Virgin Islands Heart and Soul - Open For Business

Three couples were fortunate enough to spend some time in the Virgin Islands this past spring. The Virgin Islands Heart and Soul is alive and well. They are truly open for business. Considering that there are 60 US Virgin Islands and 40 British Virgin Islands, the opportunities are simply endless, when pursuing your Atlantic or Caribbean dream sailing vacation.

After the hurricanes of 2017, we were truly re-considering whether we would take our trip at the end of February 2018. We were concerned about the devastation, safety, access and unsure of what might be open for business. Given that all of the major chains seemed to have been shuttered, and remained so - we were fortunate enough to find accommodation in St. Thomas at Olga's Fancy.

Olga's Fancy, a comfortable hotel in St. Thomas US Virgin Islands

To cut a long story of anticipation short, we were delighted upon arriving in St. Thomas to see that the heart and soul of the Virgin Islands were still warm and welcoming. Yes, there were obvious remnants of the damage and devastation. I will not play that down, given the obvious impact that it had on the people of the area. However, not one of them seemed reluctant to give details of their experience. In some ways, I'm sure that it helps to heal some of the sickening memories of damage and loss that they experienced. But their pride and passion for the islands and its hospitality and warmth live on.

After leaving Olga's Fancy, and a long morning coffee with Candy and Eddie, we headed for a wonderful local tour with Romeo to start our day with banana daiquiri's on the mountaintop overlooking Magen's beach. For some in our party as "newcomers" to Saint Thomas most things seemed just wonderful. For those who were returning visitors, it was evident to them the amount of change in the landscape where trees and growth had been hacked away like it had been trimmed with a giant whipper snipper. However, new green growth and colourful blossoms were popping everywhere.

overlooking Magen's Beach

Our Captain and crew (Matt and Casey) aboard the Island R&R based out of Compass Point Marina were quick to welcome us with open arms and hospitality.

We were on our catamaran for eight days. We met so many wonderful people along our journey. We found that so many of the local businesses had laboured for weeks and months on end to be open for business. It was obvious to us that it had been months of hard work and determination to get their businesses back up and running to meet visiting tourists from around the world. Although many of the large chain establishments remained closed as of early March, the locals with Virgin Islands Heart and Soul were bound and determined to return the area to its revered state of beauty, hospitality and seaside pleasures.

With excellent "cell service" in the area, our group had many friends checking in on us. Is that open? Is that still there? Did you see this? Did you go there? Wasnt that spot spectacular? Did you try this? We visited most of the delights that friends had suggested that we see in British and US Virgin Islands. The natural wonders of beaches, hiking paths, seaside coves and snorkelling were just spectacular. Where reconstruction was complete, the facilities were brand new and in perfect working order.

To help with your Virgin Islands trip planning, I thought I'd highlight some of the sites and places we visited, so that you can rest assured that they will be ready willing and able to welcome you on your upcoming visit to the Virgin Islands. The Virgin Islands heart and soul is alive and well and open for business.

Anegada - Cow Wreck Beach - Anne's place

Highlights of our trip to the Virgin Islands March 2018

Meeting our crew for the week we stopped in at the Dive Bar at Compass point Marina. Great drinks and hospitality abound.

We dined at XO Bistro in Red Hook and had nightcaps at Duffy's Love Shack - great live music.

First stop after leaving Compass Point Marina was Great St. James Island for afternoon snorkelling and the unique Pizza Pi "floating pizzeria".

At Jost Van Dyke the "bubbly pool" was a wonderful natural phenom. Don't go too close to the edge !

Customs "check in" for the UK on Jost Van Dyke - we never made it to Foxy's but heard it is spectacular.

In White Bay we were delighted with the famous Soggy Dollar Bar and Coco Loco's Beach Bar.

White Bay at Guana Island was just a most spectacular "walk on the beach".

At Trellis Bay we were truly fortunate to be there for the Full Moon Party - plan your visit around the moon.

We had a quick stop at Leverick Bay at Virgin Gorda. A beautiful marina and resort.

We met a wonderful and inspiring guide whose name is Gumption. Be sure to check out Gumption's very inspiring story and don't miss booking him for his tours and depth of knowledge. You will not be disappointed. Check out his Facebook page for more details.

Necker Island tour was a once in a lifetime experience, thanks to Matt and Casey arranging this with Gumption. Tortoises, Lemurs, an array of floral beauty, Pink Flamingos, white sandy beaches and examples of the good that Richard Branson has done for this world.

Prickly Pear Island stop was a wonderful shallow water beach for just lollygagging in the sea. There did not appear to be much re-built in early March, but the beach remains beautiful. The BVI Traveller has a great ongoing update on what's open or about to re-open.

Oh my gosh - Anegada - what an island paradise. We were treated to a wonderful beachside Lobsterfest and late night dancing at the Wonky Dog. The following day we toured up the shoreline to explore the Conch Mountains. In the afternoon we settled in at Cow Wreck Beach for a lazy afternoon of beach time, snorkelling and the delights of Anne's restaurant. We had a quick peek at the Anegada Beach Club - looks like a lot of fun too.

Unfortunately, we missed "The Baths" because of large swells that day, but everyone still raving about this natural attraction.

We moored at Cooper Island for lunch "onboard". News is that Cooper Island Beach Club has re-opened just recently.

Norman Island and Bight Bay made for a wonderful overnight and partial day visit. We hiked on Norman Island to experience some wonderful vistas. The Pirate's Bight restaurant and bar were open with usual food and drink delights.

After leaving Bight Bay we had an amazing snorkelling experience at Indian Rocks. A must do, if you are visiting Norman Island.

We moored as a "lone catamaran" near Ram Head. We then ventured in via dinghy to take in part of the Ram Head Trail experience near Salt Pond.

The other delight in this area of St. John Island is the "Drunk Bay" where you will find creations from those who have visited prior to you, and an opportunity to create your own signature of your visit on this stretch of rocky beach and coral remnants.

On our final full day of sailing, we stopped at "Booby Rock" for some spectacular snorkelling once again.

There were rare occasions when we left the catamaran for food and drink, due to the wonderful hospitality of Matt and Casey, however, they highly recommended a visit to Cruz Bay on St. John. We had a local beer at the  St. John Brewers' tap room. The true delight was up the Longboard Coastal Cantina in Cruz Bay where we enjoyed some refreshing cocktails and awesome appetizers.

Our final overnight mooring was along Honeymoon Beach in Caneel Bay at St. John Island.

With one final mooring and snorkel, we were treated to a spot just off Secret Harbour Beach resort in St. Thomas. A calm bay with wonderful snorkelling delights below. A fitting "last snorkel" for the group.

In Closing...

So there is just a quick snapshot of the wonderful heart and soul of the British and US Virgin Islands that we were able to enjoy in early 2018. I hope that I have demonstrated and assured readers that the Virgin Islands are truly open for business. Enjoy planning your vacation. Don't hesitate to reach out if I can be of assistance in answering any of your questions. Enjoy the sun and sea!  @FergDevins @TravelFerg

Matt and Casey - crew aboard the Island R&R 46 foot motor sailing catamaran

 


Spring

Spring into Opportunities of Spring

As February evaporates, literally as snow banks shrink and streams and rivers flow, I am reminded of what spring brings by way of opportunity. It is time to spring into the opportunities of spring.

Re-Align

It is a time to re-align and set the stage for the hunkering down in the new year. Doesn't it feel like New Year's eve just passed? How are those New Year's resolutions holding up? Time to get them planned and executed.

Get Away

For many, this might be a time of escape, rejuvenation, refresh, contemplation, study, renewal. Snowbirds from Canada are renowned for the mid-winter escapes to southern climates as a bit of a kick start and dream of the summer ahead. The mid-winter vacation is a great bridge to the March thaw that we long for after months of snow and sleet and ice. Universities and Colleges across the land take "break weeks" for study and reflection. Soon into March, primary and secondary schools will have their March break vacation time to bridge from winter to spring.

That Special Project

Spring also brings an opportunity to look ahead at our projects for the spring, summer, and fall. What projects around the house will need tending too? If you have a recreational property or recreational vehicle there will be maintenance and tune-up required to get things up to snuff for enjoyment in the months ahead. What vacation plans are you putting in place that you've always dreamed of and will land this year?

Re-Connect

It is also a time of year to re-connect with family and friends and put your social calendar together. Perhaps it is dinner in or out with those you have not seen for a while. Perhaps a longer-term plan for an extended visit to the city or town, or at the cottage/camp/or cabin this summer. By taking the time in the spring to plan your social calendar, you'll be sure to harvest great memories in the weeks and months ahead.

That Desired Contract

Spring is also a time to make plans on the work front. What projects are due for the peak season of summer? What job prospects might you be considering? For university and colleges students, the summer job market is never hotter than right now, at break time to sneak in the interviews and applications with prospective employers for the summer.

De-Clutter

Finally, (although I'm sure you could add a lot more to this short list), spring is a time for de-cluttering. The old term of "spring cleaning" allows us to chuck those items that have just been hanging around too long. As the snow melts, neighbourhood garage and backyard sales emerge. Remember, "one person's garbage is another person's treasure", will likely fetch you a few dollars for that item that has outlived its welcome in your household.

Here's wishing you and yours well as you consider how you might spring in the opportunities of spring. Wishing you wellness and good plans for happiness and fulfillment this spring. Cheers !

@fergdevins


Family Day in Most Parts of Canada

Family Day in Canada. Presidents Day south of our international border with the United States. Regardless of its name — a day when family can spend time together sharing the joy that is meant to be the energy and bond of family.

In parts of Canada, Family Day (French: Jour de la famille) is a statutory holiday occurring on a Monday in February. In the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island (PEI) and Saskatchewan, it is observed on the third Monday of February; in the provinces of Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the holiday is instead termed Louis Riel Day, Nova Scotia Heritage Day and Islander Day respectively. British Columbia (BC) observes Family Day on the second Monday of February. Two-thirds of Canadians live in a province that observes a February statutory holiday. Except in British Columbia, Family Day coincides with Presidents’ Day in the United States.

So what about this day? Other than the “wikipedia details” stated above it can be a day for any number of activities.

Some suggestions might include, a day for reflection, time with family and friends, a break from the winter blues, a holiday of sorts from your daily business undertakings, a travel opportunity, an extended vacation, a chance to re-charge, one morning to sleep in, a stroll in the park, a movie matinee, order food in, take food out, slide into a diner for brunch, clean out old photos, call a relative you haven’t heard from in a while, visit a senior in residence, a family curling get together, one more ski on the slopes, ice fishing, a walk along the harbour, yard maintenance as the snow banks shrink, catching up on social networks.

Whatever the activity you might undertake, I hope that it will include family. Our family unit is so important to our lifelong joy. I won’t deny that some families will experience hardships and despair. Hopefully, this family day is one where love, joy, hope and opportunity may flourish for you and yours.

Wishing one and all a happy family day. And for you British Columbians that celebrated last week, thanks for keeping the economy going today. Smiles.

@fergdevins


Time To Get Involved Ontario

Stop the Rant - Get Involved

 

June 7th is the current "penciled in date" for the Ontario Election in 2018.

Don't you just love the coffee or beer banter when everyone starts to spout off about the current Premier or the Leaders of the Opposition? There are always lots of opinions on whether jobs are being done well, or not. Everyone seems to have a lot of huff and puff and perspective. I remind friends and neighbours that the banter back and forth at the bar, over dinner or while watching the news, has little to no impact on the situation. How you can truly impact the situation is to take the steps to get involved. Join a party, knock on doors, take on a role with your local candidate. If you truly believe in making a difference, stop the banter and the ranting and get involved personally in a campaign.

 

Political Parties need Volunteers and New Blood

 

Political parties are in need of volunteers, new interests, new perspectives and ground support for their operations. Let's face it, elections come and go and so do governments. We've seen leaders change and parties stay in power. We've seen leaders stay and parties stay in power. We've seen leaders stay and parties out of power. The fact is, governments evolve. They evolve by the choice of the people. You can help make a difference and have an impact by getting involved.

 

Pick a Party - Give them a Call

 

In Ontario, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved. It is likely that a party that you may be interested in has organized locally in your riding. Given that there have been a few changes to electoral riding boundaries, you might be best to get in touch with the central office of the party and have them redirect you to your relevant riding association.

Here are some links to the main parties in Ontario

Ontario Progressive Conservative Party

Ontario Liberal Party

Ontario New Democratic Party

Green Party of Ontario

Ontario Libertarian Party

 

Elections Ontario

 

If you are less inclined to be directly involved with party politics but would like to be engaged in the political process; you might contact Elections Ontario and see if there is a role that you could play in the upcoming election in 2018. They actually offer some paid positions. You are at the heart of the "back of house" operations of the election in Ontario. For some, this can be a very rewarding and exciting process, without having to "get political" along the journey.

 

Get Involved - Make a Difference

 

I return to my initial opening call to action. Stop the banter, stop the rant, stop the shouting. Get involved and make a difference.

 

Cheers !

 

@FergDevins

 


Trans Canada Riders

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

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

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Celebrating Pride in Canada

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

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

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

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