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On the Road

j0438811Last week I started talking about finding your voice online. As mentioned, I was on a search for nuggets of wisdom that would point me toward this, and I wasn’t having much luck. I’ve also noticed that more and more, who we present ourselves as online, is having increasingly dramatic consequences in our daily lives (Click here and here for examples.)

Why should this matter to you?

As professionals we need to know who we are. Discovering our voice is critical to success in the workplace. As a young pro, it’s part of the stage that I’m at, but I have a feeling that these questions arise throughout our careers. Equipping ourselves with the tools to assess these situations is another important element of our work life.

Rather than simply talk about this, I’ve decided to use myself as a guinea pig. I’m going on a journey–a journey of self-discovery that I hope will help you to find out who you are as well.

So let’s begin…

As John Donne said, “No man is an island.” I’ve enlisted some experts to help me take this trip into my psyche. The first is Murray Comber of Life Concepts, Leadership, Team & Career Development.

Murray is a Corporate Soft Skills Trainer and Career & Work Consultant from Eastern Ontario. Since 2001, he has worked with high level government officials, and leaders everywhere from big business to non-profits, to help them to understand themselves and the people they work with.

Using both temperment and type assessments, he assists individuals in determining their personal career paths, strengthening their leadership competencies, building teams, and encouraging peak performance. He’s been kind enough to agree to help me out next.

I’ll be taking a variety of tests to assess what makes me tick. This could be a bumpy ride! Stay tuned, and make sure to check out Murray’s site while we wait for the test results.

In the meantime, my colleague Nate Riggs (another expert you’ll be hearing more from soon in the Engine Room) from Huber + Co. Interactive in Columbus, Ohio, sent me this link to find out my Myers-Briggs Personality Type. I’ve posted the results on our Facebook Fan Page. Try it out, and let me know your type!

Who Do You Think You Are?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by messages about social media, and how best to market business online. I, like many of you, read and reread the same articles, opinions, and blogs, looking for some nugget of truth or wisdom, but in reality I just haven’t found what I’m looking for.

I’m told to be authentic, but to keep my writing short and to the point. What if I like big words? Should I skip the authenticity, and take things down a notch?

I’m told to be real, but then I’m given lessons in small talk. How real is that? What if I just enjoy talking to people?

I love this post by Danny Brown, in which he asks: Who do we think we are, anyway?

Does it matter if you know who you are online? Yes, but not for the reasons many people might be telling you. It matters not so much to stake a claim on a few pixels of space, or to gain the title of “expert.” You need to know who you are to be effective.

The truth of the matter is that, as Seth Godin says it, “All marketers are liars.” I don’t care if you’re selling a product, service, or by way of saying you’re “real and genuine” or you’re “building community,” you’re trying to make money. You’re selling something. That’s OK, a lot of people are doing it really well, and I benefit–you benefit. What turns me off is when I realize I’ve been daft to listen.

We talk about “content” but don’t challenge each other to think.

So the challenge I give to you (and myself) today is this: Define your own voice, and speak from it. Be OK with the fact that it will grow and change over time. Understand that some people will like it, others won’t. Overall, keep learning; keep experimenting. Eventually you’ll have a stage–you’ll have an audience. The best part is they’ll be yours, or your brand’s, not someone else’s.

If you need some inspiration, take a look at Lauren Luke, a single mum from England with “not many mates, and not much confidence” who’s found her voice on YouTube, and as a result of being real, an audience of millions.

Greetings from New Zealand

As promised, we have collaborated with a brilliant team of food bloggers from across the globe; I hope that you are as excited as I am, I consider this to be a true honor ~ Thanks Our Kitchen!

Emma, from Our Kitchen writes:

The 5 of us here at Our Kitchen would like to extend a warm springtime hello from New Zealand to all the readers of Friday’s with Kerry. We are very excited to have the chance to collaborate with the team at Engine Communications and we hope that you enjoy the recipes that we will contribute over the next month. Have a fantastic festive season!

Dunedin Team

Dunedin Team

Sara and Emma

Sara and Emma

The team at Our Kitchen is made up of a group of passionate foodies (Sara, Lauren, Adam, Susie and Emma) here at Fisher & Paykel who are excited to share their stories, experiences and skills. Team members have varying backgrounds and interests in food resulting in a blog and a collection of recipes, which appeal to a wider audience, from chefs to the home cook and everyone in between.

Mulled Red Wine (yields 6-7 glasses)

by Susie

Mulled Red Wine

Mulled Red Wine

1 bottle 750ml of medium quality shiraz or merlot
3 cinnamon quills
10 cloves
5 star anise
2 slices of fresh ginger root
10 dried pomegranate seeds (optional)
1/2 – 3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup water
2 oranges


1. Add the wine and all other ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan.

2. Carefully peel half of one of the oranges. Try as much as you can to avoid the pith as this will create a very bitter flavour. Juice both oranges and add this along with the peel into the wine mixture.

3. Gently bring the pot up to heat just below a simmer on medium-high setting on your cooktop, then reduce back so as to only gently warm the wine. Warm for 20-30 min to let the spices infuse.

4. Remove from heat, strain and serve. Alternatively, strain and store so you can heat it later and drink at your leisure.

Thanks so much for sharing Emma, we can’t wait to give this one a try! Looking forward to next week’s recipe.

The original post on the Our Kitchen Blog is here.

‘Tis the Season

Example invitation designed on MyPunchbowl.

Example invitation designed on MyPunchbowl.

With Hallowe’en behind us, it’s now time to focus our energy on the next big event.Yes, you’ve got it, Christmas!

It’s hard to believe that our local Santa Clause parade is right around the corner. That signifies to me that it is officially time to start thinking about decorating, buying that special gift for everyone on your list (I’m definitely not one of those early shoppers), and yes, one of my most favorite things, party planning and holiday entertaining. 

One of the most important tips I can give for planning a holiday party, is to plan ahead. Party schedules during the month of December are usually pretty hectic, making it crucial to get that invite out early enough, especially if you want your party to be a success. I have to admit, I’m a big fan of getting a hard copy invite sent in the mail, but if you’re in a pinch, online invites are the way to go. 

My fan list starting with my favorite:

  1. MyPunchbowl  
  2. Paperless Post
  3. Evite

More creative control is a total bonus with MyPunchbowl. You can pick from multiple fonts, change colors and shadings, add images, and play with placement of the text. You also have the option to add the event to your online calendar, iCal, Outlook, Google or Yahoo calendars. Neat!

If social media is your thing then you can post your event on Facebook, Twitter or your blog. Doesn’t get much easier than this does it?

If you’re in a panic to get that invite out ASAP, then Evite is quick and easy to use. Paperless Post has an elegant, more formal style of invites to choose from, also fairly easy to create and send, slightly confusing when checking out the details. 

Next step ~ menu planning, including cocktails and beverages – stay tuned for next Friday’s post. 

On another note, Bryna has been talking about collaboration, and over the next few weeks we will be teaming up with foodies from all over (even as far as Auckland, New Zealand), to plan a festive holiday feast.

The lovely, talented, Holly Fillmore.

The lovely, talented, Holly Fillmore.

Today I thought that I would share a recipe from Holly (Fillmore’s wife and baker/blogger extraordinaire). These cookies, accompanied by a thermos filled with hot coco and a warm blanket, will make you sing to the tune of Jingle Bells while eagerly anticipating Santa’s arrival at the parade! 

Holly writes: 

One way we celebrate Christmas in our home is by baking cookies and other delicious goodies. Many of these tasty treats are only made and enjoyed at this special time of year (it seems more of a treat that way). I usually try to make each family member’s favorite treat, and then a few more on top of that. I start baking early and store what I can in the freezer (I try to keep it a secret until December or else it all disappears). 

The Sparkling Ginger Cookie is a real crowd pleaser. I can’t count how many times I have had others rave about this actually very simple and super easy cookie! 

Ginger Sparklers (photoography by Holly)
Ginger Sparklers (photoography by Holly)

Ginger Sparklers 

  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • White sugar, for rolling 

In a large sized bowl, cream margarine and first amount of sugar well. Beat in egg. Mix in molasses. In another bowl mix together dry ingredients; flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Shape into 1inch balls and roll in sugar. Bake at 350 for approx 8 minutes. *For a chewy cookie, remove from oven a little early, the longer they cook the crispier they will be. 

Cheers & Happy Holiday Planning!



More days than not, I (Bryna) marvel at how much I have to learn about business (and let’s face it, life generally). Being at the beginning of one’s career is a strange place; all at once full of so much potential and uncertainty. After five years of post-secondary, I’ve got about all the education I can handle right now, but the experience is a different beast altogether.

I certainly am not one to pretend I know everything. In fact, I think one strength any ‘under 30’ professional can have is the knowledge of their limitations, and the bravery to be transparent and ask questions when need arises. I think it’s this honesty that builds trust.

Building trust is a theme that’s been running through my mind, and many social media circles lately. The financial crisis of late has prompted a renewed questioning (or at least more public discussion) of old hierarchies and systems of governance, both financial and political. The idea of corporations being lumbering dinosaurs isn’t new, but I believe the urgency at which we address that issue is.

Fundamentally it’s a people issue–not an ‘organizational’ one. Corporations, non-profits, whatever systems we function in, are all created, and lived out, by the people in them. The recession has stirred a very heated pot to a tipping point. It’s no longer enough to give lip service to corporate responsibility; people must actively participate in it.

By corporate responsibility I mean more than the textbook definition of an organization giving money to charity, or going ‘green,’ or participating in a cause du jour. Responsibility encompasses that, but it also goes deeper; it stems from an internal awareness of who we are, and a willingness to admit when we’ve dropped the ball. As individuals, looking inward can be a scary thing. Magnify that by 1,000 or so people, and it’s easy to understand why big business often turns a blind eye.

Rona Maynard

Rona Maynard

Today I had the privilege of taking part in the Women in Business lunch, hosted by the Belleville Intelligencer. Being a female ‘under 30 pro’ I was taken aback by the transparency of the message given by all participants, and most notably by Rona Maynard, the luncheon’s keynote speaker: Be honest, we all mess up.

Be honest, we all mess up. If only more businesses understood that it’s ok to re-evaluate, and back up the train when they realize they’re going in the wrong direction. This is responsibility: It starts with individuals recognizing their limitations, and it becomes truth in an organization when the members of that community foster a culture of honesty and trust.

What this will look like in the future is becoming more clear to some, and less desirable to others. I will adress some of these models in a later post, but right now I want to leave you with this:

The woman who was honoured with the distinction of Business Woman of the Year, Mary Rushlow, built her career over 35 years. I can’t imagine that in that time she never struggled with any challenges. Rona Maynard, former editor of Chatelaine magazine, had her share of failures (her words) too. What separates a crisis from a screw-up is the ability to recognize you’re wrong, and beat your pride down enough to switch gears.

If I can get this at the beginning of my career, my failures will become opportunities. If organizations can get this, their failures will become opportunities. We all have so much to learn.

The Mully Children’s Family Women of Hope Evening & Mixer

safaritourWe here at Engine have had the privilege of helping our friends at the Mully Children’s Family with some of the promotional elements for their 2009 North American Safari Tour. If you don’t know what the Mully Children’s Family (MCF) is, let us fill you in.

Charles Mulli, the founder of MCF, was abandonded by his family at six years of age and left to beg on the streets of Kenya. Through perseverance, passion and ingenuity, Charles became a self-made millionaire–overcoming obstacles of social class, race, and extreme poverty. Charles had seen his dreams become reality. But then fate intervened, and his life was changed forever.

In 1986, a group of street children stole Charles’ Mercedes during a business trip to Nairobi. His anger quickly turned to compassion as he realized that he was once one of them. He knew he had to do something. 

Charles and his wife, Esther, gave up everything they’d accomplished–sold his homes, cars, and businesses–and used the money to open the Mully Children’s Family, a Christian humanitarian organization committed to transforming the lives of orphaned, abandoned and abused children in Kenya.

Since its opening in 1989, MCF has seen over 7,000 orphaned and abandonded children rehabilitated, educated, and rescued from AIDS, poverty, disease, and isolation. 

Using his business savvy and experience, Charles has extended MCF’s work to include an agricultural program, medical centre, and environmental sustainability initiatives that provide income for the home and employ half of the surrounding community.

MCF also supports 40 projects around the world—offering guidance to other NGO’s and communities in the areas of child rescue and rehabilitation, sustainable development, agriculture, and HIV/AIDS education; and has helped shape Kenya’s policies and laws on children’s rights and protection.

As I write this, former stree youth, now under the care of the Mully Children’s Family are making their way across Canada on their North American Safari Tour. The two-month tour kicked off mid-October in Ontario, and is moving across the country through Winnipeg, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Kelowna and Vancouver until mid-December. The youth will perform at schools, churches and events across the country, presenting a dynamic show of traditional African singing, dancing, drumming, acrobatics, and karate demonstrations from their championship team.

A complete list of tour dates is available on the Mully Children’s Family Charitable Foundation (MCFCF) website:

The MCF tour will arrive in the Quinte area the week of November 2-6th. These events are a must see!

safaritour2On Tuesday, November 3, Engine Communications is partnering with MCF and local speaker, author and blogger, Sheila Wray Gregoire, to host the Women of Hope event.

This evening is geared toward local business women, but any woman of any age will walk away from this event feeling inspired. No more will the word, ‘Africa,’ conjure images of poverty and despair. As you hear Esther and Mueni Mulli share their visions for their contintent, country, and it’s women, your heart will break but your spirit is sure to soar.

Specificallly, the discussion will focus on the future of education and micro-business opportunities in Kenya and rural Africa, for its women. Testimonials from local women who have visited MCF will also be heard. This is a learning and networking opportunity for anyone interested in social justice, business, and international development.

Whether you’re a mother, a daughter, an entrepreneur or student, you’ll be inspired by the stories of women, just like you, doing great things to change the world. You’ll also have the chance to buy some unique Christmas gifts to support the Mully’s efforts in Kenya.

There is no cost for admission, but donations to the Mully Children’s Family will be accepted.

If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP to our Facebook event page, or email Bryna Jones [email protected] or Sheila Wray Gregoire [email protected]. You can also call Bryna at Engine Communications: 613-771-0090.

Guests are welcome to bring friends, and seats will be available at the door (just in case you’re not sure you can commit). No one will be left out of this special mixer.

Mentors Week: Fillmore’s turn

Shaun Fillmore, Interactive Design

Shaun Fillmore, Interactive Design

It is so much easier for me to list off influences rather than mentors when it comes to design. It is difficult to come up with someone I would consider a mentor. I would have to say, however, that an instructor named Chuck (think Gene Hackman with a mustache) was the closest thing to a design mentor to me. He is the kind of guy that is passionate about design and was always ready with pencil and tracing paper overlay to show you how you can improve your work (but only if you wanted to know). He is the kind of man who made you earn his respect.

Anyone who was in one of his classes will remember the phrase “distort the frame.”

As for true mentors… that distinction belongs to Sid Molenaar (He is husband to Cheryl – who Bryna mentioned in her post). The writing of this post comes at an interesting time for me. I have been reflecting on my relationship with Sid and the impact that he has had on my life. You see I am turning the age that Sid was when I first met him. Actually the first time I met him was at his surprise birthday party.

Sid made a point of taking me under his wing. He is an intense guy and has the ability to see potential in you and bring it out. I guess that is what good mentors do. Thanks Sid. I still want to be like you when I grow up.

Getting back to design – I thought I would let you all in on some of those influences I referred to.

Joseph Müller-Brockmann (One of the pioneers of the Swiss Typographic style and creator of the grid system for graphic Design) you can see a few examples here

Alphonse Mucha (Best known for his posters – incredible illustrator and painter. One of the most recognizable artists from the French Art Nouveau) see some of his work here

Paul Rand (Best known for his logo designs – such as ABC, UPS and IBM) see his site here

There are many more, but these are the ones that spring to mind first. Perhaps I can talk about some other more current influences another time.

Mentors Week: Shaun Talks Inspirational Design

Shaun Levy, President/Art Director

Shaun Levy, President/Art Director

Of course so many people are influences in our lives, but there are always a select few that really impact it–True mentors. For me it was a professor at George Brown College, Charles Fisch, RGD. None of the students really liked him, and ironically enough, neither did I until years later.

It was only after looking back on my schooling that I realized what valuable skills and lessons he had taught me. The importance of preparation, planning and research involved in creating effective design.

Some of these steps seemed like a waste of time when I could be saving the world one awesome design at a time. But it was exactly these processes that enabled me to maximize my efforts, and come up with well developed design concepts.

For most design students it is all about how good your final design piece is, but he wanted to see the process–the thumbnail sketches, the roughs, and that the files were properly constructed in the proper programs. He would always say that it didn’t matter how “pretty” the design was if it couldn’t go to prepress and be printed. So now after being in the industry for about 15 years and working in many different roles from a Junior Designer to now owning my own company, I can say thank you Charles Fisch for all the tedious work that paid off!

Three of My Favourite Resources for Design Inspiration:

  1. Communications Arts—all things communication, arts, design, photogrpahy. You name it, it’s there.
  2. Colour Lovers-monitors and influences colour trends in design. Really cool site.
  3. Creattica–news, design, branding, and more.

Theme Week! Mentors: Be Inspired

mentors11Today in her daily newsletter, Commentz, Sarah Evans, PR expert, guest speaker, and all around inspiring gal, offered the following question:

Who is your PR mentor/greatest source of inspiration? This person could be the reason you got into the field or someone who has helped you develop your skills…or has the job you aspire to.

Funny enough, this topic was really timely for a couple reasons:

Yesterday I actually met a woman, Cheryl Molenaar, who’s been inspiring me from across the country for the past two years. I’d never met her, and we’d never actually spoken (!) but there are just some people who’s words and deeds transcend all barriers. The funniest thing was that when we were introduced, she told me that I’d inspired her through my work! (Gratuitous hugging ensued, and also a really great connection for some future projects.)

Another moment came  last week when I was invited to speak at my alma mater, Loyalist College, by one of my mentors, Robert Kranendonk. I was with his group of Art & Design students, and I was really hoping that I would have something to give. I’m a writer, not a designer. But the wonderful thing about creative careers is that a lot of the concepts cross borders, and we ended up having a great (two hour long) discussion.

What I’ve learned about mentoring over the past week is that as much as we look up to others, sometimes we inspire them too. I think the underlying, core value of mentoring is mutual respect.

Kathy Filo

Kathy Filo

In Commentz, Sarah asked us to blog about our mentors. I thought this was a terrific opportunity to showcase some of the people in the lives of the Engine staff, who’ve made a huge impact.  All week long, we’ll be featuring our team and their mentors on the blog. We’d love to hear who inspires you too!

If you don’t know Kathy, she’s our Production Design Coordinator, and she gave us a taste of her design work on the blog, right here. With over 12 years in design, print production, and customer service, Kathy’s experience makes her an invaluable part of the Engine team.

Here’s what she had to say about her mentor, Larry Storing:

It’s funny that Bryna should ask us today who our mentors in business are. A couple of months ago I ran in to my mentor, Larry Storing, at the grocery store. I told him exactly this – that I truly consider him to be my mentor in business. I felt great telling him because I could see that he was proud.
I worked closely with Larry in bindery and prepress/finishing operations for over seven years in Trenton at DL Advertising Inc. before moving on to The Easier To Read Telephone Directory, Essence, Design Guys and now Engine. He was both patient and fun to work with, and he considered me to be one of his peers (being a female in a male-dominated environment, I really appreciated that).
Everything I learned at Mohawk College (I have a Graphic Art Production Co-ordinator Diploma) I put into practice with Larry: dark room camera work, film stripping, platemaking, folding, numbering, trimming, booklet-making, quoting, you name it. I did it. To this day it is that invaluable experience which I take with me every day when I design and quote on jobs for print.
Thank you, again Larry for giving me the tools I needed to succeed in our industry.

Dream Big

van-gogh-vincent-starry-night-7900566This morning I had the privilege to speak to the students in the Loyalist College Public Relations program, of which I am a graduate.

In remembering my time there, and the snippets of wisdom I might have to impart to those just beginning their journey, I realized that everything I learned in school I learned from Loyalist PR.

Kerry Ramsay, the coordinator and facilitator of the program, is one of the most amazing, dynamic teachers I know. She inspired our class to get involved in our community, to give back to others, and that PR is inherently about servant leadership.

Above all she encouraged us to dream BIG!

She pushed us out of our comfort zones into places of creativity and experience that I had never had in four previous years of post-secondary. She gave us the skills and practical know-how to excel in our fields. She also imparted in our class (and many others from what I’ve heard), a fearlessness to take on big projects, communicate effectively, and do things we never thought possible.

Being back in her classroom this morning brought so many memories back. Getting to stand up with one of my fellow grads, the ever-eloquent and hilarious Jeff Lauritsen, was such a treat. It’s amazing when you see pieces of your life come full circle.

For anyone reading this who might be looking for inspiration, I encourage you to dream big. Do something you’d never do. Look for creativity in the most unlikely places. And check out the Loyalist PR blog. You’re sure to find something to bring out the best in you. I know I did.