The Me You May Not Know – Chapter Two

Day Three of my #NaBloPoMo journey…

Now, where was I?  Oh yes, I was just about to tell you how my life took a 360 degree turn after I was rejected for a teaching degree.

So, here’s what happened.

I got mad. Very mad. I had been through a lot in my life, and I had accomplished a great deal. I had already exceeded many people’s expectations. I was NOT going to let some official in a suit tell me that I was incapable of teaching ‘normal’ people.

So, I went to the university newspaper, and I made noise. And they wrote an article about my situation, calling me a ‘squeaky wheel’, which pleased me no end. And later, mid-way through the fall semester, the Education faculty reversed their decision, and accepted me. But I was long gone.

I had discovered the power of media relations. I left Montreal and moved to Toronto, and began what is almost a 40-year career in PR. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.

I started in non-profits, most notably with The Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and then, in the early 1980s, I started working in the emerging tech PR business – and it was my love and my passion for many years! And I couldn’t have started at a better time, as the world was evolving from electronic typewriters and press kits and news conferences, to computers, voice mail, faxes, email, and in the last decade, social media, tablets and smart devices.

Over the years, I’ve worked in Toronto, Ottawa, Silicon Valley and Vancouver. I’ve worked with the best PR practitioners in the business, for the best and most innovative companies in the world. I’ve been able to meet industry giants, world leaders, visionaries and the hard-working people who are the ones who bring ground-breaking products to life. My only regret is that social media came a few decades too late for me to share some of these memories with posts, tweets and selfies!

Thinking back, I can’t believe my good fortune. I saw and was part of the most incredible technology innovation we’ve ever seen, and embraced it all. As a result, I have both the traditional PR tools and the tech savvy that makes me the person I am today. I can’t help but think how much value I can offer a generation that takes so much of what we have today, but that’s the stuff of a later post!

Much has happened on the personal front, too. I got married to Dave Kane in 1981.

Photo by Cathy Browne

The Two of Us

And I was widowed in 2011, after watching Dave’s heart fail over the course of two decades following a near-fatal heart attack at 44.

We were bolstered by family and friends both online and off. Indeed, the love, friendship, encouragement and support of my social media community keeps me and my cats going to this day. I couldn’t have made it otherwise.

And then, unexpectedly, another door opened that changed my life yet again. I picked up a DSLR camera and found new meaning and passion, and the courage to keep going.

But how does a legally blind person take photos like these?

Photo by Cathy Browne

Rose after the Rain

Photo by Cathy Browne

Storm along the Seawall

Photo by Cathy Browne

Paris – Where Else?

That’s my post for tomorrow – stay tuned. It will be an #EyeOpener.

Awesome Meets Reality

I had an amazing week on so many levels.

I was a roving photographer at Kerry Gibson’s fabulous Elevate and Celebrate event to raise funds to make elegant and historic Hycroft accessible to everyone.

Then, an unbelievable experience at my first SVI Women in Vancouver conference that brought together an incredible group of smart, talented, passionate and generous entrepreneurs for two and a half days. I was fortunate to gain admission as a volunteer photographer – and I poured my heart into producing a collection of photos that captured the intensity, joy and energy of the event through the eye of the lens. You can view all of the photos on my Flickr site. I’m pretty proud of them.

And, over this past week alone, my Flickr views have skyrocketed – up to an incredible (at least to me!) 28,300 views to almost 170,000 views! I know it’s probably not much of a leap to some, but that growth spurt means the world to me.

It’s given me a huge confidence boost at a point where I really, really need one.

It’s validated my belief that I can and do contribute to the success of an event by documenting it in my unique way.

I’m also hoping that it’s been an #EyeOpener for the people who’ve seen my photos.

Because I need more than an awesome week.

I need paid work. Badly. As much as I’ve loved all of these amazing experiences, and the people I’ve met along the way, real life and the need to make money can bugger up all the awesomeness.

So I’m putting it out there again.

If you or anyone you know needs a photographer, PR gal, writer, editor, community builder, accessibility consultant, public speaker, cat sitter, envelope licker or pretty well anything that doesn’t involve driving cars, waiting tables, or 20/20 vision – please feel free to contact me.

I have a hell of a lot to offer. Let me open your eyes.

 

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