Wednesday, June 21, 2006

To infinity -- and beyond!

And now for something completely different...

You've heard of flying squirrels? Check out this flying Dude!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Proud Papa - Louisville Update

Kelly got a nice write-up from the University of Louisville this week on their website, so I thought I'd point you to it. Of course, if you're tired of reading about rowing exploits, you can just skip this post.

Here's the link to the Louisville story.

And as a further update, Jaime arrives back in Hamilton from Victoria this week, ready to start on her latest quest to win a gold medal at the Henley regatta in August.

It's going to be a fun summer.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Blogs and Photologs: Alternative Media During Student Strikes

This is an older story, but I've just come across it. Apparently, students in Chile have gone out on strike - but in a strikingly effective manner that underscores the power of the new media tools they are increasingly using.

This is from a post on E-Media Tidbits
The widest strikes of Chilean students since 1972 are taking the streets of Chile's main cities by storm. After two weeks of demonstrations, state-owned high schools are under student control, and the whole country is amazed by the young protesters' incredible organization.

The high school students have put into ingenious use all the means that have been taught in computer labs in the last ten years to protest for a better education and free admittance in public transport and the fees of tests to apply for universities.

The link her will take you to the E-media tidbits article I found, which contains links to a lot of examples of what's going on in the strike.

We hear a lot these days about how businesses are going to have to adapt their communications once these new "digital natives" start looking for work. This is a good example of why they need to.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Victoria update

I've been remiss in getting around to blogging. There's just been a bit too much going on out here on the West Coast. In fact, I'm just heading out again to yet another visit with one of the local communication types.

The IABC conference wrapped up Wednesday and it was a terrific event all around. I just haven't had time to sit down and write up some of the things I learned, but I may do that when I get back to Hamilton. I'm flying back on Saturday.

I've been in Victoria since Wednesday, when I rode over on a seaplane from Vancouver. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and it was a tremendous flight. I highly recommend taking it sometime, if you've never done it. I'm staying with Heather's midwifery partner here in Victoria. I had a chance to tour the new office, which is going to work out great.

While I'm here, I've also been checking out possible houses to rent (nothing too great so far) and meeting some of the local PR and Communication people that I can add to my network. Being a freelancer, a good network is critical to my job, and I've made some great contacts already, with plenty of other recommendations for people to meet when I return in September.

Proud Papa Update
Although I didn't plan it this way, my visit has also coincided with the Canadian Rowing Team's National speed trials, where Jaime has been competing this week. She's having a fabulous camp, in her attempt to land a spot on the Women's Under-23 National Team. If she does earn a spot, she'll be off to Belgium this July for the World Championships. But even if she doesn't end up in a boat, she's had a tremendous camp. Her times have been consistently good and she's rowing better than I've ever seen her do before. It's quite a thrill to be a part of it.

She's in the "C" final tonight (that's competing against everyone -- not just the Under 23's) so if I get a chance before I fly out tomorrow, I'll publish an update on her.

In the meantime, I'm off to network and watch Jaime's race.

Jaime just missed out on making the team. There were only two spots available and she came up a second or so short. But she had a great camp and feels she really learned a lot about herself and the whole process. And the good news is she already has her sights set on a new goal. She's going to come back to Hamilton for the summer and row at Leander and make a serious run for a gold medal at the Henley regatta in August. So Kelly and I are going to have some company this summer!

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Stephen Lewis throws down the gauntlet

Why has the world abandoned Africa, even as AIDS is destroying it?

Why are celebrities like Bono so passionate about the problem, while politicans are backing away from it?

Why hasn't the private sector stepped up to the plate to donate some of their after-tax profits to the cause?

And why have all the communications about AIDS prevention not done more to get through to the most affected people?

Those were just some of the questions left hanging this morning, after Stephen Lewis, former politician, diplomat and currently the United Nation's Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa finished his keynote address at the IABC Conference here in Vancouver.

Speaking to an audience of communicators, Lewis said he has two rules of communication he lives by.

First, do your research. Find solid facts that are irrefutable and can't be challenged. Know your stuff inside out. Then put a human face on the numbers. Break through the numbers with stories, anecdotes and case histories. Make the numbers real.

Second, always tell the truth.

Then he proceeded to demonstrate.

Unfortunately, there are far more questions and too few answers when it comes to the AIDS pandemic. Lewis's passion and sincerity and encyclopedic knowledge of the problem, combined with his energy, enthusiasm and oratorical skills captivates his audience. He combines his personal convictions with hard, cold facts to demonstrate the logic of his plea and I guarantee that no one in the audience is not affected by his message.

Yet, the pandemic, which is killing so many people, continues.

I can't do justice to what he says. If you haven't read his book, Race Against Time, go out and buy it. Find out for yourself what is going on. And then consider how you can make a difference.

Lewis challenged us to go back to our companies and make something happen. To this point, not a single major corporation has stepped up to the plate and pledged to donate a percentage of their after-tax profits to the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

"You want a communications triumph?" he asked us. Then be that first company to step up to the challenge. He predicted that every major media outlet in the world would trumpet the achievement, and it would lead to an avalanche of other companies not wanting to be left behind.

But as with so many other things on the AIDS issue - it hasn't happened. Governments which pledged so much support have reneged on their commitments. Africa is dying and the attention of the world seems to have been diverted elsewhere.

It was a sobering speech. And quite a way to start the morning. Personally, I need to think about how I can make a difference. I am one of the privileged people in this world. The people around me are relatively healthy. The AIDS pandemic is not affecting me personally. But I cannot continue to pretend I am not involved.

Stephen Lewis, and so many others, are inspirations. We can't all be as involved as he is, but we should all support his work. And we should do all we can to influence for change, any way we can.

The gauntlet has been thrown down. We should all accept the challenge.

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Monday, June 05, 2006


Originally uploaded by Dave Traynor.
Sunday night, the first evening of the IABC Conference in Vancouver.

I had a great time getting together with Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson, the hosts of the For Immediate Release podcast. We had a meet-up with several listeners to the show. We all got together at Cafe de Paris for a wonderful dinner and good conversation.

In this photo, that's Shel on the left, Joseph Thornley in the middle and Donna Papacosta on the right. There were other too and I've added a few photos to my Flickr page.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Proud Papa Update - Schoolboy - Updated Sunday

One big problem with being out here in Vancouver for the IABC conference is that I'm not in St. Catherines watching Kelly compete in the Canadian Schoolboy Rowing Championships this weekend.

It's her last high school regatta and it's tearing me up that I'm not there.

But there's good news today. Kelly has advanced to tomorrow's finals in both the Senior Women's Double and the Single!

It's a terrific accomplishment and I'm really proud of her. I just got off the phone with her after her single race and she was so pumped up she could hardly talk. She was facing really tough competition and only three boats would qualify. But she said that while she was fourth at 1500 metres, she had an "amazing finish" and ended up getting third place, with open water over the other boat! It was a "Kelly Traynor Finish" that we hadn't seen much last year, as she struggled with some breathing problems. But that's all in the past now.

Good luck tomorrow Kelly.

UPDATE ON SUNDAY -- Kelly racked up a fifth-place in the Double and a fourth in the Single - which are both great results. I just got off the phone with her and while she says she hates to come in fourth, it was probably her best race ever. She was in sixth place well into the second half of the race, but found that special finishing kick to get up to fourth and nearly third!

Thanks to cell phones, I was able to listen to Kelly's Mom, Heather, call the race. She was in the grandstand at the Henley course, and I could hear all the shouting and screaming in the background. In fact, that's about all I could hear most of the time. What a thrill!

It was amazing how emotional Heather and I were on the phone. We were both so choked up we could hardly talk - but it was fantastic to be a part of the scene, even if I was 5000 km away!

We are both so proud of our youngest daughter. It's a great way for her to end her high school career -- and after the race, her coach pulled her aside and told her she had also won the Most Valuable Player award for Rowing for the year - another great finish to the year.

And as one chapter ends, another begins. Tonight, Heather, Kelly and the coaches from the University of Louisville are all going out to dinner. Again, I sure wish I was there. Louisville will be home for Kelly for the next four years, thanks to her receiving a rowing scholarship from them. It should be an exciting four years - and I look forward to plenty of more exciting finishes ahead.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Vancouver bound

I ran out of time to get a post up before I catch my plane.

I'm off to Vancouver today for the IABC International Conference.

I'll be heading to Victoria for a couple of days after the conference to connect with a few potential clients before I fly back to Hamilton.

The conference looks to be a great affair and I'm really looking forward to meeting colleagues from around the world.

I will have my computer with me, and I plan to post updates while I'm there. So I'll have more to say later.

For now, I'm about to head out the door and down to St. Catherines to catch a couple of Kelly's early races in the Canadian Schoolboy Rowing Championships, which are on this weekend. Unfortunately, I'll miss the rest of the regatta. But I plan to keep up on the action on-line, if everything works out.

Good luck, Kelly!