Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Photo by Kathy Lea Moyou

The last gifts of the season are delivered- this year deliveries ranged from Texas, to New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina.

At home the Christmas cookies are baked, the big day dinner preparations are on track- just the Swedish ham and a couple loaves of walnut bread need to be picked up.
I am grateful for an excellent year filled with good health, an abundance of love, support and goodness.
It has been ten years since I started the tradition of creating my holiday cards using twelve days of Christmas as my inspiration. This year the photos of my sons are festive and fun, with a touch of naughtiness.
See the first ten days at janethelm.com/12days.
'Tis the season of giving. Giving thanks. Giving presents. Giving back.
Enjoy the season.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tartan Mania is Here!

Page from December issue ELLE DECOR

Tartan is everywhere and I couldn’t be happier as we introduce made-to-order tartan blankets!

As most of you know, I have longed loved the design for not only the history and traditional style, but the symbolism, and how it instantly warms up whatever space it’s used. It's easy to see how our made-to-order designs for companies, associations and families are truly meaningful ways to give and recognize.

The perfect mix of fashion, lifestyle and meaning, the global phenomena of tartan is here to stay!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Delight in the Canadian Spirit

With the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games fast approaching my home city Vancouver, I am excited about the winter fresh spirit spreading throughout the nation and beyond! I am thrilled my customers local and abroad are excited about all things Canadian. Of interest are ideas from eco-friendly gifts for the holiday season, to must dos, secret treasure spots, local wine and food, to experiences for visiting family, guests and clients arriving in February. I am happy to be their guide, yours too, just ask away as I love sharing my city's secret hot spots, must dos while here, artisan finds, to out of the way galleries.
Another idea getting a lot of interest is our BC tartan scarves- perfect for the ever popular sport of Olympic pin collecting.
The Official Tourism Media Site for the 2010 Winter Games www.destination.2010.ca shares the idea that gives back to the community.

Delight in the Spirit

Thursday, November 26, 2009


My Mom and Dad

On Sunday I spent the day at the Vancouver SunRun Leader Volunteer Orientation day.

It was an early start and I knew it would be a long day, since I had to renew my CPR training. Honestly, I wasn’t that enthused, believing my Sunday would be enjoyed much more with my husband and kids hanging out.

Then, I got there. Hundreds of other volunteers, old faces and new, all smiling, enthused, sipping coffee and lots of lycra, I was reminded why I volunteer. No, not for the t-shirt, as many would believe. It makes me feel good that I am contributing to my community, making a difference.

I learned about volunteerism and the benefits it has on my life and others by my dad, Elmer Helm. Last week he was awarded the Good Neighbours Awards presented by the Association of Neighbourhood Houses, where he worked for 37 years. Although retired for 20 years and 83, he still sits on the board! The Awards offer an opportunity for staff, volunteers and clients to come together to celebrate and honour those who have made significant and long lasting contributions to our Neighbourhood Houses and communities in which they work and live.

The highlight of the evening for me was when, after he received a standing ovation, he sat down and my mom, his wife of 59 years, leaned over and kissed him, as tears came to her and his eyes, together they smiled.

I am grateful my dad is being recognized while he is alive as often we hear how a person impacted our lives only at their funeral. When I shared this with my dad, he laughed, agreed, and mentioned how each time he hands out the Elmer Helm scholarship (instead of a gold watch upon his retiring, he requested a scholarship be created) the recipients usually comment, "Oh you are alive, I thought you were dead!"

Volunteering is easy and can be done easily and without the huge time commitments as many may think. Volunteer by sharing your knowledge, share your successes and challenges with young entrepreneurs, pick up the candy wrapper off the street and put in the garbage, smile while driving- you will be amazed how volunteering a smile spreads happiness to others.

To those who took and continue to take the time to encourage, support, and volunteer their time with me, thank you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Value of Meaning

In a recent article in The Financial Section of The Vancouver Sun, Growth Guru, Rick Spence shares the story of Chip Conley, CEO and founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, a chain of popular hotels in the Silicon Valley area of California.
(My dad, an 83 year old entrepreneur at heart, cut out the article for me and suggested I give both of these guys a call.)

In the aftermath of the dot-com crash, Conley was looking for help with his business and found inspiration in an unexpected place. After re-reading Abraham Maslow’s text he’d studied at Stanford 20 years ago (Maslow is best known for inventing the hierarchy of needs), Conley changed his business and his life as he created a system for employees, customers and investors - his own pyramid for unmet needs in his workplace. (To read the entire October 6 article, click here.)

In a nutshell, Conley states that your staff works for the money, but they stay because your company supplies their need for recognition and because their work may bring meaning to their life.

Conley also suggests that your customers stay because you fulfill expectations, desires, and fulfill unrecognized needs; you create trust and confidence for your investors and you create a pride of ownership.

The article goes on to say that although the recession hit the Bay Area, Conley’s company is gaining market share due to its’ investors’ patience, employee involvement, and customer loyalty.

Chip Conley’s latest book, Peak: How Great Companies Get their Mojo from Maslow, should be a great read.

I am off to make a couple of phone calls.

Thanks Dad!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Celebrating Entrepreneurship!

I am thrilled to be a panelist at the upcoming Forum for Women Entrepreneur's Vancouver roundtable, November 16.

It will be a great opportunity to learn and share, discuss the tough questions with entrepreneurs and business influencers in a small group environment, then connect and network at the reception featuring local wine and fantastic food! As a member of FWE, I am constantly being inspired, motivated, and learning from the many women (and men) I meet at their events and through their programs. Visit the FWE site to learn more about them, this and their other upcoming excellent events.

The roundtable coincides with the Global Entrepreneurship Week, a world-wide movement that celebrates and promotes entrepreneurship in more than 100 countries, running November 16-22!

To entrepreneurs!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Good Design & Excellent Service- a winning combination

Janet's Signature Tartans profiled in Canadian House & Home's Style Files
Click here to order your own Tartan
See the article

With Janet Helm Tartan featured in the current issue of Canadian House & Home, attending the interior design trade show, IDSwest last Sunday seemed like a good idea. Not only was it fantastic visually, but what a grand place to do what I love to do- see who is providing an exceptional brand experience with their customer service from literally hundreds of vendors, artists, manufacturers, and designers. I knew this would be fun and informative to gather more information to share with you, and with my husband and I renovating our bathrooms, all 3 of them (did I say we? actually he is renovating our bathrooms) the idea was timely indeed.

To be inspired and hear more about my customer experiences, here is a list of my favorite booths and why good design and excellent customer service win every time.

Design House (their sister store is Marimekko in Yaletown)
Trade shows can be exhausting for vendors but this representative was not only friendly and attentive, but truly enthusiastic as she answered my technical inquiries about Chilewich flooring.

The Cross Decor and Design
For the cozy, quaintness of the booth design- it was like stepping into an apartment, complete with fresh floral bouquet in a vase in the sink! Peter was very friendly and shared my enthusiasm for their stunning bold fabrics and wallpapers.
(note to self- my 4 vintage iron deck chairs would look fabulous in the black and white print showcased... Stay focused Janet bathrooms remember, just bathrooms.)

My last stop was at
- by fellow friend and entrepreneur Abby Eyolfson, with whom we collaborated on a holiday gift last year. Her contemporary garden designs are a breath of fresh air, and her passion for what she does is inspiring.

Okay, remember it was only an hour, and I know there was much more to see, but of the booths I did visit, these stood out as the people "working them" were truly enjoying their job, enthusiastically sharing their passions with knowledge, fun and creativity, offering help and ideas.

I am inspired. Thank you.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How a few minutes with a CEO could save you $5,000

our customer, VersaCold's logo

I would like to share with you a challenge that comes up often in my industry, and a solution that companies, like our customer VersaCold already benefits from, saving them time and money.

The typical challenge
: You have a recognition event or program—a need to retain, inspire your team, and thank your customers—and are asked to find solutions. So, you call all your vendors, me included, and say, “I need ideas and I need them tomorrow or even today.” Then, you gather your ideas, several in tow, and head to another department where the list is shortened. Then, off to another department where the list is perhaps shortened again, or the meeting is postponed, then, perhaps a week later, the ideas are shown to a team. Perhaps the CEO is present, perhaps not. A decision is made, or not. The event is coming up quickly and still nothing is chosen, or because of the time factor, you settle on a choice that seems like it will be all right. The event happens, recognition happens, ROI is questioned, recipients are appreciated, inspired, motivated, not sure? Hmmm. Best use of your budget and time?

I calculated my time, as well as the time my clients have spent in the past on this method, and a typical cost I come up with is $5,000 and anywhere up to 4 weeks of our time.

Our solution: Invite me, your recognition expert, in to meet with you and your CEO. A few minutes in person, or on the phone, literally, is all we need to provide guaranteed results. Proven results-driven questions are asked and answered. After that the details are left up to you and me. It is the concept, the feel, the vision, the clear objectives I can get only from the CEO that will guarantee my promise- to redefine and maximize your recognition experience.

I understand the CEO has asked you to lead this, I understand the CEO is busy, and yes, the recognition is important but it is one of many to dos on her (and your) list. The CEOs I work with understand the power their employees and customers play in the success of the company, as you can read about below, and this is the only way I can guarantee my promise.

Results of meeting with the CEO: CEOs, like Brent Sudgen of VersaCold, understand the power of appreciation, champion their employees and it shows: from employees like Susan who willingly and passionately works on events during her maternity leave (with twins, even), to Tina and Sandra who care about their job, the impact they make providing an environment and a preferred workplace, and how they are building a culture of excellence, to the employee (I am sure one of many) who, although has never met Brent, “knows him” because of his welcome to the company letter, communication to employees and customers through their company newsletter, and hands-on training videos.

“We show our employees they matter, we earn money for our investors, and we service our customers better!” This quote from their website is genuine and a fact. Is yours?

Are you ready to have your recognition experiences maximized?! I am ready to roll up my sleeves with you and promise to enrich peoples’ lives through soulful recognition.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mahatma Gandhi, Customer Service Expert

Photo courtesy of gruntzooki on Flickr

A few weeks ago, I came across this image of the famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi and kept it for a couple of reasons. One, I read it every day as the image is a constant reminder to me that a company, CEO, or consultant, felt so strongly about the quote, that they created a sign to be the first image the people attending their event would see, which sets a fabulous tone on the importance of customer service. It also reminds me that when my genuine intention is about how I can help my customers, vs. how I can make the sale, the business flows to me effortlessly and genuinely.

Friday, August 7, 2009

“Worth It.”

As you can imagine, my sons hear about the power of appreciation quite a bit from me.
I guess it has rubbed off, as my youngest son, who just turned 6, was talking about how great his Blundstone boots are and wanted to know whom he could thank.

(Both my sons wore the boots to Kindergarten and grade 1, and teachers have commented on the joy of having them be able to put on their own shoes. I thought, hey, I could say thank you as well.)

I googled Blundstone, (gosh what did I do before Google?), and up came their website for Canada. This company, started in Australia, is famous for their quality and the brand has a great following, so I was not surprised to see a “your boots” section with a contest to win a trip to Australia. I uploaded a pic of my son with his boots - you may enjoy.

Yes, they are certainly “Worth It.”

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Power of Appreciation

Provide, 529 Beatty Street, Vancouver, BC http://www.providehome.com/
With more interest in my newest keynote, "The Power of Appreciation– How to Win Business By Being Nice", I decided to hit the streets to see what kind of appreciation I would experience in retail, especially with the Olympics coming to Vancouver in a few short months.
I stopped into 3 places in downtown Vancouver to experience their retail brands: Provide on Beatty Street (across the street from my studio), Cookworks on Howe Street, and Urban Fare at Cordova Street.

What I liked about all three are the magic words, customer service.

First, I walk into Provide and the owner Robert genuinely greets me as a neighbor first, not as a possible sale. He is always gracious in offering me a coffee from the Nespresso machines he and partner David sell. We chat about the artisans and hand-selected pieces they choose for their store, as well as the Olympics coming to our city in February 2010 and the impact it will have on retail. Then Robert surprised me with a goody bag from a recent event, an open house I had missed, where designer, Shereen DeRousseau’s jewelry was showcased. Leaving the store with the bag, complete with one of the designer’s necklaces, a fashion magazine and other goodies, I remember feeling appreciated as a customer and I hadn't bought anything! But here I am blogging about the store, the experience, and sharing him with my clients, family and friends. Good news travels fast.

Then I visited Cookworks. Most of my friends know I don’t cook. Though, after the experience I had in Cookworks, I just may start to be able to use the lovely, well-designed, shiny pots and pans, the pretty dish towels, sharp knives, and "oooh la la" stainless steel toasters to die for. Again, the store clerks graciously say hello, dressed in their Cookworks-logoed chartreuse aprons- love that touch. They are all passionate about cooking, baking and customer service, sharing with me information with excitement and care. I purchased Chilewich placemats– I have seen them many places and they were on my to-buy list, so it was perfect timing to say thank you to the store for appreciating me.

Next up was Urban Fare. Okay, now I really want to learn how to cook, I thought, as I eyed the olive oil selection, from organic to international, and everything in between. Fresh fruit creatively displayed, fabulous products neatly stacked, people everywhere to help and answer any question you might have. A real community buzz was going on as well, chatter, laughter, and keen interest in the products. I bought a hand-crafted s’more by Butter, local interior designer Rosie Dayken and mom Pixie’s baked goods, because the logo is so gosh darn lovely and I do like her design and her brand. And she works with her mom- how wonderful is that? I feel like their treats are made with love. Tastes like it too.

What worked about these stores was that from the moment I entered, to the moment I left, I was enjoying myself and the experience they offered. They showed me they appreciated me- they were givin’ me love. And you all know how much I believe in the power of appreciation!

Because of their service, I will tell my friends and family about these places and, even blog about them. Customer service- nothing beats it.

Show your customers you appreciate them from the moment you say hello, whether on the phone, in person, or email. Be genuine, caring, smile. Show the love!

Truly extraordinary service must come from the heart- not from business to person connections, but from person to person connections.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Father's Day

At a recent visit to my mom and dad's home, I found a small treasure sitting on the kitchen table. It was a vintage postcard of Vancouver, the kind that flipped open to reveal different landmarks of the city. I have seen them before, and have always liked them for their vintage hand-painted look, and it’s fun comparing the images to today's sites. The images show how truly young Vancouver was, from Georgia Street, Stanley Park and City Hall.

I smiled at the postmark, which read, “Postage: One Cent, Without Message.” As I read the familiar handwriting, “Mrs. N. Helm, from your son Elmer”, I realized with amazement (and a few tears) that this card from my dad to my nana must be from the late 1940s!

Wow, how lovely, I thought, as I read how he arrived in Vancouver (from Nanaimo), all is "swell" and that he went to a dance the first night. Knowing my dad and his love for jiving to this day, this made me smile through the tears and did not surprise me at all.

I shared with my dad how much I enjoyed reading the postcard and seeing the images, as well as the kind words to his mom. Knowing how much joy it brought me, he gave me the postcard and I now have it displayed in my kitchen for all to see and read.

With Father's Day just last week, I am grateful and am appreciative for the love and support that I, my husband, and our children continue to receive from my dad and my mom.

Thank you, Dad.
Love your daughter,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Plant from Maxem Eyewear Employee Plant Growing contest

Can you imagine being recognized with a gift for cleaning out your office’s fridge or changing the light bulbs in the warehouse? One of the forward thinking companies we work with, Maxem Eyewear, does just that.

You may not recognize the name of this 30-year old family company, so named for the family’s first two grandchildren, but you probably own a pair of their sunglasses- many brands are under the Maxem Eyewear umbrella.

Maxem's commitment to creating a vital and rewarding work environment was evident when we visited them recently for an art direction meeting. The meeting, in CEO Melanie Martin’s office, was a great success as we learn more about the company’s values, vision and how they build their corporate culture. The office overlooks the rooftop gathering place for employee events and an amazing view of the waterfront in North Vancouver. Their graphic designer, Mike, shared with us that he and some colleagues play a rather competitive game of croquet on a plot of grass outside the office. (Note to self – park on the west side of the building!) We also heard that on occasion they have cleared out the warehouse to make way for a hockey game.

After the meeting, heading down the stairs, we walked past a large south-facing window, lined with terracotta pots. Inside the pots, each marked with employee names, were small seedlings growing to various heights.

Melanie explained that an HR colleague started the very popular plant growing contest. Each year, the employees are given seeds, a pot, and instructions. Hearing about the care the employees take in their strategic placement of the planters-as the plants cannot leave the building-had me noticing terra cotta seedlings everywhere!

From the stories we heard about the contest and how each winner is chosen, it is clear this is an easy and cost effective way companies can have fun, build camaraderie, and a little healthy competition.

Another thing that struck me while walking through their open office space was what looked like a contest/draw of some sort set up on the second floor. Sure enough, it was a draw -to celebrate employees who go above and beyond their regular duties. On a partition board in a central location was a bulletin board decorated with an image of a pineapple with sunglasses and the cut-out letters “EYE SEE YOU”. The small sheets of paper posted to the board were each a personal thank you, written by a peer, recognizing a coworker. Each month a name is drawn from the posted notes and the recipient receives a gift card, say to a local coffee shop. Wow, I thought, being recognized for cleaning out the office fridge, changing light bulbs. I love it, and how easy and cost effective to implement is that!

As Melanie walked us to my car (talk about service), and said good bye, I glanced back at the building to see yet another plant strategically placed way up high (a ladder must have been used), on a different window sill!

I smiled and thought, “Kudos Melanie and everyone at Maxem Eyewear for creating a fun and rewarding place to work.”

Listed below is all you need to implement these fun and easy ideas from Maxem Eyewear that cost just pennies to start.

Do you have a successful employee recognition idea you would like to share? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to email me or leave your comments below.

Call me today if you need your own signature contests designed just for your company, reflecting your vision, goals and values.

What you will need:

  • Title - something catchy, fitting for your industry, company and culture- “EYE SEE YOU” is perfect for an eyewear company!

  • Paper - Small pieces of paper printed with a space for name, date, what they did and/or why, and submitted by.

  • Draw box from a craft store or dollar store

  • Bulletin board to post the winner, specially decorated, of course, as well as all the entries. It's extra an reward and incentive for everyone to be able to celebrate all the fabulous acheivements.

  • A central location to set up the bulletin board and draw box

  • 12 gift certificates on hand, one for each month's draw, so no one is running out last minute to get the prize.

What you will need:
  • Terracotta pots 4” from a dollar store, plant store, or hardware store

  • Soil, from a plant store or hardware store

  • Seeds- pick something easy that chances are will grow: beans grow well and are an excellent symbol for a financial company

  • Sunny spot to put the planters

  • Prizes for Tallest, shortest, no show (didn’t germinate), or... be creative and have fun!

  • Prizes again can be simply ribbons, or coffee cards. The camaraderie and experience for everyone is the reward.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes: a lesson in true appreciation

In my continued commitment to stay fit, I decided to try Karate with my children. My two sons love it, and I wanted to try something new to shake up my running routine.

I have to say I am pleasantly surprised with the classes.

As well as the fitness bonus–yes, I was sore for the first couple of days–there is an unexpected learning lesson for me. Every month, Sensei Ron introduces a new word to the class. The kids learn the explanation, share examples in class and are required to go out and practice that word for the month, bringing in and sharing more examples each class.

For the month of April the word is: appreciation, “thankful for the little and big things in my life”

Last class, Sensei Ron asked us how we have been recognized lately. “Not, ’hey, how ya doin’’ recognized, but how have you been appreciated?”

Out of the mouths of babes came:

  • “a friend laughed at my joke and I felt happy”

  • “a teacher said my work was good, and I was proud”

  • “my mom thanked me for helping her with the dishes, and I felt helpful”

They beamed as they spoke! Wow, I thought to myself, here it is right in front of me–the truth that is basic human nature: to be recognized and valued allows us all to shine to the best we can be.

Sharing this with companies is my passion, and it couldn’t be more perfect than to hear this truth from children- this group is around 7-14 years old, with 2 of us adults, a little older.

Any company can change the world by changing the way they do business by simply recognizing their employees using compassion. When I look at our clients, the most successful companies in North America, it is no coincidence that their success is due to the fact that their CEOs recognize their employees.

Join the Recognition Revolution, one thank you at a time.

Recognize someone today with a ‘thank you’, a ‘nice job’, a ‘well done’, and just watch what shows up!

Making it easy for you to say thank you, click here for a free PDF download of our Thank You cards to print, and have ready at your fingertips. Anytime, anywhere, you can say thank you.

Thanks, Sensei Ron.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Cleaning

© Andria Lo / Orange Photography
Wave Award for National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Northern California Chapter

Maybe it’s the remains of the sugar buzz from the Easter weekend or the number of hard boiled, food coloring-stained eggs my boys made and I ate this week, but I am feeling as though Spring has finally arrived here in Vancouver.

Spring to me means wearing my Levi’s jeans cuffed, no socks with cute flats, t-shirts, vintage belts and purses-no need for coats and jackets, and my favorite spring to do, Spring Cleaning!

My coach Isabelle, of Leapzone Strategies, and I created an amazing mind map last Thursday about the evolution of my company and the excitement of the new directions and value we are providing our customers.

As most of you know, I love what I do. Redefining gift giving recognition in the corporate world and spreading this passion is more important than ever. I am hearing more and more from new customers about their frustration trying to find the right recognition ideas that are truly unique, of value, and innovative, that also enhance their brand, without adding advertising costs or more work for HR departments.

So, I am Spring Cleaning -
Answer these questions and see if you are ready to Spring Clean with Janet Helm.

  • You know recognition is not the framed certificate, not a coffee card, or a generic glass award, but just don’t have the time to look into new, better ways of doing this?
  • You don’t want to play the guessing game anymore and want to know, not guess, that your gift giving choices are inspiring, motivating, and appreciating sincerely.
  • You don’t have time to source ideas in hopes of them being approved, you just want to look good for having found the right ideas the first time.
  • You know 100% without a doubt, that your recognition is increasing your revenue, enhancing your brand image, without added marketing or HR operating costs?

© Andria Lo / Orange Photography
Wave Award for National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Northern California Chapter

Do you, like the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Northern California Chapter, who presented the above award--full of symbolism, meaning, and their brand color--to great fanfare, want to provide recognition in an innovative way that fits your brand? If you are ready to increase sales and customer loyalty without added advertising costs or more work for your HR department… Spring Clean with us.

Call me directly at 604-730-2600 and share your frustrations, so we can turn around your recognition.

Happy Spring,

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tartan Week 2009

As I sit here in my vintage tartan blazer, I am excited to spread the word about Tartan Day on April 6. In New York, this year’s Tartan Day Parade, complete with more than 1,675 participants and 570 drums and pipes, will be Saturday, April 4, with Tony Award winner and celebrated Scottish actor, Alan Cumming as the parade Grand Marshall. The event has grown a full Tartan Week, with a fashion show, the parade, and many other Scottish-themed events, all centered around Tartan.

At Janet Helm, we are definitely mad for plaid. We have been designing tartan and producing scarves for companies since 2004 when our first made-to-order design was created for Coca-Cola's chairman to give as gifts during the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland.

Since then, we have taken a modern twist to traditional patterns with contemporary designs for companies including VersaCold, Colliers, City of Vancouver, Haywood Securities, and Concert Properties.

Tartan has been a huge hit, as there is wonderful symbolism behind the gift- family, unity, friendship, community- a great message our clients want to share with their employees and customers.

With the economy in turmoil, the message couldn't come at a better time, as companies are looking for creative and meaningful ways to recognize their employees and show appreciation to customers with a limited budget.

So it seems natural for us at Janet Helm to make it easier than ever to give with meaning. For a limited time, until Tartan Week April 6, you can have your own tartan for the special price listed below.

Imagine your own tartan, made-to-order, designed and produced as scarves, complete with your personal message on an enclosure card, gift boxed just for you.

Minimum order is only 100 scarves and your investment is only $95 CAD each.

See our website for more information.

Be a Part of it - Tartan!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Influencial Women in Business Awards Gala

On March 4, I was thrilled to be among the over 400 people who attended the 10th annual Business in Vancouver Influential Women in Business Awards here in Vancouver at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel ballroom.

This year’s honorees were Colleen Nystedt of MovieSet Inc., Jane Peverett, a Corporate Director, Tracey McVicar of CAI Capital Management, Julia Kim of Phillips Hager North Investment Management, and Tamara Vrooman of Vancity.

Carole Taylor, former B.C. Minister of Finance and MLA, was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

As the award sponsor, I was excited to share in honoring the successes of these award winners, as well as celebrating all women in business.

The awards, hand blown glass figures by artisan Susan Gottselig, featured figures with arms raised in the air and swirls of red and pinkish tones, reflecting the occasion and recipients perfectly. Enclosure cards with a personal message from Business in Vancouver provided a personal touch. Information on the artist added meaning.

Each honoree shared with us their insights into what it took for her to achieve success.
Not always glamorous as we might think, the authenticity was great reminders for us all.

Colleen Nystedt- “You like me. You really, really like me!” Starting her speech with a nod to Sally Field’s infamous Oscar speech, Colleen reminded me not to be afraid of change, and that tenacity and persistence are paramount.

Carole Taylor- While a new mother, and working on Canada AM, Carole would wake at 2am for a feeding, and get to work for 3am and many times during her speech thanked her husband, Art. (former city of Vancouver mayor Art Phillips) She reminded me of the support I get from my husband Trevor, who would drive from North Vancouver to downtown bringing our first new baby to my office for feedings.

Jane Peverett shared with us networking is not a dirty word, but that a genuine exchange of hellos (at appropriate times) can be the beginning of strong, amazing friendships and business relationships for a lifetime. I let Jane enjoy her day and am excited to have met with her to network this week here at our studio.

Tracey McVicar, who entertained us all, reminded me that a sense of humor is key and paramount in success, especially during the tough times.

Julia Kim reminded me to trust- to take chances, and to take chances with others.

Tamara Vrooman reminded me to not be afraid to apologize if you have done something wrong. She took over as CEO of Vancity just before the start of the economic breakdown, and they had the grace to apologize and ensure that the few members who held severely affected portfolio items because of Vancity’s advice were looked after.

I shared our table with my right hand Jen Hiebert, my sister Denise Helm, web editor of Victoria Times Colonist, my business coaches Isabelle Mercier and Margarita Romano, who all reminded me having support in my life is paramount and an important part of my success.

BIV hosts, Cheryl Carter and Regan McDonald’s energy and genuine passion for the annual event is one of the many reasons I am so proud to be involved. They reminded me to have fun, and bring my passion for what I do to work everyday.

Nomination forms for next year’s awards will be posted online at
www.biv.com in April.



Thursday, February 26, 2009

Celebrating Women in Business!

Here are two great events happening in Vancouver next week, both celebrating women, that I am excited to share with you. If you know of any other events, please leave a comment below. We'd love to hear about more!

The 10th Annual Business in Vancouver's Influential Women in Business Awards luncheon will be held Wednesday, March 4, at The Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver. I am excited to attend to celebrate the success of women in business in BC, and hear from this year's honorees, who will be impressive, I am quite sure. Carole Taylor, Former Finance Minister of BC and BC MLA, is this year's Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Visit Business in Vancouver’s website, for a list of all honorees.

I am proud to be a part of this event as the award sponsor, and am looking forward to being inspired by all the women attending.

Forum for Women Entrepreneurs’ Gala 2009 is Celebrating Women in Sport. The dinner celebration is Monday, March 2, from 5:30 – 10:00 pm, also at Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, featuring inspiring words from The Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier of British Columbia, and athletes like Silken Laumann, Catriona Le May Doan and Lilo Ljubisic. Visit FWE's website for more information.

Come join us if you can!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Olympics are coming, indeed!

Photo credit: iwona_kellie on Flickr

On Sunday, my family went to check out the brand new Richmond Olympic Oval. This multi-use facility in Richmond, a suburb just south of Vancouver, will be hosting all of the Olympic Long Track Speed Skating events, (12 events in total), in February 2010.

I was looking forward to seeing the contemporary design and details of the building, knowing sustainable materials were used. Hearing that there would also be some unique public art, free skating for the kids, fun vendors, live entertainment, I thought, “why not? Let’s go check it out.” After all, how often can I justify eating mini donuts for breakfast?

Well, it was more than I could have imagined.

I was blown away from the start- how the volunteers and police directed traffic (hundreds of cars, and people on foot) to the venue was impressive alone. As we walked to the building, the impressive blue exterior with the signature giant rings reminded me that yes, the Olympics are really coming! It was reminiscent of my first visit to Paris, seeing the Eiffel Tower, and saying to myself, "yes, Janet you are in Paris!"

Photo credit: iwona_kellie on Flickr

The building, from a design point of view in particular, is stunning. It is situated on the river waterfront, the contemporary wave roof was made using pine beetle wood, and the public art and use of water and natural plants are all outstanding. More information on the design of the building, the artwork, all the details around its progressive sustainability, as well as its many features and uses, can be found on the City of Richmond website, here.

The vibe of the day was like a snowy Christmas morning in a small town with, young, older, older, all smiling talking and celebrating, a real sense of community! As the boys slept in the car on the way home, I smiled to myself, as I remembered, I didn't eat any mini donuts!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy One-Year Countdown!

Photo from public domain, courtesy of Wikipedia

We are one year away from Vancouver hosting the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and are so excited. The next year is going to be big!

Visit our blog regularly for our tips around the games (better yet, subscribe to our blog to be the first to know!), and check out these links to keep up with the celebrations:

Vancouver 2010 Official site

Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad

To the Games,

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Circle the date – 1 week until the One Year Countdown to Vancouver, 2010!

Alder stools measure approximately 19" - 38" diameter and 12" - 28" high.
Photography by Jon Benjamin

The most famous of circles, as well as most well traveled, the Olympic rings are coming to Vancouver on February 12, 2010, celebrating the winter Olympics.

I see circles in design everywhere these days, and it makes perfect sense for recognition. Circles represent unity, collaboration, and friendliness- think globes and discussion roundtables. Circles show up in many places in nature, and are a design classic commonly used in corporate logos, as well as many Vancouver landmarks, like the BC Place Stadium and TELUS World of Science, which we can see outside our studio windows.

Here are a few of my favorite circles in Vancouver/Whistler:

  • Created from fallen or previously harvested alder trees, the tables shown above are a contemporary west coast accessory perfect for a home, office, or your hospitality suite. http://www.janethelm.com/PDFS/Canadian_Furniture_JHrtg.pdf
  • When in Whistler, I am always guaranteed a good work out with my friend Monique. Perhaps not a perfect circle but a good run around the Valley Loop Trail in Whistler, Old Mill Road around Lost Lake Loop then out Upper and Lower Panorama is an absolutely breathtaking example of our west coast beauty. Click here for more information on Whistler’s great winter Cross Country trails.

  • TELUS World of Science and Science World – the iconic geodesic dome at the east end of False Creek - get dirty, messy in this ‘please touch’ environment that is awesome for kids and adults alike. For current exhibition click here.

  • The Vancouver 2010 site is essential for what is happening and upcoming in our city and province. http://www.vancouver2010.com/

  • Globes, globe awards, and round awards are full of symbolism for corporate events and are a unique alternative to standard awards and plaques. Contact us about commissioned globes in corporate colours and hand blown custom pieces.

To circles,


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Canadian Environment

Photography by Jon Benjamin

We are excited and busy here in Vancouver, getting ready to welcome the world in February, 2010 to celebrate the winter Olympics. Currently, we are working with companies preparing for the Olympics, providing made in Canada gifts, gifts made by hand, and very often, gifts that are sustainable- soulful ideas that are finely crafted and creative, reflecting the unique beauty of Canada.

Recently, an opportunity presented itself with the timing and need to provide furniture and design services for 2010 hospitality suites. With my passion for design, art and architecture, and as a proud Canadian, what a great chance to offer our customers made in Canada furniture and accessories for their Canadian experience. Not only for hospitality suites, but also for your office, home, and in hotels.

Visit our Canadian Environment page on our Oh Canada website to see just a sampling of our proudly Canadian made furniture and accessories.

Call us for more examples of outstanding Canadian designs for your office, home, hospitality suite and hotel. Design services are also available.

Here's to celebrating Canada with soul!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Three easy ways to build genuine recognition this year

Having thank you cards on hand, ready to use, ensures the thank you won't be forgotten
The stuff of recognition - the awards, plaques, certificates, gift cards, isn’t the real recognition. The recognition comes with the thought and connection the employee feels. Meaning must be tied into the object for the award or gift to be a valued part of the recognition experience for the recipients. Employees are looking for meaning, and sincere appreciation for their personal value to the organization.

Here are 3 ideas you can start this month to ensure that you are providing recognition that works, making the most of your budget and time, inspiring and appreciating your team, and growing your company this year. Try one for three months and send me an update. I would love to hear your success.
  1. Show appreciation and say thank you to small things
    Show appreciation by genuinely saying thank you more often and to small things you would typically take for granted. Old school thinking is that you don’t have to say ‘thanks’ because your employees already know you appreciate them, or that too much praise will have them asking for a raise. It is a fact, thank you can never be said enough, especially now. Thank yous also encourage people to be focused on a positive outlook, rather than negative one.

  2. Listen, really listen to their ideas
    Communicate to your team how important their thinking is to answering cost savings issues. Listen to their solutions and improvements, and recognize their great ideas specifically. Thank them for how they are helping the company grow.

  3. Look at your existing recognition programs for their true recognition value
    Review all your tangible awards, promotional items, and incentive gifts for recognition potential. Look for ways to simplify. You don’t have to go over the top—just ensure you are sincere. For example, choose locally made items, especially if sustainability is important to you and your company. Present in person, include a brief explanation why you chose the award, how it reflects the company values, and how it reflects your appreciation for their specific accomplishment.

When it comes to sincerely recognizing your team, it doesn’t have to be a lot of work or expensive, just meaningful.

Interested in learning new insights on recognition strategies that work? Call me today at 604-730-2600. I would love to speak to you.