Learning outcomes

When I was a teacher at NSCC, the big focus for curriculum was on learning outcomes and in-class activities that lead students to demonstrate their knowledge. What’s great about NSCC, and many post-secondary institutions, is the integration of field experience into their education programs by way of work terms or internships.

In April and May, I had the opportunity to participate in my first work term as an industry partner with a soon-to-be graduate Abigail Gallant from NSCC’s Music Business program.

Abigail and I hit it off right away – we both talk a lot, love music, and have a penchant for figuring things out. I had a long list of things to do and swiftly started handing things off.

While some tasks were easier than others, we communicated often and came to the table more prepared each week. Not only did Abigail learn some real-life skills for the workplace and make valuable connections, I unexpectedly discovered many new things about myself and things I can do now for the future to help my business grow.

I encourage all small business owners to explore the opportunities available from your local colleges and universities to participate in a work term or internship. You might just learn more than you think!

Party people

Halifax is about to get loud! The East Coast Music Association is hosting their annual conference and festival, bringing hundreds of musicians and industry professionals from across Canada and abroad to our tiny corner of the world.

I’ve had many different roles at ECMA each year, but whether I’m representing artists or scouting new talent, one thing is the same: there are never enough hours in the day to do all the things. So, I’ve come up with three easy tips that will help you survive the (very) long weekend.

1. Create an organized, easy-to-read schedule. Read the ECMA conference schedule online and pick and choose what you want to attend. Write everything down, including the name of the workshop/panel, location, and time. Do the same with the festival schedule for the showcasing artists, then add in your own business meetings and commitments. Now you have your very own schedule of everything you want to do, see and accomplish. Pro tip: research the people who are part of the workshop/panel and the artists you’re going to see, you’ll be happy you did when you meet them at the after party.

2. Pace yourself; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Look at the schedule you just made and plan your downtime. Plan nothing for an hour or two each day and use that time to freshen up, have a snack, nap, or whatever you want to do. Pro tip: bring your comfy pants and slippers if you stay in a hotel. They make downtime that much cozier.

3. Stay hydrated. Hotel air, no sleep… even if you stay sober it’s easy to forget to drink enough water in your 20-hour day. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere you can, but not an expensive one because they’re easy to lose. Pro tip: pack a travel mug, it can double as a water bottle when you lose the first one.

Bonus tip! Put a pair of earplugs in every jacket, bag or purse you own. The last thing you want to hear when your head finally hits your pillow is ringing in your ears. Safety first, party people.

Happy ECMA!

Jigs and reels

When I was a little girl in Corner Brook, Newfoundland, I remember my poppy would sit at the dining room table and listen to the AM radio every morning. The sound of jigs and reels followed us in the car and all the way to Marble Mountain, where the same music blasted from speakers at the bottom of the chairlift all day long.

Now, I certainly don’t ski enough anymore but I do still love a good ole’ kitchen party tune. Lucky for me, I met two artists who have mastered their instruments and their craft of making traditional music: Ben Miller & Anita MacDonald.

As a duo, Ben plays Scottish border pipes and Anita plays the Cape Breton fiddle and sings (in Gaelic!). Since meeting at the 2013 Celtic Colours Festival, they have toured across North America and further afield, “captivating audiences with their driving dance tunes and soulful airs”.

Next time you have the urge to throw down some fancy footwork, alone or in your kitchen with friends, I highly recommend you grab your dancing shoes and click the play button.

Jazz hands

The news is out! I’m so thrilled to have started my new part-time contract as the festival manager at Halifax Jazz Festival! I’m excited to be working with Andrea Dawson Thomas and the team to make the many activities we have planned happen. (Not to worry – I’ll still be working on other projects with other clients, too.)

Thanks to everyone who sent me high fives, jazz hands, and hugs on the new gig. Believe it or not, the countdown to the Halifax Jazz Festival is on! Because who isn’t looking forward to July?

Photo credit Halifax Jazz Festival

Lessons learned

Ten years ago almost to this day, I started a new job as the director’s assistant on the set of Sea-Wolf, a 20 million dollar, made for German-TV, 2-part miniseries starring Tim Roth and Neve Campbell (and many, many sailors, and fake-dead seals).

One of the producers, Ginny Duzak, gave me the opportunity to interview for the position and I could never thank her enough. And Mike Barker, the director, for giving me the chance.

I was recently reminded about a note that I wrote after I finished my last day on set. I remember coming home, I collapsed on the couch and thought, “I never want to forget this,” so I wrote down a list and titled it:

The top 15 life lessons learned from working in film

Ten years later almost to this day, I can see just how much this experience impacted my career (and my life!). It ignited my passion for the arts, and informed the way I work and the values I try my very best to uphold.

Dream Candy

I got a call from a former co-worker named Allan Hines when I re-launched my business back in September. He suggested I email his wife, Deelle, because, “she has some pretty cool stuff on the go,” he said. “She could probably use your help.”

I was hooked. I love cool stuff AND I love helping people.

As it turns out, Allan was almost right. Deelle Hines and her partner Camilla MacDonald are doing super cool stuff with their non-profit organization called Dream Candy. Their mission is to inspire youth to dream big and create a sweet life filled with passion and purpose. They do this by offering transformational programs where students practice acts of kindness, creative expression, meditation, healthy eating, exercise, and creating a positive and supportive environment.

Although simple in its practice, research from the Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy explains mindfulness-based training is a powerful strategy to manage life stressors for youth and children. Participants from past Dream Candy programs have said they have more self-confidence, better relationships, and higher self-esteem.

It’s been my pleasure to work with Deelle and Camilla to grow their business. Dream Candy is proof that sweet dreams really do come true!

If you have cool ideas for ways you want to grow your business, give me a call at 902-489-5878 or email me.

Send me your bio

Four words that can put the fear of God into any professional: Send me your bio. That is, if you don’t have a one. Maybe you have a biography but it hasn’t been updated since that time you worked at that company, and even then you didn’t really like it.

I believe you should have a biography you love, one that sounds like you. When you read your bio, you should want to give yourself a high-five and bask in the glow of how awesome you are!

The trick about writing a bio for yourself is that most of us have a “don’t toot your own horn” filter. We often underestimate or downplay our most important accomplishments because we feel uncomfortable talking about ourselves.

In my experience writing biographies – for artists, entrepreneurs, executives, and everyone in between – I have found so much joy in helping people realise how awesome they are. Contact me to get started on your new biography today!


Elevated Academy

If I had a dollar for every time I have started a sentence with “My friend Ricky…” there would be a new pair of very expensive shoes in my closet right now.

My friend Ricky (cha-ching!) has a business called Elevated Academy. He and his partner Julia coach people in all aspects of their life – in their career, relationships, health and wellness – to help them discover their passion, their purpose, and live the life of their dreams.

How cool is that?

I’ve been lucky enough to get to know Ricky and Julia over dinner and late-night conversations, and in several coaching sessions with more to come. I can honestly say they have both been a guiding light for me into the new year. To share in their collective understanding of all things that lead our lives and how to make life better, has been one of my greatest gifts.

Elevated Academy may be the start of something special in your journey this new year, too. Click here to begin.

New Year, new music

One of my favourite parts about working with artists is that I get to hear new music they’re making before almost anyone else. That also makes it hard to share the work I’m doing because it’s top secret stuff!

Based on the projects I had the pleasure to be part of last year, what I can tell you is, keep your eyes and ears open for new music in 2018 from Reeny Smith, T. Thomason, and Ben Caplan. All three of these talented songwriters make very different music – pop, rock, and folk – and it’s all totally fantastic in its own colourful way.

That’s a wrap

I made only one resolution in 2017: to read more books. Now that the holidays are here, I am happy to report that I accomplished my goal! Reading not only helps me to be a better writer, it expands my imagination and I learn new things about myself and other people.

I was heavy on the biographies this year with some spiritual inspiration and good old-fashioned comedy thrown in the mix. To join in with the festive season, here is a list of my top five favourite books I read this year:

1. Be Feel Think Do: A Memoir by Anne Berube
Anne Berube’s near-fatal car crash brought her closer to enlightenment, all of which she freely shares in this moving memoir.

2. Sick In The Head: Conversations about Life and Comedy by Judd Apatow
The title of this book cracked me up, and so did the stories inside. Judd Apatow is a producer, writer, and comic who has interviewed many, many comedians. This book is full of their very funny, often introspective, conversations.

3. I Can’t Make This Up by Kevin Hart
If you’ve ever wondered how Kevin Hart became so famous, you can read about his trajectory to superstardom in this comical biography.

4. The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer is someone who I picture myself hanging out with if I were a Hollywood starlit and lived in New York. Reading her book made me feel like I was catching up with a very hilarious best friend.

5. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson
I realised I give a lot of fucks about a lot of things I don’t really need to. I’m glad I read this book because now, not only do I care less about stupid things, I feel less guilty about it, too.

I’ve got my list of on holds at the library sorted for 2018. I’m looking forward to another year of wonder, joy, and laughter from reading books!