June 24, 2011

Simon Cowell, Look Out. Here Comes Waylon Lewis. ~ Sasha Aronson

elephant journal is proud to be the official new media partner with LOHAS Forum. Click here for our ongoing LOHAS coverage, and be sure to follow our live coverage on Twitter. [Our editor Waylon Lewis is honored to serve on two panels during this event.]

The “So You Think You Can Pitch?” event promised to be an (I’m ashamed to admit) very necessary dose of reality elimination talent competition at the LOHAS forum. By the end of the afternoon, I needed just a little bit of silly fun injected into my day. After hearing amazing presentations from even more amazing people, by the end of the afternoon I was reaching the point of saturation. Much like a little eco-sponge, made from natural, biodegradable materials.

Well, all three panelists blew me away. I stood watching as the LOHAS Media equivalents of Paula, Simon, and Randy reviewed product pitches, and were pretty blunt about it.

Sometimes, when I’m around when Waylon is getting ready to speak to a crowd, I get this sudden, irrational fear,very akin to the feeling I have when my dad is anywhere near me in public. While I love them both dearly, I fear that they will somehow put their foot in their mouth, leaving me mortified. My dad, unfortunately, usually provides merit for this fear of mine. Waylon, on the other hand, typically leaves me proud despite myself.

I can almost time it – no more than five minutes into his spiel, and people are guaranteed to be laughing. And not just a chuckle, or giggle, but a full-on laugh. At one point, Waylon chided one of the other panelists, Terri (in good fun), about how listening to her talk was like being on a horrible blind date. I heard a sudden, loud guffaw from the audience and was about to look for the origin when I realized it was me. Ugh. He gets me every time. Okay, okay, and the feedback he gave to contestants was poignant, too.

Now Terri Trespicio, on the other hand, was just about one of the coolest woman I have seen at this event, yet. Following Waylon’s comment (mentioned above), I expected her to flinch, stop talking immediately, and promptly kowtow to the man who demanded the floor.

Not even close.

She powered on through, rivaling Waylon in humor, and all out surpassing him in intelligence (kidding…?). These days, it’s still rare to see a woman who is so wonderfully smart, funny, and confident, so Terri made me extra proud. She also showed some real guts in revealing some of the details of the (too close) relationship that her media group permits between advertising and editorial content.

Pilar Gerasimo was the sort of judge we all wish Paula Abdul could be. Eloquent, sweet, genuine, intelligent…sober. She balanced out the other two showmen well, and provided a true glimpse into the world of LOHAS journalism. Pilar made me feel proud to be a fellow journalist, and provided me with a new hero to admire.

Moderated (read: reigned in) by the indomitable Katie Saeger, the editors-cum-judges effectively represented the diversity amongst LOHAS media sources. They gave the audience and contestants a clear picture of what businesses are up against in trying to get media coverage, but shared valuable insight on to help entrepreneurs do so with success. In fact, I might just pitch this whole LOHAS Pitch Panel idea to the Fox network.


Sasha Aronson has a degree in Literature from Colby College. She has worked for publishers in the Big Apple, but prefers living mindfully and adventurously in Boulder, Colorado.

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