I was born in Toronto, but when it comes to the CNE ( the Canadian National Exhibition for international readers ) it doesn’t matter where you’re from. The summer is a special time for everyone in Toronto, and the CNE is a bittersweet moment. You love it for all that it is, but it is the harbinger of summer’s doom. What better way to squeeze the last fun out of the season before it ends. But while most people have just one visit to the CNE, for years I’ve had three and they’re three totally different CNE’s too! I hope you find some value and maybe ideas in one of them… 1) The Kids. Being of baby-raising age right now this is a wonderful full day of activities that is affordable and crazy fun. We don’t live close by so the secret is to drive to the underground parking in the Direct Energy Centre that is accessible for strollers. Start the day walking to the kids area where this is always lots to do – the petting zoo is a must. Lunch at the food building, a visit to the agricultural building with an early afternoon finish at the ever-awesome superdog show. They end up tuckered out, wheel them downstairs to the car and you’re off before the crowds show up. 2) The Friends. There is nothing like the midway at night. This thing is 135 years old so anyone who grew up in or around the city will have nostalgic feelings for the place – so much history! Show up on the Red Rocket in the late afternoon when most folks are leaving and head to the food building for something delicious and dangerous. I never miss out on a huge pickle and something deep fried that usually leaves me queasy for a couple hours. The sun goes down, the lights come up and the fun begins. Every night there’s something fun to do at the CNE. Walking and catching up with friends, winning at the horse races, losing at crown and anchor is always awesome. Some years there are fireworks, a date-night staple. Riding that loud and crowded rocket back into town is the best way to end the night. 3) The shopping (senior secret). Funny enough, this trip is best made with someone over 70. Before my grandmother passed well into her 80’s we would again drive into the Direct Energy Centre early in the morning, use that wheelchair accessible elevator and take a thoughtful stroll. To see stuff that the kids wouldn’t have patience for and my friends would usually make fun of (yes, I like flowers). I love to see the many different things for sale in the craft building, the sights, sounds and smells of the world in the international shops and I love to barter and argue with the hard sellers in the shoppers market. Finish it off with a slow stroll through the garden show and it is always a day well spent for a tiny cost. If you have seniors in your life, these areas are totally accessible. I always find fun and unique things at the Ex. Heck, I’ve just scratched the surface! I have friends who are die-hard airshow fans, some are into the music – check out this page for all there is to do! This year I’m on vacation and will take my family to opening day, it’s going to be a treat. It’s one of Toronto’s true treasures and I hope you find your way down. I leave you with the jingle that made the hearts of every kid born in the past 50 years will know well. See you at Tiny Tom’sTiny Tom’s…. ( How about sharing a story of your Ex-capades below? ) Thanks for reading! Paul
Nice to know peers care, the emails/tweets started Friday night….“Paul, changing jobs?!” as my work emails bounce and voicemail spills the beans. 250 people viewed my LinkedIn profile this weekend. Yikes, so I’m fessing up. Ok, yes, it’s true. I’m making a change. It certainly didn’t come easy, most people know the person I worked for was one of my career heroes. A mentor to many and in a role that few get to play in Canada with an amazing team of positive people of great talent and integrity. But because of my life mission, after helping hundreds of peers do better, do more, step into their greatness ( giving people a little nudge now and then )…the fingers started to point back in my direction. Was I standing tall, being all that my strengths make me, fulfilling the gifts many mentors had given me? I wasn’t. So, I have made a change. You’ll hear about it in a little time but first, at the urging of many helpful voices, I’m taking a break. Just a few days to recharge, rest and reset before the exciting challenge that lays ahead. Of course I’m still hosting a BIG networking while walking event Sunday August 17th in High Park in Toronto. I would love to see you there, maybe get your advice and wisdom that day. To learn more click here. Until then I want to use this neutral moment to express my gratitude. It took me a long time to come to this decision, many people walked with me as I struggled with it. Countless mentors like ML, the peers of Seth Godin’s Krypton College (lead by Promod Sharma), the fundraiser’s coach Janice, the courageous Kimberley MacKenzie and the many ladies of #TweetCottage . My many mentors both experienced and future leaders. And of course the authors of the many books that I use to inspire others and MOST of all my networking MVP’s, the Golden Crabs. When you hear the news, you’re going to say “this is a good fit” – indeed my entire career has been leading up to this role. I talk a lot of smack about servant leadership and being at the service of this sector. I will soon get a chance to walk that talk and put my life where my mouth has been when speaking at conferences, in blog posts, industry articles and tweets. Until then, I’ll be hugging my kids, meeting with some of you, listening a lot. Being in silence ( can I even do that?! ). If you’re reading this you’re probably one of the people that got me here. Before I celebrate getting anywhere I want to take a moment, in humility and great gratitude to say. THANK YOU I’m known as the connector because of my network (that’s you). You make me everything I am and I am so grateful. See you soon, Paul.
I have promised many that this netwalk would happen, the BIG ONE. We have space for 100+, so please mark this event in your calendar and share! August 17, we’re going to walk and talk – about you! This isn’t a fundraiser, there is nothing to buy or sell, we won’t be walking fast so there will be NO health benefits (human pyramid above is for metaphor-purposes only). It’s about networking, it’s about enjoying summer (goodness forbid we slow down a moment) it’s about helping you get to where you want to go. Celebrating that life is good, and if it isn’t good, if you are facing challenges and feeling down – how do we make life better again, together. Sorry, no hokey stuff. No singing or hand holding ( spouses and significant others welcome though so I guess, you can hold hands ) but business cards ( or contact cards if you are a student or in between work right now ) are mandatory!! This will be the fifth netwalk I’m hosting and I’ve had great feedback from previous netwalkers…I’ve taken that consideration into account. So, a later start this year, 10am. We’ll walk for 2 hours, I’ll have some networking activities for us along the way. A new fun feature this year, an optional potluck lunch! We’re going to be a High Park in Toronto that has both parking and a subway stop. I’ll have volunteers to keep our coolers and stuff safe during the walk and we’ll return to a fun and delicious networking lunch! More details to come about exact meeting location and food logistics but for now, please mark your calendar and RSVP here. Share the event with anyone you like who could benefit from some networking, fresh contacts, fresh perspective, fresh food! See you Sunday August 17th for #NetwalkTO ! Paul When: Sunday Aug 17, 2014 meet at 10am Where: High Park Ave and Spring Rd. near the parking. Who: Open to anyone looking to advance career, enrich life Cost: No cost. Noon potluck picnic lunch is optional. RSVP Here ——— UPDATE ——– UPDATE ——— So our exact meeting spot is High Park Ave and Spring Rd (just south of High Park and Bloor St. W ) . left of the parking spots. I hope to have a sign of some sort up. If you have RSVP’d I will email you with more details and my mobile phone number so you can be sure to find us. As for the picnic/potluck portion, I’ll bring extra drinks. Keep it simple (don’t stress!), remember it has to last in your cooler or car for 2 hours while we walk. If you’re coming by subway I have someone volunteering to watch our stuff while we walk so feel free to bring a cooler (and chairs if you don’t like sitting on the grass, which I don’t ). Most importantly, please be on time!!! Plan to be there for 9:45am please. We start walking at 10am sharp!! Really looking forward to it, we’ve crossed the 40 person mark attending so it is going to be a really great mix of people!! I’m starting to get “what should I bring for the picnic potluck?” emails….here are some ideas:
Store-bought is totally fine, this is not a hipster-judgement event. But go easy on the desserts.
Because of this blog, people send me books. I have to send most of them back because they’re not about networking, or business development and don’t have content I can get excited about, content of powerful value. Andrew Dietz, you sought me out sir. I am grateful. This book is awesome – more importantly it’s valuable. I can’t count the amount of times I said the word “FINALLY” out loud reading this book. First and foremost he puts to rest the old school mantra of “ABC: Always Be Closing” and updates the networking paradigm for this century of authentic connecting and open data —- ALWAYS BE OPENING Opening conversations, opening connections to new possibility, opening collaboration opportunities for your network. People say “be of value to your clients or donors” – this book is the playbook of how to do that. Now, full disclosure, I do not like all organized sport so the football analogies were totally lost on me. But the book is really about the strategy of solid, authentic human networking and that is something I’m all about. Written in fable format ( which I love because it makes for a quicker, more memorable and dare I say ‘enjoyable’ read ) this book is about Sam a young lawyer who just doesn’t get it – he doesn’t get it because he was taught 20th Century networking like so many of us. He is helped along by Candace, the owner of a 21st century “coffee shop” coworking space – the kind that many of us know is the hottest place to be right now for knowledge workers. Shoutout to the awesome folks at “The Coffice”, this should be your official book for helping professionals understand what this revolution is all about! Young professionals are going to want to read this book because it’s a play by play with actual granular guidance ( chapter reviews include what to do, what to say, how to do it ) on real authentic networking. Experienced business professionals – I have been LOOKING for a book that integrates 2014 digital media ( LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, blogs, websites ) into networking and business development. 90% of the best selling networking authors do not get how to truly integrate digital media into the workday. Andrew Dietz gets it and he NAILS IT in this book. What’s the best content, how to share it, how to mine social media platforms for leads and HOW to make connections. It was a cool breeze on a warm summer’s day – well more like blessed oxygen in a suffocating world of social business skeptics . Buy this book, it’s a quick read, it’s a valuable read – give it to someone you’re mentoring or being mentored by. I’ve bought more copies for my talks at Universities. It’s the 21st century people, lets networking using today’s tools. The result, better business. Want more value, follow Andrew on Twitter As always, please share this post. Thanks for reading! Paul Nazareth
This Sunday we’ve got a small private group going on a netwalk at the Toronto Distillery District! As promised here is a very quick group introduction for you so you can do your homework on each other before you show up. THE GOLDEN As you may know, I created a networking MVP award that I give out every year. It’s a totally selfish exercise in me calling out the excellent people in my life who I feel are the most helpful to me and most proactive networkers I know. You’re going to meet THREE of them! Clare McDowall owner of Socially Good a digital marketing firm (and ballroom dancing enthusiast!). And two awesome fundraising leaders Ann Rosenfield and visiting from Regina Saskatchewan Christina Attard who are two of the most life giving positive people you’re ever going to meet. THE BUSINESS OWNERS These are three amazing leaders in my life with amazing businesses that are of value to my network and are part of re-writing what it means to be awesome in this economy. Kate Hodgson a professional storytelling coach who teaches business owners how to tell their stories, host of the 9 to 5 narrative in Toronto. Karen Shinn is one of the original Downsizing Diva’s, an innovative business that helps Canadians not just move but make life transitions as part of a move. David Kravinchuk is helping Canadian charities fundraise better coast to coast as head of the Fundraising Pharmacy. THE FASCINATING FUNDRAISERS I know 5,000 fundraisers. I’m so happy these 5 are joining us, I have so much to say about them but for now, here’s the link to their profiles. Kavita Dogra, Cynthia Foo, Cameron Becker, Idalette Martins, Roma Prudente. THE INTERWEB CELEBRITY Recently I’ve been thinking, ‘when does this guy sleep!’ which you know if I’m thinking that means someone is super active. Joallore Alon, better known as ClickFlickca online is active as a disruptor and marketer all over Toronto. He’s built a solid following and many business owners I know cite him as a leader and teacher. THE NEW FACES I should make a bigger deal about Brad Bass being a Nobel Peace Prize laureate but he excites me most because I met him at a Science Expo teaching scientists how to network! A science networking enthusiast!!!! Christine Bowden is a Career Services leader at a Canadian College. THE STRONG SILENT TYPES We have about five people who I don’t know at all or who are more private folks and you’ll meet them in person on Sunday. More fresh faces for the network of course. OUR TOUR HOST! Audrey Ooi is the amazing business owner of Tasty Tours, a fellow UofT alumni she is our host for the Distillery Farmers Market tour we’ll be going on! She’s also part of the Endeavour Volunteer Network a consulting group that helps the Canadian Nonprofit community! So! As you can read, last year was a ton of fun. Come on time please, 9am sharp and you know where we’re meeting – bring business cards!! Dress is casual, it’s going to be sunny and warm. For those of you Tweeting, our hashtag is #NetwalkTO See you soon! Paul
You remember Lego It is often called “the toy of the 20th century”. But in the 21st century even the makers of Lego knew that even though they were more profitable than ever, the very core of their business was under attack. So they made a movie. Blah blah blockbuster hit – kids movies do that. But I’m in this place now (child rearing years). Where I have to watch movies 10,000 times with my kids until I despise even the thought of a movie ( Disney’s Frozen anyone?! ) and the Lego movie is different. On the surface it’s a great kids movie, stacked to the ceiling with blockbuster voices like Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett, Will Ferrell, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Billy Dee Williams, rising star Chris Pratt and many more. But the story is a phenomenal comment on modern life, the motivation of work, the cause of a career, a question of creativity and the danger of business for the sake of business. Take the villain for example, his name is “President Business” and his henchmen are the “micro-managers”. Anti-capitalist? Not so fast. A good deal of the plot deals with creative masters of the universe who are brilliant but can’t work together and can’t set or achieve any goals. Even the theme song “Everything is Awesome” which was nominated for several prestigious awards is an ironic reminder that we are often brainwashed to believe life has to always be “great”. The movie literally begins with all the characters going through life using “the instructions to fit in, have everybody like you and always be happy” which include how to prepare for the day ( I especially love the dig “drink ridiculously expensive coffee” ). The movie ends up with a commentary on how we have let business get away with stifling creativity, and creativity get away with stifling inspiration – one gets the feeling the makers of Lego hope it helps the parents who purchase their product let children return to the free-play of 20 years ago instead of the ‘guided’ play that rules today’s childhood. Thoughtful, brilliant, subversive, creative, insightful. Kids or not, I encourage you to watch it. Sure some in the marketing world found it a brilliant anti-ad-movie, and even The Economist picked up on it’s unique value – but I hope it is for you a joyous questioning moment in why we work and how we work. As the villain loves to say “it’s not personal, it’s just business”. Would love your comments after you see it! Here’s a preview below ( and click here for an interesting behind the scenes site ). Enjoy! Paul Nazareth
I often describe networking as my oxygen. It’s how I breathe, I do it daily and naturally as part of living. It’s not in my DNA, it’s a decades-long learned skill. After dozens of books, hundreds of sessions given and thousands of networking meetings later – it often returns back to one team and one book. Work the Pond. This book has been at the top of my list for a decade. It can be read by anyone, business people, students, anyone who is trying to learn how to connect with people to build relationships. Years ago I reached out to the Shepa team, Judy and Gayle responded and we’ve kept in touch ever since. Sure I promote their book every chance I get and mention it in my many presentations and articles but that’s because it’s the best. I have no expectation of recognition or return from them. Wonderfully, Gayle and Judy keep in touch and have even mentioned me kindly in their weekly networking tip ( which I highly recommend you subscribe to, click here ) – but their gratitude was raised to a new level recently. It was a random afternoon at work, a phone call: ‘you have a package at the front desk’ which I wasn’t expecting. Upon opening I found this: What’s up with Olives you say? See, every once in a while I share with my network in conversation or social media things that fascinate me. Sometimes in frustration I can’t satisfy my curiosity about things like men’s style, pop culture and … the history of olives! For years I searched and have never seen a book or information about the history of this hyper-popular part of food culture. Here’s where the networking learning comes in. Listening, actively will give you insight into how to master gratitude. There are so many people we are grateful to but it is in the unexpected moments where we can surprise, delight and be of value that we make an impression that will last. Gratitude is a hidden business tool too often forgotten. This is a business lesson, this is a life lesson. It’s why their book is a best seller the world over for more than ten years. One of SO many lessons this team teaches me. Am I saying thanks for saying thanks? Yes, but I’m also applauding the teachers for walking their talk. You rock Shepa team! Paul
People know me as a social business enthusiast. So I’ve used the social influence platform Klout to keep track of the digital reach of myself and my network for a few years. Recently they have launched Klout perks, a way to engage users and of course create social influence about products those users love. Speaking of love. I have always loved the aesthetics of cars, not so much the power but the practical creature comforts and use of a vehicle. Cup holders make or break a car. And the Cadillac CTS is a car I’ve had my eye on for years. Imagine my surprise and delight when one day Klout reaches out offering me the chance to drive the brand new 3rd generation CTS for a weekend. When I share with people the return on time invested in social media I focus on business and career benefits. I try not to share the fun and unique stuff to keep expectations realistic. But I won’t lie, I was excited. I have considered the CTS to be the pinnacle of North American business vehicles. You can keep your refined European lines, when this car arrived I knew aggression could fit into a Hugo Boss suit. It’s name is was CTS. The car showed up at my office ( nice touch Klout team ) and it was a long Friday knowing that this beast was waiting in the bowels of the Bay St. garage waiting for me. I had set up a drive for a few friends in the car after work and to honour that grill that means pure testosterone to me – we hit a steakhouse for some rare meat and then, oggle the car. I’m a family guy with a family car but I never miss the Auto Show in Toronto so I’ve kept up with what’s out there. And this car lives on the cutting edge of technology, power and drivability. Sure there’s horsepower to spare but it was the amazing features that blew me away. The Audi A3 that won ‘world car of the year’ supposedly for it’s tech and has a haptic steering wheel. Big deal, the CTS has a haptic drivers seat! The seat vibrates when there is a car in your blind spot, or when you’re backing out of a spot both which is helpful and could save your life. Same thing goes for lane change warnings, awesome. The head’s up display projected into the windshield was connected to the GPS. Sure the Bose sound system was amazing but it was things like the seat cooling system, intelligent tech connection to your phone and automated everything that made the interior more like a cockpit than a car. You’ve heard about the parking assist on many new cars, the CTS actually helps you hunt for a parking spot and then parks for you. I think we parked maybe 25 times, every single person screamed the first time. Even the luxury car owners were freaked out by the technical advance in this feature. That weekend was both Mothers Day and my little boy’s birthday so I have to say a big thanks to Cadillac Canada and Klout for giving me a chance to spoil both of them. But it was me who was spoiled the most. Getting a chance to drive it for a few days showed me the difference in daily driving – my morning drive was transformed. Gone were all the bumps and bothers. I’ve been in BMW’s, Mercedes Benz’s and I love Audi’s but this is a stark reminder that the North American car is back. With a vengeance. My favourite part of the weekend was taking a couple business peers and buddies who owned BMW’s, Audi’s and Mercedes out for a drive. There was some grumbling – ‘I was specifically told Cadillac’s don’t have this, don’t do this’ said one. My own family has owned only North American cars and even my own father admitted he wouldn’t have thought about a Cadillac until he saw how affordable something of this level would be. If you are in the market for a luxury vehicle, you owe it to yourself to just check it out. The tech, the drivability, the usability is incredible. It even survived a trip to Costco. Thanks again Cadillac Canada and Klout, I know many of the #CTSdrive folks valued the drive too. As a social business enthusiast I LOVED that you threw the hashtag on the back of the car! People asked me about it all over town especially where I work on Bay St.. It gave me the opportunity to actually talk about the difference between social media and digital business. Besides the usual commercials and promotion, I leave you with this great review of the car which I totally agree with. What a weekend.
So the time has come to share. Let me clear up front, I’m sharing this with you because you’re part of my network and NOT because I want you to buy something. Frankly, it’s because you dear network that this all started in the first place. It’s no secret, I love pocket squares. But I’m often asked, WHY?! Underlying it all, it comes down to three things:
- I’d like to bring back the idea of a civil gentleman
- In a suit since 19, I am tired of “the uniform” look
- As a networking enthusiast, this is about walking my talk. Being well groomed says you care about details
But there was three barriers to raising my style game:
- Working on a nonprofit/fundraising salary means I can’t shop at C-Suite retailers (who I respect and adore; Harry Rosen, Brooks Brothers are the Titans of men’s style and new players like GotStyle and events like the Gentlman’s Expo are rewriting Canadian style for men) but the average price is $30 and some as high as $150!
- Canadians aren’t really into pocket squares, there isn’t a lot of affordable selection in Canada
- I didn’t have the confidence
In the past several years Tom and his son at Tom’s Place in Kensington Market have helped me dress better on a budget. They took the time to teach me so much about dressing well. Tom Jr. has even come out to speak at my networking events about dressing for success – I’m eternally grateful to both Toms! I’ve also discovered some retailers who sell cheaper squares so I go on an annual road trip once a year to buy all my work clothes. But – my own network was pushing me to do something entrepreneurial that focused on my personal passion and not my work in philanthropy. I’ve been mentoring and helping several young men in my network to raise their style game for career and confidence. But they too can’t afford the $30, $60 and $100+ price on what is ( let’s be honest here ) a napkin with no table. So as Seth Godin, a personal business hero says. If you care about art that no one else is making, ship it. Not really for profit, but for the sake of making something you’re passionate about a reality. Right at this time having another baby my wonderful wife took some time off (to have said baby ) MADE me a square for our anniversary. After some number crunching I realized we could pick out the designs make them at a cost that would be affordable and cover our costs. I know, many peers of mine have given me a lecture about not making big profit but I’ve been blessed with one of the coolest jobs in Canada working with people I respect and admire. This is something that is 90% my wife’s and I’m just the conduit for. We’ve been quietly selling them in Toronto thanks to the fine folks at LEN4ALL in the trendy Danforth East area. Stop in any time to browse and pick up other cool locally made stuff! But it’s time for me to share. Especially with Father’s Day coming up! So if you’re interested in knowing more:
- Here are the designs we have in stock
- Here is our page on how to fold them and style tips
- Our online purchasing page (we’re still getting the hang of Etsy)
- Follow us on Twitter
For my personal network I’m discounting our usual 2 for $29, 3 for $39 and 5 for $59 price and will meet you in person to drop them off. Feel free to drop me a line. I’ll also be hosting a pop-up shop really soon too! In the end what I really want to do is thank you dear network. For constantly pushing me, inspiring me, pulling me towards my dreams. With great gratitude, Paul
At this time of year, networking season, I’m walking and talking with strangers, peers and mentors almost every day of the week at the crack of dawn. And we’re almost always talking about the same thing…. Decisions. Major life decisions, career decisions, management decisions, budget decisions. People worry a lot about making the right and wrong ones and there aren’t many great clear resources out there to help make them. Once again to the rescue comes global best selling authors Chip and Dan Heath. Every one of their previous books are must-reads and on the shelves of business book fans the world over. They are also students and promoters of the ‘solutions focus’ model that Alan Kay taught me and that I highly value. If you find yourself making a good deal of decisions or if you’re in that scary career decision part of your life this book is a must-read. It starts with the 4 Villains of Decision Making, the mind tricks we all fall into and how to retrain your gut when it is leading you astray. Something they shared in Inc Magazine recently. Addressing the quintessential career question they highlight something I have told thousands of people – find someone who is doing what you want to do and talk to them. In the case of this book they go a step further and encourage you to seek out people who have solved the career problem you are facing. As an added bonus to the book they have recorded a podcast “Decisive for Career Decisions”, free on their website (click here). Both the Heath brothers an I are fans of one of Canada’s thought leaders Roger Martin and they remind us of a question he asks often, ‘what would have to be true for this to be the right answer’. They recently spoke with Roger about how to “prepare to be wrong” when making decisions. A great video interview. Besides insightful solutions the book teaches you how to ask better questions of the people you turn to for help with decisions. They introduce you odd words, like “Ooch” meaning to test ideas in the real world – entrepreneurs do this a lot. Decisive shares how to do it with minimal risk and when to try this strategy ( as well as when NOT to too ). Another smart idea is to engage not just in the ‘post-mortem’ but consider a ‘pre-mortem’ before you make the decision. Another great decision tool is the 10/10/10 rule featured in Fast Company magazine recently. In an interview with Forbes they applied the book to decision making in the healthcare sector where overconfidence can be lethal and outcomes effect life and death, a powerful read on decision making in crisis. A personal note on the format that makes this book such a valuable read. I know many business books do this but not enough do these days. Each chapter at the end has a recap, a rethink and how to apply each concept to your life. It’s the main reason many people like me who read books from the library, bought a copy of the book. You can refer to it later without having to re-read. I leave you with this quick video review. If you have already read the book be sure to check out this fantastic mind-map of the WRAP process by Douglas Pratt on his blog. It’s a quick way to remember the lessons of the book. Again, don’t forget to visit Chip and Dan Heath’s site for free resources! Thanks for reading, Paul Nazareth