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Presenting…The EC Interns!

It’s April, which means that the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and students everywhere are celebrating that school is almost over. I say “almost” because we here at Engine are pleased to be working with three dynamic, talented interns from Loyalist College, for the month of April (just before graduation). We love working with the college, and are excited to be able to collaborate with them once again. Jerika and Laura hail from Loyalist’s Advertising program, and Micheal is a post-grad Public Relations student. They were awesome, and put together small bios to help me introduce them to you.

Without further ado, let me present the EC Interns!




Jerika has over two years of experience in marketing and communications…Well, in the Advertising Program at Loyalist College that is. She will graduate in June 2010, and wants to focus her career in communications. She’s energetic, a real people person, and a go-getter. Jerika loves to travel and always wants to learn new things.




Laura Wallis is a small-town Manitoba girl with big ambitions. She moved to southern Ontario 3 years ago with the hopes of becoming a writer, and found her calling in the Advertising Program at Belleville’s Loyalist College. After graduating in June of 2010 she hopes to stay in Belleville and find a job in the industry. In her spare time she enjoys  daydreaming and chatting with her family back home in the prairies. With a previous certificate in Web and Graphic Design, Laura has a lot of experience in front of a computer (preferably a mac).


A charismatic, energetic and passionate student, Micheal has just completed his fifth and final year of college, with Sales & Public Relations as his majors. Micheal has a passion for jet skiing, billiards, cooking, baking and a full body glass of Cab Merlot; or even a rich Shiraz. His wide range of skill



sets including a vast knowledge of customer service, a broad knowledge of Adobe CS4 and a creative mind accompanied with top-notch writing skills, makes him an asset to Engine, and any team that he has the privilege of working with.

We plan on keeping these guys very busy! They’re already working hard, and we’re looking forward to a great month with them.

Make sure to follow them on Twitter: @JerikaBradford, @ellewallis and @MichealBMcCaul.

Welcome to the team Jerika, Laura and Micheal!

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!

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!

Don’t Be “That Girl”

So many lessons in one little book! What are your unlikely sources of inspiration?

So many lessons in one little book! What are your unlikely sources of inspiration?

I seem to be on a journey of self-evaluation, not just at work but in life. In reality, work is part of life, and how you function in that sphere effects the others and vice versa. Yesterday I spoke about not being “that guy” online. You know, the one who goes to work all buttoned up, but at night rips the shirt off and let’s people take pictures? Ya, don’t be him. Please.

On the other hand though, I don’t want to just pin this on the gentlemen (and I think we all realize that situation isn’t gender specific). But for sake of theme, I’m going to pick on the ladies, and try to pinpoint another area that can, personally and professionally, be a dangerous slope to slide down.


One of my favourite books of all time is The Paper Bag Princess, by Robert Munsch. For those of you who don’t know, it tells the story of a princess (Elizabeth) who was going to marry a prince (Ronald), until their castle got burnt down by a fire-breathing dragon, and life fell apart. Clothed only in a paper bag, this young lady has the pluck and determination to chase the dragon, and get her guy back.

After much searching, she finally tracks the dragon back to his cave, which is full of bones and smoke. Scary. She slams on the door despite threat of death. Then she challenges the dragon to a number of contests–she’s obviously a bright girl–in an attempt to tire him out enough to go rescue her beau. Once her task is accomplished, and she’s beaming with excitement over her victory, she runs in to get Ronald, and the first thing out of his mouth is, “Elizabeth, you are a mess.”

Not even a thank you.

Elizabeth is obviously disappointed, but then she looks at Ronald and says [I’m paraphrasing], “Ronald, your hair is clean, and your clothes are really neat, but YOU ARE A BUM.” Then she skips off into the sunset–alone, happy, free.

What does all this mean to you as a professional business person? Let me explain.

Lessons from a Paper Bag:

When life falls apart–or your business hits a rough patch–you have the choice in how to respond. Do you make like Ronald, and get swept away, passively accepting your fate? Or, like Elizabeth, do you pick yourself up, grab the nearest paper bag and get moving?

Bravery doesn’t have anything to do with size. Don’t let your circumstance dictate who you are. There is no dragon too big for you to outwit or overcome. It’s a choice to put yourself up to the challenge. When you do, and you come out the victor, your confidence in your abilities will go skyhigh. Try it.

Appearances are deceiving. This seems obvious, but how often are we impressed by someone’s title, clothes, car, status, even when they haven’t done anything to earn our respect? Having success in life does not equate with being a nice person. Ronald is a case in point.

Unequal relationships in life and business spell disaster. From the beginning of the story it’s obvious Ronald’s aloof and into himself, while Elizabeth would do anything for him. Are you that girl (or guy)? Do you bend over backwards for someone simply to impress? Are you a “yes man”? It’s not healthy.

Don’t measure yourself by someone else’s stick. One of the biggest pitfalls we all face professionally, especially in the beginning stages of our careers, is looking to others for acceptance. We want to impress people with our skills and abilities. We take criticism as failure. We depend on people to tell us what we’re worth rather than knowing who we are from the inside out. It’s so easy to do, but you need to stop. Don’t be “that girl.”

I love the last page of this book, and I wish I could’ve found the image for you. It shows Elizabeth dancing off into the sunset–alone. That’s the kind of girl I want to be.

(Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be blogging about this theme because I think it’s really important. We all need to reevaluate from time to time. Start thinking about who  you are, what you love doing, and where you’re going. I have some colleagues recruited to help. Stay tuned!)

Mentors Week: Sarah Puts Her Thinking Hat On

Sarah Rozema-Seaton, Creative Director

Sarah Rozema-Seaton, Creative Director

Ahh the phrase, “Who inspires you…” There are so many people that I find strength and inspiration from. A lecturer that taught me, design friends with their wacky creativity, and the mommy I know with the strength of a thousand elephants.

I better focus on the work aspect.

There are so many people in the design industry that I find inspiration in. One of the biggest mentors would be David Braun. He was a lecturer from college, and was the person that helped me as a creative professional to get past what I thought I knew, and to do it again to be better. “Do it again, do it in green.”

When I was a greenhorn in the industry, I didn’t always agree with this, but he helped me to push the boundaries and look at things in different ways and become better at my job. Over 10 years later, I am still working in the industry.

This lecturer with his piles of papers (poor trees) had so much to offer. He also introduced me to an author, Edward De Bono. If you are a book geek like me, DeBono has written some fabulous books for creative professionals on lateral thinking. One of his best books is “The 6 Thinking Hats.” It is a book that introduces the power of parallel thinking, by breaking thinking down into hats. Worth a read for anyone in a creative industry or business in general.

Below are the 6 Thinking Hats:

Neutrality (White) – considering purely what information is available; what are the facts?

Feeling (Red) – instinctive gut reaction or statements of emotional feeling (but not any justification)

Negative judgement (Black) – logic applied to identifying flaws or barriers; seeking mismatch

Positive Judgement (Yellow) – logic applied to identifying benefits; seeking harmony

Creative thinking (Green) – statements of provocation and investigation; seeing where a thought goes

Process control (Blue) – thinking about thinking

Mentors Week: How Kerry Got Her Start

Kerry Patrick, Marketing Associate

Kerry Patrick, Marketing Associate

This is an easy one for me. My mentor would most definitely have to be Cassandra Bonn. I kind of fell into this industry and was quite fortunate when Cassandra took me on as her protégé in her home office of The Market Place. When I initially started working for Cassandra, it was only a few days a week, with the intension of taking care of the routine office duties that were becoming too cumbersome for her to manage with a growing business. As it turned out, I was able to offer more than just that.

I was flying as a full time flight attendant at the time, and raising three young boys–very busy to say the least. With her expanding business, Cassandra took on a partner, Rene Dick, an exceptional and very talented creative designer, to offer a full service marketing and advertising company, now known as Engine Communications. Rene was also instrumental at bringing out my creative side and making me feel like I could do just about anything! They now required someone full time, so I made the difficult decision to give up my job flying and work full time at Engine–a decision that I have never regretted. 

Cassandra is brilliant at what she does, with her key talents in marketing and advertising. She is truly remarkable at forging solid client relationships, and she can sell just about anything to someone who has everything! Ideas flow from Cassandra like water from a fountain, her mind is always going and she loves a challenge. She is always more than willing to help out and when asked to share some creative inspiration, she does just that, with ease and enthusiasm. Cassandra no longer owns Engine (she sold it to our current Big Cheese, Shaun Levy, whom you heard from on Tuesday), but she is still very much part of my life, as a colleague, a mentor and a friend.

 I really love what I do and I look forward to a future in this industry, where I will continue to learn and grow with each passing day. Thank you Cassandra, for all that you have taught me, I value your time and knowledge, cheers to you for helping me find my new niche in life–for now!

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.