Tag Archives: Diana Degan & Associates

30 years of business and still loving it…and learning

I was watching The Today Show with Stephen Cobert one night and Matthew Broderick was his guest. He was talking about the 30th Anniversary of that movie classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The two were reminiscing about all the well-known scenes and I was laughing out loud along with them. “Bueller…Bueller…” and then they mentioned that it came out in 1986 and then moved on to discussing 1987.

1987???? Wait a second…that’s the year I graduated from university and started working.

WAIT A MINUTE….!!!! 30 YEARS?! NO! HOW CAN THAT BE??!!

I wasn’t laughing anymore.

Time flies when you’re having fun. Okay, it wasn’t all exactly fun, but it was interesting. And challenging. And I’ve learned a lot.

Oh the things I’ve learned to do for clients! I’ve learned to drive a race car…I’ve learned to make pickles…and filmed how pasta is made….

And the things I’ve done….I’ve danced with Olympic mascots and Mickey Mouse and thrown a party for Barbie at Casa Loma; I’ve launched Excel gum using one of the very first guerilla experiential programs in Canada; and texting in Canada….I launched cell phone texting in Canada – nobody thought that was going to catch on! I still remember trying to explain that to media.

I’ve written crisis plans that you hoped would never be needed, and developed product recalls plans on the fly as they were happening because plans were never written. I’ve dealt with bomb threats, fire hazards, company safety needs and personal death threats.

I’ve thrown parties for P. Diddy and Beyoncé to launch their fashion lines in Canada.

And I know the Caramilk secret….

I recently just finished a six month, full-time contract, going back to my roots and doing agricultural marketing communications.  I immersed myself in farming, seeds, corn, weeds and so much more, gaining insight about innovative new advances. It was wonderful. While I was still at Ryerson taking Journalism, I wrote agricultural stories for The Guelph Mercury and had a summer job with the Ontario Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Rural Affairs. It’s interesting how you can come find yourself coming full circle.

It’s been an exciting 30 years. I still love what I do. And I’m still learning. Every day.

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

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.”