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Meet 3 Community Builders Who Are Making a Difference.


3 Regular Sections on Networking, Social Media and Living Well.


Urban Locavore S E A N G A L L A G H E R O N H I S C H O I C E T O P L A N T R O O T S I N H A L I FA X

Spring 2012

Tips on How to Support Your Community and Thrive.


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Expert Advice

Regular sections on networking, social media and taking care of yourself.


Community Builders

3 profiles of business leaders who are making a difference.



Cover Feature

Sean Gallagher on his choice to plant roots in Halifax.


Local Style

Cool fashion designed by people in Nova Scotia.






For the Love of Art

When business supports the art community.


Junior Achievement

Changing the lives of youth.

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Hillcrest Volkswagen.

Family Driven Since 1979.

Local Connections Halifax is designed to act as a public space where people can share a wide range of ideas all relating to community building. We are committed to supporting social enterprise, art, immigration, architecture, public spaces, the support local movement, the non-profit sector, social media, networking (relationship building) and pretty much anything that will see Halifax reach its true potential.

Editorial Director Alexander Henden

Associate Editor Lizzy Hill

Chief Photographer Riley Smith

Contributing Writers

Anna Duckworth, Veronica Simmonds, Lindsay Best, Frances Leary, Floria Aghdamimehr

Community Writers Cindy James, Kathleen Yurchesyn


Thanks for checking out the very first edition of Local Connections Halifax! It feels like we’re in the midst of a big push forward in our city right now, and I'm excited to be here to partake in it and share all the great stories that I am discovering. For those who don’t know me personally, Halifax became my new home of choice in August 2010. Since then, I have been exploring like crazy, trying to figure this place out. When I moved here just over a year ago, I knew absolutely no one. Now, after a full season of countless networking and social events, I’m finding myself slowly becoming interwoven into the fabric of our community, and I'm really enjoying myself! The result of all my effort is that I’ve become connected to my new city in many ways, and have recently taken up the cause of using my connections to promote many of the positive aspects of life in Halifax. Of course, no good journey is had alone. So for the purposes of making this publication the best it can be, I have brought along some good friends. My hope is that through their inclusion, we can offer the best snapshot of Halifax possible. So enjoy YOUR new magazine, and may it assist you in making some wonderful discoveries of your own.


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Alexander Henden Editorial Director

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Find Us Online. @ConnectionsHFX


Hopefully by next edition, we'll be set up to do subscriptions. This service will be available to individuals and businesses who wish to have single or multiple copies delivered to their front door.

Who We Are. Our Mission.

Our mission is a simple one: We want to connect you to the best this city has to offer! There are so many great reasons to take pride in being a Haligonian right now, and we want to bring those reasons to the forefront to help inspire you on your journey forward.

Our Partners.

Everyone you see in the pages of this publication is our partner, and they are all here because we believe in them too. So as you flip through the pages, please know that behind each advert is someone special who is committed to our community every bit as much as we are.

Our Vision.

Our vision is pretty simple: We come from many different backgrounds and communities, but we want to see everyone working together under the internationally recognized brand that is Halifax. This is who we are!

What's Next.

We're going to make a serious effort to truly connect with all of Halifax's diverse neighborhoods, including those that are not on the peninsula. It's a big task and there are barriers, but we're gonna do it. We have to do it! We'll also explore some new themes and ideas in each issue. In moving forward it's important for us to continue to evolve to really represent our city right, and we'll do just that!

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Networking Lindsay Best


s the snow melts and the flowers start to poke through the earth, I see people getting energized. Though January is typically when people make their resolutions, I find spring a bit more inspiring. My career as a small business consultant has me tuned-in to what businesses are doing and what they need. I often ask my clients, “How do you attract your clients/ customers?” The good majority respond with “word of mouth” and/or “referrals.” This method of attracting business is one of the oldest, but still proves to be a successful method for growing a business. In terms of what small businesses need, many simply need to ‘get known.’ Getting exposure can be difficult to achieve, as companies with little name recognition typically don’t have big marketing budgets.

They rely on creative marketing and relationship building to grow their businesses. This ability to be creative is one of the reasons why I love working with small businesses.


Some business owners think that the only people they need to meet are their potential customers. I encourage them to think differently: Do you need a lawyer or suppliers? Are you looking to make partnerships? Are you looking to meet like-minded people? The point is, networking is more about building relationships and discovering new opportunities than it is about potential sales. Be open to engage ANYONE you might meet, not just the “right” people. This may sound contradictory to my statement above, however, you never know the connections each person may have, who they may influence or


the potential opportunities to work together. Choose a variety of functions to attend. Halifax has many traditional networking events, volunteering opportunities, community events and committees. Meet some people, have engaged conversations and ask for their business cards. Most people fail to fully capitalize on their networking efforts. It’s of the utmost importance to follow up with new contacts in a timely manner. Send them a note, an email or give them a call. Those who do this well will ultimately lay the best foundation for a new business relationship. Networking activities should be a part of every small business’ marketing plan. It will get people talking about your business, drive traffic to your website and/or location and start to get you (and others) excited about business in Halifax.

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Prize Draw is on May 15, 2012




Frances Leary


pring is here, and the world is literally transforming into newness right in front of our eyes. As I sit at my computer, appreciating the magic outside my windows, I pause and smile because it hits me – Social Media exists in a state of perpetual spring. Social Media is constantly evolving, always changing, always giving birth to something innovative and fresh. As new technologies and new platforms are developed, they seem truly to take on lives of their own. Is the transition from old to new always smooth? Definitely not. Facebook’s changes over the past year, for example, were met with great resistance. Many people vehemently protested the ticker, the timeline, the news feed changes and more. In the end, however, protest or not, the changes still came.

Not all Social Media innovations thrive. As one platform, such as MySpace, struggles to survive winter, another like Pinterest is born. The world of Social Media constantly beams with new life, and every aspect evolves in its own unique way. Such is it with people. By participating in the world of Social Media, we have the opportunity to create our own seasons of growth and change, to be the first bloom or the last. Either way, what matters is that we bloom. We engage. We live. Especially in Halifax. Haligonians have passionately embraced the world of Social Media. In the past hour on Twitter, for example, there have been 106 tweets relating to Halifax posted by 94 unique authors having 26 retweets of their posts. Imagine a room with 94 people discussing the


same topic while actually hearing and responding to what everyone else is saying. CONVERSATION. PEOPLE. LIFE. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT TECHNOLOGY. IT’S A WAY TO CONNECT. Why should you participate? Not to grow your business, increase your brand or make more money, although those are all powerful by-products. You should engage in Social Media because that is where the people are, and to be where the people are, to be part of the people, is to share in something greater than ourselves. Together we have the power to inspire, to shape our futures, to change the world. We may yet discover that Social Media is the most powerful way to do just that.

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TIME to Live Well Floria Aghdamimehr


healthier life means loving yourself enough to change. Learning how to reduce and manage stress has become one of the most important steps to improving health in the 21st century. Like most things in nature, if we maintain balance by dealing with and reducing stresses that are inevitable in our lives, we can be healthy in body and mind. Stress has been ever increasing both in our professional and personal lives. At least 80 per cent of all illnesses are directly or indirectly caused by stress (World Health Organization). We are all familiar with the difficulties involved in meeting work deadlines or in getting kids out the door on time. We know the irritants of having a flat tire or a car that won’t start. We feel the effects of the strain of meeting goals that are important to us. Illness comes from reactions to

events that persist or problems you are not addressing, or situations with no easy, quick solution. When something needs to be resolved such as the leaking faucet or an unpaid tax bill, and you are avoiding it, the strain you feel is truly harmful. NAGGING STRESS CAN WEAR YOU OUT. In Nova Scotia the stress level is very high. People don’t recognize they are stressed until their health starts failing. One of the largest stresses for most is their eating habits. Eating a good balanced diet helps everyone’s body function at its best. Eating foods low in fat and high in immunity help maximize energy and alertness. One key to a healthier life: reduce sugar intake. White sugar is really addictive. North Americans consume a lot of sugar — 14 kilograms of sugar per person each year. When we are tired we look to

sweets. We reach for something to pick us up which are not good for us. The jury is still out on the use of sweeteners. We don’t know the long term effect of them. When you are sitting at the kitchen table with a friend, put away the sweet tray and have a cup of herbal tea. There are so many out there: mint, green, ginger and red teas are all great. Walking the aisles of the grocery store looking for non-fat products isn’t the answer either. Non-fat products aren't necessarily good for you. The "non-fat" label gives the impression that a product is healthy, but these products can contain unhealthy substitutions for fat. Make wise choices and read the labels carefully. Change your lifestyle for the better. Take a holistic approach to care for your body, mind and spirit.Everything in our life affects our health.

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Wendy Friedman

Article: Anna Duckworth Photo: Riley Smith

THE SASSY ENTREPRENEUR AND HER LOVE OF INDIE FASHION “I never think of the store as just me. I think it’s all of us, you know,” says Wendy Friedman the owner of Biscuit General Store, Halifax’s quintessential independent fashion boutique. Friedman is a pretty cool lady. Not only is she the brains behind Biscuit, the Argyle Street staple for which both staff and patrons seem to feel a certain ownership. But she also skips along with a refreshingly earnest approach to an industry


that’s got a reputation for being anything but that–perhaps one reason her shop is such a hit. “A lot of people in the [fashion] industry thought I was crazy because I, you know, had good jobs that were considered higher up,” says Friedman who favoured a career in retail over anything else. “I really missed that aspect of the fashion business where you get to see actual people trying things on.” Friedman, who grew up in

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South Carolina, came to Halifax in 1992 when she was 27, following the Shambhala community from Colorado. It wasn’t long before she fell in love with the place, met her husband-to-be, and decided to carve out an indie fashion corner in a city that loved its chain stores. “I remember when I first visited Halifax there really wasn’t much going on fashion-wise, especially for a younger consumer,” she says recalling a time when Argyle

Street–now arguably Halifax’s most vibrant strip–was a relatively sleepy four-block stretch. About to celebrate its sixteenth birthday, Friedman fancies Biscuit a modern-day department store– an eclectic mix of clothing, shoes, gifts, accessories and sweets that she’s hand-picked on her many trips across the continent in search of merchandise that “pops.” Indeed, the business is popping. Biscuit and Friedman are bona fide beacons of hope for others looking to make something out of nothing. Besides sitting on a number of boards, Friedman collaborates with fashion students at NSCAD

and mentors a handful of other entrepreneurs whose businesses have cropped up in the downtown core over the past decade. “I love encouraging people who have a passion for this industry,” she says. “You don’t have to be born to some kind of privilege to be able to pursue your love of fashion, you know?” There’s talk of opening up new shops. But very concerned about keeping the “soul” intact, Friedman isn’t looking too far for new locations. “I love Halifax and I’m very dedicated to the city,” she says. “So I wouldn’t abandon it.” █

James Dikaios

Article: Anna Duckworth Photo: Riley Smith

LOCAL COFFEE LEGEND WITH A PASSION FOR QUALITY AND PEOPLE Jim Dikaios loves coffee. He drinks it every day. He watches the beans grow. He picks the finest harvest to bring home. And then he shares it. For many of Halifax’s coffee enthusiasts, Dikaios’ landmark café Java Blend will always sling the best cup of joe. “I had visions of doing other things,” he says recalling a time when he didn’t hope to inherit the coffee business from his father.


“I was actually pursuing a career in marine biology.” But when he hit his thirties, got married and set his sights on Toronto, Dikaios had a quick change of heart. “I think this is what we’re going to do for the next little while,” he chuckles, remembering the day he begged his wife to stay in Halifax. “And she’s hated me ever since.” For their honeymoon in Costa

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Rica, they visited their first farm. His love for coffee grew fast and furiously. And a switch flipped. “I can’t wait to get up tomorrow and come into work and look at new coffees and explore everything there is to know about coffee.” Some twenty years later, Dikaios is a wealth of coffee knowledge. He’s traveled far and wide to understand the business from the bottom up. Java Blend fancies itself an

ethical business–with socially and environmentally sustainable practices and affiliations. The shop sells certified Fair Trade coffee, but Dikaios is quick to point out the many coffees he sells which are not Fair Trade certified, yet are produced in equally ethical ways.“That’s a whole other story,” he says. But Dikaios is every bit as concerned about taste and quality as he is about fair business. At the little

North Street café, each bean variety is carefully tasted by staff. The café has a designated sample roaster, just so the crew can test and taste the beans. And when a coffee is true, they order more and roast it away in the big industrial in-house roaster–a sensory treat for all Java Blend patrons taking a trip to the loo. This sense of community starts with staff but quickly trickles down. “We try to learn peoples’

names,” says Dikaios about the regulars flowing through Java Blend's doors every day. “Sometimes we know a little too much about our customers.” But when coffee’s good and cheap–$1.20 a cup–it seems people are quick to mix their coffee business with pleasure. █

Sonia Menendez Article: Anna Duckworth Photo: Riley Smith

TRANSCENDING BARRIERS & FINDING SUCCESS IN A NEW LAND We were looking to start a new life,” says Sonia Menendez about leaving El Salvador in favour of a move to Halifax in 1986. “And that’s what we did.” Now some 25 years later, Menendez fancies herself a Haligonian. In 2011, she became the Executive Director of Mount Saint Vincent University’s Centre for Women in Business. And these


days, with her husband Roberto, she has three kids and owns a booming entrepreneurial venture. She’s what some may call, a success story. A quick look at her resume, and it’s easy to see Menendez has earned her stripes. She started out in the corporate world at the Business Development Bank of Canada and subsequently, she’s

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been credited with helping to establish over a hundred new businesses through her work at Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services. Her commitment to improving conditions for entrepreneurial women is evident across all facets of her life. She lends her time to a number of boards and committees. And with an

innovative business of her own, she understands first-hand the struggles of starting from scratch. “Women business owners are still facing some barriers, like access to capital, lack of mentors in their work, and lack of business management skills,” she says, adding that entrepreneurial women belong to the fastest growing business sector.  

Over the last year at the Centre for Women in Business, Menendez supported and advised women to be sustainable and more competitive in business. But with her own expanding enterprise on the side – La Villa on Agricola – Menendez recently decided to step down and focus on that alone. “We wanted to create a community that has a cultural

aspect, an economic and residential aspect,” says Menendez about La Villa on Agricola, a multi-purpose space which opened in 2009 for artists in the heart of Halifax’s bustling North End. “It’s very innovative.” Indeed, just like her. █

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Urban Locavore Article: Lizzy Hill Photos: Riley Smith



flip of a coin landed social entrepreneur Sean Gallagher in Halifax, and he hasn’t regretted that twist of fate since. The owner of Halifax’s Local Source Market was looking to move to a city that boasted both a “coastline to surf and a school with a cooperative program.” He tossed a coin - unsure of whether to enroll in the University of Victoria or Dalhousie University - and thankfully, that coin landed on Halifax. As it turned out, our city’s proximity to rural areas, coupled with our youth’s hunger for social and economic change,


made Halifax the perfect spot for Gallagher to test-drive his many business initiatives, ranging from pop-up dining experiences to slinging locally-sourced sandwiches. Today, Local Source Market Gallagher’s North End grocery store, cafe and the headquarters for his catering business - provides the surrounding neighborhood with fresh, local food that comes directly from our region’s farmers. Gallagher admits he never planned to open up a grocery store. But his neighbours demanded to know what he was going to do with

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the Charles Street kitchen and storefront he purchased in 2008 for his budding catering company. Many asked him to provide an alternative to the slew of imported foods at big name grocery stores. Despite having limited retail knowledge, Gallagher took “a leap of faith,” deciding to give the neighborhood just that. He comes by his passion for local food honestly. Gallagher waxes nostalgic about his past over the mouth-watering smell of cinnamon in Local Source’s bakery. His parents lived a block apart from one another in The

Glebe in Ottawa, where a colourful assortment of characters and free thinkers from around the globe would often swing by both houses for lavish dinners. His mother, Patricia Hurdle - a Montrealer who worked for CUSO on the Latin America and Caribbean Desk met his father - who for much of Gallagher’s upbringing served as Oxfam Canada’s regional director - in Havana back in the early ‘70s. Gallagher recalls that in both parents’ homes, the kitchen table served as a hotbed of conversation amongst friends: “I was a kid crawling around under the table learning the value of meal time.” His upbringing was a far cry from conventional; in his early teens, Gallagher “had to get out of Ottawa,” so he moved to Durban, South Africa with his father David Gallagher. “That’s where I became a beach bum and learned how to surf,” he says. “I was spoiled with really good food. We had papaya trees in our front yard and avocado trees in our back yard, so the food there was amazing.” Coming back to Ottawa in 1994 - where “people have it so easy” - was a total culture shock for Gallagher, then 17. He was a “punk rock kid” and “a bit of a rebel” back then, who didn’t totally identify with mentality of his peers. “I’d kind of just seen so much poverty and so much of the world that’s in conflict, and realized how lucky I was,” he says. That rebel attitude caused him to get kicked out of school and his mother’s house upon his return. That experience taught him how to be resourceful and perhaps laid the foundation for his entrepreneurial spirit, as he was forced to try to make it on his own as a teenager. “But then I smartened up,” he says. L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S H A L I FA X | S P R I N G 2 0 1 2


“I was getting close to turning 18 and thought, ‘Ok, I’ve got to go back to school and stop being such a little badass.’” He “lucked out” when an Italian girlfriend’s family welcomed the teenage Gallagher into their home, nourishing his appreciation for good food and impressing him with a “feast beyond feasts” every Sunday. “They taught me a lot about community and about the simpler things,” he says. This relationship prompted him to take trips to Italy in later life, where he was inspired by the passion young Italians demonstrated for the Slow Food movement. He gleefully describes a 2010 shopping mall sit-in in Turin, Italy, where he visited as a Canadian delegate with the Terra Madre Slow Food gathering. Three hundred young people staged a mass protest in a food court, eschewing the slew of greasy, fast food stalls for their own fresh, local feast. “The movement in Italy was mind-blowing, because it was all the youth that had all the energy,” he says. Gallagher has had considerable success in fostering some of that energy back in Halifax. His first efforts date back seven years, when he launched his sandwich stand Fresh on the Dalhousie campus. He employed George Christakos, who today owns the Halifax restaurant Brooklyn Warehouse, and the duo dished up healthy, local food to hungry students. Both shared a common dream of promoting the Buy Local movement in Halifax, and continue to bounce ideas back and forth today. “We both believe in citizens having the ability to make the province better, economically and socially, by what you choose to


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put in your refrigerator,” explains Christakos. Though in any other city, Christakos and Gallagher - whose niche businesses cater to a similarly socially conscious demographic - might wind up vicious competitors, Christakos is quick to point out that that’s not the case: “There’s an extremely good camaraderie in the food industry here.” He adds: “We all are in this together.” Indeed, camaraderie is often the key to survival in the restaurant industry for those who focus on buying local. Supporting local farmers has its challenges, considering factors such as widespread farm debt and a lack of young farmers in our region are bleeding our rural areas dry. “We’re competing with everybody else on price, quality and service,” explains Gallagher. “The difference is, we’re dealing within a value chain where the suppliers themselves are moving and unpredictable agents.”  Gallagher keeps business healthy through nurturing solid relationships with suppliers. “I was worried going into the first season. I didn’t know if we’d have enough food to get us through the winter,” he recalls. “But if it wasn’t for Ted Hutten from Hutten’s Family Farm, Greg Gerritts from Elmridge Farm and a few others we wouldn’t have had a really good supply of clean vegetables.” When Gallagher told Hutten about his business plans a few years ago, Gallagher says Hutten understood that "hey, this is a crazy idea, but if it works then it’s going to change a lot of minds and could effect a lot of change.” “I thought that there would be potential for it, if he could make a local food store that was a bit of a local food hub in that North

End community,” explains Hutten, who feels Gallagher’s mixed business model keeps business stable. But Hutten admits that it can be tough for his farm to meet demand sometimes.  Gallagher is trying to foster a culture in which we appreciate and understand the efforts that farmers like Hutten take to get our food to us, through initiatives such as “Meet Your Farmer” dinners and pop-up dining events. Guests who RSVP’d to his most memorable pop-up dining event - the location of which was only revealed on the day of the event - found themselves at Halifax’s picturesque Dingle Tower. Gallagher wowed guests with a three course meal of arctic char, gravlax and micro-green salad, followed by bowtie pasta and Caprese salad, slow roasted pork and crispy potatoes.  Local Source has seen rapid growth over the years, opening a catering company for events and weddings, launching a local grocery store in the North End and supplying food to cafes around Halifax by opening up their own organic bakery. But it hasn’t been an easy ride; sourcing a local business primarily using food from Nova Scotia is ripe with unique variables. “Each small farm is also a small business that is dealing with all the fun headaches that go along with being busy,” explains Gallagher. “We're just rounding the corner of viability now, thanks to all the hard work and faith of staff and to all of my own personal sacrifices of time and money.” But for Gallagher, feeding his community good quality local food is nothing short of a labour of love. █!/eatlocalsource



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Supporting local is fun and cool. We want to help you do all this and we've come up with some ideas on how.


big push for buying local seems to be on a lot of people’s radars these days, and for good reason. Buying local has a significant impact on the local economy, the environment and also on the social fabric of our community. For the most part, it’s a very positive movement, and being part of it is a good thing. In Halifax, this movement is even more relevant. Not only do we live in an economically challenged province, but the people of our region are also already very much in tune with the social and environmental aspects of living as well. Throw in the fact that the Halifax retail/service sector relies significantly on tourism as a means of contributing to the wealth of the region, and the whole concept of local begins to make even more sense. So where does this leave us? Well, that depends on you. Already, there are quite a number of local crusaders who are currently very active on the local front, but on the other side of the coin are those who have decidedly become disinterested in the whole concept. Regardless, our position is that there is something for everyone in the local movement, and our goal is to help each individual make the most of the opportunity. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you are doing with your life. You, like all of us, have the opportunity to make a positive impact on both your community and your own quality of life. The ball is in your court, and we’d like to give you some tips to help you win the game. So, let’s get started!

Explore and Discover.

There’s no better way to find new, cool local products or services than by seeking them out. Look beyond the obvious and uncover some of Nova Scotia’s greatest treasures. They're out there!

Share Your Experience.

When you stumble something cool that’s worth sharing, share it! This not only supports the local movement but it’s also a quick way to build your reputation as someone in the know.

Demand the Local.

If you are in the know, make it known! Most businesses listen to their customers, so why settle on products you don't want to consume? Demand local at restaurants, bars or anywhere you see fit.


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Acknowlege the Effort.

Next time your favourite local beverages are being served at a restaurant, or when you happen to be at a retailer who is carrying a local product you care about, thank them for the effort. This will not only make them feel good, but it will encourage them to keep doing good work.

Be Critical.

It’s okay to love locally made products or locally owned businesses, but don’t think you can’t be critical towards them. Constructive feedback is how we grow, and the local movement should not be exempt from growth.

Show It Off.

If you truly love local, show it off! Buy a bumper sticker, buy a t-shirt, or if you’re hosting a party, serve the local harvest to your guests!

Savour It.

We’re blessed in Nova Scotia with so many great local beers, ciders, sparkling wines, cheeses, produce and other culinary delights, but don’t forget to take time and truly savour the experience.

Entertain It.

Beyond the products and services, there are also local events which deserve consideration. Go to the theatre, go to the symphony, or check out a basketball game. It’s hard to image Halifax without arts & entertainment, so support what you like if you want it to stay!

Collaborate & Innovate.

Local business owners should really consider this point, and many already do. Collaborating with other businesses not only exposes you to different ideas, it offers you a unique opportunity to share something with a new customer base. You might even improve yourself on a personal level.

You Choose.

Okay, so you’ve heard our suggestions, but how about coming up with some of your own? At the end of the day, it’s you who makes the final decision, so why limit yourself to what we can come up with? Find your own way to support local!

Work Spaces.

It used to be that an office was more like a dungeon than a creative space. Today there are many work space options for the entrepreneur.

The HUB Halifax 1673 Barrington Street, Halifax

FRED. 2606 Agricola Street, Halifax

The Hub Halifax is a diverse community of engaged members working in an atmosphere of idea sharing and outsidethe-box thinking. The Hub is also a social enterprise, which means that as well as being a for-profit business, the Hub is also concerned with the welfare of the community and other social goals.

FRED is more than just a neighbourhood salon and café, it's a vibrant workspace that people work from every day. Just ask owner Fred Connors and you'll be surprised what kind of work gets done during the day.

The Hub strives to be eco-friendly - from reusable hand towels to carpets and insulation made of recycled materials. It also hosts a calendar of community fostering events, such as regular open houses and “sexy salad” days. The Hub offers reasonable membership and space rental rates, as well as flexible levels of involvement, from the Mingle Membership at five hours per month to unlimited membership and volunteer opportunities.

They are a tad busy around lunch time, but generally FRED is the perfect tonic for the creative mind. It's a good place if you're seeking new inspiration outside of the home office. Of course, having easy access to great espresso and some of this city's best food made by local culinary legend Joel Flewelling adds to the experience. We're pretty certain they've got the best muffins in town but we'll leave it to you to decide.

Platform Space 540 Southgate Drive, Bedford Launched back in January this year, Platform is a place where entrepreneurs can work in a comfortable environment surrounded by other entrepreneurs. Platform Space offers its clients access to hot-desking, wireless high-speed internet, board rooms, private offices, front desk reception, mail and courier handling and much more. Just like The Hub, Platform has different usage packages available, which are each customized to the varying needs of their client base. They also have in-house workshops and host monthly networking events. It's a solid option for people who don't need to be downtown.

Local Style.

We all know that buying local is a good thing, but did you know that buying local also means buying amazing stuff? Of course you did!

Michique Handbags These hot little handbags are designed by two twin sisters in Cape Breton and manufactured right here in Nova Scotia. The one you see here is from the 2012 summer collection.

Quarrelsome Yeti Local artist and illustrator Geordan Moore makes a cool line of guys, gals and even baby T-shirts which can be purchased at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market every Saturday and Sunday.

LouLouBell Delightful handmade bridal party gift clutches, garters and hair accessories. You can find these at Boutique Joliette on 1870 Hollis St.

Pip Robins Buckles You can find a wide variety of cool belt buckles from local designer Pip Robins at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market or online.

Red Fox Ring Angela Grace produces hand made works of unconventional fine jewelry, combining excellence in technique, imagination, artistry and sense of humour. All materials are sourced as close to home a possible.

Rocaro AlpacaWool Make your own fashion with some sweet soft and lightweight Alpaca wool from the Loop on Barrington Street in downtown Halifax.

Fibres of Life Wonderful hats and bags designed in Nova Scotia and made by artisans through an innovative fair trade arrangement. Available online and at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market.

Zero coats required.

#1207 charcoal grey

Redecorate with ease.

2534 Agricola Street • 902.455.0442

For the LOVE of ART Article: Lizzy Hill Photos: Riley Smith

How Business Can Support the Local Art Community Too!


ew can boast that a trip to see their financial planning advisor doubles as a visit to a vibrant, community art gallery. But for clients of Assante Wealth Management in the Hydrostone (, 902-4664234), a visit to the company’s Kaye St. location exposes them to the bright, swirling palettes of a rotating cast of Maritime artists. When visitors clamber up Assante’s stairs, they momentarily forget the frozen slush and drizzle of the winter streets below, slipping into the imaginative worlds of local artists such as Susan Hubley, Zahava Power and José Valverde. Inspired by the company’s artistic North End neighborhood, senior financial planning advisor RobertYves Mazerolle makes an effort to nourish the local arts scene, renting paintings for his office gallery from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s Art Sales and Rentals Gallery, and purchasing those he grows particularly fond of. Wandering through the polished concrete halls of his firm with him, it’s clear that for Mazerolle, a lover of the arts and Acadian musician himself, strolling through his office gallery is one of the best parts of his day. “You have to feel the painting,” explains Mazerolle happily, as he gives me a tour of his current collection. “Let it speak to you.” Rather than encounter those mass-produced, big box store paintings we typically associate with corporate offices, the first thing visitors notice when walking


into Assante’s main lobby is an acrylic street-scape by Israelborn artist Zehava Power, titled "Spring Garden at Night.” Power’s work captures the rich colour and bustling flurry of movement of an ordinary day in Halifax’s downtown shopping district. Investing in art is part of the corporate culture at Assante in the Hydrostone. The company sets aside a part of their operating budget to support local artists, just as they would to buy office supplies like staplers and printer paper. To select each piece, Mazerolle and two colleagues go to the Art Sales and Rentals Gallery each season, choosing works of art based on their subjective, emotional reactions and preferences and group consensus. Clients have given Mazerolle plenty of positive feedback for showcasing original, large-scale works of art at the business. And at the very least, the artwork often serves as a conversation starter with clients, providing artists with more exposure. Working with the Art Sales and Rentals Gallery, which operates as a non-profit organization and is volunteer based, is remarkably easy. Anyone living in the Halifax Regional Municipality with an individual or corporate membership to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (AGNS) can take as many pieces as they want home for a rental fee, sometimes as low as $30/month. Corporate members can rent paintings for up to a year, while individual members

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can do so for six months. Renting the work provides people with a relatively affordable way to enjoy art, rotate artwork to keep their ever-changing collections fresh or sit with a piece to decide if they want to commit to buying it. Local artists benefit directly from the rental program, as they get a cut of the rental fees and final sales prices, which are set by the artists themselves and a jury at the AGNS. And if you decide you want to buy a piece, up to six months of the rental fees your business has paid comes off the purchase price. For Power, working with the Art Sales and Rentals Gallery and businesses such as Assante supports her artistic practice. Power’s paintings capture the daily lives of Nova Scotians, inspired by local landmarks that range from the bright-red Gus’s Pub building, Argyle St. abuzz during summer patio season, the pizza spot Freeman’s Little New York to Citadel Hill. "You can bring one piece at a time. You don't have to create a whole body of work before they look at it,” says Power of the Art Sales and Rental Gallery program. "They're very good to the artists.” █ L O C A L C O N N E C T I O N S

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The Business of Biking

Article: Veronica Simmonds Photos: Riley Smith

“It’s people that patronize businesses not automobiles. It sounds very straight forward but a lot of business owners don’t see that.”

This is the message of local business owner Peter Williams. Williams is an avid cyclist and when he talks bikes, he means business. As the founder of Halifax-based bicycle touring company Eastwind Cycle, he organizes bike trips throughout the Maritimes, Quebec and Mexico. He also works as an advocate and consultant for our city and province on strengthening bicycle infrastructure. “On long trips back and forth between [Halifax] and Quebec City, we started saying, 'well what’s happened to Nova Scotia. Why can’t we have this in Nova Scotia?'” says Williams, referring to Quebec’s Route Verte network of bicycle and multi-use trails that spans over 4,000 kilometers. Williams and his business partner Suzanna Fuller have since been hosting presentations in public forums across the province with the result being a plan for a “Blue Route” in Nova Scotia. On the Municipal level, Williams

is supporting the Crosstown Connector project proposed by the Halifax Cycling Coalition. The current proposal for the Connector is a North/South bike lane that would traverse the length of the peninsula, reaching as far as the Bedford Highway. The route could run along Connaught or Windsor Streets, but so far the momentum seems to fall behind creating an Agricola Street corridor. Simple as this idea might seem, Williams is expecting a great deal of push-back from the business community that could be affected by a reduction in parking spaces. The narrow nature of Agricola Street could mean that one lane of parking might be removed, or in some cases, both lanes of parking. “I totally embrace the value of having a livable city and what that involves," says mayoral candidate Fred Connors, who is also the owner of FRED salon, café and gallery on Agricola Street. “Fortunately, I live and work in this neighbourhood, a lot of our customers live and work in this neighbourhood, and I don’t see the loss of parking along this street to be as terrifying as other businesses do. But I’m also Vice President of the Business Association, and I hear from those businesses and

I can understand how threatening that would be for them.” Connors proposes that instead of bike lanes, the city should implement traffic controlled areas with reduced speed limits. “It would be easier to build a critical mass of bike friendly zones so that people don’t have to stick to just a narrow 36-inch-wide lane. They have the entire street that they can occupy with automobiles, and that’s a much better way to go.” As a business-owner himself, Williams agrees that accommodations will need to be made for small businesses that could be affected, but also sees the increase of slow moving bike traffic as an opportunity for Agricola businesses. On this point, Connors agrees with Williams. “People automatically think that cars equal business. But when you really look at it, cars don’t equal business- people equal business. And if you can make neighbourhoods attractive to more people, we do better business.” █

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Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development



EED - an acronym that stands for the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education & Development - is an inspiring, local non-profit agency. Saying "CEED" elicits thoughts of growth, potential and momentum.  Our mission statement stands for change, selfreliance and a journey to be taken. Our clients live their dreams, create new potential and contribute to our economy and communities.  Our organization consists of people


who are entrepreneurs or act entrepreneurially every day. CEED is place where those who volunteer understand they are contributing to the future of Nova Scotia. CEED unlocks the potential entrepreneur, as demonstrated by John Hartling- our manager of the Youth Employability Program (YEP). YEP engages young people who have the potential to fall through the cracks. Youth Navigators, Alana, Greg and John, work one-on-one with over 150

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Article: Cindy James

youth a year to guide them through the labyrinth of life, positioning them to have a better chance of staying in school, becoming employed or being entrepreneurial. Starting in February 2012, Second Chance Halifax will launch its 13th year with 12 new young people seeking their second chance. Missy Searll, the Coordinator, will engage subjectexpert facilitators and incorporate CEED’s proprietary experiential entrepreneurship learning model.

Second Chance reaches out to youth who have been in conflict with the law, ensuring they are given a fighting chance. The program content delivers 10 months of applied planning, decision making and life skills with the end result of self-reliance and a fresh start in their community. CEED is a one-stop-shop for entrepreneurs as stated by Shawn Cunningham. Potential new business owners in HRM come to CEED through various means.  Shawn manages the Self Employment Benefits Program (SEB), funded by Employment Nova Scotia, and provides those who are receiving or who received Employment Insurance benefits in the last three years (five years for parental leave) assistance to start a business.  CEED staff Lesli, Elizabeth, Nancy and Elke assist our clients through business counselling services and are supported throughout a 40-week entrepreneurship training process. Over 500 businesses have been started via the SEB program, since CEED began delivering the program in late 2007. Bob and Kunal are also part of the one-stop-shop experience, meeting daily with new business owners through the Seed Capital Program and Canadian Youth Business Foundation Program (CYBF).  These programs provide low interest loans for small business start-ups. Up to $20,000 is available from the Seed Capital Program, and young entrepreneurs ages 34 and younger may obtain $15,000 from CYBF with an optional $30,000 double match from Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). CEED’s Loan Review Committee, comprised of

volunteers, makes decisions on over 55 client pitches and business plans per year. Each client’s success is guided by Kunal and Bob through a process of preparation and sound business planning. CEED’s 1,000 strong alumni business owners, non-profit agencies, government departments and corporate clients turn to Nancy Thompson, manager of Business Training, to take their venture to the next level of success. Drawing on the experience of Alison, who has been facilitating entrepreneurship education and training for 12 years, the CEED training program targets the professional development needs of the existing entrepreneur, employee and employer. Nancy has owned three companies as a career entrepreneur, and now works with people to help them increase profit and manage cash flow, unlock human resource potential and bring innovation to their organizations. Coupled with the knowledge of government partnership opportunities and available training funds, accessing training facilitates a Step Up for Success! The future of Nova Scotia’s success lies with the entrepreneur yet to be discovered and that is the mission of Meghan Cadue, Manager of Entrepreneurship Education. Since September, she and Entrepreneurship Education Advisor Tim Vassallo have reached 335 aspiring entrepreneurs through in-class interactive programs, trade show appearances, workshops and teacher consultations.  They work with youth in schools to introduce business ownership as a viable career option, and support students and teachers to help recognize their entrepreneurial potential across

any discipline. CEED prides itself on operating as a not for profit business. Our Office Manager Natasha Chestnut ensures our processes and systems keep us on track and accountable to our clients, funders and volunteers. CEED continues on its own path of self-reliance, seeking new revenue streams and financial support driven by Business Development Manager D’Arcy Morris-Poultney. Using sound financial management practices led by Phil Pelrine and supported by provincial and federal funding partners, the entire CEED team wants to ensure a substantial return on the taxpayer’s investment. Under the strategic direction of CEO Kathy Murphy, CEED will continue to strengthen and maintain its position as a relevant player in Nova Scotia’s social and economic future. Our Board of Directors, led by Dave Bourque, provides the external vision and leadership that ensures that the journey continues beyond 1,000 businesses. At CEED - Entrepreneurs Start Here we're increasing employment capacity with our youth clients, building a stronger economy for Nova Scotia through our established business owners, and assisting other agencies to be more entrepreneurial in their business processes. To learn more please visit us at █

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ith organizations in more than 120 countries worldwide, Junior Achievement has delivered programs to more than 105 million young people. In particular, since 1969, 228,000 Nova Scotia students have become inspired and prepared to succeed in the global economy through Junior Achievement’s many programs and initiatives. It’s easy to see the presence of an organization like Junior Achievement is not only an


important asset to have for schools, students and communities, but it has also proven to contribute to the long-term good of the society. According to a report done by the Boston Consulting Group, Junior Achievement alumni are 50 per cent more likely to open their own business, with that business lasting 30 per cent longer than their counterparts. They are more likely to spend less than they earn, helping them become better prepared for retirement.

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Article: Kathleen Yurchesyn

JA graduates are also significantly more likely to stay in school and enroll in post-secondary education. Overall, when one invests in Junior Achievement, it is truly an investment! For every dollar invested, $45 in turn is returned to society in terms of students staying in school, enrolling in postsecondary education and starting their own business. “Being a part of Junior Achievement has really made my high school experience that much

better. Through participating in both the Titan and Company Program, I have learned so much about the business world as well as myself. JA has inspired me to pursue a degree in business and I couldn’t be more excited to see what the future holds,” says Dylan Ross, a Grade 12 student at Riverview Rural High School in Cape Breton. JA delivers programs in both French and English focused on financial literacy, workforce readiness and entrepreneurship. All programs have been exceptionally well received in Nova Scotia. Economics for Success - JA’s grade nine program – reaches close to 100 per cent of grade nine classes across the province. In addition, JANS has had several Nova Scotia students compete on a national level and win awards and scholarships. The organization has also established unique volunteer partnerships with groups such as the health care sector and the Canadian Armed Forces. As one could see, JANS is a hugely successful and highly received organization, but with any not-for profit, the search for volunteers can be a challenge. Because of the high demand for JA programs in schools, volunteers are a necessity to deliver these programs to thousands of students. Volunteers are the scarce resource that keeps JANS on its feet, and without those volunteers, they would not be where they are today. “By allowing business people such as myself to volunteer with organizations like JA, it adds a semblance of real world experience to the theoretical concepts dealt with in school curriculums. JA provides the material and we -

the volunteers - deliver it with everyday life examples,” says Ken Paruch, a volunteer with JA in Cape Breton and a Nova Scotia Power employee. "I wish I had the benefit of this sort of program when I went to school. I feel it’s that valuable." The Junior Achievement experience is life-changing, and not in the typical cliché fashion. Well educated and successful business leaders deliver the programs throughout the province. These programs provide students with skills, knowledge and motivation to inspire and push them to succeed. Sometimes a JA experience can dramatically alter students’ lives. Junior Achievement believes in setting the stage for success and also opening students’ eyes to new options. Junior Achievement constantly reviews programs and keeps up to date with today’s business world. This ensures JA programs align with the skills and knowledge students will need to be successful in Nova Scotia and globally. Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia’s mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in the global economy. As each year passes, Nova Scotia’s market for successful business men and women continues to grow thanks to JA programs. █


Got an idea that will make Halifax even more awesome? We fund the absurd, artistic, altruistic and everything in between.

Submit your idea at

Thomas Cantley

Article: Anna Duckworth


nto a webcam, from his brand new job a thousand miles from Halifax, 28-year-old Thomas Cantley smiles. He’s got a clean bill of health after a stage-three cancer diagnosis three years ago. He’s just moved to Toronto to start a new life. And he’s got his hands full making a movie and writing a book about a story only he can tell. These are good reasons to smile. “I want people to relate to a regular person who has cancer,” he says about his mission to raise awareness among young men. “Cancer has become a corporation and business and I want to change that.” Cantley, despite being a filmmaker and photographer by trade, didn’t set out to make a movie or write a book about his


battle with cancer. “My goal was to shoot my surgery. You know, giving me something to keep myself busy,” he says. “Filming was my tool.” But it wasn’t long before he realized there was a story to tell. His "Ballsy Journey for Testicular Cancer” began and so did an unorthodox conversation about the disease. According to Health Canada, testicular cancer is the most common strain affecting young men ages 15-29. And if caught early enough, it is unlikely to spread as it did in Cantley’s case. Having ignored the early warning signs himself, Cantley was forced to undergo a surgery to remove his left testicle and a subsequent one to remove the

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cancer which had moved to his lymphatic system. He recalls a few fast years leading up to his diagnosis. At 18, he left his family in Halifax and flitted about working and studying. Finally settling in New York, he landed where many struggling artists do. “I was living on the street,” he says, explaining that his body was reacting to having hit rock bottom. “And that’s how I got cancer.” With regular events, Cantley is fundraising to finish his Ballsy Journey. Still, there’s no official release date for the book or the film. But the buzz generated by trailers and press trolls his message loud and clear: “Know your body.” █

Article: Alexander Henden


n the first weekend of February, I found myself at Mount Saint Vincent University for the inagural Social Enterprise for a Day conference. My original thoughts were not to attend, as I really had no idea how putting together a real social enterprise in one day would even be possible. I'm not exactly sure when I changed my mind about it, but I'm sure glad that I did. Going into this event, I discovered that I was not alone in thinking that the challenge was perhaps too great. In fact, for a good part of our evening session, all my fears were becoming realized. Maybe this really isn't possible after all I thought. There's just too much pressure working on such a tight schedule. Of course, the opposite ended up being true. After some initial struggling , our group - Team Purple - really began to shine. The secret? Add more pressure. Our group was settling for the quickest solutions, all of which

weren't very inspiring. By adding even more pressure, the bright minds of my group began working and at one point I was so blown away, I had to leave the room. The next morning we were given a couple of hours to put everything together and hit the pavement with our new business. Our team's social enterprise for the day was to launch a chalk design service for local businesses, where we would create fun graphics along with the hashtag #ilovehalifax in chalk, and then Tweet pictures of the designs using our freshly made Twitter account. We also had a second team at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market, who was getting pictures of people with cards saying why they love Halifax, and then Tweeting those as well. In the end we raised $600 for the Empathy Factory in four hours and radically changed our perception of what was possible. To be honest, this was one of the best experiences I've ever had. â–ˆ


Photos: Riley Smith

hree weeks before the launch of this magazine, we got together at Local Source, Creative Crossing, and Statement Furniture and celebrated with our community. Of course being 'The Magazine Experience Party' we invited all the folks we featured the magazine. We also invited the folks who captured their amazing stories, the sponsors who funded this project, and a bunch of other great people who make Halifax the wonderful city that it is. Special thanks to all at Local Source, Statement Furniture, Creative Crossing, Propeller Beer, Bishop's Cellar, Blomidon Estate Winery, Java Blend, Riley Smith, Art Sales and Rentals Society, Paul Chenard, Scott MacDonald, Inkwell Boutique, Debbie Hill, Stephanie Munn, Kumi Henden, Louise Karlson and all the terrific guests who celebrated with us!


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Together we raised $1014 for the Terre Madre Project - 1000 Gardens in Africa



n the evening of February 29, we joined a decentsized group of enthusiastic Haligonians for the launch of The Awesome Foundation of Halifax at Garrison Brewery. Founded in Boston, The Awesome Foundation is all about increasing awesomeness around the world. The concept is pretty simple: Get 30 cool business owners together and have them award a monthly prize of $1000 to the person or group who comes up with the most 'awesome' idea. The winner then takes the money and uses it to fund their awesome idea. It all sounds cool, and I suppose it is. I think the thing I like most about this initiative is that it promotes creative thought. There's


Article: Alexander Henden Photos: Riley Smith

nothing like a $1000 to get the mind going, and the results were evident here at the first ever Awesome Halifax event, with a record setting amount of entries. The four finalists for this first event were the Space Bagpipers (the winner), the Lego Party, Operation Oobleck and the Girls Gone Gazelle. All very cool and all very awesome! For the rest of us it was just a big party. Obviously, being at Garrison, there was some local beer on hand. Guests were also treated to wonderful homemade smores from local chef Craig Flinn. Overall it was an amazing night and we can now look forward to something fun to do each and every month! Awesome! â–ˆ

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Jeff H Barrett B.A. CIM @nextgeninvestor



ante used the word ‘inspirazione’ to represent the suggestion of “prompting.” From translations of its ancient root elements (and perhaps more existentially), we find the idea of “inspiration” to be more than just action. We think of it rather as: “instinct,” “to breathe life into,” “to animate with an idea or purpose,” “to arouse with divine influence,” and so on. In other words, we imagine inspired actions to be something more than simply “processes,” “methods,” “strategies,” or “tasks.” We imagine a process inextricably linked with an internal emotionality. It is your imagination that causes you to take action, not simply knowledge of strategy. From my perspective, I am nothing more than a harbinger of emotional imagination and an executor of strategy. To create a plan as a matter of due diligence is akin to living your life by checklist. The supplanting of this emotional, financial imagination with product and strategy methodology is the sole contributor to disinterested wealth-building. Don’t feel bad, it’s not your fault. It’s ours. Your instincts imagine a blissful financial future. More than that, you aspire to have a future that is adventurous and debt free. This is the universal truth. Through salesmanship, overcomplicated products, sophisticated processes and profitable (to us) strategies, we burden your original desire for action and blur its truth. A modern and holistic model of thinking will help you realize that your future is created by a synthesis of positive emotional wondering, ethical collaboration and planning. Nothing, and everything, is achievable through imagination, collaboration and inspiration. You attract a future reality through current emotional imagination and form it using consistent instructed methodology. Too often the latter is considered advice when it is really just a template. Your financial future is best understood in your language of understanding - not ours. As you attempt to resurrect these original desires, I only hope that it is matched with proper motivations. █

100% Atlantic Canadian Owned.

26 Crane Lake Drive, Bayers Lake (902)442-5031


Social Media Dinner & Workshop #3

@Connections HFX

Sylvain Allaire MPA, CHRP @HR_pros



ou probably remember your first job. Although it has been many years, I have very fond memories of my first summer job. I previously had a paper route, but that was not the same as having a “real” job. Now, I was going to get paid by the hour, and I was going to make “real” money! While I was excited about the prospects of making money, I was also apprehensive about the job. Would it be difficult? Would I get along with the boss and my new co-workers? What if I make a mistake, would I get fired? I certainly did not want to fail because the loss of a job would mean a very different fall and winter for me. Students who you will be hiring this summer will likely have the same apprehensions, especially if this is their first “real” job. They are taking their first steps on the road to become full participants in the labour force and it is up to their new employers to ensure that it is a memorable and successful experience. It is therefore important to think about what type of jobs you are offering. Students are keen to learn and perform well, but as with anyone else they will lose their motivation if the job is meaningless or isn’t within their ability to complete. The first few days on the job are very important for all new employees, and equally so for a summer student. How you welcome them is critical to the success and retention. It is very important to take the time to introduce them to their co-workers, to show them their work space, to review their job description, and most importantly to train them on your safety programs. Appoint someone to be their immediate point of contact for assistance and guidance. Finally, regularly ask for feedback. With a little bit of planning, hiring a summer student can be a rewarding experience for the student and your organization. Remember that this year’s summer student could be your next permanent employee! Inspire them to come back! █

RISE ABOVE YOUR PEERS! Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development @CEED_Halifax 902.421.2333 your future here

Profile for Local Connections HFX

Local Connections Halifax - Spring 2012  

A FREE magazine showcasing the BEST Nova Scotia has to offer.

Local Connections Halifax - Spring 2012  

A FREE magazine showcasing the BEST Nova Scotia has to offer.


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