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.
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
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).
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,
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.
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