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Beccomm: What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name anyways? In June 2012 I announced that I was starting my own business, Beccomm. What started years ago as my high school blog, then titled “Rebecca Anne”, quickly grew into my freelance communication business.

I knew I wanted to write, meet new people and take on new opportunities and projects that challenged me to grow professionally. As I sat down at my desk in the spring of 2012, I had everything ready to go… but couldn’t decide on the perfect name for my biz. Then it hit me. I wanted something easy to remember but meaningful, because I always try to place purpose and meaning behind everything that I say and do.

I’ve had many people ask me how “Beccomm” came to be, so here we go. Visually, Beccomm breaks apart into “Bec-comm”…and it is just that: the communication business of Rebecca Grieb. The meaning and purpose of my business name however, can be found in its proper pronunciation: “Be-Calm”.

I wanted to create a business in which I could use my skills and services to strengthen the brand of the person, place or group I was working with. I wanted Beccomm to act as a fresh perspective and engaging voice on behalf of whatever company I was working with. I wanted to create a sense of “calm” – a reassuring voice that I would help each client know I was there to help them accomplish their goals.

Moving forward into 2014, I am beyond excited to get started on new projects and opportunities. Whether it is copywriting for a website, implementing a social media strategy, writing a press release or blog, or assisting with the success of a business launch… I am ready!

In the New Year also plan to make my blog posts more consistent and regular. As of Thursday, January 2, 2014 I will be posting my blogs every second Thursday. I encourage you to subscribe to my posts, and connect with myself and Beccomm on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I wish you nothing but the best in 2014, and am looking forward to the adventures and opportunities that lie ahead in the New Year!

Oh, the Opportunities!

There is something to be said for being alone and feeling completely content. Close your eyes, picture your favourite moment… who is there? What are you doing? Now ask yourself this: who and what is it that truly makes you happy?

I’m currently listening to Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful”, blogging, journaling, reminiscing on the past and genuinely looking forward to the future. It’s been two hours of the same song, me writing madly, so madly my hand hurts. I’m sitting in front of a palm tree at 2am in Orlando planning more social media activities for OpenText, feeling truly appreciative for the opportunities I’ve had lately.

Hot summer nights, mid July
When you and I were forever wild
The crazy days, city lights
The way you’d play with me like a child

Over the past few months I’ve been developing and implementing a social strategy for Body Mechanics in London, Ontario, as part of the freelance work I do. From this project I have learned so much about myself professionally – and personally. I’ve learned that developing a communication strategy can’t happen overnight and it requires true dedication to your craft. I’ve also realized that for me, loving the work I am doing is just as important as who I am doing the work for!

Fall 2013 was a huge realization point for me professionally. I have always worked in a position where writing and social media has applied, however it has only been in the last few months that I have started to recognize the fire that lights within me when I am doing this type of work. I love connecting with real people, engaging in out-of-the-box, meaningful and sometimes crazy converations. Some people have refreshing perspectives on things, and I find social media to be a great outlet for starting those conversations.

What I learned from 2013 is that in every situation we truly do have the option to look at the glass half full or half empty. Moving forward into 2014 I am making it my mission to see the opportunity in everything I do. We only have one life to live… we can either look at how many things we have to do in a day, or we can look at how many opportunities we have to take on new projects, try new things, and meet new people!

Finally, I would like to offer some food for thought: Are you truly living in the now?

In 2014, I want to embrace opportunities as they come and truly look for the best in everyone, in everything, and everywhere. May sounds cheesy to some, but to me they are opportunities waiting to be found. So as I sit here alone, reflecting on how content I am doing nothing, by myself… it suddenly clicked for me. When I am alone, my mind wanders to people, places, and life events… and suddenly the opportunities in life become clear to me. When I close my eyes and picture what truly makes me happy I see smiling faces, happy memories, letting my passion drive me to work harder than ever before, and an open road of endless possibilities. I guess you could say the unknown opportunities of the future fuel my appetite for life.

You Pick The Pak: Vote Erika Falk!

Vote Erika Falk as the Raptors Dance Pak's newest member

About fifteen years ago I started dancing with Erika Falk, who over the years has become one of my best friends. Although we share in many passions and hobbies, her love and enthusiasm for dance has without a doubt become a huge part of her life. So, when Erika told me she was in the running to become the Raptors Dance Pak‘s newest member, I was ecstatic for her!

Not only is Erika a great dancer, but she has an honest and fun personalty – the perfect fit for any member of the Raptors Dance Pak. In her interview, Erika stayed true to who she is admitting that her hidden talent is baking, her dream job is working as a physiotherapist for Cirque de Soleil, and of course showed off her dance moves.

As a Toronto Raptors fan myself, I’ve been to many games and always make sure I catch the Dance Pak at half time. The dancers of course have great technique, but more importantly they are fun, kind, and driven – characteristics I would definitely use to describe Erika. Despite my own commitment to supporting Erika and voting everyday, I can’t do it alone… Erika needs your help, too!

Voting has officially started and will continue until August 18th! It’s easy – you could win a meet and greet or tickets to a game!

1. Visit Erika Falk’s Page

2. Click “Vote for Me”

3. You’re done!

You can vote every day, so gather your friends and vote Erika Falk to become the newest member of the Raptors Dance Pak!

TEDx: Ideas Worth Spreading [Part 2]

A motto I have been following and living by lately is “good people know good people“. I’ve been ‘following’ this in the sense that everywhere I go, and in everything I do I try to surround myself with positive, motivated, ambitious people – in every aspect of life, especially my professional circle. Luckily for me, a lot of my good friends are goal-oriented professionals with a variety of experiences and interests under their belts. One interest we all share is TEDx – talks sharing “ideas worth spreading”. After submitting my application last week for TEDxToronto, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to write a post on my favourite talks that I have discovered over the years. However, I do believe that there is power in numbers – which is why I have recruited some of my best friends – the most creative, open-minded, ambitious professionals I know – to share their thoughts too… after all, everyone has their own experience and takes something different away from a talk.

Every morning as I get ready for work (and sometimes before bed) I listen to a TED talk… sometimes they make me laugh, sometimes I cry, and sometimes I just want to learn something new. So in no particular order, here are the top TEDx talks that my friends, myself and those in my professional circle recommend – check them out!

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The emotion from gaming could help us solve bigger problems in life such as world hunger – Games inspire us to collaborate; they bring out the best version of ourselves.

Kurtis (@bearded_ginger): Jane McGonigal’s talks on games - “Both of Jane McGonigal’s talk on games are fascinating. I’ve watched them multiple times!” 

I’d have to agree with Marissa on this next one, because I too can admit that I try to embrace my inner introvert every now and then… a fave talk of mine as well!

Marissa (@marissalindsey): Susan Cain, The Power of Introverts - “EASY!! I still listen to it once a week. The best ever!” 

No pants-required subway rides? It’s Improv, baby! Charlie Todd is a hilarious actor with an interest – and a talent – for bringing people together.

Laurie (@lauriecadman): Jane McGonigal (above in bullet one) who launched “Super Better” & Charlie Todd - “No pants Day/ The Best Buy Project”

“Secrets can take many forms — they can be shocking, or silly, or soulful.”

Ish (@IsmailOzturk): “This one is pretty darn good…” (Frank Warren: Half a Million Secrets)

Kevin Slavin argues that we’re living in a world designed for — and increasingly controlled by — algorithms.
What – or who – is a changemaker?
Nerissa (@nerissabradley): “Powerful talk by George Roter“: ‘a change maker means being open to being changed yourself’ ‘  
Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities; he says: Let’s change the way we think about changing the world.
Debbie Currie (@deborah_currie): “My hands down fave TED talk is “The Way We Think About Charity is Dead Wrong” by the inspiring @danpallotta A must see” 

My list of favourite TED talks is always changing and expanding (check out my favourite list on my TEDx profile! and follow me on Twitter for morning tweets after I find a new goodie) – here are some all-time Becca faves: 

If you haven’t yet discovered TEDx (check out Ideas Worth Spreading – Part 1), I strongly encourage you to apply to attend the event – the speakers are amazing, you will meet people with both similar and differing perspectives… you will leave truly inspired!

#Social Intelligence

Last week I came across two articles on CMSWire‘s website that really caught my eye and got the social media wheels in my head turning. In this post, I want to bring a few articles to your attention, and encourage you to check them out!

The first was titled “Social Intelligence: The Building Blocks of Retail Success“, which was about how social channels can help how a business relate better to its target audience. The second article called “The World Has Gone Social: Make Sure Your Web CMS And Website Are Not Left Behind“, dealt the issue of integrating and social platform interactivity and engagement into websites and content management systems (CMS).

In the social intelligence post, Katie Ingram reminds organizations to listen to the customer, reminding readers that the customer experience should be the focus of marketing efforts. Speaking of customer experiences, my employer OpenText recently launched a new Web Experience Management (WEM) solution to assist marketers and organizations to “exceed their customers online expectations by providing a targeted, responsive experience across omni-channel touch points, multiple languages and devices with varied capabilities and form-factors.” I have to admit, OpenText’s WEM solution has a lot of people talking – and we’re engaging customers like never before. Hear what the attendees had to say from the OpenText WEM launch in San Francisco… The customer is after all, the boss ;)

Dennis Shiao lists a few benefits of enabling social interaction on your business website in his post. He also reminds us that as the website owner, we are the “enablers” and therefore are responsible for allowing spaces and opportunities for customer-to-customer and vendor-to-customer interactions. One suggestion Dennis offers is to create more room for social engagement with page content – for example, he says: “On your product pages, consider the placement of a Q&A feature that invites visitors to ask questions about your products.”

Both of these articles got me thinking about both small and large businesses, and who is doing this well. It would be biased of me to mention my own employer, or businesses run by friends and/or family; however, what I will say is this: posts such as the two above really made me think about the social world, which organizations are falling behind, and which are setting the new social standard. In my opinion, if you want to be leading the pack and not falling behind, you need to hire a member of Gen Y – okay now I am super biased… but still standing by it!

Thus other topic that has been on my mind lately is social media and the millennial (or ‘Generation Y’ if you prefer). On the weekend I read an article in the Huffington Post titled “Engaging With Millennial Customers Through Social Media”, written by Hulya Aksu. Aksu mentions TIME Magazine’s feature on the “Me, Me, Me generation” (aka ME!), and the challenge of marketing a business through a variety of social media channels. One interesting thing I read was this:

“…Millennials seek out a wide breadth of customer-service channels (NICE) and many of them expect customer support or feedback within just twelve hours (Nielsen). Perhaps most importantly, more than 65 percent or more of the younger (16- to 34-year-old) customer demographics seek out solutions to problems online before opting to engage with a business by phone or in person.”

As someone who works full-time on a public relations team with main responsibilities relating to social media, I can attest to the importance of quick responses when it comes to complaints, comments, general communication and/or feedback. I find that my generation is impatient, with high expectations when it comes to customer service (‘the customer is #1′ was drilled into our brains a little too much, I think).  When it comes to managing your business with the use of social media included, I think Aksu said it best: “to ensure that each voice is heard, businesses should embrace myriad forms of technology to make sure all demographics have access to leave feedback (and receive a response to that feedback) in a meaningful way”… this means social media platforms, telephone interactions and *GASP* in person customer-to-business meetings.

How do you communicate with customers? What do you think about the world of social media and the age of the millennial?

The Buskers are Back!

August 22-25, 2013

Mark your calendars – this is going to be the event of the summer – you won’t want to miss it! This August 22-25, UpTown Waterloo will clear off King Street for the 25th Annual Sun Life Financial Waterloo Busker Carnival! This is my third summer volunteering with the Busker Carnival and I am so excited to be a part of such a passionate team! This is without s doubt going to be our most exciting summer yet – the event includes free admission, and STEVEN PAGE opening the carnival at Waterloo Town Square in the evening on August 22!!

25 years is quite the accomplishment for the carnival, which is why this year we thought we would remind Waterloo why one of the oldest busker events of its kind is still on top of its game as Canada’s premiere busker carnival. The carnival attracts over 60,000 people over its four days and welcomes buskers from around the globe. Join us and go back in time with 25 years of Waterloo Buskers history and see how the carnival has evolved over the last quarter-century.

Can’t make the four days of fun in August? How about one amazing night of great company, food, drinks and the best entertainment the busker world has to offer!? The Festival of Fools takes place on August 21st – see you there!

We haven’t released the complete lineup of the best of the best in the busker world coming to Waterloo this summer, but we have released about half of the acts – check out who is coming to UpTown Waterloo! Make sure you are ready for the carnival’s most entertaining opening ceremonies on Thursday, August 22 at 6:30pm as STEVEN PAGE kicks off the carnival. That’s right, you heard me – former lead singer of The Barenaked Ladies is coming to Waterloo!

You can follow our countdown, recent announcements, and press releases here, and since I manage the PR/Social side of the carnival, this blog wouldn’t be complete without me encouraging you to connect with the Buskers online for the latest photos, videos, contests and more… and on your social networks – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+

The Sun Life Financial Waterloo Busker Carnival — 25 years and still going strong.

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON!

Jeff’s Coffee Co.

I’m sitting at my desk working away, enjoying a nice cup of coffee… and it got me thinking, what exactly is a “nice cup of coffee”? It is defined by the brand – Tim Hortons? Starbucks? Is “good” coffee inspired by the person who brewed or served it? Maybe the beans are Fair Trade Certified… Or maybe “good” coffee is all about where the beans came from.

A few years ago I met Jeff Maeck through a mutual friend, and over the last 2 years or so I have gotten to know him better, and grown to respect the multiple interests and admirable personality traits that Jeff has. As I write my next post on another local entrepreneur, I am very excited to introduce someone who is passionate about many things – and has found a way to intertwine everything together. Jeff Maeck and his awesome new business, Jeff’s Coffee Co.

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Jeff Maeck of Jeff's Coffee Co.

Tell me a bit about yourself…

I like to think of myself as a story teller. And traveler. Oh, and adventurer. I love people, coffee, visiting new places and meeting new people. Not-so-ironically, Jeff’s Coffee Co. is a combination of all of the above.

In 2007, halfway through my undergrad, I became known by my friends as the only guy to have “some extra money on my line of credit” (-Me, 2007). They said there is no such thing as “extra” money on a debt. I beg to differ. I hopped online with my newfound fortune and booked a cheap flight to Europe for 5 weeks with the rarely safe and now defunct JetsGo ($480! Where have THESE airlines gone?! Oh ya-out of business! Ba dum tsh!). That 5 week trip ultimately was the beginning of my obsession for travel, adventure and people (coffee came a bit later).

How did Jeff’s Coffee Co. start? 

In 2009, I was offered a two year contract leading Outtatown, a one year gap/adventure program based in Winnipeg. For the next few years I would travel across the country with thirty-two 18-22 year olds, engage in community projects, teach, mentor and live life alongside these students. Part of the program involved a three month stay in Guatemala where we immersed ourselves in the culture, explored the country, made friends with locals, built houses, drank incredible coffee (the first coffee I ever drank was in Antigua), planted trees and ultimately I fell in love with the country.

I became quite close with a few of our Guatemalan partners who were involved in community organizations and instantly saw a need they had that wasn’t always being met – financial support. These inspirational partners were working tirelessly to meet the needs of others but were never certain if their work would continue to be funded by donors. By my second year leading the program I couldn’t help but think I could do something, even small scale, to contribute to the amazing work they dedicated their lives to. Although I didn’t know exactly what form it would take, I began meeting with friends, pastors, business owners, professors, entrepreneurs-anyone who would hear my story and the restlessness I was experiencing not knowing what to do or how to make a business model that worked.

Jeff’s Coffee Co. was the result 1000’s of cups of coffee with these supporters (I love coffee. Did I mention that?) At this time, we are partnered with Niños del Lago, a non profit in Panajachel, Guatemala and support them with 10% of every bag sold. What that means for our customers is that every single cup of coffee they enjoy has a direct impact on the lives of youth in Guatemala.

Tell me about the type of coffee you sell. Starbucks, Maxwell, Tim Hortons… Where does Jeff’s Coffee Co. fit in?

We offer exclusively Specialty Grade coffee, which is a certification awarded by a Q-Grader (the coffee equivalent of a wine taster). What does this mean? There are 23 certified Q-Graders in the country who taste and grade coffee on a scale of 1-100 based on quality and taste. A bean that scores higher than 80 is considered Specialty, and represents approximately 10% of the world’s Arabica beans (meaning, there is not a lot of it!). Jeff’s Coffee Co. is proud to say we are partnered with a Q-Grader and all of our beans are 100% Specialty! We also roast our beans when they are ordered. Roasted beans do not sit around waiting to be consumed, we make sure they are as fresh as possible when they get into your hands. Our beans also come with a story-we know the farmers. Look for our Direct Trade symbol next to our coffee for a product we buy directly from the farmer and his family.

How does Jeff’s Coffee Co. differ from similar businesses? 

Jeff's Coffee Co...100% Specialty Grade, Organic Certified, Fair Trade Certified Beans

Jeff’s Coffee Co. really is multifaceted in our approach to business. On one hand, we offer some of the world’s highest quality coffee. I can confidently say that because we bid on beans at auctions like Cup of Excellence (sometimes, when we really love a coffee, we buy it all and become the sole provider of a certain farmer’s beans).

On the other hand, we are trying to do something bigger than build a brand-we want to build a culture of giving and social responsibility. We’ve learned there is a way to offer a fantastic product and still have an impact on your local and global community. This is what we are about.

For people looking to get involved as customers and partners, what can they do?

If you are a coffee lover-hop on our website and order some beans! We would also encourage you to check out the Niños del Lago’s website and see firsthand the work every bag of beans sold supports.

[Contact Jeff to find out more!]

How would you like people to remember you and your company?

I would want people to remember Jeff’s Coffee Co. as a business that kept razor sharp focus on its mission and promises: to consistently offer the highest quality beans, to continue to support the inspiring work our Non-Profit partners are involved in, to shorten the distance between farmer and consumer, and to engage our customers in a way that shows we truly value them and their decision to partner with us simply by enjoying our products.

What’s Next?

I am currently working at developing a coffee subscription model for our customers. In the same way you can subscribe to a magazine and receive it each month in your mailbox (it’s exciting to get mail, isn’t it?) the same will be true of our coffee. It will be shipped directly to your door once (or twice!) a month, every month, for the duration you choose.

What’s your vision for the future?

I would love to bring friends and coffee lovers to the farms where we buy our coffee so they can experience firsthand the amount of work involved in each cup of joe. I think it would be an amazing experience for someone who has been enjoying a Costa Rican or Kenyan or Guatemalan coffee to travel their and shake the farmers hand who spent months growing and caring for the beans that were shipped half way across the world into their cup. These Specialty beans require so much micromanagement and are the lifework of many of the farmers, it would be quite the experience for them to connect.

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What I love about chatting with local entrepreneurs is their passion – passion for what they do, passion for the reason they do it, and passion to keep pushing forward. What I also love about getting to know these ambitious professionals and their businesses is that they are awesome people who are supported locally – and beyond – by many. When I asked a few people who know Jeff in different ways to give me a word to describe him, I got: “nicest person you’ve ever met”, “stud”, “generous”, “kind”, “thoughtful”, “committed”, “compassionate”, “fantastic person”… and the list goes on. It takes a certain kind of person to balance multiple passions, combined into one business… and Jeff has what it takes.

When I was in Mexico earlier this month I heard a saying that stuck with me – “good people attract good people”. There is no doubt in my mind that Jeff’s Coffee Co. will continue to be a success; combining your passions in life and really going for your goals is one of the most admirable traits an entrepreneur can have – and Jeff has got it. A huge thank you to Jeff’s Coffee Co. for sitting down with me to talk about the business, and congrats – wishing you all the best!

Check out 5 Reasons to Choose JCCO – make Jeff’s Coffee Co. your next fundraiser!

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Meet Becca

Rebecca Grieb is a strategic and creative thinker – an ambitious and passionate University and College graduate with a consistent work ethic, strong leadership abilities, and a desire to succeed. Read all about Rebecca and Beccomm by clicking Rebecca's photo.

Personal Blog

An adventure seeking life enthusiast who is always ready to hit the ground running, Rebecca is a dreamer and a doer. Join her as she goes through each chapter of life, discovering new adventures and people along the way. Life is what you make of it - whatever happens tomorrow, we have today.

Professional Blog

As a Corporate Communication & Public Relations graduate, Rebecca has a specific interest in emerging social media trends and platforms. Another passion of hers is the local talent and entrepreneurial culture in the Ontario region. Follow Rebecca as she discovers what is pending, what is trending and everything in between.