Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Non Profits Find New Path with New Networking Group

Formed by Alex Sirota, NewPath is a virtual consultancy based in Toronto, Canada comprised of a geographically disperse network of highly qualified information and knowledge consultants.

The group’s outward focus and marketing efforts are directed toward the Not-For-Profit and Social Enterprise sectors, and a significant proportion of its members have extensive experience with these client segments. The goal is to conceive, develop and implement technology initiatives that empower these organizations to reach their social mission objectives in a completely self-sustaining manner.

The group believes that highly effective, sustainable technology strategies can deliver high returns to the Not-for-Profit client to keep the social mission moving forward. The organization consist of a group of consultants that have wide ranging experience with a deep understanding of Not-for-Profit technology mandates.

New Path’s talent pool of freelance professionals ranges from hard core programmers, web developers and project managers to graphic designers, communication specialists, fund raising strategists, product managers and business development specialists. As a highly networked virtual consultancy, they can deploy projects with extreme flexibility and deliver affordable solutions.

New Path has a structured framework for each meeting consisting of a “Welcome and new business”, round-table 60 second introductions, a Professional Development Segment and a free-form networking session at the end of each meeting with light food and cocktails. For the Professional Development segments, the group invites speakers from both inside and outside the NewPath network to present on real issues that touch its members as freelance and independent business people. On occasion, the group brings in business celebrities and leading authorities.

Meet them virtually at our LinkedIn group or at www.newpathconsulting.com

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach at the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. in Chelsea, Quebec and the President of Business Over Breakfast ( BoB Clubs) Clubs in North America. If you have an interesting networking story about anyone or anything in Canada, he can be contacted at kenselt@bobclubs.com.

Welcome to a World of Extremely Wired Woman

It’s a crazy tough world out there and women networkers in the technology field in Canada now have a new group to network with. Called Wired Women, the organization is a new networking group that focuses in on helping women in the technology field grow their business, their networks or their careers and it has now has branches open now in Toronto and Vancouver.

Network, educate and mentor are three words that have guided the volunteer networking group Wired Woman since its inception and symbolize and remain the pillars of the organization.

Wired Woman’s mission is to create an environment that encourages women to explore opportunities in technology, science and new media and to build successful careers that will allow them to become a driving force in these expanding sectors.

If you are finding it a challenge to meet people in the technology, science and new media sector then Wired Women helps you network. The group’s intention is to attract as many talented, interesting women in technology as possible, to grow our community and to provide forums for everyone to interact without the barrier of an annual fee.

At regular events, seminars and social functions Wired Women provides members and volunteers with real opportunities to gain exposure to an industry that otherwise can seem intimidating and confusing. It helps women to grow their network, meet interesting people and make lifelong connections.

Wired Woman also runs regular workshops, seminars and events to educate and empower women in the technology sector. We also provide training, support and resources to help our members learn more about the many opportunities available. Volunteering for Wired Woman also provides an opportunity for members to gain hands on experience, add to their resumes and to learn more about their industry.

The mentoring comes in when you need help crafting your career path or for someone to talk to who is in the industry? Wired Woman members are invited to apply to join a 6-month mentorship program. Aimed at women entering or re-entering the work-force, it is designed to help women who need career guidance.

Mentors meet with mentees at least one hour, monthly, for the duration of the mentoring relationship. This career mentorship experience is enhanced with networking events and education workshops.

You can follow Wired Women on Twitter, and join the Wired Woman groups on Facebook (Wired Woman Society) and LinkedIn (Wired Woman).For more information on Wired Women check out their website at www.wiredwomen.com

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. in Chelsea Quebec and is President of Business Over Breakfast Clubs (BoB Clubs) of North America. If you have an interesting story contact him at Kenselt@sympatico.ca

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Is Traditional Media In Canada Dead?

My topic this month is something that is being hotly debated by almost every media outlet in the country and all across North America. Its a question that is on everyone's mind. Is traditional media dying an untimely death?

I personally don’t think so. Just like the telegraph and the morning newspaper media is always in a state of change and the impact of new media on traditional advertising and communications is no different. Let’s just say the amount of attention that new media is getting is making us feel as if traditional media can no longer compete. So in some ways there may be a collective thinking that traditional media is dead. Lets look a some of the facts.

In Canada is safe to say that ad revenues from traditional media are down across the board and online media is definitely on the increase. Newspapers are having the biggest problem securing advertisers since their daily news is reported well in advance on any of the major websites like Canada.com, Sympatico.ca. MSN Canada, Yahoo Canada and Google. For instance as a dedicated newspaper reader, I now only buy the weekend papers and no long subscribe at the office.

The key area that seems to really be taking a hit is the classified ad sections of most newspapers. With free ad sites like Craig’s List, Kijji and any number of local online and employment sites offering free ads and amazing search options, traditional classified and employment ads are also generating the lowest revenues in years.

National television is also suffering not only from the loss of local ad revenues but from the ever changing role played by cable and satellite in Canada. The two national commercial networks are fighting it out with the cable companies promoting the value of local television as cable and satellite companies now want to charge subscribers extra for the right to watch local news in their areas on their local cable or satellite station. The local news represents the largest number of concentrated local viewers and the most revenues since these local stations retain the rights to sell local advertisers into a well watched local program with a highly consistent and dedicated audience.

The main media that seems to remain stable through all of this is radio. With the advent of television in the 1950’s there was much discussion that the radio was dead or would over time die out. As we can see this did not happen. Every local radio station has a bevy of local listeners who continue to support them regardless of the role new media plays. Everyone has a local favourite radio station for local news and sports and local activities. Satellite radio continues to gain popularity; however local news and weather can only be garnered from stations in the local market. So radio's demise is not going to happen anytime soon. However the Ipod is having a major impact on what individuals listen too and when so the jury is still out.

So what does this mean for the individual or the business organization that has a mission to promote an event, sell a product, promote a new service and meet new customers? In my last column I felt that new media such as Facebook, Tweeting, My Space and blogging all help to build profile and help to create new contacts and some new business opportunities as well.

For me personally however, being active in your local community be it online or offline is still one of most important things a person or a company can do. An online community is great to make contacts if you have product that is national in scope and can be sold over great distances. A local community made up of local businesses, events and organizations are still valuable if you get personal service referrals, provide a local service or need to deal with individuals that in your own back yard.

The key point is traditional media is just changing and as they say on Monty Python it’s not time to "bring out yer dead yet".

The local media revolution is no different than any other media revolution that came along throughout history. These included the printing press changing town hall meetings, the telegraph was replaced by the telephone, couriers were replaced by fax machines and typewriters were replaced by computers and radio was changed immensely by the advent of television. So media and communications is always evolving

The key ingredient for change however is that information will always be required and requested by human beings and will be required in selective ways that still include a great deal of personal activity.

People still buy from people and personal relationships are still the most important thing. Regardless of what happens with traditional ways of communicating there will always be something that is just around the corner that will make it easier and more efficient to get the information you require. So traditional media my be dying as we know it, however most organizations are scrambling to reinvent themselves just like my grand father did when upon graduating from telegraph school he found that the telegraph was about to not exist anymore. Just like him, media and advertising will also make shifts that will include reinventing and becoming more resiliant to change.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Does Face to Face Networking Still Work in the Modern Era of Tweeting and Twittering?

A few weeks ago, this question was asked by a Canadian Business coach at a recent event I attended in Ottawa. I was going on about the value of business referral clubs and how they can help small and medium sized businesses to build business through one to one referrals. This coach suggested that the business club was dead and that in the modern era all one needed to do was reach out through any of the local online networks and he or she could have all the contacts they wanted.

I posed that question to members of my Likened group a few weeks back only to get a barrage of answers that supported the question and a lot more that didn’t. Most of the respondents said that it was still important to have personal contact with customers or prospective customers in order to build that personal contact. Most felt that it was all right after the fact to contact people online but the initial contact should be in person.

At that point, I started researching business clubs in Canada. I came upon the usual suspects. The Chambers, Rotary, Kinsmen and Kinettes, BNI, BoB Clubs, and quite a few smaller lesser known local breakfast clubs. There were a number of online networking clubs mostly of regional nature and a number of business clubs that were part of other organizations. I realized that business referral or networking clubs are still alive, are well, and thriving in Canada.

There are also a large number of business networking websites, many which I have written about over the past year in this column, actually are growing and so are the lists of local meetings dedicated to the art of business and business networking. Based on my rough survey, I could say that in Canada the art of Face to Face networking is still a going and growing business. I can also say that in the era of tweets, Face book, Likened, Eecademy and number of other online sites, that both still have merit for promoting one’s business and making business contacts.

As the century unfolds, online networking will get bigger and more active and offline face to face networking will still be needed to build the relationship. It’s a much closer world today and as the online world continues to get stronger, the world will become even a smaller place. So in my mind, tweeting, and tweets are only the beginning of a good solid networking relationship. Its still up to two human beings regardless of where they live to find something in common, reach out, communicate and then see what happens.

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. in Chelsea, Quebec and is the Presidents of Business over Breakfast (BoB Clubs) of North America.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nortel and the Canadian Government

There was an interesting debate happening this morning on CFRA the Talk Radio station in Ottawa on whether or not that governments at all levels should have bailed out Nortel. A Canadian icon and Canada's sympbol of technology to the world was left to the wolves of big business in the telecommunications industry. Like the auto industry they were seeking bail out money to keep the company from going into bankruptcy.

The debate focused on whether the various levels of government, city,provincial,federal should have helped Nortel with loans and funding to keep the company in Ottawa and keep it Canadian.

Its an interesting debate. First of all, Ottawa City Council does not have the intelligence to consider this a debate. They are all too worried about their own personal egos and really have little or no understanding about business or the business community in Ottawa. Nortel was a significant employer and the city should have been lobbying the province and the feds to keep a major employer alive in this city. Instead we waisted valuable time at the council table debating Shannon Tweed day. Graeat move City of Ottawa! This is the level of intelligence that comes from the City of Ottawa and its elected officials. Employment or Shannon Tweed Day? What would you choose?

Second, Premier McGinty is also focused on the other things in Ontario like creating more tax dollars and the HST. He managed to take a postion on the auto industry because its important for votes but Ottawa. A major employer a high technology firm in Ottawa is not high on the priority list even though he is from the region. The feds, well, my friends after watching our government at work for the past 8 years I have decided that they have no plan ( even though I am a conservative) and would not show any leadership anyway unless " Stevie Boy" calls in the troops. " Stevie Boy" seems to have no interest in this at the moment. In fact no one really knows what " Stevie Boy" is interested in since he is floundering around like a fish out of water. This guy our leader is more interested in travel ( afterall it is summer, the government jet still has money left in the budget, better get it spent) than in keeping jobs in Canada. I guess a reformist can never really be called a true conservative. A true conservative has a focus for big business, employement and helping to build business inside a true democracy. "Stevie Boy" is a dictator with limited vision and well big business just does not go with the territory. What's 50,000 high tech jobs anyway and how many votes will I get from that and besides Ottawa is not even in that red part of the map central Ontario.

So the debate continues, was Nortel a good candidate for a bailout or should it's years of missmangement be seen as a reason for letting it go.

It should be mentioned here that at one time our Federal government had a agreement to support Nortel's research and development for reciporal taxes. So our government has already invested millions already in the technology and Nortel so why let it go.

The debate continues and now we are without a current employer and we have lost another Canadian icon. Short sighted governments and busiess people with limited management skills mean this country has a long way to go before it will be a major player on the world stage. So, so long Nortel, its been good to know ya. Its only too bad that we did not do something about this company earlier.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sold and Emotionally Violated

Over the years, much has been said about advertising and its ability to get consumers and businesses to make emotional buying decisions.

These decisions are based on supplying the right kind of truthful information and then getting the potential customer or client to respond to the information supplied.
The other day, as a consumer, I, too, was confronted with such a decision.
This decision called for me to buy, and, for a moment, I was ready. I was sold, sold emotionally, and violated in the process.

Some of you have most likely had your trust violated as well: by the mystery man "J."

"J" shows up in a typewritten envelope with a Philadelphia postmark. "J" encourages you to read an article by Leah Thayer, a book review on the guide The American Speaker.

Enclosed is a page that looks as if it has been torn from a magazine and folded to look familiar. "J" sticks his initial on a "post-it" note telling me personally, "Try this, it works."

I read the article top to bottom because it seems to have been sent by a friend of mine. I feel confident someone that knows me is truly trying to help me out.

I feel good that some friend knows and cares enough to send me information. I am truly blessed to have friends and business associates who truly care about me. Right? Or wrong.

Who is "J"? John my best man, Jim my high school buddy, Janis from sales, or James the vice-president?

I spend the better part of an evening and early morning trying to figure out who mysterious "J" is.

The next day, as I enter my office, a colleague bemoans direct mail and the lowest form of direct mail he got this week. The direct mail from "J."

How could "J" deceive me, and send this same advice to hundreds or thousands of other friends. It can't be, I'm special. "J" only sent this advice to me.

Disappointed, I realize that a bond of trust has been violated by "J." So, I investigate.

"J" turns out to be The George Town Publishing House in Washington, d.c., and when I contact it to get more information, I was told this was the method commonly used to sell various publications.

The American Speaker, at US$297 plus US$30 for shipping and handling, was the book being thrust upon me by my new concerned friend "J."

"J" had marked the document at the appropriate spot with which to order using tick marks and circles as would a true friend or business associate.

The whole piece was a scam. "J" was not a true friend, but an imposter: I felt betrayed.

How could "J" say he was a real friend when all he wanted me to do was buy a book? How could he assume it would work for me when he didn't know me?

"J" was crossing the boundary ever so slightly, but enough to make me feel cheap, used and mad.

Our industry has spent years trying to get consumers to buy. Over these years, there have been a number of questionable calls.

Yet, we have never callously pretended to be a caring, concerned friend or business associate.

For a second, I, a senior ad executive, had let my guard down. I trusted my friend "J," and I had been misled.

"J" is a cheap imitation, a misleading piece of direct mail, a fraudulent piece of paper made to look like help from someone trusted.

I took two steps back and realized that in a business I love and care about, one always needs to be on the lookout for the "J"s of the advertising and direct mail world.

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach and is a Senior Partner with The Corporate Coachworkz Inc. located in Chelsea, Quebec.

Friday, February 20, 2009

City Of Ottawa Quizzed Over Atheist Ad Rejection

I have a good friend and colleague in the advertising business named Brad Boechler from Moodswing Media. His blog this month had a great take on exactly what's the bottom line when it comes to controversial adverting. Here is his take on how

"The City of Ottawa has been Quizzied Over Atheist Ad Rejection. Enjoy this -- its a great piece. -- by Brad Boechler

Ottawa is being questioned over why it rejected atheist ads proclaiming "There's probably no God.”

OTTAWA — the chair of Ottawa's transit committee will demand that city staff explain why they refused to allow atheist ads on city buses, even though ads quoting the Bible have been approved by the city and could appear on buses at any time.
The atheist ads, which say, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life," began in Britain and have spread around the world.
In Canada they've been on buses in London, Calgary, and Toronto, but were rejected by city staff in Halifax and Ottawa.
Justin Trottier, president of the Free thought Association of Canada, the ads' sponsor, said his group might ask a lawyer if their right to freedom of speech has been breached.

DID you spot it? Did you see The Worst Word in Advertising?
It is the word “probably.”
The fact that The Free Thought Association uses the word “probably” implies that even they aren’t absolutely convinced in their message. Is there an after life or not? Does GOD exist? Take a stand as a true believing atheist, (oxymoron) the sign should have read: There is No God, Enjoy Life.
If they are right and there is not a higher power, no harm no foul. Who is going to know? It just means that we are all in for “the big dirt sleep” nothing more.
I think that they use “probably” just in case they are wrong and hope that God has a sense of humor. “Oh, Hello Lord, imagine my red face.”
I find the whole issue humorous.

The Free Thought Association has received thousands of dollars worth of free and undeserved local media exposure.

But the word “probably” is not what has generated the attention.
The key to this campaign’s success is that Free Thought needed some uptight bureaucrat to refuse the advertising and that is exactly what they got. If Halifax, Ottawa and other Canadian cities would have accepted this ad placement as a normal course of business as they accept advertising with religious connotations, this campaign would have caused only mild curiosity and would have gone somewhat unnoticed. The Free Thought people were betting on the fact that the public sector is frozen with fear of offending anyone and it worked. I would be surprised if this story is getting as much play in the news in the cities that have accepted the campaign.

If you want to continue to wonder about whether advertising and marketing works use wishy-washy, milk toast, hedge your bet words like “probably”.
Create concepts that define who you are and what you stand for clearly and imaginatively.

What if some of the most familiar and famous marketers used the atheist approach to advertising. Would you be convinced of their quality of product or the passion for their business?

McDonalds: I’m Probably Lovin’ it.
Nike: You Should Probably Just do it.
Home Depot: You Might do it. We can Probably Help.
Staples: That was Probably Easy.
Allstate Insurance: You’re Probably in Good Hands, Maybe.

WOW! Can you feel the connection, the impact?

If you want your advertising and media dollars to go further, simply offend someone.
By the way, The Free Thought people say the ads are part of a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about the rights of non-believers. So I intend to do “nothing.”
There Is Probably No Recession. Stop Worrying. Now Spend Your Money.
I am almost positive that I have made my point today, so I will leave you a few random thoughts:
- Would a sign on an atheist restaurant read; No shirt No shoes No God?
- Do atheists tell their kids about Santa Claus?
- I have heard that atheist dyslectics don’t believe in dogs.
Stay in good mood,

You can reach Brad at Moodswing Media at Brad Boechler@rogers.com, he's a great guy and great marketing pro... and he is out of job and needs work, call him, he can help.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Youth Exchanges and Networking are Growing World Wide, Alive, and Well in Canada

This month, I have decided to discuss networking from students prospective and how students can find ways to develop their leadership skills and become better networkers and ultimately better leaders. There is no age discrepancy in regards to how networks can be built and how one can increase one’s social capital by getting to know others throughout the world. Canada has always had a place at the world table primarily due to its views of freedom, fairness, democracy and diplomacy.

In my search for stories for this month’s column, I came across AIESEC. AIESEC, (pronounced as one word; originally an acronym for Association Internationale des Étudiants en Sciences Économiques et Commerciales) is an international, not-for-profit, non-political, organisation run by students and recent graduates of institutions of higher education. It describes itself as “The international platform for young people to discover and develop their potential so as to have a positive impact on society”. Its international office is currently in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The AIESEC network as of February 2008 includes 30,000 students in 113 countries at over 1100 universities across the globe, and realizes around 5000 exchanges yearly.

AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run organization, is the international platform for young people to discover and develop their potential to have a positive impact on society. In partnership with business and higher education, AIESEC has over 50 years of experience in developing high-potential students into globally-minded responsible leaders. AIESEC’s innovative development process consists of unmatched leadership experiences and global internships.

In Canada, AIESEC Canada Inc, is headquartered in Toronto, is a registered national, not-for-profit organization present in 26 leading Canadian universities and consists of 1800 students and recent graduates in 27 universities.

For the past 50 years, Canadian companies have relied on the Global Internship Program to meet their employment needs by gaining access to a global talent pool of the best and brightest young responsible leaders. The Global Internship Program is a tailored and reliable turnkey recruitment and community integration process for high quality international internships. Companies of all sizes have used the Global Internship Program to build their leadership pipeline, increase their competitiveness, and fuel their innovation.

Over the years 5,000 global internships annually in business, technical, and development sectors, 23,000 high-potential students developing into globally-minded responsible leaders annually with a network of one million alumni worldwide including heads of state and prominent leaders.
Each country (sometimes group of countries, or territories within a country) with an AIESEC presence has its own national Member Committee (MC), which coordinates activities for that area. Members also belong to a Local Committee (LC) for each university or city. As stated on its website, AIESEC strives for “positive social change” by using the “AIESEC Way” The AIESEC Way is described as a way of reaching “Peace and fulfilment of humankind’s potential.” According to AIESEC, there are six main values, namely Activating Leadership, Demonstrating Integrity, Living Diversity, Enjoying Participation, Striving for Excellence and Acting Sustainably.
On an individual level, AIESEC aims for the AIESEC Experience, which aims at “young people to discover and develop their potential”. There are five key principles, namely Taking an Active Role (main goal: proactive behaviour), Developing Self-Awareness and Personal Vision (assuming responsibility), Increasing Capacity (learning theory and applying it in practice), Building a Network (networking) and Challenging Worldview (holistic world view).

So Networking is alive in the world and the Canadian Chapter of AIESEC is well established and highly represented in Canada. AIESEC features many prominent world leaders including past President Bill Clinton, Kofi Amman and many prominent business people in Canada representing such firms as the Bank of Nova Scotia, CIBC, AGF Mutual Funds and Cossette Advertising.

For more information on AIESEC in Canada, check out http://www.aiesec.ca.

Kensel Tracy, The Marketing Coach is a Senior Partner with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. located in Chelsea, Quebec and is the President of Business over Breakfast (BoB) Clubs of North America. If you have an interesting topic on networking in Canada, you can contact Kensel at kenselt@sympatico.ca or kenselt@bobclubs.com

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mike Hughes “Canada’s Networking Guru” – Gives His Personal Opinion on Networking

As a blog writer, you always have your eyes and ears open for interesting networking stories that you can share. One such story comes from the Ottawa Networking Group on LinkedIn where Mike Hughes “Canada’s Official Networking Guru” hangs his hat. I first saw Mike’s networking handle when going through the members of the network to see if I could find a few friends of mine. I contacted Mike to see if he would be interested in giving me a story on who he was and how he became “Canada’s Networking Guru”. The rest was left up to Mike.

After a few emails back and forth about getting together for the story I got bogged down in making a living and then December rolled around, and Mike and I still had not been in contact. Then out of the blue, an email arrives with an important comment on an area that I should consider in regards to a new business concept I was launching in Ottawa and whose name was signed to that email; Mike Hughes “Canada’s Networking Guru”

Mike’s been in the networking game for the past 15 years. He got his impressive title from a newspaper article that ran a story on him and a writer that was so impressed with Mike, his programs and his approach to networking that he called him “Canada’s Networking Guru” and it stuck. He now uses this name to identify everything he does in the area of networking. It only takes a few minutes in conversation with Mike and you know you are talking with a special individual. His rapid delivery of who he is and why he got involved in networking convinces you early in the discussion that he is the real deal. He tells you about his impressive background as Past Chairman of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, his life as a professional speaker at international conferences and his view that “networking is a skill you develop” and “not something you do’ and you are engaged immediately. His social capital is worth receiving and it’s sprinkled with valuable information from the get-go.

“Networking” says Mike “is a business skill that most of us should learn and don’t”. Without catching a breath, he continues “networking should be a corporate required competency that everyone should learn whether they are in management, sales or owning a business” Now Mike’s on a roll. “Networking is about building a relationship on steroids, it’s not about selling yourself or your business but focusing in on building a solid relationship with others and you have about three minutes of conversation to build a meaningful relationship with others so you need to get it right from the start.”

He then goes on to tell me more about his “Networking for Results System” which includes some 40 hours of audio and written work and his ½ day and full day training sessions. Mike says that networking is all about context, communicating effectively and contributing to others. Mike is also a man in demand. He has been training businesses people, associations, government departments, and members of Chambers of Commerce across Canada and has spoken to groups all over North America on his “Networking for Results System’. Mike has me all fired up and I want to learn more. I hope you do too. This column is just the start. To get more information and valuable networking tips from Mike Hughes “Canada’s Networking Guru” check out his website at www.networkingforresults.com.

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach and is a Senior Partner with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. (www.corporatecoachworkz.com) in Chelsea, Quebec. He is also launching Business over Breakfast Clubs (BoB Clubs) business and breakfast referral networking clubs in all cities across North America.