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Mission: Promote purposeful passionate people to help them reach professional and personal potential while enjoying life to the fullest. DISCLAIMER: This is a PERSONAL blog. Views expressed are my own. Names listed have given permission.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Platinum Service - When a brand loves you back

Anyone who knows me knows, I love being a member of Zipcar

For the pa
st few years
I haven't paid for gas
Driven a bunch of new cars
Bought one of the car types for my fami
And enjoyed what I call "gold-le
vel service"

Today, Zipcar loved me b

Busy day, leading into busy evening
Rushing out to my Zipcar, I see someone has left a bag in the car, annoyed I go to move it to the back seat and realize....

It's got my name on it.

You can't spell swagger without swag!
Yes I tweet and post about the amazing service I get, the dollars I save and fun I have
but it's because they always over deliver - one never expects the brand to care...

My wife loves water bottles
My little boy loves this car
I got a handwritten note that reminded me there is a level above gold - But is platinum service avail
able to the rest of us?

You bet it is - join Zipcar!
I've officially referred about a dozen people
but I've helped dozens more join and enrich their lives, and keep their carbon footprint low...

Zipcar Toronto team.... you rock!

Thanks for going over and above!

Love Paul

Want to join Zipcar?

Join Zipcar and get $50 in free driving

What's all the fuss about? Watch!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Why search for a job before you need it

When I was a University student,
we never talked about jo
b search

Things ha
ve changed! Wonderful chance to give a keynote talk at my beloved University of Toronto today to a huge group of students at "Connections 2012". A personal dream for me to speak in "the great hall" at Hart House

Those attending responded to something I've been including in all my networking talks, but never posted.

WHY you need to think about your next job, office, boss before you decide to change jobs. My example? Dating!

If you put an ad in a paper and said I'm going to read all the responses, interview five and let one of them into my life for at least a couple years...people would say you're nuts. But THAT'S how we search and hire! In fact I would say we need even MORE scrutiny on a job search than dating....Why?

When dating, evenings and weekends together amount to a couple dozen hours at best - when you get hired you're together 35 hours minimum right away!!

No one you date
decides your salary, which pays for your food and shelter. When you break up with someone it may hurt but you can still pay the rent..when we get fired and may lose the ability to eat someone ironically says "it's nothing personal"

Maybe down the line you and this stranger might move in together but when you shake that hand and sign employment papers you get your gear and move in right away! This is marriage on the first date!!

And my personal favourite the quirky little thinks that are cute when you first start dating are insanely annoying to a new stranger in the next cubicle and will give you both an ulcer!!


If you know what sector you work in, think about your top three possible employers. Get out to their offices, walk in the front door and yes look around! If you're a work-life balance person, try to meet some of their staff in professional but non-office settings to discuss what life is like there!

I once literally was sitting with a peer who was staring across a huge 2000 person conference luncheon at one Executive.

"Who is that?" I asked.
"I want it to be my next boss" they said.
"Oh, do they know who you
are?" "Uh no."

"Does anyone at the company know of your passion to work there?" "Uh no"

"Have you done any homework to find out if it's a good place to work?"

Are you just staring at this person trying to hypnotize them into hiring you?! "I guess".

Interviews suck - rely on them and compete with the crowd....(Globe & Mail article)

So over the next year ( take your time, make it casual, this is a stakeout )
So get out there and meet your top three possible bosses
Find an excuse to peep the office space and get the scoop on life inside
Do your @#$Q#$#@$@ homework on the work they do!
If you are the person they want to work with, with the skills they need -
then blog, tweet, use LinkedIn updates, groups, answers - get noticed!

It was a true pleasure to meet a passionate bunch of students today
But passion without action is a waste of energy and time, a dream
Are you a dreamer? Or are you a do-er.

If you are going to DO something...
remember I'm here and at your service...
ready to strategize at Starbucks - my treat.

After all, you don't go looking for a date ON Valentines day...right?


Ps. That do your homework stuff? A great start:
Follow @Globe_Careers
Join the Globe and Mail Careers LinkedIn group
Read Globe Careers every week, it's full of great content!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Pink Ribbons Inc. - A first step to dialogue

I'm sweating a bit. Nervous. Never wrote a post that the potential to outright anger so many people.

So let me start with a key disclaimer. I am a man, and I really despise it when men talk about women's issues when they are not educated or experienced in any way about them. I have never interacted with the cause of breast cancer as a fundraiser - so in some ways I offer an objective perspective on this film. BUT I won't be commenting on the 'issue' of breast cancer or the politics of the work. You could fill the state of Texas with what I don't know, so I won't weigh in on something I'm ignorant about.

My interest in making sure I got to
the pre-screening of this film was as a fundraiser ( and although my current job doesn't look like traditional fundraising I've been in the sector for over a decade ). I've been waiting for a film like this for a long time.

You see this kind of documentary is both a fundraisers greatest nightmare...and kind of our secret joy.

As a profession, we're supposed to stand up for peers, cause marketing, event planning and dollars raised. As individuals often we feel disconnected from the actual way dollars are spent, research is do
ne and for those of us not in that part of the sector ( that's me ) find mega-events and personal-ask programs distasteful ( like big firm lawyers who have to stand side by side with peers who advertise in washroom stalls - both do honourable important work but one has a crisp-easy-clean lifestyle and the other has the guts to mix it up to help honest hard working folks but is seen as unpleasant ).

I was relishing the tough questions for the fundraising professi
on - so the film like many documentaries quickly sets about establishing the crusaders ( historians against the cure for the cure ) , the honourably outraged ( a stage four survivor focus group that drops emotional bombs throughout the movie that blow out your senses with real human questions that take you off the course, a discussion about the machine ) and the enemy ( corporate-friendly nonprofit leaders complete with anti-hero, conveniently botoxed to fuel more outrage ). My sadness is that the tone and conversation stayed there in this loop of very focused accusation towards a short list of sinners when the naughty list of "pinkwashers" is so much, much bigger.

But it was a damn good and powerful start to the dialogue.

Although it didn't have the teeth I wanted, I still think it's 100% required viewing for all career fundraisers. You may even find some peace here seeing questions asked that you've wished to raise in your organization. Maybe your donors and the community of the cause you serve will rise up and start asking questions too. The public often thinks fundraisers are bounty hunters but I suspect ( and the few blogs from more official peer sources like CharityVillage.com and Hilborn, Canada's two largest fundraising enews teams seem to agree ) that they welcome and encourage this conversation.

Don't get me wrong, when I say it has dulled edges I mean on the fundraising front - on the cause of cancer side there are some gut-wrenching scenes, discussions and discoveries. A scene with thousands participating in a run past the Egyptian pyramids really messed me up, everyone knows the pink thing has gone far but just how far will scare you. That being said, it is SO EASY to vilify corporations for flogging the cause and members of the public to get slactivated ( thanks Lee Rose ) but as the fundraisers in events/cause marketing always show me, the numbers don't lie - $ is raised, people come out - EVERYONE wants to help, to honestly express love, loss, grief, anger but no cause is so simple that you can take aim, come together and "end" it.

In the end, like most members of the public, I'm like this dog. We're covered in pink and we don't really have a choice nor do we really understand why. Question is, will this movie move you enough to bite something? Someone?

The pink-pirates are betting no.

use that first someone is going to be your best friend whose mom has cancer - but somewhere we have to have this discussion.

I for one hope for my profession, it's a big time discussion at the major conferences we have coming up.

In the meantime, I know it won't be date night at the movies but I highly highly encourage you to get out and watch this movie. Happy Superbowl Sunday.

Want to watch it as a group with a discussion afterward?
Let me know, I'll s
et it up.


Ps. In case you're worried, high production v
alue, good pacing/editing this didn't win at TIFF for no reason, it's a high quality doc.

PPs. The NFB is a national treasure. Canada is greater for its' existence.