#FF Malvern Red and Black Society

Continuing my Back To School theme, I decided to take a look back a little farther than post-secondary and go back to high school. All the talk of Back To School shopping and visiting the school during the timetable pick up make me almost want to go back to high school…almost.

Malvern Collegiate Institute is one of few high schools in the Beaches area of Toronto. In 2003, it celebrated its 100th anniversary and shortly thereafter the alumni association was founded: The Malvern Red And Black Society. No one or rather very few people actually knew what this organization did. Red and Black are the school colours and the Black Knights are the sports’ team names. There was usually a photo in the year book with that title, but what better way to honour a 100 year old school but with a name from within the halls itself. And so it was born.

In 2004 the Charter was signed and we started to build the database of members. From the reunion, we gathered around 2,000 names and after cleaning it up and adding a few more, we are now over 3,000 members strong.  Some of the members date back into the 30’s and 40’s even to this day and enjoy getting our printed newsletter, Musings (coined after the name of our yearbook, the Muse) that we put out twice a year.

Malvern was a great school even if I didn’t know it at the time. I still have friends that I made at that school and they are among the closest I have. There is such a wealth of information and heritage at this school, everything from the World Wars to famous people. Some of the notable Malvernites include Norman Jewison and Down With Webster. Next year, Malvern will celebrate its 110th Anniversary and the Malvern Red and Black Society is planning the next reunion. We’ve also just relaunched the new website this week! So make sure you check that out too. In the meantime, check out the Malvern Red and Black Society on Twitter for the latest updates on the reunion, Remembrance Day Ceremonies, archives and more!

Malvern Collegiate Institute Cenotaph Restored in November, 2011

Malvern Collegiate Institute Cenotaph Restored in November, 2011

#FF Back To School Edition

For those that are starting out or returning to the Ted Rogers School of Management to study Business Technology Management (formerly known as Information Technology Management) at Ryerson University, make sure you follow these important people:

1. Women in ITM (WITM): This organization is dedicated to supporting women within the BTM program. They welcome both men and women to many of their events, but focus much on encouraging young women to not only enter the technology field but to remain in it, especially past first year. Some of their past events include Networking Bootcamps, Computer Hardware Workshops and panels on Breaking The Glass Ceiling

2. ITM Students’ Association (ITMSA): This group is dedicated to the BTM students at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. Like WITM, they have some great programs such as their networking night and the Apprentice program which looks great on a resume. Make sure you check out what they have planned this semester.

3. ITM: This is the official Twitter account for the School of ITM at Ryerson University. They are just getting started, so bear with them as they find their way around.

4. Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM): The twitter account for the Ted Rogers School of Management which houses not only the BTM program, but the Business Management, Retail Management and Hospitality and Tourism. They give information not only about the individual schools, but about goings on in the building itself, as well as the other organizations in the school such as RUBAA

5. RyersonU: The official twitter account for Ryerson University. Check here for information about the university, interviews, and events around the entire university. This is a must for every RU student and faculty.

Have a great school year!

Ryerson University

Ryerson University


#FF Silicon Halton

One of the best networks I’ve connected with since moving to Hamilton is Silicon Halton. I found them through another meetup that I attend regularly and have been very happy with not only their meetings, but with the community itself.

This is a grass roots organization founded by Chris Herbert and Rick Stomphorst in 2009 dedicated to creating “a thriving community of people in technology that live and/or work in Halton region”. (Silicon Halton website) Couldn’t have stated it better myself.

Though they have a pretty sturdy rule about having their members live and work in Halton, they are extremely welcoming and do not let their friendly fence get in the way of making connections. In addition to their Peer-to-Peer groups, such as SEO, Big Data and CEO, they also have an open meetup every month which anyone can attend. The format is simple yet effective: One or two presentations, meet your member which are shorter presentations done by the members of Silicon Halton to let people know what they do, and then an open floor for anyone to tell the group about anything, including events or initiatives.

Last night, they had their inaugural Demo Night, so I’m sure we’ll see a post very soon to wrap that up. Their next monthly meeting is on September 11, 2012 and they are having a panel on “SMB Business Disaster Planning – What’s Realistic?” and I highly recommend attending.  Silicon Halton has been very good to me and I know that there are more good things coming. You can find them on Twitter @SiliconHalton so follow along!

Silicon Halton

Silicon Halton

#FF Dames Making Games

I was introduced to this group about 8 months ago by my friend Alex Bethke. Having just started Women In Technology Hamilton, I thought it was important to find other women doing tech things, no matter where they were.

Dames Making Games is dedicated to teaching women, regardless of what their professional background is, how to make their own games. They run sessions a couple of times a year and tomorrow night is the Show and Tell from the latest session, Jeuxly. They will be running this again in the winter and they call it Jamuary. Brilliant naming.

They are also looking at trying this formula out in other areas including Europe. I’ve even volunteered to be one of their guinea pigs to run this from a distance. Will keep you updated on that project as it goes…

So, if you’re not doing anything tomorrow night come out to their Jeuxly Show and Tell. Even if you can’t, please give Dames Making Games a Follow Friday on Twitter.

Dames Making Games

#FF Girl Geeks Toronto

I know I’m a little late on this one, but figuring they have their event this evening, I thought it might be okay.

Girl Geeks Toronto is a spin off of Girl Geeks Scotland and was started a few years ago. Over the last year, I’ve gotten to know the team running this pretty well and they have been extremely supportive of my WITHamOntinitiative. They’ve just relaunched their website and it looks like it’s off to a great start after a hiatus of about a year or two.

Girl Geeks Toronto

Girl Geeks Toronto

I attended their FITC lunch and had the chance to sit near Stacey Mulcahey, one of the few women speakers they have in addition to Pearl Chen. I was in the running to win a lunch with her from FITC, but I got it just the same thanks to GGTO. 😉

Every month gives something a little different. It’s not just about programming or the IT field. Last month, I saw presentations including from Sacha Chua who told us of the app she designed to manage her wardrobe. Not necessarily what colour works best with what, but how many times have I worn it and when was the last time? Now you can really tell what you did and didn’t wear during the season and what has to go! Being a fashion-challenged person myself, I think this might be helpful to me. I’m still waiting to hear when this is going to be available to the public. I always learn something new. I’m not about to go out and nab the next thing they present, mind you. If I did that with every event, I’d never leave my house!

If you do want to leave your house today, I highly recommend that you check out this one. Here’s the link for tonight’s event if you can make it and of course, follow my girls here on Twitter.

#FF Julia Merlini

Julia and I have known each other for about 10 years. She’s quite a bit younger than I am, but we get along great. A few months ago, she mentioned something about getting onto Twitter and how she wasn’t sure how it worked. I gave her a few pointers, but the biggest one: Jump In.

She attended a few events that I dragged her to and when the time came for her to attend her own through Twitter, she wasn’t sure that she should go. I urged her to attend and she hasn’t stopped since.

You will usually find her sharing some fashion Instagram photos of her funky boots (she has quite the collection), or some beach photo. She does a great job of it and has even helped me out on a fashion dilemma or two. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go to the party ending of a conference and she was the one who said: “You’ve been at all the seminars, why shouldn’t you go to the party?”. I knew there was a reason I kept her around. 😉

She’s heading off to San Francisco this fall for a new adventure in her life, so you guys better keep an eye on this dynamo. Look after my #grasshopper, Jules Merlini.

Julia aka. Jules in Fleurs

Julia aka. Jules in Fleurs


#FF Stephanie McLarty

I’ve only known Stephanie McLarty for a short time, but we’ve hit it off right from the start. I met Stephanie at Startup Drinks in Hamilton and then again during Democamp in February, 2012 when I announced Women In Technology Hamilton. She approached me that night and said that she wanted to be a part of it. A few months later, when I did the launch, she was one of my sponsors and gave me the idea for one of my top 3 tasks for this venture. She is now part of my planning team and I’m really looking forward to working with her on this.

When she’s not out saving the world, she’s President & CEO of REfficient. They’ve just passed two years and still going strong. Please make sure that you follow this wonderful organization and the woman behind it, Stephanie McLarty.

Stephanie McLarty of REfficient

Stephanie McLarty of REfficient

#FF Michael Canton

One person that I have overlooked in my previous Follow Friday editions has been an amazing supporter of mine, is Michael Canton. I intend to rectify this today.

Michael and I met at Startup Drinks Hamilton back in the winter, either just before or just after I’d moved to Hamilton. I admit, I didn’t know much about video, nor did I really delve into it much with everything else on the go. At least I knew there was someone out there that I could turn to if I needed advice on it. I was starting my own consulting business and I know that this was not a piece of the social media that I was going to start to learn about at this stage of my game. He launched TechTalk4HamOnt and interviewed me during their first taping at DemoCamp Hamilton in February. I went for a job interview and they said that they even found a video of me giving an interview (it would have to be this one) when they did a Google search on me. They now could tell that I was able to present to people in front of a camera which was to my benefit. Needless to say, I know I need to improve on my video visibility and will be doing so in future.

Michael has always offered some neat little tidbits of information or leads about other people that I should connect with. He has amazing ideas and a wonderful eye for video. He has been a very strong supporter of my Women In Technology Hamilton initiative and has videotaped everything without charging a penny. He believes in it and that it is a great thing for this city. That’s enough for him. For those clients that I have that want to start doing video spots, podcasting, livestreaming and the like, I’ve given them Michael’s name first… always.

If you don’t already, make sure that you follow Michael Canton on Twitter and check out his many videos. Thank you Michael.

Michael Canton of Valley Town Media

Michael Canton of Valley Town Media

#FF Bill Beattie

As I mentioned in my earlier post about Jim Rudnick, I’ve found that the people in Hamilton have an amazing capacity to give of themselves. It may not seem like a lot to them, but to me, it has meant the world. Enter Bill Beattie.

I met Bill at my first meeting of the Hamilton Business Networking and Entrepreneurs Group back in November, just two days after making the decision to move here. I remember him being one of the first people that I spoke to at this meeting, along with his wife Arlene. Both were extremely kind and offered to help in whatever capacity they could. The house my family was moving into had already been arranged, so the need of an agent wasn’t in the cards, but I needed to start building my network in Hamilton and meeting great people like Bill and Arlene was key.

I was planning on moving at the end of December and needed to get quotes for moving companies. Who better than a real estate agent to give me some good advice on who to go with? I called Bill and he gave me the name of Mountaineer Movers who were a pleasure to deal with. I’d gotten about five or six quotations and I ended up going with the one he recommended and was not disappointed.

When I told him about my Women In Technology Hamilton initiative and that I needed sponsors for the event, he didn’t hesitate, even though he isn’t in tech, nor a woman. He just thought it was a great idea and that he needed to help out. Thanks to him and the other sponsors, I was able to have a great launch and we got it off the ground. Now the fun begins.

So get on Twitter and follow this fine man, Bill Beattie.

Bill Beattie

Bill Beattie

#FF Joey Coleman

I remember saying on more than one occasion that I’d love to hang out with Jonathan Goldsbie. Well I think I’ve found his Hamilton counterpart. Meet Joey Coleman.

In addition to being a journalist, Joey can be found at Thinkhaus or at Startup Drinks with Open Hamilton. Be preparted for a long and entertaining evening when he shows up, because he tells great stories. He’s always been a fountain of knowledge when it comes to local politics and history. I started following him on Twitter from the #HamOnt hashtag while learning about my new home. I then met him at Startup Drinks a few days later where I got a crash course in local municipal politics.

I really enjoyed attending Random Hacks of Kindness here in Hamilton to help the local installment of this international intiative. Joey has really enlightened me in the ways of open data and though I’m still learning, I’ve been a quick study.

Thanks Joey for putting up with me and enduring my never-ending questions. You can read his blog for stories including those from Hamilton City Hall or CBC Hamilton (which is always fun) and follow him on Twitter…NOW!

PS. I just found out last night that he and Roger Gillespie of the CBC are going to be on the dunk tank at Upper Gage Garage this afternoon to raise money for HARRRP. Roger’s on at 1 pm, followed by Joey at 1:20 pm. I wouldn’t miss this for the world!

Joey Coleman from his Facebook Page