Thornley Fallis is looking for a Leader for our Toronto office

The recession is over. Hurrah. And our business is growing. Hurrah again.

Recessions are hard on everybody. But they can be especially tough on the leaders who have to make the decisions that affect others. It can be like carrying the burden of not only your own anxieties, but the anxieties of everyone you work with. Sometimes, you can just be so ground down by the stress and burden of carrying a team through the bad times that you feel that the only way you can get your energy back is with a complete change of scene.

That’s happened to us. The General Manager of our Toronto office was recruited away from us. We’re sorry to see her go. Not only was she very good at her job, but she was one of the nicest people you could ever want to work with and a friend. We’ll miss her.

Now we have an opening on our management team. And we need to move quickly to fill it.

We’re looking for a General Manager for our Toronto office.

Do you know this person? Or might it be you?

What does our general manager do?

Our General Manager will:

Lead a talented team of consultants whose expertise spans social media, traditional public relations, Web design and development, and advertising. You’ll ensure that they have what they need on a day by day basis to succeed and you’ll ensure that we’re delivering real results for our clients and pursuing opportunities to grow our business.

Set an example of excellence in your communications skills and personal conduct. Be a person who inspires by example.

Mentor and guide the team members. This includes developing an annual career plan with each employee and conducting progress reviews. We want our employees to grow with us. We count on our General Manager to make sure that everyone is thinking about what they want out of their professional careers and that they are working toward attaining that.

Work with our CFO to establish business targets and ensure that we achieve them. A business has to be successful in order to provide a bright future for its employees.

What kind of person are we looking for?

You have already achieved success in your career as a communicator. You have demonstrated your leadership skills through responsibility for a team and a business unit.

You are a successful consultant, having already demonstrated that you understand client needs and that you can organize a team to meet those needs and deliver creative solutions that deliver real results.

You have established relationships with senior executives who lead the communications and marketing functions in their companies. And those people want to work with you again. In fact, you’re confident that when they hear you’re working with Thornley Fallis, they’ll want to talk with you about you and your new team can help them.

You inspire loyalty. The people who work with you love working with you. They know that you care about them and that you’ll put the needs of the team ahead of your own needs.

Are you Thornley Fallis’ next Toronto General Manager?

Does it sound like a job you could excel at and that you’d be passionate about? If so, connect with me on LinkedIn or DM me on Twitter.

Social Mediators 5 – Jeremy Wright and SxSW

It’s only episode 5 and already we’ve broken the Social Mediators mold. Neither Dave Fleet nor I could be part of this week’s session. So, Terry Fallis recruited Jeremy Wright to stand in for both of us.

In this week’s episode, Jeremy talks with Terry about the South by SouthWest Interactive conference (SxSW) in Austin and what has drawn Jeremy to attend 7 times in the past 10 years. And for Jeremy, it’s the open culture of the conference – the friendliness of people and the fact that the meetings and encounters in the hallways can be much better than what takes place in the formal sessions.

You’ll hear them talk about the fact that I too would be at SxSW. Well, it didn’t happen. The night before I was supposed to leave, I spilled a glass of wine on my computer and I had to head home to Ottawa to meet the “man from Dell.” He showed up in my office Friday with a new mother board, touchpad, screen and keyboard (yes, the Complete Care insurance was worth every penny I paid for it.) But if you’ve ever tried to get a last minute flight to Austin during SxSW, you’d know why I never made it there. Having missed my originally scheduled flight, I was out of luck.

One more thing. A big thank you to Mike Edgell for recording and editing this week’s episode. Although he’s on the road the entire week for a video shoot, Mike found the extra time to produce Social Mediators. Thanks Mike for service above and beyond.

Personal Brand, Personal Experience – Part 2 of 2

Yesterday, I posted part 1 of my Personal Brand Camp keynote presentation, in which I talk about my pre-social media existence and my general approach to presenting myself online. Today, in part 2, I talk about what I have learned and offer some guidelines that I live by.

If you are thinking about the concept of your “personal brand” or simply how others see you online, I hope you find these simple rules to be helpful.

There’s only one me

Personal brand sounds like a marketing concept, something where can I separate myself from my brand and my brand is a contrivance.  That’s not possible.  Ultimately, my brand is about me.  And there’s only one me.

Be conscious of my decisions, but never contrived

I make  conscious decisions about what I will reveal (I protect my privacy by thinking through my boundaries in advance), what I want to say about things and how I want to interact with other people.  Authenticity will be seen.  Duplicitousness will be seen through.

I must be conscious of my decisions, which is good, but definitely not contrived, which would be artificial and bad.

Be introspective and self aware

Before going online, I ask myself, “Who do I want to see in the mirror?” Once online, I’m mindful of how others perceive me. I must acknowledge that what other people see in me is what I am.  And I understand that if others don’t see the same person who I see in the mirror, then I have failed in communicating who I really think I am.

Lies will be found out

There’s no point in trying to construct and project a “public persona” different from the private person. And the judgment that I exercise in my personal life will reflect upon the judgment that I may exercise in your public life.

I can’t hide deception. We’re all just too visible for that. And too many of our friends are online and connecting with one another. If they see deception, they’ll recognize it and they’ll call it out. So, I try always to  be honest and not live a lie.

It’s not just about the words.  Actions speak louder.

From time to time, I have been called to account through social media.  I may not like what people tell me. But I must listen to what they say and accept that some of it may be right.  And if it is, the true test of my character is whether I act upon it.  If I’m not prepared to change the way I am, I will be a lesser person.

Be human. Be vulnerable

Vulnerability is a basic human condition. If we aren’t willing to show our vulnerability, we won’t come across as authentic or trustworthy.

I’ve learned to admit when I have uncertainties. It’s hard to do. But it will lead to  much stronger and real relationships.

“Draft” is my friend

It never hurts to think twice about something we might want to say. If I’m in doubt, if I’m writing in the heat of the moment, I save it, sleep on it and don’t hit the “publish” button until I’ve had time for second thoughts. ‘Nuff said.

Sarcasm and sniping are the refuge of the unimaginative

Why hurt someone to demonstrate how smart and witty I am? It’s harder to be original in my thinking and to advance our understanding in a positive way. Why not be kind, honest and helpful to everyone? It won’t cost anything and I’ll feel a lot better about myself when I face that moment of truth before sleep puts an end to the day.

Don’t feed the trolls

I never respond to anonymous comments. Unless I recognize truth in what they say. (See “Actions speak louder” above)

Trust is the currency and I have to earn it

You’ve heard the mantra before: Transparency, authenticity, reliability, generosity. Absorb them. Live them.

I try not to keep a tally sheet of who received how much. Instead, I simply give as best I can and then celebrate when I receive something back.

Become the person I want to see in the mirror

Put all of this together and I will thrive in social media. At least this is what I believe and this is what I try to live by.

Personal Brand, Personal Experience – Part 1 of 2

Do you think you have a “personal brand?” Do you consciously develop or manage it?

I’ve been online for several years and never really thought of myself as having a “personal brand.” But I had to give it some thought when Michael Cayley invited me to keynote Personal Brand Camp 2 in Toronto. What I came up with was probably the most personally revealing presentation I’ve ever been called upon to deliver. I’ve decided to share it here. I hope you find it helpful in sorting out your own perspective on your online “personal brand.”

I’ve broken the video into two parts so that I can upload it to YouTube.

In part 1, which I’m posting today, I talk about my pre-social media existence and my general approach to presenting myself online. In part 2, which I will post tomorrow, I’ll talk about what I have learned and offer some guidelines that I live by.

What do you really know about me?

What do you know about me? Chances are, you know what you find on Google – my involvement in social media, Third Tuesday, my support of others in social media or through my companies,  Thornley Fallis and 76design. Probably, you are unaware as the people in this video of my 35 year involvement with the Liberal Party of Canada, much of which time I spent in senior roles at the national level. In effect, my pre-social media life has been pushed to the background by how I have defined myself through social media. What doesn’t show up on the first page of search or in the flow of conversation seems almost not to exist.

Before social media, others defined me

In the pre-social media era, others defined me. What reporters and columnists said in traditional media was taken as gospel. However, I’d read the paper in the morning or watch the TV news and know that what I read and saw was not an accurate portrayal of who I really was or what I believed in. The problem with the news media, I realized, is that it’s one way. I was impotent to change what the media reported.

Others were defining who I was and I wasn’t very happy about that.

Through social media, we all own our own barrel of ink

Then I discovered social media. Through social media, I realized that I had my own barrel of ink. I could have a voice. I could be heard. I could take control of who I was. And the proof is in Google. Search for “Joseph Thornley” and you’ll see that I have been able to define who I am.

Not a marketing contrivance. Just me

But do I think of what I have done as creating a personal brand? Not really. I think instead that everyday I’m online is a chance for me to look in the mirror, to see what kind of person I really am. It’s not a marketing contrivance. That’s fake. It’s just me.

And I’m happy with where I am.

Tomorrow: What have I learned?

Social Mediators 4 – Social Media in Government and Automated Sentiment Analysis

In this week’s episode of Social Mediators, Terry Fallis, Dave Fleet and I talk about government and social media as well as the measurement of sentiment in social media.

Terry suggests that government departments seem to be lagging government agencies, with their narrower focus and specific mandates. Government has found it difficult to leave shed the command and control approach to management. And this holds them back from engaging in the give and take of social media. Dave offers, “Social media is really built on trust and that’s something that is lacking in government.” Terry adds, “Government often moves in geological time and it’s hard to move into social media in that environment.”

We also talk about machine measurement of sentiment in social media. Dave feels that the tools aren’t up to scratch. He offers props to the approach taken by Radian6, who offer automated sentiment measurement, but counsel that it’s just a starting point and that most organizations will want to add a layer of human review to any critical analyses.

We conclude the episode with the idea of running a comparative test of the automated sentiment solutions offered by Radian6 and Sysomos.

Organizations and people mentioned in this episode:

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner

The Ombudsman of Ontario

Parks Canada

Genome Alberta and Mike Spears

Nick Charney

Ralph Mercer

Advanced Learning Institute‘s Conference on Social Media in Government



Social Mediators 3 – Privacy and Personal Brand

The calendar in Toronto has been packed with social media events. In this week’s Social Mediators, Terry Fallis, Dave Fleet and I talk about our takeaways from PodCamp Toronto 2010 and Personal Brand Camp 2.

Over 900 people attended PodCamp Toronto. It has become a huge event on the annual calendar. Dave Fleet talks about how Brad Buset, Miranda McCurlie and Dave Bradfield highlighted privacy and the impact of what we share online. We talk about learning from personal experience and the importance of using common sense. Of course, no discussion of this would be complete without reference to Please Rob Me.  Dave bottom lines the discussion, “Be careful, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t be out there.”

Terry, David Jones and Martin Waxman also recorded two episodes of the InsidePR podcast at PodCamp. These should be posted this week and next.

All three of us participated as Mentors in Personal Brand Camp. We all were struck by how the students were struggling with the concept. We advised them to think of their online brand as an expression of who they really are. Not some artificial contrivance. I argue that people should try to find their passion and then to share their views. Everyone has something unique and special to say about the things they are passionate about. Picking up a can of Pepsi, Terry suggested that ” This is a brand. You are a person.” and urged that their personal brand “needs to revealed, not manufactured.”

With logo


Two students are on their way to the Social Media for Government Conference

Two students are on their way to the Social Media for Government Conference in Ottawa this week. I asked students to tell my why they would like to attend and how the conference subject matter fits with their studies and their interests. Melissa Loomans and Femi Fasoyinu earned the free tickets through their comments on my post.

I’ve also offered them an opportunity to guest post about their experience here on They’ve both accepted the invitation. So watch for these posts later this week or early next week.

Both Melissa and Femi persuaded me not only that they are interested in the conference content, but that they will put to good use what they learn there. Here’s what they said in their submissions.

Melissa Loomans

I am currently completing my last semester as an undergrad in Public Relations at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto.

A final thesis is required for graduation and the topic I have chosen focuses on the need for the Government of Canada to implement social media as a communication tool for relaying messages to citizens. A creative aspect of this thesis is creating a social media marketing plan outlining how social media (internal government tool and external tools) can be implimented into elements of the Youth Employment Strategy to help with promotion, FSWEP recruitment and public service renewal. Attending this event would allow for an understanding of how social media is already being implemented and the challenges these departments had to overcome or are facing.

I have spent the last three years working for Service Canada (formerly the HRSDC) where I have worked as a team lead on youth programs and assisted in client affairs. I’m currently completing a co-op term working as a Media Liaison Officer. A major project I am undertaking is promoting the use of internal social media / web 2.0 tools to supervisors and coordinators.

I am incredibly passionate about the public service and am interested in having the opportunity to speak with other government communicators and to network with them in an effort to learn more about what other branches of the government are responsible for and what they have to offer.

Femi Fasoyinu

I am a second-year public relations student at Algonquin College. I am very interested to see how online conversation is changing how businesses communicate and how the government is looking to get involved in this conversation.

As a young person in the government, I want to be at the forefront of this conversation. I want to understand how it is going to affect the relationship government has to the Canadians they serve.

Currently, I work for Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in the Medical Expertise Division, CPP Appeals, and have done so for the last two years.

It has been a great experience working with doctors, adjudicators, lawyers, and other support staff in providing service to the thousands of Canadians whose disability has hindered them from the simple daily tasks we able bodied people take for granted.

The importance of social media in PR and communication is growing and will continue to grow. It allows us to touch different networks in speeds we haven’t thought possible before.

If I can bring the knowledge from this conference to my department, the communication processes for both the internal and external networks at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has the potential to be improved and be a greater benefit to all who are involved.

Internally, communication between support staff, doctors, adjudicators, and lawyers has the opportunity to be improved and so there are better relations between this diverse group.

Externally, the Canadians we serve will be able to receive the information that will impact their lives in ways that will be more convenient to them and more efficient to us in our department.

Well done Melissa and Femi. I’m looking forward to meeting you at the Social Media for Government Conference.