5 Reasons to Attend PodCamp Toronto 2014

Pod­Camp Toronto is touted as “Canada’s largest gath­er­ing of cre­ative, tech, and dig­i­tal pro­fes­sion­als.” The 2013 edition of this two-day unconference featured just shy of 60 different sessions with beginner, intermediate and advanced streams, so there was something for everyone to choose from.

2013 topics included: the art of storytelling, all about the Vine app, tips for lead generation

This being my fifth year attending PodCamp Toronto, I thought it would right to share my top five reasons to attend the annual event.

PodCamp Toronto 2013

Photo Source: 2013.podcamptoronto.com

Why you should attend:

  1. It’s free! (but a donation might be nice) – Considering the quality of speakers and access to information you’ll be getting, it’s amazing that this is a community-organized event. Though you can register and attend at no cost, feel free to donate some funds to help the organizing team offset the cost of the event. As a former WordCamp Toronto co-organizer, I know how expensive it is to put on a conference of this scale, so thanks to the sponsors and the community for chipping in to allow this great event to happen every year.

  2. The content – The high caliber of speakers makes PodCamp a must-attend event. You’ll be getting access to a wealth of knowledge from industry leaders who want to contribute to the conversation within the community.

  3. The networking! – There will be plenty of networking opportunities available throughout the weekend. Between sessions the hallways fill with people which make this one of the best times to shake hands with the CEO of a new startup or the head of digital strategy from a company you’ve been following. There’s always a party at the conclusion of day one where you’ll be able to extend the conversations you started during your first day of PodCamp.

  4. It’s fun – PodCamp is more laid back than most paid conferences. Everyone for the most part is open-minded and ready to learn and listen to new ideas and you’re bound to meet some friendly new faces.

  5. There’s something for everyone – Regardless of your background (marketing, pr, web development) or level of expertise, there really is something for everyone at PodCamp. The only downside is not being able to attend everything you want. Given the number and variety of sessions to choose from, research the schedule in advance so you can plan out your timetable. PodCamp uses the law of two feet. If you’re not getting much out of a session, get up and go to a different one.

Register for PodCamp Toronto 2014



The Best Way to Say Thank You – The Gratitude Tea!

Drink tea poster

I’m going to plug an event that is very near and dear to my heart. Every year in early December I organize an event called The Gratitude Tea with my sister and close friends. I attended my first Gratitude Tea in 2006 with my mom. I was nervous to get up and share with everyone why she was so special, but I did it anyway because the love for my mom trumped my fear of public speaking and she deserved all the recognition she could get.

Sadly, my mom passed away unexpectedly in 2009. I’m lucky I got the chance to publicly recognize all that she did for my sister and I and that’s why I continue organizing the tea every year – to give other people the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the important people in their life. The tea returns on December 8, this time celebrating its fifth anniversary! It’s hard to believe it has already been five years since we brought back The Gratitude Tea to make it an annual event.

For those who have never been to the event before, it is an afternoon tea with a special twist – gratitude! Our attendees get the chance to recognize their guest(s) just like I did with my mom, and share with everyone what makes them so special. Attendees can also share a personal written message with their guest if they wish to not get up and speak.

We’re thrilled to be welcoming Body Bijou to the tea this year. They will be on hand selling their jewelry that supports GirlsHelpingGirls, a wonderful organization that empowers women by sponsoring girls’ education.

We’ve got some great auction items up for grabs this year including some Kate Spade clutches and iPhone covers, Raptors tickets, spa certificates, theater tickets and much more.

Come for the merriment, stay for the finger sandwiches, tea and mimosas! Learn more at gratitudetea.com

Gratitude Tea Poster

#TIFF13: A Social Media Recap

The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival has come to an end. It’s a bittersweet time knowing the work is done after a whirlwind 11 days plus the weeks leading up to Festival but also a relief knowing it’s over for another year.

This year was our strongest yet, with record attendance, and most number of tweets using the official Festival hashtag #TIFF13. We’ve been keeping track since the 2012 Festival ended last year, since then there have been over 220,000 tweets with #TIFF13. We deliberately promoted the hashtag everywhere we could, including in cinema, on marketing materials, across all of our social media channels and in press releases. Everyone from Zac Efron to InStyle magazine were using the hashtag and our Twitter handle (@TIFF_NET).

Zac Efron Tweet

Instyle article featuring the #TIFF13 hashtag

If you want to learn more about who tweeted during Festival, read this article on Canada.com and this study done by MediaMiser.

We knew video was going to play a major part in the overall Festival experience, so we created a unique series of Vine videos to specifically capture some of those exciting moments.

We hosted a Reddit AMA pre-Festival with our programmers, which is essentially a Q & A session where people can ask anything. View the full AMA here.

On the day of the talent announcement, we created and linked to a Pinterest board to accompany the press release that was going out to the media.

Talent Pinterest Board

Lastly, we created a bingo card with fun items to photograph during the Festival. We encouraged guests to tag their Instagram photos with #TIFF13Bingo.

Instagram Bingo

The bingo card that was used to play Instagram Bingo with during #TIFF13.

I’m Speaking at the 2013 Digital Media Summit

Digital Media Summit logoI’m excited to be participating at this year’s Digital Media Summit. The two day social media and interactive marketing conference, features everything from cross platform monetization to social media ROI and content branding.

Cindy Gallop, an advertising and brand consultant I saw speak at Mashable Connect 2012 will be speaking. I thoroughly enjoyed watching her present. She was easily one of the most entertaining and engaging speakers at Mashable Connect and I know she will bring her spark back to DMS.

I’ll be participating on the panel Going Social Live: Real-Time Marketing and Engagement Through Social Media from 11:40AM – 12:30PM on March 20. If you’re attending the conference, come say hello!

Digital Media Summit Panel Description

Downtown Marriot

Mashable Connect Take Two

Next weekend I will make my way to Walt Disney World once again to attend my second Mashable Connect conference.

The intimate conference that brings the Mashable community together with the brightest minds in social and digital media is back for the 2012 edition with this year’s theme: Future of Digital.

What I love about this conference are the number of opportunities that allow attendees to connect with each other. From the opening night networking event to the activities inside the Disney parks and seated meals, Mashable Connect lives up to its name of bringing the community together to share, inspire and connect with one another offline.

Some of the speakers include: Burt Herman, Co-founder, Storify; Joe Fernandez, Founder & CEO, Klout; Lawrence Lessig, Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics; Hilary Mason, Chief Scientist, Bit.ly and June Cohen, Executive Producer, TED Media.

Here’s my favourite session from last year that features Craig Engler of Syfy Digital speaking on community engagement.

I’m going to Disney World!

Digital media and Walt Disney World. My two favourite things have actually collided to produce the perfect conference. In a few short weeks I will be off to sunny Florida to attend Mashable Connect to exchange information with leading social media experts from around the world!

If you are wondering why an iconic tourist draw like Disney World was chosen for an important social media conference, it is most likely because it has completely embraced social media as part of how it does business. Most recently Disney partnered with Gowalla to customize a stamp or pin for every park-sanctioned hotel, attraction, restaurant and ride to help visitors explore the parks and attractions – the largest Gowalla partnership with a brand to date. I am sure Josh Williams, the CEO of Gowalla who is a Mashable Connect speaker will speak to this when he presents on Day One of the conference. I am hopeful the organizers will have an activity planned that will allow us to experience this partnership first-hand via our mobile devices and Gowalla app.

The weekend is packed with an incredible line up of speakers. To name just a few….

  • Rohit Bhargava, SVP, Global Strategy & Marketing, Ogilvy
  • Sabrina Caluori, Director of Social Media & Marketing, HBO
  • Cameron Death, Senior Vice President and General Manager, NBCUniversal Digital Studio
  • Scott Heiferman, Co-Founder & CEO, Meetup
  • David Karp, Founder, Tumblr
  • Steve Rubel, SVP/Director of Insights, Edelman Digital
  • Raymie Stata, SVP, Chief Technology Officer, Yahoo
  • Josh Williams, CEO, Gowalla

I will be blogging while at the conference so look out for a few videos, posts, photos and tweets!

You’re late, you’re late…for a very important date!


It’s almost December, so that means it’s almost time for another Gratitude Tea! This charity event is all about raising spirits, receiving praise and spreading goodwill. Well actually it is a formal way to say ‘thank you’ to that unsung hero in your life We are giving you the grandest of opportunities to speak out about that special person in a way that they will always remember. Bringing a guest is just as special too. Just by bringing them as your guest speaks volumes to how they have impacted your life.

Oh and there is tea too! Lots of yummy sweets and treats, clotted cream and tiny sandwiches that only Marie Antoinette would approve of.

Where: Rosewater

When: Sunday December 5, 2010

Time: 1:00 to 3:30 pm.




Attend This Event


It’s Been a Year…Time for a Little Reflection

It’s time to get a little personal, which is something I don’t do very often on this blog. If you have ever lost someone very close to you, maybe you can relate.

It has been one year (Aug 3) since my mom died. It has been a wild one but a challenging one as well. Not just the challenge of learning how to grieve, or move forward but learning how to grow from this situation and try to turn some of the negatives into positives.

Looking back at this past year, it’s remarkable I was even able to do anything at all, considering in the first three weeks since the event took place, I didn’t even want to feed myself.

I was able to get back into a normal routine and I think being able to focus on work again really helped me put things into perspective. I can’t say I was too productive at work though, because my mind was thinking about a million things…what to do with my mom’s house, where will my sister and I live? Can I afford a mortgage or a downpayment?

Despite all the worry in my head, I tried not to get caught up in all the grown up stuff I had to take care of and made it a priority to have fun, see friends, treat myself to getting my nails done and the general stuff that would make me happy and distract me from all the negative emotions I had.

If I also did not have the support of my boyfriend I may have probably had a much tougher time coping.

I feel I accomplished a lot this year. I was still able to host another WordCamp Toronto, change jobs – which is somewhat of a scary prospect in challenging times and I was able to put on a charity fundraising event in honour of my mom, now an annual event called The Gratitude Tea.

The best thing I’ve learned from this year is that friends are really important. They will cheer you up when you’re feeling down, take you out for dinner to distract you and remind you that everything will be okay. More importantly, life will go on.

I am my mom’s legacy and I know she would be proud knowing my sister and I picked ourselves up after tragedy and continued to look forward. She was a self-made woman and I try to live by her example everyday.

Here’s a video treat I put together for people who knew my mom. It was taken at my sister’s graduation in the spring of 2009. You can hear in the video that my sister is telling me to put the camera away but I’m glad I didn’t listen. It’s the only video I have of her in recent history.