October 16, 2013

Talking About the F-35 and Giving One Killer Interview

This week in Ottawa, the AIAC (Aerospace Industry Association of Canada) is holding a summit to discuss a number of issues and opportunities, not least of which is the pursuit of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter II program and the role that Canada plays. I won’t bore you with my enthusiasm for the program and the amazing work that companies like NGRAIN are doing with Lockheed Martin. No, this time, I thought I’d share a little something PR-related: giving a good interview.

NGRAIN CEO, Gabe Batstone, who I had the great pleasure and opportunity to work with, gave an interview on CTV Ottawa Power Play and frankly…it’s smooth… succinct and well delivered… and it is worth showcasing. Forbes has a great little summary about giving a good interview, and this one is a good example of these guidelines coming into practice.

The first thing you’ll notice (apart from the fact that Gabe has chosen a TV-appropriate wardrobe devoid of loud patterns and the colour green), is that Gabe is prepared. He knows the story. He’s ready with stats, and he has a clear position. He isn’t sensational, he addresses the questions, and he builds context around the story to champion NGRAIN’s role on the program as well as the opportunities for the Canadian aerospace industry.

He delivers messages for government, industry as well as the general public in a way that is educational, friendly and engaging. Oh, and did I mention the quotable quotes “I can deal with any decision but indecision,” “transparency isn’t possible without a timeline.”   


Gabe knew what he was doing when he woke up this morning! And it was a real pleasure to watch. 

Check it out here at CTV Ottawa Power Play

For more on the work NGRAIN is doing with the F-35, check out this case study and The Future of Maintenance Training magazine. 


F-35 Lightning II, Joint Strike Fighter Program

September 20, 2013

The value of third-party (Readers) testimonials

Apparently I just need to look for the intersection between space stuff and books to inspire a post! And unsurprisingly to anyone who knows me - yes, this is again about Commander Chris Hadfield.

I had the absolute joy of working with Chris again on a small project for Kobo. In August, we were heading to New York to share the news about how Kobo remained committed to focusing on the world's most passionate Reader to bring them the best experiences through our 4 new devices. Devices that are gateways to millions of titles, the best reading experience, and information to inspire the imagination....well, you get the picture. It was going to be BIG. It was going to be beautiful. There would be heaps of media there. The pressure was on.

The big question we had to answer was, "how could we help people understand how important reading really is?" Our love of reading is palpable at Kobo. We talk about it every day. Our love of getting other people to read makes us get up early and stay up late - focused on helping more people to read no matter where in the world they live. How could we convey our passion and inspire others to share it?

It would be one thing for us to say it. And believe me we do...a LOT. But we knew it would be far better coming from some of the amazing authors and influencers that we know who love to read.  The result? A series of videos that were graciously contributed by people like author Sylvia Day, Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi, Nate Weiner the CEO from Pocket, and my person fan-fave - Chris Hadfield.

Needless to say the launch was a massive success. The testimonials gave me and others goosebumps and added the right balance of emotion connection to the written word with our announcement. It was a perfect blend and certainly inspirational.

In this video Chris talks about how he instilled a love of reading in his children and why reading is freedom. Check it out!

July 3, 2013

Great Canadian Contributions - Books, Space and Training!

OK, so it's been a LONG while since I've posted here. Not because I haven't been reading my MS&T and MedSiM magazines religiously, but because....well, life here at Kobo is NUTS... In all the best possible ways!  As I've fallen in love with everything this company does, it's been hard to find the time and head space to sit down and write about anything A&D. 

Funnily, there are two things that sparked my desire to post today and one is related to books  as well as my last post in January. Commander Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut extraordinaire, announced that he is going to publish a book - An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. 

You can bet I'll be pre-ordering this when it becomes available. His experiences are something to be celebrated, and combined with his wit, personability.... well, number one fan...right here!

The second news to highlight is that my former employer NGRAIN has received $9.5-million from SADI to continue it's R&D efforts in 3D equipment maintenance training. At I/ITSEC last year, the company unveiled its augmented reality training solutions designed to improve training and performance when maintaining complex pieces of machinery. Check out the video:



From my perspective, it's nice to hear this good news coming out of Canada's aerospace and defence industry - innovation and thought leadership are two things that every company hopes to bring into storytelling. The challenge is that you actually have to DO something that's innovative and/or have a unique perspective to be able to bring it into your public relations efforts. NGRAIN and Commander Hadfield, have it in spades.

January 13, 2013

A Canadian Rockstar

It's no secret to anyone who knows me - I am a space nerd - the subject fascinates me and can be woven into more conversations than my work colleagues care to think about. Everyday discussions about the weather and music have led me to introduce people to NASA TV and chat about how satellites are put into different orbits. They've also led me to encourage people to follow Commander Chris Hadfield on Twitter.

As one of Canada's most prolific and personable astronauts - who can rock a moustache like Tom Selleck - I consider myself fortunate to have met and worked with Hadfield as a spokesperson for the Canadian Space Agency when I was working with Neptec. He is likely one of the best-trained spokespeople I have ever met with an uncanny ability to weave messaging into conversations peppered with soundbites for journalists. It's a true art, and he has mastered it!

Now, social media is elevating Hadfield's presence and this time, it's from the International Space Station. He's currently on a five month mission during which his team will perform scientific experiments like VASCULAR which researched the impact of weightlessness on the human body and the ageing effects on bones and blood vessels. He'll also be working with CANADARM2 - sweet!

But, if those amazing things don't turn your crank, tune into Hadfield on Twitter just to view his photos. There's nothing more amazing than looking out into space, only to realize that the most fascinating thing is our Earth.




January 9, 2013