Saturday, 6 July 2013

#NetwalkingTO mass introduction

blogtowalkingThis is NOT a blog post.

It’s going to be long….

It’s not meant to be readable, it’s just for the 37 people coming to my first #netwalkingTO event tomorrow July 7.

You’ll learn more about each other obviously on the walk, which is why you WILL bring business cards ( um, and umbrellas it seems ).

My events are usually anti-RSVP so if you want to bring a friend, if you’re reading this from Twitter – hey, just show up. But come to walk, come to talk, come to network, we mean business!

So I’ve randomly sorted you into categories only because I don’t know all of you THAT well but those whose superpowers I know, I want to share so folks can discuss them with you!!

Now, you may not know that I created a personal Networking MVP Award called the Golden Crab. And we have TWO of those folks with us..


Lisa Taylor is seriously, changing the face of Canadian business for the better. As Baby Boomers decide not to retire but instead repurpose their skills and refocus their passions, Lisa is leading the way. Check out this board I created of her media content. Thinking about changing jobs, your career path? Talk to Lisa.

Ann Rosenfield is someone I’ve known in my fundraising career for a long time. She has held many roles in leadership, volunteerism, mentoring – someone who has walked alongside me with great wisdom but also great debate and dialogue.

Janice Cunning is someone I started playing more with because of a networking introduction ( of Liz Rejman, who is with us too! ) and has just rocked my business world since. A coach for professional fundraisers Janice is part of the reclaiming of my professional community’s soul. For all the fundraisers with us, Janice is someone you HAVE to meet.

Ahmed Nizam is an odd guy. His ‘day job’ is a professional with one of Canada’s best financial institutions. But I know him as the head-shot photographer who helped transform my personal career and those of dozens in my network. He is a young man of vibrancy and vision that is uncommon, but his humility allows him to be a seeker of knowledge. When people ask me about investing in the next generation, this guy is my personal networking lottery ticket. One day I’m going to see his work on an international stage and say, I knew that guy when….


One of the big reasons this event is happening is Liz Rejman! Who is driving to join us from London Ontario! Liz is a fellow instructor with me as part of the Georgian College Fundraising program and one of the first peers I really connected with on Twitter. Since then she has brought so much value into my professional life!

Blair DeMarco-Wettlaufer coming in from Kitchener is someone I met a few years ago at my first big talk about LinkedIn for business. Since then we’ve kept in touch and he continues to thrill me at how he is on the front lines of both social-business and adapting his century-old profession to a new interconnected digital world! Business folks, seek Blair out.

Linda Leja is a peer in philanthropy I don’t know too well and is coming in from London with Liz – but I recently saw her host the LRFRE conference and was wowed by her skills as part of her business “the Auctionista”. For several of the young women walking tomorrow, Linda displays some of the most fearless presentation skills I’ve ever seen. Ask her how she built those skills ( then tell me please ).


I truly believe fundraisers and entrepreneurs need to hang out more - it’s ironic to call these three the suits, they are professional business people but they are truly uncommon and unsuitishly dynamic each in their own way.

Rona Birenbaum is a financial planner. There are hundreds of thousands of people in this profession in Canada and yet she stands apart. I spend so much time wishing for the residents of Bay St. to get the power of social business – Rona gets it. Take a look at this awesome video.

Andy Kovacks is one of my oldest friends from University – it’s not his friendship that keeps us in touch. It’s the fact that he is THE most successful person I know from University because he goes to work and works smart every single damn day. I have huge admiration for how he’s built his business, I have enough friends. I don’t have enough friends with a career. Also, um, ask Andy about Karate. 

Don’t let his freaky icon scare you but yes Ryan Coelho is a human brand! An entrepreneur of crazy energy, this TEDx speaker is someone who helps hundreds reach their goals each year. When you meet him, it’s indeed #GameOn

Stewart Lewis was the leader of an international professional association in Estate Planning, a former journalist and is thinking about a hop into the social-profit sector.

Afsheen Malik is a telecommunications professional but I know her as an aspiring financial educator at heart. In a few years she will be teaching Canadians how to improve their financial health, ask her about it.


Fundraising is at the core of my personal career path, and at the core of my business network. Some fantastic fundraisers are joining us, here they are.

Rickesh Lakhani (the King in the North! ) is a running-mate in my life. Besides our profession, we read many of the same books, we are dads, we drive the same car! We’re also trying to figure out the future of fundraising, social media, management – and because we’re of the same generation one day we’ll need to step into leadership. Together we’ll be ready, I’m grateful for him driving down to be with us!

David Kravinchuk is a Fundraising Pharmacist?! Well that’s the name of his consulting firm and I’ve seen his work, he has the cure for what ails you. Several of you are fundraising executives, talk to David he can cure some of the things that rot your shop and erode your social-profit.

By no means a diss but although I know these fundraisers I don’t get enough time with them to write a snappy intro so we need to talk on our walk Adam Stewart , Holly Hewitt , Amy Coulterman !


One secret of professional fundraising is that most people working in the sector “fell into it” like a trapdoor in a Saw movie or something ( “I woke up at Golf tournament covered in pledge forms! The Horror!” ). Well, Canada’s largest postgraduate fundraising program at Humber College ( which, full disclosure I am a fan and Advisory Committee member of ) is creating the next generation of leaders from scratch – who are these crosstrained warriors of social-profit? Meet three of them on this walk Laura Champion, JJ Sandler ( of bartending for good ) and Richard “Dickey” DeLisle.


So, meeting with people you know is the dumbest networking strategy in the world. It’s like trying to meet new people at a family-reunion. So although I’ve met some of you before most of you are total strangers and that’s awesome. I hope you find value in this day and it’s my highest priority to meet and speak with you as we walk!  Who are these folks?

(I didn’t want to mix up your profiles so I took some guesses on the links)

Niwah Visser
Neetika Chohan
Fide Hung
Sowad Al-Mughni
Cora Xiao
Vaughn Berkeley
Paul Laffin
Zuheda Gulmohamed
Farah Jamil
Heather Wing
Juniper Locilento
Abeera Shahid

lunchApologies if I missed anyone, again, just show up if you want to come. And if you can’t come, don’t worry I won’t be insulted. That’s what “ YOU invited YOU” my networking philosophy is all about.

Ok so! Remember if you’re tweeting to use the hashtag #NetwalkingTOnicknolte

Dress appropriately (character casual, I’m wearing loud colours so, there’s that ), bring water, bring money for transit and lunch if you’re joining us ( optional ) for Dim Sum at the awesome Sky Dragon or in Kensington market.

You have my mobile number in the reminder email I sent, see you at 9am at Starbucks on Bedford!

WalkAThonLet’s get walking!





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