stuff from my life

Richard Vaskelis – Artist & Friend

Richard Vaskelis - 1947-2010

Richard Vaskelis, 1947-2010

Richard passed much much too early and had tremendous more to give his art but life had other plans.  He will be missed by many but will live on through the extraordinary art he left behind. I will be forever touched by his art and was fortunate to have known him. My parents, Gerry and Lisette McGregor will always treasure the moments they spent with Richard.

Excerpt from an interview done with Richard Vaskelis in 1999 by Art Historian Désirée Szucsany for the Pointe-Vue Mont-Tremblant, in Mont-Tremblant, Québec.

L’art n’est pas un refuge, c’est une qualité de vie destinée au plus pauvre comme au plus riche. Les plus beaux moments de ma vie ne sont pas liés à l’argent. La peinture me procure beaucoup d’équilibre. C’est là que je suis le plus honnête, que mon art me dicte le respect. Je ne triche pas, je ne prends pas de raccourci. Je crois en ce que je fais. Pour un peintre, ce qui est important, c’est la vision. Il y a tellement de choses extraordinaires, pourquoi passer à côté? Si tu passes à côté, tu fais comme tout le monde, et tu es juste un peintre. Pas un artiste.

Richard’s Bio:

Born in 1947, and raised in Montreal, Canada, Richard Vaskelis starts at an early age as a part time student at l’École des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, then later, on a full time, 3 years scholarship, at the School of Art and Design of the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, under the direction of Arthur Lismer of the Group of Seven.

Vaskelis meets Allan Harrison, R.C.A. in 1979  and for 10 years, Harrison will be his mentor, teacher and friend.

Richard Vaskelis’ paintings are on exhibit in many countries: USA, France, Mexico, Western Canada. He is a member of the prestigious Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts de France and was awarded “Le prix de l’Arc de Triomphe”, in Paris in 2002, for an exhibit at the Carousel du Louvre.

You can also visit Richard’s website to experience his art for yourself.

cause-related, conferences, social media trends

The Twitter effect

I just finished experiencing the Challenge Your World event with Guy Kawasaki in Montreal entirely through Twitter.

What was this event?

Rendez-vous 09 – A featured event of Global Entrepreneurship Week and Challenge Your World

I wasn’t able to attend tonight’s event, but just by reading the live Tweeting (and vigouous ReTweeting), the Twitterverse was able gave me a real sense of the energy in a room filled with over 500 attendees.

All proceeds of the evening benefited CARE Canada and according to the latest Challenge Your World Tweet – $17,000 was raised.  That’s amazing!

Congrats to Martin Lessard (@martinlessard) and the Challenge Your World Team (#CYW & @challengeworld).  Your hard work has definitely paid off tonight!

Although I wasn’t there to witness and experience the magic of Guy Kawasaki myself, it was obvious that the Twitterverse was able to transfer his passion, positivity and his inspiring keynote 140 characters at a time.  Thanks to RT’s from @kimvallee, @jeromeparadis, @emergent007, @zelaurent, @bdescary, @evablue and many more.

Cheers to Guy Kawasaki, Challenge Your World and Twitter tonight!



Yes for YES!

jpeg-for-website-copy1I attended Youth Employment Services’ (YES) 12th Annual Entrepreneurial Conference today and I was totally satisfied with my experience.

The conference began with a keynote with Montreal’s Real Estate mogul  Tatiana Londono (see her also on HGTV’s The Property Shop).  Tat (as she calls herself) shared experiences and explained that hard work, not to take no for an answer and to have a clear goal got her where she is today.   Tatiana is proof that keeping your eye on the ball gets you what you want.  Kudos to her!

After a few questions, the round table sessions began.  There were no less than 20 different subjects covered.  From basic legal and accounting issues to guerrilla marketing techniques and home-based business tips.  The YES conference had something for everyone.  See the complete list of round table subjects here.

Unfortunately, we were only allowed to attend 2 round tables.  Which means that I missed the other 18 or so subjects covered.  Perhaps a two-day conference should be considered in the future.

The rest of the afternoon was spent on Entrepreneurship Idol.  Five pre-selected business ideas were given 5 minutes to pitch their idea.  The 5 teams nervously described their ideas in front an audience of 75+ as well as 3 discerning judges, Mitch Joel, President of TwistImage; Louise Guay, President and Founder of My Virtual Model; and Pino Di Ioia, Co-Founder of moozoo juices® and CEO of BeaverTails®. The host/emcee/time keeper was none other than CJAD’s Rick Peterson.

The Contestants:

A free culture and art magazine called Snap!, a Sustainable Agency, search sales with Salesaholics, get your fill with Fantasy Sports and Stocks site, a houla-hoop program for better health in our schools.

The Winner:

Snap! Congrats to them – they won $2,500!

branding, mommyness, social media trends

Oh Baby, Where were you when I needed you?

Back in June, one of my friends had her second baby – a boy – her first was a girl born about 18 months earlier.  I know – Whoa!

She and I were talking after the most recent birth and she mentioned to me a place she’d discovered a café/boutique/spa for new mommies called Maman, Bébé et Café. I; not being in the-new-mommy-thick-of-things, had never heard of such a place.

Turns out I really wished this place would have existed back when I was a new Mom (almost 12 years ago).

Maman, Bébé et Café is a place where new Mommies can go with their babies and meet up with other new Mommies and their babies to play, chat and participate in various activities.  The studio offers pilates and dance classes for Mommy (with baby of course) and feature nutritious snacks from their café.  They even provide Mommies on- and off-site baby-minding services which leaves time for some much needed pampering at the mini-spa.

And if that wasn’t enough, MBC also encourage local Mommie and Daddie entrepreneurs.  You’ll find Sweetie Cupcakes, natural cleaning products by Creations Maja, artwork by BigBlueHug and work from local artist photographer Julian HabarLa Boutique Azurewraps is also located at the MBC studio.  They specializes in cloth diapering solutions, exclusive toys (i.e. alternatives to plastic toys) as well as practical clothing and accessories.  Take a look and join their Azurewraps Facebook Group.

The  cold months ahead paired with having a baby or a young child at home can often leave Mommy with feelings of isolation (not to mention cabin-fever).  The good news is they even have a holistic pre- and perinatal consultant onsite. Wow!

I am pleased to see that there are real support systems for new Mommies (and new Daddies) available today and that the use of the internet is helping to propel these terrific ideas further into the community.

Maman, Bébé et Café is located in N.D.G. (5814 Sherbrooke Street West – Montreal – 514.509.7494).