Make Art!


Just some of the paintings participants made at Mind It - Make Art!
Painting reminds me of when I was a little kid doing arts and crafts with my mom and little sister at the kitchen table on the weekend. I never worried about what the finished product looked like, or whether it was perfect. I had no real plan in mind and my mom certainly wasn't handing out a mark for the best rendition of the tree outside or the family cat. The three of us were just spending time together and having fun.

This was the idea behind the art event I put on at Red River College this week with the help of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Winnipeg region (CMHA Winnipeg) and my wonderful volunteers who I can't thank enough. In the middle of a busy hallway at the college, we set up five tables with canvases, paint and a paintbrushes and invited students and staff to come over and paint whatever their heart desired. Art therapy programs have been shown to help boost mood and relieve stress. Similarly, the goal of this event was to help people relax and de-stress by getting them involved with making art.

By the end of the two hour event, over 60 canvases were transformed from blank to beautiful and many more people had stopped to see what all the excitement was about. CTV Winnipeg came by to capture the action for the evening news and Stephanie Forsyth, president of Red River College took time out of her busy schedule to show her support.

I couldn't be happier with the success of Mind It - Make Art! With careful planning and hard work an idea that took root several months ago unfolded almost exactly how I had envisioned it.

Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way. From CMHA Winnipeg's generous donations of time and supplies to the volunteers who rocked Mind It T-shirts and video/photographer, Robin Hamilton — you are all amazing!

CTV Winnipeg showed up to capture footage for the evening news.
Lauren MacLean, vice-president external of the RRCSA shows off her art!

Why joining a professional organization is good for your career


As this year's student liaison for the International Association of Business Communicators, Manitoba Chapter (IABC Manitoba), I act as the link between Creative Communications students and IABC Manitoba.

I'm fortunate to have had the chance to take on this role as I'm learning so much about managing a portfolio and setting strategic goals and objectives. I would encourage first-year students to apply for the student liaison position next year as it's a worthwhile experience!

Last week I had the opportunity to speak to first-year CreComm students and the second-year PR majors about the benefits of joining IABC Manitoba, and I'd like to provide an overview of some of those benefits for anyone who missed that class or needs further clarification. 

So, what's in it for you?

1. Connections.

Most people don't know that 80 per cent of today's jobs are landed through networking. So while you may have 500+ Facebook friends from high school and college or university, that may not necessarily help you in the world of communications where there are many new people to meet and remember.

IABC Manitoba will be hosting at least five events this year and as a member, you will pay much less to get into these events, and sometimes you may even get in for free. There's also opportunities to volunteer on the Board next year once you have an idea of what the association is all about.

2. Valuable information.

There is a members only section of the IABC website with online resources such as articles on best practices, case studies, communication templates and access to Communication World, IABC's member magazine.

3. Job postings.

We're all putting so much time and effort into studying communications so we can eventually work in the field, so why not set ourselves up for job-hunting success?

Whether you're graduating this spring and will be looking for full-time work, or you'll be heading back to finish college in the fall and need a summer job, joining IABC can help you find a job or internship in communications. Many of the job postings that appear on the members-only section of the IABC website are only posted there, or are posted there for some time before they go up anywhere else.

4. Membership discount.

Yes, most of us are broke students, but we can also usually manage to find an extra $20 here and there for a drink and a bite at the King's Head. I'm not saying to give that up, I'm saying we've all probably spent $52. 50 — the annual cost of an IABC student membership — on some less important things than furthering our careers.

Check out IABC Manitoba's website at and if you have any questions about IABC or anything else CreComm-related, get in touch with me by email at or on Twitter @Meginthepeg.

Confessions of a Depressed Comic


I've given a number of presentations so far this year to my classmates in my public relations and oral presentation classes and it's got me interested in what makes a speech engaging for an audience.

Although I've been watching TED and TEDx Talks for a couple years now, I just started watching talks by younger speakers. I used to only watch videos with several hundred thousand views because I knew they would be good. But as I'm spending more time researching different speeches and styles of presentations, I'm discovering some really inspiring talks by people as young as seventeen.

Most of these young people are speaking about obstacles they've overcome, including the young man in this video, Kevin Breel. Kevin is a comic and also has depression, something he hid from friends and family for a long time. It's talks like these that I am discovering can sometimes be the most helpful in showing us what makes a great talk, and what makes a talk less effective.

I've learned it's not the "perfect" presentation that will win over an audience. It's a speech that is personal, relatable and true. People want to find things in common with other people, and when it's your turn in the spotlight, the best way to make your audience feel at ease is to show them they have something in common with you.

Check out Kevin's speech about his struggles with depression. It's not perfect, but it's engaging because he describes his experience in real human terms, doesn't shy away from difficult subject matter and provides real details that lets the audience know he's telling the truth, and from the heart.

Mind It - Make Art!


As some of you know, I recently launched a mental health awareness campaign at Red River College called Mind It.

Mind It will be holding several fun and interactive events at two Red River College campuses throughout the 2013/14 academic year to raise mental health awareness among students and combat stigma. All of these events are FUN and FREE for everyone!

The first two events are art making events. We'll be all set up with a ton of art supplies like paint, markers and glitter in the Library Hallway at the Notre Dame Campus and in the Atrium at the Roblin Centre on two different days. You definitely don't have to be artistic to participate — it's all about just having fun and finding a way to de-stress for a few minutes.

We'll be at the Notre Dame Campus on October 16 and The Roblin Centre on October 23 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. 

Go ahead, put "RELAX" in your calendar on those days right now!

See you there :)

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