About Talia Whyte

Posts by Talia Whyte:

My Grand West Coast Adventure

Last February my childhood friend Lauren brought up the idea of possibly going on a cross country trip with me and a couple of other mutual friends either later this year or next year.  I have never gone on such an adventure before and was suddenly intrigued.  In my line of work, I have been lucky to travel to dozens of countries around the world.  However, I am a bit embarrassed to say that I have not done the same extent of travel within the country was born and raised in most of my life.

Also, after the November election, I have been doing a lot of reflection.  I realize that I mostly work and live in the bluest cities in the bluest states in America and that I need to learn more about people and experiences in other parts of the country.

Instead of driving cross country in a car, Lauren wants to travel by Amtrak from Boston to Los Angeles or San Francisco.  My only experience with Amtrak is traveling along the Northeast Corridor.  I had never done any of the long distance routes before.  Since I had to go Seattle and Los Angeles for business a couple of weeks ago, she suggested I take the Coast Starlight between the two cities as a “test” trip.

And, boy, did I have a great time!  When they say the journey is the destination, they are not lying.

The train trip was the best part of the adventure.  The Coast Starlight stops at all the major cities and towns along the west coast, like Portland, Sacramento, Emeryville (San Francisco), San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.  I purchased the roomette (which I highly recommended) and had the first-class experience.  I had the opportunity eat, sleep and enjoy the wonderful scenery along the 36-hour route.  The Amtrak staff and the many people I met onboard were great.  While I did travel mostly through Left Coast blue cities, I met a lot of great people from all over the country like Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho, and Louisiana during the ride.

So, yes, I will be doing the cross country trip in the near future!

I also had time to catch up with some friends in Seattle and my bestie Charlotte, who owns a home on the beach in Santa Monica.  Sweet!  I created a short video of my whole trip below.

Here are some highlights from the trip and video:

  • Upon landing in Seattle, I took pictures of Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountains from the plane.
  • I visited the Seattle Central Library – a beautiful building.  If only all libraries could look this way.
  • I also visited the Uwajimaya Asian Grocery & Gift Market in Seattle’s International District.  It is one of the largest Asian supermarkets in the country.  Lots of wonderful food imported from all over Asia including American brands like green tea and strawberry flavored Kit Kats!  They even have a whole aisle with just ramen – amazing!
  • I went on a three-hour walking tour of Seattle – one hour in Pike Place Market and two hours walking around the city.  Our tour guide Shawn was awesome.
  • I visited the Museum of Pop Culture. Chris Cornell of Soundgarden had just died the day before and there was a huge retrospective memorial there honoring him.  I also saw a Jimi Hendrix exhibit.
  • During the train ride, I saw the Cascade mountains again, as well as go through Willamette Valley. Down into California’s “Salad Bowl.” I eat a lot of salads while riding past lettuce fields in Salinas.  Finally, I went along the along the beautiful southern California coast.  I could have stepped off the train and into the Pacific Ocean if I wanted to (maybe not!)
  • Charlotte and I did a bus tour of Los Angeles, which included taking pictures with “Michael Jackson” at the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • We went to Olvera Street, the oldest part of Los Angeles.  Lots of great Mexican food (taquitos!) and culture.  Then we took a quick detour into Chinatown for sweet bread and dim sum.
  • I visited the Santa Monica public library, which is gorgeous.
  • We then went to Venice Beach to watch street performers and saw “Slash” from Guns N Roses walk by.
  • A lot of jogging, volleyball and walking between Venice Beach and Santa Monica.

Enjoy just as much as I did!


Preserving American History

With all this talk about taking down memorials that celebrated Confederate generals, it is a good time to highlight historical sites and memorials that do need to be preserved. May is National Preservation Month, and now more than ever it is important to preserve our history because FACTS still matter in the country, regardless of what the Trump regime thinks.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently released its annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places to “spotlight important examples of the nation’s architectural and cultural heritage that were at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. Of the sites that appeared on the list since 1988, fewer than five percent have been lost.”

This list includes historical sites that tell America’s story.  Here are some of them:

  • Penn School (South Carolina): the first school in the South designed to educate formerly enslaved Black students, now part of the Reconstruction Era National Monument.
  • Little Rock Central High School (Arkansas): where nine Black students known as the “Little Rock Nine” challenged angry White mobs in 1957 to desegregate the school per the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling.
  • Angel Island Immigration Station (California): the San Francisco Bay site where hundreds of thousands of Asian immigrants first entered the country between 1910 and 1940.
  • Nine Mile Canyon (Utah): home to stone artwork and other relics of the Ute people, once threatened by chemical damage from nearby traffic.

Read the full listing of all 11 sites here:

History Lesson: Mary McLeod Bethune

I am starting a new feature here that highlights important figures in history everyone should know about – even certain people working for the Trump regime.

I’m a history buff, but I don’t claim to be an expert on American history.  I try to continuously educate myself on a regular basis.  I read a lot of books and I try to stay on top of current issues and how they reflect our collective knowledge.  However, there are aspects of basic history that everyone should know, like who were Frederick Douglass or W.E.B. DuBois.

Funny how I learned about these two leading American figures when I attended a public, inner-city elementary school – a place DeVos abhors.  So I am hoping this can be a learning experience for everyone, including myself.

With that being said, I am starting with Mary McLeod Bethune, an African-American educator who led the way for other black people to have access to equal education, something Education Secretary Betsy DeVos knows nothing about.  Just a few weeks ago, DeVos said that “HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality.”

DeVos tried to backpedal when she also said at a luncheon that Mary McLeod Bethune started Bethune-Cookman University because traditional schools “systemically failed to provide African Americans access to a quality education.”

Totally clueless!  It is no surprise DeVos would be booed at the school last week during its commencement.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were NOT created as a choice, but rather the only option, as African Americans were NOT allowed to attend most traditionally white schools until the end of segregation.  But who cares about facts these days!

“One can not be fully free until you are educated.”

In case you are interested in facts, here is Mary Bethune’s story:

Marketing to Generation X

I went to a seminar last week on how to market products and services to Millennials and Baby Boomers.  I know it is trendy to cater to these large demographics; however, I find it amazing how most marketers totally forget about a smaller demo sandwiched that is just as important – Generation X.

Gen Xers are considered to be those born between 1965 and 1980.  I fall near the tail-end of the demo. I don’t have much in common culturally and economically with Millennials, but marketers seem to think I fall into the younger demographic.

Let me give you some reasons more attention should be given to Generation X:

  • Spending Power: Gen Xers actually have more spending power than Baby Boomers and Millennials.  As a matter of fact, while we currently make up more than 25 percent of the American population – 65 million people, we have higher incomes than the other two demos.  We also have the highest rate of brand loyalty.  This will become more evident as Boomers start to retire and, well, many Millennials continue to live at home with their parents.
  • Financial stability: Statistically, Gen Xers are more responsible with their money.  We save more money or invest it into buying homes, leaving more money for our family and starting businesses.  In my opinion, I think this need for financial security is caused by the fact that we are the first generation to come into the working world without pensions offered by employers.

With all this said, why is Generation X always overlooked?  Many marketers literally don’t know how to communicate with us.  We came of age at the dawn of the current technological revolution, with one foot in the analog world (Boomers) and the other in the social media/Netflix/iPhone world (Millennials).  The best and most useful tool for Gen Xers is email communication that is tailored to our personal needs.  Email, not Twitter, is my thing and that is how I mainly talk to my cohorts.

Also, marketing should be geared to our financial and life responsibilities.  As we grew up as latchkey kids, we are very independent-minded and make safe life decisions.  I am always looking for the best and financially sound ways to run my business, pay my bills and take care of my family.  I tend to research most products or services online and finding deals before deciding to purchase.  So a coupon or a nice discount, preferably in an email marketing campaign detailing said product or service, would be great.

Gen Xers are more nostalgic.  At least once a week I say “things were so much better in the 90s.”  Really, everything was more interesting in the 90s – MTV actually showed music videos, hip-hop was real music (as was Pearl Jam and Nirvana), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Living Single were awesome shows, the OJ Simpson trial was the greatest reality TV show, Rodney King’s black life mattered, everyone wore ‘X’ caps and Bill Clinton was president.  So we tend to spend money on things that support our nostalgia.  It is no wonder there are so many TV shows and movies from the 80s and 90s making a comeback and Salt-n-Pepa would be used in a Geico commercial.

My main point here is that Generation X matters.  Don’t forget about us in your next marketing campaign!