Thursday, February 22, 2007

Starting life in Brandon, Manitoba

I'm here tonight in Brandon, Manitoba to support my wife, Jessie Farrell, who is starting her tour opening for Emerson Drive. I arrived from Toronto a day earlier than her (we had both been in Toronto earlier in the week) and checked out a local country music talent competition last night at the bar where Jessie will be performing tonight.

I'm very excited about Jess' show tonight. She plays tomorrow in Winnipeg and then rejoins the Emerson tour in the second week of March for dates in Kamloops, Kelowna, Calgary, Edmonton and Fort McMurray.

I've had an incredibly hectic week myself starting in Toronto with some great meetings with both old friends and new. Amongst some of the new friends I met this week were Owen Charters (the new executive director of, Adrian Bradbury (the co-founder of GuluWalk), and Peggie Pelosi (principal of Orenda Connections). I also had the chance to meet-up with some old friends, Mark Dowds and Darian Kovacs. It was great to see them and have a night-out on the town up until the point where I was convinced I had lost my credit cards (turns out they were at the hotel all along).

I had some very exciting business meetings (the most exciting of which I can't talk about in a public forum) and every-time I head out to Toronto, I feel like more of Corporate Canada gets what I've been talking about for the past two years and that more and more big charities are slowly starting to acknowledge that while they might want to own the donor relationship donors increasingly don't want to be owned by anyone.

While in Toronto, I saw Jamie Aaron, the founder of Shift. Jamie reminds me a lot of me when I was younger. In fact, I found out that he and I started our careers in a similar fashion: He managed to convince Apple Computer in Markham to give him a co-op position, I managed to get Apple Cupertino to give me my start. Jamie is surely going to be a major force (for lack of better term) in whatever he does and it's increasingly looking like that force will be used for good. Jamie basically was dissatisfied with the co-op placement opportunities he and his peers were being offered so he decided to start his own placement agency, reaching out to socially responsible and progressive companies and non-profits and playing matchmaker between interested students and these orgs. GiveMeaning is one of the organizations that accepted co-op placements through Shift and I met some great candidates earlier in Toronto. The person I was most impressed with was actually the youngest of the three candidates. I have done a lot of hiring over the years and I'm always amazed at how few people seem adequately prepared for the interview. What impresses me is when someone has researched the company (s)he is applying to and makes the interview as much about the company hiring the candidate as the candidate hiring the company. It's unfortunately rare to find an applicant who does this and so it makes even more of an impact when you find someone who does.

Lastly, I'm excited to say that Kevin Sites (of Yahoo's HotZone) has mentioned and linked to GiveMeaning tonight! Christine Egger, a reader of Kevin's had been touched by this story that Kevin had posted to the Hotzone and wanted to do something about the subject of that particular story. She found GiveMeaning and created this project to raise money for Yubaraj, a young boy living in Khatmandu. I'm hopeful that this exposure will help her reach her goal.

Well, Jess is on soon so I better head over to the North 40 Saloon!

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Hey Tom,

Thanks for the update! I hope that you and Jess and having a fantastic and life enriching trip.

See you soon,

So exciting that Jess is on tour. Insightful thoughts Tom...keep em' coming.
Hey, just found your blog Tom. I am also a friend of Darian and Mark. I also met John Bromley last year - we had coffee at a Williams Coffee.

Give Meaning is on my blogroll, and I will add the $5 Philanthropist.

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