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People like you

29 Apr

I recently attended my final class at McMaster University and walked away feeling a little numb. It has been a long journey, filled with so many challenges and countless hours spent on my little laptop into the wee hours of the night.  Now that I can say I have achieved the goal I set out to accomplish, faced with a bittersweet feeling, I am torn between elation and sadness that this chapter is over.  I found myself puttering around the house questioning what was next.

This last class was Integrated Marketing Communications and honestly, I wasn’t even sure why I chose to take it in the first place, other than I was curious. I wanted to know what IMC was and how it worked, but I wasn’t really sure what it was going to do to enhance my life or how I would ever find a use for it. As it turns out, this was the perfect class for me to take and I have not regretted a moment.

My teacher for IMC was Hilary Sadler. She is a dynamo! Hilary came prepared to teach and inspire and to cultivate skills and talents in each of us in the class. She was interactive, full of stories and knowledge and actively sought ways to bring out the best in her students. Hilary encouraged us to accept difficult challenges and not to back away or take an easier path. I know, without a doubt, that any who have encountered Hilary, either at school or at work, are blessed with her enthusiasm and brilliance in the field of marketing.  It is a true gift that she has developed and mastered and she openly shares her knowledge with passion, grace and humility. Her fervor in class urges you to want to succeed.

Our last gathering as a class was an informal gathering to chat about any last-minute questions and to pick up our exams and projects. Thank you Tanya for the scrumptious spread of goodies, how kind and generous of you.  The gathering was one-of-a-kind for me, as no other teacher had offered this type of closure or opportunity. It seemed right and necessary for me to attend and I am so glad I did. This class had obviously formed a bond. It was an amazing way to wrap up my time at McMaster and it further confirmed the value of the time I spent in all those classrooms.  I’d like to share the email that I sent to my classmates and teacher. It seems to sum up my experience in this IMC class as well as the other classes I attended and classmates I have befriended over the years.

“People like you, teachers and fellow students, are the very reason that I’ve been able to commit to attending courses at McMaster and finally complete my studies in Business. You collectively and individually inspire me. You teach me something new and exciting each time we meet. You challenge me to open my mind and eyes to new ways of thinking or viewing the world around me. You encourage me to reach higher and achieve new goals or dreams that I never thought possible. These lessons I will not forget.

So to each of you I say thank you. Thank you for the immeasurable value and inspiration that you have brought into my life. Continue on your varied paths, accepting the challenges set before you. Face your fears with defiance and confidence. Use the tools you have learned and conquer whatever stands in your way. Be fiercely proud of your accomplishments and hold your head high. Lend a caring hand to all that you encounter.
I wish you continued success and happiness in your journey of life.”
In the words of Albert Einstein, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
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The ‘Marketing Process’ and Lego blocks

17 Jan

Many of you might already know I have been diligently plodding through some fascinating business courses in my ‘spare-time’.  The topic of the semester for me is Marketing. As I begin this adventure we learn the basics, “the marketing process”. They remind me of building with Lego blocks as they discuss the 5 steps to know and understand.

We had a lively discussion in class last week about what we thought marketing was all about. It will be interesting to see how it compares to the thoughts we will have in our last class. Will we all be marketing genius’ by then? Probably not. I am looking forward to learning enough to grasp a brief analysis when I see marketing in the world around me and how I respond to it, or how I see others respond. I also hope to gain enough practical understanding to apply the basics…surely I can find a test market to practice with.

The most important first concept that I am learning, is that to succeed, being customer focused is the key to successful marketing. It is imperative to discover the needs, wants and demands of the customer and then offer them value, irresistible value, in your product or service. These are the big blocks at the bottom of the plan….or is it reverse, does it start with a single block being the customer and then build upwards and outwards like a pyramid or like Maslow’s Hierarchy? Either view leads to, or should lead to, the same desired outcome. That is to build profitable relationships which lead to profitable returns for the company and equally content and satisfied customers.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this course will be lots of fun (and a lot of work). I hope you will stick around to hear how the journey progresses. If you are a marketing professional or guru and you have words of wisdom to share or even just a tidbit of insight, I welcome your comments and feedback. Even if you aren’t in the marketing profession, I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time…

Kimberley xx

Mmmm, my morning cuppa tea and me

9 Jan

Good morning! I am curious. How different are our morning routines to that of 20 years ago, or 50, or 100? I get up, shuffle downstairs sill in my jammies, head for the kettle and make myself a cuppa tea. Then off to the living room, curled up on the corner of my couch with my laptop, I check on the events of last night. Twitter, Facebook, Gmail, bringing me my tweets, updates, messages and letters.

Only a few years ago, we lived in such ignorance of what hundreds of our ‘friends’ did just last night. Now we are sorely disappointed if we don’t catch a glimpse of photo updates via their iPhone or Blackberry. We must have been miserable not having a way to tell the world that we had too much to drink, or our noses are runny and we are coughing up something green…or is it yellow, or we have the latest case of some disgusting G.I. upset requiring a bottle of Pepto Bismol. How did we ever survive? Surely we have made a valuable contribution to today’s society by sharing these personal little tidbits. Really?

I often wonder what might happen, if we would all spontaneously combust, if someone waved their magic wand and poof, social media just up and disappeared. Well, it’s not going to happen, we all love social media and telling the world our stories way too much. We are a social group of people. Thank goodness!

Even though we often seem to forget our “online filters” (me too) and share things we probably shouldn’t, social media is just another medium to bring us all a little closer together. It helps us learn about each other and our neighbours, close and far away. It brings us to another level of awakening and understanding. Social media connects us as fellow citizens living in and looking after our communities be they intimate or global.  We can respond to a need or fight an injustice, in our own town, or halfway across the world, in minutes and hours, and not days and weeks or even months.

That brings me to my last thoughts, and then I am going to need a refill on my cuppa tea. I am glad that we are able to connect like this, that we can share between us. I hope you will continue to drop in with your cuppa tea, or coffee, and see what is new at Kimberley’s Place. You can share your thoughts in the comments space, I’d love to hear from you…sniffles, coughs, and all.  Learning about each other brings us together to care for the world, directly around us and further. I look forward to learning about you.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs

20 Jul

Today I posted a tweet asking people to tell me about a local business that inspired them.  I have found so many new businesses and entrepreneurs in Hamilton that are courageous, brilliant and driven by desire within to succed and grow and they just inspire me greatly.  It might be involving free trade coffee, a local hair salon, downtown marketing company, home daycare, photographer, eco-friendly business for kids/moms/dads such as re.diaper and Little Bird or antique shops and so many others.  These businesses make up our community. 

When we feel a connection to them we happily support them and their efforts. This creates an incredible bond and sense of unity.  That is what makes Hamilton, a city with over half a million people, a community and not just another Mega-city.  Part of the glue that sticks us together is evolving social media and how people are connecting and growing together.  Friends recommendations hold weight like no advertisement can match.  Products, restaurants, shops, “get liked” and are “shared” on walls and in tweets.  Business grows by the local buzz in a way that other media sources cannot duplicate.  Imagine, just for a moment, how that can translate and impact your non-profit organization. The tools are there, free for the most part, you just have to pick them up and use them. 

If you have a favorite business that inspires you please take a moment and share it with me in the comments.  I would love to hear from you.

CharityVillage Main Street

6 Jul

CharityVillage Main Street

via CharityVillage Main Street.

I chose to share this site with you because I have found it an information packed resource over the years of being involved with Non-profit organizations.  Charity Village has links to other organizations, education, library and resources, and so much more.  If you haven’t checked out all that this power packed site has to offer yet, I encourage you to do so now.  Bookmark it or add it to your Delicious collection and visit it often.  It is a true NPO community gem.

Channels.com Web Video Shows – YoungRetiredca

2 Jul

Channels.com Web Video Shows – YoungRetiredca

via Channels.com Web Video Shows – YoungRetiredca.

Great idea for non-profits to take advantage of excellent professional advice and information! On the flip side, this is a fantastic opportunity for those stepping into retirement to stay involved and use their many talents and skills and knowledge for non-profits!!  Wow, this is a win-win for both parties.

Website Optimization: Using Website Grader for Marketing Success

27 Jun

Website Optimization: Using Website Grader for Marketing Success

via Website Optimization: Using Website Grader for Marketing Success.

Non-Profits Organizations are always concerned about cost! With that in mind, finding expert advice that is free is a fantastic way to enhance and grow your web pressence.  There are important webinars that you can take advantage of from excellent organizations such as HubSpot.  Take time to sit in and learn.