This post was entirely inspired by an article I read by Peter Spurway, someone whom I had the privilege of volunteering with during the 2008 IIHF World Hockey Championship in Halifax.
“It’s a well-established truth in our profession that, to communicate effectively with a target group, one must “know your audience”. We must understand their wants, needs and aspirations; their age, gender, socio- and psychographic profile, etc. All in order to better connect and ensure our messages – the vocabulary, timing and method – are tailored effectively. What I would like you to consider is a corollary to that axiom. Let your audience know you.”
So without further ado, here we go.
Upon meeting me, most people think I’m a born and raised Albertan. After all, I proudly wear a necklace of the three sisters on my neck. However, I quickly let them know that my heart and roots are in Cape Breton. I don’t typically share much of how I came to Alberta but recently I was asked to speak at a local college about the online world, personal branding and how it’s all woven together (this forced me to consider my career path and how I landed here.)
Nearly a decade ago I made a big decision. The Nova Scotia economy was looking bleak and with student loans to pay, matched with the uncertainty of whether a contract would be renewed, I bought a one-way ticket to Alberta (the land of opportunity.) I had lived away from my family while going to university, as well as a short stint in New York but the feeling of a one-way ticket in your hand and a belly full of doubt is totally different. I’ll never forget standing teary-eyed at the Halifax Stanfield Airport saying goodbye to my parents and preparing to fly 5000km away from my comfort zone.
I arrived in Alberta only to find that the uncertainty of the economy had followed me there. The land of opportunity had a limited number of job openings, so I got right to work applying for every kind of job you can think of. But the problem was that a HIST/POLS degree wasn’t that impressive when you’re competing with engineers. It took a while to land my first job in Alberta but with some help, I did.
A few weeks into the new job I got word that my uncle had passed suddenly and unexpectedly. My uncle had a pretty interesting life; he was famous in his own right. Employed by the National Geographic Society and then finishing his career in the hospitality industry, he had some wild stories involving many characters he met along his journey. He loved to sail, enjoyed impeccably decorated homes, a strong drink and had deep admiration for a smart pair of shoes. As a kid I annoyed the shit out of him, but as an adult we got along famously. The last time I spoke with him was during a several-hour gossip session about life (we liked to ‘dish’ about everything while we hung out at my grandmothers.) He was a real people-person; he could read you like a book and even when you thought you were getting away with something – he had your number. But people were very fond of him because he shot from the hip, he was always telling stories and worked hard to bring laughter to the room. He wasn’t a mentor in the strictest sense of the word, but I admired how he made people feel. They were comfortable with him, they appreciated his humour and forward approach. I loved that about him. (That and I was his favourite niece by a long shot… but that’s another story…)
I had always wanted to go out on my own as a marketing consultant but didn’t know where to start (student loans are the dickens and I didn’t have the money to just quit my job.)
But here’s the side of Kat you should know: my career down the solo path probably wouldn’t have come to fruition without a little bit of divine intervention. When my uncle passed, he left us a little bit of money. With some of that money I bought my very first Mac computer (ironically, the one I write this blog from today, so if you’ve done the math this thing doesn’t owe me anything!) I had never spent that kind of money in my life (the exception being university tuition.) But since then, I’ve had many clients and the best part is that I absolutely love what I do. There’s nothing more fulfilling than meeting with someone, hearing their problems and being able to find a solution that actually matters to their business. I’ve had the great opportunity to meet and work with some of the best and brightest; I’ve had the chance to learn about many different industries and even got an in-depth explanation of ‘fracking’ when I shared this picture from Cape Breton. I’ve made lifelong friends and learned lifelong lessons (with many laughs sprinkled in between.)
When I read Peter’s article, something clicked for me. Some people know me as ‘No BS Kat’ because, well the truth is, I just hate bulls**t. And like my uncle, I tend to shoot from the hip (though, I could probably use more diplomacy now and then.) Working in marketing & PR, you see your fair share of BS but since day one my goal has always been to cut through every bit of it and watch out for my clients (I always want them to feel comfortable with me.) Truthfully it’s exhausting and disappointing to meet with a new client only to hear how they’ve been duped by self-proclaimed ‘experts’ in the industry who have led them down the path of spending more but getting less (or worse, getting in trouble.) I hate that some mornings I’ll open LinkedIn to find another ‘expert’ telling sales people to use social media for sales without any type of context. Or ‘experts’ advising executives to spend $6000 a month on AdWords but can’t tell them why (or show them the results.)
Nearly a decade ago I made the decision to come to Alberta to find a job. I had no idea that a bittersweet opportunity would present itself shortly thereafter, in fact my heart still aches thinking about it. But boy am I glad that this is where I landed. Alberta really is the land of opportunity. From my clients to colleagues – I’m always impressed by the breadth and depth of talent; the drive to stay the course even in the face of the many downturns and discouraging circumstances.
So this is the side of Kat you may not have known: a Caper exiled to Alberta by circumstance but now infinitely proud of both.
If you’re looking for someone who will compliment you and tell you how good your company is doing online (even if you’re not) or is willing to try shady tricks and take shortcuts – I’m not the right person for you. But if you want someone who will work tirelessly, stays on top of trends, tests what they preach (instead of just reading an article and telling you to ‘just do it’) shoots from the hip, will treat your business like it’s their own and has a few laughs from time-to-time… I’d love the opportunity to chat with you![ninja_form id=15]
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.