Because We Can: Cure Seasonal Depression


By Christina Schiavo, Corporate Relations Intern, Palio

It’s that time of year again – the air is crisp and snow is beginning to fall over the mountaintops (well, hopefully). This can only mean 1 thing: ‘tis the season to dust off that snowboard or set of skis that has been tucked away for the warmer months. Being here in upstate New York, at the foot of the Adirondacks, it should come as no surprise that Palio is home to some dedicated boarders and skiers. In fact, we’ve got everything from the occasional rider to the major thrill-seeker who travels the globe in hopes of conquering that next big mountain.

For Mike Myers, president of Palio, nothing beats skiing fresh snow on a crisp morning. In the winter months, he sets out for a number of reasons, but most importantly, to stay active. Skiing for Myers is a great exercise; it’s also a social thing that he can enjoy with family and friends.

Myers grew up in Arizona, which probably makes you wonder, “How did he even get into skiing?” Well, surprisingly enough, there is skiing in Arizona – not much, but just enough to spark interest. In high school, he set out for the slopes and a passion for the sport grew. Well maybe not initially, seeing that his first time out was a bit of an experience. “On my first day skiing, my friends dragged me up to the top of the mountain and just left me there,” recalled Myers. “It took me three and a half hours to get down. When we were coming down the mountain on the bus, I literally had water pouring out of my boots.” Myers looks back on this and just laughs, especially now that he can do that run in about 8 minutes!

His passion for skiing is something that he’s been able to share with his children over the years. “My kids all love it and I’m the official skier in our family as my wife does not ski,” said Myers. “It has been the activity that enables me to spend quality time with them.”

It seems Myers’ kids have taken advantage of being in the Adirondacks and are giving good ole dad a run for his money as the best skier in the family. Last year, Myers took the kids on a day trip to Gore Mountain. Upon their return, he told his wife that his work was done. Myers explained, “I told her that the kids were better than me and I no longer needed to ski.” The family recently adopted a 12-year-old, so for now, Myers can keep his title of “official skier.”

When skiing around the greater NY area, Myers prefers Gore Mountain. If he has time to travel, his favorite spots are Winter Park Resort in CO, Deer Valley in UT, and Mammoth Mountain in CA.

Jim Mittler, PhD, medical director, is an avid snowboarder. The guy is quite the adrenaline junkie so when the winter rolls around, he’s out looking for the next big thrill. “Cross-country skiing or snowshoeing doesn’t do it for me,” said Mittler. “It doesn’t quite provide the speed and inherent risk that snowboarding or skiing does.”

Mostly, Mittler rides to stay active and ward off cabin fever. When talking to him, you can tell his passion for winter sports runs deep. “Whether flying down frozen groomers or floating through deep powder, when athleticism and technique combine with snow conditions and terrain, you gain a heightened sense of awareness of yourself and the mountain. It can be a near-religious experience,” Mittler gleamed.

He started skiing at the age of 12 and it wasn’t until he was 25 that he gave boarding a go. Since Mittler’s first taste of the board, he hasn’t looked back or been on skis in 16 years. For him, snowboarding is something he enjoys doing with both family and friends, but often, you’ll find him solo on the mountain. “Sometimes the solitude is refreshing,” Mittler explained.

When it comes to snowboarding around here, Mittler enjoys Stratton Mountain. The mountain has nice terrain for cruising and high-speed, 6-person chairlifts that keep things moving at a faster pace. Mittler also enjoys Whiteface Mountain. “It has the greatest vertical drop on the East Coast,” said Mittler. “When there’s fresh snow there’s nothing like it. If you’re lucky enough to get a big dump, ‘the [avalanche] slides’ open up, providing some gnarly backcountry-type riding.”

Mittler makes it a point to take snowboarding trips each year. He lives for the terrain at some of the larger resorts because it is vaster than the terrain here on the East Coast and has better snow conditions. Mittler has been to the Colorado Rockies, Lake Tahoe, Whistler in North America and Les Arcs (French Alps), and Grandvalira (Andorra) and Zermatt (Switzerland) in Europe. When talking about his trips, Mittler exclaimed, “I meet so many people from all over the world who are there for the same thrill-seeking and fun-loving reasons.” He continued, “Often, I meet locals who show me parts of the mountain that the typical tourist will miss – leading to adrenaline-filled days and an even better nightlife to follow!”

When asked about his favorite spot, Mittler said Zermatt, Switzerland at the Matterhorn. The mountain offers both a Swiss side and an Italian side, both of which have unique terrain and slip-side ambiance. Here, Mittler took advantage of the magnificent and vast terrain, covering countless miles and about 60,000 vertical feet. When he wasn’t snowboarding, he was exploring the charming village of Zermatt. “It is a pedestrian-style village so there are no cars allowed; only a few electric shuttles for the skiers and riders or horse-drawn carriages and sleds,” said Mittler. “There are great restaurants with local cuisine, lively après skiing, and nightlife that goes well into the predawn hours.”

Mittler offers some tips for those looking to take skiing/snowboarding trips. For one, befriending locals is something he has come to love. He feels that it heightens the experience on and off the mountain.  Another tip is beware of Austrians. Mittler said, “They like speed and you better be prepared to push yourself when riding along side of them. And they’re crazy…on and off the pistes.” He also offers a forewarning for anyone looking to venture to Europe: “Resorts don’t necessarily rope off trails/pistes like they do in the US, so there’s some pretty crazy terrain accessible, but you have to use judgment and be sharp when dropping into certain areas.”

Tyler Mason, associate producer, is skilled in both skiing and snowboarding. When it boils down to it, he prefers skiing because of the total sense of freedom it provides him. Skiing is something that Mason looks forward to every year. “I just love the fresh mountain air and scenery at the top,” said Mason. “Most of all I love the adrenaline rush, whether it be through moguls, tress, or a wide open terrain.”

For Mason, skiing is a lifestyle – he has been hitting the slopes since the ripe age of 3. Mason has a deep passion for it, which comes from the challenge it offers. Skiing is something that allows him to constantly push his limits and explore his abilities. He exclaimed, “With skiing I’m always pushing my limits and seeing improvement.”

Vermont isn’t too far from Saratoga Springs, so you can often find Mason at some of the larger mountains, including Killington, in the winter months. If he can take a skiing trip, his preference is Vail, CO.

In fact, Mason recently took a trip out west to Vail with his fiancé and recalled a funny story involving a complicated math problem and the ski lift. Before jumping into the story, you must know that his fiancé is a mathematics teacher and Vail offers trivia on a board for those waiting in the ski lift line. “There was a complex math problem on the board that nobody had gotten all day, so naturally she thought she could figure it out,” said Mason. “While she was concentrating, she forgot to pay attention to the lift and needless to say, took out 2 random people, myself and the ski lift had to come to a stop. The lift eventually started back up and she spun around in her seat, blurting out the answer, which was correct! Laughter and cheers were had by all as we departed up the mountain.”

On that note, we guess Myers is right when he says, “Skiing does not occur without something funny happening.” So set out this season with friends or family to enjoy winter activity with fresh mountain air, great scenery, and some interesting stories to share with others.

Here at Palio, health and wellness runs through everything we do – in the office and out. And our employees are involved from every angle! From running to yoga, and tennis to ironman – you name it, we’ve got folks who do it. Because health is such a big part of our lives and work, our Because We Can health initiatives series is designed to highlight the passions, commitments, accomplishments and goals of a few of the members of our team.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Because We Can: We’re Trailblazers


By Christina Schiavo, Corporate Relations Intern, Palio

It’s that time of year! The air is crisp and the leaves are changing. That can only mean one thing: It’s the perfect time for some good old-fashioned hiking. And after reading this post, you’ll be reaching for your boots to get hiking throughout New York State.  

From the casual day-hiker to the ambitious overnight hiker – it should come as no surprise to you that Palio is full of experienced and leisure hikers alike.

Although Saratoga Springs is quite flat, fortunately we’re located at the foothills of the Adirondacks. The Adirondacks High Peaks consist of 46 of the highest mountain peaks called, “The 46.” Additionally, The Catskill Mountains aren’t far from our home base, making us centrally located to some exquisite hikes, especially this time of year when the leaves are changing.

Jeremy Lichtenberger, VP, brand strategy director, has been hiking since his college years. For him, hiking is not only a way to relieve stress, but also a way to connect with nature. Lichtenberg explained, “It’s just something I love to do – it makes me happy.” Lichtenberger often hikes with his teenage daughter. For years they’ve been exploring the Adirondacks together on the weekends. “It’s something we enjoy,” said Lichtenberger. “It’s cheap, easy, healthy, and a fun way to spend time together.”

Lichtenberger has quite a few local favorites that range from moderate day trips to overnight hikes. Specifically, he likes to start at Putnam Pond and work his way into the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness. This is located just north of Lake George by Brant Lake and is only accessible by foot, which makes it even more gratifying. Lichtenberger describes the views in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness as “simply stunning.”

Lake George is also an easily accessible area for some great hiking that Lichtenberger takes advantage of. Buck Mountain and Black Mountain are two of his favorites, which of course are two of the more challenging hikes in Lake George. Buck Mountain is 6.6 miles round trip from the south end and 4.6 miles round trip from the north end. Getting to the summit is challenging because of the rocky terrain, but it offers breathtaking views of the Southern Lake George Basin. Black Mountain is a 5.6-mile hike, with Round and Lapland Ponds along the way, which makes for a picturesque journey.

Lichtenberger has completed a handful of the Adirondack High Peaks. One of his favorites is Algonquin Peak, located in the MacIntyre Range, which is the second highest mountain in New York State. Another hike Lichtenberger has great appreciation for is Treadway Mountain, which is accessible from the previously mentioned Pharaoh Lake Wilderness. “The view from Treadway is unreal,” said Lichtenberger. “But if you’re looking for an overnight hike, Marcy is the one you want. It is incredible!”

Mount Marcy is the highest point in New York State, reaching an elevation of 5344 feet. Mount Marcy is an overnight hike that generally requires two days, but can potentially be finished in just one day (if you’re in great shape). Lichtenberger said that this time of year is when you need to be cautious of bears. “I had a bear encounter on Marcy once. He cut my four-day trip into a two-day trip – chewed up all of our food and water supply.”

Mary Kate Hallahan, VP, human resources, was recently introduced to the world of hiking and finds it to be challenging yet rewarding. “I just started hiking, so I’m not a pro yet,” said Hallahan. “But I find it to be very challenging, not only because you have to watch your footing, but also because it’s a rigorous exercise.”

Recent hiking adventures for Hallahan include Hadley Mountain and Buck Mountain, both of which are not far from Saratoga Springs. As previously mentioned, Buck Mountain in located in Lake George and Hadley Mountain is just outside of Lake George in Hadley, New York. Hadley is about a 2.5-mile round-trip hike. “The views from both mountains were spectacular, and for someone who had never hiked before, they were very doable.”

The inspiration to hike came from family visiting Hallahan last summer. She wanted to take her nieces and brother on an adventure to explore the greater Adirondack region. The family had such as good time hiking Buck that this past summer they set out to do Hadley, bringing the dogs along this time. It sounds like a new family tradition has been born and the love for the mountains is growing.

Steve Toman, managed markets account director, enjoys taking the less than two-hour drive to the heart of the Catskills. There, his favorite spot is The Devil’s Path, which runs east/west and up and over the backbone of the Catskills. This adventure is 24 miles long and involves 9000 feet of elevation gain. It’s easy to understand why this trail is described as the toughest trail in Eastern United States. “A few years ago, a few friends and I tried to hike it in a single day,” said Toman. “Unfortunately, it poured on us, and then one of my buddies pulled a groin muscle, so we made it only half way. It remains on my bucket list!”

Hiking for Toman is a family affair. Last summer he, his wife and their son set out to hike all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaks together. Currently, they’re nearly half way to meeting this goal. With excitement, Toman said, “I look forward to many more family trips to tackle the rest. The Adirondack High Peaks is a rugged, beautiful, and special place. ”

Of the completed peaks, Toman and his family are in agreement that Gothics, with its steep and rocky western slope, is their favorite. “Whenever we can, we try to start our days with a hearty breakfast from the Noonmark Diner in Keene Valley,” said Toman. “After our hikes, we reward ourselves with a burger from the Baxter Mountain Tavern in Keene.”

Amanda Kuon, brand strategy group manager, is a lover of the great outdoors and does her best to enjoy Mother Nature’s beauty as much as possible. “I cherish the moments that I am able to take time in my day to walk along some sort of beaten path in the wilderness,” said Kuon. “It’s a humbling experience for me and reminds me of how important it is to simply stop for a while to breathe the air, smell the earth, count our blessings and respect all that surrounds us every day.”

Kuon and her family live alongside the Woods Hollow Nature Preserve in Milton, NY. Not only do they have access to explore the preserve, but they also enjoy the wildlife that lives there – deer, foxes, skunks, coyotes, porcupines, woodpeckers, you name it! Kuon describes it as, “a hidden piece of heaven that not many people in Saratoga County are even aware of – and if you haven’t visited it, it’s worth a trip!”

Kuon recalls a time when she, her husband, and their two small children set out one Saturday morning in Woods Hollow. What was supposed to be a short family nature walk, quickly turned into a three-hour adventure. “Just after we started on the trail, my husband convinced our son that we could find black panthers in the woods,” said Kuon. “And that the only way we would find them is if we hunted them in the woods, off the marked trails.”

Needless to say, the family found themselves lost in the woods. “Getting lost isn’t fun – one minute you’re headed south when you think it’s north, west when you think it’s east, and down when you could swear you should be going up,” said Kuon. And her advice after that experience, “Never underestimate Mother Nature’s maze, we are at the mercy of its majesty. Always carry a compass or a cell phone.”

Andrew Cardish, a graphic designer at Palio, has been hiking for 14 years. He and his dad typically go together and have climbed the Fire Towers in the Adirondacks. Cardish’s dad has successfully become a 46er, completing all of the 46 Adirondack High Peaks. Cardish has completed about one-third of the peaks, but plans to finish. “There’s a 46er club that you can join,” said Cardish. “This way, you always have someone to hike with, making it less dangerous.”

For Cardish, fall is his favorite time of year to hike. He also enjoys spring break, right before it gets too hot to handle. Locally, Cardish enjoys Hadley Mountain and Hurricane Mountain. He likes Hurricane Mountain for the all rock summits and the remarkable views. Even though there isn’t a body of water, Cardish said the landscape is still absolutely beautiful. Andrew’s all-time favorite hike is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “It’s called The Tooth of Time, a 55-mile trek,” said Cardish. “The summit is really cool. It’s a huge rock that sticks out and is shaped just like a molar.”

Other than the feeling of being active, Cardish likes the sense of accomplishment hiking offers. It’s rewarding being able to look down the mountain, knowing he climbed to the top. “There have been a few hikes where I could see the parking lot,” said Cardish. “When you’re 2000 feet up and you can still see your car but it looks like a tiny thing, it offers a different perspective of what can be accomplished in such a short time and how far you’ve come.”

Sacha Schroeder, SVP, account director, came to Palio from the Washington, DC area, where she and her husband would often hike along the Potomac River. Their favorite day hike is the Billy Goat Trail, which is located in Great Falls, Maryland. “It’s a tough yet beautiful trail,” said Schroeder. “One time, my husband did it with our 2-year old on his back.”

The Schroeder’s have a family ranch out in California that was an old gold mining ranch during the California Gold Rush. They make it a point to head out west every summer to enjoy family time on the ranch and the great outdoors. On some nights, she and her husband will leave their two kids with the grandparents and set out for evening hikes/walks around the ranch, finding new trails every time. Schroeder said, “We’ll find random trails and just explore the property – it’s so peaceful.”

When in California, the Schroeder family takes time to visit Yosemite National Park. A hike that they enjoy as a family is Tioga Lake, which is a small glacial lake located in the Inyo National Forest in Yosemite. “This past summer, we took the kids and hiked up Tioga Lake,” said Schroeder. “The view was spectacular and we even went fishing – that’s when my 5-year old caught her first fish!”

Nick McDowell, senior copywriter, is originally from Colorado and hiking has always been a part of his life. He and his dad used to hike together and once went on an elk hunt together. They set out on Wolf Mountain in Routte County, Colorado, trying to track elk through the forests and meadows, up and down the great hills and slopes. “The Rockies can be a pretty desolate place, and for all of our dependence on society, it’s bizarre to find yourself so alone in the wild,” said McDowell. “Every morning that week we hiked Wolf Mountain, and a couple of mornings the silence was broken by the bugling of elk, which we’d follow.”

One morning McDowell and his dad stopped at a clearing when they were startled by the sound of crashing timber. To their surprise, it was a heard of female elk. “And there we were, two human beings in a clearing, being charged by a heard of elk who flowed around us like a river flows around an island,” said McDowell. “I thought we were about to die. The elk were running from the cry of a mountain lion we had heard ahead of us. Luckily, we were okay.”

For McDowell, hiking is all about reconnecting with nature and disconnecting with the busy world that consumes us. It’s an escape from the demands of society that allows him to free his mind. “I love to hike because it’s a return to nature that we don’t get every day as city dwellers,” said McDowell. “It’s important to still feel like we are of the earth and the wild, and not permanently locked to the constructs of society.”

So there you have it – countless hikes not too far out of reach that can offer great exercise and even better views. With the foliage changing, now is the time to reach the summit, breathe in that fresh mountain air, and relish in the beauty of the Adirondacks or Catskills. Challenge yourself – go take a hike!

Here at Palio, health and wellness runs through everything we do – in the office and out. And our employees are involved from every angle! From running to yoga, and tennis to ironman – you name it, we’ve got folks who do it. Because health is such a big part of our lives and work, our Because We Can health initiatives series is designed to highlight the passions, commitments, accomplishments and goals of a few of the members of our team.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Because We Can: An Ironman Among Us

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By Christina Schiavo, Corporate Relations Intern, Palio

The Ironman Triathlon, organized by World Triathlon Corporation, is arguably the most famous endurance triathlon. It consists of 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, and a marathon of 26.2 miles of running. An iron distance triathlon is raced in that consecutive order, without any breaks, and has a time limit of 17 hours to complete. Beginning at 7AM, each section has a cut off time: swim at 9:20AM, bike at 5:30PM, and marathon at midnight.

The endurance triathlon was created as an unlikely challenge and quickly grew into an international sensation, drawing in the fiercest competitors from all around the globe. To give a little background about the history of Ironman, ideas were stirring in Hawaii in 1977 after a race. Locals wanted to create a challenging endurance event for athletes who were hungry for more. Creator, John Collins, played with the idea and proposed combining swimming, biking and running for the toughest race on the island. According to the Ironman World Championship website, Collins combined the 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater swim with 112 miles of the Around-O’ahu Bike Race, ending with a 26.2-mile run on the Honolulu Marathon course.

Collectively, it was decided the challenge would begin at 7AM and whoever finished first would be deemed ‘The Ironman.” The inaugural event took place on February 18, 1978 and 15 competitors set out to prove they were the toughest. Collins and 11 others finished the entire course but only one won. “Gordon Haller, a taxi cab driver and fitness enthusiast, crossed the finish line first in 11 hours, 46 minutes and 40 seconds to become the ‘original’ ironman.” (Ironman World Championship, 2012).

The New York Ironman is offered annually in Lake Placid, NY, and is known for having one of the hilliest courses. Hurricane Irene devastated all 18 villages of Essex County last September, where the Ironman Lake Placid (IMLP) is held.  Through generous donations, the Ironman Foundation worked to provide support to the community to help with relief efforts.

This year’s Ironman Lake Placid (IMLP) took place on Sunday, July 22 and Palio congratulates Allison Gubala for her participation in the world’s most challenging endurance event! She is our Ironman and finished strong, with time to spare, at the time of 15hours, 32minutes and 55 seconds.

That’s Allison, running the marathon, happy.

So here’s a little bit about her journey with the Ironman event. Gubala did the Half Ironman: Timberman in New Hampshire back in 2010, which sparked her interest in potentially doing an Ironman. She decided to volunteer at last year’s IMLP in the women’s transition #1 tent or T1 and knew she wanted to sign-up proceeding the event. Interestingly enough, sign-ups for the following year take place at 7am, the morning after the event has ended. Ironman is a hot commodity, so it’s no surprise that the event fills up fast, which is why most people volunteer in order to secure a spot for the preceding year. “Most people do what I did – volunteer for a few hours, watch the race all day, cheer on all of the amazing athletes, and then get in line at midnight to sign yourself up for the following year when the line opens at 7am,” said Allison Gubala, account executive.

Volunteering in the women’s transition tent was not only a rewarding experience for Allison but also an inspiring one. Upon seeing all the strong female athletes racing, she knew she wanted to be one of them. “It was truly the most awe-inspiring event to be a part of and I knew I wanted to participate in the race alongside these outstanding female athletes,” said Gubala.

After signing up for IMLP, Allison knew she needed a plan that would help her achieve her goal. She hired a coach and partnered with a great group of athletes who were also training for IMLP. “The amount of training required is challenging! It’s been tough to fit in all of the workouts, both time wise (mine required anywhere between 8-18 hours a week for 20-weeks) and mentally,” said Gubala. “But it’s all about finding what works for you and sticking with it!” Gubala made a training plan and stuck with it, regardless of all the curveballs that came her way. She trusted her training and kept her head in the right place, focusing on her dream of being an Ironman.

During the race the most challenging part for her was the mass swim start. “It was tough in the beginning because it felt like you’re in a giant, human washing machine,” explained Gubala. “I definitely panicked for more than a minute because there were so many people around me and I needed to get into the right spot, mentally and physically, to do my thing.” After the swim, Gubala only progressively got better within her age group with regards to time. She had a steady pace with each lap for the bike portion of the event and excelled in the marathon. “I felt strong during the entire race,” said Gubala. “I stuck to my plan, in terms of pacing, nutrition and hydration, and just felt solid all the way through.”

She is surely an inspiration to all, especially the folks here at Palio! Even more inspiring is when you hear about Gubala’s past athletic endeavors.  Her interest in fitness didn’t happen until later in her life. “I was always trying to cut out of gym class,” she explained. “Sports were never a big part of my life growing up but now I love being active for the way it makes me feel and the personal achievements it offers.” Here’s a video of Allison training for The Saratoga Palio:

Gubala offers advice to future Ironman participants, “Nothing new on race day! And train with what nutrition is going to be on the course so nothing is a shock to your system.” She was able to finish strong in this event because she knew herself as well as the course. “I knew when the hills were coming and when to push harder. I knew what to expect,” said Gubala.

Think she’d stop here? Not Allison. “Yes, I will surely do one again,” said Gubala. “I’m addicted to this sport!” The next big event on Gubala’s schedule is actually tomorrow, August 4. She will be competing in the 6th annual Fronhofer Tool Triathlon. This event is a challenging, Olympic distance triathlon. Other upcoming events Gubala will be participating in are The Saratoga Palio on September 16, and the Ragnar Adirondacks Relay on September 28-29. She’s actually throwing around the idea of signing up for another triathlon between now and then. We’re excited to hear about her continued athletic accomplishments and wish her the best of luck this weekend!

Here at Palio, health and wellness runs through everything we do – in the office and out. And our employees are involved from every angle! From running to yoga, and tennis to ironman – you name it, we’ve got folks who do it. Because health is such a big part of our lives and work, we want to share some of our experiences with you. Our Because We Can health initiatives series is designed to highlight the passions, commitments, accomplishments and goals of a few of the members of our team.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.


A life full of appreciation

H Tree in the Summer

By Shelly, mother of 2 Double H campers, Kristen and Eric

Becoming a mother is a life changing moment in a woman’s life. A second life changing event is to hear that your child has been diagnosed with cancer. There are simply no words to describe how immediate the fear, how your mind takes you to places you never imagined you would go. As a family you head down the road of childhood cancer and you realize the challenges are unending.

When this journey began, Kristen was a spirited third grader who danced, loved running and chasing after her brother. Our family was humbled when a perceived sports injury turned into bone cancer. Within a day, we confronted the realities of surgery, chemotherapy and all that comes with it. As a mother, I wished the diagnosis was for me. Like most parents, I would have traded anything and everything for the safety of my children. No mother wants to see her child’s life change, watch her little one suffer thru treatment and know that some of the things her child loves most she will never be able to do again.  As a parent you wake up each morning determined to keep trying, determined to find the happy medium and love your children with so much intensity that there must be a happy ending as a result.

What all parents want for their child is happiness and that is what the Double H Ranch does for the many lucky children who are fortunate enough to attend.  Within minutes of arrival, counselors were surrounding our car cheering and laughing and I knew it was going to be ok!  One look at the daily schedule and I knew they would be entertained and active (and I too wanted to stay for camp). One look at the faces of all the smiling counselors and I knew my kids were in good hands.  I am happy to say both of my children LOVED camp, made lots of friends and had a wonderful time.

For Kristen, she wasn’t stared at or catered to. She was able to be just like everyone else and didn’t let her “yet to be healed leg” stop her from the ropes course or roller coasters. As for myself, I enjoyed a week of quiet and peace of mind. I don’t remember the last time I had that and I am truly grateful to Double H Ranch for that as well. As a mother, I will continue to strive to put the cancer behind us, to regain the normal routines of life, but deep in my heart, I know life will never be the same.  We will however live with a new spirit for life. A life where everyday counts and should be lived to the fullest.  A life where we let the little things go and focus on what is important. A life full of “APPRECIATION” for places like the Double H Ranch and the wonderful counselors whom made my children forget the unfairness of life and simply enjoy the moment.

Palio is participating in @SocialMadness and has chosen Double H Ranch as the not-for-profit they will donate the winnings to if Palio is 1 of the 3 national champions. Social Madness, launched by The Business Review and parent company American City Business Journals, measures the growth of each participating company’s presence across LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Here’s how you can help Palio help Double H Ranch. Like Palio’s Facebook page; follow them on Twitter @paliosaratoga; and connect with their corporate page on LinkedIn. And, definitely vote for Palio in the medium companies category at

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Apps for the Food Allergy Community


By Meleik Goodwill, PhD, Medical Director, Palio

For most people, a Dunkin’ Donuts Boston Crème donut is a guilty pleasure, but for people with nut allergies, indulging in this decadent snack could prove deadly. The company takes pains to alert consumers that its products may be made processed on the same equipment as items made with tree nuts, but for anyone with a life-threatening allergy, taking proactive measures to protect against anaphylactic shock or allergic reaction can be the difference between staying healthy, a trip to an emergency room – or in the worst case, death.

Dunkin’ Donuts takes these measures because food-borne allergies are scary for people susceptible to side effects, as well as for their care givers. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of children with food allergies has increased 18 percent over the last 15 years. And, it’s not just peanuts that are problematic; eggs, dairy, gluten and certain food additives can all put patients at risk of an allergy attack.

Technologists have put the power of prevention into the hands of patients with a range of apps for the food allergy community, offering everything from emergency medical alerts to menu planning programs. Here’s a look at 10 apps that anyone with food allergy sensitivities could benefit from:

When an allergy attack strikes, seconds matter. Many severe allergy sufferers carry an EpiPen to treat a life-threatening allergic reaction. Parents and care givers receive training on administering epinephrine treatment, but as we all know, when emergencies arise, it’s easy to forget what to do. MyEpiPenApp is a free app, perfect for school nurses or any caregiver needing to administer epinephrine treatment, that provides on-the-spot emergency instruction, ensuring victims are effectively treated.

Allergy Caddy is a mobile app designed for assessing allergens on fly. Using data sourced from restaurant’s publicly released food allergy data and designed for those with food allergies to the top 10 Allergens/Sensitivities – Peanut, Milk, Egg, Wheat, Soy, Gluten, Fish, Shellfish, Tree Nuts, and MSG – , it’s a handy reference for anyone with food allergies or those who care for children with food allergies.

Some apps like SafetoEatTB4 use graphical visuals to identify foods on the safe list based on a particular allergen at restaurants like Taco Bell or Burger King, ensuring no slow down for patrons with allergies wanting fast food.

At the grocery store, E Food Additives offers information about food additives that may have potential harm to your health. WebArtisan Food Additives also identifies food additives that have potential health risks and side effects as well foods that are gluten-free.

For people on the go or traveling away from home, knowing which restaurants are safe can make for a more relaxed dining experience. Visitors to the windy city can check out Gluten Free Chicago, a location-based app that identifies more than 400 restaurants in Chicago that offer gluten-free fare, and a find a restaurant that meets their dietary requirements.

For travelers traveling abroad, translating foreign-language food menus can be challenging for allergy suffers. Turns out, there’s an app for that! Perdue University’s menu translator makes sense of foreign menus, helping restaurant visitors identify dangers when they’re in another country.

Some allergic reactions are less severe or victims may not correlate symptoms to food they’ve ingested. Food Allergy Detective helps consumers assess their symptoms and pinpoint food allergies.

For home cooks preparing meals for a family, Cook it Allergy Free helps users find recipes, substitutions for trigger foods or create and share their own recipes with their friends. With a simple tap, chefs can customize recipes and keep their family safe.

Is there an allergy app you can’t live without? Share it in the comments!

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.


Inspiration is all around us – Get Inspired!

David Messinger

By David Messinger, Camp Counselor, Double H Ranch

Writing about the Double H Ranch – what it is and what it means to me – is a daunting task. There is just so much that happens and so many amazing feelings that are associated with Double H for me.

This is my fourth summer as a counselor and this year we are celebrating the Double H’s 20th anniversary. We have a saying here at camp, “From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it and from the inside looking out you can’t describe it.” Despite this saying, I am going to do my best.

As I type this, I am sitting in my room at rest time during the 10th annual Camp Inspiration. Camp Inspiration is how the summer programing at Double H begins. It’s a session for children on ventilators, and the most medically intense session we have. It’s also the most inspiring.

I was just up in the stage area and heard someone playing a guitar. Not knowing who was playing, I had to listen because it sounded so good. It was a camper, on a full ventilator, playing the guitar. Another counselor was recording it for him in order to mix and master.  Looking at this child, who is wheelchair-bound and has a machine breathing for him, you never would have guessed that he was capable of playing a guitar and drawing people in to listen, inspiring all who heard.

It’s only the second day of the session and already I have seen each of the 13 campers who are here this week smile and laugh. My camper is a first-time camper who is a little shy. He wouldn’t dance earlier – wanting just to sit in his chair and read a book. But we lifted the chair, with him in it, and danced with him in the chair. He loved every second of it, giggling and smiling – it brought him a new found joy he hadn’t experienced.

This session is a bit different than the rest of the summer because there are so few kids here and their parents also stay with them. My kid’s mom had the biggest smile and was also laughing while watching us dance with him sitting in a chair unwilling to get up and do it on his own. He also loves Bigfoot and we found Bigfoot tracks today and yesterday.

Although the official camp theme this week is, “The Beach,” my camper’s theme is finding Bigfoot. The look on his face when we saw the first tracks was priceless.

Palio is participating in @SocialMadness and has chosen Double H as the not-for-profit they will donate the winnings if they are one of the 3 national champions. Social Madness, launched by  The Business Review, and parent company American City Business Journals, measures the growth of each participating company’s presence across LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Here’s how you can help Palio help Double H. Like Palio’s Facebook page; follow them on Twitter @paliosaratoga; and, connect with their corporate page on LinkedIn. And, if you already do all of the above, vote for Palio in the medium companies category at

I was asked to write about 500 words for this blog and I am already at 460 and have only shared about a day and a half of one session. This is why it is so hard to explain what happens here at the Double H. Too many amazing things each and every day. Hopefully I will be asked to write again and the next time I can get into our traditional summer camp and how amazing those seven sessions are during the summer.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.


Health & Happiness is #1 at Double H

Photo for Max blog

By Max J. Yurenda, CEO/Executive Director, Double H Ranch

As we celebrate a significant milestone in our history, we proudly recognize the community for supporting the Double H Ranch for 20 years. Charley Wood shared a vision with Paul Newman and their dream became a reality in 1992. Making Dreams a Reality for children and their families dealing with life-threatening illnesses captures the essence of our business. Ensuring that we provide the highest quality of service is paramount. As a leading not-for-profit in our community, we strive to meet or exceed the goals of our organization and we devote our resources and energies towards our inspirational kids. Providing life-changing experiences in a magical environment is an opportunity for bringing joy into the lives of thousands of children and family members each year. The key ingredients to our success include gifted staff and volunteers, our competent and compassionate medical team, dedicated Board leadership and the generosity of our community.

The Double H Ranch provides specialized year-round services that combine creativity, challenge, success and FUN. As a member of the SeriousFun Children’s Network, we are part of the largest global family of camps that are privileged to impact the lives of children dealing with life-threatening illnesses – all FREE of charge to our campers and their families.

The children that have touched our lives have reminded us of many important realities. Life is a gift that is filled with opportunities, challenges, constant change and dreams. Our team will always stay focused on what is best for our kids and we will work tirelessly to preserve and expand the legacy of our founders. We have ambitious goals ahead of us and building sustainability into the future is a priority for our kids and community. Every gift of support is important and appreciated!

Palio is participating in the Social Madness Challenge and has chosen Double H as the not-for-profit they will donate the winnings if they are one of the 3 national champions. Social Madness is corporate social media challenge that began June 1. The Business Review, and parent company American City Business Journals, launched the challenge to identify companies with the best social media chops. Social Madness measures the growth of each participating company’s presence across LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Companies in 43 cities across the United States have signed up to compete in a national March Madness-like bracketed tournament measuring social influence. It’s all about connections, likes, and followers!

Here’s how you can help them help us. Like Palio’s Facebook page; follow them on Twitter @paliosaratoga; and, connect with their corporate page on LinkedIn. And, if you already do all of the above, vote for Palio in the medium companies category at

Thank you for believing in our mission and for joining us in celebrating our 20th year in Making Dreams a Reality. Our children and families are grateful for this opportunity to rejuvenate, share, celebrate, laugh and grow.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Baseball: A Father’s Day Classic


by Philip Reynolds, VP, Associate Creative Director, Palio

“You and your father always talk about baseball, every time you get together. How the Mets are doing, how the Red Sox are doing. You don’t do that with any other sport.” She was right, my wife. Why was baseball different? The poet Donald Hall wrote, “Baseball is continuous, like nothing else among American things, an endless game of repeated summers, joining the long generations of all fathers and all sons.”

Let’s turn to another endless game we play, advertising. Recently Palio offered to donate our expertise to help the National Baseball Hall of Fame sell tickets to the Hall of Fame Classic. Held on June 16 in Cooperstown, NY, the Classic is the one real-live baseball game the Hall puts on every year. It showcases a half-dozen Hall of Famers and various former big leaguers.

One’s first thought on selling this game would be to attract hard-core fans who appreciate the living baseball history represented by stars like Ozzie Smith, Carlton Fisk, Phil Niekro, and Eddie Murray. The Hall tells us the electricity in Doubleday Field when these guys run onto the grass to take their positions again can’t be described in words; you have to see it. But the Hall also felt they had already done a good job of reaching that audience. Our brand planner, Mark McCoy, worked with them to develop a brief that would sell the game to more casual fans as an experience that brings the family together. Baseball is a part of your family’s memories; here’s an opportunity to make some new ones together.

Good idea. Really the Hall of Fame Classic is just the jewel (a diamond, if you’ll forgive the pun) in the crown of a whole weekend of activities and events in Cooperstown, which is basically the sweetest little slice of hometown America you could imagine. Perfect for family fun. And there was one other thing: by a stroke of scheduling genius, the game would fall on Father’s Day Weekend.

So the creative team set to work banging out ideas that connected fathers, families, and baseball. The game as glue.

The concept the Hall went with leveraged a great emotional insight: whether it’s a tie, a cordless drill, or a hot shaving cream dispenser, the attempts we make to tell our heroes what they mean to us on Father’s Day never feel adequate. Baseball, on the other hand, does a very good job of immortalizing its heroes. So let’s put Dad on a baseball card:

Initial surprise and delight, followed by deeper emotional satisfaction. Sean O’Donnell’s headline takes you through the journey in a flash. This was the front side a 6×9 flyer, printed on card stock, that we’re dropping guerrilla-style around the region. The back side supplies event details. Thanks to Mike Osterhout (aka Mike O.) for his meticulous art direction and for pushing a very heroic pose for our model, Palio medical director and long-suffering Orioles fan Steve Dubansky. As a pro-bono job, we enlisted four Palio employees and their families as models. (And luckily the studio of Mark McCarty Photography donated their time and skills.) Mike O did the rest with his extreme Photoshop skills.

Here’s another execution, for a regional print magazine, starring Palio Account Director Steve Toman:

We campaigned the idea out into banner ads, a radio spot, and more. We’re particularly proud of an app created that lets users put their own dad into the concept:

Godawful photo, but that’s the senior Phil Reynolds, immortalized in an MVP•ME™. He and I played a lot of catch, and hunted down a lot of stray baseballs in the pachysandra, in our backyard in Connecticut. He took us to see the Mets play in 1974 (a playoff game where Bud Harrelson got in a famous fist fight with Pete Rose). 1975 was the year I told him I had decided to become a Red Sox fan. I felt the Sox were on the way up, and the Mets down, and it was time for me to make my own decisions. He’s definitely my MVP and now it’s official.

To date, more than 200 photos have been uploaded using the app and those photos have been viewed by more than 2,100 visitors to the site. To make your own MVP•ME, just go to the Hall’s Facebook page ( and click on the MVP•ME button. Upload a photo of your dad (or yourself, or your dog) and the app puts it into a baseball card template of your choosing. Then you email it or share it on your favorite social media site.  It’s a lot of fun, but it also virally advertises the Hall of Fame Classic. (A not insignificant additional benefit, from my point of view.)

My wife connects baseball with her father, too. “Those long summer days when it was still light out late, we’d play baseball out on Flandreaux Avenue. And when my dad came home from work he would always come out and play with us.” Dick Cantz, you’ve been MVP’d:

I hope you go on Facebook and MVP your dad as soon as you’re done reading this. And please reflect on this: A parent’s job is to be there for the kids, and a kids’ job is to leave the parents, and baseball’s job, as Bartlett Giamatti appreciated, is to reenact the whole tragedy every year:

The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.

You’d think the Hall of Fame is about enshrining heroes, but really the people at the Hall think their brand is about connecting generations through baseball, the endless game of repeated summers. They work hard to celebrate baseball’s special place in our lives. We think Palio has given them a campaign that will help drive their great project forward.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Mobile Apps – Just What the Doctor Ordered

med apps

Saul Morse, VP, Multichannel Integration, Palio

Personal questions. Needles. Uncomfortable smocks that don’t close in the back. Getting – or just waiting for – that phone call with your lab results. With your doctor’s office closed will you even hear before the weekend starts or will it loom overhead? Pokes and prods too numerous to count.

The list of healthcare anxieties goes on and on. And while they are different for nearly everyone, there’s no denying that they exist. Could technology help soothe addled patients and make them feel both more in control of their health? Evidence suggests that may be the case.

The medical industry and patients have developed some comfort with first generation social media sites and often have significant experience with them. Whether it’s looking for cold relief or sharing real-world experiences working in an emergency room, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn are increasingly populated with healthcare information. A second wave, including Pinterest, Google+ and StumbleUpon offers hospitals, medical device and pharmaceutical companies a new set of tools for building a social media strategy.

But public-facing sites are only half the picture; and their very strengths – a large and public base of users – can be a drawback, because patients are rightfully leery of handling private medical data in such public venues. Even pure-information sites in the healthcare space deal with overall perceptions about the Web: It’s big, it’s insecure, and you never know who’s looking at your visitation patterns, search history or other personal details.

But health apps for mobile and tablet platforms may hit a sweet spot.

Apps can offer a more-personalized, more-intimate experience for users, while addressing many security and privacy concerns. While the Web can also deliver this, apps avoid some of the “Who’s going to see this?” perception challenges that a major website may face.

Apps also offer an opportunity for specialized drug-specific, condition-specific or treatment-specific platforms. Many conditions, such as diabetes, are best managed with a steady flow of information – from the patient to a data log, and then on to a physician or other caregiver. The ubiquity of mobile apps and the tendency of users to interact with them many times a day make them a natural for this sort of application.

Finally, mobile apps can reduce anxiety by allowing for always-with-you, always-on anytime access to a community. Whether it’s patients with the same condition, a support group or even real-time access to caregivers, mobile platforms mean that feeling alone with your condition – a major source of anxiety for many people – can be alleviated.

Mobile apps aren’t perfect – from platform compatibility to security issues, they face many challenges with other healthcare 2.0 technology. But for a nation of nervous and worried patients, they offer real opportunities for better education and better care. Also, use as a resource for healthcare apps.

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

Today is World Thinking Day

thinking man image for blog

Gillian Slattery, Producer, Palio

On a sunny spring day in 1977, Girl Scout Troop 275 banded together with other local troops in an effort to clean up trash at local playgrounds and parks. Woodsy Owl encouraged us to give a hoot and not pollute; our planet was ours for protecting.

Fast-forward 35 years and the Girl Scouts continue their focus on going green and increasing environmental awareness. The organization has themed this year’s World Thinking Day as “We Can Save Our Planet.” Held each year on February 22, the purpose of World Thinking Day is to celebrate international friendships and work together for greater good.

Making strides towards saving the planet is everybody’s job. More companies are demonstrating their commitment through sustainability initiatives and encouraging employees to go green. Pharma is no exception, even though the industry has not, generally, engaged in the sort of high-profile green initiatives that many other consumer sectors have.

In celebration of World Thinking Day, what can you do to help your organization reduce its environmental footprint?

Go digital when possible. From marketing communication strategies to automating internal processes, going digital does more than fuel efficiencies and open new communication channels – it’s gentle on the environment. For example, companies that incorporate video interview technologies into their recruiting processes reduce the need for flying candidates in for interviews or driving to an office location. Technologies like FaceTime enable the sales force to get in front of individual doctors without having to get in a car. Take that, carbon footprint!

Please consider the environment before printing. We’ve all seen this phrase at the bottom of an email, but have we stalled on thinking of new ways to reduce reliance on paper? Whether personal or professional, it’s time to make a commitment to going fully digital, whether that is requesting electronic invoices from vendors or replacing a paper calendar with a smartphone app. Digital processes offer a host of benefits from conserving energy to increased efficiencies. They’re just kinder to the planet. At work and at home, shouldn’t we all be thinking before consuming?

Prevent environment-related illness. A clean, safe work environment ensures workers have the best opportunity to reach their potential. Think of the basics – clean air, access to healthy food, a workplace free of environmental hazards – but also consider the culture. Work stress, workplace bullying and even the wrong temperature can jeopardize morale and cause the best talent to flee. Whether its town hall meetings, engagement surveys or encouraging more frequent conversations, keep a pulse on company culture and address issues before they become problems.

Understand your partners’ business practices. Gain a better understanding of the processes of your suppliers to ensure they align with your commitment to accountability and green initiatives. From green chemistry to technology techniques, recycled packaging, and barcoding initiatives, use good green guidance across the entire supply chain. By working with like-minded partners, companies can show customers that they’re committed to being a strong corporate citizen.

From its inter-office practices to its physician-facing and consumer-facing marketing efforts, pharma has literally millions of processes that could likely be adjusted to reduce their impacts on the environment. How do you plan to think differently?

Palio is an advertising agency revolutionizing pharmaceutical and healthcare marketing to create experiences that will Never Be Forgotten.

© 2011