Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Things you didn't know about me...

So…last evening after a long day driving home from Edmonton, I was lounging in the bath with a glass of white wine and rereading my dog-eared, water stained (borrowed from someone, but I can’t remember who [Gordon] and they probably don’t want it back now [not in that condition anyway]) hard copy of UnMarketing by Scott Stratten.

After the water had cooled to an uncomfortable temperature and the wine had warmed to an undrinkable temperature, and just when I was ready to hop out of the tub, I happened upon Chapter 49, titled “Viral Marketing”.

What? Had I missed this Chapter the three (okay….five) previous readings of the book? Non? Slipping down further into the water to stay warm, elbows firmly propped against my….err chest, my UnMarketing book barely treading water….I began to read about the time Scott wrote a blog post titled, “25 things you didn’t know about me” and the reaction he received after posting it.

My mind began to race (perhaps it was hypothermia or maybe the wine). Would anyone care to read something like that about me? Dear Lord…what if people DID read it? (Disclaimer: Sometimes I think that the only people who read my blog posts are very dear friends, a handful of colleagues and of course….my mother)

And honestly, what can I say that I would want everyone to know?

So, I went out to Scott’s blog and found the post from 2009. Do you know what I thought after reading it? I might just try that for kicks and giggles.

So I did.

  1. I am not a hugger. I don’t give hugs freely and you know what? That is okay. I just have a larger personal bubble than most and don’t invite many people in it. If you see me giving away lots of hugs, chances are something bad has happened.
  2. I love dolphins
  3. I have “un petit” OCD (please read this one with a French accent)
  4. I have taken lessons for piano, flute and bluegrass banjo and have also played guitar and mandolin. Disclaimer: If called upon, I could not recall any of my previous abilities….they have left me.
  5. I love to whistle! My husband hates it when I whistle, but I don’t care….whistling makes me happy. In my head I am a fabulous Whistle(er) and can riff whistle any song including the classics (ABBA)
  6. I wish my inner voice was a real person because she is Bad Ass! She would be riding in one of those cars with the hydraulics, painted glossy red and some Blondie would be coming from the equally Bad Ass speakers! Frankly she terrifies me just a little.
  7. I am super short but am still the tallest amongst my siblings…which brings me to…
  8. I have three sisters (there are 4 of us!!! Oh my gawd) and….all of our names begin with “J”. I don’t want to state the obvious, but we were doing the “same first initial thing” before the Duggars. My parents took it one step further. How so? All of our middle names begin with “L”.
  9. I grew up on a farm in Northern Alberta, Canada (cross reference #9 with #4)
  10. My grandmother died of Alzheimer Disease and I try to support the Society whenever I can. Did you know they have a “Walk for Memories” every year?
  11. I have two kidlets and they are amazing….just sayin’
  12. I have run three marathons, a couple of half marathons and many, many 10K’s. (Unfortunately, that was a couple of years ago and right now I probably couldn’t run a km without stopping many times).
  13. I have ridden a snowmobile to school
  14. I love, love to watch Curling on television. For those of you unfamiliar with Curling, it is a game where people slide 38-pound rocks of granite down a sheet of ice. It is like shuffleboard only you need to dress warmer. It is fascinating and I would love to play like the pro's do. Dare to dream...dare to dream
  15. My dad was a private pilot and he used to have a little Cessna airplane that was kept in a hangar located in our yard at the farm. He built an airstrip on the property so that when he needed to go somewhere, it was simply a matter of going 100 feet outside the front door to the hangar and leaving. Do you want to know the kicker? When my dad was 39 years old he suffered a massive heart attack and almost died. What saved him? The air ambulance flew in and landed on our homegrown airstrip, taxi'd to the front yard, loaded dad and took him to the hospital located 90 km away. Pretty cool!
  16. I am terrified of spiders and bears which keep me from vacationing in super warm locale’s (huge spiders) as well as hiking (huge bears).
  17. I prefer Tim Hortons coffee over Starbucks. Don’t hate on me people.
  18. I once lived on an Island but had to move…. Perhaps there were too many spiders or perhaps we wanted to move closer to where my dad worked. Your choice.
  19. My favourite writers are ones who use footnotes (random reasoning) so therefore, they include Jen Lancaster and Scott Stratten.
  20. I am scared of sharks...duh
  21. My bucket list items include sky diving and writing a book…the latter being one I should do first in case I don’t survive the sky diving thing.
  22. I have a freakish love for small buttons that say pithy things
  23. In another life…one where I had enough courage and confidence, I would try Stand Up......once. What’s stopping me? What if they don’t laugh? I. am. terrified.
  24. Once upon a time, a goose stole my shoe (true story)
As the brilliant Meryl Streep said in that period piece called "The Devil Wears Prada"......"That is all"

The End


Thursday, March 22, 2012

After the Final Rose

Ahem (clears throat…shuffles nervously) my name is Judy and I am a reality show junkie. I have watched: American Idol (but generally just the audition stage), The Celebrity Apprentice, The Amazing Race, Top Chef, Top Chef Canada, Top Chef Just Desserts, Project Runway, Project Runway All Stars, America’s Next Top Model, Britain’s Next Top Model, Australia’s Next Top Model and Canada’s Next Top Model.

Weekly, I may tune in to watch those zany Kardashians as they take New York, L.A. and Miami and I will admit to watching Kim marry Whatshisname. I cry when they Say Yes to the Dress in New York and Atlanta and I root for my favourite nuptials during Four Weddings and Four Weddings Canada. I love watching Tabatha take over a salon each week and last but not least…..I have sat in judgement of The Bachelor and Bachelorette wherein a teeny, weeny part of me hoped upon a rainbow that the Bachelor franchise would head north (and yes, wishes do come true).

It can safely and accurately be established that I watch a myriad of reality shows, but would like it to be known that I draw the line at the Jersey Shore, have lost interest in Survivor and refuse to watch Hoarders, Intervention and anything else that involves creepy obsessions lest I begin identifying mine.

56% of my PVR is filled with reality television programming that I haven't enough time to watch. Frankly....there aren't enough hours in a day/week/year.

Don’t judge me.

I am pretty sure that I love reality television for the same reason that I love planning meetings and events. Anything can happen!

Why did I tell you any of the above? Well….unlike some of my colleagues who do fancy, schmancy research for their blog posts or perhaps....book learnin'…I prefer to fall back on what I am familiar.

Reality Television.....yup, that old chestnut.

I know reality television. So…sit back and relax because I am going to take the giant leap of comparing post project wrap up with the “After the Final Rose” ceremony on The Bachelor. I lean on my strengths people…I lean on my strengths.

“After the Final Rose” ceremony is the part of the Bachelor show where Host, Chris Harrison sits down with all the gals who were unsuccessful in luring/baiting/manipulating the Bachelor. Now…..any reality television producer will tell you that they don’t go into these without having a pretty good idea of what might happen, what might be said...they have a goal. In fact, I think they cast for these shows in such a way that they have a pretty good idea what will work aka “what conflicts” will develop.

Event planners and producers also go into each project with goals and objectives. They plan their events in such a way that they have a pretty good idea what will work and the conflicts that they will avoid. Decisions are made early on to ensure that different aspects can be measured post-event. They are banking on this.

You can’t create an event or produce the event and then go back and say, “I would like to measure the impact of this or that”….unless you have a time machine (which would be pretty darn cool), you simply cannot do that.

Last year I was fortunate enough to team up with Shawna McKinley from MeetGreen (Shawna also has a great personal blog here) as well as the group from QuickMobile to design and create a sustainability game called Get Your Green On [GYGO] which would then be embedded into the Event Camp Vancouver mobile app. (Event Camp Vancouver was the brainchild of Tahira Endean, a Dreamer/Doer extraordinaire).

Going forward, both Shawna and I knew that we wouldn’t be satisfied with just creating the game and then walking away afterward. We both love data too much…eek! Luckily, we were working with an amazing team from QuickMobile who completely understood what we wanted….what we needed.

Recently we were asked, “when did you start working on the Get Your Green On wrap up?” I replied, “before the event began”.

From the very first meeting, and as we proceeded to design the game challenges, we considered the possible outcomes. For example: Check in Codes could be tracked back and tallied according to sponsors, vegetarian meals could be calculated, we could measure how much water was conserved by our attendees through their use and documentation of how many minutes they showered each day (we provided shower timers).

We didn’t waste an opportunity….we didn’t waste a game challenge.

Which brings me to today and not unlike the “After the Final Rose” ceremony, we have gone back and looked over the game carefully, trying our level best to document our experience in such a way that you may find it enlightening and inspiring.

If you are interested in downloading a copy of the Get Your Green On White Paper – I should probably ask…..

Will you accept this rose?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's Not You...It's Me

Breaking up is hard to do, especially if you still have to live in the same house, see each other every day……

No…I didn’t break up with anyone, I am still happily married. But! I am using another damn metaphor though, so if you are sick of my use of the #damnmetaphor, STOP NOW!

I was speaking with a colleague the other day who mentioned that her company was no longer supporting her sustainability initiatives. I can imagine it was a little like, “It’s not you, it’s me”. Basically, they broke up with her.

I visualize wind leaking from a sail. How could you still go to work and do your job everyday, knowing that the organization that you worked for, didn’t value sustainability?

How could you do your job to the “best of your ability”, if they have discounted or dismissed one of your “best” abilities.

Wowzers…..I wondered what I would do if that happened to me.

As an independent Green Meeting Planner, I have the luxury of working with clients who are keen on green meetings. I have a sense of autonomy and for that, I am grateful.

Sustainability shouldn’t be something we hide in the locked top drawer of our desk.

In our world where we face a diminishing water supply and natural resources, I cannot fathom why an organization could not, would not see that it is critically important to think and act sustainably.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Meet the Fakers :)

Reunions are defined as: a meeting or social gathering of persons acquainted with each other through some former event or connection.

The Family Reunion: A planned opportunity for you to connect with, and be compared to, those who share strands of DNA. It is like the Christmas Letter on ‘roids (Steroids).

What do I mean “Christmas Letter on ‘roids?” Well….you are going to see each other face to face, so you can’t continue to lie about first born Frederick and his so-called career with Doctors Without Borders if Frederick is a complete mess and now wears an electronic bracelet on his ankle. And your little ballerina? You know…the one you bragged to everyone that she “was destined for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet”…well, let’s just say that it didn’t work out, but that the Commune where she now lives does allow dancing on special occasions.

The family will see you pull up in your 1975 Winnebago (a classic) and hear you and your hubby bicker as you put up the awning that you have patched with blue tarpaulin. While others enjoy a bottle of VQA Chardonnay at their campsite, you will be offering a Styrofoam cup of a 2012 home brewed Merlot (hubby will pronounce it mur-lot just to embarrass you..and it does).

Are these the reasons why you break into a cold sweat when you receive the invitation? You know…the form letter invitation addressed to “Howdy Family!” that is faded because it has changed hands multiple times, been photocopied and passed along again. Are you immediately self-conscious? Embarrassed? Feel like you won’t measure up? You want to remain hidden behind the fa├žade you have so carefully manufactured in your annual Christmas letter?

Don’t get me wrong. I am also self-conscious about meeting long-lost family. For goodness sake, I still haven’t lost my baby weight yet and my “baby” will be 24 this summer! I don’t want to be the one…you know…..the one they talk about on the drive home.

I shouldn’t worry.

Your family appreciates you…..warts ‘n all (even if warts are not genetic and WARNING to anyone who Google searches the question, “Are warts genetic”). Having said that, there is a good reason why folks plan reunions so far ahead: It is so that you can get your poop in a group, get organized.

Here are some tips to help you enjoy your family reunion:

  1. Connect in advance: Start a facebook group and begin sharing pictures and information. Meeting on Social Media helps to break the ice and begin the conversation. You may find you have more in common than strands of DNA.
  2. Safety in numbers: Encourage your entire immediate family to attend. Doing so creates and reinforces that family bond.
  3. Leave a grudge at home: Reunions are not the place to bring a family grudge. No one cares about what someone did to someone else in 1964….they just don’t.
  4. Drink with care and grace: Don’t let the alcohol consumption get out of control.
  5. Be honest (kind of): Frederick’s parole officer won’t allow him to attend? Parse your words carefully. “I am sorry, Frederick couldn’t attend as he had a very important appointment that he simply couldn’t afford to miss”.
  6. Make accommodation for accommodation: If the 500 mile trip is asking a bit too much of the 1975 Winnebago, then look into booking a rental. Booking early will give you the best rate.
  7. Offer to help: Take on meal planning/preparation, organizing an activity or become the official photographer for the event.
  8. Leave regrets at home: Don’t wax poetic to family about what you were going to do with your life and didn’t….instead, share your successes, focus on the positive.

I am guilty of avoiding reunions. I don’t make them a priority in my life. Recent events have made me much more amiable to a family reunion…to the extent that I have tossed the idea about (much like a cat tosses a toy) of perhaps planning a reunion.

I am not sure if it will happen, but I do know that I will look much more favourably upon the next invitation I receive. That is…..unless I have a pimple.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Got Bl!nk?

It is amazing what happens in airports….

Last November, two gals….let’s call them Elizabeth and Judy, were sitting in the Vancouver Airport having a wee bite to eat before catching their respective flights home. They had each attended EventCamp Vancouver ECV11 and were both still glittering (a la Edward Cullen of Twilight) from the experience.

EventCamp is about experiencing new things; having the freedom to try new things in a safe environment, and as a result it had created an exciting thought pattern. Let’s just say that the synapses were firing on all cylinders.

Ideas were flying fast and furious in amongst bites of food (and yes…there may or may not have been wine….) and as they parted to walk to their departure gates, it was agreed, “Let’s talk about this some more…”.

Fast forward to the new year and Judy gets an email from Elizabeth, “So….let’s talk more about that great idea”.

And so we did and…..

Bl!nk was born.

Blink – To close and open one or both of the eyes rapidly.

A blink of an eye takes 300-400 milliseconds…or about 1/3 of a second. Think about it….33 percent of that second is given over to complete blindness (eek!)

We….as humans…blink an average of 15,000 times per day, which means that we have our eyes closed for approximately 5,250,000 milliseconds per day (seriously? Wow!)…which calculates to 5,250 seconds per day.

Blah, blah, blah…I know…I am getting to my point

Based on my mathematical calculations using an extremely sharp pencil and the Google search engine, this means that, on average, we (humans) spend over an hour each day blinking.



That’s wild isn’t it!

So……my question to each and every one of you is…

“Do you ever wonder what you miss?”

New for the 2012 GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference! Bl!nk Presentations have been introduced. These rapid fire presentations lasting between 2 minutes and 5 minutes will be threaded together through the use of Weavers (no yarn will be harmed by using Weavers).

The Bl!nk Presentations have been introduced so that we can get to know one another in different, meaningful ways and as a result, find connections that we didn’t know existed. These presentations are about what we miss…what we don’t see!

Are you attending the GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference? If so…perhaps I can interest you in a Bl!nk Presentation.

We are looking for those who are willing to share some “magic”. Share something about yourself: what inspires you, what you are passionate about. Excite us with stories of your success; empower us with stories of overcoming adversity; all in the realm of sustainable meetings and events of course!

The format is as follows:

Single presentations lasting between 2 minutes and 5 minutes; the use of power-point and video may be used to support the presentations.

The session(s) will be high energy and fast moving!

So…..are you interested? Click here to link to the GMIC Sustainable Meetings Conference website to read more about how you can participate in Bl!nk.

Hurry! Deadline is approaching.