A Year in the Life of a New WBN Member

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This month, I have had the opportunity to contribute a feature article to the Women’s Business Network of Peterborough’s monthly newsletter and blog about my experiences as a new member over the past year.

I joined the Women’s Business Network of Peterborough in April 2015, several months after beginning to freelance as a communications consultant and writer-for-hire. At that point, I was new to self-employment and wasn’t yet thinking of myself as an entrepreneur, much less a business-owner. I had been hearing and reading about the WBN since before I moved to Peterborough (shout out to our amazing local Twitter community!) but I had never felt like I “qualified” to become a full member.

I’m just someone who can provide services to lots of different organizations, businesses, individuals or groups – I don’t “own” anything beyond my own experience, I thought. And I know I’m not alone in feeling some of that imposter syndrome at the beginning of a new venture.

But then I asked myself: What makes my situation different from any other entrepreneur?

I realized that if I was going to succeed as a freelancer and consultant, I would have to do what every successful entrepreneur does: position myself as a member of the business community, and truly become part of that community by joining a professional association.

And that’s exactly what I did, by becoming a member of the WBN.

I attended my first meeting last April as a guest, and had the opportunity to connect with a “buddy” for the evening. This was a fantastic way to be introduced to many long-time members, and to get a feel for how the events usually go, from the social and networking segments through dinner and on to the professional development and learning sessions.

Though I had attended many business-oriented events already, joining the WBN has given me plenty of new resources. In addition to having access to guest speakers and panel discussions, I received great advice on developing my leadership skills, had opportunities to showcase my consulting and freelancing services as an event sponsor and exhibitor, and connected with dozens of corporate contacts and fellow solo entrepreneurs.

Beyond these valuable opportunities, I found that being part of the WBN – attending monthly meetings, joining the Communications Committee, receiving the e-newsletters and updates in my inbox, and engaging on social media – helped me to stay focused on business even when life became busy and distracting, as it does for all of us. The last year has been an incredibly exciting and fulfilling time for me personally: my husband and I welcomed our first child, and moved into our first home. But despite embracing motherhood with an open heart, I knew that I still wanted to maintain my business connections and continue to seek out new opportunities. My involvement with the WBN was a perfect way to keep me coming back to fundamentals on a regular basis.

When I speak with former non-profit colleagues and friends in Toronto, they always ask me how business is going and how I like it in Peterborough. Most of them assume it would be more difficult to find clients here than in Toronto or another bigger city. In truth, I tell them, living and working in Peterborough has been a life-changing experience for me in the most positive ways. This community has brought together so many people who want each other to succeed. Of course competition exists here as it does everywhere, but there is much more focus on other business-owners as peers.

As a newcomer to the WBN, I felt like I was being welcomed into the heart of Peterborough’s business community. As a woman, and now as a mother, I find it additionally meaningful to learn from those who have gone before me down the path of working moms – whether as a full-time employee, a part-time worker, or self-employed / work-at-home parents.

Those who have been working for many years have been so willing to provide mentorship especially to those of us who are at earlier points in our careers. But we all have much to gain when our members share the wealth of collective experience with each other.

For more information about the WBN, please visit their website or check them out on Facebook or Twitter!

10 Things I’ve Learned So Far As a Working Mom

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A few months ago, my husband and I welcomed our first baby. Becoming a mother was everything and nothing like I thought it would be: beautiful, painful, adorable, exhausting, and above all, bewildering. No matter how many books I read, there is no way to truly prepare yourself for being in the moment as a brand-new parent, wondering what the right answer is in any given situation.

I took baby’s first three months off from work to focus on learning how to be a mother and spend some quality time with my sweet little guy. This month, I’m transitioning back into business life – but as a working mother. And I’ve had a very steep learning curve over the last couple of weeks. I’d like to share a few of my experiences, and I have a hunch that there are many other parents out there who feel the same way!

#1: You sometimes feel like a superhuman rock star. I’m self-employed and work primarily from home, so I’m able to take care of the baby as well as continue to do my job. On a good day, I can get in five hours of work; feed and play with the baby and successfully put him down for naps; even take care of a few small household tasks. At the end of a day like that, I feel like a productive member of society and an active contributor to my home and family. It feels fantastic, after months of minimal brain activity, and it allows me to have the best of both worlds where my son is concerned.

#2: You also sometimes feel like you are failing as an entrepreneur/employee, as a parent, and as a human adult in general. If the baby’s being cranky or needs extra attention, I can’t get any work done, let alone wash the dishes or do laundry. And if I get really absorbed in a work task, I feel guilty for not being so focused on the baby and letting him play by himself for awhile. I often fail to properly dress myself or shower: hair-styling and makeup is a total non-starter. The best of both worlds is not always a realistic concept – in fact, it often feels like the opposite.

#3: Multi-tasking has become your form of artistic expression. Many of the emails and texts I send are written left-handed on my phone. Meetings are scheduled around nap time. And then there was that time I participated in a video call while feeding the baby on my lap. An actual two-hour chunk of time to sit at my desk and focus on work now feels like a privilege, not a chore.

#4: Your brain feels like a sieve. You thought pregnancy brain was bad? The first month of parenthood will cure you of that silly notion. And just when you thought you had this whole baby thing down to a science, you start working again… and everything changes. I constantly feel like I’m forgetting something and suspect I’m losing my mind. (When did I last change his diaper? Am I wearing pants?)

#5: You will be relieved when the baby finally goes to sleep for the evening so you can get a bunch of things knocked off your to-do list. But within half an hour, you already miss him.

#6: Never leave your coffee unattended, for it will go stone cold in a timespan that has you questioning the laws of thermodynamics in your particular neighbourhood.

#7: You will at times feel jealous of other parents who have chosen to leave the workforce entirely to focus on their families, and question whether you have made the right decision to start working again. You will also feel ambivalent about the thought of working full time outside the home, alternating between longing for that independence and opportunity to focus on the job, and relief that you have the flexibility to choose your working hours while taking care of your child.

#8: You will at times resent your partner for getting to leave the house, alone, in a car, for hours every day, while you are unable to leave the room without the baby screaming. Evening trips to the grocery store and post office become your special luxury alone-time.

#9: You will amaze yourself at how much you can accomplish in a single day.

#10: When your baby gives you a huge toothless smile and giggles with delight simply because you walked into the room, all the balancing acts become 100% worthwhile.


Press Release: WBN Members Play ‘The Inner Game of Leadership’ with April Speaker

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Shahmeen Sadiq of Anjali Leadership will share insights for productive thinking and practices for carving an influential path at Women’s Business Network event

Tuesday, March 29, 2016, Peterborough, Ontario

Research shows that the most effective leaders have the extraordinary ability to create meaning. On Wednesday, April 6, members and guests of the Women’s Business Network of Peterborough (WBN) will engage in a reflective session with speaker Shahmeen Sadiq to learn about how we can create and influence meaning in our lives.

Hosted at the Holiday Inn Waterfront-Peterborough, Ms. Sadiq, CEO and Founder of Anjali Leadership, will explore The Inner Game of Leadership that will take us beyond what we already know and do, to become more effective in the workplace, home and community.

WBN President Theresa Foley says, “I’m looking forward to this next meeting where we will discover patterns that may be limiting our results in business and in our personal lives. We will learn how to create a firm foundation to move forward with. This will be yet another powerful session that clearly follows our BLT goal this year: (no, not bacon lettuce and tomato) but Business Learning and Training.”

The evening will feature the WBN’s trademark networking and social hour with exhibitor tables, followed by a plated dinner. Members have the chance to share positive experiences about fellow businesses and community members during Twoonie Testimonials, as well as opportunities to promote exciting events and programs with each Door Prize. The WBN’s featured speaker, Ms. Sadiq, will present at 7:30 p.m. following dinner.

Ms. Sadiq will share insights on how to identify productive patterns of behavior; uncover outdated thinking that no longer serves us, and install new thinking that gives us a stronger foundation; and learn powerful mental models that can sustain the change required to take our results to the next level. Participants will have opportunities to put their learnings into practice during the session, and will leave with simple yet powerful models to implement right away for positive change.

“We’ve all spent plenty of energy and time accumulating experience and cultivating expertise in our chosen fields, yet we place much less attention examining our ‘inner game’ – a potentially perilous omission,” Ms. Sadiq says.

Registration is open until Friday, April 1, at 12:00 noon, and costs $40.00 for guests. Guests may register online at womensbusinessnetwork.net. Learn more about Shahmeen Sadiq at www.anjalileadership.com and at facebook.com/anjalileadership.

About the WBN
The Women’s Business Network of Peterborough is a networking channel for women who wish to enhance and expand their business contacts and grow their businesses. Formed in 1961 as the Peterborough Chapter of the Canadian Advertising and Sales Association, the network has evolved into a dynamic and growing membership of women with diverse backgrounds and careers who meet to share their knowledge and experience and promote their businesses. From September to June a diverse program of learning, sharing, and socializing is provided for members. Guest speakers, trade shows, special events, and gala socials make the WBN the premier network for women in the Kawarthas and surrounding areas. For more information, please visit womensbusinessnetwork.net, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


For further information or for media queries, please contact:
Lorie Gill, Director, External Communications

Press Release: Learn and Connect With Peterborough’s Women in Business at 2016 WBN Tradeshow & Member Conference

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Women’s Business Network offers educational workshops facilitated by local members and a professional social experience at annual Tradeshow event

Thursday, February 18, 2016, Peterborough, Ontario

The Women’s Business Network of Peterborough (WBN) will offer members and guests an exclusive opportunity for education and networking at our annual Tradeshow and Member Conference, hosted at Highland Park Funeral Centre on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Attendees will have access to over 20 exhibitor tables and six exciting conference workshop sessions, in addition to the networking and social environment offered at all WBN events. The Tradeshow is hosted by Mary McGee, CEO of the Reception Centre and Secretary for the WBN Board of Directors.

“I am very excited to be hosting the March WBN meeting at Highland Park,” Ms. McGee said. “WBN members and guests will be well served in our facility’s flexible spaces and by its warm and welcoming atmosphere.”

WBN members Tracy Ormond, of That’s A Wrap Catering, and JoAnne Klinkhamer, of Catering PLUS, will also be partnering to provide dinner for the evening – a wonderful demonstration of how the WBN supports its fellow members personally and professionally.

“The Tradeshow is one of my favourite WBN member meetings, and again, we have sold out of exhibitor tables,” said Denise Travers, Program Director. “This is such a great night for members and their guests. It really shows the diversity of businesses and organizations in our membership.”

During the Tradeshow, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., members will have the opportunity to showcase their business at exhibitor tables, while guests can network to extend their professional circles and learn about WBN member businesses. Attendees will have the chance to win door prizes, including a $500 advertising prize donated by Jeannine Taylor of KawarthaNOW.

Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. and will be Buffet Style, featuring a salad bar, lasagna and dessert.

Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the Member Conference will offer six half-hour workshops over two timeslots. The workshops are facilitated by WBN members and feature topics selected by the Board based on member feedback at each monthly meeting. The sessions will focus on various aspects of successful business, including marketing, technology, empowerment, and personal concerns.

Member Conference Workshops:

  • Intro to WordPress – Carrie Wakeford, Black Cap Design
  • Media, Market, Message – Jeannine Taylor, KawarthaNOW
  • Embrace Your Power – Intro to Women’s Self-Defense – Heather Howe, Wendo Women’s Self Defense
  • Use Your Authentic Self to Create Presence – Colleen Carruthers, The TR Group
  • Tips for Running a Successful Business – Janet McLeod, East City Flower Shop
  • Your Health is Your Wealth – Sue Field, Live a Legacy Life

Registration is open until Friday, February 26, at 12:00 noon, and costs $40.00 for guests. Guests may register online at womensbusinessnetwork.net.
About the WBN
The Women’s Business Network of Peterborough is a networking channel for women who wish to enhance and expand their business contacts and grow their businesses. Formed in 1961 as the Peterborough Chapter of the Canadian Advertising and Sales Association, the network has evolved into a dynamic and growing membership of women with diverse backgrounds and careers who meet to share their knowledge and experience and promote their businesses. From September to June a diverse program of learning, sharing, and socializing is provided for members. Guest speakers, trade shows, special events, and gala socials make the WBN the premier network for women in the Kawarthas and surrounding areas. For more information, please visit womensbusinessnetwork.net, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


For further information or for media queries, please contact:

Giving Back by Getting Involved

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This past Spring, I joined the Women’s Business Network of Peterborough (fondly known as the WBN) to meet new people in our community and find out about resources available for entrepreneurs. The WBN ladies were so warm and welcoming that they didn’t even let me officially become a member before asking if I’d like to get involved as a volunteer! But as anyone involved in a community organization knows, the best way to make connections and get the most from a group is not by simply showing up to events — it’s by jumping in, helping out, and getting your hands dirty. (Metaphorically speaking, of course…)

Luckily, there was a perfect opening for me with the WBN’s Communications Committee, and I’m thrilled to have joined this hard-working group. The WBN is currently preparing to host its annual Holiday Gala & Auction event, taking place December 2 at the Holiday Inn, which will serve double-duty as the last meeting of 2015 for members as well as an exciting fundraiser for the YWCA. Members of the WBN and generous sponsors from around Peterborough and the Kawarthas are donating items for live and silent auctions, through which the WBN hopes to raise $15,000 in support of the YWCA’s Crossroads Shelter. I had the opportunity to contribute to the event with a press release sharing the details with our community.

Women in the Peterborough area are encouraged to attend the Holiday Gala as guests — registration is open until Friday, November 27, and can be completed online at womensbusinessnetwork.net. Or, if you’re interested in donating an item to the live or silent auction, please contact the WBN or the YWCA. I’m very much looking forward to attending the Gala as a special way to kick off this holiday season, while supporting such an important cause.

Press Release: Women’s Business Network Celebrates the Season at Annual Holiday Gala

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Live and silent auctions aim to raise $15,000 to support Nutritional Well-Being program for Peterborough women and children at YWCA Crossroads Shelter

Monday, November 23, 2015, Peterborough, Ontario

The Women’s Business Network of Peterborough (WBN) will host a special evening of seasonal spirit at its annual Holiday Gala and Auction on Wednesday, December 2, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Holiday Inn. With the theme of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, this year’s Gala will honour women in the Peterborough community by raising funds to support the YWCA Crossroads Shelter with the proceeds of live and silent auctions.

“The WBN Holiday Gala and our Auction supporting Crossroads has really demonstrated to me how the Peterborough community comes together to support worthy causes,” said Louise Racine, Program Director for the WBN. Fellow Program Director Denise Travers added, “It is wonderful working with YWCA and connecting with the community. Thank you to all the sponsors and donors who have once again been very generous with their gifts.”

The festive evening will feature a social hour with mulled wine, a delicious plated traditional turkey dinner with a seasonal vegetarian option, and the exciting live and silent auctions, featuring items donated by businesses and individuals across Peterborough and the Kawarthas. WBN Members are invited to bring their female colleagues, friends, and/or clients to network, socialize, and celebrate with other local business women. Registration for guests costs $40.00 and the deadline is Friday, November 27, at 12:00 noon. Guests may register online at womensbusinessnetwork.net.

Each year, the WBN shows its support for women in crisis by directing funds raised at the Holiday Gala and Auction to the YWCA Crossroads Shelter. “In Canada, half of all women over 16 will experience at least one form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. That’s why the Women’s Business Network’s support of the YWCA is so important – because until the violence stops, neither can we,” said Jen Cureton, Director of Philanthropy and Communications, YWCA Peterborough.

“With the generosity of our community, we provide the basic human right of safety to hundreds of women and children each year and help thousands of others to escape violence and rebuild their lives. Your donations ensure that when a woman needs help, we can provide it, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

The WBN is proud to announce its 2015 fundraising goal of $15,000 to support the YWCA’s Nutritional Well-Being program at the Crossroads Shelter. This program provides healthy food, supplements and vitamins to women and children 365 days a year, which costs $10.88 per person per day. By raising $15,000, the WBN Holiday Auction has the power to provide 1,388 days of food and well-being for local women and children staying at Crossroads. In addition to receiving healthy meals for themselves and their children, women benefiting from the Nutritional Well-Being program learn about meal planning, food preparation and principles of nutrition.

If you would like to donate an item for the silent or live auction, please contact Nicole Pare at npare@ywcapeterborough.org.

About the WBN
The Women’s Business Network of Peterborough is a networking channel for women who wish to enhance and expand their business contacts and grow their businesses. Formed in 1961 as the Peterborough Chapter of the Canadian Advertising and Sales Association, the network has evolved into a dynamic and growing membership of women with diverse backgrounds and careers who meet to share their knowledge and experience and promote their businesses. From September to June a diverse program of learning, sharing, and socializing is provided for members. Guest speakers, trade shows, special events, and gala socials make the WBN the premier network for women in the Kawarthas and surrounding areas. For more information, please visit womensbusinessnetwork.net, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


For further information or for media queries, please contact:

Embracing The Internet: A Coming Of Age Story

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How many of you remember your very first email address? I do. Mine was a Hotmail account, with an embarrassing Hanson-related handle. (Don’t judge me. It was the ‘90s.)
My cousin from Winnipeg encouraged me to sign up so that she and I could move our longstanding pen-pal letters from paper and stickers to online. We were 12 and 13, you see – it was time to mature.

At the time, I knew nothing about the internet. In my mind, it was an abstract concept – a nebulous space that existed somewhere beyond the perceivable world. I couldn’t comprehend how MP3 players worked… where did the songs live, if not on a CD or tape? I viewed texting as some sort of magical voodoo. It was not to be trusted.

But only a few short years later, my high school friends and I had shifted from phone calls to MSN Messenger as our primary mode of after-school communication. Musically-inclined people had MySpace pages. Internet-savvy friends used LiveJournal to blog all of their feelings, and participated in chat rooms. And when I was 19, I created my first website: a Yahoo GeoCities monstrosity with a black background and neon pink text.

Throughout high school, I was always the person with a camera at parties, in the hallways, and on trips – my huge photo-album binders were my pride and joy. (I loved to write funny captions under each photo.) The GeoCities website was my first foray into online photo albums – of course, I didn’t know how to create a gallery back then, and simply placed a single photo on each webpage with a button at the bottom to go to the next photo. Yikes.

Looking back, I was a prime target for Facebook and other visual-based social networking platforms. Facebook itself didn’t emerge on the mainstream scene for Canadian university students until my fourth year of undergrad. I held out at first, deeming it a waste of time (if only I had known…) but as soon as I dipped in a toe, I jumped in headfirst and have been a frequent and enthusiastic user of social media ever since.

I cannot imagine what it must be like for teenagers today, growing up with such a drastically different media landscape and comprehension of the digital world. I have significant sympathy for the generation or two ahead of mine, who were already trained and proficient in their working fields when, suddenly, this new and often incomprehensible method of communication was thrown into the mix.

I’m old enough to remember the bafflement of trying to wrap my mind around a technology that was not only leaps and bounds ahead of anything I’d known before, but had the audacity to continue to change and evolve at a pace that made it difficult to keep up with. It’s no wonder many people simply refused to change their systems.

It’s this story – my memories of the past 20 years as an Internet newbie to professional – that I keep in my mind as I work with people who haven’t quite let go of the paper version of the world yet. For those of us who do remember a different time, it can be quite a journey.

Photo credit: txinkman

It’s Not Just a Bike – It’s a Really BIG Bike

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Early in May, I saw a post on Twitter putting a call out for volunteers to assist with this year’s Big Bike for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. If you’ve never seen the Big Bike, it’s something to put in your calendar for next year. I participated in the Big Bike event years ago as an undergraduate student in Guelph, ON, and it’s a memorable way to cap off a great fundraising campaign.

Having helped to run many a fundraising event in the past as a non-profit employee (if you recognize the word “voluntold,” you know what I’m talking about!), I called Peterborough’s Heart and Stroke Foundation office and got in touch with the lovely Sara Lunn, who coordinated this year’s Big Bike events, as well as their Jump Rope for Heart initiative in many schools.

I was able to sign up to help run the registration table for two days’ worth of Big Bike outings in downtown Peterborough, stationed in the courtyard behind Peterborough Square. If you saw my fellow volunteers and I alternating between shivering with cold and jumping up and down with noisemakers to cheer on the Big Bikers, thank you for joining in the cheering!

We got to meet so many amazing community activists that week, with teams participating from large companies like Pepsico and GE, the team from PRHC, and smaller organizations like the Peterborough Huskies – who stepped up to join the Big Bike for another team, cycling after theirs, who didn’t have enough members at first. What a great example of community spirit!

Thanks to Sara and her team at HSF Peterborough for letting me join in the fun and give back for a few days.

Press Release: Musician Robert Atyeo Returns to Peterborough’s Vibrant Scene to Launch 6th Album

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Dancing Goosebumps album launch show May 27 at The Venue Lobby Bar kicks off Atyeo’s latest tour across Ontario cities

Tuesday, May 19, 2015, PETERBOROUGH – After 25 years as a career musician with live performances from coast to coast, Robert Atyeo returns to his hometown of Peterborough to launch his sixth studio album, Dancing Goosebumps, and to kick off his next tour with a live show at The Venue’s Lobby Bar on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.

Often compared to J. J. Cale, John Prine and Tom Waits for his acoustic style that melds folk and blues, Atyeo is a songwriter’s songwriter. He takes the listener all over the emotional map with a delivery that is boisterously entertaining and wry observations often verging on the black.

Along with past bandmates Willie P. Bennett and Tony Quarrington, Atyeo and The Friendly Giants were staples of the Canadian acoustic scene during the 1990s. Atyeo played 200 shows a year, touring from Newfoundland to Victoria and appearing in concerts and festivals including Guelph’s Hillside Festival, Mariposa, Folk on the Rocks in Yellowknife, and the Ottawa Folk Festival. In 1993, at the height of the Toronto Blue Jays’ journey to the World Series, Atyeo and The Bird Sisters performed the national anthems during the American League semi-finals in front of 80,000 people at Skydome.

For Atyeo, returning to Peterborough to launch his sixth album is a homecoming, both to the place where he grew up and to the place where his musical career began 25 years ago. “I threw a dart at the map and that dart had to go to Peterborough, it couldn’t land anywhere else,” Atyeo says. “Especially once I came back for a visit and saw that Hunter Street had turned into Queen Street West, and the music scene had really exploded here. This was where I wanted to be.”

Now 60, he first moved to Peterborough with his family at the age of 9 and lived near 5-Mile Turn (now Pinto’s Corners). Atyeo attended Crestwood Secondary School, graduating in 1972; worked at the Mustang drive-in movie theatre; and spent his high school years playing music at parties and making friends laugh. After picking up the ukulele and the guitar as a child, he went on to study the piano at Capilano University in Vancouver, BC from 1980 to 1982.

“Being a musician was a dream – it was something I always wanted to do,” Atyeo says. But it wasn’t until he moved back to Peterborough in 1989 that his career in music began. Atyeo had been living in Toronto and working in an office, and decided to leave his lucrative career to pursue a different life.

“As soon as I got here, I was involved in this rich, vibrant music community that Peterborough had,” Atyeo says. “I said to myself, now is the time to do this – live your dream, go for it.”

Shortly after moving home, Atyeo met his mentor Willie P. Bennett, whom he describes as a “national treasure and musical hero;” Quarrington, who often accompanied Atyeo on guitar; and Lynne Hurry, who became his manager. Bennett co-produced Atyeo’s first three albums, playing harmonica and mandolin as well, leading to the founding of The Friendly Giants in 1990. “They were friendly to me and they were giants in the music business as far as I was concerned,” Atyeo says.

In 1996, after becoming a father, Atyeo moved to Guelph, ON, drawn by the music scene populated by award-winning songwriters like Stephen Fearing of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, to whom he was introduced by Bennett. Fearing played on Atyeo’s fourth album and Atyeo often opened shows for Fearing, becoming good friends. Atyeo later spent 15 years in the Eastern Townships near Montreal, to give his son, Jackson – whose mother is French-Canadian – the chance to live in Quebec. Now that his son is in college, Atyeo is ready to wear out yet another vehicle performing coast to coast.

Dancing Goosebumps is a collection of songs that came out of Atyeo’s survival of a “wicked” bout of depression, and how our society slowly evolves to understand and treat mental illness. “A lot of the songs are autobiographical – I was always told to write what you know,” Atyeo says. “The depression weaves itself in and out of the tunes on the album.”

True to Atyeo’s style, the album balances tales of sadness with tunes about love, life, and humour. “Falling Down the Stairs” is a tongue-in-cheek song that started with a nasty fall taken by Atyeo, and became a light-hearted consideration about life.

“After someone you’re close to passes away, you often get a visit from them, whether in a dream or you just feel their presence,” Atyeo says. “There’s a song about being visited by my mentor, Willie P. It was almost like he was overseeing or even helping to co-write the song.”

Atyeo has worked with high-profile musicians and producers over the many years of his career, such as well-known drummer Al Cross, who plays on Atyeo’s new album; legendary bass player and multi-instrumentalist David Woodhead, who played with Stan Rogers; and Bob Graves, one of the best mastering engineers in the world, known for mastering Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and U2’s Joshua Tree, who mastered Atyeo’s third album, Angels on a Cliff.

Please visit hummingbirdtunes.com to learn more about the music of Robert Atyeo and upcoming live shows, and check out his Facebook page for videos and recordings at facebook.com/MusicofRobertAtyeo.

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For more information about tour dates, or to book interviews or appearances, please contact:
Robert Atyeo, 705-927-7008, robertatyeo@gmail.com

Photo credit: David Walsh

Enriching Lives Through Sport: Working with Special Olympics Canada

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In February, the chance came up for me to work with Special Olympics Canada – one of the most well-known and respected organizations in the world. I immediately jumped aboard to help their Information Systems and Marketing & Communications teams with several exciting projects.

One of the major projects I have assisted with at Special Olympics Canada (SOC) has been an assessment of their current national website, in advance of an eventual full redesign. The initiative included a professional analysis of the existing website, interviews with stakeholders, and recommendations for addressing any gaps or issues.

I managed the assessment project from start to finish: developed a concept brief, created a timeline with deliverables and responsibilities, sourced potential vendor agencies to carry out the assessment, reviewed proposals, assisted SOC in selecting a vendor, and provided the project structure. After The Pixel Shop, a Toronto web design agency, was hired to carry out the assessment, I worked with them directly to provide necessary information for their analysis, scheduled interviews with stakeholders (athletes, coaches, volunteers, staff, etc.), and coordinated with the SOC team for their input into the project.

This process has been invaluable for me, in terms of learning more about web content strategy, but also because it allowed me to hone my project management skills. Combined with the other initiatives I have been involved in with SOC, including support for online fundraising pages, the website assessment was an extremely interesting and worthwhile project for me, especially participating in the final results of the usability studies and recommendations for future implementation.

The past five months have sped by, and I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to work with a group of individuals who are so dedicated to a wonderful mission.