Becoming a Veteran: Readjusting to Civilian Life

The Military Families Initiative, a BigMarker community, was created in November 2013 by nonprofit ChildServ as an outlet for active service members and veterans, but also with a heavy emphasis on the close friends and family who care about them. This online community operates under the idea that anyone with a military background or tie can come together in a safe, supportive environment, to learn about the various issues that face these Americans, and how to better support one another. The community hosts live web conferences led by various subject matter experts on a rotating list of topics that face the U.S. armed forces.


Next week, the Military Families Initiative is back with their first BigMarker web conference of the year, following two successful web events back in December. On Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM (CDT), Outreach Psychologist Eric Proescher, Psy.D., of the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago will host the free web conference, “Transitional War Skills to Home: Understanding Readjustment.”

Dr. Proescher will discuss some of the immense difficulties that service members face when they return home from deployment, and how hard some veterans find it readjusting to civilian life. From severe familial issues to the high risk of depression or substance abuse, most people who have never served themselves can’t possibly understand what it’s like to go from the high-stress environment that a deployment can cause, to “normal life.”

In preparation for the upcoming web conference, BigMarker and the Military Families Initiative have prepared a brief infographic to preview what kinds of serious risks veterans face when returning home from a deployment, information that will hopefully encourage friends and families of these veterans to work to create an especially safe and supportive environment for soldiers to come home to.

Space is limited for this free web conference on March 12. Reserve your spot on BigMarker here.

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Learn How to Speak and Present Like a Pro

If you ask anyone in the business world which vital skills are necessary to succeed, you’ll often hear a similar response near the top of that list: public speaking.


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The ability to speak clearly in front of others, and present yourself and your organization well, will never go undervalued. This is likely because this very situation is also one of modern society’s most common fears. The fact that so many experience such deep anxiety at the thought of public speaking makes it all the more valuable, simply because so many make no effort to hone their skills.

This Thursday, February 27 at 1:00 PM (CST), take a lunch break and check out this free webinar on How to Speak and Present Like a Pro, courtesy of ICM College. Whether you want to be a better speaker for your job or your next BigMarker conference, How to Speak and Present Like a Pro will be well worth your time:

As presenter, your job is to help your audience understand your message. This webcast will give you the tools you need to take your message and deliver it into your audience’s hands. The techniques you learn will give your message credibility and professionalism.

In this comprehensive webcast, we will cover: 

• Taking Command of the Webcast 

• Posture and Eye Contact 

• Reading Narration so No One Can Tell 

• Motivating Your Audience 

• 10 Things You Must Avoid at All Costs! 

• Preparing Your Presentation Slides 

• Lighting to Make You Look Your Best 

• Cameras for Quality 

• Microphones Can Make or Break Your Message 

• Handling Emergencies 

• Avoiding Distractions

• And much more!

Attendees will be encouraged to participate throughout the webcast through discussion.

Speaker and presenter will be Steve Wittmann of ICM College. Mr. Wittmann began his career in 1980 programming missile guidance computers for the Air Force. He later operated his own Information Technologies business serving the Central Florida business community for 15 years. Mr. Wittmann holds a masters degree in theology and is the Director of Information Technologies at the International College of Ministry where he oversees all IT needs for the online college.

Register for Mr. Wittman’s webinar, How to Speak and Present Like a Pro today.

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PraiseMoves: The Christian Alternative to Yoga

The practice of yoga has become widespread all over the world, gaining popularity for being a spiritual way to stretch and exercise. But, Laurette Willis, organizer for the BigMarker community PraiseMoves, has developed a new take on the practice that speaks specifically to Christianity. We recently spoke with Laurette about her alternative to yoga, and what to expect in her upcoming webinar Tuesday, February 25 at 7:00 PM (CST).


1. What is PraiseMoves?

PraiseMoves is called “The Christian Alternative to Yoga.” PraiseMoves incorporates health and fitness for spirit, soul and body. Every stretching posture in PraiseMoves is given an accompanying scripture which we meditate upon or speak aloud while doing that posture.

2. How did you come up with this idea?

It was what you might call a revelatory moment! On February 25, 2001 at 10:35 A.M. the ideas suddenly came to me in a *flash* — a Christ-centered alternative to yoga!

You see, I’d been involved in yoga and the New Age movement for many years (ages 7 to 29), and I knew what an open door yoga is to the metaphysical for many, as it was for my mother and me.

3. How can people get involved with PraiseMoves?

They can go to – there are PraiseMoves DVDs and downloadable videos, as well as classes held throughout the world, and training to become a Certified PraiseMoves Instructor (or CPI). Many churches like the idea of having a Fitness Ministry at their church, as both an outreach to the community, and an “in-reach” to help their congregations become more “Fit Witnesses” for Christ in spirit, soul and body!

I believe PraiseMoves’ foundation scripture underscores our purpose and mission, “You were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

4. What do you and PraiseMoves hope to accomplish in this upcoming webinar?

I’d like to answer the questions people have about yoga. Many have wondered if yoga is “just exercise” in light of its spiritual and mystical elements, as well as yoga’s Hindu roots. I’m often asked for advice from parents whose children are being introduced to yoga in school or even in church. Is there cause for concern, and if so, what questions should they ask, and what actions can be taken?

5. What else can we expect in the upcoming webinar on February 25?

Believe it or not, a LOT of fun! Before I came to Christ and entered into ministry, I was an actor and improvisational comedienne Off-Broadway in New York City. I have been blessed to teach many classes and webinars, so it is my goal to offer an information-packed webinar that is both educational and entertaining.

I want people to leave this webinar feeling they thoroughly understand what yoga is really about, and what alternatives are available out there for themselves, their churches, and communities.


To register for Laurette’s webinar on February 25 at 7:00 PM (CST), click here.

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New pricing for public and private communities

We have a major announcement regarding pricing. Drum-roll… We’re now offering FREE Public Communities.

We want to provide a free way for people to connect and share knowledge from around the world. In the past few months, we’ve been inspired by the many communities that bring together experts, discuss what matters to them, and engage with peers.

For example, SEETA (South Eastern Europe Teachers Assocation) brought together 98 people from all around Europe to discuss “Teaching English through Film“.

We want to empower groups like this.


Update to pricing



Free public communities. 

In your public community, you can host unlimited public webinars, automatically uploading your content to YouTube.

You even have access to charging community dues, or selling tickets to your webinars.

$20/month private communities.

In your private community, you’ll be able to keep your content exclusive or secret. You have all the same abilities as a public group, but you can have more administrative privileges.

You can learn more specifics about the pricing here.


Spread the word!


We want to keep BigMarker free, and we need your help to do so. Please tell your friends, family members, colleagues, random people on the street about BigMarker.

You can do so by sharing your conferences and communities on social media, or even posting on URL:

We’re all in this together, and we need your help to continue growing. So please shout at the top of a mountain about how great BigMarker is.


Featured webinar



If you need help converting your community, please email us.

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Are You Sure You’re Ready to Launch Your Crowdfunding Campaign?

With the rise of popular “crowdfunding” sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, entrepreneurs around the world have gained the ability to turn their dreams into reality without needing an existing cash pile or business connections. This interesting concept, where people ranging from average Joe’s to savvy investors can contribute funds to various projects and innovations, has turned raising money online into a science.

The idea of having others just give you their money to “kickstart” your dreams may sound like a cakewalk, but there’s actually a lot of strategic thought and work required to get the dough flowing. We spoke with Lee Schneider, Creative Director of Santa Monica-based Red Cup Agency, about his upcoming webinar on BigMarker dedicated to this topic and the Digital Fundraising School, which Schneider founded.
1. What is the Digital Fundraising School?
Digital Fundraising School is a place where you can learn crowdfunding or learn how to be a better crowdfunder. Most of our classes are online, so you can attend from anywhere. We also offer a self-guided video series about crowdfunding if you want to learn on your own. Coming this summer, we’re doing a two-day weekend intensive to get your crowdfunding video produced – in just two days. Watch for announcements on that soon.
2. How did you come up with this idea? 
I crowdfunded a documentary media project on IndieGoGo and saw the power of crowdfunding as a game-changer. I started to include crowdfunding in my media seminars for students in design schools. We saw that if you found the right audience, and made a good video, your project could be a go. Crowdfunding permits people to realize their dreams and removes so many obstacles.
3. What are you trying to accomplish at the Digital Fundraising School?
Successful crowdfunding projects all have something in common – a strong narrative. That narrative shows up in the way you talk about the project on your campaign page; it shows up in your crowdfunding video; and it is a part of your marketing and promotion campaign. If we teach that narrative idea to crowdfunders, they create better campaigns that are successful. We’re all about successful campaigns, and that means sharing knowledge. But it’s also about staying by your side as you build your campaign. So many people want to get into crowdfunding, but they might need coaching, help, and support creating their campaign, sustaining it, and guiding it to a successful conclusion. That’s a big part of what we do.
4. What kind of personal experiences do you have with crowdfunding projects?
I’ve successfully crowdfunded my own media project about ‘designing for good’ and consulting on a number of success Kickstarter and IndieGoGo projects. IndieGoGo has made me a Campaign Partner, so I’m working with them also. Each week I analyze successful Kickstarters on a YouTube series, and I’m in constant touch with crowdfunding leaders to interview them and pass that info along to students at Digital Fundraising School.
5. How important is a quality video to a successful crowdfunding campaign?
A successful crowdfunding campaign needs a video, and it should be a good one! (There are a few exceptions – some campaigns make a go of it without a video, and that’s fine. But far more often, video is the key to your success.) Your video has to reach a certain level of technical quality, whether it’s shot with an iPhone or with professional equipment. Hitting the technical mark is fairly easy – what’s challenging is creating a compelling narrative that connects potential contributors to your mission.
6. What else can we look forward to in the webinar on February 19?
Zack Price will be joining me for the webinar, and together we will analyze what makes crowdfunding videos work – and sometimes, what causes them to fail.  Zack is a serial entrepreneur who has been starting businesses since age 10, including a few Startups-to-Exits. Zack’s current startup is where he turns bloggers into authors. In the webinar, I’m going to look at the media and production side of the crowdfunding campaigns, and Zack is going to talk about their viability as startups.
About Lee:
Lee Schneider is a media guy with a background in journalism and documentary production. He is creative director of Red Cup Agency, a communications agency based in Santa Monica and known for its work with educators, social activists, media-makers, and leaders of the organic food and wine movement. The agency specializes in email marketing supported by social media feeds.
If you’re still not convinced, check out this infographic to learn why videos are so important to your next campaign:
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