I'm Speaking to You

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One of the best things I did at the beginning of this business journey was to do some digging. It’s what I called the ‘the personal discovery phase’ which is what a lot of branding experts refer to this phase as. It had me dig into questions like:

  • who am I as a business owner?

  • who do I want to be in the long-term and what are my business goals?

  • what motivates and inspires me day-to-day?

  • what do I stand for and what am I willing to share?

  • what can I best offer others through my services?

  • and most importantly, who is my ideal target audience that I want to work with?

Its you.

The people who are here reading this blog, browsing through my website loving the look/feel, taking a glance at my Instagram account or reading my tweets to get ideas and responding. I know some branding experts say you have to narrow in and get very specific on defining who your target audience is when it comes to communications and marketing.

But what if you know you serve a wider audience? Because that is what I am doing. Working with clients both inside agriculture-food and beyond. Even within our agriculture-food sector, it’s comprised of a wider audience of people - people of all ages/generations, farming/non-farming backgrounds and even ways of thinking.

This blog post for example could resonate with a 65 year-old professor/journalist, a 20-something communications professional who is just starting their career or a 30-year old new mom who knows that the company she works for needs help in their social media efforts but doesn’t know who to turn too.

These are all the people I’m talking too and want to do business with.

Its OK to speak to many people. To attract a larger audience than simply defining one audience. To me, that’s brilliant communications when you can have a message that resonates with a millennial man and a baby boomer woman.

But that is at least the first step in being an effective strategic communicator: defining your target audience and knowing who you are talking too in your marketing-communications efforts.

And this is the first step that SO many brands, businesses and executives forget to take, especially in agriculture-food.

The personal discovery process was a good reminder for me. The messages I was left with after reading books and articles and doing the thinking I needed left me with one final thought:

When you or your brand/business says something, don’t say it for you, say it for the people you’re trying to attract and the audience you’re targeting.

The intent and goal of communicating should always be to have what you say, land in the ears of others. And have it resonate.

Good communicators don’t speak for themselves, they speak for the sake of what others want to hear or should hear.

You will be hearing more from me on the ‘how-to’s of executing successful social media and digital communications campaigns and how to use the right tools in the online world, but if you ever want to hear more from me on a certain topic, by all means, I’d love to hear from you with your ideas.

We're Live!

Welcome to our new home at Crowley + Arklie Strategy & Co.

This has been years in the making. We are proud to {finally} make things official and launch our digital communications agency. We have big ideas, a lot of creative juice and the tools to execute.

There are three things we’re passionate about, well I guess you could say four: people, communicating, agriculture and social media.

So what are we doing here?

We believe that every brand, business and executive should be good at communicating.

There really is no excuse in today’s digitally-crazed world where access to information (or anything!) is at our fingertips. That’s why we're on a mission to help transform the way brands, businesses and executives communicate in agriculture-food and beyond through digital and social media. 

The services we offer are what businesses, boards and executives need help in most: digital and social media, communications planning, campaign management and execution, media training, branding and more. Overwhelmed yet? Let us help you.

We’re glad you found us at our new home. Take a few minutes to browse and look around, learn more about our story, who we’ve worked with and by all means, get in touch with us so we can chat further about how we can help you.

Thanks for coming along and sharing in this new adventure with us.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

6 Lessons Learned #onthecampaigntrail

When people ask what I do/did for work, a lot of people seem surprised when I told them I worked at Queen’s Park in provincial politics. I’m sure a lot of people wonder, “How the heck does someone go about getting into a job like that?” The saying ‘Luck is when preparation meets opportunity” couldn’t be more true than the last four years of my career. I was in the right place at the right time with the right skillset that was needed. And it just happened to be in politics.

I was so honoured to serve in this capacity – serve the public and my agriculture community, using my communications skills to serve a man in politics who I was extremely proud to represent in the agriculture, food and rural affairs portfolio. This pride was evident when I made the decision to move back home to Peterborough this past May/June after my maternity leave, to help in the re-election campaign of the Minister I served, Jeff Leal. And thus began my #ONTHECAMPAIGNTRAIL journey that I shared on social media.

My campaign experience (and really, my time as a political staffer) was once-in-a-lifetime, simply because of the team of people we had. I shared my journey on social media to try and show the fun, quirky side to the campaign but also share the honest hard work, long hours and realities that are faced by volunteers when working a political campaign. And ultimately, to show people a ‘behind the scenes’ of what politics/campaigns really look like so more people know there actually is a real-life ‘West Wing.’

Disclaimer: I’ve never watched the full series of West Wing to know what exactly goes on, I’ve just been told I was the equivalent of C.J. Cregg 

And I speak so positively about the entire experience, despite the outcome on E-day, June 7th. Which was not favourable for us. Simply put, the voters practiced their democratic right and told us what they wanted. And it wasn’t our team. Despite that, I learned so much. I had 50 lessons I shared #onthecampaigntrail but I figured that may be too many to share for one blog post, so I narrowed it down to 6 lessons I wanted to share from the campaign:

  1. Respect means everything – My campaign experience was incredible because the voters were incredible. Full stop. The people of Peterborough were respectful, kind and cordial, even if they told us they weren’t voting for us. I was amazed at how many people knew about the election, knew of the candidates and the work that had been done for their city by Jeff. It was refreshing to see a city so engaged in politics and care so much for the people serving them. And yes, I was proud to not have one door slammed in my face during the campaign #goals. But in all seriousness, the same can be said for my time spent at Queen’s Park. Being respectful to anyone and everyone, regardless of party colour or role, is a simple yet smart tactic to use not only as a staffer, but as a human being.

  2. Nothing will replace face-to-face interactions with people – As much as I love social media, there is nothing more engaging then hearing what voters had to say in person and reading their body language (especially as I approached them with the red shoes I wore door knocking!) The conversations I had with voters were simply the best. I really wish that everyone had the opportunity to door knock on a campaign at least once in their lifetime. There is really no interaction like it – when you’re trying to keep things light while you’re bringing up something that a lot of people dread talking about = politics.

  3. There is no place like home – Rediscovering the city I grew up near, was magic. Walking the streets I’ve drove down so many times growing up; learning the rich history of the city (former Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson once lived in Peterborough!); seeing the beautiful architecture, details and stories of the homes; and taking in the nature trails, waterfront and landmarks made the long hours of door knocking so enjoyable. Peterborough, you really are a beautiful city and gem to live in.

  4. If you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life – Moving away from Blake and Andrew for three weeks wasn’t easy at first but doing the work I was doing with the team, made everything so much easier. Having the purpose and mission we had to represent a candidate that was so widely-respected made the long days bearable. I was so thankful for the technology we have so I could connect with Blake every night on FaceTime (and remind him what his mama looked like!). And an additional perk was that this was the longest time I had spent at home on the farm since before University 

  5. Small things make the biggest difference – Brewing coffee with your team in the mornings; picking up a sprinkled donut at the local coffee shop to refuel when you needed the sugar rush; finding a free book that you love, in a library on the front lawn of a voter’s house; seeing your campaign ad in the local newspaper; watching a young person interview your candidate; seeing your Premier knock it out of the park in a TV debate #SorryNotSorry; taking the time to stop to celebrate Blake’s first birthday during the campaign –  small moments like these kept things light-hearted at times when I needed to be reminded most that life will go on regardless of the outcome.

  6. Your dreams are bigger than you – And finally, by far my greatest lesson learned was watching Jeff Leal, our candidate on the campaign trail.  Watching a person of such integrity and commitment work the long hours he did, all for the sole purpose of wanting to make a positive difference in his community, reignited my passion for public service. There is a reason we have people in public office to represent us. To serve us. To uphold our democracy. To try and make our communities better places to live all for our benefit. If our public servants are motivated by the right morals and act from the right place in their heart, you only want to work harder for them. Canvassing and knocking on doors with Jeff opened my eyes to how much of a difference one person can make in the lives of others. He knew everyone – all of the small details, and he genuinely cared for each and every person he visited with. I wanted to work hard for him and succeed because of him. It didn’t seem like work, it felt like an honour. At the end of the day, while he wasn’t re-elected, I am certain that everyone in Peterborough respects him. They respected what he did for the city of Peterborough and are thankful for the time he gave as their MPP for 15 years. Working for a man of integrity & commitment who betters the lives of others made the outcome hard to understand but, I would do it all again. It was an absolute honour, Jeff. Thank you for allowing me to serve on the team.

One of the most common questions I got after the election loss was “Do you at least still have a job?” And sadly, no. All 400 political staffers lost their job as well that day on June 7th. But its something I’ve come to terms with. What’s the saying? “When one door closes, another one opens.”

The lessons I learned not only on the campaign trail, but as a political staffer over the last four years will be lessons I’ll take with me personally and professionally forever. Thank you to the party members, MPP’s, fellow staffers, media, personnel, kitchen staff, ministry staff, #OntAg stakeholders and to the legislature herself. It was a time, QP. This isn’t the end, politics.

One final thought from the campaign trail that couldn’t be more true for the times we’re living in but really, a reminder for life: Lose with dignity & never stop fighting for what you believe in.

Make sure to check back this week as I have some big, exciting news to share! 

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A Changing of {Life} Seasons

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Well hello there! I appreciate everyone’s messages, texts and check-ins asking what the heck I’ve been up too as of late. Its hard to believe the last time I blogged was back in May. Thinking of what I’ve did between now and May is somewhat daunting. Daunting in a good way though. Let’s just say that being able to have the time to properly ‘digest’ something like an election is a healthy process to go through. I’ve needed the time since May to process what I’m only realizing now was A LOT that took place in the last four years of my life #OntheRoad #Commuting #NewBaby #Motherhood #MaternityLeave #LIFE

After watching THIS VIDEO and hearing of the notion of ‘life’s changing of the seasons’ from a fellow #GirlBoss,  it made me realize that I too, am going through a changing of the seasons in my own life. I am putting to rest, four years of my life in politics and a career I loved. Anytime I become nostalgic, I think of people like the Minister I served, who has known nothing else than serving people in a public service capacity for 30+ years.

The best part is that I am welcoming this changing of the seasons with open arms in a way I’ve never before. I really think that is why we all love being Canadian, because one of the perks is we know each year we get 4 seasons guaranteed – with each season promising something different and new for us. In life though, we don’t necessarily expect our life to change that often as the seasons come and go. But I’m learning more and more that it is in fact, a healthy process to ‘change. To adapt. To come to terms with the old and look forward to the new, all while being the same person I was before. It really is a transformational experience – this whole being unemployed thing. (And yes, when you’re a political staffer and lose an election, you do in fact also lose your job). Its a scary yet exciting feeling knowing I am the captain of my own ship, the creator of my destiny. Wherever I want to go, I can go. (I feel like I sound like a mix between Dr. Seuss or Tony Robbins, ha!)

I’m going to share a whole separate post on my experience #ONTHECAMPAIGNTRAIL. I shared a lot of my journey on Twitter and Instagram for the month I lived away from my family but the experience warrants its own post. It was an incredible experience of hustling NON-STOP. And while we didn’t achieve the outcome we set out to accomplish, I know that we did everything possible and the team I worked with was nothing short of amazing.

Here’s to the journey ahead on the road less traveled, as I experience this changing of life’s seasons. I hope you too come along and share in this journey with me.

Tuesday Thoughts

Well hello, there!

I've wanted to blog for a few weeks' now but never knew where to start. Isn't that something we all struggle with? Where to begin? What to do first? What to stick with? What to love the most? What to get rid of and leave behind? So much has been going on as of late, its hard to know where to start and what to share.

Springtime

There is something about this spring that has awaken me to so many new things. New things about the world around me, about people, but most importantly, about myself. The new greenery and flowers blooming, even the fresh smell of spring has awoken me in a different way than the last few years. I've happily welcomed this.

Motherhood/Back to Work #onthecampaigntrail

Its an overwhelming bittersweet time for me personally right now. I'm transitioning from my year off on maternity leave, entering back into not only the workforce, but the campaign trail. Ontario's provincial election is 23 days away on June 7th. When I began working 4 years ago in politics at Queen's Park, I knew this election time would come eventually, I just didn't think it would come this fast. Much like my time with Blake. Where did this past year really go?

Because of the transition heading back to work, it has meant closing the book on being a stay-at home mom for the past year. It has meant starting a new chapter of watching Blake transition to day care. I'm also preparing to move back home to Peterborough for a few week's while I work #onthecampaigntrail. I promise to blog about this exciting adventure in a separate post.

What the last few weeks has taught me is about sacrifice. Loving what you do for a living, while you have to watch what you've did for the past year fade into the sunset. Knowing that while it is hard to watch your child grow up, this is what life is all about.

I've been trying to soak up as many friend hangouts, family catch up's, sunsets on the dock and coffee shop visits before reality sets in next week when I officially go back to work.

I love me some routine

I've enjoyed setting up a productive routine for the past little while, knowing full-well that, that routine is going straight out the window now that the campaign has started. If there is something I have learned about myself, its that while I love new things and discovering the unknown, I thrive on routine. Don't we all as human beings? I've learned this the most from watching Blake. He loves meeting new people, taking in new things, not going to bed on time once and a while, but he pays for it a few days later. He sleeps better, eats better and you can tell he's just an overall more happier baby when he's in his routine. This is us as adults too, we just don't like to admit it.

Learning Overload 

I've been the type of person that has 100 tabs open in my browser; articles saved to read; and so many random notes about motivational TED talks written down in my notebook but it hasn't been until recently that I've wondered... is it too much? I'm not saying I want to stop learning but at some point, is it too much? If I want to speed up in the areas of my life I want to succeed it, does it mean I have to slow down in other areas of my life that don't allow me to grow? If anything, Blake has been the greatest reminder for me to slow down.

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