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.