Don’t you wanna feel like a rebel?

Don’t you wanna feel like a rebel?

I knew the day I met Taylor Leith he was a force to be reckoned with. One day in early September 2015 I walked into a coffee shop and immediately spotted Leith, sitting quiet waiting for me – wearing a beanie, glasses and a grey t-shirt… understated was an understatement in itself. Have you ever listened someone sing and wondered how have I never heard this person before? The night I met Taylor he played piano and sang a few of his original songs for me… and I was immediately hooked. He plays guitar, piano and is able to wow any crowd with his voice through ballads and rock songs alike. Dave, the band’s bass player and producer, has over a decade of experience in the industry. Taylor and Dave have developed music with thoughtfully crafted lyrics and slightly off-centre chord progressions giving them a raw, exploratory edge to prominent guitar-driven melodies. To round out the sound of their music, Dave and Taylor enlisted Canadian talent Nick Maldonado and Emmett O’Kane under what we now know as Relic City. I’ve been working with Relic City for the past 6 months or so and am very proud of everything they have accomplished. On top of their accomplishments and undeniable musical talent, they are a kick-ass group of people who are kind and make me laugh every time I see them. Between that day and today, January 16th, Relic City has won KOI Festival’s Battle for KOI, opened for I Mother Earth, performed at venues in Southwestern Ontario, and have made a few TV & Radio appearances. Tonight, they continue their journey as they host an exclusive industry party in support of their album release. To the guys in Relic City and everyone who I have worked with along the way: thank you for allowing me to be part of something so awesome, for teaching me what headbanging is all about, for sharing your incredible talent and bringing me along for the ride. There is no other PR team I would want to work on. I wish you nothing but success and can’t wait to see where you end up....

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Finding and Hiring Your Social Media Manager

Finding and Hiring Your Social Media Manager

I’ve spent the last year or so dedicating myself to rounding out my skill set and ensuring that I’ve taken my communications background and given it an even amount of attention across marketing, public relations and digital strategy. In 2014 I spent some time at Conestoga College teaching a Digital Tools and Emerging Technologies workshop to the Integrated Marketing Communications students. Through this I was able to share my experiences in the field on how social media and digital tools can assist with enhancing a business strategy. I am thrilled to share that my workshop has grown into a course! I will be teaching Digital Tools & Analytics in the Integrated Marketing Communications program at Conestoga College this fall; I also will be teaching Media Planning in the Advertising and Marketing Communications program! Teaching and freelancing in the digital marketing space over the years has taught me many lessons, but one in particular always stands out: social media is a two-way street… and social media is not the silver bullet to success. So with all these “social media managers” out there, who do you hire? Here are a few things to look for when hiring your social media manager: They are social in the online space – they have a presence on social platforms and have a respectable following. Accountability – task driven, goal oriented, maybe even a bit OCD. Creativity –  they ask throught-provoking questions and are ahead of the curve in many ways. Passion – I’ve worked on projects where I knew very little about the industry… it’s about finding someone who is eager to learn, passionate and driven to understand your business needs. Understands ROI and how to measure it. You’ve set a goal (new followers, perhaps?); now you need to assign a monetary value and calculate your investment. Has a skill set and knowledge base that goes far beyond posting to platforms. A good social media manager understands analytics, best practices, multi-management platforms, brand identity models, media planning, social influencer programs, blogging, SEO and engagement techniques… just to name a few. Someone with a diverse background. I have worked in public relations and traditional marketing roles… all of which have helped me to understand the bigger picture. I could go on for hours but there is a second part to this search that you must be aware of: as the client how involved do you plan to be? I have worked with people who want you to work on everything and take control of the brand voice, and, those who want to have input and provide feedback every step of the way. There is no right or wrong approach to either of these partnerships as long as...

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Escape Artist Rob Roy Collins Among Fan Favourites and First Timers at Sun Life Financial Waterloo Busker Carnival

Escape Artist Rob Roy Collins Among Fan Favourites and First Timers at Sun Life Financial Waterloo Busker Carnival

Co-written by Lindsay Burdett The Sunlife Financial Waterloo Busker Carnival kicks off its 26th year on Thursday, August 21st. This year brings familiar faces, along with many new, captivating performers from around the globe. Canada’s Premier Carnival brings the Waterloo Region community together to enjoy a weekend of outrageously talented, wild performances. This year three fan favourites will return to wow the crowd, including Chalkmaster Dave from Toronto who often paints the streets with his exquisite 3D murals and unique art form. Another fan favourite returning from 2009, is The Red Trouser Show from Boston. With all new tricks up their sleeves the Red Trouser Show delivers an exciting combination of comedy and daring acrobatics, including fire juggling and ladder stunts. The last returning performer is Rob Roy Collins, who comes all the way from England to kick start the opening ceremonies with his courageous escapology and comedic moments that always leave the crowd wanting more. Collins will attempt “The Great Escape” upside down from an industrial crane high above the Main Pitch of the carnival. “I have done this sort of thing from a few crazy places including high atop a billboard in Toronto, off a roller coaster track in the UK, and from a helicopter in Niagara Falls, but never so close to an audience in a public square,” Collins said. “They will be able to hear everything up and close and personal. It’s going to be brilliant!” After celebrating the carnival’s 25th anniversary last year the team wanted to bring a fresh, exciting spin to the Buskers this summer by introducing nine new, internationally renowned performers to Waterloo busker fans… the first timers! Dream State Circus, all the way from Australia, bring with them a dazzling show of hand balancing, juggling, and equilibrium, all involving fire. Another first timer includes Mario, Queen of the Circus from New York City. Mario is considered a top five busker in the world, producing a unique blend of circus artistry and comedy, he captivates the crowd with impeccable juggling tricks, humor, and crowd surfing, all while enjoying his favorite rock group, Queen. Pyromancer, from the Netherlands, offers an astounding show for the whole family of bold fire breathing tricks. Jam packed with danger and a light-hearted touch of comedy, his fire show is world class and will leave you on the edge of your seat. Lisa Lottie, also from the Netherlands, delivers a beautiful and vivid performance of balance, hula hooping and contortions, as she attempts one of the most complicated stunts ever! Jonathan Burns, a contortionist from Philadelphia, will keep you laughing and in shock with his flexibility in bending in positions unimaginable. Don’t miss Funny bones, all the way from Tokyo,...

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Facebookers of the World, Beware.

Facebookers of the World, Beware.

Think you’ve got your social media privacy settings under control? Think again. Once upon a time there was a woman, we’ll call her Sue. Sue was dating John, and one day noticed that he had liked a photo on Facebook of another woman. John, a police officer, went on Facebook that same day and posted a photo of his under age daughter taking shots out at the bar: “Atta girl!”, he commented. John and Sue are no longer in a relationship, and John is now jobless. The end. In today’s online, social world, privacy is hard to come by. We have grown to a new level of comfort when it comes to what we share and with whom we share it. Our meals, work life, extra curricular activities and family time have become a normal part of everyday “socializing.” This week I have been doing a lot of research for work on privacy and account settings, and felt it was necessary to share some of what I learned and already knew: Did you know that Facebook has recently tweaked its privacy settings? In this privacy and user habits infographic, 25% of Facebook users say their posts are public. Despite the warnings with social media as the always watching eye, 25% of users don’t know if Facebook tracks their location, while 61% don’t realize that third party applications may have access to their data and information. How many of you read the Terms and Service on social networking sites before accepting? Many users aren’t aware that their videos, photos, contact information and cell phone providers are just the beginning when it comes to information your networking sites can get about you. Now let’s revisit the story of  John and Sue. The key takeaway here is that with social media, your information, posts, engagement and activity are never a secret, or totally safe. I’ll take Facebook an an example: for photos, it tracks what you like, what you’re tagged in, and who you’re with. For posting, it’s very similar. Now let’s say you’re travelling and post a photo of your hotel… yep, it tracks that location too. The bottom line is this: always be aware that what you post, “like” or click on is being tracked. Facebook truly is the Big Brother of social networking… it is always...

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PR In Canada’s Top 30 Under 30

PR In Canada’s Top 30 Under 30

This month has been one for the books… Last Tuesday I was thrilled to share that I am working on my first ever piece of published academic work, and have been contacted by the Conestoga College Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) program to collaborate on new materials for an upcoming workshop! Last week I also found out that I have won a spot in PR In Canada’s Top 30 Under 30!  The winning acknowledgement read: “The idea for the #princanadatop30under30 was born from a desire to promote excellence within the Canadian public relations sector, and to recognize those who are pushing themselves and can be called “leaders” in the space.” Words cannot describe how excited I am to be honoured with this distinction! I am grateful and overwhelmed by the supportive emails and phone calls I have received this month. Thank you to the amazing people in my life who have supported me over the years as mentors, friends and colleagues. Steve – you have been there since day one, taking me under your wing and helping me grow. Thank you for pushing me toward The Force; to my OpenText team, past and present – my professional experiences have been very positive and I feel very fortunate to have the job and team that I work with. My ‘second family’ at Gemini – the opportunities I have had with meeting new people, experiencing new things, and sharing my passion for life with students has been extremely rewarding… I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to grow and share in new chapters with! The Sun Life Financial Waterloo Busker Carnival – this unbelievably dedicated group of individuals have taught me a lot about what it means to truly be involved in my community, and to love what I do. Beccomm followers, clients, and friends – thanks for supporting me and being a part of my personal and professional journey. My family & best friends have always encouraged me to challenge myself and push the limits… I feel so fortunate to have encouraging, challenging, ambitious people around me. Last but never the least, Mike – ‘it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there… eat or be eaten.’ Thank you for the challenging me the most and encouraging my goals everyday. There is no best friend out there like you. I’m really looking forward to meeting my fellow Top 30 Under 30’s tomorrow in Toronto… collaborating with a group of young, energetic, driven professionals… my ideal night. The best is yet to come…...

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Paying It Forward

Paying It Forward

After reading these 3 short stories I hope you can find the time to Pay It Forward. Over 5 years ago I met Stephen Young, who at the time was the National Marketing Manager at MTD Canada and the Director of Marketing for the Waterloo Busker Carnival. It was at one of my very first modelling gigs. We clicked instantly – with his high energy and lovable personality, how could we not be friends? After getting to know each other better and explaining that I was getting more involved in the world of public relations, Steve offered me an opportunity to volunteer with the carnival… and I took it. Time flies – August 2014 will be my 5th summer volunteering as the Director of PR & Social Media, on the executive committee for the Sun Life Financial Waterloo Busker Carnival. Over 6 years ago I got together with Ema Suvajac, grabbed some Christmas lights, had one of my best friends do the makeup, and attempted our first photo shoot – for both of us. Little did I know, I was about to meet my second family in Audrey Wilson, Laurie Cadman, and the Gemini Models team – some of the most beautiful people inside out. I’ve been fortunate over the years to have had the opportunity to model for Ed Hardy, MTD Canada, World Gym, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and countless local projects in the Waterloo Region. Over 3 years ago I had the opportunity to work with Meghan Huras, Communications Specialist at OpenText. I learned and discovered a new side to communications – public relations and social media, different than the marketing/PR role I had taken on a few years earlier with Steve. I worked hard to learn, grow and develop my skills managing OpenText online communities and working with an amazing group of people. Meghan helped me make an informative decision about where to further my education for a grad degree, and I now currently work full-time at OpenText as a Public Relations Specialist. This post is not meant to give the impression that everyone can – or will help you, but rather to remind you that regardless of your profession, you have an opportunity everyday to help someone else, in some way… to give them the start and the opportunity they need. It’s up to them to put in the work. I have never believed that good things come to those who wait. I believe that good things come to those to take action.  When opportunity knocks, answer right away. I don’t believe that action means doing something alone… one part of achieving yours goals and your own definition of success is to connect with others...

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