PIC Newsletter - January 2014 
Hope you enjoy the new look and the latest edition of The Buzz!

A message from the PIC chair, Sharon Aschaiek

Since January is everyone's favourite month for making big changes to their lives, PIC has decided to get in on the resolution action with its own makeover for 2014. As you will see on this newsletter, PIC has a fresh new look and feel.


Last fall, we on the executive began critically looking at PIC's brand, which was last updated in 2010 to coincide with the change in name from Alliance of Independent Practitioners.

Looking to update our identity with a more modern and relevant brand, we turned to graphic designer Cathy Ledden, a PIC member and our go-to person for marketing projects. Cathy has 25 years of design and project m
anagement experience, and her company, Ledden Design iT, has worked with clients such as Best Buy Canada, Cancer Care Ontario, Scotiabank and the Ministry of Research and Innovation.

Over several weeks, we worked with Cathy to develop a new logo, newsletter banner and tagline that would better represent the goals and activities of PIC, and also sync up to an extent with the IABC/Toronto brand. Cathy brought forward many great ideas, and in the end, we went with what you now see on your screen. Here's Cathy's explanation of the meaning behind our new logo:


"The dialogue symbol is an easily recognizable mark and represents the voice of PIC -- friendly, professional and communicative. The cropped letters rise to the top, adding a unique element that creates a simple yet distinctive symbol.The bright orange colour of the logo expresses PIC's vibrancy. The blue of the dot is the IABC brand colour, showing alignment with the 'mother' IABC brand. Plus the simple single dot represents independence.


"We aimed to create a logo that is simple, yet distinctive and unusual. To strike the right balance, we perform a simple test: If you can easily draw the logo from memory, the logo has achieved its goal."
We'd love to know -- what do you think about PIC's new brand? Hit 'reply' to respond to the newsletter, or drop me a line.

As many of you know, PIC's next event is our Digital Day professional development workshop this Saturday, Jan. 25. You may have heard that it sold out, but don't worry if you didn't register; you can check out our next newsletter for insights on the day's activities and key lessons. For those PIC members who will be attending, we're looking forward to seeing you there. In case you need a reminder, the event information page has the full details about the day.


Continued success,
In This Issue
A message from the PIC chair
Watch for Digital Day tweets
Next gathering Feb. 5
12 questions to start 2014
What would draw you to IABCWC14?
Meet David McPherson
Explore the PIC blog: Resources
IABC/Toronto needs volunteers
Quick Links
Newsletter archives
Find back issues of The Buzz here.
Join Our Mailing List!
We want your talents!
Interested in writing, editing or contributing ideas for PIC's The Buzz or IABC/Toronto's Communicator? We'd love your help. Let us know!
Tidbits of knowledge
Visit the Professional Independent Communicators - Toronto blog for tips on such topics as pricing and running your business, as well as pre-event podcasts and post-event reports.
PIC 2013-2014 Executive
Contact any of us with questions, comments and ideas for speakers or topics!

Chair: Sharon Aschaiek
Past Chair: Donna Papacosta
Communications: Sue Horner
Membership & Events: Elizabeth Trew
Programming: Roger Morier
Social Media: Amy Sept
Digital Day is sold out, but watch for tweets from #DigitalDayTO

PIC and the Professional Writers Association of Canada -- Toronto Chapter will be immersed in digital strategies, techniques and applications from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, during Digital Day. The event is sold out, but you can follow along on Twitter as we live-tweet the event under the hashtag #DigitalDayTO. And of course, you can read all about it in the February issue of The Buzz.

Many thanks to our event partner, PWAC Toronto, and our event sponsor:
The Centre for Arts and Technology

Next gathering Feb. 5: Socialize at the Fifth on the Fifth

The success of our social event in December suggested that PIC members might prefer purely social events to the less-well-attended networking exchanges we've been holding every second month. With that in mind, we're holding our first social event of 2014 at the Fifth on the Fifth.


This evening of quality conversation and casual networking takes place from 7 p.m. onward at The Fifth Pub House, part of The Fifth group of bars, clubs and cafes. Located in the heart of Toronto's lively night scene at 225 Richmond Street West (corner of Duncan Street), The Fifth Pub House offers good food and drinks in a warm and relaxed atmosphere. Wednesday nights are Oyster Nights, so if you're in the mood, plan on an oyster feast at a buck a shuck.


IABC/PIC social events allow you to renew acquaintances or make new ones. It's pay-your-own-way for drinks, snacks and even a meal if you like. As always, though, the conversation and company is free of charge.


Help us reserve enough space for everyone with a quick email to Roger Morier to let us know you're coming. Hope to see you there!

12 questions to help you start 2014 on the right foot

A new year usually brings with it renewed plans to achieve big goals. PIC member and certified coach Eileen Chadnick, ABC, of Big Cheese Coaching, outlines 12 questions to ask yourself to help you make a strong start to the year:
  1. What went well? Identify the goals you accomplished or made progress meeting.
  2. How did you grow and evolve? How were you challenged and how did you grow as a result? What new skills, knowledge and ideas have made you better or different from the beginning of 2013?
  3. What were your favourite moments of 2013? Replay the positive moments to boost your optimism, resilience and mojo.
  4. What do you need to clean out or let go of from 2013 to start fresh in the new year? Consider both your physical space (your office and your home) as well as your emotional and mental mindsets.
  5. What and who are you most grateful for right now? Consider the people, the circumstances and the gifts in your life. Practise gratitude for greater happiness, health and well-being.
  6. If there was a theme for 2013 for you, what was it? "This was the year of ______."
  7. What do you want for the year ahead? What goals are you embracing and willing to commit to (maybe a new client?)? Make them count; make them meaningful; and make them happen!
  8. In what areas do you need to get better organized? Consider your daily tasks as well as longer-term priorities. How will you manage your time more effectively and meaningfully?
  9. How will you tame the multi-tasking beast and add more focus and flow to your days? Your brain needs time to focus. Give it some and you will be rewarded with a greater sense of ease, energy and 'brain-ability' to tackle the load more effectively.
  10. What inner critics need to take a back seat this year so you can tap into the more essential self that will empower you to flourish? What voices need to be quieted this year? What empowering voices (trust, wisdom, experience, courage) from within will you listen to more intently?
  11. How will you boost your 'positivity' ratio? Those who focus on the positive enjoy greater success and are more apt to stretch higher and reach more goals. The ideal ratio is a minimum of three positive thoughts to one negative thought.
  12. How will you ensure you get enough quality sleep this year? Ample ZZZs are imperative for our brains and bodies to operate most effectively.

Bonus question: If 2014 is to have a personal theme for you, what would that be? What word or phrase best embodies this theme? Fill in the blank: "This will be the year of __________."


"This year, my own theme continues to be 'ease' -- to live and work with greater ease," says Eileen. "I'll still work hard and give it my all, and then some. But I will use the tools shared in my new book, Ease: Manage Overwhelm in Times of Crazy Busy, to do so with much less struggle. How about you?"

See an excerpt of the book in this Globe and Mail article.
Learn more about the book's concepts in Donna Papacosta's interview with Eileen.
Read Eileen's original blog post on the 12 questions.


Join the conversation about indie representation at the 2014 IABC World Conference

What kind of content would make you say, "I HAVE to attend the 2014 IABC World Conference"? Hop over to our LinkedIn group to weigh in on the discussion. IABC is considering an indie day on the opening Sunday, and would like to make sure the content has value.

You can also send your thoughts directly to PIC member Diana Degan, ABC, who is working on the programming committee.  Thanks!

PIC Personalities
Meet David McPherson
by Sue Horner 

We count more than 160 members in PIC, offering a range of talent from coaching and media relations to video production and writing. Do you know everyone? PIC Personalities introduces new members and randomly profiles existing members. Let Sue Horner know if you'd like to be profiled and she'll be in touch to set it up!

David McPherson is president of McPherson Communications. You can reach him online at mcphersoncommunications.com, on Twitter and LinkedIn, by email or phone at 416-385-9888.


What's your background?

I have a Masters in Journalism from the University of Western Ontario. While doing my graduate work, I had an internship with the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club. That led to my first job with a sports marketing company. For a sports fanatic like me, that was a dream job and I was able to build a network in the sports industry. However, the pay wasn't great and I decided to look at the corporate side.


My first taste of corporate life was at the Workplace Safety Insurance Board, where I learned other facets of communications such as planning and strategic work, telling employee stories and touring with the president to promote WSIB's five-year plan and mission. Then I moved to the LCBO to manage specialty and employee communications, including a newsletter and annual report.


When did you launch your business?

A little over two years ago. I was approaching 40, and there was no real room to grow in my job. My children were about 5 and 7 years old, an age where I wanted a bit more flexibility. Meanwhile, I had been freelancing for about 10 years on the side, writing in areas I'm passionate about -- sports and music. I had built up a client base, and felt the time was right.


What do you enjoy most about being an independent?

Being on my own has allowed me to have some great experiences, like going to the Masters in Augusta, Georgia last year -- a real bucket-list experience for a golf fan!

I also like the diversity of work. I can be writing a news release for a golf construction company in the morning, and interviewing a Juno award-winning musician in the afternoon. 

I also like being able to manage my time and get the work done in the hours I want to work.


Do you have any advice for others new to independent life?

I kind of jumped into freelancing without a roadmap. In retrospect, it would have helped to better plan for the unexpected. So I would say, recognize that there will be periods of feast or famine, and stay positive. Plan for them, and use the time when you don't have deadlines to do some of the bookkeeping or financial work, marketing and other facets of running a business.


How long have you been a PIC member?

I think I joined shortly after I went on my own, when I was looking at ways to be connected to other people I could learn from.


What value have you experienced from your PIC membership so far?

I'm just starting to see the benefits. But it's valuable just knowing there's a network of people to reach out to, to bounce ideas off or partner with, to learn from. And the social part is great, too. It's good to have that camaraderie and networking with people in your line of business. 

Have you read all the profiles of our PIC Personalities? They're now posted online.
Explore the PIC blog: Need resources? Have we got resources for you!

Check PIC's IABC eXchange site, listed upper right as "PIC Toronto blog," for the information you need to help you start, run and grow your business. In "Resources," you'll find guides for writing a business plan, tax tips, marketing advice and more.

If you find a dead link or inaccurate information on the site, please let us know. If you'd like to volunteer to update specific sections of the blog, let us know that, too! 

IABC/Toronto needs you!
by Stephanie Engel, VP Member Communications

Want to share your ideas and opinions on communications? There are a couple of ways you can contribute to IABC/Toronto:

1. Communicator is the magazine IABC/Toronto publishes six times a year for its members, and we need your help to ensure we provide readers with interesting, well-written, topical articles on communications and public relations. You can volunteer to support Communicator in a variety of ways, whether as writer, editor, great proofreader, or even just an idea generator. We will take as much, or as little, time as you can offer.  If you have a story recommendation, would like to write an article (or two!), or are great at proofreading other people's work, then Communicator is looking for you!

2. Commversations is the IABC/Toronto blog . Got an opinion or idea on PR, current events or the latest marketing sensation?  Don't keep it to yourself, submit your thoughts in a written post on Commversations! We want to hear from you, so please visit often and share your insights with fellow communicators. We look forward to getting the conversation started! (PIC chair Sharon Aschaiek recently contributed to the blog with a post on the benefits of specializing.)

Contact Stephanie Engel at toronto-memcomm@iabc.com to find out more about how you can get involved.

PIC is a special interest group of IABC/Toronto. PIC's mission is to support independent IABC/Toronto communicators through professional development, networking and marketing. 
The Buzz is PIC's e-newsletter, intended to inform independent communicators about our activities, share professional development tips from past meetings and keep us aware of what's going on. Connect with us on the web at pictoronto.com.

As the largest chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators, IABC/Toronto provides access to products, services, activities and networking opportunities in Toronto and around the world. IABC helps people and organizations achieve excellence in corporate communications, public relations, employee communication, marketing communication, public affairs and other forms of communication. For more information, visit the
IABC website.

Sue Horner                                                           Heather West   
Director, Communications - PIC                              Copy editor