Friday, May 15, 2009

The Afghanistan Challenge

The Afghanistan Challenge is a partnership between CARE Canada, MEDA, Rotary International, WUSC and the Government of Canada. Together, these organizations are challenging Canadians who want to personally help to get involved in efforts to rebuild Afghanistan.

I have been working on this website since I began my contract with CIDA in late January 2009. We officially launched the site yesterday morning, with a nice press event at TELUS's headquarters in Ottawa. You can read the press release to learn more.

What I love about this project is the fact that for the first time, the average person can directly help the people of Afghanistan, by directing money to a development project they believe in or towards an organization that they feel will do the most good. Plus the Government of Canada is matching 100% of that donation, so whatever amount you can manage to give, it's like you gave twice as much. Plus for people who are really keen to act, to do more for a situation that often seems hopeless, there are tips and tools to help them start their own fundraisers.

I feel very proud to be part of such an effort. I have met a lot of interesting people through the Afghanistan Challenge: the communications teams of our partners (Care, WUSC, MEDA and Rotary International) plus more of the ATF staff. I am keen to see how the country reacts to this initiative and how their engagement can change the landscape of development, the policies and projects, and how it will get people to think about the way they interact with their government.

Here is the video our team developed to tell people about the Afghanistan Challenge and encourage them to visit the site. I hope you will too - Please feel free to share this post.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Plans change, priorities shift

Cursive's course has shifted slightly, and we'll be continuing on contract with the Canadian International Development Agency's Afghanistan Task Force (CIDA ATF) until the summer of 2009 instead of rejoining DFAIT's eCommunication group, for a marketing communications project management role.

Concurrently, the smaller project for DFAIT's Legal division is underway, contracts signed. The first draft is underway and should be ready for client approval at the end of the week.

The writing is a welcome change, it is always nice to return to crafting content.

Here's hoping you have been enjoying a creative and successful year so far!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Economic crunch, budget blues and the power of positivity

The economic environment and pending recession are playing havoc with the job market. Drastic deadlines, especially in the case of the CLF 2.0 deadline for the Treasury Board Secretariat, called for some drastic budget expenditure - not without fall-out. Cursive Communications and nearly a dozen other contractors had contracts cut short due to a budget over-spend in Quarters 2 & 3; prudent planning and spending are the theme for Q4 and beyond.

Despite the unexpected change, as soon as word got around that Cursive was free again, four new contracts materialized. It is easy to become pessimistic about a small company's future when bleak words like "budget cuts", "lay offs", and "bankruptcy protection" are in the headlines constantly.

I had a strong belief that in all the crises there would be some opportunties with Cursive's name on them. This simple positivity paid off. In fact, due to time constraints we will only be taking up three of the four contracts. They should all prove to be interesting learning opportunities. On Monday, Cursive's services will be used by the new media shop at the Canadian International Development Agency's Afghanistan Task Force (CIDA ATF) which builds nicely on top of the 2008 contract with DFAIT's Afghanistan Task Force. A concurrent, smaller project will help create a legal information portal for another Department's website. Before the end of fiscal, Cursive will shift gears with a slightly longer contract back at DFAIT's eCommunication group, dealing with marketing communications and products as well as project management.

2009 is proving to be an eventful year - may all of you enjoy even greater successes in the coming months. Happy New Year!

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Staying the course

So it looks like I'll be staying on with the Interwoven team at DFAIT until next year, as the contract with Cursive has been extended into 2009, which could translate to mid-February depending on how many late nights lay ahead.

My content migration project deadline is December 31, 2008 and so far my team is doing an amazing job at hitting targets. As my first foray into people management on this scale, I have learnt a great deal from my peers and experienced colleagues. I have enjoyed the challenge of juggling 15 people between any number of concurrent site launches, ensuring that the team is working to capacity and that no site is under-serviced during our launch cycles.

There will be a two-week hiatus at the start of September, as we take a break and visit family on the other side of the world. Until the next post, enjoy your summer and make the most out of the sunshine.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Contracts, Clients and the spaces in between

My current contract, as Web Advisor for the Rebuilding Afghanistan website -- a whole of government site host by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) -- ends in two weeks.

I have been very privileged to work with such diverse and talented people at DFAIT, as well as my new Afghanistan Task Force peers at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Department of National Defence (DND), and the Privy Council Office (PCO).

I will be sad to leave an amazing team at the Afghanistan Task Force that hired Cursive Communications for the five week gap between contracts, but I will continue to work with the department doing some large scale project management for the enterprise solution content management system, Interwoven.

As of August 30, 2008 Cursive will be looking for new clients. If you are interested in becoming a fan of Cursive Communications, check out our page on Facebook®.