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Donna Messer, a businesswoman, powerful speaker, accomplished writer and a very dear friend.   As my mentor Donna taught me so much, especially the power and importance of motivation and inspiration. She will forever be in my heart and thoughts and her spirit will continue to guide me.

Donna inspired and helped thousands of people. As evident from the hundreds of comments pouring in on Donna’s Facebook.  She is loved and respected by many.

Her creative mind never stopped – we spent countless hours in her office and on the phone brainstorming and working on a variety of ventures.  I was honoured Donna valued my insight and opinion.   I am blessed to have known and learned from such an exceptional women and I know in my heart she will continue to inspire me along with thousands of others.  Her legacy lives on!

Please allow me to share this message from Donna’s family.

Donna Messer April 3, 1942- April 3, 2015

It is with great sadness that we announce the loss of Donna Messer at 7:15 this morning.

She fought a valiant and dignified battle with cancer, which cannot come as a surprise to anyone who knew her. Donna was always strong willed, focused and dignified. She passed away peacefully with family by her side, support and love all around.

We thank the nursing staff of the Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital for their wonderful care. You all truly made a very difficult time more bearable.

There are certain points in time when the stars mysteriously align. Today was one of those days. On Friday, April 3rd, Donna was born, and also passed. Both dates were a Good Friday, and fell within Passover. Both dates also mark the headnote and footnote in the story of an amazing soul.

Those of us who were touched by, and had the opportunity to talk to Donna are truly fortunate. We rejoice her presence on earth and remember our time with her well. It is presumed that she is currently in charge of networking in heaven.

Donna was a mother, grandmother, businesswoman, public speaker, accomplished writer, friend and mentor. She was a positive and welcomed impact on her community and a highly sought after source of knowledge and support.

Our mom influenced a great many people’s lives and has not only been a supporter but also a champion for countless causes, charities, small businesses and individuals. It her spirit, there is a Legacy Foundation in the works. It will be established as soon as possible in her name.

For those of you in Donna’s network, we will be in touch with details regarding an upcoming celebration of her life.

With our deepest love,

Richard, Debbie, Lauren. Madison, Keegan and family

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As an Employment Consultant I come into contact with senior level individuals in career transition. Most have held President, Vice President or Director positions in mid to large size companies. When an upper level executive is outplaced the company will most often provide some type of an outplacement package. It is very important to take full advantage of these outplacement services; it can be a life line in starting to prepare for the next career opportunity. Yes, being laid off is a stressful experience; and more so for senior level management. It is quite an adjustment, especially if the individual has been with the company for 10-15+ years. Learning how to search for a job in today’s market is a job in itself.

There are services available for all individuals in career transition. Employment Ontario is a government funded program which offers many good services; however, it may fall short when trying to assist the executive with his/her job search. This type of job search involves strategic sourcing, planning and networking, not to mention a very professional looking resume which mirrors the Linkedin profile.
Below are 10 Helpful Hints:
1. Take advantage of all industry related associations.
2. Update Linkedin profile and join appropriate groups – stay visible.
3. Network, Network, Network. A suggestion may be to join a reputable networking team. The Power Team offered through ConnectUs Canada is motivational, Innovational and chalked full of networking. There is a small fee but it is well worth it.
4. If the severance package contains outplacement – use those consultants to help build your professional profile and resume.
5. Some outplacement firms also offer business level workshops on a variety of different topics.
6. Join a local executive networking club – most are informal and get together for coffee once a week.
7. Conduct research on reputable Executive Search Firms, place a call and initiate a conversation with one of the partners.
8. Prepare an Introduction Letter – it is different from the resume. It introduces your competencies, knowledge and abilities.
9. Target companies by utilizing Scott’s Directory or other Business Directories and send the Introduction Letter – not a resume.
10. Above all stay Positive and remember to P.U.S.H. (Push Until Something Happens).

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources and recognized as an expert in selection, recruitment and career transition management

Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in the Day with Donna at Stone Edge Estate a Bed & Breakfast on the Edge of the Niagara Escarpment. It is owned by Doug Rapien and is a beautiful place surrounded by fantastic scenery  – http://www.stoneedgeestate.ca/

We gathered in a luxurious meeting room, a Dentist, Engineers, RN/Health Nutritionist, Artist, Financial Planner and of course me – a Talent Acquisition Specialist. We were strangers brought together by Donna to learn how to take our business to the next level, no matter how small or large. It was an exciting journey and one that was filled with inspiration, laughter and a large amount of learning. By the end of the day, as typical with all of Donna’s events, the strangers became a team collaborating on how best to help each other. We developed measureable goals and over the next 60 days Donna will monitor each and every one of us to insure we are following through. In addition, the team will stay connected offering support as we strive to achieve our business goals.

Donna broadcasted the event on BlogTalkRadio – I invite you to listen to the broadcast and meet the wonderful group of people I had the pleasure of spending the day with:

http://t.co/K7f07Pyx

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and master trainer in behavioural interviewing. Her passion and expertise are in talent acquisition/selection strategies on both the corporate and individual sides. Lee knows how to identify performance skills for a specific role; and how to use social recruiting to find the right talent needed to drive business performance.

Today I’d like to talk about personal strengths.  Each of us has them, yet most of us do not know how to identify and leverage these strengths.    It is a fact that when we are engaging our core strengths we feel much better physically and mentally.   If employed, you are likely to be more engaged at work when utilizing your strengths.  When not using these strengths you may dread going to work, have more negative interactions with your colleagues and achieve less.  Same can be said for the Entrepreneur who may have a great service or product; however, if not utilizing and leveraging their core strengths on a daily basis it can affect their confidence, direction and ability to win business.

So how do you discover your core strengths and better still how do you leverage these strengths?  Well, there are ample books, videos and behavioural assessments available to help with this process.   However, the problem is not so much identifying as it is engaging the strengths on a daily basis.   Ever since I was a young child I have possessed a strong intuitive ability, I am told it is a talent handed down from generation to generation.   As I matured I channeled my gift into my career.  My passion and expertise are in recruitment and selection, I am certified as a Master Trainer in behavioural interviewing and because of my strong intuitive ability I am able to take this methodology to a whole new level.   In 2009, during the high point of the recession I decided to use my talent to help those in career transition.  Utilizing their resume, I took clients through a performance based interview.   Nine times out of ten the results were always the same, we discovered that their key strengths are not displayed on the resume.   Hmm, not so unusual, we are good at depicting our experience but not so good at representing our inner strengths – yet it is our experience coupled with these strengths that make the person and tell the whole story.

Earlier this week I attended Donna Messer’s new book launch “Cycles of Life – Keeping you on Track”.  During a break one of the participants came over to speak to me about his small business and resume.   As with most of us who are starting off in business we look for some type of supplemental income to help pay the bills while we get the business off the ground.    This young man was no different; however he could not understand why he was not getting a better response to his resume.  After all he does have a good technical background.  I asked him to describe himself in a few words – he gave me  “artistic” and “storyteller”,  next I asked him if these words were on his resume – the answer was “no”.   Ok! – So this young man is a graphic artist and my first thought is “artistic and storyteller” are very important when it comes to standing out as a graphic artist – right?  Yet these strengths are not mentioned.  Now if he was a client I would conduct a performance based interview to confirm these strengths and help identify other core competencies along with updating the resume to enhance visibility.   In addition, I would help him verbalize these strengths with examples of successful past performance utilizing the mock interview.   You see, this is my strength and I believe by helping others succeed, I too will be successful.

I encourage everyone to discover and identify their key strengths, but don’t stop there! Figure out the best way to leverage these strengths each and every day whether at work or at play.  If you invest the time to do this I guarantee you will feel better about yourself; and that positive energy you are generating is bound to get you noticed in a very rewarding way!

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Lead Mater Trainer in behavioural interviewing.   She has over 25 years of international experience in recruitment across multiple industries and levels along with developing and implementing talent acquisition strategies.  In addition, Lee possesses a unique talent when it comes to career transition management.

On Friday, February 10 2012 I attended the IEP (Internationally Educated Professional) conference at the Toronto Convention Center.   I was invited to attend by Donna Messer and it had been a while since I trailed Donna on one of her speaking engagements.  So, being an internationally educated professional myself I gladly accepted the invitation.

The moment we arrived I could feel the electricity in the air and hear the “buzz” of excitement.  Donna went right to work getting to know the organizations that set up booths in the “market centre” at the conference; and of course asking every person she spoke with “how can I help you?”  Funny, this question always seems to surprise people; many do not have an immediate answer.   As I tagged along, from booth to booth, I realized not only was Donna networking but she was doing some last minute prep for her presentation.  The organizations present at the conference represent a program, process or association for international trained professionals and Donna in her very unique way was gathering information on the latest trends.  She is truly amazing; I knew I was in store for a day chalked full of learning.

Donna asked me to sit in the front row during her presentation.  I knew her intention was to introduce me as the Senior Recruiter from Ian Martin; and have me acknowledge certain facts about “the job search” – I’m always happy to help.   It is so inspiring to watch Donna work her magic; laughter filled the auditorium as Donna interacted with the audience.  Of course, there is never enough time and before we knew it Donna was given the signal to wrap up.   AHH – another great presentation; however; it was not over and I was pleasantly surprised at what happen next.   As I stood up to gather our purses and get ready to meet Donna back stage I noticed there was a crowd of people around me.  I glanced up at the stage and could not see Donna because she was engulfed in an even bigger crowd.  “OK, time to network”, so I turned my attention to the people waiting to speak with me and asked “how can I help you?”  An hour later, the crowd had dissipated and we made our way over to “coat check” and this time I was not only person trailing Donna.

It was truly an amazing day – on the ride home Donna asked for my opinion of the conference.  I stated it was an “eye opening” experience to see so many talented internationally trained professionals in one room – doctors, architects, accountants, lawyers, technical professionals (and the list goes on).  On the other hand, it was a bit frustrating when you realize each one is seeking employment in a province whose corporations still pin the “no Canadian experience” on newcomers.  It must be so confusing to the new Canadian when arriving in Ontario to try to figure out the best program, organization, association and/or training – where to start?

Donna has a new program which bridges the gap between education and employment which can help many of these talented individuals with the tools to build their bridge.  My hope is that more associations and organizations like IEP partner with Donna to get the word out about her systematic approach to bridging this very real gap.

To Donna I say thanks for doing what you do – you do it so very well.  To all the incredible people I met on Friday remember to get work you must network.

Everyone should be using some form of social media to boost their career and enhance the chances of being contacted to explore a new career opportunity.  Whether gainfully employed or in a job search, it is a great way to keep abreast of new and exciting roles and activities within your industry; or keep tabs on a company targeted as a preferred employer. For these reasons it’s important to stay current, network with colleagues in your industry even when you don’t need them.  Take some time every day to connect with who you know and even who you don’t know.   One of my search activities as a senior recruiter is to send message out to business professionals every day asking “who do you know?”   Think about it, who do you know? Or who do you want to know?

Social recruiting is becoming a very popular way for companies to source candidates for employment.  As a senior recruiter/search consultant I use Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook on a daily basis.    I’ve been quite successful because my network forwards the message on to their network who forwards the message on to their network and before you know it the message is literally being read across the globe.  In addition, the effort always results in new connections being added to my network – quite powerful!!

Build your network in advance by talking to your connections on Twitter or other networking sites.  Join groups on Linkedin and join in the discussions, by being proactive you will be way ahead if you lose your job or decide it is time to make a move.  Identify people who you have something in common with – as Donna Messer (Queen of Networking) always says “networking is all about finding a common ground”.

Until next time……………..

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and a Lead Master Trainer in Behavioural/Performance based interviewing.  She is a senior recruiter/search consultant at The Ian Martin Group specializing in professional and executive search.

This is a an awesome on-line publication created by Donna Messer and her team at ConnectUs Canada.   I was thrilled my article was selected to be published in the “Business” section.  Please take a few minutes to read the article and scan the entire publication!

http://bit.ly/pOvQIP


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