Thirty Thousand

I tend to get anxiety over bizarre things. Like take for example how I currently have anxiety over my next tweet. My next tweet is #30,000.

THIRTY THOUSAND.

[I have written the tweet… I just haven’t pressed ‘tweet’… :)]

My iPhone twitter app tells met that I joined on February 16, 2009. That may be true but I didn’t get into the swing of things until late 2009. I had gone to a conference in Africa that November. When we were all saying our goodbyes, I kept on being asked if I was on Twitter. Sure… I have a Twitter account. Do I tweet? No. I came home — curious. Soon enough, I was tweeting… frequently. I didn’t find my place on Twitter for a long time. I used to tweet about HR, business and the Calgary community. People started following… listening… engaging. I found it BIZARRE. Why on earth are people consuming so much time on this forum? Why are people listening to ME?

A lot has happened in the last 20 months, but one thing I know is that Twitter has given me SO much love. I can’t even begin to describe how thankful I am.

I continually preach about the tool to non-users. Similar to Gary Vaynerchuck’s mindset… I believe if you’re not on Twitter, you’re behind. Whether personal or business — a large amount of information is being shared and discussed every moment of the day.

I know that I am smarter because of Twitter. Truly… smarter.

I feel very up to speed on industry, media, news, technology and even the latest fashion trends. My friends have been known to say ‘you texted me about X-Y-Z before the announced it’. Twitter tells all.

I am thankful for all of the incredible people I have met.  As much as I am “anti” any sort of Twitter event, I have met a lot of amazing people. A LOT. To name a “few”: @karenjovi, @joelolandesca, @regtiangha, @socialgrrrl, @anothersupersta, @juniper_gal, @kait_dee, @tnjohan, @tremaine, @jayemkayem, @JLEED, @defcandy, @schamuhn, @c_dig, @_Mitch985, @nicolesaxton, @jeffrutledge, @harpsinyyc, @zakpashak, @haileypinto, @ebarbaric, @matthew_ball, @hrstalker, @katiamillar, @gavinroyseal, @steveshed, @terrimcbay, @missrogue, @yukarip, @urbannativegirl, @greenwooddavis, @juliaroisen, @marktownsend1, @rhiannon, @alexandrarutley, @christi_millar, @chelscore, @amandamhamilton, @ashleydasent, @jaylongshaw, @laurenfriese, @kharazny, @greghounslow, @dansgoodside, @lauravezer, @a_klingbiel, @rpenty, @heather2020, @chloe_lala, @todmaffin, @yumemusic, @judybrooks, @vlitwin, @jcarvy, @sandraoco, @shannonbosa, @katrinacf, @jearthy, @angelmok, @jeremylim, @charwong315, @glennhilton, @erinkellydotca, @lindsay_gough, @rontite, @alkarim, @guygal, @timaarak, @kattte_, @cadijordan. There are so many more. No hate if I’ve missed you — because I’ve missed a lot of you. ❤

I am thankful for the organizations/businesses that I have grown to know and become connected with because of Twitter: @westjet, @calgaryherald, @albertaventure, @talentegg, @melroseredmile, @tastecalgary, @unacalgary, @worldbierhaus, @insomniacoffee, @longviewsystems, @ywib, @fwebc, @benevity, @domogeneous, @aecocktails, @bloheartsyou, @bombaybrowbar, @noirlashlounge, @hoseannaknows, @gogirlfriend, @yyoga, @barrefitness, @theartof, @thebizmedia, @alittlemoregood, @bpwcalgary, @bootup, @socialfeedvan. And again… there are so many more. ❤

I met @marleylynng on Twitter. For those that missed the post… last year I applied to be Marley’s best friend.  We were strangers — and she accepted! [Please note I’ve been a total bad friend since January.]

I was in a Dove commercial because of Twitter. Check it out here.

I met the talented @madiganofstorms — a Calgary based photographer and brilliant creative mind because of Twitter. I was part of a wonderful book called ‘FEMME 2010’ because of Twitter.

I competed in and won KPMG’s: ‘What Makes a Top Employer‘ because of Twitter. Yes, you all voted. Every single freaking day.

I met an incredible leader, @wilsoceo, because of a HR professional who follows me on Twitter.

I met @michellelberg and work for @elevatedhr because of Twitter. Yes, I found my job on Twitter.

I continually place high potentials at my clients because of Twitter. The amount of referrals that we get from social media is ridiculous. Two recent stories: Laura Vezer and Becky Bergeron.

It all seems crazy… it truly does. I can’t imagine life without the beast that is Twitter. Yes, I’m often overwhelmed. Yes, I feel that I have to respond people. Yes, it sometimes makes my eyes roll into the back of my head.

At the end of the day, Twitter is the tool for me. I love that I can learn from others. I love that I can share my thoughts — no matter how random they are. I love that I can engage with and help others. I love that I continually meet fabulous people. I love that people from all over the world seem like they’re just next door. I like that I can connect people who share similar interests. I love that I am up to speed on the community. I love that I have access to people who are truly changing the world.

Twitter has given me opportunity — and for that I am blessed.

Happy ‘30,000 tweet’ birthday Twitter.

I am utterly impressed. xo

opportunity

We’re 9 days into the new year… and I haven’t blogged! What is wrong with me?!

The good news? I’ve been having some necessary *me* time. I have been getting sleep, going to yoga, and putting some serious thought into what’s in store for 2011.

I was very happy to close the door on 2010 and start a new chapter with the new year.  During the last week of December, my intentions were to reflect on the year, write my new goals, make my dream board, and start the new year organized. Well… that hasn’t exactly happened.

Life has been full tilt. I was given the opportunity to go on a new project at work and started three days before Christmas. With a new role comes a whole load of learning – and it didn’t help matters that I booked off three weeks of vacation within my first month of work! The good news though? I am doing employee engagement every day, all day – and I absolutely love it.

In addition to starting the new role, I’ve got a bit of my social life back. In December I finished 7 years of university. Yes, SEVEN. I have been going to uni full-time nights and weekends; it took a wicked amount of time away from my friends. I’ve been taking the last few weeks to reconnect with friends and meet some fabulous new people. Immersing myself back in the social environment (which is totally my scene), just showed me how much I missed it.

I have met some excellent HR contacts (and friends) over the past few weeks.  They ooze with passion and dedication towards the profession – and two ladies that I couldn’t be more proud of. I also recently tweeted that I was overwhelmed by web design and how to create a website. Well I was blessed to have a friend of a friend respond to my plea for help and he’s supporting me through the process. Hopefully by late Spring I’ll have a new site up!

I feel as though my life has been disorganized for months, if not the whole past year. I spent this past weekend cleaning my house, organizing my life, and trying to get things sorted. I had a massive stack of unread mail, ridiculous amounts of business cards to look through, textbooks to sell, and laundry up the ying. I have been procrastinating so many tasks for months… putting them at the bottom of the list of priorities. Yet, since completing everything I’ve putting off, I feel at peace. Funny how that works. ;)

This week is going to be busy, but I feel prepared to take it on. In four days I leave for Toronto.  KPMG is flying me out east to meet with the CEO’s and Executives from the “Top Employer” competition this Fall.  On January 18th, I’ll be meeting be the CEO/President’s of Starbucks, GAP Adventures, Steamwhistle Brewery, and KPMG (meeting with Rogers CEO is on January 10th via tele-conference). The other days that I am in Toronto will be spent meeting with various Executives at other companies, people I respect & admire, and catching up with a few friends.  I’ll be running from coffee date to meeting to lunch date to meeting to meeting to dinner date to – hopefully, a glass of wine. :)

I then fly from Toronto to Belize for a little more *me* time.  2010 was honestly a very overwhelming year.  There was absolutely great success and massive achievements, but also a few major rock bottom moments. I want to get 2011 started off on the right track. In order to do that, I need some time with my mind. I will be spending 2 weeks in the sunshine – sunbathing, swimming, reading, and living freely. I am looking forward to the opportunity to both disconnect and reflect.

From a blogging standpoint, stay tuned for:

  • My reflection on 2010
  • 2011 goals & dream board
  • “Top Employer” experience
  • Trip to Belize

I’ll leave you with this…

Someone recently asked me what were my expectations of my trip to Toronto and the “Top Employer” experience. All I said was… “opportunity.” I honestly threw together a video, uploaded it onto the Top Employer site, and never thought for a moment that I would win. Yes, I was confident with my response and stood behind it proudly.  To me though, my opinion on the workplace of today  is the same response I’ve had for years. It wasn’t special, unique, or an idea that I had been brewing for months.

Tomorrow is my first “Top Employer” meeting and guess what? I’m nervous. I think I find it odd that these executives would want to meet me and/or have any interest in what I have to say. I mean… I am pretty cool ;) but seriously – why? [Rhetorical]. :P I’m looking forward to participating in this experience. It is absolutely once in a lifetime, and I’m prepared to learn a massive amount.

I hope that you have had a chance to think about how you want your 2011 to look. Always remember – you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

With all my love. xo

PS – A few questions I have recently been asked….

1) Are you going to wear a suit to the CEO meetings? No.

2) Are you going to ask them for a job? No.

3) Are you going to ask them to give me a job? No.

4) Are you going to ask Starbucks about their new “branding” or Rogers about their cellular service? No.

If you have any other questions about the experience or the meetings just let me know. ;)

beyond pink 2010

On October 9th, I blogged “Land of Opportunity,” and I announced that I would be speaking at Young Women in Business’ (YWiB) annual “Beyond Pink 2010” conference. The theme “Make your brand, leave your mark.”

So the conference is this upcoming weekend, in fact, it starts in 4 days, and I am NERVOUS.

In the past, when I have presented to colleagues, professionals, management – it has been about the future of work, generations in the workplace, work-life balance, social networking, personal branding, and HR related topics.  Recently I held a breast cancer awareness event, and when I spoke about such a personal topic – I burst into tears.  I don’t usually present to inspire.  I don’t usually present to my exact demographic (young women in business).

I know I am capable of it… I wouldn’t have asked for the opportunity if I didn’t think I could do it. Although not completely finalized, my presentation is well underway, full of great advice for young women.  I know that I will be able to engage my audience, I know that they will laugh, and most importantly I know they will learn.

My workshop is called “Set Yourself Up for Success: Become a Hot Commodity.”

How can you differentiate yourself from your peers? How can you stand out in the workplace or community? Becoming a hot commodity is about being the whole package. Learn more about the importance of being well-rounded, integrating social networking, and real life examples from a young woman who has set a standard for Generation Y’s in Canada.

My major role at the conference will be engaging with young women at the Entre-Carnival, attending the Mentor Dinner (my location is Zachary’s on Robson by the way), and holding two workshops (60 delegates each on Saturday, Nov 20th from 3-4pm and 4-5pm).

Last night, my best friend, the one and only, Haley Lonsdale, announced that she will be attending the conference – ahhh I couldn’t have been more happy. Most of you know that she recently moved from Calgary to Victoria (enrolled in UVic’s management program), so she’s going to head over to Vancouver for 3 days – and it will just add to an already fulfilling weekend.

Back to the conference…

YWiB has quite the event lined up. Blow Me Dry Bar at Four Seasons Vancouver is offering blow-outs at 15% off all day Friday. A fabulous keynote, Michelle Rupp, will open up the conference on Friday afternoon. Various workshops will be offered throughout the day and then the Entre-Carnival begins. They have also organized a Mentors Dinner at 3 locations, an opportunity for the delegates to connect with various speakers and sponsors. Day 1 will conclude with an evening event held at Gossip nightclub, titled “Cause I’m Bossy – Office Party“. Luxe Lashes will even be on site providing free lashes before midnight! Day 2 begins with a session titled “Laughter Yoga” – and an early 8am start! A power couple panel (brilliant idea by YWiB) will comprise of 3 couples sharing the pros and cons of a relationship, balanced with a successful business.  The rest of the day will be spent at a networking brunch, case competitions, various workshops, and the night will conclude with a silent auction and gala!

For a list of the speakers presenting at the conference, please click here.

I’ll be tweeting (and maybe blogging) throughout the conference. Follow #BP2010 on Twitter if you’re interested in staying in the loop.

So yep, I’m still nervous… I’m flying out to Vancouver on Thursday night, so I still have a number of days to get these nerves under control.  I love Vancouver – LOVE LOVE LOVE, so I’m looking forward to getting a bit of relaxation and fun over the weekend as well.

This weekend will truly be a weekend of inspiration.

Now to decide what to wear… :)

land of opportunity

So more about this conference I’m speaking at… I have been following Young Women in Business (@YWiB) for the past year or so on Twitter.  They are an amazing organization… AMAZING.

More about YWiB:

“The Young Women in Business [YWiB] network is a non-profit society for emerging female leaders in Western Canada. The network acts as the central forum to connect ambitious, young women from a variety of careers, industries, and backgrounds. YWiB hosts a variety of events that provide our members with opportunities to develop relevant skills and knowledge, so that they have the insight, support, and capability to reach their fullest personal and professional potential.”

The organization truly gives me warm fuzzies. YWiB holds an annual conference called, Beyond Pink.  As per YWiB’s website, “it is a multi-day conference focused on encouraging personal and professional growth through passionate speaker presentations, educational workshops, engaging delegate activities, innovative tradeshow exhibitors, and inspiring networking opportunities.” The theme for the 2010 conference is “Make your brand, leave your mark” and it’s taking place on November 19 & 20, 2010 in Vancouver, BC.  In addition to keynote speakers and a  workshop series, this year’s conference includes:

  • Power Couple Panel & Networking Brunch
  • Case Competition
  • Entre-Carnival
  • Mentor Dinner
  • Silent Auction & Gala

I have been asked to speak at a Workshop Series and participate in the Entre-Carnival.  The Workshop Series will include speaking to approximately 60 delegates, including university students, passionate entrepreneurs, and aspiring professionals.  I have requested to be part of Day 2 – “Leave your mark”… and have BRILLIANT lessons I will share with these young women. [I will absolutely blog about the experience post-conference].  The Entre-Carnival is about celebrating entrepreneurs and inspirational people.  The goal is to share the stories of those that inspire with those who will inspire the future.  Ahh, warms your heart doesn’t it?

After I announced on Facebook that I would be speaking at this event, a friend of mine, Gregg, writes: “I know the previous organizers very well!!! Amazing event! You will fit right in!” When I first heard of Beyond Pink and YWiB, I immediately identified with both the conference and the organization.  I have been looking for a similar organization in Calgary with no success.  At one point I thought being in a different province would keep me from being involved in YWiB; now I know that it’s entirely possible.

I truly believe life is about finding and creating opportunities.  A large part of what I will bring to the Beyond Pink 2010 Conference is what I have accomplished in one year… a single year has defined my future.

Opportunities surround all of us each and every day – but it’s up to each of us to take action and often take a risk.

“Of all the people I have ever known, those who have pursued their dreams and failed have lived a much more fulfilling life than those who have put their dreams on a shelf for fear of failure.” – Unknown

When I think about where I was at a few years ago to where I am now, I reflect on how much I’ve grown.  By no means was I in a bad place, just a different place.  I have learned to expect a lot of myself.  I can see my potential.  I can see the influence and impact I have on others.  Yes, I love to relax and have low-key moments, but I owe it to myself to show the world my capabilities.

Sometimes I get told… “ugh, stop winning things”… “you’ve been given what?”…. “you’re going where?”…. My response?  You have to hold yourself accountable.  At the end of the day, no one is looking for you other than yourself.  If you want the world, GO GET THE WORLD. Your family and friends will always try to make sure you have the basic necessities (food, water, shelter), but will they continually push you to be the best you can be?  I doubt it.  [Shh.. they have their own agenda ;].  But maybe you only want that average job with average responsibility and a whole lot of free time to watch TV and internet roam?  That’s absolutely fine, but you’ve got to stay quiet.  Accept what you’ve dictated your life to be and support others on their quest to great.

 

At the end of the day, we all need to hope for support in whatever paths we choose.  I look for and create opportunities constantly.  My mind is constantly wandering to – what’s next?  No it doesn’t need to be a career move or a relocation… maybe you want to write a book, volunteer for a particular organization, give back, travel, support your family, or learn a new hobby.

This photograph was taken by a brilliant friend of mine, Madigan Reilly.  She instructed me to create a sign that said “She…” and left the rest up to me.  It was taken at about the 6 month mark in my journey, and I’m truly impressed that the first thing I thought of was “She believed in me.”  I have a lot of wonderful women in my life and I’m truly appreciative of each and every one of them.  This charity photo shoot was my way of thanking them for building me into a passionate leader, true friend, and inspirational young woman.  At that point I truly realized how far I had come and how important it was, to not only me, but to all the wonderful people in my life, and of course the community.

I truly believe in the good and brilliance of people.

My role at Beyond Pink 2010 will be to inspire these young women to achieve great, while managing the adversities of life.

I am honored to be included in an event that truly has lasting impact on young professionals in Western Canada. ❤

“Passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find it’s something you’re tremendously passionate about.” – Steve Pavlina