Connect2Canada.com is Canada’s network in the United States run out of the Canadian Embassy in Washington with help from Canadian consulates around the U.S.
www.Connect2Canada.com and www.LienCanada.com
What do you actually do in your job? I provide up-to-date information on Canada and Canada-U.S. relations to a network of close to 50,000 friends of Canada in the United States. I send them alerts on key bilateral issues, newsletters, such as NewsCan and Canada Watch and invitations to events. I also keep our network informed through Facebook and Twitter.
What is the hardest thing about your job? Keeping on top of the 24-hour news cycle. I sift through a treasure trove of information on Canada-US relations coming from Canadian and U.S. media, think tanks, universities and governments and identify items that I think will be of interest to our members. That’s an exciting part of my job.
What do you most enjoy about it? Hearing from our members and getting to know them. When they join, many C2C members comment about the site or about Canada-U.S. relations. Some share their story about their connection to Canada and their life in the U.S. I also get a kick out of reading comments on the C2C Facebook page and messages via Twitter. I especially like it when C2C followers RT something we’ve posted on Twitter.
Where were you born and raised? At the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, back on Canada Day 2005. My friends at the Embassy worked hard to create and launch me, not knowing quite what would come next. The first comment I received was from a member in Albany, Oregon, who wrote “This is pretty wild.” It just took off from there.
What did you study? Foreign affairs, international trade, and the art of communication
What was your first job and what path led you to your work today? This is actually my first job! But I’ve learned a lot and the position has really evolved thanks to the tens of thousands of members who keep me on my toes.
What is the best advice you received in the course of your career? Keep it short and simple. Perfection is the enemy of the good.
Looking back, what are you most proud of? I‘m proud of the fact that not a day goes by without new members joining the network. Our annual Canada Day across America initiative is also special to me. It has been heartening to see Connect2Canada members year after year organize gatherings and celebrations for Canada Day and share this with other members. We post a Google map of celebrations across the U.S. on our special Canada Day across America site. I’ll be launching the 2011 version in June, so keep an eye on C2C for updates.
When and how do you start your day? Early! Oatmeal, pilates, scanning the news and addressing member inquiries. There are always last minute deadlines throughout the day, so morning is a crucial time for me to read and reflect about ideas and new initiatives.
Blogs or websites you find interesting or useful: www.huffingtonpost.com, www.slate.com, www.theglobeandmail.com, www.nationalpost.com, www.cbc.ca, www.ctv.ca, www.washingtonpost.com, www.pm.gc.ca, http://blogs.state.gov/, http://holykaw.alltop.com/, and of course http://www.bilateralist.com/.
Where are you most likely to be found when you’re not working? I’m pretty busy but enjoy getting to hockey games.
If you had an alternative career, what would it be? A network for NHL fans throughout the world.
Favorite sports team? Canucks, Oilers, Flames, Leafs, Sens, Habs, Raptors, Toronto FC, Blue Jays
Who is your hero or heroine? My hero is Marshall McLuhan, who prophetically said “the medium is the message.” We will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth in July. Watch for C2C news on the many activities celebrating his life this year.
Drink of choice? Canadian ice wine—the perfect ending to a great meal
Hobbies? I spend a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter and listening to podcasts. I’m also a big supporter of home-grown authors and really enjoyed Lakeland: Journeys into the Soul of Canada, which won the 2010 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction. It’s a great story of beautiful but fragile lakes across Canada.
What is one worthwhile book you read in the past year? The Accidental Billionaires, by Ben Mezrich. I‘m intrigued by the advent and growth of social networks, and I love being part of this dynamic world of communication.
What is one thing you’d like to learn more about? What our members want to hear from us. Beyond that, I would like to know more about the history of Canada-U.S. relations. We are friends and partners, but the roots of our relationship go way back. An important part of our history is the movement of Americans going “up North” and Canadians going to “the States.” There is much that binds us together, but nothing more than people.
What is your favorite place in Canada and your favorite place in the US? Niagara Falls— love the view from both sides.
What is one thing you’d like to tell Canadians about the U.S., and/or one thing you’d tell Americans about Canada? It’s the same message for both: We’re in the same boat. Our economies are deeply integrated. Our well-being depends on each other.
Also Get to Know… David Archibald, Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Connect2Canada, Perrin Beatty, David Biette, John Parisella, Sheldon Alberts, Danielle Droitsch, Lee-Anne Goodman, David Wilkins, Christy Cox, Chris Sands, Birgit Matthiesen, Scotty Greenwood, Luiza Ch. Savage
You can follow me on Twitter at luizachsavage