidance and support throughout the healthcare experience.

In terms of providing hope, that can be a little esoteric in how you satisfy this emotional need for a prospective patient. It starts with what I mentioned above, as well as with creating an internal campaign that builds a patient-focused culture.

Creating that internal campaign and culture may include customer service training and orientating staff to communicate with patients. Patients want to see the staff’s love for the profession and genuine desire to care for them. Doug Doransky, author of Autumn Sister, chronicles the journey of his brother and terminally ill sister says, “Above all else in my opinion, when people get sick, their automatic and immediate wish is find hope and get well. To achieve that, they wish to find a facility with the highest expertise, geared toward what they have. The level of care and courtesy is important also, but hope and the chance to get well is primary.”

How does this lead to additional volume? Studies that poll consumers as to what motivates their healthcare decisions find word of mouth and healthcare provider websites as ranking the highest. Providing the best experience leads to positive patient reviews, which leads to more patients.

So as you begin plans to increase patient volume now and into next year, think about the patient point of view in developing your plans.

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