I provide consulting services for a variety of communications needs, working primarily with small businesses, post-secondary academic institutions, and non-profit organizations. If you’re interested, you can find my complete resume on LinkedIn.
As a professional writer, I have experience developing marketing copy, recruitment materials, proposals, development (fundraising) packages, editorials, automotive and technology reviews, and technical documents. I am also skilled in presentation development, including the design, layout, and structure of templates for general use and specific projects.
My primary software tools are Microsoft Word and Excel for writing and spreadsheet tasks, Microsoft Publisher and Adobe InDesign for projects requiring layout and design, and Microsoft PowerPoint for presentations.
Writing samples are available at request.
Web Design and Development
I design and build websites using the WordPress content-management system, which enables the creation of websites that are easily managed and updated, and highly extensible thanks to a world-wide community that produces themes and plugins for a variety of purposes.
My design process begins with immersing myself in an organization to fully understand the scope of its operations and services, so that I can capture its voice and speak to its stakeholders. Introductory copy and the base design are developed simultaneously, such that one informs the other.
I value clean and simple layouts that emphasize purpose, structure, and consistency. Sites are designed to be fully responsive (viewable on computers, mobile phones, and tablets) and universally accessible, with content optimized for search engines.
Samples of my recent projects are available in my Web Design Portfolio.
Many people think that their brand begins and ends with their logo, but that simply isn’t the case. Whether you’re representing a corporation or yourself as an individual, your brand is a reflection of everything that you say and do. It’s based upon your personality, and strengthened through consistency.
I advise individuals and organizations on how to protect and respect both their own brands and the others with which they are associated. This includes seminars on the concept of the personal brand delivered to post-secondary students at the University of Waterloo and representatives of the Engineering Student Societies’ Council of Ontario.
Once a brand’s personality is established and understood, I favour print and digital materials that reflect and reinforce it, with consistent presentation via a coordinated suite of stationary and templates.
There are numerous resources on the Web providing step-by-step processes to develop communications plans, but it’s a lot like home cooking. Some people know how to follow the recipe on the box and produce something that tastes okay, while others can go beyond the printed instructions to create something that tastes fantastic. And, of course, there are lots of people who don’t need recipes at all–they just know what to do. The big difference is in how the respective cooks perceive and take advantage of their opportunities and resources, and a lot of that comes from experience.
If you can identify and prioritize the opportunities and resources that will inform your communications plan, then building it yourself will be valuable both for a great learning experience and a stronger sense of ownership. But if you’re in a hurry or not quite sure, it’s a good idea to hire a communications consultant such as myself.
Stakeholder Engagement and Facilitation
Surveys are great when you need objective data. When you want to know how a representative sample of people feels about your organization/service/product/event/website/etc., then a survey is a solid start.
What surveys can’t do is reveal how individual people were emotionally impacted, and that’s where stories come in. When we tell stories, we speak from the heart, illustrating with an attention to detail that surveys can’t capture. When we collect stories, we find out whether someone was moved by the big ideas or the little details. And as we hear more and more—and combine the stories with our survey data—we gain a complete understanding of what we accomplished, and what we can do better.
Viewed within a stakeholder-engagement strategy, surveys and stories serve another important purpose: they demonstrate that we’re listening, that we’re attentive, and that we care.
In the context of facilitated group sessions, stories are very powerful. They enable everyone around the table to experience the same event from a different perspective, spark memories, and inspire people to share their own experiences. In doing so, they lead to a cohesive environment and a shared understanding.
Over the years, I have conducted stakeholder engagement and facilitation tasks for non-profit organizations, businesses, and student groups, both as a communications professional and as part of an architectural design team.