Christina Martin’s calm before the storm

Christina Martin is an award-winning singer, songwriter, musician, and has recorded – and in some instances, co-produced – seven (SEVEN!) albums in her illustrious career to date. I’ve been lucky to know Christina for over a decade now and it’s been truly awesome to see her star rise.

Her latest album, Storm, is set for release this September 1. But, I got to listen to her songs and see the album artwork last summer, in August 2022, at the end stages of it all coming together behind the scenes. Christina invited me to work with her and her team at Come Undone Records to proofread the CD and vinyl artwork, and the liner notes and lyrics inside. Of course, I said, “YES!” and proceeded to be blown away by the magic of everything she made.

Fast forward to today, It’s August 23, 2023 and this past weekend I went to see Christina perform songs from her new record with her husband and bandmate, Dale Murray, at Neptune Theatre. She gifted me two tickets to her show and the Storm vinyl and two CDs (one autographed and an I Can Too t-shirt), plus a plantable postcard – all which are sitting in front of me as I type this.

The album is even more beautifl in real life. I could not be more humbled, to not only be part of her team for this release, but to also call Christina my friend.

I’m excited for everyone to soon see and hear the brillence of Storm. Fans can pre-order the record now or purchase it next Friday on Bandcamp, or visit her website for more details.

Encore! SMU grads celebrated

Saint Mary’s University Alumni Association publishes their annual Maroon + White Magazine, featuring inspiring stories about SMU graduates who are following their passions and making lasting impressions in their field. I’ve been asked by the alumni association to write for the publication for the past five issues and it’s been an absolute highlight for me each year.

The Spring 2022 stories I wrote feature Steve Snider (Building Bridges That Last A Lifetime: Steve Snider, BComm’79”) and Catherine Reeves (For the Love of Animals: Catherine Reeves BSc’09). Steve was set to retire as the CEO of Halifax Harbour Bridges and reflected on how being a SMU alumni impacted his decades-long career. Catherine’s love for animals, which she nurtured at SMU, guided her to making new discoveries in science and within herself.

For the Spring 2023 issue, I interviewed six new graduates to help tell their stories about their time at SMU and what they learned inside the classroom, on campus, and virtually while attending university during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Their experiences showcase the many ways that SMU is part of their lives and is helping to shape their futures.

Thank you to Mary Ann Daye at SMU and your team at the alumni association for continuing to invite me back to write for Maroon + White. I look forward to our next encore!

See you on the socials

It’s no secret if you follow me on Instagram: I really like social media. I like making videos, editing videos, posting pictures, and generally sharing my everyday life with my two dogs, Apollo and Stella. I’ve learned a lot over the past two years creating content on Instagram and TikTok. In return, I’ve gained a loyal following of compassionate and supportive pup-loving people, many who have become friends in real life.

For the past year, since April 2022, I had been working on a contract full-time with Nova Scotia Health as part of their media team. When the opportunity came up to stay onboard as a digital content advisor and manage their social media (Facebook, X, and Instagram), I had to go for it. Not only are my colleagues stellar people to work with, it’s a good feeling to be sharing feel-good stories about health care.

While I’m with Nova Scotia Health for now, I’m also writing for other clients in the creative industries and pursuing publishing my first children’s book. I’ve written about my rescue dog, Stella, here and she was the inspiration for the story.

I’ll have more to share in the coming months. Until then, I’ll see you on the socials!

All in the headlines

There have been some major events happening here at Creative Communications and I’m excited to (finally) share!

In December of last year, I had the opportunity to join the Nova Scotia Health‘s Public Health COVID-19 Response Team for three months to provide relief for their staff over the holidays. The plan was for there to be less need for COVID-19 supports and we expected activities like exposure notifications and outbreak communications would wind down. That was before another wave hit our province and nearly pushed us into another full lockdown.

I continued to take on client work through the new year, while feeling good about my contributions towards our health care community. The people I got to work with at Nova Scotia Health are supremely talented, dedicated, empathetic, and very good at their jobs. The experience was nothing short of inspiring.

As my time with the health authority was winding down, another opportunity came up that peaked my interest with their media team as a Senior Advisor – Content and Media Relations. I applied, interviewed, and accepted a one-year contract at the end of March and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

As part of my role, I get to read the headlines each morning and meet with the leadership in communications to discuss our inquiries from journalists across the country. I get to set up interviews with some of the brightest minds in our province and see the stories we help create broadcast online, on the radio, and on-air each day.

Creative Communications continues to keep me busy and I’m excited for the fall. I’ve been working with artists and arts organizations over the summer for projects coming up that I’m really looking forward to sharing. New music! Now, that’s music to my ears.

Do you even need your newsletter?

I’ve had a blast creating content for Theatre Nova Scotia‘s Instagram and Facebook for the past couple of weeks. Their executive director, Dr. Cat MacKeigan, is a gem and offers the best balance of autonomy and support that you could wish for in a client.

I was originally hired to work with their team for three months to manage their member newsletter and their social media pages, until they hire a permanent communications coordinator. After receiving the details for creating and distributing the newsletter and discussing its purpose for the membership, it made way more sense to stop offering the newsletter altogether and focus our efforts on Instagram and Facebook instead.

There were two main reasons for this change. First, the newsletter process was cumbersome and time-consuming. One of their staff spent up to 10 hours a week collecting the members’ content, editing graphics, inputting the content into the newsletter platform, and distributing it to the members only. The second reason was because, timeliness. Not only was the newsletter a time-suck, it wasn’t responsive to the members’ fast-paced needs. As a bonus, Theatre Nova Scotia wasn’t leveraging their social media to its full extent.

Audition announcements, funding deadlines, job opportunities – Theatre Nova Scotia wanted to share all of that with their members, too. So then why create new content when it’s easy to share existing content? Using Instagram and Facebook as their everyday “newsletter” allows the organization to not only share their content with a wider audience whenever they want, now they can re-share their members’ posts in the moment, interact with the community in spaces where they already spend time (online), which will make their social media content more relevant and engaging.

I’m looking forward to watching Theatre Nova Scotia grow their membership and their audience on social media over the next couple of months, and beyond!

Mocean Dance raises $20,000

Yup, you read that right. Twenty. Thousand. Dollars.

Mocean Dance is a brilliant and bold contemporary dance company founded in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2001 by a collection of artists and visionaries. 20 years later and its co-artistic directors, Susanne Chui and Sara Coffin, were driven to take on the biggest fundraising initiative in their history. To celebrate 20 years, they set a goal to raise $20,000.

Typically, this kind of fundraising would take months of planning and investment in marketing and communications. I, however, connected with Susanne and Sarah with the help of Strategic Arts Management on Nov. 8 and we launched the fundraising campaign on Nov. 23.

In two weeks plus one day, I created a logo for the “20 for 20 Holiday Fundraising Matching Campaign” and a look and feel using existing photography and elements of circles to tie the images together. I wrote key messages, designed graphics templates for Instagram and Facebook, and wrote copy for social media posts and their newsletter. Susanne and Sarah were keen with their feedback and helped shape every element for their loyal and supportive audience.

With a solid commitment of $10,000 from two core Mocean Dance donors, the campaign raised $10,000 in matching funds and Mocean Dance achieved their goal for a total of $20,000 by December 31, 2021. What a way to ring in the new year!

Back in the (virtual) classroom

Late one winter night, I was scrolling LinkedIn and came across a job posting for a teaching opportunity with Digital Media Academy, an international educational organization that delivers applied technology programs at prestigious universities like Stanford, Oxford, and NYU. I quickly put together a video as directed in the ad and sent along my resume.

My time spent as a teacher at NSCC and daVinci College were some of the most rewarding experiences of my career thus far. When Digital Media Academy asked me for an interview, I was elated. Fast forward a month later, and not only did I get the job teaching the Entrepreneurship & Innovation program in the new year, I developed the curriculum!

Due to the pandemic, Digital Media Academy needed an online version of their in-person programs and I was keen to take on the challenge. With hundreds of pages of material to review, I worked diligently to produce 20 engaging, entertaining, and educational lessons that can be adapted for various class times and age ranges.

I can’t give away any spoilers, but you can read a really nice description of the course (and me!) on the Digital Media Academy website. I’m really excited to meet my new students and execute all the fun ideas we put together. Time to sharpen my pencils!

Flamenco en Rouge in the news

Award-winning dance troupe, Flamenco en Rouge, debuted their live performance “Tierras oscuras” at the Cape Breton Miners Museum in October and the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in November to a flurry of fanfare in the media. Artistic director Martine Durier-Copp invited me to work as the publicist to promote the shows, and we’re simply thrilled with the results.

Halifax Presents’ Mark Robbins wrote a excellent piece titled Flamenco en Rouge pays tribute to minters with Tierras oscuras and Steve MacIntyre’s piece in The East Magazine, Nova Scotia’s Flamenco en Rouge offer up a special tribute left feeling excited. CBC Radio picked up the news and Martine was interviewed by Wendy Bergfeldt live on-air for CBC Mainstreet Cape Breton. The icing on the cake came days before opening night when Ana Almedia, TV host and producer of CTV Morning Live Atlantic, asked Martine to be on to talk about Flamenco en Rouge and “Tierras oscuras”. The segment featured photos, video footage of the dance troupe, and Martine even dressed the part of her flamenco alter-ego to liven up the event.

It’s always exciting to do publicity, but it’s even more exciting when things take off on multiple platforms – digital print, radio, and TV. Flamenco en Rouge delivered no less to their audiences and received multiple standing ovations for their sold-out shows.

Roswall’s new website

Dan Roscoe is the managing director of Roswall Development, a renewable energy company that’s based right here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He’s been steadily growing his business with his team for over two years and was in need of a website upgrade to coincide with a big announcement that was expected to draw international attention.

We put our heads together and dove straight into WordPress, picking through the best themes to present Roswall’s look and feel. After deciding on a template with more whitespace than before, we made our selection and I moved on to sourcing photos (one of my most favourite parts – I use Unsplash almost exclusively). We worked on the headlines and copy for each page, going back and forth on big and little things, until each word was in place. I made some last-minute tweaks to make sure everything lined up and, before we knew it, it was time to flip the switch.

After only two weeks – with the bulk of the work completed over four days (and lots of take-out) – the new website is up and running, just in time for Roswall’s big announcement.

Creative Pictou County

Working with the talented and dedicated team at Creative Pictou County over the past three months has been equally challenging and rewarding, in the best possible ways. Their mission is to promote, support, and connect the artistic community; illuminate the creative economy; and promote its growth in Pictou County – and they do not disappoint.

I had the good fortune to connect with the board chair, Denise Lynch, and their summer intern, Monica Rivers, through Strategic Arts Management and we set to work on a three-year strategic business plan for the organization.

We decided on four main goals for Creative Pictou County, with subsequent objectives to achieve to from 2021-2024, focused on effective and representative leadership; financial stability and economic development; connection, engagement, and promotion. And together, we established and implemented a new membership program to help bring their artistic community together.