The following might be more than you need to know about me -- if that's the case, suffice to say I've been in the business a long time and am very good at what I do. But if you want the full story, please read on.

BEGINNINGS
I’ve always had a gift for writing – along with a keen interest in news and public affairs. Naturally, I thought I’d eventually wind up in the field of journalism.

At the age of 19, I enrolled in one of Canada’s leading broadcast journalism programs at Mount Royal College in Calgary, Alberta. A short time later, I got a job anchoring an hourly radio newscast at the proverbial 50,000 watt radio station.

It didn’t take long for me to realize, however, that I was probably better suited for “the other side” of the business – namely, public relations. While I was a quick study and exceptionally good at sizing up a story and asking tough questions, I always found myself thinking more about how people should be answering those questions – and how the organizations they represented could do a better job of communicating with the news media.

BACK TO SCHOOL
I was also growing ever more curious about the world around me – and wanting to know more about the "stories behind the stories" I was reporting on. In the spring of 1979, at the age of 22, I enrolled in Simon Fraser University’s School of Communications, graduating three years later with a Bachelor of Arts Degree.

From there, it was on to the advertising and public relations business. I served my “apprenticeship” with two different firms – one was a start-up, the other a long-established agency with a blue chip list of clients.

It was a great experience, and I had a chance to work with some incredibly talented people in developing campaigns for the likes of Canada Safeway, White Spot Restaurants, Richmond Savings Credit Union, the United Nations Pavilion at EXPO 86, Canada Place, MacMillan Bloedel and the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre.

HANGING OUT MY OWN SHINGLE
But coming from a long line of entrepreneurs, I had always wanted to start my own business. To help prepare myself for that journey, I attended an intensive 16-week business planning program offered by Simon Fraser University’s Enterprise Centre, and was awarded first prize for the business plan I wrote to launch my company in 1988.

“The Haibeck Group” grew to become one of the top 15 public relations firms in Vancouver, as measured by a local business publication, “Business in Vancouver.” We were also feted by our city’s leading daily newspaper (“The Vancouver Sun”), with business writer David Baines naming The Haibeck Group “one of the city’s most effective marketing and public relations firms.”

I thoroughly enjoyed those years – and was very fortunate to work with an exceptionally-gifted team of employees (many of whom have gone on to distinguish themselves in their own ventures).

PROFESSIONAL INVOLVEMENT
During that time, I was also very involved in professional activities within our community – teaching courses at the British Columbia Institute of Technology; speaking to various groups about effective media relations practices; and serving on local advisory boards of organizations such as the British Columbia Chapter of the American Marketing Association, the Canadian Public Relations Society, Vancouver, the National Advertising Benevolent Society, Family Services of the North Shore, Vancouver Youth Theatre and the Simon Fraser University Alumni Journal.

FAMILY TIME
There was something missing from my life at that particular time, however – and that was time with my family. With three young children at home, I felt I owed them more of me than I was able to give them – and as a result, I made the decision to downsize my business and operate as an independent consultant.

I also wanted to be able to focus more on the marketing of a best-selling book I wrote and published for people asked to speak at a wedding reception (see www.WeddingToasts.com). Having now sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide, it’s been a fascinating project that has earned the endorsement of no less than Regis Philbin.

So that’s my story. Shall we get started on telling yours?







Tom Haibeck

 

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