Our Top TED Talks

This week, from March 16-20, TED Talks lands back on Vancouver soil to deliver its speeches to a sold out audience. TED’s Truth and Dare event — featuring event speakers from cognitive scientists to space explorers —aims to challenge, confront, and yet educate the worldviews of its audience members, something it has already done in the past with millions of viewers on YouTube. In lieu of the event coming, Smart Savvy has compiled what they believe are the best of the best: the top talks that have left a footprint on their lives and a bookmark on their Internet tabs. Peter Reek, our one and only founder has picked a talk on quiet to be loud about. Susan Cain‘s The Power of Introverts encourages the spectrum of personalities on the necessity and brilliance of introverted people in our very loud and noisy world. This is what Peter took from the talk: “People are brilliantly complex — introverts and extroverts alike. No two are the same. And, relating can be colourful and complicated within (and between) the introvert and extrovert camps.  They key – empathy. Empathy fuels connection. And really, empathy is not complicated — it’s simply a matter of getting outside of your head and into someone else’s.  Shift perspective, suspend judgement and go.” Jaylene Crick, our principal and non-verbal communicator extraordinaire, has delightfully chosen Amy Cuddy‘s ground-breaking speech on how body language shapes who you are and how our nonverbal cues communicate with not just those around us but also with ourselves. Anyone who’s viewed Jaylene talking on a phone knows there’s a LOT more than just verbal communication going on (doing most of the talking with her hands), and so she had no choice but to love what Amy Cuddy has to say about body language.   Matthew Campbell, our three-in-one sales, marketing, and communications pro with...

#StandApart: Jacquie Loch, VP & Group Publisher, TC Media

“My favourite thing is a blank page.” For having change as the common denominator in her professional life, Jacquie Loch is a woman of certainty. She knows what she’s been through and why – and she knows how to put uncertainty on a leash and tame it (and make it shake a paw). Jacquie Loch is VP & Group Publisher at TC Media and is Publisher of a large portfolio of consumer magazine brands that includes Canadian Living, ELLE Canada, Style at Home and The Hockey News. She had built a career in the publishing industry, although she may not see things that way. “I’m in the media and communications business. I am in publishing but publishing is a verb – it’s not a media platform. I’m in content creation and storytelling that engages audiences.”  With an industry based on transitions and fluidity, Jacquie mirrors the career she has chosen. She is a professional nomad – working out of her purse and working on a day-to-day regimen that has “no normal”. The first time change stepped on Jacquie’s toes, it was a shift in the industry. While her peers had chosen to forgo pursue Business school or Computer Science degrees, Jacquie turned her heels in the opposite direction and chose an art school education at The Ontario College of Art (now OCAD) and a final post-grad year spent in Florence. “An incredible thing that happened over my career is when the industry started valuing creative thinking and lateral thinking. I just happened to crest in that space when all of a sudden what was perceived in the 80’s as a wacky skill set, became the skill set.” Things turned in her favour. After graduation, her time spent at The Financial Post moulded her to...

#StandApart: Serda Evren, VP Corporate Comm + Philanthropy, MasterCard

Communications leader by day, Dear Abby by night. Serda Evren, VP of Corporate Communications and Philanthropy at MasterCard Canada is tasked with creating, protecting, managing, mitigating, building and telling stories about MasterCard, but her hidden talent adored by her colleagues, friends and family: exceptional giver of unsolicited advice. Maybe this is the result of her time spent in the US capital honing political communications or navigating the challenging waters of Canadian telecom PR? One thing is for sure – Serda has the special sauce to drive communications and lead high performing teams. Lucky for us, Serda has shared her tips for success. Practice Makes Perfect Serda began her career in the heart of the political scene: jumping from Queen’s Park to immersing herself in a Master’s Program in Washington, D.C and studying Political Psychology in the shadows of the Lincoln Memorial. She then transitioned from politics to PR, working at Rogers, and is now mastering the payment tech scene at “not your grandfather’s plastic anymore”—MasterCard. “Building a career isn’t a straight line,” Serda explains. “It should be about curves, ups and downs, sharp edges. That’s how you figure out what brings you satisfaction and gets you out of bed every morning.” And now, what gets her out of bed every morning? The opportunity to work with wonderful people who are always willing to listen, help and support her and she is able to do the same for them. Know Thyself Serda’s number one rule for being #StandApart is easy – being real and walking into work day-in and day-out with a sense of authenticity and sincerity. “People who #StandApart to me are those who are true to themselves—or if we can use the buzzword of the year ‘authentic’—they admit to their weakness and own their...

#StandApart: Linsey Ferguson, VP Partnerships, Alpine Canada Alpin

Work/life balance rarely comes easily: Work often dominates free time, hobbies get swept under the rug, and going to the gym takes a hit for working late. But Linsey Ferguson, VP of Partnerships at Alpine Canada Alpin (ACA), has created a perfect marriage of work and play for herself. Her love for alpine skiing—which she competed in internationally for 8 years—goes hand-in-hand with her current work with Canadian Olympian and national team athletes. She brings to the table a comprehensive understanding of the athlete component (the unending physiotherapy appointments, the strict caloric intake, the hours of ‘practice makes perfect’) but also her 11 years’ marketing/biz expertise as VP of Client Services. She was deeply entrenched in the marketing scene at BOOM! (a company name unsurprisingly similar to her leadership style), she’s bringing her international skiing experience to Canada, and now is one of our #StandApart Torontonians. A phone call with Linsey is akin to a shot of adrenaline. She emanates energy and positivity—it’s contagious. This #StandApart factor has opened doors for her. However, it is her goal-orientation, grit and determination that has caused her to deliver amazing results. And, this is why she has earned a spot on our #StandApart list. 1. Describe your current role in 140 characters or less… Creation of ownable marketing campaigns with focused content creation, driving partner value, gen pop awareness and $ generation for Alpine Canada Alpin (ACA). 2. One word that best describes how you work. Fast. 3. What is your superpower? (What is the one thing you do you do better than most?) I wear many hats at the same time, transferring from situation to situation, scenario to scenario, challenge to challenge and solution to solution, while keeping things moving forward for our clients, our teams...

#StandApart Profile: Ben Smith, VP Sales +Marketing, Rennie Marketing Systems

Ben’s home in Whistler is long gone from his rear-view mirror before half of Vancouverites have even opened their eyes to the morning rain (it is November in Vancouver, after all). While Vancouver sleeps, Ben is plowing through his to-do list—undoubtedly part of the reason why he’s one of the most well-known real estate sales and marketing gurus in BC. Ben leads marketing and sales for Rennie Marketing Systems – North America’s leading real estate marketing organization, known around the world for developments like the Olympic Village and Woodward’s. Throughout his career Ben has seamlessly jumped up the corporate ladder from consultant, to director agency side, to real estate marketing and sales frontrunner. Ben has proven himself a strategic sales and marketing leader. Don’t let marketing and sales innovation fool you. Ben is the Chuck Norris of time management and always makes time for his #1 priority; his family (wife and four children), and his passions; skateboarding and snowboarding. How does this #standapart sales and marketing executive and family man do it all? Learn his story and his secrets – here is Ben’s #standapart profile. Describe your current role in 140 characters or less… I lead a team of people who market and sell multifamily residential communities. One word that best describes how you work. Hard. What is your superpower? (What is the one thing you do you do better than most?) Making change. Intentionality or Happenstance?  Which has played a greater role in building your career path? Both, they are inextricably linked. “You can either have a job or make a career.” Where does your motivation come from?  Does motivation come easy for you or is it work/discipline to sustain it? I think I was born driven to some degree. On the days...

Career Lessons from Space Jan17

Career Lessons from Space

See that photo there? That’s a picture of the International Space Station (ISS) rocketing by Vancouver from a viewpoint at Point Atkinson Lighthouse. It’s not easy to catch; the photographer had to splice together a series of images taken at a series of intervals and then stitch those together to capture the station’s path. Careers are a bit like that too. A shutter click of moments and people. High points and low points. Achievements and failures that make a story only once you’ve lived them. In real time, they’re just goals, things that happen, decisions (good and bad) and outcomes. Dots in space, really. I wouldn’t call myself a space junkie, by any means, but after having read Chris Hadfield’s memoir, An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth, I can tell you I am looking at the sky and careers a different way. Case in point: you think of an astronaut and you immediately assume the classic spacesuit image – tethered to spacecraft, floating in space. But in actuality, many astronauts work for years supporting other astronauts before getting anywhere near a spaceship (or never make it at all). These are the kinds of details that make Hadfield’s story so compelling. Really compelling. As one reviewer said, “Hearing astronaut Chris Hadfield talk about what going to space taught him, was one of those turn-off-the-car-engine, park and listen moments.” I was talking about this book with Telus’s Katie Drechsel (stay tuned for her #StandApart Career Profile) and she made a great point: “Look at all of the guys who’ve achieved what’s, by any standards, the greatest successes on earth – all of them have turned to space. It’s the next place for mad success.” If so Katie, I am watching. And in the meantime, I am reflecting. Here’s some of the shining...

Do You Know What’s Important? Dec25

Do You Know What’s Important?

“How did you go bankrupt? Gradually, then suddenly.” – Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises Raising kids is the leading case study in gradually-suddenly theory. It goes like this: each meal, each bedtime, each walk to the mailbox is steeped in slowness, but they’re all bullet trains to adulthood. I learned this old-adage the hard way when I saw my first daughter get married this summer. One moment, she was still a kid and then…she was fully grown. I was ecstatic for her. I was floored. I was gradually letting go and then suddenly a father-in-law. Likewise, careers are funny children. They grow up slowly and then quickly. The have growth spurts and angry periods and times of great joy and unsettling complexity. You forget to watch them for a month or two, head buried in life’s other work, and they’re suddenly in a very different place. On the brink of major milestones. On the edge of major drops. A Director of Marketing in his mid-thirties recently came to me looking for a new challenge. I asked him what kind of role he was targeting, what direction he wanted to take. He confided to me, “Director of Marketing was the plan.” For him, the question of What’s next? was a heavy one. An overwhelming one. And the next logical stop, CMO or other high-level position, left him with a “meh” feeling. He’d been so squarely focused on the sudden that, by the time he got there, he felt little sense of having earned or accomplished the feat. The needle had moved, but to where? An Australian mom-blogger hit the nail on the head for me: “We each face sudden declines. Moments where we realise what we’ve been neglecting, treating poorly, or taking for granted…Either we’ve stopped paying...

Love Monday #41: ‘Tis the Season to #StandApart

Any flight delays, spilled drinks and outrageous ticket prices were forgiven last week when @WestJet came out with its heart-warming Christmas Miracle video. Their real-time giving not only created an all new in-flight fantasy, but also brought a sense of greater meaning to an often challenging process for both staff and guests. Through the power of marketing (and a little teamwork), the business of getting from A to B was suddenly, once again…magic. It seems WestJetters know what many of us are still learning: that success at work is about relationships, and the happiness (however measured) we can create together. Merry #LoveMonday to our #StandApart readers. The weather outside may be frightful, but these 3 viral holiday marketing campaigns are positively delightful (and brilliant) @WestJet @Ikea @zulualphakilo … What could be more important than your individual performance? Be prepared to prove your network competence. Yesterday’s “nice guy” – the person who supports and nurtures their network and works well across all teams, functions and levels – is the new measure of success. … Here’s a holiday-inspired work challenge: Where can you capture or create a moment of generosity in your work environment today? And here’s a hint…while coffee delivery is always nice, it doesn’t have to be monetary. Here are 5 excellent ideas for how to be generous at work (and get ahead). … If a gift must be bought, we like these co-worker gift ideas from YVR bloggers: 10 Best Holiday Cookies from Vancouver’s Best Bakeries from @followmefoodie, Secret Santa Gifts that Give Back via @VanVitaminDaily and @tejerven’s list of uniquely made-in-Vancouver crowd pleasers at @VancityBuzz … Professionalism to the end and pre-emptive New Year’s goal planning: great tips for bringing a taste of your holiday spirit to the office without forgetting January is just around the...

Love Monday #36: What’s Next? Nov12

Love Monday #36: What’s Next?

Oprah Winfrey once said: “I’m in the ‘What’s next’ phase of my career.” And what a great place to be. ‘What’s next’ implies you’re ready to open doors, entertain possibilities and even make moves to drive your professional goals forward. Likewise, disruptive start-ups and evolving marketing techniques have a collective workforce asking ‘What’s next’ for the marketing industry. Barbara Concoran says a little insecurity – and the ability to get back up – are essential to growing your piece of the career pie. We think that rings true from individual to corporation. What else does the future-forward careerist need? Innovation, resilience, persistence and, sometimes, a crystal ball helps too. The huge (and growing) salary gap between client and agency for young starters may mean a bleak future for agencies altogether. Read more @Marketing_Mag … What’s going to capture shoppers’ attention next? 10 founders look deep into the crystal ball of e-commerce to identify the trends of the future, including custom-everything and data-driven personalized brands. … My name is (YOUR NAME HERE) and I’m the next big thing. Hootsuite founder starts-up something big for the next generation of innovators. @RyanHolmes … Toronto Tailors have invented, designed, produced and tested a bulletproof suit for high risk businessman. Anyone come to mind? … [VIDEO] Spot the difference: Barbara Corcoran explains the small, but significant divide between $40k per year salespersons and $8-million dollar per year...

#StandApart Career Profile – Catherine Walsh, Best Buy Canada

How do you find out what your strengths are? For Catherine Walsh it took years of travelling, some heavy-duty international work experience and an MBA to find out: she’s a game-changer. “There have been times when I was literally making it up as I went along,” said Walsh, recounting almost 10-years of experience working with cutting-edge companies to push the envelope on industry norms. Walsh was working at Microsoft in Milan when they introduced their newest syndication partner, Facebook; and she held a key role at Italy’s 3 Mobile when her team became the first on the planet to launch 3G. After that, it was all about landing her dream job, Senior Manager, Media & Consumer Insights at Best Buy Canada – a company that’s moving lightning-fast to reinvent retail, both online and off. And a place where strengths are valued. I love the speed retail travels,” says Walsh. “At Best Buy, I get to work with the smartest group of retailers in the entire country, and I get to be here at a time when we’re literally redefining the customer experience – on their terms. It’s that motivation (and just a little bit of impatience), that makes Catherine Walsh one of Vancouver’s #StandApart marketing leaders. Here’s her story:   Describe your current role in 140 characters or less… I’m the Nancy Drew of Best Buy Canada, connecting curious marketers with relevant strategic insights. Always looking for the perfect channel for the message #marketing One word that best describes how you work. Positivity. What is your “Superpower”? (What is the one thing you do you do better than most?) Best Buy is a strengths-based organization, meaning that every new employee gets the opportunity to find out their unique ‘strengths’ make-up (mine is: Maximizer, Positivity, Relator, Individualization, Activator). It’s...