Building Things Up Is So Much Fun

I am lucky that I get to do what I do. Working in public relations has been a wonderful experience over the past 12 years and I would not trade it in for anything. However, if you ask me about my dream job I would tell you that I have a few.

I bring this up because many people enjoy building on what has been done already and tinkering around the edges. I have been in roles that did this, and I enjoyed them immensely. As I get further along in my career, and as I get older, the appeal of building something from scratch or close to scratch is something I enjoy. I have experience doing that right now in my role at OPPI. This captures my interest because it is so much fun to build things up.

I will not lie, if the Maple Leafs came calling and offered me the chance to be GM I would take it in a heartbeat. My wife, former managers, and anyone who will listen knows this. Right after this would be a similar job with an expansion team or a team down on its luck, if I could stay in the sports world. Getting more into the realm of reality, I would be interested in starting up a production company to develop documentaries about Canadian stories and history (similar to American Experience – I even pitched this idea to CBC years ago as part of a submission contest for new show ideas).

Building something up takes a lot of patience and dedication (maybe a mistake or two along the way as well as you conduct some trial and error) but it can be worth it.

When I look back at my career to-date, it is easy to spot where I have done this.

At Mobilicity, it was cool to build an “app of the week” feature promoting apps on the phones and service we sold. I turned that into a brief stint writing app reviews on a website. It is also something I may bring to this blog in the future.

At OMVIC and CAHO, it was fun to build Annual Reports from scratch. I could take a whole year of good work, summarize it, and package it in a document that was read by government officials and stakeholders. Also at CAHO, developing promotional items using Adobe InDesign for the first time was immensely rewarding. I kind of understand why designers enjoy their job, although I am nowhere near their talent level, at some level bringing an idea to life for someone is very cool.

At OPPI, there has been so much I have done over the past three years that I am proud of: the redesign of our website, the development of our Y Magazine, developing new eblasts and case studies promoting good planning is rewarding.

Creating a magazine to promote good planning is a lot of fun. While my experience before OPPI included developing one-off Annual Reports and other documents, to have some continuity several times of the year and finding good stories to tell is the best part. I really enjoy spearheading the magazine and a large part of this comes from building it up from nothing and shepherding it forward. I am very lucky that I work with a great Editor and designers, and that is the second part of why I enjoy it. Working with smart people who are knowledgeable and experts in their field is rewarding and beneficial. I can only hope our Editor and designers feel the same way as I feel about working with them.

Developing our Forum Friday webinar series is another project I had a lot of fun with. To develop a series of webinars on top-of-mind planning topics, and some during the COVID pandemic, and then finding speakers and watching them unfold live is rewarding. It is also something I hope I can continue to do, whether it is with OPPI or elsewhere, in the future.

This website and blog is another project that started from nothing. I knew I wanted to blog again. I also knew I wanted to display my portfolio on a website. The COVID pandemic gave me the opportunity to map out how I want this site to appear and now I am coming to you live from the Internet.

There are always challenges that come with these opportunities. With a lot of the projects I mentioned above, I had an idea they would be successful on paper but it was not until I executed them that you find out how popular it is. There is an investment of resources upfront to complete the task and that is not easy to commit those dollars to projects like this. Maintenance and upkeep is always a concern as well and how do you make your project stay fresh and valid for people.

Like I said at the top, I am very lucky I get to do what I do for a living. A career in public relations has been very good to me. But it is always good to find opportunities to renew or blend interests. For me, I am now at that place in my career where I am starting to get these opportunities and it is a blast.

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