COM0015 – Assignment #5 – Professional Development

My role as a Business Development Officer with Innovation PEI consists of a variety of responsibilities including support for youth entrepreneurship. In early November, I attended a series of events hosted by 21inc. an organization dedicated to providing leadership experiences for young Atlantic Canadians. While Innovation PEI was also a sponsor of the event, I took the opportunity to attend not only to better understand the asset we were supporting, but also to learn more about the needs and interests of one of key demographics I support.

The Ideas Festival took place November 4-6, 2015 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and included a variety of sessions including keynote speakers and breakout sessions, as well as a significant number of networking opportunities. The schedule for event can be found here.


my accreditation

I met a number of young leaders from around Atlantic Canada during the event. During the morning of November 5th I was part of a table which included young leaders: Gaetan Lanteigne, Patrick Duguay and Remzi Cej. We had a great discussion, switching back and forth between French and English, about issues impacting smaller communities in Atlantic Canada.

Later that morning I sat with another group which included both young leaders and community members. Lisa, Adam, Gracen, Corina and I discussed the future of Atlantic Canada and what we felt makes it a great place to live.

The next day, I attended presentations on topics ranging from intrapreneurship, delivered by Chitra Anand (Microsoft Canada), to success in multi-generational business featuring  members of PEI’s Murphy family and finally a panel discussion with Hon. Wade MacLauchlan, Premier of Prince Edward Island and Hon. Brian Gallant, Premier of New Brunswick.

Premier Wade MacLauchlan, Premier Brian Gallant and Lisa Hrabluk. photo credit: H.Rossiter

Premier Wade MacLauchlan, Premier Brian Gallant and Lisa Hrabluk. photo credit: H.Rossiter

After attending this event, I can confirm – and yes I might be biased – that Atlantic Canada has a lot to offer, includes bright young minds and is a great place to live and work.

There were many great ideas shared during the event but what stuck with me the most is a quote from Chitra Anand.  During her presentation on intrapreneurship Ms. Anand recommended incorporating a fail fast recovery model in what you do. Allow for ‘trying’ and if unsuccessful, stop – extract the learning and move on. That is where she feels the learning and opportunity happens.

These types of events are great for providing perspective and networking.  The challenge is finding the right balance that helps you develop skills while staying on top of your daily routine.

Do you take part in many professional development or networking events?  How do decide which one(s) to attend?

COM0015 – Blog Post #4 – Unexpected Needs

When starting this five-course program, I was interested in learning how to communicate in this virtual space, including what the messages should look like and more importantly how to get people to read them.

What I have come to learn is while the methods may be a bit different from the forms of communication we are more commonly used to using, for the most part the way we communicate in social media isn’t. It is about participating in conversations by both ‘speaking’ and listening, and about engaging audiences by learning about what they are interested in and being a resource to them.

During the course of this program, I read about a number of different ways to use social media – some successful, others not so much, but the most unexpected use came in the form of a real life application during the Paris attacks.

Facebook’s Safety Check helps people in disaster situations let their friends know they are safe and allows people to check on the safety of others. More specifically used during the time of the Paris attacks, the Twitter hashtag #PorteOuverte  let people know of safe spaces where they could take refuge and get of harm’s way during the uncertain hours surrounding the attacks.



A CBC report notes that over 4 million people made use of the Facebook feature to reach family and friends during the 24 hours following the crisis to let them know they were safe.

While it is never nice to think about the situations that make these tools necessary, it is good to know they are there if we need them.  I will be interested to see how social media continues to evolve and to shape the way we interact, what about you?

COM0015 Blog Post #3 – Hello….It’s Me.

While I maintain professional contacts both online and in person I still tend to make face to face contact first and then follow with an online connection.tag & card

My online world includes Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. I use Facebook primarily for personal connections, but do include some business connections to keep current on news and events.

LinkedIn is for my business connections. While these sometimes overlap as friends I do not use this platform to post personal details. I connect with people I have both met in person as well as some who I have met virtually. I do however still struggle a bit with accepting requests to connect from people with whom I have no prior relationship.

I don’t use Twitter very frequently but do maintain account to follow and be followed.

In person, I regularly attend a number of events where networking is the focus. Through my full-time and part-time jobs I regularly take part in events hosted by local chambers of commerce, business associations and industry partners.gcacc

In the next 6-12 months I plan be more deliberate about my ‘in-person’ networking by making stronger connections with people I don’t know well and seek out information on businesses I would like to learn more about. In the on-line space, I would like to interact more with LinkedIn groups to both develop my networks and learn more about opportunities in my areas of expertise.

What about you – do tend to network more on-line or in person?  Do you struggle with making connections in either medium?

COM0015 Blog Post #2 – Lead, Follow and Grow

Prince Edward Island is known for many things besides Anne of Green Gables. The products that form part of the primary industries of agriculture and fisheries are well known around the world. From Malpeque oysters to potatoes, PEI produces a lot of what the world eats.

Like many places, Islanders like to support local producers – some by buying local at markets or direct from the growers, which can sometimes be done by actually going out into the fields yourself. My mom introduced me to U-Picks growing up and I now visit regularly on my own for things such as strawberries and apples. A number of Christmas tree farms also do this, allowing customers to visit their farm before the snow comes to tag a tree and to return closer to Christmas to have it freshly cut.

My local fruit U-Pick haunts both use Facebook but I don’t think ‘strategy’ quite describes their use. Occasional messages of ‘we are open’ and ‘we are closed’ are about the extent of the postings. While helpful, they could use a little work. On the other hand. my new Christmas tree farm of choice showcases photos of people out to get their tree, pictures of their farm and invites customers to share pictures of their trees after their are up and decorated in their homes.

A more defined strategy for the U-Picks could help encourage people to:

  • come out and try picking their own products
  • buy pre-picked products
  • learn recipes new recipes/uses
  • take part in experiential tourism
  • take tours of the fields and production
  • support local

and could reach out to groups such as:

  • day camps
  • seniors centres
  • newcomers associations
  • tourism providers
  • those interested in supporting local

By using platforms like Facebook, Instragram and Periscope, the U-picks could engage with current customers to provide up to date information on their operations, engage people new to the concept by showing them how things are done, what things look like and drive traffic to their websites.

The leaders and followers that I outlined both deal with products with short windows for selection. Being able to engage current and potential customers would help to ensure they maximize the returns on their seasons.

What about you – do you support local?

COM0014 – Blog Post #7 – Once Upon a Time

Prior to starting this course I was curious to learn what content businesses or organizations could share that an audience would find meaningful. I come from a long line of people who like to share stories and I take advantage of that family trait when writing and presenting. Through this course I wanted to learn how to write in a way that was best suited to digital communications and social media.

Throughout the lessons and assignments, I have learned that good social media content mirrors what we expect when communicating information or advice in more traditional means. The ability to create content that is relevant and helps to engage in conversation is key to using social media effectively. Storytelling is important to creating great digital content because it helps to connect and develop relationships with an audience.

My goal is to use storytelling to create and share content that explains relevant benefits, issues, opportunities and threats. Ideally, I want to tell stories that inform and stories that entertain and in doing so share content that is interesting enough that readers are encouraged to come back to seek out future posts or engage in conversation. I realize my stories might not all be hits with everyone, but I hope the better part will be popular with most.

COM0014- Blog Post #6 – From Piano to Presenter

I was very quiet and shy growing up, very. In grade 2, I started taking piano lessons and a couple of years later started taking voice lessons, both from the same teacher. Soon after starting voice lessons, I was registered to take part in the annual Queens County Music Festival, an adjudicated music competition for young people in Prince Edward Island. I participated until about high school, preparing solos in each of piano and voice, with some years performing in more than one category during the week-long, springtime event.

My first piano book.

Somewhere between very uneasy and terrified would about sum up my feelings prior each performance and the preamble was always the same. The participants, usually the same age or within a year or two of each other, sat patiently in order of their program appearance, while the details of their ‘class’ were announced. Each took their turn, walking to the stage (without tripping), performing and returning to their seat. After everyone had their turn, we sat and waited to hear the comments that the adjudicator made for each of us and finally our marks.

So, how did this prepare me for what I do now? Not all of those performances went smoothly, but I was stubborn enough to keep at it and with each passing year I became more confident performing in front of an audience. Throughout high school, presentations made me a little nervous but not quite to the extent as some of my classmates. By the time I got to university, standing up in front of a group was considerably easier and now as a lecturer and presenter I actually prefer the ‘other’ side of the desk.

While I don’t perform musically anymore, I have been trying out my keyboard recently and look forward to getting back to playing soon.

COM0015 – Blog post #1 – Ears and Eyes

Hey! I’m listening over here!

As I continue to learn about listening and monitoring, I have been doing some research into what is available. At this stage I am most interested in free tools but appreciate that this may be a case of getting what you pay for.

Brandwatch’s August 2015 article revised its former top 10 to include the ‘Top 15 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools’. Of these, I have begun working with a couple of the recommendations.



HooteSuite appears to suit me because it is easy to use, it has a good amount of detail in the help function (including videos) and doesn’t seem too difficult for a newbie like me to manoeuvre. In addition, I like Google Alerts. I was introduced to this tool in COM0013 – Monitoring and Measurement and like how easy setting up alerts is. Both tools are free, which is what I am looking for right now and both provide the basic functionality that I need at this stage in my monitoring work.

A number of the other tools included in this top 15 list – TweetReach, Twazzup, TweetDeck, Topsy and Followerwonk – are not of particular interest as they only monitor Twitter and I would prefer those that monitor multiple platforms.

Of the remaining suggestions, I am still not sold on  Klout. HowSociable, Mention and Simply Measured all charge for their service and at this stage I am not prepared to pay.

The four remaining tools noted in the article, Addictomatic, IceRocket, Social Mention and SumAll all look interesting and might be something to try down the road.

Read all about it!

When I am looking for news, I mix the old with the new. My work involves keeping up with local information both what is reported in media as well as what is advertised. Often print media is the traditional means for this.

TC Media

TC Media

I read newspapers – in print and online and follow various media outlets through Facebook and respective websites. I like when outlets use social media to profile some oftheir top stories linking you back to their published content. Locally I read The Guardian and CBC PEI, as well as a variety of papers from different parts of Canada.

In addition to local news, I like keeping up on varied interests and am a regular reader of Greatist, a health, wellness and lifestyle website. I subscribe to the daily newsletter and am follower in social media.

There are so many sources of news and information these days that everyone can find one (or more) that suits them.  How about you – What do you like to read and how do you listen?

COM0014 – Blog Post #5 – Personal Brand

Some of the personal qualities and characteristics that set me apart from my competitors include the ability to work alone or to collaborate with others in a team environment. Through my personable, friendly nature I am able to successfully develop and grow relationships with internal and external clients. Honesty and sincerity are an important part of who I am and what I expect from others.

My capacity to manage projects is as the result of my dependability, reliability and organizational skills.  Through insight and resourcefulness I am able to solve problems.

Lately, I have made myself standout by taking on the challenges of a new role with keen interest, including successfully managing a high profile project with only a short tenure in my position.

My colleagues would say that my best traits are the sincere and personable way that I communicate with clients.

I am most proud of the choices I have made to continue my education, which has broadened my range of interests and helped to make me resilient in the face of changing economic times. Additionally, I am very proud of the opportunity to meet with clients to learn about their business plans, and to provide direction and resources that they can use to position themselves towards success.

COM0014 – Blog #4 – Sharing #peiburgerlove

Knowing where your food comes from and buying local has become very popular. While Prince Edward Island is well known for potatoes and seafood, it is lesser known for its beef which is produced on 40% of Island farms, but has struggled to gain market share.

In 2011, the PEI Cattle Producers engaged Fresh Media to help promote local beef. The creative agency took on the challenge, developing the very successful PEI Burger Love campaign. From the catchy burger names – Stuffed Leprechaun or Redneck Monte Cristo anyone? – to social media and contesting, each element plays an important role in the public engagement that makes the campaign such a success. Each year a winning burger is selected by public vote and burger lovers are encouraged to use Facebook or Twitter to share their #peiburgerlove.

The success of PEI Burger Love by the numbers saw 14 restaurants, each creating a signature Prince Edward Island beef burger during the inaugural campaign in April 2011, laying the foundation for the annual month-long event. In 2015, 60 restaurants sold 145,527 burgers, translating into sales of over $1.9 million. These results contribute not only to the increased interest and consumption of local beef, but also provide welcomed support to the economy of Canada’s smallest province when tourism numbers are low. A great achievement when you consider the entire population of the province is give or take 146,000.

The following graphic demonstrates the campaign’s growth over the first four years including the use of social media.


Credit: Fresh Media Inc.







Success is also demonstrated through industry recognition including the 2012 AIM – Atlantic Interactive Marketing Awards’ Best Social Media Campaign in Atlantic Canada and the Best of CAMA 2014 Integrated Marketing Campaign.

Beyond April, activity in social media continues, ensuring the beefy love affair endures.   The countdown is on!

COM0014 – Blog post #3 – My audience

In addition to my full-time job, I teach part-time as a sessional lecturer at the University of Prince Edward Island. After two years teaching freshman business, I took on a new challenge, introducing the culture of Canadian business to international students. Some characteristics of this group include:


  • Males and females.
  • Age range 18-25 years.
  • High school graduates, some with one or more years of post-secondary education; few with diplomas or degrees.
  • Unmarried, some in relationships.
  • Typically from Africa, Asia and Europe.


  • Both conservative and trendy.
  • Enjoy traveling and exploring new societies.
  • Some drive, most take public transportation.
  • Access to disposable income ranges from wealthy to very limited resources.
  • A mix of leaders and followers.
  • Enjoy spending time with friends, discovering their community, meeting new people and participating in social events.

English is not the first language for most of my students, but they are not unlike their Canadian counterparts, preferring to communicate through email, text or online. I consider the following to ensure effective communication:

  • I never assume any student understands what I am saying. I frequently take the temperature of the class to help determine whether students understand the concepts or if they need to be broken down further.
  • Have you ever read an article or listened to a presentation only to be faced with unfamiliar abbreviations and jargon? To help prevent that frustration, I introduce concepts by their full names before abbreviating or using slang.
  • My classroom is a place for students from various backgrounds to feel comfortable expressing their ideas and practicing their language skills. This means being respectful of the abilities and beliefs of their classmates.

“A different language is a different vision of life.” Federico Fellini