I love my job:) Check out the Stratos Im

I love my job:) Check out the Stratos Impact Report 2011 http://ow.ly/7UFTG @stratos_sts #sustainability #reporting


After Hub Pop Up? The real work begins

Just came back from a meeting on membership packages with Ivy & Vinod. Crazy to think how far we’ve come since last November when I first met Vinod at Bridgehead downtown. I can actually say that I’M AT THE HUB (not just doing Hub stuff somewhere else).

Jason just did the recap on the Pop Up Weekend on the Hub blog so won’t say too much more except  – wow, after all of that hard work – now the real work begins! Haha.

And that’s the difference between planning the one-off events and building a company.  One of the many reasons we’ve heard the Hub is much needed in this city is that there are way too many ‘one-off’ events – where they ‘pop up’ and then disappear for another few months.  Our “pop-up” is leading us to our ‘launch’ in February.

Within the Founding Team we’ve been talking a lot about moving from Founding to Operating – and that’s one giant step. What’s my job moving forward? Well, happy to say that I’ll be managing a lot of the programming (along with the awesome Hub team and Hub volunteers).  My job this week is to take that awesome post-it note wall “A Day/Week/Month/Year in the Hub” and turn it into something tangible. What events will we be hosting for members? For  the public? What kind of events are our members wanting to host in the Hub? How does that work with hours etc.? My brain is buzzing with ideas – will be focusing on that this week. Stay tuned:)

The Hub Programming Wall

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Ahh, what a feeling of happiness. Buildi

Ahh, what a feeling of happiness. Building a company = stress w the best payoff. First event at @HUBOTTAWA was fab. social innovation has a home in Ottawa! Come check out our Hub Pop Up weekend at our new space – open to public this weekend. http://ow.ly/7DGRW

Harvest Noir. Proof that Ottawa is getting sexier.

Who said Ottawa was a boring, unfashionable city?

So much going on in this city I simply can’t keep up. With Hub Ottawa on a roll (very cool TEDxOttawa Creative Actions Mixer we  put on last week), Fashion On Display, Oktoberfest etc…. It’s a crazy place to be!

Yesterday I, along with 700 other daring Ottawans attended  Harvest Noir, our city’s first ever flash mob black-tie picnic at the Museum of Civilisation. It started at 4pm and to be honest,  I only found out the time and location at 3pm!

Harvest Noir - flash mob picnic on Saturday at Museum of Civilisation


But what a sight! Ladies and gentlemen dressed to the nines with elegant nineteenth century black gowns, top hats, black parsols  sitting at beautiful fall decorated tables with mouthwatering locally harvested meals (and I’m talking gourmet meals… one table had roasted legs of lamb). As one party-goer told the Citizen

“It’s absolutely unique in that everybody embraced it 100-per-cent without knowing details in advance, and that’s very not-Ottawa.”

Agreed. More proof that Ottawa is changing for the better.


Harvest Noir & Hub Ottawa

First up, the Hub can’t take any credit for this awesome event…but the organizer, Greg Searle will be one of our Hub 60 Members when we open our doors:)  Greg and I met at the Manx about a month ago and had a fantastic chat about the Hub, Art of Hosting, sustainability consulting, Harvest Noir etc.  As it turns out, we run in the same global circle and share a lot of contacts doing fabulously interesting things around the world.

So what’s the connection with the Hub? The idea for this event was sparked when Greg and his partner happened upon a similar type of event in Montreal, which was originally started in Paris 23 years ago. A very creative, socially innovative idea happens in one part of the world and spreads across to other cities. And that’s the magic of the Hub. Our mission is:

To catalyze and support socially driven ideas, initiatives, and ventures for a better city, better world.

We’re connected with over 30 other Hubs around the world, with 5000+ changemakers like Greg Searle  – and poof! good ideas are transported:)

The spark of social innovation! (Okay, sorry that's uber corny....)

Can’t wait for next year’s Harvest Noir. I’m already thinking of hats:)


My friend Amy Husser and I at the party inside the museum - spectacular!







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Oktoberfest 2011 raising money with my Unshaven Mavens

What a day…cold, rainy, ugly, and awesome:)

Just spent the day at Beau’s Oktoberfest in Vankleek Hill raising over $3000 for Rethink Breast Cancer with my good friends Malorie Bertrand and Maureen Dickson, my Unshaven Mavens.

Unshaven Mavens is the brain child of Malorie Bertrand and Amie Beausoleil. Inspired by Movember and Mustaches for Kids, Unshaven Mavens’ light-hearted approach to breast cancer awareness hopes to create a lasting and memorable legacy that its participants and sponsors can be proud of.

Unshaven Mavens will grow their underarm hair for the entire month of October, all the while raising funds for Rethink Breast Cancer, a Canadian breast cancer charity that brings bold, relevant awareness to the under-40 crowd. Unshaven Mavens will zero in on the armpit because early breast cancer symptoms can be detected in the underarm area, not just the breast.

Over twenty ladies signed up to be fundraiser (today was the Clean Shave Day) but our real fundraising started when we brought the electric razors out. Beau’s Brewery (my fave beer – organic & local) even gave us a $500 prize for anyone who donated more than $40.  The kicker was also that if you donated $40 or more, you could get your head shaved on stage:)


Oktoberfest 2011

At $500, Phil, one of the Beau’s brothers agreed to shave his head. At $1000 raised, Steve, his brother agreed to shave his head (and both mind you had some pretty lovely locks!)

Well, that turned into more guys getting on the stage to shave their heads, beards, mustaches, and even chests….Shout out to Mark Kelly – the Irish who gave $500 to shave his head & chest and get the emcee to get on the chair and have his head shaved too.

Watch the fun on the video below. This is Steve Beauchesne, co-founder of Beau’s.


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An answer to our ills: human touch

I just watched a deeply moving TED talk on A doctor’s touch. (When instead… I should be planning an upcoming Hub Ottawa event that we’re hosting for TEDxOttawa)

My friend who passed the video on is a doctor. I’m sure she was captivated by Mr. Verghese’s approach to medicine as she’s passionate about healing and listening to patients (something often missing in the hectic and busy world of doctors).

Although I understand his talk from a patient’s point of view, I was taken by his more holistic message, which in the medical sense or not, speaks volumes for how we live our lives and how we deal with others:

  • To understand you must listen
  • To heal you must touch
  • To change a behaviour, you must connect
This video is about the human physical touch – but I’d argue that he likely ‘touched’ a great deal of people simply by the message and the methods used in his presentation.
What touched me perhaps the most was his use of history and the arts to get his message across about the health sciences.  His multi-disciplinary understanding of the world was enriching.  He explained his reasoning and his inspiration for putting his energy into the routine physical exam by sharing stories about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and historical physicians and sharing those stories through pieces of art over the years. If he had simply used charts and graphs to show why he chose to focus on the human touch, the presentation would have (obviously) lost its meaning.
I truly believe that the more we cross-sectors and see the world from different perspectives, the more we’ll know about how to ‘diagnose’ the world’s many ‘ills’. 
This was procrastination at its finest. Thanks Les for sharing:)
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My quarter century, one year on. An update.

Where have I been?  I’ve obviously neglected this old blog that I started back in 2007.  I seem to forget those great evenings while studying, where I’d let my fingers surf the web and allow my mind to just roll….How wonderful it was to get those creative bursts  at night, or those ‘aha’ moments while writing. I guess life just gets in the way sometimes.

And life. Oh, life. Remember this post, written one year ago?

“Now at 25 (in between jobs,  no home, not even a phone! and heading back to Finland in less than a month, for a month) I have given myself exactly 5 years to “figure it out”.

So, here I am at 26. I’ve come a long way from being “SUNK” as I put it. In short:

  • Got a job that I love (working at Stratos – one of Canada’s leading sustainability consultancy firms as a Consultant, focused on proposals & communications)
  • Setting up Hub Ottawa with 5 other fabulous people (incorporated this summer & opening soon!) This deserves a whole post so won’t go on here.
  • Got an apartment (in the heart of Ottawa)
  • Bought a mac & and an iPhone (big step from being phone-less & computer-less one year ago)
  • Fell in love… with Ottawa (I wasn’t so sure I wanted to stay here a year ago. But wow, this city has amazed me. There are so many wonderful things to do and see that I can’t keep up.  From Fashion on Display to Harvest Noir,  I love feeling the vibe of a place – and Ottawa has definitely captured my heart.  As for the other love, that’s happened too but I don’t disclose that kind of information on this blog;)

So, all in all life is busy but very good. I feel like I’m “figuring it out”.

On top of the Sleeping Giant, looking over T-Harbour on a trek this past summer in Thunder Bay.

Climate movement in desperate need of renewal? Definitely.

Interesting article in the Guardian about the climate movement and it’s struggles in the last few years. Surprise surprise, when the economy went down, so too did the sexiness of climate change.

But first, I don’t agree with the author’s stance. He’s one of the Ratcliffe activists in the UK who was on trial and convicted of planning to break into Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station to shut it down. The article is about:

If a jury that received extensive education on climate change could not vindicate the Ratcliffe activists, then who will?

Emotionally charged read that received a lot of fiery comments.

Activists that want to cause damage perhaps get the point across that they care about climate change, but it’s an old fashioned way of promoting it. Really, I thought we had already moved away from sort of divisive environmentalism, no?  The outcome of these disturbances just get more people on the other side of the fence shouting back. Great.

How about good old dialogue? Working with stakeholders and creating solutions? During today’s trip from TBay to Ottawa, I saw two interesting articles: one in the Harvard Business Review by the famous Michael Porter about Corporate Shared Value (CSV) vs. CSR. And another in the Pulp and Paper trade magazine about environmentalists and industry folks finally coming to an agreement over a simple beer instead of “throwing tomatoes at each other” for the last decade.

To get back to the climate movement though,  it’s completely lost its sexiness to me. Read, why i don’t care about global warming–  from 3 years ago (gasp! that long?!) but my thoughts rest the same. Climate change exists, I’m not doubting it. But talking about impending disasters that have a lot of political baggage either A) terrify people or B) make people mad. Two emotions that lead to inaction.

When we’re looking to “rebrand” (if I dare say) climate change, we should remember that climate change ≠ sustainability. It is ONE PART. Sustainable development is all-encompassing.  Even if we staved off our carbon emissions, we won’t necessarily be sustainable. And the idea that it’s all about carbon… ugh..

In any case, I agree with the title of the article: The climate movement is in desperate need of renewal. Indeed it is. But I don’t see it getting any sexier with those antics.

Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire. Photograph: David Sillitoe/Guardian

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Temporary Vegetarian recipes on NYT

Nice to see the meat minimalist/weekday veg/temporary vegetarian method go mainstream on NYT.

One thing I like about cooking vegetarian meals is it forces me try out new vegetables.  For example, on Friday I cooked a fennel and asparagus risotto with a side of sauteed rapini with white wine mushrooms for my sister and her husband. Delicious way to start the weekend.

I have to add, we ended the weekend with a wonderful lamb shoulder roast last night. My brother-in-law bought half a lamb from a local farm.  Amazing.

I’m a big fan of the bitter leafy greens.  Think I’ll try this swiss chard torta from NYT tonight.

Rereading this post, I’m impressed with myself. For someone who isn’t the greatest cook, I’m sure eating well:)

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Innovating for sustainability: Solar Roadways

Just checked this out on Bob Willard’s blog (a sustainability guru here in Canada).

This is incredible. As he explains:

  • Asphalt is going up in price (petroleum based)
  • roads collect heat
  • why not collect that energy?
  • the energy will help payback for the costs
  • we need energy closer to homes (micropower)
  • innovations in glass making can make this possible

Watch the short video. Check out the company (difficult website though).

Interested to see where it goes. Sounds absolutely crazy and expensive but that’s exactly what we need right now: radical innovations to dramatically shift us from the unsustainable path that we’re on.


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