The Power of Publishing Your “Big Why”

You wouldn’t guess the long, emotional journey that has driven Dr. Alanna Bree to establish A Children’s House for Pediatric Dermatology – nor its nonprofit counterpart, A Children’s House for the Soul. Her face only beamed joy as supporters streamed in the doors of The Health Museum in Houston. They were there to support the first annual happy hour fundraiser for the nonprofit. Bill Brown, the longtime voice of the Houston Astros, emceed an evening of tasty bites, signature cocktails, and auction items.


But Dr. Alanna’s whole-hearted commitment was evident when speakers began sharing the impact of A Children’s House. A child life specialist explained the deep needs that the nonprofit fulfills in children and teens with skin disorders and birthmarks. A high school student with a rare genetic skin disorder talked about the respite from bullying that he enjoyed at the “Love The Skin You Are In” Family Days. A woman with a highly visible skin condition praised the nonprofit for helping her to embrace her unique beauty as a teenager. Through each speech, tears flowed quietly down Dr. Alanna’s face.


This is her “big why.” Her whole purpose is to cultivate this healing and hope in the world – not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually.

This is what the whole evening was about. It was about more than what Dr. Bree does (care for children and teens with skin disease and birthmarks). It was also about more than how she does it (with compassionate, holistic care, flexibility, and reasonable prices). It was all about why she does it.

In his TEDx talk titled, “How great leaders inspire action,” marketing consultant Simon Sinek says this approach is what makes Dr. Alanna different from other physicians. You see, true leaders share their “big why” to inspire people to take action. Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”[1]

This is the reason Dr. Alanna just released, A Children’s House: A Small Story About a God-sized Dream. The 140-page autobiography chronicles her journey to becoming a pediatric dermatologist – and the four unmistakable words she heard from God that forever altered her course. She tells with honesty how she quit a successful but unsatisfying career to find her ultimate purpose and fulfillment. It’s a stunning read for everyone: medical students, professionals, believers, and nonbelievers alike.


It’s also a stunning example of the power of sharing your “big why” with others. Dr. Alanna is communicating from “the inside out,” as Sinek calls it. She’s sharing the drive behind her cause, the whole reason her nonprofit exists. And it’s already making an impact.

As guests streamed out of the Health Museum, stakeholders stopped to tell Dr. Alanna that they were inspired by her message. Patients were grateful she hadn’t given up. Board members were surprised by their impact on her success. Dr. Alanna smiled at each of them. Now that they understand her “big why,” they are empowered to make a difference.

PubAuthor Portrait_editedElla Ritchie (left) is the founder of  Stellar Communications Houston, a business communications and book publishing team that brings clarity, quality, and integrity to nonfiction authors, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, and federal government agencies. Connect with the team on LinkedIn, Facebook, or the website for more information.

Alanna F. Bree, M.D., (right) is a board-certified pediatric dermatologist and owner of A Children’s House for Pediatric Dermatology, where she specializes in holistic care and effective treatments for skin conditions and birthmarks in infants, children, and teens. She is also the founder and executive director of a nonprofit organization, A Children’s House for the Soul, which provides social, emotional, and spiritual support for affected children and families in the Houston area. Connect with the clinic on Facebook and Twitter, or connect with the nonprofit on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


[1] Simon Sinek, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” TED,, accessed March 29, 2018.

Don’t Use that Tone with Me: How to Set the Right Tone for Your Website

Your mom was right: Your tone matters. And now that most business introductions happen online, it matters more than ever.

That’s because your website represents your business personality. Without the luxury of personally greeting every online visitor, you’ve got to rely on your website to do the talking.

But this is about more than just your words. This is also about your tone.

That’s because just as important as what you say is the way you say it. Your tone speaks volumes about who you are as a business.

Think of your tone as your online body language.

Without proper attention to tone, your business personality might get lost in translation. For example, a technical expert might come across online as cluttered and stiff. A warm, enthusiastic professional can be misconstrued as amateurish. Unfortunately, the wrong tone can turn away prospects.

So how can you set the right tone for your website?

Let’s take a peek at the process we followed for a Houston-based cyber security company, Elevated Cyber Security. Its website at is a dead ringer for the personality of the company.

#1 Define your identity and purpose.

We asked many questions of the company, starting with this fundamental question: “Who are you?”

We quickly learned that all four leaders are military veterans with over 15 years of IT experience. They tackle cyber security with the same hard-hitting approach and uncompromising values that defined them in the military. And they’re certain that this is what distinguishes them from other cyber companies.

With an identity this well-defined, the tone that is needed for their website was clear. It should be bold, tough, and straight-shooting – with lots of references to their military background.

Here’s how the company is introduced in the “About” page.

Let’s start by getting three things straight with your cyber enemies.

They’ll have to get through us to get to you.

And we’re not intimidated by cyber battle.

We’re military veterans who have been winning in combat for 20 years. Our team started out serving together on the USS Pioneer back in the day. That’s what shaped our values.

We’re also security experts with different perspectives of the IT industry. Government contracts, large oil and gas corporations, small and midsize businesses. Collectively, we’ve seen it all.

#2 Know your audience.

Next, you’ve got to really understand your ideal clients – to know what makes them tick. We asked the company several questions like, “Which of their deepest needs can you fulfill? What are their fears? Why might they hesitate to hire your company? What misconceptions might they have of your company?”

The leaders at Elevated Cyber Security honed in on their target clients. They described them as small to mid-sized business leaders who have a few common misconceptions: They believe their backup systems are sufficient and that they wouldn’t be able to afford more protection. They also think they’re too small to be a cyber target anyways.

The company leaders explained that they needed to instill some necessary fear. They wanted to shake these small businesses out of a false sense of security.

Armed with this insight, the same bold tone was used to squash these misconceptions and to inspire action.

Here’s an excerpt from the home page.

Do you have tough skin?

Good. Because you need to hear the truth about your security.

90% of small and midsize businesses don’t protect their data. Even though data security is their top concern.

That’s a big mistake.

Because 62% of cyber victims are small and midsize businesses like yours. And 60% of you will go out of business within 6 months of an attack.

Tough skin isn’t enough to do business anymore

You need to protect your data with intelligent security solutions that you can afford. Because you can’t make a mistake with your data.

And here’s the rest of the “About” page.

We know their strategy.

We’re not fooled into thinking you’re an unlikely target. The hard truth is that 62% of cyber victims are small to mid-size businesses just like yours.

They’re gunning for you.

They know you don’t have the same resources as a large company. They know you think you’re okay. So they’re banking on the fact that you’re not prepared.

But there’s one thing they don’t know . . .

You have secret weapons.

Teaming up with us means leveraging the same weapons and tactics as a larger company. Even with a smaller budget.

Because this isn’t about sexy solutions. This is about honest results.

We won’t hold back or sugarcoat your situation. Good or bad, you’ll know what shape your network is in. You’ll understand your options. And then we’ll take swift action.

Together, we’ll execute internal network security, external network security, data protection, and compliance and training.

We’ve got your back. We’re at your front line. And we’re at your side.

Let’s do this.

#3 Be consistent.

When you know the best tone to represent your identity, apply it to every page of your website. Take every opportunity to reinforce who you are and what you’re all about.

That means crafting a great first impression on your “Home” page . . . .

Military Grade Protection for Your Data

This is headquarters for small and midsize businesses who want intelligent security solutions. We’re a team of military veterans and security experts who deliver straight talk and honest results.

. . . And it also means not overlooking opportunities like your “Contact” page. Even here, you can communicate your value.

Your enemies don’t take a break, so we won’t either.

Contact us any time. We’ll respond within 24 hours.


A lot goes into finding the right tone for your website. Start by defining your identity and purpose, knowing your audience, and being consistent. This way, your website will hit the best tone for your target clients!


EllaElla Ritchie is the founder of Stellar Communications Houston, a business communications and book publishing team that brings clarity, quality, and integrity to nonfiction authors, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, and federal government agencies.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook, or check out the website for more information.


Five Business Communication Tips from “Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter”

Let me begin by saying that this isn’t a political article. The truth is I’m not a very political person.

But I am passionate about communication. That’s why I make it a habit to observe the techniques of the Presidents of the United States. No other position faces the monumental challenge of rallying the support of an entire nation. So when they do something that works, I pay attention. You might remember my 2016 post about Obama’s speechwriter that examined his use of emotion in stirring people to action.

Now let’s take a look at “Donald Trump’s Contract with the American Voter.” Political views aside, here are some noteworthy business communication tips that we can take from the publication.

Trump contract both pages

Identify your target audience.

Trump contract audience

The title lets readers know right away this contract is for “the American voter.” Identify your audience to help you stick to content that matters most to them – and to become instantly relevant to your ideal clients.

Be clear on your unique value proposition.

Trump contract uvp

Honesty, accountability, and change within 100 days – this is the overarching promise that Trump makes to American voters. Be upfront with your audience on where you’re heading, how you’ll get there, and what results they can expect. What statement are you willing to boldly promise in writing to your clients?

Organize material into bite-sized portions.

Trump contract organize

Subheadings and bulleted lists provide an instant face lift to content. That’s because they take the burden off the reader by serving as a mini-directory of topics. Now your readers can skim and jump to their favorite parts rather than sludge through a wall of words. By grouping your material, you’re also adding white space and eye appeal. Just be sure your readers understand your intent even when they skip parts of your material.

Make it personal.

Trump contract sig

Trump’s signature and a space that invites “your” signature adds a personal touch indicating that this contract is between the President and you, a single voter.

Keep it simple.

Trump contract border

Because the material is so direct and weighty, the formatting is kept simple. The content is outlined in two pages using just a few colors, one image, a simple page border, and a website to learn more.

As you write and design your business materials, keep these five tips in mind for the most effective business communication!


Ella Ritchie is the founder of Stellar Communications Houston, a business communications and book publishing team that brings clarity, quality, and integrity to nonfiction authors, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, and federal government agencies.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook, or check out the website for more information.