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CARE Canada: International Women’s Day

2010_iwd_logo_rgbWe all know that I’m an advocate for non-profit organizations that focus on social justice. Being in PR and marketing, I’m always interested to see what new, innovative methods non-profits are using to communicate their messages, and champion the needs of their clients.

One of my favourite non-profit organizations to watch is CARE Canada. Last year, I was fortunate enough to interview their President, Kevin McCort, an incredibly passionate, creative leader in the field. Kevin and his team stepped up to the plate in a big way recently in Haiti, partnering with Oxfam and Save the Children to create the Humanitarian Coalition. Jointly, they raised over 13 million dollars to bring aid to those affected by the earthquake.

CARE’s work extends far past disaster relief. Their mission is to fight poverty through the empowerment of women and girls in developing nations. Using education, economic development, health care and HIV/AIDS programs, as well as disaster and conflict relief, CARE Canada is working with communities around the world to achieve their goals.

The results are inspiring, to say the least. You can imagine my excitement when I was contacted by their Communications Manager, Kieran Green, who wanted to give me the scoop on their plans for International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day, held annually since 1911, on March 8, is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. To kick it off tonight, CARE is hosting the 1-night-only Canadian premier of “Half the Sky Live”, inspired by the best-selling book by Pulitzer Prize winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It features live musical performances, celebrity commentary, and chronicles the struggle of poor Ethiopian women who overcome sexual violence and discrimination. It’s the first time a non-profit development group like CARE has commercially released a film to both entertain and raise awareness of a global issue.

On Monday, March 8, CARE will be celebrating International Women’s Day with an innovative awareness campaign. I’m going to let Kieran tell you about it:

With our focus on empowering women at the core of our poverty-fighting work, International Women’s Day is a natural fit for CARE for spreading the word about our work, and about the importance of women in the fight against global poverty.

This year we were looking for something that could be both a symbol, and also a simple activity for engaging Canadians, and raising awareness about International Women’s Day. We thought about the red ribbon for AIDS, the pink ribbon for breast cancer research, and about the wrist bands other causes have adopted. We wanted to do something in that vein, but at the same time unique and attention-getting.

Then we remembered the old folk tradition of tying a string around your finger to remind yourself of something you don’t want to forget. The idea was born. So for International Women’s Day we want all Canada to wear the string as a reminder of all the things the women of the world have achieved, and of all the things that are yet to be done.

It’s easy to do – you don’t need to buy a ribbon or any special equipment. Just cut a piece of string, or wool, or yarn, or ribbon, and tie it on your finger. And it’s not just for this year. Our dream is for the string to become the globally-recognized symbol for International Women’s Day year after year.

How fantastic is that?! Taking a familiar tradition (the “awareness” ribbon), and giving it a unique twist (the “reminder” string) is such a cool idea. It’s easy, the audience understands the concept, and through the use of social media, people can become a part of the campaign in ways that just weren’t available in the past. Through Facebook and an interactive Flickr album, supporters will be able to take part in this initiative in a deeply personal way.

A mentor of mine once said to me, “Everyone wants to be heard. Everyone wants to be loved. And everyone wants to be part of something bigger than themselves.” CARE Canada’s International Women’s Day campaign fits this bill. We’ll be taking part. Will you?



Collaboration, Photography and Tweet Ups!

19246_257781601065_257755301065_4875631_4067735_nHi everyone! Wow, has it been a busy week for anyone else?!

This morning I had the privilege of speaking with the students from Loyalist College’s Art & Design Foundation program. The subject: “Social Media for Creatives”.

I’ve had the chance to work with the group before, and I couldn’t have been happier to be invited back by program co-ordinator, Robert Kranendonk. We love working with Loyalist’s faculty and students, and it’s always a pleasure to visit the college. On top of that, one of the highlights of the morning for me, was guest presenting with Lucas Tingle, and his wife and co-owner, Melissa Howlett, of Winding Violets.

These two incredibly talented professional photographers are based in Kingston, Ontario, but have worked throughout North America. They came in, literally at the last minute, to help me explain to the group why social media and personal branding are of the utmost importance for young, creative entrepreneurs. You must take a look at their website to see why I was so excited to bring them on board.

And it gets better!

Tomorrow, we’re partnering with Winding Violets and Loyalist Public Relations, to present the next Quinte Tweet Up! Lucas and Melissa have generously come on board to chronicle the event, pictorally, and we couldn’t be happier! With their avid use of social media, and their gifted photographic skills, they’re the perfect people to work with for the event.

And it gets even better!

Winding Violets is donating our grand prize: A personal portrait session for one lucky guest!

How do you qualify to win? Easy! All you have to do is show up to the Boathouse Restaurant in Belleville, Ontario, tomorrow night between 5:30-7:30pm, and donate to Flights of Hope and their relief efforts in Haiti. This is such a win-win scenario!

Why do you win? Once again, may I direct you to Winding Violets’ website. Also make sure to become a fan on Facebook, and follow Lucas on Twitter.

There’s still plenty of time to RSVP to this event via our Facebook Fan Page, our event profile, or by tweeting me, @brynajones, or @EngineCom.

Hope to see you there!

Toronto Works for Haiti

torontoforhaitiToday is one of those days when I’m amazed by the connections, and opportunities for community building and business, that social media allows. I’m even more awestruck by being surrounded by so many people working passionately for the cause of Haiti.

Why focus on Haiti on a business blog? Because it’s the perfect example of how so many elements that we’ve been discussing in this forum (ie. social media, cause marketing, corporate social responsibility) come together to make a measurable impact on society.

Today my friend and colleague in the social media space, Sophie Bifield, introduced me to her friend and colleague, Elliot Ng. Elliot is the founder of Toronto Works for Haiti, a group of volunteers in Toronto offering professional services in exchange for donations to Haiti.

Their goal is to raise $5,000 for relief efforts before March 18, 2010.

Currently they stand at 20 volunteers with skills ranging from administrative services to professional editing,
social media marketing, and realty. There are no overhead costs, and they’re asking that all donation go directly to the organizations they support, namely the Humanitarian Coalition, the Canadian Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders. All the recipients of the goods and services have to do is let them know how much they’re donating so they can keep track of their efforts.

Founder of Toronto Works for Haiti, Elliot Ng

Founder of Toronto Works for Haiti, Elliot Ng

Here’s Elliot’s take:

After hearing about the earthquake, I felt that it would not be enough to for me to just make a donation to the charities. I asked myself, “What can I do to offer more? How can I help people in Haiti even though I am in Toronto?” On top of that, my professional background helped me put my own spin on it: coming from the business background, I understand the need for businesses, and naturally I started connecting the dots. Why don’t I try to find other like-minded individuals who are compassionate and want to mobilize our skills for this great cause? So I picked up the phone and pitched to my friends: Roxanne Chow, Katherine Lee, Kilim Park, and Mark Savel. They liked it! Roxanne gave the group the name we are using now. Katherine started creating the structure of the organization. Kilim started writing on our blog. Mark suggested ideas on how to make this idea bigger. It snowballed and the rest is history.

There are a few things I love about this idea:

  1. It raises money for a great cause.
  2. It allows small business owners to make an impact on a global scale.
  3. It creates awareness for small business, and is a great PR opportunity.
  4. It creates opportunity for collaboration, and networking.
  5. It’s a simple idea that your business could easily adopt for any cause you’re passionate about.

What do I want you to do?

  • Take some of the ideas we’ve dissected and apply them to your own business strategy. The bottom line for you is increased awareness, networking and sales.
  • Get involved with Toronto Works for Haiti or another local group like New Mercy Ministries, both to help with relief efforts, and to network with some brilliant, talented people.
  • Join the Toronto Works for Haiti Facebook group, and voice your support. Put their logo on your profile to spread awareness.

Whatever you do, make sure you act now. If not for Haiti, then for the cause you care about. Everybody wins! And you know I love a good win-win.

A Little Bit of Canada in Oklahoma

It's a White Christmas in Oklahoma!

It's a White Christmas in Oklahoma!

Thanks to Sarah, who’s working with us from afar, for her guest contribution to the blog today. If you haven’t read about Sarah’s adventures in Oklahoma, check out her previous posts. We miss you, Sarah!

Not in my wildest dreams did I think that this year would be a white Christmas, but yes it’s true we did have a white Christmas with 14 inches of snow! I thought I wouldn’t have to shovel a driveway for a while, but yes, Christmas morning I was shoveling the driveway. Did I mention we have the worst driveway EVER as we have a bridge as well as the driveway?

Driving has become a game of dodgem cars as many locals are not use to driving in such conditions and their aint no plows in Oki. If anyone is looking for a new vehicle, there were hundreds on the side of the road in the ditch. From trucks to compacts, there were many to choose from. My husband had to drive to Dallas and counted 188 in the ditch just on the way to the airport. Most of OKC looked like a scene from “War of the Worlds. ”

As true Canadians (or in my case Can-Aussies) we all put on our snowsuits and boots, and enjoyed the snow in true Canadian style. The sleds were located in the attic and we all had a blast. A few confused looks from the neighbours as all the winter weather gear started appear out of our house. All the extra snowsuits in our house have been lent to the neighbours kids so they too can enjoy the white weather also.

Oklahoma has had the coldest temperatures ever with the thermostat hitting -15F. As a Canadian you may say “-15F, that’s not so bad,” but without proper winter gear and metal pipes in the houses for most here it’s been a nightmare. Frozen pipes, no electricity and some schools have had to close their doors as it is too cold for students without proper jackets and mitts. My little girl’s school was one that remained open, and I just could not believe that there were students going to school without gloves or coats zipped up or in t-shirts!!

So there you have it folks… it snows in Oklahoma! Any volunteers to shovel the driveway?

Caitlin enjoying the snow

Caitlin enjoying the snow

Owen looking cute, as always

Owen looking cute, as always

Sarah & new baby Madison

Sarah & new baby Madison

Christmas with Our Kitchen


Once again, we have been blessed with another post from our friends from Our Kitchen, over in New Zealand. This time the recipe is for one of their Christmas specialties ~ Pavlova.

Susie from Our Kitchen writes:

Pavlova is an iconic Kiwi dessert, well, if you believe us New Zealanders and not our counterparts across the ditch in Australia.  It’s probably one of the more versatile desserts I know of.  It can be served in hot or cold weather, can make the grade for special dinners but can also be served up at a low key barbeque.

Typically the meringue dessert is slathered in cream and then decorated with slices of kiwifruit.  But I know and have seen many other ways to garnish it.  It’s definitely a dessert we savour at Christmas time, and since Christmas time marks the beginning of summer for us here in New Zealand we like to garnish it with fresh berries.  I definitely recommend having a try at it and getting a taste of an antipodeans Christmas.

Hope you guys have a fantastic festive season!

Traditional Kiwi Pavlova

Serves 4

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Fresh Berries
  • Whipped Cream for topping


1. Preheat your oven to 150°C on bake, if you would like to use a fan function for that extra crispy coating use a lower temperature like 125ۦC*.

2. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.

3. Beat the egg whites on a high setting until stiff peaks form. To make you sure your egg whites whisk up nicely ensure there is no egg yolk in them and that all the utensils and bowl have been rinsed in scalding hot water to remove any grease.

4. Add sugar gradually whilst still beating on a high setting, usually a tablespoon at a time is the norm or if you have steady hands pour in a slow steady stream, making sure at each addition it is beaten thoroughly.

5. Once all the sugar is added beat for a further 10 minutes. This is important as it helps the mix to stiffen a little more, which will mean it will keep its shape when it’s baked.

6. Mix together the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla essence, decrease the mixer setting to med-low and add in the cornflour mix. Once just mixed in, turn off mixer.

7. Cut a ~40cm length of baking paper and fold along its length. Curl on tray to make a cuff with a diameter of ~17cm, either tape or pin it to keep its shape.

8. Spoon meringue mix into cuff and smooth out surface. Place into the middle of the oven, if on bake turn the oven down to 125°C and bake for one hour. After an hour turn the oven off and let the pav cool in the oven. For fan functions do everything the same just turn the oven a little lower, maybe 115°C.

Hull and wash some berries, whip some cream and serve! You can also opt for the sliced kiwifruit.

Tips and Tricks

  • Using a fan function forces convection currents and dries out humidity that the more gentle bake function has, which is why you’re likely to get more of a crust on the pavlova using a fan function. Because of the forced convection, fan functions transfer heat and energy quicker than bake, thus the golden rule of baking is to decrease the baking temperature by roughly 20°C when using them.

Thanks again for sharing Susie, from all of us at Engine, we wish you and your F&P team a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year! 

For more recipes from the team at Our Kitchen, make sure to visit their blog. Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter too!



The Rules of Engagement

This post is part of the Guest Blog Grand Tour over at Life Without Pants – an epic two-month journey of over 50 guest posts. Want to learn more about Matt Cheuvront & see how far the rabbit hole goes? Subscribe to the Life Without Pants RSS feed & follow him on Twitter to keep in touch!

You don’t need me to tell you, but the world of marketing and advertising has seen some pretty dramatic shifts over the past few years. Social Media is changing the face of the way companies do marketing. How? With the emphasis on B2C communication – tools like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are making it easier than ever for businesses to give and receive instant feedback from their customers.

But just because the tools are readily available, doesn’t mean businesses are using them to their maximum potential. The approach to Social Media has to be taken from a different angle than more “traditional” marketing mediums. Where selling, generating leads, and landing clients may be the end result – the approach with Social Media has to be to engage and build relationships first, before focusing on the sales pitch.

One thing that everyone can take a lesson in, and something I continue to work on myself – is the power of listening. Listen to what your customers are saying, pay attention to their conversations, and take note of their ideas. Becoming a good listener and eavesdropping at the right time and place is priority number one for Social Media marketing.

You’ll hear everyone tell you that listening is important – but that’s only the first step. The follow up, and most important element of communication is knowing WHEN to communicate. Those who are “doing it right” spend a considerable about of time listening, and when the time is right, take it to the next step and get involved.

What does “get involved” mean? At the end of the day, it’s about being a person first, a human representative and voice of your company. People don’t want to talk to a business – they want to talk to a person, they want a connection, a human on the other end of the line who genuinely cares about their wants and needs. If you’re that person on the other end, be yourself, be funny, share interesting and relevant information, become a resource for your community. Social Media works best when the line between personal and professional is blurred.

Once you’ve built a rapport with the members of your community, they’ll be more willing and accepting of your “sales” pitches. Engage first, sell second – A simple formula that’s often forgotten, but is the recipe of success for any business integrating Social Media into their marketing mix.

What examples do you have of businesses that are doing it right (or wrong) with Social Media?

Charity Wreath Off!

wreathoffWe here at Engine love it when our colleagues and clients come up with amazing ideas! Here’s one that we just had to share.

The group from JB Printing, in Belleville, Ontario, have created an online charity auction, where they’re selling off Christmas wreaths, made by members of their team, to benefit the Make A Wish Foundation.

Here’s Owner, Teresa Bell’s, take on how this project came about:

It started in October…….at a staff meeting we somehow got started challenging each other to a pumpkin carving contest. Well, the next week everyone showed up with a pumpkin and then we asked customers to vote. We had such fun with it that we started thinking, what could we do next?

With Christmas just around the corner it was natural to think of a wreath making competition, and we always support a charity. Why not put the two together? The Wreath Off was born.

The hardest part was deciding which charity to support. In past years we have done a Toy Drive, Christmas Sharing Baskets and Coats for Kids. This year we voted to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation.

Everyone at JB Printing made a wreath. The rules stated that you had to make it yourself, it had to be a continuous shape and less than 24″ wide. When the wreaths arrived we were amazed at the variety, ingenuity and talent showcased in the various themes.

We are now auctioning the wreaths off, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Make a Wish Foundation. The JB staff are a pretty competitive bunch and we all want to have the highest selling wreath. It’s annonymous, so no one knows whos wreath they’re purchasing. The wreath designers will be revealed after the auction closes on Dec. 14.

Merry Christmas,
Teresa Bell

This is such an ingenious way to engage staff, foster creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, and to give back to the community!

To find out how you can participate in the JB Printing, Christmas Charity Wreath Off, check out this link!

Guest Post on

Henderson Bas, The Nice Agency

Henderson Bas, The Nice Agency

Hey all! Just a couple things:

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of working with the team at Henderson Bas, the most awarded interactive agency in Canada. They are an amazing group of creatives, strategists, marketers, and programmers. Some of their clients include Coke, Mercedes-Benz and Molson Canadian. Thanks for having me, guys!

I also had the pleasure of writing a guest contribution on Nate Riggs’ blog. If you don’t know Nate, make sure to take a look at his guest post on our blog from last week. He’s a brilliant creative, working in the field of social web strategy. He not only runs his own business, Social Business Strategies, but he is also the Director of Communication Strategy at Huber + Co. Interactive, in Columbus, Ohio. On top of that he’s a great dad, and a marathon runner. Not too shabby.

So today, rather than write something of my own, I encourage you to read my guest post over at

Building Brand YOU with Nate Riggs

Nate Riggs, Principal, Social Media Strategies LLCThis is a guest contribution, by Nate Riggs, principal, strategy consultant, and speaker from Social Business Strategies LLC.

Have you Googled your name recently?  What do you find?  Was there something in the results you didn’t expect to find or something that surprised you? 

Today, the web has become a social marketplace and with it, search engines like Google seem to deliver the first brand impression.  The question is, what if anything are you doing to influence the impression being found by people searching for you? 

Building Brand YOU 

I was jazzed when Bryna asked me to write this post, because in my mind, building and using Brand YOU is more important now than it’s ever been.   

It’s no surprise that we are moving back into an era where business is done between human beings.  The alternative just wasn’t any fun.  But always keep in mind that all of the great tools on the social web is what is empowering us to get back to basics and open the doors to real relationships that create opportunities for business to happen. 

I want to share a few steps that I’ve followed when building out my human brand strategy and online presence.  Please, take what you can and use it.  Modify it and make it better.  And most importantly, please teach others whenever and however you can.

 Sound fair?  Cool.  Here we go… 

Part I: Know Thyself & Build a Strategy 

When I was establishing the foundation of my human brand, I spent some time reviewing what makes me me tick. One of the tools I used was developed by Katherine Cooks Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Meyers, just after WWII.   

Widely respected by most psychology gurus, this assessment tool asks a series of questions designed to classify an individual’s personality into one of 16 different types, using a combination of four pairs of “dichotomies” – introversion and extroversion, sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling, judging and perceiving.  You can take the assessment for free here

Next, take what you’ve learned and try conducting a self SWOT analysis so you can outline your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats.  This is an age-old marketing technique looks both internal factors (like personality types) and external factors (like your competitive environment). 

Try writing this SWOT out in a personal journal.  In fact, get used to writing in it and then make a point to jot down a few lines every day after that.  This journal is for you and you only and can be very powerful in terms of your own self-analysis. 

When we humans write things down, they become real and we can begin to take ownership over our ideas.  Keeping a personal daily record of your activities will help you track your progression as a person and professional. 

Here’s one last important thing to write down.  My friend and mentor, Artie Isaac, once had me write a list of non-negotiables.  These are the things that you simply just cannot, and will not live without.  Maybe you can only work a certain number of hours per week due to responsibilities as a sibling or parent.  Maybe your non-negotiables have something to do with your finances, or politics or religion. 

Whatever they are, recognizing what you won’t sacrifice is sometimes more important than realizing what you will.  Once you have that figured out, you can being to see which rules you can bend, which rules you can break, and which rules you need in place to make sure you can play the game at all. 

Does this process work for you so far?  Have you discovered anything about yourself that you can apply in a brand strategy?

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.