I love my work, because I get to help organizations that are solving some of the most challenging issues our world is facing.
Most of my clients are professional firms in environmental science, engineering, sustainable design and renewable energy. Some of them help manage the effects of climate change. Others protect wildlife, or reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing, or help get good outcomes for populations affected by resource projects. They share a need to get noticed and stand out as offering distinctive expertise and value -- and many of them do not want to take the time to do this, or lack the skills.
That’s where I come in. For over a decade, I’ve focused on working with business professionals in the sustainability field, understanding their world and finding ways to communicate their message to businesses and governments.
I do this by helping my clients develop their ideas into concepts that show the benefits they offer. I then help them determine which markets are most in need of what they provide, and I find online and print publications that reach those markets. I work with my clients to develop content -- in text, video, audio or other medium -- that is informative and also shows their ability to solve problems. When my clients are satisfied with the message, I’ll work with the publication to get that message in front of the people my clients want to reach.
To do this work, I use my background in journalism to dig for “the story” that presents my clients’ ideas well -- without coming across like a sales pitch. I’ve worked hard to build my understanding of sustainability issues. My experience in business, plus an MBA, helps me put my clients’ expertise into terms that businesses can relate to. I’ve put some of my ideas into book form -- four to date, most recent being “Your Expertise Edge” published in 2013.
Do I have what it takes to help your firm grow?
Here are some of the questions I think you should be asking, to determine if I’m able to demonstrate your firm’s expertise to potential customers and clients:
First of all, can I get your ideas published?
Well, I’ve been publishing content for most of my working life. I started out writing for student newspapers in college, moved on to community papers, daily newspapers (Calgary Herald, Alberta, Canada) and then freelanced for business magazines. Along the way, I earned an Honors Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.
Do I understand sustainability issues?
For much of the past decade, I’ve focused my work on helping firms solving environmental, social and economic issues. I share with them a passion for making the world a better place. I contribute to this by helping them demonstrate their thought leadership.
Do I understand business issues?
I’ve got an MBA from the University of Toronto and I’ve been writing on business issues ever since. I have a designation as a Certified Management Consultant. And I read a LOT of business publications online and in print, and books, to stay current.
Do I understand the unique aspects of professional services firms?
Soon after graduating with my MBA in 1991, I started in marketing with the consulting/accounting firm KPMG, learning how to get the firm’s members published in business magazines and newspapers. In 1999, I left KPMG to form Global Reach Communications, helping professional services firms get their ideas published. I’ve had the privilege (and the fun) working with lawyers, accountants, geologists, consultants, engineers, consulting archaeologists (and one anthropologist!) and other professionals.
Do I get recognition for my work?
Sure. I shared a Silver Leaf award (Toronto chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators) with a colleague at KPMG. A newsletter for client Golder Associates, for which I wrote almost all the articles over about seven years, won a Zweig White award and a First from the Society for Marketing Professional Services.
Do I stay current with developments?
Oh yes. I’ve published dozens of articles on content marketing for professional firms, and given at least 50 presentations all over the US and Canada. I maintain a regular blog and newsletter, and I’ve continued building my skills in social media, and have built skills in developing audio podcasts, video, slide shows, blogging and other current means of communication.
Personal values -- reduced environmental impact, giving back
One of the biggest ways I’ve reduced my environmental impact is through turning almost entirely vegetarian. That means “almost” no meat or fish. I buy fair-trade products whenever possible. I buy very little processed food; it’s mostly a cook-from-scratch lifestyle.
I live and work in a townhouse, which is an “attached” dwelling that has a small geographic footprint. Each year my spouse and I do a capital improvement of some kind that reduces our energy consumption a bit more.
I “give back” through mentoring other business people as that’s my area of expertise; my focus has been in two areas:
- Helping younger people, particularly ‘Millennials’ build their careers
- Working with immigrants to my country get established in their careers (part of this is a monthly session on building an effective LinkedIn profile, for job-seekers who are clients of a nearby agency, the DixieBloor Neighbourhood Centre).