Instant replay

They say that anniversaries are a time for reflection. However, this past year, marking 25 successful years of publishing for Atlantic Business Magazine, was so incredibly busy that I didn’t get the chance to reminisce and appreciate what we’ve accomplished.

Even the lead-up to last January was hectic. In addition to all the “standard” stuff we do (interviews, writing, sales, layout, design, printing, distribution), we took on the monumental task of redesigning the entire magazine. We dug deep and came up with new fonts and design templates, a revised tag line and logo, editorial additions and updated pagination. Essentially, we opted for more stuff and less fluff, letting our sophisticated presentation speak for the inherent worth of our content. This was a novel approach for a glossy magazine and it gave our advertisers the opportunity to visually “dominate” the page with colour and creative design.

Even this substantial redesign, however, wasn’t the sum of our anniversary efforts. We wanted to welcome our milestone year with an initiative that spoke to the mandate this magazine has lived by since 1989: the promotion of business activity throughout Atlantic Canada. We came up with the idea of a super startup program and promptly recruited corporate partners who each contributed $2,500 and 25 hours of mentoring for aspiring entrepreneurs. It was a substantial commitment, but we weren’t one bit surprised at the speed with which the regional business community bought into the program.

Wanting to make a splash with both the super start-up program and the redesign, we hosted a series of concurrent launch parties in St. John’s, Halifax and Moncton. That was how we started our whirlwind year last January. Implementing the super start-up program carried us into May and yet another milestone: our 16th annual Top 50 CEO awards gala.

It was our biggest gala to date, attended by more than 800 executive guests. For me, one of the highlights of the evening was the announcement of our 25th anniversary signature charity event: our fi rst-ever publication of a special edition, with all profi ts going to Team Broken Earth.

Team Broken Earth is an amazing team of health professionals who travel to Haiti several times a year. They provide emergency medical care and training as part of a long-term effort to help Haitians recover from the massive earthquake that devastated their country back in 2010. Team members are philanthropists in the most altruistic sense of the word, volunteering their knowledge, skill and annual leave as well as paying their own way to and from Haiti. We were honoured to have had the opportunity to contribute our time, brand and expertise to their cause. With the help of our corporate partners, I’m proud to say that we raised more than $60,000 in donations for Team Broken Earth. That includes over $20,000 in cash plus Malley Industries’ donation of a refurbished ambulance equipped with a hydraulic stretcher (valued at $40,000-$50,000). Frankly, I’m amazed and awed by how companies in this region rallied around this worthy cause. Thanks to everyone who joined us in support of Team Broken Earth!

I know I started this column by disagreeing with a popular saying, but there’s one adage I now know to be 100 per cent true: ignorance is bliss. Looking back at this time last year, if I had known just how ambitious we would be and how much extra work we would ultimately take on, I likely would have tried to talk us out of it. The same holds true for the magazine itself. I had a vision for this publication, but no idea of exactly what was required to make it happen. Which goes to show that sometimes you just need to go with your gut instinct; each of us can often do more than we think we can, provided we fully commit to an idea.

Of course, that’s only possible when you have a great team behind you — as I do here at Atlantic Business Magazine. Thanks for believing in me, gang. You’re the best in the business and we wouldn’t be here without you. Cheers to our next 25!

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