ProfNet Experts Available on Oil Volatility, Retirement Planning, Career Tips and More

Also in This Edition: Jobs for Writers, Media Industry Blog Posts

Jan 11, 2016, 13:44 ET from ProfNet

NEW YORK, Jan. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Below are experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss timely issues in your coverage area.

You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it's easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:


  • Oil Volatility Leads to Collapse in Commodity Deals
  • The Future of Digital Coupons
  • America's Savings Rate Improves, But Many Unprepared to Cover Basic Living Costs in Retirement
  • Vehicle Sales Driving Dealership Mergers
  • New Year, New Career -- New Job or New Attitude?
  • Seven Body Language Signs the Boss Is About to Fire You


  • Managing Editor – LA Weekly (CA)
  • Public Transportation Writer – Chicago Tribune (IL)
  • Digital Content Producer – FOX31 (CO)
  • Staff Writer/Reporter – Faribault County Register (MN)


  • Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015
  • Developing a Video Strategy for 2016
  • Upcoming Twitter Q&A: How to Push Your Creativity in 2016


Oil Volatility Leads to Collapse in Commodity Deals
David Baay
Energy Litigator
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, Houston
The oil price collapse has sparked an increase in disputes over failed commodity deals, and now new turmoil in the Middle East may lead to further volatility. A buyer and seller may reach pre-contract agreement on the price and other terms for oil, gas or coal, but a plunge or brief spike in the price may lead one of the parties to back out. Says Baay: "They might claim a credit problem or a contract issue before the contract is inked. However, in most states, including Texas, the law often finds that agreement has been reached even without a signed contract. Also, in some states, there is an implied duty of good faith and fair dealing that allows the aggrieved party to recover the actual loss plus damages for the loss of bargain. Each case depends on the specific facts. But based on case law, a judge most likely will find that the non-breaching party is entitled to full damages. As long as the turbulence in the commodity markets remains, we expect this trend to continue."
Contact: Kit Frieden,

The Future of Digital Coupons
Cheryl Black
YOU Technology
"Consumers' adoption rate for digital devices, especially mobile, is growing and it has impacted their shopping behavior. Because consumers are attached to a digital gadget almost all the time, retailers are enhancing their strategy on how to reach to consumers more effectively (and starting to focus more on digital marketing); hence, consumer packaged goods will eventually shift their budget from free-standing inserts to digital coupon. We'll see mobile play an even bigger part in the delivery of digital coupons. In addition to being able to add coupons during the in-store shopping experience, we'll see more offer notifications in-aisle based on consumer history."
Black joined YOU Tech in early 2007, when she first acted as COO, overseeing software engineering, IT, product, and customer facing capabilities. In late 2007, she played a major role in changing the direction of YOU Tech, pioneering digital coupons as a new scalable line of business. She assumed the role of CEO in early 2014 when YOU Tech joined the Kroger family. Black began her career in 1982 as a software engineer at Cullinet, a leading database provider. Since that time, she has held leadership positions in numerous organizations, including Digital Equipment Corporation and Cap Gemini. She was bit by the startup bug in 1999, when she moved to San Francisco and started a company in a rented house with 55 employees. She then joined Cariocas, an early competitor to YOU Tech as VP of product and services in 2001. She holds an MBA from the University of Denver. A former ballerina, she enjoys running, reading and international travel in her free time, and was recently charged by an elephant in Tanzania.
Contact: Chris Navalta,

America's Savings Rate Improves, But Many Unprepared to Cover Basic Living Costs in Retirement
John Sweeney
Executive Vice President of Retirement and Investing Strategies
Fidelity Investments
"Even in the midst of unsteady market conditions and pockets of global instability, it's extremely encouraging that so many people have taken positive steps to improve their ability to live comfortably in retirement, with many saving more, spending less and making smart investment decisions. While many aren't completely on track, there are steps people can take -- regardless of age or income level -- to help get on a path to green and plan for their someday."
Sweeney can speak to Fidelity's biennial Retirement Savings Assessment study, which was released on Jan. 7. Among other topics, the study looks at America's retirement preparedness by generation, three accelerators that individuals can use to improve their retirement readiness, and Fidelity's new personal Retirement Score tool that lets users find out their individual Retirement Preparedness Measures.
Contact: Gaby Hui,

Vehicle Sales Driving Dealership Mergers
John Shackelford
Shackelford, Melton, McKinley & Norton, LLP, in Dallas
Cars and trucks flew off the lots at U.S. auto dealerships at a record rate in 2015, with December posting the highest sales rate of the record year. Strong demand from consumers corresponded with a number of dealership mergers in 2015 as investors such as Warren Buffet saw long-term value in the sector. Says Shackelford: "Almost across the board, dealerships and manufacturers experienced outstanding sales and revenue in 2015. The market fundamentals that spurred a wave of dealership mergers are still in place for this trend to continue, although the dramatic growth in sales like we saw in 2015 may not be sustainable." Shackelford represents auto dealerships on mergers and business issues.
Contact: Robert Tharp,

New Year, New Career -- New Job or New Attitude?
Jodi R. Berkshire
Assistant Director of Career Services
The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
"You're unhappy in your job. You're bright and talented, but no one seems to notice. What should you do? The obvious answer is to find a new job. Or is it? It might be the right answer for you, and it might not. Employers place high value on two things: great work ethic and great attitude. Those qualities are usually rewarded with increased responsibility, appreciation, promotion and financial rewards. Sometimes you simply have to move on. But before you do, honestly evaluate your performance and your attitude."
The new year is a time when many people consider a job change. Berkshire can talk about the questions job seekers should ask themselves to evaluate whether they need a new job or a new attitude. She has assisted students and graduates in finding field-related jobs and internships since 2007. She delivers frequent lectures and workshops on resume writing, interviewing skills, starting a freelance business and other college-to-career subjects.
Contact: Mandy Wilson,

Seven Body Language Signs the Boss Is About to Fire You
Dr. Lillian Glass
Body Language Expert
Dr. Glass shares seven body language signs the boss is about to fire you: "1) The boss will not maintain eye contact. He/she will have difficulty looking at you and may continue to look away or down when speaking to you. 2) The boss may relay messages through an assistant, when this was not done previously. The assistant's body language will usually not be warm and fuzzy. 3) The boss will most likely pull away from you or lean away when interacting with you. 4) There will be no smile, or a fake smile where their eyes are not smiling and the lips are just pulled back, showing no teeth and no crinkling of the eyes. 5) Because they now feel uncomfortable around you, you may see them fidgeting or shuffling their feet. Their heel may be off the ground as though they can't wait to get away from you. 6) They may be short and curt with their communication and their voice may be in quick staccato bursts that are choppy. They don't want to spend much time speaking to you and their friendly inflected tones are gone. They make the conversation quick and either say they have to go to a meeting or have another call coming in as soon as they speak. 7) They may exhibit a lot of throat clearing, as they feel uncomfortable talking to you."
Based in Los Angeles, Dr. Glass is an expert in the field of communication and the psychology of human behavior. She has authored 18 books, including the best-seller, "Toxic People: 10 Ways of Dealing With People Who Make Your Life Miserable," where she coined and popularized the term "toxic people," commonly used in today's vernacular. As a renowned body language expert, she demonstrates her skills in numerous fields. She has also applied her skills in the legal field where she is an expert witness, jury and trial consultant, and mediator.
Contact: Ryan McCormick,



Following are links to job listings for staff and freelance writers, editors and producers. You can view these and more job listings on our Job Board:

  • Managing Editor – LA Weekly (CA)
  • Public Transportation Writer – Chicago Tribune (IL)
  • Digital Content Producer – FOX31 (CO)
  • Staff Writer/Reporter – Faribault County Register (MN)



Following are links to other news and resources we think you might find useful. If you have an item you think other reporters would be interested in and would like us to include in a future alert, please drop us a line.

  • TOP 10 BLOG POSTS OF 2015. We had a lot of fantastic content on ProfNet Connect last year, but we know you're busy and might have missed a few posts here and there. So, to recap the year, here are the top 10 blog posts of 2015:
  • DEVELOPING A VIDEO STRATEGY FOR 2016. If you hope to engage with consumers online, it's important to have a well-documented video strategy -- particularly in an age where mobile has virtually everything caught in its crosshairs. Half of all video views in the year ahead will be on mobile devices, and adults in the U.S. now watch about one-hour and 16-minutes of video on mobile devices. Here are six steps to develop a creative content strategy:
  • UPCOMING TWITTER Q&A: HOW TO PUSH YOUR CREATIVITY IN 2016. In the spirit of the new year, we are kicking off our first #ConnectChat of 2016 with some creative inspiration. Creativity is the cornerstone of problem solving, regardless of whether or not you consider yourself to be the "creative type." It involves taking chances and learning how to get out of your own perspective. As content creators, there's always the pressure to set the bar higher, so we sought the help of Laura Ryan, creativity expert and business consultant at LAMA Innovation, for her advice on how can writers, brands and other innovators can resolve to be more creative in 2016:


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