Love it! Thanks for sharing. Donna


This story was shared with me today by Raymond Soroka of the Soroka Group. It uses an analogy between wealth and time to hit home a very important fact. Enjoy!


The Magic Bank Account

Imagine that you had won the following *PRIZE* in a contest: Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private account for your use. However, this prize has rules.
The set of rules:
1. Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.
2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.
3. You may only spend it.
4. Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day.
5. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time…

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The Power of Leverage

ConnectUs Power Team – Strategic, Systematic and Results Oriented

It’s all in the Power of Leverage!

Are you going through a transition? Are you in the challenges of change? Are you starting a new business, a new job, or simply looking for new ways to achieve the goals you set for yourself? If this sounds like you, check out what becoming a member of a Power Team can mean to you.

Often people who join a Power Team are pillars of strength, and able to face challenges and adversity. They are often asked for guidance and help; they are leaders.

But, what happens when the tables are turned? Now they need to ask for guidance. They are dealing with problems they can’t necessarily solve personally. This is the time when asking for help is actually the smartest thing a professional can do. This is not just about job loss or transition – it’s about finding a team of like minded individuals that can share their time, talent and resources.

Statistics show that most professionals feel they don’t need the support of any type, until they come upon a challenge where they can’t find the answer.

Enter the ConnectUs Power Team.  People in the challenges of change, need a strategic and measurable way to move forward. It is through the Power Team that members learn to work together, to think about each other and not just about themselves.  Power Team members (PTM) are encouraged to share resources and follow a systematic process when it comes to developing an action plan.

Survival is not an answer; it’s leverage, using a systematic process. Statistics show the ConnectUs process creates visibility, which increases credibility that ultimately can be measured with bottom line results – and that’s profitability!

By becoming a ConnectUs Power Team Member, there is access to a support system that works.

Each PTM gets the support they need, through resources, referrals and strategic processing. In the challenges of change being part of a team is important.

  • Help identify your needs, and successfully take the next steps.
  • Help develop a search strategy. Who do you know? Where are they now? When did you last communicate with them? Why would they be a good resource today?
  • Help prepare you to comfortably ask for advice, moral support or referrals.
  • Help you get rid of that self doubt.
  • Implement a social media strategy, setting specific deadlines, goals, and outcomes.
  • Help you use the process, to celebrate success, and learn to show appreciation to your
  • Learn to “Pay it Forward.” To give back as much as you get.
  • Learn to deal with rejection; not everyone is a team player.

Team Members are interviewed on Talk to Donna, an on-line radio program, profiled in Entrenomics, an on-line magazine for Entrepreneurs with Economic Savvy and given the opportunity to be interviewed on our YouTube video channel.  Current team meets at Cora’s on North Service Road in Oakville. Every Thursday morning from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. First visit is free, just buy your breakfast.

If you want to become part of a Power Team, you can start getting help today. The first step is to call 905-337-9578 and commit.  Teams can be set up virtually to run on conference calls, Skype or on Google Hangout.

Cost is $250.00 plus HST for a full year.  We accept cheques, cash or credit cards. We are setting up Power Teams wherever there is a need. We are an incubator, with results that can be measured. During each meeting we share our resources helping team members generate visibility, credibility and profitability.   www.connectuscanada.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ©ConnectUs Canada

Happy New Year Everyone!

Looking back…..to the early 90’s

A Small Business Owner – One Woman’s Perspective

The phone was ringing off the wall, there was someone banging on the front door, there was an invoice on my desk that was over 60 days and my partner has just exercised the shot gun clause in our partnership agreement. Welcome to the world of small business!

It was not really a very different day than most, except for the fact that my partner had decided to go back to raising her family. Small business was fine for awhile – it just wasn’t something she could devote the rest of her life to.

“Devote your life to a company, become a small business owner.” you say, “Come on, it isn’t really all that difficult.”

Think again, when you start a small business and you want to be successful, you have to be willing to forsake all others…….it’s almost like getting married. When you have to make major decisions, the bottom line is being able to decide what’s most important, the family or the business. Believe it or not, there will be times when you have to make that decision and it isn’t always one you’ll like. I don’t mean that you would not always choose your family in an emergency situation, but when it comes to a decision over being at a family event, or handling a company situation where time is of the essence – the business wins!

Hey, look at me, I was an ordinary woman, at the time I started my first small business, I had a husband, two teenage children, and a good education. We were living in the country, because we chose to change our lifestyle – it was getting too hectic in the city and we wanted our children to experience the responsibility of living in a rural community.

People called living here “utopia”. It was a great place for the kids, they had horses and snowmobiles, and they had plenty of clean living friends. My husband was happy in his job, and he had a group of men friends that got together to do what city guys, turned country guys do.

They cut wood, everyone had wood burning fireplaces, and it was a status symbol – he who had the biggest, best stacked woodpile, won. They cut the grass on their riding mowers, and compared who had the most grass to cut and how quickly they could get it done! They volunteered to help each other, to build a new shed, tear down an old one or just work on some guy project together. There was plenty of camaraderie, and life was good as far as my husband was concerned.

What about me? Well, I was a member several local organizations, I was active in my community. I had several interesting jobs since we arrived here, but nothing that really provided me with the challenges I wanted. I had always been the type of person that sees something just a little better around the next corner. I was always looking for my next project, my next job.

Little did I realize that when I found that next job it would be as a partner in a small business – where I would get engaged to it, marry it, live with it, go through a separation and finally in the end, I would be divorced from it.

There are plenty of books on how to handle all these areas when it comes to a marriage, but no one has every likened a small business partnership or small business ownership to marriage. There needs to be a book written on how to handle each stage and how to survive and thrive when it is finally over.

Owning a small business can be the most incredible learning experience in your life.

For me, it was an exhilarating ride, with plenty of positive, profitable experiences. But it wasn’t without problems, the agony of not knowing if you could meet the next payroll, or how to handle the problem of defective raw materials, or even to control the shrinkage that seemed to be part of owning a small business.

Being in business for yourself is the toughest job in the world – you are answerable to your biggest critic – and if you can’t come up with the right answers, who can?

I learned as the business grew. I’m happy to share what I did right, and what I did wrong. My experiences are a roadmap for those considering small business as your next job.

My first business was a template for small business in its time. The rules of engagement were different then. We were the largest employer in a small community, we had visibility, we had passion and we were successful, in spite of ourselves.

I still remember the laughter and the tears of those incredibly special days when a city woman, turned country girl began the most memorable journey of her entire life. To experience my journey click on the link – http://www.connectuscanada.com/2ndchance

Looking forward – it’s 2015

Where am I today? I am still an entrepreneur, I am still in business and I’m still waiting for those cheques to come in! Business has changed, today there is more “social media” than face to face encounters, but I still need to be able to know who I know in order to use the leverage I need to keep my business afloat!

Do I have partners? Not officially, but I am always collaborating with professional men and women who want to find ways to work together.

My kids are grown and very successful. I have grandkids that are going to be equally successful. My list of friends has grown dramatically and I constantly thank God for so many wonderful relationships.

Today, I’m actively involved with Rotary Club and work with many not for profit organizations. I mentor foreign trained professionals through Sheridan College and take interns from local high schools to get the credits they need to move forward. I speak professionally; I share inspirational stories and relevant resources with almost everyone I meet.

What have I learned that will help me move forward successfully in 2015?

It’s simple – I need to be visible, to be credible, and ultimately to be profitable. So I write and I use social media wisely. While it might seem easy, it takes work, I need to who I know and what I know about them. I need to use that knowledge for the benefit of not just me, but those who are part of my network. True collaboration is when both sides benefit from the alliance. I’m part of an incredible community that supports each other.

So for 2015, I am guessing that the phone will still be ringing off the wall, and there will be someone banging on my office door. I know that there will definitely be an invoice on my desk that is over 60 days and I will be still running that small business and loving it!

Donna Messer is an author, speaker and trainer, the founder of Orange Crate, a small business that grew dramatically. The company was used as a case study for MBA programs in universities across the country. Today she owns and operates a communications company called ConnectUs.

I invite you to join me on LinkedIn if you use social media. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook!


Lost in Transition?  – In Today’s World Everyone Needs a Road Map!                                                               

 For the past few years, I have found myself meeting more and more people, from all walks of life that are in some type of transition.  The dictionary defines the word transition as movement, a change from one position to another or conversion, which can mean a change of attitude, emotion, or viewpoint.

If we take the dictionary translation of transition as our starting point, where do we go in order to find our way? It appears that we all need a roadmap to find that next career opportunity, a new customer or client or to simply shift our attitude to reflect the change in our situation.

After years of networking I’ve discovered that I’ve been using a roadmap almost continually as I move from one opportunity to another. While I’ve often been in transition, my attitude has been one of confidence. I know that I will find a new direction that will keep my self esteem in tact, provide me with an income, and offer a challenge to learn something new.

It appears that my life has been a series of cycles when it came to my career path. I seem to follow the same strategic plan each time. Upon reflection, when I did my analysis I recognized that the process I used was simple and easy to replicate – it truly was a roadmap to success.

Lost in transition? Just use my roadmap and watch you attitude and your self esteem sky rocket!

The first thing you do is to evaluate your network. Who do you know? How current is your database? What have you been doing to keep in touch with friends, colleagues and business acquaintances? If your findings tell you that you have been neglecting that network, it’s time to do your homework!

If you are not on LinkedIn – you need to be! Get your resume updated and system friendly. If you don’t know what that means, I’ll introduce you to someone who can review your resume and show you how to update it. Make sure you have a professional picture that can be included on your LinkedIn site.

Set yourself up with a Blog – WordPress is free and offered through LinkedIn. It’s a great way to promote who you are and what you care about. If you don’t know how to maximize the Blog – we have contacts we can refer you to that will show you how simple it is to set up and maintain. You will be able to measure your results once you learn how to use social media effectively.

Once you’ve got some visibility through the Internet, then it’s time to network face to face. Where should you go? What type of event is best for you? To determine your direction – use Google alerts – subscribe and use key words that cover your area of interest. Check out all of the relevant organizations and associations. While it’s good to network with others who are in the same position as you – it really doesn’t get you where you want to go. Find networks where you will be the only “expert” in your field. For me, I volunteered with the local symphony, it was a network I’d never had in the past. I became a foster mom for Dog Guides of Canada. I met people who were in banking, law, accounting, real estate and once we all got to know each other, I got referrals from all of them. Why? Because people like to find some type of common ground before they refer, and when you have music or animals in common – the referral just happens.

If your transition is looking for a new career – think outside the box – how about considering franchising? Or the government program called 2nd Career? There are many ways to take transition to the next step while being able to measure your results.

This roadmap encourages you to take side trips, to investigate your options. Be prepared to volunteer, to share resources and to tap into your network.

Build rapport with everyone you meet. Find common ground, and whenever possible find someone or something you can share with each person. There is almost always a desire to give back and often that is a referral, a contact or a resource that can help you get closer to your destination.

Exchange relevant and timely information each time you meet with someone. Let them talk, you listen! Listening is one of the best ways I know to really maximize those meetings. You will find that your colleague thinks you are a brilliant conversationalist! The outcome will almost always be profitable for both sides. Change your mindset from “me” to “we” – this has a measurable impact on getting to your destination.

Evaluate your network:


Look at each family member as a well-rounded individual with skills and identifiable backgrounds.  You can tap into their knowledge and their networks.


Your friends have skills you may not be aware of.  Ask.  They have their own networks.  Ask to be introduced


Your physical proximity gives you a unique chance to develop closer ties.  Find out who your neighbors are.  You  know you already have one thing in common – your choice of residence

Professional in your field

You may not work directly with them, but you share the same career choice.  You can advise and support each other over common issues.


You do business with them anyway.  Find out more about them.  They might need your services.


You serve them and you have built up a relationship of trust.  Ask them to serve you by providing introductions and referrals.


You likely spend more waking hours with these people than you do with you family or friends.  How well to you really know them?  Find out more.  You may be able to help each other.

Clubs or Association Members

If you are involved with any community or professional associations or activities, you have a ready-made network.  Most people join these groups to meet others.  The door is already open.

Volunteer Groups

One of the most prevalent reasons people volunteer is to meet others and to feel a part of something.  Get to know  your fellow volunteers better


From Being in the Crowd to Working at Her Side

My experience from camper to intern

Speaker, Author, MentorToday validated the time I spend with the young people like Rachel Coles. I had to share what she wrote. I’m humbled and truly thankful for her kind words.  Here is her note.

A couple minutes with Donna are all you need for your life to be changed. After meeting Donna Messer at an event ran by Oakville and Burlington Rotary Clubs called Camp Enterprise, my life was pointed in the direction I’d been looking for. Knowing I wanted to go into some sort of business program after high school, I applied for the camp after receiving an offer from one of my teachers telling me it would be a great opportunity. I was lucky enough to meet the deadline and get the chance to experience the camp.

On the last day, all the volunteers were buzzing around tell us “We’ve saved the best for last; Donna’s going blow you away”. And that is just what she did. After hearing her name mentioned a few time in our school’s Interact club, I had my bar set high. And believe me, I was not disappointed. Her first sentence had everyone at the edge of their seat, “I went from one to a million dollars in just under a year.” None of us could believe it, we were all in awe and that was just the beginning. After that she went along the front row asking what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go to university. She was able to not only help those who weren’t quite sure; she was able to give each person she talked to a name to contact. You could hear a pin drop with all the anticipation of being the next one asked.

Unfortunately I was in the second row. When my question came if wasn’t so easy, “Who are you” is what she asked. I replied with my first and last name, but she wouldn’t take that as an answer. “Who are you” she repeated again and in all honesty I had no idea. After that we moved on, and it got me thinking about who I was and what I wanted to become. At the end of her workshop, everyone surrounded her giving their contact information and getting her card in hopes of some magical contact she could give them. I too took her card and decided that she could be the key to helping me move along my career path.

About a month later, I joined the Specialist High Skilled Major program at my high school and I needed a summer co-op placement. I instantly thought of Donna but too nervous to ask. I rummaged through my room in search of her business card. I sent her an email asking for her help in my search. She replied quickly saying “I’m willing to take you in if you’re willing to put in the effort”, and with those words I was in.

For a month I interned with Donna following her to meetings and groups, taking notes, sending email, making data bases, and meeting some very influential people. I even got the opportunity to attend a couple Rotary meetings to see if there was any way I could pay them back for the chain of events that set me on my way.

I managed to learn more than I ever could have imaged possible. A couple things the really stuck in my head were the power one person could have to make a difference locally or globally, the importance of networking and keeping connections, and most importantly that just because you’ve never done something before, doesn’t mean it’s too late to learn and try to figure it out.

When I accompany Donna, people ask me how I got so lucky to be working as her intern. I simply say to them “I asked”.

-Rachel Coles

“Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off. But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.”  Amelia Earhart

1 conferenceRecently, I had the privilege to attend the Canadian Women in Aviation Conference. I want to introduce you to some of the most amazing women I’ve met in a very long time!

As a Canadian, I love my country and I’m proud of what we stand for, little did I realize that we have so much to be proud of and it all seems to be a relatively well kept secret.

The conference began with a welcome reception where everyone had a chance to share a little of who they were and what they did. On the first full day of the conference, I was invited to be one of their presenters. My presentation was called “The Power of Leverage” – little did I know just how powerful that leverage could be!

As always, when I present I work the room, I meet and try and find “common ground” with as many of the participants as possible. While I’m not a pilot, and have no connection to aerospace or aviation – I generally am able to find ways to make sure that we can keep in touch, and find ways to help each other.

This  years participants for the CWIA Conference

This years participants at the CWIA Conference

The power of leverage is in who you know, and what you know about them. This summer I’m writing a book on Women in Non

Traditional Careers – imagine how much content I was able to gather as I worked that room! I was in awe! Civilian or Military – as a Canadian I am proud to have the opportunity to share some of the stories, I heard during that all-to-quick event.

The organizers of the event were Lisa Graham, Denise Egglestone, Contessa Bishop, Dawn Wells, Kim Windsor, Judy Cameron and Heather Raney. Below is a brief career description for this team of incredible women.

  • Contessa Bishop – First Officer, Jazz Aviation
  • Judy Cameron – 777 Captain, with 35 years with Air Canada
  • Denise Egglestone – Flight Dispatcher, Air Canada with 37 years of aviation experience.
  • Lisa Graham – First Officer, E190 Air Canada
  • Heather Raney – Lieutenant Colonel, Canadian Forces
  • Dawn Wells – First Officer, B767, Air Canada
  • Kim Windsor – First Officer, Air Canada

The women I met that day really convinced me that I had to not only get to know them,I had to invite them to consider being part ofmy new book and to be a guest on my radio program – Talk to Donna. Below are is just a few of those I met that day.

Major Dee Brasseur, the world’s first female CF-18 Pilot. She joined the Military in 1972 and was awarded the Order of Canada in 1999. Dee is raising awareness for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder through an initiative called “The One-in-a-Million Fund” www.OneinaMillionUnlimited.com

Major (Ret) Micky Colton, the first Canadian woman to achieve 5,000 flying hours on the CC-130 Hercules. She joined the Canadian Forces as a pilot in 1980 two weeks after they opened up the trade to women. She spent most of her military career in search and rescue.  http://bit.ly/10dPpm1 Customize

 Eva Martinez, Major (ret) “La Unica” Canada’s first female United Nations Military Observer and the only female amongst the international contingent to oversee a ceasefire following a 36 year long civil war in Guatemala. Eva is Director, Program Management at UTC Aerospace Systems Landing Gear, and was named Women of Influence 2012 Canadian Diversity Champion.  http://www.utc.com

Anna Pangrazzi, President, Northern Lights Award Foundation www.northernlightsaward.com that is dedicated to the advancement of women in aviation and aerospace. Anna is a private pilot and owns Apex Aircraft Sales Ltd.

Laureen Nelson, Veterinarian, Private Pilot, a member of the Ninety-Nines. The organization was established in 1929 by 99 women pilots, the members of The Ninety-Nines, Inc., International Organization of Women Pilots, are represented in all areas of aviation today. And, to quote Amelia, fly “for the fun of it!” http://www.ninety-nines.org

The women mentioned above are only a few that I met – I will be writing about many of them in the book and in local publications.

July 1st is Canada Day – I don’t know about you, but I’m very proud to have met more than 100 men and women in aviation all of whom have a story to tell!  I’m looking forward to interviewing all of them, and telling that story for them!

For more information on the opportunities offered by Canada’s Military – www.forces.ca For Women in Aerospace  – http://www.wia-canada.org

The Power of Mentoring


Donna Messer

My daughter gave me tickets to the Wizard of Oz for Christmas; we truly enjoyed the show, little did I realize that I would soon experience a real life Wiz.

I was privileged to be invited to speak to the emPOWERed Women’s Forum, to witness the 9th graduation of 31 new emPOWERed women.

The event was held at the head office of OPG, Ontario Power Generation on University Avenue.

I listened as the valedictorians shared their experience. They talked about learning to speak up and speak out, to finding their “inner leader” and to recognizing that they now had an “empower spirit”.  I saw a group of dynamic women encouraging each other and applauding their fellow grads.

While there was no “yellow brick road” at OPG, there was indeed a Wizard behind the curtain. I didn’t see Scarecrow, Tin Man or the Cowardly Lion, what I did see were women who were no longer afraid, who have become inspired, and have learned to use their talents with more measurable results.

Does the learning they have done over a 3 month period, give them the courage needed to succeed? Have they found new heart within themselves? Are they using their intellect more effectively? Absolutely!

How did it happen? If we think about the Wizard of Oz – Dorothy was unhappy, she felt that she didn’t fit in, that she was just another cog in the wheel. It wasn’t until she found herself in Oz that she realized that with the help of her new found friends, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion, she would find out that “there is no place like home!”

While Colleen Sidford, didn’t meet Dorothy, she did recognize that the women at OPG were looking for something especially for them. As Vice President – Chief Investment Officer she became the Wizard behind this curtain and developed an extensive 3 month program, called the EmPOWERed Women Mentoring Program. This gave them the opportunity to follow their heart, to be courageous and make better use of their brains. This is a program that has helped 571 women become “empowered”.

I quickly learned that OPG embraces diversity in its broadest sense – making it an integral part of their business practice. OPG provides opportunities for all employees to broaden their horizons, to expand their interests and increase their capabilities. Sounds like more words from the Wizard! This time it’s from Tom Mitchell, President and Chief Executive Officer, he encourages his employees to “Aim High, to Diversify and to Take Some Risks” He says, “My job is to set the stage; yours is to have the confidence to ‘take the stage’.”

While there is no yellow brick road at OPG, there is plenty of opportunity – you just need to reach out, get involved and use your skills!

Take heart, be brave and use your brains; you might find out “there is no place like home at OPG!” www.opg.com