Thursday, September 19, 2019

Work with the World's Happiest Marathon

Right now there is a unique opportunity to work with the World's Happiest Marathon, the Reggae Marathon running event is Negril, Jamaica.  Full details are available here:  Wanted Social Media Manager.

I've been going to Reggae Marathon every year for the past 10 years.  This December will by my 11th consecutive event.  I've run all three race events, the Full Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K. Along the way I've made some great friends and had some great experiences:  The Love Bus Bar hopping tour is one of the highlights!

Now it's time to pass on the baton.  And it's your opportunity to become the Reggae Marathon Social Media Manager!  Between now and October 30, 2019, Reggae Marathon is running a blog writing contest to find and select the next Social Media Manager.  Guidelines for entering and deadline dates are included in this blog post:  Wanted, Social Media Manager

So if you love to run, like and use Social Media this could be for you!  And you never know what the next 11 years of your life will bring!

Until next time...

Chris Morales Toronto

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Do's and Dont's of Social Selling

Social Selling sounds like the Silver Bullet.  Set up your LinkedIn profile, sit back and wait for the leads to roll in.  It's not like that.  Leveraging LinkedIn, one of the most influential Social networks for Social Selling requires going beyond the basics of Header Image, Professional Head shot and Headline and Summary.  You need to create content that will be interesting and relevant to your target prospects.  At the least you need to share content that will get you noticed.  There are things to do and things not to do.  Here are some guidelines:

With time and effort you will generate leads...but like in all professional selling, you won't close sales without engaging in person.

Chris Morales, Toronto

Thursday, September 5, 2019

And now for my next trick

How to teach like a pro, Chris Morales
I've been mulling about what to write about next.  More factoids about marketing seemed dry.  Sharing my point of view on professional selling...well, you'll have to wait until next January when I teach that course again at George Brown College.  

I settled on sharing the content of my book, How to Teach Like a Pro.  The book with illustrations and valuable links is available for sale on Amazon.  If you've ever wanted the inside track on what it takes to succeed as an instructor of Continuing Education courses, check it out.  

In the meantime though, you can get a look at the content in the upcoming weeks on the blog at this link, How to Teach Like a Pro.  Chapter 1 is available now at this link, How to Teach Like a Pro, Foreword, Chapter 1

Thanks to Barry Kuntz of Black Isle Group for his guidance...he's the person that got me started!

Until next time...
Chris Morales
Chris Morales, How to teach like a pro

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Motion Creates Emotion

'Motion creates emotion'.  I could have borrowed that from my love of running.  On those days when I have no motivation, the act of moving from a walk to a run hurts for about a minute before I settle into a nice run.  The elation I feel after was worth the pain.  Motion does create emotion!

Until next time...

Chris Morales, Toronto

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Branding Exercise Concluded - Now What?

The 8 week exercise to improve my Online Profile concluded last week.  Now what?

I confess to feeling a bit empty since all my online profiles are running on autopilot.  Oh I check in with my BrandYourself account regularly to see what's happening.  And it's good!

Chris Morales Toronto
Moving forward it's constant monitoring, updating my various online profiles with new content and staying vigilant for anything negative that could affect the positive results to-date.

One important activity that will launch in the upcoming weeks is my video series on how to teach like a pro.  In this series I'll be sharing my insights, tips and suggestions from my teaching at George Brown College over the past 3 years.  

Managing your online profile is never really over.  And it requires effort.  That's life in the digital age...or at least since you did your first Google Search!

Until next time...
Chris Morales Toronto

Monday, August 19, 2019

Feedback on a Training Workshop

I'm looking for your feedback on a training workshop.  It's designed for solo entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their business quickly.  The survey below only takes a minute...thank you for participating!

Create your own user feedback survey 

Chris Morales
Chris Morales Toronto

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Chris Morales Online Profile - Week 8 Update

Here we are at Week 8, the final week of the exercise to improve my online profile.  And...results are looking good!

Chris Morales Toronto

Reputation results have stabilized in the 'Good' range.  I'm pleased with that.  I didn't want to be a slave to the algorithm and am please to only have to spend about 10 minutes every couple of days on maintenance.  The highlights of the activities that led to this result include:
  1. Optimized LinkedIn Profile:  Headline and Summary.  Packed with relevant keywords that speak to the benefits I deliver:  Chris Morales LinkedIn
  2. BrandYourself Profile.  This was key.  It's a user-friendly service that walked me through optimizing all of my online profiles:  Twitter, LinkedIn, Personal Website, Facebook.  I definitely recommend this service.

Chris Morales Toronto
My Page One Search results have stabilized with the top 3 now showing 'Chris Morales' correctly.  I still have some work to do with images.  That activity will begin shortly and will be ongoing.  I'll share the results of those strategies and tactics in future blog posts.  If you want more information, contact me directly.

Chris Morales Toronto

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Chris Morales Online Profile - Week 7 Update

I got distracted this past week.  My plan had been to focus on getting my images to show up on the Search page.  I started out OK but quickly ran into a roadblock:  I didn't have enough places on the web where I could post my image.  I tagged all the images I could find (and could get access to) but it just wasn't enough to get my images to show up for 'Chris Morales' images already being served up.

A setback yes but not all was lost.  A chance conversation with a Social Media Marketing expert led me down another path. One that could be even more effective in improving page 1 ranking for 'Chris Morales'.  

He suggested creating and posting more content.  His rationale was that Google loves new and relevant.  And it turns out that I have a treasure trove of relevant content currently hiding behind firewalls.  It's time to dig up and open the chest!

The source of this content is the book I wrote and published last December on Kindle, How To Teach Like A Pro.

The strategy to help improve ranking is to share the content of the book directly on multiple online platforms.  I've got three:
  1. My YouTube Channel
  2. How To Teach Like A Pro website
  3. Blog on Chris Morales website 
Starting next week I'll be posting a video on my YouTube Channel with content from How To Teach Like A Pro.  I'll continue until I've published and shared the entire contents of the book.  So if you've ever wanted to learn the ins-and-outs of teaching at a Community College, make sure to tune in!

Chris Morales

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Chris Morales Online Profile - Week 6 Update

When I started 6 weeks ago my reputation score was 350...'Poor'.  Now 6 weeks in it's up to 591 and showing 'Good'.  Yes I've fallen for the online reputation game but in the process I've cleaned up and focused my online profile to highlight more of the things I want to focus on.  

Chris Morales

In first page rankings, 'Chris Morales' is now solidly on Page 1 above the fold.  Images are still now where they should be...this will be the focus moving forward.

For the next week the focus is on Images...getting them to show in Google searches.  The strategy is to upload more images and alt tag each one with my name, 'Chris Morales'.

Chris Morales
Chris Morales

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Chris Morales Online Profile - Week 5 Update

As I rolled through week 4 I got some tips on how to further improve my Chris Morales Online Profile.  Thanks Mike!  He suggested I focus for the next few weeks on tagging my public/online photographs with alt tags, Chris Morales.  That will be the focus for the upcoming week.

Since last week, I've moved to Premium on both LinkedIn and BrandYourself.  I've experienced a positive lift in exposure on LinkedIn and seen my reputation move from 'Average' to 'Fair' on BrandYourself...both positive. For next week I'll continue curating my online reputation on BrandYourself with the goal of moving from 'Fair' to 'Good'

Chris Morales
Chris Morales

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Chris Morales Online Profile - Week 4 Update

The dog days of summer...that's what it feels like this week.  Maybe it's time to take a vacation especially with the hot weather we get to enjoy this week in Toronto!

But wait...

Online results are improving.  'Chris Morales' now appears consistently in the top 3 page one search results!

The goals next week:
  1. Update to Premium on LinkedIn for 1 month to improve the visits on that platform
  2. Update to Premium on BrandYourself to clean up my Social Media profile and Online Reputation.
Chris Morales, Marketing, Toronto

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Chris Morales Online Profile - Week 3 Update

I'm 3 weeks into this exercise to improve my online profile and must confess that this past week has been a drag!  Yes I completed the tasks I set for myself (Chris Morales Online Profile - Week 2 Update).  But because I didn't see any immediate results, I was bummed out!

Things turned around when I got an email prompt from BrandYourself (Chris Morales profile).  It suggested some updates and revisions to my LinkedIn profile and with 20 minutes to spare, I got at it.  A few days later when I searched again for 'Chris Morales', I got the above results:
  1. My LinkedIn profile showed up for the first time in the #1 position
  2. My biography on George Brown College ranked #2
  3. No images showed up on this search
I'm very pleased with the progress to-date.  Since starting this exercise with a flurry of activity (about 2 hours work), I'm now spending only about 30 minutes each week to tweek my profiles, AboutMe, BrandYourself, YouTube and LinkedIn.  Next week, more of the same.

Chris Morales

Chris Morales, Toronto

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Chris Morales Online Profile - Week 2 Update

After 2 weeks I am pleased to note that one of my image is now showing at the top of the search results page! It's nice to get confirmation that I'm moving in the right direction...and I'm super pleased with how little time it takes to get results.

In my last update I had two tasks to get done:  Clean up my Twitter profile and work on YouTube.  I got Twitter cleaned up but ran into a challenge on YouTube:  I had two personal profiles and spent a large amount of my allotted time deleting one account.  In the process I did not get as far as I wanted with tidying up the remaining YouTube account.  That will be rectified this upcoming week with these set tasks:
  1. Finish cleaning up my YouTube account
  2. Update my profile
  3. Update my BrandYourself profile 
I'm still following the tips and suggestions in How to Improve your Personal Online Reputation.   So far the recommendations seem to be working.

Chris Morales
Chris Morales, Toronto, Chris M Morales

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Chris Morales Online Profile - Week 1 Update

I'm week 1 into this 8 week program to improve my online reputation and Page 1 of Google search for my name, 'Chris Morales'.  See last week's post, 'Your Reputation Precedes You'. Here's where I am after 1 week:  
  • Online Reputation still mostly 'Neutral'.  
  • No Images showing
  • Page 1 Search Results improving:  
    • 3 results
    • Website now showing above the fold

 Here's what I did over the past week:
  • 'Cleaned up' my personal website, 
    • Added a photo
    • Added key words related to my business experience
  • Created an profile, morales.chris
  • Edited my Google My Business profile
    • Removed previous business acronym, 'MMG' and replaced with my name, 'Chris Morales'
    • Added photograph
For the next week, week 2 I'll be working on the following two online profiles as recommended in the article, How to improve your personal reputation:
  1. Clean up and update my YouTube Channels
  2. My Twitter profile (alt tags and key words)
 Chris Morales

Chris Morales, Toronto

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Your Reputation Precedes You

Back in the day people checked references.  Employers, prospective clients asked for 2 - 3 references to check background, reliability, character.  Fast forward: Now you are just a click away from giving up all the information about yourself that you've shared online:
  • Online search results
  • Social Media profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (to name the Big 4)
  • Google Reviews (and every other 5 star online review site)
In my case, here's what comes up when I search my name, 'Chris Morales':

These search results are generally positive for my Employment position:
  • Position #2, 7 and 8...all above the Fold
  • LinkedIn is prioritized...this makes sense since I spend the bulk of my energy on curating my profile
  • My Part-time Teaching position in at #8 is a surprise...I don't actively promote this...I think it is a function of the high traffic volume on the George Brown College website (and interest in the Continuing Education Courses)
There are no negative results.  My Online Reputation would appear to be 'Neutral'.  What are the things I could do to edge it toward 'Positive'?  A little research led me to this excellent blog post, How to improve your Personal Online Reputation.  Here are the top 4 tips:
  1. Create online profiles and optimize them for SEO
  2. Get your own personal website
  3. Start blogging
  4. Increase your click-trough rate by setting up the Google Authorship Markup
I already have a personal website and have been blogging for years.  What confuses the Search Engines though is that I have multiple online profiles.  Some that conflict with my name, 'Chris Morales' and thus reduce my profile and dilute the sentiment.

What I want is to have a positive online reputation and dominate the page 1 search results.  Over the next 8 weeks I'll be applying the tips above.  I'll be posting updates about the results and sharing my learning.

Onwrds to improved online reputation!

Chris Morales

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Thrive in the Gig Economy

Don't survive, thrive in the Gig Economy!

Just about everyone has a 'side hustle'.  A part-time job, a web business or consulting gig.  Other than the part-time job, success depends on generating qualified leads.  Then turning those leads into customers.  That takes selling skills.

While teaching over the past 3 years at George Brown College in the Continuing Education Program (Part-time of course), I've observed that no matter the course, Students crave three skills:
  1. How to think like an Entrepreneur.  In this particular GBC course, 'Entrepreneurship', they learn how to look for unfulfilled market opportunities then develop a venture that satisfied that need.  They could be inventing something all new but more often it's providing a service just a little bit better than someone else.
  2. Business Operation skills.  How do I set up my business?  What's a Balance Sheet?  How do use Cash Flow projections?  These are the things covered in the Small Business course at GBC.
  3. Sales skills.  Not everyone will have 'Sales' in their job descriptions but these students want to learn how to sell better.  Most often, how to sell themselves!  In the Professional Selling GBC Course, they learn Trust-based, Relationship Selling strategies and techniques focused on solving their customers problems.
Taken all together,  these are the essential skills needed to thrive in business, and especially in the Gig Economy!

For more information and details on the 4 hour Sales Training Workshop for your Team or Organization, contact me at

Friday, June 7, 2019

Selling: Not just for Salespeople

Everybody hates Salespeople. And many salespeople go to extreme lengths to hide their job descriptions. Think 'Account Executive'!

The stereotype of the pushy salesperson: The one who won't take no for an answer, the one who stretches the truth follows salespeople around like a lingering odour. Commission Salespeople seem to be the worst...we perceive them as particularly predatory, concerned about their conquests over prospects. Think 'Hunter Mentality'.

I started my career as a full commission sales rep at a radio station at the depths of a major recession. My training lasted 30 seconds: 'Here's the phone book...start making calls!' I lasted 4 years...a feat I've never tried to duplicate. In every 'sales job' since then the window of time I've dedicated to making it work has shrunk to the point where now I won't entertain a position with selling in the job description.

But here's the rub: I'm selling all the time! In my second career in Account Management at Advertising Agencies and my third in Marketing Management in Client companies, I'm selling every day. Ideas, Strategies, Programs, Events...everything related to getting the word out about a product or service. And I love it...thrive on it actually! Now I'm at the point where I'm teaching professional selling at a Community College in Toronto.

If you're asking how the heck that happened, you're not alone. Some days I even have trouble understanding how me, a non-salesperson, loves selling. The answer lies here: Uncover a buyer's needs, figure out what benefits are important to them, provide solutions, engage with them ongoing. This style of selling has a name: 'Trust-based, Relationship Selling'.

People respond well to Relationship Selling. When they find that person who looks out for their needs, they remain fiercely loyal to the company and brand. Example: I'm now loyal to a small men's boutique after a recent experience I had in updating my wardrobe. The Owner took the time to get to know me and curated a few high quality pieces. More expensive than the outlet stores but fitted to my body type and needs. I'm now fiercely loyal and don't think twice about shopping there for all my clothes...right down to T Shirts and Jeans! He didn't sell me anything...just solved my needs.

I love solving problems. Tell me what your desired outcome is and I'll find a way to get your there. Call it what you will...that's the true nature of 'Salesmanship'.


Sales Training for the Rest of Us Workshop

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

How To Build A Brand Online

We live in a knowledge based economy. Business success is driven by digital branding that is defined as:
  1. Identity:  Who you are, the way you are viewed and the characteristics that define you
  2. Credibility:  The quality of being trusted and believed in
  3. Visibility:  Being able to be seen
Identity and Credibility are interlinked in Social Media:  Content you publish, how users interact with you and the content and users opinions, what they think...and share...about their experience with your brand.  Here are some ways to develop your digital branding:

Monday, May 6, 2019

Tips On How To Start A Business

We read most about the Entrepreneur as Empire Builder.  Makes a great story when we hear the myth of the self-made business builder.  The reality is that most business owners stay local, employ under 10 people and have 'bought a job'.  Failure rates are high with the majority of small businesses never getting beyond 5 years.  There is hope!  The prospective business owner can take steps to minimize risk.  While it's not a linear process, there is a flow.  Take a look at this Infographic for tips on how to start a business:

Chris Morales

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Marketing Tips for Small Business

Creating awareness, building demand, generating leads, growing sales...these are the basics of Marketing.  This applies to all businesses, big or small but is especially crucial for small business owners with limited time, resources and budgets!  Social Media Marketing is a powerful strategy but eMail marketing can be an even more effective strategy.  Those and other marketing tips are included in the Infographic below:


Chris Morales

Monday, April 8, 2019

7 Social Media Marketing Trends

Not leveraging Social Media in Digital Marketing is an opportunity missed.  Here are 7 Social Media Marketing Trends to focus on:
  1. Live video will still dominate.
  2. A separate strategy for ephemeral content.
  3. Continued rise of messaging apps and chatbots.
  4. Social listening for lead generation and social selling.
  5. The need for more meaningful content experience.
  6. The rise of social TV.
  7. Focus on striking balance between personalization and privacy.
For more, here is a handy Infographic with tips on how to execute now:

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

How to Succeed in Social Selling

What is Social Selling?  I like this definition from Hubspot:
Social selling is the art of using social networks to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects. It’s the modern way to develop meaningful relationships with potential customers that keep you—and your brand—front of mind, so you’re the natural first point of contact when a prospect is ready to buy.
While Social Selling may never replace Cold Calls, it has the power to shorten sales cycles and increase revenue.  It leverages online networks such as LinkedIn to find prospects who are most likely to be interested in your product or service. As you build trust with these prospects, they begin to see how a business relationship with you will benefit them...and their customers!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Sales Techniques that actually work

Sales techniques that actually work, the holy grail for anybody with something to sell.  Sorry to disappoint.  There is no silver bullet.  Determination, perseverance, focus on solving needs...these are at the heart of sales techniques that really do work.  Two specifics:  Listen to prospects to understand their needs

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Anatomy of Online Reputation Management

'Boys behaving badly' are not the only people who have to worry about their online reputations.  Companies have an even greater risk online with their reputations because consumers make purchase decisions based on what others are saying.  78% of consumers trust peer recommendations when making decisions as noted in the Infographic below.  

A basic plan for managing your online reputation involves Listening, Responding, Publishing:
  • Listening to the conversations that are already going on.  Wherever they are happening.  Instagram, Facebook, Twitter are the Big 3.  Google and other Review sites are also very important.
  • Responding to comments, positive and negative.  More so for the negatives.  In a timely manner using plain language
  • Publishing content about your company to generate positive awareness for your products or services.  Company history, new product updates, special offers are just a few of the topics for Blogs, Facebook and Twitter updates.  Sharing stories that help your customers should be your focus.
People want to know they can trust a company to deliver what they promised.  A positive online reputation goes a long way toward building that trust.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

What are people saying about you?

On Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, do you know what people are saying about you?  You should.  Your business success depends on your reputation and your customers are sharing their opinions...everywhere!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The Side Hustle in the Gig Economy

The Side Hustle is a growing part of the Gig Economy as job security becomes even more tenuous and more workers find themselves underemployed and in part-time work! Learning how to navigate in this fast-changing economy is even more necessary!

Looking to improve your selling skills?  Check out this Sales Training Workshop, Sales Training For The Rest Of Us

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Inside the Mind of a Sales Manager we really want to know what goes on inside the mind of a Sales Manager?  Yes's a busy place and you need to know where you fit in.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Sales techniques that actually work

The truth about selling is that it demands discipline, is not for the faint of frustrating much of the time.  It's not all cocktails and BS!  Here are some truths about selling...and some sales techniques that actually work

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Fix up your LinkedIn Profile

It's always a good time to fix up your LinkedIn Profile.  Pay attention to these 4 areas:
  1. Header Image:  A picture tells a thousand words...
  2. Head Shot:  Front 3/4
  3. Headline:  What will you do for me
  4. Summary:  Added support 
 For more specific tips on how to fix up your LinkedIn Profile, here's a handy Infographic

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Anatomy of a Social Seller

The number one skill of a Social Seller is listening.  Listening to conversations that are relevant to her company and clients;  Listening for conversations about people and companies talking about their problems;  Listening to understand your buyers better.

LinkedIn is powerful resource for listening and learning.  People at all levels of companies now have profiles where you can learn a great deal about them before your even call on them;  Many companies have set up Business Profile pages where you can see the employees who work there;  All this linked by by mutual connections:  The people you're connected to who can introduce you to people you want to be connected to.  Take a look at the Anatomy of a Social Seller for tips on how to master this skill:


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Thriving in the Gig Economy

'Jobs' in the Gig Economy are on pace to make up nearly 40% of the workplace by the year 2020 (Intuit 2020 Report).  This trend is being driven by demographics, economics and technology:  Younger workers entering the marketplace, global competition and digital technology that allows workers to be anywhere!  

First, let's define 'The Gig Economy':  "An employment concept in which people are paid for each specific, short-term task that they do and don't have conventional contracts of employment" (The Gig Economy). This Harvard Business Review article, Thriving in the Gig Economy notes that Gig Economy workers need to produce or perish.  That is as ruthless as it sounds!   Add to that she must pay constant attention to securing the next gig.  She is always in 'Prospecting Mode'...always thinking about 'Selling her skills' to the next potential customer.  

Personal selling skills have never been more important.  Marketing yourself first then knowing how to sell yourself to prospective employers.  Colleges have expanded their offerings in this area and companies offering sales training for individuals have exploded.  I am a testament to this with the course on Professional Selling I teach at George Brown College that has grown into a Sales Training Workshop.  

Both young and older workers alike will face the realities of the Gig Economy. Certain specific skills will be in demand as digital technology moves into more areas but being able to show clearly how you add value will be the #1 skill to thrive.   

Chris Morales

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

How will you be Human?

After all the discussions about your Social Media Objectives, Strategies and Tactics, the one thing that is often overlooked is, 'How will you be human?".  It's Social...People talking to People!  This and 7 other steps to build your Social Media Strategy:

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Runners make the best friends

Every once in a while it's necessary to pause and reflect.  This post is my reflection on a 9 year friendship that began with a photo posted on Facebook...It's the Eulogy I gave at the Celebration of Live on Sunday, January 13, 2019 for my friend Dan Cumming - January 6, 1945 - November 30, 2018.

Runners make the best friends!

My friendship with Dan Cumming started with a photograph on the beach in Negril, Jamaica.  It lasted over 9 years.  It will remain a lifetime.

My name is Chris Morales.  I'm the Social Media guy for Reggae Marathon and I met Dan 9 years ago on Facebook when he posted a photograph of himself and Judi standing in the shallow surf on the beach in Negril.  I was mesmerized!  Negril was and is one of my favourite places.  I grew up in Jamaica and that photo looked like it had been taken in a location in Negril that my family and I picnicked at regularly.  As the Social Media guy, I reached out to Dan with a couple of questions.

Over the course of the next few months as we continued talking online, Dan revealed that one of his dreams was to run the full marathon at Reggae Marathon.  He and Judi traveled to Jamaica and we agreed to meet up after he had finished the race.  As things often happen, that did not work out exactly as Dan had planned.

Through a series of challenges that race morning Dan made it to the start line over 2 hours late.  Way too late to finish the full marathon within the cutoff time.  Disaster!

Dan turned that setback into a triumph in a way that illustrates his positive, always-looking-for solutions personality:  Dan spoke with the the race organizers and they agreed to let him run the 10K so that he could race...and of course get his Finisher Medal!

When we spoke afterward, I was struck by how effortlessly he told this story.  No dramatics, just matter-of-fact.  We became friends.

Every year since then Dan and I would spend endless hours chatting on Facebook plotting our return to Negril to meet up at Reggae Marathon.  Dan could talk!  He also loved to write.  Every once in a while I had to remind him that I had a full time job and that he had to get back to his Strata and acting business.  And while we talked about running, we segued seamlessly into work, friends and family.  Especially Family.

I can't express to you in mere words just how much and how deeply Dan cared about all of his family:  Judi, Cam, Janna, Danielle, Charlie and Jonah!

In Negril, Dan and I found our happy place.  A small, family run hotel right on the beach.  Dan and I have understanding wives.  Thank you Judi and my wife Sally for giving us permission to travel solo to Jamaica to run a race!

For the past 8 years we followed the same routine:  Arrival at the airport, shuttle to our hotel, dinner and breakfast at the beach-side restaurant, hours and hours swimming and sunning.  And talking.  It never got tired.

Dan had a knack for attracting good people.  This was so evident in Jamaica.  He effortlessly started conversations with people wherever and whenever he could.  As we know he was never at a loss for words.

Very specifically, Dan connected four guys.  Larry in New York, Navin from Toronto and myself in Toronto.  We morphed into the '4 Amigos'.  We trash talked all year and met up every December to run at Reggae Marathon.  The highlight was the group photo we took after each of us had finished our running event.  Dan, the 4 Amigos will never disband!

I must note two other individuals who were impacted by Dan via Reggae Marathon:  Diane Ellis and Frano Francis.  They head up Reggae Marathon.  Dan had made such an impact that they asked me to speak at the Media Briefing at Reggae Marathon last December.  Dan had become a part of the Reggae Marathon Family.

Last December on our first night in Negril, Dan and I were standing on the beach staring at an absolutely amazing sunset.  Negril has some pretty ideal conditions for sunsets and Dan and I had seen more than our fair share.  But this one was truly spectacular!  We stood there for more than a few minutes minutes taking it in.  Taking pictures and chatting giddily like a couple of kids.  That's a sunset that will live with me forever.

Today is a celebration of life.  Actually it's the celebration of a life very well lived.  In closing these are the things that I will celebrate:

  • Dan, you became one of my best friends...not just a running friend.
  • You liked people without reservation
  • You listened without judging
  • You offered advice without being condescending
Thank you for posting that photograph of you and Judi on the beach in Negril 9 years ago.  Thank you for the privilege of joining your for that final run.