Celebrating Canadians in 3D

My friend John Biehler is a geeky genius. His current passion is 3D printing – and he’s even co-authored a book on the subject.

John’s working on an amazing art project with the Simons chain of department stores and celebrated artist and author Douglas Coupland. Over the course of the next several months and coinciding with Simons’ expansion across Canada, the #3DCanada team will scan the faces of Canadians across the country and produce miniature busts of each person. Not only will they have a 3D keepsake, but at the end of the project, Mr. Coupland will produce a work of art literally showcasing the face of Canada in the 21st Century.

Check out the 3D Canada video below.

I dropped by to cheer John on, and to meet Doug Coupland. (I confess to being rather starstruck.) And of course, I took some photos.

Here’s my #3DCanada experience at the Simons Park Royal location.

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne




Photo by Cathy Browne


Photo by Cathy Browne

And of course, I had to take a selfie.

Photo by Cathy Browne

It was a fantastic experience, the Simons store is gorgeous, the crowds were huge and enthusiastic, and it was particularly rewarding to see so many parents and kids there. I can’t wait to see – and photograph – the culmination of the #3DCanada project in the next year or so!

Remembrance Day in Photos – No Words Necessary

Photo by Cathy BrowneIt was a glorious day to celebrate Remembrance Day and commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of our armed forces, and the next generation of Canadian military.

Under the canopy of a brilliant blue November sky, I joined thousands of men, women and children standing in respectful silence, and when we could, erupting in heartfelt, grateful applause for everyone who has fought, suffered, and died keeping us all safe and free.

I am letting my Remembrance Day pictures speak for themselves. There is not much more to say, except Thank You.

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by CAthy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne

Photo by Cathy Browne


Oh, Canada! Celebrating the Justin Trudeau Era.

I have a lot of loves, including my cats, sushi, wine and Sherlock Holmes. But today, for #NaBloPoMo Day Six, I’m all about politics, and the incredible event that took place in Canada this week.

I’m a political junkie, and have been following US and Canadian politics for more than 50 years. I can still remember, at age six, sitting in front of our tiny black and white TV in 1960 and intently watching the entire Kennedy-Nixon debate. I haven’t looked back since.

When I was 14, in 1968, I was swept up in the tidal wave of Trudeaumania that saw Pierre Elliot Trudeau rise to power as Canada’s 15th Prime Minister. I remember going to a huge rally in Montreal, wearing a gigantic Trudeau button and screaming myself hoarse.

And then…a miracle! Suddenly four or five burly guys lined up right in front of me and linked arms. I knew then and there that HE would be walking right by me. And as Trudeau and his entourage started to pass by the security detail, I lunged over the linked arms – and grabbed his hand. I didn’t let go until he turned around AND SMILED AT ME!!

My teenage heart almost exploded, and I didn’t wash that hand for two days…

Fast forward to this week. After a long, tumultuous, intense and often bitter election campaign, another Trudeau – Pierre’s charasmatic, articulate, people-loving and selfie-taking oldest son Justin – became our 23rd Prime Minister.

After almost a decade when it felt to me as if Canada had become a darker, more fearful, more suspicious, less inclusive country, I breathed a sigh of relief and shed many tears of joy as the new PM took his oath of office.

It sounds corny, but it really feels like the dawn of a new era. Take a look at this tweet that lists all the changes that Prime Minister Trudeau has introduced:

Image 2015-11-05 at 3.01 PM


And check out his answer when he was asked why he felt it was important to ensure gender parity in his new Cabinet.

2015, indeed. I hope Pierre is smiling, wherever he is. I haven’t stopped.

It’s Time to Give Back

For the past several months I’ve been writing and consulting for an organization I admire greatly. Canadian Women in Technology, also known as CanWIT, is Canada’s premier national grassroots organization dedicated to promoting tech careers for women.

And it’s an organization facing a huge challenge – one that may surprise you a much as it did me.

  • Canadian women make up only 25% of the technology workforce, with only a small number hold management positions.
  • A staggering 52% of these highly trained and qualified women will leave their jobs after only 10 years. This doesn’t bode well for young women considering careers in technology.
  • 38% of women hold leadership roles in Canada, yet only 16% hold leadership roles in the corporate sector (compared with 59% in the education sector and 37% in government agencies);
  • 37% of Boards of Directors and 17% of Senior Management Teams have no female representation in the corporate sector.

CanWIT has risen to the challenge, and with the support of Status of Women Canada has developed an online eMentorship program to bring seasoned professionals together with young women to nurture, encourage and inspire. CanWIT believes that mentorship matters, and can help turn these stats around, by encouraging the participation and advancement of females in tech.

As a woman who’s been a tech PR professional for more than 30 (!) years, I can really appreciate the value of mentorship, I like the online aspect, and I’ve been honoured to help contribute to its ongoing success.

But, you know…I haven’t done enough. I haven’t mentored anyone.

I can fall back on excuses – no time, too caught up in my life, too many commitments, etc. – but I know better.

I’ve been afraid to commit. I’ve held back, questioned myself, hesitated. For too long.

Why? Early on in my career I’m afraid I wasn’t always a good role model. I was too judgmental, too quick to criticize, too impatient. I’m not sure I always listened the way I should. And it’s not as if I didn’t love my job, and working with younger people. I didn’t have the confidence. I didn’t have the skills. To be honest, I could have used more mentorship myself.

I don’t think I’m alone. I think many of us are too hard on ourselves. We forget that we’re human, we make mistakes, lots of mistakes. But life happens to stretch and shape us. it may be a painful process, but we do grow.

And now, at this stage of my life, at the time of the year when thoughts turn to giving, I am ready to give back. Do I feel I have something to offer now? You bet!

I’ve got a lifetime of experience that stretches back to the days of typewriters and liquid paper and includes the launch of voicemail, email and cell phones. It’s a life that has seen enormous advances in the technologies younger generations can’t imagine being without. It’s a life that has embraced all kinds of change and is still absorbing, adopting and learning. And hopefully, it’s a life that offers some inspiration as a seasoned PR gal who just happens to be legally blind.

So I’m going to become an eMentor – and I’d love to take you with me. I know without even having to think about it that I know hundreds of men and women who have talent to burn, time to spare and a passion for the technology they’ve loved over many years.

Please take a few minutes to learn more about CanWIT’s eMentorship program and sign up. Be the role model these women want and need to grow and advance in their careers. I can’t think of a better gift.

Share. Guide. Inspire. And have a hell of a good time doing it. I know I will!


Photo Friday: Lest We Forget

I decided this morning to head down to the Remembrance Day ceremony in Vancouver’s Victory Square to honour the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much in fighting for freedom and peace and against tyranny. I also wanted to capture the moment, if I could.

It moved me to tears to see thousands of people, young and old, in attendance. I loved to see young couples holding each other close. And the faces of some of the very few veterans left – well, there are no words. Just thanks, with a full heart.

Here’s my slide show. I’ll always remember today.