“Be as a tower firmly set; Shakes not its top for any blast that blows.”
“Be as a tower firmly set; Shakes not its top for any blast that blows.”
“One of our friends asked me how I manage to incorporate endurance sporting events within a busy lifestyle. I had to think for a moment, before offering the only reasonable response that came to me – that I am willing to go beyond what others would do.”
Stephen J. Boyd MBA(FS) Class of 2018
Stephen Boyd is taking on the challenge of the Big Swim to be held August 18, 2019. Over the past months, Stephen has focused on training for this “epic” swim. CEGE Connection has been following Stephen on his journey. This is the second in the series of The Big Swim – A Give to Live Project.
Stephen J. Boyd MBA(FS) Class of 2018: Update July 2019
My wife, Sarah and I met up with friends a few weeks ago to celebrate the recent purchase of our new house. Over an animated dinner conversation, the topic of swimming came up. Our friends were interested in Sarah’s upcoming national synchronized swimming competition in Quebec City, including hearing about the sacrifices that had to be made to participate in this physical activity (her team did very well- proud husband). The discussion soon shifted to my participation in the BIG SWIM charity event, held in August each year. The event combines an epic feat of endurance, swimming from New Brunswick to PEI, with the opportunity to raise funds for an awesome charity. The BIG SWIM is not a race and supports swimmers of all abilities to get out into the Northumberland Strait and achieve the unimaginable. For normal people who cross the Northumberland Strait by bridge or ferry, the distance is roughly 13 kilometers. Due to currents, and other unknowns, I am told that the average swimmer will cover 15+ kilometers. It is a truly an epic undertaking.
One of our friends asked me how I manage to incorporate endurance sporting events within a busy lifestyle. I had to think for a moment, before offering the only reasonable response that came to me – that I am willing to go beyond what others would do.
Since that dinner, I have reflected on my response regarding my willingness to commit to a physical challenge that demands a lot of dedication. Taking on the BIG SWIM will test my courage and resolve. As I mentioned in my previous blog, I do not have extraordinary athletic abilities, but I am prepared to make sacrifices such as getting up at 3:15 AM to train for an Ironman triathlon. This past Saturday, I swam approximately 8 KMs at the Dalplex. Although it does not appear to be a daunting task, Sarah, my greatest supporter, reminded me that distance equated to 160 + laps of an Olympic long-course pool.
Overall, training is going as planned. On those 5:30a.m. drives to the pool, I stay motivated by thinking about the exhilaration of participating in an endurance event. The charity swim is scheduled for August 18th, and I still have a lot of hard training ahead. I remind myself that I have taken on an epic feat of endurance. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Going beyond takes a person to the next level of personal fulfillment. It builds resilience to seek out the next challenge. I am certain that I will do other marathon swimming events.
While driving to our new home this weekend, a local school had a billboard that read: “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” I am uncertain who originally came up with this thought, but I think it is brilliant.
“Much like a musician, I began by recording my thoughts on various topics to develop my voice as a solo artist. Most of those recordings will never be released, but they were important for my growth as a podcaster. Eventually I felt more comfortable with the idea of stepping out on my own and launched the Art Pays Me Podcast, a podcast where I get to explore my passion for that grey area between art and business.”
Duane Jones, MIM Class of 2014
Duane Jones (MIM Class of 2014) is a visual branding, graphic design and information management specialist. Our first meeting was at the 2018 ARMA Conference held in Vancouver, which gave me the opportunity to invite him to join the CEGE Connection conversation. Duane is an artist and the fashion designer of his clothing brand, Art Pays Me. His competitive advantage comes from a unique ability to bring together information management with the creative world of art and graphic design. His clothing collections are featured at Atlantic Fashion Week and recently, in a successful solo fashion and art show at the Halifax Central Library.
Duane is host and creator of a podcast called, The Art Pays Me Podcast, which made it to New & Noteworthy on iTunes. He is a guest speaker at events such as Canadian Conference on Medical Education, Podcamp Halifax and Social Media Day Halifax.
CEGE Connection reached out to Duane, asking him to share his insights on why he podcasts, and how he builds upon information management knowledge to transform the way in which we connect within a virtual community.
I’m a voracious consumer of information. I enjoy reading but I have to read very slowly to absorb what I’m ingesting. I fell in love with podcasts because they made it easier for me to satisfy my craving for consuming knowledge without the same level of time commitment. I could learn about all kinds of things while driving or even doing housework. I was able to connect with experts on obscure topics who were just as passionate about them as I am.
Over time, listening was not enough, and I found myself wanting desperately to be involved in the conversations. After all, most of the topics I listened to were things I had deep knowledge of and passion for. It then dawned on me that I needed to be a guest on some shows but when that happened, I still wanted more. I believe in the power of manifestation so I started to make it known that I was interested in starting a podcast of my own and the universe led me to Peter Hemsworth, Terrence Taylor and Lauren Sears who would become my co-hosts on a podcast called Changing the Narrative.
I worked on that podcast for a little over a year but my life outside of work and my business revolve around the needs of my family, so I needed to be able to record on a schedule that respected that. The break I took from podcasting was much needed but after about a month away I missed it. In particular, I missed the dialogue and the community that podcasting helped me to build. I also had a number of stories that I wanted to share, so I imagined what a podcast with just me would look and sound like.
Much like a musician, I began by recording my thoughts on various topics to develop my voice as a solo artist. Most of those recordings will never be released, but they were important for my growth as a podcaster. Eventually I felt more comfortable with the idea of stepping out on my own and launched the Art Pays Me Podcast, a podcast where I get to explore my passion for that grey area between art and business.
Here are some of the key things that I considered before starting:
With most of us having access to advanced smart phones, the ability to cheaply record and edit a quality podcast is literally at our fingertips. You can spend thousands on recording equipment and software or spend $80 on a decent mic and use free software that’s preinstalled on your computer like I do. My opinion is that great content trumps everything so I’m not against taking a hit on quality temporarily if your means are limited but you have a great story to share. As a rule, the quality of your recording will depend on your personal standards and what your audience is willing to accept. Always strive for the best quality possible but don’t let that be a barrier to starting.
There are many services that offer online podcast hosting for free and paid subscriptions. I’ve done both. In my experience, the more I pay, the more tools that I have at my disposal like analytics, storage space and automatic uploads to major podcast networks like iTunes, Google Play and Spotify. iTunes and the like do not offer much information about who’s listening to your show so if this matters to you, your hosting platform will be where you collect most of this data. As information professionals we love data so I would recommend investing in a paid service that offers you as much information as you can get.
As far as time investment goes podcasting can be very time consuming. Listen to podcasts that are similar to what you want yours to be and determine what episode length works best for you. Some shows consistently release 2 hours of content and their audiences lap it up happily while others stick to 10 or 15 minutes and deliver content that gets right to the point. There is no right or wrong when it comes to podcast length but consider that longer podcasts require more time not just for recording but editing and uploading. Many people pay producers to handle that so they can stick to coming up with content.
Podcasting has many professional benefits as it can position its hosts and guests as thought leaders in their respective fields, spread their message to audiences outside of their own and can be monetized through advertising and subscription models. While these benefits are enticing, my biggest piece of advice is to make sure that you first enjoy doing it. If you don’t enjoy the process, you’re most likely not going to stick with it and to be honest… No one wants to listen to a person who’s not excited about being there.
CEGE Connection is delighted to advise that Duane has graciously agreed to be a repeat contributor on CEGE Connection
“My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here;
My heart’s in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.”
Robert Burns, (1759 – 1796)
“The one lesson I wanted to share with the audience is that simulations are a powerful tool, but they only work if all parties, both students and instructors, are fully engaged. This requires a combination of vigilance and enthusiasm on all sides.”
Dr. Carolan McLarney
Dr. Carolan McLarney was the keynote speaker at the 7th Teaching & Education Conference organized by the International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences
Dr. Carolan McLarney:
On May 21st I was honoured to give the keynote address at the annual International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences Conference held at the University of London in London, England. The speech was entitled Home and Away: The Effective Use of Simulations in Graduate Blended Learning Programs.
It was centred on the concept that simulations can be effective tools in creating deeper learning. “It is a technique to replace and amplify real experiences with guided ones, often “immersive” in nature, that evoke or replicate substantial aspects of the real world in a fully interactive fashion.” (Lateef, 2010).
The first part of the talk explored the impact of three factors (individual, group and organization) on the overall efficacy of the simulation. Each of the factors can singularly effect simulation outcomes, but often they work in tandem. For instance, systematic biases at the individual level can exacerbate issues of team effectiveness. Similarly, an ineffective team would have difficulty overcoming organizational complexity. This means that instructors must be cognizant of the possible deleterious effects of the three factors on the simulation and on the desired outcomes for the course.
In the second half of the presentation I walked through the four different simulations I have used in the MBA(FS/L) program beginning in 1999. They vary in delivery mode (paper to on-line) and in timelines (an afternoon to full semester).
The Kalimantan Paper Project is a paper-based, three-hour negotiation simulation where groups of students work to create a “sellable” deal. The Global Shoe Company is an on-line competitive simulation that we have run over the course of a four-day intensive. We have used the Everest: Leadership & Team Simulation in the Capstone Strategy Class for the past number of years. It is an on-line interactive simulation where teams attempt to climb Everest. Finally, GLO-BUS is a full semester on-line competitive simulation where teams try to win global market dominance in the Drone and Wearable Camera industry. Interestingly the first year we ran the simulation our winning team went on to eventually becoming the 2018 GLO-BUS BSI “Grand Champions”.
The one lesson I wanted to share with the audience is that simulations are a powerful tool, but they only work if all parties, both students and instructors, are fully engaged. This requires a combination of vigilance and enthusiasm on all sides.
Dr. C. McLarney
Faculty of Management
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Editor’s Note: The Centre for Executive and Graduate Education (CEGE) provides opportunities for deeper learning by delivering robust course content in ways that engage students to study, integrate and apply what they have learned. Deeper learning fosters competencies required to participate within our social milieu: critical thinking, collaborative and communication skills. CEGE’s commitment to their students was dramatically evidenced in the GLO-BUS Simulation introduced by Dr. Carolan McLarney in the 2018 winter semester of International Business.
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
Car ton bras sait porter l’épée,
Il sait porter la croix!
Ton histoire est une épopée
Des plus brillants exploits.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”
Robert Swan, Author
Almost 1.5 million people watched the documentary Leaving Neverland earlier this month, making it the third most-watched HBO documentary in a decade. The four-hour documentary describes how Michael Jackson allegedly groomed and sexually abused two children, James Safechuck and Wade Robson, during the late ‘80s to mid-’90s.
Child sex abuse of the type alleged in Leaving Neverland generates strong and negative visceral reactions. Little of the information presented in Leaving Neverland was new, but it was a compelling narrative framed to draw in the audience and maximize sympathy for the alleged victims.
In her post-screening interviews of Jackson’s articulate and thoughtful accusers, Oprah Winfrey said child sex abuse is rampant: “It is happening right now. It is happening in families. We know it is happening in churches, and in schools and sports teams everywhere.”
Winfrey isn’t wrong. Nonetheless, the suffering of 1,000 children should concern us more than the suffering of one or two children, but it does not. This is why fundraising campaigns normally focus on one child suffering as opposed to many. It has a much stronger emotional pull.
Psychologists refer to this as the identifiable victim effect. People are willing to aid identifiable victims much more than unidentifiable or statistical victims. We are also more willing to provide aid when one person is suffering, but our willingness decreases as you add more people. We cannot seem to process mass suffering.
One study I conducted with two colleagues explored the impact of the 2009 news coverage of Evan Frustaglio, a seemingly healthy 13-year-old boy living in Toronto who died of the influenza virus H1N1. After his photo and story was featured prominently in the news, media coverage of H1N1 more than doubled in the month following his death.
Despite a massive effort by government to encourage people to get vaccinated, polling data in the period immediately preceding Frustalgio’s death showed a decreased interest in getting the vaccine. Immediately after Frustaglio’s death, demand surged and parents rushed their children to clinics across Canada, standing in massive lineups.
In 2015, the image of Alan Kurdi, a three-year old Syrian boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach, focused international attention on the war in Syria, which had been occurring for years.
The circulation of Kurdi’s image, taken by photojournalist Nilüfer Demir, through the news media prompted the Western public to put pressure on their governments to expedite the process for those seeking refugee status. In this way, a single photo changed the lives of thousands.
The identifiable victim effect allows us to react strongly to individual suffering, like the experiences of Alan Kurdi and Evan Frustaglio, or the ones recounted in Leaving Neverland, but it also allows us to distance ourselves from mass suffering.
The United Nations has reported that 723,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar, many of whom are children. These children are subject to disease outbreaks, malnutrition, physical danger and sexualized violence. UN Secretary General António Guterres has described the situation as “catastrophic.” Bob Rae, Canada’s special envoy to Myanmar, broke down at a parliamentary committee over the plight of the children.
But progress has been slow and uneven in Myanmar.
Although child sex abuse has been trending downward in Canada since the early 1990s, the numbers remain high: according to Statistics Canada, in 2012 there were approximately 14,000 children and youth who were victims of sexual abuse in Canada; that is, 205 victims for every 100,000 children.
The way media translates statistical and unidentifiable victims into stories can help to humanize the victims and motivate action. The action must be underpinned by an understanding of the magnitude of the problem, fair and just laws and moral intent, at home and abroad.
Kevin Ebert MBA(FS) Class of 2014 sent in a question to Dr. Rick Nason:
“Major FI’s around the world currently see Canadian consumers being massively over-levered and the Toronto/Vancouver housing markets as ‘bubble-concerns’. Viewed another way: Consumer spending, via low interest rate credit, has been the ‘fuel’ for Canada’s economic performance and GDP growth. What advice would you give MBAs currently leading Canadian-domiciled companies, looking to maximize growth & opportunity, while minimizing risk/exposure to these issues?” Kevin Ebert MBA(FS)
In the fifth installment of striving for success in 2019, Dr. Rick Nason discusses consumer spending, economic performance and GDP growth.
Dr. Rick Nason:
Consumer spending is the only engine behind GDP. If consumers do not buy anything, then businesses don’t make things, which in turn means that businesses don’t buy anything, and so on into the box top of the classic box of Moirs chocolates. So, we cannot put the blame on consumers.
Having said that, Canadian consumers are arguably over-leveraged. However, we have also been, in my humble opinion, coasting on a variety of made-in-Canada factors for a very long period of time. I won’t go into the specific factors that I believe we have been coasting under for fear of this being labeled a political blog. I am sure that the reader can make their own list.
As Canadians we are incredibly lucky. We have a relatively stable and responsible government (my comment in the previous paragraph notwithstanding), we have an embarrassment of natural resources, and we have, for the most part, a suitable climate. What this has produced is a corporate culture that has become fat and lazy; despite our daily machinations about working such long and hard hours. Of course, some of us (ahem ahem) have literally got fat and lazy, but we will leave my personal state of affairs out of this blog.
I believe that there are two short and simple responses to your question. The first is to stop thinking that you are a Canadian company. Yes, take the advantages that being Canadian provides you, but take those advantages and learn to play on the world stage. Yes, that means that you need to leave behind some of the Canadian advantages, such as protectionism, behind. But wake up, we are a big country with not many people. As the rest of the world develops, it is learning to do more with less, and on a much larger scale of people, and yes, that includes a much larger base of consumer spending. That means that the rest of the world is developing experience at scale. We do not have the scale, and to get it you must go out and think and behave globally.
Leaving your familiar backyard is scary. I remember leaving my neighbourhood when I was approximately 10 years old with a group of my friends to play a street hockey game against a neighbourhood on the other side of the town that none of us had ever been to. It felt as if we were taking a trip to the moon. It sounds silly, but I think that is what many Canadian companies still feel. Admittedly, as Canadians we have one heck of a nice neighbourhood, but how are you to develop your street hockey skills unless you get out there and test your skills, and learn new skills from other neighbourhoods? (Hope you appreciate my Canadian spelling of “neighbourhood” in this paragraph and the home-grown theme of street-hockey.)
The second, and related solution is to compete! compete! compete! Except for hockey, and perhaps only women’s hockey at that, we have forgotten about how to compete. (Okay – time to break the no politics rule.) Take for instance interprovincial trade. We don’t even want to compete interprovincially! Historically, there were arguably some valid reasons to prevent too much competition. Unfortunately, that is now being laughed at by the rest of the world (although one prominent figure with arguably worse hair than mine – although I have undisputedly the more natural complexion – is making a mockery of international trade and competition for the moment.)
Since you brought it up, Canadian financial institutions, in particular, have forgotten how to compete for the simple reason that they never needed to. Retail Canadians, and corporate Canada for that matter, are notoriously sticky consumers of financial institutions. We pick our financial institutions based on proximity, and the only time we change is when we change our neighbourhood – and even then, we keep our old accounts going. Canadian financial institutions constitute a classic oligopoly.
I love Canada. If you slit my wrists, instead of red and white blood cells you get Maple leaves, hockey pucks, and whatever crap the pulp mill in my neighbourhood was spitting out the day that I was born. However, I got most of my post-secondary education south of the border, and spent most of my non-academic career south of the border. The difference in the willingness to compete, in both academia, and in business continues to astonish and annoy me. We are a wonderful and blessed country, but if you want GDP growth (we can argue whether that is a worthy goal or not), we gotta step outside the neighbourhood and compete.
 For those of a too tender age who did not get the reference, do an internet search for vintage Moirs Pot of Gold Chocolate box
“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.”