Your job is to make the learner feel smart

I wrote that on my whiteboard in the early days of working here. I use it not to promote false platitudes, but to focus on learning and the development of knowledge and practice. Many of our learners are adult, professional and mid-career or changing careers. There can be some leaps of logic, some text anxiety, and instinct without structure.

Remind them of prior knowledge; tie in with the pre-requisites, or remind them of the professional knowledge and experience they bring to their learning.

Ask questions; that elicit knowledge, to guide them to a more complex understanding, to reinforce connections.


April 17 – 22


AdWords: Hurrah – the go-ahead to implement Google AdWords more intensively and try and maximize the monthly $10,000 in free ads we get through our Google Grant.

AGM: A Board Member commended me on the curated presence we have on Facebook, and my interpretation that our audience is not on Twitter.

Event Details: Marketing emails, filled up seats, webstreaming communications and management preparation, plus planning to edit the talks.

Newsletter: Drafting the newsletter begins, and scheduling my contributors.



Ohhhhh, I finished a fiction book (Island of Books) and started a new one (Invisible Dead – set explicitly and firmly in Vancouver)

Manage Up with your Boss



Job Search:

Making connections in LinkedIn:  I got a pep talk from a Board Member about connecting with people on LinkedIn. I thought that it wasn’t a platform that was well used, and so only a static landing page for me, but he thinks differently. I’ve been sending invites, which gives me connections, and I’m seeing more posts and comments as I connect with active users. A reminder that asking for help doesn’t have to be pushy.

I’ve got a few applications that are still “active”, and a couple to write up this weekend.

Connecting with the HR representative who offered to help: That’s this afternoon. The plan is to ask about the relative value of one-page versus two-page resumes, and keywords in case of machine scanning.



All about the running this week, as I prepare for the Sun Run (part of the Modo Car Co-op team) and look ahead to the June half-marathon.

Standing your Ground with IABC/BC

I went to IABC/BC’s signature event on Standing your Ground last night. My first event, it’s clear that this is a group with strong connections, and much to share. A few highlights:

From Steve Vanagas, Vice President, Communications & Marketing, TransLink – sometimes you just have to double-down on the truth, and ride it out.

From Clay Adams, Vice President, Communications & Public Affairs, Vancouver Coastal Health – make sure that the public face of your organization has some preparation for the tough questions. For being challenged in their message.

From Jehanne Marie Burns, Principal Ninja, Pocket Ninja Strategies – there is room for you to stand your ground, and letting others stand theirs (even in opposition). The value of letting people rant.

And of course, the good humour and super-hero capes of Catherine Ducharme and Peter Reek of Smart Savvy, who hosted the event.


April 2 -8


I’ve been thinking about the upcoming changes at work; keeping up with the ongoing demands (reaction), but also trying to pave the way for after our contract formally ends, and the office is reduced to two.

I’ve started a content audit of the website; part of this is brute force. I have a list of the pages we host in WordPress, and the rough outline of hierarchy. I’m now brainstorming which ones will be deleted, and which ones can be amalgamated or re-written to clean up language. With that outline, I will share with my colleagues for their input. My experience is that it’s easier for colleagues to edit and comment than to start from scratch.


Feedly (my RSS aggregater) has introduced some new features, so the next step is to learn what “boards” are.

In the meantime, I need to read Nancy White’s post on Technology or Preparation (itself a response to Clark Quinn) in more detail.

And this article on beliefs and blinders from the Atlantic gives pause when considering the Fake News posts on Facebook, my own biases, and the “gut feelings” that drive people to make decisions that are not based in any evidence. How DO we change people’s minds?

March 27 – 31


This week was about tie-ing up the loose ends. Final reviews on the newsletter and the videos handout.

I also drafted a stand-alone page on our non-English resources (to reach new Canadians or international readers), and creating a plan to do a content audit to help us with our website redesign and transition.



Some of the audit reading:

Visualization inspiration:

I’m refreshing my desktop publishing skills, and has a wealth of resources to browse and work through, available through the VPL.



Saw Angels of America (pt 1) this weekend – I had somehow missed all stage and screen productions until now. It was written 25 years ago, and set about 30 years ago, but the central themes stand up very well.

Reflecting on 2016

As an organization (and myself specifically), we hit the ground sprinting in 2016 and didn’t really come up for breath.

March/April: we delivered our annual focus on research, but added webstreaming. This was a Board suggestion; I was wary, as we had tried it several years ago, and it was a slog, and without positive outcome. This time it went much more smoothly; people logged in and participated independently, and had opportunity to pose questions which I read out to the presenter. Financially we didn’t do so well; we did not have enough paid participants to cover the cost, but that was not expected for the first year.

May/June: After that event, we turned to planning a large fundraising event, also based on a Board suggestion. As it was our first time doing a major fundraiser, we were developing processes as we went, and it consumed the office. It took well over 50% of my time for about three months and probably more for the event planner! I wrote press releases, supervised the development of a website and coordinated donor recognition.

July/August: Wrote and delivered a survey to 10,000 people. Collected, analyzed and reported on results. Whiplash, it went so fast. It was an important reminder that for all the audience statistics we can collect from Google Analytics (what people do), we get valuable information from the survey (what they value and want).

September: And the reason we did a survey in the summer? To use in our reply to an RFP.  The contract with a government department was up, and so that required analysis of what we do, and what more we could do; what directions we’d like to go. A challenging time, requiring coordination, attention to details and lots of reflection and writing.

My father reads a lot

My sister and I bought our father an eReader several years ago, which prompted him to start sending us monthly emails, listing the notable books he’s read that month, and the breakdown of e-books and hardcopy books.

We forwarded those lists to interested friends; he forwarded the email to his friends. He started writing actual two-three line reviews of the books, and people started asking me about his monthly choices.

So obviously, dear reader, we built him a blog!

What David Read: updated monthly, and curiously categorized by yours truly.