19 QUES­TIONS

The Hamilton Spectator - - HAMILTON BUSINESS -

1. What is your com­pany’s mis­sion state­ment?

Re­search, cre­ative in­tel­li­gence, col­lab­o­ra­tion.

2. What ad­vice have you re­ceived that has helped you the most? In­spire oth­ers to as­pire. 3. Can you think of a mo­ment in your life that pushed you to be­come who you are — a defin­ing mo­ment?

May 31, 1980 — I met the most amaz­ing guy who be­came my life­long part­ner.

4. What are the key prin­ci­ples that guide you in your day-to-day life?

Live life. Cel­e­brate the good things. Be there for friends in need and don’t be afraid to lean on them when it’s your turn. 5. What makes you laugh? Great come­dies like “Ab­so­lutely Fab­u­lous,” “Tommy Boy,” “Brides­maids,” “Wayne’s World” and any Monty Python or Jim Car­rey movie. And get­ting to­gether with life­long friends to share old and new sto­ries. 6. What is your guilty plea­sure? Choco­late, Dar­jeel­ing tea and lis­ten­ing to vinyl records.

7. What was your first job and what did you learn from it?

Cor­po­rate writer with the CUMIS Group. I learned ev­ery­thing about how busi­ness “should” be con­ducted — co-op­er­a­tively and com­mu­nity-minded. I had stel­lar men­tors, and one in par­tic­u­lar, CUMIS CEO Michael Kitchen, who was noth­ing short of a phe­nom­e­nal, in­spir­ing per­son who gen­uinely be­lieved in his em­ploy­ees. He gave us a lot of lat­i­tude to be in­no­va­tive, col­lab­o­ra­tive and ex­cited about our work. Big les­son.

8. How do you mo­ti­vate peo­ple?

My ap­proach has been the same whether mo­ti­vat­ing em­ploy­ees, col­lab­o­ra­tors or for­mer stu­dents at Sheri­dan and West­ern. Fo­cus on their strengths, skills and emo­tions. Ev­ery­one needs pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment and en­cour­age­ment. Com­mend peo­ple for their ef­forts; even if it fails, there’s a pos­i­tive learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Be cre­ative. In­stil con­fi­dence.

9. What is your big­gest pet peeve?

How about three? First, ne­olib­er­al­ism be­cause it has wrecked the world and caused a lot of mis­ery among work­ers and so much poverty. Sec­ond, Hamil­ton’s toxic and di­vi­sive po­lit­i­cal cul­ture — it is truly the time for city-build­ing, and that’s what the 2018 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion should be all about. And last, the gen­eral ap­a­thy that most peo­ple have to­ward mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics. This just baf­fles me, as it’s the level of gov­ern­ment that es­sen­tially has an im­pact on ev­ery­thing we do or don’t do in our day-to-day lives. 10. What are you good at? I like to think I’m a good writer, re­searcher and com­mu­ni­ca­tions pro­fes­sional — and I do throw great par­ties.

11. What do you want to work on?

First, I’ll com­plete my master’s de­gree in Au­gust, so very ex­cited about that. I plan to do more writ­ing and re­search on so­cial is­sues like liv­ing wages, ba­sic in­come, poverty, work and why we need to re­struc­ture our so­ci­ety so peo­ple are at its cen­tre, not cor­po­ra­tions. 12. What is on your bucket list? First is a ca­reer tran­si­tion. Then more travel — Copen­hagen, Oslo, Dublin, Glas­gow, Krakow, Madrid, Cape Town and the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo to name a few. Writ­ing some fic­tion and chil­dren’s sto­ries; record­ing some new songs.

13. What is Hamil­ton’s most valu­able as­set?

Easy ques­tion, but it’s a three­way tie. First, Hamil­ton’s youth and young adults as they are the city’s fu­ture and lead­ing the city’s re­nais­sance — and they are amaz­ing, smart and tal­ented. Next, the city’s ge­og­ra­phy couldn’t be more stun­ningly beau­ti­ful — framed by the Ni­a­gara Es­carp­ment, Hamil­ton Har­bour and Lake On­tario, and the Dun­das and Red Hill val­leys. And last but not least is Hamil­ton’s mu­sic scene. It’s vi­brant, di­verse, has deep his­tor­i­cal roots, and is one of the best in Canada.

14. What is the city’s big­gest li­a­bil­ity?

East Har­bour. Try­ing to main­tain or res­ur­rect its steel in­dus­try past. Let it go, Hamil­ton, and re­claim the east har­bour for peo­ple, com­mer­cial and recre­ation. Pitts­burgh did it. Hamil­ton doesn’t need more pol­lu­tion rein­tro­duced to its air and wa­ter. Steel city we are no longer.

15. How do you balance your life?

Not sure if I do — it’s a packed agenda as I have so many in­ter­ests and goals.

16. What is your favourite spot in Hamil­ton?

Sas­safras Point in Cootes Par­adise (West­dale Woods), where a lot of think­ing time has been spent over the decades. And, of course, the Mul­berry Café on James North.

17. What do you think peo­ple would be sur­prised to know about you?

I’ve lived in 11 dif­fer­ent Hamil­ton neigh­bour­hoods over my life (three sev­eral times) — Lands­dale, McQuesten West, Thorner, Burke­holm (twice), Inch Park (three times), Beasley (twice), West­dale, North End West, Tem­ple­mead, and Stinson. Grow­ing up in Hamil­ton was like be­ing a no­mad for our fam­ily. We moved a lot. But I got to know ev­ery part of the city. The Jelly Broth­ers are go­ing to love me when I or­der each of my neigh­bour­hood maps for my new condo.

18. What ad­vice would you give to young en­trepreneurs?

Learn ev­ery­thing you can about your craft, and then learn more. Build your net­work, de­velop mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ships and be as cre­ative as you can. Love what you do or find some­thing else to do. And don’t’ be afraid to take risks. But life­long learn­ing is the key. 19. What is your dream job? Travel writer or spe­cial ad­viser to the first NDP prime min­is­ter.

Jeff Mar­tin of Quo­rum Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

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