Oden LogoOntario Disability Employment Networks Launches New Website in Conjunction with Employment First Conference

November 29, 2013

Toronto, ON: The Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN) will host Employment First: Is It Right For Ontario? on December 4, 2013.

ODEN is a non-profit organization of employment service providers advocating for policy changes that increase opportunities for people who have a disability. Employment First: Is It Right For Ontario? brings together a diverse group of stakeholders in the area of employment and disability through a round-table discussion format that focuses on the Employment First framework and how it facilitates the full inclusion of people with significant disabilities in the workplace and community.

Employment First is a community-based, integrated employment approach that is the first option for employment services for youth and adults with a disability. The Framework is sweeping through the United State with 42 states that have adopted or are in the process of adopting the policy framework.

“Employment First Policy Framework is not new to the Network. We at ODEN have been supporting this policy framework and have referenced it in discussions and position papers. Employment First strategy is included in our report to the Social Assistance Review Commission. ODEN has also had discussions with Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU), Employment Ontario, Ministry of Community and Social Services(MCSS) Developmental Branch and Ministry of Finance regarding Employment First Policy Framework,” says Bob Vansickle, co-chair of ODEN.

“We are pleased to be able to take this next step in providing this opportunity to learn more about Employment First Policy Framework. For many, this may appear familiar as they already deliver supports and services with the same or very similar values.”

In conjunction with the event, ODEN have launched a brand new accessible website to engaging their membership, share important information and events, and integrate the organization’s strong social media presence . The new website was designed and developed by SpaceRace, a Canadian boutique digital agency that serves progressive people and organizations.

“We are so pleased to work with the ODEN team on the launch of their new website,” says Aerin Guy, SpaceRace’s Director of Digital Strategy. “We really believe in the work of this organization and are excited to help them share their messages through a site that is accessible to everyone. ODEN is at the forefront of thinking on disability and employment issues and we are proud to support their work.”

The event takes place at the Eaton Chelsea in Toronto. Interested participants can register at http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/employment-first-is-it-right-for-ontario-tickets-7234985035.

To learn more about ODEN, visit www.odenetwork.com

To learn more about SpaceRace, visit www.spaceracedigital.com

Night Flight to Venus?
Resolutions. Oft-pondered, yet frequently tossed aside like a bride’s nightie a few months in as new information is processed and new priorities emerge.

SpaceRace is a very small business. We like it that way, because being small lets us concentrate on the things we’re good at (creative strategy-making, web development, hare-brained ideation) and avoid the things we stink at (babysitting, delegation, accounting). Taking stock of our business goals has never involved seeking ways to get bigger. We have a strong stable of collaborators whom we respect and trust, and a manageable client base whom we feel we can truly serve with the rocket power we possess. Our utmost goal is to be happy, and for that we have to love what we do. Every year our resolution is to love it just a little bit more, and we do that by looking ahead to what’s possible and pointing our rocket belts in that direction (see image at left).

But just because we’re ok with our size doesn’t mean we don’t have active learning goals. And the dawn of a brand spankin’ new year is a great time to take stock of what we’ve learned and what we really want to learn and experience next.

For me, that’s a giant 365 day slow-cooker of skills, books, events, discussions, and socks.  It’s the SpaceRace HOT LIST for 2013, and this week (January 2 – 6) is dedicated to telling you all about it:

A book:

Daniel Pink’s To Sell is Human
He’s one of my favourite authors because, for the love of Pete, he makes so much sense! With an emerging focus and interest in advocacy work, I am eager to hone and spit shine my techniques of persuasion. He’s also been particularly clever about pre-marketing this much-awaited new title – inviting pre-ordering folks a chance to participate in a New Year’s Day webinar (it rocked), providing cool workbook templates, offering signed bookplates, and putting out a lot of other really great content to support the book. These “First Mover” opportunities have helped build value in the ideas of the book, generated excitement, and created a tribe of pre-selling Pink fans. Book marketers, take note.
Here’s a particularly clever review from NPR.

A skill:

I defer to the talented SpaceRace Jimmy in most matters of design and image manipulation. Although I’m often the critical eye – because I know what I like and what I like is usually good (usually), I am too easily frustrated to develop a solid skill foundation in Photoshop. It pains me to no end, as I was the kid who cut out heads and photocopied them on to other people’s bodies, and I did it often and well. Yet any attempt I’m made to become proficient at PS has resulted in tears of agony and childish fist-banging. In 2013, that’s going to change. How do I know? Not even 2 weeks ago a friend asked me to paste their colleague’s head on to Astroboy’s body. And I did it. The time is now.

An event:

It’s really hard to nail down the event I’m most looking forward to in 2013. I’m headed for SXSWEdu in March, based on last year’s experience being completely positive. And fun. And game-changing. And I love Austin. This year I’ve extended my badge so I can also take in Interactive and Film.
I avidly follow EdSurge, and look to their event listings as a premium guide to all worthy ed-tech happenings around the globe. Beware – it’s guaranteed to give you a severe case of FOMO.
But the events I’m looking forward to the most are the ones I’m hoping to launch in my own backyard: a Creative Mornings inspired motivation series for early risers in my awesome mountain town, and a series of Ignite-style province-wide events to bridge the communication barriers between schools and parent communities.


These ones.

A Discussion:

I registered for Alec Couros’s EdTech MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) partly because I wanted a first-hand MOOC experience, but also because I was excited about the topics that will be discussed with a promising cohort of interesting people outside of my current circles. #ETMOOC will cover and converse about social/participatory media, blended/online learning environments, digital literacies, open education, digital citizenship/identity, copyright/copyleft, and multimedia in education. Sounds pretty awesome, doesn’t it? There’s time to register, if you act quickly.

And in the interest of the ultimate resolution – BALANCE – it’s time to grab the kettlebell (thanks Kasie!) and head upstairs for some Soviet-inspired exercise. (and get better sleep)
More of the 2013 Hot List tomorrow. What’s on yours?

Here are the slides from Facing Facebook for Small Business, delivered to fabulously fun peeps at the Fernie Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, March 24.

[slideshare id=7392302&doc=facingfacebook-110325191512-phpapp01]

And some cool links:

Facebook Demographics 2011

How to Use Facebook Social Plug-Ins on your Website

This gentleman uses smart productivity tools, and his resolutions are well on track. Look how relaxed he is.
Why not buck the trend and establish your resolutions (or business goals) slightly after the champagne sizzle of the new year begins to turn flat?
Are you planning to do amazing things this year?
You probably got all in a huff as New Year’s Eve approached. You probably felt like you hadn’t articulated your goals strongly enough, or committed them to something other than your lunch napkin.

Know what? Now’s the time. The hype has died down (a bit). The rest of the world is whinging that only three weeks have passed, and they’ve already broken the rules. Let themselves down. Failed to ship.

Take 3 graspable goals to set for 2011. Any of these tools might help make ‘em happen.

1. BaseCamp

Since we’re an uber-small business, we can’t (yet) hire someone to boss us around and tell us what to do. We wanted a solution that would help us manage our clients and projects, instead of the other way ‘round. And what we’ve found is that BaseCamp is the single best thing out there to keep us on track. Milestones are deadlines. To Do lists can be easily integrated with Milestones. Which means that deadlines can’t sneakily creep up and whoosh past, in the words of Douglas Adams. Writeboards let us brainstorm with clients in real time, which means we can work in our pajamas most of the time. It even lets us store files, so that they don’t get lost in email hell. Our clients seem to like the workflow set up that it provides them access to – and that workflow is what keeps us sane while multi-tasking and juggling llamas. Free and paid versions available, depending on how many projects you’re managing. Great for personal stuff too, like tracking diet and fitness goals.

2. Instapaper

Keeping up with your professional development goals can be extremely challenging, because you’re freakin’ busy. If you spend a lot of time online (and especially if any that time is spent in social networks) you probably come across a multitude of great stuff that you’d give your eyeteeth to read, but you just don’t have the free half hour, 9 times a day. (BTW, if you gave your eyeteeth, who would want them? Always wondered this.) The best tool I’ve found for archiving and saving the delightful gems I mean to read but can’t always access in real time is Instapaper. By adding a little Read Later button in your Bookmarks bar, you can simply click and save anything for later. Then, when you’re luxuriously lounging in your velour, you can visit your page and immerse yourself in the learning you’ve had the foresight to set up for yourself. You can even convert articles to text, ePub format, or printables (if you’re mad at trees). It feels good to learn. It’s a good, graspable goal. And it feels good to lounge about in velour, too. Free!

3. FreshBooks

We’re just big enough to need an accountant. Because we aren’t math people. Because we simply don’t have time to do the best work we can, and then turn around and be brilliant money strategists. We have to ski when we’re not working. An accountant is lovely, but it doesn’t mean that we can turn a blind eye to the incomings, outgoings, and time management issues of our business. So we use FreshBooks. It lets us invoice, track those invoices, manage taxes, track time spent on projects (even integrating with BaseCamp, which gives me shivers of joy), and communicate professionally with our clients. The quality of the FreshBooks blog is astounding, considering they spend so much time providing awesome customer service, responding to Tweets, and generally being cool. We want to be that cool as well, so we rely on a tool like FreshBooks to do the work for us. Free and paid plans available.

None of the above services paid for our gushingly positive reviews. We just like to write about things we like, because not every day requires a good rant.

Good luck with your resolutions, whether you’re already making progress or just getting started. Work hard, but make some time to slay the pow.

only if you shave
Influence is the conversation of the day, my friends: who’s got it, who needs it, and what numbers such as a Klout score actually mean. We can’t resist knowing how we rate.

Technology gives us access to many more friends of friends of friends, but I’m not convinced that these linkages provide the strong and trusted connections and relationships that really lead to authentic influence. Isn’t it just simply that people like to do business (and other transactions that are just as important) with people that they like and trust? Companies would do well to map their social networks and identify these “liked” and trusted relationships (all the way down the ladder) rather than blasting meaningless messaging. Instead of diluting the true potential of the Web.

This article from Mashable on how marketing threatens the social web resonated with me this week. Read it and tell me how your organization connects, collaborates, and creates positive social action. If it does any of these things, the social network will be sufficiently “influenced” and will share your message throughout their networks. And probably to Kevin Bacon too.

The Klout Army and it’s ilk distract us (and businesses) from stepping up and making a real difference using the tools available.

From Christakis and Fowler’s Connected:
…the spread of influence in social networks obeys the Three Degrees of Influence Rule. Everything we do or say tends to ripple through our network, having an impact on our friends (one degree), our friends’ friends (two degrees), and even our friends’ friends’ friends (three degrees). Our influence gradually dissipates and ceases to have a noticeable effect on people beyond the social frontier that lies at three degrees of separation. Likewise, we are influenced by friends within three degrees but generally not by those beyond.

(BTW – it’s a GREAT book, and will be reviewed shortly in our SpaceRace 2011 Reading List.)

Anita Reynolds MacArthur
Anita chose not to wear her space helmet for this interview.
At SpaceRace, we are cosmically fortunate to work with some amazing authors, including Anita Reynolds MacArthur, creator of the award-winning MacCheeky series. Anita pulls inspiration from her own family for these engaging children’s books, which are delightfully funny and beautifully illustrated. We Skyped Anita from Mission Control for a wee chat about her successful use of social media tools, her inspirations, and her predictions for the future. Enjoy!

(the audio version of this interview is not available due to interference from a nearby alien craft)

A Royal Little Pest1. Hi Anita. Is that a new space helmet?

Hi Aerin. Yes, my space helmet is brand new. It’s not too big, is it? There are so many different styles to choose from!

2. Self-publishing is a very entrepreneurial initiative! What prompted you to publish your own stories?

After 15 years editing other people’s words, I felt it was time to write some words of my own. Self-publishing was the easy part–it’s spreading the word to the public about the MacCheeky picture book series that’s challenging.

3. You use technology a lot in spreading the message about your books. How have social media channels helped you?

Getting the word out via the web is quick and easy, can be done from practically any location, and best of all, it doesn’t cost anything. People all over the world are learning about my picture books every day. It’s very exciting.

4. What is your favourite 2.0 technology tool?

I’d have to say Twitter is my choice 2.0 techie tool. The possibilities are endless.

5. What are your recommendations for other authors with access to the web?

Build a website, start a blog, open a Facebook page, and create as much Twitter buzz as possible.

6. What is your favourite science fiction movie?

Hmmm, I’m going to mention two movies, if I may. My favourite new sci-fi movie is Avatar, and my favourite old sci-fi movie is Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

7. What considerations went into the development of your most excellent website?

My most excellent website? Wow! Thank you for the compliment. Ease of navigation for the user was first and foremost on my mind. A lot of thought went into creating the home page. It had to be inviting, capture as much information as possible without being too wordy, and it had to hold a person’s attention in order to keep them on the site for as long as possible.

8. What are your predictions for the digital future of educational publishing?

Digital learning tools in the classroom will take over sooner than we think. Students today live, eat, and breath technology outside the classroom. I predict that cumbersome hardcover Student Books will soon become a thing of the past as student e-books and SmartBoards become mainstream learning tools.

Learn more about the adventures of the MacCheeky characters and read Anita’s blog at www.maccheeky.com
Like it on Facebook.
Follow ’em on Twitter.
Watch ’em on Vimeo.

The full report is ready for download. So are other local government action resources.