Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

The Covid Grind and the Covid Police

July 20, 2020

Gina Murphy, Hugos Restaurant

Roll those sleeves up, get stuck in and have a great week #WinHappy” is my usual Monday morning tweet, my little mantra, which being honest is as much for myself as it is for anyone else to get into the right frame of mind as we begin another work week.

I’ve been tweeting that since during the last recession and it has served me well.

As I tweeted it this morning I felt like a fraud because I was in an awful mood, which didn’t quite match those words.

Of course it’s this whole Covid thing with a few other run of the mill  “life” things layered on top – nothing serious I promise, but without a doubt there is a little Covid cloud sitting over my head today, as well as this feeling like a grind.

Dee spotting my mood tells me quite rightly to stop arguing with people on Twitter as this is where she sees some of my poor mood coming out – She is right of course, as I get upset reading about the latest idiotic thing that Trump has done and when I increasingly see what I am calling the “Covid Police” – for some reason we have all started finger pointing and judging:

Gina Murphy and Leo Varadkar at her Hugos Restaurant getting lambasted by the social media “hoards” for not sufficiently social distancing in a photo even though she was wearing a visor (she’s a great gal, struggling to make a living in these awful circumstances and has gone to huge lengths and cost to reopen safely). Covid Police..

I had to jump in!

– The Leeds United manager getting lambasted for not setting a “better example” when he went to a person who was in a wheelchair in the crowd who was waiting for him and hugged them – of course it’s not perfect but it was a huge, touching gesture. They have just been promoted to the Premiership, which to devoted fans is an absolutely colossal life moment. Instead of just appreciating the very touching human moment, allowing a spontaneous human reaction in the middle of this Covid grind, we instead jump in, point out the grave error and judge… As I said, Covid Police!

I had to jump in!

– The Professor posting a picture of himself proudly walking around a West Cork town on a sunny afternoon wearing a mask and commenting on the people who aren’t wearing them. Why wear one walking around in the fresh air? I felt this was subtle finger pointing at those of us who are finding this difficult and judging (for the successful months of curve flattening we were told there was no need)

I had to jump in! (This was genuinely a nice interaction but an Irish gal in America jumped in and accused me of all sorts including having no empathy). Covid Police!

This is an extremely difficult time for all of us as we are all processing it differently.

People are confused, people are in fear, people are trying to hold onto some piece of normality, people are trying to find brightness wherever they can get it, people are trying to protect loved ones, people are trying to protect their livelihoods, and people are trying to manage their mental health.

I think it’s really important that we do have empathy and we shouldn’t start finger pointing and judging others at this time as it isn’t easy.

Sean Moncrieff describes feeling a “low level depression” in an article he wrote for the Irish Times a few weeks back, and I get what he is talking about.

We’ve just had our Monday morning catch up call with the team and that interaction has brightened me up as it always does – I’ve taken longer writing this post than I meant to, but I wanted to capture these strange feelings at this weird time so that I can look back later, when we will have hopefully forgotten what it felt like.

Roll those sleeves up, get stuck in, have a great week, be kind….and most importantly, mind yourself

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Klopp – The key moment that won the league?

June 28, 2020

Liverpool celebration against West Brom

After the historic winning of the Premiership this week by Liverpool FC, with seven matches still to play there has been a lot of analysis of Jurgen Klopp’s time at the club, with many trying to identify the “key moments” that have contributed to this huge achievement.

As a colossal and very happy Liverpool fan I’ve watched pretty much every press conference, every match including pre-season games and even the odd reserve match and since Klopp took over as manager in 2015 there have been many significant moments.

A new style of play, intensive pre-season training, the signing of some key players and a continuous learning curve have all contributed to incremental success and of course this has resulted in belief and confidence.

However for me, a key factor in this success story is Jurgen Klopp’s deep understanding of psychology – he knows how the mind works and how much this ultimately affects how the players on the pitch can play to their very best, even at times when things have gone wrong in matches and looked certain that a loss was on the cards.

The role of fans or “supporters” is huge in this and he worked on this aspect from the very first minute.

Klopp demonstrated this in his very first press conference when he identified the colossal role that an impatient but huge loyal fan base could play in the success of the team. He shaped expectations that day when he spoke about changing fans from “doubters to believers” and he also started talking about the heavy burden of past successes.

He identified immediately that an impatient, doubting crowd could “infect” the team on the pitch, to the extent that they would be playing nervously, petrified of any mistake – this had become a big problem at home matches in the past.

A month or so later Liverpool were losing at home to Crystal Palace and with five minutes to go fans started to leave the ground – he took a big risk and made a big deal of this after in his press conference.

He spoke about it being a “lonely moment” and the point he was making was very simple – if you want us to win these games, support us to the very end of the match and anything is possible. This was a huge message he was sending to the fans.

This brings me to what I consider as being the biggest moment that has contributed to the success that we have enjoyed in the last few years and it came in December 2015, a few matches after that Crystal Palace game.

We were playing at home against West Brom and with minutes to go were trailing 1-2 against this mid-table team. Burdened with history, me and most other fans were most likely thinking “typical Liverpool“.

Because of the gentle scolding that he had given to fans just weeks earlier they stayed till the end, never gave up and it worked!!

In stoppage time Divock Origi scored an equaliser and the inevitable did not happen – Klopp went wild, the team went wild and the fans went wild. The match finished 2-2.

Drawing at home to West Brom, 2-2 is a poor result for Liverpool but the last minute response when all felt lost warranted a huge celebration.

If you stay with us until the last minute and keep supporting, then anything was possible.

Klopp had coached the fans about what he needed from them and to crystallise this moment he grabbed the team and led a “bowing” session in front of the fans in the famous Kop – this was a huge acknowledgment, a thank you …you got us that goal!!

Klopp was hugely criticised in many quarters for this disproportionate celebration – we drew with West Brom, not won a cup, after all.

The idiot James McLean called Kloppa bit of an idiot“, making this exact point.

Klopp explained what he was up to after in his press conference:

There was a big misunderstanding against West Brom. I wanted to say thank you to the supporters after that game so I took my team towards the Kop to do it and there was a discussion everywhere about it. For me, it was ‘why should we even discuss that?’

“But I had to learn that English people are not used to that kind of thing”

“I wanted to show that we really we are one unit, 100 per cent one unit. That means I know I am responsible for the performance, but the people are responsible for the atmosphere.

“So it should be a win-win situation. When we play well, it’s easy to get the crowd going and when we don’t play well, we need you to encourage us – get on your feet, tell us ‘come on’ – you have to be the stars then.

“I want us to have the best atmosphere in world football and there is no limit to what we can do actually”

From that moment on Liverpool have won so many matches in the last few minutes, when all seemed lost and the fans were there to witness such exhilaration. And at Anfield since then we have pretty much won every single match.

As a fan there is nothing better than that last minute joy and I’ve been lucky to have been at Anfield to witness the incredible end of match atmosphere where we had last minute winners against Borussia Dortmund and Everton, both of which were huge games.

LIverpool celebration against Barcelona

Last season there was a similar celebration when we incredibly beat the mighty Barcelona, 4-0 on the way to winning the Champions League.

That gesture against West Brom in December 2015 was the moment we won the league..

How much does the right mentality matter in your business?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting for your “Purpose” to reveal itself

February 16, 2020

Greg Canty - Sense of Purpose

Once again you find yourself having this conversation quietly in your head.

I want to make a huge difference on this earth, I want to live a life with Real Purpose” but…..

…you have absolutely no idea what that purpose is !!

Well, instead of getting yourself all frustrated, how about channelling these thoughts and that positive intent in a very different and very achievable way.

How about choosing a number of people in your life who may be in need of help, a boost, a little support, some encouragement and quietly make them your purpose and without saying a word, give them exactly that.

Maybe it’s a family member, a buddy, a work colleague, or a neighbour who is struggling, who has gone off track for whatever reason and needs something from someone to make this time a little easier.

You can be that someone, and you might just be able to get them back on track.

While you are waiting to find your purpose how about being there for that other person so they might be better able to find theirs.

And if your “purpose” never knocks on your door, then maybe it’s not so bad as you have helped a lot of people along the way just when they needed it …. isn’t that a pretty good purpose to have?

Who are you going to help today?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

When ‘How About’ and ‘Why Not’ come together

December 21, 2019

Emerald Ivory at The White Horse

A really talented musician said “How about” to a bunch of talented musicians who answered “Why not” to an idea about performing classic Irish songs together

Someone said “How about” doing a gig before Christmas at the venue Upstairs at the The White Horse Bar and Restaurant in Ballincollig, Cork and someone said “Why not“.

I saw the gig listing when trying to figure out something special to do belatedly for our wedding anniversary (too busy with client events!) and asked Dee “How about” and she said “Why not“.

Needless to say the debut gig of Emerald Ivory was really special and we had a great night.

To do anything new and discover magic in life we need two essential ingredients:

Someone to ask “How about

and someone to say “Why not“.

Are you one of those people?

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

Mary Elmes, Cork’s bravest woman?

October 20, 2019
Prats-de-Mollo_Childrens_Home

Residents of the War Resisters’ International home in the French Pyrenees at Prats-de-Mollo, housing refugees from the Spanish Civil War

I’ve just finished editing and publishing the Win Happy podcast episode that I recorded with Clodagh Finn, author of “A time to risk all” and Deirdre Waldron, former president of Network Ireland, about the incredible life of the very much unknown Cork woman, Mary Elmes.

(Note: In 2016, having heard about Mary through the Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Committee work, Deirdre in her role as President chose Mary Elmes for the Trish Murphy, Network Ireland Award, the first time it was given posthumously and the first time she was acknowledged in Ireland)

As I was listening to the podcast I was very close to tears when I heard Clodagh describe that moment when one of the children, Charlotte Berger-Greneche saved by Mary Elmes, saw a picture of her mother for the first time when she was 80 years of age.

Clodagh who is incredibly knowledgeable and clearly passionate about Mary Elmes, brings her story to life in the episode and I feel in some ways listening to her, that the spirit of Mary has changed her.

Charlotte Berger-Greneche and Georges Koltei

We were privileged to meet two of these children, Charlotte Berger-Greneche and Georges Koltei (pictured above with Mary’s son Patrick Danjou (on the left of the image)) who were saved by Mary from prison camps in France during World War 2.

They were in Cork city recently for the opening of the new bridge that was named in her honour.

Mary Elmes saved 432 children during the Spanish Civil War and World War 2.

Article by Eoin English, Irish Examiner

Article by Barry Roche, Irish Times

There was a beautiful and very poignant quote by her son, Patrick during the bridge opening:

“I think it’s better to have a bridge than a wall, like some friends of ours in America want to do”

Until very recently this story was one that very few people knew, including Mary’s own family – humble people do what they need to do in a huge time of need and then quietly go about their lives after.

Note: Paddy Butler has also written a book about Mary Elmes “The Extraordinary life of Mary Elmes: The Irish Oskar Schindler”

Mary_Elmes

About Mary

Mary Elmes was born on 5 May 1908 in Cork, Ireland to chemist Edward Elmes and Elizabeth Waters. Edward ran a pharmacy on Winthrop Street. The Elmes family went on to be a very prominent one in the business landscape of the city (The building where MacDonalds is located was an Elmes property).

She attended Rochelle School in Cork and in 1928 enrolled at Trinity College Dublin where she was elected a Scholar, and gained a first in Modern Literature (French and Spanish).

As a result of her academic achievements, she was awarded a scholarship in International Studies to study at London School of Economics and then a further scholarship  in Geneva, Switzerland.

In 1937, she joined the University of London Ambulance Unit and was sent to a children’s hospital in Almeria in then war-torn Spain. She worked in hospitals as an administrator and carer and also helped  in homes looking after children (see picture above). She then moved to France during World War 2.

When it became clear that Jewish children were not legally allowed to be exempt from being sent to the concentration camps, as they had been, Mary, with the help from some colleagues, started to rescue children, taking them to safe houses or helping them flee the country altogether.

Stop for a momentCan you imagine as a parent, making a decision to hand your children over to someone else, in the full knowledge that you would never see them again and this was the only chance of them having a life?

It is a chilling and heartbreaking thought.

Well aware that she was putting herself at risk, she rescued many children by hiding them in the boot of her car and drove them to safe destinations and aided many others by securing documents, which allowed for them to escape through the undercover network in Vichy France.

While she was not a Quaker herself, she worked actively with local Quaker organisations and was often  described as the “head of the Quaker delegation at Perpignan,”.

In 1943, Mary was arrested and was imprisoned in Toulouse and later was moved to the notorious Fresnes Prison run by the Gestapo near Paris, where she spent six months. She was never charged, but when she was released she continued her work with children in prison camps.

Note: In the podcast listen to Clodagh talking about an old blanket that Mary Elmes kept from that prison.

After the war she married and had two children, and lived in Pyrénées-Orientales (Northern Catalonia),

She became the first Irish person to be named Righteous Among the Nations during a ceremony at Israel’s official memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Note: Despite gathering the requisite proof that he saved Jews we have been unable to achieve this honour for Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty.

She passed away in 2002, one month before her 93rd birthday.

If you have the time you might click here to listen to the podcast, maybe read Clodagh’s or Paddy’s excellent books and even better, walk across the beautiful bridge in Cork and think about the bravery of a very special woman, Mary Elmes.

Bridges are better than walls…

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

PRIDE and the motivation behind picking up other people’s rubbish with Tom Butler, Ballincollig Tidy Towns

September 15, 2019

Ballincollig Tidy Towns

I’m always blown away when I bump into Ballincollig Tidy Towns volunteers up early on a Sunday morning as we head to the Regional Park to walk our two dogs, Honey and Bert.

Normally it is a person working diligently by themselves with their litter picker and their black bag. I always make a point of saying “hello” to them and saying “thank you”.

I quietly ask myself the question…. “What could possibly motivate you to get up on a Sunday morning and voluntarily start picking up other people’s rubbish and tidying up our town?

Our downtime is precious, time to rest, time to do our own chores, spend time with family and friends and to enjoy our hobbies, whatever they might be. As for these people, well, how do you explain it?

I was delighted to have the chance to finally chat with Tom Butler, a friend from back in the day who has been Chairperson of Ballincollig Tidy Towns for the last 20 years and ask him this very question.

To try to understand, I asked Tom about the influences in his life, lessons learnt from his scouting days, lessons from his dad, Jim, and what drives him to do what he does each day. He explained how he got involved and the incredible difference the awards have made to towns and villages all over Ireland.

Why does Tom do what he does? – it’s simple, it’s all about Pride.

Click here to listen to the chat with Tom in the Win Happy podcast 

A huge thanks to Tom Butler and the team in Ballincollig Tidy Towns for making our place so special.

Enjoy the show!

Greg 

Greg Canty is the producer of the Win Happy podcast, which is brought to you by Fuzion Communications, a full service PR, Marketing, Graphic design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork 

 

For information about podcast production, feel free to contact Fuzion

430 Goats and running a charity with CEO of Bóthar, Dave Moloney

August 20, 2019

Dave Molney and Bothar

On our latest episode of the Win Happy podcast I sat down with Dave Moloney, the CEO of Bóthar and had an honest chat, as always about his life and his role with the charity, that literally grew from a community initiative in Limerick to celebrate Treaty 300, 28 years ago.

The charity that helps communities to be sustainable by sending them livestock has been making a real difference, year in year out and Dave explains how that happens.

His career was interesting, a Limerick city boy who landed a part-time job milking cows, ended up managing bars and restaurants in New York and eventually he got a call from his cow milking buddies to return and help with an initiative that had literally grown legs, called Bóthar.

They needed someone to accompany some livestock to deepest Africa!   

While this charity continues to be a huge success it struck me that Dave, who has been involved at different levels in the charity for 24 years is jaded.

Between the high profile scandals in charities that tarnished everyone bursting a gut with their respective causes, to the extreme regime of corporate governance and scrutiny that each charity must live under now, to the never ending cause of starving people overseas that he feels has taken a very sad back seat to so many other causes that are closer to home.

His big challenge is connecting his cause with a young demographic, which he feels is getting harder and harder.

Somehow getting 430 goats off a plane with no lift seems to be a much easier and energising task….

Click here to listen to his story and the story of Bóthar.

Enjoy the show!

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR, Graphic Design and Digital Marketing agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

 

The conductor and the magic of teamwork

July 19, 2019

Christian Vásquez

We enjoyed a really special evening this week at the Summer Proms with a wonderful performance by the ‘National Youth Orchestra of Ireland‘ at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, who are without doubt a very talented Irish treasure.

What caught my attention particularly on the night was a very clever way of inspiring the many players by the energetic and charismatic conductor, Christian Vásquez from Venezuela

The blurb on the internet describes him as “Renowned for his charismatic stage presence, powerful interpretations and compelling musical integrity“. I got it!

I must own up to my lack of knowledge when it comes to orchestras and the role of the conductor, but if I ever needed someone to bring this to life for me it was during this performance.

The evening was a full symphonic programme made up of:

TCHAIKOVSKY : Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 (Little Russian)
MANUEL DE FALLA : The Three Cornered Hat: Three Dances from Suite No. 2
JOSE PABLO MONCAYO : Huapango
ALBERTO GINASTERA : Dances from Estancia
ARTURO MÁRQUEZ : Danzon nr. 2
ZEQUINHA ABREU : Tico Tico

After the first segment finished the audience applauded to offer their appreciation – Christian the conductor, stepped back into the middle of the orchestra and accepted the applause but then he started to point to some of the individuals in the orchestra gesturing them to stand up and accept particular applause.

He pointed to a drummer at the back, the harpist on the left, a bass player in the middle, a violinist on the right and then a group from each section until all were standing up in unison.

While he ever so slightly embarrassed each of them with this unusual gesture, you could see them beaming with pride amidst their brief moment in the spotlight.

After each musical segment he repeated this gesturing to different individuals and as the night came to the very last sequence nearly everyone in the orchestra had been singled out for individual recognition.

I have no doubt that each player gave a little bit extra, more effort, more emotion, more passion, more verve, and more joy as they played their part on that very last song.

At the very end of the night I saw one of the players wiping his eyes – I am going to assume, these were tears of joy, a night he will never remember.

Getting the most from the talent at your disposal is one of the most important jobs as a manager.

While it is a team effort, taking the time to acknowledge the individuals in your team is one of the greatest things a manager can do. It’s not always easy to do but it always makes a difference and

…you will see the magic in the performance!

Greg

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

 

We have two lives & the second one begins when you realise you only have one!

June 4, 2019

Mario de Andrade

This beautiful poem written by Mario de Andrade (San Paolo 1893-1945), a poet, novelist, essayist and musicologist who was one of the founders of Brazilian modernism, was shared with me by my great friend Fr. John Ahern.

*MY SOUL HAS A HAT*

I counted my years
& realised that I have
Less time to live by,
Than I have lived so far.

I feel like a child who won a pack of candies: at first he ate them with pleasure,
But when he realised that there was little left, he began to taste them intensely.

I have no time for endless meetings where the statutes, rules, procedures & internal regulations are discussed,
knowing that nothing will be done.

I no longer have the patience
To stand absurd people who,
despite their chronological age,
have not grown up.

My time is too short:
I want the essence,
my spirit is in a hurry.
I do not have much candy
In the package anymore.

I want to live next to humans,
very realistic people who know
How to laugh at their mistakes,
Who are not inflated by their own triumphs
& who take responsibility for their actions.
In this way, human dignity is defended
and we live in truth and honesty.

It is the essentials that make life useful.
I want to surround myself with people
who know how to touch the hearts of those whom hard strokes of life
have learned to grow, with sweet touches of the soul.

Yes, I’m in a hurry.
I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I do not intend to waste any of the remaining desserts.

I am sure they will be exquisite,
much more than those eaten so far.
My goal is to reach the end satisfied
and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.

We have two lives
& the second begins when you realise you only have one.

Send this to all of your middle aged friends!!

…It is forbidden to keep it

More beautiful music please..

May 14, 2019

Cork Youth Orchestra

It was another magical night in Cork as we watched the superb Cork Youth Orchestra perform with Altan and the Lee Singers at the majestic City Hall.

The performance by the orchestra was just spell bounding as we watched 128 talented young musicians play together, powerfully and passionately conducted by Tomás McCarthy.

It was moving, watching the different sections of the orchestra playing together, creating powerful, beautiful, uplifting music and I was reflecting on the huge feat that we were witnessing, the seamless coordination of so many young talented musicians.

Cork Youth Orchestra

There is huge credit to the conductor, the musicians and the proud parents who all played their role and while we just turned up to experience the special performance on the night, I can only imagine the amount of hard work and countless hours that must have gone into what we were witnessing.

You could feel the huge sense of togetherness on the night and you knew this was the magic ingredient, because without this togetherness the uplifting performance would not have happened.

It made me think about how much we can create and how much we can achieve when we come together with a beautiful, common goal.

I took a photo during the performance and at the interval I opened up Twitter to tweet about the magical evening.

As I was about to post I spotted a jarring tweet about a bombing in Pakistan, where gunmen had forced their way into a hotel and started shooting indiscriminately, leaving four hotel employees and a Pakistan Navy soldier dead. Six others were injured.

How can we come together and achieve such beautiful things and how can we be consumed by so much hatred that we can kill others?

More music please…

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland