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Today is my birthday

50-happy-birthday-quotes-thumbToday is my birthday and if you know me well, that usually transpires into a birthday week. I have always loved celebrating birthdays. It’s a time to celebrate life; the gratefulness of family, friends and of one’s existence.

I never understood those that just wanted the day to fly dreading the notion of ‘one year older’. For me, I have always welcomed the extra wrinkle, and the challenge to stay youthful in body and soul.

Except for last year. It was the big 5-0 and surprisingly to my friends (and me), I just wanted the day to go away. I was not in a good place. Mentally and physically the timing of it all was a disaster.

So I’m officially calling today my ’50-do-over’ day. Over the past year, my family has made some life changes that have us living in a beautiful home, in a beautiful community with beautiful new and old friends. My focus on mind and wellness is thoughtful and energizing. And even my current layoff has me growing and developing as a person which I’ve shared in my blog series, Bite size snacks to feed the soul.

So for those of you dreading the one year older syndrome, I say, ‘let it go’! Celebrate your life; it truly is a precious one.

To my husband and friends who are conspiring to make this 50-do-over memorable, I say an early thank you for making me feel fantastic.

Send your bday wishes by commenting on what makes YOU special!

#feelinggrateful #feelingblessed #51isthenew50 #happybdaytome #celebratelife

A full course meal: Part 5 of Snack Size Bites to Feed the Soul

I’ve been excited to talk about the topic of ‘Giving Back’ in this blog series of Snack Size Bites to Feed the Soul.  Mahatma Gandhi is quoted as saying, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in  the service of others.” Who couldn’t argue that giving back is the ultimate nourishment to feed the soul.

I must admit I wasn’t a ‘full-time-give-backer’ most of my adult life. I appeased my ‘oh I give back’ by doling out money each year to various organizations and maybe doing 1 or 2 events because my company or my son’s hockey teams asked for participation.

However, last summer, before the layoff and after the extensive move to our beautiful new home in Constance Bay, I started to feel a void in my gut; something was missing in my amazing life and I wasn’t quite sure what it was……

Until I attended a Leadercast Women event in early October which focused on ‘Powered by Purpose’. Ten incredible speakers offering inspirational and motivating stories and tools on finding one’s purpose. It was my ah-ha moment. I remember how emotional I was when confiding with a friend that day realizing this was the root cause of my void.

We started brainstorming on some ideas we could contribute to within our new community. Little did I know that a month later after this event, I would be faced with the challenge of also my professional purpose ☹ and as shared at the beginning of this Blog series, a testament to things happen for a reason. Being given a lot of free time now to truly invest back into the community.

Some people immerse in a particular cause largely due to a personal attachment to the mission of the organization because they or their loved ones have been deeply impacted by something. For me, I took more of a diverse approach to giving back for a number of reasons:

  • specifically designed to help me get to know the new community I now live in,
  • to have the opportunity to meet amazing people along the way,
  • to lead by example for my son who’s entering high school next year wanting him to embrace the designated volunteer program mandated for him
  • and simply, for good karma. Pay it Forward if you will. See this article that validates the scientific facts to the benefits of volunteering.

If you’re looking for a diverse approach like mine, here are some small tidbits to get the juices flowing:

  • Choose Local for immediate gratification. Volunteering in one’s community means investing in it as well. I promise you will feel the impact and difference YOU can make.
  • Pick priorities that mean something to you. For me, that included:
    • Children because I am blessed with motherhood to some amazing kids;
    • Women because I believe that empowering women makes the world a better place;
    • Less Fortuned because as Mark Sutcliff taught us at the recent TedXKanata event we all have the ability to redesign our world to eliminate the role of luck in people’s lives.
  • Don’t go at it alone. Strength in numbers right? Increase your volunteering experience by conducting it with family and friends.

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    Me & my Bestie leading the JA Be Entrepreneurial with Gr 5-6;s
  • Get social to help get the word out. Don’t think it is about tooting your horn. Rather, your ability to enable ‘awareness’ on causes that do not have large advertising budgets and therefore welcome your self-promotion😉 And so here are mine!
    • Junior Achievement. A global amazing organization providing awareness to children on the aspects of businesses. Most communities have JA programs; ours supporting the Ottawa region have some spectacular folk running it! I honestly could argue this is some form of entertainment because its just so darn fun to do!!
    • Food banks. I’ve done this in Toronto and now in Kanata. Regardless of scale, it’s a necessity and in my opinion our responsibility to help thy neighbor…..And not just at Christmas time either (which admittedly was my cadence).

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      Me & my son Tye at the Kanata Food Cupboard
    • Schools & sports your kids attend. Some advice here? Don’t pass judgment on teachers and coaches if you aren’t involved in some capacity. That’s the same as complaining about your government and not voting! Go Stonecrest and Go WC Crusaders hockey!
    • Empower Women. I discovered this incredible organization, the Lanark County Interval House by way of a Fundraiser Gala I attended in the Fall that raised over $30K for their women’s shelter and support program. They are the only dedicated antiviolence agency in Lanark County supporting women and their children in managing and fleeing violence and abuse. The word ‘courage’ comes to mind when I think of these women (including the staff).

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      Violet Femmes Annual Gala. A must-attend for the ladies!
  • Find a role model. During my networking stints in December, I’ve had the privilege of meeting ‘the’ community contributor of Kanata North Jenna Sudds. She was instrumental in connecting me to some of the above organizations. Her inspiration for what she has and is doing for the community has challenged me to ensure that this influx of giving back needs to continue once back in the business of employment. Jenna is running for City Council for Kanata North, so if you live there, I encourage you to follow her and learn more about her campaign to continue to better the community.

Well, that’s it for now. Hopefully, Part 5 has prompted some personal reflection on how you can give back.  I’m optimistic that my next career journey will allow a hybrid of giving back. Only time will tell.

Signing off….volunteer day today!

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Hail Mary and Game of Inches, Having a wellrounded marketing strategy

In the spirit of the upcoming Superbowl on Feb 4th, I digress from my blog series Bite Size Snacks to Feed the Soul to address the relationship struggle between Sales and Marketing and what balance is required to both Run and Grow the Business.

Sure, there is a ton of content to guide on best practices on how to build a marketing plan that aligns with sales targets and priorities. My unique perspective, however, comes from having a 10+ years sales background which has given me a leg up on how to ensure these strategies prevail.

My viewpoint centers around 2 themes; a very famous quote by Stephen Covey to ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood‘ and the dependency of stakeholder relationships. Consider my suggestions in addition to those experts that guide on planning and executing a lucrative marketing plan.

  • Make salespeople fall in love with you.  When I was in sales, I’ll be honest, I didn’t see much value in what marketing did. It felt very ‘fluffy’ to me. I formed this opinion because the marketing teams were not visible; half the time I couldn’t even tell you what their names were let alone what they did. It is important that your stakeholders know who you are and I don’t mean just your title and what your responsibilities are. Let them in so they know the real you and vice versa. I’m not suggesting you date them for goodness sake!!  Consider going for coffee or lunch, connect with them on your personal social channels, attend sales events, socials and sales meetings. Actions like these will help establish a solid foundation for stakeholder alignment. It all about being present.
  • Walk in their shoes. Surprisingly this should be a no-brainer yet sadly it does not occur very often. How on earth can we Marketers support our sales folk if we haven’t lived a day in their shoes??!! Ask to shadow a handful of account reps and really experience ‘a day in the life of’.
  • Become a consensus builder. Do NOT plan in isolation of your salespeople; management and individual contributors alike. They will resent you and dismiss your great work. How many times have you heard ‘Who made this or that decision?!’ from Sales Management. Do your due diligence – conduct listening tours, be prepared with data, offer concepts tying in the data and what you learned from your feedback sessions. Never assume that because your ideas stem from corporate marketing objectives that its an automatic green light from your Sales stakeholders. Build the plan TOGETHER. That way there are no surprises; everyone will be on the same page and most importantly all in on the execution.
  • Priority setting has to be led by having Sales conversations. Sure you’ll do the math on revenue targets and what KPI’s are expected of you as a Marketer. You’ll have delved into the data, the market research, and the corporate vision; all the usual stuff to formulate a plan. Gain access to how the area you support is interpreting corporate goals and applying them to their regional area. For example, we knew our stakeholders wanted double-digit growth in a new segment so we partitioned part of that new segment and approached it as if we were a quota carrying salesperson ourselves. Timeliness and Trust are key to embedding a sales strategy. It is also much easier to get buy-in from marketing executives on program dollars and resources if your plan is tightly proven to be aligned with a sales strategy.
  • Consider your salesforce as part of your omnichannel strategy. We as Marketers know that our marketing budgets are usually constrained and we thrive on creative ways to reach our customers. A few years ago, in Canada, we all felt the impact of Anti Spam laws (CASL) with the massive reduction in email marketing and budgets having to shift back to telemarketing. With digital transformation its been a much easier transition. The inclusion of the sales field into your digital strategy is paramount. Invest in the time to teach them Social Selling and set them up for success to become a high adopter with the help of relevant content. It will delight their customers; make them better salespeople and alleviate the budget barrier to execute on campaigns.   
  • Numbers please. Embrace the metrics given to you as if you were a salesperson with an annual target. Share your campaign results whether good or bad. And not the marketing KPI’s that need to be analyzed to access the success of a campaign. They don’t care. Give the field what they want, pipeline contribution figures, as its always going to be about what you did to help them reach their objective?

At the end of the day, every recommendation above comes down to this…Communication. It’s a life skill and if you can fine tune it with your beloved sales stakeholders you’ll have made some pretty special friends. Good luck and as they say, Happy Selling.

Oh and go Patriots? Eagles? Oh heck, you choose, I’m a hockey fan 😊

About Kimberley……Seeking employment.

I was recently impacted by a Global layoff at a company I adore. If you are looking for a digital transformation marketing leader that can build a solid strategic business plan leading with Data, Content and Digital outputs; manage people to reach their very best potential and nurture stakeholder relationships, then please contact me at Kimberley.behnan@gmail.com Those that know me well will tell you, I will not disappoint. Learn more about me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kbehnan/

Please share to get the word out. Thank you!

 

The Artistry of Me – Part 4: Bite Size Snacks to Feed the Soul

Sharpening your skills shouldn’t fall within layoff periods only. But if they do, its time well invested to keep you current, motivated and marketable; all attributes highly recommended to build confidence come interview time.

It also satisfies the hunger of ‘a good day at the office’ feeling so off for my lunch break….and to walk the dog 🐶

How to lose 10 pounds– Part 3: ‘Bite size snacks to feed the soul’

Ah, the most commonly known topic at this time of the year! Who didn’t indulge over the holidays? I know I did; had to drop the couple I lost before publishing this! 😀

Okay, folks. It’s simple. Ditch the fad diets and the renewed memberships to the gym. You know as well as I do, always the short-term fix.

Rather, Come One with Mother Nature.

For me, that meant getting a Puppy! Our Goldendoodle, Bailey has done what no Personal Trainer could do (sorry guys you know I still love you). Bailey forces me to walk… A lot and every day. Walking is the secret to a healthy body and mind. Read 7 Incredible Results You’ll Get From Walking 30 Minutes A Day as an example of the many publishings around the benefits of walking which I now realize to be true.

During the summer months Bailey and I would frequent the beach and even in this deep freeze, we walk the Torbolton Forest trails and then the snowy beach. It is my most favorite time of the day that sends me into my ‘happy place’.

Bailey on the Ottawa River beach overlooking the Gatineau Hills

We average 30-45 minutes a day of walking. My personal benefits:

  • I’ve spent over $5K on personal training per year and had minimal results. I kid you not; I lost 10 pounds over the summer by walking the dog. For free!!
  • Nothing is more calming than breathing in the fresh air.
  • It helps me stimulate my creative juices (my blog topics usually surface from these walks).
  • It’s my time to internalize; to be thankful, be inspired and rejuvenate for the day ahead.
  • Walking is naturally healing my aches and pains! Before I started walking, I had knee and hip pain on a daily basis. After about 2 months of walking, I completely forgot I had these ailments! How can that be!!??
  • Finally, our walks also generate conversations with strangers also walking their pups. Again as noted in my prior blog ‘May the Force be With You’, I’m not one to ‘Chatty Cathy it up’ with strangers. Surprisingly, it’s been lovely meeting all our new neighbors.

Whether a pup, a loved one to walk with, or alone I encourage everyone to add walking in your daily routine. Bailey, I dedicate this blog to you! Thanks for helping me feed my soul! Dog on Google Android 8.1

#Baileyandme at Christmas. He’s only 7 months old and still growing!

Stay warm everyone and look out for Part 4 to be posted before the end of the month! Follow me https://twitter.com/kibehnan

 

May the Force be with You– Part 2: ‘Bite size snacks to feed the soul’

I haven’t seen the new Star Wars movie just yet, but I’m told by my son-in-law it’s “a must see”. ‘May the Force be with you’ is a phrase used to wish an individual or group good luck or good will.

I’d like to thank my ‘Force’ for all the Likes, Views and heartfelt Comments on my first of my blog series, Bite size snacks to feed the soul. I was humbled by the responses from my personal and professional networks. Special thanks to the WCT (Women in Communication and Technology) to which I am a member of, who have agreed to post my Blog series under their Women in Transition section.

NETWORKS… A paramount community for anyone dealing with life’s challenges. Whether professional, friends or family, our networks are our lifeline.

My personal support network got me through the period of my husband’s health scare. I  would not have been able to function, support him or our son without them. They gave me a sense of calmness, helped me with the momentary time of single motherhood (okay shout out to all the single moms out there; you are the essence of strength defining motherhood!). They gave our family hope, support and their prayers. We are blessed to have extraordinary friends and family. I would be remiss not to call out some of my soul sisters that got me through this – My Rock, My Son’s Other Mother, My Sister from Another Mother and My Work Wife. xo

TIP: Set up a Private Group Facebook page for significant life moments. I learned this later through our health scare journey. The outpouring of inquiries and good wishes fell upon texting. It turned into a full-time job for me and was difficult to keep up. I then realized setting up a Private page was way more productive. Myself ‘and’ my husband was able to broadcast his progress to everyone at the same time allowing everyone in return to share their responses.

Now, as I am in the job search phase, my professional network has become, well, a criticality. Some experts say that 70 percent of people ended up in their current position thanks to networking. Others say it’s more like 80 percent or even 85 percent. Moving from Toronto to the Ottawa area meant building a brand new local network. I’ve had to dig deep into my sales DNA to build up the ‘Kimberley funnel’ to help me navigate within my new region to get my resume in front of potential hiring managers.

To be honest, I hate networking. Okay, let me rephrase that, I’m not fond of attending large networking events. For me personally, it feels unnatural like I’m at a Speed Dating session. And admittedly I feel a little vulnerable bracing for the dreaded question ‘and what do you do’ as I sit there with my name tag that has no company name on it. I also think it’s the snob in me that dislikes it so much!! Ask my friends, I am not one to just talk to anyone. (I’m overcoming this snobby side but we will leave that for another blog 😉).

What I do enjoy is the more intimate networking approach in having 1:1 conversations.  My former boss said I was good at ‘connecting the dots’. Linked In has been a powerful tool to do just that, connect the dots. It takes more time, a bit of navigating to find the right new connections, a small investment with the Premium license and a little bit of boldness to ask for the meeting.

I’ve had so many recently, I think I may have to switch my caffeine intake to sparkling water!!  But I am really enjoying these coffee chats.  They are more meaningful, focused and less stressful. They also get me out of the house and out of my sweats😉. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some interesting, talented and connected people that although I’m a stranger to them, have genuinely wanted to help, have been encouraging and as an added plus have great insight on educating me on where to shop, eat, visit in the new area. I have a concise approach to these conversations with what I want to walk away with.

TIP: Sharing a bit of my background and my aspirations for the next gig, what I’m doing in the meantime (all to be shared in this Blog series of course) and then I ask my new Connection to share their list of companies that they have influential relationships with. In doing so, you can accelerate your network pretty fast; not to mention push your CV ahead of others.

Regardless of your style of networking, I encourage it as a thoughtful way of finding employment. Not to mention, it gives you a sense of purpose as it feels somewhat like a part-time job; I promise a fun one too. Who doesn’t enjoy expanding their Force with cool new people!

Well, thanks for reading. Off to attend an interview; wish me luck and to all, wishing you a very Merry Christmas. Look out for my next Blog during the Holidays!

Kimber

Bite size snacks to feed the soul

‘Things happen in three’ or is it ‘three times a charm’? When I look back at 2017, I take a deep breathe and ask myself, it is over yet because it was a long one!

The year started out with a very real health scare for my loving and thankfully recovering husband; a significant move for my family 4 hours away from a community we adored, and then most recently, I was blindsided by a global layoff from a company I loved with a “your job role has been eliminated”.  (Oh, and I turned 50. Darn, that’s 4 things! 😉 )

Through all of these life-changing moments, I have been blessed by a strong support network of family, friends, and colleagues. To no one’s surprise, the empathy statement consistently has been ‘Don’t worry, things happen for a reason’. But do they ‘just’ happen?

I do believe in karma, fate and my faith but I also believe that many things are both controllable and connected….My husband’s health scare (no control) prompted the move to a more calmer stress-free lifestyle and an amazing community to bring up our 13-year-old son (controlled). Now with this recent layoff, I began to ask myself to answer Tony Robbin’s question, “How can we intentionally create such experiences and moments to enrich and enhance our lives?” (I’m recently reading inspirational content to satisfy my cravings to combat the desire to roll into a ball and watch movies eating bonbons all day!)

And one theme that continues to come to mind is Sisterhood. As we women know, we flex our emotional muscles when we rally around one another, both personally and professionally.

I didn’t always think this. I used to have the attitude that women and men are the same and resented the ‘we are women, hear us roar’ personas. My perspective slowly changed once I completed a women’s leadership program a few years ago. It taught us how to best optimize our existence in the boardroom that benefits mutual business outcomes. To build a personal brand and a voice that fostered confidence. This ‘connection’ also prompted me to sign up to be a Co-National Lead of my last company’s Women’s Council for 2 years so that I could help other females find their voices.

So what am I doing now to feed my soul you ask and how is it tied to sisterhood? Join me on my personal journey by reading my blog series where I delve into some of the tips and tricks of a more happy and meaningful me. I will share my quest to satisfy my cravings for enriched engagements that hopefully you find cool, fun and perhaps inspirational.

Part 2 – May the Force be with you, Networking

Part 3 – How to lose 10 pounds

Part 4 – The Artistry in Me, Professional Development

Part 5 – A Full Course Meal, Giving Back

The Final Chapter…..coming soon