Category Archives: Fresh starts

Celebrating 15 Years!!


Whoo Hoo! Happy Birthday to me! 15 years.
I’ve been running my own company, working with clients, helping them achieve their business goals with marketing communications tools for 15 years now.

I’ve always considered this time of the year the true “start” of my company…it’s when my company really got going. I know my LinkedIn profile says August because that’s when I was laid off from my last corporate position as VP of an agency that then folded within a year. But it was this time of year that I really made the decision — yes, I was going to do it, go out on my own, say no to the job offers I was getting and become an “Independent,” a small business person. And landed my first clients. It was freaking scary then. It still is.

I know the challenges of being a sole proprietor, of working long hours, trusting the partners you’re working with to come through so you can deliver on your promises and achieve your clients’ expectations. And I also know the frustration of clients that don’t keep to their agreements, especially financial ones.

It has been a challenge, these past 15 years. But it has also been a joy. I truly love what I do. Creating, strategizing, researching, discussing, developing, executing, delivering…finding the right marketing communications solution for each client’s business need.

From media training P. Diddy, answering his questions about the Canadian media and creating a rock star party to welcoming Beyoncé and her family to Toronto and launching her fashion line Deréon to the media and trade in just three and a half weeks…to creating programs that educated Canadians about playing safe, fair, clean hockey at the recreational level and the importance of keeping our precious water resources clean…to launching new products, dealing with personal death threats, creating detailed security plans, national product recalls and plant closures….it’s certainly never been dull.

To everyone who has shared in the journey with me, to all the clients, all the associates, all the friends and family, for the faith, trust, confidence, partnership, opportunities, support, friendship and referrals…thank you. It has been an honour. It has been a thrill. It has been a source of great pride and much learning. Cheers to all of it and all of you.

Happy Birthday Diana Degan & Associates!

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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.

 

Butterfly

I’m baaaaccck!!!

 

I’m baaaack!! Yes, getting back into the groove of
back-to-school, back-to-work routines. Getting back
into my business after taking some time away.
Just getting back on track as so many of us do at
this time of year. Fall has a way of doing that for you.

It’s been a very busy year. I was named IABC/Toronto’s
Boutique Agency of the Year!
  This was the fifth time I’ve
been named an agency of the year and it is always a tremendous
honour to be selected. At the same ceremonies, I was awarded
an IABC/Toronto Ovation Award of Excellence in Issues
Management and Crisis Communication for work I did on
the closing of the Strub’s pickle plant in Brantford. I also won
an international IABC Gold Quill award for the same project
and a Gold Quill in Leadership Communication for work I did
with transportation company Fastfrate.

I was asked to be a member of the Gold Quill Blue Ribbon Panel
of judges this year, one of the five international panels. And I just
finished being a judge for the IABC Canadian awards program,
Silver Leaf. I find the opportunity to see what other communications
professionals are doing across the country and around the world truly
enlightening. (And no, I don’t get to be anywhere close to my own award
submissions! LOL!)

Another highlight of the year was being named Guelph’s 2013
Woman of Distinction in the Business/Entrepreneur category.
It was a wonderful surprise, an unexpected honour, and an evening
filled with celebrating the fabulous women that help to keep the city
of Guelph running in various ways.

I was also selected to be a presenter at the annual IABC World Conference
held in New York City this year. I pulled together a panel of fellow
entrepreneurial experts from around the world: Dr. Amanda Atwell-Hamilton
from Africa, Amy Carroll from Switzerland and Suzanne Salvo from Italy to
discuss starting your own business. Interesting how it was a panel of women….
as I started the session by saying, forget Sex and the City…we are successful
women in the city!!

Planning is already underway for the 2014 IABC World Conference
and it is being held in Toronto next June.  I was recently invited to be
a member of the Program Advisory Committee for the conference,
joining 15 other esteemed communicators from around the world.
We just held our first team meeting and it promises to be an exciting opportunity.

And on top of all that, I became a full-time stepmom as opposed to an
every-other-weekend stepmom, and got married.  In that order!

I know that we all kick off a new year with anticipation; January arrives
and we feel a newness that comes with the start of the next calendar year.
And yet, I have always felt that September is just as often a beginning tooa crispness to the days, a sunny freshness, the start of school and activities…I’m feeling it even more so this year – my first ever getting someone off to school on the first day — and looking forward to the new adventures that are sure to come.

Gold Quill NYC