Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas to all from Gabriel, Samuel, Katie and Don

Finally, opened door #24 on the Advent Calendar.  Bring it on Santa!

Yes, I'm very happy for my big brother but when do I get chocolate?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Great trip. Greater friend.

Sunset from Wayne's patio

Yeeee HAWWWW!  Our first cowboy boots!
Wayne and Agar.  Tecate anyone?
Just returned last night from a great week in Scottsdale, Arizona with my true friend Wayne.  What a relaxing time we had at his place on Emile Zola Avenue.  Isn't that a cool name for a street? A very much appreciated opportunity made possible only by the kind permission of my bride and her parents who looked after the boys while I enjoyed the sun.

Oh, a first!  For those of you who know me a bit you understand that I have a bit of a thing for cowboy boots.  For the first time in living memory I travelled to the southwest and did NOT buy myself any new leather.

Now.  Gabriel and Sammy both have their very first boots.  I feel like I have now started the true voyage of fatherhood!

Thanks Wayne.
Thanks Kate.
Thanks Wendy and Roger.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A quick update on Grace Hanna Inc.

“I love working with you! You do great work quickly and most of all 
you get it!”*
A little bit of background on Grace Hanna Inc. and Don Kerr
Since my first position as Editor of the St. Thomas Courier weekly newspaper, my career revolved around the essence of effective communication. A copywriter by craft, I spent 30 years in a variety of positions on both the client and agency side of the marketing communications industry.  I worked extensively in most economic sectors for clients ranging from AT&T to Canada Bread, from Bank of Montreal to ING, from Pep Boys Auto to Wal-Mart.  At the same time I gained experience working with organizations throughout North America, the U.K., Germany, South America, and Korea.  Whether writing compelling copy, creating emotional connections with consumers or helping financial institutions fashion lasting, trusting relationships, I have driven the process which brings opportunities to profitable fruition.
As my career evolved, my speciality gravitated to brand creation and management.  When I founded Grace Hanna Inc. in 2003 I based its approach upon a well-experienced understanding of the critical components of effective communication: 

Clarity. Simplicity. Wit.
Some of my experience
Agencies Clients
Concrete BMo
Fish out of Water Design Canadian Standards Association
Graphème Branding and Design Children’s Technology Workshop
OSL Marketing Château des Charmes
Oxygen DHL Express
Perennial Disney
Pigeon Branding & Design e-Spot
Spencer Francey Peters McDonald’s
Watt International Meridian Credit Union
Not-for-profit Neilson Dairy
C.A.R.E. Canada Rogers
Easter Seal Society Safeway
Frontier College Shoppers Drug Mart
Oakville Community Foundation Wal-Mart

What I do
Brand creation and management
Storytelling and copywriting
Management and business consulting
Corporate, marketing and retail strategy
Project management
What people say about me
“Don is a creative team player which sounds ho hum until you see the results he inspires from the people in the room.  I did a strategy program with Don and it can be a stressful situation when trying to get an agreed upon agenda.  Don is the person to make everyone’s ideas work together.  The strategy was executed due to Don’s energetic and original ideas.”
Jacoline Loewen, Partner, Loewen and Partners
“If you’re looking for a run-of-the-mill, text-book branding consultation, don’t even think about engaging Don Kerr.  Don is bold, out of the box, direct, and leads companies to think about their brands in a way they simply could not do on their own.”
Grace Attard, Founder, e-Spot
“With strategic oversight and understanding of our business, Don managed a very challenging project for our company, remaining focused and determined throughout.  He is extremely creative with great ideas.”
Deirdre McVey Brough, former Director Marketing, Travelex
“Don is a very creative guy, a quick study, fun to work with, honest, fair, intelligent and a positive contributor.  He understands even technically sophisticated ideas from a layman’s perspective and his work is outstanding.”
Len Rosen, President, LMR Marketing Inc.
*Susan Hallsworth, Account Director, OSL Marketing
For Clarity. Simplicity. Wit.  please call 416.818.5608 or e-mail 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Holy chocolate! Gabe just turned three.

Happiest of Birthdays to my son whom I will love forever.  (Not just 'cause you love my chocolate cake!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ranking the renovators

This Saturday the new front door gets installed.  That will complete the renovations we undertook on our new home.  We learned a lot during this process, it being our second major reno in the past three years (and our last if I have any say!)

Thought it would be useful to share our perspective on some of the trades we worked with because whenever we set out on one of these voyages we make it our first step to get recommendations and referrals.  So from great to abysmal, here's the report (and, interestingly the entire experience points out a fundamental of brand management - in the absence of transparent communication and even rudimentary levels of customer service, the greatest product in the world will not save a reputation.  Indeed, it makes the case more strongly than ever that a company's stories are even more important than their product).

A+++++:  McConnell Painting - Dave McConnell and his trusty sidekick Colin were the true stars and wizards of this entire undertaking.  They painted both the interior and exterior and were without exception the most meticulous, respectful, helpful and professional people with whom we worked.  Couldn't recommend them more highly.  416.827-6186

A++: Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Daniel Wilson and the entire team handled both ends of our sale and purchase.  They were patient, cooperative, collaborative, respectful and provided great advice through some trying times.  905.845.8908 

A+: Antique Hardwood Flooring Inc. - A terrific crew who installed with painstaking care to detail, on time and on budget with great pre-sale advice, post-sale followup, and enthusiastic cooperation within a tight deadline.  905.825.8551

A: Speers Road Broadloom - Again, on time, on budget, very tidy and offered good advice on product selection (with some prompting).  905.844.0712

B+:  Binn's Kitchen and Bath Design - This group was responsible for the entire design of the new kitchen and all installation (with exception of most major appliances).  Downgraded from an A-rating for a couple of reasons:  a few design details weren't entirely well thought out and so the final result is just short of perfection; some of the trades with whom they subcontract were less than top-notch from a service attitude perspective - most notably the plumber who could not have been more cynical or shiftless.  905.509.5555

B:  Joshua Creek Trading Furniture and Home Decor - We purchased a few pieces of furniture and some accessories here and we're pleased.  They proved very cooperative even going so far as to loan us a chair so we could comfortably feed our baby.  That's above and beyond.  Some deliveries took longer than we were advised and that's kind of disappointing when you're working to a stupidly tight schedule.  905.842.3739

C: Tasco (Mississauga location) - Maybe my expectations are too high but when you're spending a handsome amount of coin on Wolf, AEG, and Electrolux Icon appliances you expect a level of service and cooperation commensurate with the expenditure.  What you don't expect is being lectured by a store manager on how you as a customer should behave.  One doesn't expect (although it now seems rampant in the service industry) to be given lip service about deadlines.  I would so much rather deal with someone who under promises and over delivers that someone who spouts bollocks in the hopes that if they say what they think you want to hear all will be well.  Steer clear is my recommendation but they do carry top-end stuff.  Not gonna bother with the phone number.

F: Ridley Windows and Doors - Some day I will write a longer piece about this experience which will revolve around how a company with superior product and fair pricing can be brought to its knees in three simple steps:  1. fail to communicate regularly and with transparency; 2. align with unreliable, sloppy and borderline incompetent installers; 3. promise a completion date of July 5 and actually finish the job, after hours of haranguing, on September 6.  A last-minute intervention by two senior people, including the President did mollify us somewhat but long after the horse had left the barn.

An update on Ridley:  today the door was installed.  The product is great.  The installers, Walter and Igor, were excellent and the result is superb.

There were some other trades involved but these are the major ones.  At the end of the day, my wife Kate who was general contractor, has a promising new career in front of her if she ever decides to make a shift.  What an awesome job to accomplish all she did in the space of a few months.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Snapshots of life

My life on September 8, 2010.

Gabriel headed back to Clanmore Montessori today for his second year in the Casa program.  No, he didn't wear his cool dude specs but it was his first day with the official uniform.  Looked awful darn cute and according to his reports it was a good day reuniting with old pals Kennedy, Lincoln and Ella among others.
Samuel was just happy to go along for the ride and enjoy his first meal of the day.  
"Sure hope we don't get any homework on the first day!"

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Shel Silverstein rocks Gabriel's world

My son Gabriel will turn three on September 26.  It staggers me to reflect on the changes we've witnessed in him and how very quickly these little creatures develop into full-blown characters with individual personality traits, senses of humour and pure, raw curiousity married to a stupendous sense of wonder.

As an enthusiastic reader and writer it pleases me so very much that Gabriel is completely enamoured of reading.  And, while he still enjoys the occasional 'Good night Moon' he's really gotten into the poetry of Shel Silverstein.

Right now his absolute favourite is "Me stew" - the final line of which, 'Farewell - and I hope you enjoy me with crackers."

Cracks both of us up and we read it at least three or four times before bed along with other tales.  He's also enjoying the complete tales (tails?) of Beatrix Potter.

Silverstein's poetry for kids (and those of us lucky enough to still think in a childlike fashion) is both humorous  and touching.  The title poem, "Where the sidewalk ends" is a case in point.

"There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends."

I'm just in the early stages of recovering from a hard-drive failure on my MacBook coupled with a back up failure that has left me needing to recreate my complete business - from a records perspective.  It has been frustrating and frankly depressing.  But now I'm just going to travel to where the sidewalk ends and begin again.

I don't know if this book is still in print.  If you're interested, it was published in 1974 in Canada by Fitzhenry and Whiteside.  Library of Congress card number: 70-105486.

Thanks Shel.  Gabriel loves it, his Daddy finds it inspirational and comforting and some day Samuel too will share the wonder with his brother.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Still think social media is just a fad?

Here's some information from a report produced by Oracle on retailing. If there's anyone out there who still believes their brand management and reputation are completely controlled and managed by the corporation, forget about it.

By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Boomers - 96% of them have joined a social network
25% of search results for the world's top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content
34% of bloggers post opinions about products and brands
78% of consumers trust peer recommendations; only 14% trust advertisements
1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media
If Facebook were a country it would be the world's 4th populous between the U.S. and Indonesia
The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females and more than 1.5 million pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared on Facebook daily
80% of Twitter usage is outside of Twitter - people update anywhere, anytime - image what that means for bad customer experiences
The #2 largest search engine in the world is YouTube
There are over 200,000,000 Blogs

More to come on this blog about recent service experiences related to our house move and renovation. And, yes, names will be named. And, yes, brands will be lauded and other will be slagged. And, no, there's not a thing that the companies themselves can do about it 'cause that horse has already left the barn.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A pathetic display of blog management

How embarrassing. Nothing for weeks.
Well, have moved homes.
Relocated to new premises on July 18.
In the midst of reno.
With a 2.5 year old and a 5 month old.
And some awesome trades people.
And some brutal, mercifully few, trades people.
And some continuing work from my wonderfully patient clients.
Well, you get the picture.
I'll be back to the blog in a week.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Summertime and the livin' is easy

My boys are lovin' this early summer heat. Gabriel continues to work, work, work in the garden and his fascination with the hose pipes continues unabated.Samuel has taken it in his stride and loves his outdoor naps.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rare real estate opportunity in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada

Perfect for the family. Right on the historic Port Hope golf club and the property includes a two-year membership.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Happiness is

Mommy's chocolate birthday cake.
Puddle jumping with Dada.
Go for it people.
Let the joy out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Like great beef?

Anyone who has read this blog knows that I am somewhat involved in my meat! I've posted a number of blogs about some particularly horrid print ads promoting US beef but that comes about because I'm such a fan of a great steak that it makes me nuts to see this honoured victual made silly.
So, here's a recommendation. For years, the late Paul Estrella delighted me with his personality and his superbly aged beef. He always had something old hanging about in the refrigerator and I was lucky to get to partake. His wife Carmen still runs the wonderful Royal Beef on the Danforth in Toronto. It's just a little too far to drive now.
At the Southdown LCBO recently one of the wine consultants named Christ (not kidding and pronounced kris) recommended Medium Rare in Etobicoke.
Unbelievably great product and very reasonable pricing.
I cannot recommend it more.

I liberated the following copy from Medium Rare's website -
Master Butcher Frank Del Gobbo has been a leader by reputation in his discipline of butchery. Through sheer inspiration, he has always been a few steps ahead of the pack bringing both immense creativity and honesty to his trade.

Frank started in the food business at the age 12, working in bakeries and food shops in and around Toronto. At 18, he gained valuable experience in the meat department of an old world European market where he learned how to properly handle, cut and trim meats in traditional ways.
Through hard work and determination, Frank became the Manager of one of Toronto's most prestigious food shops by the age of 21, helping to provide a finer product for more refined and knowledgeable consumers.

By the age of 25, Frank felt it was time to branch out on his own. He founded and opened Frank's Meat Boutique in Humbertown Shopping Center,on The Kingsway where he quickly became appreciated for his knowledge, product and service. Choosing to expand his knowledge, he then sold the Boutique and began to travel through Europe and the United States.

As a result of his travels, Frank became involved in competition cooking, including his own chili, sausages and particularly B.B.Q. He traveled with a team to get a proper feel for this new sport, learning B.B.Q. techniques from the very best in the business.

It was then time to return to Toronto's West End and capitalize on an appreciative fan base, opening Medium Rare, one of the City's most prestigious premium meat boutiques.

Copyright © 2010 Medium Rare. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mommy's Boys

Gabriel (2.5 years) and Samuel (3 months) are both crazy about their Mommy and wish her a very happy day every day but especially today. And, so do I.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Let your design vote be heard

Here's a chance for you to be involved in the judging process of the Best Label Design for 2010 for VQA Ontario wine packaging. Out of hundreds of entries, the selection was narrowed down to only 14 and I'd really appreciate your support for one of them in particular - Chateau des Charmes.

Please take a minute to cast your vote. It's fun and you just might help me pay for baby's new shoes!

Click on the link below to view the nominees and cast your vote today. Only one vote per computer:

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My new boy

Kind of embarrassed yesterday when a new colleague suggested that I hadn't done much on the blog about my new son Samuel. Got me to thinking that at the very least I better get a few more photos up. So here they are!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gabriel sings for Samuel

A short while ago I wrote about the wonderful process of awakening to the sound of my son, Gabriel, singing.
Here's a little snippet (with apologies for the poor video quality - I'm still learning) of him enchanting my newborn son Samuel.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A good read and props to Chateau des Charmes (yes, they are a client!)

Watching a winery grow
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ONT. - In the search for the next great grape, a swath of 270 acres in Niagara-on-the-Lake is carrying the torch, so to speak. 

Left to right: Château des Charmes, Sparkling Wine; Château des Charmes, Chardonnay; Château des Charmes, Aligote; Château des Charmes, Cabernet Franc. Photograph by: Pat McGrath, The Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — It’s always interesting to watch changes in the world of wine, whether it’s at the level of the international market, wine regions, or individual wineries.

A few weeks ago, I sat down with Paul Bosc Jr., from Château des Charmes, one of Niagara’s older wineries (its first vines were planted in the 1970s). If you’ve visited Niagara, you might well have seen this winery. Amid the vines, the château stands back from the road and, although it’s one of the grand architectural pieces of the region, its classic style contrasts with the modern, sleek lines of many newer entrants.
As Bosc poured a glass of Château des Charmes ‘St Davids Bench’ Merlot 2007 ($29.95 and available only from the winery, but which I hope will feature in a Vintages release), I noticed the bottle had a new label. This one is cleaner and easier to read than the old and, ironically, de-emphasizes the château that is such a landmark. What the new label does, though, is suggest the outlines of the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario, the geographical features that enable the region to grow grapes.

Bosc says the new label stresses “a sense of place,” a phrase you hear more and more these days as wineries seek to identify their wines with where the grapes grow. The new label is part of a broad shift that Château des Charmes has undertaken, much of it in the direction of sustainable production. The new labels are made from recycled material and the winery’s bottles are now lighter: from a kilogram, they’re down to 650 grams, which saves energy and costs in production and transport. 

There’s a lot of activity back in the vineyard, too. The founder of Château des Charmes, Paul Bosc Sr., was one of the earliest proponents of planting vitis vinifera grape varieties in Niagara — the varieties you most commonly find now (chardonnay, merlot, etc.). Before they were planted, it was often thought that they wouldn’t survive in Niagara’s climate).

Then, in the 1990s, Bosc Sr. discovered a clone of the gamay variety, one whose shoots grew upright (‘droit,’ in French). He named it ‘gamay droit’ and you can buy very good wine made from this variety in the LCBO ($16.95, No. 582353). This is the only registered Canadian vinifera clone.

Now — and this is potentially very exciting — Château des Charmes is going further. They’ve been crossing vitis vinifera varieties (they have a thousand different combinations) to see if they can find one that both thrives in Niagara and makes excellent wine. That thousand will fall to a short-list of couple of dozen, then to two or three serious contenders. The winner could be an important contribution to the region’s wine industry.

Château des Charmes Sparkling Brut, Estate Bottled
This is a 50/50 blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, made in the “Traditional Method.” Look for well-defined flavours, excellent balance, a crisp and refreshing texture and fine mousse. Drink it before or during a meal. 12 per cent alcohol; $22.95 (145409).

Château des Charmes Aligoté, Estate Bottled 2008
This is a too-little known Burgundian grape variety that makes refreshing whites. This one is dry, nicely flavoured, has good structure and balance, and goes well with simple fish and poultry dishes. 12 per cent alcohol; $13.45 (284950).

Château des Charmes Chardonnay, Estate Bottled 2007
From an excellent vintage, this well-priced chardonnay shows well-extracted flavours and a clean, refreshing texture. Dry and medium bodied, with good structure, it’s a good partner for poultry and pork dishes. 13.5 per cent alcohol; $13.95 (81653).

Château des Charmes Cabernet Franc, Estate Bottled 2007
Cabernet Franc does well in Niagara, and 2007 was an excellent year for it. You’ll find quite plush fruit flavours, and good complexity and balance. This will swing to poultry and to red meats. 13 per cent alcohol; $13.45 (277236) (Château des Charmes stores now, LCBO next year).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Memories of Pepper or how to cope

'Inferno' pepper
"Great wits are sure to madness near allied, and thin partitions do their bounds divide", wrote John Dryden.

In other words (not that Dryden really needs my help) - the margin between sanity and insanity is microscopic.  Many years ago, I interviewed a number of patients at the St. Thomas Ontario Hospital.  Even at that time, late '70s, that was the euphemism for Mental Hospital.  I was writing an article for my newspaper and really wanted to understand what brought people to this end.

One particular person stands out in my memory.  Probably because she stalked me for a while but also as a result of a special insight she provided.  Her name, not making this up, was Pepper.

Pepper was committed to the OH by her family.  She actually drove herself there, parked her car and delivered herself to staff thinking she was simply there for an interview.  Weeks later she told of sitting in her room, seeing her car in the parking lot and being completely helpless in her desire to climb behind the wheel and drive back to her 'normal' life.  Her insight was this - one person's ability to cope with seemingly routine tasks during the day can come crashing down with little or no notice.  She advised that the only reason she was confined to quarters and I could drive away in my Datsun 200SX was my ability to cope.  

See, Pepper wasn't nuts at all.  In fact she was a pretty normal person except for the fact that she just could get her act together IN THE EYES OF HER CHILDREN!

So why am I writing this now?

Not so several years ago, a friend did me the great service of encouraging me to seek some assistance as they thought I was sliding down the slope to gloom.  Recently, I had occasion to speak to someone in a similar situation and tried to share what had been helpful to me.  Don't know if it worked 'cause being in our current situation - 2.5 year old son, 2-month old son, selling a house, finding a new home, keeping a business afloat and managing a life - is why I started this blog entry.

Like Pepper, I'm finding it a challenge to cope with all of this but mercifully, because I have had some good lessons, I can make my way through the day.

Don't know where you are now Pepper or even if you're still walking among us, but I am thankful to have met you and learned your lessons.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wake up singing

The German author Berthold Auerbach wrote, "Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."

This quote was resurrected from the dim corners of my memory two mornings ago when I was awakened from my slumber by the glorious sound of my son Gabriel singing as he awakened around 6:00.  

Now, anyone who knows me well will acknowledge that arising from the bed with a song in my heart is a rare occasion.  I am, in fact, a grump when I wake up and until the first jolt of caffeine begins to course through my veins I remain so.  At my age it is hard to fathom this fundamental character flaw being rectified however just as Gabriel's innocent outlook allowed me to embrace his joyous cry a few months ago of "Oh boy.  SNOW!" his morning song provides hope.

I challenge anyone suffering from the a.m. grumps to hold close the miserable attitude in the face of a 2.5 year old boy singing "Here we go round the mulberry bush on a cold and frosty morning".  My cold and frosty mental state was immediately warmed and I found myself smiling as I crawled into the shower.

So that's my self-learning for the day.  If we could all find a way to wake up singing can you imagine what a wonderful world it could be?  

My intent is to try to wash away the dust of life every morning and again I have a little boy to thank for another important life lesson.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring is the best

Tempting fate by posting this however my hope for Spring outweighs good sense.  
This clump of snowdrops decorates a lawn on my street and on March 8 it made me stupidly happy to see them.
I know March can still whack the stuffing out of us and that this year has been an almost completely benign winter.  This still pleases me however and coupled with the birdsong of the cardinal serenading us each morning, well how can you not feel positive.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recent work part 2

My recent posting showed some of the results of work done in collaboration with Fish out of Water Design, namely the Chateau des Charmes rebranding and packaging.  It also showed some of the copywriting work I've been doing with Meridian Credit Union.
In this posting just a couple of quick additions - both on the branding/copywriting front.
First, working in collaboration with OSL (Meridian's agency), I supported their good brand development work in writing the Meridian brand book.  While it is still undergoing some editing (after all, any good brand book should never really be finished!) it has been greeted well as something which communicates the technical aspects of the brand within the established tone and personality.  Great team to work with at OSL. (

Elsewhere in this blog you'll note that I've written a few times about my friend Grace Attard's entrepreneurial incubator here in Oakville  - e spot (  What I haven't shared is that I had the good fortune and wonderful experience of working with Grace and some of her most trusted associates in developing the brand essence for this start up enterprise.  While we crammed what normally takes 2 days into about 5 hours, the quality of the people present and their enthusiastic collaboration, produced great results from the Brand Clarity workshop session.  So that's another example of how I've been blessed to work with good people producing good work.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Recent work

Congratulations, albeit somewhat belated, are in order to two of my clients.  
First, to the magnificent creative team at Fish out of Water Design with whom I have had the privilege of working on numerous projects.  Leading the Fishes are the partners Charlene Codner, Creative Fish and Rebecca Hamilton, Client Service Fish.  The link to their firm is on this blog.  
Second, to the courageous team at Château des Charmes who last year embarked on the sometimes nerve-wracking exercise of brand reinvention.  Paul and Michele Bosc realized a need to expand the appeal of their fine product to a broader audience and further recognized that this would require a complete revamping of their brand, packaging and approach to the market.  And, in the spirit of true innovation, Michele also introduced the first QR code on wine in North America.
It was my privilege to assist in brand development and to work with the Fishes and the Boscs to bring this new approach to shelf.
I'm super proud of the effort and hope that it continues to produce the sales required to make Château des Charmes a great leader in wine innovations and exceptional quality product.

Meridian Credit Union

For the past several months it has been my privilege to work with the Marketing and Communications team at Meridian Credit Union.  I've written about them before on this blog and related my great respect for the organization.  They are a breath of fresh air in the financial services industry and through my opportunity to write SMILE, the regular Member newsletter and some other special editions, I have come to learn how well they're respected and valued by those for whom they work.
Above is an image of a special employee edition of SMILE published to communicate the refreshed Meridian brand.  Below, is a edition of the Member SMILE featuring what I really very much enjoy - the Member interview.
Meridian is one of those rare companies, especially financial institutions, which attract brand evangelists.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Entrepreneurs rise up in Oakville

Enjoyed a great meeting this morning at my friend Grace Attard's hot new entrepreneurial incubator - e-Spot. (  Thought I'd share contact information for some of the really bright folks I met there.  After all, that's the whole purpose of networking right?
So, if you're looking for someone to help with the design/build of your commercial space check out Cameron Johnson's company, Finishing FX Inc.  Reach Cam at or call 416.822.3512.
Are you a woman seeking to bring out all that true inner beauty through an alternative, entertaining fitness program?  Then visit Jane Wilson's website, and log on to the Oakville franchise.  Or you can write her at or call on 905.844.7746.
Tina Gilbert is a woman with lots of stuff on the go.  You can learn more about her enterprising ways at either or where she is Editor in Chief.  You could also call her at 416.500.7997 or write
A talented artist (painter, sculptor, illustrator) is Bert Jackson who's work can be seen on  Write him at or call 416.890.4391. If you've seen the great Moose/Wolf sculpture in Oakville you've seen some of his work.  Oh, he can fix you up with some great tats too!!
On the real estate front, Gina Burgio is ready and able to assist you with your mortgage and housing needs as she's just taking over the operation of the Coldwell Banker shop in Oakville.  Visit her at or write  Better still, give her a bell at 905.825.7777.
Almost finally, providing insightful professional advice is Angela Galer-Grist, Investment Advisor and Financial Planner with BMO Nesbitt Burns.  You can reach her by writing or visiting  Phone too on 416.359.7099.
Penultimately finally, there were two other people there too whose info I failed to secure but one is a fitness dude and the other provides financial counselling on behalf of RBC.  I'm sure if you contacted the e-spot they could hook you up.
Finally, keep up the good work Grace.  You're doing a terrific job.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Oakville truly is a hospitable town

If you've been keeping score, Thursday, February 4 marked the birth date of our second son, Samuel.  The following article gives more detail  but I could let it pass how grateful I am to the good city workers in this fair town.
They do the coolest thing.
At the hospital they set aside parking spots for folks arriving with mommies-to-be who are in the throes of labour.  So, you can whip into the lot - trying to be solicitous and ignore the banshee wailing and streaming imprecations of the woman who got into the car as your wife and is emerging as a character from a Hitchcockian thriller - park without hassle and mosey on in to the maternity ward.
The greatness doesn't stop there 'cause after you've gotten your wife into the hospital some really incredibly brilliant and thoughtful parking warden (they must be brilliant - how else could you do the job?) stops by your car in the maternity spot and leaves a gift certificate for you in the amount of $25.00.
Isn't that the coolest thing ever.
It looks just like this.
Now that's good value for our tax dollars.
Uh, now, upon closer inspection this isn't a gift certificate at all is it?
No, this is a parking ticket.
I was just too g.d. inconsiderate to stop on my way into the hospital with my wife doubled over with contractions to buy parking.  What a complete a-hole I am.
"Hold on there honey.  Just tuck that crowning head back inside for a moment while I make sure that the city gets their fair share.  What's that?
You're in pain?  C'mon.   Can't be that bad after all the people in parking would have the foresight to think that the dad-to-be might be a little bit otherwise engaged wouldn't they?"
What a pathetic joke.  I do hope someday that the marginally intelligent oaf with the over-inflated sense of authority that this glorified security guard gets to take his wife to hospital and then has the good sense to have her wait while he plunks his loonies and toonies into the machine.
Or, maybe this is a woman parking control officerette.  She should be especially proud to support the sisterhood.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

First things first

My apologies to the folks who occasionally drop by my blog.  It has been woefully neglected for a long time.  My only excuse is this:  our family has grown by one.  Already blessed with a magnificent son Gabriel, I can now boast of another.  Samuel Scott Kerr came on board February 4, 2010 at 7:29 p.m. ringing up 7lbs 2 oz on the scale.  His Mom is in awesome condition considering the rigours and challenges of another 9-month ordeal.  When Sam decided to show up though he wasted no time at all screaming his arrival only 1 hour after we'd arrived at the Oakville Trafalgar GH. 
So, here he is.  Yes, you can expect to hear much more about him in the coming weeks, months and indeed years.  
A generous nod to my son Gabriel as well who has so far welcomed Sammy with open arms.  We're not entirely sure though if he comprehends that Sammy is staying for the long term.  
Now, anyone know where I can get a great deal on hockey equipment?