Evoking emotion and influencing action through clear, clever content

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Embracing the N word

Whenever I hear the N word, I cringe. I actually get a little sick to my stomach.

Networking can be very intimidating, especially when the most social part of my workday as a self-employed writer is that convivial conversation with the Starbucks barista, in which she rambles off my meticulously-customized latte from memory—but can never seem to recall my first name.

Networking in the 6ix

Click to enlarge

I wasn’t looking for a networking event to attend when I discovered Avanti Women online. While doing my due diligence by researching the association’s website before applying to fill its vacancy for a volunteer position, I learned (among other things) that Avanti Women was hosting its third-annual career and networking expo in just a few weeks.

A little intrigued, I emailed the info address with some questions about the expo. Within hours, the organization’s founder, Dina Barazza, called me back. She not only answered my questions about the expo; she asked me questions about myself and my goals. And then she did something that totally blew my mind: she asked me if I’d like to meet for coffee!

One on one with Dina

Dina Barazza

We met last Monday evening at my office. Dina was gregarious, genuine and humorous, with a little bit of a potty mouth. We had a few chuckles, and then I asked her to tell me her story.

“When I look back at my career, mainly the in corporate environment, over the last 25 years, it was a struggle,” she shared. “I would get home and ask my mother, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ ‘What do I have to do to get noticed?’”

Her mother’s response was, “Avanti! Avanti!” which, in Italian, means, “move forward” or “stay positive.” But despite Dina’s positive attitude, she continued to face rejection and couldn’t find the nurturing she needed from her colleagues to help her reach the next steps in her career.

“I realized, OK, I’m going to have to figure this out on my own,” Dina continued. “And with that, the Avanti Women’s recipe for success was born: networking, mentoring, and learning. All three of those ingredients were critical success factors in my career world.”

She and I also discussed my business goals to great lengths, and she was adamant that I can—and must—learn to network to achieve my professional objectives. I later learned, after our meeting, that Dina is widely known by many GTA business professionals as a “networking guru.”

Who am I to argue about networking with a guru?

Needless to say I was sold on the value of networking with very little convincing. Dina also reassured me that the first activity of the expo on Saturday morning is a fun networking exercise to break the ice between members. (Phew!)

To find out how I fare at my first networking event of 2017, check my column next week for the good, the bad, and the awesome details.

Visit NETWORKING IN THE 6IX for more details on Avanti Women’s Career and Networking Expo, this Saturday, April 1, at Centennial College.

*Special thanks to Avanti Women Founder Dina Barazza and Marketing & Events Manager Mandy Kaur for their contributions to this post.

~Write-or-die girl

Stretching my way to a holistic brand identity

Lately I’ve been really into yoga. For those who don’t know, yoga is a gateway activity that can lead to all sorts of far-out hippie beliefs and bizarre holistic health practices, many of which I find myself exploring with an eagerness to become more deeply enlightened.

When I put it out to the universe that I would transform my modest freelance writing practice into a thriving, well-established communication services company, I knew I wanted my brand to clearly reflect my value proposition and values as an individual.

Energized imagery

Every hardcore yogi is aware of the seven chakras, which are defined by The Chopra Center as swirling wheels of energy that correspond to massive nerve centres in the body.

“Each of the seven main chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs, as well as our psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of being,” the Center explains.

The blue symbol on the left side of my logo is representative of the fifth chakra, Vishuddha, aka throat chakra.

“To be open and aligned in the fifth chakra is to speak, listen, and express yourself from a higher form of communication,” according to The Chopra Center gurus.

‘Nuff said, as far as I was concerned!

Storytelling with fonts

Fonts also played a large role in the telling of my brand story. The word write is displayed in cursive, which is meant to be symbolic of traditional media, including newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and other forms of print publications. As a J-school grad of Humber’s class of ‘05, my primary focus was magazine writing and editing. I even began my writing career as a freelance trade magazine journalist whose work graced the pages of publications like Canadian Plastics and HazMat Management (thrilling, indeed!).

A year later, I was hired as the communications specialist for a large corporation and learned digital content writing on the job and through a number of professional development courses, hence the font of the word reaction.

Holistic awareness

The use of these fonts, together with the throat chakra, is intended to illustrate my holistic understanding of effective traditional and digital communications. And just in case the visual doesn’t hit home with some folks, the tagline, Evoking emotion and influencing action through clear, clever content, should leave no doubt of the brand identity I strive to uphold.

So… was understanding my brand as simple as holding dancer’s pose for 30 seconds with your eyes closed? 🙂 You tell me!

Until next time, Namaste.

~Write-or-die girl