What is it they say about change?!

It’s hard to believe how fast time has gone by… almost three years ago I sat down to write a post that talked about the many changes that were about to happen in our lives – crazy! I’m about to do the same again…

No (big) decision is easy – or shouldn’t be anyways – and this one was right up there with being one of the hardest Brent and I have had to make. No, we’re not having another baby (give your head a shake!) but it does involve our fourth child – our company, Inspire Marketing. Or I suppose one could say it was our first, as ‘technically’ it was founded before we had Abby!

I’m proud to see Inspire evolve into what it has – my vision over 8 years ago when I created it could not have told the paths I’ve travelled down, and the new ones being forged. When we made the decision for Brent to join me full time, it wasn’t easy – and what the two of us have accomplished is incredible. So when an opportunity presented itself – one that has the stars align and the moon (ok, enough of this…) it was pretty darn great, and as much as I love having him on this journey with me – passing on this would be a mistake.

I’m excited to announce that Brent has joined the fantastic team at McKeil Marine, here in Hamilton as their Marketing Manager. We’ve talked a lot about relationships – the importance of them, mutual respect and collaboration, and this is no different. After over 20 years in the marine industry, Brent left the Hamilton Port Authority and joined me at Inspire, all the while maintaining these relationships; so it speaks volumes that when this opportunity arose, he was sought after.

I’m looking forward to what the future holds – this new journey Brent will be taking, and the one that Inspire is continuing. I do foresee many (many) more #AmandaLatte’s in my future for the interim at least, as I’ll be burning the midnight oil – but in all seriousness, these are exciting times!

So, with that – I’ll leave you all with this, aptly fitting quote:

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. 
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. 
Explore. Dream. Discover.” 
Mark Twain


Mind your manners…

I’m truly amazed that some companies are still in business. Well unless you consider bad business good business… or something like that…

The lack of good (heck, mediocre I’d settle for at times) customer service at, what seems like more and more places, is astounding. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that when I pick up the phone – or enter a room, send an email, light up the sky with my bat signal – that everyone is going to drop everything because – don’t you know WHO I THINK I Am?! And be at my beck and call – but I do expect said people to not be rude. I mean, I can (have and will) take my clients business and mine elsewhere.

The simplest things – like the tone of your voice when you answer the phone has a huge impact in how the rest of the conversation is going to go. And when you didn’t hear me say who I was (my name, not ego part) and you didn’t catch it – replying by yelling at me in a snippy tone with: ‘WHO??’ – isn’t going to win you any points either… Remember I’m contacting you to give you my business; if this happens more than once, I will find somewhere else. Smiling helps too… for example in the morning when I’m ordering a latte and muffin and you’ve already had yours – but I haven’t; having that sour look on your face will ensure I find somewhere else to frequent…

I suppose my intent in writing this post was as much for me to (vent) talk about really terrible customer service – and why it’s important to not offer that; but also to point out how even the simplest of things can go a long way; please and thank you, you’re welcome, hi, great to see you! – If my twin 4 year olds can master that – I’m guessing you can too!

And because no post would be complete without a quote, this can be applied to everyone… (And we’re ALL important) – “It’s nice to be important – but it’s more important to be nice. “

Be Inspired ~ Amanda

Reid’s Story

“We never know the love of the parent; until we become parents ourselves” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Isn’t that the truth? I thought I knew everything (just ask my Parent’s they’ll tell you…) At first when Abby was born, Brent and I thought we were busy (ha…) new first time parents, you know the drill. Then we had (surprise!) twins… I say surprise because I was half way through my pregnancy when we found it there were ‘two of them in there’ I think we’re still in shock! Then I went into labour early – it was a pretty scary time. I’m grateful for the healthcare and top notch hospitals we have in Hamilton – I wouldn’t be here writing my witty note, and my beautiful babies wouldn’t be gracing my Facebook pages – without them.

After we (I won’t say got over, because frankly I’m never going to do that) the shock of us having twins, we had to deal with the reality that one of them was pretty sick. Ashlan and Reid were born 4 weeks early via an emergency C-section that saved their, and my life – and while they were terrific sizes (A: 5lbs 7oz R: 6lbs 1oz) they spent some time in the NICU at St. Joes and McMaster Sick Kids.

When Ashlan was released from the NICU at St. Joes at 3 weeks, Reid was transferred to Mac for another 3 – where we discovered he has a heart and lung condition called Pulmonary Valve Stenosis (PVS) – something no parent ever wants to hear. My son now has a Cardiologist… I thought you had to be ‘old’ for one of those. Joking aside – the first year of his life was spent in and out of the hospital – we decided we should just have a dinner party and invite all the different departments so we could get all the testing done and over with at once (I wish…)

Once we got the all clear from Genetics (again, no parent should have to deal with this… nice, incredibly talented and intelligent Dr., but no thanks.) we decided that Reid was made up from the same stuff as his Daddy. Needless to say he’s not going to be 6’5” and 300lbs. Ever. And parted ways with all the other testing. Except the Cardiologist – that wasn’t a choice to abandon her.

Things were rolling along fine – we knew the symptoms to watch for (or so I thought…) and were told that he will be the person they’re referring to when giving the heat warnings and he won’t be able to play competitive, contact sports (again, I’m ok with that…) but that surgery wouldn’t be needed. I went in with this mindset last October for his yearly Echocardiogram and EKG – just the regular check up I thought. To say we were caught off guard when the results came back that the obstruction in his valve was now at the point where they needed to do something – He was at risk for a heart attack – is an understatement. I don’t think I will ever fully recover from that news.

(Side note: this is where I’m nominating myself for ‘Mother of the Year Award – I’ve won, so everyone else, back off.) All those times we walked to the park – ok Starbucks – and he told me he was tired, and I said ‘no you’re not’ – well… yes, yes he was. In fact, he couldn’t breathe… see: winner!

In addition to McMaster, we are so very lucky to have Toronto Sick Kids so close. ALL the staff (from the Surgeons to the Parking Attendants) are simply Amazing. I could write about just that experience alone. Reid had day surgery (that is amazing in of itself.) to (in effect tear open…) the obstruction 4 days before Christmas. On Christmas day, his energy outlasted his Sisters – THAT was a miracle.

We just had his follow-up from the surgery and I’m so happy to say that his Cardiologist has given him two thumbs up… they are pleased with the results – and while they’re still monitoring that valve and another one that is a bit smaller than it should be – they don’t need to see him until next year. Yes, that’s right – next year. I can breathe now…

We weren’t going to put a team into the Big Bike this year… The whole ‘Donor Fatigue’ thing. We participate in so many things – which I am very honoured to do – but also realize that we’re not going to have any friends left if we keep asking them to support us… Then we realized how silly that was. It’s the Heart and Stroke Foundation – the very organization that is there FOR OUR SON!! You support those you love and care about. Those you like and respect. Those who, even if you don’t know them – you can empathize with them and, god forbid when you truly need the (support, in whatever way) you hope that someone is there for you – and created #ReidsRiders. Out of all the things we are part of – THIS ONE – really, truly is, close to our hearts. Want to donate – or join our team? CLICK HERE!

So from the bottom of our – mine, Brent, Abby, Ashlan and Reid’s – hearts, we thank you. Thank you for all your support for us, your notes, messages, dinners, wine – and your time and donations – thank you.

<3 Amanda