December 28th and, amidst attending a few World Hockey Junior games here in Toronto I thought, “I can’t pass up writing a blog before the end of the new year”.

“Toward a new year” is an interesting theme. As much as my thoughts turn to things like re-start re-fresh, re-energize, prioritize, plan, systematize, organize, reach out, connect and network; I also look back at the past twelve months and give thanks for an awesome year. Toward a new year, is in many respects, a beginning; but it is also is a continuation of what has been accomplished, “or not”, in the previous year. I suggest one celebrates the highs, acknowledges the lows, learns from it and puts a plan in place toward a new year.

2014 was, in many respects, a new beginning for me. In “semi retirement” I was delighted to continue to have an opportunity to work with my client Molson Coors through The Devins Network, on projects related to their business. It was also a great year to “pass the torch” to the new corporate affairs leadership and team at Molson Coors and to provide coaching where necessary and, given that I am out of the business, just simply “stay clear” when I should stay clear. After 30 years in the beer business it was really refreshing (sorry for the pun) to strike up new relationships with several new clients and their pursuits and goals. I also had terrific networking moments with folks from such a wide spectrum of interests and dreams. It was also very kind of the folks at National Public Relations and Capital Hill to offer up “real estate” if and when required. In “year one” I never expected to have an employee at the Devins Network, however…our client at Hockey Canada put together an awesome #CenturyTour caravan to criss cross the country and I needed a “Communications Lead” on the road. Charlotte Coulson joined the team and has networked her way from coast to coast and back again with the InMarket team and #CenturyTour for Hockey Canada. I also give thanks to several “associates” that helped with the achievements of the Devins Network in year one. Your attention to detail and delivering excellence is much appreciated James, JP, Beth, Bradley, Helena, Clark and Dea. Via a long time friend, I truly enjoyed seeing and experiencing the life and times of “the entrepreneur” through a few projects with Michael Smith at Integram Marketing. What a passion for client service and accomplishment ! I have had the honour and pleasure of assisting with the Vimy Foundation dinner(s) – a great cause recognizing a milestone in history that we should ensure that current and future generations of Canadians never forget. The Coney Island “Maybe Annual” Music festival drew more of my attention, and in spite of the high water on Lake of the Woods, we had an awesome Sixth “Maybe Annual” festival. The success is due in large part to my fellow founders, the Lake of the Woods Arts Community, our partners, patrons, talent, fans and families supporting the festival. In meeting my personal challenge of Bladder Cancer, I took on creating a walk in Kenora Ontario. Thanks to family, friends, volunteers, supporters and a great little community with a big heart; we were able to raise over $50,000 in support of Bladder Cancer Canada. It was also a year of transition personally with both kids now off to school and Kathy and I becoming empty nesters, a fun stage of life to be sure !

Toward a new year, I look forward to continuing to serve my clients through the Devins Network. I look forward to possibilities of new opportunities to modestly expand my work in communications and community through the Devins Network. I continue to have a strong passion and bias for actions that ensure clients have a strong voice for their cause, campaign or business. If you think the Devins Network might answer your call to action – give us a call. Toward a new year we will stage the Seventh “Maybe Annual” Coney Island Music Festival and continue to grow this great little festival at the north end of Lake of the Woods in Kenora, Ontario. Toward a new year I will take on a more active role in the challenge of raising awareness for Bladder Cancer Canada and assist the organization with communications and outreach. Toward a new year I will continue to provide support and counsel where required for those who, similar to me, believe in networking and fostering good will and relationships so that we can work at improving our communities by working together, like the Vimy Foundation. Toward a new year, I will have work / life “alignment”…because, as my friends Chris Brogan and Rob Hatch would suggest, the balance thing is less important than alignment (my paraphrasing).

So bring on 2015. I wish you and yours the very best for a happy, healthy and exciting year for your family, business, cause or campaign.

Toward a new year…cheers !

@FergDevins @DevinsNetwork