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WhirLocal Albany

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Albany, Oregon 97321

We recently had a chance to sit down and interview Russ Hedge, a local marketing coach, author, and speaker, to explore the art of authentic connections. In an era where digital interactions often overshadow face-to-face engagements, we find ourselves more ‘connected’ than ever before. Yet, there’s a growing yearning for genuine, personal connections, especially within our local community. Our conversation with Russ offered insightful perspectives on bridging this gap, fostering meaningful relationships, and revitalizing the essence of true community spirit in our digitally-driven world.

Russ Hedge

Russ’s philosophy is grounded in the belief that authenticity is the key to building lasting relationships. He argues that in a world increasingly dominated by digital communication, the need for genuine, human-to-human connections is more critical than ever. This philosophy isn’t limited to his professional life; it permeates every aspect of his approach to living.

Central to Russ’s philosophy and coaching is what he called his “Five Simple Ways to Connect,” a set of principles he has crafted to guide individuals in building authentic relationships. He started by saying, “You know, the biggest thing is there’s really five simple ways to connect with people and I use this all the time, really simple. That will help people and number one to just show up and start. You know, we talked about showing up and just getting started because you know what, if you don’t get the ball rolling, nothing’s gonna happen.”

Russ Hedge’s Five Simple Ways to Connect

  1. Show Up and Start: The first step, according to Russ, is to show up. This means being physically present where connections happen – in community events, professional gatherings, or social functions. It’s about taking that initial step out of one’s comfort zone to initiate relationships.
  2. Be Intentional: Russ emphasizes the importance of intentionality in choosing relationships and communities. He advocates for actively seeking out groups and individuals who share similar values and goals. This intentionality ensures that the connections formed are meaningful and aligned with one’s personal and professional aspirations.
  3. Be Real and Friendly: Authenticity is at the core of Russ’s approach. He believes in the power of genuine interactions – being oneself in all engagements. This includes being open, approachable, and friendly, creating an environment where authentic connections can flourish.
  4. Be Present: In our fast-paced, distraction-filled world, being mentally and emotionally present in interactions is vital. Russ underscores the importance of active listening and engaging genuinely with others, fostering deeper and more meaningful connections.
  5. Be Consistent: Consistency is critical in nurturing and maintaining relationships. Russ suggests regular engagement with communities and individuals to strengthen these bonds. Consistency in presence and interaction builds trust and familiarity, key ingredients in lasting relationships.

Russ’s philosophy is not just theoretical; it’s reflected in his diverse range of activities. He hosts several weekly live streams, such as “Marketing with Russ” and “Russ Reels Live,” where he shares insights and connects with people from various walks of life. His interest in contemporary issues like the role of AI in social media showcases his adaptability and commitment to staying relevant in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Furthermore, Russ’s personal story is intertwined with the community through his involvement with causes like the Alzheimer’s Association. His support stems from his family’s journey with the disease, highlighting his personal commitment to the community.

Speaking about his deep connection to the Alzheimer’s Association, Russ shares, “My mom passed away about a year and a half ago from Alzheimer’s. And I’ve been a huge [supporter], she actually went through that journey for probably I forget exactly how many, seven years from the time she was diagnosed, probably something like that. But you know what we found…I’m my mama’s son. And she was full of joy, we would sing. And we would have I called it hashtag happy moments with Mama.”

He also champions local businesses, demonstrating his belief in the power of local ecosystems in nurturing authentic relationships.

Russ draws inspiration from thought leaders like John C. Maxwell, integrating their wisdom into his own. He believes in the fundamental principle that genuine care for others precedes any meaningful connection, whether in sales, business, or personal interactions. This perspective forms the crux of his advice to both individuals and businesses.

For those looking for guidance in marketing, personal growth, or simply a meaningful conversation, Russ extends an open invitation. His website,, is a resource trove, offering access to his LinkedIn newsletter, daily encouraging emails, and an array of other resources aimed at inspiring and uplifting individuals.

Russ Hedge’s story is more than a narrative of professional success; it’s a blueprint for living a life enriched by genuine connections. In our digital age, where impersonal interactions are often the norm, Russ stands as a great example of authenticity, reminding us of the profound impact that real, human connections can have on our lives, businesses, and the broader community. His commitment to authentic relationships is not just a business strategy but a life strategy, offering lessons in the enduring power of human connection.


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