Trans Canada Riders

July 18th, 2017

No Comments

Given my summer location in Kenora Ontario, we are always catching news of “riders” traveling across Canada on various pursuits. I often wonder about the story behind the rider. Often times it is a personal journey of support or awareness. So many causes, so many riders.

In some instances it is just a dream journey, a time to fulfill on a vision, or a chance to see this great land of ours.

I know this summer that there are many who are travelling acros various parts of our great country, during Canada’s 150 celebrations. It is a year of exploration. This is a special birthday year as Canada celebrates its sesquicentennial year.

There is one “rider” of whom I am familiar. His name is Paul Kraemer. Paul is a digital marketing strategist who hails from Richmond Hill Ontario. I have become friends with Paul through some of the work that he has done for Bladder Cancer Canada. Paul has been working with us on ways to increase our awareness on line. particularly with our Goggle Adwords efforts.

Paul is taking a dream trip this summer from Richmond Hill to the Arctic Circle and back again. Given his work with Bladder Cancer Canada, he was struck by the lack of awareness of this disease. He offered to help raise awareness along the way.

We have set him up with some swag, buttons, stickers, some key storylines and a flag to wave along the way. He will be meeting with some of our walk leads, volunteers and local media in our “walk communities” of Kenora, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg.

Perhaps you will see Paul on his journey and now have a little more insight into, “what that guy is doing”. Paul will fulfill a dream of riding to and from the Arctic. He is going to rendezvous with family in Anchorage Alaska. Along the way, he will help us at Bladder Cancer Canada fulfill on a dream that we have as well. That dream and mandate is to support patients and raise awareness about bladder cancer in Canada. If Paul could affect just one patient and their support network,

If Paul can affect the life of just one patient and their support network along the way, he will have helped us fulfill our dreams too.

Wishing Paul a safe journey too and from the Arctic Circle. See you in Kenora !

@FergDevins  @BladderCancerCA

VIDEO CLIP

The Devins Network Lake of the Woods

Working Remotely at the Lake

June 30th, 2017

No Comments

Hello out there Canada !

I’m re-issuing my “virtual office” blog post on working remote at the lake. I am also adding a new “video” produced this summer to help you think about how you might plan on working remotely this summer. Cheers to Canada’s 150

VIDEO LINK HERE  

Ah summer…time to set up the virtual office.

A time when families plan to spend more time together with each other, extended families and friends. For many Canadians, it is a time to enjoy that special place known as the “cottage”, “camp” or “cabin”, depending on of course which part of this vast and magnificent land you might be headed to…the coast – lake – river – countryside – hills or mountains.

For me, that “camp” becomes my summer location and headquarters in Central Canada for the Devins Network. I get a a smile across my face just writing that! It’s the virtual office.

Even when I was still working full time at Molson Coors, I would make the weekly treck northwards to Kenora from Toronto late on a Thursday night and return on Monday.

Thankfully, I had the benefit of understanding and supportive colleagues and a CEO who knew that I was plugged in and accessible at all times, regardless of my physical location. Ground rules in that regard are critically important to make the model work. Establish that agreement early on so that the context is understood by your team and clients.

The remote or virtual office concept is being adapted and embraced by more and more individuals and businesses. I truly believe in this web-connected network society in which we live, if you’ve got access to the web, you are on the job; available and in touch.

Obviously, the truth is that virtual office or job locations are not for everyone. If you are an administration type, that requires physical files at your disposal, it’s likely the case that you need to be next to those physical files. 

If you are on a production line or supervising production lines or operations, it is likely important that you are physically on the site in case troubleshooting is required.

However, if you can execute your responsibilities and fulfill on your accountabilities on line, without requiring a physical presence – you can likely make the virtual office thing happen.

So what does a virtual office look like, feel like ?

DETERMINE WORK SPACE

Establishing your physical “work space” is a critical consideration, in setting up your virtual office. A desk, chair, printer, filing space, office items, mouse, keyboard, clock are all important for your physcial set up. Most important is an agreement with your family members of where you locate in their environment. You may have to take a call or examine something on line at any point in the day. Having space that will allow for this and not cause friction with the rest of the family is key to happiness for those sharing your newly created office space.

A PHONE

Cell phones allow you to be in touch anywhere anytime as long as you have cell service. I find that more and more folks are leaving the land line behind and moving to cell phone only. Given that most families have plans for each member of the family – it has become the predominant device for contact…voice or text. As a solopreneur my cell phone is my phone for business and travels with me everywhere. Depending on how “remote” you are, you might need to do some research on network availability and service in your area. Most communities and service providers have figured out how to keep their permanent and summer residents connected.

COMPUTER

Hard wired to the net or Wifi will provide you with the connectedness you need to access your work team, clients, suppliers, colleagues, and prospects. If you don’t have wifi you may actually have the benefit of a data plan and you can “hotspot” from your phone. Research most accessible and affordable options. Another critical consideration is your “back up”. By this, I am referring to backup device. I stumbled onto a situation where my computer needed servicing. Having an Apple Mac Book it required being shipped away for several days. Thus, I needed to have a back up laptop, tablet or device.

WIFI

I have struggled year after year with just simply unacceptable wifi service from the local provider. This year I am experimenting with xplornet.com and find them to be oustanding. Currently, I have 23 MBPS down and 1MBPS up. And, I am currently looking at increasing the upload by enhancing my plan to 4 MBPS up.

DOCUMENTS 

Platforms such as dropbox, box, icloud and or various other clouds allow you to arrange your critical documents for access. You can also share and edit with teams via these platforms. It might take some getting used to but is really slick once you are operating in this space. This will also provide a safe back-up for you with access on any device if your primary computer or lap to go on the fritz.

FACE TO FACE

Facetime for Apple folks, SKYPE for just about anyone and many other video conference platforms like “Go To Meeting” allow you to conduct virtual meetings where you actually do have face to face ability through your computer, tablet or phone device. 

VOICE TO VOICE OR SCREEN SHARING

Plenty of conference call platforms on phones and available today to ensure that you can remain connected and be engaged in meetings whenever that call might be on your calendar. I recommend securing a conference line so that you have it on the ready, rather than having to scramble if in need of convening a call with your team or clients. Join Me is a terrific service to share your screen with others via conference call.

CONFERENCE ROOMS

Most hotels, and many local businesses offer up their conference space for use by individuals or small businesses. You don’t have to look too far before finding something that will suit your needs. This is particularly important if you are need in several hours on a “call”. It could be a major inconvenience to your family if you are set up in common space in your abode. Often times there is idle space in summer months in cottage country, the establishment might appreciate a few tweets, Trip Advisor referral or Facebook like or recommendation from you in return.

CALENDAR AND ALARM

Don’t fall into a trap of getting distracted with what is going on at  your virtual location environment. Have a calendar plan with “notifications” when meetings, calls or assignments are due.

PLAN YOUR WORK WINDOWS

Put a plan in place to lay out your work each day. Rob Hatch at Owner Media has a good process that he talks about in his “work like you’re on vacation” course. His suggestion is to lay out your work the night before, plan it, plan the outcomes and schedule that time free of distractions.

MAIL

Canada Post will allow for personal mail being forwarded, or how about having home office send you your mail weekly in a ground courier envelope. Many cottage communities also have local post office box availability. Depending on whether you know your community, or are just renting for the summer – don’t just assume that your standard courier will be able to get to you. Talk to locals first.

BANKING

There are now so many options to bank and complete transactions on line. All of the banks and credit unions seem to have set up on on line banking ease. You can also utilize PayPal as a transaction service to pay on line.

FEELING REMOTE AND AWAY FROM INFORMATION

Google it ! YouTube it ! There is no reason for you to feel out of touch if you are connected to the web in your virtual office.

NETWORKING GAPS

Pick your pathway and engage with folks through platforms existing on LinkedIN, Facebook, Twitter and Google + (to just name a few…). If you are remote,you may feel that you are disconnected from people. You can stay in touch through your networks. As part of your plan you might decide to reach out to a number of people through the week. Drop those into your calendar with a purpose in mind. Check out profiles with your cottage community in their profile. A great tool for this is Audiense.

DISCIPLINE

Getting your mindset established from the get go is most critical. Know when you are at “work” and when you are at “leisure”. Plan your day, work your plan. Schedule appropriate amount of time for calls, email, social networking. Routine calls or meetings will make for better planning over the longer term. Discipline and planning will make this work with ease. Those early morning sunrises might make for the perfect time to wipe off the morning dew, grab a nice hot coffee, cup of tea, iced drink or smoothie on your deck or dock to check incoming mail and plan your day.

JUST A CALL OR EMAIL AWAY!

The biggest hurdle with establishing a virtual office is you getting your head around the fact that nothing is impossible to get done when you are remote. The other hurdle is getting those that you work with and support comfortable with the fact that you are achieving your goals and accomplishing the work that needs to get done; even though you are not physically at a location. No need to rub it in, but acknowledging accomplishments from your place away is a good reinforcement that the work is getting done.

Get your virtual office established and…enjoy the summer !

VIDEO LINK ALSO HERE – smiles.

@FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

IMG_4153

Celebrating Pride in Canada

June 25th, 2017

No Comments

As Pride celebrations take place this weekend across this great land, may we be thankful for the tolerance and acceptance that speaks strongly for who we are as a people. Respect, tolerance, acceptance, dialogue, collaboration, peace. In a world that is challenged on so many of these fronts, may there be much happiness, joy and celebration of our diversity as a nation.

The Generator Project

The Generator Project Weekend

May 5th, 2017

No Comments

This weekend, folks at The Generator Project are once again encouraging us to take time for face to face engagement in our community.

The Generator Project was inspired by the blackout of August 14, 2003, on the Eastern seaboard of North America. Over 500 generating units shut down that afternoon and it resulted in the power being shut off to over 55 million people in Canada and the United States anywhere from 2-7 days.

I can recall driving back towards Toronto and stopping Barrie to visit a chiropractor that I had visited during my years at Molson. He had wonderfully bright windows in his office, but the power was out. He proceeded, like so many others, to just keep working through what was assumed to be a minor power outage.

As I continued down the 400, I was not aware of the outage, given that it was still daylight, until I pulled into the roadside stop for a bathroom break and power was off there as well.

People were talking about the outage and that it was widespread.

Checking in with Kathy and the kids, it was apparent that this was a massive outage. Rather than facing the mire of traffic at rush hour, I diverted to see the in-laws in the countryside. We lit up the bar-b-q, waiting for power to return.

As dusk settled in I headed home with an eery approach to the Toronto skyline in darkness. This was a serious situation!

Back in the neighbourhood, friends and families gathered on front porches and lawns to converse about what was transpiring.

I decided I’d have to bbq my walleye catch, from earlier in the day, after a morning of fishing near North Bay. The neighbours were thankful for that.

Hundreds of thousands of moments like this took place in August of 2003.

When was the last time that you turned everything off and took the time to just collect with neighbours and friends to chat about life?

The Generator Project is all about bringing together family and friends for social interaction. There need not be any other reason than to come together in your community.

So…have you planned a Generator Weekend event within your community yet? Check it out, engaged, converse, relax and revel in the joy of connecting face to face in dialogue with family and friends. Check them out on Twitter @GenProjectOrg.

I hope you are inspired by the Generator Project. I know I am. Cheers ! @FergDevins

Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness #YellowHelps

Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness Month of May #YellowHelps

April 30th, 2017

No Comments

Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness Month

The month of May is #BadderCancer Awareness Month in Canada. This is the second year that Bladder Cancer Canada has declared the month of May as Bladder Cancer Canada Awareness month. We are delighted that Health Canada has also officially recognized our efforts this year.

Our campaign is all about shouting out and promoting that #YellowHelps. With #YellowHelps we are intent on reaching out to the 80,000 patients and their families across Canada to get them connected with us at Bladder Cancer Canada. You can also connect with us on Facebook at Bladder Cancer Canada – Cancer De La Vessie on our national page. We also have 20 Facebook community pages centered in our “Walk Communities” across Canada.

We are so thankful to members of the media across Canada who are supporting our efforts and in particular our partners at Corus Entertainment and their Global News Network.

#YellowHelps fight #bladdercancer

With our #YellowHelps campaign 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. Did you know that #bladdercancer is the 4th most prevalent cancer amongst men in Canada and 12th for women? Yet, in funding, it is below 20th!

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 Survived

I am personally proud to shout out the #BladderCancer awareness activity through #yellowhelps 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. My check ups since surgery have remained”all clear”. I’ve taken the active step of getting involved with Bladder Cancer Canada as a board member and for the second year as National Walk Lead

Spread the Word

YOU can help us this month by helping to spread the word about #yellowhelps as part of our effort to raise awareness coast to coast to coast in Canada for #bladdercancer. Feel free to retweet @BladderCancerCA or post on Facebook. You can also gain more information and ideas about Bladder Cancer in Canada, and ways to support our awareness month of May at www.bladdercancercanada.org. Perhaps you will decide to volunteer, join a forum or make a donation to support the fight against this disease.

Please help shout out awareness for #BladderCancer Canada by using our #YellowHelps hashtag across your social networks this month.

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

 

Art of Networking

April 17th, 2017

2 Responses

Have you ever come across that person that just seems to “know everyone”? I’d bet dollars to dimes that they have mastery with the art of networking.

Like communications and public relations, I also believe that there is more art than science, when it comes to networking. There are those who are introverts and those that are extroverts. Those who feel at ease with striking up a conversation with just about anyone are most likely to be a natural networker. There are those that find that small talk flows easily for them. Any topic can spark a conversation. Those are the natural artists of social networking.

There are several basic steps to getting grounded in networking. Whether you are a natural conversationalist or not, this fundamental framework will undoubtedly serve you well in establishing a network for success:

Pick Your Channels – Start Somewhere

Oh my goodness; where does one begin to turn on channels for communication. I actually use a platform called EClincher to help me manage across my various networks. I also have maintained a Buffer account for similar reasons. Within those platforms, I network through Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram, Facebook and Google+. I also maintain home base with my web/blog at www.thedevinsntwork.ca. I also maintain my “contacts” within my Google accounts. If you are just starting out in establishing your network, start with one or two and build strength during those early stages for you.

Communicate through Dialogue

If you are one who researches blogs, articles and posts; I would hope that you are turning that into a two-way opportunity for communication. By adding your voice to social networks, you will gain notice and awareness for you and your brand. If you are merely lurking and observing on the sidelines, your time on research may be well spent, but you will not be building a network through conversation. Step into a conversation with authority and opinion. You need not be controversial to strike up a conversation and be recognized through dialogue. Offering supportive comment and building on posts by others is a good place to start.

Build Your Lists

Start to develop an update contact list. Whether this is on your own mobile or desk top system, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, Instagram community, Pinterest likes, LinkeIN connections or Google+ interests – you have a natural community with whom you connect. They are fundamentally your initial “list” of contacts and the base of your network. Once you’ve got your lists built you can determine how you might initially connect with these contacts. You can do this via email, through your LinkedIN connections or choose an email relationship management tool like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp.

Post

As mentioned earlier, lurking and observing can be quite informative. Actively engaging in social networking can will be more impactful. Take the time to plan, schedule and generate posts that demonstrate to your followers and the world through social media just who you are and what you stand for. Over time your posts will generate a followership. You will see that people will agree and re-post. Or, perhaps people will have a different opinion to share in contrast to your post. All of this will bring attention to you and your business or interest. Get active and learn through your posts. You will also learn through posts that images and video will generate more interest and engagement. Take the time to consider what image to associate with your post. There are lots of platforms to share your ideas.

Engage

Keep your contact and network “hot”. By “hot” I mean keep them engaged. Ensure that you are in touch and engaged with your contacts by keeping in touch, liking their posts, and retweeting their tweets. You can also build up your social network assets by joining various interest groups on Facebook and LinkedIN. You will then be in groups with like minded people, sharing insights and ideas on topics important and of interest to you. By keeping in touch you will be top of mind and valued within their network – which will bring value to your network.

The Art

The “art” is that all of this is done from the heart of a genuine authentic “you”. There will be obvious tricks on timing, when to post/not to post, length of post etc. However, the strength of your art of networking will be solidly found in the authenticity of your communication. When people understand what you stand for – they will follow and support you in your endeavours. Create your own posts, tell your own story, post your photos, link to things of interest to you. One caution is not to just become a stream of “re tweets or re-posts”. Create your own voice for content in your channels.

Wishing all you network artists much success out there. Cheers !  @FergDevins

 

 

Kenora Thistle Stanley Cup Champions

Small Town Spirit

February 13th, 2017

2 Responses

There is just quite something unique, authentic and empowering about small town spirit. The people of Kenora will reach new heights of spirit this week, as they host #Scotiabank #HockeyDay in Canada.

Centre of Canada

Growing up in Kenora Ontario was just an awesome experience. Having the Lake of the Woods lapping up along the shore of our town, being two hours from Winnipeg, six hours from Duluth, five hours from Thunder Bay, ninety minutes from Dryden, two and a half hours from Ignace, three hours to Sioux Lookout, three hours to Red Lake, an hour and a half to Ear Falls, thirty minutes to Sioux Narrows, sixty minutes to Vermillion Bay, thirty minutes to Minaki, forty-five minutes to Falcon Lake, two hours to Fort Frances and the International border crossing to the USA at International Falls, two hours to Rainy River and the international crossing at Beaudette Minnesota and everything in between and beyond; how could you beat being in the centre of Canada experiencing the four seasons this country provides?

Lake of the Woods

Kenora sits on the northernmost channel of beautiful Lake of the Woods, at the headwaters of the Winnipeg River.Lake of the Woods is over 70 miles (110 km) long and wide, and contains more than 14,552 islands and 65,000 miles (105,000 km) of shoreline. It would amount to the longest coastline of any Canadian lake, except that the lake is not entirely within Canada. Lake of the Woods is the sixth largest freshwater lake located (at least partially) in the United States, after the five Great Lakes. Northwestern Ontario is located in the far reaches of the province of Ontario, a full two-day drive. Yes, a two-day drive – or 24 hours straight through; if you must. Whether you cross at Sarnia into Michigan State and start the US “south of Superior” route, or head north from Toronto along the top of Superior on Highway 17, or take the “truckers route” up along the longest street in the world (Yonge Street from Toronto to Rainy River,over 1,896 kilometres or 1,178 miles long); it is a great distance way from Ontario’s capital to the capital of lake life and the great outdoors – Kenora Ontario. Actually, the official slogan is “North America’s Premier Boating Destination”.Enough context, let’s get back to talking about small town spirit.

Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada

February 18th, 2017 Scotiabank brings #HockeyDay in Canada to Kenora Ontario. As all of the Canadian NHL teams face off against each other, Kenora will be a buzzing with hockey related festivities along the shoreline of the northernmost channel of Lake of the Woods. Hockey Night in Canada personalities Don Cherry and Ron MacLean will be hosting their Coaches Corner from Kenora. SportsNet will be broadcasting all day long and into the evening starting at 12 noon ET (11 am Central Time in Kenora).

All eyes of our nation, hockey fans coast to coast to coast, will turn their eyes to capture wonderful grassroots stories about Kenora and its hockey heritage. Did you know that Kenora is the smallest town to have won the Stanely Cup? They will play a re-enactment game on the lake in front of the “Thistle Pavillion” Saturday morning. More recently the Stanley Cup returned to Kenora and was proudly hoisted high by local hockey hero Mike Richards, member of two LA King Stanley Cup Champion teams. And the Kenora Thistles’ name lives on with their current AAA Midget roster. They will play Saturday afternoon.

When it comes to small town spirit, there will be nothing to compare with February 18th as Kenora’s 15,000 population welcome the eyes and hearts of the nation, and visitors to their town. Be sure to take in the winter beauty of Kenora Ontario, in celebration of our national sport and Scotiabank’s Hockey Day in Canada.

Tune in to SportsNet

Throughout the day, check it out on SportsNet . The small town spirit will shine through proudly. Happy #Scotiabank #HockeyDay Canada! We’ll be “posting” small town spirit from Kenora. @FergDevins

Thanks to Social Media Today for posting this great infographic on some compelling social media facts. Often times people question the “why” of social networking. I truly believe that this snap shot gives you some valuable insight and facts around the power of social media. These facts provide a top line illustration of some of the channels and their relevance to various audiences. Enjoy the view ! CLICK here for the Infographic.  @FergDevins

Parliament Flame by Richard McGuire

Government Relations for Small Enterprise

January 31st, 2017

No Comments

Government Relations for small enterprise can be a daunting situation. However, it need not be an impossible path to discover in your pursuit of being heard.

After 30 years in the corporate world, with the last half of my career in corporate affairs; I believe that I have a good handle on understanding government relations. It was close to 50% of my “accountability”, as a Chief Corporate Affairs Officer. My success was also grounded in the relationships that were built over time. Through relationships, you build an opportunity to better understand each other; your needs, your desires, the barriers and the opportunities for success.

Make it Local

The first premise for me is to make it local. Whatever your issue or opportunity beholds, you will gain the most traction if it is seen as local by your elected official. This is true for all levels of government. If you can strike an emotional local tie related to your issue or opportunity, you have a good place in the starting gate of government relations. If your issue or opportunity has little to do with the person you are reaching out to, they will have a difficult time finding time to review your matters. The fact is, all politics is local.

“Government Relations”

What I find fascinating about understanding government relations is the constant evolution of the practice. With a continued push for much-needed transparency and public accountability, the “relations” side of the game has come under pressure and increased scrutiny.

Across Canada, provincial and federal governments and their ethics commissioners challenge the established models of “pay for access and influence”. Lobbyists used to cozy up with clients at banquets, sporting events and fundraisers to enable a “meet and greet” with influencers. With new fundraising rules emerging, it now becomes more difficult to gain easy access to the ear of our elected officials.

Lobbyists and industry advocates will need to continue to build and maintain relationships with elected officials, their staff and the civil service. That is their business. Dialogue on issues is still required.

Many limitations have come into existence. There are now cooling off periods prevailing for the staff of Ministers. Watch dogs keep track of paid or volunteer work by lobbyists on campaigns. There continues to be cross party line squawking about who’s influencing whom.  Political donations (where still allowed) are scrutinized to the absolute penny. Understanding government relations has become a much more complex game.

Even some municipalities have invoked lobbying regulations and process. However, in the hierarchy of the three levels of government, municipalities continue to have the most open accessibility to elected officials. I continue to be very impressed with ward staff at the municipal level. I guess it makes sense, based on my earlier point, all politics is local.

Access

Access has become a challenge. With the explosion of social media, and so many channels flowing into an elected official’s office, it is no surprise that there need to be filters in place. Priorities need to be set. The tough part of this game is that “your priority” may not be “their priority”. Without access, you will lack influence. Even sadder is that correspondence may never even reach the eyes of your intended recipient. Given the volumes, it is likely that a staff member handles this for the member. Sad, but a practical reality, given the multitude of requests.

Breaking Through

It takes hard work and determination to break through with your message, cause, concern or business issue. It takes persistence and multiple fronts of communication to get your matter on the radar. Email, phone calls, tweets are all required. I also think that the constituency office might afford you more assured access. By taking the time to raise your issue at their home office in their constituency, you might get a better return on the time you invest. It is back to the first premise of getting local with your issue or opportunity.

The “contact information” submission tools on elected official websites provide a filter but do not appear to provide a quick response.

Where the Parties Fail

Do you receive emails from a political party or elected officials? In most instances, political parties sending out propaganda tend not even to allow the recipient to reply. Another fault of the party propaganda system. If a party is going to send information to the electorate, they might as well open up the opportunity for the electorate to respond to an email. If pushing messaging is intended to garner support. I can only imagine that a conversation and dialogue about the message will help lead to that result. One-way “non responsive messaging” fails on that front. One area of influence however is that party executives have the ear of the elected members. Sometimes this can provide you with an avenue of accessibility.

Persist in Social with Your Voice

There is an opportunity, in understanding government relations, to tell your story and engage through social networks. Your blog, your post in Facebook, your article in LinkedIn, your tweet; are all communication tools that may help to position your issue or cause on the radar of the elected official. The old model would have seen a stack of “clippings” from news media dropped on a communications staffer’s desk each morning. Today it is more likely to be a google alert or other social networking monitoring tools to catch the conversation in the moment. The key word most likely to get your attention is the name of that elected official in a post. Those mentions will be monitored closely in a context of issues management.

The Final Point

The final point to be made is that in understanding government relations, you must realize that getting the attention of government is a complex and multi-layered grid. If you are experiencing frustration in your efforts to break through, perhaps I can help with some counsel on getting your message heard.  Here’s to simplifying working with our governments. Have an awesome 2017.  @FergDevins

 

#BellLetsTalk

Supporting #BellLetsTalk Day

January 25th, 2017

No Comments

A shout out to Bell and their major commitment to make a difference in getting people to talk about mental health. Thank you for creating #BellLetsTalk.

January 25th

January 25th is a wonderful day to bring attention to mental health issues coast to coast to coast. Bringing situations to open conversation will start a journey of recovery and hope.

Take the Challenge

It is incumbent upon “us” to take the challenge, accept the nudge and truly undertake our own personal campaign to engage in removing the stigma attached to mental illness. By embracing the challenge, we can turn to helping those in need.

Listen

As much as there is a need to talk, there is a need to listen. Listen for those who may be dealing with a difficult situation in their lives. Listen for those who are struggling alone. Listen to those who many be signalling to you that they need help. Listen for opportunities to help a loved one. Listen for those who may be on the street, with hat in hand and in need of your support. With a small action, you might make a huge difference in their day.

All Year

Through the awareness that #BellLetsTalk brings to us all, we can embrace this day of January 25th. We can “click and drag” its impact to the other 364 days of the year. Mental health challenges are not a one day and done effort. It will take effort each day, each hour, each moment with our family and friends, colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances or strangers in need –  to truly support each other on this journey.

From I to WE

I recall a message on a bulletin board at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. It suggested that we should all consider taking the “I” out of Mental Illness and replacing it with a “WE”. Transform the challenge from Mental Illness to a context of Mental Wellness.

By thinking of how we can work through the issue, the challenge, the strife, the moment, the depression or anxiety; we may be able to move from ill to well. I am not in any way mimimizing the huge challenge faced by those dealing with mental health issues, and their care givers. Each situation is individual. Each requires its own attention. Each will differ in plan for care and recovery. Each will require a plan from ill to well.

However, if we can all be a little more sensitive to the fact that mental health challenges surround us, we can listen, we can talk and we can move forward in this journey of getting better.

#BellLetsTalk

Thanks for engaging on this day of #BellLetsTalk. Wishing you wellness, today and all year long.