Category Archives: Blogging

Dancing with Butterflies

I spent a recent rainy dreary foggy morning at the Cambridge Butterfly conservatory. It was in preparation for an event that will be held there in a couple of weeks that I will be overseeing for a client.

It was a wonderful way to spend this dreadful day. We opened the waterfall room door and were immediately greeted by warmth, a lush greenery and butterflies of every colour floating by. It was enchanting and it was magical.

I found myself spinning to catch sight of butterflies ducking in and out of the vegetation and up and around the waterfall.  And giggling. Honest to goodness giggling as I stuck my hand out to try and touch one as it floated by. Art on wings.

Butterflies kind of became my thing when I went through my divorce seven years ago. I came across the saying: Just when the caterpillar though the world was ending, he became a butterfly. And it spoke to me as I had returned to my maiden name and as a result, had to change my business name. Rebirth.

That’s usually what we’re dealing with as we move through the seasons, going from winter into spring into summer. Watching as the trees and gardens all bloom and unfold before our very eyes. Even our long-lost neighbours emerge from hibernation and start hanging around the sidewalks and porches to talk and share a beverage and maybe even bbqs.

Re-emergence and reinvention…they are good for the soul. And good for business too. I’m taking the time today to re-evaluate and reinvent. To return to what I love doing – and that includes dancing with butterflies.



Shoemaker’s children…

 Why is that I always feel like the shoemaker’s children?

I am, of course, referring to the fact that while I build
programs and make recommendations for clients, stressing
the importance of social media, and blogging and being
consistent and regular, my little blog falls to the wayside.

My clients get fantastic blog entries and thought-provoking,
dialogue-generating communication and my poor little blog
sits exposed on the internet with last year’s worn out shoes.  Sigh…

My new year’s resolution was to be more consistent.
It really was. And I’ve had a million ideas and started writing
in my head many, many times. But then a call came, or meeting
prep was required, or a writing deadline was looming…and once
again, my child was patted on the head and told, “I’ll be back soon.
No really. I promise.”

Tonight, as I researched and wrote my client’s blog, I could hear
my baby calling for me to come and play. And I felt guilty. And so,
even though I have 3 other deadlines, a growling tummy
(man, I skipped lunch again!) and a need to just stretch and
get away from the desk, I am writing and posting this blog.
And smiling. Because it feels good and reminds me of why I
started this in the first place.

Getting the Wheels of Social Media Turning

Yesterday I was honoured to be part of a panel on
social media at The Infrastructure Health and Safety
Association Fleet Safety Council’s Annual Educational
Conference in London, ON.

My fellow panellists – Al Goodhall, a commercial truck
driver and 2010 Winner of Driver of the Year for the
Central Chapter, and Lorne Honickman, lawyer and
very familiar face from his days at City-TV as the legal
reporter and now host of CourtTV and Legal Briefs –
and I discussed the whys and how-tos of using social
media. With a very healthy dose of “holy crap, you need
to be careful” thrown in by Mr. Honickman. And rightly so.
As he told the crowd, “the Internet and social media is
like the Wild West” and he wasn’t so sure it was going to
be tamed.

Mr. Honickman specializes in the legal implications of
social media use and his examples of how fast an
off- the-cuff comment can turn into a legal nightmare did
make people stop and think. Our panel moderator,
Lou Smyrlis, Editor of Truck News, did an on the spot
poll at the end of the session and everyone agreed that
the legal implications did worry them and would make
them stop and pay closer attention to how they were
using social media.

One of the points that I made during the presentation
was that you shouldn’t put anything out there, regardless
of how you do it, social media or otherwise, that you
wouldn’t want in the newspaper tomorrow. It is all too
easy with social media to just send a comment “out there.”
Something that you would never dream of saying face-to-face
or even in an email. And with the ability to hide behind
usernames and anonymity, it can be a free-for-all. Although
Mr. Honickman said they can track you down if they need to.
(Just like a sheriff on horseback!)

I found it interesting to hear both my co-panellists speak. Al has
been blogging and tweeting about life on the road as a trucker
and has been asked to participate in numerous industry groups
about safety and other industry issues as a result. I certainly
made a point of getting Lorne’s business card – you just never
know where that next client crisis is going to come from and
given our discussion yesterday and my research leading up
to it, it’s clear that social media will play a bigger and bigger
role both in causing a crisis and how you can deal with it,
proactively and reactively.




Happy Birthday to me!

Actually it’s a double birthday of sorts. Yes, today is
my birthday.  But it was 10 years ago this month that
I was laid off from my job as a Vice-President of a
public relations agency in Toronto, and decided to
start my own company. And now my baby enters
double digits. Wow! (I think I’ve actually had my company
survive longer than the agency I was let go by. How’s
that for karma.)

I have been very fortunate to find what I love to do early
in my life. And I have had the opportunity to learn and grow
and stumble and fall and get back up off my butt and learn
to keep pushing forward. I have worked with some amazing
people and I have worked with some…um…not so nice people..
ok, let’s call a spade a spade, horrible people. You learn lessons
from both.

I’ve learned that it really is true that when one door closes another
one opens…sometimes it can be hard to see the open door through
the tears, but it’s there. You just have to look really hard for it.
Mopping the tears up a bit helps by the way.

I’ve realized that the lessons never stop and that we often continue to
make the same mistakes over and over again until we finally learn our
lesson. I was recently told that if I let go of an opportunity I was trying
to force, another more beautiful one would come along. My mentor
was right…I let the one go and was rewarded with landing the
Responsible Gambling Council as a client. We’re working together on
their Problem Gambling Prevention Weeks happening this fall. I saw
a little more karma surround my win, so it was even sweeter.

I have had the good fortune to work with some great clients through the
past 10 years and I thank each and every one of them for their trust,
their confidence and their support. I look forward to working with more
great clients for the next 10 years.

So happy birthday to me times two!! I’ve been blessed and given many
gifts in my life.  And today seems like the perfect time to acknowledge it.
And if that’s not Drop Dead Appropos, then I don’t know what is.

D.D.A……Drop Dead Apropos

Welcome to the very first issue of my new blog, D.D.A.! Or Drop Dead Apropos. 

It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been in business for 10 years this summer and for many of the past five years, I have contemplated starting up a blog. But I also wondered whether I would have anything to share. What could I say that wasn’t already being said by a host of other bloggers out there? And yet, I still had this little niggle in my brain.

Then two months ago I attended an IABC/Toronto presentation on Social Media by industry expert Randall Craig. And I specifically asked the question if I should start up a blog. His response: absolutely!! No waffling, no hesitation, just unequivocally…absolutely!

So, here I am!!

As with anything, just making the decision isn’t enough. There is a lot of strategy, planning and implementation that goes along with it. Kind of like when I decided to change back to my maiden name last year. Making that decision was one thing; actually making it happen was another. (That’s a WHOLE other story.)

The biggest realization was how to integrate a blog into my existing web site. And like a game of dominoes, one thing leads to another to another…In the end, my “web site guy”, Mike Lush of Masterplans and I decided the best thing to do would be to overhaul my existing web site and move it to the new Web 2.0 platforms that are apparently the way of the future and going to make everything else look outdated.

Well, we’re almost there. Nothing like tackling new business proposals while your web site is under construction!  Ah well, what’s that saying? The only thing that is constant in life is change.

Oh…the name.  Why Drop Dead Apropos?  I originally considered not having a name and then realized my newsletter has a name and it seemed kind of lame to just refer to “my blog.”  I thought it would be interesting to see if I could use the first letters of my company name, Diana Degan & Associates — DDA.  But unlike when I started my newsletter, I couldn’t find one word with all three letters that really worked. So I started looking for three words. Drop Dead popped out at me as I was doing research. Which just left me with finding an A word. Hmm….and the word Apropos snuck into my mind.

Apropos…okay, first I had to look up how it was actually spelled. And I found that it could be an adverb, an adjective, and a preposition. Interesting. It means at the right time, by the way, fitting the occasion, relevant, in connection with, being at once opportune and to the point. All of those meanings were perfect as far as I was concerned for a blog about my day job, PR and marketing communications. And it worked with Drop Dead. So the blog was named: Drop Dead Apropos. And on a really rough day sometime in the future, I can just say, with as straight a face as I can manage… “ya sure, Drop Dead…Apropos, my blog..check it out.”