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Join Me in Supporting the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s!

Hi everyone,

Please join me in supporting the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer’s! My 77-year-old dad suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s.  This Saturday, September 27th, at 8 a.m., my friends and family will be walking for the cure at the Sparks Marina.

If you are not able to walk with us, feel free to donate and sponsor us along this journey.

Click here to view the page for the A team.


Henry Akao

Alzheimer’s doesn’t have a cure…yet. Every dollar you donate goes towards research to find a way to combat this incredibly sad disease that has slowly taken away a part of my father’s identity.

First it started with noticing more “senior moments” from Dad. Then came the neurologist visits and the brain scan that showed actual damage. In his day, my dad was a structural engineer. I attended an engineering college fair today and thought of him and the engineering seals he used to use that are now collecting dust in the garage alongside the blueprints we kept.

As the disease progressed, we noticed more changes. It was no longer advisable for him to drive, so now I drive the 98 Honda Accord he used to love to zip to work and back, all those long hours, day after day. Engineers take deadlines very seriously, and I think I inherited Dad’s Japanese work ethic.

Two years ago Dad landed in the ER with a severe cold, and that illness escalated into something the doctors couldn’t identify. He ended up in the ICU, under medications that made him agitated and addled to the point that we couldn’t understand what he was saying. My mom, sister, and I took turns sitting at his bedside. Unfortunately unfamiliar environments such as hospitals aggravated my dad’s Alzheimer’s and he was so restless that he had to be restrained. It was heartbreaking to have him ask us over an over to be untied, but all we could say was that we couldn’t because we didn’t want him to fall getting out of bed. Luckily, he remembers nothing from that ordeal. After some time in a nursing home to do physical therapy to regain his strength and steadiness, by some miracle Dad pulled through. Today, under my mom’s loving care taking, Dad is walking taller and stronger than ever.

In fact, he walks so well that last year, at the Walk to End Alzheimer’s he mistook the event for one of the marathons he used to run when my sister and I were little. He actually started jogging. Before I could get the words, “Dad, slow down,” out of my mouth, he fell forward. When a 2-year-old child falls in front of you, that’s one thing, but when a 77-year-old man falls, the consequences can be far worse. The paramedics examined him and thankfully he came away with a few scrapes and bruises.

Each year, at the walk, pinwheel flowers are handed out to the walkers. Each pinwheel color represents a different circumstance. Although there’s a color for “I suffer from Alzheimer’s,” Dad chose the color for “I support the cause.” Indeed he does. My dad always took good care of me, and so today, the least I can do is support the Walk to End Alzheimer’s!

I invite you to join the A team and support the cause with us!

With great appreciation,

Gina Akao

Get your FREE Book Marketing Challenge Pass to Read my Guest Article!

Hi everyone,

I’m so proud to announce that a guest article I wrote about WordPress blogs has been featured in marketing expert, D’vorah Lansky’s Book Marketing Challenge this week. I received over 90 comments on the article and have had a chance to network with a group of writers. I am also honored to be one of D’vorah’s Book Marketing Challenge Ambassadors, so I’ll be available to answer questions during the event.

It’s not too late to join the fun!

This year over 40 authors, publishers, and book marketing experts will be sharing their wisdom as part of the 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge.

The Book Marketing Challenge will provide you with hands-on, interactive training, on a wide variety of online book marketing strategies. You’ll also have opportunities to develop wonderful new friendships with other authors and our guest experts! 

During the Book Marketing Challenge, you’ll have access to workshops, expert interviews, articles, daily action steps, hot tips, special gifts, and opportunities to expand your online presence. 

To read the article and sign up for your free pass to the 30-day event, please click on the image below.
Book Marketing Challenge Guest Blogger


Happy blogging,

Gina Akao



How to Prepare for a Job Interview

If you’re looking for ways to overcome those nervous jitters before your next big job interview, consider a few tips from Elizabeth Cassidy, Patagonia’s HR Manager. Elizabeth spoke to college students and staff on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno as part of a 30 Minute Success series offered by the Northern Nevada Human Resources Association (NNHRA) on April 10, 2014.

Here are eight key tips to help you prepare for a job interview:

  1. Preparation is key. Visit the company’s website and get a sense of the company culture. If the CEO has written a book, read it. Job candidates often fail to do enough research prior to an interview and can be taken off guard when they are asked why they chose to interview for a particular position at a company. It may be helpful to contact the recruiter or HR contact ahead of time and ask what kind of attire is appropriate for the interview. For example, at Patagonia, it may not be necessary to wear a suit to the interview, but the hiring manager may be interested to know if you use Patagonia’s products and participate in outdoor activities. Even if attire is informal, don’t be too laid back during the interview.
  2. Practice. Job hunting websites list many interview questions. Behavioral questions are common. For example, “How have you handled a difficult problem in your past jobs?” Be ready to give specific answers. Other questions might pertain to experience: “Tell me about a dysfunctional team you were on. What role did you play? Did you make the deadline?” Scenario questions are also common: “How would you handle an angry customer?” It is helpful to practice your answers out loud or rehearse with a friend prior to the interview. UNR also offers free practice web interviews at
  3. Everyone is interviewing you. Be aware that your interview begins as soon as you come into view, so make a good impression on the receptionist. Elizabeth said that she asks her receptionist to mark “smiley faces” on resumes of candidates who are personable and who make a good first impression as soon as they walk in the door.
  4. Be on time. It is helpful to allow enough time to find the interview location, park, and collect yourself before the interview. If you have questions about timing and location, contact the recruiter in advance. Candidates who arrive late may throw off the interview schedule and may not even be given a chance to interview.
  5. Tell the truth. If you have had a challenging boss in the past, be truthful about it in your interview, but don’t provide excessive detail. Highlight what you learned from the experience and don’t focus too much on negative experiences.
  6. Pay attention not only to what you are saying, but to your body language. Many hiring managers make their decision within the first few minutes of meeting you. Although you may be nervous, don’t stare at your lap. At the same time, don’t get into a staring match with your interviewer, either.
  7. Answer the questions directly. If you are unsure about a question, it is acceptable to ask the interviewer to repeat it; however don’t ask for continuous repeats. Demonstrate that you are listening and don’t ramble.
  8. Bring good questions for your interviewers. Interviewers like to tell their success stories, so it is acceptable to ask about how he or she came to work for the company and what role he or she plays there. Who would you work with? How did the position become open? If you have questions about pay and benefits, run them by the recruiter; don’t ask the interviewer. Pay can be discussed later if you are offered the job.

If all goes well, reiterate how much you admire the company and think you would do well working there.

Good luck!

Gina Akao

Gina Akao is the owner of Writing and Editing Today, and provides social media management and builds WordPress websites and blogs for authors and small business owners. To learn more about her products and services, please visit

Lucinda Curran Upcoming Interview on Change Your Life Radio!

I everyone,

I’m excited to announce that my very talented friend, Lucinda Curran, will be interviewing me on her blog talk radio show, Change Your Life, during this April’s focus topic: Get Your Life Back on Track.

Check out this video about the event and mark your calendar. Lucinda will be interviewing me Friday, April 11th at 9 p.m. PST. The title of my episode is “Get Your Life Back on Track: Navigating Academia with Gina Akao.”

Be sure to tune in. You won’t want to miss it!



Optimize Your Professional Networking Connections with LinkedIn

Hi everyone,

LinkedIn is a social network that allows professionals to connect to each other, display recommendations by co-workers, and participate in discussions through interest groups. How can you create a professional profile that will attract the attention of recruiters and potential employers?

I attended a presentation by Gigi Simmons, a Human Resources Business Partner at EMPLOYERS®, a provider of workers compensation insurance to small businesses nationwide. Simmons, who has attended several LinkedIn conferences, was kind enough to share her insights with students and staff on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno, on October 24, 2013 as part of a “30 Minutes to Success” series presented by the Northern Nevada Human Resources Association (NNHRA). Here are some of her tips:

  1. Create your profile on Your profile serves as a first impression and establishes your personal brand, which is your online workplace persona. Be sure to include a professional picture of you. It will increase the likelihood of contacts responding to your invitations to connect. Often times, you may meet potential employers at Career Fairs, but those employers speak to hundreds of people a day, so a photo of you on LinkedIn will help them recognize you (you may be required to enter their email address to send them an invite). To stand out, include a headline that describes what you are currently employed at or are trying to achieve. For example, Gigi’s headline is: “Partnering with You to Help Achieve Your Career Passion.”
  2. Stay active. Once you create your profile, post articles of interest and comment on others’ activities. For example, if you attend a lecture, post how much you enjoyed the presentation as an update on your own profile or comment on the presenter’s post. Recruiters use LinkedIn to search for potential job candidates and will notice if your profile has been dormant. Find an interest group and contribute to discussion threads. Remember, keep your comments professional. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a recruiter or potential employer to see. Pressed for time? Schedule 10 minutes a week to keep your activity fresh.
  3. Highlight your story. When you list your experiences, remember that your LinkedIn profile acts like an elevator pitch. Recruiters will only spend a few minutes looking at your profile, so make your achievements stand out. Your LinkedIn profile is like your digital resume. If you are also uploading a hard-copy of your resume, take out your address, because potential employers will contact you by email or by phone.
  4. Follow companies you might be interested in working for. Recruiters can see which companies you are following, and if they already know you through an interest group, they may spend more time reviewing your profile.
  5. Know the difference between endorsements and recommendations. Anyone who is connected to you can endorse that you know a certain skill, but written recommendations by former employers or co-workers can be even more helpful.

Do you have a LinkedIn success story to share? Feel free to contribute to the discussion by commenting below. To request a full copy of my notes from Gigi’s lecture, please go to

Have fun connecting on LinkedIn!


Gina Akao is the owner of Writing and Editing Today, and provides social media management and builds WordPress websites and blogs for authors and small business owners. To learn more about her products and services, please visit

Five Career Search Tips to Help You Find Your Target Job Opportunities

Would you like to know how to find a job in your targeted industry? What would a career consultant advise about job hunting in today’s challenging economic climate? I had the privilege of attending a presentation given by Career Consultant, Stephanie LaPlace on September 17, 2013. Stephanie works for Lee Hecht Harrison, the global leader in career transition consulting and was gracious enough to volunteer 30 minutes of her time to talk to college students and staff members on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno as part of a 30 Minute Success series offered by the Northern Nevada Human Resources Association (NNHRA). Prior to joining Lee Hecht Harrison, LaPlace had worked for ten years as a recruiter and had served as a Vice President at Adecco, one of the world’s largest staffing companies.

Here are five key tips from Stephanie’s presentation:

  1. Conduct a personal assessment to identify your strengths and gifts. What kinds of tasks do you receive compliments on after accomplishing? Once you have identified those talents, match them with market demands. Then, research the potential industries you would like to work in, and start targeting your ideal geographic locations. Do you want to work in the same town in which you graduated college or high school? Are you open to relocating? How about international work? Use this information to create a written job search plan that targets your desired industry as well as market leaders within those growing industries.
  2. Set up an internship in your targeted industry. First make a list of companies or organizations where you seek to volunteer or intern. Research those companies to find out if they take interns. Some companies may even offer paid internships. If you are unsure whether you want to commit several months of time to an internship, you can set “shadow” dates to schedule time with someone who does a job you would like to pursue. By the end of the day, you can better identify if you are interested, or even passionate about, that type of work.
  3. Spruce up your resume. Most resumes just list past job duties, but if you want your resume to stand out, highlight accomplishments and measureable results. Be sure to tailor your resume with keywords from the posted job description, especially if you will be posting the resume online. Also, many companies use LinkedIn as a recruitment tool, so if you don’t have a LinkedIn account, create one, and form your digital resume. LinkedIn is a social network that is similar to Facebook but is geared towards highlighting workers’ professional achievements.
  4. Expand your network. Only 25% of jobs are advertised online. That means that 75% of jobs are placed through connections. When a hiring manager has a job opening, he or she may ask current employees for referrals, but in many cases these jobs are secret and will be filled through networking outside of the organization. If you are in the market for a job, ask your friends for contacts within your targeted companies and set up informational meetings with hiring managers so that you can talk to them about their industry and company needs without coming out and asking for a job. Those hiring managers may talk about hidden jobs and actually hire you. It also helps to join professional associations in which your target companies participate.
  5. Polish your interviewing skills. Before an interview, be sure to research the company’s website and familiarize yourself with the industry. Prepare answers to common interview questions with real accomplishments that relate to what hiring managers seek in terms of skill sets and expertise. Highlight your skills and accomplishments and how your talents fit with the employer’s needs. If you feel bold enough, ask for the job and what the hire date is. Finally, send ‘thank you’ emails that reiterate your abilities and how you can address their needs.

Most of all, you are in business for yourself. Think of your career path as “ME, Inc.” In other words, you create job security for yourself; no company will do that for you. Eighty percent of employees just maintain the status quo. Twenty percent comprise an elite class of employees who not only develop their personal brands, but also actively seek out connections to people who can help them reach their career goals. Keep in mind, not all variables are perfect, so it is important for you to love your work in utilizing your talents and create criteria for ideal work settings, bosses, and teammates. Prepare good questions for the interviewers to answer so you can determine if the opportunity fits most of your criteria.

Now that you’re armed with a new arsenal of career hunting skills, go get ‘em!


Gina Akao is the owner of Writing and Editing Today and offers consulting services to authors and small business owners who need websites, blogs, and social media management. Would you like a copy of my notes from Stephanie LaPlace’s presentation? Please go to and fill out the contact form to request a free copy of my executive minutes.

Spotlight on Success: D’vorah Lansky Interviewed Me!

Hi everyone,

I’m proud to announce that marketing entrepreneur, D’vorah Lansky, interviewed me for her Spotlight on Success this week! To listen to the audio recording of the interview, please go to the following link: Virtual Book Tour Success Story.

In this recording and in my guest blog post on D’vorah’s site,, you’ll learn:

  • How I turned my Virtual Book Tour into a business
  • How I doubled my freelance income by promoting my book through a Virtual Book Tour
  • How D’vorah Lansky, the instructor of the VBT course, makes a difference in authors’ lives

Don’t forget to visit my business website, to check out Amara’s endorsement (she is integral to my VBT success story). Also, claim your Top Ten Career Tips!

Have a wonderful day,


Four Ways to Leverage Social Media to Promote Your Book

Hi everyone,

I’m proud to announce that I’m hosting a guest article, “Four Ways to Leverage Social Media to Promote Your Book,” on my business website, Don’t forget to enter your email to claim your Top Ten Career Tips!

Debra’s professional credits include:

  • Producer of the Secrets of The Millionaire Woman audio series, in which extraordinary female entrepreneurs share the secrets of what makes them so unique
  • Featured expert author on 
  • Co-host of the Align Your Passion, Power & Purpose for 2010 conference, featuring Canadian singer-songwriter Justin Hines and New York Times bestselling author of The Passion Test, Janet Attwood
  • Co-author of Bestselling book GPS Your Best Life™:Charting Your Destination and Getting There in Style (2012) with Charmaine Hammond
  • Author of The Entrepreneurial Mom’s Guide to Growing a Business, Raising a Family, and Creating a Life YOU Love (2013)
  • Graduate of Jack Canfield`s The Success Principles coaching program
  • Real estate investor
  • Member of eWomenNetwork

Have a great day,


My Virtual Book Tour Travels to Turn Your Book into a Business

Hi everyone,

I’m proud to announce that today my virtual book tour travels to the website of Corine LaFont, a talented entrepreneur who helps authors publish and market their books. She is the only certified author assistant in the Caribbean, and and I would never have connected with her if it wasn’t for D’vorah Lansky’s Virtual Book Tour course, which allows authors from all over the world to network and to learn from each other.  Corine also has a radio show on Blog Talk Radio called “Between the Lines,” which is devoted to empowering authors.

To check out the full article, please click on the title: “How to Turn Your Book Into a Business.” This article covers:

  • How I marketed my book, Tales of a Law School Dropout, with a Virtual Book Tour (VBT)
  • How my VBT helped me double my freelance writing and editing income
  • How I turned my hobby into a business by starting with a SCORE business plan and mentor

I didn’t mention this in the article, because it is personal, but one of my main motivations for launching is because my 76-year-old dad has early-onset Alzheimer’s. This disease has shaken up our family in ways I never could have imagined, but as a result of those challenges, I have pushed myself to turn my own hobby into a business. Writing has always been something I did for fun, but now, I am blessed to have clients tell me that I’m an answer to their prayers by helping them with their own books and small businesses. Owning a business has its own set of challenges, so I encourage those of you who are brave enough to take up my small business challenge to balance your lives so that you can manage the stress of owning a business while you remain healthy and happy at the same time!

Also, if you are following and haven’t yet received your free copy of my Top Ten Career tips, please click here.



My Virtual Book Tour Travels to!

Hi everyone,

I am proud to announce that my virtual book tour travels to the website of Connie Dunn, an enthusiastic writer and publishing maven. Check out the full article by clicking the title, “How to Hone Your Writing with a Critique Group.”

The article covers:

  • The benefits of joining a critique group
  • What to avoid in a critique group
  • Action steps to follow after your critique group meeting

Also, don’t forget to Like my book’s fan page, “Tales of a Law School Dropout” on Facebook! Please leave a comment. I’d appreciate your feedback and ideas for future articles.

Happy writing!


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