Welcome new client GFO Home!


Brenda Thompson Communications is now the public relations firm for GFO Home, a wildly successful new homebuilder in Austin and Dallas founded by real estate legend Glenn Gehan.

Glenn was the co-founder and CEO of Gehan Homes, one of the 10 largest privately-held homebuilders in the United States. After 25 years, he sold Gehan Homes and in 2018 founded GFO Home in Austin, the hottest real estate market in the country. In just two years, GFO has become the fastest-growing homebuilder in the city and had $280 million in revenue for 2020, only its second full year in business.

GFO Home is known for its team of experienced real estate veterans, and for streamlining and optimizing the process of building and buying high-end homes with modern designs in some of the best communities in and around Austin and Dallas. The company will expand to Houston in the near future.

Happy Pride month! 🏳️‍🌈


Get ready to see lots of rainbow flags, including the newer Progress Pride Flag (as used by American Airlines) that includes black and brown stripes representing people of color and those lost to AIDS, and and white, pink, and light blue stripes representing the colors of the Transgender Flag.

You’ll also see Pride-themed merchandise everywhere this month, from Adidas’ new Love Unites collection, Apple’s new Pride watchbands, the Rainbow Disney collection of everything from masks to stuffed animals, Harry’s Razor’s limited edition rainbow razor, Lego’s Everyone is Awesome set, and much much more.

All of the brands mentioned above dedicate resources to LGBTQ nonprofit organizations as part of their promotions. That’s not the case with every brand that jumps on the Pride bandwagon, though. Brands that stamp a Pride flag on a product but take no positive action (or worse, use it to cover up harmful stances) will rightly be called out for “rainbow-washing.”

My colleague Tina Cannon, president and CEO of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, gets dozens of calls and emails in the week leading up to Pride month from non-member companies wanting to plan something–anything–for Pride at the last minute.

Her response: “So you want to plan for something happening in literally a few days because you failed to plan in advance and now are freaking out? Maybe start by being more intentional for next year about your engagement with the LGBT community all year round.”

“Plantfluencer” Felix Navarro of The Juicy Leaf talks 2021 trends in the LA Times

Yes, plantfluencers are a thing, and in this Los Angeles Times story, Felix Navarro of The Juicy Leaf talks about one of the biggest plant-related trends for 2021: virtual workshops! The boutique shop, which recently moved from Highland Park to Echo Park, started offering live workshops on Instagram at the beginning of the pandemic, and have currently hosted 45 of the now-very popular events for people around the country.

 

 

 

National LGBT Cancer Network joins 350 orgs in supporting Levine appointment


The National LGBT Cancer Network helped bring together a coalition of 350 nonprofit organizations to support the historic appointment of Dr. Rachel Levine, a trans woman, as Assistant Secretary of Health in the new administration. The coalition delivered a letter to the U.S Senate urging Levine’s appointment as the most qualified candidate. “The fact that she is trans is an inspiration for the many of us who have never had a role model this senior before,” says Scout, executive director of the LGBT Cancer Network. “The fact that she is supremely qualified means her trans status, while historic and inspirational, should not be a factor in her confirmation.”

 

Austin’s Butler Trail in the running for USA Today’s 10Best


The beloved Trail in the heart of Austin, the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, is in the running for the USA Today 10Best awards. Currently at #4, you can put them over the top by voting here!

The Juicy Leaf featured in Facebook’s Resilient Voices campaign

The Juicy Leaf, a boutique succulent and retail store in Los Angeles’ Highland Park neighborhood, is featured in Facebook’s campaign Resilient Voices: Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month. The incredible amount of attention for the business included being featured as Facebook’s cover video and in multiple posts.

Felix Navarro, who owns the business and manages it with his life and work partner, Felipe Abrahao, has a story of resilience about following his dreams no matter the obstacles and sacrifices required. “Since I was a little kid, I always had my hands in the dirt. I learned everything I know from my mom. To leave my secure job for my passion was absolutely terrifying. I would second-guess myself a lot. I went from being an executive in corporate America, making really good money, to selling succulents at flea markets.

The Juicy Leaf is famous for its succulent arrangements, designer terrariums, and highly curated home decor, and fine art. Since the pandemic, they’ve added succulent arrangement kit delivery with accompanying Instagram Live workshops for people in Los Angeles and around the country. The kits and workshops have exploded in popularity, The Juicy Leaf is becoming even more famous, and owner Felix Navarro is becoming a bonafide plant celebrity. In addition to the Facebook campaign, The Juicy Leaf was recently featured in the Los Angeles Times and in Boys With Plants magazine.

 

 

ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot going virtual

This year will be the 30th anniversary of the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot, the beloved Austin Thanksgiving Day tradition that typically brings close to 25,000 people together to walk or run with family and friends while also raising money to support ending homelessness. ThunderCloud Subs has raised more than $4 million for Caritas of Austin since the Trot began. This year’s event will be going virtual to keep everyone safe, with plans and details coming soon. Just as it has been for 30 years, the Trot will be all about community and fun, so stay tuned!

 

National LGBT Cancer Network announces leadership changes

Liz Margolies founded the first and only organization in the country to address the cancer-related issues of LGBTQ+ people in 2006. Under her passionate leadership the National LGBT Cancer Network achieved huge things, including producing internationally acclaimed films, creating an awareness campaign with billboards in Times Square, winning major funding from the Centers for Disease Control, and convening more than 170 organizations to urge action to prevent COVID-19 discrimination. She is stepping down as executive director, but the work of the Network will continue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harvey’s AlphaGraphics franchises pivot to address pandemic

Jane Harvey’s AlphaGraphics franchises in Austin and San Antonio are getting lots of attention for their new products in response to the coronavirus. The Associated Press covered the story.

Printing and sign company AlphaGraphics of Austin and San Antonio is one of the businesses that has successfully pivoted to meet the intense demands created by COVID-19.

“We see it as part public service and part entrepreneurial business move,” says Jane Harvey, whose holding company A Dog Solutions owns three AlphaGraphics franchises, two in Austin and one in San Antonio. “It wasn’t easy, but there is a lot of satisfaction in making items available to help preserve the health of our communities.”

Harvey’s AlphaGraphics locations are making two kinds of face shields, floor graphics to facilitate social distancing for businesses, and custom acrylic counter guards. With Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s order to re-open the economy May 1, Harvey expects even more demand as additional businesses open with reduced capacity and need to control customer flow and employee safety.

Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run goes virtual

The theme for the Maudie’s Tex-Mex Moonlight Margarita Run benefiting The Trail Foundation is “run now, party later.” The Run will be virtual for the first (and hopefully only) time ever. Watch this fun clip from KXAN’s Studio 512 about how it will work. You’ll wish you had a Maudie’s margarita!