Why Interstellar is worth seeing

I’ve got some issues, some problems vexing me. And I’ve been stuck. I also happen to be a GenX’er and we communicate through movies.. interstellar Tonight against the advice of the critics and some very smart people I went to watch the movie Interstellar. It’s been called this generation’s 2001 A Space Odyssey and I can certainly see the parallel. Not because either movie was scientifically correct – no – because they helped us dream. The critics and scientists like the people who hold us back in our lives are people of today. They do their dreaming while they are asleep. But there are so many in my network, who dream while they are awake. They are the artists of the possible. The people Seth Godin writes about when he busts the myth that we shouldn’t fly too close to the sun. The people of the present are the ones who told us flight wasn’t possible, diseases couldn’t be cured, genomes couldn’t be mapped. Their DNA is coded with the words like “can’t, won’t, No”. You the people of the future ( this is certainly not limited to the young by the way ) are coded with words like “maybe, what if, why not”. So, my problems won’t be solved overnight, the hardest problems aren’t. But let me call out some people who I hope to encourage forward, who I hope I can be of service to before I leave this world.

On this networking adventure I have met many travellers who dream while they are awake…I don’t pretend to be smart enough or courageous enough to be one of you – but I’ll damn well be the shoulders you stand on to reach the stars. Despite critics, scientists and naysayer, I believe you will make it there. Like Canadian Commander Chris Hadfield through science reached the stars, he touched our hearts with images and music. You are thinking collaboratively, you are the citizens of tomorrow. And you inspire the hell out of me.  It was a midnight show, and it’s late. I’m off to sleep, to dream. A quick note to say, thanks for all you do for me dear network. Vexed, but hopeful.walkon Paul

#MenStyleTO an evening of style at the Mancave

RSVP for Free Here Style is fun. It also can help with career development. Men are finally starting to realize this. Toronto just hosted Canada’s first Men’s Fashion Week. It was a roaring success. This coming fall will see the second huge Gentlemen’s Expo at the Metro Convention Centre ( a must attend for the modern gent). But fancy beards and expensive whiskey aside – what about normal working guys who just want to step up their style a little bit? For up and coming career climbers – budget is a critical issue and a $5,000 suit isn’t an option. Also, the office isn’t a place to push the style envelope. mancaveEnter #MenStyleTo Tuesday August 26th ! I’m co-hosting with two awesome folks who have helped me immensely. The Man Cave Barbers Lounge is our location and they will speak about modern hair style and hair care. The fine folks at Toms Place in Toronto have helped me so much over the years. Tom Mihalik Jr. will join us to share tips for this fall and on how to suit up smart for both style and work. TwitterJuly2014I’ll be closing up the speaking with how style has helped me with my career. You may have heard about my pocket square endeavour – I’ll share why I believe in style as a career catalyst and how you can save money and still look as good as you want. Space is limited, it’s FREE to attend so please RSVP here and share with others in your network! mancave2 Picture from @BlogTO For those sharing using Twitter, our hashtag is #MenStyleTO and our speakers are @TomsPlaceTO @ManCaveTO and @UinvitedU

Networking while walking

A big thanks to the many people who came out this summer to my two networking while walking ( also known as ‘netwalking’ ) events. I’ve shared the benefits of this very popular networking style that I’ve adopted myself for the past year or so. Something I do about 3 days a week with individuals for my own personal business networking. But bringing together a group is something kind of magical – and I think we can all agree the world could use a little more magic these days. A little more positive energy. A little more light in our lives. And so I reach out, to my network, these days through platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to strangers too, open invite so people come only when they feel they are ready. A networking philosophy of mine. Park of this magic is the fresh faces it adds to our collective networks. Although I’ll add that these aren’t really strangers. Today’s social networking strategy means most people will come out because they are aligned with your bTwitterusiness, sector or career philosophy and have decided it’s time to meet in person. I’m finding in fact in several cases my open netwalks are drawing out contacts who don’t have time to meet me one on one but are curious at the idea ( introverts find this structure approachable ). You’ll note there is always one or more Golden Crabs ( my personal networking MVP’s ) at these events. Getting out there is why these people are the best in my network.   The two I held this summer we just the kind of events I was hoping for. Sure they were fun but I’m viciously clear on what we are doing there, ask anyone who attends we’re not wandering around lost in the woods. No, I have talking topics, workshop exercises, networking training and the goal is clear: revenue for-profit business or more funds raised for social-profit charity. Business connections have been made, follow up meetings have happened, revenue has been generated, people have been hired from these events, I am deeply honoured to be a part of this. So those who have attended, thank you for investing the time with me and I’m proud you’ve invested time in yourselves. Maybe you’ve heard I have a new job. Part of this role will be to cross this country serving the charity sector to help raise the bar on social profit. My new team is all about collaboration, innovation and progress – so keep your eyes out for a netwalk in your city soon! Until then, thanks for reading (see below for some insight from netwalkers) Paul NetwalkQuote1 A mentor shared with me that when it comes to career planning, you can do anything but you can’t do everything. Having focus and a clear goal is key ~ Ann Rosenfield I have always tried to follow my professional passions through work or volunteering in my sector. I never thought of doing something I love with my career skills like it was art. ~ Liz Rejman ( see Seth Godin ) Stories are what make a business case or case for support touch the head and heart at the same time. Artists tell these stories best and I think I need to spend more time around them to learn to tell better stories. ~ Talking about meeting Canadian poet and writer Sonnet L’Abbe Today a Nobel Prize winning scientist shared with me that the secret to getting ideas into the world isn’t just good ideas but strong social networks – and that I have to network constantly to build them ..l blew my mind. When I turn to people at work, people in my network their advice and feedback is clouded by the baggage of our history and relationship. Today a stranger gave me honest, clear and unbiased feedback and suggestions –  it’s what I needed most right now. Were you at one of the netwalks? Could you add your thoughts and comments below? Thank you! P

My Three CNEs

I was born in Toronto, but when it comes to the CNE ( the Canadian National Exhibition for international cnereaders ) 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 superdogsDirect 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. CNE_Night 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 CNE_Foodhead 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 upCNE_Pickle 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, thCNE_Flowerse 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 CNE_Mefor 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 musiccheck 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 ofCNE_TinyToms 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

Sharing some news with gratitude

change2014Nice 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. giantsUntil 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. keep-calm-and-walk-your-talk 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.

August 17 Netwalk and Potluck Picnic in High Park

BU011092I 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 highparkactivities 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! TwitterJuly2014 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.

The Opening Playbook: 21st Century Networking

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. OpeningPlaybook 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. football-and-businessNow, 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. coffeeofficeShoutout 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 social-networking-businessintegrates 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 . OpeningPlaybookBuy 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

#NetwalkTO Group Introduction 13 July 2014

distilleryairThis 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

The Lego Movie: Questions our Modern World Brick by Brick

legoYou 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. legomovie   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. legobusinessTake 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 The-lego-movie-awesomebrainwashed 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 lego heartchildren 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! blog          Paul Nazareth

Masterclass moment in business networking: Gratitude

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. workthepontAfter 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.pond2 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 Shepa2011