Happy Face

Always a story

November 26th, 2016

One Response

OK, I know that our Thanksgiving (Canada) weekend was many weeks ago. But, with so many American friends and such close neighbours, and Black Friday spill…I felt that a Thanksgiving post was in order. As you sit with family and friends this weekend in the comfort of your homes, I hope that we can all be thankful for our good health and harmony in our lives. And when we have challenges, we are thankful for a supportive network of family and friends. Let’s remember and give thanks for our blessings and remember those who have suffered or are suffering in this world today. Let’s also remember that we never know “the story” that might stand behind those around us. This is but one example I just felt I had to share.

Always A Story

My daughter and I were traveling across northern Ontario the past few days and stopped in a great little restaurant  for dinner one night. The meal was outstanding and the service magnificent.
In fact, we had large portions and requested “to go” containers.
When the woman serving us returned with the styrofoam containers, she pulled out a pen and placed a “happy face” on the top. What a wonderful little gesture and farewell to traveling guests. It appeared to be somewhat of a unique design and I asked her if she was an artist.
She exclaimed “no” and then asked if we would indulge in her story. Obviously, there was something to my question of her artistry. We were also intrigued to hear a story on our journey and asked her to please go ahead. She said the last time something like that was said was when a woman customer told her, “if that’s a happy face, it is a good thing that you are a server and not an artist”. As humorous as that might be on the surface, our server says it really struck a chord with her.
In fact, she exclaimed to the woman; my four-year-old son used to make those happy faces. The woman being waited on then said “well yes it looks like something an adolescent would do”. The server then told her the sad story. He used to say that happy faces were made with numbers. He’d draw a large zero to start, add in 6’s for the eyes, zero’s for the pupils of the eyes, a 7 for the nose, a nine for the mouth and 11’s or two one’s on each side for the eye lashes. The server explained that she always likes to use this happy face to remember her four year old, because unfortunately he drowned when he was 12 years old. Apparently the woman then curtly, asked for her bill and left.
Did you have the kleenex handy?  The woman (server) went on to tell us more about this heart wrenching story. She said that her son loved to fish. He had wanted a new fishing rod prior to the day he drowned. When shopping for the fishing rod he asked his mother if he could find a book on “angels” because he had dreamed about angels the night before.
When she was leaving her son to stay a few more days, at her son’s request with grandma; the boy rang back out to the car hugged and kissed mom and said; “I just want you to know that I will always love you”. She said, “I know, see you Saturday” and he said “good-bye”. Tingle down the spine starts now…
She then went on to tell another story about the funeral. At the funeral, a woman kept waiting around until the end. At the end of the exhaustive funeral service this stranger approached “Mom” to tell her a story about her son – the day before drowning. In fact, her son had saved their daughter from drowning when their young daughter had ventured into the water to catch a toy that had blown into the water. The young boy had pulled the girl from the water and she was revived and was saved thanks to the heroic efforts of the 12 year old boy.
The next day the young boy, at age 12, was lost by drowing in the waters while fishing.
So. It is often said, to “judge not”. There is certainly almost always more to a story on the other side. Each person has something that they are dealing with that certainly strangers don’t know, and sometimes those even close to them do not even realize what might be on their mind.
Next time someone does a little act of kindness or a gesture, like a “happy face”, just receive it for what it is and be thankful. This world would be such a better place if we just all gave a little more kindness and goodness to each other each day. I’m sure glad I asked about whether the woman was an artist. Her story certainly left us with much to be thankful for in our lives, and deep sympathy for the family, loved ones and friends of that young boy so many years ago.
Thanks to this wonderful woman for her story. Again, we express deepest sympathies to her family and friends for their loss and thanks for the memory of her son, and his courageous act of saving a youngster from drowning, the day before he drowned himself. No doubt he is now with the angels he dreamed about.
May we all give and express our Thanks at this time of year.
CEO Social Networking

CEO Social Networking

November 21st, 2016

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Your CEO Social Networking. Do you cringe? Do you embrace the thought? Do you hope the CEO won’t read this headline? Or are you a CEO who is sitting there thinking “it is time and I need to get on with this”?

Do you cringe? Do you embrace the thought? Do you hope the CEO won’t read this headline? Or are you perhaps a CEO who is sitting there thinking “it is time and I need to get on with this”? All worthy provocations.

I just read a Marketing Magazine article posted by Cision the following:

“this year’s Signal Social CEO Index revealed that only 53 per cent of Canada’s top CEOs are on even one social media platform, and only 16 percent use two or more networks. With 78 percent of Canadian journalists using social media for work purposes, an executive’s absence spells missed opportunities for brands.”

Further information related to the Signal Leadership communications article can be seen in full here.

As a Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for Molson Coors Canada, I had the early support of our CEO early in 2007; and the Chief Legal and Corporate Affairs Officer. They gave me permission to explore and engage in social networking for the business. I was leading corporate communications and the concept of social networking was starting to explode. In fact, we created a blog with initial counsel from Dr. Mary Donohue, given that traditional media wasn’t necessarily carrying our message about all the good that was being done for multiple decades via the Molson Coors Donations Fund. I digress.

Two Factors for Success of C-Suite Social

For me, there are two critical factors at the C-Suite level when it comes to social media. First, the support by the C-Suite for the communications team to fully engage, explore and ignite social networking in a buisness. Second, for the CEO to actually take a role and play a part in that social networking activity. I think that the Signal PR report points out the gap that is most apparent in the second factor.

It is great to have C-suite support for your communications initiatives. It is even more powerful when that team of C-Suite executives actually take a role in the communications effort.

I would also want to dig deeper into the “53% of CEO’s engaged in social” to truly find out who is managing their content. I applaud the CEO who decides to step into social. It takes courage and it is not a natural role to assume. I celebrate the CEO who steps into the space with their voice, their thoughts, positions and their actual participation and engagement in the network.

A strong and successful social networking strategy will be set up for success when the CEO and communications team work together, rather than independently, on the CEO social strategy and action plan.

Managed by Communications Folks

Don’t worry communications teams, I am not suggesting that your CEO or C-Suite folks take on social networking in isolation from you and your team. In fact, the CEO should be as strategically relevant and “on message” as anyone else in the organization. Let’s face it, they set the tone from the top for all the other aspects of communication and business strategies. Why would we change that here?  Better yet, why would they think any differently?  This should be a collaborative strategic extension of marketing communications if the CEO is actually speaking out from their position in the business.

CEO’s directing their Communications

Building on working with the communications team, the CEO can powerfully add their voice and their humanness to the social networking for the business. Simply posting what marketing feeds them, or what PR approves is not truly authentic. A CEO that talks a bit about their education, interests, hobbies, family, weekend adventures, travel interests, passions for food, use of their business products; will help build engagement with the CEO social networking and a human side of the business that they are leading. The CEO as a champion and ambassador for their brand can be a valid, believable place on the team.

Respect for the Medium

A caution for all who consider taking a role in social networking for their business. From the CEO through to the delivery person, remember to have respect for the medium. Please understand that what you post is public. I liken social media to traditional media. How would you respond to a call from a reporter at the Globe and Mail? It is likely that the CEO would confer with their communications or PR counsel internally. If there is not internal support, it is likely that they would call their agency supporting them in PR and communications. Naturally, there would be an assessment of how that response to media and story told would show up in the press. Social media is no different. Social media is actually posting to a social media network. When it is posted and out there – it is in the world of media. Recall also that from the Signal PR report that 78 percent of journalists using social media for work purposes. You can follow relevant journalists and they can easily follow you. If they are interested in your business, they are likely already following or observing.

Plan the Journey

As with marketing, media relations, sales, business development, strategy, logistics – the social networking strategy takes planning. Let’s face it, your CEO social networking is a pretty sensitive concept – right ? Setting up the profile and entering the network takes minutes. Actually doing it strategically takes some planning. What to post? When to post? Why to post? Who to follow? How to respond? How to monitor? How quickly to respond? All of these are good questions. The answers are not necessarily standard. Much of it may depend on the personality of the CEO. Some of it may depend on the business and some of the regulatory peculiarities of that business. Best practices? It is up to you to create what is the best practice for your business and the personality of your CEO. An integration into the overall communications for the company will need to be reviewed. This is so that the CEO is not just some isolated, independent extension of all else going on with the business. There does need to be a plan.

CEO’s in social networking can be a powerful asset for the business. Your CEO social networking can truly position your business for leadership in your sector or category. Your CEO social networking can also be a disaster if there is not a well thought out plan in place. At the Devins Network, I’d be pleased to engage further with any CEO who might be interested, or with any communications team that might be entertaining the thought. I have passion and commitment for your success. Let’s start that conversation.

Thanks to Marketing Magazine, Cision and Signal PR for raising the matter. A gap worth closing in the corporate communications mix. @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

OCRWC supporting Make-A-Wish Canada

Obstacle Course Racing World Championships – Make A Wish Canada

September 5th, 2016

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The team at 365 Sports are continuing to build support for our community as they partner with Make A Wish Canada and the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships in October. Hats off to everyone for helping to make a difference for the lives of youth in Canada. Well done!

365Sports and OCRWC Make a Wish

365 Sports, Inc. and Adventurey, LLC., organizers of the 2016 Obstacle Course Racing World Championships (OCRWC), the premier independent championships serving the burgeoning sport of Obstacle Course Racing, have announced a new partnership with Make-A-Wish® Canada in support of their efforts to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. “There is no better fit for our organisation than Make-A-Wish,” said OCRWC Founder & CEO Adrian Bijanada. “For me and many others on the OCRWC team, this partnership is a dream come true, both professionally and personally.” As part of the partnership, OCRWC organisers and partners 365 Sports, Inc. will introduce and Open Division on Sunday of World Championship weekend, for which Make-A-Wish® will serve as a beneficiary. Additionally, 365 Sports and OCRWC will also be working with Crowdrise to drive interest, awareness and fundraising efforts on behalf of the wish-granting organisation.

How it Will Happen

“During the open run day on Sunday, October 16, a portion of each registration will be donated directly to Make-A-Wish,” said Tony Smith CEO of 365 Sports Inc. “As participants take to the obstacle course, they will be proud to know that they are making a difference for countless youth who face their unique challenges. With our participants’ generous support, our goal is to raise $25,000.00.”

More about OCRWC

The Obstacle Course Race World Championships is a single event created to unify, promote and increase participation in the sport of OCR, while celebrating its amazing athletes and community. This year’s competition, held October 14-16, will draw more than 2,000 athletes from over 30 countries to Blue Mountain Resort located outside Collingwood, Ontario.

This is the first time that the world championships have been held in Canada. With the splendour of fall colours in the Blue Mountains, the team at 365Sports are certain to be pleasing the world as they compete at this event.

@365Sports @OCRChampionship  @ BlueMountainResort @MakeAWishCA @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

Disclosure – 365Sports is a client of Devins Network Inc. I am proud of the work that they do in our greater community and their model for getting Canadians coast to coast to coast more active. FD

Get Filthy Clean #5KFoamFest

5K Foam Fest Moving Across Canada

July 11th, 2016

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Believe me – It is FUN !

Ok, I must admit, when I first got the call from Jesse Fulton at 365Sports “an enthusiast for adventure and action sports” asking me to chat with him about public relations and social media for their 5K Foam Fest; I was lacking a little on knowledge of this particular “race scene”. But…after spending some time with the team and taking in the event first hand at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia, I am a believer. And my gosh, is it fun.

Yes, after a few months of working with the team at 365Sports, I have come to have a great deal of respect and admiration for what they are executing in 14 stops from the west coast to Atlantic this summer in Canada. People are hopping off their couches, leaving their “devices” at the “gear check” and experiencing one heck of a fun event.

The event is also partnered with Habitat for Humanity and all proceeds from the Gear Check go to the local chapeter of @Habitat

The 5K Foam Fest is a fun-filled day of “participation” that puts fun seekers of all ages in a challenge against 20+ obstacles, a lot of foam, and some personal challenges. It is not a competition. It is all about completing the course. And…complete it as you see fit. If you don’t like the obstacle, go around it ! The minimum age is 8 years old, and teams are made up of all ages, families, workers, colleagues, fitness enthusiasts and some who are just simply seeking to accomplish a personal challenge set out by the 5K Foam Fest course.

I had the pleasure of visiting the festival event at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia near Kamloops British Columbia. I also had the opportunity to walk the course and witness the fun and frolic of participants as they faced their obstacles, mud, foam, hurdles and water! Walk Ferg ? Well yes, I had work to do…smiles.

The obstacles are plentiful as you leave from the starting gate moving your way cautiously through the foam that surrounds you. Here is a quick photo collage of  “the course” during the Sun Peaks 5K Foam Fest in British Columbia in June 2016. I have also included a couple of shots from the Winnipeg event.

The Course

The starting gate is quite a remarkable experience to witness as participants queue up behind the foam ready to lunge forward into the engulfing light white foam that awaits them.

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A chamber of foam awaits participants after a quick run out of the starting gate.

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There are several obstacles set up to test the crawling ability of participants. Many choose to crawl under, but some choose to be more cautious and step over the awaiting web.

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Several water stations re-hydrate participants along the course.

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Many are in awe by the awaiting “mud” obstacles. The Mocha pit and Mud Crawl were two beauties !

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The tube crossing looks easy…but a mud bath can easily consume the fun seekers.

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Several “run and dives” welcome participants with a slope into foam and wetness.

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A log roll like foam filled obstacle is unnerving as folks try to slip and slide over the rounded logs covered in foam.

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Mud pits abound…this one was particularly interesting with snow piled on each side of the obstacle.

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The Lily Pads look so easy to cross but have been known to snag participants at the ankles dragging them into the water below.

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Monkey business seems pretty standard but can be quite the challenge at this stage of the #5KFoamFest experience.

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Foam brings smiles to faces along the way in at various obstacle stops.

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Up and over never seemed like so much fun.

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At the 3/4 mark, the body washer is a welcoming refresher for participants.

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A large version of a standard hurdle makes for a quick climb.

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The “Death Drop” has them screaming down the slide on this “world largest” inflatable slide.

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Naturally, there is still “more foam” as participants near the finish line.

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Much joy of accomplishment is seen on the faces of those completing the course and being awarded their towels and medals.

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Each course is fully equipped with showers to freshen up at the end of a wonderful #5KFoamFest experience.

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And…if you have not had enough of a thrill through the course, you can always experience “Sky Fall” on site !

All in all the #5KFoamFest produced by the team @365Sports is an experience worth taking in this summer. Be sure to check and see which stop you might experience as the team travels coast to coast this summer in Canada. Check it all out at www.5KFoamFest.ca

Be sure to tweet all about your experience @FoamFestCanada. We’ll be waiting to hear about your experience. Or join the over one hundred and fifty thousand fans now following the team on Facebook.

Have an awesome summer !  @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

Sunnybrook Field of Dandilions

I Walk for Bladder Cancer

May 4th, 2016

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We all have our causes, our not for profits, our charities, our volunteer involvements and our community engagement initiatives. One of my priorities is Bladder Cancer Canada. In early 2014 I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer. Thanks to an attentive general practitioner, whom I had seen for years, and a wiseacupuncturistt, whom I had also seen for years – I was referred to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Urology. I had two high grade non-muscle invasive tumours removed from my Bladder in March of 2014. Bladder Cancer is known to have a high incidence of recurrence, thus I have maintained regular three month check ups and a series of “BCG Treatments” since surgery.

I am a survivor of Bladder Cancer. I was also well informed and supported along my journey by the fine work of the Bladder Cancer Canada organization. They had strong and accessible resources, and people who had gone through this before me. For patients, that peer support and understanding ear and person to turn to is a wonderful opportunity to seize.

As a patient facing Bladder Cancer, and I’m sure any cancer or disease – one can feel quite alone in the battle. Bladder Cancer Canada certainly helped eliminate any risk of feeling alone through their tremendous support network.

In September of 2014 I organized a walk for Bladder Cancer Canada in Kenora, where we have our summer home. I joined the board of Bladder Cancer Canada in the spring of 2015, staged the second walk in Kenora in September of 2015 and then accepted the challenge of becoming National Walk Lead for Bladder Cancer’s September 2016 effort.

I walk because I know that the funds that I raise with you will make a difference. It will make a difference in supporting patients and caregivers. It will make a difference in raising awareness to help others get help early. It will make a difference by generating funds to channel for bladder cancer research.

I walk because bladder cancer is the fourth most prevalent cancer amongst men, twelfth amongst women but funded below twentieth in research funding.

I am walking because I know that my efforts, with you – will make a difference.

Please join with me in supporting the Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness Walk in 2016. You can register, volunteer and or donate at bccwalk.ca .

Thanks !  @FergDevins

PHOTO CREDIT – Clark Devins Photography

#ShowYellow

Bladder Cancer Month of May

May 1st, 2016

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It is #BadderCancer Month in Canada. The Board of Directors of Bladder Cancer Canada have declared the month of May as Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness month. Although things are kicking off in a rather modest way this year, we are calling upon our volunteers, patients, families, urologists, oncologists, nurses, general practitioners and the public at large to join with us to bring attention and awareness to this fifth most prevalent cancer in Canada.

Some of the milestones this month will include a May 6th lighting of Niagara Falls in yellow, with a touch of red. On May 14th the CN Tower in Toronto will be lit yellow, with a touch of red. BC Place will also be lighting up yellow, with a touch of red at some point during the month.

I am personally proud to shout out the #BladderCancer awareness activity as a bladder cancer survivor myself. I had two non-muscle invasive tumours removed in March of 2014 and have been diligently carrying out my follow up cystoscopies and BCG treatments, since surgery. I’m now at a “six month” check in protocol and so far “all clear”. I’ve taken the active step of getting involved with Bladder Cancer Canada as a board member and in a new role this year as National Walk Lead

YOU can help us this month by wearing yellow as part of our #ShowYellow effort to raise awareness coast to coast to coast in Canada for #BladderCancer. Feel free to retweet @BladderCancerCA or post on Facebook. We also have local Facebook pages in the twenty walk communities across the country. You can also gain more information about Bladder Cancer in Canada at www.bladdercancercanada.org.

Thanks for helping us gain great awareness for Bladder Cancer. And for wellness sake, if you See Red – See Your Doctor !  @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork 

PHOTO CREDIT: Special Thanks to Cory McCrindle for his Photograph of Jamieson Fregeau during the 2014 Walk in Kenora Ontario

Natural Network

Get Your Network Working

April 23rd, 2016

One Response

A Network

This visual from the Sunnybrook Trails in Toronto reminded me of our structure of social networks. Roots that sink deeply into the forest bed, paths that wind in different directions. Branches that spread out in many directions with various twigs and buds emerging. Some branches overlapping, interchanging, seemingly collaborating. In the distance, blue skies of opportunity. All held together in its own eco system and community networks.

Have Purpose

The social networking world can seem to some to be very ominous. I’m also convinced that, regardless of age or stage of life, everyone can benefit from the right social network designed for the individual with a purpose in mind.

If you think of your current role and how you might benefit from a stronger use of social network, you might be pleasantly surprised at what nuggets of opportunity arise. Even if there is not a “role” for you in a formal context. Think of your interests, your passions, your dreams, your travel, former friends and colleagues, the old home town.

Let’s think of a few examples of purposeful social networking

Possibilities of Purpose

Professionals, Business Folks, Not for Profit Leaders, Students seeking a new job opportunity in the work force, Mid-Career changing Individuals, Community Leaders; the one sure place that you need to be networking is LinkedIN. LinkedIN offers a world of connectivity and an opportunity to lay your profile out in a very professional setting. You have the ability to join groups, search conversations and interests and even take a peek at their constantly updated job boards. A sure bet for professional networking.

If you travel, TripAdvisor is just such a wonderfully rich catch of information, reviews, suggestions, photos and interesting insights from those who have gone before you. Once you’ve seen the power of TripAdvisor you might like to add your own reviews to help others in the pursuit of travel insights.

Quilters may find great opportunities to connect via Pinterest or Instagram as they share the joys of the various works of art. Extend that to any number of artists and their communities.

Artists may also find the outlet of blogging a wonderful way to express their works of art and bring attention to their creative genius and works. I use WordPress but there are many platforms to assess for blogging. There are also a lot of web design tools. Frankly, I’m just not that technically suited so I had the folks at JIB create my website.

Those in public service or community influence are likely to find that the news feed benefit and keyword search and #hashtags on Twitter is an easy wasy to keep an eye on what’s new. It’s no surprise that just about every news cast and newscaster has resorted to profiling their Twitter handles, when reporting the day’s news.

I would suggest that anyone can find a purposeful advantage on Facebook. Facebook is just so large and far reaching. Who can deny that there might be a place with a number of different purposes to engage. Whether you create your own group, with specific interests and privacy – a page for a specific cause or undertaking – an event in your community where you can create a special event and invitation page – or perhaps a page for your business or cause. Facebook also provides a very reasonable “boost” to pay for advertising and targeting those within the Facebook world that you might like to reach.

Google+ is terrific for building a following and community and grouping within specific interests. Google has a wonderful set of applications and suite of business tools including a special drive, google alerts, YouTube etc. Google Apps for work is a great place to check out tools for your business.

Speaking of YouTube, you might well have your own collection of moments; or your own special stories to tell via video and collect them on your own YouTube channel. YouTube is also such a huge resource to find out how to do just about anything. From learning to play your favourite tune on the piano, to building something of interest for your home or cottage – you’ll find it all on YouTube – get in there and search something out!

If you are just looking to “listen”, you might find Blab or Periscope or Vine applications of interest to you on a given subject matter. You can participate, or just watch and listen. Video is just simply a powerful way to communicate. The one “caution” is not to make it too long. In my humble opinion, you’ll lose the viewer after a few minutes max (if recorded, different if live streaming of course).

One more network that you will find is more youth oriented, for the time being that is. Until the parental units catch on to how much is being communicated via this platform (smiles)  SnapChat. SnapChat offers a quick, casual, easy way to keep in touch and share photos, collections or quick videos with friends “in the moment”. There are also a number of ongoing features and newsfeeds through SnapChat.

In closing, don’t forget that your email and contact list continues to serve as a critical foundation of your social network. Keep those contacts neat and tidy. Keep them updated with today’s relevant information. Attempt to include social networks along with phone and address. You’ll find fax numbers less important and Twitter Profiles more use today. Along with your email service there are a number of email tools to utilise for list outreach and campaigns. Mail Chimp and Constant Contact are just two of many services available.

Get Your NetworkWorking

All in this is just a nudge for you to get that network working.

Whatever your interest, passion, cause or focus – there is bound to be information, people and learning that you can find and network with, across the social channels.

Have fun engaging. If you need more direction or support, I’d be happy to chat further on some ideas best suited to you and your business or cause.  Ciao for now !  FERG @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

Orkney Beef

Calling All Farmers To Social Network

March 21st, 2016

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Farmers ? Yes you bet !

I had the privilege of speaking at the Central Ontario Agricultural Conference a few weeks back and was very intrigued by the opportunity that exists for the farming sector in social media.

In a room of close to 40 people, I was first struck by how people were reluctant to see themselves as being engaged in “social media”. I was quick to remind them that prior to the formal channels of social media, they were likely some of the pioneers and drivers of what social was all about. Let’s face it, the traditional weekend “farmers’ market” is a pretty long-standing weekend “social” event for their business.

Farmers’ Market – It’s Social

If you take the concept of farmers’ market to the web – you have a wonderful platform for Farmers in Social Media.

I was also intrigued by the number of people in the audience (farmers as well as a collection of other small and medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs) who fully embraced the need for a website – but had not necessarily considered multiple channels in their social networks. It seemed to me like people felt that the website got their story out there. Where I see opportunity is telling the story through the utilization of social networking.

Start with Purpose

Naturally my first two premises for engaging in social media are:

A – Have a purpose for getting into social media and

B – ensure that you are going to commit to what resources you will need to do it well.
Please don’t do it because you read this prompt, and certainly don’t do it because someone said you should be on Twitter. YOU need to truly feel that building social networking into your marketing and word of mouth plan is done with purpose and outcome identified.

Some Examples

So Farmers? If you consider that many farms today rely on a mix of wholesale and consumer direct sales, there is a wonderful opportunity through social networks to get closer to and engaged with their audience. Depending on the farm product, there are quite possibly many audiences that already exist in farming. This article from BEEF back in 2012 was clearly pointing to the opportunity for cattle ranchers. Here is another great article from Australia that talks about livestock opporutnities in social media. It does speak a little bit about social media taking over traditional channels. I’m not going to get into that debate. What I will say is that social media can serve a role, within your overall integrated communications strategy. Another article compares how articles of the past in a specific trade magazine related to corn can be applied to how you converse through social media. The point being made here is about developing “trust”. “Agriculture More Than Ever” has some terrific resources for telling the agricultural story.

Find Your Conversation

One real advantage of social media is that you are actually engaging in a conversation. Let me re-phrase that. One of the opportunities of social media is that you can actually start to engage in a conversation. Through conversation, you can get to know your customer, supplier or associates. Through conversation, you will understand each others’ needs better. Through conversation, you will start to build trust and understanding. Isn’t it true that we tend to buy from those we trust? This is an advantage of social media for the farm community.

Accept the Nudge

So, I am calling all farmers to social media. Take a look at your online presence. See how you are performing in your particular category. How are your competitors showing up in this social media space? What are your customers saying about your business in this space? What conversations are taking place now on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram or through video posts on YouTube that you should consider being part of.

Here to Help

If you’d like a little coaching on these questions, I’m ready willing and able to help you out. Cheers to the next conversation that you find yourself in and I hope that it moves you towards new growth in your business. @FergDevins  @DevinsNetwork

possible

Conversation for Transformation

February 9th, 2016

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Transformation

One often hears people speaking about transforming their business. However, I find that in many situations, when people speak about transformation, they are really only looking at incremental change. Big ideas are conjured up at the start, however – “a little more of this, a little more of that, another one of these” are the results. In my mind, transformation is more about bold and remarkable shifts for a business, cause, team or entity. In transformation, teams can truly embrace what they currently feel is impossible. They can make what seemed impossible – possible.

Create New Ways

If I visualize this concept, I can see something that is beyond one’s reach. The reach is because it is defined by how things are currently done, what knowledge is available, what restrictions that business or leadership has placed on themselves. Reach is determined by a number of limiting variables. We often hear that Albert Einstein referred to insanity as, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Leaders in business refer to expectations being insane, because the goals and expectations are layered on top of “more of the same” in strategic approach and execution.

Many businesses work tirelessly in devising their annual or long range plans. The work diligently to create compelling visions and determination of reaching new heights and goals. BUT, they set those new targets and lofty goals with the foundation of their business activity being more of the same. Great new advances can’t possibly be achieved, if something is not transformed at the base.

Transformation takes hard work. Transformation takes alignment, commitment and a shift in thinking. Transformation requires a fresh future outlook, not caught in the past practice or thinking. New ways of strategizing, approaching, thinking and doing need to be created. It is not for those who cling on to the past. It is about a bright new future and embracing that future.

Let’s Have A Conversation

If I have peaked your interest, I have a team that you should consider speaking with in meeting your needs. I’m working with an innovative team that is developing their business in Canada. Their business is all about transformation. I have seen their work in action. I have experienced and wintessed the impact that they have delivered for various businesses. They’ve got an intensive interactive workshop model that can be delivered in the board room, at any level in an organization, or at the street. We need to have a conversation; whether you are a large corporation, medium sized business, entrepreneur looking to land that big idea OR a not for profit, cause, team or enterprise that seems stuck in the mud.

I promise that they will make a difference in delivering truly transformational opportunities and possibilities for your business. If you would like to learn more about this team, I would like to engage with you in that conversation. Let’s set some time aside to talk about truly transforming your business, department, team or cause – and taking you to a new height of accomplishment.

Please contact me

Please send an email to ferg@thedevinsentwork.com to start this conversation. Or, follow me below and send a direct message.

2016 could be your most amazing year yet. Let’s get that started with a conversation between us now. I look forward to hearing from you.

FERG DEVINS @FergDevins  @DevinsNetwork

#BellLetsTalk

Today #BellLetsTalk

January 27th, 2016

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Today is the magnificent day dedicated to #BellLetsTalk – January 27th, 2016. It is one day where we are encouraged  to think about Mental Health and to “talk the talk” when it comes to being open to learning more and being supportive of those who may have a need.

Fundamental to “talk” is listening. If we listen with an open ear and open mind to family, friends, neighbours, co-workers – or even a passer by, who may appear to be in need; WE can truly make a difference. Their appearance may not be what triggers you. They may “look fine”. It is in their words or their body language where you will pick up a sense of need through your listening.

By listening for that mental health need, we may offer support to someone who may be reluctant to reach out. By listening and being open to hear and understand that someone is in need – we help remove the stigma. You help get them through the discomfort of raising their issue with you.

Someone facing a mental health issue hasn’t done anything wrong. Only through listening and then being open to supporting them can we help that person in need understand that it is ok to speak up and be supported. Give them comfort to open up and express themselves.

Being open to listening for someone struggling with something in their mind, can and will make a difference. By pretending that everything is ok, and it’s “not my issue” is not helping. If you felt that they were in despair, would you not want to help out? Check in with them, listen for their need.

On this #BellLetsTalk day, be open to listen for that opportunity to help someone in your circle or community. It may be someone close to you. It may be someone you pass on the street. It may be someone posting something on line in a network looking for support. By listening for these conversations in need of support…we can truly make a difference.

Thanks for listening, and being a pillar of support in your community. Thanks for supporting more openess in Mental Health. Let’s take the “I” out of illness and replace it with a “WE” for wellness !

@FergDevins  @DevinsNetwork