Brand building through storytelling

Letters From Rona (blog)

What the media still miss about women

When new Chatelaine EIC Lianne George invited me to speak to her team today about my years at the helm, I thought “Not at the busiest time of the year.” Then I realized it’s exactly when I’m busy and stressed that I most value the lift of

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In search of the perfect Christmas service

Eleven Christmases ago, newly sprung from our corporate careers, Paul and I spent December 25 in the world capital of merrie olde holiday traditions–London, where Dickens penned A Christmas Carol and white lights shimmer on half-timbered laneways. Not until the Big Day, a brutally cold one, did

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My mentor in dying

When I first saw Pauline Faull, who died one week ago in Port Hope after years of leadership in the hospice movement, she was standing on the doorstep of the Cabbagetown Victorian where my family had gathered to meet our greatest crisis: my mother’s terminal illness. I’d

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Me and my techie: a drama in three acts

What every self-employed person craves is a savvy, service-oriented tech guy. I dream of having such a guy the way I once dreamed of deathless love, and I have actually found a couple. But I’ve discovered there’s an arc to these relationships that keep so many of

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Dog of our dreams

What our TV couch always needed is a color-coordinated dog to keep it warm between episodes of whatever series we’re watching (currently Boardwalk Empire). It’s been a week and a half since we brought our year-old rescue dog home, and we already can’t imagine not having him

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My life with Holiday Inn

When I was 20 and knew nothing about customer service, I found a summer job taking reservations for Holiday Inn. I had to keep customers happy while learning a computerized system called Holidex–so vast and powerful, only armies had anything to rival it. The job bored me at the time but what it taught me about building a brand would resonate for years to come.

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Facebook friends are my portable community

The only downside of a month in Florida is missing the places and faces that give me a sense of belonging in Toronto. By the end of week three, I’m usually missing the icy streets of home. This year has been different thanks to the online places and faces I find every day at Facebook..

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Not just deathbed selfies: the passion of blogger Lisa Adams

I sometimes wonder how much I’d share if I were diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Would I withdraw and reflect, as a friend of mine chose to do in her last months? Or go public with the most painful details, like blogger Lisa Adams? I do know this: the choice should be mine.

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There’s no day without a special moment–or three

While climbing out of the mental chasm known as depression, I started a new nightly ritual: gratitude I thanked whatever gods there be for the best moment of my day. Something wonderful always came to mind–and a couple more after that. To my amazement, there was no such thing as a day without sparks of joy.

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A retail icon’s death is like a death in the family

I won’t miss the Sears flagship store in Toronto’s Eaton Centre. Whatever I last bought there, I can buy it faster somewhere else. But Sears is going down where Eaton’s died and I come from a line of Eaton’s loyalists. So I dropped in to check out the liquidation sale as if it were an ancestral grave site.

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